Links 4/4/13

Kitten Adventure Gear REI (Chuck L). Hey, I want my own tiny machete!

Exhaled breath is unique fingerprint BBC

Dementia Care Cost Is Projected to Double by 2040 New York Times. Notice how no one discusses possible environmental culprits?

How the Tar Sands Are Crushing Science in Canada io9 (Lambert)

Bank of Japan to Pursue Qualitative and Quantitative Easing – Double Their Monetary Base Jesse

Our Math Deficit Doesn’t Add Up Kevin Drum

North Korea threats: US to move missile defences to Guam BBC

Huge fire engulfs Russian skyscraper Channel News Asia (Lambert)

Housing bust plunges Dutch into economic crisis MacroBusiness

Bundesbank launches Deutsche probe Financial Times. We posted on this at length last year. Ahem, some writers pooh-poohed the whistleblower claims. Looks like the Bundesbank is taking this up, to the potential embarrassment of BaFin.

‘Abject Error’: How the Cyprus Deal Hurts EU Strategic Interests Der Speigel

How we learned to stop worrying and love capital controls: From Cyprus, to Iceland, to Brazil Ilene Grabel, Triple Crisis

Deposit insurance after Iceland and Cyprus Anne Sibert, VoxEU

U.S. Embassy in Cairo Deletes Twitter Account After Linking to Daily Show Clip Gawker

The black helicopter of reason… Attaturk, Firedoglake (Carol B)

Mary Schapiro and Lanny Breuer Give Us the Ultimate Dog-Bites-Man Story Michael Hirsh, National Journal

As mad as hell! Fury as judges nix ‘no-fault’ Wall Street deals New York Post

New Haven Officials Push Retired City Workers to Invest Pension Funds Locally New Haven Independent (May S)

Connecticut Lawmakers Pass Gun-Control Bill Wall Street Journal

Neoliberal Overload Counterpunch (Carol B)

Secrecy for Sale: Inside the Global Offshore Money Maze International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. Yes, I need to post on this…

Wall Street’s Brightest Minds Reveal The Charts That Worry Them Most Clusterstock (Scott)

Robots Don’t Destroy Jobs; Rapacious Corporate Executives Do Alternet

US pushes sub-prime mortgages (again!?!?!) MacroBusiness

Walmart Strains to Keep Aisles Stocked Fresh New York Times. The story is getting more legs….

More Than 100 Watchdog Groups Demand Full Fair-Lending Compliance and Disclosure in National Mortgage Settlement BCJ (Deontos). Guess the bribes (donations to housing groups) were not spread far and wide enough

Antidote du jour (furzy mouse):

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  1. craazyman

    why does Wal-Mart have to be in the grocery business anyway? It’s hard to compete with Safeway, where everything is fresh and colorful in those healthy natural hues vegetables have, covered with a dewey mist from some spray holes embedded in the refrigerated shelves and guys in white aprons, who actually look kind of manly in that way a man looks when he has a purpose and and craft, keep the produced arranged in a geometrical perfection.

    If Wal-Mart wanted to rake in the money they should go into the pyschiatric business. In store clinics could see patients every 15 minutes and prescribe drugs of all kinds — Lexapro, Paxil, Prozac, Xanax, Ambien.

    You could go in depressed, unemployed and broke for your session, that Wal-Nart might sell for $15 dollars and the doc would say “Don’t feel so bad, I’m only making $12 an hour myself and I have 3 degrees, in clinical pharmacology, pyschology and accounting, that’s my other part time job, and I shop at Wal-Mart too because they only give me 25 hours work a week and I see 100 patients. Here’s some Xanax.”

    The worst part is the despair that you alone are being persecuted by the derisive fate of a solitary humiliation, so just hearing that your shrink is living week to week and working two jobs would probably lift your spirits so high you wouldn’t even need the drugs. Now it’s just the weight loss and workout program and life might be bearable again, at least enough to keep looking for work of some kind just to pass the time until you can sleep again.

