Links 10/28/15

Chickens are evolving 15 TIMES faster than expected: Scientists discover the birds have developed two mutations in just 50 years Daily Mail

Thiel and Soros Invest in Bond Trading Start-Up NYT

Weak U.S. business spending plans point to slower economic growth Reuters

For Fed, a Rates Puzzle Looms WSJ

The Wrong War for Central Banking Project Syndicate

Nervous investors pay to lend to Italy FT

FDA Calls Theranos Vial ‘Uncleared Medical Device’ WSJ. Ouch.

Peer-Review Fraud — Hacking the Scientific Publication Process NEJM

The Flu Bloomberg 

Obamacare plans could be forcing people to pay extra for specialist care Los Angeles Times (allan).

Making Insider Trading Legal The New Yorker

Academia, Not Edu Planned Obsolescence

The End of the German Fairytale Der Speigel

Left Parties In Portugal Vow to Topple New Center-Right Government The Real News Network

Guatemalan President-Elect Vows to Curb Military WSJ

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

CISA Overwhelmingly Passes, 74-21 Emptywheel

Did John Brennan suck as a contractor? The CIA thinks so The Exiled


Saudi prince caught ‘with two tons of drugs’ at Lebanese airport France24. Mostly Captagon, but a smidge of cocaine.

Two Prominent Promoters Of The “Syrian Revolution” Give Up Moon of Alabama

US to step up air strikes on Isis oilfields FT

U.S. weighs special forces in Syria, helicopters in Iraq  Reuters

Syria: Russia’s peace efforts acquire gravitas  Asia Times

Rescuers scramble to reach quake-hit Pakistan, Afghan areas  AP

Northrop Grumman Wins Air Force’s Long Range Strike Bomber Contract HuffPo


I Am Fun The Onion

Everything you need to know about Wednesday’s GOP debate Politico. There’s a trope for that.

The appeal of Donald Trump and Ben Carson, explained in 38 words WaPo. Two only partially related questions about election 2016: (1) How ticked off are people, really? And (2) how many people give zero f*cks about expressing that? On the first, my guess is “Mighty ticked off,” although the reasons will vary across the political spectrum. On the second, I don’t think we know yet, although Trump, Carson, Clinton, and Sanders — that is, the current front-runners — all give zero f*cks, each in their own way. (Yes, Clinton. Shorter Clinton on privatizing her email server: “Yeah. And?”)

How Trump and Carson Benefit From the Backlash Against Corruption The Atlantic

Why Donald Trump Should Be Taken Seriously on Foreign Policy Foreign Policy

George W. Bush Was AWOL, But What’s “Truth” Got to Do With It? The Intercept

The lucrative business of crowds for hire CNN

2 political scientists have found the secret to partisanship, and it’s deeply depressing Vox

Warships sent, US ambassador called in as China bolsters Navy presence in disputed Spratly islands, after US sail-by rattles Beijing’s sovereignty claims South China Morning Post

Belated challenge to China leaves US a step behind Nikkei Asian Review

Malaysia becoming ‘police state’ as govt battles scandal: HRW Channel News Asia

Class Warfare

The more unequal the country, the more the rich rule Al Jazeera

CEO of Campbell Soup: The biggest challenge of leading an iconic food brand Fortune. Identifies four “seismic shifts.” #4: “[A] global economic realignment with a shrinking middle class in developed markets and a burgeoning middle class in emerging markets.”

Nothing Simple About Hunter-Gatherer Societies NYT

The Myth of the Disappearing Free Checking Account Credit Slips

Tech’s Harassment Problem Is Much Bigger Than This SXSW Catastrophe HuffPo

A Nudge Too Far Foreign Affairs. On behavioral economics.

It’s time to stop watching football Mathbabe

American Exceptionalism IEEE Spectrum (MF).

Retrotopia: The Scent of Ink on Paper and  Retrotopia: A Question of Subsidies The Archdruid Report

Upside of addressing climate change Martin Wolf, FT

Greenland Is Melting Away NYT

Antidote du jour:

links koala

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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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. IsabelPS

    Thank you very much for the link of Real News Network, Lambert, it is very, very interesting. One usually hears the PS version of what is going on on the left, much less the version of their partners-to-be (I say partners-to-be because this agreement on the left is far from concluded, as it is obvious from the piece but not from what the PS leadership suggests).

