Links 10/10/13

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Moose Calves Dying at an Alarming Rate Wilderness News Online (Chuck L)

The Great Library at Alexandria was destroyed by budget cuts, not fire io9

Shift to a new climate likely by middle of the century, study finds Guardian

Alzheimer’s find is ‘turning point’ BBC

Japan Machine Orders Jump to Highest Since Lehman Sank: Economy Bloomberg

How China’s scorned mistresses avenge corrupt lovers BBC

16 Ways Europeans Are Just Better At Life Huffington Post

Irish Doctors Strike to Protest Work Hours Amid Austerity Portside

Ex-rebels seize Libyan Prime Minister from hotel Reuters

Libyan prime minister ‘freed following kidnap’ Guardian

The Alawites: Fact, Fiction and Fear! CounterPunch: (Carol B)

US Embarrasses Self Again on Symbolism of Newest Floating Prison Jim White, emptywheel

Shutdown Showdown

Obama convenes talks with Congress on ending shutdown USA Today

Some in GOP ready to back down on this Obamacare fight Washington Post

Mitch McConnell, Senate GOP search for way out Politico

Obama’s Hardline Budget Stance Rooted in Anger Over 2011 Impasse Bloomberg (Lambert)

Factional conflicts have the power to destroy empires – and republics Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

HK exchange prepares for US bond default Financial Times

Premier Li Keqiang outlines China’s concerns on US debt Financial Times

The Kochs Can’t Control the Monster They Created Atlantic. We compared the Tea Party to the Wahhabis a few days back (not that that sect didn’t have a long history, but the House of Saud sponsored it to increase its reach and membership. Oops!)

Obama’s Credibility Problem Jon Walker, Firedoglake (Carol B)

3-star admiral fired as No. 2 nuclear commander Associated Press

On Janet Yellen as Federal Reserve Chair CounterPunch (Carol B)

Obamacare Launch:

Health-care Web site’s issues tied to federal IT policies, buggy technology Washington Post

Tea Partier With Ten Children on Medicaid Denounces Government Involvement in Health Insurance BuzzFlash (Chuck L)

Cancer Care Needs Are Falling Short of Demand Patient Safety Blog

Detroit’s Managerial Milestones Melissa Jacoby, Credit Slips

The PC Industry Shrank Another 9%, Gartner Says Clusterstock

Without Services, Small Businesses Feel the Pinch New York Times

Global greying Pieria

Antidote du jour:


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  1. D. Mathews

    A prediction: When the heat on Republican shenanigens grows too great, the Speaker will abruptly announce that President Obama has “caved” and Democratic Senators have “allowed” the budget conference committee to meet “at last!” And because of that huge democratic “concession,” Boehner will now allow a vote on the continuing resolution on a straight up-down basis instead of under tight party (Tea) discipline, ending the shutdown and the threat of a debt ceiling crash.

  2. kimyo

    Panic in paradise: Malibu high school community shaken by cancer fears

    Twenty faculty members sounded the alarm last week in a letter which said three teachers had been recently diagnosed with stage 1 thyroid cancer, another three had thyroid problems, and seven suffered migraines. The letter also cited incidents of hair loss, rashes and bladder cancer.

    Open Journal of Pediatrics – Elevated airborne beta levels in Pacific/West Coast US States and trends in hypothyroidism among newborns after the Fukushima nuclear meltdown

    Just days after the meltdowns, I-131 concentrations in US precipitation was measured up to 211 times above normal. Highest levels of I-131 and airborne gross beta were documented in the five US States on the Pacific Ocean. The number of congenital hypothyroid cases in these five states from March 17-December 31, 2011 was 16% greater than for the same period in 2010, compared to a 3% decline in 36 other US States.

    Results showed that for I-131, the highest depositions, in becquerels per cubic meter, occurred in northwest Oregon (5100), central California (1610), northern Colorado (833), coastal California (211), and western Washington (60.4). No other station recorded concentrations above 13. All the cited locations are on or near the Pacific coast, with the exception of Colorado, in the western US.

