Links 1/13/15

Bird carcasses along Pacific shore baffle biologists Los Angeles Times (martha r)

The goats fighting America’s plant invasion BBC (furzy mouse)

6 ways Cadbury has been trashed Telegraph (chinabeach). More crapification.

The Uber-ization of everything Salon. Philip K. Dick anticipated this….

Ride-Hailing Startups Discuss Global Taxi Alliance Against Uber BuzzFeed

Even Republican Voters Support Regulating Carbon Pollution Mother Jones

Too Much Of A Good Thing: Scotland Gags On Wind Power Ilargi

Roche Takes Control of Innovative DNA Test Maker Foundation Medicine MIT Technology Review (David L)

China sinks to ‘new normal’ Asia Times

Japan 5-year bond yields hit zero Financial Times

This is nuts. When’s the crash? FT Alphaville

Paris towards militarization, Europe to follow failed evolution


“Greece will neither want to leave the euro nor threaten to do so” Interview with J. LUIS MARTIN in OpenDemocracy Yanis Varoufakis

No Exit for Greece New York Times


US Centcom Twitter account hacked by pro-IS group BBC (furzy mouse)

Iran Has Never Been More Influential In Iraq Business Insider

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Obama proposes new data laws as U.S. Central Command hacked Reuters. EM: “Because ‘hackers’ are the chief threat to Americans’ privacy, dontchaknow.”

US healthcare: Big data diagnoses fraud Financial Times. This will be used to justify less privacy…

Republican senator Ted Cruz to oversee Nasa in Congress Guardian

Romney And The GOP’s Five-Ring Circus FiveThirtyEight

Romney moves to reclaim political machinery Washington Post


The great Obamacare-Medicaid bait ‘n’ switch CNBC

U.S. House Republican optimistic about Obamacare replacement plan Reuters

Vermont Workers Center at the fore of health care advocacy nationally VTDigger (martha r)

Warren’s Win v. Weiss. Note that the Washington Post, which had campaigned forcefully and shamelessly for Weiss, including straw manning and coming close to smearing Warren, does not put this story ANYWHERE on its large landing page. By contrast, the FT has it as one of its top stories.

Lazard’s Antonio Weiss withdraws from Treasury role Financial Times

Elizabeth Warren, Progressives Sink Obama Treasury Nominee Antonio Weiss Huffington Post

S.&P. Nears Settlement With Justice Over Inflated Ratings New York Times

U.S. bus lines added routes in 2014, airline flights fell: study Reuters. EM: “Surprised that the massive post-9/11 crapification of air travel took this long to start really showing up in terms of people ‘opting out’ and using alternatives.”


U.S. Oil Benchmark Falls Below $45 a Barrel Wall Street Journal

Oil’s slump could upend $2 trillion in investments: Goldman MarketWatch

As Oil Prices Fall, Banks Serving the Energy Industry Brace for a Jolt New York Times. As we predicted….

America’s Going to Lose the Oil Price War Bloomberg. Also as predicted…

Investors Shift Bets on Fed Wall Street Journal

Silicon Valley Turns Its Eye to Education New York Times

US labour market – improving but warning signs still present Bill Mitchell

The December Employment Release Menzie Chinn, Econbrowser

Aetna Sets Wage Floor: $16 an Hour Wall Street Journal

Class Warfare

Approximately 1 Million Unemployed Childless Adults Will Lose SNAP Benefits in 2016 as State Waivers Expire Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (martha r). From last week, still germane.

Labor at a Crossroads: Can Broadened Civil Rights Law Offer Workers a True Right to Organize? American Prospect

The US ‘manufacturing renaissance’ doesn’t exist, says new report Guardian

Antidote du jour (Kevin H):


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. abynormal

      wow…Among men, life expectancy at 85 has remained stable nationally, but the email, sent before Christmas and seen by the Health Service Journal, says that in Blackburn and Darwen there have been reductions for both men and women, as well as some signs of a reduction in life expectancy for men at 65.

      “And meanwhile time goes about its immemorial work of making everyone look and feel like sh!t.”
      Martin Amis, London Fields

    2. gonzomarx

      it’s only getting slight traction in the MSM at the moment.

      The more I think about this and how it’s a consequence of policy choices, the more the rage bulids

    3. Jef

      Supports my contention that the current paradigm that is at the root of all the bad behavior that bloggers love to harp on in order to convince everyone that humans are just plain bad, is that everyone exists with the “No Money=You Die” reality hanging over them and no matter how much you have you too could loose it all.

      We treat dogs better than that.

      1. hunkerdown

        Exactly this — “Social Justice” seems to be the project of reproducing a captive underclass with soft power instead of hard power, as if that were any better for the lot of said underclass.

  1. financial matters

    Too Much Of A Good Thing: Scotland Gags On Wind Power Ilargi

    “”The 2020 configuration assumes that all the 8.68 GW already consented wind is built (Figure 3). The future of the Longannet coal fired power plant is currently being discussed by its owners and the Scottish Government. Given the massive over capacity that we already have, it seems likely it will close down. This is probably Scotland’s cheapest electricity supply.

    Another option for consuming this surplus is to reconfigure the nation’s heating requirements away from natural gas to electric heating. Norway for example uses cheap hydro electric power as its main source of domestic and industrial heat. It’s just a pity that wind is currently one of the most expensive forms of electrical power that we have. Overproduction of expensive energy is quite simply a bad idea.””

    I think this an example of misplaced priorities. Advocating for coal and natural gas with the methane being released during natural gas fracking and the obvious problems with coal? Renewable energy is too expensive? Compared to continuing to pollute our air and water?

    This seems to be short term thinking. We are able to finance things that are worthwhile.

    1. Banger

      As long as environmental and social costs are not priced into energy there is little chance that non-carbon fuels have much chance other than as “off-the-grid” alternatives.

      1. financial matters

        Yes, as well as the subsidies fossil fuel companies receive such as tax write-offs and access to resources. And that a lot of their infrastructure is already in place. Alternative energy also has to deal with trade deals that favor established industries.

        1. Vatch

          Yes, excellent point. Some people complain that renewable energy development has been receiving subsidies, yet they ignore the elephant in the room: the well established fossil fuel industry also receives subsidies, and has for about a century. See here for a short summary:

          The nuclear energy industry also receives subsidies, such as the Price Anderson Act, which limits the liability of the nuclear industry in the event of accidents, and saves them money on insurance.

          1. different clue

            Would this be an opportunity for the Occupy folks to say: Occupy Price-Anderson.
            And repeal it.

