Links 5/21/15

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Denise Herzing: Could we speak the language of dolphins? TED (David L)

Dolphin Intelligence National Geographic (David L). If you like this sort of thing, I recommend In Defense of Dolphins: The New Moral Frontier.

New life for an old ‘ghetto cowboys’ club Philly (Paul Tioxon)

An NPR Reporter Raced A Machine To Write A News Story. Who Won? NPR. Some readers might argue that a machine would be an improvement on most NPR reporters these days.

Gender And The Harvard Math Department mathbabe

Is Harper the worst prime minister in history? National Observer. Andrew A: “If you’re not sick of Canadian news, this is a very good compendium of Mr. Harper’s awfulness. And, it’s only part one!”

Jeb Bush Says He Wants Stephen Harper To Be Re-Elected Huffington Post (frosty zoom)

Exclusive: China warns U.S. surveillance plane CNN. @fryan: “A CNN team was given exclusive access to join in the surveillance flights over the contested waters”

US will take Rohingya migrants Bangkok Post

Benoît Cœuré speech highlights central bank links to financiers Financial Times

Vince Cable on the Lib Dem collapse: the Tories won because fear triumphed over hope New Statesman (Chuck L)


Defiant Greeks force Europe to negotiating table as time-bomb ticks Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph. AEP may well be right this time, but two times in the past, I’ve relied on his reports based on his view that Greece had the upper hand in negotiations and citing what he said were signs of movement among the creditors. I featured his reading prominently in posts and within days they were proven wrong. As much as AEP has a terrific track record in general, I’m in twice bitten, now shy mode with him on Greece. He’s closer to Greek sources than Eurocrat ones, and is a long-standing Euroskeptic, and to date that combination has not worked in his favor, at least at critical junctures (I do NOT mean to suggest that he’s a negative indicator, he’s written some excellent, nuanced updates on Greece, but his bolder calls have not worked out as well).

What worries me here is that his reading is based on a false dichotomy, that the choice Europe faces is bailout v Grexit. The inertial path is to a default within the Eurozone. The risk is not a Eurozone breakup, but the considerable political fallout of loss recognition on Greek debt (despite large writedowns in economic value via extension of maturities and interest rate reduction, under peculiar accounting rules, the creditor states don’t recognize those costs as writedowns, but they would have to recognize a principal writedown). A default in the Eurozone also keeps Greece in the EU’s orbit, allaying US security concerns. I have yet to see a good discussion of this issue in the English media. Has anyone seen anything on the politics of principal loss recognition in the German or French press?

One test of whether AEP is on the right track will be the Eurogroup meetings in Riga this week. With the IMF being ornery on releasing bailout funds, the Eurogroup is even more of a linchpin than before. The need for parliamentary approvals in many countries, particularly Germany, means action needs to be taken at this meeting (as in at least big forward momentum to allow for tabling legislation and political arm-twisting in the hardline countries. It would already seem to be verging on too late for that to happen, given the existing view that nothing would be decided at this meeting).

Schäuble Doesn’t Rule Out Greek Default Wall Street Journal

Giving Greece a chance Bruegel. This sounds all well and good but does not appear to acknowledge realities on the ground, particularly the Syriza red lines. It finesses the issue of what Greek “reform” is supposed to amount to.

Die Zeit’s Q&A on Dr Wolfgang Schäuble Yanis Varoufakis

Official: HFSF is totally out of the Greek Public control! unbalanced evolution


A Rough Week – But It Will Get Rougher Sic Semper Tyrannis (Chuck L)

WASHINGTON: In reversal, U.S. official admits Iraq troops reeling from Islamic State offensive McClatchy

US press blacks out Israeli defense minister’s citation of ‘Nagasaki and Hiroshima’ as model for dealing with Iran Mondoweiss

The Taliban Council on Foreign Relations. Lambert: “this, ergo we lost the Afghan war. CFR says taliban “outlasted” us. Puh-leeze.”

Saudi Arabia risks revolution with execution of activist Sheikh al-Nimr RT (Chuck L)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Why The Media Ignores Jeremy Hammond While Praising Edward Snowden Mint (William B)

Paranoid defence controls could criminalise teaching encryption The Conversation. Chuck L: “The practical question is how high the bar is set: how powerful must encryption be in order to be classified as dual-use? The bar is currently set low. For instance, software engineers debate whether they should use 2,048 or 4,096 bits for the RSA algorithm. But the DSGL classifies anything over 512 bits as dual-use. In reality, the only cryptography not covered by the DSGL is cryptography so weak that it would be imprudent to use.”

Trade Traitors

250+ Tech Companies and Digital Rights Groups: TPP Could Criminalize Journalism and Whistleblowing George Washington. Also noted by Lambert in Water Cooler, but good to see this is getting around.

Elizabeth Warren Fires Back at Obama with New Report On Failed Trade Enforcement Alternet

Clinton really, really needs to kill her incoherent “When women are [fill in the blank], families are [same word; slightly different meaning] slogan. Really. Angry Bear. An intriguing indicator that Hillary is already overplaying her girl solidarity card.

6 Awesome Things About Bernie Sanders You Might Not Know Alternet. Yes, the headline is clickbait, but the piece is not bad.

