Links 8/8/13

Starved polar bear perished due to record sea-ice melt, says expert Guardian (CJ). Click on this only if you are brave.

Deaths of Manatees, Dolphins and Pelicans Point to Estuary at Risk New York Times

GM rice approval ‘edging closer’ BBC :-(

HeLa Cells Use Restricted Under New Agreement With Family Of Henrietta Lacks Huffington Post

Slashdot founder Rob Malda on why there won’t be another Hacker News Washington Post (Lambert)

Obama veto leaves patents under a cloud Financial Times. This was a result of 2012 campaign donations. Tom Ferguson is on the verge of publishing his meticulously detailed election analysis.

The Details of Hiroshima New Yorker

Hiroshima’s forgotten victims Salon

NukeMap Alex Wellerstein (Sundog). Looks like a new and improved Nuke-o-Meter

Japan says Fukushima leak worse than thought, government joins clean-up Reuters

‘Germany Is Critical’: IMF Calls on Berlin to Loosen Pocketbook Der Spiegel

‘Socially useless’ UK banks must change, says Mark Carney Telegraph. Well at least Carney is continuing in the recent Bank of England tradition of telling the banks in no uncertain terms that they need to shape up, which is more than we get from regulators here. But what sort of action will he take?

Mass protests on Tunisian streets BBC

Big Brother is Watching You Watch:

Exclusive: IRS manual detailed DEA’s use of hidden intel evidence Reuters

N.S.A. Searches Said to Include Broader Sifting of Data Abroad New York Times

Counter-Terror Experts: Government’s Mass Surveillance Program – And Justifications – Are So Dumb They’re “Crazy Pants” George Washington

On Obama’s cancellation of summit with Putin and extradition Glenn Greenwald

We need Big Tech to protect us from Big Brother Guardian (Deontos)

Government Reverses Course on Warrantless Wiretapping in Criminal Case, Admits Duty to Notify Defendants ACLU (Deontos). If I read this correctly, means less than you’d think given that we have learned the government also doctors how it got its evidence.

Edward Snowden’s Anonymous, LulzSec Supporters Virgin Losers, Former NSA Chief Says Inquisitir (Deontos). Nothing like seeing the officialdom under so much strain that they start getting visibly unhinged in public.

US acts irresponsibly by bearing grudge against Russia over Snowden Tass

61 Million Do Not Speak English at Home DemoMemo. Lambert flags cool interactive map.

40 percent of white Americans have no friends who belong to a different race Reuters

Obamacare Opens for Business, Shuts Out Labor Truthout (Steven Malagodi)

Obamacare months behind in testing IT data security: government Reuters. Jim Haygood notes Lambert saw this coming.

For Obamacare, Some Hurdles Still Ahead New York Times

Freedom Rider: Tar Sands Hell in Detroit Black Agenda Report (Carol B)

Keystone Light: The Keystone XL Alternative You’ve Never Heard of Is Probably Going to Be Built Mother Jones

Louisiana flood protection board sues Big Oil for wetlands loss: Harry Shearer interviews John Barry Corrente

A Moral Monday Chicago Welcome for ALEC Kit O’Connell, Firedoglake (Carol B)

Manhattan Housing Crisis Claims People With Millions In Cash, No Need For Mortgage As Victims DealBreaker

Walmart pays $190,000 fine and agrees to improve safety Guardian

US Consumer Spending Flat Since March – Gallup Michael Shedlock

Fed Belongs to Everybody as Public Says It’s Our Money in Crisis Bloomberg

Big Banks Conspiracy is destroying America MarketWatch (rich)

15 things everyone would know if there were a liberal media Daily Kos (barrisj)

Antidote du jour:


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  1. Eric

    You can draw a straight line from the NY Times story on Manatee deaths to the decision in Koontz V. St. Johns River Water Management and reinforce how off base that decision was.

      1. Jim Haygood

        The background of the Mr. Fish cartoon is like a perception test. Initially I took it to be the floor — maybe linoleum with a busy drone-themed pattern? Then I realized it’s probably the sky. The sky’s the limit …

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        We probably more antidotes, like those from The Book of Antidotes, or the Book of Theriac, by Pseudo Galen.

  2. Jim Haygood

    From the NYT ‘Obamacare hurdles’ article:

    Some economists have voiced fears that insurers with small market shares will not have the clout to bargain effectively with enormous hospital systems, which are being encouraged to consolidate even further into Accountable Care Organizations that take charge of patients’ entire health needs.

    ‘Accountable Care Organizations’ — LOL! As ol’ Jim Morrison might have said, ‘You cannot petition an ACO with prayer!’

    Or to don my cone-shaped economist’s cap, entities which engage in rank price discrimination, are reiumbursed by third parties, and use a cost-plus business model that precludes public price lists and lump-sum pricing, constitute the very archetype of absolute unaccountability.