      2. rusti

        As long as environmental and social costs are not priced into energy there is little chance that non-carbon fuels have much chance other than as “off-the-grid” alternatives.

        For a guy with impressive technical qualifications, the author of the article writes post after post where he shows that he misses this very simple point. Apparently preserving the ecosystems crucial for modern civilization just doesn’t make sense financially.

        A quick look at the biography on his web site will show the obvious financial incentive he has for missing the point. No different than scientists who long shilled for the tobacco industry, this is really the worst kind of person.

        1. Jef

          “Apparently preserving the ecosystems crucial for modern civilization just doesn’t make sense financially.”

          So called “modern civilization” such as we know it would not even exist if we had priced in the environmental and social costs into energy.

          A high- tech wealthy society is only possible due to cheap almost free energy of the highest quality that is Fossil Fuel powered.

          1. invy

            The only avenue for us, if we insist on business as usual, is nuclear power. Tim Garrett has a presentation that predicts the world would need 1 new nuclear power plant every day to replace energy at its expected growth. That would keep co2 output constant. Which still isn’t enough.

            I hope that fusion gets developed much faster, Lockheed martin predicts ten years, I hope they are right because by then the carbon budget will have been spent.

              1. andyb

                You wouldn’t want to , as the millions of deaths and shortened life spans from the unstoppable and uncontrollable Fukushima radiation will prove within the next decade. Meanwhile , the US has at least 10 nuke plants that could become dangerous from lack pf preventative maintenance as well as lying directly above fault zones or in harms way from automatic sea levels rising and hurricanes.

          2. Banger

            It’s interesting–most people do not think about the health of the whole–only about their own condition. The idea of “inside” and “outside” is now everywhere as social class and tribal groupings harden. Academics need to throw out the administrators and open up free universities funded through a number of creative means and featuring affordable prices using very different styles of learning and no fixed campus. Frankly, with some noticeable exceptions, American Universities are no turning out very good work or doing much of a job educating students and need to return to the idea that they are centers of learning not of credentialing.

        2. optimader

          I have found that it is difficult finding a decently detailed Whole Cost analysis framing energy alternatives in (energy units)/$. OTOH for example, how does one quantify the indemnification of Nuke power liability?

      3. NoFreeWill

        Under capitalism environmental and social costs will never be priced into the cost of energy. A violent revolution would be required to ensure that they are, and the resulting political-economic system would look nothing like today’s.

    2. Llewelyn Moss

      Sounds like an Amazing Success Story For Renewables — wind is currently 50% of Scot’s electric generation.

      @financial matters said “Renewable energy is too expensive? Compared to continuing to pollute our air and water?”

      Exactly. That’s the real cost of fossil fuels.
      Ask Californians what it costs to reclaim waste water for drinking. Ask New Englanders how many dead lakes were killed by acid rains from the central coal burning states. Ask the people who live over aquifers poisened by fracking how much bottled water costs for drinking and bathing. Ask people with lung problems from city smog how much they spend on medical treatments.

      Oh yeah, then there is tiny fact that the planet is warming/dying — even as those profiting by the fossil fuel industry deny science.

    3. Paper Mac

      Are you under the impression that the use of fossil fuels is obviated by the existence of wind turbines? All of the resource extraction and manufacturing logistical chains that produce and maintain wind turbines are obliged to rely on fossil fuels to continue operating. All producing many of turbines that produce a massive surplus of energy during peak times will do is convince people that turbines were just another public-private scam to line the pockets of executives and developers and tax the costs out of the public.

      1. financial matters

        There is definitely a transition period but it needs to move in the right direction. (these projects would also provide many jobs)

        “”An assessment of the physical changes involved in reducing carbon emissions and the speed at which they must occur to blunt or maybe avoid tipping points in climate and the worst of positive feedback loops (i.e., Arctic ice melt leading to lower albedo and greater heat absorption leading to more warming), indicates that much must change, quickly, in how the human-made environment would be composed. Currently 85% of global energy used, which in total is still growing, is sourced from fossil fuels, which cannot continue for long at all. Additionally, if we include the manufactured mechanical and industrial systems that actually use or convert energy to do physical work into the category “human-made environment” many of those too must change substantially regarding their energy inputs and outputs. For the United States, one of the world’s top emitters, these physical changes can be numbered in the hundreds of thousands of wind turbines, tens of millions of solar panels, one million electric buses, five million electric trucks, hundreds of thousands of miles of high-voltage cable, and tens of millions of highly efficient building retrofits and newly constructed buildings. These changes all require investment and the re-directing of financial means, both those of government as well as the private sector, towards those uses that yield a net-zero carbon future society.””


        And from NOAA

        “”It shows that with achievable estimates of wind and solar generation costs, that the US could decrease its carbon emissions by up to 80% by the early 2030s, without an increase in electric costs. The key requirement would be a 48 state network of HVDC transmission, creating a national market for electricity not possible in the current AC grid.””

    4. Demeter

      Sell the power to the rest of the UK….distill drinking water and sell that to the Middle East. Nobody ever complained about an excessive amount of power…the demand always rises to use it up, especially if the price keeps falling.

  2. jjmacjohnson

    Wow the author of “The Uberization of Everything” has a lot of hutzpah!

    “The real winners are in the strata below…”

    All one has to realize is how many people do not have enough money or access to technology to benefit let alone time.

    1. James Levy

      The blanket assumption that everyone has a computer, everyone has a smart phone, everyone is literate, are just too ridiculous to fathom. Does anyone in this country actually check up on things like access to computers in their home? What really irks me is the attitude that “everyone has this stuff” combined with the smug sense that if you don’t, you aren’t worth worrying about or considering.

    2. sleepy

      I don’t much care for the author’s use of the word “strata” to refer to a group of people either.

      I associate it with various types of dirt–a strata of loam beneath a strata of clay beneath a strata of peat, etc. Maybe that was the author’s point.

    3. vlade

      Indeed. In fact, he’s an idiot if he says “you can now buy your way to the top of the queue”. No, you can’t. Or more precisely – one man can, the rest can’t. And it’s the man who can pay the most, so most likely not you. After all, there’s still only one place at the top of the queue, regardless. Now, if you could do away with the queues, that’s an entirely different matter, but that’s not what Uber is about. Uber is explicitly (with the peak-time pricing) about creating a queue and extracting the most from people who want to get to the top of it.

      On the PKDick – to be honest, I feel more like the Space Merchant’s world than anything else these days..

