Links 10/23/14

Apologies for being thin on links and my own posts tonight! I’ve been working on some original reporting, and it is eating my life.

Humble delivery man becomes reluctant hero after dramatic fire rescue (Jeff W) CNN

Sorry, Cat Haters, Science Isn’t On Your Side Popular Science. Robert M: “More for the cute pix than the article itself, altho it’s good, too.”

How Ben Bradlee’s Outrageous Use of White Privilege Changed My Life Rachel Jones (Chuck L)


In Memorium: Nelson Bunker Hunt Cassandra (Scott)

Google’s Self-Driving Car May Only Be A Pipe Dream Business Insider (David L)

Judge Ruled Powerful VC Firm Can Keep Harassment Complaints Private Gawker

The ‘Data Nation’: Israel’s surprisingly large imprint on big data VentureBeat


U.S. Plans 21-Day Watch of Travelers From Ebola-Hit Nations New York Times

Rwanda to screen U.S. visitors for Ebola USA Today (furzy mouse)

Foreign direct investment: it’s not all good Financial Times

China Cuts Saudi Oil Imports Bloomberg

China’s slowdown is secular, not cyclical Financial Times

The ECB as lender of last resort? VoxEU

Fighters scrambled as Russian spy plane violates Estonian air space Financial Times

Oil slump leaves Russia even weaker than decaying Soviet Union Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph


Kobani Battle Rages as Turkey Does Little to Help Kurds Der Spiegel. A feature, not a bug.

How Long Will ISIS Last Economically? Notes internacionals CIDOB. Um, if Prince Bandar keeps sponsoring ISIS, as he did in its formative days, ISIS has even more staying power.

US ordered to explain withholding of Iraq and Afghanistan torture photos Guardian (furzy mouse)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Filming in fear: Edward Snowden as ‘Citizenfour’ Reuters (furzy mouse)

PANTY RAID! Homeland Security agents confiscate unlicensed Kansas City Royals underwear NBCSports (Carol B)

U.S. government probes medical devices for possible cyber flaws Reuters. EM: “DHS thought bubble: ‘hile we’re at it, we should mandate built-in GPS tracking is all future such devices … to help keep ‘Mericans safe, of course.'”

Oil Prices Are Dropping. Will We Turn Into Gas-Guzzling, Energy Monsters Again?
New Republic. Headline assumes that we stopped…

Amid Shootings, Chicago Police Department Upholds Culture of Impunity TruthOut

Chris Christie Pay-To-Play Probe Of Charlie Baker Takes Center Stage In Massachusetts Gubernatorial Debate International Business Times. Would love to post on this but lack time Short version: We posted on the Boston Globe’s refusal to take notice of the Baker pay-to-play scandal. Five hours later, the Globe put up a softball story, so we were either a bit premature (probable), or NC readers thumping the Globe helped provoke a response. Either way, the Globe story then paved the way for the scandal becoming grist in the debate (as in not merely opponent Coakley mentioning it, but the moderator probing Baker as to whether he’d disclose what the NJ investigation found prior to the election). Baker did not handle that well at all. I’m told by Mass residents that Baker was expected to win the debate. Instead, he’s seen as having lost, and the story is now all over the Mass. media. So David Sirota looks to have made a big score. Even if Baker wins, he will sweat bullets to do so. If he and Christie had come clean months ago, they might have gotten the scandal depicted as overblown and old news. Their failed efforts at stonewalling only made a bad situation worse.

Whither Markets?

Is the Last Great Bubble bursting? MarketWatch (furzy mouse)

Here’s a 40-year chart showing why the euro is going down Yahoo

Class Warfare

Paul LePage’s New Idea: Indentured Servants Daily Kos (furzy mouse). I’ve long been expecting this idea to surface, and didn’t want to even mention it for fear of legitimizing it in even the smallest way.

How Quantitative Easing Contributed to the Nation’s Inequality Problem New York Times

On monopolies: Thiel, Tirole and Tolstoy Financial Times

Antidote du jour (Animal Planet via Lambert):

Red lories links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Carolinian

    Ben Bradlee–married to Sally Quinn. ‘Nuff said.

