Links 1/21/14

Japanese fishermen capture at least 250 dolphins ahead of annual Taiji Cove slaughter Agence France-Presse

Flashback Friday: When it comes to penis length and economic growth, size does matter. Discover Magazine (Chuck L)

Spanx And Other Shapewear Are Literally Squeezing Your Organs Huffington Post (Carol B). Wow, am I out of it. Girdles came back in fashion when I wasn’t looking?

Forget about forgetting: The elderly know more and use it better MedicalXpress (Robert M)

How to Survive a Nuclear Explosion Science. I thought the answer was to be a well-located cockroach.

Aspen and the End of Snow Men’s Journal (Chuck L)

Amazon says it can ship items before customers order USA Today (furzy mouse)

Science Denialists Make Fake Journal, Get Shut Down. Greg Laden (Chuck L)

The Surgeon General’s Reports: 50 years of cessation ignorance WhyQuit. Tim F: “On the continued pharma control of the cessation debate, e.g., that you MUST use nicotine replacement (products $$!!) rather than the far more successful cold turkey route.”

US tech firms make eleventh-hour attempt to halt tax avoidance reforms Guardian

Australia ‘one-punch’ laws announced in New South Wales BBC

China’s GDP questioned; monetary conditions tighten once again Walter Kurtz

Default risk soars, funds pull $4bn Bangkok Post

Yuriko Koike criticizes democratic countries’ indifference to the threat posed by the Thai opposition’s strategy of protest Project Syndicate

European Banks Face $1 Trillion Gap Before Review, Study Shows Bloomberg (Michael Shedlock)

Impunity And Excess, Desperation And Violence: Two Worlds Collide In Spain Testosterone Pit (Chuck L)

Slave trade documents among illegal Foreign Office cache Guardian

Philomena and the story of a D.C. insider Politico

U.N. Rescinds Invitation to Iran for Syria Talks Wall Street Journal

Document: ObamaCare contractor faces mid-March deadline or disaster The Hill (Thomas P)

Net Neutrality Nixed

“Net Neutrality” Ruling Opens Door for 2-Tiered Internet Market Scientific American

Calm down. The courts didn’t just end the open Internet. Ezra Klein, Washington Post

Martin Luther King. Zeitgeist alert: lots of good material this year.

King Speaks on Selma Budget Films Stock Footage. You must watch this. No exceptions permitted.

If MLK Were Alive Today (video) Popular Resistance

King Had a Dream. Obama Has a Drone George Washington

Food Stamps Obesity and Dependency Angry Bear

German transport authority claims it was ‘misled’ by JPMorgan Financial Times (Lee). Muppet revolt!

Wm. K. Black: JP Morgan’s Frauds Are Epic, Unprecedented, NSA Scandal a PR Disaster Jesse (Pat)

David Bird, Wall Street Journal Reporter, Goes Missing After Reporting for Three Months on Oil Glut in U.S. Pam Martens

How To Manipulate The Entire IPO Market With Just $250 Million Testosterone Pit (Chuck L)

Fed on Track For Next Cut In Bond Buys Wall Street Journal

How America’s Fracking Boom Is Helping Bolster Treasuries Demand Bloomberg

How overvalued are US stocks? MacroBusiness

Three Myths on the World’s Poor Bill and Melinda Gates, Wall Street Journal (Lance N). OMG this is embarrassing: “Things are better for the poor because I see hardly any these days when I visit big cities.” As if that’s a valid proxy, but it’s classic Davos Man rationalization.

Trickle-down economics is the greatest broken promise of our lifetime Guardian

Antidote du jour. Yes, she did get it off by herself:


And a bonus! Hat tip Lance N:

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    1. markf

      “By Jean Shaoul
      21 January 2014
      Britain has been referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague over allegations of war crimes committed during the occupation of Iraq. There was a call for an ICC investigation under Article 15 of the Rome Statute into the actions of senior British officials during the conflict.
      The submission specifically names the former chief of staff General Sir Peter Wall and two ministers in Tony Blair’s Labour government, former defence secretary Geoff Hoon and former defence minister Adam Ingram, as officials who should have to answer claims about the systematic use of torture and cruelty.”