    The only truly acccountable vendors I encounter are small businesses, which either satisfy their customers or lose them. I’d suggest the troglodytical U.S. hospital cartel — justly famed for imposing the highest prices on the planet — adopt the creative name of a women’s hair salon: Curl Up and Dye.

    Soylent Green, comrades. Don’t sell yourself short.

    1. Walter Map

      There are many paths to debt slavery. The express lane runs through a hospital.

      Medical-Industrial Complex: “Your money or your life.” The mafia is so jealous.

      If they screw up they can still increase their profits by transplanting your Good and Plentys into other eager customers. Not that profit’s any kind of incentive, mind you.

    2. BondsOfSteel

      The hodgepodge of compromise that made Obamacare is going to change things for almost everyone. But there will be winners as wells as losers.

      I agree that rural consumers will probably be the biggest losers. With no public option and focusing on state solutions, demographic and geographic differences will have huge pricing effects. Ironically, this will be a lot of red states. The republicans screwed themselves with Obamacare, but their voters will blame the democrats.

      The NYT article mentions ‘adverse selection’, which will have the same effect of shifting cost, but isn’t so much rural vs urban as healthy vs sick. It’ll probably affect more urban areas where there will be more choices.

      1. Walter Map

        But there will be winners as wells as losers.

        The insurance industry and Wall St. expect to make out like bandits. They guaranteed themselves a huge increase in rent extraction when they wrote the legislation.

        Everybody else can expect to be gutted like so many tuna.

      2. Lambert Strether

        Asssuredly there will be winners, and no doubt the Obama campaign apparatchiks who are running Enroll America will be astute enough to skew the winners toward actual or potential Obama voters. (Remarkably, or not, nobody points out that ObamaCare enrollment strategies take no account whatever of those who actually need care. It’s all actuarial value, signifying complete cognitive capture by the health insurance companies.)

        That’s why I focus on the lack of equal treatment; it’s a prophylactic to the coming PR campaign where “ObamaCare saved my child’s life!” To which my response will be: “That’s great. I just want all families to have the same chance your child did.” ObamaCare cannot do that.

        1. Jim Haygood

          Yesterday a handbill about the Oct. 1st opening of state exchanges was left on my door by a student chapter of the state PIRG (Public Interest Research Group).

          ‘Walking around money’ — creating summer jobs!

          Wish I’d been home to poison their innocent young minds with a dose of vicious, cynical anti-statism.

  3. Trisectangle

    Is the :-( next to the golden rice story purely because it’s a GM crop or is there some scummy, Monsato like business model behind it?

    1. AbyNormal

      seriously. they get that within a qtr. of a blink…
      Retail conglomerate Walmart agreed to pay $81 million on Tuesday after the company admitted in a San Francisco court to dumping toxic sludge into sanitary sewers throughout the state of California and Missouri in the early to mid-2000s, resulting in children encountering ammonium sulfate powder while playing outdoors. The penalty payment is, to almost every human being, unimaginably large. But how much is $81 million to Walmart, the largest private employer in existence? Let’s cut to the chase: it’s not that much at all. Tuesday’s payout will cost Walmart a day worth of profits.

      Walmart’s operating profit, according to figures made public on April 30, were $27.87 billion for the prior year. Divided by the number of minutes per year (525,949), we arrive at the amount of profit Walmart generates per minute: approximately $52,990. So $81 million (Walmart’s settlement) divided by such equals 1,528, giving us the number of minutes it would take Walmart to recoup the settlement in terms of profits. And 1,528 minutes is approximately 25.4 hours, or a little over a single day. An hour past this time tomorrow, Walmart will have already earned enough to pay off their court-ordered penalty.

  4. Cynthia

    “40 percent of white Americans have no friends who belong to a different race”

    That’s a very misleading statement because whites make up 63% of the American population, while blacks and Hispanics make up only 13.1% and 16.9% of the American population, respectively. Think about it, if either blacks or Hispanics were to make up 63% of the American population, they too could be wrongly labeled as bigoted, segregationists. Biased studies like this is the reason why whites are erroneously portrayed as bigger racists than either blacks or Hispanics.

    1. from Mexico

      I don’t think math is one of your strong suits.

      If a person has 10 friends, each chosen purely randomly with no racial selection bias, from a general population that is 63% white, then the chances are less than 1%, or 1 out of 100, that all of the friends will be white.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Is this math right –

        The probability is 0.00000002 that all 10 friends will be Hispanic?

        And 0.000000001 that all 10 friends will be black?

      2. Cynthia

        You don’t need much math to know that since 63% of the American population is white with the rest being pretty much either black or Hispanic, and if every white American were to pair up with either a Hispanic or black American, that would leave a significant number of white Americans to pair up with other white Americans, making them appear as though they are backward and bigoted segregationists even if they aren’t.

        The same thing can’t be said about either Hispanic Americans or black Americans. Since only 16.9% of the American population is Hispanic and only 13.1% of the American population is black with the rest being pretty much white, and if every Hispanic American and every black American were to pair up with a white American, that would leave NO Hispanic American and NO black American to pair up with other Hispanic Americans or black Americans, making them appear as though they are progressive and fair-minded integrationists.

