Links 2/16/14

Ancient Fish was First to Have Two Nostrils, Leading the Way for Vertebrates with Faces Nature

How Breast Milk Engineers a Baby’s Gut (and Gut Microbes) National Geographic. Thanks, Nestlé!

Reports: ‘Deformed’ containment vessel cover at Fukushima Reactor 3 — Center panel of concrete cover ‘broken and sunken’ (PHOTOS & VIDEO) ENE News

Restore Louisiana Now: Harry Shearer interviews John Barry Corrente. Transcript covering “the lawsuit that [the New Orleans East Bank Levee Authority] has filed against more than 90 oil companies and petroleum companies and oil servicing firms, seeking damages for the destruction they have wrought on the coastal wetlands of southern Louisiana, with more than 10,000 miles of pipelines and canals they dug into the wetlands allowing salt water to intrude.”

Number of chemicals linked to problems such as autism DOUBLES in just seven years Daily Mail 

West Virginia water after the spill: ‘We do not drink it. My pets do not drink it’ Guardian

Fracking brings oil boom to south Texas town, for a price LA Times 

Freezing Out the Bigger Picture Times. Stupid climate change denialists.

Dunn convicted of attempted murder; hung jury on murder in ‘loud-music’ trial CNN

Foreclosure Filings Jump as Investors Eye Exits Counterpunch

Anti-Union Vote Will Kill New Tennessee Production Line Moon of Alabama

With Fewer New Firms, the High-Tech Sector is Losing its Dynamism HBR

A lesson in Lego Gillian Tett, FT

Why the economy isn’t doomed WaPo

The Social Value of Finance Baseline Scenario. If any.

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Spying by N.S.A. Ally Entangled U.S. Law Firm Times. So long, attorney-client privilege!

NSA: Obama to get call data ideas next week Politco

NSA Surveillance Lawsuit Tracker Pro Publica

Incendiary Devices LRB

Linking to free web content is legal, says EU Court BBC

Bitcoin Now Accounts for 10% of Sales at Coindesk

German Left (Die Linke) VP Claims “Euro Divides Europe, No Benefit to EU” Global Economic Analysis

Merkel, Hollande to discuss European communication network avoiding U.S. Reuters

How Airbus Is Debugging the A350 Businessweek. “De-risking,” not “debugging.”

Brazil housing bubble fears as economy teeters FT

Brazil’s World Cup courts disaster as delays, protests and deaths mount Guardian

Mediator apologizes to Syrians for lack of peace progress Reuters

Indian anti-graft crusader Arvind Kejriwal quits Delhi government AP

Unaffordable cities: Singapore workers tread water on millionaires’ island Guardian

Hong Kong’s ‘caged dogs’: Poverty-stricken people forced to live like animals in one of the world’s wealthiest and most densely populated cities Daily Mail

Some Reasons for Guaranteeing Both an Income and Job Heteconomist

Content economics, part 5: news Felix Salmon, Reuters

John Maynard Keynes, Investment Innovator Journal of Economic Perspectives

The incredible hulks: Jonathan Meades’ A-Z of brutalism Guardian

World War I Guilt: Culpability Question Divides Historians Today Der Spiegel

The French way of cancer treatment Reuters. What a first-world health care system looks like, as opposed to our own.

The Moral Is the Practical Marginal Revolution

The Public Voice of Women LRB

Antidote du jour (Stupid Flickr mouseover action because I’m getting a “Failed to write file to disk” message uploading Antidotes to the server):

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


    1. Doug Terpstra

      Paul Krugman is still doing his homework on TPP—deafening silence for two months since Dean Baker nailed his head to the floor.

      1. Bunk McNulty

        …and as if that weren’t enough, The Moustache Of Understanding has decided to weigh in, too.

        “I was speaking out in Minnesota — my hometown, in fact — and a guy stood up in the audience, said, ‘Mr. Friedman, is there any free trade agreement you’d oppose?’ I said, ‘No, absolutely not.’ I said, ‘You know what, sir? I wrote a column supporting the CAFTA, the Caribbean Free Trade initiative. I didn’t even know what was in it. I just knew two words: free trade.’”

        1. Doug Terpstra

          Friedman is a Pavlovian neoliberal, who drools involuntarily when Wall Street or AIPAC whistle. Such a public display of ignorance exposes Freidman as a highly useful idiot who’s proud of it.

          1. psychohistorian

            I appreciate your tactful evisceration of Krugman, something I can no longer do.

