Links 5/9/13

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PLAGUE of SEX CRAZED MONSTER GRASSHOPPERS to hit East Coast The Register (Dr. Kevin)

Solar Power Plug Socket Turns Any Window into a Charger OilPrice

A Quantum Computer Aces Its Test New York Times (Ricard Smith)

Coke acts to fend off obesity criticism Financial Times

Microsoft has just blown its oldest trick John Gapper, Financial Times

Druckenmiller: Australian dollar to fall hard MacroBusiness

Deadly fire in Bangladesh factory BBC. And an update on the death toll in the factory collapse: nearly 900.

China may not overtake America this century after all Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

The EU’s Out-Of-Control Intelligence Services (That Don’t Exist) Wolf Richter

Hawking boycotts Israel conference BBC

US officials blocked rescue effort while Benghazi burned, Congress told Guardian

Defense secretary worries sexual assault in military nearing a tipping point Christian Science Monitor

Obama Did It for the Money TruthDig (Richard R)

How little-known judges could thwart Obama’s climate plans Grist

Homeland Security CIO resigned this week Washington Post

House Moves To Gut Derivatives Regulations Again Firedoglake (Carol B)

Another ex-Wilmington Trust officer guilty of fraud Philly (Paul Tioxon)

VIDEO: Cooper Union Students Take Over President’s Office, Hold Vote of No Confidence (Update) Village Voice (Lambert)

Reinhart and Rogoff publish formal correction Financial Times

FBI Internet Wiretapping Is A Cyber Security ‘Disaster Waiting To Happen’ Clusterstock

The dark side of home schooling: creating soldiers for the culture war Guardian. I haven’t gone looking, but I bet no US MSM outlet has the nerve to touch this issue.

UPDATED: Heritage Report Author: Hispanic Immigrants May Never “Reach IQ Parity With Whites” Media Matters. This sort of stereotyping, sadly, has a long history. For instance, Irish immigrants were widely seen as intellectually deficient in the mid-1800s.

8th Grade Student: Why So Much Advertising on Pearson Tests? Diane Ravitch (inverness)

The IIF implodes Felix Salmon

Big Banks Push Back Against Tighter Rules Wall Street Journal

What Do U.S. College Graduates Lack? Professionalism Bloomberg

The Customer Service Problem at McDonald’s Is a Symptom of a Much Bigger Problem Stranger (Lambert)

Antidote du jour:


And a bonus (Chuck L). I particularly liked this video:

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  1. Richard Kline

    ‘Bama did it for the money: there is no bottom to the swamp. However low you sink looking for his basics there’s always deeper to go; it’s muck all the way down . . . .

    1. AbyNormal

      The Creation

      In the beginning
      Was the proposed rule
      And then came the assumptions
      And the assumptions were without form
      And the proposed rule was completely without substance
      And the darkness was upon the face of the bankers
      And they spaketh amongst themselves, saving
      “It is a crock of crap and it stinketh.”
      And the bankers went unto their Associations and sayeth,
      “It is a pail of dung, and none may abide the odour thereof.”
      And the Associations went unto the Sub-Committees
      And sayeth unto them,
      “It is a container of excrement, and it is very strong
      Such that none here may abide by it.”
      And the Sub-Committees went unto their Congressmen & Senators and sayeth,
      “It is a vessel of fertilizer, and none may abide its strength.”
      And the Congressmen & Senators spoke amongst themselves, saying one to another.
      “It contains that which aids plant growth,
      And it is very strong.”
      “It promotes growth and is very powerful.”
      And the Congressmen & Senators went unto the President and sayeth unto him,
      “This new rule will actively promote the growth
      And efficiency of all banks, and these areas in particular,
      And will serve as a comfort and protection for our constituents.”
      And the President looked upon the rule and saw that is was good
      And the rule became
      Regulation O.
      ~anita garriett

  2. burnside

    The juxtaposition of thoughts on professionalism with the observed decline in service at a fast food franchise led me to (the vain) hope those commenting on problems at McDonalds might read the Bloomberg piece immediately above.

    Neither appears to recognize how many generations have contributed to the current norms, nor how the ‘unprofessionals’ view their own behavior; and neither appears to suspect how comprehensively we’ve adopted informality in all aspects of life, though they appear a bit ambushed by the result.

    1. Yearning to Learn

      I personally think that much of the issue isn’t “professionalism” instead it is “adequate understanding of strengths and weaknesses”

      American kids are the most entitled kids on Earth.
      We have coddled them into oblivion.
      Every one of them thinks that they are special.

      For instance: we can’t give them an “F”. no, that would hurt their fragile egos. Thus, we rename it an “N”.

      in little league, they ALL win a medal.

      you get credit for just showing up. sometimes you get credit even if you don’t show up.

      Thus each one of these darlings thinks they are the best on Earth, and they act accordingly.

      I know that all generations say this about the generations that follow them… but I know for a fact I would have never dreamed of doing/acting the way some of the current 18-25yo set do.

      we’ll see what happens as they age. perhaps it’s just delayed maturation and not a primary defect of character.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        There is a hypothesis or a conjecture out there that posits that one’s views on life depend on how close (in time) one is about to the exit in life.

        So, if the 0.01% who will live forever, they need not grow up for a very long time.

      2. cwaltz

        Must be your kids. I’ve got 2 kids in that age bracket. The oldest walked to work 2 years before finally purchasing a car for himself. The younger of the 2 is saving for a house. It isn’t uncommon for either of mine to put in a 50 hour week.

        Quite frankly I don’t know how they manage to stay cheerful. My daughter just had dental surgery. The price? $700 or almost 2 weeks of pay ( and that was AFTER her boss was kind enough to add her to company dental plan.) She paid for it though and made a necklace for her boss since being added saved her from paying over a month in pay.

      3. nobody

        Many of the people I know in the “the current 18-25yo set” are homeless or in precarious circumstances.

        The adjusted youth unemployment rate in the US is now 22.9%. If unemployment and underemployment are combined we’re probably talking about 50% or higher.

        Those that do have jobs are often working under abusive circumstances for not much more than minimum wage.

        The younger cohorts in the poorer neighborhoods attend authoritarian high schools with police presence in which often minor offenses are treated in draconian fashion, feeding the pipeline into the prison industrial complex of a country that has the highest incarceration rate of any society in human history, ever. In the city where I live, a curfew is aggressively enforced in the non-middle class zones.

        By and large the professors I know are totally clueless about the basic realities of the society in which they live and teach (and I’m talking primarily about social scientists).

        I strongly suspect that a large portion of the “40 percent of employers cit[ing] ‘inadequate basic employability skills’ as a reason for why they can’t hire and keep workers” are not paying their workers a basic living wage.

        I note that the “Professionalism in the Workplace” report was based on a survey of “401 human-resource people.” Well, in 2008 when I made an ethical complaint to the HR department at the company I was working at I was fired in retaliation. I subsequently have heard from many quarters that that outcome was precisely what I should have expected to happen in contemporary America. They don’t want genuinely “professional” workers — they want people who will conform to the “kiss up kick down” ethos, who won’t question what they are told to do even if it’s unethical or illegal, and who advance through the ranks not on the basis of performance or work ethic but on how well they practice office politics and going along to get along.

        1. anon y'mouse

          have to say–I can’t agree with you more. every place that I’ve ever worked, it has been the same. Management: “we do whatever we want to do, it no matter how illegal, unfeasible, degrading, or dangerous it may be to the workers, the residents, the customers or even (totally unacknowledged, probably because they always have a layer of assistants that they can project blame onto) ourselves, and you will like carry out our instructions or be fired!”

          a lot of workplaces are toxic, and examples of petty kings over petty fiefdoms, who take up new rules and practices upon personal whim. some of them are obvious sufferers of some kind of anti-social personality disorder, who enjoy making those underneath them squirm under their degradations and demands, or working out their residual childhood issues on their employees. I’ve been in a few environments that so strongly resembled the abusive relationships I was also familiar with, that it is no wonder that employees are “acting out.” just see yesterday’s piece on traumatized kids.

