Links 9/12/15

Mental math helps monk parakeets find their place in pecking order Science Daily (original).

Safety Suffers as Stock Options Propel Executive Pay Packages Gretchen Morgenson, NYT

Wall Street Banks to Settle CDS Lawsuit for $1.87 Billion Bloomberg.

Some of Wall Street’s biggest financial institutions — including Goldman Sachs Group Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc. and HSBC Holdings Plc — have agreed to a $1.87 billion settlement to resolve allegations they conspired to limit competition in the lucrative credit-default swaps market. … The banks “made billions of dollars in supracompetitive profits” by taking advantage of “price opacity in the CDS market,” the investors said.

So, a $1.87 billion fine in exchange for billions, plural, in profits. That seems fair. Er, any individuals “coughed up” yet?

Big Banks Agree to Settle Swaps Lawsuit WSJ

Lunch with the FT: Jed Rakoff FT

Whistleblower on Medical Research Fraud: ‘Positive Results Are Better for Your Career’ Der Spiegel

Some ‘Alternative’ Funds Come Up Short WSJ

Are Hedge Funds Still for Suckers? Bloomberg

Investors snapping up new homes for rentals CNBC

New Data Gives Clearer Picture of Student Debt NYT

WSJ Survey: Most Economists Predict Fed Will Stay on Hold in September WSJ

Weak U.S. consumer sentiment, tame inflation muddy Fed rate outlook Reuters

Whether they raise or hold, central bankers are due a fall FT

The cult of Abenomics Macrobusiness


Carnage in Mecca: At least 107 people killed and 238 injured after Bin Laden firm crane collapses on Grand Mosque during freak lightning storm Daily Mail

Saudis Are Winning the War on Shale Bloomberg. Methodology change causes IEA to recalculate.

With Congress sidelined on nuclear deal, next moves belong to Iran McClatchy

John McCain Entertains ‘Nuclear Option’ to Reject Iran Deal (Video) Roll Call

Syria: The (Russian Air) Cavalry Is Coming Moon of Alabama

Russia calls on US to co-operate with its military in Syria FT

Pakistan Uses Indigenous Drone to Strike Terrorists The Diplomat

US Now Has Over 1,400 Foreign Military Bases Spread Over 120 Countries: Assange George Washington’s Blog

Jeremy Corbyn faces a dozen shadow cabinet resignations if he wins Labour leadership Independent. Good riddance; saves trouble.

Jeremy Corbyn’s team send a complaint to the BBC over its ‘hatchet job’ Panorama programme Independent

Greece’s Syriza heads pre-election polls, but lead unclear Reuters


Bernie Sanders plots his path to the Democratic presidential nomination WaPo. Seems like a plan.

Bernie Sanders Sets Terms for 2016 With Prescription Drug Reform Bill National Journal

Joe Biden insiders see a campaign taking shape Politico

Jeb Bush Would Save $773,000 Under His New Tax Plan Time

Tax bedfellows: Bush & Trump echo Sanders & Clinton on hedge funds McClatchy

The Trumpocalypse: Democrats Rule Blacks by Fear Black Agenda Report

The Next Trump Crusade Washington Monthly. Against the TPP (?!).

When Dictators Die Foreign Policy

Guatemala Outsources Fight Against Government Corruption WSJ

Class Warfare

The Doublespeak of the Gig Economy The Atlantic

A Smarter Way to Raise Paychecks NYT. Direct subsidies, not a minimum wage.

The intellectual history of the minimum wage and overtime Washington Center for Equitable Growth

The Price Is Righteous Book Forum. Felix Salmon on effective altruism.

What Ever Happened to Google Books? Tim Wu, The New Yorker

How Picasso the Sculptor Ruptured Art History Vulture. This looks like a great exhibition at MOMA in Manhattan, and I wish I could go. But if you’re closer to the city, you can!

You’d have to be smart to walk this lazy… and people are Eurekalert (full text of original in Current Biology).

