Links 12/5/13


Airplane Emergency Landing Cards Can’t Compare to This French Nuclear Blast Guidebook Atlantic (Deontos)

So, men and women’s brains are wired differently – but it’s not that simple Guardian

The Replication Myth: Shedding Light on One of Science’s Dirty Little Secrets Scientific American (Robert M). So science isn’t scientific?

Hardware Hacker Demos Zombie Drone Hijacker Information Week

The 2014 Shrimp Season In The Gulf Of Maine Has Been Canceled ThinkProgress (Lambert)

Sustaining Resilience at Sea New York Times (furzy mouse). Too little, way too late.

Frack-Water Recycling, an Emerging Market OilPrice

Biden’s Trip to Beijing Leaves China Air-Zone Rift Open Wall Street Journal. Not a surprising outcome.

NACC finds irregularities in Chinese rice deals Thai PBS English (furzy mouse)

Thailand’s stark choice AsiaPacific

Europe repeating all the errors of Japan as deflation draws closer Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

Putin Battles Europe for Former Soviet States Amid Kiev Protests Bloomberg

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Berners-Lee calls for ‘ordinary people’ to protect web Financial Times

Internet Firms Are Stepping Up Efforts to Stop Spying New York Times

82 Years Before Edward Snowden, There Was Herbert O. Yardley Atlantic (Deontos)

MPs ask MI5 boss to justify claim that NSA leaks endangered national security Guardian

A Press as Deadly as the State Arthur Silber (Ned Ludd)

Cyber war tech exports to be regulated like arms Financial Times

NSA collects 5 billion records a day on cellphones Washington Post

Elizabeth Warren’s not running for president. That shouldn’t surprise anyone. Washington Post

ALEC calls for penalties on ‘freerider’ homeowners Guardian

DHS stalls no-fly list trial by putting witness on no-fly list BoingBoing (Marianne J). Haha, Malaysia Air is state owned, and Malaysia has a history of not being pushed around by the US (it is one of the noisiest parties opposing important sections of the TPP, for instance). So this was actually Malaysia giving the US the finger in a small way.

Delta Tosses Passengers From Flight To Make Room For The Florida Gators Basketball Team Jonathan Turley (Chuck L)

The Obama Administration Took The Platinum Coin Option More Seriously Than It Let On Huffington Post

Greenspan Says Bitcoin a Bubble Without Intrinsic Currency Value Bloomberg

It’s not just fast-food workers who are underpaid Helaine Olen, Reuters

Father, 41, behind billion dollar Doritos Locos Tacos dies of brain cancer – never having made a CENT from idea and after corporation donated just $1,000 towards his medical bills Daily Mail (Chuck L)

Friday’s Jobs Report Will Show That The U.S. Lost Jobs In November For First Time In Over 3 Years LinkUp Blog. Looks persuasive, but awfully hard to square with ADP, see next link.

US job market up despite shutdown Guardian

Obama: US must fix ‘unequal economy’ BBC. Getting in front of a mob and trying to call it a parade.

This 1 Quote Explains America’s Biggest Problem Perfectly Huffington Post. Um, but the source is part of the problem yet pretends the outcome is the result of mysterious forces. Help me.

Home Buyers Are Scarce, So Renters Take Their Place New York Times

The cost savings of food stamps cuts versus the cost increases of diabetes care Cathy O’Neil

Is QE deflationary or not? FT Alphaville

Whistle-blower tries to shed light on private-equity transaction fees Crain. Holy shit, this is major. See also: Private equity has a whistleblower problem CNN.

How Academia Resembles a Drug Gang Alexandre Afonso (Lambert)

At the Closing of an Age Archdruid (diptherio)

Antidote du jour (furzy mouse):


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  1. bulfinch

    Spending your youth cooped up in classrooms while professional students attempt to enrich you in the ways of the world with what amounts to an abridged version of the education that life itself provides is one thing; reaching up your back pockets and pulling out your spleen for the pleasure is another.

    I can think of a few degrees that one should be able to get honorarily just by providing two or three years worth of notarized copies of library receipts, record store receipts and maybe a thesis or two chucked in for extra measure.

    1. Benjamin

      No, a fool learns from experience. A wise man learns from the experience of others. – Otto von Bismarck

      You can find many variations on the sentiment from a variety of sources. Experience is overrated, and often trumpted by ignorant people who wish to regale you with their ‘man-in-a-pub’ wisdom that usually bears little resemblance to actual reality. There will be times when to fully comprehend something you have to see it for yourself, and getting first-hand experience to enhance your knowledge is never a bad thing, but there is nothing fundementally wrong with book and classroom learning. And certain things like critical thinking seem virtually impossible to instill through experience alone. You’d think people would learn to be more critical after getting repeatedly screwed over, but that doesn’t seem to happen very often…

      1. George Hier

        It depends on who is writing the book. If it’s from someone who learned lessons the hard way, then yes, I will take that advice gladly.

        On the other hand, if it is just some ivory tower type who is regurgitating the same ideas they memorized from even older books, then what’s the point? Is it even relevant to the real world? Or has it been distorted beyond meaning? [Obligatory Economics joke goes here]

      2. F. Beard

        No, a fool learns from experience. Bismark

        Not in my case and the Bible seems to agree:

        Though you pound a fool in a mortar with a pestle along with crushed grain, yet his foolishness will not depart from him. Proverbs 27:22

        Otoh, nearly daily reading of Scripture has worked wonders. Proverbs has a LOT to say about fools so if one has grown weary of being one, he should start there, I’d suggest.

          1. F. Beard

            Me too, well, since 2008 or so. I consider it no less Scripture than any other book in the Bible. If some people can’t reconcile it with the rest of the Bible they should keep reading till they can.

      3. tongorad

        “Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other.”
        -Benjamin Franklin

        Not sure I agree with that. So much of our current culture is based on second-hand, manufactured, carefully manicured experience.

        My most memorable and lasting learning experiences in school involved working on tangible, hands-on projects, such as putting together the school newspaper, working on school plays, etc. Not to mention field trips.

        1. Antifa

          Human brains evolved to survive in a social group, to hunt and gather in a dangerous environment where violent death might lurk behind every bush and tree, and to look at ourselves quite a lot. We find ourselves and other humans fascinating. That’s why we’re storytellers and scientists. We need to know what’s really going on.

          Once we took to farming, living in villages, towns and cities it became necessary to create imaginary worlds of rules, habits, customs, culture, myth and religion in order to get along in those conditions. These pretend rules and regulations hold us back, and they support us where we are. We call it civilization.

          We all live in imaginary structures and within imaginary strictures today. It’s all very complicated, but an asteroid or Yellowstone erupting could erase civilization in seconds. We’d again be the hunter-gatherers that we still are in seconds.

          Master Blankfein states one obvious problem with our current civilization. But don’t overlook what is obvious about him and his kind — they are full time hunter-gatherers, setting traps, cutting throats, stabbing successful nations in the back for their property, fighting tooth and nail, no holds barred, to get more paper assets. They are above law and civilization, hunting every one of us, with no concern for our existence at all. Just our money. They are a pack of wolves.

          If we asked Lloyd to elaborate on his statement and proffer solutions to inequality, he would say that we should all strive to be more like wolves than sheep. More like him and his social peers. His tribe is doing fine. We should emulate his tribe, and we would be fine as well.

