Links New Year’s Eve 2013

Former Mayor Injured, Husband Killed By Family Dog Huffington Post :-(

Beer delivery driver following GPS, not paying attention when he crashed into bridge over Onondaga Lake Parkway (bob)

NY monitor: Apple hindering e-book antitrust work Associated Press. Quelle surprise!

Buenos Aires protests over outages BBC

Radiation? Seals, Sea Lions, Polar Bears, Bald Eagles, Sea Stars, Turtles, King and Sockeye Salmon, Herring, Anchovies and Sardines On The West Coast Of North America Suffer Mysterious Diseases George Washington

Taksim Square Protesters Charged With Terrorism, Attempting Coup Real News Network

Israel’s Gas Ambitions Put National Security at Risk OilPrice

I worked on the US drone program. The public should know what really goes on Guardian

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

NSA seizes full control of targeted iPhones via DROPOUTJEEP malware SlashGear (Deontos). Um, notice “targeted” implies that “targeted < all". I assume that is diversionary bureaucrat-speak, given that the NSA's bent is for comprehensive information acquisition. Obamacare Not A Total Disaster, Continued Paul Krugman

UK Introduces Warrantless Detention Slashdot

Why NSA spied on inexplicably unencrypted Windows crash reports ars technica

The NSA Uses Powerful Toolbox in Effort to Spy on Global Networks Der Spiegel

NSA’s ANT Division Catalog of Exploits for Nearly Every Major Software/Hardware/Firmware LeakSource (Deontos).Recap/discussion of Der Spiegel article

US to test commercial drones at six sites Financial Times

One-third of Americans reject evolution, poll shows Reuters

Poll: Obama, Clinton most admired Politico

Budget deal’s pension cuts anger veterans Washington Post

Deadliest Frat’s Icy ‘Torture’ of Pledges Evokes Tarantino Films Bloomberg. Aiee.

Laura Dimon writes about Flint, and Flint fires back MarketWatch (Fred S)

Train Derailment Causes Fiery Destruction In Casselton, ND Huffington Post (Carol B)

Fed getting it wrong tops list of investor concerns Financial Times

Cracks Forming In Housing Bubble II (But This Time It’s Different) Wolf Richter

Three big macro questions for 2014 Gavyn Davis, Financial Times

Accountability Is Elusive in Global Clothing Supply Chain New York Times

Coin All the Way? Pieria

HP Announces Another 5,000 Layoffs, For A Total Of 34,000 Business Insider

The Ride-Sharing, Handbag-Borrowing Productivity Revival Bloomberg. Huh? This is “productivity” in the CONSUMER economy. Did anyone count the labor saving of home vacuum cleaners and washing machines in GDP in the 1950s? The labor saving wasn’t counted because the labor was unpaid. But the durable goods purchases were GDP positive. This is saving, as in reducing, consumer capital goods purchases like cars and clothes. This is GDP negative, in that the people renting would otherwise buy at higher levels of outlay. But it’s spun with a happy face. Also a sign of the fallen standing of the middle class and if it catches on on the car front, will be an excuse for not investing in better public transportation.

Media Companies Have No Money! Allison Hantschel, Firedoglake (Carol B). A first-rate shellacking.

We need to talk about TED Benjamin Bratton, Guardian. This isn’t just a must read. It is also fucking awesome. Please, PLEASE circulate widely.

Antidote du jour:


And a bonus antidote. Yes, this is what you think it is!


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  1. BigBadBank

    Re UK Introduces Warrantless Detention: I’m pretty sure you can be arrested and detained without a previously issued warrant anywhere in the world. It would be crazy for the police not to be able to arrest someone who they see committing a crime without going to a judge first. In the UK you can be detained for up to, I think, 72 hours without being charged with a crime (while they look for evidence on you hard drive or whatever) but that has nothing to do with US airbases.

  2. bulfinch

    TED Talks: Thank you for this! More than once, my involuntary groans have made me the pariah whenever TED comes up in conversations with gadget-addled McIntellectuals w/ conspicuously positive attitudes about all things.

      1. susan the other

        That’s the truth. Capitalist innovation is the be all and end all of existence. It’s like TEDers are worse than ESTers. At least ESTers worked on themselves, ostensibly. As far as they could tell anyway. Nothing like being self-lobotomized. The takeaway is that TEDing is harmful. I certainly agree with that. Besides which, A TED talk is inevitably as annoying as an NPR report. Thanks Benj. Bratton.

    1. davidgmills

      I wouldn’t throw the baby out with the bath water though. Most of the TED talks, especially the most popular ones are pretty shallow. But there are a few hard core science talks that I really like.

    2. Klassy

      Cue the NYTimes:
      They haven’t figured out how to solve the most intractable problem of all. Are you wondering what it is?
      To meet the demand, the is adding full courses and so-called pop-up classes, which focus on a more narrow problem. “Where Did You Go Olympia Snowe?,” a recent pop-up class, challenged students to solve the seemingly most intractable problem of all: rekindling bipartisanship.
      As sufferin succotash says “anything to avoid talking about capitalism”.

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      I’ve always found Ted lectures to be similar to Obama speeches*. TED admittedly has far more substance, but the packaging is always more important than what was said.

