Links 10/31/15

NASA Adds to Evidence of Mysterious Ancient Earthworks The New York Times (Chuck L)

Indonesia is burning. So why is the world looking away? George Monbiot, Guardian (PlutoniumKun). Today’s must read.

All my trash for a year fit into two plastic bags. Here’s how I did it. Washington Post

Greater than the sum of its parts Economist (martha r)

If you call it a blockchain, it’s not a single-entry system Izabella Kaminska. FT Alphaville


Hague court deals a blow to China on South China Sea claims South China Morning Post

Pettis on Chinese NPLs FT Alphaville


Greece unveils bank recapitalisation bill, vote on Saturday Reuters

Too many open issues on bank recapitalization ekathimerini

Declassified documents confirm that superpowers came dangerously close to nuclear war in 1983! failed evolution


The systemic roots of Russia’s recession Bruegel

Russia threatens Ukraine over debt repayment CNN


Obama’s “Limited” Intervention Keeps Expanding The American Conservative (resilc)

What is Russia Doing in Syria? Patrick Cockburn, Counterpunch (EM)

New allies in northern Syria don’t seem to share U.S. goals McClatchy (resilc)

U.S. to Send Special Forces to Syria Wall Street Journal. Li: “‘Advisors’. Haven’t we seen that before?”

Putin Makes Obama an Offer He Can’t Refuse Counterpunch

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Is America completely unprepared for a power grid cyberattack? PBS. William Blunden:

My connections in Pasadena just alerted me that Ted Koppel has written a book on cyber threats to the power grid. Predictable and sad. After four decades of dishing up nightly bias and distortion for his corporate paymasters he’s being rewarded. This is one of the perks of toeing the line: you get promotional blurbs from former officials (Kissinger, Alexander, Clark, etc.) and a book that ranks at #20 on amazon.

Accolades and money for selling Pentagon hype. Those who fail to compromise often end up like the editor of Ramparts magazine, Warren Hinckle. Toiling in obscurity. Or, even worse, like Danny Casolaro.

FBI spy planes flew 10 times over Freddie Gray protests: documents Reuters (EM)

NYPD Undercover “Converted” To Islam To Spy On Brooklyn College Students Gothamist (martha r)

When We Betray Our Students Corey Robin (martha r)

We Mapped the Uninsured. You’ll Notice a Pattern. New York Times


RNC Disinvites NBC From Future Debate New York Magazine

The 17-year story behind Rubio’s knockdown of Bush Washington Post

Hillary Clinton Had To Have Someone Teach Her How To Type A Smiley Face :) Huffington Post. Li: “The slideshow at the bottom is hysterical.”

While Sanders Scores Small Donors, Clinton and Bush Buoyed by Wall Street CommonDreams. Lambert: “See the quote from Camden Fine.”

Black Lives Matter activists disrupt Clinton campaign rally BBC

Clinton talks racial equality in Atlanta, at times shouting over small group of protestors Augusta Chronicle

Protesters to Hillary Clinton: ‘The Hell You Talmbout?” BET

Bernie gets interrupted by #BlackLivesMatter activists, cedes microphone
Hillary has them thrown out by security
#Hillary4Who @thisisjustaride

Obama drawn into Clinton email controversy Politico

How the GOP Bought, Rigged, Stole and Lynched the 2014 Election Common Dreams (Judy B)

Pfizer deal provokes further anger over tax inversions Financial Times

Harvard Law Library Readies Trove of Decisions for Digital Age New York Times (Deontos)

Black Injustice Tipping Point

GQ Exclusive: NBA Star Thabo Sefolosha Tells His Story of Assault by the NYPD GQ (curlydan)

University of Louisville apologizes over Hispanic Halloween costumes Reuters. EM: “Legitimately upsetting or PC-run-amok?”

Fed’s New Rule Would Ease Strain From Dying Banks New York Times

Banks face $120bn shortfall on Fed plan Financial Times

Don’t hike capital buffers too far, says Bank of England Telegraph

The SEC just made it easier for startups to raise money Business Insider. Translation: More opportunities for small investors to lose money.