          The thing is, Lloyd, all your wealth is paper, is imagined. It is fed to your too-big-to-fail bank on a daily basis by the Federal Reserve.

          Without that IV drip from the Fed, Goldman Sachs will promptly die, or be reduced to a whining coyote scavenging for scraps.

          So the only thing obvious about his statement is, “Why are we keeping a pack of wolves alive?”

          1. susan the other

            Blankfein will never admit that they are good at creating “wealth” because they are allowed by law to simply extract it. Their business model explicitly prevents sharing any of their gains, and distribution would do just that. Blankfein is a dreadful liar. The most recent ruthless investment vehicles they have designed (GS, JPM) recruit sophisticated (rich) investors to pool their money and go to Africa where they guarantee an 8% return. 8% extracted out of the poorest of the poor. And distributed to the richest of the rich.

      4. bulfinch

        “Experience is overrated”


        Of course, I know you’re kidding. Still, I couldn’t read beyond that.

        Experience is the taproot of empericism, not to mention creativity. By experience, I’m not referring to passport fetishizing or thrill seeking, either. Your theories on a given subject are simply not as valuable to me as someone who has clocked some mileage applying themselves in the same subject.

          1. bulfinch

            I was allowing you the benefit of the doubt because it’s an impossible notion. Not even the most tweedy nosepicker in the ivory-est of towers would suggest that experience is overrated.

            “I prefer reading about/studying the dining experiences of others over actually partaking of any victuals myself. I also find it more edifying.”

            1. Benjamin

              I’m saying it’s overrated, I’m not saying it’s worthless. It’s much simplier and more effective to read the distilled knowledge that others have acquired over a lifetime and written down than to expect everyone to go out into the world and learn about everything first hand. In fact doing that is literally impossible, there isn’t enough time to do that. Especially if you want to actually discover and do new things that haven’t been done before.

  2. Benjamin

    Talk about the supposed inherent differences between the sexes always pisses me off. Sexual dimorphism exists in most species so I’m not saying there are no built-in differences, certainly if nothing else men and women have different levels of different hormones floating around in their heads. But the differences between individuals are much greater than between the sexes. Whenever I see some article about ‘How Chicks Think’ or some such I always get annoyed. Neither gender is a hivemind, with either one you’re talking about circa 3.5 billion individuals.

    I read once that humans can only maintain 50 or so distinct personalities in their memory. That’s probably nonsense, but maybe there is some truth to it. Maybe we stereotype and generalize because it’s simply easier that way than the reality of an endless stream of unique individuals, each one a different puzzle to be dealt with. It also dove-tails with prejudice; if you think about all of those brown/black/spanish speaking/asian/etc people as being essentially the same (and obviously demonstrably ‘other’) it makes it easier to hate or simply disregard them.

    Humans also seem to just be bad at communicating with each other period. Relationships often tend to be messy, usually for really stupid reasons, like the participants never sitting down and just discussing things from time to time. But we ignore this often being the case with any relationship regardless of the genders of the people involved and instead focus on the supposed insurmountable alieness of the other gender if it’s a man-woman relationship: “It’s okay, not my fault. Or even his/hers. We’re simply too different and can never truly be in sync”. Incidentally, no one has ever explained to me how such an arrangement is supposed to be benificial to a species. How is an animal whose two principle halves are incapable of true mutual understanding and have diametrically opposed agendas supposed to survive and evolve?

    Also notice how the supposed inherent differences between the sexes usually line up with the gender-roles of the culture in which the study was conducted. And never with any explanation of how if these differences are natural they don’t appear universally in all cultures.

    1. F. Beard

      It occurs to me that God has both male and female personality traits since if Adam was made in God’s image, so was Eve since she was made from Adam and in the process Adam lost a part of himself – his female personality traits? That would explain the male attraction toward women; he wants those traits back or at least enjoys being near them. Why women are attracted to men maybe that the personality traits transferred to Eve are the more nurturing ones.

      Anyway, most enjoy the sex they were born with and if they don’t, I’d bet that single parent households are the reason.

      1. AbyNormal

        “The ultimate sexist put-down: the pr!ck which lies down on the job. The ultimate weapon in the war between the sexes: the limp pr!ck. The banner of the enemy’s encampment: the pr!ck at half-mast. The symbol of the apocalypse: the atomic warhead pr!ck which self-destructs. That was the basic inequity which could never be righted: not that the male had a wonderful added attraction called a pen!s, but that the female had a wonderful all-weather cu*t. Neither storm nor sleet nor dark of night could faze it. It was always there, always ready. Quite terrifying, when you think about it. No wonder men hated women. No wonder they invented the myth of female inadequacy.”
        Erica Jong, Fear of Flying

        Top O the day to ya Beardo

        1. F. Beard

          Limpness has never been my problem (except that one time but she turned out to be nuts) but fear of being stuck with someone I did not really love* greatly reduced my desire to take risks. But then again, I’ve never hated women** except my sisters and not really.

          So no, I don’t hate women, I love them for the possibility of doing with them what I’d kill another man for should he attempt it with me.

          Top-o-day back at you!

          *So now I go after only the “best”, ones I would love to spend my life with, except I don’t because of a commitment I may have made 6 years ago that I may have to (happily!) honor in a year or two.

          ** Except ones I thought I was doing a favor (LOL!) but they’d have none of me! I’ve since forgiven them for my errors. :)

      2. Optimader

        who did Adam and Eve’s sons mate with?
        Must have been awkward at holiday get togethers.

        “Mom, can i speak to you privately in the other room please– uh guys, we’ll be back in a minute, i need to show mom something thats come up” (cue banjo music)

        1. F. Beard

          With their sisters.

          Incest is only dangerous AFTER a significant amount of genetic damage has occured. Abraham, for example, married his half-sister, Sarah.

          Better trolls, please.

          PS: The Bible is loaded with snares and pitfalls to trap smart-asses like yourself, you should worry?

          1. optimader


            You invariably cough up a Biblical reference, I would be interested in this one: “With their sisters.” or is this your speculation?

            “PS: The Bible is loaded with snares and pitfalls to trap smart-asses like yourself, you should worry?”
            Settle down cowboy, color me incredulous that anyone still goes to a literal interpretation of the Bible.

            On the subject of Genetics..
            So if Eve was grown from a male’s (Adam) rib, what happened to the “Y” chromosome?

            For that matter, in the case of Jesus and Virgin birth, where did the “y” chromosome come from?

            Where did Noah store the Whales????

            “Incest is only dangerous AFTER a significant amount of genetic damage has occured.”
            This twist on incest is really something I have NEVER imagined. How many generations between Adam and Eve and Abraham? When did the “genetic damage” first start becoming relevant?

            So from a fundamentalist perspective, if siblings were genetically tested and got a clean bill of health, should they be good to go, in a carnal way, Biblically speaking? How about an adopted sibling? Should be free game right?

            1. F. Beard

              “With their sisters.” or is this your speculation? optimader

              It’s reasonable speculation given that the Bible usually lists only the males in genealogies, something a serious reader would have noticed.

