Links 4/17/13

Dear patient readers, I need to turn in now so I can be semi-coherent and listen to part 2 of the Senate hearings on the Independent Foreclosure Review fiasco. If you don’t get a livestream at that link, try here. You’ll get another post in the AM, not on the hearings, so do check back (I will NOT live blog the hearings, I prefer to ruminate a bit).

Stansted Airport worker bakes resignation ‘letter’ BBC (John M)

Color-Changing Hare Can’t Keep Up With Climate Change ScienceNOW (Nikki)

Banker saves 12 ducklings jumping off of building (video) Americablog (reader). direction warns this was suspiciously well documented….

Attacked By an Owl! The Stranger (frosty zoom). Why would owls get so aggressive? My first assumption is that they are hungry. And look at the bill for a look-see and a few shots.

Bacon: the Other White Heat PopSci. A new stealth weapon!

Abnormal Is the New Normal Slate (furzy mouse). OMG, the DSM is bonkers. Caffeine withdrawal is a disorder? Ridiculous. You have a headache in the first 24 hours that lasts max another 24 and you are a bit less peppy. We are now classifying stuff that lasts 24 hours and can be cured with aspirin a disorder?

FDA Lets Drugs Approved on Fraudulent Research Stay on the Market Scientific American

Anxious About Life and Afraid of Death? Tylenol May Do the Trick, Study Suggests Science News (John M). An example of the above? Tylenol is one of the few OTC drugs that will kill you if you take too much. Acetaminophen overdose is one of the top causes of liver failure. Max recommended daily use is 10 days.

Arab Countries Openly Discuss Peak Oil for the First Time OilPrice

Gold’s fall costs Paulson $1.5bn this year Financial Times

Lurching Gold ETF Veers From Metal by Most in Year Amid Selloff Bloomberg

How the gold market was crashed Futures (Scott)

China’s Pettis moment Kate Mackenzie, FT Alphaville

The Mindset of North Korean Elites Counterpunch (Carol B). April 15 was their big day and they didn’t even launch a test missile. Hhhm.

Serious Threat to Asian Economic Model Triple Crisis. On the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Francois Hollande faces austerity revolt from own ministers Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

IMF cuts 2013 global economic outlook Financial Times. And no bow? They’ve helped produce this outcome.

European Car Sales Plunge 10% From Last Year AFP

Could Hillary Clinton Be America’s Thatcher? Bloomberg. This is a weird piece, but it strikes me a zeitgeist indicator of sorts. I just can’t put my finger on how. Lean in faddism meets Thatcher hagiography?

Democrats Risk Alienating Young Voters by Opposing Cuts in Entitlement Spending National Journal (Affinis). Yes, let’s stoke that generational warfare, since an old-young alliance is one combo that might make some headway against the plutocrats

More Reinhardt and Rogoff shellacking:


Elementary misuse of spreadsheet data leaves millions unemployed Bill Mitchell

Q&A: Carmen Reinhart on Greece, U.S. Debt and Other ‘Scary Scenarios’ WSJ Economics Blogs. A Lambert find from 2010. Don’t see how they can say they didn’t imply causality with stuff in the public domain like this. See more of the same here: Debt and growth revisited VoxEU

A Study That Set the Tone for Austerity Is Challenged New York Times. Lead story in the business section on the website

Tensions Flare Between OCC and Bank Consultants American Banker (Pwelder). Paywalled but you can register to see it. Basically, the OCC is asking for the power to sanction consultants.

Marathon Attendees Responsible for Not Stopping Bombing Patrick Durusau (Lambert)

Boston bombs produce familiar reactions Glenn Greenwald

Philadelphia Holds Closed Meeting With Wall Street Bloomberg. Get ready for infrastructure rape.

CEOs average $12.3 million in 2012, 354 times the average worker Daily Kos (Carol B)

Hospitals Profit From Surgical Errors, Study Finds New York Times. Francois T: “This is enough to make one scream. Even if, at a gut feeling level, I already knew that, it still makes me nauseous.” One simple example: a buddy who is an IT expert and spent two weeks in a hospital saw how screwed up communications were: too many handwritten records, and on top of that, he ascertained his medical information was in two separate data systems. There’s no incentive to fix that sort of thing, and it’s one contributor to mistakes.

GOLDMAN: The US Consumer Has Suffered A Setback Clusterstock. The investing classes finally take notice.

The Hell of American Day Care: An investigation into the barely regulated, unsafe business of looking after our children The New Republic. One of the reasons the US ranks so low on child welfare.

GRANTHAM: Capitalism Is Great, But It Assigns No Value To Your Grandchildren Clusterstock

Antidote du jour (Irawan Subingar):


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  1. Yonatan

    Banker saves 12 ducklings jumping off of building?

    Did they jump or were they just shorted?

  2. Juneau

    Re: DSM
    I agree it makes no sense to categorize caffeine withdrawal in the same context as psychosis. The DSM IV had defined all substance use disorders as falling into different categories of intoxication, dependence, abuse, withdrawal with various syndromes from overuse,etc…. Caffeine got thrown in years ago, IMHO following the rise of Starbucks, since it causes so much anxiety. I think the inclusion of caffeine dependence makes sense if you are treating someone for panic. The inclusion of withdrawal as a disorder, I think,is more of an obsessive compulsive need for logical consistency and completeness-lots of doctors are compulsive. Missing forest for the trees. Gotta fill that space on the diagnostic grid.

    Anybody who thinks psychiatrists see that book as the “bible” of the field doesn’t know any psychiatrists. It is a better research tool and less useful clinically, people are too complex and don’t often fit into neat categorizations. JMHO.

    1. Jim

      And they “normalized” homosexuality so that insurance companies wouldn’t have to pay for corrective therapy.

      1. Garrett Pace

        “Normal”. There’s a moving target in today’s world. How does anyone ever hit it? I wish people would spend more energy developing their own understanding of themselves and who they want to be, instead of blissing out on chemicals that make them feel as they think they should. The “normal” we are currently seeking in mental health is cruel and artificial.

    2. Mary

      Doctors have to code a diagnosis for each visit. They don’t get paid if you go there worried about something and they tell you “it’s o.k. – you’ll be better in a few days ” unless they can say what the problem is. It’s easy to make fun of, but that’s the way it has to be until we change medical payments.

  3. Juneau

    Re: Tylenol
    This explains why so many people take it at bedtime. The liver toxicity is MUCH worse when you combine it with alcohol FWIW.

  4. Expat

    Re: Democrats Risk Alienating Young Voters by Opposing Cuts in Entitlement Spending

    It’s so obvious that no one says it. Social security is called an entitlement by those who believe they are entitled to someone else’s insurance benefits.

    The question for youths caught up in the propaganda is: Do you want to pay for your parent’s welfare or do you want the government to take care of them, especially if it means the difference between your driving a Mercedes or a Honda Civic.

    Rove and company discovered years ago that the selfishness of their voters meant that they liked having someone else take care of the elderly. Resentment over social security taxes would be nothing compared to the resentment of having to look after an impoverished decrepit mother or father.

    Now the Republican strategists have come up with a brilliant win-win: destroy social insurance AND get it blamed on the Democrats.

    This strategem has worked with the White House, but then many of us realize that “Big Lie” Obama is indistinguishable from most right wing Republican extremists.

    1. data

      “the resentment of having to look after an impoverished decrepit mother or father”
      Looking after own parents makes people resentful?! What kind of savage dog-eat-dog society do you have in America?!

      1. RG

        One in which looking after the elderly was outsourced to government and taxpayers, instead of a more traditional family arrangement.

          1. RG

            Or, you know, we could go back to the traditional model.

            As always, I enjoy the rhetorical flourish that if I don’t support the current model, I must support “throwing them under the bus”.