New York’s ‘snarling watchdog’ seeks new master Financial Times. The irony of the headline, which voices complaints from aggrieved banksters, is that watchdogs are supposed to snarl. And bite too.

Class Warfare

Offshoring the Economy: Why the US is on the Road to the Third World Paul Craig Roberts, Counterpunch

Debt-buying industry and lax court review are burying defendants in defaults ABA Journal. Li: “Despite depressing title, good news from CFPB.”

What Would It Take to Have an Economy Full of Good Jobs Again? Atlantic

The Fed’s Wages of Grief Wall Street Journal

Antidote du jour (abynormal):

rasta halloween cat links

And a more conventional antidote as a bonus:

halloween piglets links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. Carla

    Re: “What Would It Take To Have an Economy Full of Good Jobs Again?”

    Boy, does this ever miss the boat. Since having an economy “full of good jobs” — “again,” would take bringing a complete halt to digital technology and returning to a mid-20th century level of industrial activity, it is not going to happen under any circumstances. Of course, the author makes a perfectly valid point about just whom the “good jobs” were reserved for– but since jobs are OVER, what difference does it make?

    I am waiting for the first politician in the U.S. who will admit that we’d better figure out how to structure society, and even our individual human lives, in the absence of JAWBS. And yes, I do expect to wait in vain.

    1. wbgonne

      Yes, I remember reading articles way back when technology was just beginning to make human jobs obsolete, people predicting a new freedom for human beings to become more human by engaging in pursuits that would bring spiritual and intellectual growth. Where did that imagination go? Where did our humanity go? When did we decide that being wage-slaves was part of the human condition? When did we decide that working like a dog for miserable pay until you die was freedom? This complete breakdown in imagination, IMO, is one of the consequences of turning into a nation of ideologues, mindlessly, endlessly worshipping the golden calf and treating those who don’t as dangerous heretics. As much as the real America never matched the American ideal, this is something new, this total absence of imagination and reflection. We are turning into cartoon-character machines living in our fantasy world silos.

      1. tegnost

        Yes, the tech friend discussions from last weekend were a treasure trove apparently, worried about life hacking where you have a sim world and a real world, what if you can’t figure out which world is real, need some kind of default ( me “simworld? what…) and it’s pretty much unquestioned that everyone wants a simworld. Also self driving cars, which is fine, I take public trans and don’t have to drive, and rent a fully insured car if I do. Uber and Air bnb, another widening chasm, why rent a room out when you can churn a room out? I don’t use either service but can recognize the drivers for uber in their prius’ looking sort of lost then a techie runs out of an apt building with a phone. The class divisions increase due to these services. I’ve also spent ime as the poorest member of the circle, and a rung or two up from the bottom and the very serious, when you’re not on the bottom tell you to rid yourself of those poorer friends, they’re holding you back and obviously lazy, other times it’s been me the poorest and, hey, tough love, and those people call me and I don’t answer my (dumb lg 441) phone. Tough love right back at you (case in point creative artist, thats what you do when theres nothing to do, it’s a human thing. me songwriter/musician self effacing worker bee- pride will get you fired…)so anyway that proud artist needs to go better a.) “don’t be poor”
        b.) “find a rich girlfriend”
        At the same time they’re pretty resentful of my life because I have time even though the”busy” I keep hearing about in their lives is just so much noise, mostly designed I think to shelter them from inconvenient interactions.
        Sorry for the rant but it’s just so much about toe the line or go die these days. Winter right around the corner, daylight saving ends tonight…o and by the way the “technology will make it so no one has to work” meme is still operational in spite of the obvious irony.

      2. bdy

        I agree completely, with the exception of the term idealogue. It’s far too generous to call allowing enlightened self interest to govern policy an ideology. There’s no idea there – just a base, sub-human struggle to get what you want when you want it; no reflection, criticism or analysis beyond the complexities of “me now and forever,” regardless of who gets hurt and what gets damaged. We put dogs down for that kind of behavior.