    1. alex morfesis

      time to replace NATO with MATO (Mediterranean Atlantic)…and let the folks in finland relearn russian since the czar would like his lands returned…because vlad raz-putin would love to return the monarchy back to a 12 time zone empire…you did notice he brought back the bones of the duke yes..??? actions speak louder than words comrade…but why worry about details…the communist manifesto was published at an address that was inside the city of london…the financial…city of london…and karl baby…the fact his funding came from the same folks who created a giant multi-national corporation….details details…I am sure Vlad the inhaler will be happy to speak german for his new subjects…

      portugal, ireland and greece are stuck behind the core of the euro…they have logistical nightmares for being inside the euro financial network…portugal is stuck behind spain…ireland stuck behind england(with a bit of water in the way of getting to europe mainland) and greece is stuck behind the balkans…these are things that get glossed over when describing “the problems” these three have…the problems is they are physically trapped…and no adjustments for their transportation dilemmaa has ever been properly discussed…

      as to the left…somebody has to drive the bus in the morning…how will the country move forward or even survive…the right is useless, so getting in bed with them is a non starter…but one can not lot live on slogan alone…

      nice piece from the RNN

      1. alex morfesis

        one can not live on slogans alone…where that “lot” thing came from…multi tasking mind bleed…

      2. IsabelPS

        Resting upon its elbows Europe lies:
        Stretching from East to West it lies at gaze,
        Romantic locks hang down accross its eyes,
        Greek, full of memories.

        The elbow on the left is tucked away;
        The right stands at an angle in its place.
        That one, where it comes down, marks Italy;
        This one marks England where it distantly
        Ends in the hand, upholder of the face.

        Its eyes, as fateful as the sphinx’s, fall
        Westward, towards the past that is to be.

        The face with gazing eyes is Portugal.

        Fernando Pessoa

    2. financial matters

      I thought this interview of Catarina Principe who is a member and spokesperson of Portugal’s Left Bloc and also a member of Germany’s Die Linke was good also.

      My understanding..

      Portugal signed their memorandum with the troika in 2011 and this was signed by the two current governing parties, the PSD/PP coalition who garnered 37% in the recent Portugal elections as well as the socialist party, the PS, which garnered 32%.

      The two parties which most represent the anti-austerity, anti neoliberal view point are the Left Bloc, BE, which got 10% of the vote and Unitary Democratic Coalition (CDU) (coalition of Communist Party, PCP, and Ecology/Green Party, PEV) which got 8%.


      Now the PS is saying they want to govern as a coalition with BE and CDU. The BE and CDU are saying, wait a minute, are you with us or against us? That is a tough call for the PS because as we saw with Greece, how well do the anti-euro, anti-NATO positions really resonate with the general public, and we’ve seen how the ECB deals with dissension.

      1. IsabelPS

        Indeed. As a matter of fact BE doubled its performance in these elections because they had almost halved it in the previous one: they were really punished at the polls because they refused to participate in the negotiation of the bailout. Of course, people might (and most probably did) change their minds when they actually suffer the full brunt of the Troika measures but in 2011 they didn’t particularly appreciate that anti position. PCP is normally not much affected by the same swings (they have a faithful electorate) but BE has always been seen as a protest party.

        I presume that it is not only PS that has a tough call: they have always been pro-euro, pro-Nato, etc, and so has been their electorate, and they know perfectly well that they can’t afford to veer very far from that. But the other two parties also have their own electorate to mind (although, in the case of BE, it is said that they must have received a lot of votes also from usual voters of PSD, too, PRESUMABLY as protest votes). It is indeed a balancing act for all of them.

  2. James Dodd

    Obamacare plans could be forcing people to pay extra for specialist care

    We had just this problem with a Humana HMOx plan in Colorado. My wife needed heart surgery, an ablation. We had an in-network heart surgeon and went to the mandated in-work hospital. Unfortunately, we find out later that none of the anesthesiologists in the network had privileges at the hospital so the anesthesiologist that the hospital assigned to her procedure balanced billed her even though she had exhausted her out-of-pocket maximum.

      1. rich

        don’t feel singled out…they’re going after everyone…

        Help Preserve Access to Complex Rehab Technologies

        Ask your members of Congress to co-sponsor this important legislation today!
        The Medicare program is planning to cut payments for complex rehab wheelchair accessories that are needed by people living with muscular dystrophy, ALS, Spinal Muscular Atrophy and other neuromuscular diseases.
        The cuts are set to take effect on January 1, 2016 and would limit access to critical accessories such as custom head support and seating systems, mounting hardware, adjustable leg rests, and specialty drive controls among other wheelchair accessories that people living with these diseases rely on each day of their lives.

        Therefore, we need your help today!

        eh, nice…humanity….it’s so yesterday.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Not to worry. They’re on it.

      ” The National Assn. of Insurance Commissioners is in the process of updating its suggested regulations to ensure health plans have sufficient networks.”

      But, as I’m sure you can understand, all that updating, suggesting, and ensuring “sufficiency” is “hard work.”

      Obamacare is just in its infancy and the “glitches” have to be worked out. After all, who could have known that a patient needs and anesthesiologist when having surgery?