  1. financial matters

    It’s interesting to consider US money market funds which most people regard as safe as similar to China’s wealth management products.

    “”On Friday, Chinese state media reported that China Credit Trust Co. warned investors that they may not be repaid when one of its wealth management products matures on January 31, the first day of the Year of the Horse.””


    “”the so-called shadow banking system composed of investment banks, money market funds, hedge funds, special purpose vehicles, and the like””

    “”The classical approach to LLR leaves open the question: what should the Fed and/or Treasury do in response to an insolvency crisis? Yet, well-established law and theory provide guidance: insolvent institutions are supposed to be resolved. Apparently, the Fed and Treasury refused to take that approach on the argument that these institutions were not insolvent and/or they were too big to resolve. However, lending to insolvent banks, and especially targeting big and insolvent banks for special attention, creates tremendous moral hazard. This problem could help fuel a headlong run to the next financial crisis.””

    2.5 Concluding Comments: Did the Fed Follow Classical LLR Theory?

  2. flora

    re: Ezra Klein. ‘Calm down. The courts didn’t just end the open Internet. ‘

    Mr.Klein argues that all is well because the FCC can still, if it chooses, on a case-by-case basis, if pushed, regulate individual carriers, so there’s no need for overarching net neutrality rules. (Although he implies the FCC probably won’t choose to regulate.) The same sort of argument was used in part to get rid of the overarching Glass-Steagall rules in securities. i.e. If the banks behave badly the SEC will step in and regulate.

    Mr. Klein’s article is full of lipstick.

  3. Jim A.

    On the story from Discover Magazine Any woman can tell you that measuring penis size is subject to a surprisingly subjective and methodologies can vary. Since the data came from “a large variety of sources” I simply don’t think it’s valid.

  4. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Three Myths on the World’s Poor

    “OMG this is embarrassing” is RIGHT.

    I tried to pick out a few of the more vomit-inducing quotes on which to comment, but found myself just reprinting the entire article.

    MYTH FOUR: Bill and Melinda Gates are altruistic philanthropists who are qualified to evaluate and comment on world poverty, and the WSJ is the correct venue for such self-serving opining.

    Oxfam, apparently, sees the situation less “optimistically”:

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      This is going to sound familiar, but trust me, it works this time.

      Charity is like GDP, and the best way to achieve efficiency in ‘charity’ is not for one person (central planner) to allocate available resources (money in the charity), but for free market (that’s you and me) to decide where to spend that charity foundation money.

      People who made money from neoliberal free market ought to know that.

      Say no to central planning (of charity).

      Let PEOPLE decide how to best spend that non-profit, tax-exempt money.

      No one person alone knows how to address world poverty (and overcharging your products on your way to your billions, making poorer your customers along the way, does little to quality you – this is a general statement, not about one particular billionaire).

      Most poor will tell you the way to go is to 1)disperse money concentrated at those giant charitable foundations to the poor and they will come up with brilliant ideas themselves and 2) stop future concentrating of wealth so there are no more ginormous, concentrated charitable foundations, but many, many (billions many) small charities – ‘one at each house’ many charities.

      1. MikeNY

        Bill Gates must think that Manhattan is all of NYC, as he must think that Pacific Heights is all of SF, and Beverly Hills is all of LA.

  5. diptherio

    Oh, good! Accenture, the disgraced accounting firm formerly known as Arthur Andersen, is on the ACA job. I’m sure they’ll fix everything right up and that we’ll totally get every penny’s worth of their $91 million, no-bid contract. It’s not like they have a history of deceit and fraud…oh, wait a minute….

    [when Arthur Andersen changed it’s name after the Enron scandal, my buddy started referring to them as “Ass-enter”…giggle]

    1. Jim Haygood

      From The Hill’s article linked above:

      ‘Federal subsidies [are paid] directly to the insurers. A stopgap system would pay insurers next week based on calculations of what they are owed … [but] the system is vulnerable to “inaccurate forecasting” of the risk mitigation programs in place to pay insurers.’

      It’s an industry wet dream, innit: no risk, and a direct intravenous money feed from the Treasury. Ahhh … have another hit … of fresh cash! About 80% of O-care enrollees are subsidized, so we’re talkin’ big bucks here. Want to bet that calculation errors will favor the insurers? Better safe than sorry, hey!

