Links 5/24/13

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Apologies for having fewer posts than usual today. I’m really tired and have been having trouble concentrating. No particular trigger, just seems to be a weirdly low energy day.

Cheese maker warned against supplying Gloucester cheese rolling BBC (Richard Smith)

How the Ring Nebula became a doughnut: Stunning new Hubble images find interstellar cloud is ACTUALLY shaped like a ‘football-shaped jelly doughnut’ Daily Mail (John M)

Solar plane sets distance record Bangkok Post (Lambert)

Roll over Einstein: meet Weinstein Guardian

Pope defends atheists: Atheists who do good are good, says Pope Francis Christian Science Monitor

Why Has Humanity Always Fantasized About the Capture and Rape of Women? Lynn Parramore, Alternet

Chinese Military Renews Cyber-Attacks, Focusing on US Electrical Grid OilPrice

BBC poll: Germany most popular country in the world BBC (Katja)

Spain’s banks face €10bn more provisions Financial Times. Quelle surprise

Austerity in the Eurozone and the UK: Kill or Cure? Martin Wolf

Pessimism and priorities in advanced economies Cardiff Garcia, FT Alphaville

Misreading the Global Economy Ashoka Mody, Project Syndicate

The humble hero Economist

Obama’s Finger Is On the Trigger Except Where It Matters Marcy Wheeler

Penny Pritzker’s Financial Disclosure Off $80 Million DSWright, Firedoglake

Bridge Collapses in Washington State, Dumping at Least 3 Cars In River Gawker

Colgan: Jobs recovery expected in 2016 Bangor Daily News. Lambert: “2016 == never.”

Passenger Trains Bump Along With Fixes Outrunning Funding Bloomberg

A Journey Through Oligarch Valley Yasha Levine, NSFW (mookie). Will be locked again after today…

The Fed and Mr. Market’s hissy fit:

Bernanke’s test finds the market wanting Business Spectator

Bernanke confuses all MacroBusiness

More Fed – It Never Ends Tim Duy. Wow. Proof that the Fed has a serious case of confirmation bias. They’ll look at unemployment and exclude the effects of “fiscal drag” but not factor in the impact of long-term unemployment or underemployment?

Many investors may not be living in the real world Financial Times

Monetary Rapture: The Incredible Disappearing Gold Inventories – Ocean Receding Jesse versus Risk of vicious circle for gold as hedging returns Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

Michael Kinsley’s Repeated Factual Errors: Why Oh Why Can’t We Have a Better Press Corps? Brad DeLong

Jon Stewart rips Obama for aggressive investigation of whistle-blowers instead of bankers Raw Story

Banks’ Lobbyists Help in Drafting Financial Bills New York Times. Richard Smith: “Department of Duh”.

“Children Are Dying” Washingtonian (rich). Today’s must read.

Antidote du jour (photo by Daniel Parent, taken in Quebec, via martha r):


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    1. salvo


      that’s how the ‘world’ looks like

      “More than 26,000 people were surveyed internationally for the poll.”

    2. Abe, NYC

      It seems to me that, as always, the harder you’re hit the more realistic you are. Greeks seems to have lost most of their illusions. They still want to stay on the euro though, so some remain.

  1. dearieme

    A journalist who believes that a 8 cent-per-liter tax on water is “tiny” is innumerate.

      1. dearieme

        I pay about 25 cents for a two litre bottle of carbonated water: our local Tesco supermarket will even deliver it to our kitchen table. You are overpaying.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            We have lost so much.

            It used to be that the nightly entertainment was free (with lots of commercials) but now one has to pay $30, $50 and $80 or more a month to be brainwashed…and still with commercials.

            That’s inflation at infinite rate…from zero to something.

            1. Lambert Strether

              Genius! We used to be brainwashed for free, but now we actually have to pay for own brainwashing! So true. Not so much a “pay wall” as a washer door, it seems.

          2. optimader

            1.) Get rid of cable and install an antenna, digital broadcast TV uncompressed 1080p HD. ->MHz
   Great stuff.

            2.) Local library interlibrary loan service. At least for me, I can order any DVD, music CD or book on CD I want.

          3. DavidP

            dropped cable, updated antenna, use local library, try to make footprint as small as possible in as many ways as my wife and I can. A choice, hopefully a good one.

          4. optimader

            RE A choice, hopefully a good one.

            Control your media consumption, not the other way around

  2. YankeeFrank

    Cheese rolling is dangerous but austerity, paying banksters to keep on crimin’ and dismantling the NHS are healthy policies that pose no danger to the populace. England is turning into a lemon socialist nanny state farce.

    1. Skeptic

      Do you know where your cheese is tonight?

      P.T. Barnum is rolling in his grave. Too many spectators/participants, so outlaw the event.

    2. jrs

      Glad to see they too have got their Bloomberg’s (nanny state government run for the plutocrats).

  3. YankeeFrank

    We need a lot more journalism like Yasha Levine’s piece on California’s land oligarchy. If the people of this nation knew who owned what and how much we would be much closer to revolution. That single families can own so much while tens of millions are destitute and hungry is profane and obscene. One day they will be up against the wall and frankly I don’t really care what comes after, as long as they receive the justice they deserve. Monsters only understand monstrous acts.

    1. from Mexico

      From The Buried Mirror by Carlos Fuentes:

      By 1910 U.S. property in Mexico amounted to 100 million acres, including much of the most valuable mining, agricultural, and timber land, representing 22 percent of Mexico’s surface. The complexes owned by William Randolf Hearst alone extended to almost eight million acres.

    2. jrs

      The piece was interesting because someone was having the exact same conversation with me the other day, and I was like I’ve never thought of the issue (not the issue of plutocrats owning most land, that I’ve though about a little bit) – but the exact culture and so on of CA landowners – old aristrocratic plantation era ideas of exploiting the land and thinking only about today, which of course doesn’t work long term because that which can’t go on forever doesn’t.

    3. Synopticist

      Hereditary water rights? WTF?

      That’s the sort of thing people left Europe a hundred years ago to get away from.

      1. JohnL

        It’s different in the west.

        10 water laws of the west:

        II. The Law of Los Angeles: The Second Water Law of the West is the original lawof Los Angeles. This L.A. Law states that “water runs uphill to money”. See the movie Chinatown.

  4. craazyman

    That’s it. I’m announcing my support for Anthony Weiner for Mayor of New Yaaawwwwk.

    Everybody deserves a second chance. If I was hung for every dumb ass thing I’ve done I’d be dead 10 times over by now.

    No clue what his platform is or what he stands for — other than himself, but he’s a politician so you expect that — and if it turns out he’s another bankster-blowing neoliberal hack then I’ll withdraw my support, but for now, he’s my Man.

    It can only be up from here for him, and I get the feeling he’s not some shiny political robot.

    His wife is hot too. Even if she did work for Hillary. I can forgive that since Hillary can’t help herself, drawn to power and fame and meddling in other nations business like a moth to a lamp. And everybody needs a job. What else would “the wife” do? Be a barista at Starbucks on 2nd Avenue? Actually, that would be better in my book, but probly not in hers. It’s her life.

    Wouldn’t it be funny if he won then ran for president in 10 years and won that too? Then if he remade America in the vision of progressive New Yawwk liberal hippies who don’t mind a little reefer smoke and acid rock and gay rights and woo-foo-foo new age fashion like 21st century tie-die shirts and heavy taxes on banksters? Holy Cow, it’s too good to just fantisize about. Let’s get on that path starting today. Anthony Weiner for Mayor!

    1. craazyman

      I see from the morning reading that Lynn Parramore is at it again, speaking truth to power.

      She is so correct in this case it’s scary. And there’s only one solution to level the eternal scales of injustice.

      If you’re a hot woman in a bar or bistro or night club and you see a cute guy standing there looking at you with longing and lust, just go up and grab him and drag him home. Don’t let him argue or resist. Don’t give him any choice. This is your justice and vengeance. He’ll rise to the occasion, no doubt. Some things just work. God will be pleased.

