Links 5/3/13

Readers: Yves is either packing for the road or on the road, and so she may well do some post-Links posting later this morning. –lambert

Obie the formerly obese dachshund, who once weighed 77lbs, has over two pounds of loose skin removed after shedding half his body weight Daily Mail. Anti-antidote.

Protein Complex Found in Human Breast Milk Can Help Reverse Antibiotic Resistance in Superbugs Science Daily

Austerity is not the only answer to a debt problem R-R, FT. Now they tell us! Fixed it for ya. Also: more straw, vicar?

Obama picks Pritzker for commerce post FT. Used to be a bribe only bought you an ambassadorship.

ObamaCare Clusterf*ck: New 3-page eligibility form may scr*w states that are farthest ahead on their exchange software Corrente (and see Aliens Among Us).

The Oregon Experiment — Effects of Medicaid on Clinical Outcomes NEJM. Medicaid makes poor people less depressed and more secure financially (more). Can’t have that!

Misunderstanding Oregon Health Care Blog. Health care isn’t health.

Regulators Blame Libor Fixing On The Sex, Drugs, And Lavish Perks Of London Banking Business Insider. As opposed to control fraud.

VIX Clings to Stocks Like It’s 2007 as S&P 500 Peaks Bloomberg

Massive Bitcoin Business Partnership Devolves Into $75 Million Lawsuit Gawker

The Ghetto Is Public Policy Ta-Nehisi Coates. Important.

Jeffrey Sachs: Banking Abuses ‘Can’t Get More in Your Face’ WSJ

Turns out much-hyped settlement still allows banks to steal homes David Dayen, Salon

CASHING IN ON NATURAL GAS: How The Shale Boom Has Transformed One Rural Pennsylvania County Business Insider

Appeals court says NY towns can ban fracking Elmira Star-Gazette (commentary).

Enbridge Expansion Could Turn Into Keystone-Like Fight Bloomberg

Just How Many Climate “Sceptics” Are There? Desmogblog

May Day ostriches Beppe Grillo

Why Not Target a 3% Unemployment Rate? Businessweek. Why not a jobs guarantee?

Americans Most Upbeat in Five Years as Firings Slow: Economy Bloomberg. So will the beatings stop now?

The lost generation Economist

12 Latin American Governments Gather to Confront Extreme Investor Privileges Regime Public Citizen

Italy should use its gold reserves to force a change in EMU policy Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

How I exposed Stuart Hall’s abuse: Yasmin Alibhai-Brown on the anonymous letter that kick-started the sex assault investigation Independent

With Bradbury’s Appendix M Opinion and 7th Circuit Vance Decision, the Government Can Torture Any of Us EmptyWheel

US drone strikes being used as alternative to Guantánamo, lawyer says Guardian

The Klown Quotient Increases Power of Narrative. Boston (cf. “we all very voluntarily did what had been asked of us”).

Principal fires security guards to hire art teachers — and transforms elementary school NBC

Motivated Reasoning Above the Market

Six Ways to Separate Lies From Statistics Bloomberg

The rise of big data, big brother mathbabe (cf. for geeks).

With Great Power Baseline Scenario. Excel and data corruption in bioinformatics.

Messages From the Future: The Fate of Google Glass The Interactivist (ScottS)

Where Did All The Search Traffic Go? BuzzFeed

The Shape of Time The Archdruid Report

Antidote du jour (furzy mouse):


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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


    1. AbyNormal

      Of what is real I say,
      Is it the old, the roseate parent or
      The bride come jingling, kissed and cupped, or else
      The spirit and all ensigns of the self?
      ~wallace stevens

      (a truly grateful dead pause when this creature fly’s at sunset’)

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It would be a far, far better world if all corporate lawyers can turn poets full-time.

        For the matter, it would be a even far, far, better world if all stockbrokers can turn Impressionist painters full time…maybe even all migrate to Tahiti.

        1. craazyman

          I don’t know about that Beef, there’s already too much to read as it is. :)

        2. traveler

          “It would be a far, far better world if all corporate lawyers can turn poets full-time.”

          Even if they’re still conservatives?

