Links 6/4/13

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Dog saves baby’s life Bangkok Post (furzy mouse)

Evolution is Wonderful National Geographic (Lambert)

WGA Officially Declares “Star Trek” Better Written Than “TNG” Kevin Drum

Oh Shit, I Totally Forgot That Happens! Onion (Lambert)

Meeting online leads to happier, more enduring marriages, study finds MedicalxPress (Chuck L). I don’t see the satisfaction scores as being dramatically different. Plus what if successful online daters are just better at puffery, which means they also assign their own projects/activities overly generous scores?

Burzynski Patient Amelia S.’s Story The OTHER Burzynski Patient Group. Richard Smith briefly shifts focus from financial to medical scammers.

Rogue beer fridge caught by Telstra ‘robot’ ITNews. Only in Oz!

Are Today’s Medicines Any Better Than Drugs Developed Decades Ago? Reuters. There’s a big nomenclature issue that Reuters fails to address. A “new drug application” can be and often is a minor reformulation of an existing drug, such a time-released version you take only once a day to replace the original drug you needed to take every 8 hours. The NDA succeeded in extending the patent on the drug. I don’t have current figures, but an FDA lawyer told me a decade ago that over 85% of the NDAs were for reformulations and new uses of existing drugs (such as using an anti-psychotic to treat anxiety), not what you and I would consider to be a new drug. So at a minimum, the story ignores that Big Pharma finds it more attractive to wring more profits from existing drugs than find new ones.

Majority of Bangladesh garment factories ‘vulnerable to collapse’ Guardian

Flood waters from Czech dams bear down on Prague BBC. Eeek.

Merkel Maligned: IMF Board Attacks Euro Crisis Management Der Spiegel

The ECB, negative rate confusion and the prepay tax option Izabella Kaminska, FT Alphaville

European recession eases MacroBusiness

Spain’s Economy Rebounds as Exports Transform Country Bloomberg. Reader sanity check, please.

The sense of common decency Beppe Grillo

Erdogan Is Toast Moon of Alabama

The ISM report: US manufacturing slowest since 2009 Sober Look. Of course, Mr. Market is happy because it means more QE!

ECB backs away from use of ‘big bazooka’ to boost credit Financial Times

Global shock as manufacturing contracts in US and China Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

‘Lost decade of joblessness ahead‘ Guardian

Working your way through college doesn’t add up for today’s students Journal Sentinel (Carol B)

Mortgaged Diplomas Nancy Folbre, New York Times

Recession culprits? Start with Alan Greenspan and Jean-Claude Trichet Dean Baker, Guardian

Obama’s faith in the geek elite who have your secrets Edward Luce, Financial Times. Hah, the Nixon meme is staring to take hold! When I used it last month apropos Obama, my mother got annoyed and piped up, “Nixon did some good things!”

This Is Capitalism Now: How a Coal Company Bilked 20,000 Workers Out of Health Benefits Atlantic (Lambert)

Baby boomers are killing themselves at an alarming rate, raising question: Why? Washington Post. Notice no mention of inequality, which has risen rapidly in the last 15 years. Unequal societies are afflicted with higher incidence of bad social outcomes, such as crime, teen pregnancy, and suicide.

Financial firms face new clampdown The Hill. More accurate to say “long overdue clampdown mandated in Dodd Frank”.

Attorney general sues HSBC over foreclosures Buffalo News (Deontos). Mirabile dictu! Schneiderman rouses himself on the mortgage front.

Behind the Rise in House Prices, Wall Street Buyers New York Times. Glad someone is finally taking notice.

Feds crack down on foreclosure auction scams Associated Press (GR). Zealous pursuit of small players, natch.

Antidote du jour:


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  1. dearieme

    “Recession culprits? Start with Alan Greenspan and Jean-Claude Trichet”

    The question for other countries was who was in charge of preparing defences against the consequences of those two buffoons? Alas, alack, we had Gordon Brown, a man whose policies were well suited to amplify the problems.

    1. ignim Brites

      How bout the New York based financial press who were more than happy that A. Greenspan saved them from the need to explain the depression caused by the Internet bubble. Didn’t he cause that one too?

      1. Susan the other

        The real depression goes back to the 90s when Clinton deregulated and “balanced the budget.” A replay of the 1920s, on steroids. Greenspan was there then too. It’s safe to say he never knew what he was doing. But that is because he was an ideologue. If corporate capitalism had had the foresight to become regional capitalism, or local capitalism – if the economists had had the courage to look at the underlying fundamentals as they should do, they’d have known that productivity and financialization weren’t going to do anything except continue to produce the depression they could all see coming from 1990 on. Rising interest rates after the dotcom crash actually occurred and produced an even worse and critical situation: it brought on the housing bust. The real culprit is like “the panther” which stands silently in darkness in the very center of the nonsense, never acknowledging that return on investment and/or profit conflict with ultimate reality.

    1. David Lentini

      A big part of that problem is the drug industry’s obsession with “blockbuster” drugs, i.e., those with huge markets and chronic need that generate $$$$. Although many in the industry may claim those days are over, from my own experience I’m not that sure, and even so the experience still tells in the data.

      Many of the indications for these drugs are complex metabolic diesaes, like diabetes and obesity, or tough viral diseases like Hepatitis C. Finding safe and effective drugs under these conditions is far tougher than finding drugs for other diseases.

      And it may also be true that we’ve picked the low-hanging fruit; there’s no guanantee that we can continually improve drug performance for all diseases. And it is also true that we expect drugs to be safer, although that also reflects the pursuit of indications requiring long-term (even life-long) administration.

      We may be at the end of the effectiveness of a for-profit drug industry. The data and comments may be consistent with a mis-allocaton of resources due to the need to maximize profit.

  2. dearieme

    “hostile takeovers often increase shareholder, but not economic, value”: they are presumably designed to increase bonuses for the executives rather than the shareholders?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Beautiful speeches also increase shareholder value.

        In politics, especially in football stadiums, they increase political power.

  3. skippy

    A retired Navy SEAL is poised to blow the doors off of the military’s policy toward the transgendered.
    Kristen Beck was a member of the most elite special operations unit in the world — SEAL Team 6. She deployed 13 times. She earned a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star. She served in the same unit that killed Osama bin Laden. Shortly before the bin Laden raid, in early 2011, she retired as a senior chief petty officer after serving 20 years.

    Her name was Chris Beck back then. In a memoir that promises to change the way we think about transgendered and their service in the military, Beck writes about how she came to the realisation that she was meant to live life as a woman.

    1. LucyLulu

      Is it bias against transgendered or bias against women in special ops? It’s hard to separate the two.

      The training is grueling and not many can cut it. But from my experience with those who went on to serve in special ops, albeit somewhat limited, it seems to result in members with a rather rigid belief system (out of necessity?), esp. when it comes to expectations about following “military code”. In other words, they aren’t your laid back, live and let live, kind of guys.

  4. LucyLulu


    If a bank, HSBC, illegally pursued foreclosure without filing for negotiation talks, which caused the borrower to incur an additional $23K of additional interest charges, the prosecutor sues for the judge to have the additional charges waived.

    If buyers rig the bidding at a foreclosure auction and are able to gain $23K in savings on the price they pay for a home, the prosecutors sue to have them repay the money AND serve time in prison.

    Justice today in America.

  5. Chris Engel

    The S.E.C. Is ‘Bringin’ Sexy Back’ to Accounting Investigations

    But The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Mary Jo White, the S.E.C.’s new chairwoman, wants to turn the agency’s attention back to what was once seen as its core mission of policing corporate disclosure to ensure investors are protected.