    1. Cynthia

      Michelle Obama’s “eat fresh campaign” definitely has a charitable ring to it, so it wouldn’t surprise me that Walmart is getting sizable tax breaks for stocking its stores with fresh produce. That way, even if having a fresh produce department is a money loser for Walmart, it’ll gain plenty by paying less in taxes.

      1. AbyNormal

        couple of links on those subsidies
        Direct subsidies to Wal-Mart include grants from local and state government, including over $1.2 billion in tax breaks, free land use, and low financing costs.

        Illinois ranked number one in the number and total amount of subsidies given to Wal-Mart, with 38 subsidies totaling $153.1 million. Number two was Texas, with 29 subsidies totaling $91 million, followed by Missouri, with 23 subsidies totaling $108.4 million.

        Six states provided Wal-Mart with one subsidy, among them Maryland doled out $12.5 million, New Mexico handed out $6.7 million, and Wyoming extended $6.3 million over the past years.

        1. Cynthia

          This reminds me of a patient I took care last week who was hospitalized for intractable hypertensive and unexplained anemia. Well, it turns out that she was admitted to the very same hospital where she’s been employed full time as a temp worker for well over a year.

          Despite this so-called “non-for-profit, safety-net” hospital making record-breaking profits, enough to pay its CEO well over a million dollars a year in wages and benefits, it’s too cheap, as well as too greedy, to provide healthcare benefits for many of its lowest paid employees. Due to her lack of health insurance, the charity care program, which receives most of its funding through the Medicare Trust Fund, will ultimately cover the costs of her hospital stay.

          So here we have yet another situation where a non-for-profit, safety-net provider is profiting off the backs of the taxpayers! And believe me, ObamaCare will do absolutely nothing to slow down, much less cut off, the overly fat-laden gravy train which feeds the medical-charity-care corporate complex!

          1. AbyNormal

            thank you Cynthia for the boots on the ground share

            may be a bit off topic but i just rec’d this:

            Cancer clinics across the country have begun turning away thousands of Medicare patients, blaming the sequester budget cuts.

            Oncologists say the reduced funding, which took effect for Medicare on April 1, makes it impossible to administer expensive chemotherapy drugs while staying afloat financially.

            “If we treated the patients receiving the most expensive drugs, we’d be out of business in six months to a year,” “The drugs we’re going to lose money on we’re not going to administer right now.”

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I would be proud to be engaged in useful activities, but would be embarrassed to say I work for a non-profit, unless everyone there is a volunteer.

            A true non-profit does not touch its endowment fund to pay its workers, as everyone is a volunteer, and the investment ‘profits’ it earns on its endowment are donated to charity immediately. As for rent and utilities, it will have to depend on the kindness of strangers.

            That’s the only way to be 100% non-profit.

          3. William C


            What do you expect the volunteers to live off? Trust funds?
            I have two daughters working in charity. I cannot support them so I am very grateful they are paid (though much less for what they do than would be the case if they were working for a commercial operation)

          4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            They are entitled and should, I emphasize ‘should’ be paid out of company profit.

            But if it’s non-profit, they can’t be paid.

            Fortunately, there is profit so they should be paid.

            The whole point is that it’s not non-profit. Clearly, there is profit.

            Of course, you can make any company non-profit if the CEO pays himself/herself 100% of the excess of total revenue over pre-wage expense, eliminating all potential profit.

            Many, or some, non-profits are doing something worthwhile, but you need profit to do it…profit from income earned on endowment, profit from fund-raising, or from selling cookies.

            Just don’t make making a profit sound shameful and claim the enterprise is non-profit.

            I would call it rightful-profit or justifiable-profit, or something more representative, but not non-profit.

        2. curlydan

          In my community, Walmart’s is relocating from one small and old city suburb to a nearly small and old suburb. The impact of Walmart’s exit from its current location is huge on the city’s finances. Basically, the city has to raise its sales tax just to cover Walmart’s exit.

          Walmart knows its huge impact and can get any city, anywhere to pony up money for it to move in. Bribes, aka tax incentives, are standard in their business model.

          1. CRLaRue

            If you want to see,influence, see the Pines Mall,
            Pine Bluff,AR after Wal-Mart pulled out. Waste Land!