              Settle down cowboy, color me incredulous that anyone still goes to a literal interpretation of the Bible. optimader

              Why not? For example, the Sun does go around the Earth if your reference coordinates are Earth centered. Sun centered makes the math far easier is all.

              On the subject of Genetics..
              So if Eve was grown from a male’s (Adam) rib, what happened to the “Y” chromosome?

              Culled out, I imagine.

              For that matter, in the case of Jesus and Virgin birth, where did the “y” chromosome come from? optimader

              Created from nothing if necessary.

              Where did Noah store the Whales???? opti

              1) You’re assuming a universal flood but covering the whole Earth wasn’t necessary since man was still localized much as we’re a sitting duck for, say, an asteroid impact.
              2) Whales can swim.

              This twist on incest is really something I have NEVER imagined. How many generations between Adam and Eve and Abraham?

              Who knows? The Hebrew genealogies perhaps only included notables.

              So from a fundamentalist perspective, if siblings were genetically tested and got a clean bill of health, should they be good to go, in a carnal way, Biblically speaking? How about an adopted sibling? Should be free game right? opti

              Now I’m starting to not like you so why should I care whether you believe or not? But for others the answers to commonly held questions about the Bible can be found at

              None the less, if the Lord decides to be merciful to you, He can do so but as for me you’ll get little but assertion since I’ve decided the Bible is my spiritual guide. I’ve not fully reconciled all of it but enough that I’m sure the remaining answers will come with time; I’ve only been reading it about a chapter a day for 6 years or so.

              1. skippy

                150 ka between the so called Adam and Eve, hence they never procreated.

                skippy… Fixation see – More generally, it is the state in which an individual becomes obsessed with an attachment to another person, being or object (in human psychology): ‘A strong attachment to a person or thing, especially such an attachment formed in childhood or infancy and manifested in immature or neurotic behavior that persists throughout life.

          2. Skippy

            The most famous site at Atapuerca, Sima de los Huesos — “The Pit of Bones” — is precisely that. Located at the bottom of a 43-foot chimney in the winding cave system of Cueva Mayor, it contains approximately 5,500 ancient human bones dated at over 350,000 years old! Now, drawing upon this piled wealth of history, Matthias Meyer, a lead researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, and a team of colleagues have recovered and analyzed the earliest known human DNA.

            DNA, as you may very well know, is the molecular instruction manual for how to build life, and the DNA at Sima de los Huesos is thought to belong to Homo heidelbergensis, a group of extinct humans roughly comparable in height and looks to Neanderthals. Drilling into a femur present at the site, the team collected about two grams worth of bone, then isolated DNA using a recently discovered method that employs silica to make the process more efficient. The team focused on the DNA contained within mitochondria — the powerhouses of cells — which holds vastly fewer genes than does nuclear DNA, which is contained within cells’ nuclei. Because mitochondrial DNA is passed down exclusively from mothers, there are usually no changes from parent to offspring. This makes it a powerful tool for tracking ancestry, which is precisely what the researchers used it for.

            After sequencing 98% of the mitochondrial DNA genome, Meyer and his colleagues estimated the specimen’s age using the length of the DNA branch as a proxy. The femur clocked in at around 400,000 years old, placing its former owner in the Middle Pleistocene and making the DNA by far and away oldest human DNA ever collected. The previous record belonged to 100,000-year-old Neanderthal DNA.

            The team then attempted to determine the specimen’s position in the ancient human family tree and were surprised to find that the owner did not share a common ancestor with Neanderthals, but instead with Denisovans, a mysterious subspecies of human discovered in 2008 that last shared an ancestor with Neanderthals and Homo sapiens about one million years ago. Indeed, the more scientists discover about our prehistoric ancestors, the further they seem to fall down Alice’s Rabbit Hole. Things just get curiouser and curiouser.


            skippy… some how this song al la fatboy applies –

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Apparently, Neanderthals were organized and neat…according to an article I read yesterday.

              I imagine this explain why some of us are neater than others…the neatness gene and the messiness gene…the Felix Ungers and the Oscar Madisons of the world.

            2. Synopticist

              There’s some really fascinating stuff coming out about early hominids and the like these days, and that will only accelerate ‘cos they’ve got a brand new technique for isolating DNA now.

              Here’s a blog I look at occasionally that covers this stuff in depth. Most of it goes WAY over my head, but they give a good precis of papers and new discoveries, and you can get a fair idea of what it means by reading the comments.


              There are some genuine “what the f*ck” results coming out. It may well be that neolithic European farmers were a totally different “race” from their contempory hunter-gatherers for example. Swedish, Austrian and Spanish farmers DNA samples are closelly related, and so are Spanish and Swedish hunter-gatherers, but theres very little mixture between different cultures in the same place.
              No-one predicted that. As it stands there are too few samples to say for sure, so we’ll have to wait and see.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                Hunter-gatherers were not horse-riding nomads or shepherds.

                I think the latter might have 1) descended from the former, or 2) civilization-escaping farmers (I speculated on this before).

                It was only natural, I believe, that hunter-gatherers and farmers didn’t interbreed much. They didn’t hang around the same areas much….unless you consider escaping farmers or nomads settled down and blended into their conquered khanates.

                1. Synopticist

                  Your confusing your time periods there, dude. Horse riding nomads were much later than early farmers or hunter gatherers. No-one was riding horses (as opposed to hitching them to chariots) til around 750BC, well into the iron age. This is neolithic Europe, so from maybe 5,000bc to 2,500bc.

                  It’s generally been assumed by anthropologists that farming spread gradually over Europe by a process comparable to osmosis, as people adopted the superior tech which allowed them to have more surviving offspring. In history books you get phrases like “Farming spread slowly over the continent at the rate of about 2 miles a year, from the south east to north west”. The assummption that “pots aren’t people”, meaning that changes in the archeological record don’t imply massive migration, has always been an absolute in British academia. That may be totally wrong.

                  1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                    Yes, escaping farmers around 750BC…they became horse-riding nomads. Like cars in the 50’s – horses meant freedom.

                    Earlier escaping farmers, they probably became shepherds. I am not sure if many became hunter-gatherers.

                    And escape they tried…by about 2000 – 3000 BC, you had slavery everywhere…almost everywhere.

    2. Glen


      If the topic is of interest to you I suggest that you pubmed search the work of Dr. Helen E. Scharfman.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Benjamin, this has always helped me, and so, I hope it will work the same magic with you:

      Men and Women may have different brains,
      But they have the same heart.

    4. susan the other

      This his and hers stuff always reminds me of Julian Jaynes, “The Breakdown of the Bicameral Brain and the Origins of Consciousness.” I know that’s an old one, but so am I. Jaynes implied that the more complex and evolved human brains had a larger corpus callosum, connecting both halves of the brain. That would seem to be the female brain. But men have larger brains, usually, and usually due to their generally larger size. Anyway, all the men I know are very intuitive. Which probably makes up for their separate but linear halves. And I also know lots of women who are unbelievably linear in their logic but they’re never sure how they got there. An interesting experiment would be for neuroscience to study the brains of critters, say other large mammals. See if this right and left difference is across all species. That might be interesting because we could then speculate about the survival advantages of this universal design.