      The next car queued up to derail in this pre-planned train wreck is the IRS, faced with the unenviable (and likely impossible) task of adjusting, refunding and collecting missestimated subsidies from individual taxpayers using its fleet of vintage coal-fired Babbage engines.

      We’ve got a year before this epic cock-up hits the MSM. But when it debuts, the ‘sand in the gears’ effect as the agency’s mighty mainframes throw their connecting rods through the crankcase in a haze of steam, sparks and burning oil ought to be more entertaining than a Fourth of July fireworks show.

    2. ChrisPacific

      The meat of the article in The Hill is buried near the end:

      By mid-March, Accenture must build a financial management platform that tracks eligibility and enrollment transactions, accounts for subsidy payments to insurance plans, “provides stable and predictable financial accounting and outlook for the entire program,” and that integrates with existing CMS and IRS systems.

      Accenture will also have to clean up some aspects of the project that CGI failed to complete, such as the notorious 834 enrollment transmissions to insurance companies that in October and November were transmitting inaccurate and garbled data.

      In November, CMS deputy chief information officer Henry Chao told lawmakers that 30 percent of was still under construction, but the specifics and consequences remained murky.

      That’s less than two months, if you’re counting. That’s not even counting the security flaws that flora mentioned.

      I would characterize this as somewhere between ‘impossible’ and ‘you have got to be f-ing kidding’. Accenture is probably not a bad choice as they are one of the biggest players in the industry and can scale in a way that the smaller players can’t (they are not Arthur Andersen, at least to the extent that diptherio suggests – they split off before the Enron thing and had been operating in the IT space for several years prior). However they are perfectly capable of cocking things up royally, and have done so in the past in much less challenging circumstances than these, so they are no magic bullet by any means. First order of business for them is going to be some serious expectations management.

      The Chao quote wasn’t as murky as they claim – he basically said that all the back end integration hadn’t been built yet. I suspect that’s a direct consequence of Presidential meddling. Obama wanted a shiny impressive Web site for the punters, so that’s where the focus was. The consequences of not having linked payment systems in place at launch probably never occurred to him.

      I just love the definition of failure for this project: insurers fail to get paid. Nothing about patients, efficiency of coverage or quality of care. Never fear, the worst won’t come to pass. After all, these are big companies we’re talking about, not the middle class. They are important! The government will do whatever it takes to make sure they don’t suffer financially. The armored cars full of dollars are ready to roll.

  6. ohmyheck

    Calling on Antifa…. come in, Antifa. I appreciate your take on things regarding the ME, so can you give your view on this?
    “(US Ambassador to Syria, Robert) Ford had called for an urgent meeting for the SNC figures in Turkey’s Istanbul, noting that the US envoy had threatened to cut funds for anyone who will not attend the meeting….“We would like to inform you that there are some changes that will take place in Saudi Arabia next March,” Ford said, noting that these changes will reach Bandar Bin Sultan and Saud al-Faissal…..Ford told the SNC figures that Saudi prince Bandar Bin Sultan is on long vacation in the United States, “because of sickness and psychological fatigue,””…
    Ya, right, Bandar Bush is hiding from The Russian Bear, as well he should be…
    Anyhow, this is all very interesting and some parsing would be helpful. Thanks!

  7. rich

    A housing relief program with policies that ‘throw people into the grinder’

    One of the biggest housing relief programs under the Obama administration has failed desperate homeowners in huge ways
    Banks often accept the mortgage payments from the Hardest-Hit Fund but then foreclose on homeowners later, undermining the program’s goal of keeping people in their homes.

    This is not the only problem. A minuscule portion of the money from Hardest-Hit has gone to help homeowners. An audit in 2012 found that states had delivered just $217.4m in assistance in the first two years, or 3% of the total. What is more, over a third of that figure went toward administrative expenses rather than homeowner relief.

  8. Axel Ztangi

    Re: Trickle Down Economics . . .
    “A Modest Trickle-down Economic Proposal”
    The people who claim that they are adversely affected by the economic consequences of policies that perpetuate the US distribution of wealth have, in fact, no alternative economic option to choose. While some politicians try to create the illusion of a wide spectrum of viable approaches to alleviating poverty, we know that they serve up these schemes only to burnish their liberal brand.