    He seems optimistic about Mary Jo White (so has Neil Barofsky).

    Still not sure about this one…I’m with Taibbi. I don’t trust any of them until I see the actions. Hopefully she will surprise us.

    1. LucyLulu

      I’m trusting her on this one until I see otherwise, but then I’m more trusting. I saw her speak on a panel at NYU, I think it was, before her appt. to the SEC and liked her direct and honest answers. She knows the issues, very well. A really good attorney has no problem vigorously defending either side of an argument at any time, and she came across as a really good attorney. Since she’s taken an administrative position, not a prosecutorial one, if she’s half as good of a manager, she’ll bring integrity back to the SEC.

      Besides, she has little incentive to participate in the revolving door. She’s made the big bucks, her husband makes big bucks, and assuming she doesn’t want to retire, she already can choose any law firm she wants (and name her price) when she leaves.

      I hope you’re having better luck getting your posts to show up, Chris.

      1. from Mexico

        It does, however, place a rather large question mark over our notions (could we call them stereotypes?) conerning gender and gender roles.

        Another example is Tere Frederickson, a retired fighter pilot, as she explains here:

        I also worked for “T” vets inclusion in GLBVA during those years and VA support of “T” vets (which finally happened recently) – I’m a retired USAF Major and Command Pilot. During the ‘90s I was a rather prolific writer; although, quite a bit of it is probably lost to transgender antiquity. I’ve been lecturing on gender, gender roles, and the “T” topic at Trinity University for the past 16 years.”

        I must say that, after being in the trenches with Tere in the LGBT movement in Texas during the 90s, I only have the greatest of respect and admiration for her.

        1. from Mexico


          That should have been in response to LucyLulu’s 7:00 a.m. comment about the transgendered Navy Seal.

    2. petridish

      Jeez, have you ever SEEN Mary Jo White. Nothin’ “sexy” there!

      (Sorry, I just couldn’t resist.)

  6. rjs

    re: Feds crack down on foreclosure auction scams

    notice why: “The scammers took money that otherwise would have gone to banks selling the foreclosed properties”

    1. DolleyMadison

      Of course! They always go after the low level rubes – NEVER after the “big money.”

  7. gonzomarx

    A couple of changes of tack today if the Guardian is anything to go by.
    1st the paper’s Bilderberg coverage which has for the last 4 years been left entirely to a comedian to blog but today it makes the news section

    Bilderberg guest list includes George Osborne and Ed Balls

    and 2nd its taken a week for the situation in Turkey to make the lead in the UK news and to notice it’s not just in Ankara but countrywide…very slow compared to various Arab springs!

    Turkey protests continue as US voices concern about police use of force

    no comment on the irony of the headline…

    1. nobody

      In his remarks, John Kerry also committed the howler that “the United States supports full freedom of expression and assembly, including the right of people to peaceful protest, because that is fundamental to any democracy.”

      It would be really nice to see “a full investigation” of “excessive use of force by police” in the US.

      1. AbyNormal

        what All those windbags mean to say is ‘the Right People/chosen’ have the Right to speech & assembly

        Freedom now appeared, to disappear no more forever…I saw nothing without seeing it, I heard nothing without hearing it, and felt nothing without feeling it. It looked from every star, it smiled in every calm, breathed in every wind, and moved in every storm.
        Fredrick Douglass

    2. AbyNormal


      “Nearly every household in Turkey has one unemployed member. That means about 5.6 million people are without a job. What Turkey needs to focus on right now is on creating employment opportunities,” he said.

      Some 16.9 percent of high school or vocational school graduates are unemployed, said Hisarcıklıoğlu while admitting that the figure was lower – at 12.1 percent – for those with a university degree.

      “Alarms started sounding in Turkey at the beginning of 2007, way before the global economic crisis reached us.”

      1. Jim Haygood

        Today is the 24th anniversary of the violent dissolution of China’s Tiananmen Square protests, an event which the MSM has consigned to the memory hole.

        To tout the ‘democracy’ meme for U.S. consumption, the MSM focused on a Statue of Liberty replica which protesters had erected in the square. But as in Turkey, economic dissatisfaction was a driving force behind the popular revolt.

        China’s economy was overheating in 1989, with inflation running rampant. Those whose incomes weren’t keeping up could no longer afford food.

        While Turkey’s inflation has averaged about 7 percent this year, in the first half of last year it was over 10 percent.

        Wherever you find double-digit inflation, you also find a restive populace. Maynard Keynes said it best:

        By [inflation, governments] not only confiscate, but they confiscate arbitrarily; and, while the process impoverishes many, it actually enriches some.

        The sight of this arbitrary rearrangement of riches strikes not only at security, but at confidence in the equity of the existing distribution of wealth.

        Those to whom the system brings windfalls are the object of the hatred of the bourgeoisie, whom the inflationism has impoverished, not less than of the proletariat.

        1. from Mexico

          When inflation becomes a revolutonary force is when remuneration for the little people doesn’t keep up.

          It’s not an issue of inflation per se, but of what here in Mexico they call poder adquisitivo, buying power.

          As long as the buying power of the great unwashed keeps pace with inflation, there is no mass discontent. There is, however, quite a bit of dicontent from the owners of debt.

          1. Goyo Marquez

            Who profits from inflation and who profits from deflation is the question economists avoid.

            It seems to me the big losers from inflation/the big winners from deflation, are people who have lots of cash stored somewhere and people who are owed cash on loans which don’t adjust interest to the rate of inflation. Not, in my view, a sympathetic bunch.

            Conversely the big losers from deflation and the winners from inflation are people who don’t have a lot of cash, and people who owe money. Which I assume means most everybody, including the poor.

            As far as I’ve been able to determine the only downside to even hyperinflation, for the vast majority of people, is that they have to use a wheelbarrow rather than a wallet to carry their money.

            This idea that inflation hurts the poor is, I think, one of the most successful bits of propaganda ever undertaken.

          2. Jim Haygood

            ‘As long as the buying power of the great unwashed keeps pace with inflation, there is no mass discontent.’

            In fairy tales, it probably does. But it doesn’t matter since there are pots of gold at ends of each rainbow.

            But here in the real world, the central theme since the Seventies has been massive asset inflation, creating a new crop of global billionaires and widening social inequality that is regularly documented at NC.

            Expanding inequality went hand in hand with unprecedented monetary expansion. Ask yourself: who gets access to zero-interest financing? Jamie Dimon and Lloyd Blankfein do, but you and I sure don’t (unless you’re just slumming here).

          3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            If today’s poor are able to borrow and owe money, after inflation, tomorrow’s poor will not be able to borrow and owe money.

            That’s why, in that particular case, inflation is bad for the poor. Not today. Think beyond that. That zero-down, no-credit-check loans to the poor – that type of loans, that’s an aberration, designed to be passed onto the taxpaying middle class who will surely war with the poor. And that’s how the 0.01% want it.

            The best way to address poverty is through GDP sharing and taxing the 0.01%.

          4. from Mexico

            @ Jim Haygood

            Well I must say, that’s a nice twist there, taking reality and turning it on its head, and then lambasting others for spinning fairy tales.

            The first — numero uno — step in any neoliberal scam is to make sure that salaries and wages don’t keep up with inflation. In that way, money that should have been paid out to workers in remuneration is garnered as profit, which is easily enough becomes capital.

            So you see, no screwing the workers, no superfluous capital. No superfluous capital, no debt bubbles. No debt bubbles, no asset bubbles.

      1. from Mexico


        From the article:

        Because Mr Erdogan has been the lynchpin of Western power in dealing with Syria.