  1. Expat

    RE: Enbridge Expansion Could Turn Into Keystone-Like Fight

    These refineries tend to be in nonattainment areas of poor air quality. In addition to daily air pollution, there are other problems with putting more polluting industries along the shores of the body of lakes that hold 20% of the world’s fresh water. Consider the following:

    1. Explosion Rocks Marathon Refinery, Black Smoke Pollutes Southwest Detroit

    Massive explosion rocks Marathon Detroit Refinery

    Fire put out at Marathon refinery in Detroit

    2. Petcoke, the filthy byproduct of tar sands refining, is even dirtier than coal AND cheaper. Besides offending the senses, it contaminates air and water, especially if burned.

    Growing mounds of petroleum coke raise fears along Detroit River

    Petcoke site in Detroit lacks proper zoning, permits

  2. AbyNormal

    re Bitcom’s WideWorld of Incoming Lawsuits…blogger comment:
    “I know, right? Never trust a currency that isn’t backed by nuclear weapons”

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          To Dacian- , Parthian- and other slaves, the value of the Roman currency derived, not from taxation, but from the fact that, to migrate to and survive in sunny, prosperous Rome, after their homes had been destroyed by Roman legions, they had no choice but to use it.

  3. AbyNormal

    U.S. adds 165,000 jobs in April; jobless rate falls

    DOW 15,000 HERE WE COME

    We’re Lost, But We’re Making Good Time!!!

    1. Jim Haygood

      14,990 so far … but the morning’s young. It’s the standard ‘dance of the round number’ tease.

      Such milestones bring a big toothless grin to the geezer faction, who recall the legendary ‘Dow Thou’ ceiling that haunted the market from the mid-Sixties to 1982. On 9 Feb 1966 the Dow closed at 995.15 … but that was it.

      For sure, it could happen again. But dedicated public servants are toiling night and day in the bowels of the Eccles Building to keep this bubble on the boil.

      1. AbyNormal

        there it is 15,008

        I always thought that record would stand until it was broken.
        (its fittingly a Yogi day)

          1. AbyNormal

            bahahahaha TK love your twist to one of my favs

            lets do it…

            If you don’t know where your portfolio is going, it could end up some place else.

          1. AbyNormal

            In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But in practice, there is.

        1. Elisabeth Spenser

          Ha! I’m not sure I even understand what that means! Wait, is this the philosophy behind the U.S. economy right now?

          1. AbyNormal

            heheheee an this one must be the philosophy of the economist…

            90% of the game is half mental

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I am not sure I fully comprehend the rationale beyond that statement, but there is not doubt about its irrationale.

      2. ScottS

        I imagine the “dance of the round number” is because momentum is up, but smart people are heading towards the exits.

  4. Jim Haygood

    Morning in the Jobs Paradise, comrades:

    U.S. stock futures rallied on Friday after data showed that the U.S. economy created 165,000 jobs in April and the unemployment rate fell to 7.5% from 7.6%.

    Up 7 points before the data, futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were lately up 101 points to 14,861.

    The Yellen Bubble is inflating apace … and she’s not even nominated yet!

    Apparently the austere Ben Bernanke, who’s put the U.S. economy on a hair-shirt regime of only $85 billion a month in fresh money, is worth more dead than alive. And Wall Street’s celebrating his imminent departure.

    S&P 2K by the time of Janet’s Senate coronation looks doable.

    I’m Yellen’ for Janet!

    1. Chauncey Gardiner

      Re: … “S&P 2K by the time of Janet’s Senate coronation looks doable.
      I’m Yellen’ for Janet!”

      Interesting that S&P 2k stock index number you cited is exactly 300 percent of the March 6, 2009 intraday low of the S&P 500 stock index. Although Fed policy has fueled an enormous rise in financial asset prices, “The Wealth Effect” of QE-ZIRP and its effectiveness in realizing the Fed’s dual mandate has – like the work of Reinhardt & Rogoff – gone largely unquestioned and unchallenged by prominent economists for many years.

      Meanwhile, we are looking at the real effects of QE-ZIRP coupled with Austerity-Sequester federal fiscal policies on everything from the price of Oil – as Aby noted, to the 46 million Americans now on food stamps, to reductions of socially beneficial programs like education and infrastructure spending, to low job formation and rising rates of substance abuse and suicide:

      Wonder how the American 0.1 Percent are faring in the global “Very High Net Worth” contest?

      1. Jim Haygood

        Speaking of round numbers, the Argentine press is watching excitedly today as the ‘dólar informal’ closes in on 10.00 pesos even (it reached 9.97 so far).

        In Dec. 2001, the peso was pegged one-to-one with the USD. Now it’s worth a dime.

