Links 4/23/15

Water Wheel scoops 19 tons of Inner Harbor trash in one day Baltimore Sun

Stanford bioengineer discusses mining social media and smartphone data for biomedical research Stanford Medicine Blog

Blob of warm Pacific water threatens ecosystem, may intensify drought CNN

Natural Disasters: Preparing for the Big One The Diplomat

Thousands Shielded From Deportation Losing Work Permits BuzzFeed

The Greeks are not “Western” Politico Europe. I see Politico Europe is off to a rousing start.

Inside Morocco’s Campaign To Influence Hillary Clinton and Other U.S. Leaders The Intercept

White House Mending Fences With Netanyahu NY Times.

Taliban announces start of its annual spring offensive LA Times. The best part is that it’s announced. Like it’s a supermarket opening.

Vietnam 40 years on: how a communist victory gave way to capitalist corruption The Guardian

Yemen: Saudi prince promises free Bentleys to bomber pilots who killed 1,000 IBTimes

How Washington Delayed Amtrak National Journal

Senate Republicans seek to preserve NSA power to collect phone data LA Times. Good thing there’s no more “gridlock”!

Bot makes $2.4 million reading the Web: Meet the guy it cost a fortune Slate

A Financial Transaction Tax is a Pigouvian Tax Jared Bernstein

HSBC Determined to Stand By Leadership Financial Times

Trafficking Bill Passes Senate, Clears Way for Vote on Lynch Bloomberg

6 Tricks Banks Use to Drive Homeowners Into Foreclosure Newswire. Notice that this is a 2015 article, not 2008 or 2010 or 2012, when this was supposed to be all over.

Class Warfare:

Is Wal-Mart closing stores for ‘repairs,’ or to punish activist workers? Michael Hiltzik, LA Times

Big Mac Test Shows Job Market Is Not Working to Distribute Wealth NY Times

Airbrushing Austerity Paul Krugman

I am a cook in the US Senate but I still need food stamps to feed my children The Guardian

Finance and Society Conference The Institute for New Economic Thinking. Wanted to highlight this for DC folks, largely because it’s a high-level conference where 21 of the 22 speakers are women. It’s also to be webcast.

A Bibliophile’s Defense of Physical Books The New Republic

New Zealand’s Premier Apologizes for Pulling Waitress’s Hair New York Times

Katy Perry’s Left Shark trademark denied BBC

Traffic chaos on M74 as sheepdog takes control of tractor Telegraph

Antidote du jour:


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Guest Post on by .

About David Dayen

David is a contributing writer to He has been writing about politics since 2004. He spent three years writing for the FireDogLake News Desk; he’s also written for The New Republic, The American Prospect, The Guardian (UK), The Huffington Post, The Washington Monthly, Alternet, Democracy Journal and Pacific Standard, as well as multiple well-trafficked progressive blogs and websites. His has been a guest on MSNBC, CNN, Aljazeera, Russia Today, NPR, Pacifica Radio and Air America Radio. He has contributed to two anthology books, one about the Wisconsin labor uprising and another on the fight against the Stop Online Piracy Act in Congress. Prior to writing about politics he worked for two decades as a television producer and editor. You can follow him on Twitter at @ddayen.


  1. Marko

    Over a million hits on the video of the Baltimore Water Wheel :

    I could really dig running that contraption , especially if it’s an actual job , with pay and all. ( Short commute , too.)

    “Making the World a Cleaner , Better Place : One Ton of Cans , Bottles , and Condoms At A Time …..”

  2. Marko

    The Real News :

    “….since 2004, the World Bank funded projects including dams and power plants that has displaced 3.4 million people from their homes, off their lands, or threatened their livelihood around the globe. ”

    Add the millions displaced by the U.S. military as they spread Democracy and Freedom , pretty soon you’re talking about significant labor-force mobility. Our overlords at the MNCs must be pleased.

    1. fresno dan

      Traffic chaos on M74 as sheepdog takes control of tractor Telegraph

      Hmmm….I was always under the impression that sheepdogs were excellent drivers…..

        1. prostratedragon

          … while the man was occupied with herding a lamb.

          Glad we’re able to laugh at the story.

    2. Vatch

      I’m pretty sure that if a border collie makes eye contact with a person, the border collie can control the person’s mind.