        This is why this study conducted by Reuters is biased against whites. You can’t truly determine one race is more racist than another race until the population is split equally between the races. For that to happen in the US, a 33-33-33 split is needed between whites, Hispanics and blacks.

        1. from Mexico


          Did you even read the article?

          I don’t reading comprehension is one of your strong suits either.

          1. bcf

            proud to be one of the 60% of white folks who happen to have brown/black friends; and, who (to the eternal consternation of this blog), believes in the ability of firearms owners to resist the supremacy of the state. Dorner lives!

          2. Optimader

            I didnt read the article because i dont read articles about statistically bllsht studies. Framed to provide a predisposed conclusion, but ok my curiosity is briefly puiqed.
            Is it assumed the “ethnic” populations are randomly distributed amonst “whites” or does it account for urban ethnic enclaves? I happen to be a white guy who lives in a demographic area with a large hispanic. black ( and asian) populations. Consequently, I have many hispanic,black and asian friends, even irish!

            Does that make me an outlier or just a typical white american, statitically corrected?

  5. Tom Stone

    The way the Obama Administration has reacted to Snowden is frighteningly irrational. I found it amusing in a bizarre way at first, but after reflecting on their abuses of power my attitude changed.

  6. rich

    Jeff Bezos, Meet Your Fellow Media Plutocrats

    With his purchase of the Washington Post, the Amazon founder joins the ranks of other millionaires and billionaires who are reshaping the global media landscape.

    Bezos now joins that most exclusive of clubs: plutocrats with newspapers. With his $250 million purchase of the Post, the Internet entrepreneur joins the growing ranks of the global media elite, an eclectic group of outsize characters who have cashed in on and backed the world’s most powerful media companies.

    Jeff Bezos, meet your new peers.

    Samir and Vineet Jain

    The woes of the newspaper industry are well-known, but in India the Internet revolution that has beset Western newspapers is nowhere to be seen. In fact, India’s broadsheets are thriving. At the forefront of this surprising renaissance in newspaper publishing are Samir and Vineet Jain, the men behind the world’s largest paper by circulation, the Times of India. Together, Samir and Vineet (the latter is pictured above, left) have taken a publishing empire and turbocharged it. Pursuing an aggressive advertorial strategy, the brothers have made the Times the country’s most read and most important paper. But in doing so they have adopted a controversial editorial strategy. As detailed in a marvelous profile of the two men by the New Yorker’s Ken Auletta, Samir and Vineet have taken to selling an “aspirational” editorial product, one in which content is often for sale to the people the paper covers. Bollywood stars and celebrities buy coverage in the paper to boost their profiles. A disclaimer that the coverage has been purchased is provided only in the finest of fine prints.

  7. AbyNormal

    re, Snowden’s Anonymous:
    here we get an idea for why Hayden is coming undone:

    “didn’t stop Hayden from laying into a certain internet caucus, lambasting any who would stand up for Snowden as unreasonable, unbalanced, and bizarrely, *unpalatable to the opposite sex*.”

    Because no one has more thirst for earth, for blood, and for ferocious sexuality than the creatures who inhabit cold mirrors.
    Alejandra Pizarnik

  8. rich

    No matter how hard our poor un conflicted policy makers try, they just can’t narrowly define what a job is….???

    It’s hard work….

    Loeb’s Reinsurer With No U.S. Staff Gains From Jobs Act

    Billionaire hedge-fund manager Daniel Loeb’s Third Point Reinsurance Ltd., which has no staff in the U.S., said it can limit financial disclosure after a public offering because of rules promoting domestic job creation.

    Third Point Re is an “emerging growth company” under the Jumpstart Our Business Startups — or JOBS — Act, according to filings for the planned initial public offering. Under the act, companies with less than $1 billion in annual revenue can qualify, allowing reduced disclosure about executive pay and waiving requirements for auditors to attest to a company’s financial controls.

    President Barack Obama has said the JOBS Act, which became law last year, would make it easier for companies to raise money, leading to employment growth. Bermuda-based Third Point Re shows how the benefits aren’t exclusive to companies adding U.S. jobs, said Barry Ritholtz, chief executive officer of FusionIQ, the provider of equity-analysis software.

    “This was all about small companies and startups, not wealthy hedge-fund managers,” Ritholtz said in a telephone interview. “Was this anticipated by the JOBS Act? Well, not if you paid attention to the rhetoric we heard.”

    Rob Bredahl, the reinsurer’s chief financial officer, didn’t respond to messages by phone and e-mail seeking comment about plans for hiring or financial disclosure. Elissa Doyle, a managing director at Loeb’s Third Point LLC hedge fund, declined to comment.

  9. AbyNormal

    A disgraced former Navy chaplain this week told his viewers that Jesus would want them to “sell your clothes and buy a gun.”