        During the 20th century, Argentina knocked 13 zeroes off its currency due to hyperinflation.

        Crap, there goes another one!

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Speaking of numbers in general, it always amazes to no end that one can buy an Infiniti with a finite number of dollars.

          It’s always puzzling that there are more than one Infiniti. How does Nissan do it?

          Perhaps they have mastered Transfinity.

  5. diptherio

    Re: The Ghetto is Public Policy

    From the streets of Cicero on up, the point was to imprison black people in the black belt and then exploit them. The goal was pursued through public policy, private action, and open terrorism. The goal was accomplished.

    Why is he using the past tense? ISTM this is still a public policy goal, and one that is being successfully pursued.

    1. ambrit

      Dear diptherio;
      It’s not just for Black folks either. Poor White Trash has been the ‘evil twin brother/sister’ of the oppressed Nieblank population for as long as Ol Massa has been around. The Race Wars has been the most successful divide and conquer strategy America, indeed, the World, has ever seen. See “Gangs of New York” for a slice of American Nativeism at work in an earlier era.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Dear ambrit, speaking of squares from yesterday, there is at least one more square than before.

        Before, people would say, I love my heart, or I love heart.

        Today, it’s ‘I heart heart’ or ‘I heart squared.’

    1. Joel3000

      Military cargo plane, carrying armored vehicles. The theory is that the restraints on one of the vehicles broke and caused a load shift.

      This is not likely to happen on a passenger 747.

      The video should not be viewed by sensitive people.

  6. petridish

    RE: Misunderstanding Oregon

    Pretty thin gruel here.

    It’s not just getting care, it’s gettingHIGH Qu

  7. Stopping Cogressional Inquiry

    Disagree that the boston manhunt shows incompetence. Silber has chosen, maybe rhetorically, to look at it from the public safety perspective. Everybody knows that’s bullshit.

    Look at past high-profile armed attacks on civilians: JFK. RFK. MLK. OKC. WTC bombing. Anthrax attacks. 9/11. The facts show US government exploitation or complicity in every case. More of the same is your rebuttable presumption here.

    So what are the usual suspects up to? What is the outcome of the manhunt? One suspect is dead. Nothing will come out at trial (this is your basic Lee Harvey Oswald).

    The other suspect is alive. But the circumstances of the charged person’s apprehension leaves his reported confession entirely under state control. And in fact interrogators unlawfully coerced any such confession (this is a modified James Earl Ray – instead of obtaining a confession by treachery, you obtain it in coercive custodial interrogation.)

    Pro: There’s no tricky choreography or psychological manipulation of the sort that was required to frame Sirhan Sirhan for murder. Less to go wrong.

    Con: Much depends on short-circuiting trial in an independent court. This court case will undergo closer scrutiny than the shambolic Malvo trial in CIA’s home district. And any competent attorney could blow the roof off. Just think what a William Pepper could do.

    We’ll have to see how Mary Margaret Graham is going to handle the kangaroo court, but so far so good.

  8. Elisabeth Spenser

    I’m so confused. The Atlantic Wire says the economy is full of good news (! they say) (? I say). Isn’t the dropping unemployment rate due to more people falling off the unemployment insurance benefit list? Am I spoilsport pessimist…or is the Atlantic Wire delusional? Maybe I should stop reading the news before I start thinking I must have left Planet Earth at some point? Help.

    1. TK421

      ” Isn’t the dropping unemployment rate due to more people falling off the unemployment insurance benefit list?”

      I would say so. The number of jobs created was barely enough to cover new entrants into the work force, let alone cut into the already unemployed. Of course, I’m just waiting for that jobs number to be revised downward like they usually are.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s like rubbing salt in the wound when you can’t even get a job interview to hear the unemployment rate is dropping.

      It must be something wrong with you then.

  9. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    VIX clinging to stocks…

    If the movement is weird, it could be that it’s like trying to see a four dimensional object in a 3 D world.

  10. Susan the other

    Thanks for Public Citizen on “free trade” tribunals. This is NAFTA even. No wonder Australia, et. al. are not joining the TPP (this extrajudicial tyranny, plus the fact that it is going to trade in renminbi… so if all the Pacific countries actually begin using renminbi how is it that we are isolating China from our trading network?). We are only trying to accomplish one thing with these Investor-State trade contracts – getting around our own public interest policies. We are, after all, manufacturing overseas and bringing all that crap in as trade. Not that we haven’t hurt social policy in Latin America. Of course we have. I betcha Obama just went to Mexico, not to delicately discuss immigration, but to bludgeon Mexico into signing the TPP. I do hope Mexico joins the rest of Latin America for an intergovernmental commission to impose social controls on the “Bilateral” Investment Treaty tribunals.

