Recent Items

Links 2/10/15

Cats and foxes behind Australia’s alarming extinctions, study finds Japan Times

No Big Bang? Quantum equation predicts universe has no beginning PhysOrg (Chuck L)

Milky-Colored Rain Falls in Washington and Oregon, Perplexing Residents Weather Channel (Stephen M)

Time’s ‘Person Of The Year’ Is Feeling Kind Of Lost Goats and Soda (David L)

Are Your Medications Safe? Slate (Dr. Kevin)

Alleged Bitcoin scam leaves millions missing Agence France Presse

Internet providers lobby against backup power rules for phone lines ars technica. Chuck L: “My electricity provider, Xcel Energy, uses customer phone numbers and ANI tech to drive their outage management IT system. They, and we customers, would be screwed if phones go dead as soon as power goes out.” Remember how long the power outages were during Sandy?

China Injects Funds Into Financial System Wall Street Journal

Modi’s BJP crushed in Delhi poll Financial Times

Merkel’s Political Imperatives Spell Trouble for Canada Huffington Post (margarita)

Mark Carney warns of banking reform fatigue Guardian (Dr. Kevin). Hard to see how you can be fatigued by something that never really happened, unless the fatigue is the result of sheer boredom.

Strauss-Kahn takes the stand in vice trial Financial Times. OMG, he “rarely attended sex parties” is a defense? Given DSK’s famed libido, his idea of “rarely” is not likely to comport with objective standards.

Grexit?

Walking a tightrope ekathimerini (Stephen M)

Deal on Greek debt will not benefit Ireland, say EU finance ministers Irish Times (Stephen M)

The next card Yanis Varoufakis will play Conservsation

Austrian Chancellor Faymann: EU to Stand by Greece Greek Reporter (Stephen M)

Grexit gripes: The odds of a Greek exit from the euro are now 5/4 City A.M. (Stephen M)

Moody’s Downgrades Five Greek Banks Greek Reporter

Cypriot Foreign Minister Kassoulides: No Issue of Russian Bases Greek Reporter

Ukraine/Russia

Wretched US Journalism on Ukraine Consortiumnews (Chuck L)

Obama Seeks Last Push for Ukraine Peace Wall Street Journal

Hryvnia Volatile, Near 25 Per US Dollar; Three Days of Wild Swings Michael Shedlock

Imperial Collapse Watch

A Blackwater World Order American Conservative (I owe someone a hat tip, apologies!). This is not just a must read, it’s seminal. Pop quiz at 5:00 PM.

Afghanistan War Hero Stripped of Silver Star Washington Free Beacon (Chuck L). The Army acting a if it has a glass jaw, or too many tinpot dictators as bureaucrats.

Kofi Annan: US Invasion of Iraq Created Islamic State teleSUR (RR)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Is your Samsung Smart TV eavesdropping on PRIVATE conversations? Daily Mail (Chuck L)

Clear Proof Obama’s Surveillance Oversight Board Is a Pathetic Sideshow Alternet

Police State Watch

Is Your Child a Terrorist? U.S. Government Questionnaire Rates Families at Risk for Extremism Intercept

The FBI Is Making House Calls to Keystone XL Opponents ThinkProgress (martha r)

Civil Rights Attorneys Sue Ferguson Over ‘Debtors Prisons’ NPR (furzy mouse)

Complaints in India, and a Condo Deal in Manhattan New York Times. The blockbuster series on corrupt super high end real estate purchases in NYC continues.

Oil

Oil-Price Rebound Predicted Wall Street Journal

Inefficiencies Abound In U.S. Shale OilPrice

Central Bankers Bash ‘Audit the Fed’ Bill Wall Street Journal. Quelle surprise!

Senate leader calls for US government’s explanation in wake of HSBC leaks Guardian

Peter Jones: Bank scandals breeding new politics Scotsman (Richard Smith). A great rant, and proof that plenty of people are deeply upset about coddling of bank criminals.

U.S. Is Seeking Felony Pleas by Big Banks in Foreign Currency Inquiry New York Times. More pathetic business as usual. How about prosecuting some individuals? No, because people at a certain level are untouchable, unless they steal from people bigger than they are or at least at their level, like Bernie Madoff.