          2. Massinissa

            Rg, you know there are some old people without family right? What the hell would you do about them?

            Oh, let em starve to death on the streets. K.

        1. Kurt Sperry

          more traditional family arrangement

          The one where if the family is poor (likely because the medical bills have bankrupted them) or absent or just doesn’t give a fuck, the elderly get thrown under the bus? That one?

          I mean who gives a fuck right? Should’ve planned better then, grandma. Maybe next time huh?

          1. ambrit

            Dear AbyNormal;
            True! Who ever said that it would be easy? (I see the dysfunctional results of that mindset too often around me.)

        1. Lambert Strether

          Of course, if there was any intellectual honesty here, we’d be advocating tax credits for home eldercare by family members to supplement social insurance, much as married people get tax credits, or tax credits for child-rearing. Since there isn’t, it’s just about cuts and cat food. No thanks, Mr. Airbrushed Agrarian Ideal.

          I mean, it’s like Social Security sort of dropped from the sky, and nobody really needed it, it wasn’t a response to elders dying with no dignity, no, nothing like. Really, what a Rule #1 violation.

          1. jrs

            Even *if* the agraian ideal was ideal, I think those who lived to old age were on balance probably healhier those days, and modern technology probably does extend some unhealthy lifespands where it wouldn’t otherwise. Now that’s ok. Well no living in an unhealthier society isn’t ok, but technology prolonging lifespans is.

            However, those who are so glib about “taking care of old people” I’m sure have neither done nor witnessed it for really sick old people. So yea if they could go to the support groups for caretakers and be flys on the wall, THEN … they’d start to understand. Some of the old people refuse to eat. Some never get out of bed. Others are hyper and full of extreme energy. One old person with dementia buries their spouses dishes in the backyard and gets crazy around sundown (going crazy around sundown is called “sundowning”, if people read about Alzheimers they could learn about it). One person doesn’t even recognize their caretaker anymore and asked if they like the person who has done everything for them all these years of caretaking they say “no!”.

            And let’s say ok, we give up on government old age programs (not something anyone should do without a fight), this defaulting to families is itself weird and narrow. If we’re not going to have any government programs shouldn’t the answer be to setup some kind of broad based working people’s mutual aid? Rather than just families, stretched to the breaking point, unable to bear the burden. I mean I could see conservatives going on and on about family, but the family structure can’t bear some of these overwhelming burdens, so at least we’ve got to get real anarchist style mutual aid going on. Of course unlike isolated little families, such a thing, might actually start building working class power. Uh oh ….

          2. direction

            Lambert—the tax credit for dependants is already not age specific and can be used for the elderly or disabled. but it’s not very much

            “The maximum amount of work-related dependent care expenses that can be applied towards the tax credit is $3,000. A percentage amount, determined by your income (20% to 35%), is multiplied against that to calculate the tax credit. Therefore, a family with an Adjusted Gross Income of $45,000 that had at least $3,000 in work-related care expenses would receive a tax credit of $600 ($3,000 x 20%)”

          3. Procopius

            What is it with tax credits? Why have people been recommending them for the last few years? Last year I paid $1,300 in federal income tax and got a refund of $500 from over-withholding. As I understand it, a tax credit could be applied against that tax liability. So if I spent, say $4,000 supporting my parents I would have gotten more back? Is that how it’s supposed to work? Suppose my income had been even lower so I owed less tax. What would a tax credit do for me?

      2. neo-realist

        Some kids have had dysfunctional relationships with the parent or parents and the residue anger complicates live-in situations with older parents. Some older parents are annoying people to live with. Some kids along with their spouses don’t have the time to adequately deal with the decrepit parent’s needs.

      3. jrs

        You are really just clueless about life aren’t you? Either that or quite young. After you have spend a few months taking care of someone with dementia get back to me, umkay?”

      4. jrs

        one in which most people have to work for a living rather than just be idle rich (or even idle poor), which is kinda imcompatable with full-time caretaking.

        1. direction

          thanks for speaking up jrs.

          Sometimes I wish that an “internship” taking care of an elderly person was required before anyone received a degree. People would have a more realistic view of the dying process after they spend some time trying to brush a paralyzed person’s teeth or learn how to take a catheter out. It’s a huge piece of life we avoid knowledge of until we have to take care of our own. and what of people who don’t have kids? individuals and care facilities all could use the extra help. Supporting an elderly person at the end of life is a 24hour job. and maybe these young bankers would have a more compassionate view of the world after they have to stay up all night every night helping someone walk slowly back and forth to the bathroom every hour.

          1. AbyNormal

            and checking every bump in the night, calming coughs and limb spasms…at this rate my mother might out live me.
            i’m tired, but it is what is.
            i won’t allow my only child to do this for me period

          2. Lidia

            What’s more stark is that we don’t have the monetary structure nor—more important—the material resources to have half the world personally walking the other half to the bathroom and cleaning their asses every half-hour.

            I’m not picking on oldsters… I’m a full-time on-call oldster caretaker myself, but the writing is on the wall. It just so happens that we don’t have the resources for decades of oldster-caretaking on a massive scale NOR FOR MOST OTHER THINGS.

            My mom has been prescribed O2 24/7 for several years. At some point the lights will go out, and—whoops!—no more concentrated O2. Such a life is not natural and it’s certainly not “sustainable”. Her years of “assisted agony” are a grueling and perverse “luxury” we won’t be able to afford in the future, and I for one would personally reject such interventions for myself even today, even twenty years ago. Sounds “easy-to-say” but I am serious.

          3. Lidia

            AbyNormal “at this rate my mother might outlive me”
            Oh, I don’t doubt it. Have you told her for the forty-seventh time today that her estimated taxes were filed? Does she say she has “no money” because she doesn’t trust her bank statements? Has she accused you daily of lying to her? You’ve ALREADY put on that lotion for bedsores! You’ve ALREADY given her her eyedrops today!

            Have you dared to absent yourself from the home for more than half-an-hour? Well, then your cell-phone credit will have been exhausted as she phones every five minutes to find out where you are. If you turn off the phone (perhaps you are -say- DRIVING), she’ll spend hours calling the neighbors and the police until she reaches you.

          4. AbyNormal

            Lida, I appreciate your share. I too have cared for the elderly off an on thru my adult life, therefore I have a comparison…it gets harder. The resources are less and less but worse are the ‘modern-day’ trip falls…Doctors/Meds choices with serious side affects.

            Im in my zone, taking care of others and never have I witnessed such road blocks. Whats to come will not be family friendly…’burden’ will entail choices bordering sadistic.

            The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected. Frost

    2. Expat

      I just wanted to say that this is a different Expat than the one who has been posting on and off here for four years.

      Yves, is it possible to have two posters with the same name?

        1. Expat

          Ok, thanks, Yves.

          @ new Expat, would you mind terribly using a different pseudonym on this site? If you are very attractive, you could be “Sexpat”. If you are living in Tiajuana, you could be “Mexpat”. Or if you are a Wiccan, you could be “Hexpat.”

  5. Skeptic


    There is a very interesting documentary involving the murder of Kathleen Peterson which the defense claimed may have been in part caused by an owl. From Wikipedia:

    “Owl theory

    In late 2009, Peterson’s attorneys raised a new theory of Kathleen Peterson’s death, that she had been attacked by an owl outside, fallen after rushing inside, and been knocked unconscious after hitting her head on the first tread of the stairs. The owl theory was raised by Durham attorney T. Lawrence Pollard, who was not involved in the case at the time but approached the police suggesting an owl might have been responsible. He raised this possibility after reading the SBI evidence list and finding a “feather” listed. Although Pollard did not speak of the theory to anyone else, the Durham Herald-Sun newspaper published an article ridiculing him and discrediting his theory. Other media picked it up, propagating the Herald-Sun story, which was later criticized as inaccurate. Peterson’s attorneys subsequently determined that the SBI crime lab report listed a microscopic owl feather and a wooden sliver from a tree limb entangled in a clump of hair that had been pulled out by the roots found clutched in Kathleen’s left hand.[10][11] A re-examination of the hair in September 2008 found two more microscopic owl feathers.”