        This seems to be the new US strategy in the region: Back fundamentalist Islam, such as that being implemented by Erdogan, while at the same time verbally denouncining it. Thus we get this huge gap between the walk and the talk of the neocons who have a near monoploy of power in the United States, both Bush and Obama being quintessential neocons.

        We saw it when the US recruited, imported and financed Islamic extremists into Afghanistan, we’re seeing it in Egypt with Obama throwing his support behind a fundamentlist Islamic regime, and we are seeing it in Turkey.

        1. gonzomarx

          it’s been amusing to me (dark humour) watching the silence or the occasional twist and turn as the West supports fundamentalist Islam in Syria, Libya, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia while “fighting” it in Afghanistan, Pakistan and at home.

          1. from Mexico

            Because of where I’m located, I’m more informed about the hypocrisies of the US’s “War on Drugs” than I am its “War on Terrorism.”

            The combined documents released by Wikileaks, which it obtained from Jeremy Hammond and Bradley Manning, have proved invaluable in fleshing out how the United States pursues its imperial ambitions in Latin America. It looks like Obama has taken us back to the dirty wars, genocide and mass murders that haven’t been seen in Latin America for almost 30 years. Persons like myself, who live in Latin America, are most attuned to this and therefore are most grateful to the Hammond-Manning duo.

            Tom Burghardt explains how the Wikileaks information helped document that the US is not fighting a war on drugs, but a war to control select drug lords. It picks fair-haired boys, in the case of Mexico Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán and the Sinaloa cartel he heads, and then does everything it can to insure that cartel monopolizes the drug trade. This is “not surprising” notes Burghardt, “given the secret state’s documented history of close collaboration with major drug trafficking networks that serve as unofficial, though highly-effective instruments, for advancing U.S. imperial strategies.”

            “By launching a War on Drugs in Colombia and Mexico,” Peter Dale Scott wrote, “America has contributed to a parastate of organized terror in Colombia (the so-called AUC, United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia) and an even bloodier reign of terror in Mexico (with 50,000 killed in the last six years).”

            “America’s Secret Deal with the Mexican Drug Cartels” by Tom Burghardt

            This article (sorry, in spanish) explains how the US then exerts influence in Paraguay by leveraging its influence with Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel, which also controls large parts of the drug trade in Paraguay:

            “La Estrategia”

            The following interview (in English) explains how in Honduras the Obama administration threw its unbridled support behind a 2009 military coup (indications are the US military and covert ops played an active role in orchestrating), despite the fact that the US ambassador there concluded that the coup was illegal. (We know this because of one of the documents Manning released to Wikileaks.)

            As the interviewees explain, a bloodbath insued in the aftermath of the coup, with LGBT activists being one of the principle targets. Eighty-nine LGBT activists have been documented as being murdered since the coup. In the 20 years before the coup, only 15 LGBT activists were murdered. Imagine, says one of the interviewees, if 89 LGBT activists had been murdered in the Chicago metropolitan area in the last 3-1/2 years, which has approximately the same population as Hondorus.



            Those of you who speak Spanish might also find this article informative:

            “GUERRA CONTRA EL NARCOTRÁFICO. ESTRATEGIA ESTADUNIDENSE DE CONTENCIÓN EN SUDAMÉRICA” (War against drugs: the US strategy of control in South America)

            The actions of Hammond and Manning have proved to be of immense value in pulling back the curtain to expose and document the US’s brutal and nefarious activities in Latin America.

          2. AbyNormal

            OPPOSITION, n. In politics the party that prevents the Government from running amuck by hamstringing it.

            The King of Ghargaroo, who had been abroad to study the science of government, appointed one hundred of his fattest subjects as members of a parliament to make laws for the collection of revenue. Forty of these he named the Party of Opposition and had his Prime Minister carefully instruct them in their duty of opposing every royal measure. Nevertheless, the first one that was submitted passed unanimously. Greatly displeased, the King vetoed it, informing the Opposition that if they did that again they would pay for their obstinacy with their heads. The entire forty promptly disemboweled themselves.

            “What shall we do now?” the King asked. “Liberal institutions cannot be maintained without a party of Opposition.”

            “Splendor of the universe,” replied the Prime Minister, “it is true these dogs of darkness have no longer their credentials, but all is not lost. Leave the matter to this worm of the dust.”

            So the Minister had the bodies of his Majesty’s Opposition embalmed and stuffed with straw, put back into the seats of power and nailed there. Forty votes were recorded against every bill and the nation prospered. But one day a bill imposing a tax on warts was defeated — the members of the Government party had not been nailed to their seats! This so enraged the King that the Prime Minister was put to death, the parliament was dissolved with a battery of artillery, and government of the people, by the people, for the people perished from Ghargaroo.
            ~devils dictionary

      2. from Mexico

        How do these places like Taksim Square get transformed into sacred spaces, taking on such immense symbolic significance and becoming larger than life? And even more surprising, this occurs to secularists, of all people.

        The moral psychologist Jonathan Haidt explains that the psychological anthropologist Richard Shweder’s

        research on morality shows that when people think about morality, their moral concepts cluster into three groups, which he calls the ethic of autonomy, the ethic of community, and the ethic of divinity. When people think and act using the ethic of autonomy, their goal is to protect individuals from harm and grant them the maximum degree of autonomy, which they can use to pursue their own goals. When people use the ethic of community, their goal is to protect the integrity of groups, families, companies or nations, and they value virtues such as obedience, loyalty, and wise leadership. When people use the ethic of divinity, their goal is to protect from degradation the divinity that exists in each person, and they value living in a pure and holy way, free from moral pollutants such as lust, greed, and hatred.

        –JONATHAN HAIDT, The Happiness Hypothesis

        Haidt goes on to explain, “I found that educated Americans of high social class relied overwhelmingly on the ethic of autonomy in their moral discourse, whereas Brazilians, and people of lower social class in both countries, made much greater use of the ethics of community and divinity.”

        Nevertheless, Haidt goes on to assert that Western secularists (e.g., atheists and agnostics), despite their sometimes protestations to the contrary, are not above feeling and experiencing divinity and spirituality. Haidt notes that the “great historian of religion Mircea Eliade” says

        that the modern West is the first culture in human history that has managed to strip time and space of all sacredness and to produce a fully practical, efficient, and profane world…

        Eliade’s most compelling point, for me, is that sacredness is so irrepressible that it intrudes repeatedly into the modern profane world in the form of “crypto-religious” behavior. Eliade noted that even a person committed to a profane existence has

        privileged places, qualitatively different from all others – a man’s birthplace, or the scenes of his first love, or certain places in the first foreign city he visited in his youth. Even for the most frankly nonreligious man, all these places still retain an exceptional, a unique quality; they are the “holy places” of his private universe, as if it were in such spots that he had received the revelation of a reality other than that in which he participates through his ordinary daily life.

        When I read this, I gasped. Eliade had perfectly pegged my feeble spirituality, limited as it is to places, books, people, and events that have given me moments of uplift and enlightenment. Even atheists have intimations of sacredness, particularly when in love or in nature. We just don’t infer that God caused those feelings.

        Haidt, therefore, offers us an explanation as to how places like Taksim Square take on a larger than life symbolism, an aura of sacredness, even for secularists.

        1. charles sereno

          In a word omphalos? Or for that matter, many words? Too many words can be its own undoing. I mean, can’t we have the least number of words to convey the most meaning? A sort of “semantic density,” at least in writing? Conversation is different. Nice to see Eliade again.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Here is one interesting word, Taksim.

            I wondered and decided to learn about it.

            Unfortunately, I made an error and my misadventure learning lead me to Taksin.