        1. JTMcPhee

          What’s “enlightened” about that “self-interest”? As a descriptor for people only a tiny minuscule set of whom have any other eventual fate than slip-sliding to that same bottom, accumulating bad karma from trying to gain traction and social and money altitude by clawing at and up the backs of even less ” successful”?

    2. Tone

      Answer #2: War.

      Hate to be a harbinger, but let’s not forget that “the good old days” of American jobs occurred during an era when the manufacturing base of the rest of the world had been decimated by war.

    3. MikeNY

      ITA. The Atlantic is asking, “what would it take to return us all to the 1950s?

      Answer: a time machine.

      The real question is what will it take for this nation to understand that everyone who works deserves to be paid a living wage. There is nothing inherently undignified or “bad” about being a barista, a janitor, produce harvester, or waitress. There is something good or bad about how we choose to regard those jobs and compensate them.

      The fault, dear Brutus, lies not in the stars…

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        When we look at it from the other side, there is only one supreme leader of the country.

        It does not matter how often mothers tell their kids, ‘if you work hard, you can be anything you want.’

        There are only so many engineering jobs for the country.

        Only so many lawyer jobs.

        Only so many banker jobs.

        Only so many janitor jobs.

        Only so many spy jobs.

        More education for more people doesn’t change those facts.

        We can all be Ph.Ds and the world will still need sewer cleaners, waiters, baby sitters, dog walkers or foot masseurs.

          1. craazyboy

            I’m not one that pins all our problems on “automation”, because I happen to know what automation is, and the “good ‘ol days” were not when we went to our jobs in the typing pool, or stuck vacuum tubes into TVs that looked like modern front loading washing machines, or had to crank the phone before dialing.

            My true fear is that I walk into McDs one day and my burger flipper is quoting Shakespeare, the french fry guy is a chemical engineer, all the register people are either CPAs or computer programmers and the manager has a Harvard MBA.

            And they all have $100k student loans to pay off with my burger money.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              “Sir, would like an ‘all the education you can get for 99 cents’ to go with your burger?”

            2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              I actually kind of like the idea that the guy serving me a Big Mac would add a few quotes from Keats so long as I knew he was earning a living wage.
              The operating theory behind the structure of the American economy right now is “get rich or die tryin'”, if you make it to the top 20% you’re OK, you’ve got health care, assets, security etc.
              But as Travis Bickle said “someday a real rain is gonna come”, as that 20% proportion becomes 10% and then 1% I think even those in the gated communities will have something very serious to think about. They can keep the serfs happy with hip hop fantasies, social mobility myth-making, and political Kabuki for a while longer, but probably not forever.

      2. wbgonne

        The real question is what will it take for this nation to understand that everyone who works deserves to be paid a living wage. There is nothing inherently undignified or “bad” about being a barista, a janitor, produce harvester, or waitress.

        Exactly so. There is dignity in work within a commercial society. But to demand that people work at jobs that do not provide enough compensation to live a decent life is nothing but a species of slavery. On a possibly related note, I have observed a marked decrease in quality of work in most day-to-day encounters. People just don’t seem to give a shit anymore. I’d guess it’s a synergy of the disrespect manifested by pitiful pay compounded by the fantasy-world existence promoted as our ideal.

    4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      What would it take to have a society full of happy people (again, or for the first time)?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I was thinking self-empowerment or self-actualization.

          Power to the people, something like that.

          1. Daryl

            It is hard to achieve these things in a society with no safety net. Not impossible, but much harder.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              It may end up like the chicken and the egg conundrum.

              I see we empower the base, that is the people, with the People’s Money, and with that, restore society’s safety net.

              One can argue the other way around, I suppose.

              1. Carla

                Yes, I think you’ve got it, the People’s Money is the safety net. But even given that, and it’s a HUGE given, how many people are emotionally, intellectually, and psychologically prepared to live their lives without the organizing principle of a JAWB ?

                It could be wonderful. But I fear it won’t be wonderful if we don’t put considerable effort into making it so…

                Freedom — such a magnificent concept! Yet how many of us are actually prepared to handle it? Yes, yes, I know. All the forces of oligarchy and evil stand between the People and Freedom.

                Yet if we just imagine those forces vanquished, can we also imagine what we would actually DO in that event?

