Links 6/8/14

Fresh Legs Stamp Out a Coronation Times (and California Chrome gashes foot during Belmont Stakes USA Today).

Bees declared extinct 30 years ago take to UK skies again – thanks to farmers The Conversation

Rocks Made of Plastic Found on Hawaiian Beach Science. “Plastiglomerate” (study).

Sleep’s memory role discovered BBC

How fund managers spend your money FT

S&P and ABN Amro suffer Australian legal defeat BBC. EM: “Will this prove to be the tip of the legal iceberg or just a localized ‘too little, too late one-off’ judgment?” Kidding, right?

Infrastructure Sticker Shock: Financing Costs More than Construction George Washington’s Blog

April 911 call: ‘Crazy emergency’ on I-495 bridge Delaware News Journal. Must listen.

University Presidents Are Laughing All the Way to the Bank While the People Who Work for Them Are on Food Stamps History News Network

California lawmakers propose incentives for Tesla battery factory Reuters (EM)

The Case for Banning Laptops in the Classroom The New Yorker

How Bill Gates pulled off the swift Common Core revolution WaPo

In Some States, Emissions Cuts Defy Skeptics Times. “Cuts” already achieved in some parts of the country.

Lack of Funding is the Real VA Scandal PNHP

Why Does U.S. Cell Phone Service Stink? Barry Ritholtz, Bloomberg

Big Brother Is Watching You

On 6/5, 65 Things We Know About NSA Surveillance That We Didn’t Know a Year Ago EFF (JC)

Edward Snowden, a year on: reformers frustrated as NSA preserves its power Guardian

Verizon Counsel Speaks Out Against “Outsourcing” Intelligence Emptywheel


Apple to make 3-5 million smartwatches monthly, sales begin October: report Reuters

Genius deal? Apple’s staff paid less than Coles’ checkout workers Sidney Morning Herald

The high-tech world of old-world watches Economist


Ukraine: Poroshenko’s Hope For “Western” Help Is Deluded Moon of Alabama

Russia-Ukraine Peace Talks to Start Bloomberg

Troubling Secessionist Models for Ukraine Council on Foreign Relations

Britain’s Great Unraveling Foreign Policy

Why Is France Building Warships For Russia? Vice

Spain’s Musical Thrones: A Desperate Move by a Desperate Regime Raging Bullshit

Interview with UN Peace Envoy Brahimi: ‘Syria Will Become Another Somalia’ Der Spiegel

Baghdad car bombs kill 60; militants storm Ramadi university Reuters

Some Thais Frown on Military’s Happiness Blitz Online WSJ

Out of step with the junta Bangkok Post

Class Warfare

Piketty, Marx and the roots of inequality Le Monde Diplomatique. “Piketty treats capital as wealth, whilst Marx understands it as a social relationship.”

Freedom Rider: Miners Shot Down Black Agenda Report

US Job Market Recovers Losses yet Appears Weaker AP. Mission accomplished!

The two key numbers that shadow the jobs numbers WaPo

Parasites in Eden NYRB. Cartoonist Jesse Jacobs’ parable for our times.

Ever Wished That Calvin and Hobbes Creator Bill Watterson Would Return to the Comics Page? Well, He Just Did Pearls Before Swine

How Boys Teach Each Other to Be Boys The Atlantic

Goodbye Normal Genes Jacob Bacharach

The Biology of Risk Times

Hitler’s Monumental Miscalculation NYRB

Ten threats to Americans Lori Wallach, Le Monde Diplomatique

Should we fight the system or be the change? Waging Nonviolence

Antidote du jour:


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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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. abynormal

      raise animals
      rear children ‘)

      “The first idea that the child must acquire, in order to be actively disciplined, is that of the difference between good and evil; and the task of the educator lies in seeing that the child does not confound good with immobility, and evil with activity.” (Montessori sparked revolution from the get go stage)

  1. Ned Ludd

    Sophie Shevardnadze interviews NSA whistleblower William Binney, who created NSA surveillance program ThinThread (video). He discusses the old-fashioned graft that dictated policy at the NSA.

    Sophie Shevardnadze: I just want to go a little bit backward – before the program was exposed by Edward Snowden, ‘The Stellar Wind’ , there was something called ‘ThinThread’, which you helped create. But it was overlooked in favor of what the NSA has now. Why so, what was wrong with it?

