Links 8/13/15

Armed with 10,000 more genes than humans: Scientists hail the intelligence of the octopus Independent. Resilc: “Could get the nomination of either party….”

Going on vacation? Your cats can enjoy luxury digs, too Associated Press

Hard cheese: Pornhub may face legal action over Parmigiano-Reggiano ad Guardian (Chuck L)

Jimmy Carter suffers spread of cancer Financial Times. Even though he was only an OK President, he has been an exemplary former President.

What Criminals May Gain from the Next Evolution of Bitcoin MIT Technology Review (furzy mouse). As I’ve said for some time, Bitcoin = prosecution futures.

Kodak’s First Digital Moment New York Times

How the Midwest’s Corn Farms Are Cooking the Planet Mother Jones

North Korea vice-premier Choe Yong-gon ‘executed’ BBC (furzy mouse)

China Currency Whackage

Yuan devaluation rerun jolts markets, deepens fears China may further weaken currency South China Morning Post

China’s central bank vows to control market ‘herding’ as yuan falls for third day Telegraph

What a weaker Chinese yuan means for the world Sydney Morning Herald (EM)

China cannot risk the global chaos of currency devaluation Ambrose Evans-Prithard, Telegraph

U.S. Strains Mount After China Devalues Yuan Wall Street Journal (margarita). Subhead: “Beijing’s currency move draws rebuke from lawmakers, threatens to impede Obama’s Pacific trade effort.”

China’s currency devaluation: Thailand’s economic nightmare? The Nation (furzy mouse)

Tianjin Explosion

LIVE: Huge explosion in Chinese port city of Tianjin Hong Kong Free Press. OMG, look at the photos! And none of them are all that close in.

Backgrounder: The company with explosive warehouses in Tianjin Xinhua

At least 17 dead, hundreds injured as blasts from hazardous materials warehouse rock Chinese city of Tianjin South China Morning Post. Lambert: “17 is the official tally….”

China blasts: Casualties in Tianjin port city explosions BBC

A Tsunami of Climate Refugees is Drowning Europe Tom Lewis

London Mayor Boris Johnson: ‘We Can’t Leave Europe, We’re Part of the Continent’ Der Spiegel


Greece prepares for bailout vote after marathon talks BBC

Behind the Compromise: Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on the referendum and the agreement that followed. Jacobin (Sid S)

Germany criticises Greek bailout agreement Financial Times

Memorandum of understanding: what exactly has Greece signed up for? Guardian

Greece Faces Two-Year Recession Amid Bailout Cuts Wall Street Journal

Beware of American econ professors! Politico. Important.


Iran Deal Opponents: The Final Push Tom Callaghan

Who’s Killin’ Who? Cherokee Gothic (resilc). From the article: “It would be far more accurate to say that US drug laws are killing Mexico than to say that any or everything that Mexico may be doing is hurting the US.”

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Julian Assange: Wikileaks founder may walk free from London hide-out News (furzy mouse). Over the Administration’s dead body.

Facial Recognition Software Moves From Overseas Wars to Local Police New York Times (Chris in Pacific). My lawyer was working with a company that had face recognition algos. This technology is overhyped. That makes it prone for abuse, which is almost certainly a feature, not a bug.

A Traffic Analysis of Windows 10 root@localghost:~# (Lauren Weinstein). Chuck L: “As Weinstein notes, if this is correct Windows 10 is a security disaster. ‘ . this is an OS-level keylogger, all the data you’re trying to transmit securely is now sitting on some MS server. This includes passwords and encrypted chats. This also includes the on-screen keyboard, so there is no way to authenticate to a website without MS also getting your password.’ Audio and video input is also captured and sent to MS servers.” Weinstein stressed that, “the item was passed along to me by an A-class correspondent, but the underlying source is significantly less well graded.”

Hillary Clinton on the Sanctity of Protecting Classified Information Glenn Greenwald, Intercept. Important.

#BlackLivesMatter and the Democrats: How Disruption Can Lead to Collaboration Glen Ford

Inside the GOP Clown Car Rolling Stone

Jeb Bush’s major foreign policy address: The former Florida governor’s speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library was shallow and wrong. Slate Resilc: “He makes his brother look smart, and that’s hard to do.”

The G.O.P.”s Problems Go Well Beyond Trump New Yorker

Donald Trump Threatens to Fight Black Lives Matter Activists If They Confront Him Alternet. I try to not to look for sexism (I find it to be disempowering) but Trump wears it like a badge: “”The way he [Sanders] was taken away by two young women..” In other words, Sanders was weak (Trump’s word) because women got the best of him. Trump, by contrast, advocated fighting with them physically: “That would never happen with me. I don’t know if I’ll do the fighting myself or other people will, but that was a disgrace.”

Donald Trump touts ‘militaristic’ policies CNN (furzy mouse)

In California, Millions of ‘Shade Balls’ Combat a Nagging Drought New York Times (Ryan R)

California wildfire grows as crews work to protect communities Reuters

Police State Watch

California bans grand juries in fatal shootings by police San Jose Mercury News (EM)

Officer fired for ‘troubling’ decisions in shooting of Texas teen Reuters (EM)

IEA: At Least Another Year Before Oil Markets Rebalance OilPrice

The Worst of the Worst of the Worst: New Century and its Economics Shills Bill Black (resilc)

How to Make Private Equity Honest Yves Smith, Bloomberg. In case you missed it.

Class Warfare

U of Illinois to dismiss chancellor, rejects $400,000 bonus Associated Press

Who Will Own the Robots? MIT Technology Review (vlade)

Let’s Expose the Gender Pay Gap New York Times. The claim: “If companies had to publish the difference in wages between men and women, the disparities for identical work would shock people into action.” I wish that were so, but the more likely result is better rationalizations. But it sure can’t hurt and would probably have some impact.

Workers test Italy’s middle way Financial Times

The Perils of Ever-Changing Work Schedules Extend to Children’s Well-Being New York Times

The Teflon Toxin: DuPont and the Chemistry of Deception Intercept (vidimi). Today’s must read.

Antidote du jour. @GeorgeMonbiot via Richard Smith:

pretty grasshopper link

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. abynormal

    China Xinhua News 2:00AM – 13 Aug 2015
    Album: Death toll reach 44 in #Tianjin warehouse #explosion, 12 firefighters are among the dead
    according to China Youth Daily, the possibility of there being cyanide at the accident site in Tianjin cannot be ruled out.

    The newspaper quoted Doctor Wu Chunping’s saying that the commodities stored at the explosive warehouse include hazardous chemicals such as sodium cyanide and toluene diisocyanate which can penetrate into human bodies through the skin and cause poisoning. Dr. Wu suggested preventive measures be taken. People should better wear gas masks so as not to expose their mouths and skin, he said.

    Wu explained that a single hazardous chemical explosion can be relatively easily targeted, while the situation in the Tianjin accident on Wednesday is different and more difficult to handle because it involved many varieties of hazardous chemicals.

    In addition, a variety of hazardous chemicals will interact after the explosion to form more stable and more complex compounds and produce other toxic substances that fill the air and are difficult to dispel. Therefore, the follow-up work must include physical protection, Dr. Wu said.

    doubt we’ll get a bead on this…but the magnitude should show in a solid floor under the recent commodities rout

  2. Chris in Paris

    Matt Taibbi’s clown car article is very funny but the serious point he’s making about the deployment of the reality show “any publicity is good publicity” mantra to political polling is frightening indeed. My optimistic side believes that as the road show goes on, this will change but I fear it won’t.