Beau Biden, U.S. vice president’s son, hospitalized Reuters

Senate Budget Hearing Preview; Politicization of CBO Means Projections Will Favor Deregulation, Tax Cuts and Entitlement Cuts and Will Disfavor Government Spending on Infrastructure and Education Capitol Forum (MS) :-(

Ruptured pipeline spills 21,000 gallons of oil on California coast Reuters (EM)

Police State Watch

Gyrocopter Pilot Douglas Hughes who landed on US Capitol lawn faces prison Daily Mail

Obama Signed Bill to Help Protect Police From Threats, However, Police Are Not Under Attack in America Kevin Gosztola, Firedoglake

OPEC Struggling To Keep Up The Pace In Oil Price War OilPrice


What the Fed Minutes Tell Us Mohamed El-Erian Bloomberg. Wake me when the Fed gets serious.

Fed minutes dovish MacroBusiness

Republicans Ask Fed’s Yellen to Testify Four Times More a Year WSJ Economics

Hermes to vote against Deutsche Bank management board Financial Times

Benjamin Lawsky leaves DFS to set up his own firm Financial Times. As reader Adrien said, “Disaster”.

Ethics in finance: stuck at mediocre MarketPlace

Thursday’s Daily Mail front page: And STILL crooked bankers laugh at the law @suttonnick

A World of Underinvestment Michael Spence, Project Syndicate. We first wrote about this issue in 2005 and again in a New York Times op-ed in 2010.

Class Warfare

Inequality, Immigration, and Hypocrisy Kenneth Rogoff, Project Syndicate

How to Live a Middle-Class Life in New York City on Less Than $5,000 a Year Alternet. From the second-story window of my gym, on Sundays, I’ve twice seen a well-groomed elderly woman on Sundays systematically going through the garbage bags at Dean & Deluca, an upmarket food store. One I saw a store staffer carry out a half-dozen full containers and hand them to her, and she carefully put them in her cart, and continued her search. This was on 85th Street just off Madison.

Antidote du jour. Stephen L: “Chickadee reading about itself.”

chickadee_reading_about_itself links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. abynormal

      It’s hard to believe in coincidence, but it’s even harder to believe in anything else.

      1. Disturbed Voter

        The primary law of the universe is synchronicity … otherwise this universal clockwork would lose time, or even spring a gear ;-) There are no coincidences, just surprised people.

        1. optimader

          Remote events that are possible eventually will happen given sufficient time, it just happened to be that time.

            1. susan the other

              what a sweet antidote – for sure the chickadee saw its own picture and came to make friends… wonder what it thought about the situation…

              1. optimader

                When I was a kid, my Dad and sister collected a freshly hatched male Robin chick that blew out of a nest during a spring storm.
                It must have been freshly hatched because it imprinted on them and survived on a rather unconventional (for a Robin) diet and grew up to be a very healthy, big, fat bird.
                My sister taught it the wolf whistle which was pretty funny coming from a Robin. It would fly out of a nest they made and put on a low tree limb at meal time (that was whenever we stepped outside, good eater) and would perch on our hand or shoulder, chow down and do the wolf whistle.–I preferred hand because as I recall he would take a giant dump when eating.

                As summer burned he would start flying away and returning less frequently, then in fall he hooked up w/ a Robin posse and migrated.

                End of story but not because for 2 or 3 years he would return with his posse and visit . We knew it was him because he was big and vocalized w/ his hilarious wolf whistle.

                IN any case, we do have a great picture album, should have thought to pull out an Audubon book and flip to the Robin page for inexplicable pictures :o/ I should post some pics to a flkr album. He was a funny little raptor.
                Had he been a she, it would be fun to think we could have polluted the local robin vocalization pattern. I assume it is the female that imprints vocalization? Don’t know for sure actually..

            2. theinhibitor

              Come on, seriously?

              He saw some chickadee’s, opened the page about them, and one flew down onto it.

              Its like if I saw a snake, opened a book up to that specific page, and then laid down my book and wrote about how rare it was for that snake to crawl across it. Yeah, not that rare.

              1. Disturbed Voter

                I don’t know how the bird got there, but I do know …
                “There are stranger things in Heaven and on Earth, than are dreamt of in your philosophy …”

  1. Ned Ludd

    The link is broken for “Official: HFSF is totally out of the Greek Public control!” Correct link.

    1. ambrit

      I noticed that too. In fact, the site the original link steered me to tried to put an app on my computer.
      The correct link starts with http while the questionable link starts with ahttp.

      1. charlie

        When I lived in San Diego I used to feed raw peanuts to a pair of scrub jays in my yard. One would take them from my hand. We would put some peanuts on a table inside the house from the patio and he would fly in and land on the table and pick up a peanut, put it down, pick up another one, put it down and so on till he made up his mind on one. If I had thought of it I could have placed a peanut on a open book with his picture and achieved this “coincidence”. Me thinking to do that (and snapping a picture) would have been the incredible part.

  2. cwaltz

    The male half of the species might want to get off their educational high horse considering women are now graduating college at a much higher rate than their male counterparts. It’s mathematics that is going to suffer if the men insist on keeping with the idea that math remain their own personal boys club and as a result continue alienating smart and capable women.

    1. craazyman

      The top ten reasons women don’t like math

      Reason #10
      Bad breath and dandruff just isn’t a woman’s thing.

      Reason #9
      If you’re smarter than your husband, it’s best not to flaunt it.

      Reason #8
      Once you’ve learned to count all way to 1 million it gets old quick

      Reason #7
      You don’t need math when you’re hot

      Reason #6
      when you major in art history, at least you have something reasonable to talk about at parties

      Reason #5
      When you tell people you can solve second order cone optimization problems they look at you like you’re mentally ill.

      Reason #4
      It’s hard to concentrate on math books when you’re worn out from a long day at the nail salon and clothes shopping.

      Reason #3
      The credit card company keeps track of what you owe them, why do it yourself?

