Links Halloween 2013

Dark matter still missing after 100-day experiment Register

Reprogrammed bacterium speaks new language of life New Scientist (Robert M)

Girl smuggled into Britain to have her ‘organs harvested’ Telegraph

Get together for the kids VoxEU

The World’s Most Powerful People Forbes

How to Help Protect Yourself from Fukushima Radiation George Washington. Warning: not sure re any of the advice, but the fact that this sort of post is being written is a testament to legitimate concerns.

Europe Keeps Faith in Abe as Pension Funds Add Stocks Bloomberg

Sony issues profit warning Financial Times

Japan Salaries Extend Fall as Abe Urges Companies to Raise Wages Bloomberg. So much for inflation expectations…

Are China’s Banks Next? Simon Johnson, Project Syndicate

Russia Denies Reports It Spied on Group of 20 Officials New York Times

Universities face strike disruption BBC

Despite signs of recovery, the Eurozone crisis is still far from over Pieria

US Treasury attacks Germany over surplus Financial Times. This is a BIG deal. One can only hope that this + NSA spying will put nails in the coffin of the EU-US trade deal.

Brazil city hit by transport protest BBC

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

NSA Non-Denial Denial 241,352,052 Marcy Wheeler

NSA Leader Ready for Spying Curbs He Says Lessen Safety Bloomberg

Rep. Mike Rogers Angrily Defends Bathroom Spycam Techdirt (Chuck L)

Get round internet censors using a friend’s connection New Scientist (Robert M)

Obama’s Insider Threat Program Turns “Colleagues Against Each Other” Real News Network

No U.S. Action, So States Move on Privacy Law New York Times

Glenn Greenwald rips apart the ‘most radical and criminal conduct’ of Dick Cheney Raw Story (furzy mouse)

Lavabit To Release Code As Open Source, As It Creates Dark Mail Alliance To Create Even More Secure Email Techdirt (Chuck L)

Obamacare Rollout

Another Obamacare Deadline Blunder Is Worrying Democrats Huffington Post (Carol B)

Time to Investigate Those Insurance Company Letters Beat the Press. This in combination with the story above makes me wonder if this is actually to soften people up for rate increases next year….

Obama administration warned about health care website CNN

WSJ/NBC Poll: Obama’s Approval Hits New Low Wall Street Journal

15 Ways The United States Is The Best (At Being The Worst) Huffington Post (Carol B)

Feds proving Internet-adept and inept at same time Associated Press

Tiny Plastic Beads Are Invading The Great Lakes. Here Huffington Post (Carol B). Ugh.

Real estate opens checkbook for de Blasio Crains New York

Detroit Will be Democracy’s Decisive Battle Glen Ford (Carol B)

Police chief in Trayvon Martin’s town tells neighborhood watch: No more guns Raw Story

Education Department Records Student Loan Profit For First Time Since 2000 Huffington Post (Carol B). You need to see the actual accounting to know what is going on. Cash flow doesn’t give you a complete picture (you can be wringing the last interest payments out of borrowers who are about to go delinquent, for instance. And the deferrals in student loans considerably complicate the picture). But the fact that student loans can’t be discharged in bankruptcy and often have parents as co-signers means it’s hard to see how it wouldn’t be a profitable type of lenging.

Budget Conference Starts With Optimistic Words, Usual Split on Taxes Roll Call

Recovery? What Recovery?

The meager 1.6% GDP growth in 2013 is partially self-inflicted Sober Look

A Bit on the Hawkish Side Tim Duy

JPMorgan’s $13 billion settlement deal with Justice Dept. at risk of falling apart Washington Post

‘Economics, Good and Bad’ Mark Thoma

As Interest Fades in the Humanities, Colleges Worry New York Times

My Syllabus for “Class, Status, Power” tressiemc (Lambert)

Antidote du jour (furzy mouse):


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    1. David Lentini

      Can I sneak my Thoma comments in?

      Mark, your quotes from Chris Dillows’ comments on Aditya Chakrabortty’s comments on the failure of economics to take any lessons from our second great depression only shows how economists should not be allowed to either teach or advise anyone about anything.

      “Some mainstream economists … defend elites”. Really, just “some”? How about nearly every major name in the field, as even Paul Krugman often laments? How about phone Nobel prize awards to failures like Fama? Where are the other economists who attack the lites? Dillow only shows just how inept economists are at statistics or just how cowardly they are at looking at their colleagues. What a weasel!

      “It could be that a belief in rational markets … did help to contribute to the bubble”. More weasel words! Why not just look at Alan Greenspan’s justification of his actions in inflating the bubble? Just look at the pronouncements of those “some” economists who claimed long and loudly that economics had solved all problems and it would be good time forever.

      “Any economics course that doesn’t teach its students some history of the discipline or some behavioral economics is both a lousy education and a poor preparation”. Ok, so he essentially admits all economists are poorly trained ignoramuses.

      Now for the howlers!

      Failure to predict the crash is a vindication of mainstream economics. Really? So Dillow agrees that economics can’t predict the most vital economics disasters. Then what’s the use of economics? Of course, that’s assuming that the failure to predict is really a vindication. Broken models and failed ideas will also fail to provide robust predictions too. Dillow’s failure to recognize this is just more proof of intellectual incompetence or dishonesty.