      1. Susan the other

        Whenever our deep psyche is threatened we all give ourselves a ticket to be aggressive. OK then. What is the threat? Duh? Extinction? This just shows us how kong our dreams and our language roots survive – they are the stuff of evolution in that they are the art form of the reality. i love art. Capture and rape is an archetype, however disgusting Mr. Castro was, the origins of which probably go back 50,000 years to the devastation that left the planet with only a handful of breeding females. Look it up. They must have died off a tad faster than the males, as usual. But they were indispensible. The fertility cults of our ancestors in the Caucases and eastern Europe and other places go back before any possible record because of decay. Sad fact. And in that record we can all agree, survival was the goal. Rape and slaughter of women was not the goal. It never has been. That’s a digression by the perversions of plenty. Or the illusions of plenty.

    2. Massinissa

      Weiner is running against Bloomberg isnt he?

      How could he be worse than THAT bozo?

      And if Weiner doesnt work either, New Yawwwk can just swap mayors every four years until they get lucky and get someone who isnt a a phony. Which will be at about the time Serbia tries to invade China.

        1. scraping_by

          That’s a law, and the hallmark of right wing Randist heroes is contempt for mere law. So, who knows?

  5. Goin' South

    Re: “Children Are Dying”–

    Ain’t Capitalism great?

    Blessed be the Market who knows all (according to Capitalism’s defenders), including who should live and die.

    1. PQS

      Amen! Perhaps we should call Bill Gates to donate money to save American preemies…..

      Never let it be said there isn’t enough money for what we need. There’s plenty of money for needs. There just isn’t enough for wants.

    2. Jim Haygood

      From the article:

      Many doctors are pinning their immediate hopes on Congress’s forcing the FDA to form a global pipeline to import an emergency supply. “I have friends in other countries who could get me some, but that would be illegal,” one doctor says.

      Hospital staff wonder why the FDA hasn’t already put a process in place to streamline foreign inspections and certifications so that labs abroad can manufacture emergency supplies on short notice.

      What is wrong with this picture? Desperate shortages of basic nutrients in U.S. hospitals, ample supplies just across the borders in Canada and Mexico — but no imports without FDA onsite inspection and certification of foreign suppliers.

      Earth to FDA: other countries also produce medical supplies under regulatory supervision. Why reinvent the wheel by insisting that foreign plants be FDA supervised, rather than accepting their own government’s oversight?

      U.S. health care is a cartelized guild system, run by unresponsive central planners. Soon, Obamacare will make it a lot worse. If he don’t kill your baby with a drone, then he’ll starve it of phosphorus.

      1. Susan the other

        Nutrition is local. General theories of nutrition rule, but local confirms. Anyone who isn’t getting nutrition either has a metabolism problem or is simply deprived of direct nutrition. Sun to plant to animal to human. More or less. Leave out the animal if you are a vegan. But be aware of the dangers of human intervention in the food chain. Bitter greens are essential. Protein is also. So all you vegans don’t get carried away. Carbohydrates don’t really nourish us unless we are already nourished… Depending. When your metabolism doesn’t work you can adjust your intake. A good obstetrician/pediatrician knows how to calibrate an infant formula if you do not breast feed. And if your metabolism goes awry as an adult, i.e. diagetes, look for animal protein, or maybe fungal.

    3. Massinissa

      When I read the article, I sort of felt like an alternative title could be ‘Capitalism Is Dying’.

  6. from Mexico

    @ “Pope defends atheists: Atheists who do good are good, says Pope Francis”

    Pope Francis said yesterday that atheists (like everyone) have been redeemed by Christ Jesus, and that their goodness is determined by their acts, not their faith (or atheistic lack thereof).

    Those who draw the battle lines between atheists and religionists draw the battle lines in the wrong place.

    1. from Mexico

      Also from the article:

      Francis’s reaching out to atheists and people who belong to no religion is a marked contrast to the attitude of former Pope Benedict, who sometimes left non-Catholics feeling that he saw them as second-class believers.

      Well, we all know that Miss Ratzinger was a hyocrite and water boy for the neoliberal-neocon jet set.

    2. mookie

      The pope promotes Calvinism lite? Ye shall know the elect by their works. It’s a nice sentiment, I suppose, but I have to say that one man’s beneficience is another’s condescension. I find it difficult to accept anything, even a supposed olive branch, from the head of such a corrupt, harmful hierarchy responsible for so much misery and suffering. The moral of this joke may or may not be appropriate here, but it strikes me as fitting:

      Zizek tells a dirty joke

      1. from Mexico

        The pope said nothing about “the elect.” What he said is “that atheists (like everyone) have been redeemed by Christ Jesus, and that their goodness is determined by their acts, not their faith.”

        This is as about as remote from Calvinism as one can get, and is the same theology preached by Martin Luther King:

        The home that all too many Americans left was solidly structured idealistically; its pillars were solidly grounded in the insights of our Judeo-Christian heritage… All men are brothers. All men are created equal. Every man is an heir to a legacy of dignity and worth. Every man has rights that are neither conferred by, nor derived from the State–they are God-given. Out of one blood, God made all men to dwell upon the face of the earth. What a marvelous foundation for any home! What a glorious and healthy place to inhabit.

        And just what is it you are arguing? That men are not free? That they do not have a free will, and therefore have no ability or obligation to act morally?

  7. Working Class Nero

    Lynn Parramore’s article on rape fantasies is a big swing-and-a-miss on what is no doubt a fascinating subject. It seems her strict adherence to political correctness and the rather modest goal of spreading the guilt of Ariel Castro to the wider patriarchal society really limited her ability to exploit an interesting topic.

    Her first problem is that she labels kidnapping and rape fantasies as misogyny but the only way this makes any sense is by ignoring the uncomfortable fact that around half of all women in study after study have rape, forced sex, or kidnapping fantasies.

    The reason for these fantasies is debated; but researchers agree that they are not a sign that women actually want to be kidnapped and raped in the real world. So no, the victims in Cleveland were not “fantasying for it”. But to call rape fantasies “misogynous” is only possible if the true nature of female sexuality is suppressed and supplanted by a Feminist Ideal of woman that has no relationship to reality.

    More importantly, the reason that myths of women being swept up by invaders are so prevalent is the fact that historically, this is exactly what happened when one tribe or society was defeated in war by another. Nourishment (or resources), sex (access to reproductive resources), status, and revenge are the primary drivers of human conflict. Just like land can provide nourishment, young women obviously provide access to reproduction and were highly prized as war booty. Tacitus says:

    In history we find, that some armies already yielding and ready to fly, have been by the women restored, through their inflexible importunity and entreaty, presenting their breasts, and showing their impending captivity; an evil to the Germans then by far most dreadful when it befalls their women

    In case of defeat, the losing tribe’s men were massacred while reproductively viable women were taken as trophies and eventually incorporated into the victorious tribe’s society . It may seem a rough turn of events for the women but it was an infinitely better fate than that the men faced. Call it a form of female privilege.

    So these “myths” exist as object lessons to societies against letting their guard down because if they do their women could at any point be swept away by invading hordes.

    Genetic studies show that throughout history, only 40% of men have passed on their DNA while 80% of women have. In other words “Big Men” have dominated male access to reproductive opportunities in a similar way that access other resources has been monopolized by the rich. Let’s call it a form of sexual “Feudalism”. Quite often, the only way for excluded men to have access to reproductive resources was to form gangs and create raiding parties where women were kidnapped, raped, and made to breed the burgeoning tribe’s next generation.

    Faced with a sexual “bourgeoisie” hording the means of reproduction from a sexually impoverished “proletariat”, Christian (especially Protestant) societies for the past few centuries have found a way around this mal-distribution of reproductive resources through the strict regulation of female (and to a lesser extent male) sexuality. Religious leaders, especially Calvinists, created a sort of societal SEC (if you will) which fire-walled female sexuality to monogamous marriage and enforced draconian penalties on adultery. As a result more men than ever had access to the means of reproduction in the form of wives. This sexual “Marxist” solution meant the need for men to kidnap and rape strictly for access to reproductive opportunities was greatly diminished, although such activity was surely never eradicated.