Understanding of complex networks could help unify gravity and quantum mechanics Science Daily

Flooding swept away radiation cleanup bags in Fukushima Japan Times

The Coup in Chile Jacobin (September 11, 1973).

14 Years After 9/11, the War on Terror Is Accomplishing Everything bin Laden Hoped It Would The Nation. 14 years ago today America was attacked by 0 Iraqis and 0 Afghans and 0 Iranians….

Antidote du jour:


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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

About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


    1. Clive

      Pretty astonishing result all things considered. And, says Clive, sticking his neck out (oh no! I’m getting like Donald Trump now, quoting myself in the third person…) it does have the sense of something like a sea-change. Let’s hope so. It’s sorely needed here.

      And yes, cue the Vichy Left (Labour-in-name-only) champagne socialists coming over all peculiar. I’m pressing F5 on the home page of The Guardian right now waiting for Polly Toynbee to put up a piece about how it’s completely knocked the stuffing out of her and the doctor has been called. Polly will probably be advised to decamp to her villa in Tuscany for six weeks of bed rest to get over the shock of it all.

          1. Carlos

            He is bringing democracy and mass participation into the Labour Party, which may just confound the Lynton Crosby, metaphor building, character assassination, PR spin and wedge issue shenanigans.

            Attack Corbryn is to attack the people’s preferences, which is to attack the people. These smug, trite clowns may need to find a new strategy. If they attack the ideas they have to explain their own bullshit ideas, which can be quashed by effective mass mobilisation.

            Bottom line…. if a candidate party actually listens to and supports the real needs of the people, the elitist counter strategist has the weaker hand. Needing to re-educate and bamboozle the population to support their sociopathic ideals.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        I’ll have a post on Corbyn tonight. Pass the popcorn, or, in this case, the champers. Let’s just hope Actual (as opposed to New) Labour has more organizational capability than Syriza.

        1. Uahsenaa

          While they might have certain policy affinities, Labour and Syriza are fundamentally different beasts. Syriza was a coalition, first off, and subject to all the internal squabbling that comes with, and also a relatively recent phenomenon without a clear institutional footprint or history. Labour, on the other hand, has that footing (both a plus [re: unions] and a minus [re: entrenched Blairites] here) and, while it may be similarly subject to petty squabbling and the occasional backbiting leak to a not entirely sympathetic press (tu quoque, Guardian), the political opportunism of an established political party might mean that the careerists are willing to parrot Corbyn’s politics in order to tap into the massive public support he’s engendered.

          just a thought

    2. Uahsenaa

      In a fantastic hour long chat with the editorial board of the Des Moines register, Sanders made the excellent point that a change in leadership is irrelevant (be it President or PM) without massive, active public support to counteract the effects of oligarchs trying to bring legislatures to heel. Corbyn seems to understand what no one in the British press does (outside an occasional article in the Independent), that Labour will be a force to reckon with, if only because Corbyn has mobilized so many people. That’s what’s inspiring to me, people getting involved in politics, not the recent popularity of left-leaning politicians.

      Also, from that chat, a few concerning remarks about the military and the willingness to go to war, for me at least. Yet, his “I’m not a pacifist” line is actually more likely to get him elected here.

      1. rusti

        Thanks for the link. I don’t have a TV and hadn’t actually seen Sanders speak before. For all the criticisms I’ve read on comment sections here and elsewhere saying that he’s one step removed from the typical hawk he certainly didn’t hesitate to articulate the need for accountability in the department of defense and point out the corruption scandals of their private contractors. That’s more of a challenge to the existing power structure than I would have expected.

      2. Kurt Sperry

        Sanders has to calculate pretty carefully where he pushes heterodox policy approaches. What he has done brilliantly is to focus tightly on policies that poll well with the electorate. I’m not sure he has the luxury of being hugely heterodox on defense as that would open up a sapping second front where he doesn’t necessarily have a cushion of popular support. One thing he could maybe do in that direction that would be pretty politically safe is to take a page from Reagan’s book and put the nebulous idea out there of implementing a global nuclear disarmament regime.