Sh*t In, Sh*t Out? the Problem of Mortgage Data Corruption & Empirical Analysis Adam Levitin, Credit Slips

A Needless Default Dave Dayen, American Prospect

Class Warfare

‘Peasants With Pitchforks’ Seen If Profits Get Any Fatter Bloomberg

New Evidence that Half of America is Broke Common Dreams (Carol B)

Researchers figured out when companies think about replacing workers with robots Business Insider (David L)

Connecticut to super-rich residents: Please don’t leave us Associated Press. SK: “Unbe-f-ing-leivable! Wish there was a para explaining why states are dependent on them for $ but federal govt is not. Incredible to think states are literally tracking a handful of residents like this.

Strike At US Refineries Expands To 2 More Sites OilPrice

Illinois Governor Acts to Curb Power of Public Sector Unions New York Times

Nurses Condemn Illinois Governor’s Anti-Worker Executive Order – Warn of Major Threat to Public Safety National Nurses United

Antidote du jour (Melody):

clouded leopard

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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82 comments

  1. Clive

    Strauss-Khan thinks he’s got problems; I rarely get invited to sex parties. Okay, alright then, I never get invited to sex parties. How does one get on the guest list to a sex party anyway? I heard about one in Brighton once, but I wasn’t about to drive half way round the M25 at that time of night… Perhaps it’s only a French thing as well, I think England is too cold to have a decent sex party.

    1. Clive

      Oh, and did I spell Strauss-Kahn right above? Or am I thinking of Star Trek II The Wrath of Strauss-Khan?

      1. Clive

        Yes, true enough, but at least we don’t have the same approaches to hair and make up as our transatlantic cousins do. Originally I thought that RuPaul’s Drag Race was a documentary.

    2. ambrit

      Dear sweet thing;
      You don’t get out much, do you? Any layover on the M25 will be chock full of “doggers” any old night once spring springs out of his/her closet. During nasty old winter, try that grotty Post War looking tube station near Whitehall for unrequited lust. If all else fails, ask one of the members of the Board of that financial business you slave away in. Once you tell them that you’re a regular at something called Naked Capitalism, they’ll widdle themselves giving you an invite to the next shindig.
      Toodles!

    3. steve dean

      According to The Guardian, “rarely”, means DSK only went to 4 such parties a year.

      1%’ers just live in a different reality than the rest of us.

  2. Gerard Pierce

    My comment on Japantimes re: vanishing species in Australia:

    “Sounds very similar to the introduction of neo-liberals to the US and Europe. They destroyed the banking system and any number of relatively harmless liberals and progressives. The Goldwater Republicans became a vanishing species at the same time that the Democratic Party became feral.”

  3. Doug

    David Dayen is an outstanding writer — and all of us are fortunate he is on the job! Still, look at these opening sentences from the second paragraph of “A Needless Default”:

    President Obama will carry several legacies into his final two years in office: a long-sought health care reform, a fiscal stimulus that limited the impact of the Great Recession, a rapid civil rights advance for gay and lesbian Americans. But if Obama owns those triumphs, he must also own this tragedy: the dispossession of at least 5.2 million U.S. homeowner families, the explosion of inequality, and the largest ruination of middle-class wealth in nearly a century.

    Sorry. But the dispossession of 5.2 million families, explosion of inequality and largest ruination of middle class wealth in nearly a century logically contradicts counting ‘a fiscal stimulus that limited the impact of the Great Recession”.

    1. timbers

      “President Obama will carry several legacies into his final two years in office: a long-sought health care reform, a fiscal stimulus that limited the impact of the Great Recession, a rapid civil rights advance for gay and lesbian Americans.”

      1). It’s not health care reform it’s an insurance mandate.

      2). Obama did not carry the advance of rights for gays and lesbians, gays and lesbians did. Obama just jumped on our bandwagon as we crossed the finish line and big donors threatened to cut off funds. Mostly the only thing he did is not get in the way like GWB probably would have, and what he did do was mainly after our bigger victories, after the fact.

      1. diptherio

        Yup and yup. Let us recall that Obama was still “thinking it over” about whether or not non-straight people should have human rights, when his Veep jumped the gun, said he didn’t care about the type of sex people prefer, and forced the O-man’s hand.

        Gay rights are due to gay activists, not Obama. Credit where credit is due (and it’s almost never due to a politician…).

        1. Lambert Strether

          OT, but looks like Rochester NY is looking to hire the same organization that built all those co-ops in Cleveland. If that comes through, if you have a moment, please let me know, because that’s a big story.

