Links 1/17/14

We’ve come across a post in French we’d like translated to run at NC. About 400 words, but more literary French than Le Monde. Anyone who is interested please contact me.

Police Arrest Philadelphia’s Infamous Swiss Cheese Masturbator Gawker

Antarctic glacier’s retreat unstoppable DW

The Malware That Duped Target Has Been Found Wired

95% Of ATMs Are Still Using Windows XP. No, Really Consumerist

Google unveils ‘smart contact lens’ BBC

JPMorgan Sees Asian Currencies Extending Rout on Economy Bloomberg

Banks May Face Proprietary Trading Ban in Europe, Draft Plan Shows Bloomberg

EC is short of 140,000 election officials for 15 southern provinces Thai PBS (furzy mouse). Lambert: “That’s a soft secession. All sides are playing with fire.”

Fancy-dress dogging on duke’s estate upsets villagers The Times. Only in England….

Women delaying motherhood is ‘worrying issue’, says Chief Medical Officer Telegraph. Um, she also doesn’t like that some women don’t have children.

Sharks circle Canadian housing MacroBusiness

South Sudan Is a Defining Crisis for U.N. New York Times

Big Brother is Watching You Watch:

My Doctor Can Disclose My Medical Records to the NSA Without My Authorization (and so can yours) Peter Van Buren, Firedoglake

NSA collects millions of text messages daily in ‘untargeted’ global sweep Guardian

FOIA fight for NSA documents continues Columbia Journalism Review

Today I Briefed Congress on the NSA Bruce Schneier

Public remains ‘all over the map’ on NSA tactics Politico

Roll Over, Ike cocktailhag, Firedoglake

US explores ‘end game’ in tobacco control Financial Times

America’s Emergency Care System Is On The Verge Of Failing Business Insider (Francois T). No doubt true, but this report is about Americas’ “emergency care system” and not about just about emergency rooms. See the report here. The problem is it also has some clear agendas. For instance, 20% of the score is based on whether tort liability, and the report explicitly incorporates the myth that medical malpractice liability costs are driving doctors out of the profession. My sample of MDs in New York City says that the hassles of dealing with health insurers is a much bigger perp of doctors stopping practicing (or converting their practice to ailments of the affluent, like dermatologists who only do cosmetic procedures). But you see nary a mention of insurance hassles here. Similarly, 15% of the grade is based on “disaster preparedness” which is readiness to respond to terrorist attacks, pandemics, and natural disasters. Maine, which scores well generally, gets an F in that category, as do many other rural states. But you would think the standards for disaster preparedness would be higher in states with bigger urban concentrations (due to greater knock-on effects from infrastructure damage, much greater odds of being targeted by terrorists, plus higher population densities leading to faster transmission of infectious diseases). So while this report is useful, it has some noteworthy biases.

An Occupy Wall Street Offshoot Has Its Day Simon Johnson, New York Times

How Occupy Wall Street Won In One Chart Business Insider

Statement to county commissioners at pipeline meeting Pruning Shears

Ohio uses untested execution method Guardian. Jeez, a firing squad would be more humane.

Judge Disallows Plan by Detroit to Pay Off Banks New York Times

Detroit’s art—and its public worker pensions—get help from charitable foundations Daily Kos (Carol B)

California faces water shortages and wildfires as “mega-drought” gets even worse Salon

Cold Shoulder for Global Warming on Sunday TV Bernie Sanders

Banks Keep Their Mortgage Litigation Reserves a Secret New York Times. Pathetic.

New plan to wind down Fannie and Freddie Financial Times

When financiers align themselves against Wall Street Felix Salmon

Banks Are Not Fund Managers Frances Coppola, Forbes

Analysis: Wal-Mart case seen a key test in struggle over labor rights Reuters

Advocates for Workers Raise the Ire of Business New York Times. Businesses adopting the “We will fight them on the beaches” strategy.

Goldman Sachs pays employees average of $383,000 after profits rise 5% Guardian. Remember, this is an average: it includes secretaries, back office personnel, IT staff.