          I noticed only one commenter on the McD’s piece referenced the attitude of many retail/food service customers: no matter how little they are spending (15 cents on a single envelope, i’m not shitting you) they feel entitled to a lot of foot-shufflin’ “yes’m massah” behavior

          one develops a low-grade form of chronic PTSD, and an attitude of “i’m fucked, the world is fucked” and it can be hard to see the importance of trivial bullshit like catering to the ego inadequacies of the boss or that dude and his single envelope, or “no SOY milk!” woman, or whatever. plunking down money does not entitle you to be treated like a god, and for you to treat the person working for that money like a piece of sh*t.

          as for the piece on professionalism, that may not have anything to do with colleges. we are talking about primary socialization factors. if you don’t know how to show up on time, shut up (don’t disrupt with your constant phone checking and keyboard tapping) while you’re there, and dress and act properly, it is almost guaranteed it is because your family never expected you to have those skills mastered by the time you were 5 years of age.

          the increasing availability of “always on”, in-your-pocket technology just adds another element of psychological distraction to the mix. I can’t wait for the studies that show that “multi tasking” is a mental disorder which can be induced by all of this, leading to an inability to focus on the present in a meaningful way and the rise in prescription drug use, and probably affecting the brain in a permanent form that impacts all kinds of things, learning being one. they probably already exist and I just haven’t stumbled across them yet.

          perhaps this permanently unfocused, distracted and “unprofessional” stuff is all linked, is what i’m sayin’. perhaps linked to “you don’t give a shit about me and I don’t give a shit about you, so let’s not engage in the pretense.”

        2. JTFaraday

          “I strongly suspect that a large portion of the “40 percent of employers cit[ing] ‘inadequate basic employability skills’ as a reason for why they can’t hire and keep workers” are not paying their workers a basic living wage.”

          Maybe the reason for this unemployability propaganda campaign is that fast food service is starting to organize for just that:

          “Then came the explosion of the grease trap, a machine that separates grease from the drainage that flows into the sewers. Grease splattered all over the basement floor and walls; a manager asked Barrera to clean up the mess. Barrera agreed, figuring that he’d prove himself worthy of a raise. The company had recently promoted him to shift supervisor, adding to his responsibilities. But Barrera was still waiting for the extra pay that was supposed to come with the new title. He spent two days scrubbing down the basement with ammonia and bleach, determined to show his boss that he deserved more than what he was making. But the raise never came…

          In January, an organizer with New York Communities for Change, the main group behind the April fast-food strike in New York, walked into Barrera’s KFC and asked if he wanted to join a campaign for a $15 hourly wage. At first Barrera was skeptical. “I said you shouldn’t sell people a dream that they can’t catch,” he recalls.”

        3. Mark P.

          Nobody wrote: ‘Many of the people I know in the “the current 18-25yo set” are homeless or in precarious circumstances. The adjusted youth unemployment rate … is now 22.9%. If unemployment and underemployment are combined we’re probably talking about 50% or higher.’

          Thank you for saying this. It can’t be said enough.

    2. They didn't leave me a choice

      I found the article about well heeled HR cunts whining about insufficient “professionalism” to be utterly hopeful. This means that the brainwashing/obedience system is finally braking down on low levels. No more will the corporate system be fed with tons upon tons of completely compliant drones to be exploited and thrown away. The fighting back is starting. One “misdemeanor” at a time. Go! Disobey! Throw a spanner in the works.

      God bless those smartphones.

  3. lolcar

    The Pritchard article is a must-read. There’s some awesome Western ruling class hubris on display. My personal favourites –

    A new view is taking hold in elite circles that the banking crash in 2008 was a nasty shock for the US, but … US governing institutions rose to the challenge.

    — 捧腹大笑 – that’s “laugh your head off” in Chinese.

    Keep in mind the next time you are in China and find yourself choking on the foul air that the things making the air foul are counted as positives for GDP. If you adjust Chinese GDP for environmental degradation and for over-investment in things that will never be used, it falls in size by 30-50 per cent.

    — So we’re embracing an environmental economics that actually subtracts from GDP when fracking pollutes an aquifer, or a housing sub-development rots in the desert – but only for China.

    Stagnation looms unless Beijing embraces the free market and relaxes its suffocating grip over the economy. “Innovation at the technology frontier is quite different in nature from catching up technologically. It is not something that can be achieved through government planning,” it said.

    — Apparently, the Manhattan project, the Apollo program, and the Pentagon are in no way responsible for America’s technological preeminence. China’s state-directed investment in renewable energy will produce no technical advances – you can count on it.

    America has managed its dominance in such a way that it has not brought about a containment alliance against it by threatened powers, and that is no small achievement. Like Wagner’s music, US diplomacy is better than it seems.

    — The American invitations to Mercosur and CELAC just got lost in the mail.

    Richard Haass, president of the US Council of Foreign Relations, says the world may already be in the “second decade of another American century” without realising it.

    — Does a tree fall in the forest, if there’s no one there to hear it?

    1. Jefemt

      Maybe if he grabs a pair of the CNBC peacock pom-poms, he can attract a bit more attention to our unquestioned exceptionalism and the fallen tree. Tangentially, anyone else see the irony in the offshore-sewn Walmart garment brand—a label depicting an American Flag, called Faded Glory? Brazen and rich, that one…

      1. David Lentini

        Hey! The government didn’t make it. Mitt Romney and the 1% made it! :-)

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If we in the second decade of another American Century, it’s because our 0.01% and their 0.01% have not come to an agreement regarding profit-sharing.

    3. Systemic Disorder

      “Innovation at the technology frontier is quite different in nature from catching up technologically. It is not something that can be achieved through government planning.”

      The Internet and World Wide Web, two mention only two, seem rather innovative to me.

  4. diptherio

    Uh…that last link is from the Stranger, not the Strangler. Creepy typo…

    Speaking of that venerable left-coast indie rag, I’ve always found it somewhat odd that they chose to use a masturbation reference as the name of their paper (that is what it is, right???).

    1. hunkerdown

      If their publisher happens to be an acclaimed nationally syndicated sex advice columnist, anything’s possible…

  5. David Lentini

    Heckuva Job Corporate America! Heckuva Job!

    Well our business overlords have done it again! They now complain about the poor work attitudes of college graduates (Bauerlein) and McDonald’s employees (Strangler). Must be those awful schools! Yeah, that’s right!

    It’s hard to argue with the observations. As a school board member and the spouse of a middle school teacher, I hear the same complaints about student attitudes on entitlement, distractions as “multitasking”, and a real lack of respect for bosses, teachers, and adults. I’m often distressed at the sense of ennui that my own young adult children seem to have about the world.

    But of course, as usual, once you hold your nose and shovel off the pile of bullshit, you reach an even slimier and rank truth at the root of the problem–Corporate America itself. Just note:

    1. Who beat the drum about “multitasking” as a key work habit in the first place? Why our business schools and economics departments, aided and abetted by the media. Of course, anyone who actually cared about the quality of their work detested the idea that multitasking would be held up not as an expedient in times of urgency, but as a “skill” to be sought after. And after years of trumpeting this anti-skill in the press and media, our CEOs now find it harmful to quality and professionalism.

    2. Who undermined parental authority through decades of advertising aimed at getting children to become “consumers” by pestering their parents for the latest toys and gadgets? Who created the developmental stage of “teenage rebellion” with the help of psychologists in order to market clothes, music, and other crap to teens further undermining parent-child relationships? Why our corporate overlords.

    3. Who has attacked public education relentlessly, destroying respect for teachers and the very idea of schooling? Corporate America.

    4. Who has driven families to the financial breaking point, forcing many teens to forego school in order to help their families cope with unemployment, underemployment, low wages, and no medical insurance? Corporate America.

    5. Who has destroyed the tax base, forcing schools to run on minimal budgets and denying basic assistance to families? Corporate America.

    6. Who has created a school sports monster that lauds athletes over scholars, thereby further denigrating teachers and academic achievement? Corporate America.

    7. Who sets the “bad boy” example of lawlessness by creating Too-Big-To-Fail Banks run by Too-Big-To-Jail bankers? Corporate America.

    Now, the “left” has its share of blame in the troubles these articles complain about, albeit in a different set of particulars. But the idea that our businesses now whine about a crisis in our workforce as if they are victims is ridiculous. If Corporate America wants better workers, then Corporate America has to learn to accept responsibility and treat people with respect.

    Remember: You reap what you sow.

    1. diptherio

      Weird, DL. Great minds use the same clichés, I guess.

      You’re right to point out that it was the business world that encouraged multi-tasking and marketed it as a skill (instead of a symptom of ADHD). I recall a time, not too long ago, when “ability to effectively multi-task” was listed as a job requirement for nearly every position I looked at.