      1. ambrit

        Oh yeah, I do have to dig out my copy and give it a reread. Pohl and Kornbluth were decades ahead of their time with their collaberations. “The Marching Morons” by Kornbluth shows a more sinister version of that idea. (Funny how great minds think alike. “Futurama” by Groening uses a very similar plot with similar outcomes.)

        1. different clue

          The interesting part about Marching Morons is that at least it had a small happy ending at the very end ( last few sentences) of the story.

    4. McMike

      It’s really a three or four tier system we are heading towards. So the top 0.1%, top 1%, top 5%, and the rest can find their price points.

      Proposed airline seating (further) un-bundling is a good example. Soon we will regress to an Indian-style rail system, where the steerage class will consider themselves lucky to be crammed onto backless benches in crowded cars with no A/C – at least they aren’t clinging to the roof….

      1. PQS

        Don’t give the airlines any ideas. I’m sure if they could put us all in the cargo hold, they’d do it.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          We see it here in Southern California.

          “If you can afford to pay, you travel on the fast lanes.” MOREVERE, with money, you take the path less travelled. (Holding back my tears, I deduce, MONEY = POETRY).

          “For those penniless turtles, you travel on the slow lanes.” You take the path much travelled. All the hoi polloi take those paths or lanes.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I hope I get this right.

            According to traditional Chinese medicine, chi travels in your body via different meridian paths. When chi is blocked, that’s when pain occurs.

            So, basically, when you are blocked on the freeway, because you can’t afford the money, you suffer pain.

            I suspect a link between that and one’s life span.

            So, again, if you are rich and you don’t live long and prosperous, you are not doing it right.

          2. jrs

            Worse behind the orange curtain. Better in L.A. where everyone is stuck in traffic. There really is a kind of equality in that.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Maybe I can sell this bumper sticker there better: I take the lane less travelled in my Tesla, because I pay for that permit!!!

  3. Jim Haygood

    Something as dramatic and rare as Halley’s comet is taking place this morning. Until now, the lowest yield of our lifetime on 30-year Treasury bonds occurred, according to FRED, on 25 July 2012: 2.46%.

    This morning, its yield was down to 2.473% at 8:15 a.m.:

    If you’re into TA (Technical Analysis, not the other kind of T&A), it either bounces off (a ‘re-test’), or it just keeps on sinking (a/k/a ‘depression music’).

    Stay tuned for this gripping episode of ‘Life at the Zero Bound.’

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Do we trust a government that is fooled twice?

      First of all, the government doesn’t need to borrow (as it can just print), but yet, it does.

      Secondly, it let those seeking the safety of Treasury bonds decide the rates, when it should be imposing rates.

      That’s shame on us the People for the failures of our public servants.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I think it also depends on how, or rather, who gets to spend it.

          I can envision the people spending it to help a cash-strapped household government.

  4. Andrew Watts

    RE: 6 ways Cadbury has been trashed

    This is what happens when you allow mercantile logic to reign supreme over your society.

    1. Christopher D. Rogers


      Excuse me for the crassness of my language, but where I come from we call a spade a spade, as such, lets just call out the owners of Cadbury what they, together with the likes of Apple really, namely; “greedy fuckers”.

      1. Clive

        The little buggers have stolen Christmas ! We got the traditional box of “Cadbury’s Roses” chocolates as part of the traditional Clive family Christmas fare (ever since I was a child, this has been a staple part of Christmas and Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without these friendly assorted calorific delights — I can’t just sit and eat chocolate in everyday situations, but it is nice to make a change for Christmas).

        Except it wasn’t. The brand had been steadily crapified in recent years, but this year marked the low point. An awful vomit inducing medley of synthetic “flavours” covered in the thinnest film brown so-called “chocolate” imaginable (a whole new micron-tolerance industrial process must have been devised to produce these) with only half the varieties which the product used to have. No coconut, no dark chocolate, only the bare minimum of nut content in the “nutty” ones — it was basically reduced to a half dozen more-or-less identical tasting collection of fondants. We ended up throwing half of them away, no one could force themselves to eat some of the worst offenders in the box (the “strawberry” “flavour” being deemed particularly vile). Generally, it was like eating sweetened glue.

        They must think we’re stupid to believe that we wouldn’t notice. The crapification I can almost put up with (notice I say “almost”). The insult to our intelligence is what really takes the biscuit. Have they no shame ?

        1. abynormal

          its a global thang: TRUST, n. In American politics, a large corporation composed in greater part of thrifty working men, widows of small means, orphans in the care of guardians and the courts, with many similar malefactors and public enemies. Devils Dic.

        2. ambrit

          Oh yes. Well do I remember the Christmas box of sweets granddad sent over from England, by third class package rate no less! Two weeks on a freighter didn’t even bruise the flavour of those goodies: Malteesers, All Sorts, and thick sweet chocolate in all its’ guises. Now I fear for dentists in England. Their business must be cut in half because of this degenerate glop the marketeers dare to call candy.
          I fear the marketeers don’t so much think the general public is stupid as don’t care. To answer your terminal question; no they have no shame as long as there is money to be made, on the cheap.
          The real evil associated with this phenomena is the fact that we now have to pay a premium for things once viewed as basic. Go and cruise the aisles of your local “upscale” grocers to see this in action. I could go on, but Phyllis has just waved a piece of Dutch chocolate under my nose. Ta ta for now.

        3. McMike

          They don’t care if the old fans notice. These people will be replaced by new fans who don’t know any better.

          Cadburry’s will be in Walmart, right next to other crapified former elite brands. Flavor is replaced by marketing, and sold to an audience whose taste buds have been ruined by decades of HFCS and GMO saturated fats. These people impulse buy a box of chocolates off the end cap because they have a vague recollection that the name was sort of ooh-la-la, and then give it to their kid’s teacher, who eats a couple, and then sets the rest of the box out in the break room, to be consumed by roving bands of sugar self-medicators.

        4. Lambert Strether

          “But–and here’s what makes this campaign truly great, in my estimation–each sample of Coffiest contains three milligrams of a simple alkaloid. Nothing harmful. But definitely habit-forming. After ten weeks the customer is hooked for life. It would cost him at least five thousand dollars for a cure, so it’s simpler for him to go right on drinking Coffiest–three cups with every meal and a pot beside his bed at night, just as it says on the jar.” –Frederik Pohl and C.M. Kornbluth, The Space Merchants

      2. Light a Candle

        They must be losing market share too.

        I’ve been buying a lot less Cadbury’s because my favourite products, Cadbury’s Dairy Milk (which are also fair trade in Canada!) and Cadbury’s mini-eggs just weren’t tasting the same over the past few years.