    1. efschumacher

      Indeed, it looks like Latin America is shaping up to be the Anti-TPP. It’s a job that will get dirtier – but somebody’s got to do it.

      Very heartening to hear that Australia is looking askance at TPP too.

      1. Glenn Condell

        It is, but the pressure is relentless. The SMH has given or has been told to give the US Ambassador (who rejoices in the onomatopoeic name of Jeffery Bleich) a column for gawd’s sake, so that he can scare us into thinking the sky is falling with regard to ‘cloud protectionism’…

        ‘One way to stop cloud protectionism is through the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP. On Wednesday in Auckland, officials from Australia and the US will work with counterparts from nine other Asia-Pacific countries to craft this ambitious new trade agreement that seeks to integrate the economies of the Asia-Pacific… This is a rare opportunity to set the rules of the road for regional commerce for generations to come.

        The road will be divided like the ones they have in the occupied territories, a high road with no speed limit for some drivers and a low road studded with tolls for the rest.

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Why not a jobs guarantee?

    I would go for GDP sharing.

    One concern with any jobs guarantee is we are approaching the problem the way we did with world hunger.

    We focused on quantity instead of quality. So, by now, the world is filled, when we manage to avoid famines, with toxic food. This is the legacy of decades of trumpeting record tonnages of toxic wheat and/or rice harvests. A quality approach might have directed our attention to the unequal distribution of food and food consumption while making sure food is grown safely.

    Again, it’s more important to have quality jobs than just jos; otherwise, we might as well give people the same amount of money for them to stay home and do something they really enjoy, like writing poetry or painting cats. And one way for people to do what they are really passionate about is to make sure wealth is distributed equally; and we can do that via GDP sharing, shared by all, regardless of how you spend your days – that way, people are sure to spend their days doing what they are really passionate about.

    I believe we will be all amazed at how much hedge fund managers yearn to sing, dance and play with pink herons.

    1. efschumacher

      > like writing poetry or painting cats

      How do you get it to hold still long enough to be painted? I tried washing one once and still have the scratches to prove it.

    2. usually efschumacher, but Cinna for the purposes of this whinge

      >that way, people are sure to spend their days doing what they are really passionate about.

      But don’t discount the numbers of people who will spend their days stoned out of their tree, the roving bands in pursuit of abuses against persons and property, the moaners who come to find the truth of Gordon Lightfoot’s wisdom that “freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose”. In fact all those factions that the ‘Protestant Work Ethic’ was invented to put a lid on.

      Me, I will retire to the side farther from Picra and write some poems about the doom of the whole boiling.

      1. F. Beard

        One hand full of rest is better than two fists full of labor and striving after wind. Ecclesiastes 4:6

    3. RanDomino

      There is far more than enough wealth for everyone to be guaranteed a house, food, basic medical care, and educational opportunities, without noticeable effect on the lifestyle of the wealthy.

      But that’s not the point. It’s not about the money, it’s about desperation- to be clear, they WANT us to be desperate. The reason is as diabolical as it is certain: Desperate people will work harder for less. Desperate people don’t try to organize and resist. Desperate people can be bribed into betraying each other. Desperate people will sell what is important in the long-term if it means survival in the short-term. Desperate people can be pushed around.

      Sun-tzu said not to attack the enemy’s army, but to attack his strategy. For those who control us, this is accomplished by keeping us as confused, terrified, and exhausted as possible without totally destroying our value as workers- except for those who are naturally inclined to disobedience, who are of course destroyed utterly.

  12. bob

    The gas rush…BI

    “Heavy trucks now rumble over the area’s rolling hills, and some residents have seen their water impaired by the controversial drilling practice known as fracking (the gas industry denies they’re at fault)”

    Impaired? Is this the new corporately acceptable euphemism?

    How does one “impair” water?

    I tought Blodget was banned from Wall st?

    One more- Cabot has spent more than $15 million on roads. This might sound like a lot. It’s not.