  3. Disturbed Voter

    Have to say, I agree with the Politico Europe article on Greece. The IMF and ECB are acting as Destruction Capitalism tools … that may cause the demise of Nato. I for one won’t miss Nato.

    1. grayslady

      I viewed the Politico Europe piece as just another Russia-bashing exercise by the Western propaganda media. A sub-theme was a warning to Greece that friendly relations with Russia clearly placed them outside of acceptable behavior by Euro members and further solidified Eurocrat opinion that Greece never belonged to “Europe” in the first place. If Greece leaves the Euro, this will be the attempted rationale used to try and persuade Italy, Spain, and any others thinking of exiting the Euro that they should reconsider. Greece will be held up as a poster child for “not truly European”. In other words, Greece never really deserved to hang out with the Kool Kids.

      1. susan the other

        Kinda begs for “western” to be redefined. (I think it means fascists descendants of bloodthirsty Vikings, or stg. like that…) Because the rest of modern Europe isn’t too happy with the whole flavor of “western” either. They don’t like all these new trade deals that screw them to shreds. They hate austerity and inequality and endless warmongering. They are indignant over the malfeasance of the private banking industry. They are just as angry as the rest of us. Us “westerners”. Well, if Greece doesn’t get to be in the fraternity of western nations, I’m thinkin’ nobody should. But even more important, Greece is lucky. We should all be so lucky. You can say goodbye to the corporatists and the kleptocrats with good justification after you have been so consistently mistreated that you finally say ‘enough’.

      2. Pepsi

        The Politico house style of insidery gossip is jarring in this context. People must enjoy reading it, but golly it’s a great way to throw a veil over things.

    2. ewmayer

      Was just reading up on the recently-deceased Günter Grass in the wake – pardon the pun – of the Salman Rushdie <i.New Yorker eulogy appearing in Links a few days ago. NC readers might be interested in this econ-themed snip from the above Wikipiece:

      On 26 April 2012, Grass wrote a poem criticizing European policy for the treatment of Greece in the European sovereign-debt crisis. In “Europe’s Disgrace”, Grass accuses Europe of condemning Greece to poverty, a country “whose mind conceived Europe.”

  4. tongorad

    From The Mind of a Neoliberal dept:

    As opt-out numbers grow, Arne Duncan says feds may have to step in

    U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Tuesday that the federal government is obligated to intervene if states fail to address the rising number of students who are boycotting mandated annual exams.

    State (NY) education department spokesman Jonathan Burman said in an email Tuesday that the “the feds are discussing the possibility of imposing penalties for failing to hit participation rate targets.” He added that the state is also expected to “consider imposing sanctions” on districts that fail to meet the 95 percent threshold, which could include withholding money “in the most egregious cases.”

    Meanwhile, Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch has said she thinks it would be wrong to “punish” districts because of their opt-out numbers.
    “I would say to everyone who wants to punish the school districts: hold them to standards, set high expectations, hold them accountable, but punishing them?” she told the Buffalo News last week. “Really, are you kidding me?”

    Punish school districts who serve students that opt of the standardized testing scheme? Check.
    Punish bankers? Nah. Priorities, you see.

    1. JerseyJeffersonian

      Feds give you money.



      Almost as good as the Interstate Commerce Clause for getting all up in your business, eh?

  5. fresno dan

    These are the sorts of positions that a “cheap” hawk will usually end up taking. The difference between the “cheap” hawk and his more expensive counterpart is simply the means they prefer to use to interfere in foreign conflicts. The “cheap” hawk may keep U.S. troops out of many of these conflicts, but he has the same bizarre impulse to take sides in conflicts where the U.S. has nothing at stake, he still wants to subvert and overthrow governments that don’t pose much of a threat to the U.S. or our allies, and he imagines that we have alliances with countries when no such alliance exists. Because he is prepared to entangle the U.S. in all these conflicts in some way, it is fairly easy to persuade him to increase U.S. involvement later on when the earlier measures don’t “work.” As long as he thinks that a war will be quick and easy, he’ll have no qualms about supporting it. That’s one reason why Kasich was on board with invading Iraq. “Cheap” hawks don’t seem to be very good at anticipating how a policy could become much costlier in lives and money than originally expected. They also don’t seem to have a problem with helping to wreck other countries, but they’re strongly opposed to doing anything to repair the damage done by their preferred policies.