        That Queen song “Another One Bites the Dust” seems apropos.

        1. different clue

          See’s Candy seems awfully good to me. Though maybe it was better before I found out about it.

          Callebaut chocolate seems good to me. Do I simply not know any better?

          Snooty leftists sneer at well-meaning liberals who “shop for justice”. But sometimes “shopping for justice” is all one can do in a situation. Perhaps we could settle for the lesser goal of “shopping against crapolafication”. If enough people keep buying See’s and Callebaut non-crapolafied candy, those two companies will stay in bussiness.

          Every dollar is a bullet on the battlefield of economic combat. And perhaps a leaderless mini-mass movement of politically motivated buyers of this and avoiders of that can turn their dollar-bullets into some sort of battleifield force. Or at least presence.

      3. Massinissa

        Saying that its ‘just greed’ doesnt set the problem accurately. The problem is the system, and greedy elites are but a symptom of the system. We cant fix capitalism just by getting a new elite. The problem is the incentives built into the system that encourage crapification. If you were to completely replace Cadbury’s management, the new management would do the same thing.

        1. McMike

          Indeed. Everything from tax code to Fed policy to SEC rules to corporate subsidies are aligned to create huge rewards for destroying companies and their products.

        2. Left in Wisconsin

          It would be interesting to hear from Germans or Japanese re: crapification. I’m not sure it’s inevitable. When I was in Germany some while back, I was struck by how well made everything was.

          1. sleepy

            Just my crapification du jour moment:

            Went out today to blow some snow off the sidewalk. It was really cold, about -13 F. So, I drag the snowblower off the front porch, go to zip up my parka and . . . . . the plastic zipper just shreds itself. The coat was purchased last October for about $80 at a mid-level clothing store.

            Well, ok. I then spend close to 45 minutes on and off trying to crank up the snow blower. No dice. It cost about $400 2 yrs. ago, broke down a year ago and cost over $100 to fix. Now it doesn’t work again.

            So, nothing worked. The morning was crapified because of shoddy products. In the scheme of things, this is no big deal and probably sounds precious. After all, I have food, shelter, etc., unlike many. It’s just more and more typical that it’s dicey whether or not something will work when needed.

            1. optimader

              ” I then spend close to 45 minutes on and off trying to crank up the snow blower”
              very good chance it is a gasohol fuel issue

        3. Andrew Watts


          I do believe I mentioned society as a whole and not just politics, business, and other limited spheres of social influence.

      4. Andrew Watts

        @Christopher D. Rogers

        I stand corrected sir. You’re free to blame America for this travesty but may I point out how humorous it is that the Torygraph is the one pointing this out?

        1. Christopher D. Rogers

          Andrew Sir,

          Let it be known one does not blame our cousins over the Pond for anything, I basically blame the corrupted form of capitalism we have presently, and I’m not even a bloody capitalist, but at least the capitalism we had between 1945-1981was preferable to juncture we are at now.

          Further, whilst I’m want to lambast the USA, I trust people understand I’m referring to the US government, its agencies and it’s ruling elite, rather than the average Joe whom I consider family. Suffice to say, enough is enough before its to late for either the bastards in control, or ourselves. I favour peaceful revolution period, but caution a tipping point may come when this is all but impossible. Funny how changes to a creme egg can have such a drastic impact on our opinions. And that rag you referred too is best known as the “Daily Torygraph” and even that’s beginning to change its spots.

    2. ScottW

      Re: Crapification and Cadbury–We need a craft beer movement in many industries. In 1983, beer was pretty much big brand, bland, etc. Along came Sam Adams (and a few others) and the rest is history. Walk into a liquor store and look at all of the brands. Better beer and lots of options. The same model needs to be carried into other industries to give those of us an option for quality. I don’t mind paying a bit more for much better quality. I would rather have 2 really good beers than a 6 pack of mass brewed crap.

      1. McMike

        Same too with coffee. Remember 1980’s coffee?

        Of course eventually Starbucks rises up and crapifies itself, and the McDonalds starts selling “gourmet” coffee, and so you’ve about come full circle again.

        Craft beer, good coffee, artisanal breads, craft distilling.. the cycle is ongoing

    3. ChrisPacific

      Cadbury was the subject of one of my favorite articles analyzing dodgy corporate behavior, a Chalkie column from 2013.

      Landrew Holdings appears to have got its money through borrowing $215m, of which about $142m came from Cadbury Schweppes Finance in Australia and about $73m came from Cadbury NZ, the latter interest-free.

      Landrew used the money to buy units in Teming Investment Trust, which loaned the money back to Cadbury Schweppes Australia and Cadbury NZ, the latter at about 8 per cent interest.

      The ultimate effect of this money-go-round is not obvious, but one effect looks clear enough – Cadbury loaned money interest-free and then borrowed it back with interest. It’s hard to see the commercial benefit to Cadbury of doing that, but the process would appear to shift income from Cadbury to the trust.

  5. Andrew Watts

    RE: Iran Has Never Been More Influential In Iraq

    The War Nerd pointed out who was going to win the Iraq war back in 2007. The Islamic State is just another variable that has thus far been managed by Tehran to it’s geopolitical advantage.

    Which is something Washington isn’t capable of doing because THEY ARE ALL PERSIAN SPIES!

  6. Ivy

    Warren: 1
    Weiss: 0
    Washington Post: -1
    We The People: Still on the sidelines, waiting to come into the game

  7. Andrew Watts

    RE: Paris towards militarization, Europe to follow

    Don’t worry we all know who they’re going to be targeting. I’ve been hearing from some people and they all report that in a country where an individual is unable to run into the local Muslim population that the demonstrations are like a “Christmas Day parade”.

    The only thing the media and demonstrators have accomplished is to further spread the Islamic State’s message to the Muslim population of Europe. That message is this:

    “You do not belong. You will never belong.”

    Quoted for emphasis… and boy am I tired of being right about the Islamic State.

    1. James Levy

      All I needed to see yesterday was James Howard Kunstler’s latest headline about “The Clash of Civilizations” and his first little blurb to see how normally intelligent people just lose it over this topic. I fear the solid majority of Christians (and the overwhelming majority of Jews and Hindus) just love to find reasons to make blanket condemnations of Muslims and have a confirmation bias a mile deep towards finding Muslims evil and dangerous. I personally think that the number of Muslims who have gone bonkers is small, but I am disappointed at the inability of the moderates and the liberals to check the crazies. Of course, here in America the mainline Protestant denominations have been getting their clocks cleaned in membership by the Evangelical/Southern Baptist/Fundamentalist wing of their religion for decades, so one can’t throw too many stones. Crazies are on the march everywhere. But the inability or unwillingness to differentiate between Muslim criminals and workaday Muslims is scary and getting worse. The Moslem cop and the Moslem who helped those Jewish shoppers escape are considered the (largely ignored) outliers–the gunmen are the “real” face of Islam.