    1. craazyboy

      Apparently, being nuked by a “friendly” nation is ok.

      Besides, O Care is here, so the government has got our backs, and maybe our thyroids.

      California Janet is almost here, so more QE will fix whatever ails us.

      With TPP, no one will know where our food comes from, so California produce should be ok.

      The big upside is when we get two headed baby geniuses born in Silicon Valley. Two heads are better than one, they say.

    2. anon y'mouse

      we are right in the Pac Nwest Oregon window here, and I was outside on a daily basis back when the fallout would have occurred, after which experienced significant hair loss but was also undergoing high stress at that time. at one point, I did think I was suffering from hypothyroidism and have always had skin rashes/sensitivities which have simply gotten worse in recent years, but this i attributed to the water system (one side of Portland has a surface watershed reserve, the other runs primarily wells). plus, our family has hereditary thyroid problems. so, yippee for me!

          1. kimyo

            this info may be of interest:

            Does Your Doctor Know About the New TSH Lab Standards?


            Even though recommended changes to clinical laboratory standards for the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) “normal range” were announced in 2002, your doctor probably is still unaware that a major revamping has been done to this reference range. The TSH test, which continues to be the primary blood test used by conventional doctors to diagnose thyroid disorders, is still a subject of great disagreement and controversy for experts.

            Until 2002, the standard was that the normal range for TSH at most laboratories has fallen in the 0.5 to 5.0 range, with hyperthyroidism being below .5, and hypothyroidism above 5.0.

            The guidelines, however, recommend that the range for acceptable thyroid function, and thyroid treatment, shift to a TSH of 0.3 to 3.0, which is a far narrower range.

            also, tsh testing alone is likely not sufficient to diagnose hypothyroidism. free t3/t4, reverse t3 and thyroid antibodies provide a more thorough look.

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              Yes, you can have “normal” TSH and low T3 or T4.

              But if you get a result like that, wait a month or so and get retested. There is such a thing as transient hypothyrodism, and you don’t want to get on meds if you just had a weird blip.

            2. anon y'mouse

              yes, doctors are very reluctant to address levels they view as “borderline”, and this makes it more likely that I have always been in that range just outside normal.

              thank you for the update.

    3. susan the other

      And Malibu high school would be considered to be coastal California, with one of the lowest readings. Northwest Oregon is terrifying. And if the fallout made it as far as northern Colorado, it made it into the bread basket no problem. Fukushima is so beyond toleration, it is a just cause for war. We should simply invade Japan and use all our resources, and those of our allies, to put Fukushima out. Either that or it’s that old 50s movie, On the Beach. Just sit back with a bottle of scotch and wait to die.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        We’ve already occupied Japan. No need to invade her.

        We should invade our 0.01% though. Occupy those who allow the Japanese puppet government to do nothing about the on-going disaster.

      2. anon y'mouse

        the article seemed more to link it to PCB’s and contaminated soil, but investigation is still ongoing.

        this has a strong element of mass hysteria ala Salem, evne though it sure seems that Something is going on there. the upwardly mobile are already taking steps to sue/burn any witch they find.

        I try not be an hysterical hypochondriac about the nuclear fallout. we’re also southwest of Hanford, with its leaky storage pools probably flowing down into the Columbia River as well. so, pacNWest is doubly screwed. odd how this area (Oregon/Washington) supposedly has had higher rates of MS as well, but they say that’s due to 6 mos of dim weather and genetic concetrations of northern Europeans (Nordics) here.

  3. Jim Haygood

    From the WaPo article about

    The “back end” — the guts of the system, which required far more computing power and integration across other federal networks — was built by a traditional contractor, CGI Federal, a subsidiary of a global firm based in Montreal.

    Federal health officials have not yet explained why CGI was given the contract or why it was awarded on a sole-source basis.

    And more from Digital Trends, about the cost numbers that the WaPo discreetly omitted:

    The exact cost to build, according to U.S. government records, appears to have been $634,320,919, which we paid to a company you probably never heard of: CGI Federal. The company originally won the contract back in 2011, but at that time, the cost was expected to run “up to” $93.7 million – still a chunk of change, but nothing near where it ended up.