          1. subgenius

            They definitely have an effect – a teacher of mine in that skillset has successfully treated heart arrhythmias in a large number of patients – many for whom ablative surgery didn’t work, or only worked for a short while (common issues)

            He was a cardiac surgeon and researcher back in China, and has extensive medical documentation of these cases (in both eastern and western terms)

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Years and years, Bill Moyers did a documentary and filmed a conscious (conversing) patient undergoing brain surgery using only acupuncture.

    2. scott


      Before Obamacare insurance companies saved money by excluding the sick from coverage. Obamacare excludes treatment from your coverage. This will only lead to more chronically ill people showing up at emergency rooms.

      1. ambrit

        I’m waiting for the “rules” to be changed to mandate that hospitals refuse to treat “the uninsured.” All in the name of efficiency, of course.

        1. neo-realist

          Don’t they do this already in a de facto way by leaving the uninsured sick on a gurney in a corner somewhere and waiting for them to die?

    3. ProNewerDeal

      James Dodd, sorry to hear about your experience. I hope your wife recovers or already has recovered from the heart surgery.

      I would imagine going through heart surgery is damn challenging enough. IMHO it is Barbaric for these Moral Monsters, the hospital, the anesthesiologist, the insurance company; to “kick you all when you are down”, adding this extra stress with this burden of fighting &/or paying this extortionist “gotcha” charge.

      This predatory faction of US physicians that engages in this behavior is disgusting, have they shredded their Hippocratic Oath? Health scientists have sown an inverse link between stress & health. Yet health bill extortion like this, is probably 1 of the most common mega-stressful man-made stresses a USian is likely to face

    4. Vatch

      I’m very sorry you have been subjected to this treatment. I’ve read about things like this before, and I wish I could provide some useful advice. You’ve probably already seen many articles about this problem, but for those who haven’t seen anything besides the article in the links today, here are a couple more:

      That this continues to happen to people is a serious scandal.

      1. meeps

        re: Obamacare plans could be forcing people to pay extra for specialist care

        It pains me to hear your stories, friends, as I am in the same, sinking boat with you. These problems deserve closer scrutiny.

        The highly touted Obamacare provision that providers can no longer refuse coverage to people with preexisting conditions is meaningless because the “reform” never addressed the following realities:

        1. That coverage would be so limited as to effectively exclude common treatments for chronic conditions. I am a type 1 diabetic on an insulin pump. The silver plan didn’t cover the pump (and since I was priced out at this level anyway, I didn’t bother pricing platinum). So, out of pocket expenses for medical devices are still 100% (on the way to a $10,000 deductible) with insurance.
        2. The type of physician that treats diabetes is an endocrinologist. Unless I should need a throat culture or something so general as can be done by a GP, visits with my physician are not going to be covered, whether I meet the high deductible or not.
        3. Specialists (like my doctor) are not taking the exchange plans because they do not provide adequate compensation. This might account for the wife of James Dodd getting a bill from the anesthesiologist even though she reached out of pocket maximums.
        4. Substantial student loan debt burdens physicians, too, with higher costs for specialists than for GPs. Future health care reforms might consider both debt forgiveness and free higher education in the health care affordability equation. Uncompensated care needs to be addressed under any health care system, whether by private insurance or via a single payer/universal/Medicare For All type of system.

        There is no question that Obamacare is increasing costs without increasing benefits. Out of pocket prices have risen, too. The crapification of coverage is a lose-lose for patients and physicians. What will motivate people to demand better?

        1. different clue

          A comprehensive mass boycott of the Obamacare plans that exterminates the insurance companies before they can get their government to change the penalty for not buying insurance from fines to prison terms.

    5. Trainreq

      Please everyone check your state balance billing laws before paying these bills. This practice with few exceptions is not legal in MOST states(47-49 depending on source). Seems the laws do not stop providers from “asking”.

      1. sam s smith

        My mother once received a bill every month for 18 months for a procedure fully covered by her insurance.

  3. Jim Haygood

    Vietnamization, comrades:

    Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said Tuesday that the U.S. will begin “direct action on the ground” against ISIS forces in Iraq and Syria, aiming to intensify pressure on the militants as progress against them remains elusive.

    “We won’t hold back from supporting capable partners in opportunistic attacks against ISIL, or conducting such missions directly whether by strikes from the air or direct action on the ground,” Carter said in testimony before the Senate Armed Services committee, using an alternative name for the militant group.

    White House deputy press secretary Eric Schultz on Tuesday said the administration has “no intention of long term ground combat”. He added that U.S. forces will continue to robustly train, advise and assist.

    Fortunately Generalissimo Obama — widely regarded as the West’s greatest military strategist since von Moltke — can start new wars with the stroke of a pen. The constitution was suspended fourteen years ago Monday, and the 535 rubber stamps in Kongress are no obstacle. Onward to national greatness!

    1. MikeNY

      Is it my imagination, or are some of the loons on the right who regularly decry Obama’s “imperial presidency” the same ones who now argue rabidly for unilateral executive escalation in Syria?