    Seriously though one could hold that Watergate, the supposed high water mark of the fourth estate, was the beginning of the decline for quality journalism in this country. By taking down a a President news writers gained an inflated sense of their own importance that would later lead to much abuse. The Lewinsky madness, spearheaded to a great degree by the Washington Post, comes to mind. Bradlee may have been an inspirational figure to many and generous with his help to young writers but humble is a word that never seems to be attached. “Speaking truth to power” becomes ever less likely when you are the power. So perhaps we should judge the Bradlee era more by the legacy it left behind–the press corps of This Town. It’s not ot a pretty picture.

    1. James Levy

      Well, my question to you would be: would it have been better if he had not helped bring down Nixon (who in the end brought down himself) and open the doors for the Church Commission, which would never have happened otherwise?

      Bradlee always struck me as the classic American huckster asshole. That said, his own arrogance (and knowledge of the world of the spooks, and upper-class background) and sense of self-importance immunized him to some small degree against the worst of the bootlicking, awestruck deference to power and money that we see everywhere in media today. Bradlee had most of the strengths and weaknesses of FDR. In this polity, that’s about as good as we normally get when it comes to dealing with the Power Elite.

      1. Ken Nari

        James Levy, I hadn’t seen your comment when I posted my below. Was commenting on Carolinian’s view that Watergate could possibly still be considered the high point of U.S. Journalism.

    2. Ken Nari

      Can’t access The Intercept, so don’t know what it found lacking in Bradlee. Okay, probably he was complicit in the murder of his sister-in-law, and his admitted membership in the intelligence community indicates he was part of lots of other dirty stuff, still it was nice of him to help a young Black woman get on with her career, and for all I know he may have loved cats too.

      As more comes to be know about Watergate, however, the fourth estate (especially Bradlee) looks ever worser and worser, and — hang on to your hat — may even have cooperated with the FBI and other undercover elements to bring down Nixon. In any event, once Nixon was gone, the monumental issue of illegal domestic surveillance immediately dropped out of the news.

      Operation Mockingbird, the government initiative to control journalism began in the ’50s and was led by Cord Meyer, Bradlee’s brother-in-law and longtime close friend. It would be naive to think Bradlee ever put journalistic integrity over intelligence operations.

      1. Romancing the Loan

        The Intercept piece is another puff piece on how he was once nice to a young (white male this time, since it’s The Intercept) writer. The title is just clickbait.

      2. James Levy

        The Church Commission and Bernstien’s famous piece on the press and the spooks in Rolling Stone all followed Watergate, so it is unfair to say that the issue was forgotten. I think what buried it was the cover-up orchestrated by Senator Inouye et al. around that terrifying tip of the iceberg, Iran-Contra. The filth there was so deep that the Democrats decided to take one for Team Power Elite and let Reagan, Casey, North, and the whole gang effectively skate. The stuff about the detention program that came up during North’s testimony that they stifled would have led to uncovering the massive surveillance of American citizens already ongoing at that time. North could smirk like a pig in shit because he knew he could bring down the whole rotten edifice and therefore was immune to any serious prosecution (and would be pardoned if the courts were no stifled, which they largely were). The Democrats could have obliterated the Republicans for a generation (just think what exposing the gory details of the October Surprise would have done to Uncle Ronnie) but chose instead to rally around the Deep State and the institutions of power (and before you say they never would have done otherwise I think that people like Pike, Chisholm, Proxmire, Church, and McGovern would). They have never recovered.

  2. rusti

    A surprisingly apt Business Insider article on the folly of autonomous vehicles in the near-term. I thought this was a good quote:

    Computer scientists have various names for the ability to synthesize and respond to this barrage of unpredictable information: “generalized intelligence,” “situational awareness,” “everyday common sense.” It’s been the dream of artificial intelligence researchers since the advent of computers. And it remains just that. “None of this reasoning will be inside computers anytime soon,” says Raj Rajkumar, director of autonomous driving research at Carnegie-Mellon University, former home of both the current and prior directors of Google’s car project. Rajkumar adds that the Detroit car makers with whom he collaborates on autonomous vehicles believe that the prospect of a fully self-driving car arriving anytime soon is “pure science fiction.”