      Reason #2
      It interferes with a woman’s logic.

      and Reason #1 why women don’t like math . . . drumroll please . . .

      There aren’t enough irrational numbers for them to feel comfortable. bowahahahahahahahah

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Reason #3.14159…

        Beyond math, there is femath.

        Men aren’t good at that.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            That’s the next advance…describing the world mathematically.

            Wait. Didn’t Galileo do that?

            Well, no. He didn’t try to describe ego mathematically.

            Yes, we talk about big ego, but how many? Did he try to quantify it?

              1. Alejandro

                “ego” is the soul yoked by “intellect”, the bigger the ego the stronger the yoke…I don’t think we have souls, I believe we are souls…

        1. craazyman

          It was probably the teacher (even though they probably did their best). But she’s just being honest! Why is honesty so bad??

          Barbie could have mastered partial differential equations by 11th grade if the instruction had been better — even with her party-filled lifestyle.

          That’s the thing with math, the hardest part’s climbing through all the horridly confused explanations that cloud to a febrile opacity the inner majestic simplicity of all things, the masterful well-joined schemes that can reveal themselves with an astonishing lucidity and float down and hover on the edge of an open and curious mind like spheres of radiant illumination — but only if the explanation is clear. It so rarely is. When it’s not, “math class is tough!” So true. So true.

          Barbie, I’m not going to call you a Bimbo or judge you. I think you’re right! It’s the world. The world itself is a black cloud of confusion, it isn’t you!

          1. cwaltz

            I don’t know. I really struggled with math when I was younger. I suspect it was less because I was female and more because the portion of my brain dealing with logic and reasoning developed later rather than sooner. As I got older I developed an appreciation for math and actually did a little better than some of my male counterparts at that portion of my training.

            In my household it’s the male half of the species who seems to think the name of the game is to use the money card until the money runs out(in his defense he is a great provider even if he can’t balance a checkbook to save his life.) I’m the one who manages the bills and pinches the pennies.

      2. Jackrabbit

        The top 5 reasons why anti-intellectualism thrives in America:
        5. “in” group social psychology / disdain for difference (as evidenced by misogyny, racism, etc.)
        4. religious attitudes
        3. broken politics
        2. financialization
        1. Race to the bottom (all of the above)

        1. ambrit

          I wonder… is anti-intellectualism a cause, or a result, of Ivory Tower Syndrome?

          1. Jackrabbit

            I wonder… is blame-the-victim a cause, or a result, of anti-intellectualism?


            1. Carolinian

              Perhaps you have anti-intellectualism confused with anti-credentialism. Plenty of blame for the Harvard boyz and their ilk…perhaps all of it. It’s just possible the booboisie could have the right targets.

              1. Jackrabbit

                Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps…

                Well how the h*ll would anti-credentialism fit with this threat which started out with mocking women math abilities/interest?

                See my comments further down.

                1. Carolinian

                  What does “anti-intellectualism” have to do with “mocking women math abilities/interest”? Might want to consult a dictionary. That’s called sexism. I’m just responding to your comment as written, not to the others.

        2. Jackrabbit

          Maybe I was too subtle.

          Poking fun at women’s math skills is rather puerile. Especially in light of the weighty matters that NC tackles every day.

          Additionally, gender roles are still fairly well enforced as one might well expect from a society that has fallen back in many ways over the last 20-30 years.

          And we could just as easily make fun of men that pursue non-manly interests like arts or nursing. Oh, we already do – its called gay bashing.

          1. Jackrabbit

            or, rather, men that won’t pursue non-manly interests that are cultural (arts), empathetic (nursing), and nurturing (gardening).

          2. hunkerdown

            A cosmopolitan cultural norm of a totalizing character is falling back, I agree. The liberal (i.e. market) value of diversity serves only to gratuitously paint the bikeshed in rainbow colors while the house is caved into its basement. Let people sort themselves without starvation capitalism hanging over their heads, and I suspect they’ll do a pretty good job of it.

            To hell with liberalism, its market idolatry, its intrinsic sociopathy, and its collection of permanent dramas. Socialism ftw — either everyone wins or nobody wins, and I’m quite happy to do my part to see smarmy white men like Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton lose and lose hard.

          3. cwaltz

            Meh. Personally, I’m just pointing out the obvious, women are graduating at three times the rate of their male counterparts. Math IS going to suffer if the boys club doesn’t get it and start thinking past gender and looking at potential and ability(and just because some women aren’t great at math does not mean they ALL aren’t.)

            Personally, I really dislike gender stereo typing. I think men can and should be caring and nurturing. I think women should be encouraged to pursue mechanical and mathematics (the only way to know if you’re good at something is if you pursue it for awhile.) The world would be a much nicer place if we didn’t treat everything as binary(and I’d argue that it isn’t binary as evidenced by the fact that 1% of the population having genetic makeup that is not an either/or for male/female.)

            1. ambrit

              The subject of Patriarchal mindsets reminds me of the Harvard ‘Project Implicit,’ that set of psychological tests our esteemed hostess has steered some of us to in the past. Eye opening stuff that.
              As for the 1% you mention; you are talking about the Lizard People, right?

      3. Cynthia

        Who cares which sex is better at math — or, for that matter, any of the hard sciences? None of this will matter at all when the self-licking walls of higher education completely destroy their ability to find major breakthroughs in math, as well as in any of the hard sciences. Anyone, male or female, who’s gifted at math or the hard sciences and wants to make meaningful advances in either field of study oughta stay well clear of the education-industrial complex. Bureaucracy is deadly to innovation, and not just any kind of innovation. It’s deadly to innovation that’s not faddish and has true staying power. This self-licking destruction first got its start in the defense industry. Now it has worked its way into the higher-ed industry. The health-care industry has become a casualty of this as well.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Will Harvard have a Dolphin language(s) department?