      1. andyb

        So you really believe that the two parties have different war agendas? Actually, they are exactly the same. Behind the curtain are those who seek to profit from chaos, and either R or D will do their bidding after receiving enough money to rationalize the treason.

        1. MikeNY

          So you really believe that the two parties have different war agendas?

          That wasn’t my point. My point was that the very people lambasting Obama for “going around Congress” on other issues are urging him on “go around Congress” and escalate on Syria.

    2. sid_finster

      Could the Obama administration’ real motives be any more transparent?!?

      Proposing boots on the ground in Syria (where we are NOT wanted) and Iraq (where we could not get a status of forces agreement) only AFTER the Arabs and their Russian allies put ISIS on the run?

      The real reason for this intervention is to prevent Iraq from drifting further into the Russian orbit and to prevent Assad from winning.

      1. barrisj

        Well, the kicker here is that what is being promoted for the so-called “boots-on-the-ground” response, is expansion of the present JSOC/Special Forces kidnap/assassination/extraction/drone-spotter teams already in place, and working their mojo as only trained murderers can do. Nobody is even suggesting regular Army or Marine units be rotated into combat, just a bigger emphasis on under-the-radar, opaque operations aimed at “decapitation”, coz that’s what the Murkans do best. In Iraq, much of the stay-behind forces are engaged in midnight raids and assassinations; so why not extend that form of warfare into Syria? Minimum cost, minimum visibility, minimum oversight…works for me.

  4. Christian B

    On “Chickens are evolving 15 TIMES faster than expected”;

    The chickens are evolving faster because their ENVIRONMENT is changing faster. Environmental change is usually slow but us humans, we think better, we make faster! (yes, I intended that to sound primitive).

    And if this can happen to chickens it can happen in humans (cough AUTISM cough).

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Perhaps members of the next humanoid species are already among us.

      Homo Serfus – You are born with serfdom in your DNA. It doesn’t have to be imposed by some bad guys. All the bad guys don’t have to be bad guys any more to ‘get the job done.’ There is no imposing to be done. We will be born as serfs and die as serfs.

      Unless you can afford genetic surgery to remove your serfdom genes.

      (Hopefully this plot is not already in some sci fi already, Maybe someone can write a book and make some money from it).

      1. JTMcPhee

        …and how many “genetic engineers” are writing grant proposals to DARPA, or business plans for the Vulture Capitalists to scan, that are endpoint or on the road to that effing goal that so many “freedom advocates” include in their wish lists, “tailoring” their (or the mopes’ next door) genotypes to oh, be just ANYTHING they want or want someone else to be? Re-grow the face and bones and nerves and musculature to look just like Darth Maul or the Predator, what-everrr… Perfect! Right right right!

        In a world without limits and structure, there is no meaning…

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          More science.

          (Let’s remind ourselves that there is no science without scientists, that is, fallible – or greedy, more and more, it seems – human scientists).

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Seems like no new ideas left.

          Never give up. Keep trying. One day, a new idea will run into us.

  5. rich

    Even Bernie Sanders May Underestimate Some Banks’ Size

    But banks are even bigger than Bernie Sanders may realize.

    When talking about “too big to fail,” bank lobbyists and journalists are largely silent about banks’ enormous amounts of off-balance sheet assets. The U.S. accounting standards, defined by the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, let banks exclude a significant number of items such as certain derivatives from their books. Institutions can omit them where credit, market, operational, and liquidity risks are difficult to identify. The resulting opacity forces market participants to become forensic accountants, needing to use magnifying glasses to pour through hundreds of footnotes in the hopes of piecing together the true size of a bank and its risks.

    Under U.S. GAAP, derivatives are measured on a “net” basis, which arguably undercounts the total. But international accounting standards are more stringent and more inclusive. For example, a 2013 analysis by the Milken Institute’s James R. Barth and Apanard Angkinand Prabha found that when “derivatives are calculated under” International Financial Reporting Standards “JPMorgan’s assets double to about $4 trillion.” This moves JPMorgan from the seventh largest bank to the largest globally.

    Unfortunately, new rules from the Dodd-Frank Act still allow the use of some off-balance sheet accounting. U.S. accounting rules permit corporations and banks to exclude their full derivatives’ exposures from their financial statements. They only report “fair value” changes in those derivatives over time. This is akin to a borrower disclosing only the changes in his or her debt over time rather than actual debt levels.

    For anyone who is worried about Sen. Bernie Sanders being a socialist, it’s too late: socialism is already thriving on Wall Street. Banks cannot claim that they are true free market advocates when they benefit enormously from opacity,

    and when they accepted bailouts from taxpayers who never benefited from the industry’s off-balance sheet transactions.

  6. Jim Haygood

    Oh, this is rich:

    Tony Abbott, the former prime minister of Australia, used his first major speech since his ouster last month to denounce Europe’s migration policies, warning that the continent risked “fundamentally weakening itself” through “misguided altruism” as large numbers of asylum seekers arrive.