      1. Massinissa

        I only listen to Kunstler on Economic issues.

        On social issues hes an absolute nutcase.

        The other day he blamed the failure of civil rights on ‘black separationist politics’, whatever that is.

        1. Massinissa

          Oh, and I didnt understand how he thinks that Blacks and Whites were one country in the 1950s, but arnt one country now. Like, what? He thinks its gotten worse for blacks since the 50s, and then blames it on black peoples politics? I didnt have any words.

          Listening to Kunstler on social issues is a bad. idea. This war of Civilizations nonsense hes spewing is nothing new for Kunstler.

      2. Paper Mac

        “I personally think that the number of Muslims who have gone bonkers is small, but I am disappointed at the inability of the moderates and the liberals to check the crazies.”

        You’ve made several errors here.

        One is to assume that the conflicts amongst Muslims break down along American lines (there are secular liberals/religious “moderates” on one hand and there are fundamentalists on the other). This is a really bad description of the current state of affair, which is characterised by the same sort of tensions that have always existed in the faith- a large traditionalist Sunni majority that has problems with kharijite extremists (usually, historically, from the Najd, no different this time around).

        The second error follows from the first, which is to look for reassuring messages from people who by and large are a tiny minority in Western countries who don’t know how to articulate their message in a manner that is Islamically legitimate in the first place- there are very few “liberal” scholars of the religion who believe that modern secular liberal ideology (unfettered capitalism, democracy [for the rich], and human rights [for whites and those coloured folk deemed ‘acceptable’]) actually has better answers to extremist violence than the articulation of traditional Muslim doctrine.

        Free of these misconceptions, it’s trivial to find out that, in fact, the Muslim community at large has been actively condemning this kind of behaviour for years. Here’s an example- an open letter signed by representatives of almost every major institution of religious learning in the Muslim world, condemning ISIS:

        So, we’re left with the ‘inability’ part- and the reality is that the people who are conducting these attacks don’t care about the exegesis of the Qur’an, the finer points of Arabic grammar, or 1400 years of legal tradition that explicitly and expressly prohibits and condemns their actions (Al Ghazali, probably the most influential non-Prophetic Muslim figure, has explicitly stated that deliberately seeking martyrdom is haraam, an opinion that has never been effectively challenged from within the tradition itself). We don’t have a church, we don’t have a pope, so if a young angry French-Algerian Muslim decides they know better than 1400 years of luminous souls dedicating their lives to studying the religion, it’s very difficult for “the community” to intervene in some concrete way, since Western states (particularly laicite regimes like France) will not, in general, allow us to police our own communtiies and have such bad relationships with local Muslims anyway (war on terror legacy) that they can’t get the information they need.

        Finally I want to point out that you’re trying to hold the Muslim community (1 billion people) responsible for France’s problems. France has a long and brutal colonial history in Northern Africa. After they were booted, they spent decades importing as many former colonial subjects as they could, ghettoising them, and treating them like second class citizens. How are we to undo that?

        1. James Levy

          I will conditionally accept most of what you say, as it sounds nuanced and correct. However, at no point did I blame France’s problem on the global Moslem community. You can look for where I said, that, but you won’t find me saying it. In fact, I argued the opposite–that a small minority of criminals are projected as the face of Islam, while counter-evidence is ignored or quashed (my confirmation bias point). But to blame what happened at Charlie Hebdo on the Algerian War is not credible. The people at Charlie Hebdo probably weren’t even born, and certainly hadn’t reached voting age, when France pulled out. They were killed not for the sins of a colonial past, but for being insulting–and that’s one screwed up thing to die for.

      3. Banger

        I know Kunstler likes to think of himself as erudite in many areas but he is not very good at history as are nearly all American intellectuals. For a subject that seems to critical and important its stunning how uncurious we are about the dynamics that formed modern Islamic fundamentalism as such a force in history. To put it simply in the 1950s the CIA and other Western intel services realized that the biggest threat to Western security interests were nationalist and secular liberal regimes in the Islamic regime. Mossage

        1. Banger

          Somehow I hit a series of keys that did not allow me to edit the above comment. Let me continue:

          The West saw regimes like Mossadeq in Iran and Nasser in Egypt as the most dangerous threats in the region because they threatened to nationalize national resources and use government to help the population of those countries. Massadeq was overthrown by the CIA who inflamed some of the population by hiring pro-Mossadeq demonstrators to insult Islam Nasser was a threat because he threatened to unite all Arabs which was, ultimately, a direct threat to Saudi Arabia which was under the control of the CIA and British intelligence. Fundamentalists were used to undermine secularism everywhere in the Islamic world. The most obvious example was the activity of the CIA in the Afghan-Russia war and the institutions that came out of it–the Taliban and Al-Qaida which was then and, I believe, is still infiltraded by intel services–in the case of those two mainly the Pakistani ISI (which formed the Taliban with Saudi money) and Saudi intel which, in concert with the CIA, ran Al-qaida and still run IS. But going into all that takes looking carefully at the institutions and countries involved and that takes a lot of reading and study. Though the basic outline of all this is obvious–it’s much simple to see Islamic fundamentalism as something growing out of the “madness” of Islam. Having said that, let me be clear, I don’t like Islam though I see the good side of it which is never mentioned in the West it appears. I’ll leave that for another comment–if asked.

          1. Paper Mac

            “The most obvious example was the activity of the CIA in the Afghan-Russia war and the institutions that came out of it–the Taliban and Al-Qaida which was then and, I believe, is still infiltraded by intel services–in the case of those two mainly the Pakistani ISI (which formed the Taliban with Saudi money) ”

            You’re conflating the Taliban with the mujahideen warlords who were funded by the CIA and organised by the ISI. The Taliban was a populist reaction to the Mujahideen Nights period after the war ended, when the warlords were running around Kandahar with tanks shelling civilians, and displaced many of those warlords. The US has subsequently brought almost all of the ones that are still alive back into the Afghan state as their local compradors.

