Links 1/31/14

World’s oldest flamingo dies in Australian zoo, aged 83 Agence France Presse

APOD: 2014 January 27 – From the Northern to the Southern Cross NASA

Drilling surprise opens door to volcano-powered electricity Conversation (Chuck L)

Kazakh mathematician may have solved $1 million puzzle New Scientist. Richard Smith: “ For anyone who can read mathematics in Russian (and it turns out, most of the world mathematical community outside Russia can’t do that, so checking this proof may take a while).”

California legalized selling home-made food and created over 1,200 local businesses Forbes (furzy mouse). I think I’d be a bit happier if they had parsed the types of food that could be prepared at home. Bread and baked goods have to be cooked, so sanitation/safety issues are low, while other types of food could pose a problem. For instance, improper canning can produce botulism.

We Are Giving Ourselves Cancer New York Times

Change Tracking, Excel, and Subjects Patrick Durusau

The rise and fall of Bitcoin mining DailyDot

Emerging Markets Meltdown Meets Taper Tantrum

Investors pull billions from EM stocks Financial Times

Coal Markets Hit Hard as Emerging Economies Begin to Wobble OilPrice

The Chinese Shadow Banking System Just Dodged A Bullet Business Insider. Not sure I agree. A lot of people argued it would be better to let Credit Equals Gold No. 1 fail (and it was NOT a WMP but a trust, which is a different structure) to cool off the market. Underlying article: Shadow banking: China’s wobbly house of cards Fortune

Stocks On Speed: Margin Debt Spikes, So Does Risk Of Crash Wolf Richter

Markets Jittery Again Wall Street Journal

Appeal over ‘soft’ ruling Business Daily, New Zealand. The reference to “international bloggers” is to NC’s Richard Smith! He notes: “The NZ ministry is appealing against a sentence that it thinks is too soft on a nasty conman.”

No deal behind Thailand’s polls Asia Times. Lambert: “From the Department of Now It All Makes Sense. This makes the role of the “people’s council” quite clear: Asset distribution.”

Poll likely to hit further snags Bangkok Post

Danish government near collapse on Goldman Sachs deal Financial Times

What would Birgitte do? Socialists quit Denmark coalition over energy deal Guardian

Ukraine unrest: Scepticism over Yanukovych illness BBC

London New Home Registrations Reach Record High Bloomberg. Richard Smith: “UK’s ridiculous new line of business: providing more hoardable objects for SE Asia.”

CAIRO: Egypt charges 20 Al Jazeera journalists with running terrorist cell McClatchy (furzy mouse)

U.S. accuses Syria of not complying with chemical weapons agreement McClatchy. We predicted this would happen irrespective of whether Syria was substantially in compliance or not. Recall also the deadlines were recognized by the cognoscenti to be unattainable.

If Hillary Doesn’t Back Obama on Iran Washington Spectator

Its Great Lake Shriveled, Iran Confronts Crisis of Water Supply New York Times

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

‘Insane, Disgusting’ and ‘Epic Treachery’: NSA Spied on Climate Talks Common Dreams

Spy Agencies Work On Psychologically Profiling Everyone George Washington. Pre-crime is coming!

Beer buzz? FAA grounds plan to deliver 12-packs by drone Star Tribune (Chuck L)

Does the Debt Ceiling Have to Be Raised? Corrente

Lawsuit: KBR transported soldiers’ ice in unsanitized morgue trailers Military Times(1 SK). Wow, Alan Grayson was pursuing this years ago, when he was suing contractors for violations, prior to his incarnation as a Congressman. As Vanity Fair reported, the government, contrary to prior practice, wasn’t taking up the cases. So they file this NOW?

A defamation lawsuit may kill National Review Salon (Chuck L). Haha, couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch. But some rich right-winger might use legal woes as a way to buy it for the right price (which would be just agreeing to fund the operation; often money-losing rags extract a premium well above their negative enterprise value for the vanity/brand name).

Michelle Celarier is sitting on a major story John Hempton (bob)

Mayor Says New York City Will Settle Suits on Stop-and-Frisk Tactics New York Times

US seeks $2.1bn from BofA over mortgage fraud Financial Times

U.S. Banks Loosen Loan Standards Wall Street Journal

Wall Street’s New Housing Bonanza New York Times

Pete Seeger: a Dissenting View Counterpunch (Carol B)

As Overseas Costs Rise, More U.S. Companies Are ‘Reshoring’ NPR. Translation: the race to the bottom strategy worked.

Stretched food pantry runs out of food CNN (furzy mouse)

A visit to Fair Foods in winter Cathy O’Neil

Antidote du jour (Richard Smith). Story here.


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  1. AbyNormal

    re, Psychologically Profiling Everyone (using algros :-/)
    “The Socio-cultural Content in Language (SCIL) Program will develop novel algorithms, techniques and technologies to uncover the social actions and characteristics of members of a group (ie; within discussion forums, online comment sections, social media, etc.) by examining the language used in relation to acceptable social and cultural NORMS.”

    “What desire can be contrary to nature since it was given to man by nature itself?”
    Foucault, Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason

    1. AbyNormal

      for a more Positive note:

      “TO BE HOPEFUL in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.
      What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.
      And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.” H.Zinn

      1. Ulysses

        Fantastic quote from Howard Zinn! We do need to keep plugging away and not let the enormity of the challenges facing us force us into defeatism.