    Mr. Abbott recommended “turning boats around, for people coming by sea; denying entry at the border, for people with no legal right to come; establishing camps for people who currently have nowhere to go.”

    Such a tough policy would “gnaw at our consciences, yet it is the only way to prevent a tide of humanity surging through Europe and quite possibly changing it forever,” he said.

    Actions have consequences. Despite massive street protests, Australia sent 2,000 troops to participate in Bush’s invasion which wrecked Iraq and, in knock-on fashion, Syria. One can hear the echo of ‘white Australia’ policy in Abbott’s speech.

    Now this twerp presumes to lecture the victims? Let Australia (which has a nasty habit of getting involved in every useless foreign war it can, including sending 7,600 troops to Vietnam) pay for the damage it did … and render John Howard to The Hague to face charges.

    1. abynormal

      a gift for you…
      ISDA SwapsInfo brings greater transparency to OTC derivatives markets. It transforms publicly available data on OTC derivatives trading volumes and exposures into information that is easy to chart, analyze and download. ISDA SwapsInfo covers the interest rate derivatives and credit default swaps markets.

      steep/drink Ginger for stomach acid intensity

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Actions have consequences…the Pacific and the Atlantic are pretty big oceans for the refugees to overcome*.

      Canada should be safe for more global adventures.

      *Though not big enough for the Solutreans according to one hypothesis.

    3. JTMcPhee

      When I was in Vietnam, the Australians were right behind the South Koreans when it came to vicious murderous grisly mayhem. Locusts or maybe army ants– Kill anything that moves, right, mate!

  7. allan

    CISA (S.754 – Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015) passed yesterday evening, 74-21,
    with the full weight of the White House and 29 Vichy Stasi Democrats. It will do close to nothing to improve cybersecurity, a lot to insulate corporations from the consequences of their under-spending on cyber, and a great deal to stove pipe raw NSA sigint into multiple domestic agencies. Now that’s a legacy.

    Curiously, CISA and its passage are almost invisible in the MSM. As of this moment, there is nothing about it on the online front pages of the NYT or WP.

    1. Vatch

      Oddly, overt trade traitor Ron Wyden voted against CISA, as did covert trade traitor Ben Cardin. Some people can’t decide whether to be villains or good guys.

  8. timbers

    As the Fed is meeting today this is what I would do it I were them:

    1). Raise interest rates to 1% with more increases to come as needed.

    2). Buy up student loan debt and announce permanent susupension of payments until further notice.

    3). Brace for market hissy fit, and wait to for data in coming months on how much Main St benefits. Adjust accordingly.

    4). Urgently urge federal government spending to stimulate economy, pointing out their is only a finite amount of student debt the Fed can buy and suspend payments on, thus this form of stimulis can not last forever.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I would just send a check to every one in the country.

      “The People’s sovereign money. It belongs to you.”

      “You don’t lack aggregate demand. You lack money to satiate your aggregate demand. No one to spend that money except you. Yes, you are the one to save the economy from not enough spending.”

      Money of the People, for the People and by the People.

      1. Chris in Paris

        What if…what if…people got the money and were momentarily ecstatic but then became so frightened of what the future held…imagining that they’d never get cash like that again and then went and invested it all in the stock market?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Then, we teach them a lesson by sending more money, until they submit and spend it all to keep the factories in China going.

          Or maybe they finally can afford the insurance deductible and see a doctor.

      1. fresno dan

        2 political scientists have found the secret to partisanship, and it’s deeply depressing Vox

        To answer the question, Abramowitz and Webster test a host of political characteristics to see what best predicts party loyalty. The real key, they found, was fear of the other party: “Regardless of the strength of their attachment to their own party, the more voters dislike the opposing party, the greater the probability that they will vote consistently for their own party’s candidates.”


        I think the republican base hates Washington republicans more than democrats hate Washington republicans. After decades of decrying government, Washington, and politicians, apparently all that advertising has had an effect upon the republican base which has discovered to their chagrin:
        1. republicans who serve are….wait for it…..continue waiting….POLITICIANS!!!
        2. republicans serve in…..Washington DC!!!!!
        3. republicans have been in charge of congress for most of the last 2, almost 3 decades.

        So if you say something often enough, it actually gets through the thick skull of the people…
        The republican establishment is shocked, SHOCKED to learn, that anyone actually thought they meant what they said….

        who would have thunk it???

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          “The more the voters dislike the opposing party…”

          Reflexively, the other party is evil…always.

          If you are for it, I must be against it.

          Automatic, every time, and don’t call me an automaton.

          1. Strangely Enough

            The first rule of Kayfabe is: the other party is why can not have nice things; that is why we must emulate, and work with, them.

          2. JTMcPhee

            “I piss on your Chevy!”