    1. skippy

      No worse that a recent headline stating… Israeli warplanes strike target in Syria, not know if warplanes violated Syrian airspace~?~

      skippy… obviously explosive warhead packed missiles or gravity bombs are a violation of sovereign air space… Roflmmao~~~

  13. AbyNormal

    “And I want to Thank everyone for making this day necessary”

    Newser) – With the Kentucky Derby running this weekend, everybody’s rolling out the feature stories in advance. It will be seriously hard to top this one in the New York Times
    : It’s the story of Conor Murphy, 29, who was shoveling manure last year as a stablehand in England until he placed a $75 “accumulator” bet on five horses he liked. All five won—defying odds of more than 160,000/1—and the bet paid off at $1.5 million for Murphy.

    The native of Ireland immediately moved to Kentucky (he had previously worked there) and bought a stable of his own. Now one of the horses he is training, named Lines of Battle, will run in the derby on Saturday. If you’re looking to cash in on Murphy’s luck, be warned that Lines of Battle is a long shot at 33/1, and long shots never pay off, right…

    “It ain’t the heat, it’s the humility.” Go LoB Go

  14. Glenn Condell

    Investigative journalism may be on life support but it’s not dead yet in Australia. A speech by the Sydney Morning Herald’s Kate McClymont to fellow journos about the hazards of threatening the drug lords, crooked pollies and cops and the local 1%. Her byline has graced almost every decent expose in the last 20 years in this town. Tough lady… exemplar of a dying breed? As she says ‘For smaller companies, freelancers and bloggers, freedom of the press is a wonderful concept but the prospect of personally funding a court action against the coffers of a business tycoon is not realistic’

    1. skippy

      CANBERRA, Australia — A wealthy Australian who is rebuilding the Titanic plans to do the political equivalent. Clive Palmer said Friday he intends to refloat the United Australian Party, a once dominant force in Australian politics that sank without a trace in the 1940s.

      The mining magnate plans to revive the Great Depression-era party and stand candidates for every seat in the House of Representatives and Senate at general elections on Sept. 14. Palmer intends to run himself in the electoral district in Queensland state where he owns a golf resort.

      “I’m standing to be the next prime minister of Australia,” he said.

      “I have no personal interest. I have made enough money in my life. I’m not seeking any enrichment of wealth for myself, I’m seeking it for the Australian people,” he added.

      skippy… with resource super cycle over… whats body to do about cementing ones… wealth in… but… as always its about the – up to the… People… snicker~

      PS. methinks Eddie Obeid should reside in a crocks gullet, rather than on someone else dime…

      1. Glenn Condell

        Isn’t it crocs that like to wait for a few weeks after killing something for it to go rotten before they consume it?

        No waiting for Obeid to go off; he’d be fast food!

      1. Glenn Condell

        Thanks Aby

        context for the first bit: the woman who wrote to McClymont to complain about her pursuit of Nationals MP Richard Torbay was from Armidale, in the New England region of gentleman farmers (ie; not war-service sharecroppers like my forebears) It is Nationals country (they used to be called the Country Party) and she thinks McC is a lefty journo who chases only rightwing Lib/Nat skulduggery.

        But it becomes obvious later in the piece that McC has a long history of chasing Obeid, a corrupt Labour party ‘power-broker’ whose past is catching up to him in a hurry right now in the courts, thanks partly to the efforts of McC and other brave souls like her.

        Kate McClymont, more than most, is aware that crime is politically ecumenical.

  15. Goin' South

    Re: The Shape of Time–

    Fascinating yet still limited in perspective. While the Archdruid considers how our society’s situation affects our “shape of time,” he neglects how our personal situation impacts the same.

    Have you ever noticed how us old, white men tend to get apocalyptic? Could it be that we cannot imagine the world surviving beyond the ever closer time of our own demise? James Kunstler is a particulary good example of this kind of thinking along with many of the rest of the Peak Oilers. For that matter, so is the Archdruid.

    Human civilization will survive the Baby Boomers, me included. Yes, rock ‘n roll will go on, even though the bodies of those born in the late 40s and 50s will eventually break down and fail to function. Personally, I believe that Capitalism has had it, but that doesn’t mean that the next generations will not only survive its welcomed end, but will thrive once it–and by coincidence we (?)–are gone.

    I interact with young folks as alienated as I from the current excuse for a culture and society that we currently endure, yet they are optimistic–not naive but optimistic–that they will live to see a better day. I may not, but my choice is whether to lapse into the hopeless despair of “I am ending, and the world must surely go with me” or to understand my own mortality does not require the world’s end and to work with my young comrades for something better.

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