            I see Krugman as a serious part of the propaganda problem that keeps semi-enlightened folk from out and out rebellion. One wonders how he sleeps at night….maybe since he is such a good supporter of big pharma they give him his daily fix at reduced rates.

            1. Doug Terpstra

              Indeed. Tools like Krugman must feel a little nervous walking past lampposts after a while, wondering if his name is on one of them. He’s certainly sharp enough to know better about the TPP, O-Care, and about Obama’s persistent duplicity, so I’m guessing his long silence is a pang of residual conscience. There’s always a slender hope someone in his position will rediscover real integrity.

    2. JohnnyGL

      Thanks for that link. Comments section is worth a look. Check out the contrast in “reader’s picks” vs. “NYT editors’ picks”. Pretty funny how commenters are giving this article the Krugman treatment from awhile back when he wrote his “what’s the big deal?” article on the subject.

  1. dearieme

    The French healthcare story reminded me that Americans routinely over-rate their own healthcare. But one question: is this a story about French taxpayers, including poor ones, subsidising a wealthy, dying American? Was it possible because he had retained French citizenship, or are French taxpayers mugs on a wider scale?

    1. Andrea

      The article says the wife “showed their card” or whatnot. That means the father was insured with the “Sécu.” (NHS.) So, he was a resident of France (the criteria is residency). Of course, if he (or his wife) had a French or possibly EU passport he could have arrived in France and on day 1 established himself there and then been automatically affiliated.

      About the French system, the Secu, one should know that it pays only about 75% of health care. The definition though of HC is very broad, and includes, e.g. glasses, orthodontia, false teeth, prosthetics, wheelchairs and the like, pregnancy, mobility lessons, ambulance, elder care, and just about anything you can think of… The rest is paid by the patient: about 50 euros per year for the bulk, with at the top of the scale, 3 million patients paying *more* than 1,500, per year. How much that makes idk, but the remainder is paid through private insurance (of a ‘mutual’ type), which is very common, to cover the cost not paid by the Secu, or pay private care (spa treatment, own room in fancy private clinic, etc.)

      So, there are co-pays and the like, within the Secu. However, the Secu has a provision that waives these co-pays under certain conditions: catastrophic / long-term / incurable illness or disability (diabetes, cancer, handicap…); end of life care in some cases; dire poverty, indigence. This gentleman, with incurable cancer, would have paid not one cent, not even for cabs and neck massage.

      1. dearieme

        Thank you, Andrea. I take it that if he had residency, he paid French income tax so that he had earned the right to be a beneficiary of the system. Britons who live, or travel, in France seem to rate the French health system more highly than the NHS.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        How do we get from here to there?

        Is ACA going to be it? Was ACA designed so that it would be it, that we would not bother again about going over there?

      3. annie

        Andre Schiffrin (the patient) was born in France; thus was a French citizen. Being a ‘resident’ is not the same thing. One might be a resident and be covered by French insurance but only if one has paid income taxes in France. A close friend has a house in France, is married to a French citizen (by birth), and has himself become a French citizen–BUT is not eligible for state healthcare because he has earned all his income and paid his taxes in the U.S.
        I live much of the time in Italy where healthcare is mostly excellent. We are residents but not citizens. Until recently we were able for a nominal fee (350 euros) to buy into the Italian healthcare system. This has suddenly changed (for the obvious reasons) and the charge is based on one’s income–in our case, in the U.S.–and for us would be quite high. We will thus buy private insurance (with deductible). One can, however, simply go to doctors ‘privately,’ which means one pays for the visit or treatment (say, x-ray or sonogram) out of pocket. This sort of private doctor visit is usually around 100 euros.
        One nice feature: Our town operates an emergency clinic with 24-hour doctor, no fee at all–to anyone! tourists included.

  2. financial matters

    The French way of cancer treatment Reuters. What a first-world health care system looks like, as opposed to our own.

    Great article. It’s hard to use simplicity in the same sentence with Obamacare.

    “Every time I sit on hold now with the billing department of my New York doctors and insurance company, I think back to all the things French healthcare got right. The simplicity of that system meant that all our energy could be spent on one thing: caring for my father.”

    1. Andrea

      The ‘humane’ aspect arises from the ‘single payer’ organization (though it is not quite that single, see my post above), of course.

      But also from a traditional pov that sees the patient as a ‘whole person’ someone with a particular, individual make-up, position, with its own difficulties, desires, needs, and not just a body with a tumor up there somewhere.

      This means that the definition of ‘health care’ is not ‘sick care’ (as it is in the US), but closer to ‘promoting well-being’, in situations (cancer, say) that are unfavorable. Not to imply that high-end expertise / technology is neglected, nor that the F system is ‘tops.’