    I watched the documentary referred to and it was riveting.

    Personally, I have had an owl swoop at my head and another take a pass at my dog. Luckily, the owls did not grab on. If one were physically attacked it would be very easy to panic, become disoriented, fall, etc.

    1. russel1200

      LOL- The Peterson Owl Story!

      Did it happen to mention that Peterson had a lady friend, Elizabeth Ratliff, in Europe who died under very similar circumstances? It was ruled an accidental death then, but later autopsy said – maybe not so much.

      Either Peterson tried for a two-fer, or owls are a transcontinental issue for him. Whatever he did to the Owl Gods must have been pretty bad karma.

  6. BDBlue

    FYI, I’m something of an expert (self-inflicted) on caffeine withdrawal headaches. Aspirin doesn’t help, except if it’s the kind that has caffeine. The only cure for a caffeine headache is caffeine or time. And as you point out it isn’t all that much time. Or you could avoid it altogether by simply weaning yourself off the stuff by decreasing the amounts you take each day until you no longer are taking in any caffeine.

    And yes it is bonkers that what is essentially a temporary physical reaction to the changes in cerebral blood flow is now a recognized mental disorder. I will also note the when you characterize crap like this in the DSM it has a way of devaluing real mental illnesses.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Ordinary OTC painkillers alleviate a caffeine withdrawal headache for me. Sorry that yours are more tenacious.

  7. Jim A

    I’m guessing that the DSM thing is driven by recordkeeping rather than treatment. Patient complains of headaches, you find out that he just quit coffee, but you need to have a code to put down in the computer.

  8. craazyman

    If anybody is anxious about life and afraid of death, and doesn’t want to risk Tylenol, I’d recommend xanax and red wine.

    You can get a drinkable bottle of red for $6 and xanax is only $20 for 50 or so pills.

    After two glasses of the red and 1 mg of xanax, I guarantee you won’t worry about anything at all. You can just chill laying on the floor surfing music vide clips on Youtube. And if that gets too strenuous, you can stare at the wall or just fall asleep.

    You can even try smoking a joint, but that might give you fits of paranoia and distort your sense of time. On the other hand, you might freak out so bad you get trapped in a nameless dread and forget what you were worrying about. It may even be a relief when you can remember it was death and dying, since at least you’ll know you’re still alive and haven’t lost your mind completely.

    Try the wine and xanax first, and then if you calm down and feel your nerves are steady, light up a reefer and see if it makes things more interesting.

    1. AbyNormal

      your first recommendation is most appropriate for the next time my curiosity gets the best of me and i twist for a ‘Goldman Says’ piece where i chug a pot of coffee that i hurl back up at the kiddies boarding the school bus with a stoned driver

      (i’ll have ta rely on BoB & the WeeD for punctuation’)

    2. Jim Haygood

      xanax is dirt cheap. But by using opium instead, you can lead a greener organic lifestyle.

      Harvesting the resin from your poppy garden seems simple enough. Hard to find decent instructional videos, though, as they all seem to be made by dope fiends who are blazed outta they skulls. One example:

      Hey … it’s planting season!

      1. direction

        That video is hilarious. I’m sorry to have sullied my youtube browsing history records, but it was almost worth it.

        Helpful harvest hint: hydrostatic pressure. The bulbs need to be very freshly cut. If you wait to scratch them, you will have lost that internal pressure. You can also leave the bulbs on the plant, though that constitutes federal evidence. (Oh my, what will the neighbors say!)

        I, of course, have never done this. But I had a friend who used to throw a pretty festive “Alice in Wonderland” themed garden party every year. Don’t score the bulbs too deeply. Be patient, not all the liquid comes out immediately. Be sure you’ve grown the right sort of poppy. pretty straightforward stuff.

        If you’re a big Xanax fan, fresh poppies will probably be way too subtle for your tastes.

    3. ambrit

      Dear craazyman;
      The red wine and xanax sounds good, but, try finding an accommodating physician if you aren’t on a gold star insurance plan or ‘well connected.’ All of the M.D.s I’ve seen or spoken to here “Way Down South” are scared s—less of the Feds. Former Surgeon General Koops’ piece about having to write his own prescription for a serious pain killer when he presented to an emergency room, and they wouldn’t give him some for an attack of some kind he was having, is great in exposing the fear and paranoia the medical profession is gripped by today.
      As for that $20 figure, is that retail or ‘street’ retail? Also, does residence in a large metropolitan centre automatically entitle one to a scrip for an anxiety reducing substance?
      As for us out here in the sticks, we religiously suggest psilocybin mushrooms as a laugh filled ‘day trip’ into the wilds of Magonia. (It beats the H— out of Meth! That stuff’s dangerous!)
      Happy trails!

  9. jjmacjohnson

    Leave it to an IT person to say:

    ” too many handwritten records”

    As though electronic communication is better. No only in the heads of IT and so called futurists.

    1. petridish

      IT “professionals” shouldn’t worry–that problem has been solved. They are no longer teaching handwriting in many primary schools.

      He should consider that an “investment” in the future of the “industry.”

  10. RG

    RE: Daycare

    Are you arguing that more regulations would improve it? How’s public education doing?

    1. AbyNormal

      o hell yeah! let’s DeRegulate the Kiddie Warehousing like Banks, Utilities and whatever else the commoners sweat for. Halliburton isn’t gaining enough mileage out of warehousing the elderly.

      1. RG

        Banks were deregulated? Please send me the appropriate links.

        I’ll also note how you didn’t deal with my point about how well government regulation of public schools is going.

          1. RG

            Your links show the changing nature of regulation. They do not prove that banks are unregulated, which deregulation implies.

            And I see you still have no answer to my old, wet question about just how well government is doing with public education.

          2. wunsacon

            >> They do not prove that banks are unregulated, which deregulation implies

            The banksters were given everything they asked for. Want more leverage? Sure! Want to eliminate mark-to-market and use your fake numbers? Sure! Want as much money from Fannie/Freddie/Fed as you want? Sure!

            Does it matter what’s on the books if the banks run the government? That’s not regulation. Finance is effectively almost entirely self-regulated.

            So, yes, it’s deregulated.

          3. Yves Smith Post author


            Honestly, you must either be very young or totally clueless. There has been a staggering amount of financial services deregulation from the 1970s onward. For you to say otherwise put you in the willfully ignorant or probable troll category. If your remark is in good faith, it’s embarrassing.

            Do not waste reader time with this nonsense. Go read ECONNED, or Simon Johnson’s and James Kwak’s 13 Bankers, or Frank Partnoy’s Infectious Greed.

          4. RG

            [ad hominem. –ls]

            Once again was it deregulation, regulatory changes you disagreed with, or regulatory capture? these things are important to determine before proposing solutions.

          5. Yves Smith Post author


            You made an unsubstantiated, in fact, ludicrous assertion. I have a whole book that includes this as a topic. Others have too. You advanced this thesis. Buddy, the onus is on you, not me, to substantiate your ludicrous argument. Your snark is cover for inability to provide support.

          6. wunsacon

            RG, regulatory capture gives the big market participants the same power as deregulation. They’re free to do what they want. It’s lawlessness, either way.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            The sound of music, when there is no one around, no humans that is, can still be beautiful to the flowers.

            The sound of music can still be beautiful when only rocks are there.

            Basically, the sound of music is beautiful.