    But the Big Men and many women chafed under this strict regulation of female sexuality. The Big Men were still getting more “access” than most men but they had to sneak around. Women were more ambivalent, while being biologically more attracted to men displaying high status cues (wealth, confidence, violence), they also appreciated the relative security living in a sexually Marxist society bought them. The Calvinist-inspired regulation was not foolproof, sometimes women and high status men still managed to get together despite the strict societal penalties that could arise from these trysts. But most women were forced to experience their preferred alpha male vicariously, often through romance literature in which various degrees of kidnapping and forced sex played a prominent role. These novels were typically written by women. Even an intellectual like Ayn Rand couldn’t resist the temptation to have Howard Roark forcibly take what he wanted from Dominique Francon. Because the ideal of woman creating forced sex literature is so controversial to Ms. Parremore, she is very careful to only use examples from ancient myths and the rare modern male samples of this genre. Admitting forced sex fantasies are an integral component of female sexuality means the whole patriarchy thing falls apart.

    And so the “Marxist” sexual regulation was in conflict with basic human nature and as a result Feminism rose up. When combined with help from their natural allies, the Howard Roark’s of the world, they eventually broke down the sexual Berlin Wall and unleashed sexual liberation, where Alpha males were once again allowed to score Like a Boss, and sent the Calvinist-Leninist regulators and their Beta Male minions fleeing. But as with any deregulation, there are both winners and losers, and one undeniable impact is that male access to the means of reproduction will become more and more concentrated towards men displaying high status cues. In response, there will be a tendency towards new modern forms of “raiding, kidnapping, and rape” as low status men once again return to a form of sexual “lumpen-proletarians”.

    So does all this mean that instead of blaming the rape fantasy industry, we can blame Ariel Castro’s actions on sexual deregulation? There is no doubt that in a more strictly regulated society Mr. Castro’s room to maneuver would have been much more limited. But even strict regulation is no guarantee against the baser human instincts. Throughout our evolution, for example, food has almost always been in limited supply, and so humans have a tendency to overindulge at the dinner table nowadays in a society where food is relatively plentiful. Historic sexual scarcity has in a similar way driven some men into a horde-and-gorge mode. But in a sexually deregulated society, Castro had in theory at least the opportunity to gorge on women with their consent — but apparently not the ability. And so he took the old raid, kidnap, and rape approach, which is deeply embedded in the male hindbrain — since undoubtedly the cold truth is that the only way many of our genetic male ancestors managed to pass on their genes was by applying this terrible tactic.

    Civilization acts as a domesticating force by creating regulations against these baser impulses. So by definition there will always be a contradiction between human nature and society’s attempts at regulation. But in order to construct good regulation, one must look at human nature through non-ideological lenses. For if we blame the terrible kidnapping of three women in Cleveland on humanity’s capture and rape fantasies, where does this leave all the women who experience — and all the female authors who freely express — these fantasies?

    1. Valissa

      Great comment! Much more interesting and thoughtful than Parramore’s article. She’s a good writer but a very non-original, politically correct liberal thinker so I find her a bit boring and have pretty much stopped reading her articles. The only reason I read her article today was because I enjoyed this comment so much I felt obliged to.

    2. optimader

      “Why Has Humanity Always Fantasized About the Capture and Rape of Women?”

      Has it?

      1. Valissa

        Unfortunately, yes. I learned this from my research into the history of war.

        Suggest reading ‘War in Human Civilization’ by Azar Gat. It’s long.

        1. Valissa

          Correction/incomplete paste… It’s long, and some sections are a bit dry (and can be skipped), but overall his integration of insights from anthropology, archaeology, sociology and economics into the history of war makes for a fascinating and very educational read.

        2. from Mexico

          I believe it was upon your recommendation that I bought Gat’s book, and I don’t see that it bolster’s Working Class Nero’s Hobbism in the slightest. To wit:

          The idea of a basic aggressive drive, almost blindly and automatically filling up from itself, was very attractive to the general public, because it appeared to explain seemingly senseless and irrational eruptions of violence and warfare. It came under heavy criticism, however, and was widely rejected by the scientific community. It was pointed out that aggression was a wholly different biological mechanism from the basic drives such as those for food or sex. Aggression does not accumulate in the body by a hormone loop mechanism, with a rising level that demands release. People have to feed regularly if they are to stay alive, and in the relevant ages they can normally avoid sexual activity altogether only by extraordinary restraint and at the cost of considerable distress. By contrast, people can live in peace for their entire lives, without suffering on that account, to put it mildly, from any particular distress. As we all know, whole societies can live in peace for generations. Indeed, there is miscomprehension here about the crucial difference that exists between the evolutionary functions of the activities in question. In the evolutionary calculus, nourishment and sex, for example, are primary biological ends, directly linked, the one to the organism’s existence and the other to its reproduction. By contrast, aggressision is a means, a tactic — and only one among many — for the achievement of the primary biological ends. As a means, its utilization depends on its usefulness.

          –AZAR GAT, War in Human Civiliztion

        3. Valissa

          From Mexico, I did not view WCN’s comment as Hobbsian or as an example of social Darwinism. But then I an uninclined to label or make assumptions based on a comment. The issue of human violence is complex and cannot be reduced to a few paragraphs in a comment. IMO, over the course of his book Azar Gat shares various viewpoints on violence, aggression, and war because it is a complex topic.

          My own observations is that some societies in some periods of history are more violent and aggressive than others, some are more cooperative and peaceful. This is similar to the animal kingdom where some species are more violent and aggressive than others. Because of this both peaceniks and hawks can select evidence to confirm their own beliefs.

          IIRC, Azar Gat talks about how conflicted humans are about war and violence. Almost nobody desires it, but yet it is fairly commonplace. At the end of his book, he makes the point that in societies where there are jobs and women available to young adult males, there is always less violence.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Do pretty female cats employ the same too?

            For me, that would be more useful to know.

          2. from Mexico

            Valissa says:

            From Mexico, I did not view WCN’s comment as Hobbsian or as an example of social Darwinism. But then I an uninclined to label or make assumptions based on a comment.

            If one doesn’t arrive at a person’s position by what they write, then what evidence is one to use to assess their position?

            So let’s take a look at the evidence, that is what Working Class Nero wrote.

            First, WCN asserts that ” ‘Big Men’ have dominated male access to reproductive opportunities in a similar way that access other resources has been monopolized by the rich.”

            So what are “Big Men,” in WCN’s own words? Well, they are the “Howard Roark’s of the world,” the “men displaying high status cues (wealth, confidence, violence)…” Furthermore, they are the type of men that women are “biologically more attracted to.”

            Next, in WCN’s little narrative, enter the “Calvinist-Leninist regulators,” who put a hiatus on all the violence, kidnapping and forced sex that women are more biologically attracted to.

            This, then, according to WCN, left most women without physical access to these violent men who they are more biologicaly attracted to, so they “were forced to experience their preferred alpha male vicariously, often through romance literature in which various degrees of kidnapping and forced sex played a prominent role.”

            But of course this situation couldn’t last, because the ” ‘Marxist’ sexual regulation was in conflict with basic human nature and as a result Feminism rose up.” Feminism was driven by “most women” who are biologically attracted to violence, kidnapping and forced rape. “When combined with help from their natural allies, the Howard Roark’s of the world,” the feminists, according to WCN, “eventually broke down the sexual Berlin Wall and unleashed sexual liberation, where Alpha males were once again allowed to score Like a Boss.”

            Of course this once again left all the non-warring, less domineering and beligerent types out in the cold once again. So the “low status men” were once again forced to “raiding, kidnapping, and rape” if they were to fulfill their sexual needs.

            “Civilization acts as a domesticating force by creating regulations against these baser impulses,” WCN then counsels us. “So by definition there will always be a contradiction between human nature and society’s attempts at regulation.”

            Well, all that little narative of WCN’s sounds a lot like Hobbes’ highly reductionist description of human nature to me, as well as his proposed solution to man’s natural state of perpetual war: the social contract. To wit:

            For Hobbes, the human ‘state of nature’ was one of endemic ‘warre’, murderous feuds for gain, safety, and reputation, a war of every man against every man… (Leviathan, 1651, 13). People were rescued and elevated from this condition only by the creation of the state, the coercive power of which enforced at least internal peace.