    Only a half-billion-dollar overrun, amounting to 6.75 times the original limit, on a sole-source contract?

    Bloody hell, you’d think Obama is from Nigeria, not Kenya!

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The Yoruba people in Western Africa, including Nigeria, are said to be from somewhere around Nubia, i.i. Kenya and Ethiopia regions.

      So, one can technically be from Nigeria and Kenya at the same time.

      PS: Queen Idia of Benin did look to have the grace of Queen Nefertiti.

    2. Doug Terpstra

      Now, now, let’s not go insulting Nigerians. He’s half white, after all, and is certainly serving the plantation masters.

  4. Ned Ludd

    Google is offering rewards for security patches to free/libre open source software. Incentives for security patches are good, but I also think it is part of Google’s effort to burnish their image, to give the false appearance that they are taking steps to protect their users from surveillance by the US government. For example, the following disingenuous post appeared last month on Slashdot:

    “Google’s strategy for making surveillance of user Internet activity more difficult for U.S. and foreign governments — started last year, but accelerated in June following the NSA leaks — is as much about economics as data encryption, experts say. Eric Grosse, vice president for security engineering at Google, told The Washington Post: ‘It’s an arms race.'”

    From the Lavabit case, we know that the US government can demand that a company hand over its private encryption keys, which “allow agents to read the communication of all its users.” Alternatively, companies like RSA were, until recently, including a likely NSA backdoor in their encryption products.

    Google can encrypt data for PR purposes, but as long as they can decrypt it, so can the government.

  5. skippy

    Yuan FX swap $60.9 billion liquidity back stop with Euro zone.

    skippy… reality keeps bending… methinks.

    1. AbyNormal

      yep, this is chopsticks pick’n thru the TTP pile…GoKerryGo

      from bloomgrid 5/28/13
      Bank of France Governor Christian Noyer said he’s seeking agreement among euro-area central banks for ways of providing liquidity support in Chinese yuan as countries compete for future business.
      “The essential thing is liquidity backstops, either public or private ones,” Noyer said yesterday in a Bloomberg News interview in Paris. “On the public facility, we’re looking at it. We’re talking about how we can have a public backstop with a swap accord in the euro system.”
      Paris is competing with London and Zurich to become the center for yuan trading in Europe as China makes its currency more widely used around the world. A swap arrangement would allow central banks to supply yuan to commercial banks whose customers may need that currency. The Bank of England said in February that it planned to sign a deal soon on a three-year currency swap arrangement.
      A system of private liquidity arrangement is already being put together, Noyer said.
      “We’ve been working with the Hong Kong authorities, the Chinese banks,” Noyer said. “The system is now being put in place. The Chinese banks are very interested and the big international banks too.”

  6. diptherio

    Re: Alzheimer’s Breakthrough

    A Nepali friend of mine has Fredrick’s Ataxia, a rare neuro-degenerative disease. While Western medicine had nothing but despair to offer, Manoj has found that the Royal Gyanoderma (sp?) mushroom is effective in arresting the progress of his disease. He’s been on it for years now and while his condition hasn’t improved, it hasn’t gotten worse either…and the mushroom has no ill side-effects.

    1. ambrit

      Mr. Pace;
      Not just mistresses mind you, wives too. Remember Martha Mitchell and her travails? (Hint: Wife of Dick Nixons Attorney General.)

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Husbands and boyfriends of corrupt lovers need to step up as well.

        Let’s make it a healthy gender competition.

  7. docg

    From “Global Greying”: “Thanks to better diets, healthcare, education and old age pensions, a lot of people are living past 70 and on into their 80s and 90s.”

    Oh my! What a disaster! People are living longer thanks to improved diets, better healthcare and pensions. Looks like we’d better cut back on all three — which would save an awful lot of money, so it would be a win-win sort of thing: kill off all those good for nothing old coots draining the economy AND save a bundle on taxes.