      Seen in this way, wait times, travel, mobility, conversation, listening, involving family, providing perks that aid comfort, augmenting autonomy, are all part of care, or at the very least should be taken into account, even if the problems are frustrating and can’t be solved “pour l’instant.”

      1. just me

        Definition of “person” might have something to do with definition of “health care.” If this comment from 2009 is still true, in France only “natural persons” can donate to campaigns, and “legal entities” cannot. (I think that means there is no such thing as “corporate persons” in France?)

        If you want to get a feel for how much money is running our country, go to a country like France, where a sense of the common good is still abundantly manifest, unlike in the US. In France, people, not big money/special interests, are the dominate campaign contributors:

        At present, the system for the regulation of election campaign funding in France is organized as follows. Election campaigns of candidates are funded from contributions of natural persons and from resources of political parties.

        A maximum limit has been established for donations from natural persons. Donations from legal entities are banned since 1995. The maximum amount of total expenditures of candidates on their election campaigns has been established legislatively. Funding of political parties in France is based on the combination of public subsidies and private donations.

        If America is ever going to right itself and become again a nation of, for, by the people (vs the corporations), we have to radically change the campaign finance so people are the main contributors.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      A few weeks ago, hundreds of millions of Americans watched Seattle beat Denver in the Super Bowl. Presumably, they watched the post-game interview of Russell Wilson, Seattle’s young quarterback.

      In the interview, Wilson credited his success, in part, to his father’s inspiring words–“WHY NOT YOU?”

      It never ceases to amaze that Americans, when they are made aware of how much better healthcare is in other, less “wealthy” countries, never seem to ask, “WHY NOT US?”

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Why not us?

        So true.

        We lose when we rob ourselves of our greatness, thinking only ‘others’ are entitled or capable.

        Why can’t money be created through the (little) people spending it in existence?

        Why must it be that only the government can spend it into existence? Is it because the government is wiser than the people?

        Why not us (the little people)?

  3. Jim Haygood

    ‘Searching for Leopoldo Lopez’ in the bolivarian Workers Paradise:

    At least 17 protesters were injured yesterday in Venezuela’s capital as opposition student groups marched for the fourth day.

    Venezuela is searching for Leopoldo Lopez, the leader of the Voluntad Popular opposition political party, National Assembly president Diosdado Cabello said yesterday on state television.

    “Leopoldo is hiding,” Cabello said. “There’s an arrest order for that fascist, and we’re going to work to put him in jail.”

    President Nick Maduro accused opposition factions of trying to incite a coup. “I’m not going to step down,” Maduro said yesterday. “No one will remove me from the path of building the Bolivarian revolution.”

    Inflation more than doubled in Venezuela in the past year to 56.3 percent in January, according to the central bank.


    As Comrade Nick said a few weeks ago, ‘I’m a socialist, and I know what I’m doing.’

    1. scraping_by

      Anytime a mob is attempting regime change, one’s mind goes back to the CIA financed NGOs that have been exposed over the years. It’s probably a routine, now, going from a rent-a-crowd to a rent-a-mob.

      And it’s not provable every street action is directed. But in a world where so many conspiracy theories show up as conspiracy fact, it’s a safer bet than the outcome of the Super Bowl.

      Busy little fingers, prodding, prodding, prodding…

      1. Doug Terpstra

        The CIA is a little busy in Ukraine right now, but they are rather good at multitasking. Could Venezuela’s oil have anything to do with the right wing making its economy scream?

        1. psychohistorian


          That and one can’t have another example of some aspiring socialist society…must kill it at any cost….right Jim Haygood?

  4. Bill the Psychologist

    Thanks for the article on French health care, it’s an eye opener.

    As a 70 y/o retired Federal employee, I have no complaints so far about my healthcare, as I have medicaid plus BCBS for a modest monthly fee, but I have no way of knowing what might happen if I get really ill.
    And of course, no healthcare here matches nurses/doctors making multiple free house calls under an circumstance.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      “…but I have no way of knowing what might happen if I get really ill.”

      Yet others, who HAVE gotten “really ill” DO KNOW, and have warned you. Repeatedly.

      So how is it that you and others like you ignore the realities of US “healthcare” as experienced by those who have actually needed to use it? Why the complacency?

      It is this complacency, on the basis of lack of experience, that stymies true reform. You doom yourself, and others, to find out only when it is too late.

      And, by the way, as a 70-year-old, you should be eligible for Medicare, which is supposed to be much better that Medicaid.