    I can remember when republicans were isolationists …

    1. JTMcPhee

      “I can remember when republicans were isolationists …”

      Me too. And in that same period, as I recall it, those b_ttheads, who now crow about their Redness, used to be all locked and loaded and fully ready to “rather be DEAD than RED.” And far as I can tell, there is nothing to choose between the syndicated kleptocracy that ran the Soviet Union, and our own New Red manifestation…

      You wonder if the Tea Partiers, the rank and file that is, the Kochs not so much, might be made aware somehow that the original Tea Party was all about the kinds of money-rules-all supra-national fiscal and monetary and raw-power effects that we’uns are going to feel under the One Trade Agreement To Rule Them All… From Old News, there’s this:

      “Tea Party Takes Aim at Obama-Republican Deal on Trade Policy,”

      1. ambrit

        Then there’s the “Original Olde Tea Party.” You might remember reading about them in History class. The group of apprentices and small tradesmen who dressed up like Indians and tossed a load of “approved” tea into Boston harbour. That was a tax and trade issue too. That far back, small ‘r’ republicans were radicals. After a small war, the new American nation turned around and sent in the troops to suppress Daniel Shays Rebellion, which was all about, you guessed it, taxes and trade.

  6. rich

    ManorCare’s Medicare Fraud Under Carlyle Ownership
    HCR ManorCare accused in Medicare suit
    Feds say firm collected millions in false claims

    Carlyle monetized ManorCare’s physical assets for $6.1 billion in March 2011. In June of 2011 Carlyle announced it would take ManorCare public but never executed the deal. Carlyle owned ManorCare for most of the period in question. The government’s press release stated:

    The government’s complaint alleges that ManorCare, which is owned by The Carlyle Group, exerted pressure on SNF administrators and rehabilitation therapists to meet unrealistic financial goals that resulted in the provision of medically unreasonable and unnecessary services to Medicare and Tricare patients. ManorCare allegedly set prospective billing goals designed to significantly increase revenues without regard to patients’ actual clinical needs and threatened to terminate SNF managers and therapists if they did not administer the additional treatments necessary to qualify for the highest Medicare payments. ManorCare also allegedly increased its Medicare payments by keeping patients in its facilities even though they were medically ready to be discharged.

    Note that healthcare quality will not be “improved” by PPACA’s multiple moneychases. Expect more cheating and fraud to optimize reimbursement, just as ManorCare continued under Carlyle Group ownership. It’s the sorry state of abysmal management and insider politics in our PEU world, where cheating equals opportunity.

    man this fraud thing really pays off, eh???

  7. Jim Haygood

    From “White House Mending Fences With Netanyahu” article linked above:

    After simmering tensions gave way to open hostility between the two leaders this year, the White House is working to publicly mend fences with Mr. Netanyahu and demonstrate its support for Israel, including by sending Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. to speak at an Israeli Independence Day celebration in Washington on Thursday.

    After all, it’s not that easy to get a rich country to accept over $3 billion a year in aid.

    One has to buff up their fragile egos, so they don’t feel like money-grubbing beggars or anything.

    1. Vince in MN

      But that $3 billion comes right back in the form of defense industry contracts, campaign contributions, think tank funding and the like. Think of Israel as a “job creator” for our elite. Tax payer money well spent.

  8. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Big Mac test shows job market not working to distribute wealth.

    Assumption: That’s the only way. Da People must…work.

    Maybe we can distribute wealth through an executive order or an act of Congress.

    Maybe da People can have all the new money for free. And da People can use it to help the government when the government is in poverty (like when it is not able to pay its cooks a living wage), by, and this is not an easy job, spending to stimulate the economy so the government can collect more taxes.

    This, is simply a descriptive fact about the government-da-People relationship: the government being the servant and the da People being the master.

    1. neo-realist

      And if we can get all or most of da people to work to the grave w/o collecting SS, all the better.

      Aren’t the people more like the servants/slaves, the government more like the field master and the aristocrats, the plantation owners?

      1. ambrit

        Partly right; the government is the Field Boss. Corporations and Aristocrats are the, well, Plantation Aristocracy.