    1. Carl

      Looks like the “story” is that the photographer happened across a homeless feller who uses a sleeping bag to keep his dog warm. The outfit reads to me as freighthiopping crustie traveller, and he’s obviously more resourceful than your standard Oogle.

      1. bob


        That was my read too. Although, the dog? Maybe he’s a jumper?

        Great picture, keeps me wondering.

  3. MikeNY

    BHO says:

    “It may be true that in today’s economy, growth alone does not guarantee higher wages and incomes,” he said. “But what’s also true is we can’t tackle inequality if the economic pie is shrinking or stagnant.”

    The growth talisman encorcells again. Why can’t we tackle inequality without growth? Why can’t we admit the obvious truth that it is unacceptable and immoral for one person to have $20 billion in wealth, while millions have near nothing?

    Camel, eye of needle.

    1. Klassy!

      Nice little speech. Conveniently ignores that fact that it is almost 2014– 5 years into his presidency. Has he not had enough time to “strengthen collective bargaining agreements”? Whatever happened to the employee free choice act? Might some government job creation strengthen workers hands? I do remember him bragging more than once about cutting government payrolls.
      I’ve had my fill of discussions about helping children to escape poverty. How about tackling poverty itself?

      Did Pope Francis shame him into making this speech?

    2. F. Beard

      Agree! Plus inequality itself is very likely to hamper growth. How many great minds or talents are NOT being nurtured because of lack of resources in their families?

      1. MikeNY

        ITA, F. Beard. The human cost is incalculable.

        Anytime I hear someone invoking the growth talisman to solve all our problems, all I can hear is “Vive La Plutocracie!!”

        1. F. Beard

          Growth is necessary so compound interest can be paid therefor the rat race needs ever increasing:

          1) Numbers of rats
          2) Smarter rats
          3) Harder working rats.

          Otoh, common stock as private money ALLOWS but does not REQUIRE growth. But it’s like pulling teeth trying to convince people that we should justly share rather than subtly steal.

          Progressives, liberals, and the RCC(?) have given social justice a bad name.

          Btw, what is “Ita”?

          1. MikeNY

            Convincing people that they should justly share rather than subtly steal is, indeed, the problem — a problem of Dostoyevskian dimension, as it were.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          That growth talisman, instead of more equal sharing of the same or even a smaller pie, is not much different from the ‘forget how they stolen all the money printed, forget about sharing the money already printed more equally, but let’s just print more money and hope it doesn’t all go to the rich this time!’ diversionary scheme.

          I would like to see MMT’ers respond on this.

          1. MikeNY

            Precisely, Beef.

            We wouldn’t dare suggest a billionaire or a multinational corporation could part with a dime … we might offend a “job creator”.

            1. F. Beard

              I also advocate the equal redistribution of the common stock of all large US corporations* so that most of the profits from a universal bailout of the population with new fiat would end up with the 99%. And I doubt the common stock, or at least the real assets of large corporations, are easy to hide, at least not as easy to hide as US dollars are in foreign bank accounts.

              But EVEN if those profits DID end up with the 1%, at least the population would be much less in debt and if leverage restrictions were placed on the banks, non-debtors need not be hurt with price inflation either.

              *Since those corporations were likely built with the stolen purchasing of the population anyway and/or via government priviledge.

              1. optimader

                A friend of mine says about his yellow lab, attention 12″ infront of his nose and 1 second behind his tail.

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  Hopefully we don’t have to put that yellow lab on trial.

                  Drones, on the other hand, must answer to their deeds…unless they are just delivering parcels peacefully.

      1. rich

        guess we get no action?,,,,

        Another Batch of Wall Street Villains Freed on Technicality By Matt Taibbi Read more:

        “Of course, you won’t hear about the recent financial corruption case, United States of America v. Carollo, Goldberg and Grimm, called anything like that . . . But this just completed trial in downtown New York . . . allowed federal prosecutors to make public for the first time the astonishing inner workings of the reigning American crime syndicate, which now operates not out of Little Italy and Las Vegas, but out of Wall Street.”

        Dominick Carollo, Steven Goldberg and Peter Grimm were mid-level players who worked for GE Capital. They were involved in a wide-ranging scheme (one that also involved most of America’s biggest banks, from Chase to BOA to Wachovia) to skim billions of dollars from America’s cities and towns by rigging the auctions banks set up to help towns earn the highest returns on the management of municipal bond issues.

        The case was over 10 years in the making and involved offenses that took place long before the 2008 crash. All three defendants were convicted in May 2012, with Goldberg ultimately getting four years and the other two getting three.

        Now, they’re all free. A New York federal judge last week ordered their convictions overturned in a quiet Thanksgiving-week transaction.

        As one antitrust lawyer I know put it: “Apparently, the government can’t seem to get criminal trials involving financial executives (as opposed to, well, drug dealers) right. Go figure.”

        In this case, the defendants were shielded by the sheer complexity of the case. It would appear that the state took so long sorting through the mountains of recorded conversations and interviews to find the massive but well-camouflaged crime – these men, along with others like them in other banks, were using code words to rig the auction process so that banks and finance companies could collude and bid lower for city and town money management business – that the statute of limitations ran out on their own individual actions. When that happened, the Feds then switched up and charged them with different crimes related to what they claimed was an ongoing conspiracy, using continuing interest payments to establish the “ongoing” part of the indictment.

        Read more:

        1. Synopticist

          Oh my goodness, those guys beat the rap, huh. Quelle surprise.

          Once I would have been shocked. More recently, I would have been angry. Now, well, whatever. Outrage fatigue works again.

        2. Francois T

          There will come a time when defendants in a similar case will be safer in jail than anywhere else.


          There are, shall we say, “hints” that the NewCo (Omydiar new venture) outfit will sports a pretty aggressive department of financial investigation and reporting. Ya know, the kind that would never let a Blackstone/Codere scandal go unnoticed by its readers.

          Once people get to know the real news on financial criminality, options and futures on tar, feathers and pitchforks will start a generational bull market of their own.

    3. jrs

      It seems to me takling inequality without growth is actually the about only sensible choice there is. Keep pushing growth = environmental collapse (and can there be any doubt that’s what they are pursuing). No growth with no attempt to tackle inequality = mass poverty. No growth plus handling inequality = the only real choice right?

      1. MikeNY

        Largely, I agree. I do not say there can be NO growth; I’d be happy to see growth along sustainable, ecologically non-toxic ways (as you allude). However, if — as Grantham has written, and the economic establishment is only now catching up — if, I say, we are in a long-term growth deceleration due to productivity and population plateauing, then trying to conjure up the days of sustained 3% real growth will end in catastrophe — market, and real. It will probably take another decade for the Fed to comprehend the thought, let along the plutocrat shills on Capitol Hill.

        But more fundamentally: the distribution of wealth and income in the US (and the world) is unconscionable and immoral. We have a moral obligation to attenuate it. This fact trumps all else, for me. And too often, the growth talisman is called upon as a panacaea, so that we do not regard this FACT.

        The growth talisman is a plutocratic protection charm.

      2. MikeNY

        PS — I should have said “attenuate the problem of maldistribution”. I phrased it infelicitously :-(

      3. F. Beard

        I agree. Certainly there is no excuse for ABSOLUTE (starvation, nakedness, exposure, death from easily prevented diseases, etc.) poverty anywhere! As for the US, a comfortable, healthy lifestyle with nearly everyone in their fully owned homes on their fully owned land is possible NOW or at least soon.