    William Binney: I think the main problem was that it didn’t cost enough money. In other words it didn’t support a large operation, a large set of contractors, a larger organization. So if it was cheap and efficient, why it wasn’t the thing they wanted to do. They wanted to build an empire, and build an industrial base. […]

    Shevardnadze: Why was security so vulnerable at the NSA as to allow this?

    Binney: There is a story behind that. I’ll tell you what the story is. I, basically, proposed that we – back in early 90s, ’92-93, somewhere in there – that we do a program that would monitor all the activity on the network that the NSA had anywhere in the world. So we ended up with two opposing camps when we made that proposal. One was the analysts that said, “I don’t want you monitoring me and what I’m doing.” They didn’t want anybody looking over their shoulder – basically what they were saying. And the other camp was all of the managers in the NSA because they didn’t want anybody watching what they were doing with the money ’cause they’re playing a shell game with money. They keep moving money from one program to another, to try to prop up failing programs and things like that. But also they didn’t want anybody giving any kind of assessment of return of investment on any of the programs they were running because they wanted the freedom to do things the way they wanted without any interference.

    1. Ned Ludd

      The second question, in the text I quoted, is from later in the interview. It refers to Snowden copying documents off of the network.

    2. Ronald Pires

      What they were basically saying was that the whole program is more about generating fat contracts for contractors than it is about national security. We are being spied upon because it is profitable.

      1. Jackrabbit

        It is a mistake to make to assume that “we are being spied upon because its profitable”.

        Until the mid 2000’s few non-technical people really understood how powerful IT could be. IT was always considered to be a cost center and projects had to be justified. That is why Binney talks about managers wanting the flexibility to move funding around – IT managers could see promise in projects that were flagging that they may not be able to justify to a ‘bean counter’.

        Sure DARPA funded interesting projects and NSA had a voracious appetite for tech, but the political elite didn’t really understand IT any more than most. Smart phones were just becoming popular in mid-2000’s.

        You can bet that by mid-2000’s it was clear to TPTB what they had and what its capabilities were, or would soon be. Its no accident that Obama broke his promised to reign in spying and in the last year has done everything he could to confound reform. So its not just because its profitable (no doubt it still is for the defense contractors) anymore, its about control.

  2. Ned Ludd

    “The litigation now is about the merits. It’s about the lawfulness of the surveillance program,” said Jameel Jaffer, the ACLU’s deputy legal director.

    If a court decides the program is unlawful, then Congress will just make it lawful. This happened back in 2008 – not all that long ago – with the FISA Amendments Act.

    “Our story set in motion the process of making all this stuff legal,” Mr. Lichtblau said. “Now it’s all encoded in law. Bush got everything he wanted on his way out of office.”

    Liberals line up to pass reform, only to have their “reform” bills become avenues to codify existing abuses. “But the way the bill ‘morphed behind the scenes,’ as Lofgren put it, points to the obstacles such efforts face. It also points to a continuing opportunity for the NSA to say that Congress has actually blessed widespread data collection”. The debate over NSA reform has been a case study in consistently missing the obvious.

    I don’t understand who [Glenn Greenwald] thinks will run this “more sensible surveillance system” in a militarized state hellbent on “projecting dominance” in every part of the world, and protecting an economic-social system based on vast and brutal inequality. That is the ruling system we have now: so again, among those who rise to the top of such an unjust and morally skewed system, who will you trust to carry out “more sensible surveillance”? And of course, the problem is not just surveillance, but all the other depredations being committed by our “security” apparatchiks and political leaders on a daily basis, including running death squads out of the White House with the direct participation of the president.

    There are already laws on the books prohibiting warrantless surveillance, torture — and, indeed, “extrajudicial killing” (murder) and aggressive war. This has not stopped our bipartisan ruling class from carrying out these crimes and others, relentlessly, remorselessly and without the slightest accountability. Now, we can “engage in debate” about “reforms” for a “much more sensible surveillance system” until the cows come home — but in the system of political and socioeconomic organization we have now, none of this will make any difference. You will still have the same kind of people running things, because the kind of people willing to commit or countenance such crimes are the only kind of people who will rise to the top of such a system.