            –AZAR GAT, War in Human Civilization

            I’m not a woman, so I would not presume to speak for an individual woman, much less women in general, and assert “what most women are biologically attracted to.” That said, there was an excellent Chinese movie that dealt with one of WCN’s “Big Men,” and it hardly seems to me that the women who fell under his domination and control found their situation attractive:


          3. Valissa

            From Mexico, perhaps you should be arguing with Working Class Nero. Personally I prefer tolerant conversation (and enjoy many points of view whether I agree with them or not) to arguments about who is right or wrong about an opinion.

          4. old


            She continues to offer nothing on her own part. A completely vaporous and “tolerant” commenter who is very quick to judge others with the same sword she uses to slay anyone who bothers to disagree with any of her “not really my opinion” comments.

            Then…the ultimate modern day slight…silence.

            “While I don’t judge people, you are judging people, and I will not tolerate it.”

            Pundit trained and certified never to move anything forward, just preach and judge…but don’t take her word for it.

      2. optimader

        Do a Venn diagram of that and it seems like a rather broad indictment?

        Would it be also be productive to ask:
        Why has Humanity always fantasized about cannibalism?
        Why has Humanity always fantasized about sex w/ small furry animals?
        Why has Humanity always fantasized about burning philandering husbands in bed as they sleep?

        My point is, it seems to be a sufficiently broad (no pun intended) claim as to be consignable to one of an infinite varieties of inexplicable “fantasies” hatched in the minds of random (wo)men.

        Maybe a more probing question is why does Humanity fantasize?

        1. Valissa

          The world is a strange place… humans are complex and mysterious beings.

          There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
          Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
          – Hamlet (Shakespeare)

          1. optimader

            The world is a strange place… humans are complex and mysterious beings.
            That wouldn’t be a bad banner for a blog..

            “..There is a theory which states that if ever anybody discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened…”

            Douglas Adams

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            That has always been one of my favorite quotes.

            And let’s hope mysterious it remains.

            The sad thing is whenever a secret is uncovered, it’s always the 0.01% who use it to exploit the 99.99%.

            But like someone who is addicted to a bad marriage of convenience, we continue to delude ourselves that we can control it.

          3. Valissa

            That Douglas Adams quote is one of my faves as well! I just added it to my personal collection and while there, noticed this quote about the mystery of humans.

            “The great mystery is not that we should have been thrown down here at random between the profusion of matter and that of the stars; it is that from our very prison we should draw, from our own selves, images powerful enough to deny our nothingness.” — Andre Malraux

      3. craazyman

        Maybe there’s something wrong with me, psychologically speaking, because I’ve never once fantasized about the capture and rape of a woman.

        First, it sounds abhorrent, hideous and evil. Second, I’d rather try to pick them up, voluntarily, and go home with them and have a few drinks on the couch offered as a testimony to their sense of hospitality and pleasure. Third, capturing and raping a woman sounds like a hell of a lot of work and then you’ve either got to let them go and risk having 17 guys with baseball bats show up in 2 hours or feed them indefinitely, and that’s even more work on an ongoing basis.

        Even if I didn’t find it evil, abhorrent, hideous and a miserable alternative to just picking them up at a bar or nightclube, it’s still too much of an effort for anyone inherently sane and lazy.

        I don’t know about this whole topic. I think Ms. Parramore is exaggerating either due to delusion or for journalistic impact.

        1. AbyNormal

          or maybe Ms. Parramore is a ‘Pretty women’ who ‘angers more easily’, thereby deserving of whatever life throws at her.

          Anything cracked will shatter at a touch.

          1. craazyman

            I wouldn’t know about the angering easily part, but I think I met her once at a party and she is pretty hot.

      4. lidia

        Since “humanity” is generally understood to mean “men”, sure…
        Down thread people seem to be taking this seriously, despite the fact that 99% of history has, up until the last few decades, been written by men for male consumption.

    3. from Mexico

      That’s a nice narrative for social Darwinsits, but it only tells a small part of the story because the reality is that humans are hypersocial creatures who spend the vast majority of their lives engaged in cooperative activities, and not as alpha males making war, pillaging and raping (not that these activities don’t happen, but they are the exception and not the rule).

      What anthropologists have found is that in primitive socieites, it’s not the alpha males who get the most reproductive opportunities, but the males who are most successful at bringing home the bacon. This requires a different skill set than making war, pillaging and raping. Much more on this can be found in Moral Sentiments and Material Interests, especially the chapters on human food sharing and cooperation and costly signaling and cooperative behavior.

      Economies based on conquest and plunder tend not to be very permanent or sustainable, something the Spanish learned very quickly in northern Africa in the 16th century and only slightly later in the Americas:

      During the 1590s the boom conditions of the preceding decades came to an end. The principal reason for the change of economic climate is to be found in a demographic catastrophe. While the white and the mixed population of the New World had continued to grown, the Indian population of Mexico…had shrunk from some 11,000,000 at the time of the conquest in 1519 to little more than 2,000,000 by the end of the century; and it is probable that a similar fate overtook the native population of Peru. The labour force on which the settlers depended was therefore dramatically reduced. In the absence of any significant technological advance, a contracting labour force meant a contracting economy…

      The century that followed…has been called ‘New Spain’s century of depression’ — a century of economic contraction… During this century it had less to offer Europe…

      The events of the 1590s had suddenly brught home to more thoughtful Castilians the harsh truth about their native land — its poverty in the midst of riches, its power that had shown itself impotent.

      –J.H. ELLIOTT, Imperial Spain: 1469-1716

      1. William C

        But you could argue that the Anglo-American economy has been based on conquest and plunder since 1066. It would be an oversimplication, of course,ignoring more peaceful activities, and require conquest at times to include less blatant means of gaining control of the means of production than outright physical seizure. But I would argue that there is a grain of truth in the idea.

      2. Working Class Nero

        You’ve been nailing it on the libertarianism for the rich / regulation for the poor today but on this point I fail to see your point. You are totally correct to say that the best hunters got the most reproduction opportunities in Hunter / Gatherer (H/G) societies but then you make a strong distinction between the best hunters and the best warriors. Really? Are you really arguing that there is a substantial difference in the skill set between the two roles, so much so that one is an alpha male and the other isn’t? Because in H/G societies there was no specialization, there was no distinction between a hunter and a warrior. And as we know from Azar Gat’s book, once they filled a land mass, H/G societies were in a constant state of low-intensity warfare with neighboring clans. And this warfare took two forms: one was set-piece battles which were mostly for show where injuries happened but deaths were rare (the NFL fills this role for us nowadays). The other, where the real action occurred, were raids or ambushes where either enemy men were killed, and/or enemy women were kidnapped, raped, and often brought back as war booty. You still see this same type of warfare played out in America’s inner cities on a daily basis, although much more concentrated on the side of killing enemy men.

        Latin America only proves what I am talking about. A relatively very few Spanish and Portuguese warriors were able to conquer the entire continent. They then attempted to enslave the indigenous people but generally this was a failure as the native people were not physically built for plantation slavery. They usually died within a couple of years of being enslaved. Others obviously died from European diseases. This is why sub-Saharan Africans were brought in some parts of Latin America; they were physically strong enough to survive slavery and were generally already immune to most European diseases.

        So sure the economies didn’t grow both those Spanish warriors sure did pass on their genes. The revolutionary elites were almost always creoles (of pure blooded Spanish decent but born locally) and even today most of the elite of Latin America is still of pure Spanish decent. But those few Spanish warriors also impregnated plenty of natives as well. Where black slaves were not brought in the resulting mixed-race Mestizos became the laboring class, but usually not outright slaves. It is they who come to the US as immigrants, not the white Latin American elite.

        Or look at Genghis Kahn, he is the ultimate Big Man and it is estimated the 0.5% of the entire globe’s male population descended from him.

        Or look at the still occurring practice in the Caucuses of bride kidnapping.