      Blaming Black-Sholes for 2008 was so wrong. Oh, wait! It still caused the 1987 crash. Well, then economists can rest easy now! And didn’t Black and Sholes get a phony Nobel too?

      Failure to recover vindicates Keynesianism. Well only if you assume that the either mainstream economics and Keynesianism are the only choices, and one must be right. Of course, neither statement is true. Keynesianism could be just as broken as mainstream economics. Again, Dillow either fails to grasp simple logic, or he’s trying to fool everyone. And if Keynesianism is right, then rational markets are a failure; so why did Fama get a phony Nobel? Why aren’t economists all jumping to Keynes’s ideas? Is it because they’re all poorly trained ignoramuses?

      The crisis was a failure of organization, which can be studied by mainstream principal-agent theory. Dillow doesn’t explain any of this. Why should anyone believe principal-agent theory? If the theory is any good, then shouldn’t it have predicted the crash, in which case mainstream economics is a failure as a non-predictor of crashes.

      Good vs. Bad Economics. Good economics tests itself against the facts. Well, certainly any discipline that claims to offer advice about the physical world should be checked against the physical world. Yet economics has failed to provide robust predictions of the physical world since … its beginning. So, good economics demonstrates that economics has very little if any value.

      Good economics means choosing the right model for the job. But as noted above, if economics can’t predict outcomes with any reliability, then how can you choose any model for a situation? And note how Dillow admits that different actors can’t decided on the same model for a given situation. Thus, economics offers no reliable guides for action, since different actors will choose different models in the same circumstances depending on their roles.

      So, Dillow demonstrates yet again how economics and economists are just incompetent. The fact that you can’t either spot or admit these failures only confirms this point.

      And yet they want us to rely on their advice for the most important decisions we make as a society.

      1. craazyboy

        “Failure to predict the crash is a vindication of mainstream economics.”

        “Failure to recover vindicates Keynesianism”

        haha. few professions are afforded benchmarks of success like this!

        then they give themselves awards too.

        here’s the “I’m a excellent driver” award, for comparison.

        Rain Man – Dustin Hoffman

      2. Chris Rogers

        David Sir,

        Congrats on a great post, I was actually one of many Guardian posters interacting on CIF – a few actual economists had the temerity to weigh into the dialogue and as with Thoma, no actual apology was forthcoming – quite the reverse, it was a case of one school of thought being bonkers and another offering perhaps more sage advice.

        Indeed, have dropped by VoxEU late last week I surprised at the one article by an Oxford Don, the Said Professor of something, offering us a hagiography of how wise and notable the sham Nobel Committee were with their wards this year.

        Anyway, I concur 100% with your post.

      3. Jim S

        I second the thanks. Russell Brand in his recent editorial wrote, “first and foremost I want to have a fucking laugh” (pardon the exact quote). I don’t know that I personally agree with his sentiment, but in this case I appreciate it.

  1. XO

    RE: Mike Rogers:

    As the linked article states, Rogers should be arrested, convicted, imprisoned, made to register as a sex offender, and chemically castrated.

    If there is not an arrest in this case, our government is surely beyond redemption.

  2. craazyman

    they’ll never see dark matter unless they build a Dark Matter Seeing Machine (TM) — the DMSM. The DMSM is a 35 ton concrete and metal tube 152 feet long and 17 feet wide with 28 interlocking magnetic fields that intersect at the poles forming a inversion flux point through which you can see dark matter once every 23 years.

    Fortunately, the precise optimal viewing time is predictable, so you don’t have to sit there for up to 22 years, 364 days, 23 hours and 59 minutes — intensly concentrating.

    Once you see it, you have to wait another 23 years, but at least you can say you did see it, and not lie.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s kind of rude to peep at dark matter without asking for its permission first, I think.

      Are scientists some kind of perverts, wanting to see dark matter naked?

    2. craazyman

      If you look at dark matter through a machine that measures whether it matters or not if there’s dark matter, the machine says it doesn’t matter. When you get experimental results like that, you have to keep building new machines until one gives you the correct answer.

    3. craazyboy

      The search for WIMPS

      “LUX’s 300 kg of liquid Xenon is supposed to detect hypothesised WIMPs – weakly interacting massive particles – using 122 photmultiplier tubes to spot the tiny flashes of light that theory predicts would be given off if a WIMP strikes a Xenon nucleus.”

      If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

      “The researchers also hope that their work to date will help them secure further Department of Energy funding to scale up LUX from its current 300 kg of Xenon to seven tonnes of the stuff.”

      I’d say they found WIMPS at the DOE. Maybe they’ll build it at Yucca Mountain, now that it’s gone dark?

      1. susan the other

        Last nite I think I heard some pre-emptive propaganda because they seemed to be saying the exact opporite of this stuff. They were saying that several experiments had confirmed the existence of dark matter and they had been duly replicated. So why is it important to propagandize this stuff??

        1. craazyboy

          Obviously Schrödinger catbox stuff. The experiment was and wasn’t a success.