                1. Steven D.

                  End the strong dollar policy. The dollar is way over-valued because it bolsters the value of Lloyd Blankfein’s fortune. A weaker dollar plus inflation would stem the flight of manufacturing and service jobs to low wage countries and stimulate buying by consumers. This would prime the domestic economy. It would put money in people’s pockets but threaten the oligarchs’ feelings of omnipotence

                  1. JTMcPhee

                    How do “we” get the tiny set of people who create and implement the “strong dollar policy” to “end it,” exactly?

        2. hunkerdown

          How many more times does the world need to prove messianism’s natural outcome is Tacitus’ desert-making under the pretext of peace?

    5. Brooklin Bridge

      Politicians don’t lead as a rule, rather they reflect what’s happening in their hilarious/tragic/brutal efforts to profit from it. So while we indeed need a major change in the way society thinks and behaves, particularly as regards overpopulation, climate change, and basic rights of fairness in a jobless and hyper volatile global economy, by the time one of them takes it seriously – more than just campaign mumbo jumbo – it will have been a fait accompli for some time. . . or it won’t. We are, in truth, teetering on the edge of some serious shit right now.

      1. wbgonne

        We are, in truth, teetering on the edge of some serious shit right now.

        I think we are witnesses to — and participants in — a dominant species using its defining attribute to destroy itself. Humans beings ascended the hierarchy with our brains and now we are using our brains to conjure illusions that are destroying us.

        1. different clue

          Only Modern Industrial man is doing that. Traditional cultural man wasn’t doing that, and some of them still aren’t doing that, and some of them may well survive.

    6. RabidGandhi

      Maybe there’s something I’m missing, but I’ve never understood how a country that has its infrastructure falling to pieces and which has no high speed rail (inter alias) can claim that technology has made full employment obsolete.

      The only jobs that seem to get created there are in the service industry. Yet a real economy would take the people being sloughed into waitstaff or insurance bureaucracy positions to serve the rich and instead funnel them into (unionised!) jobs building vital infrastructure for everyone.

      1. cwaltz

        Yeah, I think some people are putting the cart before the horse. I don’t think we’ve eradicated disease either. There’s lots of problems that need solutions. There just seems to be a lack of will from leadership to pay for people to work on them.

        1. Carla

          I fully agree. Plenty of work needs doing. However, no one wants to employ people to do it. Hence, any investment is going into things like self-driving cars and trucks, automated check-outs, software-writing software. Attorneys used to employ receptionists, legal secretaries, paralegals, law clerks. Now, attorneys operate with a lap-top and a cell phone. Look, Ma, no employees!

  2. rkka

    On the roots of Russia’s recession:

    “To understand the deeper causes of the current recession, we must look at the history of the Russian transition and its partial reversal. Russia was never a star reformer. Its economic transition in the 1990s was long and painful because of the complex legacy of the Soviet system (structural distortions, macroeconomic imbalances and the absence of market institutions) and because of insufficient political support for market-oriented reforms.”

    And because it was designed to destroy Russia’s industrial economy, with the intention of making it a Bananna Republic in which it is impossible to grow banannas.

    “Nevertheless, at the beginning of the new millennium, those reforms started to bear fruit.”

    Only after the Russian economy the FreeMarketDeformers had spent 8 years wrecking finally collapsed.

    ” In 1999 the Russian economy entered a phase of rapid growth on the back of increasing oil prices.”

    And because the FreeMarketDeformers had been utterly discredited by the collapse, and removed from political influence.

    ” At that time, Russia could be considered a country that had completed its basic transition agenda and managed to build a market economy based on private ownership, even if significant distortions and imperfections continued to exist.”