    2. ex-PFC Chuck

      A century from now George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama are likely going to be remembered in history who took a country that was losing altitude and nosed it over into the turf. That is if there’s enough of civilization left to be cognizant of history.

    3. hunkerdown

      Wasn’t Weimar Germany another place where bourgeois mores and individual identity were celebrated? I’d call it farce but I can’t in good conscience apply the term to a 100-act play of the same fart joke over and over again.

  4. vidimi

    We dream about drones, said 13-year-old Yemeni before his death in a CIA strike

    A 13-year-old boy killed in Yemen last month by a CIA drone strike had told the Guardian just months earlier that he lived in constant fear of the “death machines” in the sky that had already killed his father and brother.

    “I see them every day and we are scared of them,” said Mohammed Tuaiman, speaking from al-Zur village in Marib province, where he died two weeks ago.

    “A lot of the kids in this area wake up from sleeping because of nightmares from them and some now have mental problems. They turned our area into hell and continuous horror, day and night, we even dream of them in our sleep.”

    Much of Mohammed’s life was spent living in fear of drone strikes. In 2011 an unmanned combat drone killed his father and teenage brother as they were out herding the family’s camels.

    The drone that would kill Mohammed struck on 26 January in Hareeb, about an hour from his home. The drone hit the car carrying the teenager, his brother-in-law Abdullah Khalid al-Zindani and a third man.

    “I saw all the bodies completely burned, like charcoal,” Mohammed’s older brother Maqded said. “When we arrived we couldn’t do anything. We couldn’t move the bodies so we just buried them there, near the car.”

    when is enough going to be enough? how much longer is the world going to condone this terrorism?

    1. James Levy

      What is “the world” to do? Fight the Americans? Destroy the global trade system based on the dollar? Each would involve impoverishing and killing your own people to make a point about what America is doing to someone else’s people.

      The US is not going to back down under international pressure. Given that we are entering a presidential election cycle, any serious criticism of US actions will only lead Uncle Sam to doubled-down on the horror to show those ungrateful little foreign bastards who is the boss and who’s “tough enough” to be president. The only thing that will stop the US from acting like the US is a complete economic meltdown that robs Washington of the means to continue its drive for global domination. That, a civil war, a plague, or an earthquake that devastates California and costs us a trillion dollars and a year’s farm production because the irrigation systems and transport infrastructure are completely obliterated. The “world” is going to have to wait America out; it has no ability to stop it at a cost anyone would want to bear.

      1. vidimi

        by ‘the world’ i include american citizens who need to stand up and make terrorism by their government a priority. sure, many actually support it, but those who see its evil have an obligation to speak out. the rest of the world should embargo the states as best as possible. don’t buy anything american; avoid all american restaurants, banks, movies and entertainment, brands, etc.

        there’s a significant and growing divest and boycott movement against israel for its brutal occupation of palestine but a larger if more difficult one is also needed against the usa. i’ve been doing my part for the last few years, but so far, nobody has made it an issue.

        1. vidimi

          to clarify for american readers, they should buy local and small; boycott all large corporations and anyone who donates to either of the two main parties. don’t go to the cinema to watch american sniper, don’t eat your lunch at mcdick’s, don’t buy the latest iphone…

      2. vidimi

        also, the idea of going to war against someone whose ideology you find repulsive seems like a very american/british/scythian idea. you don’t fight evil with evil because there is no better way to ensure that evil wins. the west is on a path to out-evil islamic terrorists and i have no doubt they’ll achieve this. but what will be the cost of such a victory?

    2. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

      Even proceeding from cold blooded calculation, this episode is a gratuitous waste on all sides. Drones cost whatever portion of a billion dollars including the mindless coward that sits in a shipping container somewhere steering the damned thing. To blast some farm boy to atoms. That’s cost effective.

      1. hunkerdown

        Cheaper than blasting your own livestock to smithereens and much the same “pour encourager” effect.

  5. James Levy

    I almost never feel the least pity for the amoral scum that have been running the UK for decades, but what are you to do now when the financial “industry” is the economy of the United Kingdom? Thatcher’s plan was to turn Britain into a low-wage area in the Common Market and the “free” alternate hub of international finance capital doing the stuff that in 1979 US banks and brokerage houses could not or would not do. Well, the Common Market is now as subject to wage pressure from China and the Third World as everywhere else in the neoliberal New World Order, and US financiers are catching up with London in shady deals and illegal shenanigans. If I were (indirectly) elected PM tomorrow, what the hell would I do? Clean the Augean Stables that is the City of London? And replace those billions with what? Actually collect taxes from the wealthy, especially the foreign plutocrats operating out of London? They’d flee the coop. Restore unions and invest in a new industrial infrastructure? So I can pollute the planet and produce expensive goods with no one to sell them to?