      1. PunchNRun

        In (weak) defense of this multi-tasking concept, in 40 years in the corporate work place I never took multi-tasking to mean watching TV and doing homework at the same time. Rather instead it refers to possessing the skills needed to keep track of several projects running concurrently — principally self-organization and discipline. The reason we need these skills is not so much excessive work load, though in some companies that is endemic also, but due to the nature of a business which does small projects which do not require full time project managers. So it’s a matter of semantics. Traditional multi-tasking is different from “not paying full attention.”

        Now we are recognizing that there are limits to the small project multi-tasking also, as the time spent context switching is measurable and significant. Just ask any computer scientist with operating systems experience.

        Quibbling I know, from one who prefers precision in terminology.

    2. Expat

      Not to worry: Obama is modeling the correct behaviour in our kiss up, kick down competitive culture. Obedience to authority!

      Your comment recalled to me a lecture in Reagan’s first term by a now deceased Harvard law professor commenting that the behaviour designated as pathological in ghetto was praised among the CEO class.

      1. skippy

        Operant conditioning chamber… cough… neoliberal corporate culture… cough… skinner’s box.

        skippy… in building their boxes for consumers… they failed to notice the one they built for themselves… the latter is not reviewed for long term viability…

        PS… did skinner work with a mirror… so as to see him self… as he worked?

      1. skippy

        See I3 or I-Cubed Intangible Asset Monetization reply in below reply to ambrit.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I get them mixed up often.

            When I first heard of Google, I thought it was named after the googol amount of money they would make.

      1. David Lentini

        I didn’t buy that argument then, and I don’t buy it now. Americans, especially the young, have almost always been politically silent until the pain is too personal not to notice. The “Progressive” press has a bad habit of thinking that history began in 1965, and then comparing varous movements, or lack thereof, to the glory days of the Civil Rights and Antiwar demonstrations. But that period was very unique, and once the the riots started, the Civil Rights Acts were passed, and the Viet Nam war ended, the mainstream of our youth happly dropped politics and returned to their sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll.

        What’s keeping the current youth in suspended animation are the student loans that have yet to come due. As the numbers of grads who can’t find decent jobs to pay for their contentment or their loans piles up, we’ll see more and more demands to fix thinkgs. But asking people 18-25 about Social Security is like asking people to comment about life on Alpha Centauri. (And it was just the same in the ’70s and early ’80s when I was in that age range too.)

        1. jrs

          Yea, it’s bizarre to ask them to care about social security. It’s a long way off (most aren’t doing any other retirement saving either). And for something so far away a lot of myths can be believed (such as: “I’ll just invest enough in the stock market not to need social security starting when maybe I’m old – like 30 something – you know old, I shouldn’t have to worry about it when I’m young”). Yea good luck with that, but really SS is not their current battle.

    3. anon y'mouse

      eek, we touched on some of the same points.

      had not yet read, and thus could not copy your work, but I applaud it for its greater clarity.

  6. diptherio

    Those last two links should be read in conjunction with the chart from Yves’ “Flagging Productivity Gains” post.

    For over three decades now, workers have not shared in the benefits of increased productivity and now we’re seeing workers who don’t seem to give a flip. Well, why should they? It has become common knowledge that corporations (and employers generally) are only in it for their own pecuniary gain, and feel no responsibility towards their employees. So why should employees feel a responsibility towards their employers? The problem here is that all parties involved have fully internalized the preachments of neo-classical economics, with predictably anti-social results.

    If you tell everyone that it’s not only acceptable, but admirable, to act in a totally self-interested manner (and if you yourself set the example of so acting), you should not be surprised when your employees start acting all “entitled.” You reap what you sow.

    1. cwaltz

      Corporate America has to be full of the most ignorant and least self aware.

      Franchise owner: It’s unfair that you employees want me to pay a wage that allow someone to afford basics like food, clothing and shelter. It’s an ENTRY LEVEL position. It isn’t skilled labor It’s unfair that you expect me to help you pay for care in the event you or your family might get sick. It’s unfair that you expect me to allow people some sort of sick time so that if they are sick they don’t get consumers sick.

      What? I can’t understand why the fact that I’ve just denigrated your contribution to our company and have basically stated that it isn’t any of my responsibility to care about you, as a human being should mean that YOU,the employee, feel absolutely no loyalty or pride to ME, the employer. Why aren’t you willing to rearrange your life for my substandard wages with no benefits? I’m baffled,baffled I tell you.

      Heck some of them are so disingenuous it’s not to be believed. Subway founder: Wages are directly tied to pricing. Uh no Mr Founder, PROFITS are directly tied to labor costs, not pricing.

      1. ambrit

        Re: “it’s bleak.”
        A university grad, (working on his Masters) toiling here at the DIY Boxxstore just handed in his notice because he was moving up North with his long time girlfriend. She had just landed a good job in her field after three years beavering away in the second division of her profession. (I think she has a Masters.)
        The two of them fit the modern young professional mould. Well educated, stuck in low paying work hoping for a big break. (She deservedly got hers. Very good at what she does, and likes it too.) Putting off family. Downsizing their expectations. (He: “I don’t think I’ll ever live as well as my folks have. Sometimes XXXX and I talk about kids, but, well, who wants to bring up children knowing they are going to have it a lot worse than we do?”)
        Our politicians are falling down on the job, (among other things,) in not trying to bring up the national mood. I’ve heard older folks than me tell about listening regularly to FDRs “Fireside Chats.” One woman I remember said something to the effect: “You knew that here was someone who cared about what was happening to you, individually, and was going to do something about it.” Now, how many of us here listen with any regularity to Os’ Saturday Speech? (Put those hands up Patriots!) Well, the Republicrat Response then? (Oh boy! I’m going to have a very pointed talk to Publicity sometime today!)

        1. skippy

          Significantly lower testing results are met with lowering the criteria, this is the consensus amongst those I know in international academia.

          skip here… got to keep those asset-backed security – securitized student loans coming… savvy investors are demanding performance[!!!].

          Often a separate institution, called a special purpose vehicle, is created to handle the securitization of asset backed securities. The special purpose vehicle, which creates and sells the securities, uses the proceeds of the sale to pay back the bank that created, or originated, the underlying assets. The special purpose vehicle is responsible for “bundling” the underlying assets into a specified pool that will fit the risk preferences and other needs of investors who might want to buy the securities, for managing credit risk—often by transferring it to an insurance company after paying a premium—and for distributing payments from the securities. As long as the credit risk of the underlying assets is transferred to another institution, the originating bank removes the value of the underlying assets from its balance sheet and receives cash in return as the asset backed securities are sold, a transaction which can improve its credit rating and reduce the amount of capital that it needs. In this case, a credit rating of the asset backed securities would be based only on the assets and liabilities of the special purpose vehicle, and this rating could be higher than if the originating bank issued the securities because the risk of the asset backed securities would no longer be associated with other risks that the originating bank might bear. A higher credit rating could allow the special purpose vehicle and, by extension, the originating institution to pay a lower interest rate (that is, charge a higher price) on the asset-backed securities than if the originating institution borrowed funds or issued bonds.

          Thus, one incentive for banks to create securitized assets is to remove risky assets from their balance sheet by having another institution assume the credit risk, so that they (the banks) receive cash in return. This allows banks to invest more of their capital in new loans or other assets and possibly have a ***lower capital requirement*** (emphasis mine).

          Skippy… Oh… (I3 or I-Cubed) economy, See:

          1. skippy

            Athena Alliance Board of Directors

            Richard Cohon, Chairman

            Mr. Cohon, an entrepreneur and investor, is the former President of a U.S.-based Consumer Product Development firm with offices in New Jersey and China. Mr. Cohon has been deeply involved in issues of manufacturing, competitiveness and education for many years. He has served as a Member of the Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce whose 1990 report America’s Choice: High Skills or Low Wages presented a groundbreaking analysis of the US educational system and its relation to business. Mr Cohon was also active in the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences’ Education and Training efforts and served on the Board of the US Basic Skills Investment Corporation, one of the first computer based open exit-open entry second chance, remediation secondary education systems in the country. In addition Mr. Cohon was a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization and in the 1980s founded the YPO Manufacturing Project which exposed both members of YPO and invited politicians and government officials through plant tours and study to the emerging social revolution in the organization of work commonly associated with Toyota and the Lean System of Manufacturing. A graduate of Columbia College in the City of New York with an interest in Oriental Languages and cultures, Mr. Cohon finally found a use for his college learning through establishing formal relationships with leading Asian manufacturing members of YPO and with the US manufacturers.