        1. susan the other

          also great quote from Foucault… the human norm is to be nutty, angry and profane and only when we get ultra desperate (maybe ultra rational?) do we turn to the sublime… so what can anyone make of all that… as Lincoln said, you can evaluate… ‘some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time but the NSA cannot analyze all of the people all of the time’… at least I think that was Lincoln’s quote…

        2. EmilianoZ

          Chris Hedges also claims that facing impossible odds only some kinda blind irrational leap of faith can save us:

          It is only those who harness their imagination, and through their imagination find the courage to peer into the molten pit, who can minister to the suffering of those around them. It is only they who can find the physical and psychological strength to resist. Resistance is carried out not for its success, but because by resisting in every way possible we affirm life. And those who resist in the years ahead will be those who are infected with this “sublime madness.”

          Homer, Dante, Beethoven, Melville, Dostoevsky, Proust, Joyce, W.H. Auden, Emily Dickinson and James Baldwin, along with artists such as the sculptor David Smith, the photographer Diane Arbus and the blues musician Charley Patton, all had it. It is the sublime madness that lets one sing, as bluesman Ishman Bracey did in Hinds County, Miss., “I’ve been down so long, Lawd, down don’t worry me.”

      2. EmilianoZ

        Yeah, sure there is good and bad in history. But we need to quantify precisely. What will that be? Bad: 95%, Good: 5%?

    2. Cal

      Feed the system bad or slightly tweaked information to confuse it.
      Look up all the people with your same first and last name or just same last name.
      Do a Google map route search with their home address as the starting point and some arbitrary destination. There’s no law that says you have to use your exact name or can’t have multiple free email accounts. Make sure to post a tweaked telephone number and address in your Gmails.

      When getting calls from telemarketers, agree to listen to their pitch but ask them what information they have on you as they used the “wrong name”. Correct their database with an imaginary name and address. We actually had a woman from AT&T call and ask for our social security number some years back. We gave her what I think was the right one…maybe one or two numbers off. Can never remember the darn thing.

      Be creative.

    3. diptherio

      Clicking through a couple links, I came to a patent application for an algo to better spy on emails, created by the Director of National Security Agency. On page three of the application I found this description of the patent:

      …discloses a method of identifying the topic of a document using segments of text called n-grams,

      Anyone familiar with Scientology will recognize the term n-gram (or engram, as the COS spells it) which is (supposedly) a trace left by a thought…you know, kinda like an email.

      At any rate, the conclusion is irrefutable: the US intelligence agencies have been taken over by Scientologists. Goddess help us all.

      1. Andrew Watts

        The US intelligence community is enlisting the support of the Church of Scientology for their Magic 8-Ball programs?

        Oh my god, that is absolutely hilarious!

      2. subgenius

        Sorry…not quite right – n-gram is a term used in linguistics (maybe only computational…dunno about other realms…I came across them when doing ai) and has nada to do with Scientology

      3. ScottA

        Actually, in corpus linguistics, an “n-gram” is simply a sequence of “n” words.

        For example, here are the most common 3-grams from the COCA corpus (sorted alphabetically) of the form:

        Who|Where|What do|does you|he|she [verb] ?

        What do you advise ?
        What do you believe ?
        What do you care ?
        What do you do ?
        What do you drink ?
        What do you drive ?
        What do you eat ?
        What do you expect ?
        What do you fear ?
        What do you feel ?
        What do you find ?
        What do you get ?
        What do you got ?
        What do you have ?
        What do you hear ?
        What do you know ?
        What do you like ?
        What do you make ?
        What do you mean ?
        What do you miss ?
        What do you need ?
        What do you offer ?
        What do you play ?
        What do you propose ?
        What do you recommend ?
        What do you remember ?
        What do you say ?
        What do you see ?
        What do you smell ?
        What do you suggest ?
        What do you teach ?
        What do you think ?
        What do you use ?
        What do you want ?
        What do you wish ?
        What do you write ?
        What does he do ?
        What does he know ?
        What does he mean ?
        What does he say ?
        What does he want ?
        What does she do ?
        What does she know ?
        What does she mean ?
        What does she say ?
        What does she see ?
        What does she think ?
        What does she want ?
        Where do you begin ?
        Where do you go ?
        Where do you live ?
        Where do you look ?
        Where do you sleep ?
        Where do you stand ?
        Where do you start ?
        Where do you stay ?
        Where do you stop ?
        Where do you think ?
        Where do you turn ?
        Where do you work ?
        Where does he go ?
        Where does he live ?
        Where does he stand ?
        Where does she live ?
        Who do you believe ?
        Who do you blame ?
        Who do you like ?
        Who do you love ?
        Who do you play ?
        Who do you think ?
        Who do you trust ?
        What do you suggest ?
        What does he see ?

    4. jfleni

      RE: “Spy Agencies Work On Psychologically Profiling Everyone”

      Make it easy for them! “A pox on you, Bubba!”

  2. JohnB

    Intersting article “Bailout troika ‘in breach’ of EU human rights laws”:

    A notable part of that article, stating that the ECB does not have a mandate for demanding structural reforms in austerity-hit countries: This displays precisely, the current democratic deficit inherent in the Euro, and how ‘independent’ central banks, that are not under democratic control, lead (through purse-strings controlling government spending in important ways) to them having significant undemocratic control over all of politics/economics/business/society.

    This is something that, the more I think it over critically in my mind, seems to be the overarching most important issue that MMT’ers and monetary reformists should be focusing on: Central banks aren’t just inherently flawed institutions, which are arguably under significant influence from the banking/financial industries, but they are inherently undemocratic too, in their very structure – simply due to their ‘independence’ (i.e. lack of accountability/democratic-control through the public).