    When the rubber hits the road, all politicians salute “trickle-down economics.” Whether Republican or Democrat, whether eagerly endorsed or begrudgingly adopted, no alternative “bubble-up” policy disturbs the calm waters of pubic discourse, no matter how furiously, though ineffectually, a small band of discontents tries to stir the pond.

    A term attributed to Depression Era humorist Will Rogers, and meant as a joke, today has the weight of generally accepted economic doctrine. It is as close to dogma as a secular belief can be. As such, it seems only fitting that trickle-down economics be implemented directly and immediately.

  9. Jim Haygood

    MLK day post by ‘duo’:

    Obama: “I have a dream … that children in Pakistan will not only be droned based on the color of their skin, but also by the quality of our intelligence.”

  10. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    How to survive a nuclear explosion.

    I think the best way is to build a time-travelling machine, go back in time and make sure that apple doesn’t fall on Newton’s head.

    That should push back the ‘Nucular’ Age by a few centuries.

  11. eeyores enigma

    The David Bird headline is deceptive.

    What he has been reporting on is how demand has been collapsing while price remains relatively high.

    Oil price backing down due to this reality would end the entire “tight oil” sham, bring on rapid peak oil consequences, and plunge the world back into full on collapse.

    Not saying that there are any dirty deeds going on just pointing out the truth.

  12. fresno dan

    “Nevertheless, the economists I spoke to were uniformly bearish about the short-term future of the Brazilian economy. They pointed, for starters, to that slowdown in G.D.P., which they didn’t expect to pick up anytime soon. Despite the country’s enormous economic gains since the beginning of this century, there has been very little accompanying productivity gains. Indeed, several economists told me that the main reason unemployment was so low was that the economy was terribly inefficient. Too much of the economy was in the hands of the state, I was told, and, what’s more, it was a consumption-based economy that lacked necessary investment. And on and on. I got the sense that many economists believe that Brazil had been more lucky than good, and now its luck was running out. In a recent article about the Brazilian economy, The Economist put it starkly: “The Deterioration,” read its headline.

    As I listened to the economists, though, I couldn’t help thinking about our own economy. Our G.D.P. growth was more than 4 percent in the third quarter of 2013, and, of course, our productivity has risen relentlessly. But, despite the growth, unemployment can’t seem to drop below 7 percent. And the middle class is slowly but surely being eviscerated — thanks, at least in part, to those productivity gains. Income inequality has become a fact of life in the United States, and while politicians decry that fact, they seem incapable of doing anything about it. Which made me wonder: Whose economy runs better, really?”

    Economists – people who think that if “productivity” rose 23% and there was 24% unemployment, that would be fine…

    1. MikeNY

      I was happy to read this column by Nocera. It’s the first piece in the NYT that I can recall that dares to question, dares to disbelieve in, the “growth talisman”. That is progress….

  13. Susan the other

    Interesting Link about Aspen and the End of Snow. It goes along with Truthout’s interview of Richard Smith on the impossibility of “green capitalism.” Capitalism and concepts like conservation, sustainability, protection, and clean-up are diametrically opposed. Schendler’s comment that “corporate sustainability is not sustainable,” just adds to this thesis. Still, Schendler keeps trying to achieve sustainability in what sounds like a tragic dedication. The forces against us all at this point are so huge – if just Aspen Valley is snowless by 2100 it will be an achievement. I liked the detail about Bill Koch’s willingness to install a methane capture plant in his coal mine, under the rationale that the Kochs do not like to see “resources wasted.” (Perhaps a capitalist concept that will force the issue?) So then… what about all the CO2 from coal and other fossil fuels – isn’t CO2 evidence of an inefficient combustion process? Where is all the Koch and other Big Capitalist research on this? And what about clean-up and recycling? Isn’t there cash in all that trash, as Forbes once claimed? One big reason capitalism is unsustainable and therefore incompatible with sustainable living is because capitalists drop the ball

    1. Optimader

      isn’t CO2 evidence of an inefficient combustion process?

      CO2 is the product of complete combustion of carbon, cant be more efficient.