        The wealth and technology have been built with stolen purchasing power(via unethical money creation) so a releveling IS required by justice.

  4. Mbuna

    Alright Yves, I’ve the seen the Archdruid links in here from time to time- are you a closet druid?

    As for that particular article I would say relatively good timing for the subject matter but otherwise in need of a more accurate perspective. What the Archdruid misses (and this is understandable because just about everyone does) is that true religion is a real, living process, started by an extraordinary individual and the result can be revolutionary. He talks about it as some kind of fad as the result of quirks of timing and history but that is just grasping at straws. The world religions are not the result of quirks and timing and God is not dead(!) which is certainly the impression you get from reading this article.
    This seems like a kind of Newtonian religious philosophical thinking in a post Einstein world. He needs to wake up and smell the Infinity!

    1. diptherio

      Hmmm…I have to disagree. While it’s true that a religion may find its ultimate genesis in the experience of a single individual, I don’t think that growth of a particular religion can be traced back to any founder’s personal divine experience. A charismatic, visionary founder may be a necessary or useful condition for creating a successful religion, but it is hardly sufficient. The state of society and the prevailing economic conditions will no doubt play an important role in the growth of any religion as well.

      I also think you may not be quite understanding the “God is dead” line of thought. What is meant, at least when I use that phrase, is not that there is nothing beyond the gross, material world, but rather that our tiny, individual conceptions of what might lie beyond are no longer adequate. The ideas of the divine as an old man seated on a thrown among the clouds, or as a beautiful black woman adorned with a necklace of severed heads, or any other image we might create…these gods are dead. Our modern intellect rejects them entirely, or views them as metaphors only.

      However, it is not the Divine itself that is no more, but only our simplistic images of what the Divine is. It is the idea that God(dess) has this or that particular form, and that only this or that particular form is “correct,” that is now dying (and has been for some time). I say, “good riddance.”

      1. skippy

        I’ve always likened religion it to a “word”, a concept, expressed vocally echoing from our dim past, with the advent of writing it became a “totality of thought” mobius strip. Those that focus on the – centrality of humans – invoke a nasty multiplier effect, creating an exponential divisibility‎ even osmosis would be jealous of, see 40,000 sects in one tribe alone.

        Those that focused on the universe, with humanity just a component of the whole, don’t seem as prone to mass psychological dysfunction. Tending to view the relationship as symbiotic as opposed parasitic.

        skippy… white lies –

      2. Mbuna

        In a way you are illustrating my very point here which ultimately is the presumption in this era that “Truth” or “The Divine” in and of itself is not “sufficient”. And this mindset is what I mean by “Newtonian thinking”. When I talk about religion as a living process I mean that it is literally alive (because it is Truth or the foundation of reality itself) and becomes active in the body mind on a cellular level. The founders of the great world religions were able to transmit this to varying to degrees to their followers and it is that fact far more than anything else that has allowed those religions the longevity they have had. The major traditions have lost their real connection to the Source and that is in fact why they are dying and why they don’t hold up in the modern world and so the Archdruid is correct that this is the end of age so to speak. But his pontificating about what will become popular in the future is full of the Newtonian mindset that is not based on Reality itself(the reference to Einstein holds a lot of truth).

      1. OIFVet

        It’s scary that Toni Preckwinkle has been presented as the only viable “progressive” challenger to Emanuel. The power of TINA at work. Still, the public employee unions have only themselves and their corrupt leadership to blame for endorsing the likes of Madigan, Quinn, and Emanuel. Look at the Chicago Teachers Union: they finally elected activist leadership dedicated to protecting public education and employees and which waged grassroots campaign and outreach to the public. That’s why they were able to push back against Emanuel while enjoying an overwhelming support from the public. There is a lesson to be learned there.

  5. Jackrabbit

    Obama and inequality

    His speech offered nothing new. He simply up-ed his rhetoric. I’d guess it was just part of the ongoing attempt to move past the Obamacare disaster.

    He actually said inequality was a challenge to our “generation” – which I read as his believing that it will take a generation to address.

    Oh, and of course he added that jobs from his trade initiatives could help. He didn’t really say HOW TPP could help but that he would try to sell TPP as part of the solution shows his true concerns. What a duplicitous charlatan.

      1. Jackrabbit

        I don’t believe he said the name of any trade initiative explicitly.

        It was almost an offhand remark. Something like: my trade initiatives can also help by growing the pie for everyone.

    1. fresno dan

      “This 1 Quote Explains America’s Biggest Problem Perfectly Huffington Post. Um, but the source is part of the problem yet pretends the outcome is the result of mysterious forces. Help me”

      Obama, Geithner, Summers, Rubin, Blankfein, and all the bankers and shadow bankers buying all the politicians. How many illogical laws such as:
      can any society endure???

      Of course, it seems to me we are awash in money (all that stuff about a savings glut) yet somehow we have to tax money made by merely having money at a lower rate than money made by wielding a shovel…and we wonder why we have fewer and fewer people working, and more and more wealth concentrated in fewer and fewer hands??? One can only say that it is impossible to make a billionaire understand something when his understanding may imperil his capital gains tax rate…

      I am reminded of the NFL in the 70’s – you had 3-2 scores (field goal and a safety), but the NFL decided it wasn’t good for business to have such boring low scoring games. So they changed the rules and now every team pretty much scores at least 30 points a game. The game is still fair, still competitive…But you had to make for a better balance between offense and defense.

      Same goes for compensation. How many taxes, income excluded, deductions, made overseas exemptions, etc. are tirelessly hidden in the tax and commerce codes?

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Inequality starts at the top.

      We have to make sure there is balance of power among:

      the People
      the executive brance
      the legislative
      the judicial.

      That means no spying on the part of the executive on the other 3.

      1. rich

        Report: ‘Fast Food CEOs Rake In Taxpayer-Subsidized Pay’

        Anderson, who is director of the Global Economy Project at the Institute for Policy Studies, told “Democracy Now!” on Thursday of the finding, “this is a perverse loophole in our tax code that essentially means that the more corporations pay their CEO, the less they pay in taxes. And that’s because there is this loophole that allows companies to deduct unlimited amounts from their corporate income taxes for the expense of executive pay, as long as it’s so-called performance pay—so, stock options and other bonuses that are configured in a way to qualify for this tax loophole. And what it means essentially is that ordinary taxpayers are subsidizing excessive CEO pay.”

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I say to the fast food worker: I am sympathetic to your cause. Stage a work slow down. Can you make my order slower? Not too fast.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                True dat, but I just like it cooked slowly.

                There is this Mughal cook, that’s what he says, he cooks his vegetables overnight. And they are delicious.

      1. OIFVet

        Beautiful! One of my fondest memories growing up is the intricate designs of the frost covering the windows of my grandparents’ glassed in front porch. Thank you for the link.

  6. Antifa

    I remember ’53. Miss Vermeulen, 2nd grade, very strict. Formerly with the Wehrmacht, I think.