  9. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Natural Disasters: Preparing for the Big One.

    But don’t ignore the little ones.

    You don’t lose Rome in one day (though it might have looked that way). It took decades and centuries of social justice, corruption and imperial adventures.

    Evolution, marital relationship and progress also have that slow and steady (yin, less visible) aspect.

    1. reslez

      Wow, social justice is equated with corruption and imperialism. One wonders why you would attempt to distort its meaning. I also seriously doubt it had anything to do with the fall of Rome… except perhaps in its absence.

      1. hunkerdown

        What? Social justice is arguing over the color of capitalism’s bikeshed. A just society is incompatible with all that nonsense.

    2. Procopius

      “… social justice, corruption and imperial adventures.” Errrmm. You forgot plague and loss of your agricultural breadbasket (North Africa) to invaders (The Vandals), along with associated reduction in tax revenues. The steady increase in the number and size of enemy invaders had a little to do with it, too. It’s also good to realize that there was a reason for splitting the administration of the Empire into two parts, with separate capitals at Ravenna and Constantinople: It took time to travel when nothing could move faster than a horse could walk, so sending orders and getting a reply just became too long as the Empire became too big.

  10. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Vietnam, welcome to capitalist corruption.

    Can China and Cuba be far behind, if not already there now or earlier?

    North Korea? It’s still under communist corruption.

    It’s a ‘free world’ all over – you have a choice of capitalist or communist corruption.

    Now, stop complaining.


    1. Synoia

      Vietnam has no history of Rule of Law.

      Its social structure is one of close family ties vs the rest.

      What else would be expected, but corruption?

  11. Garrett Pace

    Physical Books

    Even if I could read from a computer screen with close attention, I would still be filling my house with books. Unlike electronic reading, where the knowledge is not a part of the physical environment, a book on a shelf is a signpost for children, pointing towards some desirable destination. “Hey, someone close to you has been this way before, and the journey was worth it.”

    1. Uahsenaa

      People have been prophesying the death of print for ages–“print is dead,” after all, was a line in the first Ghostbusters film–and it simply hasn’t and likely won’t happen. What is far more likely to happen is what happened to manuscript, you know those handwritten things that supposedly print supplanted, namely it will remain in some domains but not in all. As an academic, I live this world on a daily basis: my print copy of a book from which I teach, since it contains all my marginalia from years past, hand written notes for lectures and discussions, and heaps of .pdf’s I upload to my course site for secondary readings. In the near future, the percentages of each may change, but the persistence of all three is likely to remain. Honestly, I don’t see why people get their knickers in a twist over all this.

      1. James Levy

        I get agitated because my own university library stop growing several years ago and now they want to get rid of 50,000 or so books so they can put a “learning center” on one floor of the library. I see an insidious effort being made by university administrators to “go paperless” and simply “rent” access to books online. I also worry because history shows that books can survive catastrophes but computer systems will not. We already see this with the disappearance of the letter (you can’t contest that one) which has made the thoughts and motivations of the historical actors of modern times much more difficult to discern or recreate than they were 100 years ago. Emails get wiped, while an astonishing number of letters survive. We can know more about what Eisenhower thought because we have the letters he sent his brother than we can discern from all the speechifying Kennedy ever made.

        1. Uahsenaa

          Ephemera have been with us as long as there has been writing/printing. The only reason we have so many broadsides from the 16th and 17th centuries is because one man, Samuel Pepys, had the habit of collecting them and donated his collection upon death. The ephemera problem is likely an order of magnitude larger nowadays, I’ll grant you, but it’s not a novel concern. As for letters, heaps and heaps of letters don’t survive; those that do were generally written by elites and great pains were taken to make sure they survive, not unlike manuscripts that were circulated among literary coteries, most of which survive, unlike commonplace books, most of which don’t. Any literary antiquarian and most historians deal with this fact of life on a daily basis, but the massive loss has made scholarship difficult not impossible. I think we’re talking about a matter of degrees here, not kind.

        2. Propertius

          [N]ow they want to get rid of 50,000 or so books so they can put a “learning center” on one floor of the library.

          Count yourself lucky. My local university did this to make room for a “game room” (yes, in the library).