ALBERT EDWARDS: We’re On The Cliff Of Deflation And Markets Don’t Seem To Care Business Insider. I can tell you why. Disinflation (falling rates of inflation) are great for financial assets. That’s what drove the markets from 1982 through 2007. Plus Bernanke and central bankers have been worried about deflation since 2002 and with the Fed watching your back, why worry?

2014: Desperately seeking demand MacroBusiness

Antidote du jour:


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  1. Working Class Nero

    Re: translation into English of a French article; email it to me and I can do it in the next couple hours….

  2. Swedish Lex

    On Albert Edwards.
    I suppose that the markets assume that the Central Banks will continue printing. Or in the case of the ECB, start printing.

  3. Chadders

    re the Swiss Cheese Masturbator, I’m sure there must be a joke here somewhere about ‘gouda with cumin’…

    1. ambrit

      Down on the Esplanade end of Bourbon Street the boys are always joking about “Assiago.”
      It does explain a lot about the Wisconsin predilection for “Cheese Heads.”
      Is fondue fondling a crime? Sort of like ‘frottage?’ A fondueueur?
      No matter how you look at it, it has to cause a bad yeast infection. Candidaembert!

  4. David Lentini

    2014: Desperately Seeking Miracle?

    I find it hard to swallow the argument quoted in MarcoBusness that despite China’s impending “correction”, Europe’s continued stagnation, Japan’s increasingly limp Abenomics, and America’s limited (as in nil) capacity for driving global demand, the outlook in positive. The idea that the crushing of US wages makes us more “competitive” is insipid—More competitive with whom? Bangladesh? With demand falling or likely to fall around the world, the depression of US wages only enures further turns of the downward spiral that means less demand, not more.

    And what really is going on with depressed wages? Not more investment, but higher corporate profits and stock prices. But I guess if you’re a money manager or bankster that’s good enough reason for having a positive outlook.

    1. Ron

      Lack of Demand has been an issue for many years given the modern state of manufacturing capability and knowledge. The ability to produce large amounts of manufactured items big and small has gutted manufacturing/distribution employment.

  5. tongorad

    If advocates for workers raise the ire of business, just imagine what workers advocating for themselves could and should do…

    1. tongorad

      “Business groups argue that worker centers should face the same strictures as labor unions under federal law, including detailed financial disclosure, regular election of leaders and bans on certain types of picketing.”

      So much for deregulation, eh? “Freedom” to passively acquiesce to the demands of business. How dare you organize!

  6. Keith in Modesto

    Regarding the NYT article “Advocates for Workers Raise the Ire of Business”, I eagerly await the flood of internet libertarians advocating that worker centers be allowed to fully exercise their rights of free speech and freedom of assembly in the marketplace without government interference. (Does the NYT not allow comments on their articles?)

  7. financial matters

    Nice move in standing up to derivative contracts. The devil is in the details but no doubt many of these were very predatory. (Traders, Guns and Money)

    I think Detroit lucked out with getting Judge Rhodes as a federal bankruptcy judge and hopefully will set some good precedents.

    Judge Disallows Plan by Detroit to Pay Off Banks New York Times

    “”The ruling was seen as a vindication for Detroit’s residents and its other main creditors, which stood to take a back seat to the new Barclays loan. They were arguing that the swap contracts appeared to have been illegal to begin with and should be voided rather than paid by the bankrupt city. Some even called for Detroit to claw back the millions of dollars it has already paid the two banks on the swaps.

    “It’s a recovery for the people of Detroit,” said Abayomi Azikiwe of the Moratorium Now Coalition, who was outside the courtroom when Judge Rhodes made his ruling. “It’s a major win that could have national implications as other cities undergo bankruptcy.” “”

  8. TimR
    “The rumors have been confirmed; President Obama’s plan to name Stanley Fischer as vice chairman of the Federal Reserve was made official on January 10. At the same time he announced Fischer’s appointment, the president also named Lael Brainard and Jerome Powell to positions as governors on the seven-member Federal Reserve Board. Fed Chairman Janet Yellen and Vice Chairman Fischer also serve as governors.