          Just a guess, but “we need to protect our bullshit jobs”?.

            1. craazyboy

              Priorities. The DOE has some more pressing tasks to focus on – nuke waste disposal for one.


              During the first 40 years that nuclear waste was being created in the United States, no legislation was enacted to manage its disposal. Nuclear waste, some of which remains dangerously radioactive with a half-life of more than one million years, was kept in various types of temporary storage. Of particular concern during nuclear waste disposal are two long-lived fission products, Tc-99 (half-life 220,000 years) and I-129 (half-life 17 million years), which dominate spent fuel radioactivity after a few thousand years. The most troublesome transuranic elements in spent fuel are Np-237 (half-life two million years) and Pu-239 (half-life 24,000 years).[1]

              Most existing nuclear waste came from production of nuclear weapons. About 77 million gallons of military nuclear waste in liquid form was stored in steel tanks, mostly in South Carolina, Washington and Idaho. In the private sector, 82 nuclear plants operating in 1982 used uranium fuel to produce electricity. Highly radioactive spent fuel rods were stored in pools of water at reactor sites, but many utilities were running out of storage space.[2]

              The Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 created a timetable and procedure for establishing a permanent, underground repository for high-level radioactive waste by the mid-1990s, and provided for some temporary federal storage of waste, including spent fuel from civilian nuclear reactors. State governments were authorized to veto a national government decision to place a waste repository within their borders, and the veto would stand unless both houses of Congress voted to override it. The Act also called for developing plans by 1985 to build monitored retrievable storage (MRS) facilities, where wastes could be kept for 50 to 100 years or more and then be removed for permanent disposal or for reprocessing.

              Congress assigned responsibility to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to site, construct, operate, and close a repository for the disposal of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was directed to set public health and safety standards for releases of radioactive materials from a repository, and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) was required to promulgate regulations governing construction, operation, and closure of a repository. Generators and owners of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste were required to pay the costs of disposal of such radioactive materials. The waste program, which was expected to cost billions of dollars, would be funded through a fee paid by electric utilities on nuclear-generated electricity. An Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management was established in the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to implement the Act.[3]

              And we paid for this necessary service already:
              Payment of costs

              The Act established a Nuclear Waste Fund composed of fees levied against electric utilities to pay for the costs of constructing and operating a permanent repository, and set the fee at one mill per kilowatt-hour of nuclear electricity generated. Utilities were charged a one-time fee for storage of spent fuel created before enactment of the law. Nuclear waste from defense activities was exempted from most provisions of the Act, which required that if military waste were put into a civilian repository, the government would pay its pro rata share of the cost of development, construction and operation of the repository. The Act authorized impact assistance payments to states or Indian tribes to offset any costs resulting from location of a waste facility within their borders.[7]

              Nuclear Waste Fund[edit]

              The Nuclear Waste Fund receives almost $750 million in fee revenues each year and has an unspent balance of $25 billion. However (according to the Draft Report by the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future), actions by both Congress and the Executive Branch have made the money in the fund effectively inaccessible to serving its original purpose. The commission made several recommendations on how this situation may be corrected.[8]

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                Good point.

                This is how it works.

                You mess up the planet with the aid of science and technology, you promote more science and technology to explore space…because it’s ‘our last hope’ (to do what? mess up more planets?).

                So, you can have a problem with nuclear waste (and who led the way to that?), of course, let’s spend more money on basic physics research.

                1. Benjamin

                  Ah, the tired old ‘why are we spending money up there when we still have problems down here’ argument. The reality is that space exploration has had far and away the best return on investment of probably anything that US tax payer money has ever been spent on. As for things like basic phsyics research, the computer you’re reading this on right now is the result of discoveries that intitially had no percieved practical value and were done simply for the sake of accumulating pure knowledge.

                  On top of both those points, all of this research funding amounts to at most a few cents of every tax dollar. If it would really take so little money to fix the myriad problems we face we really are screwed.

                  1. craazyboy

                    Ah, the old “any research is good research” mantra.

                    We are talking about Dark Matter here.

                    Be nice if the Dept. of Energy(DOE) would work on the pressing problem of nuke waste disposal. Then, I keep hearing we have an “energy” problem. Sumthin todo there perhaps?

                    If another country, say Switzerland?, feels it necessary to have a Dept. of Matter(DOM) fund this matter, that would be fine as far as I’m concerned.

                    1. Benjamin

                      We had plans for safely disposing of nuclear waste by storing it in super-containers deep underground in Nevada, until asinine fearmongering turned the public against it.

                    2. craazyboy

                      And now we have 1000s of tons above ground all around the country. The DOE worked on Plan A for 30+ years before a trailer park 90 miles N of Vegas got spooked, causing Harry Reid and our Prez to get spooked.

                      Shit happens.

                      Plan B?

                    3. Benjamin

                      “any research is good research”

                      Yes, actually. As long as people aren’t unwillingly harmed in the process, ala various Nazi experiments (and the sad truth even there is that the bulk of what we know about frostbite comes from Nazi experiments).