  3. Ulysses

    Black Agenda Report (linked above) does an excellent job putting the documentary about the recent massacre of striking South African miners into a wider perspective:

    “Apparently we have more in common with black South Africans than we thought. Twenty years after Nelson Mandela became president another black man, a so-called son of Africa, became president of the United States. The powerful people here, the 1% of the economic elite, chose him to lead. It was the right time for a new face in America. The Republicans’ unpopularity made their “brand” unsustainable politically, making the Democrats the go-to party to commit the dirty work. What better way to get that job done than to have a black man bail out banks and continue the endless war of terror around the globe? Who better to solidify America’s empire? The same sort of question can be asked of South Africa. Who better to keep South African workers trapped in poverty and starvation wages than black political leadership?”

    1. Cynthia

      Barry is our first black president, in color only. He was raised primarily by his upper middle class white grandparents. His formative years were spent in polite white American society. He does not possess one inkling of what the true black American experience is. Hell, he has no clue of the daily strife faced by any non 1%er. He never lived in the working class world, and he just doesn’t give a damn.

      Is everybody getting it now? This guy is just another in a line of frat boys and spoiled rich brats that have held high office in the US. They all falsely convinced themselves that, through their personal talent only, did they succeed. And like any good sociopath, they cannot and will not ever understand why everybody isn’t just like them.

      Face it folks, Barry is Ronny Reagan with a brain. And that makes him perhaps the most dangerous man to ever sit in the Oval Office. His color has nothing to do with it. If he were purple or orange or blue, he would still be a megalomaniac.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        Interesting BO factoid from an article several days ago on ZH discussing Matt Stoller’s review of Geithner’s book.

        In his review, Stoller discusses the remarkably “lucky” career opportunities that kept coming Geithner’s way in conjunction with his parental connections to the Ford Foundation.

        Apparently, BO’s mother was a Ford Foundation “employee” in Indonesia during his younger years. Kind of makes you wonder if at least a few people aren’t thinking ahead. It’s not like this “race” issue hasn’t been around for awhile, and “the devil that you know…..”

        1. bob

          His Grandmother, the one who “raised” him, has the resume of a brit spy.

          It’s also interesting that BO’s mother had a child with a very, very black african. I’ve wondered if this was an attempt by her to lash out at the white privilege/power she was surrounded by.

          In 1960, she was “dating” a black man? Wasn’t that still illegal in some states at that time? Not enough is known about her. Too much about the GM.

          This gets into the very ugly history of racism in America, but it’s a point that is too often overlooked and glossed over. “I’ll show them, I’ll date a black guy!” White children of privilege simply did not associate with “blacks”, except as servants.

      2. James Levy

        Ronald Reagan really did want to get rid of nuclear weapons and deal with Gorbachev as an equal. And he had much more competent handlers. Reagan also knew his limitations–Obama does not. He always thinks he’s the cleverest guy in the room. I’d say Reagan was a somewhat principled dangerous ass, while Obama is an unprincipled dangerous snob. In short, the best their parties could produce.

      3. vegasmike

        Obama’s grandmother was a very intelligent who in spite of class and gender became moderately successful. His grandfather was never very successful and politically leftish/

    2. Doug Terpstra

      Maybe if the black and white liberal class were reminded often enough that Obama is half white and that he is really The Man in black-face he would not enjoy such slavish devotion. In the stark disconnect between his rhetoric and actual policies, it’s quite astonnishing just how much dissonance the human mind can absorb without exploding.

    3. Doug Terpstra

      Substitute gender for race and the same dynamic makes Hillary the preordained annointed one for 2016:

      ” Hillary is preferable
      because the elite are keen
      on making sure all
      criticism and political
      activism is either
      marginalized or written
      off as hatred and thus not
      only dismissible, but
      worthy of a violent
      response by government.
      Criticism of Hillary will
      be deemed sexist the
      same way serious
      criticism of Obama is now
      considered racist.”

      “Hillary Clinton: Warmonger”

    4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Nothing hurts more than finding out that someone whom you thought was on your side turning out to be otherwise.

      Similarly, it hurts more to see progressive ideals abused or mis-used.