    Unremarked in any of the media coverage of the appointments is the significant fact that all four of these Obama nominations to one of the most powerful institutions on the planet are not only members, but high-level operatives, of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), the premier U.S. “think tank” promoting world government for the past century.

    Federal Reserve Board Governor Daniel Tarullo is also a CFR member. As we reported on December 29, Stanley Fischer was named this past September to be a “distinguished fellow” in residence at Pratt House, the CFR’s New York City headquarters. In that same article, we noted that “many additional CFR members and officers have rotated in and out of top positions at the Fed, Treasury, and the big Wall Street firms, such as former Fed Chairmen Paul Volcker and Alan Greenspan, as well as current Federal Reserve Regional Bank Presidents William Dudley (New York City), Dennis P. Lockhart (Atlanta), Richard W. Fisher (Dallas), and current Federal Reserve Board of Governors members Daniel K. Tarullo, Jerome H. Powell … and Janet Yellen.”

    And we might have added that this curious Pratt House influence extends back over the past century to the founding era of the Fed, to such top Wall Street Insiders as Paul Warburg, who was the chief architect of, and propagandist for, the Federal Reserve act, and one of the founding directors of the CFR. …”

    1. ohmyheck

      Speaking of the Council on Foreign Relations, here is a clip of Hillary Clinton admitting that she takes marching orders from the CFR:

      If any Dem Party hopeful wants to take out Hillary, all they have to do is run this video as a national advertisement, and it is adiosseeyalaterbuhbye to this member of The Family.
      Oh, hey! Why don’t we get donations and run the ad ourselves? Oh right, no one wants to get accidentally taken out by a drone one fine day….

    2. Jim

      It is also interesting to note that the recent issue of the flagship journal of the Council on Foreign Relations (Foreign Affairs (Jan/Feb. 2014) has an article entitled “America’s Social Democratic Future”
      This may be an indication that at least a portion of our ruling elite would, if necessary, endorse a somewhat contained Social Democratic future, because they apparently see such a development as stability inducing and a non-threat to their real power.

  9. TimR

    I haven’t read this yet, but this looks like an interesting angle on the Benghazi attacks:
    Benghazi: Cover-up By Both Parties?
    By Russ Baker on Jan 15, 2014

    The continued finger-pointing between the GOP and the Obama Administration over “what really happened in Benghazi” may be obscuring a much more disturbing narrative—a story in neither party’s interest.

    1. Synopticist

      The whole story is pretty murky, but that particular article seems to suggest that the Egyptian military were behind the Muhammed video which apparently kicked it off, in order to crack down on the Islamists. A dumb theory, given that the Muslim brotherhood was still in power at the time, and the popular revolt which overthrew them happened months and months later. I’ve read other accounts indicating morsi himself might have encouraged it. Another one suggests that a former gitmo inmate was involved, but mainly because his militia shares a name with one of the groups reckoned to be involved. In most countries that would be fairly damning, but in Libya it’s more of a picturesque detail. If you’ve got a thousand odd armed islamist groups, some of them are bound to share a name.

      Whats striking to me is that bengazi was a city stuffed to the gills with armed men, organised into scores of competing militia, which had been rescued from the bitter vengance of a somewhat deranged dictator only half a year before. The ambassador was supposedly a high-profile and popular guy, who was closely involved in running arms from Libya and channeling them to Syria. “Allegedly”.

      But when a few dozen bearded nutjobs assaulted the embassy, in an that lasted hours and kept the entire city spellbound, not A SINGLE Libyan came to his aid. Not one. The place is a total basket case.

      1. Nathanael

        I think this isn’t a surprise. Seriously, who in the world is going to come to the aid of someone working for the *US government*? You’ve got to think about the reputation which the US government has developed over the last couple of decades. Your best bet for getting local help is to make sure nobody knows you have anything to do with it.