      Except for a few buzzwords, the listeners can’t seem to recall anything said. This is a great experiment to run if one is in an encounter with an Obot. Don’t try to counter them. Ask them for more information about what Obama said. They can’t come up with anything except references to soaring rhetoric.

      If you have the time, you should mention some lines by George W. or Ronnie Reagan, both who presented soaring non-descript rhetoric, and see if the Obots will claim it as Obama’s. “Do you remember when Obama said…”

      They get so flummoxed. Actually, they are just like Christians who feel persecuted for being Christian, the Falwell-followers.

      *If you read Obama, you will find Obama’s drivel is just bland platitudes about being “clear” when its usually not certain what he is referring to. Somehow this became “soaring rhetoric,” but then again, this is an illiterate society where people routinely equate Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings as equals, a pet peeve of mine, or enjoy “Catcher in the Rye.”

    4. Synopticist

      “my involuntary groans have made me the pariah whenever TED comes up in conversations with gadget-addled McIntellectuals w/ conspicuously positive attitudes about all things.”

      That’s exactly what I was going to say, only I would have been more longwinded.

    5. Mildred Montana

      In this information-saturated world, one is forced (albeit reluctantly) to throw out the baby with the bathwater. There’s a lot of bathwater out there and very few babies. The curious reader (or viewer) cannot afford to waste time looking for the baby in that bathwater when, in fact, that baby will likely never be found.

      So, when a rambling, illogical, head-in-the-clouds friend of a friend recommended that I watch TED talks, I immediately pressed DELETE. Maybe TED talks has a few babies. I don’t know. I’ll never know (see above). But if the muddled thinking of my friend-of-a-friend is any indication, he has watched a lot of bathwater and found no babies.

      Nowadays, there’s much to read (and watch) and not nearly enough time. That means no time for TED for me. Sorry if I’m being unfair. But it’s all about efficient, intelligent allocation of time in the Digital Age.

  3. AbyNormal

    my apologies if this has been covered here…
    (Newser) – A psychiatrist who saw Adam Lanza several years ago gave up his license last year after he was accused of sexual relations with a patient, the AP reports based on newly-available public records. Dr. Paul L. Fox hadn’t seen Lanza since Lanza was about 15, he told police following the Sandy Hook shooting, but he had previously been Lanza’s main psychiatrist, the Connecticut Post notes. The teen, he recalled, had aggression issues and may also have had Asperger’s syndrome. Fox found him “very rigid and resistant to engagement,” officials said, per the Post.

    Fox gave up his license in July of last year after a patient, who started seeing him in 2010, reported that they’d had a sexual relationship, a Connecticut public health department probe found. That relationship included sexual encounters in the office as well as leisure time together, a draft report from the investigation said. Fox hasn’t admitted to wrongdoing, but he voluntarily gave up his medical licenses in Connecticut and New York. He now lives in New Zealand.

    “Declare the past, diagnose the present, foretell the future.”

  4. dadanada

    On: Budget deal’s pension cuts anger veterans from the Washington Post, which says: “The cut is small — a one-percentage-point reduction in the annual cost-of-living increase”
    This has often been misreported; it’s a one percent reduction in COLA per year of service.

    This provision modifies the annual cost-of-living adjustment for working-age military retirees by
    making the adjustments equal to inflation minus one percent. This provision would go into effect
    in December 2015. At age 62, the retired pay would be adjusted as if the COLA had been the
    full CPI adjustment in all previous years, and the service members would receive the full COLA
    from then on. Service members would never see a reduction in benefits from one year to the
    next and it will save approximately $6 billion over ten years.

      1. Jackrabbit

        Well that song is a bit over the top. I am not advocating for censoring Krugman – he’s got a big bullhorn at the Times.

        It just that we generally poke fun at Krugman and decry his Obama-friendly views. In today’s links he’s shilling for Obamacare (slaps forehead). Yet he remains on the blogroll alongside blogs of people (like yourself) whose viewpoints are much more respected here.

        As this is the time of year for reflection and resolutions…

    1. Mildred Montana

      I’ve said this before, I’ll say it again: Any economist who advocates 20% inflation (and Krugman has, take my word for it) as an economic elixir is a hack and a shill.

      What sane economist would promote the slow impoverishment of millions of people, namely those living on savings or fixed incomes, with a policy of 20% inflation? What would Keynes have to say on the matter? I suspect he is shrieking in his grave.

      The apotheosis of Paul Krugman is a mystery to me. Are readers of the NYT really so gullible? Okay, they can have him. But no more Krugman for me, please.

      “The man whose falsehoods no longer deceive has forfeited the right to tell the truth.”
      —–Ambrose Bierce

      1. optimader

        My dog when I was 1 to 4yo was a Boxer.
        We were fast pals, he’d let me play in his food dish when he was eating and would growl when anyone approached me. The last straw for the poor boy was when I was playing with a lamp cord/electrical outlet and he showed his teeth and snapped at my mother. He was brought to “the farm” the next day.

        Sorry, but animal personalities – dispositions, like people’s, fill the normal distribution. You never know all behavior in all circumstance.