                      Real-life isn’t a grand strategy game. We can’t open a techtree and know that we should start with pottery because it leads to writing and ultimately to court houses which give +1 happiness to cities. We should conduct research into a wide array of subjects because we never know what knowledge will end up being useful. Especially since the millions and billions we spend annually on research are merely a drop in the bucket compared to our total budgets. We’re essentially spending next to nothing and getting massive returns on a regular basis.

              2. optimader

                Suggesting that (the vanishingly modest) funding of basic research should be a zero sum game is a slippery slope.

                1. Benjamin

                  Even if these kinds of research produced nothing of practical value I would still defend them on purely the philosophical basis that one of the things that seperates us from lower forms of animal life is our ability to investiage and inquire and that it should be celebrated and indulged. But all critics seem to care about is results, so if we’re going to play that game long lists of technologies that we use every day that are the result of initially ‘worthless’ research be offered up in defense.

                2. craazyboy

                  Almost anything has value.

                  Someday when space alien anthropologists land in Utah on the unpopulated earth, they will be able to read about what we were up to just before extinction. With the proper radiation protection, of course.

                  They might find our theory of the cosmos very humorous.

                  1. Benjamin

                    It’s the scientists job to learn things. The people holding the purse strings ultimatley decide what direction the investigation goes and what use is made of the discoveries.
                    If you’re trying to blame the ills of the world on science you’re a fool.

                    1. craazyboy

                      All along I’ve been talking about how we are, vs should, be directing research dollars.

                      I think scientists should work on useful and relevant things. Dark Matter comes in pretty low on the list of potential choices.

                    2. anon y'mouse

                      you said above ““any research is good research”

                      Yes, actually. As long as people aren’t unwillingly harmed in the process, ala various Nazi experiments….”

                      what if people ARE being harmed by the fact that money and therefore reasources (and human ingenuity) are being soaked up by this when there are much more pressing problems.

                      if you were starving and had no water, would you sit down with a telescope in the middle of the desert to study the rings of Saturn, or would you be using the stars to navigate somewhere with some water?

                      we only have so much money, time, resources and supersmart, superskilled humans at any one time. trading off things that could be solving problems for boondoggles is immoral. it is causing those people, ecosystems, etc. to still be suffering when that ingenuity & money could have been spent putting that crap to an end.

                      stuff like ‘answering questions’ is best when you have enough time and resources left over after taking care of all of the other pressing matters to do that. we don’t, as a species, anymore….

    4. gepay

      dark matter will never be found because it is just a fiction. It was made up by astronomers to explain the fact that galaxies rotate too fast. There isn’t enough observable mass in galaxies for gravity to rotate them at the speed that they are observed to rotate. Therefore dark matter which is undectable using existing apparatus (nobody can find it) was created by astronomers. There is so much missing mass that 9 times as much dark matter as mass from stars and such is needed. To me it seems kind of obvious that what needs changing is the theories that need dark matter to explain observed facts.

      1. Benjamin

        People used to claim Higgs boson didn’t exist either. The fact that this experiment didn’t return any results isn’t surprising, and while some of you might sit and chuckle about it being ‘both a failure and a success’, the fact is that’s an accurate statement. Plenty of lessons can be learned from even a failed experiment, that’s part of how science works.

        As for dark matter being ‘made up’, that’s a gross oversimplification. Science is about models, and our models of the universe by and large were working until the math indicated there wasn’t enough mass in the universe to prevent galaxies from flying apart. This either means our models are fundementally wrong, which is doubtful, since they were working just fine in every other respect, or there is more stuff out there generating gravity than we can see, hence dark matter. And the fact we haven’t seen it means it must either be very picky about interacting with normal matter, or it doesn’t exist. Either way, running experiments is the only way to find out.

        If they conitnue to run experiments like this and have absolutely nothing to show for it, then the models will have to be fundementally altered.

      2. optimader

        “dark matter will never be found because it is just a fiction”

        Well, that’s it then! no less a poster on my favorite financial blog has cleared this business of Dark Matter up it a short and clearly stated declaration!

        “There is so much missing mass that 9 times as much dark matter as mass from stars and such is needed”

        “And such”… I would urge you to forgo the technical jargon

        “normal matter is only 5 percent of the energy density of the known universe; 27 percent is dark matter, 68 percent is dark energy,” ~ Prof. Stephen Hawking

        Here’s Prof. Hawking’s contact information, I am sure he would be grateful for your clarifications so that he may avoid further professional embarrassment on this subject:

        email: Prof.Hawking@damtp

        Research Group: Relativity and Gravitation
        Office Tel: 01223 337843
        Office: B1.07
        Dept of Applied Mathematics and theoretical Physics (DAMTP)
        Centre for Mathematical Sciences,
        Wilberforce Road,
        CB3 0WA,
        United Kingdom

        1. Jim S

          Hi optimader, I’ve posted this link before, but here is Dr. Rupert Sheldrake speaking on the topic during his speech at EU2013. Like craazyboy above, I’ve become convinced that mainstream cosmology is incorrect. I do wonder what he subscribes to…

          1. Optimader

            S.H. is onboard with Dark Matter as the theoretical explaination for the indirectly observed phenomena.
            My own opinion is that assuming that 100 days of detector work is a basis to conclude that DM does not exist is rather impatient.
            I did post a seperate link to a Fermi Lab Lecture Series Event next week that will include a presentation by a researcher involved in the detection activity( experimentalist vs theorist) but I think the link was deleted for some reason.