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Similarly, credit cards have not completely replaced cash.

        Neither will Bitcoin.

        Cashless society?

        Do we all shop online 100% of the time? I lost some of my retirement money to such wild predictions. But that’s another story.

        There will always be room for Luddites.

        BTW, books are very good as decorative pieces as well, in addition to being very functional furniture (some assemble required).

    2. petal

      I like your post. My not well off in the least parents had a single large(it seemed to me at the time!) bookshelf filled with all sorts of books-college texbooks, history, you name it. When I was little, that’s what I picked books from, even just to flip through because I didn’t understand the subject yet. It was still exposure and thought-provoking. Since graduating, I have been carefully choosing books to purchase and bring home to add to my “library”. It’s a very important thing I can pass on to a child and the best thing I can have around the house. Each shelf brings an adventure.

    3. Jack

      I’m more concerned with people actually reading than what format they do it in. If ebooks cause more people to actually educate themselves, okay. But given that everyone seems to be using their mobile devices mostly for animal videos and music videos on YouTube, I doubt it’s having much impact.

    4. ambrit

      A more philosophical aspect to all this is the problem of destruction. True, the boffins are learning to read the carbonized scrolls from a private library from Pompeii, but that’s an exception to the general rule of loss of artifacts. I had a small and enjoyable collection of firsts and signed firsts in our home in Pearlington MS. Then hurricane Katrina came along and destroyed everything. I sometimes feel like a monk in a small, out of the way monastery waiting for the barbarians to come along and blithely destroy a heritage they neither know or care about. The destruction of a culture is no less a disaster.

      1. Garrett Pace

        I was on the Hopi reservation a few weeks ago. Cultural evaporation is everywhere one looks.

  12. diptherio

    For folks in NYC interested in Real Estate, Investment, and Cooperation:

    NYC Real Estate Investment Co-op Event: 4/28

    On Tuesday the 28th, we’re getting together to talk about how to pool our financial and political power. We believe that the people who live and work in New York City should be able to create the city we want together, and that permanently affordable work space is at the heart of economic justice, cooperative power, and neighborhood resilience. We’re writing to give you more information on the Real Estate Investment Cooperative teaching and learning event on Tuesday, April 28th at our new and final location: New Middle Collegiate Church on 2nd Ave and 7th Street (112 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003). We’ve moved locations yet again due to the enormous amount of interest. We can now seat 300 people, so bring your friends!

    With $1.1M in pledges by future members of a real estate investment cooperative for NYC, we know we have hit a nerve. We hope to steer this collective enthusiasm toward the endurance work of building a set of political and financial tools that we can use to save and create NYC’s vital affordable places, as well as organizing infrastructure that reflects the diversity of our City.

    We’re thinking of calling it The NYC Anti-Vanishing Fund. We hope that reveals some of our motivations, and resonates with some of yours.

  13. Paper Mac

    “The best part is that it’s announced. Like it’s a supermarket opening.”

    Or… like a group of people using violence or its threat to achieve political ends?

    1. James Levy

      Yes, but it is still odd. The Viet Cong and North Vietnamese did not “announce” that “hey, this coming Tet, we’re launching a national uprising against the South Vietnamese Government.” George Washington didn’t tell the Hessians that he was about to break the de facto Christmas truce and launch a raid across the Delaware. The norm in unconventional war is not to shout “here I come!” at the top of your lungs. My guess is they are doing it to demonstrate that the Americans and their Kabul puppets can’t do a damned thing about it. But it is still weird. In war as in literature, it is usually better to show, not tell.

  14. micky9finger

    Vietnam 40 years on.
    Sad but true: a good fast down and dirty summary of recent Vietnamese history.
    But, since when has Vietnam not been corrupt though I notice the author points this out. I guess he thinks it’ s only a matter of scale. But then there is so much more to steal.
    Also, since when have the Communists not lied? Or any bunch of politicians for that matter. Especially corrupt vietmanise communists.

  15. docg

    I’ve been thinking the “blob” could have originated with a geothermal event (underwater volcanic eruption). Wonder if that possibility has been considered.

  16. vidimi

    that guardian article on vietnam was a good read. kudos to the author for using nick turse’s kill anything that moves as a source; it really is seminal.

Comments are closed.