    During his Pray In Jesus Name Internet show, Chaplain Gordon James “Chaps” Klingenschmitt suggested that the Department of Homeland Security was trying to enslave citizens by hoarding all of the ammunition.

    “I think Jesus would favor the Second Amendment,” Klingenschmitt explained. “This is my opinion, that the Holy Spirit would allow the citizens to protect themselves rather than delegating that to a government to go out arm themselves against the citizens in the name of protecting the citizens.

    The former Navy chaplain pointed out that Jesus had told his disciples who did not have a sword to “sell his cloak and buy one” when he was being hunted by the Romans.

    “You know what, citizens, if you don’t have a gun, I’m telling you as a Christian chaplain, sell your clothes and buy a gun,” Klingenschmitt insisted. “It’s time. The government persecution will be coming against you, and you need to arm yourselves and your family when that time comes.”

    yikes. my clothes are 4th n 5th hand-me-downs…i can’t even get a super-soaker

    1. F. Beard

      The former Navy chaplain pointed out that Jesus had told his disciples who did not have a sword to “sell his cloak and buy one” when he was being hunted by the Romans.

      The Romans NEVER hunted Jesus. Instead, the authorities of His own people, the Jews, took Him to Pilate and demanded He be crucified. Pilate acquiesced, even though he admitted Jesus was innocent.

      Biblical ignorance is astounding.

      Yes, Jesus was a pacifist. He also said it was better if a man never married but that only some men could accept that.

      That said, that Navy chaplain is a ninnie.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It would be nice if they show the whole quote about selling your cloak to buy a sword.

        1. F. Beard

          “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” But he said to Him, “Lord, with You I am ready to go both to prison and to death!” And He said, “I say to you, Peter, the rooster will not crow today until you have denied three times that you know Me.”

          And He said to them, “When I sent you out without money belt and bag and sandals, you did not lack anything, did you?” They said, “No, nothing.” And He said to them, “But now, whoever has a money belt is to take it along, likewise also a bag, and whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one. For I tell you that this which is written must be fulfilled in Me, ‘And He was numbered with transgressors’; for that which refers to Me has its fulfillment.” They said, “Lord, look, here are two swords.” And He said to them, “It is enough.” Luke 22:31-38

          Obviously, we are talking about a special case and just TWO swords for 11 disciples?! The faith of the disciples was going to be severely tested when Jesus was taken prisoner despite Him having warned them time and again that it was going to happen. So obviously a little earthy confidence would be helpful at that point.

          Those who have taken His words out of context have only themselves to blame since He warned we should listen carefully:

          So take care how you listen; for whoever has, to him more shall be given; and whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has shall be taken away from him.” Luke 8:18

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            A: I read with care and you’re wrong.

            B: I read with care and you are wrong.

            C: I read with care and both of you are wrong.

            D: I read with great care and all of you are all wrong.

            E: I was wrong for 20 yrs and I found the way. You are wrong but you don’t be wrong for 20 years. And you need to be right today. ..because I care so much about you. I’m going to tell what is right because I read with more than great care.

            1. F. Beard

              And interesting thing about that passage is that Jesus must have known that it might be misunderstood to have general application by some. Yet He said it anyway for the sake of just 11 disciples. I wonder how much unnecessary blood has been spilt over that misunderstanding?

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                With humans, not just that passage, but any passage can be misunderstood.

                Then, it becomes your interpretation vs. her interpretation.

          2. Jim Haygood

            ‘just TWO swords for 11 disciples?!’

            Probably they were assault swords with pistol grips, folding stocks, and a bayonet lug.

            That’s why Jesus stayed the hell outta Connecticut.

      2. diane

        Biblical ignorance is astounding.

        Not reallly, but your specific ignorance of Saint Matthew, Chapter 6, of the New Testament (at least, the pre-gwb version), certainly is.

        (If this comment actually posts, thanks for turning off the Google captcha page that I was blockaded by, despite following instructions, mid day (after having successfully posted earlier in the day, on that same Links page) on the day it was announced that the deranged Bezos will now be overseeing DC Nooz.))

        1. diane

          (hmmmm, I’ll now try again to post the response I wasn’t able to that day (08/05/13), to Brian, regarding Dr. Latham’s piece, slamming Genetics $cience.)

        2. F. Beard

          I’ve never said I was righteous, dear. Or pretended to be so on this blog. But what I have done is read the entire Bible over the past 5 years in order that my own wretched soul might be saved. In the process, I discovered how money should be implemented so that my own wretched body might not starve either*. :)

          *But seriously, the Great Depression blighted my parent’s lives. Once I discovered the banks were behind it, I’ve had an undying hated of their filthy ways.

          1. F. Beard

            As if pretending a South Park character was righteous would do me any good anyway?!

            Why not instead go to the bankers in your church and give them the Matthew 6 sermon?

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              It is disarming though. The NSA could use something like that to make themselves more adorable.