  5. Jim Haygood

    From ‘Maynard Keynes, Investment Innovator’:

    The majority of his UK equity holdings were concentrated in just two sectors — tin mining stocks in the 1920s and gold mining stocks in the following decade [1930s] — and commercial and industrial firms.

    Keynes’ large overweighting of mining relative to the market was similar in magnitude to his underweighting of the second-largest sector, banking. Banking carried an index weight of 20 percent, and Keynes had little or no exposure to this sector.


    Keynes may have denounced gold as a ‘barbarous relic.’ But when it came to making money for Kings College, in the mid-Thirties he had half his portfolio concentrated in gold miners during their monster bull run. [In the U.S., Homestake delivered a ten-bagger return from the late 1920s to 1936.]

    Equally ironic for the man who proposed the never-implemented ‘Bancor’ supranational currency, he shunned investing in the banksters who would have issued and traded it. Smart!

    1. Andrew Watts

      Most economists are lousy investors. So he might’ve had insider knowledge.

      Just sayin’. He was friends with a lot of influential people after all.

      1. craazyman

        he might have been a lousy economist and a good speculator!

        This could be the year to get rich quick in metals and mining. last year didn’t work out so well, but “once bitten twice shy” is not for those whose fortune is written in the stars.

        When you get to 100 bagger land, everything will make sense, even economics! Of course, when you’re loafing on in the deck salon of your 48 foot blue water cruising sailboat, you won’t care about economics. So it’s all only theoretical anyway.

        1. Andrew Watts

          How dare you sir! If Lord Keynes was here he would surely challenge either one of us to a duel to defend his sacred honor. It would surely not besmirch his manliness to smite two impertinent knaves.

    2. Susan the other

      So did Keynes ever discuss what the value of an international currency would be pegged to? Was it gold for him? The dumbest of all delusions? So he invested in gold. And now we see gold becoming irrelevant, right? Because sovereign nations provide the only value a currency can have and that is the cooperation and agreement of the people who use it. What can a supranational currency claim as its value? The forced imprisonment and/or impoverishment of the people who refuse to use it?

    1. lambert strether

      interesting that the deeply unfair two-tier contracts bit the UAW in the ***. As Social Security being worse the younger you get would bite the Dems, if the Republicans weren’t dumb as stumps.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        “…deeply unfair two-tier contracts bit the UAW in the ***.

        As did their unquestioning but unrequited love for the current corporatist donkey in the white house, and all the corporatist donkeys who lived there before him.

      2. diptherio

        This comment from an anti-UAW worker should put the standard “ignorant and voting against their own interests” explanations to rest:

        “What the UAW is offering, we can already do without them,” says hourly worker Mike Burton, who created the website for the No 2 UAW campaign. “We were only given one choice [of a union]. When you are only given one choice, it’s BS. It would be nice if we had a union that came in here and forthright said, “Here is what we can offer.”

        “I am not anti-union, I am anti-UAW,” Burton continues. “There are great unions out there, and we just weren’t offered any of them.”

  6. Andrew Watts

    RE: Number of chemicals linked to problems such as autism DOUBLES in just seven years

    Autism has not been scientifically proven to be caused by chemical exposure. There are a variety of rare genes that can be found among autistic people. That’s how they are identified early on in their life cycle. Evolution is a more plausible explanation. If toxic chemicals are the cause of decreased intelligence and autism why are autistic people routinely testing brighter than the norm?

    Silly humans! The non-verbal autistics are further on their evolutionary way to developing telepathy. That’s awesome!

    RE: German Left (Die Linke) VP Claims “Euro Divides Europe, No Benefit to EU”

    Where the European far-left meets the far-right. Can the center hold?

    History (who’s a real b@#$% btw) says “no”.

  7. MikeNY

    Re: the moral is the practical:

    MLK said in the civil rights struggle that “the most formidable weapon of all was the conviction that we were right”. I think this is also the power of satyagraha; men of good will react strongly when they perceive moral truth. That’s why I believe the struggle for economic justice must be framed in moral terms — in terms of the equality of all human beings, and the dignity they merit.

    Progressives cannot be afraid of using the language of morality. This is not sanctimonious cant. It is to call economic oppression and subjugation by its proper name, and to insist we have an obligation as a society to do better. The waste of human life in the status quo is shameful. It is, quite simply, wrong.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      “Progressives cannot be afraid of using the language of morality.”

      Unless you don’t really believe what you’re saying. Then such language can be dangerous.

      People are beginning to catch on.

      1. MikeNY

        I agree with you. I think that’s why true revolutionaries so rarely spring from the political mainstream.