        Cooperation is an important part of the human experience as well. Look at the early chapters of “Theory of the Leisure Class” where Veblen shows that high status people (males) practiced hunting and war while low status women were involved in farming, production, and cooking, etc. All of these efforts required cooperation but the type of productivity associated with modern economies was almost totally concentrated on the female side. The most striking example Veblen gave was of the male hunters who saw it as their role to shoot and kill the animal but it was women’s work to butcher the carcass and drag the pieces back to camp.

        I know you have this fear of Social Darwinism but to deny basic facts of human nature does not get us any further away from the reality wrought by these behaviors.

        1. from Mexico

          @ Working Class Nero

          When you speak of how “those Spanish warriors sure did pass on their genes,” “the revolutionary elites were almost always creoles (of pure blooded Spanish decent),” “most of the elite of Latin America is still of pure Spanish decent,” and “the resulting mixed-race Mesizos became the laboring class,” this is the racial ideology that began to emerge in Mexico in the 18th century with the arrival of the Bourbons and the Enlightenment, and by the first part of the 20th was dominant. As Maria Elena Martinez expalins in Genealogical Fictions, “One of the principles is the idea that blood is a vehicle for transmitting a host of physical, psychological, and moral traints.” It assigns a biological “weakness” to non-white blood when it implies that non-white blood can be completely absorbed into Spanish lineages. The meaning of blood purity moved farther and farther away from religious practices and became embedded in a visual discourse about the body, and in particular about skin color. Spanish concerns with phenotype were present during the early stages of Iberian colonailism, but these became much more acute in the Age of Reason.

          As Martinez goes on to explain, this “resulted in the association of purity with Spanishness and white skin color. A colonial innovation, this association emerged almost surreptitiously and was recorded in the declarations of witnesses in probanzas de limieza de sangre. Their testimonies suggest that, at least in the Spanish mind-set, skin color came to function as an index of behavioral, religious, and biological characteristices and that phenotype in general came to play an informal role in how pure bloodlines were measured.” “Not only did the concept of purity of blood become associated with Spanishness and whiteness, but it came to work together with socioeconomic categories.” “Its association with Spanishness and whiteness and its interaction with class enabled the exclusion of people.”

          Martinez concludes that

          the representation of a social order neatly structured by overlapping race and class lines and maintained by white male control over female sexuality was deceptive, for the period was one in which the sytem of classification became more unstable due to demographic, economic, and marriage trends…

          The growing instability…prompted a variety of colonial institutions to attempt to increase their exclusivity by issuing or enforcing purity and nobility statutes, which only intensified the Mexican elite’s obsession with genealogy and anxieties about mestizaje…

          The proliferation of purity and nobiity requirements in the face of growing social instability not only led to an increase in the number of probanzas but enhanced the creole elite’s obsession with genealogy and the past… Together with the reports of merits and services, the probanzas de limpieza de sangre helped sustain the creole preoccupations with blood.

          In 1795, the crown published a list of prices for purchasing gracias al sacar. These instruments superceded laws about legitimacy and various other matters related to birth status and ancestry. They allowed those who were not white to purchase edicts (Cédulas de Gracias al Sacar) erasing the “defect” of their birth.

      3. JohnL

        “What anthropologists have found is that in primitive socieites, it’s not the alpha males who get the most reproductive opportunities, but the males who are most successful at bringing home the bacon.”

        And then the alpha males – Romans, Spanish, British, Americans – figure that out and send their armies to steal someone elses bacon (gold, cotton, tea, oil,…). Although these days they increasingly use banks instead of armies. And the peaceful folks back home turn a blind eye to where the bacon came from.

        1. from Mexico

          Kevin Phillips argues that in a very short period of only 400 years the world saw the rise and fall of three great hegemonic empires: Spain, Holland and England. After 1945 the baton was passed to the United States. Two of these, the Dutch and British, in addition to military might had tremendous domestic producing might.

          The death knell of all three, he argues, was the financialization of their economies.

          Perhaps no one has summed it up more eloquently than Joseph Chamberlain, speaking to a group of London bankers in 1903:

          Granted that you are the clearing-house of the world, but are you entirely beyond anxiety as to the permanence of your great position? … Banking is not the creator of our prosperity, but is the creation of it. It is not the cause of our wealth, but it is the consequence of our wealth; and if the industrial energy and development which has been going on for so many years in this country were to be hindered or relaxed, then finance, and all that finance means, will follow trade to the countries which are more successful than ourselves.

          Phillips believes that the US is now in decline, and that once the cancer of financialization sets in, the track record is that it will prove fatal.

    4. Stephanie


      Brings to mind my absolute fave sketch-comedy skit of all time: a group of giggling school girls at a slumber party, playing who-would-you-rather? While flipping through the latest issue of Teen-bop, featuring photos of the richest and therefore most middle-aged and paunchy captains of industry. Funny because it was true, obviously…

      That bit of sarcasm aside, what I’m dying to know is the why and wherefore of all the boy-on-boy torture porn the fangirls keep posting on livejournal and tumblr and archive of our own. There’s gotta be a reason stemming from evolutionary biology that 14-year-olds want to write and read as many different variations as possibly of Snape raping Sirius, right?

  8. F. Beard

    re Why Has Humanity Always Fantasized About the Capture and Rape of Women? Lynn Parramore, Alternet :

    “When you go out to battle against your enemies, and the Lord your God delivers them into your hands and you take them away captive, and see among the captives a beautiful woman, and have a desire for her and would take her as a wife for yourself, then you shall bring her home to your house, and she shall shave her head

    The woman herself shaved her head, Lynn! To decrease her sexual attractiveness?

    and trim her nails. She shall also remove the clothes of her captivity and shall remain in your house, and mourn her father and mother a full month; and after that you may go in to her

    Sounds like a patient rapist to wait 30 days, huh?

    and be her husband and she shall be your wife.

    Wife, not concubine, or sex slave. Wives had rights in Hebrew society.

    It shall be, if you are not pleased with her, then you shall let her go wherever she wishes; but you shall certainly not sell her for money, you shall not mistreat her, because you have humbled her.” Deuteronomy 21:10-14 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

    How hard is it for a woman to displease a man, if she wants to?

    The Lord did make concessions to the hardness of heart of the Hebrews (by allowing divorce, for example, c.f. Matthew 19:8). I suspect this is another example.

    1. JohnL

      Demonstrating once again that God’s morals are those that the men of a warlike bronze age tribe projected on him.

      This is the reason so many indigenous people who were “converted” to Christianity have European yDNA and indigenous mitochondrial DNA.

      We can do better.

    2. Linden

      re Why Has Humanity Always Fantasized About the Capture and Rape of Women? Lynn Parramore, Alternet :

      “When you go out to battle against your enemies, and the Lord your God delivers them into your hands and you take them away captive, and see among the captives a beautiful woman, and have a desire for her and would take her as a wife for yourself, then you shall bring her home to your house, and she shall shave her head

      The woman herself shaved her head, Lynn! To decrease her sexual attractiveness?

      The word “shall” is a mandatory word. The woman had no choice about shaving her head. She’s probably lucky they gave her the chance to do it to herself, before they did it to her.

      and trim her nails. She shall also remove the clothes of her captivity and shall remain in your house, and mourn her father and mother a full month; and after that you may go in to her

      Sounds like a patient rapist to wait 30 days, huh?

      I’m sure that month of standby while waiting to be raped by the murderer of her people was a pleasant one.

      and be her husband and she shall be your wife.

      Wife, not concubine, or sex slave. Wives had rights in Hebrew society.

      It shall be, if you are not pleased with her, then you shall let her go wherever she wishes; but you shall certainly not sell her for money, you shall not mistreat her, because you have humbled her.” Deuteronomy 21:10-14 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

      How hard is it for a woman to displease a man, if she wants to?

      The Lord did make concessions to the hardness of heart of the Hebrews (by allowing divorce, for example, c.f. Matthew 19:8). I suspect this is another example.

      I’m sure the woman had a lot of incentive to displease the man in this situation, when after her divorce she would be a despoiled woman with no family in a patriarchal society that ranked the value of women by their relationships to men. After her divorce, her career choices boiled down to: prostitute, prostitute, and prostitute.