            2. diane

              because there are no bankers in my life whom I have a voice with, I am not a member of the church[es] you seem to be referring to, F. Beard.

      3. Walter Map

        Jesus was a pacifist.

        Well, not entirely. He did go after the financial industry. One can only speculate about how he’d handle Goldman Squid.

        If that chaplain were a real Christian he’d be warning his listeners about the banksters.

    2. ex-PFC Chuck

      As someone into his eighth decade who has never owned a gun in his life (but I did qualify as an expert marksman with an M-14 half a century ago in Army basic training) I must say I’ve been considering it of late. What baffles me though about Chaplain Klingenschmitt’s pitch is this: How can a nude gun owner carry a concealed weapon?

      1. Jess

        Can I assume you only had to qualify as an expert marksman in single shot mode?

        You know the old description of the M14 in full automatic mode:

        “The first shot is on target. The second is a little high. The third is over the enemy’s head. And by the fourth round the M14 is an anti-aircraft weapon.”

  10. barrisj

    Re: Hiroshima – for me John Hersey’s book “Hiroshima” remains the definitive study and reporting on the horrors of atomic war, where the reader is immersed in the massive destruction and human suffering that “Little Boy” unleashed, with nothing spared in the descriptions provided of “survivors”, later called hibakusha, and who have been generally shunned by later generations of Japanese. I recall in the dark years of the Cold War, when “MAD” and “first-strike” were thrown around at will, completely decontextualised from the effects upon humanity were atomic/hydrogen bombs employed once again as a weapon of war. Hersey’s book should have been and should now be required reading for high-school students the world over, if only to obtain an understanding of the human cost of nuclear weapon use.

    1. optimader

      …if only to obtain an understanding of the human cost of nuclear weapon use….

      If only to obtain an understanding of the human cost of Imperial Fascism.

      ..later called hibakusha, and who have been generally shunned by later generations of Japanese….

      If only to obtain an understanding of the human cost of cultural prejudice.

      1. Jess

        Instead of bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki the US should have just invaded Japan. Then we wouldn’t be arguing if the US would really have suffered one million casualties including half a million KIA. We’d know for sure. And many of the current day armchair quarterbacks who blithely assure us that Japan would have done the logical thing and surrender (it’s Bushido Kamikaze code of fanaticism and the suicidal actions of its troops on IWO, Siapan, and Okinawa notwithstanding) would not be here to make that argument because their fathers would be pushing up grass in a military or local cemetery.

        1. F. Beard

          Oh yeah. Just blithely assume that Japan’s unconditional surrender was needed in the first place, why don’t you?

          And what was the US fighting for? Truth and Justice or the Banker Way?

        2. nobody

          “Skates persuasively argues that Japanese military power was so nearly exhausted that the invasion would have been much less costly than has usually been supposed by those seeking to justify the bombs and that Japan might have surrendered without either bombs or invasion if the terms made available had been less than unconditional.”

            1. Yves Smith Post author


              I’m no fan of the atomic bombings, but we DID firebomb Japan. Extenisvely. 67 cities. It’s a huge war crime no one discusses. Remember how Eleanor Roosevelt pleaded for Kyoto to be spared.

              Invading Japan would not have been a cakewalk.


              1. optimader


                Yes indeed, Gen. Lemay organized a very extensive firebombing campaign. Whether incinerated by napalm/thermite or an atomic bomb dead is dead.

                Point is Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Niigata and Kokura would likely have ALL been burned to glass before an invasion, as well as other cities.
                So in which scenario would more people and their successive generations have been spared?

                Trying to contextualize the morality of decisions made in 1944/45, how many people would have died/been spared, by todays standards and knowledge is the equivalent of debating how many fairies can dance on the head of a pin.

                As far as introducing todays knowledge of the consequences of legacy radiation exposure as an issue to have been considered at the time, again, generational hindsight with expanded knowledge is usually very wise.

                Frankly, lifetime exposure/dosing is not even a settled matter today. Their is legitimate scientific debate that 0 is the acceptable threshold for radiation exposure.

    2. Unsympathetic

      Objectively wrong. I’m so tired of this erroneous and ignorant anti-nuke blathering.

      Look up Operation Zipper, scheduled for the day after Nagasaki. It’s the British invasion intended to retake Malaya. 1.1million British soldiers would have died – without question. The generals wargamed that potential landing 100 times.. and 100 times 1.1 million or more soldiers died.

      Cut the crap. If you aren’t 100% a fan of the nukes, you simply don’t believe 10 Allied lives are worth 1 Japanese life.

      The Japanese army which was defending the beachhead had to help the British generals get from the sea to the site where the Japanese generals surrendered… because the beach that the Allies had selected was 100% quicksand.

  11. Harry Ray

    Hey, Yves, this is kind of a silly thing to bring up, but I post lots of links to NC posts on facebook, and the only thumbnail that can be displayed is the Econned book cover, which doesn’t really work so well in that context.

    if you see this, i think it would look a lot better if you could figure out how to make the NC logo banner the default option. who knows, it might even generate more hits.

    also, I found the Real News Network via NC a while back, so thanks for that. I think you should consider appearing on their programs more often, maybe to discuss weekly highlights from NC, though it might overlap with Bill Black’s segment.