    2. Susan the other

      Marginal Revolution’s The Moral is the Practical sounded a little too rationalized. What is practical? Whatever perpetuates the present model of capitalism (which nobody understands anymore but nevermind)? Well efficiency is practical. Kinda like efficiency is the application of the practical. Or vice versa for that matter – not too circular! So, efficiency of what? Well it turns out they are talking about “open borders” – all the better to receive your poor downtrodden… etc. This must be because the globalization that worked so well for our big corporations who offshored our birthright to Asia can no longer make a living, or justify it. Their crumbling model of modern day mercantilism – of an obfuscated carry trade on the backs of the poorest laborers – which they considered the apex of efficiency turns out not to be either efficient or moral. But nevermind again. It is much better to make trafficking in cheap third-world labor legal; to bring all those dispossesed wretches here to dispossess the rest of us. After all the black marketeering of labor up to now has profited only the underground entrepreneurs, not the big corporations.

      1. fresno dan

        Its funny how all the open border people – freedom is so important……all of sudden think that the absolute foundation of capitalism rests on trademarks, copyright, and patents – – that is All sorts of laws, rules, regulations, implementing interpretations, etc., the HEAVY, HEAVY hand of government…. And periods for holding these rules, regulations, and laws have been extended FAR, FAR beyond the terms originally laid out in the constitution. (gee the rules aren’t the result of fraud and corruption of the rule making process….are they??????)
        So the freedom to make or import a drug has to be restricted, or its ok to restrict someone from working in a factory that makes clothes or items that appear similar to items with trademarks…..
        FUNNY….freedom for people to come into the country, but not the stuff people make, to come into the country….
        All the talk about freedom for people to choose who they want to work for. But somehow, my freedom to buy drugs from another country….THE HORROR!
        Funny who gets freedom…..poor people to work at low paying jobs get all the freedom they can stomach.
        But somehow my freedom to buy Chinese videotapes….on NOs!!!!! Because…FREEDOM…wait….uh, er, consumers have to be …”protected” YEAH, that’s it!!!!

  8. Jill

    Here are some things I’ve noticed in the housing market. Homes with prices of around $150,000 and under in “good” markets are being bought with cash by investors. Homepath houses in certain locations are not listed to the general public until the end of (or past) the public waiting period. Other govt. program houses have evidently been left to rot. I have seen homes where you have to sign a mold disclosure before you can even set foot in the house. I saw several listings where they mentioned blooms of growth. I saw this information just looking through zillow.

    I think the market is going to crash again. People are losing jobs so they can not keep their homes, let alone purchase a new one. I figured it must be investors buying the properties because the sales figures just didn’t make sense to me otherwise. It looked to me like groups of investors would cherry pick properties, having been notified “in network” by their buddies as properties became available. Properties not worth picking are left to rot. Yes, what a fabulous way of doing things. Throwing people from their homes, cherry picking from those homes and letting the rest go to hell. And now, more to come.

    1. bob

      MOLD! And another industry is born. It used to be called mildew. It’s pretty common in a lot of houses and areas.

      But MOLD! BLACK MOLD! (Stachybotrys) You’ll have to test that…at $300 a test. Oh, and by the way, the testing is close to useless. If it is “deadly black mold” it has to be in a very special place (dying off) to release spores that A) are the dangerous part and B) can be picked up by the test. 99% of the time, there is no way to test for it.

      Yeah, it might be deadly black mold. But it’s probably just mildew.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Who is rich enough to buy from the private equity funds?

      Twelve percent gain in a year, before the six percent commission…if you can find a buyer.

  9. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: West Virginia water after the spill

    ” There is virtually nothing that is known for certain about the toxicity of MCHM or its effect on humans.”

    Enough said.

  10. optimader

    How Airbus Is Debugging the A350 Businessweek. “De-risking,” not “debugging.”

    pretty much synonyms in this case These are nested computer algorithms in a composite case w/ wings.. It will literally be many years (if ever) before they plow through all possible permutations leading to “hull loss”. fortunately it normally takes something like four serious failures to take out a passenger jet which invariably includes “human factors” ( Naked Pilot: The Human Factor in Aircraft Accidents excellent book that delves into how the human brain functions).
    In the industry, Airbus does have a historically (disconcerting IMO) reputation for the aircraft having authority over the pilot. When things are working it enhances efficiency, when things go awry, that’s when a plane lands itself in a forest beyond the runway or shuts down engines when a pitot tube ices over due to a failed heating element and the plane decides its not moving! In the former case the demonstration crew died, in the latter case, mercifully after loosing most of it’s altitude the ice melted and the aircraft realized it was indeed moving and allowed the engine to relight!