    2. dolleymadison

      I like that business plan! You should put it on Kickstarter! I’ll be your first customer…

    3. Bill Smith

      I’ve been thinking Wal-Mart should start selling 3D printers. That way “do it yourself” oriented customers could make their own cheap plastic crap. Then instead of everything saying “Made in China” all the time , you could put your own street address on it. (if it fits)

      Not sure what I would make. Maybe greeting cards would work. Or plastic fruit and vegetables. You wouldn’t be locked in to the same boring colors all the time. Really there is no reason bananas have to be yellow, or tomatoes orange. Blue beans might be fun.

      But Wal-Mart could sell them right next to the ink jet printers and those re-fill cartridges.

      Bet if you got started today, you could have a plastic toy gun finished in time for Christmas. Then you could avoid all the crazies that only shop two days a years – Black Friday and the day before Christmas!

        1. Bill Smith

          Believe it or not, I did think of that.

          But competing technology is on the way!

          “Coming, a spray condom
          A German condom consultant, Jan Vinzenz (right), is developing a latex lotion, which when sprayed on the penis dries up in a few seconds and transforms into a condom. It would, obviously, fit all sizes. ”

          But you could still make the kind that look like some sort of exotic deep sea fish with antenna that bobble around and glow in the dark.

          1. Valissa

            Do you say condoms? How inspiring ;)

            Condom models, part 1

            Condom models, part 2

            Condom sense, it’s all about marketing

            The condom as a weapon

            The view from the other side

          2. Bill Smith

            I’m afraid this is just the tip of the iceberg. Big Mac condoms. Carl’s Jr. bacon cheeseburger condoms for the lesser endowed.(swissburger if you are a trust fund kid that drives a Porsche). Jack-in-the-Box – just because. Taco Bell condoms – same reason. Denny’s for the bi-sexual crowd.

            Bet mathbabe makes her boyfriends wear slide rule condoms.

  2. christofay

    Excellent idea. I would also suggest that they, Walmart, offer in store title searches and real estate closings. My shiftless brother-in-law with a union membership, erh, law degree does that. Walmart could offer title searches from hiring those over-produced lawyers for $80 rather than the $400 that my relative charges, for example

  3. diptherio

    You’ve heard of fantasy football and fantasy baseball…here’s fantasy tax evasion, er, avoidance.

    You compete against other players to see who can avoid the highest percentage of taxes. Classic strategies include the “Double Irish with a Cyprus Sandwich” and the “Dutch Secret,” but players are encouraged to create their own innovative structures and strategies. I imagine a high score on this game would probably be a resume-booster at a lot of corps.

  4. Jim Haygood

    So impressed is Argentina with the design of the U.S. Social Security Trust Fund, that they’ve decided to copy it:

    Argentina will use $2.3 billion of central bank reserves this year to meet payments to international financing organizations and on its official bilateral debt, according to the official gazette.

    In exchange, the central bank will receive dollar- denominated, non-transferable 10-year Treasury notes that pay the same interest as the bank receives on international reserves up to a maximum of Libor minus one percentage point, the gazette said.

    ‘Non-marketable’ T-notes are just IOUs. They can’t be sold to third parties, nor can the issuer redeem them until it issues new debt to replace them.

    Did you catch the scam here? The current Libor rate, paid by top-rated borrowers, is 0.28 percent. But the market yield on existing Argentine dollar-denominated debt, given its near-default rating, is in the teens. So the central bank, BCRA, is lending to a deadbeat at a AAA yield, and losing a dozen percentage points of yield.

    YAWN — who can get too upset about one branch of gov’t cheating another? More important is that Argentina’s international reserves have fallen from a peak of $52 billion in 2011 to just above $40 billion now … and will carry on sinking as they are raided to pay the light bill.

    When reserves get low enough, some catalyst (such as an unfavorable U.S. appeals court ruling on the country’s defaulted debt) will send the peso into headlong collapse.

    Got lechuga verde?