    Google may have a fresh perspective on a lot of sensor fusion problems, but unless they’re going to undertake a data collection and dynamic mapping project that makes the NSA look like they just snoop on the occasional piece of snail mail by comparison they aren’t going to tackle the incredible variety of situations that a driver can encounter on their way to work any time soon.

    Even worse, it’s a catastrophic waste of resources and engineering talent that could be working on more important problems. We haven’t evolved very far as a species when our precious nerd resources are all funneled into positions where they build killing machines, consumer products that appeal to vanity, or write algorithms to help loot the commons.

    1. craazyboy

      Ditto on whether we’ve found the “best and highest use” of brainpower and financial resources.

      As far as sensors go, I’ve looked into it a bit. One promising outgrowth of optical target recognition, which of course was borne at DARPA and advanced by the defense industry, was the discovery that the “fuzziness” around camera images varies depending on the focused object and the images in the background. I’m struggling with describing this in words, but our photographer-wordsmith-commenter craazyman probably gets it. So they are researching how digital camera focus/lack of it can be used to get long range info, which is very important in a self driving vehicle of any sort. The goal would be long range “3D machine vision”, and do it cheap. Not that that solves all the problems, which are many. But it may also be used in failsafe systems for train and subway systems. Sometimes you find out you were working on something silly, but it’s not so silly when used for something else.

      1. craazyboy

        I should say long range distance info. Knowing the distance to things is very important, because that’s how you know to set your safe traveling speeds, do braking, stopping etc….

        There. That’s more clear now.

      2. Brooklin Bridge

        But it may also be used in failsafe systems for train and subway systems. Sometimes you find out you were working on something silly, but it’s not so silly when used for something else.

        True, when something doesn’t work for killing people, they usually try it out with the next best target, making lots of money, and then the next best, and then the next and the next until finally, when they’ve completely forgotten what they started out trying to do in the first place, they try out something that can at least be considered helpful.

        1. Antifa

          Clearly, the effort needs to focus on Killer Cars that can target and take out multiple other vehicles, in a 360-degree scope, on demand. Arm every family sedan and van with lasers, photon torpedoes, or mere RPG’s for the budget-minded. Solar -powered death rays on all-electric cars for the environnmentalists.

          When all that high tech killing machinery is working to spec, when Google has merged with Lockheed Martin and defense stocks are soaring, when our streets and highways are as lethal as a free-fire zone in Fallujah — let the cars go at it.

          The dominant species on the planet — the automobile — will soon kill itself off, making room for humans to flourish at last.

    2. Goyo Marquez

      The holdup with self driving cars is silicon valley refusal to think outside the libertarian box. If you get government involved a lot of the problems are solved, as was the case with human driven cars.

      Government requirements for sensors that make live reports to centralized, accessible databases, in roadways, on vehicles, on traffic control signs, on construction sites, on driveways, would solve most of the difficult problems with self driving cars.

      Why is this important enough for the government to be involved? Lighter, safer, faster, more efficient, less polluting, cheaper, cars. Would also eliminate the need for two or more cars.

      Instead of two or three cars sitting idly in parking lots all day we have one fast, fuel efficient, car, doing all your driving for you. While you’re at the office, you send your otherwise idle car to pick the kids up from school, to get your cleaning, pick up the groceries, take the kids to x-country practice, pick up great grandma and take her to the mall. I envision a world where even public transportation consists of small, autonomous, vehicles, routed directly to users via cell phone interfaces.

      Resist the libertarian madness and bring on the future.

      1. rusti

        Government requirements for sensors that make live reports to centralized, accessible databases, in roadways, on vehicles, on traffic control signs, on construction sites, on driveways, would solve most of the difficult problems with self driving cars.