            1. Banger

              On the contrary:

              As is well known, the Afghan Taliban were themselves a creation of the ISI, and a de facto proxy by the time they took over Kabul in 1996. In 1999, Benazir Bhutto’s minister of interior, Nasrullah Babar admitted it quite explicitly, pronouncing, “We created the Taliban.” from: “The ISI’s Great Game in Afghanistan

              1. Paper Mac

                The ISI and the Taliban had links. The Taliban and the mujahideen groups that the ISI funded contra Russia were not identical. These are not mutually exclusive propositions. Babar’s statement takes far too much credit for something the ISI had no effective control over- if you want the word from the horse’s mouth, the guy in charge of the ISI program to arm those fighters wrote a book called The Bear Trap.. go ahead and try to find the names of the idealistic young Deobandi students who started the Taliban amongst the names of the clan leaders and warlords being supplied.

    2. vidimi

      the writing has been on the west’s wall for a long time and there’s only one way this will end, given the choices our societies have been making.

      we have chosen to fight extremists on their home turf (literally, but meant even more metaphorically), by fighting evil with evil. i have no doubt we will prevail by out-eviling isis, al qaeda and the like, but the results will be devastating proof that we haven’t learned anything at all from the rise of hitler.

    3. Paper Mac

      Are you under the impression that the use of fossil fuels is obviated by the existence of wind turbines? All of the resource extraction and manufacturing logistical chains that produce and maintain wind turbines are obliged to rely on fossil fuels to continue operating. All producing many of turbines that produce a massive surplus of energy during peak times will do is convince people that turbines were just another public-private scam to line the pockets of executives and developers and tax the costs out of the public.

      1. Massinissa

        Pretty sure you commented to the wrong person mate. The person above was talking about Muslims, not green energy. You might want to repost to the proper person.

  8. roadrider

    Re: US labour market

    Decent reality check on the numbers but doesn’t address the issue of long-term vs short-term unemployment.

    As long as employers are allowed to discriminate against the unemployed with impunity it will remain extremely difficult, if not impossible, for the long-term unemployed to regain employment. I have been out of work since 7/2013 and can tell you from experience that even after a few months out of work you are considered undesirable by employers. And yes, I have been told this directly by recruiters.

    As long as Obummer and his sycophants in the media can continue to trumpet BS happy talk about an unemployment rate that excludes those who have been forced out of the employment pool or left it via discouragement the long-term unemployed will remain out of sight, out of mind and swept under the rug.

    1. James Levy

      It seems more and more that you have a class of people locked into jobs and one locked out. We have seen a (deliberate in my opinion) crafting of the job market here in the USA where whole categories of employment are slipping away. Ironically, it’s older white guys and younger black men who are the big losers in this process, and have been for four decades (since the first generation of black union members were crushed by “last hired, first fired” in the 1970s).

      I see in academia more and more hires are people jumping from job to job, not new people being brought into the workforce, and losing your job at any stage of the process means your career is pretty much over. And a sort of “credential inflation” has taken place, so that only graduates of certain programs need apply, and the standards for tenure have inflated through the roof–you have people who got tenure in the 70s and 80s now holding young academics to standards they themselves would never would have met.

      But so long as those still in the loop significantly outnumber those outside it, the situation will not change. And in academia, where those outside (contingent and contract “workers”) outnumber those inside (tenured and tenure-track “professionals”) it still isn’t changing, because those on the outside are powerless and those on the inside are either too frightened or too vain or too in need of the validation the system has given them to lift a finger to change anything.

      1. Banger

        It’s interesting–most people do not think about the health of the whole–only about their own condition. The idea of “inside” and “outside” is now everywhere as social class and tribal groupings harden. Academics need to throw out the administrators and open up free universities funded through a number of creative means and featuring affordable prices using very different styles of learning and no fixed campus. Frankly, with some noticeable exceptions, American Universities are no turning out very good work or doing much of a job educating students and need to return to the idea that they are centers of learning not of credentialing.

  9. Dino Reno

    America’s going to lose oil price war…

    “It may be time for the U.S. government to consider whether it wants to up the stakes in this price war by entering it as a sovereign country. That might mean bailing out or temporarily subsidizing the shale producers. After all, they are competing with states now, not with businesses like themselves.”

    Here it comes. The Big Oil Bailout (s). Just like I predicted. This isn’t a price war anymore, it’s real war and as such Americans will be called on wave there oil-stained shirts and pony up to save the Koch Brothers, etc.

    1. Christopher D. Rogers

      American’s, particularly the poorest segments of your country, should be proud in having to bailout the likes of the adorable Koch brothers, you chaps are after all “exceptional” and this economic warfare is but a continuation of diplomacy by other means – just whom all this diplomacy is directed at is hard to perceive, but we can’t have the likes of the Walton’s and Koch brothers suffering financially for the state actually engaging in their bidding. What next for social welfare me asks!

    2. abynormal

      agree about the bailout but where, when, how? our pensions, 401’s etc are 46% of oil investments…add the rising rates of Ocare and we’re in a leaking deep horizon zone.

      btw i love to looking back at yak: a massive new report, “The Rapid Rise of the United States as a Global Energy Superpower,” from Citi’s macro analysts suggests the price of oil would have to dip to the vicinity of $50 a barrel to flatten US production growth completely.

      From the report: “[I]ndications have emerged that suggest Saudi Arabia could look to allow prices to fall enough until US shale production is reined in. However, should such a circumstance arise, it looks like US shale/tight oil production growth could remain robust even in an environment of sustained lower oil prices, lower capex, and lower rig counts.” okaaaaaay

  10. Jim Haygood

    Another day, another step closer to default:

    Venezuela’s credit rating was lowered by Moody’s Investors Service to nine levels below investment grade as a plunge in oil prices decimates the country’s finances.

    Moody’s cut Venezuela’s rating two levels to Caa3, saying the government’s default risk has increased substantially after oil prices plunged more than 50 percent over the past six months. If Venezuela stops paying its debt, bondholders are likely to get less than 50 cents on the dollar in a restructuring, Moody’s said in a statement.

    There’s only nine circles in hell, wrote Dante. So our Venezuelan comrades have hit bottom.

    Moody’s noted drily that Venezuela is ‘unlikely to implement meaningful policy measures to curb macroeconomic distortions.’ In plain words, it means President Nick will continue his monomania with maintaining the official Bolivar exchange rate of 6.35 per dollar, while the rate one gets on the sidewalks of Caracas is 187 bolivars per dollar.

    1. skippy

      Venezuela only real problem is they don’t have a Treasurer who is an ex Goldilocks C-suit ivy league poster “boy”.

      But yeah the club is still pissed at the aborted 2002 rave party.

      “Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan president, today pegged the country’s embattled currency to the dollar in an effort to ease the economic damage from a two-month long general strike that failed to oust him.