    Certainly, the evil cretins who got Britain to this place are guilty of many crimes. But what is anyone to do with the carcass they have left behind and the 56 million people who inhabit it?

      1. James Levy

        The Confederate Quartermaster-General advised Robert E. Lee in the hungry winter of 1863-4 to “seize” the food and livestock of the citizens of Virginia to feed his army. Lee responded thus: if I confiscate the food now, what are my troops going to eat next year when the people flee or fail to plant more than the bare minimum so that their goods are not taken next Autumn?

        Like with the collapse of the Roman Empire, you can only loot a place once before it fails to support you any more. Perhaps it is too “liberal” to acknowledge that eating next years seed corn is a bad idea, and the government that steals the “bad guys” stuff today can steal your stuff tomorrow, but hey, I’m an historian and can only give examples of things that actually happened in the past

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      ‘Ukrainians, we are here to help you.’

      ‘Iraqis, we are here to help you!’

      ‘Vietnamese, we are here to help you!’

      ‘Filipinos we are here to help you”

      ‘Afgans, we are here to help you!’

      ‘Panamanians, we are here to help you’

      ‘Libyans, we are here to help you.’

      ‘Cubans, we are here to help you.’

      1. hunkerdown

        Blacks, Hispanics, farmers, artists… whenever private government comes to “help” it’s to help themselves.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          “Thank you for the fish, but can you also show me how to fish or to get the rich guy’s foot off my neck?”

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          “You heathen Africans, we are here to help you with our God.”

          “You heathen Aztecs, we are here to help you with our Savior”

          “You old fashioned farmers, we are here to help you with our GM seeds.”

          “You Hollywood artists, we are here to help you see the American Way.”

      2. OIFVet

        “The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the [US] government and I’m here to help.” Self-fulfilling prophecy if there ever was one. Ol’ Ronnie would be so proud.

    2. Quintus25

      Besides this website, Democracy Now has been a great source for following the latest developments regarding the Ukrainian crisis. Today, DN hosted a debate between Prof. Mearsheimer and an actual member of the War Party in Washington. This individual is a retired 4 star general and one of the co-authors of “Preserving Ukraine’s Independence, Resisting Russian Aggression: What the United States and NATO Must Do.” After hearing him speak, let’s just say I spit out the coffee that I even wasn’t drinking. His spurious arguments reminded me of Karl Rove’s quote “we create our own reality”. Are people really this arrogant and deluded in DC? When did demonizing the head of a great power become good policy? If this belligerent behavior continues from Washington, I doubt that’ll I live to see 30. Here’s the link for those who are interested.

      1. OIFVet

        Here’s the link: “Playing With Fire”. Little wonder Wald got four stars, I am not sure whether he renounced his mother’s milk but I am certain he at the very least gave it a serious thought. These f%$#ers do make it up as they go along, and they don’t even care to make it at least part-way believable. Imperial hubris seems to be greatest before the fall.

  6. craazyboy

    “A Blackwater World Order”

    Well, militias have a right to bear arms. But I hope they still make them wear uniforms so we can tell which are which. hahaha.

    But look at the bright side. Clearly this is one area where we are seeing significant wage growth. Especially over regular Army pay for entry level privates. And since taxes aren’t funding this and government borrowing is, at least viewed at the margin, it counts as a government stimulus program. But not a very sociable kind – which is good, of course.

    It also provides an upwardly mobile career path for our volunteer army – you can quit after adequate training and become a mercenary. This way the Pentagon is competing with itself – which keeps one sharp! Not.

    1. abynormal

      training for blackops is billions a year. example: final phase of seal training uses more bullets than all corps in one year.
      consider this: when these guys go private…we paid for their special technique to be used on US.

      as for wage creation and growth…body count comes to mind.

      Mercenaries don’t care about sides or politics, they care about getting paid.

      MechCommander
      I wouldn’t say I’m mean, I just get paid to do mean things.

      Freelancer Tex
      Snipin’s a good job, mate! Challenging work… out of doors… I guarantee you’ll not go hungry, ’cause at the end of the day, ‘long as there’s two people left on the planet, someone is going to want someone dead.