        I was thinking more along the lines of working towards a system where people ride a bike or take a bus and ensure that the average wage earner has the free time so he or she can maybe go to the cross-country practice in person.

        1. Goyo Marquez

          Well… to the extent that self driven cars are safer for bicyclists then they would promote your ideal and to the extent that a family doesn’t have to spend such a huge portion of their income on transportation then it makes it possible for parents to make it to x-country practice. I’m not against busses I just want to turn every seat on the bus into its own individual bus.

      2. different clue

        If all the money spent on that were to be spent on train/trolley/streetcar/bus systems instead, how much more broad cover deep-penetrating user-inviting mass and semi-mass transit might we build back?

    3. fledermaus

      “Even worse, it’s a catastrophic waste of resources and engineering talent that could be working on more important problems.”

      It’s a lost cause, the rich techbros dictate the focus of research. And boy do they love wild but impractical things like Amazon drone delivery and self driving cars. There’s good money to be made by pretending these things are just a few years off.

    4. NOTaREALmerican

      Nice too see a realistic article on self-driving cars. A good friend of mine who has been in the “artificial vision” field for 30 years now told me recently – after a drive on Hwy 128 from Davis CA to Fort Bragg – that AV still couldn’t figure out the difference between a shadow on the road and a dead animal or a rock.

      I suspect we’ll see self-driving cars about the same time the flying cars are released.

      (Seems the jury is still out on self-driving cars tho).

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Take the personal computer for example.

        After 30 years, I still can’t get it to obey all my orders.

        1. optimader

          “After 30 years, I still can’t get it to obey all my orders.”
          Your not alone Beef, I have the same problem, but in it’s defense my PC would need opposable thumps to obey all of mine.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        By the way, Artificial Vision and Artificial Intelligence are fine.

        But we also need Artificial Sincerity, Artificial Obedience, Artificial Honesty, etc.

        ‘Low on IQ? Buy some Artificial Intelligence.’

        ‘Problem with telling too many lies? Try our Artificial Honesty app.”

        Of course, the Holy Grail is Artificial Wisdom.

    5. EmilianoZ

      Brin and Page are probably very knowledgeable in the field of language processing but they probably know little about machine vision. It is very possible that they have been fooled by their own machine vision engineers. No CEO wants to hear bad news. That not how you gain promotion. So, their engineers have probably been serving them inflated performance reports after inflated performance reports, promising the self driving car is just around the corner.

      It is also possible that, having overseen some breakthroughs in language processing, they thought machine vision would just be another easy engineering nut to crack. But, first, language processing aint that easy (as explained by the Michael Jordan article from yesterday). And machine vision is probably a few orders of magnitude more complex. It’s almost like the difference between the discrete and the continuous (and between 1D and 3D).

      It is also possible that it’s all just a publicity stunt to advertise their google maps.

  3. fresno dan
    “When we compare the official COLA with the Chained CPI COLA in 2015 for our hypothetical retiree in the 14th year of retirement, the annual payout would be 3.6% less than with the traditional COLA calculation. In our illustration above, that’s about $50 less per month, which would buy a fair amount of groceries for a frugal shopper.

    As the table illustrates, over time the proposed switch to the Chained CPI for Social Security COLAs will substantially lower the cost to government … and the size of payouts to recipients.”
    “I don’t expect any conservatives to recognize the truth of Obama’s fundamental conservatism for at least a couple of decades—perhaps only after a real progressive presidency. In any case, today they are too invested in painting him as the devil incarnate in order to frighten grassroots Republicans into voting to keep Obama from confiscating all their guns, throwing them into FEMA re-education camps, and other nonsense that is believed by many Republicans. But just as they eventually came to appreciate Bill Clinton’s core conservatism, Republicans will someday see that Obama was no less conservative.”
    I think its pretty evident that Obama is not liberal and this just rehashes that. Still, the contention that Nixon was the last liberal shows how rightward the country is.

    1. Ed

      These articles are half right at best.