            As a result of his work both on the Commission and with YPO, Mr. Cohon felt the need to create an organization that would strengthen and prepare all of US business for a growing knowledge intensive economy that would easily cross and span geographical borders. In particular through his work at NCMS with large US multinational firms and at YPO with entrepreneurial service and manufacturing firms, Mr. Cohon saw that the R&D and product development activities of these firms were rapidly being spread throughout the globe and that as a result the former US dominance in all areas of R&D and product development was not sustainable. This had transformative implications for the US economy and for all of its stakeholders. It was out of these concerns that drove Mr. Cohon to found with Ken Jarboe the Athena Alliance.

            Kenan Patrick Jarboe, Ph.D. President

            Ken Jarboe is President of Athena Alliance, and editor of the blog, The Intangible Economy. Dr. Jarboe received his Ph.D. in Sociotechnological Planning and B.S. in Engineering from the University of Michigan. He has served in a number of senior staff positions for the United States Senate, including as Chief Economist for the Senate Democratic Policy Committee. Before founding Athena Alliance he served as Senior U.S. Strategist at G7 Group, Inc., a Washington-based political economy consulting firm, as Senior Fellow at the Work and Technology Institute and as an analyst at the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment. An internationally recognized expert on intangible assets and the knowledge economy, Dr. Jarboe is the author of numerous publications and presentations on intellectual capital and intangible assets, innovation, information policy, economic competitiveness, corporate strategy, international trade and technology policy. He has also served as an Assistant Professor of Technology Management at the University of Maryland, University College and an Adjunct Professor of International Business at Georgetown University.

            Joan L. Wills, Secretary/Treasurer

            Ms. Wills is Director of the Center for Workforce Development, Institute for Educational Leadership. She concentrates on assisting states and localities in improving capacity of their institutions and staffs to provide high-quality preparatory experiences for new entrants into the labor force driven by standards of practice based on “want-works” research. Her published works are on issues such as: transition to the world of work, literacy, career guidance, work readiness and occupational skill standards.

            Before joining the Institute, Joan served as project manager of the Commission on Skills of the American Workforce, author of the report, America’s Choice: High Skills or Low Wages!. She has also been Director of the Center for Policy Research at the National Governors Association and a gubernatorial appointee in two states. Joan’s international experience is with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the Inter-American Development Bank and U.S. AID. She has also served on many national boards, advisory committees, work groups and task forces for national organizations and the federal government.
            Joan earned an undergraduate degree from Franklin College in Indiana and a graduate degree from Ohio State University in social work.

            Jonathan Low

            Mr. Low is a Partner and Co-Founder of Predictiv, LLC. His specialty is management performance and organizational effectiveness, primarily valuation of intangibles such as strategy execution, brand, reputation, communications, innovation and organizational transition. He and his colleagues work with clients in business, government and the not-for-profit sector in the U.S. and Europe. In partnership with Fleishman-Hillard Inc. of the Omnicom Group, Predictiv has established Communications Consultants Worldwide (CCW) to provide communications measurement and management solutions to corporations.

            Before founding Predictiv, Jon was a Senior Fellow at Cap Gemini Ernst & Young’s Center for Business Innovation. Under his leadership, CGEY produced four major reports on the growing role of intangibles in the global economy. Jon organizes and co-hosts, with Forbes ASAP, an annual conference entitled Measuring the Future. Co-editor of Enterprise Value in the Knowledge Economy, published by the OECD and Ernst & Young in 1997, he is also co-author of Invisible Advantage, published by Perseus Press in 2002.
            Jon has served in a number of positions relating to valuation of intangibles, including co-Chair for Strategic and Organizational Issues of The Brookings Institution’s Task Force on Understanding Intangible Sources of Value. He has presented his findings to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Financial Accounting Standards Board, the European Commission and New York Federal Reserve Bank.

            Before affiliating with CGEY, Jon took a leave of absence from investment firm High Street Associates to serve as Deputy Assistant Secretary (Acting) for Work and Technology Policy at the U.S. Department of Labor. In that capacity, Jon served on the SEC Steering Committee on the Future of Accounting and Financial Reporting and The Conference Board’s Working Group on Corporate Performance Measures. He was also U.S. representative to the inaugural OECD Conference on Corporate Governance.
            Jon serves on the Boards of Advisors of IP Innovations Financial Services Inc., and Earth-Jet Inc., on the Board of Visitors of Dartmouth College’s Center for International Understanding and is a Fellow of the National IP Task Force. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College and Yale University’s School of Management.

            Peter Harter

            Peter Harter has been on email since 1986 and began publishing websites in 1993. Networking scientists, investors, lawyers, journalists, CEOs, and politicians, Peter generates relationship capital. Peter’s policy expertise stems from first hand knowledge of innovation and disruption created by emerging technology companies, academia, and individuals.

            Peter has managed nonprofit online communities and lobbied for corporations and startups such as Netscape Communications,, and Securify, Inc.. He has lobbied in Washington, DC, and Sacramento, CA, as well as numerous international locations including Ottawa, London, Paris, Brussels, Geneva, Bonn, Berlin, and Tokyo.

            Presently, he advises social innovators, non-profits, think-tanks, entrepreneurs and venture investors in China, US and Israel. Peter also represents Intellectual Ventures, LLC, a Bellevue, WA, firm that invents and invests in invention.
            He holds a B.A. in Government and Rhetoric from Lehigh University and a J.D. from Villanova University School of Law. Peter is a member of the board of directors of the Open Source Digital Voting Foundation, a non-profit organization focused on making digital voting technologies trusted and available to the public.


          2. skippy

            More rentier stuff…

            Protection of government logos

            By Ken Jarboe on August 3, 2010 6:15 AM | No Comments | No TrackBacks
            In previous presentations and postings, I’ve mentioned the fact that governments invest in the creation of intangible assets — including brands and logos (trademarks). But government logos are a special case of trademarks which are given a higher level of protection. Chapter 33 of Title 18 of the US Code protects government emblems, insignia and names. This runs from use of “Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation” to the FBI to Smokey the Bear.

            The purpose of these laws is to prevent abuse and deceptive practices. No one wants the public to think a private bank with the words “Federal Reserve” in the name is really one of the Fed banks. Likewise, the use of the Presidential seal such be reserved for the use of the President (something candidate Obama found out quickly when his campaign once used a look-alike Presidential seal during a speech).

            The laws, however, also allow the agencies to control commercial use of the logos and license them out. For example, various White House and Secret Service logos are licensed to the United States Secret Service Uniformed Division Benefits Fund. Licensed products are sold in the official (or licensed) gift shops. Similarly, the FBI Recreation Association sells official FBI items at gift stores in Washington and at field offices.

            Every once and awhile, government agencies feel the need to warn someone about the use of the logo. The latest occurred last week when the FBI sent a letter to Wikipedia stating that the use of the FBI logo in the Wikipedia article on the agency violated the law. Wikipedia responded in a letter stating that the Bureau had overstated the case — claiming that Wikipedia’s use of the seal did not constitute assertion of authority or intent to deceive. Nor does the posting violate commercial use. (See also New York Times story).

            The Wikipedia letter noted that they are willing to fight out the issue in court. No word yet as to whether the FBI is willing to pursue the matter. In either case, the exchange is may be important step in clarifying the protection granted to government logos. It may also force the government to take a closer look at how it manages its brands — and other intangible assets.

            As I’ve noted many time before, the US government invests significant funds in the creation of intangible assets — both those used by the general public (education; R&D) and those held by the government (brands). We need to better understand those investments (with a better budget analysis) and management them.


            Skippy… this was in 2010… upgrades like TTP in the works AWS.

            PS. the new world economic world optics:

      2. diptherio

        It’s bleak…not quite sure what you mean by that (typical skippy…Rorschach comments…gotta love ’em)

        If you mean the sense of entitlement and poor work skills, I’m quite familiar. When I worked at the nursing home we had three housekeepers in a row either show up late on their first couple days, or not at all, or want a vacation after a week (and these were not all young people, either). I was shocked at the time.

        My ex- teaches University chemistry labs. Kids would plagiarize from the internet/books/each other, and then complain when they were caught and docked points! An unearned sense of entitlement seems to be our current zeitgeist.

        1. JTFaraday

          What’s also part of our zeitgeist is a factual narrowing of opportunity along with a rhetorical barrage of public intimidation.