    In general, a childhood friend who is soon a retiring senior Captain for a major domestic carrier finds the younger crop of pilots often tend to want to be flight managers rather than pilots, not wanting to manually takeoff/land beyond the regulatory requirement (intimidated by the aircraft? don’t want to fkup?). Also, they tend to demure to rank, not necessarily a desirable quality if there is a developing series of bad decisions occurring.

    BTW, yes he did windowpane acid in college if anyone remembers that stuff…wow.

    1. ambrit

      Dear optimader;
      Yes I do. That and good old Mr. Natural, and Owsley, of course. Windowpane, now that was intense. I hope he had some good friends/shamans to help guide him through.
      I always recommend Huxleys’ “The Doors of Perception” to those interested in the Psychoactives.

      1. optimader

        we were goofy kids at the top of our game (we thought). A whole group of us would have a four-way hit of WP or blotter.. Someone in charge? no way, we would sit around and giggle, then go to a bar or the movies. Two memorable experiences were Andy Warhol’s Frankenstein (in 3-D) and Frank Zappas and the Mothers of Invention 200 motels (in 3-D). Yikes.

        Ambrit, our society has pounded in risk adversity into the younger generations I really wonder how it will play out?

        Those alkaloids were really something, would love a bag of mushrooms for this weather.
        A beautiful place, the good ones grow in the cow pasture.
        Approved reading in HS honors English. A different place and time that was.

        1. ambrit

          Dear optimader;
          Oh yes, 200 Motels! That, and going to see Genesis, with Peter Gabriel, play at Miamis’ Gusman Hall. Is it just me, or are todays kids really a lot more dour and melancholy? I do remember having a sense that everything was going to turn out grand for everyone in the world. Steely Dans’ “I.G.Y.” sums it up quite well.
          Keep the Faith, Baby!

  11. diptherio

    File Under: Police State USA

    Good Samaritan Backfire
    Long, but worth the read. Man stops to assist injured bikers in SF. Calls 911, officers arrive and arrest him.

    Without warning, I was shoved from behind by Officer Gerrans and then collectively tackled by Officers Gerrans, Kaur and Andreotti. As they took me to the ground, one of the officers kneed me in the right temple. On the pavement, I begged them to watch out for my recently broken right elbow. Knees on my back and neck pinned me to the ground. I was cuffed and left face down.

    I was not told that I was under arrest, what the charges were, nor read my rights. I rolled over onto my back so that I could see the arresting officers and ask them their intentions.


    When Officer Kaur walked away, I spoke with the remaining officers. I told Officers Andreotti and Gerrans that I appreciated their prompt arrival and respected their jobs. I mentioned that I’ve had only positive interactions with the SFPD until that point. I said that, strange as it may seem, I accept my current lot and await the course of justice to set the record straight.

    We had a cordial conversation. They noticed I was shivering and propped me on the door of Radius restaurant. Then they asked me what I do for a living. I said that I write software that helps restaurants source food and indicated that the restaurant behind me uses our product.

    What they said brought to light a fundamental rift between the residents of San Francisco and the police:

    “Ah, you’re one of those billionaire wannabees in this neighborhood.”

    1. fresno dan

      The fact of the matter is that American representative government no longer capable of restraining tight knit in-groups – whether bankers or police – it is totally corrupted. Whether it was the recent Sacramento Bee article that reported that prison guards yell “stop resisting” ……to inmates that are already unconscious from a beating so as to give justification in the event that any surveillance cameras may capture the incident, or to the incident in Southern CA where an 80 year man was shot dead in his bed, and the justification for the raid was that a police officer smelled Meth a day before when driving around the residence….when it turns out there was no meth found on the property. Is that cop fired for his incompetence…….OUCH!!!! I hurt myself laughing….they don’t get fired for killing people (of course, they usually don’t get prosecuted. And when they are prosecuted, are they prosecuted incompetently as part of the scheme????)

  12. allcoppedout

    I favour the death penalty for SUV drivers and noise polluters. Sadly we can’t take such matters into our own hands. I would find a world in which people felt too much shame to drive the gas-guzzlers or let their music reach the ears of others where it was unwanted a better place. My proposed legislation would no doubt lead to a rash of ‘wrong tune defences’. Clearly all this behaviour is tragic and we should not allow any of it. The answer is not to allow the public guns. The rest follows from there.