        File under: Isabelle Diniore’s Black Lab (referral tab: Sleep with One Eye Open when the Dog is Hungry)

  5. bob

    “Keep calm and carry on “innovating” ”
    That poster/graphic drive me up a wall. Tory teabag on top. “We’re looking out for you, go back to sleep, the queen is on watch”
    TED is just new packaging of the same old product. Kate! She’s great!
    TEDx- heads roll. How a guillotine really works! Step right up…

    1. lambert strether

      For “innovation” read “ceaseless capital accumulation.”

      * * *

      Indoor plumbing? The telegraph? The steam engine? Those were innovations. Apps that arrange for taxicabs? Not so much.

      1. Mildred Montana

        It’s easy to say that an innovation will fail.

        “Innovations are like genetic mutations. Most are mistakes. Most fail.”
        —–Bill Bonner, Empire of Debt

        The few successful innovations are usually only recognized as such after they have gained popular acceptance, while the many failures are quickly forgotten. Only time can tell which will succeed and which will fail.

        Forty years ago, the TV remote was thought to be a needless luxury, that is, a useless innovation. Today, it is a necessity.

        Maybe the taxi app (or a variation of it) will become a successful innovation. Time will tell.

  6. Dikaios Logos

    I read Bratton’s TED piece yesterday on his website and retweeted it. This morning I looked at the links, hoping on hope to see if it was there. AND IT WAS! That is fucking awesome, too!

    People, read this piece, now! Not only are the deep ideas right on, but the one liners are genius. He talks about how TED is like “middlebrow megachurch infotainment”. How prescriptions TED proposes are “placebo politics”. And there is more where that came from, much more!

    Let’s hope 2014 includes lots of discussion that is this thoughtful!

    1. JTFaraday

      I thought it was okay. Maybe I’m not cued in enough to the whole TED culture to be that annoyed by it.

      I did like this line though:

      “Our options for change range from basically what we have plus a little more Hayek, to what we have plus a little more Keynes. Why?”

      It’s a good question, (and it’s not unique to TED).

  7. Doug

    Midway down the article about Laura Dimon and her article about Flint, one finds the following:

    ““Hi there. I’m curious. Did you travel to Flint for your story?” asked Gabe Gutierrez, an NBC reporter in Atlanta.

    “I wish I could have but I did not,” Dimon replied. “Next time I have the means, Flint … here I come!””

    Next time she — Jamie Dimon’s daughter!!! — has the ‘means’?

    1. bob

      There isn’t a runway long enough for her jet there. The custom made, hot pink Bombardier global express would clash with the rust color anyway. She could fly to detroit, but then she would have to drive through Detroit….and you know how bad that place is…

      It’s much easier to “report” on meme. Keeping with that theme, Ms. Dimon is a lazy, entitled, plutocrat.

      1. BondsOfSteel

        I know you’re joking… but…

        I’ve flown into Flint several times. The airport is very nice:

        The runways are longer than LaGuardia. Southwest flies there cheap. She doesn’t have any excuse not to have visited the city before writing about it.

        Also, the new Detroit airport is awesome. It’s clean, modern, and well organized.

    2. diptherio

      When Ms. Dimon says “the means,” what she means is the opposite of “the nices,” as in “Next time I get the nices I’ll write a story about JPM. The next time I get the means, I’ll do another story about Flint.”

  8. DakotabornKansan

    On Obamacare, Paul Krugman writes, “the truth is that it doesn’t matter too much if “only” 6 million sign up via the exchanges, plus millions more who are signed up under expanded Medicaid…Both numbers will grow a lot over the next three months. This is pretty close to the end game.”


    We now have an “officially sanctioned tiering of the American health care experience by income class,” writes Uwe E. Reinhardt, “The Economics of Being Kinder and Gentler in Health Care,” New York Times [12/20/13]

    The lowest tier – Medicaid beneficiaries and the uninsured: Politicians are able to ration health care for Medicaid beneficiaries and the uninsured without admitting that they are doing it, merely by placing restraints on the budget. Because it would be un-American to ration health care, they merely refuse to budget spending that “we can’t afford.”

    The middle tier – the employed middle class: Higher deductibles and other forms of cost sharing are shifting more costs to the consumers of health care. Maximum out-of-pocket expenditures apply only to covered benefits provided within the networks. Selected benefits, especially the more expensive benefits, some individuals will need are left out. Health insurers are reducing their networks of physicians and hospitals, further limiting patient choice of their health care providers. The process of setting a low price for given health care services and requiring the patient to pay the full difference in prices if the patient selects a more expensive provider (reference pricing) is yet another method of cost shifting as well as limiting choice of providers since it may be unaffordable.

    The highest tier – the upper-income groups: Boutique medicine where there are no limits.

    Pretty close to the end of the game!

    “Under our present three-tiered system, we will be able to obtain a basic level of care for Tiny Tim, just not the specialized services that he really needs. And Ebenezer Scrooge will be able to access his boutique providers, with the sky as the limit. But what about the people of the village? Once Scrooge gains control of the insurance industry, will he further advance the current agenda of making health care more expensive to increase profits, and less accessible to reduce costs? Will another visit from the Ghost Of Christmas Yet To Come be adequate? Or will he be hardened enough to carry on, as Reinhardt writes, “the age-old reluctance among many of the nation’s haves and the healthy to help purchase for America’s lower-income families and the chronically ill the super-expensive health care that the haves enjoy themselves.

