Links 12/10/13

You will no doubt notice the old site is gone and the new site is live!

I actually felt a bit sad about taking our old “letter from the gulag” homely site down and putting up a more grown up version, but it really did look a bit too amateurish for the impact we aspire to have. And as we discussed, the way the page was kludged in WordPress to replicate a Blogger template was actually hurting us in where we showed up in Google searches. So we had several reasons for the redo.

Please note there are a few minor things that weren’t done as of the launch, so we’ll have some tweaks over the next week or so. Hopefully they are all so minor you won’t even notice. But some weird stuff also crept in when the site went live (I think this has to do with plug-ins she needed and couldn’t run on the staging site having features that she needs to suppress). So if you see any anomalies, tell us!

The 35 Naughtiest Dogs On The Planet Distractify (Tracey). DO NOT drink coffee while reading!

Elephant Foster Mom: A Conversation with Daphne Sheldrick National Geographic (furzy mouse)

U.S. to issue eagle-killing permits to wind industry Salon (furzy mouse)

This Device Lets People Video Chat With Their Pets Smithsonian. I’d consider getting one if the price came down. First, my critters if nothing else are bored when humans are not around, so this would provide an itty bitty

How journals like Nature, Cell and Science are damaging science Guardian

For some government agencies, it’s only official if it’s on floppies ars technia (Carol B)

New artificial, bionic hands start to get real feelings ExtremeTech

The U.S. Air Force Explains its $1 Billion ECSS Bonfire IEEE (Chuck L). Makes look good by comparison!

Radiation 36,000 times permissible level found in water at Fukushima plant Mainichi (furzy mouse)

Investigate the ongoing danger from the Fukushima nuclear reactors

The west is losing faith in its own future Gideon Rachman, Financial Times

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Edward Snowden to give evidence to EU parliament, says MEP Guardian

Like NSA, local police sweep up cellphone data of innocents, report says Christian Science Monitor

State surveillance is theft, say world’s leading authors Guardian

Obamacare Launch

Some claim insurers limiting drug coverage under health law Washington Post

‘Creepy Uncle Sam’ doubles down on Snapchat! Is he scaring Millennials from Obamacare? Christian Science Monitor

Next Year, Will Your Employer’s Insurance Cover 62 Services and Products with No Co-Pay or Deductible? How Much Will You Save? Maggie Mahar Health Beat Blog. Does not provide a clear answer to headline question.

House And Senate Near Deal To Green-Light Trade Pact Huffington Post. Too delicious. Last week, the Administration was trying to create the impression Congress was solidly behind the Trans-Pacific Partnership (which is not a give, in fact, the deal has considerable opposition, and as we know from the Syria climbdown, having the leadership flog an initiative does not necessarily mean the rank and file will follow). So what happens while the latest round is in progress in Singapore? Wikileaks provides more fresh leaks, which again confirm the pact is in trouble: the US is clearly bullying, and so many details are unresolved that negotiators are considering a partial deal to save face: Wikileaks exposes secret, controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations PC World

Making Good News Out of Bad Counterpunch (Carol B)

Millions of ‘missing workers’ continue to make the monthly jobs reports look better than they are Daily Kos

Profiles in being Discouraged Attaturk, Firedoglake (Carol B)

Let’s get this straight: AIG execs got bailout bonuses, but pensioners get cuts Dean Baker, Guardian

JP Morgan Chase, the Foreign Corrupt Practice Act, and the Corruption of America Robert Reich (Scott)

Volcker Rule. I need to do a post on this, but the site design reviews ate my evening. Short version is 1. Why this delay until July 2015? The banks have had plenty of warning this is coming. 2. Whether this means bupkis depends on enforcement. Sarbanes Oxley in theory was tough. In practice, all it did was lead to some board level bureaucratic ass-covering while clear Sarbox abuses weren’t pursued.

Rule That Curbs Bank Risk-Taking Nears Approval New York Times

Volcker Rule To Give Banks Discretion In Market Making Wall Street Journal

Wall Street wins Volcker concession on hedging risks Financial Times

New Documents Show How Power Moved to Wall Street, Via the New York Fed Pam Martens

World’s biggest investor BlackRock says US rally nearing exhaustion Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph. But the advice is so 2007: Get out when things start to turn. By then, everyone is rushing for the exit and it’s too late.

First rise in US mortgage debt since 2008 Financial Times

Wealthy Go Frugal This Holiday Amid Uneven U.S. Recovery Bloomberg

Few Places to Go New York Times. On unaffordable rentals.

Janine R. Wedel, Shadow Elite Lambert. You need to read this book, which is the single best description of how politics really works in America. But you can use Lambert’s post as a cheat sheet for now.

Antidote du jour (Josh):


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    1. c

      Where is the button for having it read through the speaker to you???
      (restyling of the logo not needed)

      thanks a lot!

  1. Klassy!

    Rather racy antidote. I thought this was a family blog. Now where shall I send little Madison or Harper when I want them to understand why Lloyd Blankfein should be strung up by his balls?

    1. hunkerdown

      What, you don’t believe in teaching kids the law of unintended consequences? You could even glean some sort of age-appropriate lesson about wearing proper underwear.