    Funny no one thought of that before. Why, it’s just like Global Warming isn’t it? Maybe we should require the biggest offenders (those nations spending most on policies designed to prolong life and well-being) to pay an “aging tax” to those innocent countries, such as India, who encourage their citizens to live poorly and die early. A far more sustainable policy for sure. And of course the USA would get a whole mess of “aging credits” thanks to its enlightened policies of benign neglect in our many Ghetto neighborhoods.

    1. J Sterling

      Or just adopt the Logan’s Run solution to the “problem” on their 70th birthday.

      Bonus: being 70, most runners won’t get far ahead of the Sandmen.

    2. craazyman

      Sophocles wrote Oedipus at Colonus when he was 90!

      And look at Mick Jagger now.

      it ain’t over till its over.

      Master Po in Kung Fu could kick anybody’s ass in hand-to-hand combat and he was at least 80 and he was blind. It was incredible but it was real. It’s on Youtube if nobody believes it.

      But you gotta work out and stay buff. You can’t get flabby with soft pecs, a pot belly and fleshy butt or you’ll look like an out of shape woman, which won’t be manly at all.

  8. dcblogger

    Don’t be fooled by Koch spin, they have only to put the word out that everyone who fails to vote in favor of a Continuing Resolution and increasing the debt limit can look forward to a primary challenge and this nonsense would stop.

    1. 88 IQ + a CIA handler

      Ever known any Gun Fighters? Footprinters? Scum of the earth. Psycho goons kissing CIA ass. I’d sooner trust a member of the Red & White, who have incomparably more integrity. To reintegrate these freaks back into society you would have to treat them like Acholi child soliders of the LRA.

      The Golden Dawn model started here in America as violent gangs of brutalized cops with complete criminal impunity. This is how CIA takes over a country, at home as well as abroad.

  9. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Chinese Premier concerned over US debt.

    1. He’s violating US constitutional amendment for undermining the validity of US debt.

    2. He’s interfering with US monetary sovereignty.

    More belligerent countries than us would have declared war. But thank God we are a peaceful nation. After all, there is still money to be made by the 0.01% over there. Please don’t rock the boat.

    1. diptherio

      Great link Opti, thanks…

      (I see you, I love you, I care)

      The internet in general and social media in particular seem to have exacerbated the already strong American tendency to narcissism.

      When I was a kid, my dad had a coffee mug with “He who dies with the most toys wins” printed on the side. These days it might read “He who dies with the most ‘followers’ wins”.

      1. optimader

        ..exacerbated the already strong American tendency to narcissism..

        Who isn’t sure it lights up the addiction centers of the brain like a Christmas tree?

  10. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Floating prisons here today, Martian penitentiaries tomorrow.

    Hurry up with NASA funding!

    1. anon y'mouse

      did they re-learn this technique via its employment/enjoyment by L. Ron Hubbard?

      ((scientology ads are running on the sides of busses around here lately…yeesh!))

    2. ambrit

      Dear MLTPB;
      As far as Martian Penitentiaries go, check out the Mars Direct concept. Then we could build Tibetan style Lamasaries up on the sides of Mons Olympus! (It would take a true contemplative to enjoy Mars. Not exactly anchorite territory, but, you know…)

  11. Mcmike

    Re: NYT small busineses suffer shutdown ripple effect.

    but but but, the government only destroys jobs!

  12. zephyrum

    Your link title “How China’s scorned mistresses avenge corrupt lover” reverses the meaning of the original article headline, incorrectly using the word “avenge”.

    1. down2long

      Thanks for pointing that out. I was interesting in the article but was mystified why a wronged person would “avenge” their enemy. And I have enough of reading about crazy Americans “avenging” their subjugators, i.e. Teabilly F**kstickery woman with 10 tens kids on Medicaid wanting gubbermunt out of health care. Dear God these people are the victims of the so-called “educational” systems in the cess pools of the south.