      By the way, does anyone know of a good Martian food place? I was told that’s a good place to learn to speak Martian, to pick up some Martian culture.

      1. ambrit

        ‘Groks’ is a good place. It’s just down the avenue from the ‘Steel Beach Lunar Grill.’ You might not like ‘Harsh Mistress Lunar Cuisine.’ You have to wear a ‘heater’ to get in there. ‘Podkaynes’ is another good Martian eatery. Some friends who have recently visited there tell me that parts of NYC are getting a Martian feel about them. It’s all about the melting pot, ain’t it?

  3. Ulysses

    From Kevin G.’s post, linked above:

    “There is no systemic problem with holding individuals who truly intend to harm police accountable for their crimes. There is a systemic problem in the American justice system with holding police accountable for their crimes.”

    This is the way a police state operates. Armed sociopaths with a license to kill terrorize and murder large numbers of people with impunity, occasionally provoking some real resistance to their outrages . If the militarized police succeed in escalating a peaceful protest against their murderous ways into something more violent, they point to non-existent “threats” against their safety to justify even more brutal repression of free speech.

    Stepping out of the veal-pen is a scary proposition, but we have to do it, every day, if we ever hope to restore our 1st amendment rights in this country!

    1. abynormal

      ‘Don’t Run From Atlanta Police’ billboard campaign suspended
      Reid said if residents are worried an officer is going to mistreat them, they should hold on to the review board’s phone number, (404) 865-8622, and report the officer later.

      Reid said running doesn’t solve anything.

      “Some of the most recent events, especially when you think about the South Carolina incident, where the gentleman was killed running from police, made us really sit back and think, What should happen during an interaction with a police officer?” said Reid.

      Considering the evidence in the South Carolina case, we asked Reid if he thought there was any strategy that could have prevented what happened there.

      He answered, “The ‘don’t run’ advice would still have applied there too. The point that needs to be stressed is that this is not a guarantee that an officer who is intent on harming you will not harm you. Know your rights; training will not stop that from happening. Intentional acts can’t be prevented. All we can do is try to reduce the actions that can happen based on something that a citizen is doing.”

      “It sends out a very clear message: “Mess with us and we’ll do something worse than kill you. We’ll kill your children.”
      The Hunger Games

    2. subgenius

      Came across this from badtux a little while back…analysis of the “dangers” of police work in the US…

      Reality exposed:

      In other words, it’s about as dangerous to be a police officer as it is to live in the safest big city in the United States. The notion of police work as being an extraordinarily dangerous job is bullshit, pure and simple. Granted, a lot of that is because of improvements in equipment and training that have led to officers rattling and clanking like knights out of an old storybook when they walk, but still, the typical police officer has less chance of being murdered on the job than the typical resident of a typical American city has of being murdered, period.

  4. jefemt

    I want to see him call in a ptarmigan! Put some salt on THAT tail, and you could have dinner

    1. down2long

      I grew up in the Alaska bush with Eskimos. Being a very generous and kind people, they would sometimes bring over ptarmigan they had killed. Trust me, that tiny bony bird whose flesh is the color of underwater cement and the consistency not far off from that substance, is hardly dinner, at least in my experience.

      Setting aside the quetionable ethics of eating Alaska’s state bird, those poor little birds really seem to have no function as a food source. It’s one of those situations when they are definitely better alive than dead.

  5. ChrisFromGeorgia

    Today is shaping up to be a pivotal day on the trade front. Since Rand Paul ate up all the time yesterday, Mitch McConnell is going to have to try and ram through the TPA bill without any debate time for amendments.

    We’ll see if the Democrats swallow this treason, which would mean dumping the effort by Maria Cantwell to attach the Ex-Im bank charter renewal, Warren’s ISDS stripping amendment and others. I can’t see it but spines are a rare anatomical feature inside the beltway.

    1. subgenius

      So the libertarian filibuster ended a couple minutes early…so WHAT was the point?

      …yet ANOTHER bit of pointless posturing to build a base through a nice performance of Orwellian doublespeak, imho

      1. jrs

        I bet he studies Obama’s career very carefully …

        Patriot Act bad and all that, yes, but the spying provisions are not the ones that are ever going to be stopped (possibly other provisions of the Patriot Act might be). Even if you passed a bill that said the NSA could not spy on phone calls either directly or through corporate intermediaries they would continue to do it anyway. That’s what it means to have these secretive intelligence agencies. That’s what their very existence means at this point.

        So to spend energy on a fight that is utterly futile instead of where the fight still is (the TPP even if the odds are long) is really corrupt. Rand voted agains the TPP, but why doesn’t he filibuster it? Not for left reasons like labor or the environment, I’m not asking that, but for Constitutional and secrecy and sovereignty reasons. Really basic stuff.

      2. hunkerdown

        Rand Paul (I keep getting Ryan mixed up with him for some reason) is the far right’s Wendy Davis, I guess.

  6. Swedish Lex

    On Greece and French media coverage, further to your comments on AEP.

    I have not seen anything worth mentioning which does not mean that it does not exists. In general, however, French media is totally behind the curve and not glued it at all (with the exception of Jean Quatremer at Libération). I get all my info, pretty much, through the anglo saxon media, which for this purpose includes NC :), and through a Twitter feed that includes some German journalists and observers.