      The reason these stories get told again and again is because men were the storytellers. Full stop.

      1. F. Beard

        The reason these stories get told again and again is because men were the storytellers. Full stop. Linden

        Really? Malachi was a man, I’m pretty sure, yet he wrote the following (quoting God):

        “This is another thing you do: you cover the altar of the Lord with tears, with weeping and with groaning, because He no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. Yet you say, ‘For what reason?’ Because the Lord has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. But not one has done so who has a remnant of the Spirit. And what did that one do while he was seeking a godly offspring? Take heed then to your spirit, and let no one deal treacherously against the wife of your youth. For I hate divorce,” says the Lord, the God of Israel, “and him who covers his garment with wrong,” says the Lord of hosts. “So take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously.” Malachi 2:13-16 New American Standard Bible (NASB) [bold added]

        You’d be wise to at least read the entire Old Testament before you judge it?

        1. JohnL

          If you offer a quote in a comment, Beard, the quote will be judged as part of that comment. If you don’t like it, don’t quote. Use your own words.

          1. F. Beard

            Huh? I’m not ashamed of the Bible, including the Old Testament. Meanwhile, people attack it whose ancestors, for instance, burned captives alive in wicker cages (the lovely Brits, for example), according to standards they would not even have except for the Bible!

          2. JohnL

            I was responding to this: “You’d be wise to at least read the entire Old Testament before you judge it?”

            Again, if you pull a quote from the OT the quote will be judged in the context of your comment and the thread it appears in. You don’t get to duck behind the OT. If that is not acceptable to you, the remedy is not to quote but to form your own thoughts and express them in your own words. Try going a week without quoting. You might find it liberating.

          3. F. Beard

            If that is not acceptable to you, the remedy is not to quote … JohnL

            Actually, it was the remedy – by shattering some per-conceptions about what the Old Testament says. Now, an honest observer might actually read it instead of being guided by someone with an ax to grind.

            And btw, many of those with an ax to grind vote Republican anyway.

        2. optimader

          “…I’m pretty sure, yet he wrote the following (quoting God)”

          God told me.
          It would be an interesting, in not conventionally indefensible debate strategy for the author.

          “…Now it is such a bizarrely improbably coincidence that anything so mindbogglingly useful [the Babel fish] could have evolved by chance that some thinkers have chosen to see it as a final and clinching proof of the non-existence of God.

          The argument goes something like this: “I refuse to prove that I exist,” says God, “for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing.”

          “But,” says Man, “the Babel fish is a dead giveaway isn’t it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don’t. QED”

          “Oh dear,” says God, “I hadn’t thought of that,” and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.
          — Douglas Adams,

          1. F. Beard

            Actually, God exists or does not exist regardless of our faith.

            Dough A’s wit falls short, it seems.

          2. optimader

            Depends on your particular notion of god I suppose?

            there in lays the infinite flexibility of faith-based constructs.

          3. F. Beard

            Faith does not call God into existence but it may prompt Him to act:

            “Without faith it is impossible to please God since those who come to Him must believe He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6

            Still faith is not the highest virtue, love is. But if one has neither love nor faith, I reckon one is hopeless too.

          4. JohnL

            ” Still faith is not the highest virtue, love is.” And there, Beard, you, I, the Dalai Lama, and it seems even pope Francis can agree.

          5. optimader

            ” Still faith is not the highest virtue, love is.” And there, Beard, you, I, the Dalai Lama, and it seems even pope Francis can agree.”

            Would you hate me if I didn’t agree?
            Just a rhetorical question, I’m not sure if I would have faith in your answer anyway.

            just kidding.. move along.

          6. skippy

            If your going to study one its important to study them all, but, whats that thingy about mountains, many bits make up a mountain and yet at the end of the day its a mountain stuff.

            Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture – PIE



            The trifunctional hypothesis of prehistoric Proto-Indo-European society postulates a tripartite ideology (“idéologie tripartite”) reflected in the existence of three classes or castes—priests, warriors, and commoners (farmers or tradesmen)—corresponding to the three functions of the sacral, the martial and the economic, respectively. This thesis is especially associated with the French mythographer Georges Dumézil[1] who proposed it in 1929 in the book Flamen-Brahman,[2] and later in Mitra-Varuna.[3]

            Three-way division

            According to Dumézil, Proto-Indo-European society comprised three main groups corresponding to three distinct functions:

            the function of sovereignty
            the military function
            the function of productivity
            Sovereignty fell into two distinct and complementary sub-parts, one formal, juridical and priestly but worldly, the other powerful, unpredictable, and also priestly but rooted in the supernatural world. The second main social division was connected with force, the military and war while the role of the third, ruled by the other two, was productivity, herding, farming and crafts.[2][3] Proto-Indo-European mythology was divided in the same way: each social group had its own god or family of gods to represent it and the function of the god or gods matched the function of the group.


            skippy… Quicunque Vult or the Life of Grain… baaaahahah~ we worship grain

            The Meaning of Life: Growth and Learning


          7. skippy

            Simply put… society as we know it… especially Proto Indo-European Culture – PIE… is constructed around the growing of grains. The cycle is represented in every action.

            skippy… The hole enchilada, hierarchy – religion, finance, all of it. Hence people should really go back further than biblical times.

      2. F. Beard

        After her divorce, her career choices boiled down to: prostitute, prostitute, and prostitute. Linden

        No. Hebrew society had provisions for the poor, including alien women. You should read the Book Of Ruth. It’s short and if you don’t cry, you should see a cardiologist to see if you have one. :)

        1. F. Beard

          Perhaps I’m too generous. But that society was certainly commanded to have provision for the poor, and as The Book of Ruth shows, at least SOME obeyed God.

          Enough, lest I offend.

  9. from Mexico

    @ “Jon Stewart rips Obama for aggressive investigation of whistle-blowers instead of bankers”

    Would it be fair to say that there has not been a greater champion of invisible government, what Thorstein Veblen called the “Democracy of Proerty Rights,” and the growth of the state’s instruments of violence — the police and the military — since Woodrow Wilson?

    1. scraping_by

      Barry the human punching bag.

      Pushed by his masters to grovel in public when they break laws and rape widows and orphans, constantly thinking up new headfakes to keep up the lie of governance, he’s crawling on his belly and pretending his head is high. You could almost feel sorry for him, by not looking at the broken lives, trashed institutions, dead bodies, wasted time, stolen money, bankrupt citizens, and ripped hopes he leaves in his wake.

      I hope he’s got a few billion in a bank account in Qatar. If he’s sold out his ration of human dignity for less, we have a right to spit.

      1. JTFaraday

        Obama had the chance to re-stock his administration with Clinton era D-Party people who would have put some limits on the predatory FIRE and war making sectors while stroking the real economy in a superficial fashion with fiscal policy without fundamentally altering the nature of the regime one iota.

        Instead of retaining criminal mastermind Bob Rubin, he could have gone with the traditional meliorist policies of “the other Bobs,” Reich and Kuttner, complete with culture warrioring youth group over at the American Prospect which gave birth to Matt Yglesias and Ezra Klein.

        Even by his own go along to get along standards, Obama made a serious error in judgment because he allowed the mask of “fairness” slip to completely off the face of the regime.

        He may get away with it in the short run, but I suspect that in the long run history will not be kind to this sort of managerial incompetence.

  10. rich

    How to Make a Million Dollars an Hour

    The truth is that hedge funds are risk breeders and carriers, not diffusers. They operate in a relatively unconstrained manner, hiding their positions and strategies to remain “competitive.” Leopold does an excellent job of exposing the ways they manipulate our economy behind that curtain, where the only doctrine they follow is the one that makes them the most money.

    Take the irony of Tepper’s Appaloosa hedge fund that bet against free-market ideology and for government bailouts, by betting that after the 2008 financial crisis began the government would not let the big banks fail. He was right. In 2009, he made $4 billion. He profited from us bailing him out. As Leopold writes, “The bailout saved the entire hedge fund industry from utter collapse.” And these guys didn’t even hold FDIC-insured deposits or insurance polices. Think about that.