    It’s impossible for a central bank to not exceed its ‘democratic mandate’, when (through purse-strings) it inherently has disproportionate control over politics and wider society – control which gets exercised through bad economic theory/practice, whenever there is an economic crisis (due to the restrictions this puts on government spending).

  3. financial matters

    Obama Lays Groundwork to Destroy another Social Insurance

    January 30, 2014
    Margaret Flowers,
    ~ Margaret Flowers MD, Serves as Secretary of Health in the General Welfare Branch of the Green Shadow Cabinet.

    “”What he didn’t say is that people with health insurance in the United States still can’t afford the care they need and face bankruptcy if they have a serious health problem. And although insurance companies cannot deny policies to people with pre-existing conditions, they have a number of ways to avoid paying for peoples care.

    The health law perpetuates a health system that treats health care as a commodity so that people only receive the amount of health care they can afford rather than treating it as a public good, as does every other industrialized nation. This is the root cause of the health crisis in the US. Any system that leaves healthcare in the marketplace, because it is based on generating profits for investors, will result in inequalities of access to care and rising healthcare costs.

    The same plan may be in the works for Social Security. In his speech, the President announced a new retirement savings program, MyRA. Although the details of MyRa are not clear, it is based on creating individual retirement accounts (IRAs) for workers who don’t currently have them.

    What we do know is that Social Security has been under attack throughout the President’s time in office. Rather than doing what is needed, raising the cap, or going beyond that and raising benefits, there have been attempts to cut benefits and raise the age of eligibility. The public is being told that Social Security is in a crisis but is not being told that this ‘crisis’ is intentional. Unlike Social Security, IRAs are managed by financial institutions that profit from them. MyRa is another gift to Wall Street by President Obama.””

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Excellent link. The “money” quote, as far as I’m concerned:

      “The President closed his remarks on health care by saying, “So again, if you have specific plans to cut costs, cover more people, increase choice, tell America what you’d do differently.” The last time he said that in a State of the Union speech, I tried to respond and was arrested.

      Enough said.

      1. diptherio

        Good on ya’, Katniss. I’ve yet to be arrested for my beliefs, which I count as something of a black mark on my record. I was hoping maybe Occupy would give me a chance, but alas, our local law enforcement authorities actually respect the Bill of Rights.

        1. Propertius

          We should go to a Single Payer equivalent for pension.

          It needs a catchy name. I suggest “Social Security”.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Some are more secure that if Social Security disappears, they still have pension.

            That’s what we all would like to have.

      1. Screwball

        What do you know about that site you are linking? I like to check out who writes things, and I can’t find much on the guy who wrote it. Not that I doubt the MyRA thing isn’t a scam, but I would like to know if the person writing the hit piece is legit or someone with an agenda.

        Thanks in advance

        1. Katniss Everdeen


          I know as much about the site/guy as I know about you, which is to say NOTHING. But the info and graphs are pretty straightforward and verifiable, and the conclusions and assumptions (like that the rules for retirement accounts will most likely change over the next 30-40 years) seem reasonable to me.

          At the very least, his write-up suggests some questions that can be further researched. I’m not claiming to quote the gospel, just offering a little perspective. One unknown guy’s perspective. One possibly valuable perspective. One perspective that may ensure that something doesn’t get missed by somebody who can’t afford to miss it.

          As for it being a “hit piece,” well, some things deserve to be “hit,” and hard. Don’t know if this is one of those things, but forewarned is forearmed. As I see it, that’s kinda what THIS site is all about.

          Still friends?

      2. just_kate

        I was trying not to be cynical about this Retirement Savings program but then I heard after 15K or 30 years you have to leave the no-fee program and roll the funds into a manged product. Another gift to the bankers. I am so sick of this system.

      3. jrs

        Everyone is going completely tinfoil with the MyRA, but I think it’s most likely just a FAUX POPULIST program that pretends to do something and doesn’t actually do much of anything. Because Dems still have to pretend they have programs to offer their base, it’s what the party ideology is based on, even though they really don’t anymore. So there’s no business like show business …

        I mean I’ve heard some say it’s a means for government to steal the money like Cypus or Poland. But 15k total is really not worth stealing. It’s chump change to the 1% and the Fed gov. Or it’s a means to dismantle Social Security, but 15k is noone’s substitute for Social Security. Obama has been trying to dismantle Social Security the entire of his administration. This program isn’t even big enough to be a fig leaf, it’s more like a sprig of parsley with your catfood.

        It’s a way to funnel some money to the money managers, that I would believe. I wouldn’t think it would be a large market as the middle class already has 401ks and IRAs and the poor really can’t afford to save much. But I wouldn’t be suprised in the slightest if the money management industry has done research and decided this was worth pushing. I think the truth is probably something mundane like that rather than a grand conspiracy.

    2. Benedict@Large

      Has anyone seen some math on this? It seems to me there’s a gap between being on Medicaid and actually being able to afford to use the insurance ObamaCare mandates. People who are “insured” but couldn’t get past a doctor’s receptionist due to the extreme deductibles and co-pays. (These plans actually used to be illegal in some states.) I’m wondering if anyone has laid this calculation out. I know CATO was doing stuff like this before the bill was enacted (as way of saying to do nothing, unfortunately), but I haven’t seen much like that since.