  3. taunger

    I went back to Welsh’s 44 points after the Jerome piece, and saw the rationality/irrationality issue that has confounded some here at NC in that article, too. Here’s my take on Welsh’s formulation:

    From the perspective of this ideology , future ideologies must have irrational bonds. However, within the future ideology he speaks of, maintaining equality and sustainability (same thing, I know) will seem rational. Rationality is not an objective quality – it is derived from ratio, measure. Within this neoliberal ideology, it is rational to sell-out. Within another, it is rational to save others. It depends on where the primary value is posited in the ideology – whether its capital or humanity. Rationality will then measure action against that primary value. So, on the way to a better ideology, some will seem irrational (looking at you craazyman). When we get there, the patients get to run the asylum!

    There is nothing irrational about being compassionate and supporting our physical systems. It just looks that way from our f#&^%ed up system.

    1. b2020

      I firmly believe you misread Welsh. That is exactly not what he is saying.

      He would by far not be the only one who is rejecting the notion of “reason” to foster rejection of the status quo. That is profoundly wrong. If “rational” and “scientific” (and “efficiency”) arguments by corrupted institutions and individuals are made in support of the status quo, it is not a useful response to discredit rationality, science, or even whatever useful results have been found in “economics”.

      Welsh does not propose to fix reason, but to bury it. His proposal at “re-education” looses a lot of its farcial entertainment value because of that. His attempt to reason us into beneficial unreason is self-defeating. The answer to a corrupted science is a mopre enlightened pursuit of the scientific method. The answer to a recognition that reason, attempted by fallible individuals and organizations, is prone to failure is to improve the checks and balances.

      There is nothing wrong with enlightened self-interest. It is ignorance – especially willful ignorance – and inbred information assymetry that we have to worry about. Instead of “re-educating” the masses with a beneficial “ideology”, education – especially at the “qui bono” level of skeptical common sense – is necessary. Teach to challenge authority on principle grounds. Teach to ask questions, and you will have to worry a lot less about the answers.

      1. taunger

        I see why you state I misread Welsh; perhaps “my take” should be “my response.” You stated it correctly, Welsh believes that burying, or at least subordinating, reason is the key. I think that he has mistaken reason as the centerpiece of the current ideology; it is not. Reason has merely been made into a wicked tool for profit. I believe reason can be a valuable ally, though not in the manner you describe, either.

        Both Welsh and your quick comment include important ideas. Ignorance is always an adversary; but I do not think complete transparency of the current system, which is a practical impossibility, would help. I believe Welsh is correct that a new ideology is necessary to improve the lot of humankind. I simply believe that within that ideology, profit will no longer be the measure of success.

        This isn’t a new idea – Christ, Buddha, Marx all tried. There is certainly no basis to believe that this time we can get it right. But the current system no longer works, and the material circumstances have changed enough for me to think it is worth another try.

  4. rich

    Bill Erbey Made $2.3B Off Your Underwater Mortgage

    Undaunted by Complexity

    Erbey has a knack for diving into complex tax or accounting issues and, through a kind of alchemy, finding untapped reservoirs of value. More than 20 years ago, he developed a product called a NERD (non-economic residual) used to absorb phantom income created in certain types of mortgage securitizations.

    The fact that the Internal Revenue Service wrote a rule specifically dealing with the tax treatment of NERDs demonstrates their importance, says Viva Hammer, a Brandeis University professor who was previously responsible for law and policy in the taxation of financial products at the Treasury Department.

    If you are still not sold on the reason for HLSS’s existence, you are not alone.

    “It was so exotic, understanding it went beyond most people’s skill sets. You’ve got a lot of that going on right now in financial services. Financial services is changing big time and so the people who have these new ‘show me’ stories where it’s never been done this way before, you can imagine that when you walk into a room and say ‘I’m going to develop a different model than what has existed previously’ — that people don’t sort of naturally latch onto it.”

    That said, Kramer points out that many of those same skeptics will “be comfortable investing in a bank even though the bank is now subject to a totally different rulebook which hasn’t even mostly been written yet. So since the rulebook is totally different and the externalities are totally different, what’s the difference what the historic multiples of earnings were? That was a totally different world with totally different rules, but people think they know what a bank is and how to value it. They don’t know that about the things that Bill does.”
    A Grim Future for Homeownership

    Erbey is one of many experts on housing and the economy who expects homeownership to decline in the U.S. in the years to come. Part of the reason as he sees it is that many Americans lack the education to qualify for middle class jobs in the post-industrial economy.

    Making things more difficult, he believes, will be an aspect of the 2010 Dodd-Frank legislation that will make it harder for many Americans to qualify for a mortgage.

    Erbey cites a February study by a consultant called CoreLogic which found that only half of the mortgage loans being originated today will qualify under new rules structured around something called a Qualifying Mortgage that go into effect at the start of 2014.