  12. Montanamaven

    Make sure you read the BAR article by Margaret Kimberley and click on the video footage of a huge black cloud of petcoke flying over Detroit towards Windsor. And the Keystone XL lite pipeline story is an example of how seemingly well intentioned environmentalists like Bill McGibben are focusing their time and efforts on the Trans Canada Keystone XL pipeline might have been an distraction from all kinds of other ways that coal and tar sands oil are making their way through the U.S.

  13. diptherio

    Dr. Sanjay Gupta does an about face on medical marijuana:
    Why I Changed My Mind on Weed

    I…wrote about this in a TIME magazine article, back in 2009, titled “Why I would Vote No on Pot.”

    Well, I am here to apologize.
    I mistakenly believed the Drug Enforcement Agency listed marijuana as a schedule 1 substance because of sound scientific proof. Surely, they must have quality reasoning as to why marijuana is in the category of the most dangerous drugs that have “no accepted medicinal use and a high potential for abuse.”

    They didn’t have the science to support that claim,…

    Really? He’s that naive (and that bad of a journalist)? You’ll have to forgive me if I take his pronouncements with a large portion of skepticism from now on.

    Dr. Sanjay Gupta Discovers Widely Available Research

    1. rjs

      diptherio, a few days back you asked about mortgage delinquencies, quoting i believe NPR that they were down…

      they couldnt have known it at the time, but today the MBA released their quarterly stats, & they have delinquencies down at a seasonally adjusted rate:

      they wont match LPS data, which is monthly and unadjusted…LPS showed total delinquencies up nearly 10% in June, after substantial declines in April and May; nonetheless, LPS still has total delinquencies up 1.34% for the quarter

      1. diptherio

        Thanks for the follow-up rjs. Maybe they got the MBA stats early (leakers everywhere these days)? IDK. But they were obviously reporting someones seasonally-adjusted stats. I should have known. There’s nothing like seasonal adjustment to make bad numbers look better.

        1. diptherio

          And for the record, I consider you a more reputable source of housing news than NPR, in case that wasn’t clear. I wasn’t questioning your take on the situation, just NPR’s.

    2. craazyman

      faaak he probably never smoked a joint in his life. If he did, he’d transform himself through vast contemplations of fantastic profundity, flashing glimpses of truths so profound they could reshape the destiny of mankind.

      If only there was a pen nearby to write them down.

      What! There was??? What does the note say?:

      “My knee bone is connected to my leg bone.” bowahahahah

      faaak too much dope will fry you bad, but so will too much money or too much TV watching.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Some say even just by chanting the same words repeatedly, you can enter that mental state.

            For example, you can keeping saying ‘I need it, I need it’ without actually taking it and you still can alter your mind, and start seeing dots, like those in prehistoric caves, next to and over the painted animals.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              If that really works, it will save a lot of people a lot of money.

              Another instance of why less spending, even if it costs some jobs, should be an option.

              1. punchnrun

                Been there, done that. It takes too long, and it’s too much effort, compared to toking a little weed or a shot or two of Johnny Walker. Our attention span deficit habit is in play.

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  I was going to suggest abstinence, fasting and cleansing before partaking sacred herbs but it seems it is out of style with today’s fast moving world.

            2. craazyman

              faaaaaak, that’s what those dots are. very few people realize that but the cave painters went into hallucinatory states, which is where they saw those half-men, half-bird animals they drew. probably they did ceremonies with mushrooms or some plant-based hallucinogen and they saw the dots going into the altered state and then included them in the art as iconographic symbols of transitioning between states of consciousness. they probably hunted in the spirit real in out-of-body travels where they encountered the spirits of the animals. Too bad they didn’t write books too. haha

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                Even with mushroom, sensory deprivation in a deep, dark cave would still get you there.

  14. diptherio

    Here’s some more on the “Cops gone Wild” front, from Soren Bowie of

    5 Apologies to the Cops Who Beat Me Up For No Reason

    Not long ago, five LAPD officers came to my apartment in the middle of the night, pinned me to the ground, and handcuffed me, sort of by accident. Before they left, I forgot to get a card or a phone number from them, so instead I’m writing this open letter and hoping they read it.

  15. the 1

    That Reuters story: classic modified limited hangout by IRS. Nixon’s Huston Plan is back, used for discriminatory harassment and extralegal investigation of citizens based on their dissident political opinions. Under secret sections of the PATRIOT Act and other secret law, SOD works closely with I&VO and IRS auditors to coercively extract PII for more intrusive surveillance. IRS will tell you that their screens are entirely automated. Bullshit. IRS takes tasking from half a dozen agencies. IRS maintains the enemies list.