  4. Hugh

    This should not be taken in any sense as reassuring but the profile is only as good as the profiler. I use google a lot, but it seldom returns exactly what I am looking for. A site like Amazon makes suggestions that for me at least are ludicrously off-base. And this is essentially fairly simple stuff. People are psychologically much more complex. So large scale this is a classic GIGO process, worthless pork for the intelligence complex. For any set of “suspicious” criteria, there are probably half a dozen categories of people with perfectly ordinary reasons for their fulfilling of them. At the same time, those with the most nefarious intent, however that is defined, are most likely going to be the best at keeping their anonymity or dissembling their purpose. As is the case in traditional police work, it is not mass, but smart, targeted investigation which is going to produce useful results from a law enforcement point of view. Mass profiling has no legitimate purpose. It’s just a way of effecting social control. Its profiles don’t have to be accurate. It is the profiling process itself which effects the control. Of course, we all have to know this is being done for it to work as a control. As this is likely not the case, I am led back to my orginal thought that this is pork for the intelligence community, and only some day control for the rest of us.

    1. Expat

      Sure, the profiles won’t be accurate, but that fact is irrelevant. Recall how Cheney and the rest of the Bush war criminals used torture not for the veracity of what the victim told the torturers but because the the torturer could get the victim to say anything and the criminal Bush administration would shamelessly use those victim statements as “evidence” to justify its crimes.

      So they haven’t used mass torture yet to get the “evidence” for their current criminal police state, but the NSA and its pals have no ability to do anything with the continents of personal data that they collect daily other than make lists. Those lists could prove anything. And, since the right wing and its Wall Street sponsors are in ascendance (no sign of that abating), the 99.9% of us could end up on any list they choose. Because these NSA lists could be used to prove anything.

      Evidence that they have no intention of prosecuting crimes against the 99.9%? The NSA has ALL of the evidence a prosecutor would need to prosecute bankers (remember, fraud is always against the law, no matter what Obama says), or Karl Rove or any of these super-criminals, and not one has even bothered to do so. You’d think that one of these little state attorneys would be ambitious enough to try, given the smoking guns piling up in government files. But no. If that doesn’t tell you what kind of government we have, nothing will.

      1. susan the other

        We need a new organization that defends the rule of evidence. These profilers are going to have the world’s biggest hodgepodge of immaterial nonsense a judge ever saw.

    2. Skeptic

      “So large scale this is a classic GIGO process, worthless pork for the intelligence complex. ”

      And, the corporate/commercial complex. I once worked with a commercially valuable database and one of the fears of the operators was exactly that: that if too much Garbage got in, the dbase would be worthless. And it would not take much garbage.

      Yet, I have yet to see any software that, for instance, would run in background and load these snoopers and data grabbers up with lots of Garbage, all they want, haul it away and pollute your databases! This would, at the very least, call into question the commercial value of some of these dbases. This is only one approach to the privacy problem. But, to date, I have seen no software at all to aggressively protect privacy.

      The design of such software should be governed by this rule;” Needle in a Haystack? Make the Haystack bigger and bigger.”

      1. jrs

        Maybe if people also got paid bitcoins for generating the garbage, that I think is a winning combo, cryptocurrency and being down the NSA plus corporate snoops.

  5. Sam Kanu

    Goldman Sachs’ greedy tentacles have reached so far as to force the downfall of the govt of European nation, Denmark. Are you going to do an in-depth on this one? Surely deserves a focus.

    1. AbyNormal

      yves has covered it in previous links…most recent:

      The Socialist People’s Party (SF) walked out of the ruling coalition ahead of the parliamentary vote on Thursday, which approved the purchasing a 19 percent stake by a Sachs-controlled consortium for $1.5 billion.

      The development does not make the Danish government collapse, but the remaining two parties have to replace six ministers in the 23-member cabinet previously held by SF members.
      “We are pleased with the approval of this transaction and look forward to making this significant minority investment alongside the Danish State, ATP, PFA and the existing minority shareholders,” a Goldman Sachs spokesperson told Business Insider.

      “If you can only be good at one thing, be good at lying… Because if you’re good at lying, you’re good at everything.”
      From Top 10 GS elevator quotes

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Any government that voluntarily gets in bed with GS deserves to fall–fast and hard. After the tar and feathers, that is.

      It’s almost impossible to believe that any politician, anywhere, is still willing to get up in front of his/her constituents and admit to having made a deal with GS.

      Must be some big bribe money or a little help from the “friends of GS” at the NSA.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Speaking of greed, I am looking for a book called ‘A Brief History of Greedy People.’

      Apparently, that brief history comes in 99 volumes, too many greedy names to name.

      1. F. Beard

        You? Speak of greed? When you want CONTINUOUS equality of outcome (GDP sharing) without equality of effort?

        Yes. I advocate for an initial releveling (including land reform ala Leviticus 25) because that would be just – given our existing, thieving money system. But after that, under a just money system, except for a generous guaranteed living income, results should depend on efforts so that lazy bums like yourself cannot free ride too much.

        Or not. I can’t see many Buddhists surviving the Second Coming – at least not while remaining Buddhists.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          All religious traditions have something to teach us.

          It’s not ‘just this and not that.’

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              And because none of us is perfect (in reading a book for example), we should give others room.

              “I, alone, in the world, of all the people past and present, know what this passage means!” – that’s something to avoid, as often as possible.

              1. F. Beard

                Keep burning those straw men and one day you may find yourself in fire cause that’s where all liars will end up – the Lake of Fire.