        1. optimader

          FWIW, I always prefer a contrasting link color, (rather than a lighter shade bulk text color, gray in this case on my monitor).
          I notice the contemporary use of light gray small font Salutations, particularly in business email correspondence, I really don’t get it. Is it supposed to be a vision test, or Is the objective to make it harder to read so you remember it after you squint sufficiently?
          Creates a negative user impression IMO

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            The links roll from orange to blue. You are getting grey? We have the color set to blue.

            What OS and browser are you using?

            1. BobW

              On my laptop links are orange until selected – then they go to gray. OS is a Linux, Ubuntu 10.04 (I know, I know, no longer in support…) Firefox 20.0 browser. Very nice look to site, it seems to be a bit faster, too. I’m glad my small donation made it all possible.

            2. optimader

              Ha! it ate my first comment! I’ll retry
              Office desktop win 7 links light gray
              home laptop Win7 links orange
              I’ll remote in to the office server and see if gray orange or blue
              yes, to traditional blue for links .. always preferable

              Good Work

            3. Jeff W

              Windows 7, Firefox 25.0.1 (but also in Chrome 31.0.1650.63 m)

              The links on the site
              Original state – orange
              After being clicked – blue

              Links in comments (e.g. optimader’s link above, my links below)
              Original state – orange
              After being clicked – gray

              (The gray is pretty light but I don’t mind it—it looks pretty stylish.)

  2. JL Furtif

    Just wondering. Next to the ‘print’ icon, there are six “bubbles” with a number in it. This article carries the number 24-0-0-0-0-0. What is their use, please?
    (and also, while typing this comment, I see it’s written in a rather small font).

    “Fearless” – awesome

    1. Tom Allen

      Sounds like your browser hasn’t fully loaded the site yet, or something. The bubbles should allow you to post the article to: Twitter; Reddit; StumbleUpon; Facebook; LinkedIn; Google+.

      Site design change looks great, Yves & crew!

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Try clearing your cache. Old cached stuff can cause weird interactions of cached info with the new design.

  3. Ned Ludd

    New design looks great! Is it possible to post a separate announcement that has the comments turned on? I saw a problem with a blockquote in my last comment, but I don’t want to start a trend that fills up today’s links page with test1… test2test3….

    Also, it would be interesting to see how all the tags look in the comments. We could provide some free QA for NC.

    1. diptherio

      I noticed that my blockquote tag seemed to just italicize my text without indenting it (or maybe it did just a tiny bit, but not so as you could really tell). Idk what that’s about…but I’m sure I’ll figure it out.

      One thing I REALLY like about the new design is having comment replies nested during composition, which makes it way easier to remember what the heck it is I’m supposedly replying to…

      1. Ned Ludd

        I didn’t know that replies now nest during composition. This is a nice feature.

        The error in the second blockquote in my last comment was that there was a <br> tag, instead of the start of a new paragraph, between the second and third paragraphs. But that could have been a user error, if I forgot to to insert a blank line between the paragraphs. So this is a test, copied from my last comment, the remarks of Stanley Cohen:

        “eBay, from day one, has exploited this. They’ve been a complainant. Someone lied to either the SEC or the Department of Justice. Someone inflated imaginary losses that never existed. Someone pushed the Department of Justice, particularly the cyberspace unit, to go after these 14 young heroes. And now, Pierre turns around and is about to start his billion dollar, we’re hip, we’re cool, we’re counter-culture, Internet news service; and is trying to resurrect themselves.

        “They were the complainants. They brought the charges.”

        Like you said, a bit more indent would be nice, too.

        1. Ned Ludd

          This time, the paragraphs came out right in the <blockquote>. Also, regarding the indent, I viewed the site on Firefox 25.0.1 on Linux Mint and Firefox 26.0 on Windows 7.

      2. Jeff W

        The nested comments are great!

        One minor tweak:
        It would be even better if the entire commenting interface (from Leave a reply down to the preview) were indented to the extent the actual comment will be. Right now I know I’m replying to your comment, diptherio, but the lack of indenting (along with the position of the comment just below yours) gives me the feeling that I might be replying to Ned Ludd’s comment above yours. It’s just a little disconcerting feeling that I’d rather not have as a user.

        Still, the experience is much, much better than before!

    2. Jeff W

      Actually, I would like a separate launch post also, with comments turned on, so that we can celebrate! I think people would like to congratulate Yves, lambert and Kristen after a long, hard slog, on a beautiful job!
      (Kristen, if you’re out there reading: Kudos to you! It can’t have been very easy with Yves, lambert, and us in the peanut gallery all tugging you in all different directions. Congratulations!)

  4. grayslady

    I read an article about the eagles at an earlier moment, and rarely have I been so disgusted. The headline at Salon should read “Obama Overrides 1940 Law to Allow 30-Year Penalty-Free Slaughter of Eagles”. So Obama has now declared himself king, and he’s chosen to desecrate the national symbol as his first act. God, I hate Obama with a passion. He embodies everything that is wrong with this country.