    Yes, and deaths were exceeding births by a million a year. I expect the author thinks that shrinking Russia’s population more would have reduced what he thinks were “…distortions and imperfections…”

    “The turning point came in 2003 with the politically motivated crackdown on the largest Russian private company, Yukos, whose assets were subsequently taken over by the state-owned Rosneft”

    It was indeed a turning point, but not in the way the author thinks. The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg France ruled in 2011 that Mr. Khodorkovsky’s conviction for tax fraud on a galactic scale was firmly grounded in evidence and testimony, and the penalties imposed fit the magnitude of the crime. Further, the dire fate of tax fraud Khodorkovsky provided an instructive example to Russia’s remaining oligarchs, and their compliance with Russia’s tax laws rose remarkably. The Russian government finally acquired a reliable revenue, and paid off the IMF and the Paris Club in full and ahead of schedule. Services to the population could now be funded, and the gap between deaths and births began to narrow, so much that immigration was able to fill it by 2009, and in 2013, births in Russia exceeded deaths for the first time since the FreeMarketDeformers took power.

    I suspect that what the author is really upset about is that Russia is no longer helpless, bankrupt, disintegrating, and dying, all of which describes Russia in the late 1990s.

    Oh, and the ECHR noted the lack of evidence supporting Mr. Khodorkovsky’s claim that his prosecution was politically motivated. I guess that eight years of ourtraged editorials in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Economist, Financial Times, and I could go on, denouncing Mr. Khodorkovsky’s prosecution as politically motivated, do not amount to a scintilla of evidence.

    “This was followed by other state takeovers in subsequent years, especially in oil and gas, financial, military and infrastructure sectors. As result, Russia started to build a sort of hybrid system heavily controlled and dominated by the state bureaucracy and the ruling elite. The tighter political and administrative grip on the economy has been accompanied by a revival of political authoritarianism.”

    And Russia is no longer helpless, bankrupt, disintegrating, and dying, much to the frustration of the Anglosphere Foreign Policy Elite & Punditocracy (AFPE&P). And they’re really furious about that!

    1. different clue

      I remember many years ago Mark Ames writing an article suggesting that the Khodorkovsky prosecution might be national-security motivated. Putin didn’t move against Khodorkovsky until Khodorkovsky was about to sell “his” oil company to Exxon-Mobil. Putin didn’t want to see Russia’s present and future oil come under Western bussiness-corporation control like that.

      1. bob

        Cargill buying big ag interest in Ukraine’s from their oligachs was/is a similar type of threat.

        The timing is dead on, much more so than with any other narrative that has been spun.

        People in that part of the world still remember “hungry”. It’s probably more important than oil, in this instance, politically.


      2. rkka

        That may be, Ames was there and well-connected, but it was also the case that Yukos was paying an order of magnitude less tax, in similar revenue, than any other major Russian oil production company.

        Yukos was selling their output to letter-box companies in domestic tax havens at a super-low price. The letter-box company would sell the oil at the market price, then transfer the funds to Yukos as a tax-free gift. So their tax fraud was particularly flagrant.

        1. different clue

          It would seem that Yukos was being very dishonest and a kind of pass through for money going one way out of Russia. What I think Ames was saying was that Khodorkovsky’s preparation to sell Yukos to Exxon imminently is the trigger which moved Yeltsin to move “right then”. There was an awful lot of other material in the article which I don’t remember after all this time. What you have noted could have been a part of what Ames wrote about.

      1. different clue

        Protective tarriffs against various things could in theory be brought back. Not against automation as such, but against differential pollution control costs, different wage-scale costs, etc. It is as simple as abrogating and withdrawing from all the Free Trade Agreements and Treaties and Organizations.

        And then preparing for all the governments of the world to attack a Revolutionary Protectionist America the same way that all the major governments attacked and invaded a Revolutionary Bolshevik USSR in its early years. We would have to expect that and try to be ready.

  3. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: University of Louisville apologizes over Hispanic Halloween costumes Reuters. EM: “Legitimately upsetting or PC-run-amok?”

    PC-run-amok. And pathetic.

    This is the kind of thing that’s going to get Donald Trump elected.

    Cancel Halloween! It’s the only “sensitive” response.

    1. Massinissa

      I really dont understand how Sombreros became racist. I mean, there were white Texans that wore sombreros.

      As a child I played with maracas sometimes. Was I racist then too? Is it racist for non hispanics to use maracas now?

      Im having a hard time understanding this controversy.