    In Step 6, “Rig Your Bets,” Leopold asks, “Why gamble unless you’re the house?” He explains how hedge funds like Magnetar fleeced the markets. The deals they managed racked up $40 billion in losses for investors while their managers made billions. They worked with nine banks including Merrill, Citigroup, UBS and JPMorgan. It so happens that JPMorgan—whose chairman and CEO, Jamie Dimon, is often lauded for being a risk management god—did one of Magnetar’s riskiest deals in May 2007, a year after housing prices started to decline. The bank didn’t disclose to CDO investors its special role: selecting pools of 2005 and 2006 mortgages destined to fail. (Because, Department of Justice, in case you don’t get to read the whole book, they were already failing. Insider Information. Look it up.)

  11. F. Beard

    austerity injures:

    The four-lane Interstate 5 bridge collapsed about halfway between Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia, Trooper Mark Francis of the Washington state patrol said. from [bold added]

    Will the politicians who oppose infrastructure repairs finally get their head out of their asses?

      1. BondsOfSteel

        True… but since this bridge is in a major earthquake zone, it was less than safe.

        OTOH, it’s still safer than the Alaskan Way Viaduct, which is still held up with cables and bubblegum. You can actually see daylight through some of the cracks. Pray we don’t have an earthquake before 2016.

      2. oregonchris

        The reporting I read said that it was unclear if the truck hit the bridge before or after the bridge started to fall. In any case, that shouldn’t be something that makes an entire bridge fall down.

  12. rjs

    “children are dying” goes a long way in explaining this:

    U.S. Top of List for First-Day Deaths in Rich Nations: The United States has the highest rate of first-day deaths in babies than any other industrialized nation, according to a report released this week by the humanitarian group Save the Children.
    Throughout the world, the first day of life is the most hazardous time for a baby; just over one million children die each year within 24 hours of being born.
    Save the Children’s annual “State of the World’s Mothers” report ranks 176 countries on levels of well-being among children and mothers. This year’s edition puts a special emphasis on newborn health, featuring its first-ever Birth Day Risk Index. The index ranks countries from the safest to the most dangerous for a baby to be born in.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


      I would add

      Seniors are dying
      The weak are dying
      The sick are dying
      The overworked are dying

      1. David Petraitis

        Murder is a crime, but rent-seeking is it’s own reward.
        After all the hoi-polloi have died will the rich find out that they can eat the ones and zeros in their banks accounts?

    1. AbyNormal

      bhahaaha good catch diptherio

      Monsters are real, and ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win.
      King the Author

      Those aren’t green shoots, they are “bumps along bottom”. The country has just completed one “lost decade”, measured on growth per person, and is about to enter a second.
      King HSBC

  13. diptherio

    Re: Recovery

    …only six Friedman Units until things are back to normal…that doesn’t sound so bad (at least it will be in time for the next general election).

  14. optimader

    Re: Chinese Military Renews Cyber-Attacks, Focusing on US Electrical Grid

    They apparently don’t want to be our friends? Maybe we should threaten to devalue the US$?

    1. AbyNormal

      our grids are gnats looking for a windshield but for a battle cry it seems to accompany the deceit

      1. optimader

        RE: the grid

        Ironically, “the grids” analog decrepitude is a embedded defense strategy vs a digitally controlled integrated supergrid with inevitable vulnerability(ies) that scale up massively.

        Not to say “the grid” should be 19th century or unreliable, on the other hand integration and digital control have their dark side.

        Cant hack this
        ‘Moloch!’ clip from “Metropolis” 1927

        1. AbyNormal

          now Opti this is where i stay confused…aren’t there 3 main grid/grids in the US? are they coined ‘the grid’ in layman terms?? im not confused…im lost’ )

          1. optimader

            Yes, the US power grid is three grids actually, the eastern western and texas grids. These “grids” are composed of a unaffiliated or loosely affiliated group of independent and integrated power generation entities and transmission entities. I was being a bit tongue and cheek, on the merits but the tangle of independent producers, transmitters and users make it a nonintegrated system –never say impossible, but pretty damn impossible as far as I know to hack into as a unified system. It’s disorganization is a sort of defense, on a National level.
            Ultimately “the grid(s)” lack of organization is a dead end, but as the initiative to integrate down to the consumer using (digital) “smart grid” control, theoretically a hacker can drill right down to a retail consumer and fry your audiophile stereo system..
            “Super grid” such as proposed in Europe notably by ABB and other suppliers, is an initiative to provide technology (ironically DC power transmission, thank you T Edison) that allows longer distance lower loss power transmission, thereby allowing continental grids to be completely unified (all of say Europe or N America) into one integrated system.. This is great for a number of reasons , noteably both improved efficiency and enabling smaller and intermittent distributed generation sources (say solar panel and wind turbine) to contribute a larger % to the base load. Right now due to intermittency, the economic dark side of say a WT is that it can only be depended on for something like ~20% of the base load in a utility system, regardless of its theoretical peak capability, as it is not always available and it’s transmission distance is economically limited. Consequently the big stinky base load of conventional and nuke power plant have to installed toensure 100% availability for all of our conventional use –as well the anticipated “zero emission” (snark) electric auto fleet.
            As for me.. bring back electric light rail, install long distance DC power transmission and tread very carefully into the domain of fully integrated Supergrid, w/ digital smart grid control.

            A bit of unleashed opportunity for unhappy:

          2. AbyNormal

            HolY OhM OptI…Thanks!
            so a unified continental grid would be more secure against hacking? i obviously need to read much further…appreciate link.

          3. optimader

            I think securing a unified grid is a big question right now actually. Currently it’s a relatively disorganized hodgepodge, therefore problematic if not impossible to systemically hack, not to say a hacker couldn’t theoretically take out a chunks of the country presumably..

            Unfortunately the hodgepodge limits scale up, flexibility and efficiency as well. the two sides to the coin..

            here, if you want to read on it a bit, its actually pretty interesting stuff






            drill through here.. Very good website (Schneider on security)


  15. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


    My German is shaky, but luckily German is popular, so it can be corrected if not right. The question is this, assuming more is better:

    Zwei Steine > Ein Stein?

    1. Susan the other

      what’s interesting is the desire for a grand unifying theory. Isn’t this the very definition of hubris. Whatever. Sounds like string theory all over again to me. According to geometric math. Sounds like sacred geometry to me. Question: Is the force of dark energy traceable? Where does sit come from. Primal forces are peculiar. They have no history. We cannot know. We cannot verify gravity let alone all this other shit. Notwithstanding all the stuff we have been taught.

  16. PATUS

    The official contortions on drone murder show how US government hit men are trying to hide from international criminal law. The Pakistanis are laying the foundation for a General Assembly resolution pointing to the US as a threat to peace. The resolution could cite A/RES/377(V), taking the initiative away from a veto-bound Security Council and putting pressure on the ICC prosecutor to get involved. Pakistan is also providing for a groundbreaking application of the law on internationally wrongful acts.

    The Rome Statute travaux préparatoires show that the US signed up largely to keep its civilian bureaucrats off the hook for universal-jurisdiction war crimes. Ultimately the US failed. The Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia had set contrary precedents, and other victims of the US put their foot down. If war is a matter of policy, then policy-makers are accountable.

    US government criminals are running scared. They can’t hold off rule of law forever. They know times change. So they went and got a helpless chump to take the rap: Obama!

    The extra-judicial killing of ObL forcibly reminded Obama that he’s a puppet ruler. When the war apparat killed ObL they ignored Obama, they told the poor chump, No, stuff your bring-him-back-alive, we’re gonna kill him. By the way, you’ll have to take our word for it. No scalp for you, we’re gonna drop him in the ocean. CIA didn’t even tell Obama what was happening, they wouldn’t let him see the frickin feed. Not allowed to know what’s going on, How sad is that? Poor bastard had to pretend for the propaganda snapshots. When it was all over, Mister President wasn’t allowed to ask which goon shot ObL. They let him pet the dog, though.

    That’s our head of state. The buck stops there. Obama has to pretend he’s driving, but really he’s got one of those plastic kiddy-toy steering wheels and he’s cranking it like mad while Brennan’s driving him to Nuremberg.