    1. AbyNormal

      seems local residents are confirming the spill made its way into the 400k dependent Lake Conway

        1. readerOfTeaLeaves

          According to friends of mine in Alaska, back when the Exxon-Valdez ran onto the shoals of Bligh Island back in the ’80s, the first thing the oil companies did was tie up *all* the small planes. That way, when the international press arrived, it was damn difficult for them to get up in the air and look down on the spill. What people can’t photograph or describe won’t distress them.

          Today in my local markets, fresh wild salmon runs around $20 per pound, partly from overfishing, but also a symptom of global overfishing and environmental degradation.

          1. Bill Smith

            I can think of one good reason for a no fly zone. It would be to keep a whole bunch of airplanes and helicopters from flying into the same airspace and crashing into each other.

            But then we should just have the NSA release some up to date sat pics, or fly a recon drone over the area, then release the pics to the public.

            I’m bummed out about salmon too. I am now on a salmon free diet. Still, I tried to find a way to get Omega 3 oils. Bought those pricy gel caps for a while. Then I read that if the oil is rancid, it actually does the opposite to your system of what you were hoping the Omega 3 – DHA was doing. They say you should cut open a gel cap and smell it. If it smells strongly fishy – it is rancid and actually does harm. Guess what – my Nature Made brand was rancid, and I shit canned the $20 bottle.

            Next read about veggie sources like flax seed. Problem is its not in the form your body needs, and your body can convert it – but only at 3% efficiency.

            So then I read sardines and herring have even more Omega 3 than salmon. So, with some trepidation, I tried canned sardines and herring. Actually didn’t taste bad, tho not as good as grilled salmon of course. But at least I got my Omega 3 source for around $1 – $1.50 a serving.

        2. Valissa

          Aby, thanks for the inspiration!

          Sounds logical to me :)

          Those pesky flies, part 1

          Those pesky flies, part 2

          Mission speak

          Obligatory silly cat cartoon

  5. Brindle

    Re: “Huge Fire Engulfs Russian Skyscraper”

    The fire has now been put out and the 475 foot tall structure did not collapse.

      1. Valissa

        Ha! Nice bait :) here’s more…

        Henry Rearden: The next time you decide to throw a party, can you stick to your own crowd? Don’t bother inviting people you think are my friends.
        Lillian Rearden: But Henry, you don’t have any friends.

    1. Pat

      This is what skyscrapers look like when they are on fire.

      They don’t suddenly explode and/or collapse at free fall speed — unless they are pre-planted with explosives, like WTC 7, 1 & 2.
      God Bless America – where the rules of physics and chemistry don’t apply!

      1. Zachary Smith

        *** This is what skyscrapers look like when they are on fire.

        They don’t suddenly explode and/or collapse at free fall speed — unless they are pre-planted with explosives, like WTC 7, 1 & 2.
        God Bless America – where the rules of physics and chemistry don’t apply! ***

        Controlled demolitions use a whole lot of carefully emplaced charges, and I believe there is a lot of wiring involved as well. How all those charges were installed inside TWO(!) busy skyscrapers and how all the wiring was hidden are some pretty serious problems. Supposing that’s what happened, why bother with the airplanes? None of it hangs together at all.

        And it’s not like progressive collapse of buildings hasn’t happened before.

        I’ve read that Osama had a degree in Civil Engineering. If that’s the case, he had some ideas about How Buildings Stand Up. In his first try at destroying one of the buildings he started at the bottom. That failed, so he attacked them much higher with kinetic energy devices carrying thousands of gallons of jet fuel – the hijacked airplanes.

        As for me, I suppose I’d prefer genetically engineered steel-eating termites for my conspiracy idea. Lots easier to sneak in, too. They’d hide until they felt the building shaking from the impact, then they’d start to work chomping on the beams. Voila!

        1. davidgmills

          You don’t need wiring when you can detonate by remote control.

          And its nice to do some chemistry on the debris don’t you think? Maybe use the same level of chemical analysis the doctor’s lab uses when you get your cholesterol checked? Find out what is in the debris? Nano-thermites? Oops. Bet Osama didn’t make that. And what about the iron microspheres that only form when molten metal freezes in the air? Not caused by a fire from a plane.