          For example, around the year 2000, I noticed the elite press intently banging the drums about elite educations and heavily intimating that anything less than that would leave kids behind. Parents and teachers were given to understand that nothing less than perfection would do. People could see there was a degree of truth to this, even then.

          Real people don’t necessarily react to this heightened sense of competition by cracking the “Tiger Mother” whip, and getting “real” results. They react by bringing about the desired paper trail by whatever means necessary, rather than damage the life chances of ordinary, humanly imperfect kids.

          Young prospective employees also get a lot of mixed messages, because the way employers terrorize older workers is by complaining about their rigidity, lack of flexibility, and presumed lack of familiarity with the new technologies with their informal conventions. So, they see employers castigating the old for not being more like the young, in their natural youthful habitat.

          Young people have also gotten an earful about “networking,” the whole subtext of which– having lived through the sea change– is that it really isn’t what you know, but who you know. If what people are doing is jollying young people along to a certain extent rather than ruin their life chances, then it all starts to come together into a seamless whole.

          And, indeed, that is more how the more privileged classes actually work. I have seen tenured faculty virtually write college admissions essays for their kids, their nieces and nephews, their neighbors.

          It seems to me that those who think that terrorizing the workforce is productive ought to start figuring out that what they’re getting in return instead is a lot of crap, delivered with knowledge and forethought by some portion of the informed public.

          It is not at all unreasonable for people to conclude that the person who is stupid today is the person who sticks their nose to the grindstone, tries to do it the old fashioned way and who accepts the consequences of doing so.

          I somewhat dislike this sea change. But I dislike the intimidation more.

          1. skippy

            iholes with facility for patches and up grades at a cost sic rent extraction~

            skippy… last batch of papera my wife graded, 150ish, out of a possible 70, averaged 45 and bellow. Don’t even want to identify some of the more egregious offerings with in. Medical science T or F questions FFS… paying costumer thingy~~~ Worse than the Asian English classes rip off scam schools… barf[!!!].

          2. anon y'mouse

            “Young people have also gotten an earful about “networking,” the whole subtext of which– having lived through the sea change– is that it really isn’t what you know, but who you know. If what people are doing is jollying young people along to a certain extent rather than ruin their life chances, then it all starts to come together into a seamless whole.”

            that’s not the subtext. that is the explicitly conveyed meaning. the subtext is “the purpose for forming other human relationships is for whatever extrinsic benefits they provide.”

            using each other like tools, in other words.

          3. jrs

            Korporate Amerika says: Young people today are so horrible, but it’s still better to be them than over 50 when you submit a resume.

          4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I knew there was something I didn’t like about social networking.

            Thanks for pointing that out.

          5. skippy

            Working on it, yet its hard to deprogram a partner that went to thee elite private school for this region and – all – the reinforcement updates – patches – social conditioning feed back loops supplied by family, friends and the incessant metronome of MSM – advertising cortex injections.

            Funny enough though… when working relief in the bush… it starts to wash off.

            Skippy… lauded clinical medical practitioner and educator (@2 university’s) by trade and consumer of all manner of finery when not… Arggghhh~

            Designers include: ALC, Helmut Lang, J Brand, L’Agence, Isabel Marant, Phillip Lim, IRO, Rag & Bone, bespoke jewelers and many more!

        2. Binky Bear

          They were taught to fulfill the test paradigms of No Child Left Behind. Therefore copy cut paste is a successful strategy that has been rewarded or required in the past.
          This is on top of the end of critical reasoning, civics, and political history in primary and secondary schools. Educated, informed and critical citizens make poor drones and troublesome residents.

        3. Lidia

          I get the feeling on the education front that kids and those adults studying in college or for other sorts of advanced or ancillary education have long figured out that it’s no longer about learning the material on its merits but has become just sheer credentialism. The kids, on this front, are way ahead of the adults, in many cases.

          Even from early grades, I’ve seen the crap work my nieces and nephews are supposed to perform. It’s bizarre and nonsensical make-work, and the kids know it. . The bovine teachers are resistant to sussing out that the kids are on to them! They’ve drunk the educator Kool-Aid. There are papers my nephew brought home at 8 y.o. that I, who went to MIT, could not decipher. The schools cultivate strange and arcane proprietary jargons intentionally to KEEP THE PARENTS OUT OF THE FRANCHISE, for one… and to aggrandize their own positions, however obscenely well (in some cases) or poorly (in others) remunerated they might be. IOW, the situation has developed such that only a credentialled “professional” is supposed to be able to teach a child anything, and yet children in the US are more poorly educated than at any time in modern history, to all practical effects. !!!

          There is something deeply wrong with humanity in general.

          A doctor visited my elderly mom who’s on hospice, and I used the word “obstreperous” in front of him. He was bowled over. “What a B i g W o r d !” (This was a guy younger than me!) WTF! I felt disgusted!

          Another doctor Did Not Know What I Meant when I asked whether he wanted to have another colloquium. THESE ARE DOCTORS! THE ONE PERCENTERS in terms of education! Jesus Fucking Christ!

          1. skippy

            “THESE ARE DOCTORS! THE ONE PERCENTERS in terms of education! Jesus Fucking Christ!” – Lidia

            Seconded… Bang on!

            Skippy… some of the folks I’ve handed out Yves book too (various 20% and up… have out of ear shot or so they think… brand me an intellectual… sticks sharps into eyes and don smoking jacket ~ Being knowledge about ones surroundings is now deemed a social impediment… sigh

    1. AbyNormal

      Klassy, why does ‘s’ precede ‘d’ when opportunity drums beat?
      “opportunity for our sons and daughters”

      and just one more moment of your time, if i may:

      “But where charter schools demonstrate success and exceed expectations, we should share what they learn with other public schools and replicate those that produce dramatic results.”

      …what might i do to unpucker my arse?

        1. Bev

          Expect this:

          Education “Reform” a Trojan Horse for Privatization

          Public education is the target of a well-coordinated, well-funded campaign to privatize as many schools as possible, particularly in cities. This campaign claims it wants great teachers in every classroom, but its rhetoric demoralizes teachers, reduces the status of the education profession, and champions standardized tests that perpetuate social inequality. The driving logic for such reform is profits.

          1. Inverness

            Yes, the ed deformers claim to want great teachers. What they want are cheap, branded kids from Teach for America, who are under-trained, and leave after two years.

            Teaching as a profession takes several years to master, assuming you start with decent raw material. But the business class wants people without union protection and lack the professional chops to recognize ed-scamming (like pineapplegate

            These days, you’re lucky if your principal has taught for at least five years — because with the new leadership academies, teaching experience isn’t required (!?!). Just follow the manual and corporate reading-math program brought to you by Pearson, and keep your mouth shut.

          2. Klassy!

            You know, sometimes I think even the anti charter advocates buy too much into the transformative powers of an “effective” teacher. I find their views of teachers are overly romantic. As a public school graduate I can say that I had some good teachers, some okay teachers and some that were clearly marking the days to retirement. Although I would wish that those that truly don’t like teaching get out of the profession, I think that it is just like any profession employing a lot of people there are going to be good and bad. That sounds trite, I know.
            I graduated before all the market reforms became the mania, but I did have the experience of going from what would now be a highly rated school to a rather mediocre one. The one thing that stands out for me more than the teachers was the lack of freedom in the mediocre one.

          3. anon y'mouse

            anyone could have read some Milton Freedman piece from the 1950’s and figured out where that was headed (privatization).

            so why are we only figuring it out now?

          4. Lidia

            Klassy is correct. Most teaching gets in the way of learning. It’s axiomatic as far as I am concerned.

            I had a funny unresolved argument with my RWNJ sister. She felt that “training” children was important, whereas I felt that “learning” could occur on its own, solo, without any teacher or trainer. This is where language can be quite revealing. She insisted on the authoritarian transitive “TRAINING” where one has to have a trainER and a trainEE. Whereas learning can occur within ourselves, just from the observation of one’s surroundings, mimicking foreign habits in a foreign land, reading available texts of our choice, copying adults unbidden and so forth—a far richer field from which to collect knowledge than restricting oneself to accepting some random appointed person’s idea of what you need to be “trained” in.

            RWNJ sis values training for her children above their learning. Unfortunately, she is not alone.

    2. curlydan

      Aaarggghh! Good thing I read that before I ate lunch. Oh, the depths to which the White House sinks.

      1. Klassy!

        It’s really bad, isn’t it? See, I think the purpose of an education is to help you see through this bs.