    Though should we really expect a different outcome? We now have a society that when Bob Cratchit pulls himself up by his bootstraps and runs for mayor, we elect Ebenezer Scrooge instead.”

    – Don McCanne MD,

    1. Crazy Horse

      That is the genius of Obamacare. Death Panels without the panels. Simply let the (manipulated & rigged) market do its thing.

    2. davidgmills

      The Supreme Court really F’ed things up with it s ruling that Medicaid can not be forced upon the states by taking away federal funds previously guaranteed to the states for other things. Hard not to understand the ruling, but the result was that 25+ states opted out of helping their most needy, given the option.

      But the states that opted in will soon have a healthcare system that far outshines the states that opted out. This will be especially obvious in rural communities of the states who opted out. Many of their rural hospitals will go under.

      Over time, two-tiered system is much more important than the three the doctor writes about.

      The twenty five or so that opted in are beginning a single payer system, which hopefully will grow once its benefits become realized. Heck Vermont is starting a single payer system for everybody.

        1. financial matters

          I think that’s going to be interesting to follow. Here is a breakdown of which states are opting out of the Medicaid expansion..

          “”Though Medicaid is jointly run and financed by the states and the federal government, Washington is obligated to cover the full costs of expanding the Medicaid rolls over the first three years. Even as the federal share gradually declines over subsequent years, by 2022 Washington would still be on the hook for 90 percent of the additional costs. But the court said states could turn down that federal money and continue to run their Medicaid programs as they do now, setting their own standards for eligibility.””

          “”Expanding Medicaid nationally under Obamacare would increase total state costs by just 2.9 percent, or $76 billion in total between 2013 and 2022, according to research conducted by The Urban Institute and published by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. The federal government would cover the rest of the roughly $1.03 trillion cost of expanding Medicaid during those years, according to the report. Some new state Medicaid spending would be offset by cutting existing state health programs for the poor.””

  9. Jim Haygood

    This happens over and over (ask Joe Biden): Israel making a special point of insulting official U.S. visitors with fresh defiance of U.S. policy opposing new West Bank settlements:

    ‘Israeli news media reported that plans for 1,400 new housing units, including 600 in East Jerusalem, would be unveiled this week, as Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled to make his 10th visit to the region to push for a peace agreement.’;

    No other example is found on the planet of a rich OECD state like Israel accepting billions a year in welfare from another OECD state. Thus, the petulant-teenager behavior from a little country that’s still cadging a three-billion-a-year allowance from its symbolic U.S. parent, instead of cleaning up its room and getting a job.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        There is another double standard – humans can eat vegetables, but vegetables can’t eat humans.

        Talk about doing unto others what…

  10. diptherio

    Re: Train derailment and explosion in ND.

    All you Keystone haters out there: this is the alternative to pipelines. The problem is we consume WAY TOO MUCH OIL. Until we fix that problem, fighting against the safest method of transport (pipelines) is somewhat misguided, imo. If we don’t have oil pipelines, we’ll have oil trains…I know which one I prefer.

    “The number of crude oil carloads hauled by U.S. railroads surged from 10,840 in 2009 to a projected 400,000 this year. Despite the increase, the rate of accidents has stayed relatively steady. Railroads say 99.997 percent of hazardous materials shipments reach destinations safely.”

    Ready for some math? 400,000 X .003 = 1,200

    So, according to the rail industry, 1,200 crude oil carloads per year WILL NOT reach their destinations safely. Think about that the next time you’re arguing against Keystone. The sad fact is that, if we’re going to continue to use (and therefore transport) massive quantities of this substance, then pipelines are BY FAR the safest method.

    1. bob

      “We”…who is we? The demand for the oil, and the pipelines is not coming from the US. The pipelines are a much quicker (safer) way to move the oil to the gulf and onto a tanker in the Gulf of Mexico for export.

      Market based analysis when the US isn’t the market. Please explain how moving the oil out of the US helps any one in the US? Even with “safer” (read “faster”) pipelines, all the risk comes down on the US and the reward goes to multinational oil companies and traders.

      A national energy policy might help make things both safer and benefit the people of the US. As it is now, the US is one of the only countries that doesn’t think of it’s own needs first.

      1. Crazy Horse

        Moving the Canadian oil to gulf coast refineries that were designed to process that particular grade of crude does benefit a few Americans— the owners of said refineries. Does the name Koch sound familiar?

        1. diptherio

          True, it does benefit Koch, but that is not a reason in and of itself to oppose the pipeline. Right now that oil is making it’s way south anyway, only via rail. Everyone living along that rail line would benefit from improved safety, so we might want to take their concerns into account as well. And while rail lines often run through towns, pipelines are, by and large, sited far from residential areas. The recent spill in Mayflower AK demonstrated why.