      One example is the opposition to violence. On that principle, one should oppose (all or unjust) wars and for banning (all or non-defensive) weapons, in private and public hands. Partisan politics turned that into banning private assault weapons.

      Similarly, one pension for all is now protecting this or that public pension plan. Where is ‘let’s have one pension plan for everyone?’

  4. David Petraitis

    On Should we fight the system or be the change? I am reminded of a graffitto on a bathroom wall in the 70’s in Amsterdam:

    To Be or not To Be – Shakespeare
    To Be is to Do – Sartre
    Do Be Do Be Do – Sinatra

  5. Banger

    Re: Genes

    The idea that genes determine behavior is not scientifically valid but authoritarians want it to be. Genes turn on and off based on conditions. There is a gene for violence–but this gene actually has to have high stress to turn on. In fact, this gene, in healthy people makes them less prone to violence. It is a requirement for this version of authoritarian capitalism to spread the idea that genetics determines behavior and class. The rich are rich because they have better genes, the story goes. Now, if that were true than how did the new-rich become rich? Why weren’t they already rich? But that kind of questions seem to be genetically impossible for the rich. It is not genes that are the source of our malaise but stress particularly in utero, infancy and childhood. As for sexual identity–we have problems in that direction for social reasons that hopefully will be moot in coming generations–acceptance of the full spectrum of sexual possibilities beyond male/female, gay/straight, butch/femme will stop imposing their tyranny on those of us who don’t mind diversity.

    1. Doug Terpstra

      So you don’t subscribe to “the divine right of kings” and the hereditary entitlement of frat bastard aristocrats?

      Arguably, genetic determinism has more validity in athletics than moral political leadership, so I propose that we dispense with all the training, testing, and trials for the Olympic Games, and simply select the progeny of the medalists from 4 or 5 games prior. It would greatly simplify athletics as it has for economics and politics (Hillary 2016, Jeb 2024, Sasha 2032!)

  6. Banger

    Re: Ukraine and Troubling Secessionist Models for Ukraine

    Charles King makes the point that the Ukraine separatists need to be mopped up quickly or the secession will be de facto in place. King isn’t worried though–if secessionists succeed they still, deep down, want to be in the EU–though he doesn’t say it, they will want to be in the EU so they, or so the believe, can get jobs and live higher on the hog than if they stay home in the same old corrupt world they are familiar with. This is the realist posture–the EU/US way of life is so obviously superior (echoes the end-of-history argument) that all people want either to live in it or have their societies mimic that system. Perhaps they are right–but, for the moment, the reluctant East Ukrainians are being forced to love the EU.

    King is right–there will be an eastern Ukraine virtual state since the general movement of history is towards political fragmentation. The central states of the EU and US are resting on their laurels and furiously running in place and moving backwards. Eventually the rest of the world will get it and seek some new directions.

    1. Jackrabbit

      King is buttressing the view of Russia as a bad actor and the righteousness of Ukraine’s action against the separatists. As such, it is not surprising that King fails to mention that the solution offered by Russia and the East was federalization which would’ve left Ukraine intact. Ukraine is fighting ‘separatists’ now because they refused to accept power sharing.

      1. Carolinan

        You probably don’t get to be a Georgetown professor (King) if you think people might be better off under Russia. Ditto for Snyder (Yale,no?). Real question might be what has happened to the New York Review of Books which once regularly published Gore Vidal. That they now provide a platform to Snyder is bizarre.

      2. Banger

        TINA is the operative word. In part because it makes staying in your position in life much easier than questioning official propaganda. That is why I say all of our major cultural institutions including universities are deeply corrupt and the truth is increasingly seen as the enemy.

        1. OIFVet

          I believe this is what is meant by moral bankruptcy. And yet these are the institutions and people who are entrusted with the “education” of the eager young minds taking on tens of thousands of dollars of student debt for the privilege of being brainwashed by the likes of Snyder. Good lord, they have found a way to monetize what was previously done free of charge.

  7. financial matters

    Infrastructure Sticker Shock: Financing Costs More than Construction George Washington’s Blog

    This seems to be a better use of Calpers funds than investing in private equity and then being bailed out by the Fed.

    Also the Pooled Money Investment Account would seem to be a good candidate for a Fed reverse repo where maybe it could earn 3%.