      The Sniper

    2. gordon

      At least the mercenaries get paid. How much do the Govts. of Australia, Britain, Holland, Denmark, Germany etc. etc. get paid for US use of their national militaries in places like Afghanistan and Iraq? At least back in the 17th/18th centuries there were well-understood rules for renting armies and paying for them.

  7. Brooklin Bridge

    Nifty day. Drones killing children, televisions (and frankly – any internet connected device in the house with a microphone) spying on anything we say in the room (but it’s all in the contract), telecoms that claim to give customers a choice about power backups when in fact they simply pull the plug on copper (which continues working during a power outage) after buying off which ever local government officials are involved to thwart pathetic 8 hour requirements, the FDA’s massive hiding of data about false and corrupted drug studies.

    Wheee! Down the slide we go.

      1. trent

        This always seems to be the case, they release a study suggesting you do this. The half a year later a new study comes along saying disregard the last study. I think this is part of what the arch druid talks about when he states that science is a religion and that people will lose faith.

      2. MikeNY

        “You can live to be 100 years old if you give up everything that would make you want to live to be 100 years old.” — Woody Allen

    1. fresno dan

      I commented on the Slate article about FDA, which is true as far as it goes. But the problem is much, much deeper. In the fifties and sixties, there was a virtual epidemic of heart disease.
      http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm4830a1.htm

      A tremendous desire to find the causes and do something pervaded the public health sphere. It wasn’t so much wrong, as incomplete. And in doing something, such as substituting trans fats for saturated fats, we jumped from the frying pan into the fire. Lots of the stuff helped, e.g., checking and lowering blood pressure, exercising, etc.

      And the same is true of our desire to get new drugs on the market. Sure, greed drives people to falsify data (a LOT). But as Ioannidis has published, most scientific articles are WRONG, for a variety of reasons. Yet we establish a bureaucracy and tell it to give the “seal of approval” to new drugs – the FDA can’t tell the truth – they don’t know, and CAN’T know from the number of trials conducted, and paucity of experience with a new drug, whether it truly is safe or effective. Imagine if they were to really admit that (sure, in the language of science and legalisms, they are pretty straightforward about it, but they would never put it in “plainspeak”)

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1182327/

      And by the way, since I started ignoring the government recommendations on diet, and eating more cheese and meat, and less carbohydrates, I have lost 30 pounds, and my triglycerides and bad cholesterol have plummeted, while my good cholesterol has skyrocketed…

    1. diptherio

      Thanks for the link.

      We may have hit on a best-of-both-worlds solution here in Missoula, where solid waste from the municipal sewer system is diverted to an industrial composting facility, with the resulting compost sold back to locals…and it’s good stuff.

  8. MartyH

    On “Grexit Gripes”: I forget to track the UK betting markets. If they are as good as the parimutuel crowd at any US horse racing track, I’ll go with Syriza ;-) (I’ve spent time crunching parimutuel results for amusement).

    On Connecticut tracking the super-rich: When inequality gets this high, a few defections means big money. Most businesses track their biggest accounts and accord them special attention. You’d expect similar behaviors from the public sector, I guess. One suspects these super-rich effectively own the state government anyway, why shouldn’t they be coddled /snark?

    1. Jim Haygood

      Who lost Connecticut?

      Shortly after his inauguration, Lowell Weicker reversed his position and became an advocate of the tax that he had campaigned against. The broad income tax he had come to favor passed the General Assembly. However, shortly after it was implemented and the withholding for it began, a huge protest rally in Hartford attracted some 40,000 participants, some of whom cursed at and spit at Governor Weicker. After this, the Assembly passed a measure repealing the broad-based income tax, which was subsequently vetoed by Governor Weicker. The override of the veto fell a vote short, and the massively unpopular tax was kept in effect.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lowell_P._Weicker,_Jr.

  9. NDU

    Mercenaries, Doi! NDU will wring its hands and hold its head and suggest market discipline because mercenaries are here to stay and there’s nothing anybody can do about it. Nope, nothin we can do.

  10. MikeNY

    “Peasants with Pitchforks” link is busted. Correct link here.

    Kofi Annan voices the obvious; crickets heard chirping in Washington DC’s snow.

  11. fresno dan

    Are Your Medications Safe? Slate (Dr. Kevin)

    “We can no longer hope that the situation will get better without firm action from the legislature.”