  10. Jim Haygood

    While the world’s major economies continue their cryptic campaign of competitive devaluations, Venezuela bizarrely clings to an absurdly overvalued bolivar:

    Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is turning to an army brigadier general to run the economy, two months after using troops to control prices and slow the world’s fastest inflation.

    The official exchange rate of 6.3 bolivars per dollar will remain, he said, even as the black market rate tumbles to 74.

    For those that underestimate me, I say I’m a socialist and I know what I’m doing,” Maduro said.


    Meanwhile, Argentina’s ‘dolar informal’ rose to a record 11.58 pesos, as the Widow K. vainly pursues the legendary ‘Venezuelan path to prosperity.’

    Dirigisme,comrades. If we keep banging our heads against the wall long enough, it is certain to work!

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Public all over the map on NSA.

    “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around, does it make it a sound?”

    YES, (and they can prove it too) because there is an NSA bugging and recording device there.

    Ultimately, there is one bugging device per square inch of planet surface, and math whiz kids can compute how many we need.

    But it could be too late to getting into bugging device maker stocks.

  12. jfleni

    RE: Cold Shoulder for Global Warming on Sunday TV

    Naturally, since the poison dwarf brothers, the “Roo-in-chief”, the Wal-mutts, and all other plutocrat morons cannot abide any mention of real problems which cuts into their profits, even for the short time we all have left, they order the “silent treatment.”

  13. jfleni

    RE: “The Malware That Duped Target Has Been Found”

    Along with the malware and the bugging devices, only one site mentioned that the essentials for all that to work was “Microswift” software a.k.a. “Billy Boy Systems” on the affected computers!

  14. Garrett Pace

    Delaying motherhood in UK

    These factoids were very interesting:

    “In 1982 there were 6,500 births in England and Wales to women aged 40 or more – about 1 per cent of all babies born that year.
    By 2012 the figure there were 30,000 births to women aged 40 and over – more than four per cent of births.”

    I think the 1982 figure is most anomalous. Before birth control tons of women had children in their 40’s. I would guess that introducing birth control allowed the first generation of women to stop having kids sooner, and the next generation to start having kids later.

    1. Nancyin StL

      I agree! It wasn’t uncommon in earlier generations to have women bearing children well into their 40’s – if they survived earlier childbirths.

      That said, I’ve been collecting Social Security (from 65 years old) for a couple of years and my youngest turns 23 this summer. I’m sure that younger women have an easier time bearing children, but that doesn’t warrant dire warnings for women who’d rather do it differently.

  15. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


    I was stressing over robots taking over humans jobs, when my cat asked me: ‘When you get a robot cat or a cat robot, will you still love me tomorrow?’

    I thought to myself: well, a robot cat is cheaper these days, especially with the wide acceptance and the economy of scale – a paragon of virtue so cherished by economists – possible with the accompanying mass production, and a robot cat comes a declawed option without the humaneness issue…

    But I kept all that to myself.

    I said to my cat, in the most patronizing tone I could impersonate, ‘Don’t worry, sweetie. Robot cats will bring efficiency to the world of cats, and at the end, that means more cat prosperity for all cats. Trust me. I will still love you tomorrow.’

    1. psychohistorian

      If you can replace your cat with a robot it means there will be more cat food for you when the going gets tough.

  16. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Sharks…Canadian housing.

    As we Americans live below that giant Canadian skyscraper, will we get buried by the falling Canadian housing bubble debris?