    1. vidimi

      i liked how he referred to trump as an “oragutan-haired real estate magnate”: it works because it’s mean, and if you’ve ever seen an oragutan, it’s also true.

      1. vidimi

        or walker as “A central-casting Charmless White Guy who looks like a vice principal or an overdressed traffic cop”

  3. timbers

    “Hillary Clinton on the Sanctity of Protecting Classified Information”

    Up next, Barack Obama on how he honored all his campaign promises to America and beat the scary Republicans!

    Why isn’t Hillary holed up with Julian Assange or in military prison being tortured and prosecuted like Chelsea Manning was?

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      As much as I’d like to see Bernie triumph I have the sinking feeling that Hilary will Teflon her way past her email felonies. Instead of #BlackLivesMatter perhaps we should be talking about #WhiteCrimesDon’tMatter.
      Whether you’re Petraus, Corzine, Blankfein, or The Arkansas Cookie Monster there’s never been a better time to be a Caucasian criminal.

  4. allan

    More on NY Fed William Dudley’s remarks in Rochester yesterday (Lambert had a link in the Water Cooler to a different article).

    … Dudley, seen as a close ally of Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen, echoed her line of questioning [of proposed Fed reforms], asking “What problem are we trying to solve?” He singled out the proposal for regular GAO audits, arguing it would politicize monetary policy and that it has been demonstrated around the world that independent policy making leads to better economic outcomes. [Because free money for banksters.]

    “I think the Federal Reserve has been very effective in its monetary policy implementation, very effective in terms of how we’re responding to the financial crisis and our oversight of large complex financial institutions. The country is in a much better place today than it was 5, 10 years ago.”

    [If your name is Jamie or Lloyd.]

    1. fresno dan

      You know, I’m sure the people who ran the inquisition thought they were doing an outstanding job as well

      And I don’t use the inquisition lightly, as I see the parallels of religious zeal, total lack of self doubt, and a philosophy that anything they do is right because they are the FED/CHURCH, and to dare to question them is to question God’s design.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Omnipotence…Infinity or infinite amount of money…To identify with one and only one…

        To be independent (and one can argue maybe dependence is not all bad, or otherwise), the creator must not be the user, and the user has no influence over the creator.

      2. abynormal

        “Fanaticism is overcompensation for doubt.”
        the scale of global doubt, generated from modern economic manipulations and propaganda, should meet with an unfathomable blow back.
        [uncontrollable shivers]

      3. Jim Haygood

        ‘they are the FED/CHURCH’

        Or as they joke amongst themselves, ‘We are the Fed Sanhedrin.’

        It’s good to be a sage.

  5. abynormal

    re: UofI Chancellor rejects $400,000 bonus
    medium salary + bonus is 258,244
    “From my standpoint, I sit as the comptroller with the primary responsibility of paying bills. We can’t pay bills now. We have $5 billion worth of bills in our state that we have no money to pay.

    sound of crickets …bright n beautiful too

  6. fresno dan

    Hard cheese: Pornhub may face legal action over Parmigiano-Reggiano ad Guardian (Chuck L)

    I am going to go check it out – I may have to view thousands upon thousands of videos, but anything to advance my knowledge of uh…er, trademark abuse. Yup, all about the trademarks…

    1. ambrit

      Not to mention all the “cheese” jokes.
      However, Pornhub is launching a pay site? As in, the notoriously ‘bent’ online porn world wants our financial information? Why does this sound like a job for Richard Smith? Doesn’t anyone remember the Ashley Madison debacle? Too, aren’t all those ‘blue movies’ mainly amateur and free to Pornhub? If I remember correctly, doesn’t Pornhub work on the Huffington Post, “you’re working here for the exposure” principle and pay out, if at all, based on click throughs and such?
      In a rather ‘whip me with wet noodles’ way, I hope the Italian trade group sues Pornhub for big bucks, and then refuses to accept payment “in kind.”

      1. hunkerdown

        Most tube videos are rips or promos from paysites, with a few VHS rips for good measure, and a vanishingly small amount of amateur content posted just for the non-pecuniary rewards of showing off. Still free to PornHub, as long as nobody gets… well, choose your own colorful phrase for dispositive perturbation.

    2. optimader

      FWIW, my friends in Italy get cranked up, justifiably so, with the genericization of their cheese names.

      Domestically produced “mozzarella” you buy in the plastic form fill seal package at the local grocery store is not in the same orbit, let alone solar system as real Mozzarella di Bufala.

      IMO, it is analogous to someone in Napa Valley slapping Champagne labels on sparkling wine. It’s just not right and I applaud the Italians for pushing back on misuse of the name Parmigiano-Reggiano.

      1. hunkerdown

        Mozzarella is apparently easy and fast to make at home. Whether or not it helps the cachet of Italian cheesemakers isn’t really in my wheelhouse.

        1. vidimi

          it’s similar to indian paneer, which is even easier as you use citrus instead of a calf’s enzyme

      2. OIFVet

        I am no expert, but the mozzarella di bufala at my local Costco is exceptional. And it’s definitely all natural with no preservatives, it has a very short time to eat before it spoils. Not that we ever let it sit in the fridge for long in our house,.

        1. optimader

          Costco’s Mozzarella di bufala (Fattorie Garofalo) is imported from Italy. It’s great that Costco makes the effort, it is challenging though because it’s best eaten within a day or two of being made (IMO), Costco’s is pretty good in fact, just not what its like when it’s freshly made. It is what it is. M di Bufala/garden tomato/bazil and balsamic vinegar.. Your liv’in right.

          There was an eccentric fellow by the name of Craig Ramini who stepped up to the challenge to produce the real stuff domestically, importing Italian W Buffalo, but sadly he passed away recently.

          1. OIFVet

            Buffalos are hard to tend, but their milk is the best for some cheeses and for yogurt. Bulgarian yogurt is very good, but the best of it is buffalo yogurt. It’s not widely available, unless one goes to the Balkan hamlets and buys it locally. It’s worth the trip for me. BTW, if you are ever in Des Plaines make sure to stop by the Serdika Deli on Ellinwood. They have this White Mountain brand yogurt made with real BG cultures and using the traditional method. It’s what true yogurt tastes like. Make sure to eat it fast, it doesn’t keep for months like the stuff they pass as “yogurt” in the supermarkets.

            1. optimader

              Serdika Deli on Ellinwood
              logged and noted, thanks for that tip.. Need to curate these great ethnic stores.
              I dig the Bulgarian Sirene (goat milk), it is my cheese of choice on summer tossed salads. We’ve been doing giant salads most evenings for dinner lately.
              People need to buy these export products from countries that need the FX and make food products worthy of support.

  7. financial matters

    A Tsunami of Climate Refugees is Drowning Europe Tom Lewis

    An interesting perspective…

    “They are being called refugees from war, but the wars they are fleeing have their origins in the desperation of people who have no food, and they have no food because of the savage droughts being inflicted on their countries by global climate change. Hence, it is perfectly legitimate, and more importantly it is honest, to call them climate refugees.”

    “Germany is the Mecca for most of these refugees, who are fully aware of the desperate economic straits of countries such as Greece and Italy. Germany is expecting 450,000 refugees this year, double the amount of last year, and the resulting tensions are rising. So far this year there have been 150 attacks on refugee shelters, most of them attempts to burn the shelters down. When the flood of refugees overwhelmed existing camps, the government called in the army to help, a move that inflamed those who insist that any use of the army inside the country is unconstitutional.”