  4. abynormal

    Dr. Pretorius: Do you know who Henry Frankenstein is, and who you are?

    The Monster: Yes, I know. Made me from dead. I love dead… hate living.

    Dr. Pretorius: You are wise in your generation. We must have a long talk, and then I have an important call to make.

    Bride of Frankenstein – 1935

    1. optimader

      Timmy Geithner: Do you know who Henry Paulson is, and who you are?

      Bear Searns: Yes, I know. Made me from dead. I love dead… hate living.

      Timmy Geithner: You are wise in your generation. We must have a long talk, and then I have an important call to make.

      Bride of Frankenstein – 2008

      1. rwood

        to prove, to prove oneself
        and it is not possible to prove that for too many

        Thank you for the link!

  5. allan

    “Indonesia is burning”: The Greenpeace drone video that accompanies the article is horrifying.
    And an example of why governments are racing to control drones. Surely there are questions of safety, but the overriding concern is avoiding visuals like the video. The airspace around the Deepwater Horizon, and even far away from it in the Gulf, was closed to the press and researchers, and it had nothing to do with safety.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s like that logical fallacy, argument from authority.

      If you don’t work it through yourself, you have no way of knowing for sure (not guarantee even when you do it yourself).

      One has to, as much as possible, grow one’s own food and make one’s own things. Importing from far away places is the least genuine way of interacting with reality.

      And when your interaction stops at the exchange of money, you are even further removed from experiencing life. “Here, 3 bucks for your expresso. End of our interaction. Fifteen bucks for taking my wife to the doctor’s office. I don’t owe you anything. I paid for it already.”

  6. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The US is on the road to the Third World. Paul Craig Roberts.

    It takes a village. It’s about team effort.

    The Third World is also on the road to the US. We become one world faster that way, like the ancient tunnel on Samos. You excavate from both ends.

    It so happened that many ancient jades were done that way too and the hole looks not like a tube, but a hyperbola.

    1. different clue

      What if the US is on the road to Moldova and Belorussia and Ukraine? That seems more likely than “Third World”.

  7. Bridget

    EEEEW! Water and his left hand? I certainly hope he included some of that soap he exempted from the list of parameters. Anti bacterial soap, and lots of it. TMI TMI TMI.

    1. Chris in Paris

      Don’t knock it ’til you try it. You actually get cleaner and feel better. If he’d installed a spray nozzle next to the loo like in most places in India, he probably could have avoided using a hand.

      1. hunkerdown

        Shattaf kits (handheld bidet sprayers) can be gotten online for about the same price as a 30-pack of double-rolls of toilet paper. If one wants to defund the Kochs and their class warfare, I suggest to start with their culturally enforced consumption stream.

        1. different clue

          There must be Koch-free brands of toilet paper. And if every toilet were routed to a waterless pee-poo composting chamber, then the waste and the toilet paper would all compost together happily. It could then be fed back to soil (after being sterilized enough to satisfy people about diseases). Any CO2 generated in the composting process would go back into the air from whence it came, allowing more pulpwood trees to be grown for making more toilet paper.

          Or if marijuana were all the way legalized, then hemp could be grown for making toilet paper year after year after year.

    2. diptherio

      That’s how we do it in Nepal too, and it’s great! Not at all gross and much less irritating. And, of course, there is soap after you’re done, just like you would do anyway. I dare say it’s a more enviro-friendly way of cleaning yourself than using (as Gandhi put it in his autobiography) “a dry piece of paper.”

  8. JEHR

    Re: “All my trash for a year. . .” We live in a rural area and compost and plant a garden and still we have too much garbage. If we bought only fruits, vegetables and nuts from the farmers’ market, we could drastically reduce the trash that comes with the groceries and have a better diet to boot. However, it is difficult to convince one’s partner to try this experiment.