      1. ambrit

        Mr. Mills;
        I would reverse that order. “W”, for all his faults, was up front about being a tool of the elites. He was a ‘sort of” elite himself. Obama wants to be a member of the elite so badly he is willing to sacrifice 99.9% of the American population to get within sniffing distance of the gold toilet seat.
        Obama is a consummate hypocrite. I don’t know whether he belongs in Dantes Eighth Circle of H—, reserved for purveyors of Fraud, or the Ninth, reserved for betrayers of trust.

      2. Massinissa

        Im going to have to agree with Diptherio, David Mills, and Noam Chomsky: Obama really is worse than Bush…

        Or, if not actually ‘worse’, at least much easier to loathe… Not that it isnt easy to loathe Bush of course.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Quick question? What was the opposition with Bush as President? I missed the filibusters of Alito and Roberts. I missed the hearings on the conduct of the Iraq War.

            31 (32) if we count Snarlin’ Arlen of the Democratic Caucus before the inaugeration in 2009 voted for the Iraq War.

            Certainly, I think it seemed like there were more people who opposed conservatism, but its been revealed many liberals are just members of Team Blue. There was no opposition. Democratic voters were conned with the just elect us mantra and then we will do good and make amends, but there was no opposition to George W. Bush.

            The only reason Bush had vacancies was he couldn’t find people who would do the jobs and pass their loyalty test. Bush had no problem making recess appointments, and I seem to recall a bipartisan group who made sure Bush wouldn’t have to even go that route for making appointments.

            The Democrats were in lockstep with the Republicans except on television.

        1. Synopticist

          Obama is the greatest political disappointment of my lifetime, and I say that as a former and repentant card-carrying Blairite. He was exactly what America and the world didn’t need- an even more rightward drifting third-way pro-oligarch sellout who hated his own party. felt contempt for the economic left and wanted to be loved by people who were never going to vote for him whatever the circumstances.

          It was one thing to have those attitudes pre-2007, even if they were misplaced and cowardly. Continuing and deepening that political and economic strategy when everyone can see that it’s failed is the grossest idiocy and betrayal of his supporters and country.

          1. Synopticist

            But having said that, I’m still relieved Romney didn’t win, and McCain would have started WW3. Some F*ckin sh*t choices there.

              1. optimader

                If there is any justice in this world, and it’s a rarity, FIRE will drop BHO at the bus station and he is relegated to some bllsht job at U of C with his frmr campaign manager.

      3. neo-realist

        Obama talked a good lefty game in the 2008 election campaign, then upon election, he turned around and continued the economic and intrusive surveillance policies of his predecessor. The guy who said he was going to pull our troops out of Afghanistan wants to keep them there till the mid 2020’s. A con that you can believe in.

        1. diptherio

          Shall I repeat my joke from 2009? Yes, yes I shall…

          Everybody was all excited that we elected a black community organizer President. But that was only half the truth. Sure, his dad was black, but his mom is white: so he’s actually half white. And while he was a community organizer, he is also a lawyer. So what happened? Everybody voted for the black-community-organizer, but we ended up electing another f#@$ing white lawyer!

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          Did he really talk a good game? Lets be honest, one there wasn’t much oxygen with Hillary out there. Two, what issue did Obama lead on? His campaign promises amounted to copying Hillary after Hillary was forced into making a position by criticism from Kucinich and Edwards.

          This was a long process.

          When I look at his speeches, I don’t see the great orator. I see a television President people fell for. Yes, he has a pleasant speaking voice and is well put together, but his actual views were just trite.

          Go back and look at his vaunted race speech and his 2004 DNC speech. Even his 2004 DNC speech was an attack on Edwards’ Two America’s imagery. “We aren’t the red states and the blue states. We are the United States.” He didn’t bring up the widespread disparities in this country in that speech. Obama wasn’t a lefty. You just wanted him to be one.

          1. Jeff W

            Obama wasn’t a lefty. You just wanted him to be one.

            Please repeat that as often as needed.
            Every time I hear someone say “Oh, I’m so disappointed in President Obama!” or “We were conned!” or anything else that indicates that somehow Obama gave the impression that he was “liberal” or “progressive” during the 2008 campaign, I want to scream. To be sure, Obama did lie or mislead about a great many things but his essential conservatism/neoliberalism was patently clear. (Again, for the umpteenth time, Adolph Reed Jr. had nailed Obama’s stance as “vacuous-to-repressive neoliberal politics” as far back in 1996—and, apparently, not much had changed by 2008.)

            1. Synopticist

              Yes, he was the most right wing Dem candidate, people just ignored that because of his colour and quality speechifying. Too much of the US “left” was 100% fixated on the Iraq war at the time to really put him under any inspection.

          2. Jerome Armstrong

            Obama won the nomination because he got Republicans and Independent conservatives to caucus for him in Iowa. That should have told anyone paying attention something.

    1. XO

      Bush was like Lenny from ‘Of Mice and Men.”

      Obama cannot fall back on mental retardation as an excuse. Obama knows that what he’s doing is wrong.

      1. Jagger

        I still suspect Bush is suffering from some sort of early dementia. I saw a speech he gave maybe 10 years before becoming president compared to speech after he was president. The regressive difference in speech was pronounced. Doesn’t mean he was ever a good guy but like Reagan, I would not be surprised if he has some progressive mental deterioration going on.