            Maybe it was fortunate and not a misfortune, for Taksin was a very interesting person. He was a Thai king, with Chinese blood and supported by Teochew Chinese money, won himself a kingdom but offended ‘true’ Ayutthaya Thai royal blood with his impure DNA and radical ‘decentralized kingdom (per Wiki), it was conjectured, among other theories, and was declared insane and beaten to death in a velvet sack or beheaded.

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Maybe this will mean I will never to be able to visit places like Ko Samui, or even thrown in a Thai jail, as it is illegal to criticize the Thai king, but still I have to say it:

            ‘Thus began the current Thai ruling house.’

          3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            As Taksin lived about 150 years after Yamada Nagamasa, and his hundreds of samurai who fled Japan after losing the battle of Segigahara, whose Bushido in serving the Thai king won him the governorship of Nakhon Sri Thamma Rat, one has to wonder if king Taksin relied just a little on the sons of those ronins.

      3. EmilianoZ

        Very interesting article. I was struck by this:

        There is a pent-up anger – and when I point to the impressive growth, and fiscal solvency of Turkey, they point to the fact they cannot afford a flat, and that “the money ends up in the pockets of those in power”.

        Inequality a factor as always and maybe they had a housing bubble too.

        1. from Mexico


          It’s neoliberalism par excellence. To flesh out a theme the Moon of Alabama post touched upon:

          • Rapid runup of private debt?

          • Rapidly increasing current account deficit?

          • Rapidly increasing trade deficit?

          It worked great for Ireland and Spain too, until it didn’t.

  8. Yan

    Regarding Spain’s export “boom”:

    Even the Article gives it away, per article: “The March trade surplus was driven by a 15 percent import drop as households cut spending. Foreign sales rose 2 percent and first-quarter exports fell at the fastest pace in a year”. Not exactly what I would call transformational.

    Total export value did grow to € 223 Billion…but it’s an increase of 3,8% year on year (2011-2012). Again not very transformational, especially if we know that the figures for 2010-2011 show an increase in total exports of over 11%. So the rate is still growing but slowing.

    Also, the increase in exports this year is due mainly to 2, factors: the high speed rail project won by a Spanish Consortium for Meca-Medina (roughly US$ 6 Billion total)a rather one-off deal and an increase in the sale of organic chemicals (cannot explain it as I have no idea of what happens in the sector).

    It seems from the article that Spain has become an export powerhouse…nothing farther away from the truth. We still have a current accoun deficit (€ 30 Billion) that will increase again as soon as somebody inside of the country can afford to buy a bottle of premium scotch whisky again. That is, aside from our politicians that have just passed a new legislation subsidizing the bar inside of Congress to the tune of € 4,2 Million a year (€3,65 for a Gin Tonic!). But don’t ask them to incentivize job creation…there is no money for that.

    So you have an idea: Spain throws down the drain 10 times (€ 24 Billion) the gains in imports this years to pay for the “diputaciones”, the regional legislative bodies that literally have no functions or duplicate others already provided by other bodies. Their only function is to provide a salary to party (both political and factual) people and cousins of politicians.

    1. Jim Haygood

      ‘It seems from the article that Spain has become an export powerhouse … nothing farther away from the truth.’

      Even us americanos did a double take at that ridiculous article. How could Spain become an export powerhouse, when the external value of its currency still largely corresponds to the strength of the German economy?

      Presumably this rather desperate piece of propaganda was planted in Bloomberg by the European bankster cartel, which needs the euro zone to hang together so they won’t have to take another debilitating round of bailouts.

      The recession is over, Spanish comrades. Welcome to the Depression!

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        If the recession over there is over, it means the end of their QE. Their stocks should tank, instead of rising as they did today.

        Maybe my brain has not been washed, sorry, cleaned, thoroughly. But that doesn’t jibe with the narrative here that weak ISM manufacturing means more QE and more expensive (as in higher PE ratios) stocks. It seems to me that ‘they’ think we will believe anything they throw at us.

        1. Yan

          There’s no such thing as QE in Spain. We don’t have an “independent” central bank and cannot tinker with monetary policy.

  9. AbyNormal

    that baby hippo proves what i feel!
    (kido sharpening fangs on my bones)

    All over America, people were pulling credentials out of their pockets and sticking them under someone else’s nose to prove they had been somewhere or done something. And I thought someday everyone in America will suddenly jump up and say, ‘I don’t take any shit!’ and start pushing and cursing and clawing at the man next to him.
    Burroughs, And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks

  10. diptherio

    Re: I totally forgot that happens

    Anyone else notice that they didn’t play the normal outro music over the end credits? As if the producers were saying that’s right, you just sit there and think about what just went down…let that really sink in. I thought it was a nice touch.

    My only complaint with the series so far is that Loras Tyrell made a reference to “French sleeves” on a wedding dress a few episodes ago. French? WTF…try Dornish.

    Also, I’ve been playing the GoT board game with some friends before watching the episodes. I have to say, as someone who isn’t much of a gamer, it’s pretty fun. Recommended for anyone into strategy board games.
    [end GoT dorkiness]

    1. Brick

      But it would have been better if the music had kept on playing until the very end of the feast. Would have been, well, fitting.

      1. diptherio

        Man, that scene was creepy. I knew something was up when the band started playing that down-tempo tune. Didn’t seem too festive for a wedding.

        And I thought Deadwood was gory…

  11. TomDor

    RE; Behind the Rise in House Prices, Wall Street Buyers New York Times.”

    It amazes me every time… such coverage about rising home prices being ‘good for the economy’ a sign of ‘economic recovery’ blah blah blah. Of course it is bad for the economy… bad, bad bad!! The only people it benefits are the Realtors (with the trademark of course)…. (sorry Realtors, you all are a bunch of money grubbing idiots who are not worth the vig you take), and the sharpshooting syndicators that will attract investors and, leave them holding the bag while they cash out short term.

    Oh yea, I forgot to tie it together with it (useless micro-bubble blowing) being bad for the economy;
    So how is it bad….. it raises rents and makes home ownership more expensive – it don’t take a rocket scientist to realize that for the 99%ers, this leaves less income left over to spend on other things, you know, like eating, clothing yourself, servicing student loans, affording sustainable transportation, and other needed demand in our economy.

    Golly, when will most of us learn that we all share responsibility when we all pretended to be speculators in real estate when we went about flipping homes to catch the bubbling prices of real estate – the only people who got rich off that were the banks and the predatory scum —- the rest of us were left holding the bag….underwater with our collective thumbs up our asses.

    It ain’t too smart to charge more to the person that follows you for a place to live – that zero sum game just makes it too expensive for most people to live on this planet.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Unless you are a bank that owns a lot of housing loans, deflation in housing would not be a bad thing for those looking for a place to call home, but bad for overleveraged flippers.

      Housing inflation, on the other hand, would be bad for them.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Just to clarify, neither inflation nor deflation is the right tool to deal with the 0.01%.

        The 0.01% can just move from cash to real assets or the other way around to either with either flations.

        And they can do that so fast you don’t have time to blink.

        The only victims are the middle class (or what is left of it) and the poor (welcome to the territory).

  12. Jackrabbit

    Recession Culprits by Dean Baker

    While its nice to see an economists with some moral sensibility, Dean Baker pulls some major punches here.

    Greenspan and Trichet have not suffered and will not suffer because any attempt to do so will result in headlines that embarrass TPTB and lead to calls to discipline others.

    Dean Baker could’ve pointed out that no executive or senior regulator has been held accountable – including poster children for systemic failure like Countrywide’s Angelo Mozilo, Lehman’s Dick Fuld, and AIG’s Joseph Cassano.