  7. ambrit

    The solar collector suction cup device is a cool invention. I once wondered about using solar photovoltaic collectors embedded in or formed within a sheet of flexible vinyl material to let static charges hold it to the inside of any window for a similar function. Someone will come up with a simpler method soon so that people can start getting used to the very concept of dispersed electric production. (I suspect that will be a game changer in sociological terms.)

    1. anon y'mouse

      so, when will we see photovoltaic window cling-film similar to that already used to prevent heat buildup inside homes, or does this already exist somewhere?

          1. ambrit

            I’m wondering where is industrial scale production of the materials happening?

  8. fresno dan

    The Customer Service Problem at McDonald’s Is a Symptom of a Much Bigger Problem Strangler (Lambert)

    Its funny (no, actually its not) how incentives, stock options, parity in pay, low taxes, tax incentives, ad nauseum, are absolutely ESSENTIAL, to motivate CEOs and hedge fund managers.
    Workers? Nah, all they need is Flair:

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s a prelude to replacing workers with robots.

      It’s easy to program robots that never offend customers.

      And robots get their ‘healthcare’ from a mechanic rather than a doctor, thus further improving their competitiveness vis-à-vis human workers.

      1. cwaltz

        Lots of luck with robots working in the service sector.

        They’ve been threatening robots for at least a decade now. The problem? The kind that would be needed to replace a worker would not be LESS EXPENSIVE, it’d cost business more.

        Most robots can perform ONE simple task. When was the last time you went into a service sector environment and saw the employee tasked with one thing?

        A Mcdonalds worker preps food, takes orders, and cleans all for the discount price of under $20,000 a year(most of the time without benefits.)

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Perhaps the solution to that is to replace human customers with robot customers.

          1. bobw

            SHHH! Keep that to yourself. (Although I for one welcome our new robot customers.)

  9. Voltron

    I think a big issue with customer service is that employees are so afraid of losing their jobs, that they are unwilling to bend a rule or make a judgement call on the spot when unusual situations occur. Clerks used to be told on day one “the customer is always right” and then they would be taught over time how to identify and deal with abusive customers. Now it seems like clerks are taught to assume all customers are abusive and only when they become a manager are they taught that the customer is sometimes right.

    1. neo-realist

      Having worked in a customer service call center for a bank, it isn’t so much that the reps are trained that customers are rude, but as PQS just mentioned, many of them are rude, mean and nasty to the reps and know that if they hear a tone they don’t like or if they are told something they don’t want to hear even though it wasn’t the fault of the bank, e.g., it was not a bank error and as a result you won’t be refunded NSF or overdraft fees, they want to speak to your supervisor who may give you a talking to over making the client upset even if you didn’t do anything to be deliberately rude to them. Supervisors, who in many cases were reps themselves, never want to speak to the clients knowing that it’s going to be some chop busting SOB on the other end; They usually refunded to fees to get the clients out of their ear, even if they didn’t deserve them.

  10. PQS

    It isn’t just the employees with poor CS skills….it’s the customers as well. In my business, construction, it is a regular feature of client interactions to be insulted, demeaned, and have my motives impugned. “You’re just trying to rip me off!” “How can it possibly cost that much?!? I can do it myself for half that!” “How dare you ask for more money when I’ve changed my mind three times and widened the scope ten times!”

    Just yesterday I received a very rude email accusing me of wrongly installing something from over a year ago on a project….of course when I defended myself with the FACTS I received a lame email about five hours later. No apology, of course. I’d die before I ever got one of those.

    It seems everyone could use some training in manners and courtesy.

    1. AbyNormal

      i was imprinted at an early age by adults expressing common courtesy…looking people in the eye and most times with a touch to the forearm, was second nature. but it seems Aby might’ve been ‘preoccupied’ when those lessons were freely taught.

      example–a few years ago my daughter and i were grocery shopping one busy saturday morning…we were 3 back from checking out when out of nowhere a woman, dragging too many diamonds, came unglued on our bagboy. now the baggers at this store were all mentally handicapped…(a bit of background here, i happen to have lived my childhood an teen years one mile from the atlanta retardation center…holidays, special olympics and the like was where i excelled). so where was i…oh yeah…i eyed my bagboy and when his head dropped and he began to shiver an mumble, i grabbed an apple out of my cart and distracted him physically away from scene. well, guess who showed up…Aby! and few here need imagine the total hell that broke loose on that comfortably entitled misbehaving woman. unfortunately, to this date my daughter will not accompany me within 10 miles of a grocery store (or a bank but thats another story). i continued to bag groceries until after our turn in line…i did this with courtesy and kindness that probably left many thinking i should be carted away.

      slowing down and recognizing what we do for each other is what teaches it forward

      1. PQS

        I have found – much to nobody’s surprise, I’m sure – that corporate clients can be the MOST rude and entitled. I chalk up a lot of it to them being overworked and underpaid, too, but some of the things I’ve heard and had said to me would curl anyone’s hair. It is a huge issue in our industry, but since the GEM, nobody wants to complain when there is work…even being paid for by psychos.

        Most rightwingers wouldn’t believe it, but government clients (ridiculous rules and procedures aside) are typically the most human in my experience.

        1. neo-realist

          I certainly don’t care to make excuses for corporate clients who act like sh*ts, but in some cases, they have managers from hell that make strict demands upon them to meet productivity and revenue metrics for their employer and that pressure is expressed in a sort of domino effect on the next company and or representative of that company that they come in contact with to get what they need to satisfy the demands made upon them in their company.

          1. PQS

            Yes. Many of the construction management types at large companies are stretched very thin, have survived multiple layoffs, and are obviously under a great deal of pressure. These people I have no problem giving slack to.

            Its all the other ones that make me grind me teeth – they seem to think it is perfectly acceptable to talk to the contractor as though we were a piece of gum on their shoe.
            I once had a guy I had never even met in person start yelling at me over the phone that I was “wasting his time” because the bid was too high (nevermind that they specified very high end materials.) He went on and on for a good ten minute tirade about how I clearly had no idea what they wanted or what their process was, I was wasting his time, blah blah blah. I bit my tongue and later called my boss and told him that if this is the way this client is going to act before we even sign a contract, then forget working with him. It will be a nightmare hellhole that they could do with someone else. Not me.

            And that’s a pretty tame story. Trust me on this.

      2. craazyman

        did you grab the scuff of her neck and slam her so hard into the fruit bin she scattered apples in every direction 50 feet across the floor?

    2. diptherio

      All of that sounds very familiar. Depressingly so. Everybody thinks they can do it themselves (you get up on a forty foot ladder and paint that fascia, jackass…now make sure your lines are straight!) and everybody seems to think that we’re getting rich doing this. HA! And adding to the contract in the middle of the job and expecting that the price won’t change…aarrgghh! Maybe it’s because everybody has gotten so used to cheap imported shit, I don’t know.

      Seems like this is another manifestation of that sense of entitlement everyone’s talking about

      1. PQS

        I always ask if they insist on the low-bid heart surgeon.

        Or the low-bid dentist.

  11. docG

    Long after our economic system collapses, long after all the glaciers melt and all the seas rise onto our beaches and flood our coastal cities, long after our third world war with Iran, Russia, China and N. Korea, cows will still be suckers for anyone with a flute or horn.

    1. anon y'mouse

      for a long time, I have been conducting a similar experiment on the neighborhood’s domesticated pets and wildlife.

      whenever you see someone’s dog, cat, or a squirrel or something, wave at it like you would a familiar person.

      the looks you get back are priceless! rather like waving familiarly to a total stranger. wonder what’s going on in their heads? “hey, do I know that person? nahh..what are they doing that for, then?”

      yes, anthropomorphism. fun, nonetheless.

  12. Mike

    You do know that Hispanic IQ is far lower than white IQ right? This is obviously as a group not individually. It is not remotely a “stereotype” it is a fact that is not in dispute by any serious researcher.
    Ortiz and Telles (very left wing guys BTW) have proved through multi generational study that Hispanics on average have very poor progress in areas considered a success in the US: higher education etc. Many other studies confirm the current IQ of the Hispanic population and studies have been done for decades on the subject so tracking changes is very easy.
    Hispanics have many positive qualities. A high IQ – on average – is not one of them.
    The very idea that all races have the same gifts is silly. Instead of pretending that all races magically have the exact same set of skills why not celebrate our differences?

    1. AbyNormal

      Despite what Some would have us believe, success is not built on fear and resentment…Susana Martinez

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Perhaps it’s not as bad as ‘the end of IQ is the beginning of WQ’ but the world could use more people with high Wisdom Quotient (WQ).