  14. psychohistorian

    I am humbled by knowing that it has taken me until my mid 60’s to START developing the conviction that Dr. King had at 36.

    It is time to stand up for what is right and I am doing my best but it pales in comparison to Dr King. But if there are enough of us of struggling conviction maybe we can come together and complete the battle that Dr King started. They don’t allow leaders like Dr King to live long enough these days so we must learn to move forward with our convictions in a leaderless fashion.

    I think one of the answers to our problems is to curtail or end inheritance which would neuter the plutocrats. When they put a bullet through me for that conviction I can only hope others take up that vision.


    1. Doug Terpstra

      MLK on Selma is 200-proof, distilled Spirit — self-evident truth. Spiritual death is far, far worse than physical death, a living hell that no amount of wealth or power can possibly quench. After reading Hugh’s piece on Obama’s NSA diversion and the Damasio piece, it feels increasingly likely that we are immersed in a Brave New World Orwellian Matrix, like Einstein’s “optical delusion”, and that the essential and only effective keys to vanquishing this tyrannical machine are faith and love. We are being inexorably compelled to discover this truth in order to break the powerful spell of pervasive propaganda. King, I think, personified what Che discovered, albeit with starkly different manifestations, that love is the essential fuel of revolution.

  15. spooz

    I hadn’t realize that Dow Chemical had been given the USDA green light on January 3rd for its 2,4-D pesticide resistant GE corn and soy seeds until I went digging for some dirt on the Big Ag today. The new pesticide “Enlist” will be “stacked” on top of Monsanto’s Roundup, adding to the cocktail of poisons our food supply is exposed to. Dow and Monsanto will license the pesticide resistant traits to each other to generate commercial hybrids with multiple herbicide tolerances.

    According to the Center For Food Safety, “2,4-D (2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid), produced by Dow Chemical, was a component of “Agent Orange,” the toxic defoliant used on Vietnam. 2,4-D and other herbicides of its class have been independently associated with deadly immune system cancers, Parkinson’s disease, endocrine disruption, and reproductive problems.”

  16. kevinearick

    Isms: Leveraging Scale Ignorance

    Five Thousand Years, and the morons are still running ponzi population scams. Get out of their time. Look at the false assumptions normalized as truth in their education propaganda systems, and walk out of the prison.

    There is no relationship between productivity and empire income. There is a strong relationship between compliance and empire income. Empire income is debt arbitrarily assigned to others, created for the purpose, economic slavery. A bully requires a gang, and a tyrant requires majority participation.

    No one with active brain cells joins a group for the privileged entitlement of enslaving another, which is why government is so desperate to implement social propaganda from the womb, pre-pre-school. Why would you have children just to render them to government control, and why would you pay property tax / rent to that end?

    Join the Boeing war effort, and get your 800 credit score today!

    All isms have the same answer, to go backwards to the past. Isms require economic slaves in an ignorant population ponzi, because they all defer individual responsibility in favor of central control, to stop and reverse time. Empires and their participants fear the future, the end of slavery.

    Adam Smith predicated his theory on an individual moral compass, and, like his predecessors and followers, proceeded to systematically eviscerate the foundation. The morons conveniently assume no relationship between revenue, which they print to maximize, and cost, which they assume is you and marginalize with the property so stolen in the transfer of purchasing power.

    Failure on your part is not the fault of the morons; it’s your fault for following blindly along. They print and you are supposed to chase. Don’t be a moron. Jobs, money and property are never in short supply. Access, bypassing the fiscal and monetary extortion, is the issue.

    Do some research. Find out what the wage/rent mean is at the geographic point of interest, and then examine the distribution. If the nurses are making $50/hr and the custodians $10, you don’t want to go there, because you are going to be forced to accept corruption, whether as a nurse or a custodian.

    There is little economic difference between occupations, other than the arbitrary bullsh- equal competition involved in getting and keeping the paper granting access. The data tells you that hospitals are the last place you want to deliver healthcare, and the nurses there are much more important than the doctors, because the primary determinants of patient outcomes is speed to patient stabilization, cleanliness, and alignment back into homeostasis, none of which is nearly as important as prevention.