          It never ceases to amaze me how dumb the average American can be when it comes to science.

          When was the last time you saw a chair break all four legs at once in the same place and have the seat come straight down? Now make it 240 legs breaking at the same place at the same time, about 80 consecutive times in a row. Twice. And then a third time (but differently). Symmetry is very rare in nature. Nearly all symmetry is either biological or man-made. Asymmetrical injury never causes symmetrical failure.

  6. efschumacher

    US to beef up its defenses in Guam:

    Is it co-incidental that defenses intended to neutralize Kim III only need to be pointed a few degrees left to threaten China as well?

  7. wunsacon

    >> Kitten Adventure Gear REI (Chuck L). Hey, I want my own tiny machete!

    Uh, is it possible for the cats meme to jump the shark?

    1. Eureka Springs

      One question is if I am under threat of penalty for perjury may I utilize my fifth amendment protections to opt out of PPACA?

  8. down2long

    Viz all the stories re: the fruadupent mortgage industy, Breuer and Shapiro (Reuters had the nerve to say Shapiro restored the SEC”s tarnished reputation (WTF!!) and Sherrod Brown’s possible ascension to the chairmanship of the banking committee, and Saint Elizabeth Warren. I am reminded of Winston Churchill’s sanguine assessment of Americans:

    “You can always expect the Americans to do the right thing – after they have exhausted every other possibility.”

    I am hoping he is proved right, once again.

  9. Hugh

    The Der Spiegel article is useful because it is such a wonderful example of the smug kleptocratic, neoliberal propaganda that is being peddled in Germany today. We get all this tripe about how Germans are driven by their history. Well, as propaganda played such an important role in German’s recent history, you might think they might clue in on that, but they don’t. The truth is Germans, pretty much like the rest of us, just more sanctimoniously, have learned nothing from history. They are not driven by it. They are, like the rest of us, driven by their kleptocrats.

    The first two-thirds of the article are filled with bilge like this:

    “Despite the messy manner in which its member state governments deal with crises — chaos largely explained by institutional reasons rather than by incompetence — the EU and the euro are here to stay.”


    “Despite the messy manner in which the captain and crew dealt with the iceberg– chaos largely explained by institutional reasons rather than by incompetence — the Titanic is here to stay.”

    It is only after an incredible amount of whingeing that the article gets around to making its point that while crushing Cyprus was a completely reasonable and laudatory goal, the troika was a little too overt and direct in its looting of depositors. Cyprus should have been crushed but some other club than deposit insurance should have been used. I guess this is what passes for pragmatism in Germany.

    I especially like the article’s argument that a pissant loser country like Cyprus should never have been allowed into the EU although somewhat contradictorily the article laments that Cyprus was crushed before NATO could plant its bases there. But what struck me was that if Cyprus should never have been allowed into the EU and the EZ, what about other small countries, like Portugal, Ireland, Slovenia, the Baltics, and most of Eastern Europe? Now to be sure, the last two groups are EU, not EZ, but the article makes no real distinction between the two.

    I know as propaganda the article doesn’t have to be logical and needs only to give the impression of coherence, but still there is something a bit bizarre about claiming that the EU/EZ is unassailable at the same time it admits the EU/EZ committed not one but several “abject errors”: admission of Cyprus, overturning deposit insurance, and the flubbed NATO bases plan.

    1. AbyNormal

      fuck, that hurts

      “The point is, there is no feasible excuse for what are, for what we have made of ourselves. We have chosen to put profits before people, money before morality, dividends before decency, fanaticism before fairness, and our own trivial comforts before the unspeakable agonies of others”

      “There’s an old Sysan saying that the soup of life is salty enough without adding tears to it.”
      ~Look to Windward

      “After doing extensive research, I can definitely tell you that single malt whiskies are good to drink.”
      ~Raw Spirit

  10. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Robots don’t destroy jobs; rapacious corporate executives do.

    Is that like ‘guns don’t kill; mentally unstable people do?’

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Global money maze…

    And we need to print more money when much of it is shipped to and locked inside that maze?