          1. Synopticist

            I can’t disagree more strongly. Bush was, and remains, smart as a whip.

            That’s the secret of his success, his opponents always thought he was stupid, and they could beat him easy, without really trying, without deep thinking. So they didn’t try hard, and lost. If he’d come over as a little cleverer, his enemies would have respected him more, and figured out how to take him down, but they didn’t bother.

            That’s the pattern from his first victory as Texas governor right up to fighting Al qaeda in Iraq. Gore thought he could win just by sneering at him. The dems in 2004 figured all they needed was a mannequin with some Vietnam combat experience.

            He was blessed with inadequate opponents, but his faux-stupidity encouraged that inadequacy.

            1. optimader

              “That’s the secret of his success, his opponents always thought he was stupid”…. does not equal “smart as a whip.”
              An dullard man-child of privilege. His advancement in politics says as much about the electorate as anything.

              1. Mildred Montana

                Bush’s speeches suggest he was at the moron level of intelligence (IQ 50-69). Clearly he was not an idiot (IQ below 20) nor an imbecile (IQ 20-49). The Republicans would never have tolerated that.

                Yet he did not quite rise to the level of borderline deficient (IQ 70-80). His speeches were too moronic, and he had an incurable habit of accidentally telling the truth.

                Forthwith, some evidence of his mental incapacity, a few famous Bushisms:

                We need an energy bill that encourages consumption.
                Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.
                I don’t care what the polls say. I don’t. I’m doing what I think what’s wrong.

                PATIENT EVALUATION
                George Walker Bush
                Diagnosis: Moron
                Prognosis: Hopeless
                Management: Such patients should be kept out of positions of power as they can easily (and almost inevitably) become the tools of malicious individuals.

  5. Anon

    Colin Powell straight up comes out and says he sees the elephant in the room:
    “I am not an expert in health care, or Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act, or however you choose to describe it, but I do know this: I have benefited from that kind of universal health care in my 55 years of public life. And I don’t see why we can’t do what Europe is doing, what Canada is doing, what Korea is doing, what all these other places are doing.”

  6. rich

    Cartel Power: Megabanks Gain Ground Despite Fines

    The bank’s leadership is coming under increasing pressure, as witnessed by Schäuble’s finger-wagging toward Fitschen and the insistent digging of the regulatory watchdogs.

    ‘Make Executives More Accountable’

    And undisguised criticism has also now emerged from the circle of Anglo-Saxon investors: “We’d like to see boards make executives accountable for total risk control and not just financial performance,” Colin McLean, founder and CEO of SVM Asset Management Ltd. in Edinburgh, told the Bloomberg news agency.

    Anat Admati, a professor of finance and economics at Stanford University, also sees this as the key problem in the battle against fraud on major financial markets. “In these settlements,” she says, referring to the penalties that are currently being imposed on the industry, “the people who were responsible are rarely affected.” This hardly increases the incentives to improve risk management.

      1. Emma

        Hey! What about some suggestions for funny photo captions from NCers?

        Below is a start (not very naughty though….!)

        – Better than NSA revelations……

        – Every dog should own a cat……

        – Undergoing a pawsical examination……

        – With the Agility in Finance class, your Pup learns to spot loopholes for no strings attached……

        – In a dogs world, it’s ‘Tickle down’!

        – GDP (Girl Delight Product) unravelling with interest……

    1. Jagger

      What I would have given for that dog 20 years ago when I use to spend Sundays on Dog beach in San Diego. :)

      I guess the trick is to train them young.

      1. anon y'mouse

        stick a mouse on the end, like a tassel. voila!

        but be prepared to have bikini top instantly turn into a dysfunctional kind of bib, ’cause that string will be GONE.

  7. Expat

    Thanks, NC, for keeping the TPP and the Obama administration’s attempt to fast-track this outrageously undemocratic “trade” agreement up front.

    For a clue as to what our politicians are seeking behind closed doors one need only consult the ALEC, the notorious American Legislative Exchange Council. In addition to the well known “Stand Your Ground” law, ALEC’s corporate members seek to undermine all laws on monopoly (although the supremely terrible court did most of the damage on its own), environmental protection, consumer rights, and civil liberties as well as stripping public employees (except crony judges and politicians) of every capability and capacity. The corporate wish list of these horrible companies — most of the biggest names on Wall Street & Main Street — heavily invested in by the pension plans of most of their workers — would hogtie and cripple all democratic activities exercised by the citizenry.

    It is impossible to overstate the harm these corporations cause, yet we get weak statements from the likes of the Huffington Post such as “Outside of Washington, the TPP enjoys well-funded backing from a wide swath of corporations seeking cheaper access to markets overseas.” These monstrous entities have had “access” ever since that swine Clinton gifted them the keys to the castle. What they want is total monopoly and privilege, backed by the drones and nuclear weapons America is so willing to employ.

    Why, in a democracy, would you read “The chief U.S. negotiator, whose name was redacted from the document by Wikileaks….”? So we can’t, what, run him or her over in the parking lot? Is Obama afraid of the perhaps justifiable violence that would ensue or merely the shame of it all?