      From time to time I see articles pointing out that either Clinton or Obama, or both, are “Eisenhower Republicans”. Actually they are well to the right of Eisenhower, but what actually happened is that the Democratic Party of today is the Republican Party of the 1950s. The sorts of people and places who vote for the Democrats are the same as the people and places who voted for at least the pre-New Deal Republican Party (remember, most African Americans were Republicans pre-New Deal, and as late as 1964 Civil Rights legislation had more support in the Republican caucus than the Democratic caucus. These patters stuck in large part until the realignment caused by the Civil Rights struggle. Compare where Carter and Ford got their support as late as the 1976 election to where Romney and Obama got their support. And the sort of establishment conservatism associated with 1950s Republicanism is what the Democrats stand for now.

      So that is what happened to the Democrats. What happened to the Republicans? They became a populist party filled with assorted cranks, with some definitive fascist tendencies. Pointing out that Democrats today = Eisenhower Republicans won’t cut any ice with modern day Republicans, since modern day Republicans hate Eisenhower types, as did their 1950s ancestors.

      1. James Levy

        Beautifully stated. However, I think that Eisenhower himself doesn’t fit neatly into either political party today mostly because his vision of government was largely that of benign neglect, or to put it more politely he thought that America worked just fine exactly the way it was and the presidency was there like a fire extinguisher–you only broke the glass and used it in an emergency. I think that was his ideal, right out of his youth in the late 19th century. That’s why he had no zeal for repealing the New Deal or changing much of anything if he could. It was also the root of his Military Industrial Complex speech (these guys need make-work in order to thrive, so watch out or they will make their own work at everyone else’s expense). That’s why Ike was a conservative while today we are surrounded by reactionaries.

      2. fresno dan

        I would agree.
        I would also say that the repubs are pretty much a homogenous southern party now. When the dems were a coalition of both northern and sourthern members, a lot of the most pernicious racism and screwballism was tempered by at least a nominal desire to present a united party platform.

  4. David Lentini

    The LePage plan ties in nicely with Lapavitsas’s talk: Business has become financialized, and now we run government like a business; therefore, government is becoming financialized, which means that the basic goals and means of governance are viewed in terms of financial instruments and transactions.

    So, when it comes to education policy in Maine we should now talk about “college-and-indentured servitude ready”. Forget about careers.

    1. abynormal

      i see it as Business has become fully Welfared…leaving little/no Well-fare in Government.

      “Strange how one person/corporation can saturate a room with vitality, with excitement. Then there are others, and this dame/corporation was one of them, who can drain off energy and joy, can suck pleasure dry and get no sustenance from it. Such people/corporations spread a grayness in the air about them.”
      Steinbeck, Travels with Charley: In Search of America

  5. dude

    BUT … “Ultimately, yes, your cat probably loves you, but that might just be the mind-controlling parasite talking.”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      What is love?

      What is unemployment?

      What is inflation?

      What is job guarantee?

      All deep mysteries of the universe.

  6. Fíréan

    The new EU Commission and the continuatiion of the proverbial revolving door;

    The new Commission includes an ex-petroleum company president as climate commissioner (Miguel Arias Cañete); an ex-corporate lobbyist in charge of financial services (Jonathan Hill); a former vice-president of the industry lobby group Le Cercle de l’Industrie in charge of economic policy (Pierre Moscovici); an ex-Goldman Sachs financier as research commissioner (Carlos Moedas); and the former political no.2 to a Czech multi-billionaire as consumer commissioner (Vera Jourova).

    Rightful criticism in full quoted article, dated 22nd Oct.2014, at Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) website,“a research and campaign group working to expose and challenge the privileged access and influence enjoyed by corporations and their lobby groups in EU policy making.” :
    ahref html links to individual names in the quoted text may not work here, go to main link.