    1. gordon

      It’s the real reason Govts. refused to nationalise or even regulate banks in 2008/9. They were too scared of what they would find when the accountants went in.

  12. Hugh

    Structural factors are the go to neoliberal explanations for permanently high unemployment. At first, it was all supposed to be about jobs/skills mismatches. This was quickly debunked. Such mismatches should only have shown up in certain industries, not, as was the case, across the board. Also it was a little bit of a stretch to maintain that 20 million peasants entering the Chinese labor force each year had skills, other than a willingness to work long hours for shit wages, that American workers somehow lacked.

    The next iteration has been robotics. I suppose this is meant to appeal to our inner Trekkie, but again it misses those 20 million unrobotized Chinese peasants.

    The important thing in all this is to remember that permanent high unemployment is not a bug but a feature. High unemployment suppresses wages and creates a more docile, more fearful, hence more manipulable populace.

    Re recession in the Netherlands, this is part of the hierarchies on the Titanic. The whole ship is sinking. It is just some will drown sooner than others. So Finland can say it isn’t Germany which can say it isn’t Holland which can say it isn’t France which can say it isn’t Italy which can say it isn’t Spain which can it isn’t Portugal which can it isn’t Greece which can say it isn’t Cyprus. This is what the magnificent construction of Europe has amounted to.

    1. Bill Smith

      But you have to admit it’s pretty cheap to give Chinese peasants on the job training at $1 an hour?

      1. AbyNormal

        compared to 80B spent last yr on food stamps
        states requesting extra 100’s of billions in unemployment
        come on Bill…you can do better

        1. Bill Smith

          Forgot the sarc tag.

          Sure I can do better. Student loans for those mid career re-training breaks? A trillion and counting. Even been there- done that. Without the loan tho.

    2. neo-realist

      Isn’t this feature of high unemployment a form of a structural factor–this movement in the past 30-35 years of corporations from paying Americans good wages and providing them with decent benefits to Asians who will work 15-20 days for crumbs; and leaving many Americans left to fight for service sector scraps without any industrial policy on the part of business/government to bring good paying manufacturing jobs back en masse to the country.

  13. ScottS

    Re: Secrecy for Sale: Inside the Global Offshore Money Maze International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. Yes, I need to post on this…

    For more links, see Slashdot:

    “According to the CBC, there was a massive leak of “files containing information on over 120,000 offshore entities — including shell corporations and legal structures known as trusts — involving people in over 170 countries. The leak amounts to 260 gigabytes of data, or 162 times larger than the U.S. State Department cables published by WikiLeaks in 2010…In many cases, the leaked documents expose insider details of how agents would incorporate companies in Caribbean and South Pacific micro-states on behalf of wealthy clients, then assign front people called “nominees” to serve, on paper, as directors and shareholders for the corporations — disguising the companies’ true owners.” Makes a good read and there are some good interactive components. Perhaps Slashdot readers can figure out how the source of the leak, the D.C.-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists got their hands on this data.”

    Nice links from the original:

    CBC write-up:
    Fun “Choose Your Own Adventure” style interactive tax-dodging game:

    1. p78

      Yes, but I would have preferred it to be from Wikileaks, it would have been guaranteed honest.
      Why no Americans on the list?
      Why no big fish? It feels manipulated.

    1. briansays

      former Goldman exec (President(?)
      former democratic senator and governor of new jersey
      the obama administration?
      are you kidding???

      good April Fool’s article thou
      but that was a few days ago

  14. Valissa

    Great headline, so-so article… Cross-dressing thieves pilfer purses from upscale shop

    Can’t drive for a year for this? Laws are sure different in the UK…
    Man arrested for driving while ‘intoxicated’ on drum and bass music

    Sounds interesting… Odd invitation from Nebraska jail: Spend the night for $30

  15. briansays

    from jessee

    “The goal is to produce resolution strategies that could be implemented for the failure of one or more of the largest financial institutions with extensive activities in our respective jurisdictions. These resolution strategies should maintain systemically important operations and contain threats to financial stability.