            “Waal, I piss on your Ford!”

            “Toilet paper goes back behind OVER THE TOP, GODDAMIT! HOW MANY TIMES I GOT TO TELL YOU THAT!”


  9. abynormal

    npr reported this wknd ‘Obama to halt standardized testing’…can’t find it but backed into this:
    “Over the last several days, President Obama and his outgoing education secretary, Arne Duncan, have raised mild criticism of the relentless testing regime in America’s public schools” …”In any case, the administration’s “Testing Action Plan,” released on October 24, offers nothing more than meaningless recommendations for school districts to limit the amount of time dedicated to testing and test-preparation. “While it is up to states and districts how to balance instructional time and the need for high-quality assessments,” the plan states, “we recommend that states place a cap on the percentage of instructional time students spend taking required statewide standardized assessments to ensure that no child spends more than 2 percent of her classroom time taking these tests.”
    There is no legislative mandate to reduce testing. In fact, the destructive policy is contained in both the Senate and House versions of a bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which is expected to be signed by the president by the end of the year.

    “Across the nation, standardized tests come from one of three companies: CTB McGraw Hill, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Pearson. These corporations write the tests, grade the tests, and publish the books that students use to prepare for the tests. Houghton Mifflin has a 38 percent market share, according to its press materials. In 2013, the company brought in $1.38 billion in revenue.”

    “For if you suffer your people to be ill-educated, and their manners to be corrupted from their infancy, and then punish them for those crimes to which their first education disposed them, what else is to be concluded from this, but that you first make thieves and then punish them.”
    Thomas More, Utopia

  10. Tertium Squid

    “It’s time to stop watching football”

    It’s even worse than people realize how concentrated the violence is.

    A pro football team plays 16 regular season games a year – 60 minutes each game.

    But the amount of actual ACTION in an NFL game is even slighter – guys are only knocking each other silly for 11 minutes each – less than three hours per year.

    And with offense-defense specialization, even the rare players that are on the field at every opportunity still play less than 50% of the total snaps, say five minutes per game.

    So the endeavor that ruins these guys health and scrambles their brains? 80 MINUTES PER YEAR.

    An NBA player can have up to 4000 minutes of action every year, if they played every second.

    That’s how violent football is.

    1. Uahsenaa

      While I see what you’re saying, you would also need to factor in practice time/training, which is far more substantial than on field game time, where they can play just as rough and suffer as many injuries. The difference there is that coaches/players can more easily conceal them, since they didn’t happen on national TV.

      1. Tertium Squid

        Also a lengthy preseason that is marginally less violent on individuals because starters sit more and opportunities are spread out over the whole team. There have even been proposals to do away with the preseason and add two games to the regular season. That would allow the league’s teams to consume the health of players’ youths more profitably.

        I don’t have a good sense for how much activity a typical player experiences in practice, but starting at 80, most any reasonable multiplier will still result in a miniscule number of minutes. And even the 80 minutes is the maximum available – it’s the rare player who plays 100% of his squad’s downs.

        However to your point, it is worth recognizing that a player who never gets into a game can still have terrible injuries and lingering problems as a result of strength/speed training, steroids and practice.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Any time is a good time to stop watching…and start participating in fitness oneself.

      Too much watching (of anything) is too passively not good.

      Go out and climb a tree or play with worms in the yard.

      Enjoy the sunshine or the snow. You can always say “I was there. I did it.”

    3. fresno dan

      It’s time to stop watching football Mathbabe

      I used to watch football when I was in California – due to the time differences, it was possible to see 3 full games every Sunday (way before Sunday night football).
      My mom used to say “why do you watch that – all they do is fall down”
      A few years later I concluded that my mom was correct.
      I haven’t see an entire game in 30 years.

  11. abynormal

    400-Plus Quakes Strike San Ramon in 2 Weeks: USGS
    Most of the earthquakes are occurring at a depth of about five miles underground and are too small to be felt, the USGS explained. One of the largest earthquakes in the current swarm activity was a 3.6-magnitude quake on Oct. 19.

    San Ramon, Danville and Alamo all have a history of earthquake swarms, as they sit on the Calaveras Fault. Based on other swarms, the USGS predicts this swarm may continue for several more weeks and is unlikely to be a foreshock to a larger quake.
    As for why the swarms occur?

    “We just don’t understand the structural geology of the swarms, why they turn on and shut off quickly,” Schwartz said in a previous interview. “We just don’t understand.”

    The safest place to be during an earthquake would be in a stationary store.
    George Carlin

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Venting anger/frustration frequently prevents big eruptions.

      That’s one theory.

      Maybe this is not so bad.

      Or it could be something big coming down, even with a history of swarms…because Induction.

      Basically, we don’t know.