          Like I point out below, pipelines aren’t perfect, and our system for keeping them safe leaves much to be desired. DOT regulators are over-worked and expected to cover more miles of pipe than is humanly possible, and the oil companies who own the pipe are constantly trying to weasel out of doing maintenance and repairs. The pipelines need to be publicly owned, then engineers in the DOT would be working with the pipeline staff to keep everyone safe, instead of the owners and regulators working at cross-purposes, as now.

      2. diptherio

        You do realize that much of the food and consumer goods that we all purchase here in the US come from overseas, right? Oy…

        We have a globalized economic system that requires massive amounts of fossil fuels to keep operating as it does. We all depend on that system one way or another, whether we’d like to admit it or not. The US Military, by the way, is the planet’s largest consumer of oil, so we do bear a good bit of responsibility.

        I’m not trying to point fingers here, I’m trying to point out that these are problems that affect all of us and which we all need to be working to fix. Cutting individual consumption is a first step. Pressuring local governments and businesses to reduce consumption is another. Advocating for public transit and local economic activity are a few more. I’ll bet you can think of others.

        1. bob

          You’re arguing from the neoliberal frame. Step out of it.

          Consumer goods? We COULD make them here. Food? The US is still the largest exporter of food the world over.

          Energy? We can’t really replace that. I’m in no hurry to help it leave faster. Exports are a net loss, especially energy. Selling oil for $? We can make infinitely more $, not more oil.

          The US is using less energy. The rest of the world is using more. “They” want to help it leave faster. If you believe that oil is a finite resource, it will be worth even more tomorrow.

          A national energy policy was what I was talking about. You are talking about $ and trade. They are not the same thing. Safety could be part of a national energy policy. $ and trade have very little use for safety.

          1. diptherio

            I don’t think we actually disagree, but since you insist….

            Burning fossil fuels is killing the planet. We need to burn less and we need to do everything possible, on both personal and collective levels, to achieve that goal. Not because of money or trade or how much the oil is “worth,” but because it’s important that our planet be able to sustain life.

            I’m just saying that blocking Keystone, or other pipelines, in the absence of reduced consumption world wide (and the West still consumes the lions share of global resources, I’m pretty sure…it was 25% for our 5% of the population, last I checked) is not any kind of solution. It’s attacking the problem from the wrong end. If as much liberal organizing effort had gone into forcing a real national energy conservation program as went into anti-Keystone activism, we might actually be making some headway.

            1. bob

              “We need to burn less and we need to do everything possible, on both personal and collective levels, to achieve that goal.”

              Wouldn’t making it harder to export oil, to where they are going to burn it, move us closer to your goal?
              While it’s in the US, we still “might” have a little bit of say over what’s done with it.
              Put another way- If the US is EXPORTING oil, wouldn’t slowing or stopping the export of oil from the US slow the burning of the oil? If they don’t have it, they can’t burn it.

              1. diptherio

                Once it’s been ripped from the earth, it’s already too late. What difference if it’s burned in China or Colorado? We all share the same atmosphere.

                1. bob

                  How does building a pipeline that will allow more oil to be exported, and burned, help “burn less and we need to do everything possible, on both personal and collective levels, to achieve that goal”

                  Stock/flow problem. If it doesn’t “flow” there is no “incentive” to stock it, above ground. AKA, drilling.

        2. bob

          Your problem is that you see the oil leaving as “inevitable”. It is not. It should not be leaving. It is not in our national interest, or our personal interest.

          If we could stop the oil from leaving, which we should be able to do, we could stop the trains. But, starting from the law of neoliberal inevitability, yes, they only safe thing to do is allow the oil companies to do what ever they want. Because capitalism.

          1. Synopticist

            Let me put on my tin foil hat here briefly, but there seem to be a suspiciously large number of trains carrying oil blowing themselves to pieces in north America lately. What, is this the third or fourth in the last few years?
            It’s not something you hear about happening anywhere else. If China and India can run trains full of oil without semi-regular explosions, you have to start questioning, i dunno, something.

            1. bob

              Could it be because there are more oil trains here?
              People don’t seem to understand the huge shift that has happened with respect to US/North American oil production in the past few years.

              We are now producing so much oil here that we are EXPORTING it. How much oil does China or India EXPORT?

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                China won’t export oil, rare earth metals and silkworms (maybe they do the last one now).

    2. cwaltz

      So…….care to tell us how many “carloads” of oil have been dumped thanks to pipelines thus far?

      Just for the sake of fair and balanced.

      The bp oil leak was estimated to leak 5000 barrels a DAY

      In N. Dakota a spill estimated at 20,000 barrels

      Then there was a Texas spill that was 700 barrels worth

      Then there was the Arkansas spill that was around 5000 barrels

      You’ll have to forgive me if I doubt the veracity of your “safer” claim.

      1. diptherio

        My pops is a retired civil engineer and oil and gas pipeline inspector/fed regulator. He knows his sh*t and I take his word for the safety aspects of pipelines vs. rail transport. His only concern for the last couple decades has been stopping oil spills from occurring and he’s adamant: pipelines have a far better safety record than rail, even with the high-profile spills.