    ““Greece faces a crisis within a crisis,” said prime minister Alexis Tsipras. “The migrant flows exceed the capacity of our state infrastructure.” About 120,000 refugees have stumbled ashore on the Greek Islands so far this year, four times the influx during all of 2014. The other principal landing for refugees traveling to Europe by boat, Italy, estimates that 100,000 have come aground there this year.

    Imagine that you have lost your job, been served with an eviction notice, lost your car to the repo man and 20 of your closest relatives arrive on your doorstep in search of food and shelter. That’s that’s going on here. Neither these countries, nor the United Nations, nor the NGOs operating in the area, can possibly handle this rip tide of human misery. Nor is it limited to Greece and Italy.”

    1. mark

      National geographic

      “A severe drought, worsened by a warming climate, drove Syrian farmers to abandon their crops and flock to cities, helping trigger a civil war that has killed hundreds of thousands of people, according to a new study published Monday.

      The research provides the most detailed look yet at how climate change may already be helping spark violent political unrest.

      their report, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences….”

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I was watching a documentary by NHK of Japan, about the two national museums of Beijing and Taibei recently.

        It mentioned the discovery of a huge palace foundation in the lower Yangtze delta belonging to the Liangzhu culture, which was roughly the size of Taiwan, that ended abruptly around 2,200 BC. Instead of the Chinese culture originating in the middle Yellow River area, this finding suggests an alternative southern origin.

        From the soil layers, one can guess the cause of its rapid demise – the area was flooded for thousand of years after.

        Another victim of climate or environmental change.

        Three hundred years after the end of the Liangzhu (jade) culture, in Anyang, Honan, which in the 20th century was discovered to be the capital of the then-still-mostly-legendary Shang dynasty, similar jade symbols of authority, such as cong, bi and the axe, were found. The suggestion made by the narrator was that the Linagzhu people migrated to Shang.

        1. vidimi

          that’s interesting, thanks. of course, floods played a role ending or displacing several ancient civilizations which had a habit of settling on powerful rivers.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Also, they are experiencing the worst drought in a century over there in North Korea, probably more severe than California’s, and a vice-minister was sacrificed just recently, according to one the links above, in their version of rain dance over there.

    2. Ann Jones

      Christian Parenti wrote an excellent book in 2011 on climate change and migration titled “Topic of Chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of Violence.” I can’t recommend it enough.

      1. mark

        “Declines in honeybees, native bees and other animal pollinators could translate into a global health crisis that isn’t just one of reduced food supply. Research published in the Lancet shows that disastrous declines in pollinating animals could cause dramatic increases in both non-communicable diseases and nutrition deficiencies for people worldwide. Lower-income regions are most at risk. ”

        thanks for info re Parenti book.

    3. drexciya

      Oh come on, people pay lots of money to get into Europe. And that means Western Europe or the UK, NOT other countries which are perfectly safe. Of course, there are some legitimate refugees, but most of these people are only coming to grab the money. That sounds harsh, but that’s the only explanation for what is happening, for instance, in Calais.

      Add to this, the recent publicized misbehavior in refugee centers and the literal demanding to get taken in; that really sounds like people that are deserving of being helped. This is being acknowledged by the people involved themselves, which was duly reported by Arnold Karstens, whom is a very objective and critical journalist, who’s been in Afghanistan and more to do reporting, who shows that this is a money making machine for smugglers. link in Dutch

      Instead of filtering the incoming stream of people, and only allowing “true” refugees, the EU is doing nothing, as usual, and watching the spectacle, oblivious of the fact that right-wing movements are growing in strength all over Europe (as well as anti-EU sentiments), because of their lack of action. If you find it logical that climate change pushes people to Europe, I find it logical that people are getting sick and tired of people who only come here to grab money and not add anything useful to society. Tensions are rising, which is logical, seeing figures like 450.000 for Germany alone.

      Now climate change is real, but that doesn’t mean that we should just look the other way, when it comes to the real elephant in the room; the population explosion. I’ve been reading two books recently; The Alchemy of Air, which literally states, that the current world population is untenable, if it wasn’t for the Haber-Bosch process (N2+3H2->2NH3, which is used to produce fertilizer) and a book about the 17th century, which states that the populations of Europe, India and China were reduced by one third or more, because of climate change and wars. Maybe it’s time to start looking at this type of problem in a totally different way.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        It’s really un-PC to say that uncontrolled immigration is anything but “inclusive” and “multi-cultural”…but I agree.
        There’s a town near where I live in Australia that has had lots of Chinese immigration. Early on it seemed great, the restaurants got better, it was an overall plus. Then they kept coming, and are now the majority. The recent program booked at the arts center was a Chinese comedian…giving his act in Chinese. The Chinese there are not living in China, and the Australians there are no longer living in Australia. On a recent trip to San Jose, CA I don’t think I heard English spoken for the whole week I was there: it was either Spanish (they were there before the Anglos), Indian (rich Google engineers who had brought Mom, Dad, and Grandma from the old country), and of course Chinese.

  8. fresno dan

    Good to see Bloomberg bringing up America’s outrageous incarceration rate.

    First, I simply do not regard voluntary sex between a 13 and 15 year old as a crime. It may not be good, but its apparent that the girl was not brought up in responsible circumstances to begin with. Second, never speak to a cop without a lawyer. But what the Atlantic article shows, is how this “sex crime” was not only not much of a crime, but a NEVER ending series of “crimes” can be generated from it. If not explained in depth, it would appear that law enforcement is protecting us from sexual predators, when in fact the law is increasing injustice.

    Conservatives/republicans have a good deal of skepticism about government, but oddly and inconsistently (or maybe they just do want to oppress people) they forget to apply it to police and prosecutors. Not every prosecutor is a Javert, but enough are driven by ambition and their unexamined and unrestrained power to impose their merciless view on the downtrodden.

  9. fresno dan

    Officer fired for ‘troubling’ decisions in shooting of Texas teen Reuters (EM)

    I am very dissatisfied with how long this country has refused to look honestly and dispassionately at the criminal justice system and the police. Part of the greatest country in the world propaganda that seems so ahistorical to the very founding of this country.

    But I guess I should be grateful that their does finally seem to be some willingness to look more critically at the police and in some very small measure, mete out some accountability. A few years ago I have no doubt this officer would have received a commendation.

  10. fresno dan

    Hillary Clinton on the Sanctity of Protecting Classified Information Glenn Greenwald, Intercept. Important.
    When it comes to low-level government employees with no power, the Obama administration has purposely prosecuted them as harshly as possible to the point of vindictiveness: It has notoriously prosecuted more individuals under the Espionage Act of 1917 for improperly handling classified information than all previous administrations combined.

    NSA whistleblower Tom Drake, for instance, faced years in prison, and ultimately had his career destroyed, based on the Obama DOJ’s claims that he “mishandled” classified information (it included information that was not formally classified at the time but was retroactively decreed to be such)
    In December 2011, Chelsea Manning’s court-martial was set to begin. None of the documents at issue in that prosecution was “top secret,” unlike the documents found on Hillary Clinton’s server.
    Manning was convicted and sentenced to 35 years in prison. At the time, the only thing Hillary Clinton had to say about that was to issue a sermon about how classified information “deserves to be protected and we will continue to take necessary steps to do so” because it “affect[s] the security of individuals and relationships.”