      The fixed exchange rate policy was announced yesterday, alongside a series of new foreign currency and price controls, two weeks after the leftwing president suspended the sale of foreign currencies as the Venezuelan bolivar sank to record lows.

      Trading in dollars and other currencies will resume when the fixed exchange rate goes into effect today. The controls fix the bolivar’s value at 1,596 a dollar for sales and 1,600 for purchases, but the government can adjust the rates as it sees fit.”

      skippy… anyone else remember the photo of the bums the coup advisers stuffed in Generalissimo uniforms and trotted out to the media…. pure Gilligan’s Island stuff…

      1. Jim Haygood

        Nothing wrong with pegging to the dollar. Nearby Panama has done it for a century, and Hong Kong for more than 30 years. But you can’t cheat by printing local currency while trying to keep the peg.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          The empire pegs to itself and can print as much its local (and global) currency as it wants.

          I believe it’s the only sovereign who can get away with it. Sorry, Hong Kong. Sorry, Panama. You’re nothing but voluntary monetary-colonies (at the minimum…perhaps political and military colonies as well…maybe even cultural, pop music colonies too).

    2. Benedict@Large

      So in other words, it’s not the Bolivar that is crashing. It’s the effort to fix the exchange rate that’s crashing. But let’s blame the socialists and not the currency fixers. The anti-government narrative works better that way.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The sad fact is the most powerful and effective anti-(Venezuelan) government narrative comes not from private bloggers, but from the Imperial government, and the most anti-(Venezuelan) government deeds come not from bloggers, but the 0.01% and their friend, the Imperial government.

        In general, we see a lot of cases where one government is anti-another-government.

  11. MikeNY

    Have y’all seen this?

    It manages to be touching, conciliatory, unrepentant and offensive at the same time… Remarquable!

    1. Llewelyn Moss

      The cover shows the Prophet Muhammad holding a “Je Suis Charlie” sign with the caption, “All is forgiven.”

      Depicting the image of THE Prophet. More blasphemy. Haha. Never give an inch to psychopaths. Never.

    2. vidimi

      i think it’s a fantastic cartoon. it strikes all the right chords and takes mohammed back from the radicals.

    3. gordon

      I’m waiting for the covers that go for Netanyahu, the Pope, America and Arseniy Yatsenyuk. Or maybe Charlie Hebdo only satirises Moslems from now on.

  12. McMike

    re more crapification.

    Golly, another beloved long-storied product with strict quality traditions and a sense of community/family connection/responsibility falls to the PE pirates to be systematically crapified into a simulacra of its former self.

    That’s just the genius of market you know. Finding things of intrinsic value and “unlocking” that value for short term gain, through self-consuming cannibalization of course.

    Is there a list of such products that have not yet been crapified? Surely the list is short. I cannot think of a single product that remains as its former self, under its old school ownership, quality, ingredients, and methods. Tools, foods, stores, appliances, computers….

    If there is such a list, perhaps we should keep it to ourselves.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      I remember several years ago Mall Wart tried to get Snapper lawn mowers in their stores and Snapper refused, as they realized the only way to do so would be to crapify their quality machines. I used them extensively years ago and they were quite good.

      Not sure if that info is still accurate though – it’s possible they succumbed to the pressure. Can’t think of mch else…

    1. Gareth

      In addition, how does hacking a Twitter account endanger US national security? Why is Centcom on Twitter anyway, for propaganda purposes? It was interesting timing for the hack to take place the day before Obama advocated for new surveillance powers.

  13. diptherio

    Of course the US cannot have a manufacturing “renaissance”–we’re the importers of last resort for the rest of the world. I swear, it’s like some people (a lot, actually) don’t understand basic arithmetic.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Inconvenient for the working people that we have the global reserve currency, but fantastic for imperial adventurers and our big banks.

  14. ohmyheck

    I found this video in a comment at moonofalabama.

    “Neoconservatism: An Obituary for an Idea” (gotta love that title)

    In 32 minutes, C. Bradley Thompson defines “Neoconservatism” and, for me at least, explained why things are the way they are in regards to U.S. domestic and foreign policy.

    Unfortunately, his idea that NeoConservatism will die, back in 2011, is not only premature, but obviously wrong, since it seems that our government, by its deeds, has the Neocons running the show.

    1. gordon

      The problem of foreign fighters pales into insignificance beside the enormous numbers of displaced persons and refugees which invasions and destabilisations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia and Libya have led to. Millions of people have been forced from their traditional homes and lifestyles and have nowhere to go. Not only is the scale of human suffering gigantic, but desperate refugees are now a major headache for European and other governments.

      The world needs an end to invasion, bombing and political games, and a generation of pacification and resettlement.

  15. Antifa

    Scotland gags on Wind Power, eh?

    One, use that excess electricity to repay the carbon debt Great Britain owes this world for centuries of coal burning. Build facilities to capture carbon from the atmosphere. Use it to build graphene and other carbon-based building materials. Give people jobs burying it, building roads and houses and cars and airplanes with the stuff.

    Two, use that excess electricity to power indoor algae farms that produce long-string hydrocarbons aka fossil fuels, and to produce edible algae. Oil from the ground isn’t going to last forever. At some point, algae bio-fuels will be competitive, especially if we give bio-fuel companies the kinds of subsidies we give the oil companies now. Once climate change makes the usual growing of crops more difficult and costly, a lot more people will be willing to microwave an algae burger for breakfast rather than nothing at all.

    Three, use the excess electricity to light up indoor greenhouses growing conventional crops. The weather outside will be getting wilder with every passing year, doncha know. You can’t grow traditional crops if the weather doesn’t cooperate.

    Four, use that excess electricity to desalinate sea water, and ship it to the Middle East. Power those tankers using carbon fuel created out of thin air by wind-driven electricity.

    Five, use that excess electricity to clean the ocean. The seven seas are full of excess carbon dioxide, and full of molecular plastic. Reverse osmosis can clean up the plastic. The excess carbon can be extracted and either turned into usable materials or fused with glass and buried.

    Six, use that excess electricity to generate clouds from seawater. Clouds reflect sunlight, helping us keep the ambient temperature in a range where our food crops can survive. Photosynthesis effectively stops at Fahrenheit 104.

    As a species, we owe this planet a huge carbon debt. As a species that wishes to continue living in some semblance of civilization on this planet, we owe ourselves a fighting chance to do so before climate makes us non-viable.

  16. Jim Haygood

    Just two weeks after West Virginia embarked on hiking its minimum wage more than 20% by next January, this news comes out:

    West Virginia quietly passed the ignominious milestone of having less than half of its adult, civilian population in the workforce in November.