  16. Bruno Marr

    The NYTimes article on the NSA is typical MSM: Hail the story with a provocative headline that intimates serious wrongdoing; allow anonymous government sources to “reshape” the meaning of words (“bulk collection”); then end the article with a former “player” saying. ‘No big deal’.

  17. kevinearick

    Iowa’s capital city has a strong foothold in finance and insurance with the highest concentration of financial services employment in the country, and employers are doubling down on the area. Wells Fargo has added more than 4,000 jobs in Des Moines over the past 10 years and recently announced a new $100 million expansion in the area. Principal Financial, headquartered in Des Moines, is putting $250 million into an expansion of its downtown campus.

    Facebook announced plans in April to invest $300 million to build its fourth owned and operated data center. The facility in Altoona, part of the Des Moines metropolitan statistical area, is expected to be up and running by the end of next year. Microsoft is investing $678 million to expand its existing state-of-the-art data center in West Des Moines, which opened in 2009. A big carrot in Iowa for data centers and other businesses with heavy energy usage: Energy costs are 22% below the national average, according to Moody’s Analytics.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The most worrisome part, for me, is the lesson that politicians and people like you and me would draw – that is, if Goldman and JPMorgan can get away with that much, surely I am entitled to get away with a small one.

      Already, we have seen too many times this: ‘This is nothing compared to how much they have stolen.’

      There are one or two people who think we should go after all of us, knowing none of us is without sin…unless we know to draw a line somewhere…like rolling stop at a stop sign is ok, past due library fines should be forgiven, the really small stuff.

      1. rich

        Man is she great! As is the proprietor of this blog and others here.

        Wall Street Banks Have Still Never Been Held Accountable, Says Tavakoli

        So do these examples show authorities and regulators are really taking action against Wall Street and holding it accountable for its misdeeds?

        Not according to Janet Tavakoli, president and founder of Tavakoli Structured Finance, a consulting and expert witness services firm for derivatives.

        “The statute of limitations is running out on a lot of these lawsuits, so now we’re seeing the tail end of it,” Tavakoli tells The Daily Ticker (in other words – we won’t see many more). “If you look at what the investment banks have been making, have been like – the best investment ever has been investing in campaign contributions.”

        suck it up America….

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          You need ZIRP, MMT and government job programs to run the clock out; otherwise, my god, people might want to know what had happened and start asking ‘where did all the money go?’

  18. Lambert Strether

    I should thank Jim Haygood, but I’m not sure he’s got it quite right: My hair has been on fire about the ObamaCare launch for some time, but I’m not sure I made the call on a security deadline, specifically.

    That said, the ridiculous scheduling for security certification looks to me like one more sign of a project that’s out of control. (The fact that CMS is actually competent makes this all the worse.) Signs include: Shedding major requirements, major rework at a late date (the famous three-page form), slipping major deadlines, lowering the baseline for defining “success,” shifting blame, lack of public demonstrations, and above all, secrecy combined with constant assertions that everything is fine. If the online Federal exchange site is anywhere near ready, where are the demos? Or the leaks?

    I still think something, anything will launch on 10/1, because Obama said “We will implement it” in his presser of 4/30, so now his notoriously fragile ego is involved (and since the team that elected him in 2008 has left the White House to cash in, there’s nobody who can tell Obama “No”; see forcing down the President of Ecuador’s plane). There will also be a massive PR campaign, with many YouTubes of happy users (and no coverage of those who got thrown under the bus). So there’s a bright side!

    But who knows. Maybe the Federal exchange is being coded in a Skunk Works somewhere and it’s totally slick, and everything’s going to be fine. (I doubt this very much, but it’s one of the few theories I’ve been able to come up with the justify the White House’s complacency.)

    I mean, come on. Certifying a $267 million data hub for security the day before launch? Things like this aren’t done like this, no matter that CMS has built similar systems before.

    1. Jim Haygood

      My hat tip was for your relentless curmudgeonly skepticism and apparent working knowledge of Brooks law:

      Fred Brooks’s central theme is that “adding manpower to a late software project makes it later”. This idea is known as Brooks’ law.

      Brooks’ observations are based on his experiences at IBM while managing the development of OS/360. He had added more programmers to a project falling behind schedule, a decision that he would later conclude had, counter-intuitively, delayed the project even further.

      He also made the mistake of asserting that one project — writing an ALGOL compiler — would require six months, regardless of the number of workers involved (it required longer).

      Frankly I doubt that a secure data hub is even possible. Thus we were witnessing an epic, futile windmill tilt, which may yet provide fresh corollaries to Brooks’ law.

      A fine example of how government funding catalyzes advancement in science!

  19. rich

    Wall Street Banks Have Still Never Been Held Accountable, Says Tavakoli

    So do these examples show authorities and regulators are really taking action against Wall Street and holding it accountable for its misdeeds?

    Not according to Janet Tavakoli, president and founder of Tavakoli Structured Finance, a consulting and expert witness services firm for derivatives.