                  1. AbyNormal

                    “I’d much rather hear someone’s unique interpretation of their own experience. Those who negate or override someone else experience in order to one-up them or to show off their own knowledge or perceived abilities are in truth showing off their lack of listening skills and wisdom.”
                    T. Sheridan

                    Beef…’i have nothing BUT LOVE FOR YOU BROTHER!’

        2. reslez

          Land is not equal. Some land is more fertile, better water supply, less prone to various disasters. Some farmers prosper purely because they managed to snag the best land.

          As soon as you have inheritable ownership in land you immediately build unsustainable inequality into the system.

          1. F. Beard

            The arable land in ancient Israel was distributed by lot and this:

            The lot is cast into the lap,
            but its every decision is from the Lord.
            Proverbs 16:33
            New American Standard Bible (NASB)

            Besides, perfect equality is not the goal; eliminating/preventing gross (therefor probably unjust) inequality is. So a farmer who chanced to have excellent farm land could not use his profits to permanently buy someone else’s farm land, i.e. no one could be permanently dispossessed of their family farm.

        3. participant-observer-observed

          I’m confident that we Buddhists will be surviving third, n-1, n second comings!

          One reason is because of our vows to make life meaningful and joyful by serving living beings, even those in psychospiritual or physical hell realms; i.e., while you Christians will be busy rushing around trying to get in the pearly gated community amidst the fire and brimstone of the apocalypse, we Buddhists will still be meditating on wisdom and love for all living beings, including the Christians and other atheists, calmly awaiting another big-bang!

      1. susan the other

        No, it didn’t look photoshopped to me either. I could almost feel what it might be like to stretch out on a limb and spear a fish like that – much too complex a balancing act to be photoshopped. Have you seen the clip with the orangutan rowing a boat from one side of the river to the other?

        1. EmilianoZ

          The story says:

          In 1994, Carel observed orangutans developing tools to help themselves eat, while conducting field work in Gunung Leuser National Park, in the northwest Sumatra.

          That suggests the monkey made the tool himself/herself.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            My bad; otherwise it would have been a great story – apes learned to make fire from cigarette lighter accidentally left behind.

            1. EmilianoZ

              After reflection, something like bamboo could be that straight. Maybe we should bestow on that creature the benefit of the doubt and not be so human-centric.

  6. Cal

    About “reshoring”.

    If it’s not made by Americans, this American won’t buy it new.
    Craigslist and thrift shops have all the American or foreign made used stuff that you could ever want.

    Bought an Eden space heater a couple of months ago. 1500 watts. It heats up my entire large workshop. A great product– made in Ohio.

    1. reslez

      American manufacturing has become as cheaped out as anything that gets outsourced. We are not competing on quality.

  7. Bill the Psychologist

    Re: Pete Seeger: A Dissenting Opinion

    Pretty much the military view: Damn him for what he didn’t do/What have you done for me lately?/Ignore the positive contribution to our humanity, which was major.

    I wonder who History will celebrate, Pete Seeger or……whatsisname author of this mean spirited article.

    Proves the saying Opinons are like a***holes……….and so are some opionators.

    1. diptherio

      Kindness before truth, eh? Is it possible that we can both celebrate the good and censure the not-so-good in our leaders and spokespeople? I’d like to think so. I’d also like to think that we can move beyond hero-worship, at some point, and not feel the need to either elevate someone to unassailable heights or kick them down in the mud. I don’t think the author was trying to do the latter with this piece, just remind us why we might not want to do the former.

    2. lucky

      I like AbyNormal’s Howard Zinn quote:

      “TO BE HOPEFUL in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.
      What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.
      And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.” H.Zinn

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Everything is re-run, remake or sequel.

      It’s easier on our ‘creative 1%.’

      No one has time to write ‘A Complete History of Greedy People.’

    2. bob

      Barbara met Bill and W’s dad in the hotel lobby. She was working as a stewardess, he was in town selling for the pipe sales exposition. The passion was brief, but brought about the first american dynasty to last over 3 decades.

      They are very careful never to actually run against each other as it might be incestous, and has an 87.6% chance of resulting in a political singularity that would push Dick Morris to instantaneously cease to have ever existed.

  8. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Oldest flamingo dead at 83.

    That’s a long time – wonder what that is in human years?

    Here is one for ‘How to describe the world with numbers:’

    Human life expectancy x wildlife life expectancy = Ka, where Ka is a constant.


    Human life expectancy x Douglas Fir life expectancy = Kp, where Kp is a constant.

  9. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Reshoring, as overseas costs rise.

    Too simplistic.

    It’s should be, reshoring, as overseas costs rise AND indigenous costs drop.

    ‘I want to thank the natives for becoming more global and leading the world in fighting wage inflation!’ said the billionaire.

  10. NotSoSure

    I think the news that the Chinese government (“third party”, heh) has bailed out the trust should not come as any surprise. With the economy slowing, etc they just can’t afford to start a crisis. If Turkey falls though, you can bet that the government will start allowing defaults.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Perhaps now the Chinese government will stop criticizing the US, Japan and other countries.

      ‘Our country is not special’ is the new slogan over there.

  11. psychohistorian

    There seemed to be a total blackout on the apparent suicide Tuesday of the chief economist of Russell Investments, Mike Dueker until 17 hours ago.

    Why might that be? Is he the canary in the coal mine of something?

    I am sorry for his family’s loss and mean him no disrespect.

    1. susan the other

      I wondered about that too. He was found by the side of the road in Washington state and they are assuming it is a suicide? Did they find his car or was he dropped off, so to speak? Three banksters in one week? Why commit suicide if the Fed is dedicated to bailing you out? Doesn’t make sense at all.