    State data compiled by the Labor Department shows that West Virginia’s civilian labor participation rate has fallen to 49.8%, from 50% in October. The national rate in December was 62.7%.

    The Mountain State is the only state in the history of the series, which goes back to 1976, to have fallen below 50%,

    Make minimum-wage employment 20% more costly … yeah, that ought to turn this around! /sarc

    1. Ulysses

      Thanks JH, for pitching a high hanging one right over the plate!!

      “At the beginning of 2014, 13 states increased their minimum wage. Of these 13 states, four passed legislation raising their minimum wage (Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island). In the other nine, their minimum wage automatically increased in line with inflation at the beginning of the year (Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington state).

      As CEPR noted in March and April posts, economists at Goldman Sachs conducted a simple evaluation of the impact of these state minimum-wage increases. GS compared the employment change between December and January in the 13 states where the minimum wage increased with the changes in the remainder of the states. The GS analysis found that the states where the minimum wage went up had faster employment growth than the states where the minimum wage remained at its 2013 level.”

      Fortunately, true believers in the neoliberal faith can dismiss these pesky facts as suspect– because they come from a study conducted by that notoriously anti-capitalist, pro-labor institution called Goldman Sachs (sarc)

  17. barrisj

    Takeaway message from the Bloomberg shale oil artice:

    “It may be time for the U.S. government to consider whether it wants to up the stakes in this price war by entering it as a sovereign country. That might mean bailing out or temporarily subsidizing the shale producers. After all, they are competing with states now, not with businesses like themselves.”

    Hello, taxpayers…here comes your government to the rescue of yet another bubble venture…how’s that “American energy independence” working for ya?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Does the government have the money to rescue them?

      Will the availability of money be an issue?

  18. flora

    Re: Obama proposes new data laws as U.S. Central Command hacked.
    Well, that’s all lovely window dressing. The real goal, in my opinion, is best summed up in this quote from the NOVA/Edward Snowden interview. (in 1/11/15 links)

    “We see more and more things occurring like the Senate putting forward a bill called CISPA, which is for cyber intelligence sharing between private companies and government agencies, where they’re trying to authorize not just the total immunity, a grant of total immunity, to private companies if they share the information on all of their customers, on all the American citizens and whatnot that are using their services, with intelligence agencies, under the intent that that information be used to protect them.
    “Congress is also trying to immunize companies in a way that will allow them to invite groups like the National Security Agency or the FBI to voluntarily put surveillance devices on their internal networks, with the stated intent being to detect cyber-attacks as they occur and be able to respond to them. But we’re ceding a lot of authority there. We’re immunizing companies from due diligence and protecting their customers’ privacy rights.”

    1. flora

      Also, per the Obama Reuters story: “Underscoring the threat posed by hackers, the Twitter feed of U.S. Central Command, which leads U.S. military action in the Middle East, was hacked by someone claiming to be associated with Islamic State militants, while Obama spoke. ”

      Pardon me for laughing at the notion that the US govt/military isn’t securing its own sites properly; *but*, allowing the US govt/military to increase its cyber spying on all Americans is just the ticket for better security.

    2. flora

      As long as the NSA/govt require back doors into operating systems, apps, and firmware, as well as crapifying encryption, then the talk of cyber security rings hollow. If they’re serious about security, as opposed to surveillance, they will allow closing the back doors and strong encryption to proceed. But if they’re focused on surveillance, not security, that’s a different calculation.
      /end rant

      1. hidflect

        Ha! All excellent points I hadn’t considered. Your critical thinking hat must be a top designer brand.

  19. fresno dan

    The goats fighting America’s plant invasion BBC (furzy mouse)

    Well, the cloven hooves, the long tail, the curly horns….I knew I had a lot of similarities to goats, but when I read this, I knew we were kin…..

    “A herd of 35 goats can go through half an acre of dense vegetation in about four days, which, says Knox, is the same amount of time it gets them to become bored of eating the same thing.”
    Just like me!!!

    “When they move on to a new site, you can see the excitement in the way they eat,” he says”
    Just like me!!!

    “They like the magic of getting on the trailer when all the food has gone and then they ride around for a bit and the next thing, the door opens and there’s a whole new smorgasbord to eat.”
    Just like me!!!

    “Brian Knox, in Maryland, agrees that some goats can be troublesome and even admits to donating his grumpiest animal to a local butchery class.”
    Just like me!!!….except, I haven’t been donated to a butcher…….yet…

  20. fresno dan

    Patrick Lee O’Kane grew up preparing for war. The 66-year-old came of age during the Vietnam conflict, reading his destiny on the caskets of the slightly older boys returning home. But combat operations ended before he was drafted, and O’Kane’s war would have to wait. “Your life is not a normal life when you grow up like that,” he said, “and I’m probably not a normal person.”

    On Monday, O’Kane and wife, Melissa Jean Andrews, 68, appeared in Sacramento Superior Court as defendants in a bizarre case that started with a disagreement over city utility fees, turned on questions about O’Kane’s constitutional beliefs and climaxed with a police standoff outside the couple’s home.
    Police spokesman Officer Justin Brown declined comment, citing the pending court case. He did confirm the use of two armored vehicles, an equipment van and 21 officers in serving the warrant.
    I hope that have at least 4 armored vehicles, in case they need 2 to deal with some scofflaw who refuses to pick up their doggies poop…

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Perhaps the government is too big or too powerful.

      But it doesn’t matter. We need a government that is wise, not necessarily small, though small can be powerful, let’s not forget that.

    1. JerseyJeffersonian

      I rather like the identifying (tail?) number. From Russia With Love…

      Saw an interesting TV show on the attempts to develop large-scale ground effect vessels for the Soviet navy to serve a attack craft against US/NATO naval vessels. What they were hoping for was something that was far enough down in the ground clutter to thwart radar detection, in combination with high velocity to further limit the time and ability to react to an attack. Came to grief on problems dealing with anything other than really small waves, as I recall, thus obviating its utility as a blue water vessel, for sure.

  21. c1ue

    Uber says surge pricing brings more cars on the road – that *may* be true in a systemic sense, but is not true on a tactical sense unless the surge pricing is predictable. And since the algorithm is proprietary, the only predictability in surge pricing is for those holidays like New Year’s when everyone already knows demand is extremely high.

    Without predictability – which again is a function of major holidays and inclement weather, only one of which is predictable in any medium or long term sense, surge pricing is primarily a means to extract more payment.

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