    1. Kurt Sperry

      Sanders is sometimes miles to the right of Corbyn from what I’ve heard from both. Corbyn’s foreign policy positions are truly audacious–in a good way.

      Seems like maybe the big pendulum has begun to reverse direction, at least in the US and UK. Corbyn with a media megaphone will help.

  1. craazyboy

    “A Smarter Way to Raise Paychecks”

    Um, for who? Why is it considered smart for the gubmint to pick up part of a corporations payroll cost? Wait, I know. Robots!

    But what about the deficit and the gubmint shutdown? Wait, I know. MMT for corporations!

    It will be a true stroke of genius if the corporations convince us that payroll cost should be externalized along with food stamps and everything else. But if you’re really smart, go for the stock options. Those will do well, and if they don’t, they don’t cost executives anything.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      We have to take care of those working (low pay jobs or better) as well as those not working.

      In addition to higher min wages, we should increase the amounts for disability, social security and unemployment benefits, etc. by having fewer overseas military bases.

      1. craazyboy

        ‘Course in “reality” the MIC is working on robot army men. Because the DOD is the only one that can afford them.

        If Wal-Mart threatens Uncle Sam with a robot Hello Person, Uncle Sam drops his shorts and hires Wal-Mart a human. If the MIC can come up with the $100 Million Dollar GI Joe-bot, Uncle Sam bends over and smiles.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Uncle Sam as the biggest IPO in history.

              I am just curious. Why don’t we give that a try?

              A everyone owns an equal share in Uncle Sam. The Treasury can underwrite the IPO.

              Afterwards, the Fed or Uncle Sam himself can plunge-protect this stock, and only this stock.

              Lot of people have come to depend on the stock market for their retirement. With this new IPO, we can all have a secure pension.

              The rest of the market can crash, but we can all sleep soundly at night, knowing someone will plunge-protect us.

    2. MikeNY


      The idea amounts to a US gubmint guarantee of profit for corporations. We already have the Fed for that, sheesh!

  2. allan

    ” … attacked by 0 Iraqis and 0 Afghans and 0 Iranians …”

    … and 0 Libyans. How’s that Responsibility to Protect™ working out?

    1. craazyboy

      0 Yemens too. 0 Turkeys for that matter. 0 kurds – cause they’ve always been Allies, just like Pakistan. IMO, Palestinians aren’t all that scary an adversary. Then maybe we shoulda listened to Sadaam when he said he didn’t do it. But he’s an a-hole anyway. The world is better off without him, even ISIS, and that only cost $3 trillion. So no biggie. However, we have succeeded in warming up Russian relations. In a bad way, I mean.

      But we do have our ace in the hole. The Alliance – US_NATO_ISRAEL_SAUDI – now seems to have a clandestine organization unfettered by any artificial concepts of nation and borders. Not that those concepts ever counted for much in the lands of Sunnies and Shia. But just to help keep thing straight, like we do when referring to real cross border entities like NATO, I’ll propose that we name our invisible friends “TOMATO”. Terrorists Or Mercenaries Against Terrorists Organization.

      You can see we’ve come a long way in only 14 years!

      The happy news is Russia is proposing that US_NATO_ISRAEL_SAUDI_TOMATO join forces with RUSSIA_IRAN_ASSAD and fight the bad guys in Syria.

      With all those guys looking for the bad guys, the bad guys don’t have a snowball’s chance in Hell, IMO.

      1. john

        Did you hear the crane that crashed in Mecca was literally owned by the Bin Ladens?

        Prophetically, this is the scariest month in a long time. Recently Netanyahoo speaks to congress, a first.

        Then the pope speaks, a first, blood red moons, and the end of the 7 year Jewish agricultural (read as; economic) cycle.