    She taught us to hide under our little wooden desks during nuclear air raid drills, or huddle against the hallway walls, and we practiced this about twice a month, whenever the dreaded air raid bells would ring. Atomic bomb drills literally scared the crap out of kids occasionally, and they would be sent home in tears.

    The teachers never hid. They walked around as grim as ghosts, making very sure that we were all cowering, heads covered, eyes closed, living our last moments in blind terror, waiting for the end.

    But we sometimes overheard them joking with each other afterwards that the correct position was to bend way over, put your head between your legs, and kiss your (bleepity /#*!&?#) goodbye.

    At the time, it wasn’t funny. But we did learn some interesting new vocabulary referencing the naughty bits on a human being, which we immediately put to good use. And we now knew the correct position.

    1. ex-PFC Chuck

      “I remember ’53. Miss Vermeulen, 2nd grade, very strict. Formerly with the Wehrmacht, I think.”

      Hmmmm. My wife’s maiden name. But she didn’t start teaching until ’63, and not 2nd grade. And no one would take her for “Formerly with the Wehrmact.”

    2. anon y'mouse

      we were still doing these in the 80’s. earth quake and air raid, and fire.

      now they probably have dropped the ‘air raid’ but make you follow the same procedure for Rampant Shooter, except instead of lining up against the wall in the hall perhaps you hide in the coat closet. who knows?

      the more things change…

  7. Jagger

    How long has this business with Snowden been going on now? Now we find out all our cellphone locations are collected as well. So after all the outrage and yelling, have we seen any sort of real changes to NSA operations? Anybody been fired? Anything changed at all? Just curious…

    1. AndyB

      Ever since JFK (actually before with the Dulles Bros), we have been on a path to create the Fourth Reich on American soil. The NSA snooping ensures that the 535, and SCOTUS will be obedient puppets. Look how Obamacare was enacted; it is just the latest in the total subjugation, total control meme.

  8. diptherio

    The Huff post video about Blankfiend saying wealth inequality might be a bad thing is ridiculous. Neither journalist feels the need to point out Blankfiend’s criminal activity, his insistence that Goldman’s various scams and cons are “God’s work,” or the utterly insane amount of money he has taken home as reward for all of his fraud and deception.

    Questions for Huff Post: 1) if a not-well-known poor person made the same claim as Blankfiend, would HP pay them any mind? No, because apparently things aren’t newsworthy until someone rich and famous says them. Now that Lloyd has admitted that wealth inequality is a problem, it’s a legitimate opinion to hold.

    2) What is Lloyd planning on doing about this wealth-inequality problem? Will he be distributing his wealth to the poorest of the poor until his net worth has fallen to the national median? Is he actually going to attempt to remedy the fact that he has way more money than is natural and healthy, or is he just going to blow hot air about a problem he has no intention of doing anything about? (oh wait a minute…I already know the answer to that one)

    1. Andrea

      more of the same….

      On: “This 1 quote Explains America’s Biggest Problem Perfectly”

      Lord (sic) Blankfein points to the obvious, and as far as I could see from the article, suggests no changes or remedies. That can be seen in different ways: he is bragging, see we did it!

      Or, the image projected is, slightly genuinely worried that this whole situation is not positive overall and maybe even for the likes of him negative (true) but there it is, a ‘fact of life’ ..It is a bit like Buffet saying his secretary pays more taxes than he does. In view of his revenues and the food stamp mess, he is like a Lord who suddenly – well lets not talk about cake – sees trivial dangers here or there or seeks to show he is not clueless.

      His take – US good at wealth creation but not re-distribution- also serves to mask deep problems in the US economy and politics, such as financiarisation (that is French and not English, sorry) outsourcing, capture of politics by Corps, etc. and the fact that ‘wealth creation’ in the US is sagging or stalled. In this way he trivializes and throws ‘whatever problem’ onto politics (Redistribution. Which btw is very consequent in the US.) And reinforces the idea of ‘wealth creators.’

      A PR exercise. Total BS.

  9. Cynthia

    “Harry Reid exempts some of his Senate staff from Obamacare exchanges”:

    Reid might be using the exchange, but 70 some % of the cost of his premiums are being subsidized by us — the taxpayers! We are his employers! And his insurance policy (the gold or platinum plan — no less) will not be cancelled when the employer mandate kicks in. And you can bet the doctors and hospitals in his exchange will be top notch. We will have fewer doctors and hospitals and less desirable ones in our exchanges. Obamacare will be a two tiered health care system.

  10. dearieme

    Robert Millikan only finagled the data from his famous experiment whereas Ben Franklin probably didn’t perform his famous key and kite experiment at all.

    1. F. Beard

      Very nice but banking cheats non-debtors too – via negative real interest rates on their savings – especially in housing. Steve Keen’s “A Modern Debt Jubilee” is thus more just.

        1. bob

          I came running into a bank one day while it was raining. Had coat and hood on, paperwork being held under my jacket.

          I got inside, reached for the paper….No guard, but the three tellers must have been reaching for that button. They all relaxed when they saw it was just paper. We all sort of laughed.

  11. Bill the Psychologist

    Bah Humbug !

    Reductio ad absurdum: No one would argue that children are better off not attending school at all….or would you ?

    Both are necessary.

    So if they should have schooling, are you suggesting a particular restricted curriculum ?

    If not, vague invective against “book larnin” is not enlightening.

    Anyone attending even a year of college will tell you it expanded their thinking and their horizons, and all around them will attest to the change in them.

    Now that’s both experience AND education working.

    1. anon y'mouse

      it’s not that book larnin’ is not good, it is that it is not sufficient.

      my cogsci teacher admitted just the other day that “the way we teach makes no sense and has not been legitimated through studies, either” and had he his own way, we wouldn’t be sitting for pwpt+lecture and taking multi-choice tests at all. these are the constraints you work with when the class has 100 people in it (small by some college/class counts) and packed in like a commercial airliner.

      and that it costs so darned much. which REALLY makes very little sense. but, you know…that rockwall in the student fitness center sure is sweeeet! *vomit*

      1. Bill the Psychologist

        Uh, my argument is that experience is not sufficient.

        The notion that anyone can be alive and NOT have “real life experience” is ridiculous.

        Both are optimal.

  12. rich

    Rajoy to Rescue Highway Billionaires Who Bet on Boom

    Spanish taxpayers have bailed out banks and power companies. Next up are highway operators and their billionaire owners.

    Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s government is considering a 5 billion-euro ($6.7 billion) plan to take over and guarantee the debt of about 364 miles (585 kilometers) of roads, according to two people familiar with the matter who declined to comment because no final decisions have been made.

    “This is another repeat of ‘too big to fail’,” Jose Garcia Montalvo, an economics professor at Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, said in a telephone interview. “You don’t need to worry if something goes wrong, the government will come to the rescue.”

    The roads are controlled by some of Spain’s biggest companies, including the Del Pino family’s Ferrovial SA (FER), the Koplowitz family’s Fomento de Construcciones & Contratas SA, Sacyr SA (SCYR) and Actividades de Construccion y Servicios SA, run by Real Madrid Chairman Florentino Perez. They’re entitled to the rescue through a law passed under General Francisco Franco in 1972, which stipulates that when a private highway goes bust, the state has to repay its owners for the cost of the land and the construction.
    Government Guarantees

    Under Rajoy’s plan to avoid paying compensation, the government will set up a company and give the lenders that financed the highways, including Banco Santander SA (SAN) and Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA (BBVA), first claim on its revenue, the people said. In exchange, the banks would extend the maturity of the existing 3.75 billion euros of loans to 20 years on average, they said.