            Here is a Zen koan:

            Does a sovereign currency have any value when there is no taxpayer left to tax (maybe they have all moved to Australia)?

          2. RG

            Changes in regulation do not equal absence of regulation.

            And those that scream deregulation don’t seem to have an answer for regulatory capture. Like throwing some more laws on the books will solve the problem.

          3. Lambert Strether

            @MLTB “Does a sovereign currency have any value when there is no taxpayer left to tax (maybe they have all moved to Australia)?”

            Or Mars. Or after the Rapture. Or any other ludicrous hypothetical. C’mon.

          4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            By the way, in the Republic of Mars, there are citizens (all living on Earth at the moment), but no taxpayers.

            We do things by ukase so that 1 Martian foot = 2 US feet and 1 Martian dollar = 3.5 US dollars.

            How so?

            Because the Martian people say so.

        1. Susan the other

          We don’t have to live in Finland to adopt or adapt their educational practices. Just a short read defines a lot of differences between our system and theirs. Theirs pays teachers a decent professional salary, comparable to other professionals, doctors, lawyers, professors. They don’t send their children off to school until they are 7. They put all the kids together and don’t judge their “intelligence” – they don’t separate out the dumb kids and the smart kids because they all just help each other without getting their egos involved. The first thing that we would stumble over is my god what are we going to do with our kids until they reach the age of 7 and we can shuffle them off to the very competent public school system. That’s a complex question for us.

          1. RG

            Finland is also smaller than NYC, population-wise. I’d be wary of assuming that what they do can be ported and scaled to the United States.

          1. RG

            We don’t live in Somalia, so I’m not sure why you are bringing it up.

            I do note that you seem to go out of your way to avoid debating the actual substance of my posts.

            1) How is public education, with its gov’t regulation doing in the US?
            2) What Finland does may not necessarily scale here due to differences in size, culture, demographics, etc.

          2. Susan the other

            I’ll try RG’s 2 questions: #1. As far as government regulaltion of education is concerned: we have a constitutional mandate to provide education (however there is no discussion of faux education) and the regulation we have “tried” is the Maggie Thatcher-Reinhart & Rogaine brand of capitalist extraction and screw the dumbest. There is regulation and then there is regulation. Bad regulation is bad and good regulation is good. and #2. Scale. We have states which compare to Finland.

          3. Lambert Strether

            @RG You notice wrong. I go out of my way to avoid investing time with content-free gunslingers. Mockery and derision — besides affording entertainment to the NC commentariat — are efficient in that regard. Try harder.

            Adding… Thank you, Susan The Other.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I would like to learn what they do differently in Finland.

        Maybe they can help make ours better.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          They pay teachers better. Lots of international cross comparisons show that better pay for teachers gets better teachers. What a concept!

          Instead, public schools have larded up the adminisphere in the last 30 years. That has been a big driver of cost increases. And a lot of the BS admin people are paid better than teachers (they are MANAGERS, after all).

          1. RG

            It’s also much more difficult to become a teacher. The credentialing, testing, and selection process appears to be much more strenuous than it is here.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            That sounds like Dao, the Way, where one achieves by wuwei (non-action).

            That is, one does by not doing.

        2. direction

          Some of what they do differently also has to do with coping on a national level, coping with the cold and the dark. Just as Alaska goes out of it’s way to attract people, females in particular, Finland and goes out of it’s way to compensate for it’s depressingly northern locale by provide incentives for it’s population to stay.

          1. Massinissa

            Which Latvia has never done, which, in addition to austerity, may be why a tenth of their population left the country in just half a decade or so…

        3. jurisV

          Bob Somerby at his DailyHowler blog has churned out a ton of discussion on sloppy comparisons between Finland and USA on school results.

          If you really want to learn about the confusion, obfuscation, and propaganda in this area the best thing to do is google the following — Bob Somerby, Finland, school — and you’ll get over 60,000 hits.

          However, as a starter, I would recommend the Dec 20, 2012 blog post (it’s part 4 of a series he did on the subject):

          Some people find him too verbose, but I like him and he’s easy to read. Plus he was a teacher in minority Baltimore schools for 13 years and is also a comedian. I believe the school at which he taught was also the school at which Michelle Rhee “taught” for 2 or 3 years — which was why he didn’t and hasn’t fallen for her BS for a very long time.

  11. rich

    Stock Surge Linked to Lobbyist

    A key source for a private report that sent health-care stocks on a tear earlier this month is a former top congressional aide who is now a health-industry lobbyist.

    Mark Hayes is currently an outside lobbyist for Humana. His email to investment-research firm Height Securities, alerting it to a government decision that will save the industry billions of dollars, was a final piece of confirmation Height received before blasting a news alert to its clients. The Height report now is the subject of a preliminary probe from the SEC.

    The Height report now is the subject of a preliminary probe from the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to people familiar with the matter. The SEC has contacted individuals involved to determine whether anyone leaked or passed along word of the decision in violation of insider-trading laws.

    The SEC’s probe represents the agency’s first known look at the political-intelligence industry, the burgeoning business of collecting market-moving information from Washington and providing it to Wall Street.

    If anyone passed along material nonpublic information from the government, they could violate insider-trading rules. Prosecutors have brought few cases in this area, leaving the boundaries of how Washington shares information somewhat unclear.

    In this case, on April 1 Height sent a report to clients 18 minutes before the end of trading that predicted—correctly, it turned out—a government agency would drop planned cuts in funding for insurers that offered Medicare Advantage plans.

    The report snagged the attention of big hedge-fund firms that placed profitable trades, according to people familiar with the trading activity. Shares in several health-care companies, including Humana, climbed sharply before the market close and again when trading opened the next day.

    SAC Capital Advisors and Viking Global Investors, hedge-fund firms with billions under management, were among those placing bets that health-care stocks would rise, the people said. It isn’t clear what factors went into their trading decisions. Representatives of the hedge-fund firms declined to comment.

    Mr. Hayes declined to comment. A spokeswoman for his employer, law and lobbying firm Greenberg Traurig, said Mr. Hayes performed his own analysis and “did not receive or disseminate material nonpublic information.”

    Mr. Hayes lobbies for Humana, which pressured the government’s Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to drop its planned cuts to certain insurance plans. A Humana spokesman said the company had no advance warning of the decision.

    In addition to his work as a lobbyist, Mr. Hayes and Greenberg Traurig work for Height, which is also a registered broker-dealer. They are paid to give advice on policy matters. Mr. Parmentier said his firm didn’t know Mr. Hayes also worked for Humana.

    There are no rules preventing corporate lobbyists from working for political-intelligence firms. Because there are no requirements to disclose political-intelligence work, public officials have no way of knowing whether a lobbyist for a company also is passing along tips to traders.

    investigate ?…they’re all exempt from the law!

  12. S Haust

    That thing about the ducks has been around a long time. Heck,
    if you go down a little bit lower you find a comment from
    2009. It must have gotten some good traction the first time
    to want to roll it out again!

    1. direction

      May 2009, well spotted!

      My comment yesterday of this being “suspiciously well documented” got attributed to Lambert. Hee hee, so much for my 15 seconds of internet fame. Perhaps we are the same person. Can I be your nom de plume Lambert?

      Anyhoo, a quick gander at Snopes afforded me a change of perception this morning. This was well filmed because it was the second brood that this man was fielding, so they had plenty of time to plan the shoot. So much for morning conspiracy time. and now for another cup of coffee.

        1. direction

          no, thank you! how cool is that?!! Grammatically, my handle doesn’t work so well, but hooray for handing me my unending moment internet fame. it’s like a teaspoon of immortality. or is that just the angst talking…time for some tylenol?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        To defend or criticize R-R is both off the mark in that the assumption is we need to grow our GDP.