    Ouch!!! I laughed so hard I hurt myself. Sure, the legislators during committee hearings will rant and rave about the outrages that really are found….and than nothing actually happens. No one is fired, no one is demoted – nothing is substantially changed. Congressmen gets to LOOK like he is concerned, but still gets the contributions (or his party). You get FIRM ACTION from congress when a firm complains about something not being approved.

  12. Kim Kaufman

    DSK: My Orgies Were Legal
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/cheats/2015/02/10/dsk-my-orgies-were-legal.html

    Strauss-Kahn: Only 12 sex parties in three years
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/cheats/2015/02/10/clintons-got-81m-via-shady-hsbc-clients.html

    Clinton foundation received up to $81m from clients of controversial HSBC bank
    http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/feb/10/hillary-clinton-foundation-donors-hsbc-swiss-bank

    In brief:
    Clintons Got $81M Via Shady HSBC Clients
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/cheats/2015/02/10/clintons-got-81m-via-shady-hsbc-clients.html
    “Now that the identities of some of the wealthiest users of HSBC’s tax-avoidance scheme in Switzerland have been made public, it seems the Clinton Foundation was one of the major beneficiaries. The Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation received as much as $81 million from donors who utilized HSBC’s preferential practices for allegedly avoiding taxes and hiding assets. The major donors include Jeffrey Epstein, a man who in addition to profiting from HSBC’s accommodations for wealthy clients is also a convicted sex offender. The new information could be unhelpful for Hillary Clinton, who is planning to play up income inequality as part her presumed presidential campaign.”

    1. Jim Haygood

      So if we follow the money, are you saying that Bill effectively got paid to visit Epstein’s island?

      And would that constitute blackmail, or the greatest gigolo gig evah?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I guess I was wrong in thinking maybe it was a down payment for a share purchase in some Clinton Co-Prosperity Ring.

  13. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Where is infinity? How do I get there?

    What does it mean to have no beginning? Or the alternative, what was before the beginning – did that have its own beginning?

    There is No Exit once you enter these koans.

    1. craazyboy

      Infinity is very, very far away. You can’t get there. It’s even less possible than being invited to Davos.

      Absolute Beginning and End may have no meaning in physics anymore. Unless they are like absolute zero temperature, in which case physicists have no idea what they are talking about.

  14. Jim Haygood

    Last helicopter out of Saigon Sana’a:

    The US embassy in Yemen will reportedly be closed due to the deteriorating security situation in the country.

    Yemini staff at the US embassy in Sana’a have told Reuters they had been told by the ambassador the mission would be shuttered within 24 hours.

    http://rt.com/usa/231075-yeman-us-close-embassy/

    USA — winning hearts and minds! Our CIA agents diplomats may be gone, but our drones will still be with you.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      There goes our Frankincense supply.

      But we can look forward to genuine Yemeni cuisine, perhaps.

  15. mycroft

    Yeves, you might want to reconsider your argument that FDR, who got polio, was probably not exposed to unsanitary conditions because he was rich.

    FDR came down with polio the night after taking and afternoon swim in Glensevern Pond at Portobello. Did he get polio from the pond? Nobody has the slightest idea because the polio virus has an incubation period of 3 to 35 days.

    When FDR came down with polio, he was a very active 39 year old who had been to many places during the previous 35 days. This is to say nothing of the fact that he was a ladies man who was well-known to wander beyond the marital paddock.

    Quite a number of months ago there was a short discussion on whether some people do not have fingerprints. If my memory is correct, Yeves was somewhat skeptical.

    I’m one of those people who does not have fingerprints. When I applied to emigrate to Canada, the immigration authorities wanted a set of prints. Two local sheriff officers were unsuccessful in getting prints. The smudges were sent north along with an explanatory note. (I resisted the temptation to send links to the Miles and Brubeck versions of “Some Day My Prints Will Come.”) When I got to Canada, a RCMP officer was also unsuccessful in getting a set of prints. All three officers were aware that some people do not have fingerprints.

    NC has lots of links to articles about animals. There are falsehoods about two animals that are repeated so often that almost the entire population believes these false facts.

    Even the fact checkers at the NEW YORKER, on page 43 of the Jan. 12 issue, allowed a cartoon of lemmings jumping off a cliff.

    Lemmings do not commit suicide. During a short breeding season they produce too many offspring for the local food supply, When the weather changes and the food supply runs short, many lemmings die. The joke has been made that lemmings are about the only inhabitants of that part of the world that do not have suicidal thoughts.