  17. barrisj

    For those NC readers who believe that the US is an “empire in decline”, I direct your attention to the latest from Nick Turse, Managing Editor of TomDispatch, who is one of the premier reporters on the National Security State, and who has been following the phenomenal growth of SOCOM, the Special Ops Command, that directs commando forces across the globe in various “activities”, many of which involve kidnapping or murder of “bad guys”, of which there is an evergrowing pool. Under Obama, as part of “protecting our freedoms” (see NSA expansion), SOCOM now has operatives in 134 countries, greatly increasing the chances of the well-characterised phenomenon of “blowback”. Read it here:

    Tomgram: Nick Turse, Secret Wars and Black Ops Blowback(Intro)
    These days, when I check out the latest news on Washington’s global war-making, I regularly find at least one story that fits a new category in my mind that I call: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

    Take last Saturday’s Washington Post report by Craig Whitlock on the stationing of less than two dozen U.S. “military advisers” in war-torn Somalia. They’ve been there for months, it turns out, and their job is “to advise and coordinate operations with African troops fighting to wrest control of the country from the al-Shabab militia.” If you leave aside the paramilitarized CIA (which has long had a secret base and prison in that country), those advisers represent the first U.S. military boots on the ground there since the infamous “Black Hawk Down” incident of 1993. As soon as I read the piece, I automatically thought: Given the history of the U.S. in Somalia, including the encouragement of a disastrous 2006 Ethiopian invasion of that country, what could possibly go wrong?
    The earliest GWOTsters, all Onion-style satirists, believed that the U.S. was destined to rule the world till Hell froze over. Their idea of a snappy quip was “Everyone wants to go to Baghdad. Real men want to go to Tehran,” and they loved to refer to the Greater Middle East as “the arc of instability.” That, mind you, was before they sent in the U.S. military. Today, 12 years later, that long-gone world looks like an arc of stability, while the U.S. has left the Greater Middle East, from North Africa to Syria, from Yemen to Afghanistan, a roiling catastrophe zone of conflict, refugees, death, and destruction. As it happened, the Bush administration’s invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq proved to be the only genuine weapons of mass destruction around, loosing, among other things, what could prove to be the great religious war of modern times.

    And the lessons drawn? As TomDispatch regular Nick Turse, author of Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam (just out in paperback), suggests in today’s post, the Obama administration has overseen the reorganization of the Global War on Terror as a vast secret operation of unrivaled proportions. It now oversees a planetary surveillance network of staggering size and reach (itself leading to historic blowback) and the spread of a secret military spawned inside the U.S. military and now undergoing typically mindless expansion on a gargantuan scale. What could possibly go wrong?
    The Special Ops Surge
    America’s Secret War in 134 Countries


    There are many ways a Leviathan State can exercise hegemony, other than British Empire-syle colonialism: The enormous global reach of NSA, in complicity with its US corporate partners, and the doubling-down of militarised foreign policy, where the entire planet can be thought of as a “free-fire zone”, pursuant to the 2001 AUMF, gives the lie to any assertion that the US is going to cede any claim to global dominance any time soon.

    1. psychohistorian

      I agree that American empire is still dominant in the world. Whether it can continue that dominance in light of some of its growing failures (Fukushima, global warming, global finance, etc.) will be the current test.

      One of my fears is that when the empire fails, as all things eventually do and certainly looks like is what is happening now, that some of the idiot faith breathers in charge will believe it is best to blow the world up and let Gawd decide instead of admitting defeat.

    2. Nathanael

      The US has already lost global dominance. Running around bombing people and spying doesn’t really change that. Dominance is a *social* phenomenon, and you don’t get it by physical activity, you get it by *convincing people*. The US government has lost mindshare dominance, and the rest is just a matter of defusing the bombs it’s left behind.

      1. Nathanael

        It’ll be interesting to watch the cases where US government-sponsored murderers just get arrested and tried in local courts. It will start happening more and more, and the US won’t be able to do a damn thing about it.

  18. tyler

    I wonder what demand-increasing fiscal policy the Dems could propose that the GOP would have to support in an election year. Perhaps a payroll tax holiday? Or maybe a federal income tax holiday for incomes under $100k?

    1. scraping_by

      I don’t know if the old world of election pressures still exist. Much of the rhetoric of the Right has to do with ‘morality’ and blatant oppositionalism.