        We’re on the verge of war and collapse… and eugenics.

    2. Jim Haygood

      ’14 years ago today America was attacked by 0 Iraqis and 0 Afghans and 0 Iranians….’

      … and by a simian-visaged nonentity named G. W. Bush, who classified 28 pages of the 9/11 report.

      Even as they’ve appropriated trillions in security-related spending over the past 14 years, all but a handful of KongressKlowns have never read it, and thus have no idea whether this spending is effective.

      America’s worst enemies are on the payroll of the U.S. fedgov.

      1. JerryDenim

        There’s more dis-information than information in the 9/11 report anyway. I figured that out after skimming a few sections pertaining to events which a had a small bit of first hand knowledge. The 9/11 commision and their “report” was finest example of true Washington bipartisanship I have seen before or since. The report was a collection of lies and aggregious omissions meant to guarantee no former Clinton or Bush appointee had to accept any blame or suffer any embarrassment because everyone very quickly realized there was soooo, so much to go around. The commision members were carefully selected to run a whitewash and coverup plain and simple. If there would have been any kind of a earnest investigation some of the zannier truther theories would have never taken root, but that’s what happens when it’s obvious the government is lying.

        I agreed with the sentiment and main thrust of the Engleheart piece, but he gives Bin Ladin way too much credit. I wouldn’t say Bin Ladin was a patsy, but he sure had a lot of help in high, dark, places if you ask me. I hardly think Bin Ladin was the only guy with a master plan on 9/10/2001. Way too many coincidences, far too much evidence of very advanced knowledge of pending attack fairly high up the chain of command in multiple intelligence agencies.

    3. Vatch

      0 Iraqis, 0 Iranians, 0 Libyans, quite true. The Afghan situation is a bit murkier, since the Afghan Taliban was providing a haven for al Qaeda. Later, Pakistan supposedly provided a new haven for Osama bin Laden. He was a Saudi Arabian, as were 15 of the hijackers. 2 were from the United Arab Emirates, 1 from Egypt, and 1 from Lebanon. It sure looks as though Saudi Arabia was the main enemy.

      One point of great clarity is that there was absolutely no good reason for the U.S. to attack Iraq. Plenty of bad reasons, of course — profits for Halliburton and Blackwater, for example.

  3. abynormal

    Bravo Lambert for linking The Spaniard exhibit: Einsteinian relativity, the paradoxical space where things exist in different dimensions at once.
    Salt injects the exhibit with Picasso crack: The rupture comes in the next galleries. Categories prolapse in constructed, cut, painted, assembled, and cast works that might be bas-relief, paintings, sculptures, all of the above, or none at all. You’re seeing something never seen before, yet Picasso does it with such utter clarity that you can feel the scales fall from your eyes. And even think, I could do this. Ponder the incomprehensibly influential guitars. For the first time in the history of Western sculpture, the inside, or the hollowness, of form is depicted — here, the hole of the guitar becomes an object with space and illusion all at once. Imagine Michelangelo’s David somehow also revealing chest cavity and organs flip-flopping and interfacing with the outer surfaces, seeing this beautiful boy from behind and in front at once. The guitars represent a new kind of illusion and a new realness in sculpture simultaneously, where the object comes to self-explanatory life and negative space isn’t a void anymore.

    “By amusing myself with all these games, all this nonsense, all these picture puzzles, I became famous… I am only a public entertainer who has understood his time. / The Parthenon is really only a farmyard over which someone put a roof; colonades and sculptures were added because there were people in Athens who happened to be working and wanted to express themselves. / Art is a finger up the bourgeoisie ass.” PP

      1. stefan

        There are actually a number of truly excellent sculpture shows opening in NYC this fall: Picasso at MOMA; Kongo sculpture at the Met; Japanese sculpture from the Kamakura era at Asia Society; and (if you count sculptural furniture) Wendell Castle at the MAD at Columbus Circle.