    Francois Hollande continues to be pretty clueless about the EU and the euro, letting Merkel pull strings and (not) manage the situation. At least Hollande does less damage than Sarkozy did, who together with Merkel gave us the Stability Pact doomsday machine and began to pave the way to euro hell with their policies of austerity (albeit not for France, for some reason).

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Is it too late for Greece to make herself ‘too big a time bomb to fail?’

      “This too big time bomb shall not fail” – what does that mean anyway? Doesn’t a not-failing time bomb go off?

    2. Chris in Paris

      There have been a number of articles in Le Monde Diplomatique over the past few months but nothing on point to Yves questions…like you said, the French media have other (parochial) preoccupations.

    3. susan the other

      Just my previous observation from watching a segment of the France24 Debate hour wherein a Greek citizen and a German citizen were squared off and the Greek said we cant pay, etc. but we want to redo our obligation, etc. and the German said the Greeks were hosers and that the German taxpayers were poorer than the Greek taxpayers. That has to be the biggest problem for Merkel.

  7. diptherio

    The Alternet piece on living in NYC for $5,000/year paints a pretty ridiculously rosy picture. If you know people who own property and have an extra room they’ll let you use, you can do this! Oh…it also helps if you own some property yourself, ideally with paying tenants:

    The price of the ticket may be more than she has spent in the past several months combined: a few hundred dollars. She receives rent from a house she owns in France, but that’s money she never uses. She lives on cash from baby- and dog-sitting. The $1,000 she recently was paid for painting a house “can go a long way”. Her clothes are finds and she travels by bike, even from Crown Heights to Manhattan.

    Sometimes she books cheap opera tickets

    Oh well, I’m sure this would work out just as well if she didn’t have that continual flow of rent coming in…riiiight….I totes believe that one. And who did she learn her dumpster-diving ways from?

    Kalish quit her high school teaching job in 2013 and lives off the income she has saved for a decade. Owning her Richmond Hills flat and a house in Westchester, she receives rent and will get her pension in three years…

    Oh yeah, I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that both women profiled in the story about living a “middle-class life” from dumpster-diving just also happen to own rental properties. mmmhmmm….

    1. jrs

      I’ll believe Marie doesn’t live on her rental income (but regardless sleeps well at night in the way a person with no wealth and almost no income never does). But apparently the life is so idyllic living on 5k in New York that she’s going back to France! Or maybe it’s being middle aged and realizing you have little in the way of health coverage in America and never will (as an illegal nothing probably although assets to seize, but she would only have Medicaid as a full citizen unless she started using that rental income). And Greg isn’t sleeping with her? Ok I can accept he’s not, but I and everyone else wonders. Though he clearly has no real attachment as he’s fine with her going back to France.

      Kalish took early retirement. She’s a landlord waiting out early retirement on rental income and savings and then has a pension to look forward to. She probably wouldn’t be able to do so if she wasn’t a landlord. But also would she be able to take that early retirement if she had no pension? Or would she be panicked about putting more in the 401k, accumulating more Social Security. A pension!!!! Noone has pensions anymore! Next thing they’ll be telling us she had tyrannosaurus burgers for lunch.

      1. diptherio

        Whether Marie spends her rental income or not, the fact that she has it no doubt helps her out, if nothing else by giving her credibility with middle-class people that most of us po’ folks don’t get. White (property-owner) privilege is definitely making her bohemian lifestyle more comfortable, and more doable in general which, to her credit, she recognizes in the article (at least the White part).

        Good point that neither of these women has managed to dumpster-dive any healthcare, or even just some crappy health insurance…although seeing as how the standard deductible on a Bronze plan is north of $6,000 they wouldn’t be able to afford to use it on their $5,000/yr budget. Maybe they’ll get lucky and somebody will throw out a perfectly good Gold plan….

        1. sleepy

          I don’t blame the women for the headline writer’s misleading description.

          The women never denied that they had other assets, nor claimed that their lifestyle was something freely or easily available to everyone. What struck me was their willingness to reuse and recycle food and clothing, and the amounts and kinds of things that some people consider waste.

          1. diptherio

            For sure. I do applaud anyone who makes a concerted effort to diminish their ecological footprint. What rubs me the wrong way about articles like this, though, is that they seem to imply “if they can do it, anyone can.” From whence it is a short step to “stop complaining about being poor–these women live middle-class lives on only $5,000/yr, why can’t you?”

            It’s the same thing with all the laudatory stories about tiny houses. Yes, it’s great that people are learning to reduce their consumption and space needs, but focusing on that aspect is covering for the fact that people are choosing these situations out of necessity.

            1. jrs

              The tiny house thing presumes rural living I think. Anywhere else you’d run into zoning restrictions on single family dwellings.

            2. Brooklin Bridge

              “…these women live middle-class lives on only $5,000/yr, why can’t you?”

              That is indeed the direction it always takes when you read about such people. They are generally not the problem, as you point out, instead it’s the implicit message left hanging by the author/interviewer that poverty can be dealt with by rolling up your sleeves.

                1. ambrit

                  I don’t know what type of dumpsters you are familiar with, but on commercial construction jobs, the big tractor trailer sized models are the norm. With those, one practices “Full Immersion Dumpster Diving.” I’ve had to climb inside that type of dumpster many times over the years to find and save needed materials accidentally or carelessly thrown away. Strong and long pants and thick full sleeved shirts are de rigueur. Steel toed and steel plate reinforced soled shoes are also a part of the well dressed Refuse Explorers’ kit. I’ve had to get more than one tetanus booster shot after nail in foot experiences attendant to Dumpster Diving. (In the true ‘Right to Work [For Less]’ state ethos, I’ve been reimbursed under the table for not reporting such as on the job injuries. The case can be made that Dumpster Diving is an expression of a strong self destruction impulse.)
                  As far as reaching in a dumpster, well, one does what one has to.
                  To all those ‘by the bootstrap’ boosters out there; poverty (or adversity) does not breed ‘character.’ It merely amplifies and hones what is already there.