    That was during the time that she had covertly installed a non-government server and was using it and a personal email account to receive classified and, apparently, even top-secret information. While there’s no evidence she herself placed those documents on the server or sent them herself, it is her use of a personal server and email account that — quite predictably — caused the vulnerability.

    It goes without saying that the U.S. government wildly overclassifies almost everything it touches, even the most benign information.
    It goes without saying that the U.S. government wildly overclassifies almost everything it touches, even the most benign information. As former CIA and NSA Director Michael Hayden said in 2010, “Everything’s secret. I mean, I got an email saying ‘Merry Christmas.’ It carried a top secret NSA classification marking.”

    For that reason, almost all of these prosecutions for mishandling classified information have been wildly overzealous, way out of proportion to any harm they caused or could have caused, certainly out of proportion to the actual wrongdoing.

    But that’s an argument that Hillary Clinton never uttered in order to object as people’s lives and careers were destroyed and they were hauled off to prison. To the contrary, she more often than not defended it, using rationale that, as it turns out, condemned herself and her own behavior at least as much as those whose persecution she was defending.

    The more you know about the US government and political system, the better Trump looks. Really. It is hard to argue that Trump has ever done anything as truly EVIL.
    Seriously, the well crafted and well designed lies, the total and complete mockery, disdain, and contempt for equal justice under law and any common notions of fair play expose these people as simply vile.

    As Hillary seems to be paving the way for saying that none of the material was top secret at the time, I look forward with relish to her testimony that will have to expound on time…and dare I say it….. the meaning of “was” versus “is”

    1. vidimi

      there’s a total “je suis l’état” mentality among the beltway élite. it’s slowly becoming internalised by everyone and soon we won’t even bat an eyelid when a top presidential candidate orders a B1 flyby before a corporate speech they give.

      1. Ulysses

        This is true! The arrogance inside the beltway, sadly, is easily matched by the arrogance of the technocrats in Silicon Valley. Neither the politicians nor the plutocrats care a fig for the rest of us!

        I fear the future, barring some very radical changes in the global distribution of power and resources, will be very grim indeed.

        Here’s the succinct summary of the MIT review piece linked above:

        “Whoever owns the capital will benefit as robots and AI inevitably replace many jobs. If the rewards of new technologies go largely to the very richest, as has been the trend in recent decades, then dystopian visions could become reality. But the machines are tools, and if their ownership is more widely shared, the majority of people could use them to boost their productivity and increase both their earnings and their leisure. If that happens, an increasingly wealthy society could restore the middle-class dream that has long driven technological ambition and economic growth.”

        We need to mobilize now to reverse the “trend in recent decades!” Otherwise, Gibson’s “jackpot” may well turn out to be the defining event of this century.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          How many steel plants were there in the early 1900s?
          How many railroad holding companies?
          How many auto-makers?
          How many local newspapers?

          Today, we can similar questions.

          How many internet search engines?
          How many internet ‘department stores?’
          How many smartphone brands?
          How many operation systems?

    2. jrs

      Best never to forget one lives in a country that sends someone like Chelsea Manning to prison forever, for having a conscience and acting on it. They now want to put Chelsea in solitary indefinitely, they aim to complete destroy her as a person. That is what solitary can do to human beings, there’s enough research on that, it is torture (remember that as well, the next time they say they don’t torture).

      Remember this not in order to be afraid, that’s neither here nor there, unless one is posed to be the next Chelsea. But to know what kind of country one lives in, the next time the politicians praise it. To know what kind of people one is then dealing with (in an Obama, in a Hillary etc.)… To know what this country really is at the end of the day.

      1. fresno dan

        solitary confinement isn’t torture….its “enhanced confinement” (Sarc)

        I am sure there are reams, and reams, and more reams of documentation that no one actually has the time, and the ability and access to information to refute. This is how its done – the process precludes challenge, cause no one has the resources to challenge leviathan. An army of press hacks will defend Hillary. And between the behind the scenes neo-cons who support Hillary, and the team blue, we stand behind our own because…uh, they wearing BLUE!!!! – the concept of equality before the law is degraded to meaninglessness.

        Not one thing released by Manning was top secret. I predict that once it is incontrovertible that Hillary had top secret stuff on her computer, the defense will be that it was “over classified” and of no significance.

        Which only goes to show that when the government is embarrassed by leaks by a private, the penalty is solitary confinement for life. When your a Goldman Sachs employee…er, Secretary of State (same difference) laws have a great deal of discernment, judgement, discretion….aw, just tell it like it is – laws are enforced only when they benefit the 0.01%

        1. Chris A

          Army reservist Lynndie England goes to prison for torturing prisoners at Abu Ghraib, Dick Cheney brags on Sunday morning “news” programs about his use of torture and George W Bush paints pictures of his feet while enjoying a nice warm bath. It’s difficult to accept.

      2. optimader

        now want to put Chelsea in solitary indefinitely, they aim to complete destroy her as a person
        Quick sidebar, Chelsea is a he not a her. Effeminate perhaps, but still a he.

        1. cwaltz

          My bet is she would beg to differ with you. You might want to read up on transgender identity and intersex conditions.

          Hint: Gender is not as binary as we’ve been led to believe. 1% of the population is not either/or in terms of male or female, they’ve got charecteristics of both.

          1. optimader

            Hint: Gender is not as binary as we’ve been led to believe. 1% of the population is not either/or in terms of male or female, they’ve got characteristics of both.
            Indeed, and you in part make my point:
            46,XX (biological female); 46,XY (biological male) ;45,X (Turner’s syndrome); 47,XXY (Klinefelter syndrome); 47,XYY (XYY syndrome); 47,XXX (XXX syndrome); 48,XXYY (XXYY syndrome); 46,XX/XY mosaic; other mosaic (wiki)
            …are the (as yet) identified genetic gender possibilities. I am no expert on Manning, but I do not recall reading that his is a case of incorrect gender reassignment at birth or a case of chromosomal ambiguity (above) being in play.

            Rather Manning, “feels” more comfortable as a female “I am a female. Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible, “feel” being the operative word.

            He is not a Her, it’s organic. The irony I see is the advocacy that Manning and others should be socially conditioned to feel that binary “assignment” is indeed the only choice!

            My underlying point is that our Society remains uncomfortable with the natural distribution of sexuality in the species. Case in point a guy that “feels” feminine consequently then “feeling” obliged to take unhealthy hormones therapy or undergo nasty elective surgical procedures to superficially conform to social norms rather than just getting on in whatever many different forms of style/behavior suit them. This is indeed unfortunate and in it’s essence a socially driven phenomena that was historically handled very differently and IMO more humanely in certain other societies.

            Bottom line, by my sensibilities Chelsea aka Bradley Manning is a He (biological male) with effeminate feelings.

            1. cwaltz

              Using your logic a person who was raised as a female for 17 years but finds out after not experiencing a menstrual cycle that genetically they have xy chromosomes and testes (as well as an external genital area that led people to believe that she was a she should be considered male. Our chromosomes are not the be all and end all to our identities. I’ll say this again because it bears repeating, 1% of the population is intersex. I also think you are marginalizing this by saying he simply feels effeminate. Transgender people don’t merely feel effeminate or masculine. They feel as if they were placed in the wrong body. It’s not a simple matter of telling a boy it’s okay for him to play with dolls or be effeminate and have female qualities. They literally feel uncomfortable in the bodies they were born into. So its way beyond “being effeminate.”