        This is not to say that our current pipeline practices are perfect; far from it. The best solution, imho, is for we, as a species, to reduce our consumption of fossil fuels as much as possible and to make all dangerous transport infrastructure publicly owned and controlled. Our current regulatory system is broken. Dad would write a violation and two years later it would still be in litigation–that’s our real pipeline problem: we allow the oil companies to own them. They should be a public utility, that would make proper maintenance a lot more likely.

        1. diptherio

          And believe me, it saddens me to have to defend Keystone, but if we’re dead-set on sucking every last drop of oil out of the ground and burning it, then moving it about with pipelines seems to be the best of a bunch of bad options.

          The real solution, as my pops has said more than once, is to leave the stuff in the ground.

          1. bob

            Again, who is “we”?

            “but if we’re dead-set on sucking every last drop of oil out of the ground”

            Why is “we” taken as a given? I don’t agree that it should be sucked out. I am not part of your “we”. Why do “we” put up with “we”?

            1. optimader

              I understand what dipthero is saying, “we” is most societies on this planet. So until the collective “we” decides to stumble down a different path it’s a case for environmental triage, and dipthero’s father is correct. on the pieline vs rail choice.
              Sadly in the case of BP explorations Prudhoe Bay spill in 2006
              failure was predictable based on known metallurgical considerations ultrasonic corrosion rate data. There was a premeditated intent to run it as inexpensively (austere P.Mnt. budget) to failure as it was the more profitable alternative to shutting down for preventive maintenance.
              Same M.O. as Texas City.
              Same M.O. as the Gulf Spill
              This is a pattern and direct from a disheartened former Amoco/BP manager who was fairly high in the food chain at the Naperville, IL NA headquarters. Unfortunately this sort of outlaw behavior is not criminally prosecuted.

              1. bob

                The PR is thick. Building a pipeline, which will allow more drilling, and exporting, is now “environment triage”.

                Is that 17th dimension chess?

                Yes, if you allow the oil interests to frame the argument as “pipeline vs. rail” they win. Pipelines for everyone!

                Is there any evidence and/or a guarantee that oil rail traffic will decrease because of the new pipeline? Or will the drillers just drill more fucking holes, now that so there is so much new transport capacity?

              2. bob

                One more point-

                We, the collective gaia, whatever the hell you want to call it, do not have a government. We, as americans, do.
                While the oil is within the boundaries of the US, be it underground, or on a pipeline, or rail car, we have, in theory, some sort of control over it.

                As soon as it leaves our borders, which everyone here agrees is “environmental triage”, we have no control over it.

                Hoping the collective “we”(world?) will use less oil is much less effective, in practice, than not allowing it to leave the country(or the ground) in the first place. If it doesn’t leave the US, it can’t be burned outside of the US.

                Shouldn’t the question be- Why are we letting so many people drill for so much oil? There is every indication that there is too much here already! It’s bursting into flames before it can get to market! We’ve got so much oil sloshing around the US that we’re SENDING IT OVERSEAS!

    3. Cliff

      This is not to disparage any of your other points, merely to point out a factor of 100 error in your math: .003% of 400,000 carloads is 12 carloads, not 1200. Put another way, the average tanker train has approximately 120 carloads — are 10 full unit trains of oil hitting the dirt every year? While I might suspect the railroad’s claimed error rate is generous (in their favor), I don’t think they are off by two orders of magnitude.

  11. Crazy Horse

    “One third of Americans don’t believe in evolution” Cite as evidence that they personally have not evolved beyond the stage of believing that the shadows on the cave wall created by the witch doctor are explanations of reality sent by their heavenly father.

  12. tongorad

    How depressing to read the comments section of the Krugman NYT Obamacare puff piece.
    All that matters for a great many people is the R vs D scoreboard. Really depressing.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      People divine their self-value from their tribal tattoos. A commenter in these here parts (I wish it was me) described as serving as modern American religions. Morality and self-love are derived from being a Democrat, NPR listener, “believing”** in evolution, and so forth.

      Since they lack a positive self-identity and positive appreciation for others, they need their political party and its heroes to appear unblemished for their own self-esteem, so all failures are naturally the result of the other religion, not their messiah whether its a Kennedy, Clinton, Obama, and so forth. “Failures” of Obama mean recognizing Obama’s past failures and their complicity or anointing Obama as blessed by God with special knowledge (soaring rhetoric; 853rd dimensional chess; Obama is just like Spock***).

      When I was still a yellow dog Dem, I was volunteering in an Obama office during the campaign against Hillary, and I remember the organizer said, “anyone who supported Lieberman in the primary against Lamont should be banished from the Democratic Party.” I told her, “if Obama wins, don’t you think it would be awkward chasing Obama out.” There was no one else there, so I didn’t put undue pressure on her. What happened next was weird? She was just paused, her face contorted, and then she just steered the conversation away as if it was natural.

      **Evolution happened, and we can think it happened. “Belief” is for invisible skyfathers and spirits in nature. The way the words “believe” and “evolution” are bandied about demonstrate “Evolution” is nothing more than a tribal signifier than an actual process. So many minor pet peeves today. Oh right, UVA lost yesterday. Ugh.