      1. psychohistorian

        I grew up in Tacoma where this happened and got my cousin to sus out the local rag article as follows:

        Russell Investments chief economist Mike Dueker was found dead Thursday, and police said it appeared he had taken his own life by jumping from a ramp near the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.

        An officer who knew Dueker was missing in the area spotted the body about 8:30 a.m. at the base of a 40- to 50-foot embankment for a state Route 16 ramp, Pierce County sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said.

        Dueker’s car was parked at nearby War Memorial Park, and it appears he jumped over the 4-foot fence of a bike-jogging trail along the ramp, Troyer said. Police do not believe the death was an accident or that Dueker was a victim of a crime, Troyer said.

        The 50-year-old University Place resident apparently died early Wednesday when his family thought he was out jogging. But he was not dressed for jogging and was wearing jeans and a sweater, Troyer said. His family had been looking for him. The body was hard to spot, Troyer said.

        Dueker had joined the financial services company in 2008. A spokeswoman, Jennifer Tice, said she couldn’t speculate on any issues Dueker had.

        “We were deeply saddened to learn today of the death of our colleague and friend Mike Dueker. Mike was highly respected and regarded at Russell Investments and in the broader financial services industry. In the five years that he worked at Russell, he made valuable contributions that helped our clients and many of his fellow associates. Our thoughts are with Mike’s family and friends during this difficult time,” Russell Investments said in a statement.

        As chief economist for Russell Investments, Dueker wrote for Russell’s Market Outlook publications, forecasting the business cycle and the target federal funds rate. He developed and maintained a business cycle index published monthly on

        Dueker also led Russell’s participation as one of 50 Blue Chip forecasters for both Blue Chip Economic Indicators and Blue Chip Financial Forecasts

      2. neo-realist

        Still obviously not enough information on why he died. While it appears to be suicide, could this have been non-finance related? Depression? Mistress blackmail that he couldn’t face his family about?

  12. diptherio

    On the cottage food industry: keep in mind that a lot of us still mainly eat food prepared at home…and our kitchens are generally pretty filthy (at least the ones I’m exposed to). If safe food preparation really required Health Dept.-grade facilities, there would be way more food poisoning happening.

    And while it is true that improper canning can lead to botulism, it’s not that difficult to tell a bad canning job from a good one, in my experience. We canned peaches, tomatoes and salsa growing up, and we managed to screw up a couple of batches over the years, but we always knew, without sampling the contents, which jars didn’t get properly sealed. Bulge=bad.

  13. heresy101

    The article on geothermal energy from magma at volcanoes is interesting but is not likely to have widespread applicability outside of a few places where there are volcanoes.

    Geothermal energy at the Geysers in Northern California (a bowl of very hot rocks) has been producing electricity from the flash steam process for 50 years now.

    Drilling to 8-12,000 feet is normally done but magma isn’t hit, just hot rocks.

    Pumping waster water from Clear Lake and Santa Rosa to be injected down to the hot rocks is used to generate steam for electric generation.

    NCPA (public power) even added two solar fields to power the pumping of the water up the hill.

    New approaches to expanding geothermal energy are:
    A) Enhanced Geothermal Systems EGS (Google has put money into Altarock for this process)

    B) Binary Geothermal Systems which don’t require as hot ground temperatures and use a working fluid for power generation that is similar the process of air conditioners.

    1. susan the other

      Interesting that Iceland is just now experimenting with what sounds like capping off an oil well – only it is a potential “supercritical water” well. I’m thinking about the stuff I read in Harry Reid’s autobiography about the State of Nevada being the Saudi Arabia of geothermal energy because the whole state is a large bulge (much larger than little Iceland) of magma very close to the earth’s crust. And there is an experimental energy plant (name makes it sound like it is in New York – can’t remember it tho’) already underway in Nevada. I think southern Nevada. And that’s not to mention the magma under Yellowstone. Sounds precarious; wonder if it could let the steam off of a super volcano eruption… why waste all that energy? :~]

  14. jfleni

    RE: “U.S. accuses Syria of not complying with chemical weapons agreement”.

    Thus speaks DogPatch-DC egged on by BiBi the Mad,”we’re not looking to rush into an open-ended conflict in Syria.” Sure!

  15. Oregoncharles

    About “Drilling Surprise Opens Door…”
    Sorry this is going to be a bit long, but it’s complicated and more than a little crazy.

    I’m inspired by this success to make a really large proposal:
    The Yellowstone super-volcano – which, to be brief, will sometime in the fairly near future blow us all to kingdom come. It’s done this before, it’s due, and it’s swelling measurably. The magma chamber was recently measured at about 50 miles by 20 – enormous. My question: could it be possible to prevent an explosive eruption while powering most of North America, and incidentally ending the fossil fuel era here? Again, Iceland is a model for the first part of the idea, because they recently turned a lava flow that threatened an important harbor by spraying the leading edge with seawater

    Briefly: the idea is to drill down to the magma chamber, then inject water and use the steam to generate electricity – in quantities limited only by the supply of water. If done on a large enough scale, this could, potentially, cool the surface of the chamber, thickening the cap and absorbing the increase in magma. A passive geothermal system would destroy the existing hydrothermal features of the park by drawing off the water supply; an active system that injects water might not.