    Eventually we will all have to live without trash if we want to safely secure our future. That’s part of how we individually reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

    1. optimader

      Darshan Karwat is an AAAS science and technology policy fellow at the Department of Energy and a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Michigan

      Beyond the superficial BSey absurdity of the article, it serves as a illustration of a general lack of commonsense of technical PhDs, particularly certain 1st generation varieties that I have often had to deal with on projects over my career. Professionally buried like a tick in the bureaucracy of the DOE? I am shocked.
      In his “environmental sustainability triage” he seems quite proud that he has tailored a fake consumption/waste mass balance and substituted his left hand for toilet paper Exxxcellent… I sure hope he’s “wasting” a lot more water and soap instead!. I look forward to his pandering TEDx presentation

      BTW So if youre composting, how do you end up with paper products as “waste”? Concerned about “chemicals” in paper? Mulch it and bury in evergreens.

      BBTW, how do you end up with one beer bottle?? And why is it “waste”?
      Why not be less anal w/ the left hand and instead use it to crush the bottle into cullet and bury it?
      It makes an excellent permeability supplement in soil, I add crushed glass all the time.. It’s permeability properties make it a good substitute in drainage applications eg: French drains around foundations, aggregate backfill behind retaining walls. Who hasn’t seen the incorrectly installed bulging retaining wall? (That’s usually due to a buildup of hydrostatic pressure , a result of neglecting to add a layer of permeable aggregate directly behind the wall.)

  9. Theo

    Link to Common Dreams article on 2014 election doesn’t work. It has a “http” directly after org. That was true of an earlier link as well.
    And can’t find the piece on Common Dreams either under the title or under “2014 Election.”

  10. fresno dan

    There’s a pernicious meme going around in economics and social science circles, and I want to help quash it. It’s the idea that social science is an inherently ideological enterprise, and therefore researchers should incorporate value judgments into their methods.
    For example, looking at efficiency rather than some measure of welfare will lead economists to oppose redistribution taxation, which makes the economy somewhat less efficient while improving the situation of society’s worst-off. The argument was made more succinctly on the left-leaning blog Naked Capitalism, which wrote that “Economics is applied morality.”

    Huh, I didn’t know NC was left wing….
    LEFT WING….faints…

    And one point – saying your for efficiency is like saying your for law and order. I happen to be all for law and order and am outraged at the lack of law and order dealt to the financial industry on a massive and ongoing basis (or the police for that matter). But I can understand those who see the term “law and order” as a dog whistle for oppression.
    Likewise, I am all for efficiency. In an era of diminishing resources, it is foolish to be wasteful. I don’t see how an economy can function if the stupidest and corruptest skim off substantial amounts of output, cause houses that no one can truly afford to be built that deteriorate and rot away.
    Is the “efficiency” problem really a few people getting marginal increases in their minimum wages, or is it the trillions upon trillions diverted to bankers who made loans to people who they knew could not pay them back and sold financial instruments that they knew were fraudulent – wasting trillions to get millions in bonuses?

    So the fault lies neither in the law, or efficiency, as much as it lies in not seeing things truly objectively and dispassionately. You can spend your law resources taking down 13 year old girls using cell phones, or you can ignore the trillions upon trillions of theft – so which is the more efficient and which is the more lawful – and which results in a more just society???

    I would say the problem is that the country chooses more and more to be neither efficient nor lawful…

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      In Praise of Laziness has been done.

      I will put in a good word for inefficiency.

      We don’t want efficiency at making, for example, disposable spoons. Yes, more efficiency at that means more people can afford and buy them.

      Making silver spoons is inefficient by comparison. But if the government can take silver from the rich and distribute a couple of ounces to each one of us, we can all hammer out our own silver spoons and use them for many, many generations.

      Less efficient and more expensive? Yes. But better way to go? Definite, except not as good as if we can make our own golden spoons as well.

      1. different clue

        As soft and tarnishable and weak as silver spoons are? Why take “the rich’s” silver away to make such a crappy thing as silver spoons? Better to pay us all enough to where we can afford stainless steel spoons for genuine usefulness.

        “Tarnishing” is the whole point of silver. It took permanent servants to keep a bunch of silver shiny. Shiny silver was rich peoples’ way of showing off that they were so rich they could afford to keep a bunch of servants just to keep their silver shiny.