    1. neo-realist

      Worked for a company in the suburbs outside of Seattle were many of my co-workers drove SUV’s–in team meetings, I would refer to vehicles as gas-guzzling blunderbusses and godzilla’s. A couple of people eventually proceeded to drive smaller economy cars to work. I’m not totally sure if my ragging on those vehicles made the difference, but at the very least, I got a kick out of bending their ears on such a wasteful driving indulgence.

      At the very least, I would propose a VAT on SUV/luxury car owners to pay for highway construction and maintenance as well as public transportation.

      1. psychohistorian

        I call the big box machines gassholes.

        They hold a special place in my heart as I got sideswiped by one while riding my bicycle and took the side mirror off with the back of my helmeted head. My PI attorney had to move quickly to capture the damage to it because the gasshole driver had it in for $2K of repair before I even was out of the hospital. The gasshole driver died of other causes, intestate, two weeks before the court date….I got what was left of insurance limits.

        Gassholes are the epitome of the car culture.

    2. Jess

      Death penalty for “noise polluters”?

      Gee, I guess you’d fit right in with Mr. Dunn. Kid plays car stereo too loud, you’d shoot him. Or would a trial be required first? (Actually, I hate it when kids and others crank up the volume as if they own the world, and would favor some strong action being legal. Maybe shooting the radio instead of the driver?)

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Death penalty is too severe.

        Sticking something into another person’s body without permission is rape.

        In this case, it should be called ‘acoustic rape’ – a crime deserving prosecution, not vigilante punishment.

        Victims are usually ignored, left alone in the aftermath to deal with emotional, psychological and physical (the death cries of cells known as ringing in the ears) wounds without any professional help – another sign we are not ‘civilized.’

  13. rich

    Family fights to get drug for dying boy
    BY MONIFA THOMAS Staff Reporter February 15, 2014 1:26AM
    Should a dying child receive an unproven experimental drug even if the patient doesn’t fit within a carefully designed clinical trial?
    More than 53,000 people who have signed an online petition on behalf of a Mundelein boy say yes, absolutely. But Shire, the Ireland-based pharmaceutical company that owns the drug, says it’s a complicated matter and has refused to make the drug available to the child.
    At the heart of this moral and ethical dilemma is 6-year-old Jack Fowler. Jack has a rare disorder called Hunter syndrome, or MPS II, that is expected to kill him because he lacks the enzyme needed to break down cellular waste in his body. Ten to 20 years is the usual life expectancy of someone with the disease, but Jack’s more severe type means he may have less time.
    An estimated 2,000 patients — nearly all boys — are affected by the disease worldwide.
    The hope is that the drug in question, SHP-609, can for the first time slow or halt the progression of the disease in the brain. It is going through clinical trials, which means it hasn’t been approved by the Food and Drug Administration yet. The Phase II/III stages are just starting, and FDA approval happens after Phase III.
    So Jack’s parents, Jason and Jamie Fowler, have been trying to get a “compassionate use” approval for Jack, which the FDA allows on a case-by-case basis. Clearance for such use means Jack’s case would not influence outcomes in the clinical trial, so an adverse reaction by Jack, for example, would not count against the drug.
    if you want to help sign petition:

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      You certainly wouldn’t want to do anything to risk not getting your new drug approved by the FDA, although if you are a drug company with campaign cash, I don’t think that’s even possible.

      “Last year, 11 of the 12 new-to-market drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration were priced above $100,000 per-patient per-year.”

  14. TimR

    WaPo “Why the Economy isn’t Doomed”
    is filled with lots of nasty mind manipulation, hidden assumptions, and propaganda.
    Dripping from every paragraph almost.
    Not sure I want to try to explicate it all, that’s just my unsupported take on it.

  15. Susan the other

    ENE News on the otherwise unreported disastrous effect of Fukushima. A bit about the plutonium release via explosions and meltdowns. Plutonium not good. A map of radiation contamination all along the US westcoast and into the western states, and following the curve of the jetstream down into northern Texas and back up into New England. Sobering. And even more sobering is that this referenced “government report” came from France, the EU.

    And also Mish linked to Die Zeit on die Linke and Wagenknecht on capital controls and stable exchange rates if the EU is to survive the monetary union. She sounded perfectly rational and Mish sounded like he just invested all his cash in Bitcoin. Why is the ever-conflicted Mish never chagrined about his own comments? Because he wants to deflect his advocacy for pure speculation-capitalism. Mish is a throwback to the Gilded Age. No one in their right mind would deny that the EU needs stable exchange rates and capital controls – except Mish.

    1. Petal

      With all of the snow we’ve gotten this winter in northern New England, I just happened to wonder this afternoon about the radiation level of it. Does anyone know if there is tracking of the radioactivity of snow occurring?