                  1. jrs

                    Construction is probably a bit different than food diving though food dumpster diving still often involves getting in the dumpster and I suppose some low risks. The thing is it’s increasingly locked down anyway. So it’s getting harder to dumpster even if you wanted or needed to. As for whether “middle class” dumpster divers compete with the truly destitute. They do, but there’s enough waste for all, but yes it could get territorial. At least if we all need to be “middle class” and live on 5k a year.

    2. susan the other

      This is less than 15$ a day. Excluding rent and medical, etc. Reminds me of Europe on Five Dollars a Day. Like everyone without money is some kinda accidental tourist, wandering around in this wasteful world.

    1. diptherio

      They are apparently making a distinction between how much was leaked and how much made it into the ocean, with the 21,000 gallons representing the latter number (although note, these numbers from a company spokesperson are pretty much guaranteed to be understated–estimating is inexact, by definition, and the only people in a position to call BS won’t because they either work for the company or they are scared of getting in trouble with their bosses in the Dept. if they speak up without permission…I’ve seen this exact same thing play out here in MT, where I had inside info. Never believe the company.). The CNN story only mentions the 105,000 gallons in the headline, not the story, where only the 21,000 gallons getting into the ocean are mentioned. So what happened to the other 84,000 gallons? No need to worry about it, I’m sure.

      1. rjs

        i have since seen numbers of barrels / gallons all over the lot, even 105,000 barrels…i am guessing when the story first broke, it was incorrectly reported as 21,000 barrels, which the first reports went with…

        the 24 inch pipeline had a daily throughput of about 150,000 barrels, and it leaked for 3 hours, so we’re talking ~19,000 barrels max

    2. diptherio

      And adding this from the LA Times story:

      The company said its estimate of 105,000 gallons spilled west of Santa Barbara is a worst-case scenario that was based on the line’s elevation and flow rate — which averages about 50,400 gallons an hour.

      My question is why the leak went on for over two hours before anyone did anything about it. When the Silvertip line ruptured under the Yellowstone River near Billings, MT, the leak went on for an hour. Questions were raised about how that could happen, as emergency sensors went off in the pump-station immediately. The answer is that Exxon had failed to provide a safety manual in that pump-station so the guy working there had to call around to find out what all those flashing red lights meant, and it took an hour to figure it out.

      I would guess that something similar happened here. I’m not sure, but I have a hard time believing that this pipe doesn’t have the standard monitoring mechanism in place: . I’d bet $5 that if you dug into this, you’d find that the oil leak went on far longer than necessary.

      1. diptherio

        The answer is that Exxon had failed to provide a safety manual in that pump-station

        And to add a little more insider info: they had already been cited for this on at least one occasion. Two, iirc. But the CEO lied to our representatives and the press and said the spill went on for an hour due to the physics of stopping the flow in the pipe, which is a load of bull…that he never got called on (see my comment above for why not).

  8. bob

    “An NPR Reporter Raced A Machine To Write A News Story. Who Won? NPR”

    That’s an invitation to come up with NPR names for computers.

    Mac MacNeilson
    H.P. Goodshine
    Ira Playstation
    Xbox Xtraordinaire
    Big Bleue
    Blade Runnier

    It’s early, just trying to get the ball rolling.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If robots and machines don’t replace us, clones will.

      They will clones long dead slaves (owned by no one?) and put them to work for free.

      1. Eureka Springs

        Neoclones. Clonocrats vs. Clonicans. Clonizens United. If we were all clones would a BIG be so disagreeable?

        1. ambrit

          BIG. That would be a Basic Individuation Guarantee, would it not?
          Nah. I’m betting on true clones being given set ‘lifetimes,’ like the androids in Phil Dicks’ “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”

  9. Garrett Pace

    NPR’s man vs machine.

    Not exactly John-Henry-races-a-steam-shovel. I’d be okay traveling through a tunnel cut out by human hands, but I don’t want to read a story that was written in seven minutes.

    There was someone recently saying that you can prepare a public speech in fifteen minutes – just start fifteen minutes before the speech and time requirements will dictate that’s all you spend on it.

    By the same rule, you can take a math test after studying for only fifteen minutes.

  10. Carolinian

    New airbag recall has clusterf&*k potential.

    Millions of people are still waiting for help from the host of recalls that preceded Tuesday’s announcement. Clayton Kratz, of Alexandria, Va., received his first recall notice for the airbag defect about three months ago. He took his car, a dark green 2003 Honda Accord, to his dealership and scheduled an appointment, but he was told there were no parts.

    The dealer said it would call him back when the parts came in. He said he had still not heard back.

    Then, on Tuesday, he heard the announcement of the expanded recall. Sitting in his car and staring toward his airbag, he thought, “I’m sitting in front of a possibly live grenade.”

    My brother is now jealous of my car, which is so old it doesn’t even have airbags. And don’t even think about trying to disconnect them. Only the dealer can do that.

  11. Jef

    “A World of Underinvestment”

    I would change that to A World of Malinvestment.

    To argue that what the world “invested” in after WW2 was great and we need to get back to it is to ignore all of the converging constraints facing mankind.

  12. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Inequality, Immigration, and Hypocrisy Kenneth Rogoff, Project Syndicate

    I don’t think there’s anything more stomach-turning than a harvard economics (and PUBLIC POLICY) “professor” and former head of the imf accusing middle class proles of “moral hypocrisy” where their rapidly declining standard of living is concerned.