        I believe we don’t have to grow our GDP.

        We need to share our GDP equitably…even if it’s a smaller GDP, the 99.99% can be better off.

        1. Lambert Strether

          Huh? How is pointing out bad data and butchered macros reinforcing any “assumption” at all about GNP growth? Your argument is just as instrumental and truthy as RR’s!

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Maybe I miss the mark myself, but their argument goes like this: If we don’t have austerity, GDP will not grow.

            The counter argument then goes like this, given the disclosed error: We don’t have to have austerity because, given the error, GDP has not been proven it will not grow.

            If that is not in fact the counter argument, it’s fine by me.

            My comment was to point out the thinking that more GDP growth is not the only way out; in fact, I believe, more equitable wealth distribution, even if we have a smaller GDP, is the way to go.

      2. Jim Haygood

        Okay, forget about Reinhart and Rogoff. We can’t trust them no more. Let’s go with their debunkers, Herndon, Ash and Pollin (HAP) instead. Figure 2 of the HAP paper (page 17) shows the following corrected values:

        Debt/GDP … GDP growth
        0-30% …….. 4.2%
        30-60 ……… 3.1%
        60-90 ……… 3.2%
        90-120 …….. 2.4%
        120-150 …… 1.6%

        HAP, page 13: ‘To summarize, the regression results show that there is a non-linearity in the relationship between GDP growth and public debt between public debt levels of 0 to 30 percent of GDP. The results also indicate that average GDP growth tails o ff somewhat when the public debt/GDP ratio increases towards 120 percent, but there is no sharp turning point.’

        HAP have shown that Reinhart-Rogoff had spreadsheet errors and used a questionable averaging procedure. They reject R-R’s claim of a growth breakpoint at 90% debt/GDP, saying rather that the breakpoint is at 30%.

        However, HAP find the same inverse relationship between debt and growth that Reinhart-Rogoff did … just with a shallower slope.

        European countries with debt/GDP north of 120% are conforming to the slow growth that both HAP and Reinhart-Rogoff found. Indeed, as contemporary data is added, the growth rate for economies with public debt north of 120% is likely to end up somewhere in between the two studies.

        HAP’s study certainly can be employed as a takedown of Reinhart-Rogoff. But those proclaiming that ‘debt doesn’t matter’ obviously haven’t read the HAP paper.

        1. Cynthia

          It is obvious that debt slows growth,Jim. If the government is spending more money, then it is taking resources away from those areas of the economy where consumers or entrepreneurs would have directed them. The government spending goes more to propping up inefficient practices, protecting vested interests from the disciplines of the market — such as deregulated banks who used their freedom to blow up the bubble that burst.

          It was the private sector that dropped us into a Depression, not the public sector. All that lost output in the past 6 years represents the biggest inefficiency in human history. Real growth requires innovation, change, creative destruction.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            No, it is most decidedly NOT obvious that increasing government debt slows growth.

            The single biggest cause of a large rise in government debt is a financial crisis and the debt grew because growth collapsed. The debt increase is an effect of low/negative growth, not a cause.

            As for Haygood’s analysis, it’s meaningless, as was the original Reinhardt/Rogoff paper, as we and others discussed repeatedly before the shellacking on the computations. You need to produce an apples to apples comparsion: fiat currency regimes to gold standard type regimes, at a minimum.

          2. Cynthia

            My only concern about the anti-austerity drive is that it is heavily dependent upon government spending, whether it enhances or hinders growth. That’s a problem because as the government spends more, even if it leads to more growth, the private economy reconfigures to serve it, thus dependency increases. And how do you escape that feedback loop? I suppose by acting responsibly and cutting government spending when the private sector is booming. But that’s a tough cycle to break.

    1. diane

      Your comment brought this August 2011 piece to mind (bracketed comments mine):

      24 people have killed themselves by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge so far this year, putting 2011 on a pace to have the most such suicides ever (the previous high is 1977, which had 39), reports Scott James for the New York Times [firewalled].

      Another 12 people have thrown themselves under trains in the area [there’s a fondness for calling this trespassing on the train tracks when it’s noted in a teeny obscured blurb in the Bay Area Noooz] , which exceeds the 11 who killed themselves that way all last year.

      San Francisco’s suicide prevention lines say many people who call are mentioning the economy as a factor in their despair:

      “We constantly hear, ‘I’m going to be homeless; I would rather be dead than be homeless,’ the head of the suicide hot line said.

      Despite the above acknowledgement by the head of the suicide hot line, the favored treatment by the business/political/media/ Thought Leaders of these times appears to be silence and/or labeling them mentally ill.

      The Mentally Ill!, versus Poverty Ridden, categorization is perpetrated by those business/political/media/ Thought Leaders despite no apparent experience with, or acknowledgment of, what it is like to be at the point where one is hungry 24/7, counting sheets of toilet paper to make it last; hoping that that blossoming untreated tumor is only a harmless cyst, the pain and humiliation of wearing clothes so worn out they are no longer cleanable and one couldn’t afford the soap anyway; the untreated pain of unaffordable dental issues; the shame of not being able to help take care of that elder parent as one can’t afford the transportation for that short trip; the realization that one owes an 18% rate (same as the Obamas on approximately $406K of “Taxable Income” (if one calculates via the rate schedule)) of combined Federal Tax and Penalty “Tax” (pre State Tax and Penalty “Tax”) they can’t pay after being forced to cash in their remaining retirement funds to pay the unaffordable rent on that one bedroom (a caring, thinking person who took the time could certainly add far more to this list); and then, to top all of that off, the horrifying reality that all of the above will actually get far, far worse once one loses the roof over their head when no one they know can take them in as they are falling through the cracks too, and cannot afford that $3.50 Quart of milk themselves.

      I suppose if there is such a thing as Hell, the reason why the Monster Thought Leaders are not yet in it yet must be because there was a slight misjudgment as to how many accommodations would be needed. Hell, the DC candidates by themselves could overburden that system.

  13. efschumacher

    The article reporting the TPP argument that State supported enterprises have an unfair advantage over private capitalism is completely incoherent when you set it against the prime motivation for Thatcherism: Thatcher argued that the state industries were intrinsically inefficient as compared against private capitalism, and proceeded to sell off State assets. With the results that UK citizens have been enjoying for some time now.

    So who is right: TPP or Thatcher? They can’t have it both ways.

    Moreover, if State supported enterprise is in fact more efficient than private capital, why isn’t there a big lobby in the US to do just that? Surely it is better to do what is good than what is ‘pure’.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Chinese princelings – they couldn’t have gone much without American banksterlings who make sure they get a cut before the Chinese proletariat.

            And if you look at Chinese state supported enterprises – maybe one day they will conquer the world (in partnership with our banksterlings, if there is honor among thieves).

    1. Klassy!

      What unnerves me is that supposed anti trade pact senators have issued a statement calling for strong provisions to discipline nations involved in “market distorting practices.”

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        In China, they need to do both:

        1. privatize People’s Army-linked state enterprises
        2. have more state sponsored barefoot doctors

      2. J Sterling

        efschumacher was mocking privatization, not praising it: phrases such as “enjoy” should be read as if surrounded by sarcasm quotes. I think the commenter’s point was that when it suits neoliberals to break up working state enterprises at home, they call it “not good enough, makes us uncompetitive with other countries!”. When it suits them to break up working state enterprises in other countries, they call it “too good, makes them too competitive with our country!”

        1. efschumacher

          Thank you. A 100% correct interpretation.

          I keep forgetting that so many Americans got their learnin’ at the Literalist School of English Language Pedagogy.But it just seems too crass to put “irony” warnings anytime you want to say something subtle.

        2. Yves Smith Post author

          Sorry. Normally my irony sensors are on, but I’ve been running on little sleep and am time stressed, so am only skimming comments.