    And yes, this bit of geo-engineering would come at a high cost. At best, it would be a monstrous project and would make Yellowstone Park into an industrial area – though it should be possible to minimize the impact on wildlife. At worst, it might set off an explosive eruption. Even if successful, over geologic time it would make Yellowstone into a mountain as the magma continued to rise. And I’m not at all sure it would work to prevent an eruption – which will eventually destroy Yellowstone as we know it, in any case, along with civilization in North America.

    But at least we now know it is possible to drill into magma and to derive steam power from it.

    1. Antifa

      The idea is lovely, but the size and heat of the magma pool under Yellowstone is so incredibly immense that we could power every device needing power on this planet without having the slightest effect on the beast. It’s way, way beyond human scale.

      As far as preventing another super eruption by releasing the heat, pressure, and magma slowly — it would add to global warming, spew a lot of sulfur into the upper atmosphere and cool the planet, and short of bringing on a super eruption have virtually no effect on the existing magma pool. That thing is way, way beyond human scale.

      The only possible way the pressure of that magma pool can be released is a super eruption.

      1. Oregoncharles

        I’d like to run it past a few geophysicists. My thought is that the flow into the magma chamber can’t be all that fast, or it would have blown by now. Apparently it’s been more than a thousand years.
        If you could keep ahead of the inflow, you could prevent an explosion, I would think. As I said, a monstrous project, but conceivable – and the energy payoff would be immense.

  16. susan the other

    About our national dose of imaging radiation with CT scans, etc. It probably does cause the extra cases of cancer. From my previous incarnation, I remember Linus Pauling claiming that Vit C protects us against damage from free radicals – those high energy particles damaging our cells and causing fragments of those cells to cause further damage, etc. Can’t remember where I read it, maybe 4 years ago, but they have found that Vit. C really is a good anti-cancer treatment if taken intravenously. It is measurably effective, in comparison to Vit C taken by mouth which was not too promising.

  17. Expat

    It’s Friday. It’s the last day of the month. So what has the government done for us?
    “Keystone XL oil pipeline clears major hurdle: U.S. State Department raises no major environmental objections”
    The basis of the department’s reasoning seems to be that the tarsands are going to get into international commerce regardless of whether the pipeline is approved, so the US might as well get a piece of it, even if it means destroying more of our already diminished environment, threatening more of our already endangered ground water, polluting our air in areas that already exceed pollution limits, and forcing Americans to pay more for gasoline than they already do. Not to mention the piles of petcoke that will show up on every American waterway. Thank you, NAFTA partner Canada.

    I’ve contacted the White House and the Department of State to register my opposition even though I know this issue will be resolved solely by lobbyists and the President’s fear of the public.

    1. AbyNormal

      “Last week, Morgan Stanley announced that its chief executive, James P. Gorman, would receive a bonus of $4.9 million, an 86 percent rise, and his salary would double to $1.5 million. The firm has not disclosed Mr. Gorman’s full pay package for 2013, but it is likely to be substantially higher than the $9.75 million he received last year.
      Goldman Sachs paid its chief executive Lloyd C. Blankfein $21 million in 2012 and said this week that it would award him $14.7 million in restricted stock, $1 million more than last year, which will probably push his total compensation above $21 million for 2013.
      Goldman Sachs’s market capitalization is roughly a third of JPMorgan’s, and Morgan Stanley’s is even smaller.
      Outside finance, Mr. Raymond’s successor at Exxon Mobil, Rex W. Tillerson, was paid $40.3 million in 2012. Leslie Moonves, chief executive of CBS, was paid $62.2 million. And Larry Ellison of Oracle topped the charts at $96.12 million. By those measures, Mr. Dimon’s $20 million looked modest, especially to a committee made up of fellow chief executives”

      ACHIEVEMENT, n. The death of endeavor and the birth of disgust.

      We have hundreds of millions, for politicians to vie

      For the right to control us, their honesty belied.

      They promise the moon with a gleam in their eye,

      While they secretly form alliances with the money magi.

      “I’ve always been more honest than that other guy!

      He’s a much bigger crook than I,” they decry.

      So we vote for the best of the worst, and stand by

      To see more of our rights signed away. Say “bye, bye.”

      They can’t pass a law to benefit those who vie

      For the poor in the nation: “Go call your rabbi.”

      But Corporations and Bankers: “Hell yes, we’ll comply!

      They must have finances, we can’t let them die.

      We’ll bail them out, we’ll be their ally,

      The taxpayers will pay. So what if they cry?”

      We’ve taken their houses, they’ve moved into a sty.

      Their jobs cut their pay, their benefits have run dry.

      Food stamps and medicare, people starving: “Don’t cry.

      “We can’t find the funds, we’ve got bombs we must buy.

      “The terrorists are coming” has been their constant cry,

      “We’ve got to spend trillions to defeat these guys.”

      So we bomb millions of innocents – “collateral damage,” oh my!

      We have 900 bases, all on standby

      To support corporations, steeling oil in Sinai.

      “We demand cooperation, like it or die!”

      Jamie Dimon lost $2 billion and laughed a reply:

      “Oh, I guess we were stupid.” His subordinates fried.

      Regulations? “Hel no!” he says with a sigh.

      “We’ll police ourselves.” When will we stop these guys?

      So honesty and integrity, they’re in short supply,

      The media’s complicit, they help spread the lie

      That it’s our fault we’re broke. “Suck it up,” they decry.

      The middle class raped, sold low and high.

      The promises made, just pie in the sky.

      The liars grow wealthy, as they continue to apply

      Austerity to the masses, as the liars fly high.
      Matthew Sotak/

      1. diptherio

        Thanks for sharing that.