              1. optimader

                I’ll defer to Merriam Webster on the definition of He/She.

                On the subject of being raised male or female, I don’t believe “nurture”
                is a determining factor for sexuality. such as was borne out in the case of David Reimer
                Bottom line, he was genetically male (He).

                Our chromosomes are not the be all and end all to our identities
                On this point we agree. Identity is formed by a set of beliefs, Sex is determined by chromosomes In the case of He (male) She (female) –XY and XX.

                . I also think you are marginalizing this by saying he simply feels effeminate.

                That’s fine, you may think that, but it was Manning who said he “feels” female (effeminate ) —effeminate having or showing qualities that are considered more suited to women than to men : not manly.

        2. Gio Bruno

          …I read somewhere in a writing style manual that it is appropriate to use the gender pronoun desired by the subject. She wishes to be addressed as a she, not a he.
          Thank you for your consideration.

        3. jrs

          Yes Chelsea Manning asked to my addressed as a she. It may help that I have great respect for the human being that is Chelsea, though I don’t expect most people to be martyrs and it’s really screwed up she is and I wish the imprisonment and torture of Chelsea could just be stopped right now.

          I may have my own doubts if anyone who wasn’t born and raised in a certain gender can ever really understand what it is to be that gender and this is understanding that not everyone of a gender falls into some stereotypical gender roles either. But I suspect gender can be like a different country – you can never really know, you have to have been born there. But transsexuals also don’t identify with the gender they were born physically either. It might be most accurately a 3rd gender.

          1. optimader

            It might be most accurately a 3rd gender.
            To my thinking this is along the lines the most humane approach. The simplistic blurring of gender nomenclature IMO is a legal and social minefield.

            A physician friend has a perplexing case going directly to my point. True story:

            When we get together I am always curious what’s up professionally because it is such a slippery slope these days. Enter Patient X. Patient X had gender reassignment surgery ( male ->female as an adult) and pursues all the requisite ongoing hormonal therapy.

            Patient X was subsequently married as a female (in the US or before immigrating from someplace else? Didn’t ask/ don’t know). Under some great duress from the (male) husband, Patient X and husband are pursing consultation for fertility treatment. Patient X is pleading with the Dr to not be forthcoming with the facts and present inaccurate results to the husband.

            Don’t know the outcome as yet, which may ultimately come being forced to drop the patient, but jeeze..Hippocratic Oath, I’d like to introduce you to Client Confidentiality, you’ve been selected for a cage match, may the most ethical approach win (and not be illegal) .

    3. cwaltz

      I fail to see how placing an arrogant jackass in charge is the cure all for the fact that we’ve already got a bunch of arrogant jackasses that feel that the rules are for the “little people” in charge of us.

      It kinda strikes me as using an axe to amputate your head when you get a headache.

  11. vidimi

    my word that is a pretty grasshopper. looks like it was painted by a post-impressionist master. hence, my guess is it’s probably called painted or ornate grasshopper

    1. tim s

      It’s probably called food by most birds. It’s hard to imagine, if it’s real, what environment it is from.


  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Yuan devaluation.

    “Beijing’s currency move draws rebuke from lawmakers, threatens to impede Obama’s Pacific trade effort.”

    If our aim is to contain China, wouldn’t the currency move help, instead of impeding, the good guy’s Pacific trade effort, at least from the marketing point of view?

    “See, this is why we must stick together.”

    1. craazyboy

      All the stars are aligning. The WTO Constellation grants us the authority to determine if we believe a country is a “currency manipulator” – and as a result has an unfair trade advantage. One may look at bi-lateral trade balances to determine that, and show evidence to anyone that cares. I also hear 60,000 factories have been closed since 2000, the year we gave China “most favored trade status” and dropped large import tariffs. That would be another way to figure it out.

      O Wise One Geithner has left his Treasury Sec job. He has consistency determined, once a year as prescribed by Law chiseled in stone, that, Nay, No, This is Not So.

      I think they check the charts in October, so Obama and Lew will have an opportunity to speak out at that time, and could make the case China is a currency manipulator! We would be empowered, even without resorting to domestic tools like Executive Order, to simply raise import duties on Chinese stuff up to 40%.

  13. Eric Patton

    Even though he was only an OK President, he has been an exemplary former President.

    Not to pick nits, but Noam Chomsky and Glen Ford would both tell you, correctly, that Jimmy Carter is also a war criminal. Maybe his post-presidential actions have ameliorated his crimes somewhat, but to act as if he committed no crimes while in office (East Timor[1], anyone? About which there is no dearth of evidence for anyone willing to look) is mistaken, at best.

    [1] Since someone’s going to ask for a link, how about just watch Manufacturing Consent, the 1992 movie made about Chomsky, but whose production Chomsky literally had zero to do with. It was a couple Canadian filmmakers named Mark Achbar and Peter Wintonick (though they did interview Chomsky at one point during the filming).

    1. lord koos

      By that standard, every US president since the second world war (and many previous to that as well) is a war criminal.

  14. Roquentin

    RE: GOP Clown Car and Taibbi

    When I was reading that Taibbi piece in Rolling stone it hit me: Trump is America’s answer to Silvio Berlusconi. Italy was just first to the party of what 21st century politics will be like. The Berlusconi years were like a window into our own future. The media spectacle has triumphed completely and these are the consequences.

    Also, when I say spectacle I mean it in the sense of Guy Debord’s 1967 classic “The Society of the Spectacle,” a perennially important text.

    1. craazyboy


      As it turns out I happen to be reading a Terry Pratchett novel I haven’t got around to yet. “Moving Pictures”. This is too much of a coincidence to believe that I’m not being compelled to comment on this at this opportune time by either Gawd or my Gut Flora.

      There is a passage in the novel that explains everything!

      I’ll paraphrase a bit so I don’t have to type so much. A fledgling Motion Picture industry starts up on Discworld. An aspiring Director and a aspiring motion picture biz person (previously a street vendor whom hawked not so good sausages for a living) are conversing.

      Director: We can get more money for this?

      Biz Mogul: If you have good business sense.

      Director: If we had more money we could add sound to the moving pictures. The audience would no longer need to read the dialog on the chalk boards.

      Biz Mogul: You need Spectacles.

      Director: So the audience can read the small writing on the chalk boards?

      Biz Mogul: No. Spectacles – They want dancing girls. They want thrills. They want dreams…..and so on.

      It’s soo true. hahahaha

    2. barrisj

      Ah, yes, yet again we have another example of Guy Debord’s “Society of the Spectacle”, now forever subsumed by American capitalism as married to American politics:

      “The spectacle is not a collection of images, but a social relation among people, mediated by images.”
      ― Guy Debord, The Society of the Spectacle

      “The status of celebrity offers the promise of being showered with ‘all good things’ that capitalism has to offer. The grotesque display of celebrity lives (and deaths) is the contemporary form of the cult of personality; those ‘famous for being famous’ hold out the spectacular promise of the complete erosion of a autonomously lived life in return for an apotheosis as an image. The ideological function of celebrity (and lottery systems) is clear – like a modern ‘wheel of fortune’ the message is ‘all is luck; some are rich, some are poor, that is the way the world is…it could be you!”
      ― Guy Debord, The Society of the Spectacle

      “The society whose modernisation has reached the stage of integrated spectacle
      is characterised by the combined effect of five principal factors: incessant technological renewal, integration of state and economy, generalised secrecy, unanswerable lies, and eternal present . . .
      — The Society of the Spectacle”
      ― Guy Debord, The Society of the Spectacle

      “The spectacle is capital accumulated to the point where it becomes image.”
      ― Guy Debord

      Say no more.