    What you care about is feedback between individual performance and pay relative to rent, to do something f-ing productive. The empire wants to convince you, from the womb, that you are worthless as an individual, that you must join a group, and that your value depends upon the group you join, all obvious lies, which is why the central bankers feeding the resulting cartels have printed $50T to subsidize their dead real estate losses, without stemming the global demographic collapse. Surprise, surprise, they are the morons.

    Government regulation pays you to seek out and join a group, and the government morons are all running back to their super-shrinking super-highway. Get out of your prison cell and go take a look for your self. Why do you suppose Netflix is consuming all that bandwidth, when the education system obviously needs to be replaced?

    The do-gooders are just as stupid as the do-evilers. My wife is driving for the local food bank part time, getting food to hungry people as her way of tithing. She has increased productivity in every category, she can do all the office work as well, she’s the ambassador of goodwill type, and everyone who can do anything is getting old, fast. The morons on the board decide to pay her the same as others who can’t show up to work, because their pay is less than rent.

    Not to worry about wifey. She has private business skills. She can increase quality and decrease price, for people with active brain cells, because she can see things that others cannot. She exists in her own time. Develop your own frequency and the empire cannot hope to contain you. You are not going to learn that from the empire education propaganda complex, which is designed to ensure artificial scarcity, with extortion licenses.

    There are a million things you can do, but I’ll give you two. Drive a delivery truck that does not require a special license; special licenses are only profitable for the morons grouped in a ponzi to exploit them. That gives you an income and vision. You see things in a truck you would not otherwise see, and you talk to people you would not otherwise talk to.

    Call the trade unions. Most of them are employing non-union helpers, to serve as their economic slaves and pad their cash bankrupt pensions, but you will develop skills that will be useful elsewhere. If you haven’t noticed, the municipalities, the unions, and the Foundations are getting tighter, not looser, as the cartels collapse. Take a look for your self and find out why the city/state fails every time.

    You want to find your self in the company of old-timers who can show you how to put natural resources into production effectively. The law follows behavior. If you appreciate what you are given, you will be given more. If you want to uncover the workings of the universe, take care of the planet you were given. Prosperity is about attitude, adaptation to eliminate observers prism, not knowledge, the prism construct of abstraction assumptions.

    The empire, and its participants, fearful of the future, punishes productivity and rewards compliance, to the past, ensuring artificial scarcity under its control, normalizing tyranny in the process. The majority pays the education system to normalize tyranny and acts surprised by the symptomatic outcomes, brilliant.

    Individual labor is the hand made invisible, by capita desperately seeking to make it visible, for exploitation, making capital’s own mechanizations increasingly transparent, redundant and tyrannical with each iteration. If you look, you will see how desperately the peer pressure groups need young people to join, all wringing their hands and complaining of lost generations.

    If you are a woman, you are going to submit to a man, sooner or later. If you are a man, you are going to submit to the nature of the universe, sooner or later. Choose wisely, or submit to the empire, a man and nature, and find your self surrounded by others, all doing the wrong thing at the wrong time in the wrong place. That’s just the physics of biology.

    Children are the future, they all come from women, and a man must take a woman to where she may sustain productivity. Life is a two-way street, a circle with a multiplexer, and most are going the wrong way, in both directions. The trick to space travel of course is coupling for life.

    Inflation of stupid is why America ranks last in health and first in healthcare spending. Healthcare costs are largely a function of humans attacking themselves, with bipolar control anxiety. Do something productive with your time together, be worthy of each other, and guard your health from stupid.

    The empire majority wants you to pay for what has granted you freely, with a natural feedback mechanism to ensure prosperity. The choice is always yours.

    The old-timers will give you property, if you don’t waste their time, because time travels before their eyes in decades, not minutes. Only a corporation measures productivity in minutes, in an increasingly myopic culture, going nowhere faster and faster. And just where has measuring time in nanoseconds got them?

    Supply-side economics is a proven failure, but the morons keep doubling down, just as they are told in Casinos for Idiots. Why do you suppose that is?

    By the time nature replenishes itself, the idiots depending on the process will be dead and gone. Just because you see something doesn’t make it so. Gravity is just one dimension, among many, as many as you care to create.