  7. Fíréan

    The new EU Commission and the continuation of the proverbail revolving door :

    Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) today criticised the plenary vote of MEPs to approve the Jean-Claude Juncker Commission.
    The new Commission includes an ex-petroleum company president as climate commissioner (Miguel Arias Cañete); an ex-corporate lobbyist in charge of financial services (Jonathan Hill); a former vice-president of the industry lobby group Le Cercle de l’Industrie in charge of economic policy (Pierre Moscovici); an ex-Goldman Sachs financier as research commissioner (Carlos Moedas); and the former political no.2 to a Czech multi-billionaire as consumer commissioner (Vera Jourova).

    quoted from full article at the Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) website “ a research and campaign group working to expose and challenge the privileged access and influence enjoyed by corporations and their lobby groups in EU policy making.”
    (posted earlier, then my comment disappeared)

      1. steviefinn

        Good stuff thanks:

        I hate the fact that on Europe I agree with most of Farage’s criticisms – but even a broken clock is right twice daily. It’s pretty obvious that the EU is a huge stitch up & in a be careful what you wish for kind of a way, part of me hopes the whole damned thing collapses – maybe one big conflagration is better than a death of a 1000 cuts. Her’s a fella named David Cronin on other aspects of the great carve up on TTIP, the grovelling Euro grandees & US tobacco companies etc:

  8. JohnL

    My hiking group’s consensus acid test for the Google car is the ability to follow the obscure hand signals of a Washington State Ferries crew member. Not holding our breath.

    1. Louis

      Considering that Google’s cars don’t currently have the ability to autonomously handle snow and ice on the roads–the weather in Silicon Valley and the Bay Area is much more forgiving that many other parts of the country–I’d say we have a ways to go on that one.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I have LONG had a theory that Alzheimers is environmental. We’ve had people living to be over 80 from the dawn of history. Yet nowhere in history or literature do you see descriptions of senility that match Alzheimers, with not just the loss of memory, but the erasure of personality. This disease comes in huge numbers relative to the aged population and doesn’t match well established historical patterns.

    2. craazyboy

      There is a Dr. Blaylock, whom I don’t know much about, but he has a website and a newsletter. Alzheimers is one the things he focuses on and he has been commenting on the aluminum studies for years. He also dug up another study showing what he referred to merely as “Ascorbate” is effective at “chelating” aluminum from the brain.

      So, going out on a limb here, and translating this to English, chelating means a substance will chemically bond with another substance and in the process break the bond with whatever the other substance is stuck to. So ascorbate may remove aluminum from the brain by that process.
      This is the definition of ascorbate:
      Sodium ascorbate is one of a number of mineral salts of ascorbic acid (vitamin C). The molecular formula of this chemical compound is C6H7NaO6. As the sodium salt of ascorbic acid, it is known as a mineral ascorbate. It has not been demonstrated to be more bioavailable than any other form of vitamin C supplement.
      Sodium sounded bad to me, so I buy calcium ascorbate, which is also sold as a highly absorbable Vitamin C supplement. I just cross my fingers that it does aluminum chelating too, but I kinda think it would work the same. I got sodium salt already.

      1. ambrit

        I remember people making fun of Linus Pauling for taking such high doses of vitamin C. He dies of prostate cancer at 93! I don’t remember any other Nobel Prize winners making fun of him. (He won two!) Keep up the C work crazy. You’ll go far, and enjoy the ride. (I have yet to read of a toxic dose level of vitamin C.)

  9. Carl

    …I’ve long thought that employer-provided heath-insurance, without a practical alternative, IS a form of indentured servitude – certainly for anyone with kids or over the age of 45…

    1. Louis

      Employer sponsored health insurance is largely an accident of history. During World War II, employers, limited by wage and price controls, offered health insurance as an incentive to attract workers.

      I’ve long suspected the reason that employer sponsored has been so hard to move away from isn’t because it’s the best approach for providing insurance or healthcare—to the contrary, it’s very problematic—but because this country has never been willing (or able) to have an honest dialogue about what basic level of healthcare everyone should have.

    2. hunkerdown

      According to my housemate’s late father, a managing partner at a small, upper-middle accounting firm, yes, and he loved recasting that leverage as a mitzvah or something.

    3. curlydan

      You got that right! While it benefits the employer, it stifles the economy. Think of how much easier it would be to be an entrepreneur if you didn’t need to shell out big time for that stupid insurance.