      3. efschumacher

        Ah, now I see the confusion. If you think I ascribe ‘good’ to capitalism and ‘pure’ to State-owned then you get Yves’ interpretation. Just for the record then, I ascribe ‘good’ to ‘the public good’. Which Thatcher’s decade of pillage was not. But J Sterling got the full spirit of the comment anyway.

  14. Klassy!

    RE Slate article DSM-V
    I came across this article the other day. Here is someone that is not impressed with the aadministration’s plan to provide more mental health screenings for children. The line is that this is a “non controversial” response to the Newtown massacre– it’s got that vaunted bipartisan support. This psychiatrist has a different take.

    It looks like he has a book coming out in May that will take on the patholigization of everyday human experiences.

  15. ohmyheck

    Goldman Sachs says “Houston, We Have a Problem”? Take a look at the graph in the link. Ya think? How can anyone view that graph and say anything other than we are in a Depression and we have been in one since 2008.

    To have the GS rep “Hatzius remains optimistic about growth and even US consumption growth in the latter half of the year”, is completely bonkers. There has been not only no growth, but a drastic, off-the-cliff decline for 5 years.

    That graph should go viral.

  16. petridish

    RE: Hospitals Profit from Surgical Errors

    “We said, ‘Whoa, we’re working our tails off trying to lower complications, and the prize we’re going to get is a reduction in profits,’ ” Dr. Rosenberg said in an interview.

    It doesn’t take a genius to figure out how that one’s going to go.

    Effective healthcare is a BENEFIT of living in a responsible, functioning, economically viable society. As such, an effective healthcare system should REDUCE it’s claim on the finances of that society as the population is made healthy and maintained in that healthy state.

    This is distinctly different than an INDUSTRY which requires exponential growth and contributes to economic production. (16% of GDP, I believe.) I’ll leave the defense of that system to Reinhart and Rogoff.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Our current lifestyle requires an exponentially growing GDP.

      The austerity-GDP talk is a diversion. The 99.99% can be better off with a smaller GDP under GDP sharing, just as the 99.99% are now worse off than 20 yrs ago even though the GDP is bigger today. For sure, nature is better off with a smaller GDP.

      So is the jobs guarantee program. What is needed is wealth sharing guarantee, regardless of your job status, in the constitution.

    2. Cynthia

      I have a hard time relating with this article. From what I see happening in hospitals, surgeons refuse to operate on patients who are at high risk for developing complications following surgery. So they thoroughly screen all of their surgical candidates, with much needed help from their colleagues in the anesthesia department, for underlying conditions such as cardiac, renal or pulmonary insufficiency, and then scratch them off their surgical list if they are found to have any of these conditions that puts them at above-average risk for developing post-operative complications. Hospitals might not like this because they profit by having their medical and nursing staff treat and care for patient with post-operative complications. I suppose that the more complex their complications are, the greater the profits are for hospitals, but they’ll get plenty of pushback from surgeons who don’t want too many red marks on their record in terms complication rates.

      I believe the public has a hard time understanding that patients are a lot sicker than they were 10 years ago, even just 5 years ago. They are sicker not because the hospital staff has made them sicker, but because they come to the hospital already very sick. And even if the hospital staff is successful at treating patients with one type of illness, they often develop another type of illness which sets them back even further in terms of hospital stay, and when it get that point, most surgeons wouldn’t touch them with a ten feet pole! That’s the reality of the hospital world as I see it.

      Therefore, given that Dr. Barry Rosenberg is the managing director of “Boston Consulting,” I strongly suspect that this is biased reporting on his part. After all, he profits big time whenever ObamaCare adds more quality indicators for he and his consulting firm to track and audit!

      Follow the money, petridish!

  17. kravitzkravitz

    First headline from the IFR – Jeff Merkeley notes there’s an incentive for banks to bypass working class and communities of color. Because banks get what basically is an incentive which would make them deal with larger loans (from high income neighboorhoods) first.

    1. kravitzkravitz

      Even information given to and reported by the Review Monitor about how banks are complying with the settlement are based on information provided from the banks themselves.

  18. AbyNormal

    UPDATE 3-Silicon Valley conserves power after substation damaged by gunshots

    9:55p ET: A Silicon Valley power substation was damaged after rifle shots were fired at it early on Tuesday morning, leading the California grid operator to call for electricity conservation. […] Investigators later determined a high-powered rifle had been used […] About a quarter of an hour before the shots, someone cut fiber optic cables belonging to AT&T, located about a half-mile from the power station and due to the close timing and proximity, investigators believe the incidents are linked, he added. […]

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Just check all the surveillance cameras within a few miles of each incident.

      Some suspect(s) is bound to have been caught on film.

  19. Mark Hoffman

    Attacked by an owl: “Why would owls get so aggressive?” Some owls get aggressive during the spring nesting season. A friend of mine who’s an owl expert has been attacked by barred owls several times, always during nesting season. He was also attacked by a saw-whet owl that he’d called in for a closer look by using a recording of a saw-whet call. He got the saw-whet to perch 10 feet away. Later, as he walked away, the saw-whet flew over and thwapped him on the top of his head with its feet. He says it was the saw-whet’s way of telling him, “I’m desperate for a mate, and you pull this phony owl-call shit on me? Don’t ever waste my time again, mofo!”

  20. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Abnormal is the new normal.

    That started many decades and centuries ago when people were told, for the society as a whole to be better off, each market player must be selfish

    In that sense, abnormal is an old normal.

    AbyNormal, though, she is a young animal.

      1. AbyNormal

        ABNORMAL, adj. Not conforming to standards in matters of thought and conduct. To be independent is to be abnormal, to be abnormal is to be detested.

        A striving toward the straiter [sic] resemblance of the Average Man than he hath to himself, whoso attaineth thereto shall have peace, the prospect of death and the hope of Hell
        ole ambrose bierce (beast after my heart)

        1. Valissa

          “To be normal is the ideal aim of the unsuccessful.” – Carl Gustav Jung

          “Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.” – Albert Camus

          “The only normal people are the ones you don’t know very well.” – Joe Ancis

          Who wants to be normal?

          It’s all in one’s perception

          What’s in a name?

          Obligatory cat cartoon

          Savage chickens debate normal

          I prefer to think of myself as weird, rather than abnormal ;)

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            What is in a name.

            I would be very careful with words. And if there is translation involved, then you can forget it.

            For example: “you shall have no other gods before me.”

            Does it mean

            1. If you invite me to your party, make sure other gods are not invited?

            2. Other gods exist, but I am alpha. I am first. They are second. Always say my name first.

            3. There are no other gods

    1. AbyNormal

      The rain set early in tonight,
      The sullen wind was soon awake,
      It tore the elm-tops down for spite,
      And did its best to vex the lake:
      I listened with heart fit to break.
      When glided in Porphyria; straight
      She shut the cold out and the storm,
      And knelled and made the cheerless grate
      Blaze up and all the cottage warm;
      browning pegged me :o)

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        With today’s owl story and the ever presence of sovereign money, here is one:

        The Owl and the Pussy-Cat went to sea
        In a beautiful pea-green boat:
        They took some honey, and plenty of money
        Wrapped up in a five-pound note.
        The Owl looked up to the stars above,
        And sang to a small guitar,
        “O lovely Pussy, O Pussy, my love,
        What a beautiful Pussy you are,
        You are,
        You are!
        What a beautiful Pussy you are!”

        Pussy said to the Owl, “You elegant fowl,
        How charmingly sweet you sing!
        Oh! let us be married; too long we have tarried,
        But what shall we do for a ring?”
        They sailed away, for a year and a day,
        To the land where the bong-tree grows;
        And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood,
        With a ring at the end of his nose,
        His nose,
        His nose,
        With a ring at the end of his nose.