  17. Oregoncharles

    “Forget about forgetting” – at 68, I think I can claim some expertise on this subject.
    Personally, I claim that I know so much that I have to forget something in order to learn anything new (like your name). That’s a joke – but I suspect it’s actually true: that there are capacity limits, just as in a hard drive, and we eventually come up against them.
    This doesn’t really conflict with the thesis of the article, which is convincing and certainly flattering. However, I think there is plausibly another factor: everything else gets slower, so why not metal processing? Combine that with the quantity of information to be processed, and you see why older people may be sources of wisdom, but not of quick response. They also have layer upon layer of habit to contend with.

  18. Jessica

    Better late than never.
    Thank you to the translator for yesterday’s article about Japan and the TPP. The translation was quite well done.
    In Japanese politics, there are two forces at work with regard to pressure from the US. On the one hand, politicians do not want to be seen as poodles of the US (to borrow a term from UK politics), but on the other hand, often politicians will use US pressure as an excuse for doing something unpopular that they actually wanted to do all along. This is similar to how Obama and other Democrats use pressure from Republicans for camouflage.

  19. squasha

    three myths on the world’s poor

    Staggering arrogance or hermetic ignorance? The view from the great constellation of helipads is looking up up UP! The world’s poor will not only duck intensifying climate change, but are actually ceasing to exist, fading into the tidy shadows of magnanomously bestowed modern bridges, high-rise buildings, cleaner air, and new roads. Thanks, Superfriends!

  20. Juneau

    Re: 50 years of cessation ignorance…from
    I quit smoking using nicotine gum 15 years ago and coincidentally just quit again after a lengthy unfortunate relapse using’s outstanding motivational videos.

    No nicotine replacement is more dangerous than smoking burning tobacco. Still, he makes a good point about the overemphasis on nicotine replacement, Chantix and Bupropion. Just asking people about their addictions, in a nice supportive way, periodically, often helps them cut back according to the data on Brief Intervention therapies. For now I refer my patients to while offering info on alternatives. What’s most important is to ask and not ignore the problem. JMHO.

  21. Chauncey Gardiner

    Thank you for your last link today to the article about the Big Lie of “Trickle-down Economics”. As the author said, that the richest 85 people in the world have as much wealth as the poorest 3.5 billion people in the world should be a wake-up call to the deepest sleepers.

    For some reason the annual media coverage of their gathering in Davos with their key consiglieres always makes me nauseous.

  22. Ed S.

    RE: Obamacare Contractor faces mid-March deadline or disaster

    Here’s the money quote:

    By mid-March, Accenture must build a financial management platform that tracks eligibility and enrollment transactions, accounts for subsidy payments to insurance plans, “provides stable and predictable financial accounting and outlook for the entire program,” and that integrates with existing CMS and IRS systems

    8 Weeks.

    56 days (40 work days)
    1344 hours (960 work hours)

    Not. Gonna. Happen.

    1. hunkerdown

      At $150/hr, a $60mn contract buys a *lot* of staff-hours, and Accenture has a lot of staff in lots of places (most of whom are below-average in capability, but they can make it up in volume). From a company that’s probably been analyzing and coding up accounting systems for years, and given that the rentier classes stand to lose a lot of prestige AND money if it fails, I don’t see them dropping a deliverable that’s so far from success it can’t be credibly redefined as such through the magic of Whig history.

      (Though I wonder if at least some of those staff hours are slated for underutilized call center staff to clean up after the computers.)

  23. savedbyirony

    I know that Naked Capitalism is primarily a finance/economics blog (and also know that we have serious election problems that both predate Citizens United and fall outside of its effects) but i have often wondered what this site’s analysis would be on the possibilities and fallout of the MoveToAmend push back against Citizen’s United. Because readers here do often talk about activism i thought some would be interested in this article on the movement:

    Also, since Pope Francis and the catholic church have been covered recently on this blog, some people might find this article interesting and telling. Beyond the abuse crimes and especially cover-ups (which are terrible enough), how well Francis can (and how much he truly wants to) change the church’s hierarchical power structure and local accountability will also impact how well the institutional church follows thru on catholic social justice and economic teachings. Francis may speak against unfettered capitalism, but anyone who follows the behavior of the American Bishops’ Council will know that they are actively in favor of such economic practices both in the church and outside of it.

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