    They should also assign losses to shareholders and unsecured creditors in the group, thereby avoiding the need for a bailout by taxpayers. These strategies should be sufficiently robust to manage the challenges of cross-border implementation and to the operational challenges of execution…

    But insofar as a bail-in provides for continuity in operations and preserves value, losses to a deposit guarantee scheme in a bail-in should be much lower than in liquidation. Insured depositors themselves would remain unaffected.

    Uninsured deposits would be treated in line with other similarly ranked liabilities in the resolution process, with the expectation that they might be written down.”

    Bank of England and Federal Reserve Joint Statement on Resolving Globally Active, Systemically Important, Financial Institutions.

  16. craazyman

    Even the Rain Gets Lost

    Five interviews in 2 days. All were young girls a year or two out of college. The company is a quasi-dysfunctional cesspool, like most places but sort of benign in a not charming but not murderous way. God knows what the job will be. I still don’t know how they’ll fill 8 hours sitting there without a window or a door to close and probably directions that make no sense in any way at all. I guess they’ll try

    I told each of them. “It’s not a fun place. Lots of older people and no collegiality. It’s a little like working at a post office. When I was your age I had colleagues and we went out a drank all night long. There’s nobody here you’ll do that with.” And then I looked at them.

    Not one of them flinched. They plowed right through and said how hard they’d work, they smiled. The Russian one made a muscle with her arm, like a strongman in a circus. One had a kid to support. The Russian was a hot blonde but thin tough and hard like a nail. I told her about the air raids when I was a kid when the siren would go off and we’d crawl under our desks if the Russian bombers dropped the big one. I don’t know if she was stunned or amazed or thought I was lying but we both agreed it was incredible. That something as ludicrous as that could happen. That it did happen.

    So this is the economy now. I guess it’s always a little hard at first, but hard now is hard and you could feel the ache in each one of them, temping, doing odd jobs, wanting something, anything, that will last. Every future is hard. You have no idea what will come your way. No idea. And that’s some kind of a gift from God, I suppose. Because if you knew . . .

    All of them could easily do the job, a monkey could do the job, a monkey could do almost any job in the economy, the madness and bullshit, the protean gratutious stupidity that surrounds all things “jobs” closes in like a blind cyclone of contemptuous derision and when they hire one, she’ll have to deal. I guess she’ll be the lucky one of the 5. There should be so much more than this for all of them. And that’s kind of sad. That’s about all it is.

    1. AbyNormal

      Massachusetts McDonald’s demands bachelors degree and two years’ experience for cashiers job

      It used to be high school drop outs flipping burgers at McDonald’s, now the fast-food joint is demanding a bachelors degree.In a frightening example of how competitive the job market is for young people right now, a McDonald’s outpost in Winchedon, Massachusetts, has just posted a call-out for a full time cashier – but insists only college graduates need apply.

      And even they must have 1-2 years of cashier experience before they’ll be trusted with the Big-Mac-selling responsibility, according to the advert.

      1. skippy

        And the colloquial term Sanitation – et al – *Engineer* comes full circle.

        Skippy… next comes MacCollage inters the Ivy League… Vassar or Colgate get Cortazopinzed…

  17. rich

    Cancer clinics are turning away thousands of Medicare patients. Blame the sequester.

    Cancer clinics across the country have begun turning away thousands of Medicare patients, blaming the sequester budget cuts.

    Oncologists say the reduced funding, which took effect for Medicare on April 1, makes it impossible to administer expensive chemotherapy drugs while staying afloat financially.

    Patients at these clinics would need to seek treatment elsewhere, such as at hospitals that might not have the capacity to accommodate them.

    “If we treated the patients receiving the most expensive drugs, we’d be out of business in six months to a year,” said Jeff Vacirca, chief executive of North Shore Hematology Oncology Associates in New York. “The drugs we’re going to lose money on we’re not going to administer right now.”

    After an emergency meeting Tuesday, Vacirca’s clinics decided that they would no longer see one-third of their 16,000 Medicare patients.

    “A lot of us are in disbelief that this is happening,” he said. “It’s a choice between seeing these patients and staying in business.”

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