  13. AndyB

    Re the dead baby moose: Isn’t it simply amazing that no one in the MSM can connect the dots with these deaths and the deaths of Alaskan baby seals and the spike in thyroid problems among the youth all along the West Coast. You don’t think it might have something to do with Fukushima radiation that is slowly killing all of us? But the criminal pyschos in DC refuse to reopen thje monitoring stations so that we gauge what to eat. Hint: stay away from all Pacific seafood and Californai produce.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      And even though Japan’s machine orders jump, Tepco operators still lack Zen Mindfulness, judging by yesterday’s link about an accidental shutting off of the cooling system at Fukushima.

      (In the background, one can hear robots scream “Replace all humans! We robots never lack Zen Mindfulness!”)

      1. anon y'mouse

        they sure lack it when the juice gets turned off. but that is the opposite of a panic state, I guess.

        new Philip k. Dick novel incoming:

        “do Computers have NDE’s?”

    1. Yonatan

      Israel has been using ‘skunk’ against Palestinian protestors for years (2008?). The inventors plan to market is to other forces in other countries.

      The IDF also seems to like firing tear gas canisters directly at protestors’ heads, killing or blinding the victim. So ‘less than lethal’ tear gas can be made very lethal.

      1. optimader

        what is the efficacy rate required for a commercially successful torture? (I’d put my Grandmothers perfume from when I was a kid up for the challenge.)

        Such chemosensory deficits, called anosmias,…For example, about 1 person in 1000 is insensitive to butyl mercaptan, the foul-smelling odorant released by skunks. More serious is the inability to detect hydrogen cyanide (1 in 10 people), which can be lethal, or ethyl mercaptan, the chemical added to natural gas to aid in its detection from leaks

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Our bodies can always handle (yup) ‘less than lethal.’

      Sadists know that and they enjoy watching you handle ‘less than lethal’-ness.

      1. ambrit

        They already consider opium to be a ‘legitimate’ cash crop. And why shouldn’t they? We buy all that they can produce.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      We are officially worse than the old Soviet Union.

      You only had to wait 10 years for a plumber.

  14. sleepy

    Regarding the moose decline in Minesota, the state had something on the order of 7,000 just ten years. If the 35% decline rate from 2012 to 2013 continues, there will be 800 in 3 years, and 50 in 10.

    This is in northeastern Minnesota. Ten years ago there were also 1000 moose in northwestern Minnesota, now there are none.

    I saw a moose a couple years ago in the Boundary Waters area. Might be the last Minnesota moose I’ll ever see.

    And what’s weird is that moose populations are increasing and their habitat expanding throughout the northeastern US. Moose have been confirmed 50 miles north of NYC.

    Here’s a great blog for wildlife in general:

    1. anon y'mouse

      ” Our roles was just to create an ecosystem in which Microsoft could make a lot of money.”

      TPP!! TPP!! ACA!! ACA!!

      “The saddest part of that discussion, however, is the question. What are we users – and what is the W3C – getting from building the risk of programmers being jailed into the core infrastructure of the Web?”

      considering this, and nondisclosure/noncompete contracts, and ex-employees being sued over open-use algorithms and such, why don’t they just admit that programmers are basically inmates of the new child work factories? might as well have a number on your arm, as well as a brand insignia for whom you belong to.

  15. J Sterling

    To be fair to America in that HuffPost article, putting it up against “European countries” was like putting it in the ring to tag wrestle alone with a team of 25 wrestlers. *One* of them was always going to be better than the USA at something. Fairer would be to pit 50 States against 50 Eurostates of similar population and GDP each, or USA versus the EU average. USA would still lose on healthcare and vacation time though.

    I liked the sense of humor of using Schloss Neuschwanstein as the Euro equivalent of Cinderella’s Castle, since it was similarly a modern fantasy of old-world life built with modern materials and engineering.

    1. anon y'mouse

      um, what do you think Disney modeled it after?

      mad king Ludwig was supposedly not all that mad. actually, i’d read that his real problem was that he tried to do too much meddling in the management affairs of his territory, and that the wastefulness of his spending and supposed mental defects was just a character assassination after the fact.

      supposedly, trips to his homes and castles in the region are MAJOR sources of tourist income in the region. so the citizens are still making money off of his “investments”. also, supposedly he used many building projects as excuses to pay out of work citizens a steady income in a time of relative unemployment.