    2. reslez

      Advocating Bitcoin on the internet is like telling an audience of burglars you like to keep all your cash in a mattress in your house, and by the way your street address is…

  16. optimader
    A model world
    In economics, climate science and public health, computer models help us decide how to act. But can we trust them?

    “The computer models of economists have to use equations that represent human behaviour; by common consent, they do it amazingly badly…
    Tony Lawson, an economic theorist at the University of Cambridge, argues more forcefully that the whole enterprise of mathematical description is so flawed that economics would be improved if it found other ways of analysing the system. In other words, no models at all might be better than the current models. This is where uncertainty maxes out.”

  17. Vatch

    The article about the “caged dogs” (humans) in Hong Kong is very upsetting. I’ve seen pictures of those “apartments” before; it’s truly tragic that the number of people living this way is increasing.

    It may not be inevitable, but this is the likely consequence of overpopulation combined with severe economic inequality.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Hong Kong – the birth place of the 1911 Chinese Revolution and where ‘real patron saint of the (Chinese) republic’ was buried in a grave marked only with the serial number 6348, until 2011.

      “The party must have this picture and the negative at any price. They must be destroyed as soon as possible. It would be embarrassing to have our Father of the Chinese Republic shown in a subordinate position”. The generalissimo said, referring to a photo ‘that had been taken in Japan in around 1895 or 1898. It showed members of the Revive China Society, with Yeung presiding and Sun, as secretary, on the back row, along with members of the Japanese Chapter of the Revive China Society.’

      That man was Yeung Ku-Wan. You can see the photo Chiang unsuccessfully tried to buy for one million dollars (along with its negative, not sure which currency) at his Wikipedia page.

      Overpopulation + severe inequality = revolutions…at least in China.

      1. scraping_by

        There’s loud and quiet revolutions. Loud = combat. Quiet = collapse.

        We’re in revolutionary times?

        1. psychohistorian

          I want to call it evolutionary times.

          Revolutions in the past have not rid the world of the class system or the global plutocrats that we have now, they seem to just shuffle the “leaders”, bought off the masses with promises and some lip stick facade changes, but left the control of capital in the same hands.

          IMO, to save humanity, we need evolutionary change….and sooner rather than later.

  18. squasha

    German Left (Die Linke) VP Claims “Euro Divides Europe, No Benefit to EU”

    always with the hedge monkeys, gold infomercants & freeze dried food moguls drooling puddles in front of all potential euro exits. The SPD promises a place for Die Linke at the table in 2017? How formidable. The SPD is itself currently in danger of losing its contingent seat at the child’s table, due to a complicated scandal involving a matrix of tiny dominoes & pictures of naked underage boys. Really, viva Die Linke but it’s a bit like making heralds of US Green Party leaders.

  19. optimader

    Reason # 2,435 not to live in Florida..

    “…Dunn, meanwhile, had just left his son’s wedding with his fiancee, who’d gone inside the convenience store for wine and chips…”
    Ok, a class act to begin with.

    “But prosecutors asserted that it was Dunn who lost control, firing three volleys of shots — 10 bullets total — at the SUV over music he didn’t like.”

    I am amazed apparently bad marksmen these gun freaks are?

    He left the gas station and drove 40 miles away to a bed and breakfast in St. Augustine. There, Dunn walked his dog, ordered a pizza, then drank rum and cola — “stunned and horrified, (shocked how) things escalated the way they did over a common courtesy….experiencing stomach problems for about four hours before taking a nap.”

    Walking a dog , eatin pizza w/ rum an coke and taking a nap after too much crappy pizza…”
    The FL trailer trash version of the four stages of grief?

    Such an event usually is the culmination of lifetime of bad decisions. Why this case is framed as “a red button issue” is beyond my cynical comprehension.
    The douchebag shot 10 TIMES into a vehicle filled with goofy teenagers, executing one of them.
    What’s to contemplate on sentencing here? Just another coward summarily deciding a kid deserves to be executed that day.

    One thing for sure, that will make a unique wedding day album.

  20. fresno dan

    The French way of cancer treatment Reuters. What a first-world health care system looks like, as opposed to our own.

    As my dad said, “It turns out there are solutions for the all the things we put up with in New York and accept as normal.”

    DARE I SAY It???????
    Quelle surprise!!!!

  21. optimader

    Is this the typical quality of crap that gets posted to FDL? It could make a journeyman cipher at Faux News blush
    #MH370: Are impenetrable radar defenses in SE and Central Asia vulnerable? FDL

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