    The government may provide a direct guarantee for about 1.25 billion euros of 30-year loans to cover expropriation payments to landowners that the builders never made and allow the highways’ current owners to retain 20 percent of the new company, according to the people.

    A Santander spokeswoman and a BBVA spokesman declined to comment.

    As Rajoy struggles to turn around the Spanish economy after two recessions that destroyed almost 4 million jobs, the Franco-era concession law is adding to a bailout bill for banks and the regions that already exceeds 140 billion euros. Spain’s sovereign debt totals about 775 billion euros, according to the Bank of Spain.

    “The government isn’t rescuing the thousands of small businesses that failed during the crisis,” Gonzalo Bernardos, a professor of economics at Barcelona University, said in a telephone interview.

  13. rich

    U.S. House passes bill to exempt private equity funds from rules

    Dec 4 (Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill on Wednesday that would largely spare private equity fund advisers from federal regulations enacted after the 2007-2009 financial crisis.

    The bill would exempt many private equity fund advisers from a provision in the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform law which required advisers with more than $150 million in assets under management to register with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

    Any firm that registers with the SEC is also subject to reporting rules and is required to open its books to agency examiners for routine compliance inspections.

    Dodd-Frank also imposed more extensive confidential reporting requirements on larger private equity and hedge fund advisers in an effort to help U.S. regulators monitor possible broader systemic market risks.

    doesn’t look like private equity is too worried…

    1. susan the other

      Per today’s link on the PE whistleblower. Maybe PE should be a tad concerned because it appears that their exorbitant “fees” are so high they kill the company and the investors. In order to continue pretending they are advisors (who advise scorched-earth capitalism?) they then take their “fees” and like the Mittster they invest them in some tax haven and tell the IRS they are capital gains. So, one, they are operating as brokers without a license and charging outrageous fees for that service, and two, they are then claiming those fees have nothing to do with their advice, but are merely capital gains from being able to conflate the services of venture capitalist, financial advisor and deal broker! What a gig.

  14. Roquentin

    On the Ukraine protests, I would advise you to take stories from site like Bloomberg with a large grain of salt. I was a Russian Studies minor and I can say with a great degree of confidence that our press is so badly slanted against Moscow it’s a straight up joke. To the point of them only having a casual relationship with reality. Admittedly, I haven’t followed these protests closely, but the story of Ukraine as I understand it goes something like this:

    If you look at an electoral map of the country (,_2010), only a relatively small portion in the West backs the “orange” block and favors joining the EU. Our press always has and still does give this bloc way more importance and influence than it deserves. A larger bloc in the middle could go either way and the Eastern part of the country more or less wants to be Russian and supports Yanukovych. While they never admit it, much of what our media does just amounts to vapid cheerleading for anything that weakens the power of the Kremlin. Those Cold War paradigms die hard, even 20 years later.

    More than that, with how poorly the EU has treated it’s weaker members like Greece, can anyone really say with a straight face anymore that Ukraine would be the slightest bit better under the EU’s or Germany’s thumb than under Putin’s?

  15. mk

    “ALEC calls for penalties on ‘freerider’ homeowners Guardian” – thanks for the heads up, part of our retirement plan is to install solar panels to reduce our energy bills. ALEC is truly evil….

  16. fresno dan

    How Academia Resembles a Drug Gang Alexandre Afonso (Lambert)

    “How can we explain this trend? One of the underlying structural factors has been the massive expansion in the number of PhDs all across the OECD. Figure 1 shows the proportion of PhD holders as a proportion of the corresponding age cohort in a number of OECD countries at two points in time, in 2000 and 2011. As you can see, this share has increased by about 60% in 11 years, and this increase has been particularly pronounced in countries such as Portugal or Greece, where it nearly tripled, however from a very low starting level. Even in countries with an already high share, the increase has been substantial: 60% in the UK, or nearly 40% in Germany. Since 2000 the number of OECD-area doctorates has increased at an average of 5% a year.”

    BUT, BUT, BUT!!!! All those government public service announcements….to get a good job, get a good education….
    Are we suppose to get super-duper PhDs now???

    Can we at last put to rest the idea that we need more training, if only we had a better educated work force, all would be rosy???

  17. fresno dan

    DHS stalls no-fly list trial by putting witness on no-fly list BoingBoing

    “On the first day of trial, the judge learned that the plaintiff’s daughter, scheduled to testify, was delayed because she had been denied boarding of her flight because she was put a Department of Homeland Security no-fly list. DHS staff deny this. The government’s lawyers told the judge that the daughter is lying. The airline provided documentation of the DHS no-fly order. The subject matter of this trial is intense—restriction of movement based on blacklists—but there’s no sign of an end to the jaw-dropping entertainment.”

    Can anybody with a straight face assert that the US is a nation of laws? Or perhaps more jejunely whether our laws have any relation to justice what so ever? Well, I guess we should we grateful for the entertaining prate falls of the keystone kops as they march us, with John Phillips Sousa playing, into the gulags…

  18. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Personhood for 4 chimps in NY.

    Er…welcome to the more progressive South.

    In Athens, Gerogia, there is a tree that owns itself. It’s a white oak tree.

    Years from now, children will learn that this simple, little fact led eventually to the South marching through New York, thus emancipating vegetables and animals all over the land.

  19. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Science isn’t scientific?

    Well, science can be done 2 ways.

    1 Science can be done by humans.

    2 Science can be done by robots.

    With the former, it gets messy at times…actually often.

    With the latter, robots logically reason that all humans , male and female (they are all the same) should be sent to the penal colony of Mars.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It should be ‘With the former, it gets messy at times, in fact often unscientific. Based on my own experience maintaining motorcycles the Zen way, there is no rational way of coming up with hypotheses. Often, it’s all hokey pokey. The best way, rumor-wise, is to get them in your dreams.’

      1. Susan the other

        My prejudice relates all things to the failure of language. Science is kinda like software code that fails to acknowledge all the weird genetic memory and meaning encapsulated in words. The most important step of any research is to formulate a good question. And the hardest. A good antidote would be to unleash a tsunami of research. Why not? Science is not the answer, it is the process. A best practice would be to get as many explanations as possible since all hypotheses are based on inadequate language to begin with. And this also raises the question of patenting ideas – since descriptions are so inadequate think of all the better science we could have had if patents hadn’t stopped people cold.

  20. jfleni

    RE: NPR All plutocrats considered.

    For years thay have been unashamed shills for the upper crust. The Professor is to be commended to realize it now, better late than never!

  21. Bill Frank

    So, De Blasio selects Bill Bratton to be top cop in NYC. That tells me everything I need to know about Mr. De Blasio. Pathetic.

  22. Susan the other

    Sustaining resilience in our oceans. Notice the headline did not use a more dedicated hedge word like “achieving sustainability.” The Pacific Ocean is in deep shit and nobody knows what to do. This isn’t a warning, it is an imperative. I would never have imagined that we could destroy an ocean so vast and living in just 3 or 4 decades; the coup de grace being Fukushima. Resilience? What does that mean now?