  17. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Ring Nebula, a football shaped jelly donut.

    I have always said, we are all donuts.

    I even made a pottery plate saying so and display it nicely in my home.

  18. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Thank you for the link on the incredible disappearing gold inventories.

    I only hope they are going to the 99.99% of the private sector, and not the 0.01%.

    It may not the case though.

    That’s why I believe we need to free gold from Fort Knox (legally, of course) and give it to the people.

  19. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Recovery in 2016.

    I only hope the first to finish that marathon is not the last as well.

  20. Jessica

    “Children Are Dying”

    What jumped out at me over and over was the amount of energy that the 20% put into preventing feedback. That might be the single highest priority for the 1% (or 0.1%) that the 20% serves.

    One useful yardstick for what real democracy* would look like: something like this couldn’t happen. The article presents any number of good caring people who know that what is happening is outrageous. In a society with a more balanced distribution of power, those people would have been able to fix the problem long ago.

    BTW, the desperate bartering among under-supplied hospitals is reminiscent of the decaying days of the Soviet Union. “It’s like, who do I need to sleep with to get something done?” The only difference being that in the Soviet Union, she would have known exactly who he was.

    *real democracy: There is no good word for this. “Democracy” has become so associated with kayfab elections that I hate to use the term. This isn’t a vocabulary issue, it is a sociological issue. There is no widely recognized term, because the concept of “a society with power in all aspects of life widely distributed in the way that a ‘democratic” society pretends to do with overtly political power” itself is not widespread enough to require a universally recognizable term.

  21. Valissa

    ‘I played guitar during brain surgery’: Incredible video shows patient strumming away as doctors live-streamed his operation

    10 Incredible 3D Sidewalk Chalk Drawings

    “Never mess with a chipmunk’s nuts.” (cute video) Hi-yah! Chipmunks battle for acorns on ‘North America’

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I saw it once on one of Bill Moyers shows with Chinese brain surgeons using traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture, I think.

      Maybe we have successful copied that.

  22. mookie

    Science journalist Carl Zimmer has been on a massive roll:
    Getting To Know Your Inner Mushroom New research into the human ecosystem. Recommended along with Pollan’s Some of My Best Friends Are Germs, especially for those still suffering from ad-created fear of germs and/or fantasies of personal sterility/purity.

    Meet Your New Symbionts: Trillions of Viruses

    The Girl Who Turned To Bone

    Chlorine in the history of earth

    Another Link Between Dog Brains And Our Brains

  23. Hugh

    Colgan is speaking about the jobs situation in Maine. But what he is talking about is returning employment to 2007 levels. There are two problems with this.

    First, job creation nationally during the Bush years after the 2000 recession up to the 2007 recession was poor. The participation rate fell.

    Second, using the metric of a return to 2007 job levels by 2016 is deceptive because it ignores 9 years of population growth.

    If Colgan wants a more accurate starting point to measure against. He should use the participation rate from its peak in 2000. This would take into account both the poor jobs growth during the Bush years and population growth throughout the period.

  24. F. Beard

    re Monetary Rapture: The Incredible Disappearing Gold Inventories – Ocean Receding Jesse :

    Being anti-central-bank does not require being a silly gold-bug. It’s a false choice anyway since gold is merely a previous tool for enslavement by bankers.

    1. ohmyheck

      Jesse–“… I don’t think the bankers realize the signals that they sent to the markets with the manner in which they handled Cyprus. And MF Global and the entire financial crisis for that matter. These things take time to build, and then it seems that suddenly people begin to act.”

      I don’t think this is haphazard. Sumpinz up.

  25. barrisj

    For those readers at this site who are tiring of religious arguments or rape fantasising, a guest post on the Charles Pierce blogsite unpacks Obama’s latest in his series of “I Have A Drone” speeches, where in fact there is NO substantive change in policies regarding drone use, only how the WH will now explain them away.

    The Lethal President Sends His Regrets: What Obama’s Drone Speech Meant

    A few hours before President Obama delivered his national security speech, I called a lawyer who used to work for him. I wanted to gain some insight into a question that everyone seemed to be asking: Why now? Why had the President decided, four months into his second term in office, to admit responsibility for the deaths of four American citizens, to cut back on the drone strikes that have been the hallmark of his counter-terrorism policy if not his entire presidency, and then to give a speech that, if it lived up to its advance billing, would propose limits on his administration’s own lethality?
    Of course, President Obama was not the first representative of the Obama administration to offer a thoughtful and rather tortured public apologia for drone strikes. He was merely the latest and possibly the last, and as such his speech was remarkably consistent with what has come before. When administration officials have spoken of targeted killing, they have always spoken in the language of limits. They have never spoken in the language of expansion. But expand targeted killing they have, to an extent that has made some of their characterizations of a program marked by “precision” and “deliberation” sound like either a folly or an outright falsehood. To an extent unimaginable just a year ago, the president yesterday took ownership of his own Lethal Presidency. But while he took ownership of the policy that killed Anwar al-Awlaki, he did not take ownership of the policy that killed al-Awlaki’s son Abulrahman. And while he took credit for the policy that has killed “dozens of highly skilled Al Qaeda commanders, trainers, bomb makers, and operatives,” he never came close to taking credit for — or acknowledging — the policy that has killed people by the thousand.

    Also, via Moon of Alabama, the McClatchy News Service website takes the view that in fact Dr Drone is allowing an expansion of the current policy, if he deems it “vital to national security”.

    Obama speech suggests possible expansion of drone killings
    WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Thursday defended his administration’s use of drone strikes to kill terrorists as effective, lawful and “heavily constrained,” but he also appeared to be laying groundwork for an expansion of the controversial targeted killings.

    In remarks at the National Defense University in Washington, Obama cast the use of such operations as a necessary part of an overall national defense strategy, even as he acknowledged targeted killings risk “creating new enemies” and could “lead a president and his team to view drone strikes as a cure-all for terrorism.”
    But Obama’s speech appeared to expand those who are targeted in drone strikes and other undisclosed “lethal actions” in apparent anticipation of an overhaul of the 2001 congressional resolution authorizing the use of force against al Qaida and allied groups that supported the 9/11 attacks on the United States.

    In every previous speech, interview and congressional testimony, Obama and his top aides have said that drone strikes are restricted to killing confirmed “senior operational leaders of al Qaida and associated forces” plotting imminent violent attacks against the United States.

    But Obama dropped that wording Thursday, making no reference at all to senior operational leaders. While saying that the United States is at war with al Qaida and its associated forces, he used a variety of descriptions of potential targets, from “those who want to kill us” and “terrorists who pose a continuing and imminent threat” to “all potential terrorist targets.”
    The fact sheet also said that those who can be killed must pose a “continuing and imminent threat” to “U.S. persons,” setting no geographic limits. Previous administration statements have referred to imminent threats to the United States – the homeland or its interests.

    “They appear to be broadening the potential target set,” said Christopher Swift, an international legal expert who teaches national security studies at Georgetown University and closely follows the targeted killing issue.

    This guy is always presenting his questionable actions in terms of wrenching moral decisions, frequently citing the works of St Thomas Aquinas and St Augustine as guiding precepts, then the bugger goes out and does quite the opposite of what he was arguing for. Always trying to square the circle, and perplexed when few buy his product. 2016 can’t come soon enough.

  26. scraping_by

    RE: Passenger trains

    While this article, and most of the news coverage, points to the piss poor capital funding, it’s also important to look at operating spend. In particular, head count.

    The interval in inspecting track has widened with the cut down of head count in the operating railroads. I think this is major corridor mainline, so it’s probably on a 30 day cycle. Could be wrong, but if memory serves, that’s the interval a track inspector runs the track.

    Given the wear and tear this track takes, it’s nearly certain any defects will show up, and become significant, in a far shorter time frame. The tonnage that runs it will wear it out far quicker than more seriously than every thirty days will find.

    A track inspector is a cost, and inspecting the track at a shorter cycle will mean more track inspectors hired. But it’s less of a cost that a derailment. Any derailment.

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