  12. Eric Patton

    Chickens are evolving 15 TIMES faster than expected: Scientists discover the birds have developed two mutations in just 50 years

    At least the cockroaches will have company.

    the current front-runners — all give zero f*cks, each in their own way. (Yes, Clinton. Shorter Clinton on privatizing her email server: “Yeah. And?”)

    This is the only thing I respect about Clinton. If you’re going to do something, do it boldly. The more vile it is, the more boldly you should do it. She’s got balls. Like Vince Lombardi’s ground-and-pound or Chuck Daly’s pick-and-roll — you run it til they stop it, baby.

  13. Steve H.

    ” In the United States, babies are more likely to die and high schoolers are less likely to learn than their counterparts in other affluent countries. Politicians may look far and wide for evidence of American exceptionalism, but they won’t find it in the numbers, where it matters.”

    That from IEEE, electrical engineers. Has that organization ventured so deep into policy before?

    Note, too, infant mortality is a pretty solid number. While reporting is always an issue, it’s pretty well documented in developed countries. While poverty numbers can have complex variables, dead is dead, utterly simple.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      What are high schoolers learning? Anywhere in the world, not just here.

      What are they learning? How to be parts in the giant machine?

      So they can be hired? So they can survive?

      Is it possible to survive without being a cog in the machinery? Can one go to school to be enlightened, but not likely employable by the system?

      Can one divorce one’s health, well-being and happiness from getting a job guaranteed to diminish Nature?

      1. Steve H.

        A variety of contradictory things. Ibid. Yes and no. Ditto. Ditto. Yes, yes. Possibly but not necessarily necessary.

    2. participant-observer-observed

      The culture of science denial and data fudging are relevant to a standards body!

    3. low_integer

      Here is the IEEE’s code of ethics from 2006:

      We, the members of the IEEE, in recognition of the importance of our technologies in affecting the quality of life throughout the world, and in accepting a personal obligation to our profession, its members and the communities we serve, do hereby commit ourselves to the highest ethical and professional conduct and agree:
      1. To accept responsibility in making decisions consistent with the safety, health and welfare of the public, and to disclose promptly factors that might endanger the public or the environment;
      2. To avoid real or perceived conflicts of interest whenever possible, and to disclose them to affected parties when they do exist;
      3. To be honest and realistic in stating claims or estimates based on available data;
      4. To reject bribery in all its forms;
      5. To improve the understanding of technology, its appropriate application, and potential consequences;
      6. To maintain and improve our technical competence and to undertake technological tasks for others only if qualified by training or experience, or after full disclosure of pertinent limitations;
      7. To seek, accept, and offer honest criticism of technical work, to acknowledge and correct errors, and to credit properly the contributions of others;
      8. To treat fairly all persons regardless of such factors as race, religion, gender, disability, age, or national origin;
      9. To avoid injuring others, their property, reputation, or employment by false action;
      10.To assist colleagues and co-workers in their professional development and to support them in following this code of ethics.

      I am not sure if all members follow this. I would expect that some don’t, and that they are probably those who hold positions in the higher echelons of that industry’s food chain.

  14. ProNewerDeal

    fw: US Rep Tulsi Gabbard speaks on C”N”N, advocating against US supporting “moderate Sunni Rebels” / “moderate Al Q3ada” in the Syrian Civil War

    1. thefutureisowls

      Her tweet in response is just priceless:


      That’s it. That’s the full official response. She is both fun and as well has a sense of humor.

  15. rjs

    re: Weak U.S. business spending plans point to slower economic growth

    both the 0.3% decrease in equipment investment and the 35.7% decrease orders for new aircraft have undoubtedly been impacted by the failure of congress to reauthorize the Export-Import bank…there hasn’t been any financing since July 1:

  16. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The more unequal the country, the more the rich rule.

    That sounds tautological.

    Seems unlike the scale would tip the other way – one would hardly expect that the more unequal the country is, the more the poor rule.

    1. participant-observer-observed

      Non linear function?

      I think it could be true that often the revolutionaries to overthrow unequal society structures have been elites in terms of finance and education.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        That’s likely, as we don’t live in a flat-political world…that is, to get to left, one goes right…some sort of non-Euclidean political landscape.

  17. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Crowds for hire…lucrative (CNN).

    Soon, it would be cheaper to hire robot crowds.

    Perhaps even clone crowds.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      “Interesting how all your supporters look alike.”

      “I only use cheap supporters.”

    2. hunkerdown

      Getting too hard to crop out “oversize” crowds, is it. But virtual crowds are cheaper than robots as long as the few people who were physically there keep the party line.

        1. JTMcPhee

          …and there was video, too, I can’t find the version that showed what most tellingly what a bunch of suck- butt creeps our World Leaders are when not in the controlled frame, but this is cloße:

          Momentary lineup, Netanyahoo forcing his way to center stage, right on the striped line down the center of the boulevard, write your own screenplay for what-all happened in that moment of smarmy hypocrisy.