      Then, too, the Right owes its election success not to deception of the voters but control of the voting mechanism. Whether it’s the judges who replaced the Secretary of State in Wisconsin, or the programmable electronic voting systems in use way too many places, actual meat people in the voting booth don’t add up to votes for or against anyone or anything.

      Various translations of Stalin’s quote a still floating around: “Don’t tell me who’s voting, tell me who’s counting the votes, and I’ll tell you who wins the election.”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I, for one, do not believe the problem of ‘overproduction’ can be addressed by ‘overpopulation.’

      It won’t work, though, unfortunately, it’s implicitly assumed in many business plans.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        In the same vein that ‘excess X’ is not countered by ‘excess Y,’ one can see why ‘Big A’ is not countered by ‘Big B.’

        That is to say, Big Government is not an antidote to Big Business, necessarily.

        The antidote to Big Business is by transforming it to Small Business.

        One might imagine countering Mothra with Godzilla. At the end, you get a totally flattened Tokyo.:( The solution there is slightly different. You can’t make Mothra smaller. The solution is to make sure you don’t have a Fukushima…if possible.

        1. F. Beard

          That is to say, Big Government is not an antidote to Big Business, necessarily. Beefy

          Will wonders never cease? I agree. Yet that is the Progressive solution to banking: Allow the banks to create vast amounts of purchasing power via government privilege but then “regulate” them to make sure their thievery is “prudent”, as if theft* could ever be prudent.

          *Except in emergency situations.

  19. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: My Doctor Can Disclose My Medical Records to the NSA….

    I’m not so sure it’s your doctor or provider you should be worrying about. Sure, you sign the HIPAA forms at the provider’s office. At EVERY provider’s office.

    But each time an insurance claim is filed, a very specific record of treatment is created somewhere else–in the insurance company’s computers. And keep in mind, even when the insurance is paying $0, as in when YOU are paying to satisfy your deductible, a claim must be filed and a record created so that a tally of the dollars spent against the deductible can be kept.

    I can understand the emphasis on privacy of medical records. If I remember correctly, one of the selling points of the HIPAA law was that employers wouldn’t hire people who had used a lot of medical services because their insurance costs would rise. Hence the need for “privacy.” Fair enough, but Obamacare SEEMS to have eliminated that problem. Single-payer definitely would.

    But I’m thinking that all this “privacy” may have a downside. Insurance companies already use the incidence of certain medical conditions in different areas of the country to adjust premiums and coverage for policies in those locales. Black lung disease in West Virginia, for example. It’s called epidemiology and it’s a valuable actuarial tool.

    But epidemiology can get more difficult when individual “privacy” is a concern. As an example, consider the famous Erin Brokovich/PG&E case of the mid-90’s. One of the most daunting tasks in that case was securing and evaluating the medical records of all the Californians who were being affected by the water which PG&E was contaminating. Did concern for “privacy” prevent discovery of cause and effect sooner? I’ve never understood why the “healthcare” providers didn’t make that connection more quickly. It took a LAWYER to make the case.

    So my point is that you have no expectation of medical privacy where the insurance company is concerned, and they USE that info for their own purposes. Making your doctor keep your health secrets just may not always be in YOUR best interests.

  20. diptherio

    One of my compadres has an article up on Truth-Out re the personal fallout from mining pollution:
    Love in a Time of 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol ~Cheyenna Weber

    “We are all implicated, no matter what wells we dig, or what cities we may call home. There are those who assign blame to a political party, but the power of extractive energy industries knows no ideology but profit. They have successfully sought and maintained control of land, and of decision-making in West Virginia, for generations. Those who have opposed them have been targets for terrorism at the hands of armed thugs, and the victims of industry operations have all but disappeared into underclass status. Our bodies share certain markers, even generations from now, not unlike the rings on a tree which differ in size and shape according to seasonal shifts. Those in power will point to “lifestyle” choices, ignoring the systemic pernicious influence of history, unwilling to accept that the shape of what is physiologically determines the shape of what will be.”