    Asked in “Inside Job” why there’s been no systematic investigation of the 2008 crash, Roubini answers: “Because then you’d find the culprits.”

    1. Jackrabbit

      Oh yeah, as a label for their part in the Global Financial Crisis, ‘Recession Culprits’ is rather lame.

      ‘Unindicted co-conspiritors’ seems closer to the truth and might actually get some attention.


      One wonders how many many friends have been lost, how many social events have been denied, to those who are most responsible* for the GFC and the calamity that followed?

      * The Masters of the Universe that profited so handsomely as well as their willing compatriots (risk managers, underwriters, journalists, regulators, etc.) that poo-poo-ed the growing risks.


      In general, I think Dean Baker ‘gets it’ so I have to wonder if a stronger stance was edited out.

  13. TomDor

    Lets not forget that the ‘culprits’ have been given the easy path out….starting way back – prior to the great depression – some of those big money interests funded the foundation of the chicago school, Brookings institute etc to mask the real estate game.

    Simplified, the factors of production- Labor and capital are factors covered by the economics profession – Seldom do I hear them discussing the third factor (economic rent) or, even less, the fourth. – The third and fourth factors have been dismissed intentionally by the oligarchs (kleptocrates or whatever) deliberately by the institutions they founded…they are and were protecting the cash cow they leach off of from everybody.

    Is it not true that there are four legs required in the production of wealth (widgets and all) … can anyone name them…..hint… (the real investment in real production), Labor, Land (passive factor in production = economic rent) and, government investment in infrastructure a good use for taxes in my view (As Simon Patten, the first economics professor at the nation’s first business school (the Wharton School) explained, public infrastructure investment is a “fourth factor of production.” It takes its return not in the form of profits, but in the degree to which it lowers the economy’s cost of doing business and living. Public investment does not need to generate profits or pay high salaries, bonuses and stock options, or operate via offshore banking centers.)

    So where did all the cash go – simple really. It was absorbed by those seeking economic rent.

    Benefits of technological improvements have not always been automatically disseminated to the population as a whole. Certainly not. These benefits have been absorbed by patent rights, by tariff tolls — but most of all by rising rents.
    Really, if an economist wants to wax poetic about their knowledge of how things work – then they had better consider all factors of the costs in production and living. Rising cost in the economic rent part of production can not be dismissed – it is the biggest gorilla hanging un-noticed in the economists school room.

    1. TomDor

      A simple fact. Lets say you own real estate. Real estate is two things – Land and the improvement upon it (that bundle of sticks and things) we call homes or rental properties.
      Lets pretend for instance; your bundle of sticks is insured and the stick pile burns down. The insurance company steps in and rebuilds your place or gives a check for the value, after deductions for depretiation, to repair the pile — ACV or RCV. They certainly will not give ya what you paid for the place. Why won’t they give you what you paid for the pile of sticks? because they only pay what it costs for Actual Cash Value or Replacement Cost Value.

      So, lets say instead, you sell the place for 50% more than ya bought it a year ago (pre crash dynamics) — where did all that extra sales price come from? It did not come from improvements ya made (maybe a fraction). It came from bubbling prices in the land part…driven, of course, by the lender wishing to maximize the amount of money lent against the existing real estate – remember, the pile of sticks did not get more expensive, if anything, it depreciated in value and, since wages in the construction industry have been falling, material prices too — that only leaves land values. Where does that benefit the economy? it benefits the speculator and makes living and working more expensive. This of course is beneficial to the lender – it’s the income stream from a deliberately inflated asset price lent against. So, 40% of all profit earned in this country goes to the financial sector (the rent seekers, predators, Mitt Romney et al.)
      Point is, even if everybody got a raise – it will be absorbed by the rentiers.

      So what do the majority of us do? I would hope we tax the crap out of income derived from rent seeking activity – 99% would not be a bad start. – De-tax labor and non-rent seeking industries – hammer the vultures.

      It is the vultures and rent seekers that have overpriced our goods and services in the global economy – it is the rent seekers that build sub-standard factories causing the death of thousands and the starvation of millions, it is that sector that diminishes freedoms and enslaves millions.

  14. optimader

    RE:Working your way through college doesn’t add up for today’s students

    Poorly written and counterintuitive case for showcasing a student loan crisis.

    For this girl, if she needed 4-1/2 yrs to matriculate w/ a “media degree”, maybe she should have spent 2-1/2 in the states extensive WI Jr college network?
    When I was in college, a bartender job was great, and hardly minimum wage at the end of the shift if you were any good..

    Maybe time for a wiser “fiancé”? Better yet, while in college maybe reallocate more of the non-classroom time to academics and part-time work rather than trolling for a fiance??

    Then maybe she could at least matriculate in a normal 4 yr cycle? Just sayin..

    Even with poorly considered 4-1/2 yr strategy (relative to containing cost) to earn a dodgy degree, is $20K really a devastating student loan.

    Then a Masters Degree in “media”? How about a reality check and working a job for 3 or 4 years first??

    Did I mention poorly written article?

        1. optimader

          indeed dip,
          and still go there occasionally for grins.
          I like to hack my way through intro language classes so I’m dangerous on vacation!
          I love my old JC to pieces, great stuff. They have an extension facility I can walk to ;o)

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Did you mention work and pay?

      Even when I am not being paid, I am working.

      Work is part of my being, and Sundays and Saturdays, being artificial human constructs, I work through them; though, when the lunar mood does strike, I take a Monday off here and there.

      If you’re a Zeus worshipper, I empathize with your grievance that the government has not made Tuesday a holiday.

      Similarly, I feel bad for you Wotan-worshippers, Freya-worshippers and Thor-worshippers.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        If I have my choice, my weekend starts Sunday morning and ends Monday midnight.

        That’s how one deals with Monday blues.

    2. jrs

      Is this comment sarcasm? It’s really so hard to tell …

      Sure there are dozens of reasons a person may take longer than 4 years to graduate but the most common I hear is inability to get classes in the state college system (and the junior college system is even worse!).

      1. optimader

        The article implies 4-1/2yr at UofW, but whatever.

        When I did it in the wayback, I got out of HS a half a year early, got the curriculum books for the JC and State University I planned on attending, confirmed which “prerequisite courses” transferred and just ticked ’em off like a convict marking time on his calendar. Then I transferred and did the same thing. No big deal at the time. I never even met w/ an advisor. I was mailed my diploma and transcript. Maybe I was lucky??

        As I recall if you dropped or audited a “core curriculum” class, you could screw yourself up, so I never did that. I preferred to pull the odd C because in reality it really didn’t matter at the time. the degree was the meal ticket not the GPA within reason. Once hired it was a sink or swim proposition, GPA didn’t matter a whit.
        Yes, at the time the mortal sin would have been getting out of sequence and having a delay in collecting the corporate paycheck which for six months was like a whopping $9K or so LOL!!

  15. curlydan

    “Hah, the Nixon meme is staring to take hold!” I also was pleasantly surprised to see Obama-Nixon connections come up in the FT piece. In today’s world, Nixon basically seems like a centrist Democrat given the rightward drift of both parties in the last 40 years.

    Nixon and Obama both seem paranoid although their paranoia is different. I sense that Nixon’s paranoia came from a “he’s out to get me” attitude while Obama’s is from a “they’re about to see the real me” attitude. Nixon was obsessed with enemies while Obama is obsessed with his own P.R.

    That’s why Nixon allowed break ins and spying, while Obama clamps down on whistleblowers, the press, and needs to make middle of the road “I understand my critics” speeches on drones and the GWOT.