    And then there’s this:

    ” Workers from poor countries welcome the opportunity to work in advanced countries, even at what seem like rock-bottom wages.”

    Patronizing little putz.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      One day, when we make contact, there are only two realistic options;

      1. Aliens too strong for us: We come in the name of peace. Why can’t we all get along?

      2. We are too strong: Welcome!!! We Earthlings offer plenty of upward mobility for our E.T. friends. Welcome again!!! Unless you are a cockroach. In that case, you can re-settle on Mars. Trust me, if anything can survive there, cockroaches can.

      1. ambrit

        If we make contact, by definition, unless we physically go there, the two sides will be, at the least, approximately equal. We will need technologies of similar complexities. What we should beware of is meeting obviously superior aliens. It is a commonplace in the study of “primitive” cultures here on Earth that the “weaker” culture quickly collapses as it tries to make accommodation with the “stronger” culture. I would not be surprised if that is why the “real” aliens don’t land on the White House lawn.
        This begs the question, is there a “standard” psychology for all sapient beings. I’m guessing No.

    2. mark

      Perhaps if advanced countries insisted on some actual enforceable rights for citizens of poor countries? And used trade treaty mechanisms to enforce them,, as they do when some international corporation stands to lose something;

      Perhaps lives would improve in those places. Perhaps then emigration in search of rock bottom wages would stop.

      1. cwaltz

        We can’t even enforce laws for business in our country and you figure we’ll be able to do so overseas in other countries?

        I’m guessing you’re an optimist.

        1. abynormal

          “We’ll never survive!”
          “Nonsense. You’re only saying that because no one ever has.”

          The Princess Bride

    3. cwaltz

      And yet some of those workers from developing countries once they get here and start working are some of the strongest advocates of collective bargaining and unionizing. See: Mexico

      I’m sure the patronizing putz figures there is a never ending supply of brown people to exploit and will be completely shocked when the rabble aren’t nearly as grateful as he imagined.

    4. jrs

      Yes very sick of this argument. These people who argue that “true progressives” are misguided in their focus on inequality within a country, but don’t even consider the injustice of a tiny handful of people (global 1s or the 1s of the 1s) owning most of the wealth in the world. Oh how about we seize everything in the Caymans and globally redistribute it? I’m sure this author would favor such an idea. Surely, right?

      So trade is just wonderful for raising living standards of the rest of the world (debatable but ok). But climate change will soon drive everyone out of the equatorial regions (sadly believable). But does one ever question if all that free trade is good or bad for oh I don’t know … dah dah dum … CLIMATE CHANGE and the environment? In one paragraph “capitalism has succeeded spectacularly” (at dealing with global inequality), but if your economic system is making much of the globe inhabitable due to climate change, maybe success is not the term for that ….

      “Capitalism has perhaps eroded rents that workers in advanced countries enjoy by virtue of where they were born. But it has done even more to help the world’s true middle-income workers in Asia and emerging markets.”

      Meanwhile the rents of the capitalists? Or is “rent” only some unionized blue collar worker several decades ago or an American engineer in a white collar job or something? But not IP? An actual rental extraction scheme like IP is not rent, but having a union probably is in this thinking.

      1. Demeter

        There’s no sense in seizing a bunch of worthless paper assets.

        Seize the land, the food, the machinery, redistribute it so everyone has food, clothing, shelter, and occupation doing something productive, ie.: not pushing paper. Replanting forests, if nothing else.

        Paper should be reserved for either the bathroom or the literature.

  13. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Nagasaki and Hiroshima…

    If it’s not blacked out, it will be mis-translated. One doesn’t need a map to make a guess.

  14. James Levy

    The McClatchy and Sic Temper Tyrranis articles are devastating.

    I’m reminded of the problem expressed in World War Z that conventional tactics are designed to stop an enemy who cannot function much past 20% casualties. Most attacks can be repulsed well before you lose 20% of the attacking trigger-pullers. But with suicide attacks, you have to get 100% in order to be completely effective. On top of that, suicide attacks can be demoralizing to the defender. Men in the front line would have a tough time buying the American “cowardly suicide bomber” line–when you see it in person, it’s hard to not be impressed by the guts and determination of Kamikazis.

    My question, however, is why the Americans aren’t feeding the Iraqis more and better intelligence? The Iraqi counterattack seems to have run into a huge (predictable) ambush. The Americans should have pointed out in great detail where the ISIS forces where and cleared the way with air strikes. But again American involvement is so muddled, murky, and ineffective I can’t tell if the US military personnel are inept or if it is deliberate policy to let ISIS kick the shit out of the Iraqi armed forces and police. I have only guesses, surmises, and questions at this point.

    1. ambrit

      Well, I’d guess it comes down to who’s agendas are being pushed.
      ISIS is fundamentalist Sunni Islam. The Baghdad Regime is Shia, allied with Iran. Iran’s biggest adversary seems to be The Kingdom, who are reputed to be bankrolling ISIS. If The Kingdom isn’t backing ISIS, this could be a case of “the enemy of my enemy.” Either way, American, and AIPAC interests are anti-Iran at present. So, letting ISIS run wild in northwestern Iraq would be a back handed blow against Iran. Parenthetically, none of these actors has shown any interest in the well being of the people living there. I would guess that a non-fundamentalist form of ISIS would go a long way in that neck of the woods. Really, this looks like a big opportunity for Assad, if he can transform himself into a modern Nasser.