    Also, ostriches do not stick their head in the sand. When they get frightened, they put their head down near the ground. The only way to see a ostrich with its head in the ground is to look at a picture that has been photoshopped.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      You are incorrect in your recollection about my position on fingerprints. And the issue about fingerprints is not that those individuals have “no” prints, as in no whorls on their fingertips, but that they are too shallow for an ink fingerprint to be taken. I have not heard anyone say either way whether the imaged-based fingerprints (the kind proposed to lock and unlock devices) can capture more information (as an they allow some of these people whose fingerprints don’t register with an ink-based system to be recorded).

      And regardless of the particulars about Roosevelt, the argument made was that access to indoor plumbing and current American levels of handwashing were sufficient to address the issue. Your comment fails to shore up the original argument.

  16. Lisa

    “No Big Bang?”. All we need to do is find something biological in a comet and then Fred Hoyle will be proven totally right in just about eveything he claimed…. ‘Steady State’ universe anyone?

  17. Lisa

    “Cats and foxes behind Australia’s alarming extinctions, study finds”.

    And one of the things thing that would help keep them down are dingos..which we put down ruthlessly…….sigh.

  18. susan the other

    Merkel v. Canada. So the Canada/EU free trade agreement (CETA) is foundering. How nice. Sounds like Germany actually signed some German resolution backing the agreement and has not ratified it yet, nor has the EU because everyone in the EU hates “the Investor State” and it’s unilateral tribunals. How nice. The Germans might be able to withdraw their premature (maybe even secret?) support for it now that politix have taken such a dislike to this free trade farce, including the TTIP. I’m a little confused about the separate treaties of Canada and the US – aren’t we one trading block known as NAFTA? What’s with two separate treaties with the EU both precluding individual national sovereignty – is this perhaps a contradiction? Hopefully this is just a rhetorical question. It is obviously another sign that there is likely a groundswell (which does not find its way into the press) in favor of keeping Greece in the “union”. What is happening to Greece is very Investor State Tribunal Rape.

  19. OIFVet

    Afghanistan War Hero Stripped of Silver Star. Nothing new under the military sun. During my deployment we had a TOC “warrior” write up his own citation for a Bronze Star despite having never once left the FOB. His “heroism” consisted of giving somebody the Heimlich maneuver in the chow tent. Kid you not. Meanwhile, some of the soldiers whose leaders put them up for Bronze Stars got Army Achievement Medals instead. They give those out for knowing that your left foot goes into your left boot. These soldiers were stiffed because their leaders were unpopular for one reason or another and therefore not part of the circle jerk society. The in crowd wasn’t gonna acknowledge those leaders by rewarding their soldiers with medals they did earn. Still, what happened to Major Golsteyn is even more effed up.

  20. Brooklinite8

    Re : Article on Indian builder owning an expensive condo at Time Warner center.
    This is reality. Real estate in India is a get rich overnight scheme. These guys have not made an honest days of living. There is n’t enough laws protecting the middle class yet in India. In that aspect I like america, Apart from the volatility in the real estate prices, you are assured a decent house. Some Indians are as bad as these fat cat bankers. They have no ethics or moral standing in between their vault and others life.
    I personally believe real estate is in a little bubble in India. Needs to cool down. Kabul Chawla should be ashamed of himself. Ruined all his family name for mere condo near central park. It takes generations to get a good name. Look at his cousin. She went to space. This idiot is no doubt laundering money. There is no need to buy a condo in the name of LLC. You can’t fool all of them all the time.
    If there was a perfect ending for this story I would like the people to find him and bring justice in India, Not in America. Shame on you Kabul Chawla.
    Its hard to spend money on a luxury condo, no matter how rich you are especially if you are an Indian. Poorest of the poors live in India. God help us.

    Some where in Broolyn–

  21. Oregoncharles

    The “Peasants with Pitchforks” link goes to ” The next card Yanis Varoufakis will play”
    I was hoping to read about those pitchforks – or is it actually the same story?

  22. VietnamVet

    “A Blackwater World Order” is the primer that explains the 21st century chaos. The elite no longer need standing armies or a healthy population to supply troops; thus, the rise of inequality and the imposition of austerity. Wars are a profit centers. The only power that sovereign states still have is custodian of hydrogen bombs. As Ukraine implodes, their ignition becomes likely. The use of nuclear weapons is the only way either Russia or the USA can avoid defeat by the other side once WWIII starts on the banks of the Dnieper River.

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