    1. craazyman

      sounds like that art critic dude needs some xanax.


      these people can get overly excited, I’ve noticed.

      sometimes a guitar is just an excuse to conjure up something metaphorical as a way to kill time. LOL. But life goes on.

      1. abynormal

        there was a youthful time i shared your point of view…then my entire being began experiencing volume, mass, color balancing and on and on. i’m still learning b/c the shared physical & psychological experiences are different for everyone…amazing really.

        “Max Lobe once told me that it took him days to recover from a museum encounter with the Spaniard: he felt bereft of talent, an obsequious courtier, inadequate, drained. I, on the other hand, always felt myself soaring, charged with his malevolent energy. I could ride his demoniacal imagination to the brightest and hottest of stars.” The Gift of Asher Lev

        this is probably my fav in the string arena:

        add a dose of צחק פרלמן while ya hop around some of The Spaniard’s work…star riding ‘)

        1. low_integer

          I like this quote. To me it points to the possibility that those who are insecure of their own worth can never truly appreciate works of art, as their experience will always be framed by their own subconcious inadequacies. I also had a quick listen to the Itzhak Perlman link, and was left with the impression that he has attained the sort of mastery that allows him to ignore certain unquestionable conventions to enhance his expression. Admittedly I am not very knowledgable in the field of classical music, but I know what I like.

  4. Ulysses

    From the Atlantic piece linked above:

    “This is where the distinction between work and a job really matters: In the wake of the financial crisis, the former is being persistently separated from the benefits that once came with the latter. On one hand, a service such as Uber liberates its workers from any single employer. But that liberation at the same time frees up Uber from the traditional responsibilities of being an employer. It is ingenious to make employment less predictable, and thus less costly, in the name of independence and choice.

    Often, the relationship between knowledge workers and the service industry that has swelled to accommodate them is mediated by the tapping of a smartphone screen. However, the two worlds clashed recently when WeWork effectively laid off most of its office cleaners—subcontractors, of course—after they tried to unionize and seek higher wages. Forced to acknowledge the needs of service workers, they demurred, instead asserting their right to outsource crucial aspects of their business. Even the most established and powerful enterprises around the world rely on contingent labor today, not just startups.”

    Not to mention the enormous problem, at least here in NYC, of completely unpaid interns! We need to find some way, fast, of granting people the peace of mind that comes from a stable job or income guarantee!!

  5. Benedict@Large

    A Smarter Way to Raise Paychecks” NYT. Direct subsidies, not a minimum wage.

    Note that the author is from the hard right Manhattan Institute, and that there is almost no empirical data available on how these “direct subsidies” actually work in the real world. What does seem obvious is that this is just another way to shift wage costs off of employers and on to the general public. Free lunch Republicanism at its best.

    1. jef

      The subsidies should be in the form of free high quality education and health care paid for by all the taxes that the big corporations are NOT paying. If I am not mistaken this is why government exists.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      There are two ways of looking at this (referring to shifting wages costs on the the general public).

      1. Government is not funded by taxes. The shift, then, is to the government, a bigger government that can print at will.

      2. Government is funded by taxes. The shift, in this case, is to the general public, or the taxpayers.

      1. Goyo Marquez

        When the Federal Government spends money into existence that is a tax. You can call it a tax in kind if that makes it clearer.

      2. Vatch

        The U.S. government is partially funded by taxes. I know, people argue that a sovereign money creating state doesn’t have to be funded by taxes. I agree. But what is possible and what is really happening aren’t the same.

    3. Ben Johannson

      Correct. Subsidy schemes like this will also lock in perpetual inequality because it preserves the continuing shift in national income to capitalists. We keep the failed regulated economy when we need a controlled economy.