        “Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
        Your ring?” Said the Piggy, “I will.”
        So they took it away, and were married next day
        By the turkey who lives on the hill.
        They dined on mince and slices of quince,
        Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
        And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
        They danced by the light of the moon,
        The moon,
        The moon,
        They danced by the light of the moon.

        1. AbyNormal

          thanks for linking the enlightenment
          btw, where does the madness come from?

          Victorians loved to read and as it was wrong for them to talk about madness, sex and violence, they would read about it instead, this was a way of liberating the repressed emotions. Victorians were allowed to read about the subjects because it is not them who is in the wrong it is the characters in the story.(:-/) The same applies to writing about taboo subjects – if you made out that it is somebody else doing it then it is acceptable. Browning’s readers would have been most interested in the violence and madness in these poems, as there is no reference to sex in them.

  21. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Philadelphia…get ready for infrastructure rape.

    Maybe Philadelphia can return the Barnes collection back to Montgomery County.

    Other than that, you’re right – Paid-for-by-the-99.99%-and-owned-by-the-0.01%.

    Makes you want to say, no more infrastructure projects until we make sure the stealing stops.

  22. Susan the other

    Triple Crisis on the Trans Pacific Pact. The negotiations are still secret but it has been learned that there is a chapter devoted to state owned enterprises and private enterprises. (Those definitions would be interesting.) It is the chapter on “Competition” and it provides that any SOE which has an advantage cannot free trade under the TPP but must be taxed and regulated to make it a level trading field for the corporations who are not government owned. What about corporations with public-private partnership contracts and connections. Will they be allowed to free trade via one of their subsidiaries? The TPP is going to blow up faster than China.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      They always sell those trade pacts with the promise of a bigger GDP, never mind that the 0.01% will get such a bigger share of the bigger GDP that the 99.99% end up with less, as their shrinking share overcomes the bigger GDP.

      1. Susan the other

        And then Reinhart and Rogaine will blame it on our public debt crushing growth. Clever.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          We don’t really need more growth nor more public debt.

          Just share more equitably what has been produced in the last 50 years.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            All I know is that when a group of Neanderthal hunters brought down a mammoth, they all shared it, even the guy busying painting in the back of the cave.

            In fact, he might have also participated in the hunt, seeing how life-like the drawing were and still are, implying first hand knowledge. It was a society where each was a ‘whole’ person, in the sense that he/she was a hunter, a doctor, a knife-sharpener, an artist, a babysitter, a cook, a garbage man, a teacher, a clown, an astrologer/astronomer, a bookkeeper, etc.

  23. Bill the Psychologist

    Re: Boston bombing, one aspect I’ve not heard so far is the absolutely perverted sadism of this attack.

    It seems clear to me that the bombing was aimed at robbing runners of their most precious asset: legs and feet, and that’s what was accomplished by placing the bombs on the ground, rather than at a more elevated level where they might have killed more people rather than maiming so many.

    If I were the authorities I’d be looking for some disgruntled or thwarted individual who resents young healthy people being able to run.

    My theory runs out here……….

    1. Lambert Strether

      We might not even be looking at a “political” motive. The lack of chatter and the fact that (AFAIK now) nobody was “claimed credit” could be taken to imply that we’re dealing with an outlying motivation.

      Rank speculation, of course.

      1. Expat

        No chatter, perhaps, but a statement: Patriot’s Day, observed (celebrating the “shot heard around the world”), Tax Day (which could only be imposed by Constitutional amendment), Massachusetts (Kennedys, Elizabeth Warren, Harvard, Kerry, Black governor Patrick), Marathon (not a football game or NASCAR race) & the coincident JFK Library explosion/fire. A foreigner would have to know the US very, very well to pick a time & place loaded with so much (liberal elite) symbolism. New Yorkers may not get this.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s true that we are not always (or will not be always) young and healthy, but why take it out on rugged individuals?

      1. 1231239

        “t seems clear to me that the bombing was aimed at robbing runners..”

        the bomb was weak and unsophisticated—reportedly using gunpowder rather than plastic explosives.

        add to that it wasn’t a suicide bombing—-so the cowards only choice was to place the bomb on the ground.

        given the very limited facts, it looks reasonable to guess that it was the work of a domestic, unaffilated nutjob amateur—a la Kaczynski.

  24. rich

    Move is afoot to make government less open

    Sen. Tommy Tucker of Waxhaw said a mouthful with just 13 words on Tuesday.

    “I am the senator. You are the citizen. You need to be quiet.”

    It was no coincidence that Tucker’s silencing of an N.C. newspaper publisher – heard by at least three people who were there – came just after he railroaded a bill through his committee that would let government operate in more secrecy.

    The legislation, Senate Bill 287, would allow certain local governments to stop notifying the public about crucial government activities in the local newspaper. The governments could instead just post legal notices in the bowels of their websites, where few people are likely to see them. (Do you go to often? Neither do we.)

    Your neighborhood about to be annexed? A zoning change that could alter the nature of your block? The government planning a big wastewater project nearby? State law requires the government to run legal notices in the newspaper, which reaches the largest audience in most communities.

    That would change under the bill Tucker’s committee passed Tuesday and which could be on the Senate floor as soon as today. (We guess it passed committee; the voice vote was darn close and Tucker refused a request to then take a roll call vote. Just trust him, we suppose.)

    Read more here:

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Maybe one day, the government is just one big opaque CIA, who can spend as much money as it wants, because it’s a sovereign.

      1. Lambert Strether

        @MLTB Well done. It’s not the “spend as much money as it wants” part, it’s the opaque part, which is incommensurate with public purpose, as MMT teaches (and I agree that is normative and not prescriptive, unless we define “public” out of existence).

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          The fear is that when it’s opaque, it’s a black book.

          God knows who much the CIA is really spending.

    2. nobody

      “But the plans were on display …”

      “On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to find them.”

      “That’s the display department.”

      “With a flashlight.”

      “Ah, well, the lights had probably gone.”

      “So had the stairs.”

      “But look, you found the notice, didn’t you?”

      “Yes,” said Arthur, “yes I did. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying ‘Beware of the Leopard.”


      “People of Earth, your attention, please. This is Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz of the Galactic Hyperspace Planning Council. As you will no doubt be aware, the plans for development of the outlying regions of the Galaxy require the building of a hyperspatial express route through your star system. And regrettably, your planet is one of those scheduled for demolition. The process will take slightly less than two of your Earth minutes. Thank you.”

      “There’s no point in acting surprised about it. All the planning charts and demolition orders have been on display at your local planning department in Alpha Centauri for 50 of your Earth years, so you’ve had plenty of time to lodge any formal complaint and it’s far too late to start making a fuss about it now. … What do you mean you’ve never been to Alpha Centauri? Oh, for heaven’s sake, mankind, it’s only four light years away, you know. I’m sorry, but if you can’t be bothered to take an interest in local affairs, that’s your own lookout. Energize the demolition beams.”

      ― Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

  25. Susan the other

    OilPrice. Fabius Maximus on the recent “first” Gulf conference on peak oil. Way interesting: especially the Saudi bullet point that US shale oil is nonsense. Huh? Nonsense in what sense? It sounds like the whole reason for developing our shale oil and tar sands was to extend the life of Saudi oil fields. That’s interesting. And even the Saudis are saying it is nonsense. I guess that means that we can’t possible produce enough oil to offset the depletion of Gulf oil. Even in these depressed times. So that leaves only one explanation: Shale oil is political theater. The only option is renewable energy. The Saudis used the metaphor of gold mining ghost towns in the American West. That’s what they don’t want to be as a country. And that’s just one more reason why the price of oil will stay high even though nobody is buying it.