    In the end, Joseph Stiglitz says it best: ”The TPP proposes to freeze into a binding trade agreement many of the worst features of the worst laws in the TPP countries, making needed reforms extremely difficult if not impossible.”

    This is what terrorism is, people. Everything else is resistance.

    1. LucyLulu

      What if a rumor just happened to get started that the TPP is a gun grab. Ya know, the UN Arms Trade was resurrected in back room deals. Ya know, replicating fair and balanced reporting, like “death panels” and “makers and takers”.

      Hmmm…… wondering if that would block it’s passage through Congress……

  8. Jim Haygood

    From ESPN:

    “You cannot walk to the Super Bowl. You can get your hotel to drop you off at one of the New Jersey Transit locations or get the shuttle to take you to a Fan Express location, but you cannot walk.”

    NJ Transit will offer a Super Pass for $50 that will be good for all trains, light rail and bus service it provides.

    Reduced parking capacity is a result of the large security perimeter needed for the Super Bowl. Fans will have to go through security screenings at the train station and again at the stadium.”>


    Public transit likes to present itself as ‘green.’ Yet the greenest option of all — walking — is banned in the grim wasteland of Secaucus N.J., while NJ Transit profiteers with a $50 pass for a $5 bus ride. Welcome to New Jersey … SUCKAHS!

    Clearly ‘going green’ yielded to the higher priority of normalizing fascism by subjecting attendees to multiple security screenings (plus unmentioned tests of the latest facial recognition technology).

    The best revenge is shunning this ugly conjuncture of Big Sport and Big Gov. Kill your TV!

    1. LucyLulu

      “Fans will have to go through security screenings at the train station and again at the stadium.”

      because one security screening, plus the NSA on the job, is not enough to ensure the safety of American citizens attending a sporting event. We, the government, aim to assure citizens are free from acts of random terror. Billions are spent, the few are saved(?), while the masses are lost.

      It’s the American dream.

      1. LucyLulu

        Sorry!!! I forgot my closing italics tag after the first line.

        Also, I love, love, love the new look. Especially how the recent comments appear now on the right of the page. Kudos and a big thanks to all who worked so hard to improve the user-friendliness and overall appearance of NC!

  9. Shutter

    Flexians, shmexians.. who cares? These books and theories about why we’re so fucked up are like self-help books or the latest fad diet. People leap on them and feel like they’ve found the key to the universe.

    The truth is too simple for people. In the absence of quick and severe punishment, humans run amuck. Grade school teachers know this. Put a few hundred thousand of the offenders in gulags and this ‘flexian’ bunk will stop.

  10. AbyNormal

    Good Look Yves…Thank You Krisiin & Gang

    “I like to think of innovation as upgrading your current self. This upgrade helps you to more effectively deal with changes happening around you and to be able to think in a more complex manner than before.”
    Daniel Willey

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      As usual, thank you for your hard work, Yves.

      For a Luddite, this may take some getting used to, but we are actually neo-Luddites. So, we can adapt a little.

      1. anon y'mouse

        looks good. looks better in Firefox, with grey background and dialed in zoom. but those things are just for my aging eyeballs.

        congratulations. and here i was thinking you’d unveil the new site with the New Year!

  11. dearieme

    “The U.S. Air Force Explains its $1 Billion ECSS Bonfire”: the list of failed Air Force software projects made me realise that there must be programmers – perhaps many programmers – who have never worked on a successful project.

  12. dearieme

    “squeeze more juice out of …”: am I the only person wearied by these dim metaphors that the financial world loves so much?

    1. AbyNormal

      it use to be ‘cut the fat’…today i refer to it as ‘suck the marrow’

      “The damn vermin are so numerous that I am afraid to sneeze, for fear the damned lice would regard it as gong for dinner, and eat me up – Robert Cobb Kennedy”
      Tobin T. Buhk, True Crime in the Civil War

  13. ohmyheck

    Wow! The site looks great!
    I hate to complain, but it would be nice if NC reconsider linking to Daily Kos. I know that one can just ignore the link, but you are promoting a site that glorifies calling political cartoonists “racists” and going on witch-hunts and smear campaigns to further it. Here is a fascinating, well-written article on “Liberal Puritans” and what they are doing. Please take note that later in the article, it shows how Daily Kos is the ring-leader, with the usual Obamabot suspects from elsewhere on the internet, jumping on the “Let’s scream that Ted Rall is a racist” meme. It stinks. I mean, you might as well link to RedState.

  14. Shutter

    Flexians, schmexians… who cares? These books and ‘theories’ about why we’re so screwed up are like self-help books or the latest diet craze. People leap on them and feel like they’ve found the Key to the Universe.

    The truth is too simple for people. In the absence of quick and severe punishment, humans run amuck. Grade school teachers know this. Put a few hundred thousand of the offenders into the gulag and this ‘flexion’ bunk will stop.

    1. rich

      Why Chris Arnade Quit His High-Paying Wall Street Job to Photograph Extreme Poverty and Addiction
      So what has he learned by frequenting these two entirely separate worlds?

      “The poor go to jail and the rich make mistakes,” says Arnade. He gives the example of Takeesha, a prostitute and drug addict.