  6. Ulysses

    Ralph Miliband, in the Jacobin piece, also linked above, makes this extremely important observation:

    ” For one thing, one cannot “play out time” in a situation where great changes have already occurred, which have resulted in a considerable polarization, and where the conservative forces are moving over from class struggle to class war. One can either advance or retreat — retreat into oblivion or advance to meet the challenge.

    Nor is it any good, in such a situation, to act on the presupposition that there is nothing much that can be done, since this means in effect that nothing much will be done to prepare for confrontation with the conservative forces. This leaves out of account the possibility that the best way to avoid such a confrontation — perhaps the only way — is precisely to prepare for it; and to be in as good a posture as possible to win if it does come.”

    1. ambrit

      This piece is from 1973! Talk about prophecy!
      I’m uncomfortably aware of how closely the Chilean situation of the early 70’s mirrors todays’ America. His prescription for Leftist ‘readiness’ is eerily similar to the socio-political movements in the American Colonies prior to the War of American Independence. Committees of Correspondence and Patriot Militias grew and fermented for several years before the final break. When the break was potentiated, the revolutionary infrastructure was in place to take advantage of the opportunity. Significantly, it also required intervention by a sympathetic foreign power to effect the transition. In Chile, that ‘foreign intervention’ was from America, and both murderous thugs and the ‘Chicago School’ were unleashed upon the world.
      Indulging in some “Existential Paranoia,” I can view the recent upsurge of ‘Police State’ thinking, and most importantly, institutionalization of such a world view, as a probable transitional phase from the nebulous ‘social democracy’ we have had into a more formal and malign authoritarian regime. The lessons of Allendes’ Chile are finally making sense to the American Intelligentsia. (No, that is not an oxymoron.)
      The American Empire has indulged in interventionism abroad for a century. Now those chickens are coming to the Homeland to roost. These chickens do look a lot like buzzards though.

  7. craazyboy

    “Weak U.S. consumer sentiment, tame inflation muddy Fed rate outlook Reuters”

    Yes, yes. Consumer sentiment is weak. Something else to add to the Fed’s dual mandate. Good catch Reuters. Everyone happy in London, there?

    I did find one malcontent at FT. Worth a google around the paywall to see some blasphemy in the press for a change.

    “Whether they raise or hold, central bankers are due a fall FT”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I think their dilemma is this:

      a. Commodity deflation, in oil, steel, cooper, etc.
      and, at the same time,
      b. Wages increasing (or wage inflation)

      Here, we have a falsifiable test to see which one the Fed truly cares about.

      For reference, in the last few years, we had the opposite of flat wages and commodity inflation, and it was a good time to hold rates at zero.

      1. craazyboy

        Except that the only people concerned about a quarter point interest would be highly leveraged commodity traders. For instance, oil countries are much more concerned that the oil price went from $100 to $40, and for some of them the whole country’s budget disappeared same time the $60 disappeared.

        The fallacy is believing interest rates have much to do with anything, the exception being they do enable bad financial stuff.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          That last claim of yours has been experienced by all of us, or most of us, in the last few years, to the detriment of many senior (or not so senior) savers.

          My original post has more to do with the inner fictional world in the minds of those in charge of the Fed.

          1. lord koos

            Of course they are concerned, they need that .25 raise so that the can later bring it back down to ZIRP to save the economy(TM).

  8. Furzy Mouse

    in praise of laziness….please notice most critters sleep for most of the day…to save precious energy!!..I would like to snooze more, but my mind is too active…how do we slow that down??

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      How to slow that down?

      A good question.

      Our schools should recruit the best teachers and make that subject a required one.

      Instead of teaching students to help the rich and multi-national corporations richer (working for them as programmers, analysts, researchers on, say, GMO or better fracking techniques), these are what I like to see them teach, with the goal of enriching the students’ physical, emotional and spiritual lives:

      1. What to eat to avoid killing oneself, if not immediately, over decades.
      2. How to be lazier
      3. How to commune with Nature
      4. Self-defense from brainwashing and propaganda
      5. Yoga and zazen
      6. Discover one’s unique greatness and appreciate the same in others.
      7. How to share and get along with other people and other beings.
      8. Learn that we are all connected. It’s one for all and all for one. Perhaps Single Pension Plan for all, not just this group or that group.