    1. AbyNormal

      Curly your onto somethin!

      I went to the holy man
      Full of lies and hate
      I seemed to scare him a little
      So he showed me to the golden gate
      I tell ya
      Can you see the real me, holy man?
      Can’t you see the real me woo….
      Can’t you see the real me
      Can’t you see the real me
      Can’t you see
      Can’t you see
      Ah no.

    2. Susan the other

      I agree with Yves’ mom. Nixon did do some good things. He got us out of Vietnam. True, he bombed his way out but if he hadn’t it would have been a massacre of our GIs. And a massacre at the peace talks. The forces at work back then and now are very similar. The hawks wanted an all out war to simply go after China. That attitude is never practical. Presidents have very little power over domestic politics. They are, after all, commanders-in-chief. The smart ones use the military to stimulate research, development and our economy. Obama is actually doing a good job on that front. And so did Nixon – he got us out of a lost cause and he devalued the dollar. Here’s a question for you: Why did Nixon “go to China” and not to Hanoi?

      1. subgenius

        oh yes a massacre of the invading force is SUCH a nicer thing than the death by bombing of the fucking CITIZENS of the country….

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        No, Nixon EXTENDED the war in Vietnam. No question. Plus Cambodian bombing!

        But he did push for a negative income tax and got us the FDA. He was liberal by today’s standards on economic issues.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          As it happened often, Cambodian bombing killed a lot of innocent people, but somehow Pol Pot survived to do his thing on even more innocent people, especially bad if you were a Cham.

          Your Austronesian heritage and your Muslim faith made you a target for Mr. Pot.

          How many more Cham champions in Pradal Serey we could have had?

          1. EmilianoZ

            The bombing is what got us Polpot. See this article by Ben Kiernan:


            The impact of this bombing, the subject of much debate for the past three decades, is now clearer than ever. Civilian casualties in Cambodia drove an enraged populace into the arms of an insurgency that had enjoyed relatively little support until the bombing began, setting in motion the expansion of the Vietnam War deeper into Cambodia, a coup d’état in 1970, the rapid rise of the Khmer Rouge, and ultimately the Cambodian genocide.

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Maybe one day, Ms. Lin will put the names of innocent Vietnamese (and all other countries’) civilians who were killed on another memorial.

        2. optimader

          1. President Nixon Imposes Wage and Price Controls. August 15, 1971

          2. Case study: Richard Nixon’s Election promises = extending the war

          American combat deaths for the first half of 1969 increased rather than decreased during the time in which the plan was allegedly being implemented.[10]

          In 1972, Nixon also promised that “peace is at hand”.[11] On January 27, 1973, at the beginning of Nixon’s second term, representatives of the US, North Vietnam, South Vietnam and the Viet Cong signed the Paris Peace Accords, which formally ended US involvement in the war.

          the notion nixon saved any lives related to the vietnam war is absurd.

          Obama is not a valid reason to rehabilitate nixon.

          Nixon was responsible for the good news/bad news formation of the EPA

    3. ex-PFC Chuck

      Decades from now people will still be trying to figure out what was going on between Obama’s ears, just as we still do today re Nixon, nearly 39 years after he flew off from the White House lawn into the sunset.

  16. petridish

    RE: New Drugs Better Than the Old Drugs

    An interesting question is, “Why do we EXPECT them to be?” Because they’re new, because we have computers now, because they’re more expensive, because researchers are smarter now, because technology always produces better solutions than “non-technology” does, because new is always better than old?

    But maybe even more interesting is how the question even came to be asked. Per the article, newer drugs are showing less effectiveness when compared to a placebo. That is a left-handed way of saying they are less and less better than NOTHING (albeit considerably more expensive and potentially harmful than NOTHING.)

    What you may be wondering is why the FDA doesn’t just compare the old with the new, head to head, and find out which is better. Activists are trying to get the FDA to do just that, but the FDA is resisting.

    The truly mind-blowing reasons against comparative studies of new and existing drugs are laid out in this AEI (of course) article:

    including this gem:

    “For example, the FDA has traditionally required comparator trials when it believes that the approval of a new medicine that is less effective than current therapies could create risk to patients. This happens in diseases for which the absolute efficacy of drugs is one of the key considerations in prescribing decisions. One example is the approval of anti-infective drugs. The FDA typically requires that new antibiotics prove as good as existing treatments before they can be approved. Another situation where the FDA typically requires this sort of comparative data is in the approval of drugs to prevent the rejection of transplanted organs.”

    Read that first sentence again. A new medicine that is KNOWN TO BE LESS EFFECTIVE and could present a RISK TO PATIENTS if prescribed in place of an older one. WTF?????

    1. Lee

      There is a new drug I would very much like to try. Unfortunately, in this FDA approved clinical trial of the drug Ampligen for treatment of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, the human guinea pigs must pay for the drug, to the tune of about $20K per year.

      This outrage is of course due in large part to the venality and ineptitude of the manufacturer, Hemispherx, which is well documented and even inspired a rather good novel, Patient 002, by one of its guinea pig victims. But it is also true that the NIH spends more money on researching hay fever than it does CFS.

      1. Lee


        Ampligen is not a new drug. It has been around for decades as Hemispherx has sought the FDA’s approval for its use in treating everything from AIDS to flu. The drug is currently approved for use in Belgium and Canada.

        As any fan of Inspector Morse Mysteries should know well, I wrote “due to”, when it should have been “owing to.”

  17. Susan the other

    The propaganda about the recession “easing” and exports and jobs growing is so blatant. It is orchestrated from China, to Japan, to the US (anybody notice the ISM report – gosh no manufacturing in spite of our wonderful jobs creation and growing exports?) and now Europe is starting the happy talk. Spain is a joke. It’s about as able to recover as Greece is. All the propagandists should read the tea leaves. Look what two months of rain falling in two days can do to ancient towns built along the banks of rivers. Prague, Regensburg, Budapest. Just think what a few more days of rain could do – it could wash away a thousand years. It does clear the air.

  18. rich

    Time Magazine Cover: This is What Propaganda Looks Like

    Still don’t believe mainstream media outlets are engaged in deliberate propaganda against U.S. citizens? If not, these images should shake you out of your stupor. I’ve pointed out the difference in Time Magazine covers for the U.S. market versus what they show the rest of the world before, and at times it is nothing short of incredible. In this case, they show political mobster, and Chicago mayor, Rahm Emmanuel on the cover. Not only does nobody care about this clown, he is certainly not the most important story on earth this past week. Meanwhile, look at what is highlighted to everyone else on the planet. How utterly embarrassing

  19. Garrett Pace

    “Evolution is Wonderful”

    Also kind of snobbish to look at dinosaur bones – the remnants of natural selection’s losers – and proclaim love for the process that put them in the dirt and leaves you and your relatives in charge of the planet.

    1. jrs

      Eh, other speicies will see our remains someday, when the human race has inevitable wiped itself out via uncurable shortsightedness and stupidity.

      1. Garrett Pace

        This sort of competitive appreciation of life’s wonders is a rich man’s game. You have to migrate quite a ways up Maslo’s hierarchy to be able to appreciate “nature red in tooth and claw”.

  20. Furzy Mouse

    many thanks to Richard Smith for the article on Burzynski and his Clinic…many alternative health websites tout him…I will be sure to paste this link in their comments…a weird kind of faith arises in people who are desperate for a cure, probably prompted by an inability to accept the conventional prognosis..