      ***Symbolism. Spock and other Star Trek aliens stand in for modern humans. The humans are stand-in for moral supermen who have devised value from love of community completely separated from a God or strict moral code devised by wise men in the past which is why Picard could break the Prime Directive. Of course, Obama can be like Spock. Spock is a stand-in for us. I hate losing before calendar holidays.

    2. Synopticist

      I find that quite striking reading BLT threads in US MSM outlets, the degree of political partisanship, the R vs D thing. Maybe I’m imagining things, but it seems far more prevelant than in the UK for example.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        If you remove the Solid South from the U.S. voting records and account for instances of Republicans in Massachusetts who might be more likely to be machine politics rebels in the 60’s and 70’s, the U.S. has a higher rate of party discipline than the UK. Even if you ignore those issues, the U.S. has the second highest rate of party discipline.

        The other issue is the MSM is what it is, a spectacle. MSNBC fired their afternoon guy* for slamming Sarah Palin, but Palin isn’t news. She’s a celebrity to a group of people who can’t win. Palin was only LG Gov. of Alaska because she was the only Republican not connected to a widespread scandal in a Red State. Without the scandal, she would be on the list on a HuffPost list of America’s hottest mayors. The anchor was fired for having a thing on Sarah Palin in 2013. It may have been her opinion on ACA, but why wasn’t the anchor more concerned with the people who made it or why the did what they did? This would require work on his part. Compared to the U.S. msm, the worse Murdoch rag in the UK** is a bastion of enlightenment and intellectual discourse.

        *He should have been fired. It was gross.

        **I’m sure this isn’t quite true.

  13. Ron

    TED: Always thought of it as entertainment and if several millions of viewers consider it heavy science or the key to the future that would not be surprising.

  14. fresno dan

    “Rather than throwing the book at [JPM] and its executives, the Department of Justice called off a press conference and stopped a lawsuit because the bank’s high profile, politically-connected CEO, Jamie Dimon, personally called the Attorney General and asked him to do so.”

    Both parties, the FED, and the DoJ think that the banks played no role in the great recession, and did nothing seriously illegal, judging by their actions. So the question is, was the economic problems of 2008 a complete anomaly, or will running the system the same way lead to the same outcome?
    Does it have to happen twice for reform to occur?

  15. Paul Tioxon

    TED Remedy:

    David Harvey, Giovanni Arrighi et alia symposium on: “Adam Smith in Beijing”, by Arrighi. The popularization of ideas that change the world hit a wall when the people who actualized ideas, in order to change the world, were slapped down by the people who control the rate of change in the world. Philip Rieff wrote about the attempt of one such individual, a man of ideas who tried to make a place at the table for people who were transforming the world, but were not allowed to have a say in the initiatives which they would wind up implementing. Working not in the service of policies you had no say in, but still changing he world profoundly, as in the development of atomic power and the bomb, was a frustrating experience during the war effort of WWII. After the war, Oppenheimer tried to claim a place in policy as important as the role played in the Manhattan Project.

    Rather than being rewarded for the absolutely critical contribution of harnessing atomic power and all of its consequences for nuclear power and weaponry, he was destroyed. Power was not about to be shared simply because you were so smart you could bring forth ideas so powerful as to transform society and the relationship of people among one another. Oppenheimer found out he and his colleagues were used to make weapons and create a global superpower unlike any that has ever appeared in history and is today still more powerful than almost any grouping of nations together, much less any one other rival. Hegemony is not a simple word but a political and economic reality and it was built upon the foundation of military victory during WWII and secured by technologically driven industry.

    At the apex of this technology is nuclear power. Oppenheimer knew this and conflated merit and achievement with power to his peril. Ideas are a dime a dozen. Single payer health care faces organized political opposition and thus we have The ACA. Good ideas are not political power. Not even if you invent the atomic bomb. You have to control the bomb to have power, not just invent it. Control is codified via policy. Society is policed by policy. That is where the power lies. So, be on the look out for Company Policy, Thank You, The Management.


    ” This narrative has found a central place in our understanding of the scientifically modern. Sociologists, philosophers, historians, and other social commentators examining the role of the scientific intellectual have all attempted to come to terms with the figure of Oppenheimer. In Brighter Than a Thousand Suns, the journalist Robert Jungk’s celebrated study of the atomic scientists, Oppenheimer appears in a field of struggle between pure science and the will to power. He is presented as embodying a unity between science and humanistic culture, a unity that is shattered by the one-sided technical-instrumental orientation that led to the atomic bomb. For Jungk, Oppenheimer was the tragic representative of the scientists’ Faustian bargain with military technology. Jungk wrote in 1958, nine years before Oppenheimer’s death: “Oppenheimer … reveals … why the twentieth century Faust allows himself, in his obsession with success and despite occasional twinges of conscience, to be persuaded into signing the pact with the Devil that confronts him: What is ‘technically sweet’ he finds nothing less than irresistible.” Oppenheimer’s former friend, Haakon Chevalier (their connection was to be the key subject of interrogation in the 1954 hearings), concluded that Oppenheimer was “a Faust of the twentieth century, he had sold his soul to the bomb.”