        I’ve been reading A Comical History of Montana: A Serious Story for Free People, by Jere C. Murphy (pub. 1912). Here is what Murphy had to say about the situation in Montana at that time, after describing how all of the mines, reduction works, public utilities, courts and politicians of “the Treasure State” were brought under monopoly control:

        All this by the power of lawless corporate combination and the thimble-rigging of high finance, exercised by absentee bosses who have gained possession of this inestimable wealth and control of these stupendous influences without honest investment, honest purpose, or honest accounting whatsoever.

        Who are these absentee bosses?
        The constitute a small group among the conspicuous confidence operators of Wall Street.
        How did they get this enormous wealth and these tremendous powers?
        They bought some of it from the owners of the property and some of it from law-makers and other officials employed by the public.
        Where did they get the money?
        That, also, they got from the public.
        What did the public get?
        The public got watered stock in a generously assorted variety of mining, smelting, water power and public utility companies.
        Do the operators pay dividends on these watered stocks?
        Only when it suits their convenience and promotes their efforts to unload more watered stocks.

  18. ScottA

    Re: the dailydot article on Bitcoin mining…

    I read through the article. I saw the parts where they talked about the “rise” of Bitcoin mining… but I failed to see any part where they talked about the “fall”.

    As noted in the media a few months ago, the computing power of the Bitcoin mining network is over 200x greater than the combined computing power of all the supercomputers on the planet:

    This is of course due to greed. While “only” 25 bitcoins are generated every 10 minutes worldwide, which works out to 150 bitcoins per hour (which is a mere pittance compared to the USD 90 million being cranked out by the Fed every hour in the current post-taper QE)…

    USD 65 billion / (30 days * 24 hours) = 90 million USD per hour

    …each of those bitcoins is currently worth around 800 USD in the marketplace – and this value has the potential to go significantly higher due to (1) Bitcoin’s pre-programmed scarcity (bitcoins are guaranteed to continue to be produced at this fixed rate, halving asymptotically at certain fixed dates in the future- ie, their rate of production is algorithmically pre-determined, rather than politically determined), (2) Bitcoin’s security (based on strong cryptography – SHA-256, RIPEMD, ECDSA – which has been running without incident on the Bitcoin network for 5 years now – and on other systems before that) and (3) Bitcoin’s divisibility (currently down to 8 decimal places: ie, there are 100,000,000 “satoshis” in 1 bitcoin) – in addition to other well-known features such as its portability / transmissibility.

    By the way, when the pool controlled around of 42% global bitcoin mining power, there was a storm of disussion on reddit, including many calls for people to leave the pool (and join, eg, p2pool – a peer-to-peer pool).

    Evidently, the calls had an effect, because now’s share dropped to where it is now 29%:

    Also: the Cornell article which supposedly exposed a potential vulnerability in Bitcoin mining was debunked in November 2013:

  19. Mel

    deptherio: “And while it is true that improper canning can lead to botulism, it’s not that difficult to tell a bad canning job from a good one, in my experience.”
    Find, if you can, the writings of Berton Roueche. He wrote a series of very good essays (for the New Yorker, I think) on medicine and epidemiology. They got collected into paperbacks. Fascinating stuff. One story that stood out for me was about a guy who killed several of his family with his specialty marinated mushrooms in oil. In this case he created the exact anaerobic, non-acidic conditions in which botulism can come alive and really thrive. Closing line was from an investigator — those musrooms still looked really delicious.

    1. diptherio

      True, true. I would hope that anyone who is going to engage in canning gets some knowledgeable advice. Books are OK, but old ladies are better ;)

      I don’t think there is any reason to assume, however, that your friend’s pickled carrots are any less safe than, say, corporate spinach. At least with home-produced food, poisonings are going to be contained. When Dole’s spinach gets exposed to e. coli, on the other hand, or when a BSE infected downer gets ground into hamburger with a couple hundred of his compadres, the resulting tragedies are much worse.

      I’m a Montana boy and grew up hunting to put meat on the table. My aunt, for many years made most of her income from picking huckleberries. In my family, we gardened, we canned, we froze, we dried…and nobody died…that’s where I’m coming from. Given the environmental destruction caused by our corporate food-production machine, I think that going local and home-made whenever possible is well worth the (perhaps) added risk.

  20. kimyo

    New study links fracking to birth defects in heavily drilled Colorado – Risks of some birth defects increased as much as 30 percent in mothers who lived near oil and gas wells

    “What we found was that the risk of congenital heart defects (CHD) increased with greater density of gas wells — with mothers living in the highest-density areas at greatest risk,” Lisa McKenzie, a research associate at the Colorado School of Public Health and lead author of the study, told Al Jazeera.

    The study examined links between the mother’s residential proximity to natural gas wells and birth defects in a study of more than 124,842 births between 1996 and 2009 in rural Colorado.

    The study found that “births to mothers in the most exposed (areas with over 125 wells per mile) had a 30 percent greater prevalence of CHDs than births to mothers with no wells in a 10-mile radius of their residence.”

  21. zn

    Attention: Yves & Lambert.
    One is tired of Mme Beards theological discourse on why hers is the one true religion while rest are false. The validity slash truth of all religion is based on belief. There is no rational way to determine between competing claims.

    In this case Beard seemingly without provocation Mme MylessthanPrimeBeef comment on greed as lead for her sermon.

    Please, can you all ask her to tone down the theological stuff? We are sure she is really is kind heart-ed follower of the bare footed rabbi.

    Best regards & goodnight to all,


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