  10. MikeNY

    Well, props to William Cowan at the NYT for signalling the Fed’s huge role in exacerbating inequality.

    Then, on the Op-Ed page, the NYT calls for extending ZIRP.

    Apparently, the editors don’t read their own paper.

    1. zephyrum

      Apparently, the editors don’t read their own paper.

      What good is controlling a fine marketing engine like the NYT if you can’t get self-serving op-eds placed on a regular basis?

    2. fresno dan

      It just seems to me that Yellen is cut from the same cloth as Bernanke, Geithner, Rubin, Paulson, et al despite the professed concern about inequality. Yellen is just unwilling to admit that fundamentally, the problem is corruption and illegality. The outrage that we no longer have equal justice under law, because we will not enforce laws cause it might be bad for the economy. Than the entire economy is run by scammers, grifters, fraudsters, etc…

      1. MikeNY

        I think they’re ideologues. They have a religious faith in markets, and in their models.

        This blinds them to reality.

  11. Ken Nari

    Good to know science isn’t on the side of cat-haters — or any other haters.

    Still, the article didn’t offer any scientific evidence to support that view.

    I guess the most that can be said is there are two kinds of people in this world, those for cats and those for coyotes.

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Cat Haters, Science…

    If humans were as hairy as cats, would going out in public without clothes (thus ‘harming’ GDP growth, shame on you, go buy some mink coats now), be considered indecent (naked)?

    To me, that coat of hair is ‘permanent clothes.’

    Thus, I explain to my cat, ‘you are not nude.’

  13. steviefinn

    I miss my old moggy of 20 years named ‘ Jones ‘ after the cat in ‘ Alien ‘, although he was mainly black not ginger. He had been speyed but was still something of a badass mutha ——-. He always stood his ground & possessed many ‘ Sugar Ray ‘ combinations. I liked his independence & his hatred of restraint – my late wife at one time tried to get him to wear a flea collar, but he returned ever morning minus this annoyance. I found out how he removed them one morning, by finding him hanging from a barbed wire fence where he wriggled, using his body weight to eventually work it free. There is a theory that cats view there owners as big stupid, incompetent cats – if true it explains the look of utter contempt he would often show when viewing me.

  14. craazyboy

    “U.S. Plans 21-Day Watch of Travelers From Ebola-Hit Nations New York Times”

    “On arrival at an airport, each of those travelers will receive a packet with a thermometer, a card describing Ebola symptoms and a card to be given to a doctor or nurse if the traveler develops symptoms and is ordered to go to a hospital.”

    I’d throw in a pack of condoms for the survivors, too, then we should have this little puppy knocked. Shit. Puppy.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I assume tracking for 21 days was not mentioned because we are already secretly slapping tracking devices on all visiting foreigners.

        1. ambrit

          Come on now. This is a genuine no miss money maker!
          We set up a holding company to arms length offshore the supplier, oh, how about “Armageddon Outfitters” for a catchy name? Grease a few palms, some of you know the right ones, I’m sure, and we’re in! It’s craazyman’s “ten bagger” and photogenic too!

          1. craazyboy

            The following is a completely fictional public service announcement, and is in no way true, or anything like that.

            Ring…Ring…Doc picks up phone.

            craazyboy: “Hey Doc..This is craazyboy!”
            Doc: “Uh-oh.”
            craazyboy: “Yeah Doc, I can’t take my condom off!”
            Doc: “Jeez, I thought we went through this last time. And I warned you about OD’ing on Viagra. More is not better! Now, like I explained to you last time, you still can roll it up the same way it was rolled down…”

            craazyboy: “No no Doc. I remember last time. This time, I mean I can’t touch my condom. New protocalls, and I forgot my surgical gloves and mask!”

            Doc: “Shit. That’s right. Lemma call the CDC on that one. I’ll get back to you. m’K?”

            1. ambrit

              You should call the “Medicins Sans Frontiers” and ask for a French Letter Opener.
              I know, it sucks that the leather mask doesn’t count. Kinda cute though.