      1. barrisj

        Matt Taibbi, channeling Debord:

        America is ceasing to be a nation, and turning into a giant television show. And this Republican race is our first and most brutal casting call.

        1. fresno dan

          The idea of “Amusing Ourselves to Death” is that it is all Huxley’s addiction to amusement. I would just say it doesn’t have to be either/or Orwell or Huxley. I would say the brutality of the state (Orwells boot on face – Manning example) is deflected by the amusement and lack of attention span of society (Huxley – Khardasian) in general and the news media in particular (the very idea that the way to deflect coverage of something is to say “that’s yesterday’s news” or “than’s already been reported” is symptomatic of the state of affairs. Who made the rule that important scandals can only be reported on once???)

  15. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    From Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph:

    It is worth remembering that the authorities are no longer targeting headline growth. Their lode star these days is employment, a far more relevant gauge for the survival of the Communist regime.

    Not GDP growth, but employment???

    Sounds like something only communists would do.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Pretty snarky for Ambrose E-P to talk about the FOMC this way. No more presser questions for him!

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Yesterday, it was their justice system trying to one-up ours.

        Today, their central bank tries to embarrass ours.

        But, just like it was not over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor, it is not over. We still have Hollywood.

    2. craazyboy

      Except that, in all fairness to communists, they would employ people – not merely “target” them for employment.

  16. Brian

    Jimmy Carter was elected after the worse corruption scam (known) by a sitting president. He was a nobody to Washington DC and they treated him as such.
    Carter is the only politician I have any respect for. And none other comes close.

    1. Tertium Squid

      The next “okay” president will probably get a spot on Mt. Rushmore just by force of comparison to their presidential peers.

  17. flora

    Windows 10:
    His primary thesis was that Windows 10 acts more like a terminal than an operating system — because of the extent of the “cloud” integration, a large portion of the OS functions are almost dependent on remote (Microsoft’s) servers.”

    Win10 is designed to work with MS Cloud services by default. Turning on a lot of privacy settings is supposed to extract Windows 10 from the MS Cloud connection. (More testing on that is needed.)

    About MS’s push for the cloud from Information Week:
    “During a Vision Keynote at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) in Orlando, Fla., officials took the stage to discuss the company’s place as an innovator in a mobile-first, cloud-first world.
    “Earlier this week we learned about the new technologies Microsoft is planning to deliver in an effort to drive modern enterprise computing. …

    “Technology requires a balance between freedom of expression and public safety. Smith explained Microsoft’s commitment to protecting the digital security of the government, its enterprise customers, and everyday consumers. This will involve prioritizing specific security safeguards, processing personal information as instructed, regulatory compliance, and transparency….”
    -Information Week

    Windows8 wasn’t adopted (for the most part) by the business, govt, and education Windows user base because that set of desktop users doesn’t need an OS optimized for touch screen and social media; an OS that is harder to use for work on a desktop. MS ignored the requirements of their existing desktop customers – a big portion of MS’s customer base. I think MS is making a possibly worse mistake with Windows 10 in their latest effort to win the mobile market.

    Businesses, personnel departments, govt agencies, universities with proprietary research grants aren’t likely to want their data sitting beyond their control on an MS server (cloud). And there will be new vectors of computer cloud attack (man-in-the-cloud instead of man-in-the-middle, for example). My opinion: If MS is abandoning the requirements of its existing desktop customer base there will be opportunities for other OSs and other hardware/software vendors.
    Windows 7 support goes until Jan. 2020.
    Windows 8 support goes until Jan. 2023.

    1. craazyboy

      I read recently there are 1 billion desktop windows computers in the world. I’m amazed at the arrogance of MSFT deciding we are all going to do whatever we were doing on a mobile device – connected, all data and probably every keystroke residing on a MSFT cloud server. (or anywhere else)

      1. Jim Haygood

        The Beatles saw this coming way back in 1968:

        The man in the cloud with the
        Multicolored mirrors on his hobnail boots
        Lying with his eyes
        While his hands are busy working overtime

        — Lennon/McCartney, ‘Happiness is a Warm Gun’

        Okay, sometimes you see it rendered as ‘man in the crowd,’ but probably that’s just a typo.

          1. Gio Bruno

            …yes, it goes something like this:

            Picture yourself on a train in a station
            With plasticine sorters with looking glass spy’s
            Suddenly someone is there at your doorstep
            That’s MS with kaleidoscope eyes

    2. Carolinian

      On the other hand Apple and Android send a lot of info home to mother as well.

      Here’s an article with advice on how to disable a lot of the spyware. As time passes there will undoubtedly be much more info available on how to tame the snooping. As the world’s most used OS Windows gets a lot of techie attention which is one of its advantages–not just a disadvantage.

      1. craazyboy

        I’m keeping my Windows 7 till 2020. Will check out what’s happening then. Till then, google will snoop my Android tablet and not find out anything new there. In 2020 I’ll checkout Linux-Ubuntu-Whatever for my 52″ flat screen desktop w/o fingerprints(digital or otherwise) and see if it’s painless yet.

        1. craazyboy

          Also, the Paranoid Ward in my head believes 3D FingerPrinters are on the way. Just feed in the digital fingerprint file and you can print a set of oily fingerprints anywhere you want!

          1. Carolinian

            My brother says the bad guys will steal your device and lift the fingerprints from the touchscreen…use on the fingerprint scanner.

            No device attached to the web is ever truly safe.

        2. Gio Bruno

          No need to wait. Partition your hard drive and load Linux now. A slow easy transition is the best method.

        3. Jack

          You can upgrade to Windows 8 and keep your traditional desktop/start menu interface. Microsoft themselves added the desktop back in 8.1 and there are any number of free start menu programs available. I’ll probably be going this route, if Windows 10 turns out to be as bad and privacy violating as the reports say. I could just stick with Widnows 7, but 8 does have a large number of under-the-hood performance tweaks and the like, in addition to a longer support life.

          On that subject, by the way, I have no problem with companies gradually dropping support for old programs. It costs time and money to maintain a product for decades, and Windows XP was getting extremely long in the tooth. It wasn’t even 64-bit (outside of a limited special release that was really just for testing purposes). It’s sensible for users to upgrade software occasionally anyway, to ensure you’re taking proper advantage of newer hardware.

      2. optimader

        I just noticed this on the dialog box confirmation

        August 14, 8217 at 2:39 pm
        Wow! time flys!

    3. trinity river

      I want another choice to Microsoft now. Is there a substitute for MS Word that allows searches, and the most used functions. I will not sign up for MS Word 10. Options? I HATE windows 8.1.

      1. craazyboy

        There is Open Office Suite. It’s free from Oracle (I think it’s an artifact from the Larry Ellison – Bill Gates Wars). It has equivalent programs to everything in MS Office, including Word. I have it on my machine, but I never use it. I never used Word either. So I don’t know if it’s any good, but you can try it for free. ‘Course nothing will run on Windows 10. And I don’t know what’s available for Linux in the way of typical office ware.

      2. John Zelnicker

        I use Open Office and find it to be quite close to MS Word in functionality, especially for most general uses, e.g., reports, letters, etc. And, it can save files in Word formats for sending to others who might not have Open Office.