        Wisdom is if another guy makes a math error, you say, ‘it’s OK, we all do. We are all Homo Not-So-Sapiens Not-So-Sapiens.’

    2. Inverness

      Expectations and cultural coding play a huge role, here.

      Expections: After Obama was elected, a narrowing of the IQ gap was observed between whites and blacks in the USA. This was also observed by a third grade teacher in the PBS frontline classic, “A Class Divided.” These lower scores reflect the lower expectations teachers and parents, and society in general has of those students.

      Cultural bias: IQ tests have been proven to include content which reflects white-european values, etc.

    3. docG

      “You do know that Hispanic IQ is far lower than white IQ right?”

      Yes. And as was well known, circa 1945, Jews were hopelessly deficient as either soldiers or farmers.

    4. Yves Smith Post author


      Has it not occurred to you (and this has been discussed ad nauseum elsewhere) that IQ tests to a substantial degree measure acculturation and language skills? How well would you do taking an IQ test in French?

      Plus as readers indicated above, test performance is also influenced by expectations. You are part of the score problem.

    5. diptherio

      Races? WTF are you talking about? So what about my half-hispanic cousin: which race is he?

      Also, why does everyone think that the IQ test is some objective measure of something, like weight or wavelength. It’s a bunch of questions that some people do well on and others don’t. The test itself is a cultural creation and plenty of people have pointed out it’s failings:

      Test made by white men “proves” white men are the smartest! OMG!

    6. craazyman

      Did they take the tests in Spanish or in English?

      I think Chinese must have the hightest IQs or how else can the speak Chinese and do the math the way they can? How would you even know a Chinese person is a dumb-ass. All they do is smile at you and then say something in Chinese to their friends, probably about you. Then they all start laughing.

      I can make Bruce Lee fight sounds like hieeya! and ooww-cha-wiee-ha! but I have no idea what they mean in English.

  13. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Speaking of solar powered devices, like chargers to be used near a window, should I patent my idea of a solar powered dryer?

    It’s called clothesline.

    Yes, for some, but not all, it’s embarrassing to air dirty laundry in public.

    But you’d be saving the planet!

    1. anon y'mouse

      even if you want to use one, most apartment residents can’t put one up even on their own patio space, or they’ll be in violation of their rental agreement.

      the same might be said for those copious legal documents involved in gated communities. since I’ve known people who had to get the plants alongside their front driveway “approved” by the association, whatcha wanna bet that clotheslines are deemed “lowbrow/unsightly” by the NIMBY types.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It’s not easy to do the right thing.

        Lots of resistance and obstacles.

  14. Agnes

    Re immigrant I.Q.

    I think the higher I.Q. of certain immigrants is more of a problem than the lower ones. For example, the Eastern European Jews that created the Wall Street derivatives and have brought us finance capitalism.
    Everywhere you look, in charge of decision making and controlling our lives and our foreign policy. That’s smart!

    1. craazyman

      alot of those people were born right here in America, watch NFL football and speak English.

      it may be the water or it may be the soil or it may be the influence of television shows like “Let’s Make a Deal” or “The Price is Right” or “Jeopardy”. They make you lust for money and fame.

      Did anyone ever notice that the bull market in fraud came after the explosion of game shows on television. And it came after the invention of the airplane and the Ginsu knife. It’s all connected.

    1. Hugh

      I looked at this in the past for my own use in terms of employment and unemployment by age. The employed over 55 is the one group whose numbers have increased steadily over the last dozen years, even and including the 2007 recession.

      At the same time, this group, like the rest, had a big increase in unemployment due to the recession. However, unlike other age groups which showed some declines from their peaks, unemployment among the 55 and overs remained plateaued.

      One explanation for this is that the 55 and overs have been staying in their jobs rather than retiring while at the same time those who lost their jobs have been unable to find new jobs.

      Part of this too may be that younger workers may have been defined out of the labor force while older workers have for various reasons, ethos, Unemployment Insurance, etc. stayed actively looking for jobs and so in the labor force.

      BTW the bottom lines of the first graph illustrate something that was remarked about the recession and its aftermath, and that is that job losses hit men harder than women.

      1. bobw

        I am 61, finally employed again after years, at half what I made 5 yrs ago (& no bennies)…but at least got out of that tent in the woods.

  15. Hugh

    The lack of professionalism fits into the larger theme of devolution, just as devolution is a natural consequence of kleptocracy.

    College graduates aren’t professional? How can they become professional if there are no decent jobs where they can learn it? How can they learn it if executives and managers don’t teach it? Oh, that’s right. American companies don’t do training anymore. They just expect workers to exit the cabbage patch fully trained and eager for meaningless work at shit wages.

    How professional have the bankers been? How professional was it for them to ignore all standard practices and engage in massive lawbreaking, running the country off the cliff? How professional have our elites been anytime in the last 30 years?

    You see professionalism isn’t just about the forms. It is also about what is done. It is not just about showing up on time and wearing a smiley face for 8 hours a day. It’s about making sure the hamburger is cooked and doesn’t hit the floor. It is about exercising fiduciary responsibility and not making NINJA loans, gambling with other people’s money, and crashing the economy.

    You tell me, who has done more damage to our society and our country, “unprofessional” college graduates and burger flippers or the “professionals” they work for?

    1. PQS


      Someone on here talked about reaping what we sow.

      Here’s where we are: on the precipice of total nihilism.

  16. petridish

    RE: Heritage Report on Hispanics

    It must always be remembered that The Heritage Foundation (and AEI, for whom Richwine also worked as a “research” assistant”) were founded for the specific purpose of producing and promoting as “scientifically” “verifiable” “FACT,” the pre-established , personally-held views and objectives of financial backers. This is also true of those “think-tanks” funded by backers on the opposite end of the political spectrum.

    Jim DeMint is just icing on the “intuitively obvious to the most casual observer” cake.

    No “study” coming out of any of these foundations is worthy of mention without a full accounting of the financing involved.

    I just happen to be reading Nate Silver’s “The Signal and the Noise” which sheds considerable light on the predictive abilities of those whose intense (or purchased) biases determine their approach to data “analysis.”

  17. Lambert Strether

    Here’s my favorite telling detail on the nature of the administration at Cooper Union. Vice:

    My source told me that, after an art student banged on the windows of his cab, [President Jamshed Bharucha] had all early-admissions applicants to the art school deferred. He changed the school’s security contract to provide himself with bodyguards and harangued the students for their “politics of destruction.”

    Nice! Though granted, a single source. Readers, more information on the Cooper Union occupation?

    UPDATE Adding, I wonder who got the security contract? Some insider? Moonlighting NYPD cops? A connection from Mayor-for-Life Bloomberg?

    1. Ms G

      As to who got the contract to bodyguard Jamshed Bharucha, it could be a combination of all three hypotheses if its a team drawn from the special pool of Michael Bloomberg’s army that works “in conjunction with” Goldman Sachs and the other New York City banks (as we found out during the violent repression of the OWS peaceful protests).

      In other words, there’s probably some sort of “standing army” at the ready (financed with the JPM and others’ grants to the NYPD foundation) to jump in to protect the Bharucha’s, Sextons, et al from populist rage.

      My $0.02.

    2. craazyman

      Are we sure this wasn’t a self-directing piece of performance art they were co-inventing as equals to explore and portray the changing nature of power, authority, identity and rebellion through the fluid transposition of real-life identity and artistic narrative?

      Where was the videographer when they were banging on the windows?

  18. Ernesto Lyon

    I know plenty of home schoolers who aren’t christian fundie wackos.

    They’re just trying to keep their kids of the local test factories / daycare / social service centers that the public schools have become.

    1. sd

      School is more than just facts, figures and pleasant social skills. It’s also learning survival techniques, how to deal with stress, rejection, peer pressure, etc. The world is not a neat and tidy sanitized place as much as we might like it to be.

      A sense of false safety can be very dangerous.

      1. jrs

        What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger … but I don’t really belive that, and don’t think it has much evidence.

        Yes some people spend the years after getting out of school recovering from the horror of their school experiences – the bullying etc. (and this is all lost time in their young adulthood, where they are getting behind everyone else – at least until they give up on competition per se), but all that suffering would have been better off avoided in the first place.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          You make a good point.

          I would add also that it’s risky to ask kids to survive when they haven’t been trained properly.

          It’s like telling 6 year olds to hunt lions.