      “I’ve been close with [Takeesha] now for three years,” he says. “She has been in jail off and on about 15 times. The gentleman who I worked with who lost about $1.5 billion never got fired, got paid his $400,000 in salary and now runs a hedge fund somewhere.”

  15. Lois

    I too like the new site, just one complaint. Your old site was very readable in full site mode on an iPhone. I prefer reading the full site including comments. Now, the font is very small on my phone. Oddly the comment box font is great. The article text is tiny!

    1. curlydan

      I like the new look of the site as well, but even on my full size monitor, the font is a little small for me. I’ve zoomed it to 150%, so for people who like what I call the “grandpa font”, hold the CTRL then press the + key to zoom in one or more times if you’re on a Windows machine.

  16. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The West…faith…its future.

    One’s future is an idea, a concept.

    In our present Scientific Age or Rational Age or Smart Age, it’s strange to speak of worshipping another idea, another concept…to have a faith in it.

  17. craazyman

    the line spacing is too wide and there’s way too much white space on the page. It’s hours of scrolling just to get this far. My fingah hurts and I need to buy a wooden plank just to step from line to line or I’ll fall between them into infinity. The typefacy is icier than a haughty fashion model. Is this a north pole glacier expedition or the peanut gallery. wtf? LOL

    1. AbyNormal

      after a few hours i too notice a lot more white space…with the smaller type my eyes are bleeding a bit.
      i’ll try firefox grey screen…NC content is well worth the ‘bits’

      “Life starts from a white hole and ends in a black hole.”
      Santosh Kalwar

          1. diptherio

            Exactamundo. I have the zoom cranked up enough that the text of the articles/comments takes up the entire width of my laptop screen. It’s the only way I can read on my computer all day without my eyeballs popping out of my head…

            And I’m wondering what kind of device craazy is using that scrolling is so difficult for him…I just depress the down arrow and, viola! I imagine craazy is using some kind of homemade contraption that requires him to turn a big wooden crank or something. ;)

            1. craazyman

              Is this a Tibetan Glacier? If yer eye travels at the speed of light from one line of text down to the next line of text it will take 8 hours and 32 minutes. My fingah is soah and my eye hoits. It’s a Microsoft Mouse.

              Try single space! haha

                1. craazyman

                  Now I’m using Opera browser with Windows Vista (I think) on home computer and it looks different.

                  The line spacing (vertical between lines) is more natural looking and there’s no numbers in front of the comments, like there was at the office.

                  Wow. I can see why this would be confusing to sort out with all the technology imaging web pages differently.

                  1. BobW

                    Different technology is hard to reconcile. The place I work part-time has an iPhone app out, and would like to add Android… but what works on one Android crashes on another.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      What browser and OS are you using?

      There’s no extra line spacing. Do you mean spacing between elements?

    3. JTFaraday

      I agree. Too much white space.

      But, I have a really old computer, so I’m basically happy if it works at all. In fact, the pages load much better, which is the main problem. I also like how when you click on a “recent comment,” it goes right to that comment. That’s a big plus.

  18. McMike

    Flexnets = part cancer cell, part virus, part parasite, part distant cousins that move into your guest bedroom.

    Great. The scum off the bottom of several scum pots.

    1. Lambert Strether

      That Flexnet / Flexian concept is nasty, nasty, nasty. The trickster-like shedding and shifting of roles, such that you don’t really know who you’re talking to, is very interesting and rings utterly true as a way to describe the political class.

      I would really like to get a “Spot the Flexian” game going, even though their agility and shape-shifting might make it difficult.

      1. McMike

        It explains and validates a lot of my own observations. Dealing with the maddening shape-shifting, greased-pig opacity, and glib ad-hoc reinvention, sophistry, and rationalization has been the notable feature of the twenty-first century.

        I have leaned towards understanding it as emotional infantilization/arrested development and learned low expectations, but this casts it in an interesting light. It remains hard to tell who is doing it on purpose, and who is just regressed up their own corn-holes.

        What really turned a new light on though was the idea of the changing nature of networks. This idea of internally-loyal fluid alliances that break down boundaries by blurring and bending, and succeed through slippery ubiquity, and persist through constant reinterpretation and re-framing is fabulous. Because it not only describes the methodology of the worst actors, but in a way describes what is becoming the currency of the brave new world.

        It is not the lockstep infiltration of sleeper agents and provocateurs though, it is much more of a constantly evolving virus, who changes its face and arguments continuously, yet never loses site of the original goal of self-justification.

      2. McMike

        PS. “Spot the flexon” strikes me as a parlor game not so well suited to a blog.

        Maybe you could prime the pump by making it a heading on the links feature whenever the opportunity avails itself.

        On the other hand, it is hard to play because it is also ubiquitous, if one intends to cover Wall Street and Washington at least.

      3. hunkerdown

        And they said intentional communities could never work. Apparently they can, with a resource base that’s sufficiently exploitable (that would be us and the institutions we uphold).