    1. Lee

      I assume “a weird kind of faith” would include most organized religions with their attendant after-life obsessions. Both are fueled by fear of death and eminently human. There is nothing particularly weird, as in grotesquely unusual, about the desperation of the incurably ill. They are the victims not the perpetrators of the likes of a Burzynski or any number of religious profiteering hucksters.

      For more on the vile Dr.Burzynski and his ilk I’d recommend the web site

      1. Lee


        Ampligen is not a new drug. It has been around for decades as Hemispherx has sought the FDA’s approval for its use in treating everything from AIDS to flu. The drug is currently approved for use in Belgium and Canada.

        As any fan of Inspector Morse Mysteries should know well, I wrote “due to”, when it should have been “owing to.”

  21. charles sereno

    RE: European recession eases (MacroBusiness)
    Western-centric economists sometime miss examples at hand. Case in point — Iran. Austerity in extremis. If it survives, will it rebound to new heights? We all know that won’t happen. Austerity can be endured; it never works.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Perhaps the ban on free Amazon shipping will collapse the French economy.

      I rather pay shipping and buy second hand books @ $2 or $3 each from dealers on Amazon, if I must; otherwise, it’s library for me.

      I might not have read a lot of books, but I have checked out a lot of them. MY goal is to be the one who has checked out 1) the most number of books and 2) the most tonnage of books (for those who value book by weight, like paying by weight at salad bars – whatever happened to paying food by its nutritional value?).

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I don’t want to brag, by my library still has VHS and there is even one stuck in my TV that I can’t get out.

          I am thinking of donating the TV with a non-functioning power unit (thus the stuck cassette tape). It’s either that or paying a fine.

          1. optimader


            Incredibly great system. Word string searches to find desired content, as well aggregate similar content.

            Part of the reason I shut down cable at home, I always have a stack of media, either DVDs, music CDs, books on CD to amuse me. Content consumption on my schedule.

            I regularly donate content to my Village Library because I use so much content derived from other communities in the system. Plus it’s my modest way of infecting the thought process of the public at large.

            These interlibrary loan systems are very powerful resources if done correctly.

  22. Kokuanani

    The Washington Post has to ASK why more “boomers” are committing suicide?

    Have they not noticed the sky-rocketing cost of medical care? That with each year, fewer and fewer “boomers” have defined benefit pension plans, or ANY pension at all?

    Did they neglect to discover that boomers’ IRAs were decimated in 2008-09, and that many who had to rely on withdrawals to live on, couldn’t just sit around and wait for their account to “recover”?

    Haven’t they done any stories about how boomers, who counted on selling their now-paid-off home and “downsizing,” using any extra to live on, can’t do so?

    Oh, and how about a few stories on how boomers depleted their own meager savings in supporting their kids, who’ve moved back home because they can’t find a job.

    Frankly, I’m surprised the Post didn’t advocate making it EASIER for boomers to commit suicide. For many in this environment, that looks like the best option.

      1. DolleyMadison

        Yes. lost my Dad 2 years ago…only 68. Quit eating when denied the pills that could end his life – he did not want his beloved farm lost to medical bills and my mother left homeless. My husband lost is job 3 years ago…cannot get a call back from even the most menial positions applied for. Occasionally I’ll wake in the night and find him gone (downstairs to read usually) and my heart lurches in fear…so terrified he will end his life. It makes me feel so alone to realize there are 10 of millions of people who will NEVER work again and yet we hear all these chirpy messages of how great the stock market is…and how housing is “roaring back” etc…its as though we lost a whole generation of folks…and noone noticed or cared.

        1. AbyNormal

          Dolly, i felt drawn to peek at nc before retiring for the evening…now i know why. thank you for sharing. your not alone Dolly but we all feel alone when burdens become life threatening. im sorry for your husband and the disheartening predicaments we’re all coming into.
          you’ll remain in my thoughts, stay near Dolly. Aby

          Hope is the thing with feathers
          That perches in the soul,
          And sings the tune–without the words,
          And never stops at all,

          And sweetest in the gale is heard;
          And sore must be the storm
          That could abash the little bird
          That kept so many warm.

          I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
          And on the strangest sea;
          Yet, never, in extremity,
          It asked a crumb of me.

      1. DolleyMadison

        Don’t think I haven’t thought of it…if I ever get a terminal diagnosis I’m in!

  23. diane

    Frankly, I’m surprised the Post didn’t advocate making it EASIER for boomers to commit suicide.

    Actually, I kind of think they did, the underlying thesis appeared to be: those boomers are LOSER whiners!

    Of course they made no mention as to how many of them were trying to keep their parents safe from Ghastly “Nursing Homes”, nor trying to financially support their kids at the same time they had been inexplicablly AXED, nor the fact that so many middle aged lost their jobs between 2008 and 2010 only to be be legally told that “we are not hiring the unemployed” it made no difference whatsoever if one was doing contract work, trying to assist a company that had been aquired wrap things up, before the huge layoff (as one was instructed: be loyal to your employer, if they treat you right) … It apparently makes no difference, that the average age in the U$ Senate, is about 75 to 80, when the excuse is made that those far younger middle aged, far more adept at using software and navigating the web, one on one, just can’t keep up and therefore are only able to hold down parking lot/valet/Costco Food Sampler Jawbs.

    No mention of the fact that many of those middle aged workers were fired for trying to do the right moral thing in accounting for company finances; not firing employees who actually cared about quality control, etcetera.

    Speaking of which, I recall a quality control PG&E worker having been incinerated in the San Bruno, California PG&E Utility Caused disaster.

    There is such a FOUL STENCH about, I hope we can recover from it.

    1. DolleyMadison

      EXACTLY. ON ONE SALARY I am supporting two minor children, sick elderly in-laws who recently moved into my dining room, a son who is recent JD grad looking for job/studying for bar, and providing sporadic help to my mother and another son who is working 2 jobs and going to grad school in New York. My brilliant husband who was never late or missed a day for 28 years is told almost daily (for 3 years) that he is “unqualified” for even the most menial jobs. My daughter just graduated from high School and we cannot afford even community college – loans go to those with good credit and grants to those with no salary – number of dependents irrelevant. The only thing that keeps me from ending it is knowing I am the only one keeping the ship afloat. To add insult to injury is the disdain and contempt shown to us by others (we have never taken assistance of any kind) These are lonely, treacherous times…

      1. diane

        To add insult to injury is the disdain and contempt shown to us by others (we have never taken assistance of any kind) These are lonely, treacherous times…

        So sorry Dolley, and yeah the focking disdain and contempt (Mo$t large Non Profit$!/Assistance Agencie$!!! have finessed that one to a $ubtle $cience),… and the invisibleness accorded the masses of people suffering is the most evil, painful and the ugliest of it.

        Hang in honey, a huge, tight, warm embrace to you.

      2. Jessica

        I am touched by what you wrote. I don’t know what to say other than that you are a good person and I hope someday we make a society that treats good people better.

  24. optimader

    I think you miss my point Petri, or I have been unclear.

    I don’t contest that student loans, as a policy, have been presented opportunities for recourse loan exploitation.

    My point is there are ways of avoiding or minimizing being exploited. Frankly, attempting to make an exploitation case with the University of WI system, with its excellent extension network and (relatively) low cost/educational benefit value undermines the argument, IMO.

    A more interesting story would be a root cause analysis of how costs decompose for an undergrad education in a cross-section of institutions, then include a projection of payback based on average salary history for subject profession. That would be real guidance for young people.

    Considering the possibilities for illustrating blatant loan exploitation, I don’t think a say, ~ $20K debt for 4-1/2 yrs tuition/room board and living expenses at UofW is the model for what has been in many cases, a ballistic rise in cost.