    “Infrastructure Sticker Shock: Financing Costs More than Construction

    Posted on June 1, 2014 by WashingtonsBlog
    By Ellen Brown.

    Consider the Possibilities

    The potential of this public banking model for other states is huge. California’s population is more than 50 times that of North Dakota. California has over $200 billion stashed in a variety of funds identified in its 2012 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR), including $58 billion managed by the Treasurer in a Pooled Money Investment Account earning a meager 0.264% annually. California also hasover $400 billion in its pension funds (CalPERS and CalSTRS).

    This money is earmarked for specific purposes and cannot be spent on the state budget, but it can be invested. A portion could be invested as equity in a state-owned bank, and a larger portion could be deposited in the bank as interest-bearing certificates of deposit. This huge capital and deposit base could then be leveraged by the bank into credit, something all banks do. Since the state would own the bank, the interest would return to the state. Infrastructure could be had interest-free, knocking 50% or more off the sticker price.

    By doing its own financing in-house, the state can massively expand its infrastructure without imposing massive debts on future generations. The Golden State can display the innovation and prosperity that makes it worthy of the name once again.”

    “Ellen Brown is an attorney, founder of the Public Banking Institute, and a candidate for California State Treasurer running on a state bank platform. She is the author of twelve books, including the best-selling Web of Debt and her latest book, The Public Bank Solution, which explores successful public banking models historically and globally.”

    1. heresy101

      A very small step forward – Ellen Brown got 6.5% of the vote for California Treasurer.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If you return the interest to the state, how does CalPERS get any return on its state owned bank investment?

      And since CalPERS is a shareholder of the state owned bank, with possible other non-government shareholders (can ‘patriotic’ California residents invest in the state-welfare-enhancing bank?), can borrowing from that bank still be considered ‘in-house’ financing? How is that different from issuing ‘state-resident only’ infrastructure bonds, i.e. borrowing from the ultimate owners of the state (and state government)? Would that also be ‘in house?’ And is that considered ‘not imposing massive debts on future generations?’

      I am not sure I understand her proposal. Clarifications will be greatly appreciated.

  8. jfleni

    RE: The Case for Banning Laptops in the Classroom

    The laptops are connected to outside distractions by a cable (rare!) or Wireless (common!). A university would not have rock music or TV blaring away in a classroom, why would they allow laptops to be distactions?

    It is fairly easy to control Wireless; jamming is illegal but turning if off or controlling access is not. The complaining professors are just mindlessly jumping through the hoops the yuppie computer plutocrats have made for them!

  9. Carolinian

    NYRB/Nazi bunker aesthetic: I always knew the Atlanta Public Library reminded me of something. Who knew it was German gun emplacements? Never miss a trick those architects.

  10. Doug Terpstra

    “…the neo-con influence in the State
    Department, established under
    Bush II, was retained by Obama,
    whose only visible contribution to
    foreign policy change has been the
    presence of a man of [partial] African
    descent in the presidency,
    calculated to impress the world
    with U.S. multicultural virtue. Like
    most other recent presidents,
    Obama is there as a temporary
    salesman for policies made and
    executed by others.”

    This puppet who runs a global death squad out of the white house is a far more genteel and telegenic reincarnation of Idi Amin.

  11. @MiamiDadeFLA

    In reply to the article on stop and frisk being implemented in Miami Gardens, now the plan is to target three predominantly black neighborhoods (Little Haiti, Model City, Overtown) with invasive surveillance camera technology. These are the policy choices that lead to mass incarceration disproportionately affecting black americans (see Alexander, Michelle).

    At least the ACLU is opposed.

  12. OIFVet

    Bulgaria PM Orders South Stream Freeze until EU Green Light: The prime minister announced the decision after receiving his marching orders from three visiting US senators. “Oresharski, as cited by Darik radio, announced the step in a Sunday interview after a meeting with three US senators visiting Bulgaria – John McCain, Chris Murphy, and Ron Johnson.” Good to see the Eastern colonies are still servile pawns.

    1. Eureka Springs

      “US senators visiting Bulgaria – John McCain, Chris Murphy, and Ron Johnson”

      Three prime reasons the U.S. Senate should be abolished.

  13. Katniss Everdeen

    Wow, tons of grist for the US education debate mill in Links today.