    “The statute of limitations is running out on a lot of these lawsuits, so now we’re seeing the tail end of it,” Tavakoli tells The Daily Ticker (in other words – we won’t see many more). “If you look at what the investment banks have been making, have been like – the best investment ever has been investing in campaign contributions.”

    suck it up America….

      1. Lambert Strether

        Unfortunately for all of us, spending time and money to preserve an open, registration-free comment system while also having no false positives for spam hasn’t gotten us where we would like to be. It is not an easy problem, and we are working on it.

        In the meantime, posting the same or substantially similar comment multiple times makes you look like a bot, because that’s what bots do.

        1. barrisj

          So, what you are saying is that although a comment may appear to have vanished in the aether, have patience as it will surface sometime, and it’s futile to continue banging on posting and reposting the same comment, as they will go into the spam bin, right? Fair play to you, I certainly can accept that.

          1. Lambert Strether

            Yes, but with a caveat. There are two aethers to admins, although they appear as one to users. The first aether is the moderation queues, where possible spam goes to be approved or trashed. There are bugs or problems in this area. There seems to be a second aether where comments genuinely do just… disappear. This seems to be a genuine WordPress bug, although intermittent and therefore hard to run down. The first is much more frequent than te second. However, so far as I can tell, in neither case will “banging on” help. Thanks for your patience

  20. barrisj

    Reply to Jesse above:

    [Sigh]No, this is not a debate about the “military necessity” of using The Bomb upon Hiroshima and Nagasaki; there are scores of monographs arguing both sides of the question. Rather, the point of it all is that Japan occupies a unique role here, the only country within which the populations of two major cities were incinerated by the use of nuclear weapons. Both the country and her hibakusha offer eloquent testimony to the unprecedented and long-lived consequences of nukes as a weapon of war, and that the use of such a horrific and barbaric weapon should not and cannot be employed again, regardless of what one may claim as “military necessity”.

    Herman Kahn and his cohorts could assemble reams of statistics on the death of tens of millions of people, where such staggering losses are but mere chum when nations collide; that the use of megatonnage of nuclear weaponry was even part of “value-free” calculations of “deterrence” or “first-strike” still has the power to appall. Whatever lessons Hiroshima and Nagasaki could offer the world soon were forgotten in the pursuit of “national security” by the ranking nuclear powers.

    1. nobody

      It’s worth remembering or getting clear about how many civilians were incinerated with “conventional” weapons. According to estimates that are, apparently, conservative, “the firebombing raids that destroyed a significant percentage of most of Japan’s cities, wiped out a quarter of all housing in the country, made nine million people homeless, and killed at least 187,000 civilians, and injured 214,000 more.”

      More people were killed in the the Operation Meetinghouse air raid on the night of March 9, 1945, than were killed immediately in either Hiroshima or Nagasaki.

      1. barrisj

        So, deaths are deaths, whether by incendiary bombs or by nuclear blast…”morally equivalent” as well as militarily equivalent? Well, it should be redundant to note that firebombing cities with conventional weapons leaves the dead or the injured as casualties, and only those. Radiation from nuclear explosions, on the other hand, can affect the unborn, the truly innocent, those who cannot escape the legacy of nuclear war. I can’t believe we are having this conversation, quite frankly.

        1. nobody

          I wasn’t saying that deaths are deaths, or that there’s not a particular horror associated with nuclear bombs. I’m saying that all of it should be known and remembered, and I do not think that many people know how many civilians were annihilated in “The Good War.”

          But perhaps it should be said that it’s not really true that “firebombing cities with conventional weapons leaves the dead or the injured as casualties, and only those.” The major trauma experienced by the survivors undoubtedly had serious consequences for the children of those who had children.

        2. nobody

          And by the way, although I certainly don’t know for sure, there’s a fair chance that I’m one of those whose lives have been significantly altered, for the worse, by radiation from Little Boy, though I was not yet born at the time of it.

          When I was five, my childhood innocence and wonder at the world was destroyed by the abrupt news that my grandfather was dying of lung cancer. Within weeks my family packed up and left the only place I’ve ever truly felt at home in the world. He died when I was six. The experience altered my sense of the world forever. My mother’s grief has been a central fact of her experience of the world ever since.

          He never smoked a cigarette in his life, but he died of a form of cancer that is usually caused by specific carcinogens: cigarette smoke, asbestos, radiation…

          He never smoked a cigarette in his life, but one thing he did do was traipse all over Hiroshima not long after the bombing as part of the occupation forces in Japan.

          He never smoked a cigarette in his life, but his life was cut significantly short by a form of cancer that mostly afflicts smokers.

      1. psychohistorian

        Will the history of our current global cyber warfare ever be written?

        The US is playing hardball now with the security related folks and some security folks are saying………No, I will shut down rather than play by your rules….good for them.

        I think Snowden is awakening the deep techie world to the lack of morals in our current system…..and, if you piss off enough of the techies, the world will come to a halt in a hurry….we all become Anonymous crusaders.

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