        If holding office is considered as much a property right as resource leases, perhaps the absolute right to binding, immediate confidence votes in any officeholder, elected or appointed, might constitute a credible way of preventing them from putting down runners (as mint and strawberries do) and relying on exploiting the resources so made available, and the debate over the matter doesn’t seem to leave much wiggle room to powerfully recast the abuse of privilege that is flexon trait #1 (“le petit Etat, c’est moi”) as an earned prize — but if any sysadmins, gamers or others whose interests involve anticipating duplicity want to help identify attacks against it and refine the message, I’d be glad to hear. The time needed to pay due attention to such conditions could easily enough be drawn from productivity gains over the past four decades, with plenty left over for leisure and other forms of production in other, sorely neglected non-market economies…

      4. JTFaraday

        re: Janine R. Wedel, Shadow Elite

        “If you’re in the academic world, or you’re a legal-type focused investigator, you want everything to fit into neat boxes, and none of this stuff fits into neat boxes. It’s these multiple roles that these people have. None of these people are neat.”

        You say wicked like it’s a bad thing.

    2. Jackrabbit

      Flexon: go-along to get-along writ large.
      = = =
      But I prefer: beggar thy FOAF
      – Its more attuned to the times we live in (facebook/social tech)
      – it shows how these people operate within a social structure
      – it connects with economic history (“beggar thy neighbor”), and
      – it highlights the destructiveness of the behavior because “beggar thy neighbor” ultimately led to war
      – it encapsulates all of the above and is thereby easier to grasp than a new term

  19. JEHR

    Re: Radiation 36,000 times permissible level found in water at Fukushima plant: “TEPCO said radioactive levels in seawater within the harbor around the plant do not show any major change.”

    Would it were true!!!!

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I think what they are saying is that it’s been around 36,000 times for a while now.

      There is no change…much less major change.

  20. b

    – Font in new design is too small! (Font while typing in comment window is even smaller.)
    – Font color is too light. Too little contrast to the background color . Quite difficult to read. We pay extra for high contrast screens. Why then tune down contrast in a webdesign???
    – Are you aware that the orange used will create difficulties for color-blind people? They may see very little of it. In fact it looks like low contrast light brown or very light grey when tested here:;r=;l=0;j=1;;t=m

    In total: Readability now sucks.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Um, we always used orange. We now have a slightly different orange.

      Some people above complained the reverse of what you said, that the contrast is too harsh, as opposed to too subdued. For me, the contrast is sharper than on the old site.

      This seems to be a problem for Internet Explorer users. Start by implementing font smoothing. That should increase readability. It’s a font rendering problem in IE, in all likelihood. Or you could try Firefox.

      1. bob

        Wow, also noticing that the comment type is very small, smaller than the comments above
        I had the same problem, font too small/crowded. I use FF so IE font smoothing doesn’t help.
        The only thing that makes the page more comfortable to read is ctrl +, zooming in one notch. Maybe it’s just my eyes.

        1. bob

          Using FF 25.0.1 as a browser

          So, I went into win 7-

          System properties

          Seleted “smooth edges of screen fonts”

          Not sure why NC was the only page I noticed this problem on, but that did solve it.

    2. LucyLulu

      The display colors of clicked and unclicked links can be specified by the user by going into one’s browser’s advanced options. In Firefox, choose ‘options’ from the main menu, then ‘advanced’, then ‘content’. You’ll have to uncheck the box that says to allow the webpage to specify the colors used.

      If one is colorblind, there are other workarounds that can help too.

  21. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Journals like Nature and Cell are damaging science.

    On the other hand, science is damaging Nature and many, many cells.

    Here is my fearless commentary on science:

    Science + fallible humans = one disaster after another

    Science + infallible being(s) = divine!

    So, in truth, science and spirituality belong together. In fact, only when they are together do we not get any disasters after all.

    That is to say, science should be practiced by the gods.

    For us humans to dabble in it, it’s like kids playing with fire.

  22. rich

    Mysterious company buys tax liens ‘like a machine,’ uses hardball tactics on homeowners
    WASHINGTON — The firm that threatened to foreclose on hundreds of struggling D.C. homeowners is a mystery: It lists no owners, no local office, no website.
    Aeon Financial is incorporated in Delaware, operates from mail-drop boxes in Chicago and is represented by a law firm with an address at a 7,200-square-foot estate on a mountainside near Vail, Colo.

    Yet no other tax-lien purchaser in the District of Columbia has been more aggressive in recent years, buying the liens placed on properties when owners fell behind on their taxes, then charging families thousands in fees to save their homes from foreclosure.

    Aeon has been accused by the city’s attorney general of predatory and unlawful practices and has been harshly criticized by local judges for overbilling. All along, the firm has remained shrouded in corporate secrecy as it pushed to foreclose on more than 700 houses in every ward of the District.

    “Who the heck is Aeon?” said David Chung, a local lawyer who said he wasn’t notified that he owed $575 in back taxes on his Northwest Washington condominium until he received a notice from Aeon. “They said, ‘We bought the right to take over your property. If you want it back — pay us.’”

    Aeon’s story underscores how an obscure tax-lien company — backed by large banks and savvy lawyers — can move from city to city with little government scrutiny, taking in millions from distressed homeowners.

    The Post spent three months examining Aeon’s corporate history, traveling to Chicago, Cleveland and three counties in Maryland and reviewing hundreds of business and land records, to find out who is behind the company that has affected thousands of homeowners across the country.