    Erbey created RESI to capitalize on what he believes will be rising demand for renters by turning foreclosed homes into rentals. While private equity firms including The Blackstone Group and Colony Capital as well as a company called Silver Bay Realty Trust Corp. are also looking to take advantage of this trend, hedge fund manager Kramer believes RESI is better-positioned because its national infrastructure and low cost of capital enable it to acquire the foreclosed homes more cheaply than competitors.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      He might reach a trillion dollars if he would just work harder.

      And if he fails, he has only himself to blame.

    2. anon y'mouse

      does anyone know what this mythical ‘level of education’ is that Americans supposedly lack?

      is it that we lack it, or is it simply that it is much cheaper to import Chinese and Indian people who have already been trained to this level than it is to educate our own up to this level?

      are they basically saying that our educational infrastructure is too expensive to train the people necessary to keep the economy rolling? why have steps not been taken to reduce costs? is this why MOOCs are being portrayed as the answer?

      the future, under these kinds of constraints, seems to be that americans need to acquiesce to accepting highly trained foreigners into their economy in order to produce the necessary ‘innovation’ to keep it going (or as Tainter would say: running faster and faster to stay in the same place) and that americans themselves need to realize that they will be simply the servants of these people.

      I am not making any racial statements. I simply believe that instinctually, the problem has always been that we don’t take care of all of our own, allowing many at the bottom to fall out and then blaming them for their own lack of instrumentality, when in reality it seems that the owners realized a long time ago that it would cost too much to make ‘those people’ productive enough. immigration is not a problem if everyone has enough to go around. it is only a problem when it pits incomers and their needs against ‘native’ populations.

      perhaps we need to be asking ourselves if we really NEED to engage in this drive to innovate. innovation hasn’t solved our problems up til now, not really. it can be argued that it has increased them, and increased their complexity and thus made many of them nearly intractable to solutions.

      1. craazyboy

        Get you barf bag ready. Greenspan raises alarm that “skilled American labor” are “privileged elite”.

        So pizza delivery plus 12 hours a day in a cubicle and/or nite skool is what it takes to be the “privileged elite” in Amerika.

        haha. Try it Alan.

        Back in the 1999 – 2002 rolling bust to general tech wreak to general economy mini-recession, Congress held annual H1B visas constant at half a million a year thru the whole period. And these are mostly multi year visas, so constant annual issuance actually is a large absolute increase.

        1. jrs

          “He said that increasing the numbers of skilled workers from overseas “would address the increasing concentration of income in this country.””

          Oh yes because the real increasing concentration of income in this country is in people who work for a living. No we know where it went, some skilled workers receive income they wouldn’t otherwise because of such protections, but take it away and let them know that they are working class as they have always been, and let them see their true class enemies. Eliminate the middle class and let the middle class see the system for what it is: And then: no war but class war.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            It would be wise to do something about our wealth inequality (otherwise we might start demanding GDP sharing).

            On the other hand, it’s smart to talk about wealth inequality.

            Thus, some rich, smart guys are starting to talk about it a bit (so maybe they don’t have to do something about it).

            1. rich

              honestly…does anyone think we have a snowballs chance in hell of fixing anything with the same people running and funding things?

              Goldman Sachs Slides Hillary Clinton 400,000 Cool Ones

              Hillary Clinton spoke at two separate Goldman Sachs events on the evenings of Thursday, October 24 and Tuesday, October 29. As both Politico and the New York Times report, Clinton’s fee is about $200,000 per speech, meaning she likely netted around $400,000 for her paid gigs at Goldman over the course of six days, reports NRO.

              Last Thursday, Clinton spoke for the AIMS Alternative Investment Conference hosted by Goldman Sachs, a closed event exclusively for Goldman clients. AIMS is an annual conference that explores the latest strategies and products available to financial advisers. At the event, Clinton offered what one attendee described to me as “prepared remarks followed by questions.”

              On Tuesday, Clinton spoke at the Builders and Innovators Summit, devoted to discussing entrepreneurship and how to help innovators expand and grow their businesses. According to Politico, Clinton conducted a question-and-answer session with Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein.


              you keep believing, they keep deceiving……..

        2. optimader

          Greenspan is just an ignorant ahole. If there were any justice in this world , he would be sentenced to spending his waking existence with a slug like Andrea Mitchell… oh wait..

  5. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Police chief: No more guns!

    That’s great news – I don’t think cops need guns. That’s the way in some countries, I believe.

    Next goal: make it illegal for dictators to own guns.

  6. fresno dan

    What if chained CPI was used to make adjustments in cost of living adjustments….???

    OUCH, I laughed so hard I hurt myself. For those of us conspiratorially minded, we believe it has been “revised” to understand inflation for a while. Mostly to goose the GDP numbers, but screwing anyone dependent on cost of living adjustments is a feature, not a bug…

    I like this:
    “Although medical insurance premiums are an important part of consumers’ medical spending, the direct pricing of health insurance policies is not included in the CPI”
    Because, you know, you can use your Ipad to sell diagnose, medicate, and treat.