    For sociologist Lewis Feuer, Oppenheimer represented the rise of managerialism, technocratic power, and militarism in science. “During our generation,” he wrote, “science has become the bearer of a death wish,” and he quoted Oppenheimer’s famous reaction to the first atomic bomb test: “I am become death-the shatterer of worlds.” Lewis Coser was also interested in Oppenheimer as a leading representative of the scientists’ new public role in confronting the problems of atomic weapons. Like Feuer, Coser was worried that scientists were becoming “the domesticated retainers of their bureaucratic masters.” But in contrast to Feuer, he saw Oppenheimer as exemplary of scientists who “have cultivated uncommon sensitivity to the values of our culture and the fate of our society.” In Coser’s view, Oppenheimer was a “true scientific intellectual.”

    Philip Rieff similarly dwelled on Oppenheimer’s “charismatic” and symbolic role: “His thin handsome face and figure replaced Einstein’s as the public image of genius … He had actually become the priest-scientist of Comtean vision, transforming history as well as nature.” But Rieff argued that the scope for such a charismatic role for scientists in modern America was limited. Without a vibrant humanistic public culture to support them, the scientists’ engagement with politics was doomed to failure. For Rieff, Oppenheimer’s denunciation by the AEC signified the reduction of the scientific elite to the merely technical function of a “service class.”

    Excerpt from the opening page: “OPPENHEIMER The Tragic Intellect” by Charles Thorpe

  16. susan the other

    On Washingtonsblog report about the long list of West Coast sea species suffering “mysterious” illnesses: This is so heartbreaking. We saved the Bald Eagle from extinction by DDT to allow them and so many other brothers to die from our blatant incompetence now. Our local radio reported the “mysterious deaths” of 9 Bald Eagle; an investigation is under way. Clearly this is most likely Fukushima. Here in Summit County, Utah the eagles come to summer and often stay until the weather goes below zero. They are indescribably beautiful to watch.

    Has anybody ever seen a gathering of eagles? I saw one only once about 10 years ago in November. At least 30 of them all rising on a spiraling wind current – even touching each other’s wings – and when they gained altitude they all headed due south. It was awesome.

    1. Eureka Springs

      Over the last 8 to 10 years here in the Ozarks I could step outside on any given winter day and see an eagle, usually half a dozen or more. I could set my clock by certain daily activities. The gatherings occurred every year. My favorite catch was watching a pair grasp each other by their talons, wings spread wide in a dual spiral fall. Spectacular!

      Anyway, this new year, no eagles at all.

      As for the ocean life/death… Sure is odd it’s all reported as so inexplicable. I wonder if they don’t want to know (not testing at all) or don’t want to tell us. But China abruptly quit importing any and all west coast Canadian US seafood. China!

      1. XO

        From what I could find, it’s only shellfish that are banned. China cited arsenic in geoduck clams as the reason.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I am curious to know if China did anything about Gulf of Mexico seafood after the ‘cleanup’ of the Deepwater disaster.

    2. XO

      Crossing a bridge in Eastern Nova Scotia (over Tracadie Harbor, I believe), about 5 years ago, we saw an uncountable number of Bald Eagles along the bank (I’d estimate between 25 and 50, in all), with quite a few in the air.

      That entire area is thick with Bald Eagles.

  17. optimader
    When dental schools closed: lessons for veterinary profession?

    June 10, 2013
    By: Edie Lau
    For The VIN News Service

    My dentist used to teach parttime at Loyola before the dental program was wrapped up. He is a dying breed of “eccentrics” in so far as he soldiers on in a private practice with a partner. Here in the Chicago area at least, and I have no reason to think it isn’t a national trend, small practices are being aggregated by corporate dentistry entities. Typically dentists approaching retirement age are solicited with an offer.
    I do know one that took the deal and it was an easy decision as the traditional dental practice owner passing on the practice to an understudy “journeyman” dentist out of school model I think is largely broken, at least in this geography. Young dentists graduate and go to work at larger dental entitles to start chipping away at the student debt. A dentist out of school starting up a practice I imagine is extinct.

  18. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Budget deal’s pension cuts…angry veterans.

    It’s time for One Defined Benefit Pension Plan for All, or no defined benefit pension plans at all.

    United we stand.

  19. JTFaraday

    re: And a bonus antidote. Yes, this is what you think it is!

    A pox on that photographer for trying to make his cats feel guilty!

    1. scraping_by

      Well, if it were a science journal instead of an economics blog, you could title it, ‘Novel Positional Schema in Feline Dual Procreative Activity Discovered in Cushioned Context’ and nobody would bat an eye.

  20. scraping_by

    RE: Media companies

    The return of poverty among the ink-stained wretches has more to do with the damage to the Newspaper Guild, the Writer’s Guild, and yes, the printers’ unions that any technological change.
    Indeed, more bandwidth should be more demand, which should drive up wages. Nah.

    1. Wayne Reynolds

      “…ink-stained wretches”. At first I thought you would talk about the tattooed masses.

  21. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    One third Americans and perhaps even more Am-Not-ericans reject evolution.

    Yes, but I have a compromise to please everyone.

    God created evolution.

    Now, creationists and evolutionists have something in common.

    I Am and I Am Not.

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