  18. fresno dan

    California bans grand juries in fatal shootings by police San Jose Mercury News (EM)

    Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Tuesday making California the first state in the nation to ban the use of grand juries to decide whether police officers should face criminal charges when they kill people in the line of duty.

    The ban, which will go into effect next year, comes after grand juries in Ferguson, Missouri, and Staten Island, New York, made controversial decisions in secret hearings last year not to bring charges against officers who killed unarmed black men, sparking protests across the country. Calls for transparency also have come amid national concerns about disparate treatment of blacks and other racial minorities when encounters with cops turned deadly in Baltimore, Cincinnati and South Carolina.

    “What the governor’s decision says is, he gets it — the people don’t want secrecy when it comes to officer-involved shootings,” said retired judge and former San Jose independent police auditor LaDoris Cordell, the first African-American appointed as a judge in Northern California and a key supporter of the bill. “We’re not trying to get more officers indicted. We’re saying, ‘Whatever you decide, do it in the open.'”

    The governor Tuesday also signed a bill by state Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, that makes it clear it is legal to take a photograph or video of a police officer while the officer is in a public place or in a place the person photographing the action has a right to be. Both bills are the first of a wave of Ferguson-inspired criminal justice reforms now making their way through the Legislature.

    Makes me proud, as my eastern friends call California, to be in the land of fruits and nuts.
    Incremental change, but even a cynic like me has to acknowledge that sometimes the system does improve things a little bit.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      “Either way, he [Mark Zahner, CEO of the California District Attorneys Association] said, ‘It’s absolutely ludicrous to espouse or believe that police officers get treated any differently than anyone else.’ “


      How about this: Officer fired for ‘troubling’ decisions in shooting of Texas teen

      I can’t remember the last time I heard the “decision” to shoot and kill an unarmed man referred to as “troubling” UNLESS that “decision” was made by a police officer.

      1. fresno dan

        It certainly shows that in such a supposedly liberal, blue, and democratic state the incredible political power of the police and prosecutors – which of course gives the lie that the state is all that liberal.

        If he were merely pandering to the police rubes, that would be one thing, but as I’ve said, the people who advance in these organizations are true believers, who simple cannot fathom even the possibility that there are pervasive and systematic problems in these organizations. Who are indoctrinated, and have a religious sensibility with regard to their organizations “missions” and that ANY failings are minor and inconsequential to the vast good that they do.

        The idea that this man Mark Zahner can make such a statement really shows the mentality of a group that appears to believe it is outside the framework of this society, and the fact that he is allowed to stay in his position shows that oversight of the police/prosecutor complex remains insufficient.

  19. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    From Teflon, DuPont and C8:

    Of course, enough of anything can be deadly. Even a certain amount of table salt would kill a lab animal, a DuPont employee named C. E. Steiner noted in a confidential 1980 communications meeting


    That has always been my thought.

    Much too water, you drown, though water is essential.

    Can too much happiness be a bad thing though? Or too much capitalism? Too much socialism?

  20. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: U of Illinois to dismiss chancellor, rejects $400,000 bonus Associated Press

    To sum up: Phyllis Wise will be kept at her current salary of $549,069 and work as an “advisor on biomedical ‘affairs’ ” until she is “dismissed,” at which time she will be busted down to $300,000 annually when she joins the “faculty” to teach.

    I wonder what an “advisor on biomedical affairs” does.

    Anywayzzzz, I hope all those returning students have dotted all the i’s and crossed all the t’s on their student loan contracts. They might get lucky and get into one of Phyllis Wise’s classes.

    I hear a few new “offerings” have been added to the course catalog to accommodate her new position: How To Get “Dismissed” Without Really Being “Dismissed,” Working the System 101 and Budget Crises Management for Public University Employees.

  21. anonymous123

    Re: In California, Millions of ‘Shade Balls’ Combat a Nagging Drought

    I’m really concerned about the plastic contaminating the water here and don’t know why no one is writing about it. It’s well known that plastic leeches, particularly when warmed (ever drink from a water bottle that has been sitting in your car on a hot summer day?). I can’t imagine what these millions of plastic balls will do to the water supply in this case, particularly since they’re black and will absorb light, thus overheating. This is really concerning from a public health perspective. I haven’t been able to find any source that tells the type of plastic used, but at $0.36 per piece, I can’t imagine it’s some high quality plastic that is leech-resistant (if such a thing even exists).

    1. hunkerdown

      Have you been down the plumbing aisle at your local hardware store lately? $0.36 is within reason for a no-frills, blow-molded 5″ sphere of plumbing-grade PEX in wholesale quantities. In general, aromatic polymers (e.g. polycarbonate, polystyrene, epoxy, PET) tend to release nasties when insulted or aged, while aliphatic polymers tend to degrade into more inert substances, albeit less pleasant to the palate.

      Besides, for the most part, the spheres aren’t even touching the water.

    2. Gio Bruno

      Actually, the floating orbs that cover the 100+ acre drinking water reservoir are saving the local folks some $130 million. That’s what it would cost to build a cover for the reservoir; which is mandated by federal EPA drinking water standards. This novel solution has been in the works for some time. Not only does it reduce evaporation, phytoplankton and protozoa growth, it keeps bird poop out of eventual ice cubes.

    1. Carolinian

      But, but…my gas is down to $1.99. Happy times.

      Also, thanx to Yves for the Kodak link. As one who once regularly had developer stains on his fingers I’m not sorry to see the chemical age of photography go. Still one can’t help getting a twinge of nostalgia when spotting the yellow box.

      1. Jess

        Your gas might be down to $1.99 but yesterday I filled up with lowest octane here in CA and it was $4.09/gal. High octane is $4.59.

  22. mycroft

    On yesterdays subject of keeping goats as a pet, my experience is with male goats.

    Almost all male goats are killed shortly after birth. So you can get a male goat for free or a very low price. Like dogs they are very affectionate. Unlike dogs, they are a no maintenance animal. Goats will eat just about any plant. You don’t need to give them water because they get enough water from the plants they eat. If your choice plants are fenced, male goats make an ideal pet.

    People in southwest Oregon stake male goats next to blackberry bushes during the day. They put the goat in a shed at night so they aren’t picked off by cougars of bears. The goat that decided to camp out under my tool shed was an obvious escapee from someone’s shed.

    When male goats become mature, you either put up with their very strong odor or you take them off to the vet to have their balls cut off.

    When I sold the property, I gave the goat to a doctor who had horses. For some reason horses find a goat that hangs around a stable to be a calming influence. This doctor had a hundred acres that were fenced. The first day of deer hunting season, about twenty deer would jump over the fence and stay there until the end of deer hunting season.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        And yet, migratory birds continue to enter this country illegally.

        “Show me your passport, Mr. Big Bird. What is the purpose of your visit? What? Laying some eggs?”

        1. craazyboy

          They know the eggs automatically get US citizenship. They hatch, go to work for Republicans, and once reaching voting age, vote for Democrats.

  23. Nobody (the outcast)

    RE: Corn farms

    It’s much deeper than that. Yes, nitrogen fertilizers are very harmful. The disruptions caused are a cascade of soil death and loss, toxin generation, and even more CO2 (and other greenhouse gas) emissions. Just another human-created tragedy brought on by reductionist “science.” Life is complicated and trying to simplify it and pigeonhole it only causes more problems and ends up destroying it.

    See this Dr. Christine Jones interview (pdf) for a good overview of how soil “works” and why ag needs to change or else.

  24. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Yuan devaluation rerun link from South China Morning Post – that’s an interesting site.