      1. abynormal

        [afterwards] “JOIN THE CIRCUS OF CHAOS … juggling, stilt walking, and other skills for socially acceptable procrastination.” heheeheheheee

    2. abynormal

      hint hint my Dearest Furzy: “What is a hobby anyway? Where is the line of demarcation between hobbies and ordinary normal pursuits? I have been unable to answer this question to my own satisfaction. At first blush I am tempted to conclude that a satisfactory hobby must be in large degree useless, inefficient, laborious, or irrelevant. Certainly many of our most satisfying avocations today consist of making something by hand which machines can usually make more quickly and cheaply, and sometimes better. Nevertheless I must in fairness admit that in a different age the mere fashioning of a machine might have been an excellent hobby… Today the invention of a new machine, however noteworthy to industry, would, as a hobby, be trite stuff. Perhaps we have here the real inwardness of our own question: A hobby is a defiance of the contemporary. It is an assertion of those permanent values which the momentary eddies of social evolution have contravened or overlooked. If this is true, then we may also say that every hobbyist is inherently a radical, and that his tribe is inherently a minority.

      This, however, is serious: Becoming serious is a grievous fault in hobbyists. It is an axiom that no hobby should either seek or need rational justification. To wish to do it is reason enough. To find reasons why it is useful or beneficial converts it at once from an avocation into an industry–lowers it at once to the ignominious category of an ‘exercise’ undertaken for health, power, or profit. Lifting dumbbells is not a hobby. It is a confession of subservience, not an assertion of liberty.”
      Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There

      i’m already benefiting from illuminating comments added here (sd, forehead up chin down is nothing short of a miracle)

        1. abynormal

          again…To find reasons why it is useful or beneficial converts it at once from an avocation into an industry–lowers it at once to the ignominious category of an ‘exercise’ undertaken for health, power, or profit.

          “Men have looked away from themselves and at things so long that they have come to esteem the religious, learned and civil institutions as guards of property, and they deprecate assaults on these, because they feel them to be assaults on property. They measure their esteem of each other by what each has, and not by what each is.”
          Emerson, Self-Reliance

          “Mirrors on the ceiling,
          The pink champagne on ice
          And she said ‘We are all just prisoners here, of our own device’
          And in the master’s chambers,
          They gathered for the feast
          They stab it with their steely knives,
          But they just can’t kill the beast

          Last thing I remember, I was
          Running for the door
          I had to find the passage back
          To the place I was before
          ‘Relax,’ said the night man,
          ‘We are programmed to receive.
          You can check out any time you like,
          But you can never leave …” (you know who)

  9. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Radiation cleanup bags at Fukushima.

    The article doesn’t say how tough those bags, filled with contaminated soil and grass, are.

    I hope they don’t break, but in hindsight, one wonders if they should have used something stronger than black plastic bags.

  10. abynormal

    “So I simply don’t buy the concept of “Generation X” as the “lost generation.” I see too many good kids out there, kids who are ready and willing to do the right thing, just as Jack was. Their distractions are greater, though. There’s no more simple life with simple choices for the young.”

    “I wear the black for the poor and the beaten down,
    Livin’ in the hopeless, hungry side of town,
    I wear it for the prisoner who has long paid for his crime,
    But is there because he’s a victim of the times.

    I wear the black for those who never read”
    The Essential Johnny Cash

    February 26, 1932 – September 12, 2003, thanks for the memories.

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Tax bedfellows.


    major issue is a part of the tax code that allows some managers of investment funds to be taxed at the rate of taxes on investment gains vs. the rate most Americans pay on their wages. It’s a debate that’s existed since the inception of the U.S. income tax in 1913.