  26. J.

    RE: Attacked by an owl

    The really scary bit is that the victim got charged $22,000 for going to the ER the next day to get rabies shots, in case it was a rabid bat attack instead of an owl.

    1. Lidia

      Wow, we just paid $22,000 but at least my husband got a couple of screws and a plate in his broken wrist.

    1. diane

      Indeed, for example:

      041613 Facebook flexes political muscle with provision in immigration bill

      041113 Mark Zuckerberg Supports a Very Specific Kind of Immigration Reform

      (And, on a related note, the time for a massive Boycott of FaceFiend (for a whole slew of reasons), which has a very large Bipartisan, Revolving DC Door, was quite some time ago. I find it incredibly disturbing that all (if not most) of the well known organizations proclaiming to be fighting for Privacy Rights, have FaceFiend pages, thereby perpetrating the insane lie that a person needs a FaceFiend page, along with the privacy violation which that incurs.

      Those organizations should then, at the very least, be offering Pro Bono services – somewhere at least as highly visible as that ‘check our FaceFiend page’ icon they all have – to every single one of the persons they’ve solicited and received funds from when their privacy has been violated by FaceFiend.)

  27. Valissa

    Could Life Be Older Than Earth Itself?
    Although some may be skeptical of Sharov and Gordon’s findings, the scientists stand by their conclusions. “Contamination with bacterial spores from space appears the most plausible hypothesis that explains the early appearance of life on Earth,” they argue in the paper, which is published online in the preprint journal Arxiv.

    Sharov said that if he had to bet on it, he’d say “it’s 99 percent true that life started before Earth — but we should leave 1 percent for some wild chance that we haven’t accounted for.”

  28. MarcoPolo

    “Attacked by an Owl!” One of life’s lessons; never, ever, no matter how “cute” or for any reason pick up a baby owl. Mommy will be watching with those big owl eyes and she will skin you.

  29. diane

    Anyone needing a gentle smiling momentary reprieve from addressing the insanity, revealed here yesterday, might be able able to regain that smile (however bleak, a smile is a true gift …..) from these punches precisely to the core of all this insane and DEADLY inhumanity.

    A sampling:

    CNN now reporting that updates are 30% complete, please do not shut down or restart.

    … CNN execs admit The Situation Room generated by combining random number cell with VLOOKUP table.

    Developing: prominent economists admit Wolf Blitzer may be result of forgetting to turn off Iterative Calculation in the options.
    BREAKING: Google admits that Big Data is “a spreadsheet and some ANOVA crap, anyone could do it.” Stock rises 17%.

    Developing: global downturn may be result of DIV/0 error caused by inserted row, experts say. Krugman disputes, blames circular reference.

    … NO DUDE they were all set for massive eurozone stimulus but then a research paper!

    Breaking: expiration of Statgraphics 40-day free trial period throws markets into disarray.

    Developing: unemployment crisis may be result of missing that pivot table webinar.

    (It certainly worked for me, kisses to you Jacob!)

  30. diane

    Thanks so much for sharing that Slate piece, Abnormal Is the New Normal, Yves. A true eye popper.

    I wanted to start a minature book, upon the scanning of that quite lengthy piece, as I’ve read quite a bit about that ugly manual over the last year or so.

    Unfortunately I don’t have the time (and you certainly can’t afford the space it would take) to write a book, let alone a lengthy piece, so for now, I’ll just opine that it is gut wrenching that she has (whatever her intent was, so late in the day after the Public Comment period, re the DSM 5 manual, expired), when strained through a fine sieve, managed to not express anything but a tiny, slight finger wag (and calm lengthy meanderings), that what used to be considered rational STRESS, over such things as:

    • Socially Inequitable emotional suffering

    • Socially Inequitable financial woes

    • Socially Inequitable dire health issues

    • Shame at one’s government’s actions (i.e. DRONING OF INNOCENTS)

    • Indeed: Socially Inequitable brutality, at the hands of ‘one’s own government’ which they have paid lifelong taxes to.

    is now titled [Big Pharma] $Treatable$ Mental Illne$$ , versus that century old (at least) definition, called STRESS.

    Need I really say??????? How fucking convenient for the Powers That Be, to label such a majority, suffering under their Nasty JackBoots, as being the $Treatable [Highly Seperable From The “$ane”] Mentally Ill.

    1. Lidia

      My mom’s HOSPICE docs want to put her on ZOLOFT. Dying is not supposed to be depressing, they aver.

      1. diane

        I swear, some in the Med Industry are really off the hook. They actually seem to be the ones who need some sort of ‘treatment’ – like as in a new profession where they can’t fuck with people – especially many in the upper echelons of the Mental Health Indu$try.

        Slightly off topic, but for instance, what was condoned at Guantanamo by some powerful monsters at the APA, was pure Sadism. They should have been locked up.

      2. Elliot

        As a person who has cared for two dying parents, I can explain that to you, Lidia. Dying is not ipso facto depressing, but nor is expecting a dying person to tough it when it is, compassionate.

        And as a note to other NC readers: not all dying elderly are demented, demanding, irritating boors……nor do all their children perceive them to be such. It felt to me to be a privilege to be able to care for my parents at the end of their lives. Was it difficult, and often achingly sad, and sometimes terrifying? Yes. Do I regret it, or think I had anything more important to do with my time? Not for a moment.

        1. diane

          I’m not clear as to whether you’re referring to the Zoloft as being the logical compassionate option. If you are, that is a matter of informed choice by the person who is dying.

          There are elderly people who don’t feel they need psche meds, nor do they want the many side effects (far worse for elderly people) they bring. There are also highly respected Pschiatrists who feel those side effects don’t warrant their use unless the patient requests it.

          1. diane

            (Ohhh, I just read some of the comments farther above, and now I think I understand your tone much more, Elliot.)

          2. Lidia

            My mom does not want pills of any kind and I respect that decision. The hospice nurse and docs seem insistent that she should be taking the meds in “the kit” (morphine and lorazepam) even though her shortness of breath due to ideopathic plumonary fibrosis does not bother her unduly: she just waits it out, huffing and puffing.

            When she told them right out, “look, I’m 82… I’ve had it! I’m dying!” that’s when they started in with wanting to put her on Zoloft-type meds as well.

            What I find disturbing is that it seems as though they are getting impatient with her not taking pills.

        2. Lidia

          I’m glad your loved ones did not become demented, nor boorish, nor paranoid, etc. Because mine has, I’m bearing that cross but do allow me some space to vent. You have to admit that modern medicine has lengthened the lives for many people in developed countries at great expense and not always with great quality-of-life results.

          What a lot of people would do in my case is mix the meds into the oldster’s food unbeknownst to them. MY SIL does that with her demented MIL. That could be called “compassionate” OR devious and self-serving. YMMV.

  31. rich

    More Children in Greece Are Going Hungry

    ATHENS — As an elementary-school principal, Leonidas Nikas is used to seeing children play, laugh and dream about the future. But recently he has seen something altogether different, something he thought was impossible in Greece: children picking through school trash cans for food; needy youngsters asking playmates for leftovers; and an 11-year-old boy, Pantelis Petrakis, bent over with hunger pains.

    “He had eaten almost nothing at home,” Mr. Nikas said, sitting in his cramped school office near the port of Piraeus, a working-class suburb of Athens, as the sound of a jump rope skittered across the playground. He confronted Pantelis’s parents, who were ashamed and embarrassed but admitted that they had not been able to find work for months. Their savings were gone, and they were living on rations of pasta and ketchup.

    “Not in my wildest dreams would I expect to see the situation we are in,” Mr. Nikas said. “We have reached a point where children in Greece are coming to school hungry. Today, families have difficulties not only of employment, but of survival.”

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