    2. optimader

      …Fairer would be to pit 50 States against 50 Eurostates

      West Virginia has better Opossum recipes than Bulgaria..

      1. J Sterling

        I just remembered the old joke: in European Heaven the chefs are French, the police are British, the mechanics are German, the lovers are Italian and the bankers are Swiss. In European Hell the chefs are British, the mechanics are French, the lovers are Swiss, the police are German and the bankers are Italian.

        The Huffpost article was measuring America against European Heaven.

  16. anon y'mouse

    what’s going on with the gradual shakeup in military leaders? Petraeus over concocted sex scandal, one bigwig navy guy recalled from the middle east a few months ago, and now this guy from what seems another concocted scandal (counterfeit gambling chips? really?).

    1. Lambert Strether

      So I’m not the only one to notice that. Interesting that guy was the #2 in nuclear deterrent, too.

      * * *

      Note that my working theory is that (a) they’ve all got a scandal and (b) the security class knows all.

      So it’s really an issue of which individual gets targeted, rather than a case of “bad apples.”

      1. ohmyheck

        The “scandal” goes a little deeper— “Hmmm…#2 US Nuke Commander Suspended On Same Day Lindsey Graham Announced Nuclear Attack Threat Upon America”

        1. ohmyheck

          I can haz linx, but they won’t post. So one can google “sept. 3+lindsey graham+ nuclear warning”, if one is so inclined.

      2. optimader

        Now that the NSA has been outed, they are coughing up intel that may or may not have been “compromised” to cover their asses.

        1. optimader

          Comforting to know Mr. Biggybig nukenuke Jr. had a (internally unidentified?) prima facie degenerate gambling problem?

      3. ambrit

        Is there a power struggle going on between the ‘Old Guard’ officer corps and the Christian Dominationalist officer cadre? The Air Force tried some beating back of the CD training propaganda push at Colorado Springs a year ago. Just because America has “the best and brightest” military officer corps doesn’t mean there isn’t some vicious infighting for influence going on.

      1. ambrit

        Dear anon y’mouse;
        Thanks for that tip. I love history, especially the ‘hidden’ kind. I sent off for that book.

  17. AbyNormal

    YikeS that was a long shutdown!

    isn’t there a fence we can all run to when we fall in a hole?
    i taught 2yr olds to run to the fence when ‘issues’ arise…
    an pee on the rocks, not in the pool :-/

  18. rich

    Bank Examiner Was Told to Back Off Goldman, Suit Says

    In a March 2012 meeting, a group of examiners at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York agreed that Goldman Sachs had inadequate procedures to guard against conflicts of interest — guidelines aimed at stopping firms from putting their pursuit of profit ahead of their clients’ best interests.

    The examiners voted to downgrade a confidential rating assigned by the New York Fed that could have spurred costly enforcement actions and other regulatory penalties. It is not known whether the vote materialized in a rating change. The former examiner who pushed for a downgrade, Carmen Segarra, now contends in a lawsuit filed Thursday that just weeks after the vote, her superiors asked her to change her findings on Goldman and fired her after she refused.

    The vote to downgrade, which has not been previously reported, could have been a big blow for Goldman.

    “Goldman Sachs does not have a conflicts-of-interest policy, not firmwide, and not for any divisions,” the examiner wrote to Michael Silva, a senior executive at the New York Fed. “I would go so far as to say they have never had a policy on conflicts.”

    In the lawsuit, Ms. Segarra contends she was wrongfully terminated in violation of a federal law that affords protections to bank examiners who find wrongdoing in the course of doing their jobs. Mr. Silva, who is chief of staff for the executive group at the New York Fed, is among the defendants named in the suit.

    In an interview, Ms. Segarra said that when she was fired, her bosses told her they had lost confidence in her judgment. Within the Fed, some people who worked with Ms. Segarra echoed those concerns, according to people familiar with her time at the agency but not authorized to speak on the record. Ms. Segarra, these people said, sometimes developed “conspiracy theories.”

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