  23. Hugh

    Putin battles??? I agree mostly with Roquentin. It is only way down in the Bloomberg article that it comes out how little the EU is doing to help Ukraine. On the other hand, Putin is in a position to offer Ukraine tangible benefits. The article should be asking why Ukraine should join the EU just so it can be treated like Hungary or Greece.

    Re Evans-Pritchard’s contention that Europe is repeating Japan’s errors and raising the specter of deflation, those aren’t errors, they’re features. Deflation favors the rich.

    One way to measure tomorrow’s jobs numbers is that in light of last November’s numbers and the trajectory in 2013, unadjusted jobs should increase by around 450,000 and with seasonal adjustment around 275,000.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Hugh, for the nimble rich, deflation favors them and inflation favors them too.

      Over the years, they have perfected many ways to ‘go with the flow.’

    1. anon y'mouse

      by measurement of knee-to-hoof distance while sitting on the same piece of furniture, looks like about 7 years.

      but, are those ‘dog years’?

  24. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Greenspan…bitcoin…bbbbubbbbble…nothing intrinsic.

    What he says is of little intrinsic value.

    But when China says so, the world listens.

  25. Foppe

    Ran across this byline today, couldn’t believe my eyes:

    David Armitage is the Lloyd C. Blankfein Professor of History and Chair of the Department of History at Harvard University.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Thus the saying, history is written by the winners (and their hired I-can-read-and-write guns).

      If you are one of the losers or illiterate farmers, that written history will always shame you for being a loser or an illiterate farmer (don’t worry, someone will read it to you).

  26. AbyNormal

    Rest In Peace Mandela

    “Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like Slavery and Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. YOU can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.”

    1. All hands to the sit room photo-op

      Obama should have sent a SEAL team in to kill Mandela. That’s his niche, you know? Executing harmless Republican terrorists. Gadafy, bin Laden… with Mandela he would have hit the trifecta.

  27. optimader

    So the sister scenario is merely your speculation and really is no more valid than my proposed Eve scenario.
    I accept that.

    “Created from nothing if necessary.”

    If there is an Supreme Entity that can at it’s discretion “Create from nothing”, then why have anything!
    If physical laws can be suspended at the discretion of the Entity, the physiology of a human seems pretty damn whimsical. Humans could just as easily be gray modeling clay under the skin. Of course they aren’t for justifiable reality based reasons.

    “1) You’re assuming a universal flood but covering the whole Earth wasn’t necessary since man was still localized..”

    Beard I think your going off the reservation a bit here here. Why go through the seemingly absurd literal contention of Noah piling critters on an ark if it wasn’t the whole world??'s_Ark
    I have a childhood friend who was notorious for inventing house rules when we used to play pool in his parents basement, don’t be Bob.

    “2) Whales can swim.”

    Me too, and I’m a good floater also, particularly if there’s no shortage of debris. So at the margins of the flood, it may be the case that Evil humans were spared? that’s probably where Mosquitos bided there time

    “Now I’m starting to not like you …”
    Play nice Beard, its the Holidays. Point is, it’s at the limits that things that don’t make sense fail most explicitly.

    Beard, I really have no problem w/ what you believe, or not. Frankly if the Bible brings comfort to you +1.
    On the other hand if you are shilling, don’t get up tight if someone applies some basic scrutiny to what you post.

    1. AbyNormal

      +2 Opti

      “There are few things more dangerous than inbred religious certainty.”
      Bart D. Ehrman, God’s Problem: How the Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question-Why We Suffer

      1. F. Beard

        Inbred? My father was an atheist, my mother was/is a lapsed Catholic and I was ignorant of the Bible till college.

        Any certainty I have came the hard way and took about 40 years. (But it needn’t have taken that long since I put off reading the Old Testament till 6 years ago.)

          1. F. Beard

            No, I was correct the first time! My eyes are bad and so I must use my brain a lot to make intelligent guesses when I read.

            Note to self: Then quit abusing your brain, idiot!

            Note to others: Yet God is forgiving and has restored me countless times and I do seem to be learning to be less sinful since this aftermath is relatively mild.

    2. F. Beard

      If there is an Supreme Entity that can at it’s discretion “Create from nothing”, then why have anything!

      Well Jesus did use a few fish and some loaves to feed a few thousand on two occasions. Is that close enough to nothing for you?

      Beard I think your going off the reservation a bit here here. Why go through the seemingly absurd literal contention of Noah piling critters on an ark if it wasn’t the whole world??

      While Noah was building the Ark those 120 years, he was also preaching repentance. Perhaps the Ark was just big enough to accommodate the maximum number of contrite sinners such that if any more repented, God would have called off the Flood. But they did not repent so why waste the passenger space? God has concern for animals too, don’t you know?

      So at the margins of the flood, it may be the case that Evil humans were spared?

      The Flood lasted months.

      As for shilling what does that even mean?

      But look, if you value yourself so lightly that you consider your own permanent demise to be of no consequence then why should anyone else care either? “Seek and ye shall find” or are you too lazy? How much is a plausible possibility of eternal bliss worth to you?

      1. optimader

        “While Noah was building the Ark those 120 years…”
        If it was a merciful god, he would have given Noah power tools. I can only imagine what his lower back MRI looked like

        “if you value yourself so lightly… that you consider your own permanent demise to be of no consequence.”

        Well Beard, it will be of great consequence to me for sure, in the grand scheme of things, maybe not so consequential? Self assessment is a bitch, Perhaps the most difficult thing isn’t it?

        But hey, if the shuffle from this mortal coil is on to better things I’ll be tickled pink! And if it comes to pass, I’m dubious it’ll be a confrontation w/ a god as venial as you seem to describe.

        1. F. Beard

          Self assessment is a bitch, Perhaps the most difficult thing isn’t it? Opti

          Very possibly, given this:

          “The heart is more deceitful than all else
          And is desperately sick;
          Who can understand it?

          “I, the Lord, search the heart,
          I test the mind,
          Even to give to each man according to his ways,
          According to the results of his deeds.”
          Jeremiah 17:9-10 (NASB)

          Note btw, that God does NOT know everything, else why the need for searching and testing? Yet how many people are confused into near insanity by believing He does know everything?

          I’m dubious it’ll be a confrontation w/ a god as venial as you seem to describe. Opti

          The God of the Bible is God as He is in the Bible so if you wish to know the God of the Bible, you should read the Bible.

          And how can you love that which you do not know? Yet loving the Creator is commanded and is a logical necessity too, I’d bet, for maximum aggregate happiness.

        1. Butch In Waukegan

          Frisbeetarianism is the belief that when you die, your soul goes up on the roof and gets stuck. — George Carlin

  28. rich

    The Pathology of the Rich – Chris Hedges on Reality Asserts Itself pt1

    Published on Dec 5, 2013

    On RAI with Paul Jay, Chris Hedges discusses the psychology of the super rich; their sense of entitlement, the dehumanization of workers, and mistaken belief that their wealth will insulate them from the coming storms

  29. Alexa

    The “Antidote du jour” brought a smile to my face.

    Why that’s his “bud,” can’t let him get cold!

    Thanks furzy mouse and Yves!

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