    And you shouldn’t worry your pretty little head over the ever increasing deductibles, or the ever decreasing time you can actually spend with a physician.
    Of course, there is hedonics. But we will never speak of that which we can never speak of….crapdonics. Because we are the richest and greatest nation on earth RAH RAH!!!
    Like the 50 minutes it took me to cancel my Wells Fargo credit card because the voice mail system couldn’t conceive of anyone EVER wanting to do such a thing…
    And don’t get me started on finding a ripe tomato at a retail outlet…
    And the 40,000 cable channels…that contain 30 minutes of advertising for every 20 minutes of programming. We live in the best of all possible worlds, so quit your bitching terrorists!

  7. Emma

    Re: Big Brother is Watching You Watch

    As it is Halloween, and my caffeinated witches brew is unusually darker & more richly stimulating than normal, I am inspired with the sinful temptation to posit a wicked thought!

    In light of the NSA revelations, surely the Snowden Affair merits returning to take a closer look at the “Spy in a Bag” Affair? It may well make the circumstances surrounding the death of the UK MI6 “Spy in a Bag” Gareth Williams in 2010, far more interesting…

    Williams was the 31-year-old UK GCHQ star who did supersecret counterterrorism work in the field of cryptography applied to the signals and communications intelligence functions, and prior to his bizarre death, had been posted to the NSA Fort Meade base for a project.

    Makes me wonder about Snowden and his ‘exile’ in Russia…..

    “Double, double toil and trouble;
    Fire burn, and caldron bubble”

  8. Jim S

    Having promoted both Sheldrake and plasma cosmology in comments here previously, I suppose I might be expected to crow over the article on dark matter, but instead I’m curious as to why this is news. 110 days are surely not very many for a project such as this, excepting the funding standpoint.

  9. reader2010

    “The primary cause of the decadence of contemporary thought evidently lies in the fact that spectacular discourse leaves no room for any reply; while logic was only socially constructed through dialogue. Furthermore, when respect for those who speak through the spectacle is so widespread, when they are held to be rich, important, prestigious, to be authority itself, the spectators tend to want to be just as illogical as the spectacle, thereby proudly displaying an individual reflection of this authority. And finally, logic is not easy, and no one has tried to teach it. Drug addicts do not study logic; they no longer need it, nor are they capable of it. The spectator’s laziness is shared by all intellectual functionaries and overnight specialists, all of whom do their best to conceal the narrow limits of their knowledge by the dogmatic repetition of arguments with illogical authority.”

    — Guy Debord, Comments on the Society of the Spectacle, 1988

  10. jrs

    Google, Oracle, Redhat etc. are now working on You know when they’re not working for

    Now if Google really wanted to protest the tapping maybe they’d say: oh we’ll help you on in return for serious surviellence reform. Guess that’s not going to happen, huh?

    Oh I’ve posted links here about Oracle’s involvement in a company that makes medicines you can swallow that monitor you’re bodily functions and transmit them over the internet. It’s very real.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I imagine a creative food company could work on and come up with something that when you eat it, you will vote a certain political candidate, by re-arranging your brain.

      If this plot is not in a sci fi already, someone could make big money with it.

  11. rich

    After Fraud, the Fog Around Libor Hasn’t Cleared

    Even without fraud, Gary Gensler, the chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, said this week in a speech at Harvard, Libor rates “are basically more akin to fiction than fact.”

    Unfortunately, nothing fundamental is being changed. Libor lives on. Regulators who wanted to change that, most notably Mr. Gensler, have been outmaneuvered by those who did not want to risk damaging one of the biggest and most lucrative markets around.

    It turns out that the financial crisis did not cause the fraud; it merely made it so obvious that regulators finally noticed. It had been going on for years, aided by an international culture that treated market manipulation as a matter of course. If a bank did not have its own good reason for manipulating the market, then a trader would agree to do so as a favor for a trader at another institution. Why not? Maybe he would need a favor on another day.

    “In the U.S.,” Mr. Gensler said in his speech, “Libor is the reference rate for 70 percent of the futures market and more than half of the swaps market. It is the reference rate for more than $10 trillion in loans.”

    “As the new administrator, we plan to return credibility, trust and integrity to Libor, by bringing the essential combination of strong regulatory framework and market-leading validation techniques, administered by a pre-eminent market infrastructure provider,” the exchange promises.

    But the language may not be matched by reality. When the scandal first broke, and Robert Diamond was forced to resign as chief executive of Barclays, there was talk of the need for an interest rate indicator to reflect actual transactions. But that goal fell by the roadside. The new promise is that the rate will be “anchored” in “relevant transaction data.”

    What does that mean? It means that banks may use the rates they pay on certificates of deposit, or on commercial paper, or on repurchase agreements, or by observations about other markets, and adjust those rates as appropriate. The Libor rate is supposedly a rate for unsecured loans between banks, but there do not seem to be many such transactions these days. The N.Y.S.E. says that it may be appropriate for banks to use the rates they pay on insured deposits in estimating the Libor rate.

    If all else fails, “expert judgment should be used to determine a submission,” wrote Martin Wheatley, whose report set the course for allowing Libor to continue without fundamental reform. Mr. Wheatley is now chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority, a British regulator.