    2. Jackrabbit

      There’s been a growing recognition that ISIS furthers aims of US/Israel/Saudi Arabia. While these governments talk up the ISIS threat, they have been notably ineffective in countering it. And a few well publicized attacks or plans for attacks (‘Charlie’ terrorist attack in France, an attack on a border post in Saudi Arabia, a few beheading of Westerners, FBI entrapments of would-be terrorists, etc.) mask the fact that 99.9% of what ISIS does is against Iranian/Shia allies and interests.

      More at MoA (don’t miss the comments):

      U.S. Intelligence Predicted: U.S. Support For Rebels in Syria Would Lead To Fall of Ramadi

      Obama Administration Dilly-dallying On Islamic State Action

      H O P

    3. subgenius

      ‘Islamic State’ is now bigger than Assad’s Syria after they seize Palmyra…damn, they got a roll on…

    4. susan the other

      We probably can’t ever rely on the Iraqis to pave the way to the Caspian, but ISIS? Now there’s a partner.

      1. susan the other

        Also – the fog of sleep. I heard in the wee hours some stuff on the BBC about how ISIS has a comprehensive plan to create a big fat caliphate comprised of 10 Middle East states. So they will bring us right up to the very edge of our goal and if we goof and breach the border by 300 miles – well, that’s just war.

  15. Disturbed Voter

    The whole “ban good encryption” effort is a false flag. Those in the know, know that all real exploits happen at the boundaries of the encryption component … just before the data is encrypted, or just after it is decrypted. Except for misuse … Enigma ciphers are still as strong as ever. Anyone with an Excel spreadsheet can do hard encryption on a text without too much skill. The smart spook captures the text as it is originally entered, just before the encryption action is taken, or immediately after the document is decrypted. The NSA makes all its exploits from the compromised PC hardware/firmware or compromised application providers.

    1. subgenius

      +1 for book ciphers

      Do it on paper, enter the digit trigrams

      …except google scann[ing||ed] all teh books…so searchable db….here’s hoping they foolishly went by title, rather than every slight variation on edition…

      Math in crypto is ALWAYS suspect…just coz ut hasnt been broken don’t mean it CAN’T be broken, particularly if they get working qbits

      1. subgenius

        Plus, of course cryptograde math needs a probably compromised bit of hardware to execute in any kind of useful timeframe…

        1. hunkerdown

          The Linux kernel maintainers had to fight off not one but two clearly misguided, probably straw attempts to make the CPU’s random number generator the sole source of entropy. To me, that suggests x86 CPUs’ RNGs are compromised and you’re better off keeping a few d20 near your computer.

          Unless they’re buffering plaintext somewhere on-chip, I suspect the AES accelerator is probably okay insofar as the AES algorithm is (but there are suggestions AES is compromised as well).

      2. Disturbed Voter

        Here is state of the art, earlier this year:

        Australia will probably want to ban literacy and arithmetic ;-)

        Here is an “old” hardware hack breaking quantum networking (aka … supposedly you can’t wire-tap it without creating unavoidable decoherence which is a red flag to the users):

        Supposedly this hardware weakness impacted Swiss banks. You or I probably won’t try to do a hardware hack … but there are plenty of national security services and organized crime groups … who won’t be so reticent.

  16. Brindle

    Senate votes to end filibuster on TPP.
    Nothing unexpected here. Senate is likely a lost cause.

    …”voters believe”, rather than the the actual facts and reality of jjob and wage losses

    “Many voters believe a series of free trade agreements stretching back to the North American Free Trade Agreement of 1993 have sent jobs overseas and depressed wages as American workers compete with international competitors.”

  17. JEHR

    Re: Is Harper the Worst Prime Minister In History? YES!

    When he is finished with his makeover of Canada, it will take a hundred years, or maybe never, to make things right.

    I love the National Observer: they are a wily and fearless bunch and do not fear the wrath of Harper. I hope NC will continue to link with their articles.

    1. Ian

      Total agreement. As a Canadian I have never been more disgusted and scared of what has and is being done by Harper.

    1. JEHR

      Yes, it just keeps going on and on and on. The banks commit fraud, pay a fine, promise to never do it again and then go on and commit more fraud–pay fine, promise, etc., etc., etc. All these banks need to dissolve themselves and we would be safer and happier.

    2. micky9finger

      I liked the statement in the NYT today that the fines(not of any individuals mind) would cost all their profit from the scam for last year. OK, that seems fine since we’ve got all the profit from all the other years.

      1. cwaltz

        This is some of my point from above where I point out that some of our enforcement mechanisms don’t even work here in the US, let alone global enforcement. Who cares if you get fined $10,000 if the behavior leads to millions in profit?

  18. Doug Terpstra

    Nice to celebrate rare, really good news (again, if already covered). Salon:

    John Kerry admits defeat: the Ukraine story…

    Could be the deathly silent MH17 investigation, 10 months on, may prove too embarrassing; and/or Europe says Basta to nuclear brinksmanship; or Ukrainian debt and military incompetence can no longer be covered up; and no matter what juvenile US leaders try, Putin just won’t be provoked. More likely all of the above.

    Paul Craig Roberts also covered this on the 15th, in “Is Washington Coming to its Senses?”

    1. Jackrabbit

      False hope Doug. Don’t drink the Cool-Aid.

      The tidbit that 90% of Sochi concerned Iran is telling (but I wonder about the sources) and fits with my view of what Sochi was all about (not a big overture to Russia). But also note that if there was any real debate about a change in policy toward Russia, it is unlikely that the West would’ve been TOTALLY absent from Victory Day celebrations just days before.

      Yves had a post about Sochi the other day. You might have a look at the comments there.

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