    And yes graduate as in leaving matriculate as in entering., Thankyou. Incidentally, I have a niece that is matriculating into the UofW –Milwaukee Extension, has her curriculum sequence sorted out that then matriculates her into U of W –Madison program for her last two years of undergrad, four years total. She’s been working her part time job through high school and will keep it her first two years while living at home(her choice actually very unpopular in her peer group but –good chow, free housekeeping). She’ll surely get a part-time job in Madison and will be in pretty good financial shape when she enters the professional work force.
    In contrast, I am getting an earful on what I consider INSANE College( as well, no college) plans some in her peer group (and the parents) have made. $50~75K /yr out of state to essentially figure out what they want to major in??!! IMO that’s nuts, even if you have the loose cash in the back of the pencil drawer.

    So tell me, who really needs to go to an out of state school for a undergrad degree, other than some very special cases ( say Julliard, or maybe the kid from Iowa that has a Marine Biology program scholarship??) I don’t know and I don’t get it.

    So yeah, News Flash: there are student loan entities pedaling exploitive recourse loans to those that will bite the hook.

    A more interesting topic to put flesh on IMO is disassembling why some institutions are fantastically expensive, say for example Northwestern or UofC (just because I am curently familiar w/ their wound-up costs). Is there some intrinsic value/cost derived from a Bachelors’ degree taught by TAs at these institutions that justify the spread compared to a JC then in state sate school. I contend no. Is the undergrad finance degree at Harvard better preparation that the same degree at UofI? I contend show me, as I have seen real life examples to the contrary.

    IMO throwing big dough at attending marquee/Ivy league institutions for undergrad degrees is a dubious value choice.
    If the student proves to be good enough to justify grad school, then consider the marquee institution where one can be funded by a grant/research stipend/TA-ing. The reality is, actual Professor contact time will happen in grad school, undergrad– not so much, you just get the sweatshirt

    From the article I would like to see a clicky-clicky confirming the 1978 $2,362 vs “today”$18,402.00 costs comparison. Right off hand I call bllsht.

    Uof WI
    “Primary Causes of Tuition Increases
    Tuition increases from one year to the next are
    the result of one or more of the following:
    (1) increases
    in instructional costs, including faculty and
    academic staff pay plan increases and new initiatives;
    (2) changes in GPR funding levels relative to
    increases in costs;
    (3) enrollment changes (resident/
    nonresident mix and numbers);
    (4)growth in state-imposed costs that are not covered by GPR.

    The primary causes of tuition increases during
    the past 10 years have been:
    • Compensation increases for faculty and
    academic staff. For the 2009-11 biennium, it is
    estimated that for every 1% increase in
    compensation, tuition would increase by 0.6% if
    funded using the traditional GPR/fee split.
    However, if compensation plan adjustments were
    to be funded completely through academic fees, it
    is estimated that for every 1% increase in
    compensation, tuition will increase 2.1%.”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      That was decades ago, but I was told the reason for my 300+ students, learning via TA, intro-chemistry class my freshman year was to weed out unqualified admissions.

      I get better seats at minor league baseball games than what I got in those classes.

      1. optimader

        My core curriculum Physics class was at a JC taught by a research physicist from Fermi Lab. Dr Whirle, brilliant/eccentric as the day is long and heart of gold. He just liked teaching kids. I’ll always remember him great guy -great object lesson instructor. Maybe 25 students, tops. It was like having the best tutor money could buy.

        The analog class at UofI was as you say, weed out classes in a auditoriums w/ 299 other bumpkins.

        Fantastic place, I think now the largest JC in the US.

        Thinking back about it, my Engineering Drawing instructor was the drafting room manager from the International Harvester Research Center. Again, a level of instruction you couldn’t buy if you sought it out. Just a guy that wanted to give back. And what a beauty, looked like Gene Kranz’s(NASA Apollo vintage) doppleganger.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I can not, in all honesty, comment on my education without mentioning that my real learning began after I graduated.

        1. optimader

          “my real learning began after I graduated.”

          No kidding on that one beefy..

          Maybe it’s the distortion of hindsight, but looking back, the meaningful content from undergrad could now be shoved into maybe two years(?) of what I’ll call “application tools” and requisite background theory on the nature of things.
          The real deal was the PAINFUL process of wiring the brain to think critically and meet deadlines.
          Getting turned loose as a freshly minted engineer was like being a heat seeking missile w/the hood left on the nose, i.e.: much OTJT on what is actually important from chain smoking wise guys that could put things in perspective after surviving WWII. Wow.. If I had the opportunity to go back in time and talk to some of those guys again as an adult.

  25. DolleyMadison

    BRILLIANT. Ralph Nader:

    Describing the United States as an “advanced Third World country,” longtime consumer advocate and former presidential candidate Ralph Nader calls for a new mass movement to challenge the power corporations have in Washington. “It is not too extreme to call our system of government now ‘American fascism.’ It’s the control of government by big business, which Franklin Delano Roosevelt defined in 1938 as fascism,” Nader says. “We have the lowest minimum wage in the Western world. We have the greatest amount of consumer debt. We have the highest child poverty, the highest adult poverty, huge underemployment, a crumbling public works — but huge multi-billionaires and hugely profitable corporations. I say to the American people: What’s your breaking point? When are you going to stop making excuses for yourself? When are you going to stop exaggerating these powers when you know you have the power in this country if you organize it?”

  26. diane

    Thanks so very much for, Obama’s faith in the geek elite who have your secrets , Yves.

    (I found non firewalled access here )

    I couldn’t help but notice and be hopeful about (finally it is being acknowledged out loud, from varying corners) the parallels made – regarding the outrageous privacy violations, power, forced poverty, and literal control exercised over everyone’s lives (except their own), by a parasitic (vc/tech/DOD/old ‘wealth’/etcetera) ‘elite’ in Silicon Valley – with Assange’s June 2nd Op-ed (Non firewalled version here), The Banality of ‘Don’t Be evil’; particularly this phrase:

    …. This idiom reflects the ever closer union between the State Department and Silicon Valley, [California] …

  27. craazyman

    This should definitely be link material for tomorrow since people who run things here are even willing to post links about silly-science Easter egg hunts for little sub-atomic particles that only exist if you look at them through machines made to see them and you can only see them when you look through the machine, and other stories about wackos who think God has “one big equation” that solves everything.

    Why would God do something that stupid? What would people do next if it was that easy and they figured it all out forever? Think about that.

    This link is not abut a grandmother trying out for the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders. Even though I did submit that as a link before.

    This link is a feature story written by a celebrated New Yawk Times reporter and it’s in VANITY FAIR and it’s about a HARVARD doctor who was, frankly, a bit of a woo-woo-foo-foo head. But youze might learn something. Probably not. But maybe. hahahaha

    This is what I would call serious science, it is not frivolous atomic particle billiards in some lush laboratory of delusion and inconsequentiality.

  28. Glenn Condell

    ‘Lost decade of joblessness ahead‘

    ‘Working your way through college doesn’t add up for today’s students’

    ‘Behind the Rise in House Prices, Wall Street Buyers’

    I’m no good at maths so can’t begin to answer this myself but I wonder whether the combined cost of:

    1 giving every unemployed person on the planet a job (social services if no infrastructure left to improve) for the next ten years

    2 paying off all student debts and abolishing all fees for education for the next ten years, and

    3 buying back for the mortgagees all the houses foreclosed upon since the crisis and for the next ten years

    would amount to more or less than the 32 trillion stolen from us by the 1% which is sitting offshore.

    ‘Baby boomers are killing themselves at an alarming rate, raising question: Why?’

    Or as most of them might have said, ‘why not’?

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