  12. rich

    Hillary Clinton’s Lucrative Goldman Sachs Speaking Gigs

    Hillary Clinton spoke at two separate Goldman Sachs events on the evenings of Thursday, October 24 and Tuesday, October 29. As both Politico and the New York Times report, Clinton’s fee is about $200,000 per speech, meaning she likely netted around $400,000 for her paid gigs at Goldman over the course of six days.

    Last Thursday, Clinton spoke for the AIMS Alternative Investment Conference hosted by Goldman Sachs, a closed event exclusively for Goldman clients. AIMS is an annual conference that explores the latest strategies and products available to financial advisers. At the event, Clinton offered what one attendee described to me as “prepared remarks followed by questions.”

    On Tuesday, Clinton spoke at the Builders and Innovators Summit, devoted to discussing entrepreneurship and how to help innovators expand and grow their businesses. According to Politico, Clinton conducted a question-and-answer session with Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein. Goldman Sachs declined to comment on the subject of her remarks or why Mrs. Clinton in particular was invited to the events.

    Keeping close to the investment world, Clinton also made visits to private-equity firms KKR in July and the Carlyle Group in September. At KKR’s annual investor meeting in California, Clinton answered questions from firm co-founder Henry Kravis on the Middle East, Washington, and politics. At Carlyle Group, Clinton made a speech to shareholders moderated by Carlyle founder David Rubenstein.

    Clinton’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

    1. AbyNormal

      i thought your story was the same story i read the other day. my mistake…it’s ANOTHER ONE!

      22 Year Old With Down Syndrome Beaten By The Police For “Bulge In Pants” That Was His Colostomy Bag

      According to the family, they were inside their Southwest Miami-Dade home last Saturday when Powell, who is also called Liko, called his parents on his cell phone to let them know he was walking a block from his friend’s house.

      On his way home, Liko said, “The police followed me.”

      Liko said, the officer smacked him in the face with an open hand and knocked him to the ground.

      “His whole hand,” he said.

      According to the police report, a Miami-Dade Police officer noticed a bulge in Liko’s waistband. The officer attempted to conduct a pat down, and Powell tried to run away.

      “I said, ‘Didn’t you know he was a Down Syndrome kid?’ And he said, **‘No, I’m not a doctor. I don’t know.”** And I said, ‘Well, you can see it in his face that he is a Down Syndrome kid,’” said Josephine.

      “Inhumanity is the keynote of stupidity in power.”
      Alexander Berkman, Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist

      1. optimader

        In these situations there should be a charitable lottery, the winner of which gets to beat the living crap out of the thug w/ the badge, as well, whomever is directly responsible for his being employed in his present position.


  13. skippy

    Hay naked capitalisters… got to share this rare gem!

    Anarchy in Somalia

    Somalia is experiencing progress according to several criteria, despite (or, some would say, because of) its lack of a strong central government. As a result, it is by far the fastest growing, fastest improving among all the less developed countries. This should be a model for the world.

    Skippy… are we having fun yet[!!!!].

    1. Benjamin

      What’s that one rule about a sufficiently well executed parody of something being indistinguishable from the real thing?

  14. optimader

    Fermilab Lecture Series presents:

    Moderated by Chris Miller and Featuring Don Lincoln, Hugh Lippincott, Tia Miceli, Brian Nord & Chris Polly
    Friday, November 15, 2013 @ 8 p.m.
    Tickets – $7

    Prix Fixe Dinner at Chez Leon starts at 6 p.m. – $30 – Call 630/840.ARTS for reservations

    Multiple physicists duke it over in short presentations about their respective topics. YOU get to choose which one does it best! This event sold out to an enthusiastic audience last year, and we are sure it will sell out again, so order early!


    Speaker: Don Lincoln
    Title: Recreating the Big Bang in the Lab……..

    Speaker: Hugh Lippincott
    Title: Hunting for Dark Matter

    Synopsis: 95% of the Universe is a mystery to humanity. A significant part of that mystery is called dark matter, which is basically a romantic name for matter that does not interact with light in the usual way. Without dark matter, large scale structure would not have formed and we wouldn’t be here to enjoy events like the Physics Slam, and yet we don’t really know anything about dark matter except that it exists. This talk will cover why we think it exists, what we think it might be, and how we go about trying to detect it.

    Bio: Hugh Lippincott is a postdoc at Fermilab whose research is focused on the direct detection of dark matter particles. It’s quite possible that the last 10 years of his life have been spent looking for something that might not ever be found, but he tries not to think about that too often. When he’s not in Chicago or Batavia, he spends a lot of time wearing a blue jumpsuit and a hair net over a mile underground in a nickel mine in Northern Ontario, in a place called SNOLAB that really could be the set of a 1980s science fiction movie. This will be his first Physics Slam, or really Slam of any sort.

    Speaker: Tia Miceli
    Title: The Case Files of the Neutrino…….

    Speaker: Brian Nord
    Title: Cosmic Nightly News: A Day in the Life of the Universe……..

    Speaker: Chris Polly
    Title: Universal mysteries: Revealing clues with mus…..

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