          1. cwaltz

            Remind me again how many children inhabiting the public school system have taken their lives after the system threw them in with the “lions” before they were ready?





            The truth is that the closer you are to adulthood the more capable you’re going to be when it comes to lion handling. I’m not convinced that the public schools do a great job protecting “different” children from the effects of bullying.

        2. sd

          A more useful lesson is learning you have the right to walk away. Just knowing that retreat is an option is a vital part of defense.

      2. Ernesto Lyon

        Home schooled kids have social activities. Friends, sports, classes, activities. Many school districts have independent study programs that allow home schoolers to take classes for part of the day.

        The idea that they’re bubble children is a myth.

        1. PunchNRun

          I know a fair number of adults who were home schooled in their younger years. Some at least because their home was too far from the local public school for reliable, safe transportation a good part of the year. All are doing just fine, some are college graduates, one is clergy, another doing social work. It’s not so simple as home schooling is inadequate. But there are certainly also a set of home schoolers who don’t fit my idea of providing a well rounded or even competent education. I’ve never met one of those products but it’s obvious they are around.

        2. PunchNRun

          Meanwhile we have kids like those at Lincoln High who deal with adverse childhood experiences. Those experiences are often related to their parents skills as parents. Attending a normal school is no guarantee that they will be getting what they need either.

          1. cwaltz

            If the little suckers came with instruction models than ensuring they become happy, productive members of society would be so much easier.

            The best either model(homeschool or public school) can hope to do is hopefully ferret out enough information about each child to get them to the next level.

            I actually found that article hopeful and thought it refutes the article’s position that homeschooling creates brainwashed individuals. After all,the author of the piece states they underwent what they considered as brainwashing and wound up REJECTING a lot of what he was taught. He discusses a myriad of others that have done the same. That actually supports that at the very least the process of homeschooling for them was able to impart critical thinking skills(perhaps one of the MOST important of skills since life itself is a learning process.)

    2. jrs

      The problem with home school is that it is entirely dependent on the quality of the parent and while some parents are up to the task as we all know many parents are whack a doodle, so ….. Yes public schools produce a more predicatble product even when that product is very mediocre, at least they have some standards limiting the whack a doodle factor.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


      It reminds me of something straight from the Lego School of writing – you stack one conclusion on top of another like you would with Lego blocks.

      First, a Zen story.

      Master Gensha (831-908) Monk: “Where can I enter Zen?” Gensha: “Can you hear the babbling brook?” Monk: “Yes, I can hear it.” Gensha: “Then enter there.” …

      For me, the moment came when I realized how much I didn’t know after graduating multiple times. There was (still is) so much to learn. That was when I said to myself, learning must occur everywhere, not just in school. Home education or home schooling is part of that curriculum.

      Parents, don’t leave teaching and learning to school teachers. You must teach as well at home.

      Home schooling is very, very important.

      A side question: How many dimensions are there in the knowledge world, contrasting with our 3, 4 or 11 dimensional physical world?

    4. Antifa

      Such is our son, 18 now and homeschooled since age 7. He lasted 1.5 school years at the local elementary Charter School, said to be the best in town for gifted children.

      Aside from the physical bullying that was rampant in every class, his math teachers could not keep the kids up with the rate of instruction expected of them, so they would regularly send him home with four or five pages of math homework which he always said he had not even been exposed to in class. Fractions, long division, story problems about grocery shopping, percentages, stuff like that.

      We tutored him at home evenings for the whole first year, which took away everyone’s family time together. The next fall one of us “volunteered” as a teacher’s go-fer so we could audit the math classes. Surely the best school in town couldn’t be the problem. Maybe our son wasn’t really gifted, though all the tests said so.

      Well . . . the math classes were so dominated by students asking for help that the teachers barely got to introduce the day’s new topic before they had to turn their full attention to helping kids who had no idea whatsoever what was being taught — because they didn’t understand the previous week’s lessons, or the previous month’s lessons or last year’s lessons so there was no hope of progress, nothing to build on. They hadn’t been taught, hadn’t been brought to a point of understanding before moving on to new material, ready or not, every day.

      At the end of 50 minutes of total gridlock, the math teachers handed out four or five pages of math homework that hadn’t even been held up in front of the class, much less shown or taught. Why? Because they had to get through the material during that semester whether the kids got any of it or not. They’d be fired if they didn’t get through the material on time.

      We pulled him out a month into second grade. It took him about three years to discover that math wasn’t some form of punishment or group exercise in total insanity, that it actually made sense and was useful.

      That school is still there, still said to be the best in town, but the number one complaint of parents is having to tutor their children in math they were never even shown.

      How does that kind of thing continue?

  19. Hugh

    Along the lines of my previous comment, the tide of sexual assaults in the military is an example of massive command failure. There is a rape culture in the military because commanders have allowed one to grow there.

    The same could be said about suicide and torture. The Geneva Conventions are just not stressed anymore. Prisoner abuse epitomized by Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo have become institutionalized.

    The rise in suicides is a predictable result of the paradigm of endless war. Commanders downplay the effects of multiple and prolonged deployments in combat zones. And then they offer only cursory help to the overstressed troops in the form of some service or program somewhere rather than actually talking to the troops one on one and finding out how they are really doing. It’s not serious and unsurprisingly doesn’t work.

    1. diane

      Speaking of suicides, it’s truly ugly that not a one of the recent noon pieces reporting on the stunning rise in Middle Aged suicides acknowledged that John Hopkins actually posted a much earlier, near identical report during the election time Austerity Needed! .DANGER!.. Fiscal Cliff!!!!!! lies.

      This, despite the fact that NPR (which sourced the report to the CDC, which also, quite ‘oddly’, doesn’t reference the earlier John Hopkins Report in its list of References) et al, love to report on John Hopkins datoids.

      It’s as if the report [pdf], which report (the full pdf report only) notes at the top:


      never existed. Clearly, it was embargoed long past November 2012.

      I can’t help but wonder how many of those persons never regained footing again – as We Don’t Need To Hire No Stinking Unemployed Middle Age Losers swept the country and never ceased – got sick while broke and uninsured, got nailed stunning 10%+ penalties for having to use their retirement funds for a roof over their head (though they could have received a penalty exemption had they gone back to school while homeless), and were subjected to the stunningly sadistic SSDI process which makes the majority of people battle for over a year to maybe (though perhaps not) retrieve the safety net they funded, and appears intended for people to die before ever retrieving a penny of the money they paid into it.

  20. bhikshuni

    Miracles can still happen in US economy! Workers succeed in buying out company:

    (ff to 42:25 on May 9 video for interviews with worker owners)

    “Workers at the New Era Windows Cooperative are celebrating the grand opening of their new unionized, worker-owned and -operated business. Almost a year to the day after their window factory closed, a group of former workers have launched their own window business without bosses. They successfully raised money to buy the factory collectively and run it democratically. In 2008, some of the workers were involved in a famous six-day sit-in after Republic Windows and Doors gave workers just three days’ notice before closing the factory. The sit-in drew national attention and union workers reached a settlement where they each received $6,000 each. About 65 workers occupied the factory after their jobs came under threat again in 2012. We speak to two worker-owners of the just-opened New Era Windows Cooperative and a labor organizer who helped with their fight.”

    1. bhikshuni

      Yves & NC people, I hope you won’t consider this inappropriate to post; DN is so vital to our free flow of public information, and maybe the finance/econ etc. NC people know someone suitable to help out than the general DN viewing-public.

      FYI, DN is still looking to hire an annual giving staff:

      “Annual Giving Manager

      Democracy Now! is seeking a talented and dynamic professional with experience in grassroots fundraising and online campaigns to fill a full-time Annual Giving Manager position in our Manhattan office. The Annual Giving Manager will develop and steward audience support for Democracy Now! by leading multi-platform fundraising campaigns from concept development to final execution and analysis. The Annual Giving Manager will also support on-air fundraising efforts and donor premium fulfillment for broadcast partner stations.

      The Annual Giving Manager will report to the Development Director and supervise a team of staff, interns, and volunteers to support Democracy Now!’s fundraising success.”

  21. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    What are those dogs doing?

    Waiting for their pizza deliveryman to show up?

    Praying to their doggod to show them the way to their missing Mahjong tiles?

  22. ScottS

    Re: The Customer Service Problem at McDonald’s Is a Symptom of a Much Bigger Problem Strangler (Lambert)

    Is “Strangler” a Freudian slip?

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