    “Stop meddling in politics: Chinese president Xi Jinping’s coded message to Jiang Zemin.”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      And this one from the main page of the same website, dated Aug 7, 2015: China to prosecute former securities regulator for graft.

      For belonging to the Jiang Zemin faction?

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      More good stuff:

      Disgraced PLA general Gu Junshan given suspended life sentence for corruption.

      Maybe Chinese is on the way to abolishing capital punishment…General Tojo didn’t live to see that day though, as apparently the judges, including one from Hindu india, were evenly (almost) split between those who were for and against capital punishment at the Tokyo Trial.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      ‘Is this a nuclear bomb?,’ referring to the explosions in Tianjin.

      Well, in 1626, during the Tianqi reign of the Ming dynasty, there was a mysterious explosion, the descriptions of which sounded like a thermonuclear explosion, near the Imperial Palace in Beijing. Even the emperor was said to have felt it.

      The speculation is the Ming army was fooling around with some radioactive stuff from the province of, I think, Shanxi or Shaanxi, or perhaps it was Inner Mongolia where today many rare earth metals are mined, to be used to coat the cannonballs against the Manchus. The cannons were designed with the help of some Europeans.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Could be, though the explosion site was somewhere near the palace, from the story I read, and I don’t know if methane is known to occur naturally there.

          According to the accounts, they had just received a load, a big load (perhaps exceeding some critical mass load) of some mystery material from that Inner Mongolia/Shaanxi/Shanxi region. The location was known to be associated with weapons development of the Ming Army, which was looking for their wonder weapons to be used on Nurhaci and this Manchu soldiers.

      1. Jack

        I was just about to say something about the fact that because there was a mushroom cloud there are going to be idiots claiming it was a nuclear explosion. Maybe even conspiracy theories. Any sufficiently large explosion will cause a mushroom cloud, there is nothing unique to nuclear weapons about the phenomenon.

  25. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


    That reminds me of the fact that after, what, 700 years of reincarnating, the Dalai Lama has always been a man…never a woman.

    But there could be one…because we hope and can therefore influence it (the Law of Karma, really? Maybe the Law of Karma listens to us?)

    Those Tibetans of the last 700 years – well, they didn’t wish it, I guess.

  26. Jerry Denim

    “”The way he [Sanders] was taken away by two young women..” In other words, Sanders was weak (Trump’s word) because women got the best of him. Trump, by contrast, advocated fighting with them physically: “That would never happen with me. I don’t know if I’ll do the fighting myself or other people will, but that was a disgrace.”

    Donald Trump’s popularity is the perfect idiot-meter for our times. He’s the new, even more crass Palin for 2016; an American barometer of ignorance and sociopathy. There’s nothing a (delusional) angry, disgruntled, hard-working, blue-collar white American living in the rotting, hollowed-out core of this country would rather do than deliver a beating to people they perceive as misbehaving, insolent children. People who in their opinion should be expressing gratitude for all of the generous welfare benefits they receive and the posh lifestyles they lead thanks to the sweat of the working man. When you’re that dumb and your worldview is that warped, and you’re the type who universally respects and adores all police/military/authority figures, a nonstop litany of very un-PC remarks directed at minorities and women along with 24/7 Fox News coverage is all that’s needed to cement the support of 35% of the country. The more criticism Trump receives from the media the more his supporters like him because they see the criticism as proof he is an outsider/rebel (remember that confederate flag thingy some people like to wave?) and the more they admire him because he is saying or at least alluding to all of the nasty, mean, sexist, bigoted things they want to say publicly but can’t because their black lesbian supervisor at the Amazon warehouse would fire them.

    Circus indeed.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      What happens to hatred, bigotry long deferred, repressed?

      Does it explode?

      It would be tragic when or if it does, and we shall condemn it.

      Maybe today we can make it look calm on the surface, yet racism lingers even in the Mt. Olympus of progressivism. Perhaps, we do better to change their hearts (but how? Is it possible?).

    2. Jack

      The recent Israeli elections caused a lot of people to essentially throw up their hands and give up on the country as a whole. The fact that a man who embodies pure meanness (to put it mildly) like Netanyahu was reelected against all expectation speaks ill of the majority of Israelis.

      Trumps surging in polls, across the board not just with Republicans, has caused a sinking feeling inside me. I knew this country had a vindictive streak, but this is just insane. Just how cruel and morally bankrupt can a nation get? Here we have a guy who is nothing but a conglomeration of arrogance and negative traits, and the more he brazenly advertises that fact and doubles, triples, and quadruples down on being an asshole, the higher his numbers go.

  27. fosforos

    What is “important” about the statement by a hack from a right-wing Greek rag that “They have been right to argue that too much austerity has been imposed on Greece?” By calling it “important,” whether you realized it or not, you were supporting the imposition of murderous austerity on the Greek people, subject to some metaphysical discussion about how much austerity is “too much.” The only supportable austerity is an austerity quantified in negative numbers!

  28. afisher

    Dupont and C8…must read and for those who didn’t bother: TL/DR – Dupont is spreading the wealth of cancer – after spending decades in denial.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Perhaps it was in a pervious article or perhaps it will be covered in the next report, but where does C8 show up most? Just non-stick pans? How do we know the restaurants/fast food joints don’t use them? Everyone eats out more or less (and that’s progress!!!).

      Can we do something to avoid it?

      I am afraid to ask this, but perhaps it is everywhere and we can’t avoid to come into contact with it?

      I don’t get that information from the article.

      1. craazyboy

        I’ve been annoyed for 30 or 40 years now that the only thing they sell in stores are stupid Teflon pots & pans and then the stuff comes off and I have to buy new pots and pans. It also did bother me that the stuff comes off. But I only used to worry about getting slippery kidney stones.

        Finally a couple years ago they came out with this new green “space age” coating so I bought those. Don’t know what’s wrong with them yet, tho.

  29. Oregoncharles

    Glen Ford with a crucial historical observation:

    ” And the Democratic Party is where progressive movements go to die.”

    His insistence that a movement is defined by its core demands is also relevant – and a comment on Occupy.

  30. micky9finger

    “Beware of American econ professors”
    Why is this important?
    Is it because of what the author is proposing? Or what the professors proposed?
    About the authors idea- typical neo- liberal bull.
    I’ m getting tired of reading, as proof, that it would be a disaster if Greece were to stop using the Euro and start using their own money. To paraphrase Krugman- a disaster I tell you a disaster.
    These “experts” always claim what a catastrophe it would be but never- never I tell you- explain or offer any facts or even a hypothesis as to why this might be true. Then there is Argentina.
    It’s argument by authority.
    About the horrendous and insupportable IT costs, at least they try to convince us it is too unsurmountable.
    And arguments for and against. As well as cogent arguments against why it is inconceivable- inconceivable I say, to go to a sovereign currency.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      You appear to not read this site with any regularity.

      Krugman is not an IT expert, nor is he a payment systems expert. So you in fact are the one engaging in appeals to authority, and worse, for a figure sorely lacking in relevant expertise. Varoufakis rejected Kruman’s use of Argentina as a model for Greece, and his beefs didn’t even get at the IT matter

      We’ve had over half a dozen posts explaining in gory detail that it would take Greece (or any country) why the IT issues alone make a Grexit unworkable for Greece. One of our posters estimated it would take three years for the conversion, and the bank IT experts who showed up in comment said if anything his time estimate was on the low side.

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