    2. optimader

      Ebola Survival kit contents check. In them you’ll find: one forty-five caliber automatic; two boxes of ammunition; four days’ concentrated emergency rations; one drug issue containing antibiotics, morphine, vitamin pills, pep pills, sleeping pills, tranquilizer pills; one miniature combination Russian phrase book and Bible; one hundred dollars in rubles; one hundred dollars in gold; nine packs of chewing gum; one issue of prophylactics; three lipsticks; three pair of nylon stockings. Shoot, a fella’ could have a pretty good weekend in Vegas with all that stuff.
      ~Major T. J. “King” Kong

      1. JTFaraday

        “Ebola Survival kit contents check. In them you’ll find…”

        And anxiety antidote, it seems to me.

  15. Brooklin Bridge

    Charlie Baker’s problems could well spell success for conservatives in Massachusetts, much the way Obama has given them success nationally. Massachusetts has a strongly Democratic legislative branch so that having a Republican governor often results in a sort of balance. The republican governor tends to be more reasonable, but even more important Democrats feel compelled to legislate more along traditional Democratic lines if only to maintain appearances with a Republican governor than they would with a Vichy Democrat such as Martha Coakley.

    It’s a grim choice. On the one had, vote for a network of corruption and send the message that the rule of law means nothing. On the other, vote against corruption but for a candidate that will sell her constituents down the river faster than you can say, “cat food.”

    1. wbgonne

      I feel ya. Back when ex-KKK David Duke was running in LA against ex-con Edwin Edwards there was a bumpersticker: “Vote for the crook. It’s important.” Coakley v. Baker is our version of that mess. “Vote against the crook. It’s important.”

      1. GusFarmer

        How about not voting for EITHER the crook or the sellout? There ARE three other candidates, even though this week’s MSM debates are ignoring them. (NPR had them, but the Globe and T&G debates won’t, b/c they don’t meet arbitrary fundraising & polling requirements.)
        I think it’s very telling that several of us working on a Dem state rep campaign can’t stand Coakley & will vote for Falchuk instead. Although I don’t agree with him 100%, he’s saying a LOT of things that make sense and Coakley/Baker won’t touch at all.

        1. wbgonne

          Fair enough. This is a real test of my aversion to LOTE. Baker and Coakley are tied. Coakley is banal but Baker appears to be a high-finance crook. Oy.

          I had glanced at the 3 independents and none jumped out at me. I just took another look at Falchuk and he seems OK. What are your main reasons for supporting Falchuk?

  16. Screwball

    I ran across this and found it interesting;
    Commentary: Breaking the cycle of debt for troops, families

    1. ambrit

      Eerie and beautiful. Where did they do this? That water is preternaturally clear. A New Atlantis indeed.

      1. Janie

        “preternaturally”? I’m impressed; I’ve never been able to construct a sentence using that word.

        1. ambrit

          It comes from reading too much when I should have been outside enjoying my God given right to incur adolescent concussions. (The adjective preternatural is great for snark, as in; “Osirus, your lack of curiosity is preternatural.”)

  17. ChrisPacific

    I took a look at the Globe online for any sign of the Baker developments you mention. At the time of writing (23 Oct 7:52 EDT) there is one headline story, a cheerleading piece about Baker pulling away from Coakley in the polls. No others that I can see, and no mention of the pay-to-play story in the article. If you type Baker’s name into Google News and look at the headlines returned, the contrast is jarring.

  18. cripes

    The threat level meter is really cranking up lately.
    ISIS, Canadien Terrierists, A,E,I,O,U-bola, stock market rumblings and bubbles primed to pop…
    Honestly, I don’t know how anyone can think straight with all these dangers bobbing around their heads. Time to pay the bills…
    Washingtons blog has a good piece on bio-bungling weapons engineering all around the world, courtesy of you-know-who. But Obama’s gonna “temporarily halt all new funding for experiments that seek to study certain infectious agents by making them more dangerous.” So we’re OK.

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