    The trail begins and ends with a 52-year-old Chicago lawyer named Mark Alan Schwartz.

    Aeon jumped into the District’s tax-lien market in 2005 as bank financing was transforming an industry once led by mom-and-pop investors.
    With Schwartz as the firm’s attorney, Aeon started small, buying 89 tax liens worth $65,000 at the District’s public auction.
    Four years later, the company was among the top purchasers in the city, buying liens worth more than $1 million and dominating the tax auctions with the financial support of two national banks.

    1. curlydan

      that article was a downer although instructive. private equity and children’s education–what could go wrong? looks like I’ll be watching a couple more episodes of my new Simpsons Season 4 DVD tonight to cheer myself up, happy X-mas to me!

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I didn’t like them, since very few readers used them, and had the designer get rid of them.

  23. Lambert Strether

    Sorry for a recent site kerfuffle — a resource-sucking plugin was at fault (and unfortunately the one that made the comments prettier). So that is disabled, the database has been restarted, and the site is still being monitored. Crossed fingers.

      1. bob

        I have a problem with that guy. This, to begin with-

        Missing context? Yeah, just a little.

        “Sirota compared the penalty to a speeding ticket for an average Joe, arguing it was grossly inadequate, which is, of course, a matter of opinion rather than fact.
        The $13 billion is “only a mere 2 percent of the $652 billion JP Morgan Chase raked in since it started committing the alleged crimes in question,” Sirota wrote in his sometimes hyperventilated style.

        That’s the wrong measure. Net pre-tax income is what I would use, and that comes to $154 billion for the years Sirota wrote about, 2005 through 2012. That makes the penalty 8.4 percent of pre-tax profits since 2005 or one dollar in 12. That does seem more than a speeding ticket, but arguably not enough to deter misconduct in the future.”

        You mean, after the looting? Hyperventilated? Another “elite” managing the level of the moat.

  24. psychohistorian

    I am having trouble reading the new site. I think it is the lack of contrast….maybe a bit off white background as others have suggested.

    And yes, there is more white space, requiring more scrolling and the font sizes are a bit small but overall a good effort.

    Yves/Susan, the check is in the mail………YEEEEEHAW!!!!

  25. skippy

    Was playing with some others in an economics sand pit somewhere else, need to adjust the timing and head set of a few and found an olde in my drives. One day their going to permanently break the Bernays reality cortex injector and humans will forget who they ever were.

    Are We All Friedmanites Now?
    The Fed is using Milton Friedman’s theories to justify gigantic interventions in the world market.

    Penn Bullock | October 28, 2010

    Although you should refresh your memory a bit – It is Friedman, not Marx or even Keynes, who has had the deciding influence on the world economy of the past and present century. Don’t take my word for it. Read this 2006 New York Times obituary of Friedman, entitled “The Great Liberator,” in which Lawrence Summers, chief economic advisor to President Obama, wrote: Not so long ago, we were all Keynesians. (“I am a Keynesian,” Richard Nixon famously said in 1971.) Equally, any honest Democrat will admit that we are now all Friedmanites. Mr. Friedman, who died last week at 94, never held elected office but he has had more influence on economic policy as it is practiced around the world today than any other modern figure.…/2010/10/28/are-we-all-friedmanites-now

    skippy… seems heaps of folks on the Hill and in thinktankistan forgot about the RF factor of the cortex injector devise… industrial exposure… maybe they can get coverage with ACA… or a class action against their own personal Jesus… nawww… just endless devolution methinks…

    1. psychohistorian

      These idiots look in the rear view mirror and think they are moving forward.

      Friedman was a spokesperson for the global plutocrats as a myth maker. The play book he devised for the plutocrats has increased their wealth and control and decreased common understanding of the social implications of ongoing inheritance and cumulating private ownership of property. Friedman had influence on policy because he was paid to and his message was carried forward by the bought media….that is how the world works.

  26. Reader

    Love the new site and especially the new tagline. Good work everyone!

    My only complaint is that with Safari 5.1.10 running on OS X 10.6.8, the ad bar completely visually dominates and overshadows the site name and tagline. Don’t know if this is specific to my somewhat outdated system but just thought I’d mention it as there are a lot of people still using it.

  27. bob

    Page view problems-

    A lot of people who are using older win machines have set their machines, under “system proterties” for “best performance”. It’s a good way to speed up older win machines. But, it turns off “smooth edges of screen fonts”

    On win xp-

    Right click on my computer, select properties.

    Click the advanced tab at the top
    Click the settings button in the “performance” box.
    Reselect “smooth edges of screen fonts”

    With Win 7 it’s the same drill. Find “computer” and right click on it. Use the same as above.

  28. Jerome Armstrong

    The one thing I do think is off is the 200 pixel space between the edge of the comments and the right column inside the post. That’s a waste and really only needs to be about 20. I’m on chrome.

    But if I were to make one bigger suggestion it would be to get rid of the Topics links in the sidebar inside the post page (no one uses it there– only on the home page) and have the comments full width of the page (post content would remain 2 columns).

Comments are closed.