          Ain’t life grand?

  18. Inverness

    The Der Spiegel article on Germany’s image was too caught up in the the World Cup scandal. That’s what will end their “good reputation?” That is small potatoes compared to much more damaging scandals. The author would have done better to focus more on how Berlin is imposing austerity on what used to be sovereign nations. I had to laugh when she was was referred to in the article as “as law-abiding and honest as exemplary, down-to-earth… Chancellor Merkel.” Tell that to the Greeks and the Portuguese. She also told the French how to vote in the past. How down-to-earth and exemplary.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Sometimes France was told what to vote.

      Other times, sovereign tribes gave up their foreign policy sovereignty.

      It could be in Europe, or any other continent.

      No one is too exceptional in doing this. Certainly, Germany is not special.

  19. alex morfesis

    CROWDS 4 HIRE: nothing super new here…the neutertainment biz has been using crowds forever to create the illusion of interest…free food to starving actors/actresses/models in NYC to be eye candy at the window of a restaurant or cafe or bar…free drinks to stand in line for a half hour at the front of a club behind the ropes…if you have ever been to a TV show there is the applause sign, the laugh sign, and people coaching people in the background behind the camera…also…when I was a bit (ok…quite a bit) younger and was bouncing around the club/dance scene in nyc metro, there was an event at the downtown peppermint lounge on a wednesday (usuually free entry…cheap crowd), a crowd of Lonk eyelynt girls were brought in on school buses for a taping of an event…back then my hair was short and my temper shorter…so what was going to be a night with the dance floor to myself and my mates, became a staged event for Men at Work…and some band…hmmm…oh yeah…REM…and well…once in a while one might hear the live recording in NY for men at work…and then…well…you might notice some loss of the sound…that is the editing of me trying to ruin their recording since they disrupted my wednesday…although I should thank those folks,,,things had been evolving with me and someone from our crowd…we are still friends…family friends…but I am thankful that “staged” event upended my intentions that evening…she seemed so interesting back then…

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Was that the same guy at the pro-free trade rally who was at the anti-free trade event last week?

      Perhaps that was his twin brother.

      Or maybe money is money.

      No shame in putting food on the table for the kids.

  20. allan

    Nature: The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has refused to comply with lawmakers’ attempts to subpoena internal communications relating to a recent climate-change study by its scientists.

    The analysis, published in Science in June1, analyzed NOAA’s temperature records and found that global warming has continued apace in the early twenty-first century. The study contradicts previous findings — often cited by global-warming sceptics — suggesting that warming has slowed since the 1990s.

    Representative Lamar Smith, the Texas Republican who leads the House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, asked NOAA in July for the data used in the study and for any internal communications related to it. …


  21. oho

    a tidbid, was researching the debt limit draft law for something else when I came across this—

    looks like included is a provision that allows the Federal Government (and its debt collectors) to call people on their cell phone lines re. debts owed to the Federal government. Assuming that this nugget was placed by a Sallie Mae lobbyist.

    Title 3, section 301 of the draft agreement (page 10 of the pdf) re. “Debt Collection Improvements”

    1. abynormal

      38,364 people killed themselves in 2010–an average of
      105 each day.

      • Over 487,700 people with self-inflicted injuries were treated in U.S. emergency departments in 2011.

      • Suicide and self-inflicted injuries result in an estimated $41.2 billion in combined medical and work loss costs.
      These numbers underestimate this problem. Many
      people who have suicidal thoughts or make suicide
      attempts never seek services. (CDC no longer post suicide stats)
      comment: Leo Myers · Univ. of Minnesota
      Termination of life is the very essence of life; the only basis for human dignity, the source of human freedom! The capacity for life termination denies the tyranny that would enslave; it is necessary to prevent power from being the only basis for control! The dignity of life is far more important and significant than simply continuation of life! How many poor souls are condemned in our society to endure great sorrow, great pain, complete degradation of the quality of life by those who seek to enslave by indoctrination on the false precept that its is only life itself that has value… well that is very, very false!

      I am Not advocating suicide but the fact remains…tipping points are piling on.

  22. Daryl

    > Chickens are evolving 15 TIMES faster than expected: Scientists discover the birds have developed two mutations in just 50 years Daily Mail

    I think we are learning this about humans as well, very quickly, vis a vis our adaptations to different diets. (For example, the Inuit adaptation to dietary omega 3s that I believe was posted weeks earlier is only one of several adaptations that Inuits seem to have to their relatively extreme diet).

  23. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Campbell Soup

    “[A] global economic realignment with a shrinking middle class in developed markets and a burgeoning middle class in emerging markets.”

    Attempts so far to mass-move emerging markets middle class to developed markets (to reverse their shrinking middle class) have failed.

    Migrating emerging market middle class has so far refused to cooperate fully (all the way, 100%) – once they got to developed markets, they became lower class.

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