    RE: How Bill Gates pulled off the swift Common Core revolution WaPo

    Sounds like Gates et al. had a “product” to sell and, by god, they were going to sell it. No matter that the “product” was not ready for prime time, and didn’t get there before buyer’s remorse (or is it BEGGAR’S remorse?) set in. Windows 8 anyone? So, what else is new?

    RE: The Case for Banning Laptops in the Classroom The New Yorker

    Finally, FINALLY!!! Is there anyone left on the planet who still thinks that “The Emperor’s New Clothes” is a mobile app brought to you by the billionaires in the “knowledge” economy that brought you Candy Crush??

    And I’d like to add one of my personal favorites to the mix. It’s about a school in the Bay Area called the Waldorf School of the Peninsula. The “retro” classrooms here feature “blackboards with colorful chalk, bookshelves with encyclopedias, wooden desks filled with workbooks and No. 2 pencils.” Oh, and a technology-worthy price tag as well, although, as you will see, neither Microsoft nor Apple make a dime. I’d imagine that Ticonderoga does pretty well, though.

    Here are a couple of snippets to whet your appetite:

    “It’s supereasy. It’s like learning to use toothpaste,” Mr. Eagle said. “At Google and all these
    places, we make technology as brain-dead easy to use as possible. There’s no reason why kids
    can’t figure it out when they get older.”
    (Emphasis mine.)


    Finn Heilig, 10, whose father works at Google, says he liked learning with pen and paper —
    rather than on a computer — because he could monitor his progress over the years.

    “You can look back and see how sloppy your handwriting was in first grade. You can’t do that
    with computers ’cause all the letters are the same,” Finn said. “Besides, if you learn to write on
    paper, you can still write if water spills on the computer or the power goes out.”

    PS. IMHO, when freshly sharpened, a #2 Ticonderoga is not only the world’s finest writing implement, but, when paired with a pristine spiral notebook, the most effective learning tool on the planet.

  14. Chauncey Gardiner

    Thank you for today’s antidote, although it did not serve as such for me. I hope the polar bear pictured in today’s photo found firm sea ice. I have read reports that the warming climate is melting much of the sea ice in the Arctic. The loss of their sea ice habitat and more areas of open water have made it more difficult for the bears to hunt prey and find dens for their cubs, as well as resulting in their drowning in some cases.

  15. Jeremy Grimm

    Plastic rocks as part of nature, made me wonder how long it will be before some arthopod or other creature finds a way to use plastic in making its body casing or incorporates plastic in its body in such way that the plastic does harm to a predator which eats too many.

  16. Skeptic

    Fresh Legs Stamp Out a Coronation Times (and California Chrome gashes foot during Belmont Stakes USA Today).

    Horseracing: The Sport Of Kings. Have Kings (1%) begun to visit NC? I’m always amazed that folks wil rail against the 1% but then indulge themselves in the 1%’s designated pastimes. In this case, the Triple Crown.
    Also, last time I looked horse breeding/racing was a tax loophole racket. So, Joe, you’re the one who’s paying to see that nag sprint down the track. Hooray!

    Start your Thoroughbred Horse Breeding Tax Shelter today:

  17. Carla

    Is the Common Core corporatization of public schools? Perhaps the following passages from the WaPo story provide a clue. And as a bonus, isn’t it nice to know that national leaders espousing the Common Core do not send their children to schools that adhere to those “standards” ? The Common Core is apparently common indeed: Good enough for the whole damned country, but not good enough for them!

    “Since 1999, the Gates Foundation has spent approximately $3.4 billion on an array of measures to try to improve K-12 public education, with mixed results.

    It spent about $650 million on a program to replace large urban high schools with smaller schools, on the theory that students at risk of dropping out would be more likely to stay in schools where they forged closer bonds with teachers and other students. That led to a modest increase in graduation rates, an outcome that underwhelmed Gates and prompted the foundation to pull the plug.

    Gates has said that one of the benefits of common standards would be to open the classroom to digital learning, making it easier for software developers — including Microsoft — to develop new products for the country’s 15,000 school districts.

    In February, Microsoft announced that it was joining Pearson, the world’s largest educational publisher, to load Pearson’s Common Core classroom materials on Microsoft’s tablet, the Surface. That product allows Microsoft to compete for school district spending with Apple, whose iPad is the dominant tablet in classrooms.