    Taxes are thought of either 1. to fund the government or 2 to control inflation. Under either one, one might try to extend human economics to the rest of nature.

    An olive can seen as producing olives and making a living by earning water and fertilization as income.

    By consuming resources like water and fertilizers, it becomes part of the overall economy and its associated inflation. Should the olive tree be taxed, deducting a percentage from its water and fertilizers, to either fund the government or control inflation, if we look at the olive tree as just another ‘worker?’

    1. RabidGandhi

      And tax reason #3: to encourage or discourage certain behaviours. No small matter when looking at the possible benefits (and very feasible possibility) of a financial transaction tax.

      1. craazyboy

        The financial transaction tax was a good idea. Unfortunately, it got implemented as the spread between a HFT computer spoof bids and buy price.

        Dunno how privatizing tax collection has been going for gubmint, here. Hope all is well. Never know when they may need to bailout somebody.

  12. cwaltz

    Someone should tell the conservative op ed dude who wrote the direct subsidies article that the GOP has been trying to CUT EITC. Why in the world would you want to create a direct subsidy that you know will immediately be on the chopping block? You wouldn’t. The reason this is being proposed iss because pressure for minimum wage increases are working. My suggestion for employers is- cut your executive compensation packages and tell your shareholders that obscene profits every single year for purchasing stock ain’t gonna happen. Workers at the bottom have learned to live on less for years now. It’s time those at the top got some of the same treatment.

  13. PlutoniumKun

    Re: Saudi’s Winning the War on Shale.

    And Goldman Sachs are predicting it could go as low as $20 a barrel.

    And yet, there is a lot of evidence that various hedgie types are putting a lot of money into US tight oil, despite the clear evidence now that it cannot be produced profitably much south of $70.

    So either Wall Street and various Hedgie types know something we don’t know, or they are just about to blow a hell of a lot of money.

    My suspicion is that they have heard whispers that the US government will do ‘something’ to force the Saudi’s to cut back.

    1. Daryl

      > My suspicion is that they have heard whispers that the US government will do ‘something’ to force the Saudi’s to cut back.

      Or they just don’t think they have the stomach to keep running a $40 bil budget deficit.

      1. craazyboy

        The Saudis can go a few years (3?) before they burn up the official government surplus savings they’ve accumulated over many, many years. Then if they wanted to run up guv debt to levels like 50 -100% of Saudi GDP, they could go another 5 years or so.

        Why they would want to go that far is questionable. The accepted theory is they are trying to price US shale out of biz. If so, and if the lowest cost frackers have a breakeven cost of $70, first you’d want to rapidly destroy their balance sheet so they can no longer roll over loans. That point may actually be here already. Then you have the leeway to edge the price back up to $69 – and make them or whomever picked up the properties in a fire sale keep the oil in the ground.

        I have a suspicion that oil traders might have theories like this supporting their “go long at $40” decision. Then again Iran is the wild card and maybe the Saudis will lose control over prices. Or Exxon ends up with it all and the post bankruptcy cost is $30-$40 after wiping out all the debt.

        This is why I don’t buy an oil ETF and just want my quarter point interest rate increase.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          I’m pretty sure the Saudi’s are not trying to ‘kill’ tight oil. They know that is going too far. They simply want to send a message that you can sell as much oil as you like – up to the point where you challenge Saudi dominance in the market. If you do, they will hurt you. I think the Saudi’s will be happy to roll back once its clear that a lot of investors have lost money in US tight oil, a message will have been sent. A problem is though that I think a lot of banks and investors are pretending they aren’t hurting, simply because they don’t want to provoke a run, so we have a sort of blind mans bluff going on.

          One wild card however might be Iranian oil – attempts to reign back Saudi oil production could hit rising production elsewhere. This is one of the ironies of the oil market – low prices can actually provoke higher production, as everyone tries to maintain cash flow.

Comments are closed.