  21. diptherio

    Attn: Sandy Survivors and NJ Residents, a message from Occupy Sandy New Jersey:


    Dear friends and supporters,

    In light of the recent disturbing disclosures concerning Governor Chris Christie’s flagrant misuse of federal Sandy aid money, the collective of storm survivors and their allies who organize under the Occupy Sandy New Jersey banner are hereby calling on residents of New Jersey to join us in Trenton in Occupying outside the Capitol starting this Saturday, January 18th, at noon. We intend to maintain our camp through Chris Christie’s re-inauguration festivities on Tuesday, January 21st.

    In particular we invite and encourage Sandy survivors to make the trip to Trenton (we’ll help you get here if you reach out: call 609-318-4271 or email to tell your stories to the state and national media already camped out nearby. We know that the people of New Jersey have stories to tell, to Chris Christie and to anyone willing to listen, and we plan to provide a safe space from which to do so.

    Since our Sandy recovery work continues on a daily basis—indeed, some of our volunteers and organizers may not even be able to make it to Trenton due to responsibilities in the field—this will only be a four day Occupation. However, should the administration fail to quickly fix its broken response to the storm and shift its attention to the state’s residents who are most in need, we will not rule out returning to Trenton again soon. Governor Christie must understand that the last people he should be bullying right now are Sandy survivors.

    #OccupyChristie starts at high noon TOMORROW at the State Capitol. Bring sleeping bags.

  22. Glen

    Silicon Valley workers sue Google, Apple, Adobe, Intel et al for conspiring to drive down pay by not poaching each other’s staff.

    “The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals late on Tuesday let stand an order by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California to let the workers sue as a group, and pursue what the defendants said could exceed $9 billion of damages.”

  23. Jess

    Regarding the botched execution story: Yes, a firing squad would be more humane. With today’s laser sights, bullets to the brain are not difficult for any experienced marksman firing at the distances used by firing squads. Death would be instantaneous.

    1. scraping_by

      In Norman Mailer’s Executioners Song, the four law enforcement shooters who made up Gary Gilmore’s firing squad were shown going out for drinks after the execution. Mailer showed two of them undisturbed and two deeply conflicted by what they’d just done. Add one more for delayed onset PTSD, and that’s a high toll on cop mental health.

      The solutions could be to hire military contractors (a new sideline for Blackwater)( tell me that stays in The Onion) or some sort of robotic device. And no bullet wound is inevitably and/or instantaneously fatal. The records of combat medicine disprove that one.

      1. F. Beard

        And no bullet wound is inevitably and/or instantaneously fatal. scraping_by

        Life is amazing. I read where a tiger with its rear half blown away still killed the guy who shot it.

        Also, it reminds me of that joke: “If you hit me and I ever find out about it …”

  24. Jess

    Regarding Simon Johnson’s article claiming that the unveiling today of the final Volcker Rule is a victory for Occupy the SEC:

    Hasn’t it been fairly well documented here that after the banks got through slicing and dicing the fine print that the Volcker Rule is at best a shadow of what was intended and will do precious little to limit the taxpayer-backstopped risks banks take in the derivatives market?

  25. flora

    re: Simon Johnson’s article Occupy the S.E.C.
    Mr. Johnson makes clear that however much the heads of govt regulatory agencies may be captured by financial or political interests, many senior expert agency employees remain true to the purpose of their job.

    “When and if some sensible people try to push for reform, they are helped if well-informed pressure is brought to bear from the outside.”

    This is encouraging

  26. F. Beard

    re Women delaying motherhood is ‘worrying issue’, says Chief Medical Officer

    Otoh, Abraham’s wife, Sarah, had her first (and only) at 99 and Jew (pun?) know how well that tribe has done in the arts and sciences (not to mention business and finance).

    Otooh (On the other other hand) usury requires fresh crops of slaves to keep the scam going.

  27. ambrit

    Re. Le Antidote;
    “Avec! C’est le skonk de pew!”
    “Ah, ma cheri. Let us make the beautiful music together!”

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