    Gates dismissed any suggestion that he is motivated by self-interest.

    “I believe in the Common Core because of its substance and what it will do to improve education,” he said. “And that’s the only reason I believe in the Common Core.”

    Bill and Melinda Gates, Obama and Arne Duncan are parents of school-age children, although none of those children attend schools that use the Common Core standards. The Gates and Obama children attend private schools, while Duncan’s children go to public school in Virginia, one of four states that never adopted the Common Core.”

  18. Система

    Why you don’t fuck with Russia: they still know how to do HUMINT. This corroborates what Sibel Edmonds said about Marc Grossman’s treasonous Julius-and-Ethel act. Gordon Duff evidently also got a peek at the report.

    There’s just one thing that seems implausible. If the yield assumed for the fake terrorist blasts means 60 psi, How would there be any structures left at all? A couple psi’s enough to flatten everything there is. You would need to see the purported document to find out what absorbed the blast in each case.

    But if the documentation is as described, the ICJ would jump at this case. The ICC couldn’t ignore it. This would make Nuremberg look like traffic court. Russia is assuming the UNSC presidency. Let’s see if they crush some nuts.

  19. Roland

    The “miscalculation” in the article on the German coastal fortifications is that done by the author.

    The Western Allies did not attack where the Atlantic Wall fortifications were fully developed. In 1942 the Allies had experimented with an amphibious armoured attack on a well-fortified area (Dieppe) and the results were dismal. Therefore, they did not seriously consider an assault along the Channel coast near Boulogne or Calais, despite the many important logistical advantages they would enjoy by doing so. The Atlantic Wall forced the Western Allies to attack in less than ideal location, where the defensive system was less formidable, and thus suffer a considerable logistical penalty that dogged them through the rest of the 1944 campaign.

    1. James Levy

      Absolutely. It also placed the Americans on the right, thus making their axis of advance largely south, rather than east, the decision direction. The British and Canadians, without the follow-on forces needed for a decisive thrust, wound up on the left flank of a south-easterly facing beachhead, and could never bring the forces needed into play to smash the German front and head strait across northern France and into Germany. Meanwhile, the Soviets were doing much of the heavy lifting in Operation Bagration (which goes unnoted in an article that talks about D-Day as if it were a decisive victory).

  20. kareninca

    Sorry to post a question that is not precisely on topic (broke middle class?? peak oil??), but has anyone else noticed a sudden huge spike in airline ticket prices?? I just looked at a flight from CA to CT and all of the prices had suddenly, in the course of a month, DOUBLED from what I was used to. I know it’s graduation time, so I looked at dates months from now, and found similar huge increases. The usual attempt to try big airports as an alternative (since they are usually much cheaper) did little. I mentioned this to a friend of mine who often visits his daughter on the East Coast, and he had just found the same thing; being crabby and retired, he had actually contacted the airlines to complain (getting nothing out of the effort, of course).

    My guess, along with a reduced number of planes, is that $100/barrel oil is finally getting priced in; that the long-term fuel price contracts that had lower prices are expiring. If this is the new normal, regular people will be doing even less air travel. Any thoughts??? Please someone, tell me that this is a blip, or somehow my imagination.

  21. Abe, NYC

    Why Is France Building Warships For Russia?
    Because there is no other buyer, that’s why. US and other NATO countries should put their money where their mouth is and pay for the ships, it’s unfair for France alone to bear the cost. In 1916, US purchased Virgin Islands from Denmark to prevent Germany buying them first – it should do the same with the warships.

    I believe this sale is extremely important. If it falls through that will be a severe blow to Putin and will show that the West is actually capable of mounting meaningful sanctions. Otherwise, just as the Lenin quote says, he will conclude that they will indeed gladly sell him the rope with which he will hang them.

  22. OIFVet

    Personally I think that the US and NATO should be much more worried about the trillion dollars they are about to spend on the sitting duck known as the F-35. Now that’s the rope on which NATO air dominance will be hanged.

    1. James Levy

      The F-35 is very likely going to break the back of the Royal Air Force, and perhaps the Royal Navy along with it. An old F-16C from the early 1980s with a quality pilot would knock F-35s out of the sky at will. Hell, a really good pilot in a late model Mig-21 would beat an F-35 in a dogfight. The USAF hasn’t fought a serious air campaign against even a second-class opponent since 1972 (and despite a few fine pilots and a small number of relatively modern aircraft, North Vietnam was really a third-rate opponent, if you consider countries like Holland or Italy as second-rate). No one who is working on techno-trash like the F-35 has ever been in a dogfight. They have operated more or less with impunity for 40 years, and gotten hubristic and sloppy. Every plane is designed with air supremacy already a given. They never imagine the F–117s or F-35s actually facing serious opposition. If they keep at it one day it’s all going to blow up in their faces.

      1. Banger

        Are they really going to deploy the F-35 in a big way or just pretend to deploy them?

        1. OIFVet

          Ask not what Lockheed can do for its country, ask what the country can do for Lockheed. Shareholders and all.

  23. Roland

    I’m not so ready to ridicule the F-35.

    1. Every major new military aircraft programme runs into expensive problems. I remember back in the 1970’s the F-15 was felt by many to be both overpriced and over-complicated, as was the F-18 in the 1980’s. Both those fighters turned out to be effective in action.

    2. I notice that the Israelis are among the buyers of the F-35. While it is true that the quality of Israeli military leadership has undergone a marked decline during the past 20 years, nevertheless they have good reason to desire real fighting performance from any weapon systems they adopt.

    I only hope that the F-35 does prove to be a complete white elephant–because there is never a battle for them to fight.

  24. Roland

    Another thing that occurs to me about the F-35 is that perhaps the Western Bloc isn’t placing a high priority on gaining air superiority through air combat.

    Perhaps the Western Bloc expects to be the aggressor in any major war. They would want aircraft that can penetrate opposing airspace and destroy the opposing air forces before they ever get to fight. The F-35, even if not a true air superiority fighter, would nevertheless be a weapon system acquired to fit within such a strategic docrtrine.

    In other words, the Western Bloc as a whole may have adopted the overall philosophy of warfare that has been characteristic of modern Israel.

    1. OIFVet

      The trouble lies not with the expensive problems, but with the fact that they tried to tailor the plane to satisfy the unique and sometimes contradictory requirements of three separate military branches. The design compromises needed to achieve those resulted in a plane with substandard performance characteristics, even after the performance requirements were repeatedly lowered. And while the F-35 might actually be able to penetrate third world air defenses to deliver a decisive first strike, it is a rather optimistic assumption that it will be able to do that against sophisticated Russian and Chinese air defense networks.

      1. skippy

        All which is reliant on the F22 being fully operational, to date that’s around 2023ish due to coding issues.

  25. Chauncey Gardiner

    Thank you for the link today to the History News Network article concerning a disturbing trend in adjunct and temporary faculty hiring and compensation while spending on non-academic administration at universities has soared, in turn fueling rising levels of student debt.

    Not to diminish the primary thrust of the article, with which I agree, but I would like to point out that there are notable individual exceptions. In the wake of the financial collapse of 2008, the president of a large public university in this state himself initiated a 14% reduction in his annual pay, where it remained through 2011.

    Furthermore, there is another salient point that was not addressed in the article. The salaries of university presidents of large public state universities are typically a fraction of the amounts paid their universities’ head football coaches. Students at some universities are also assessed various additional fees to support intercollegiate athletic programs. And this is setting aside long-term health and compensation issues relating to the students who participate in violent intercollegiate sports like football.

    “Duke University economics Professor Charles Clotfelter recently examined pay at 21 public universities over a 24-year period. He found compensation for professors had climbed by about a third and nearly doubled for university presidents. Over the same span, pay for football coaches had shot up seven and half times.” (See: )

  26. Bunk McNulty

    How many times have you heard someone say “We won’t see real change in America until people take to the streets”? Geezers, in particular, seem mystified at the passivity of young people who are getting screwed from every direction. Why don’t they rise up? May I suggest that official intimidation is a factor?
    War Gear Flows to Police Departments

  27. charles 2

    RE: The Case for Banning Laptops in the Classroom The New Yorker

    For a CS professor, he doesn’t have a lot of imagination. There are many ways to technically restrict what the students are doing.

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