    2. RabidGandhi

      Or to amplify what you’re saying: efficiency vs welfare? How is having an impoverished workforce and an utterly unequal economy somehow efficient? Are welfare-free economies like Honduras and Haiti more efficient than welfare states like Denmark and South Korea?

      I’ve actually gotten into arguments with other pro-redistribution/”welfare” types who say I don’t see the morality of the whole thing. Fact is, we get alot farther with re-distributionist arguments when we argue for equality for efficiency’s sake than just saying “won’t somebody think of the children!”

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        We don’t want to be too efficient at extracting wealth from Nature so we can waste it.

  11. Jim Haygood

    Re: “We Mapped the Insured.” “You’ll notice a pattern,” pompously lectures the NYT. Why, yes … yes, I believe I do.

    It’s not in the first map, but in the 2013, 2014 and 2015 map sequence halfway down in the article. From 2014 to 2015, several states (among them Florida, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Montana, Arizona, Nevada and California) are visibly creeping back up in uninsured rate (violet shading) compared to last year.

    Three full paragraphs of caveats about the ‘Enroll’ data (highlighting Lambert’s often-repeated comment about the absurdity of government sponsors not collecting good data) conclude the article.

    But the pattern I see is that after a year of costly, high-deductible coverage, followed by getting whacked with an unexpected tax bill early this year, millions of victims consumers said “F*** it” and walked off the reservation.

    Obamacare is so over.

    1. JCC

      Ever-shifting… ZeroHedge has an interesting article today regarding ObamaCare and Coops

      The links like this in the above article are worth following.

      I’d be curious to know what results of personal debt increase and wealth destruction is relative to the same maps and if there is any correlation.

      1. diptherio

        Those are not actually co-ops, as defined by the ICA’s cooperative principles. In fact, “CO-OPs” in this case are an acronym for “customer owned and operated plans” (which is itself a misnomer). Despite the touchy-feely name, these plans aren’t operated as true cooperative enterprises. And plenty of us saw the writing on the wall years ago. WaPo had an article detailing how they had been, essentially, designed to fail almost from the get-go.

    2. Jim Haygood

      Oops, there go some more folks over the waterfall!

      Within the space of a week in mid-October, the number of [cooperative health insurer] failures doubled from four to eight, as state insurance regulators announced that they were closing the co-ops in Kentucky, Tennessee, Colorado and one of the two in Oregon. Last week came news that South Carolina’s co-op will be closed, followed this week by the announcement that Utah’s co-op is also being shut down.

      In sum, of the 24 Obamacare co-ops funded with federal tax dollars, one (Vermont’s) never got approval to sell coverage, a second (CoOportunity) has already been wound down, and nine more will terminate at the end of this year.

      So what is behind this, so far, 46% failure rate? To start with, the program was a Congressional exercise in not merely reinventing the wheel, but doing a bad job of it.

      State-sponsored enterprises, comrades: surely with more funding (and a portrait of 0bama posted in the entrance lobby), they can succeed. :-0

      1. hunkerdown

        Does your personal portfolio demand that you dishonestly ignore the many ways that co-ops had been handicapped so that they couldn’t compete against the private insurance sector, after the many posts here that have laid that out in great detail repeatedly, or are you just reliving the Red Scare as part of going senile?

        1. diptherio

          The latter, methinks.

          Although, to be fair, state-sponsored cooperatives don’t have the best track record, even outside the Obama(don’t)care fiasco. Co-ops work best when they are truly grassroots affairs.

  12. mycroft

    There was a lot of discussion yesterday about the unfairness of not allowing student debt to be discharged in bankruptcy court. This decision by the Congress appears to me to be an obvious recruiting tool for the military.

    A high school graduate who can’t afford to pay for college has two choices: taking on a lot of debt or spending four years in the military, at which point the military would pick up the entire cost of their college education. If student debt could be discharged in bankruptcy court, obviously the military would have to pay a lot more to get young people to join up.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      More than just the military.

      You are encouraged to get a job so you can save.

      You are encouraged to save the economy by more spending.

      The only way to keep that wheel spinning for as long as you can is to prostrate before your job, praying to the gods you don’t lose it. Basically, your boss becomes more than a master, but a god now.

    2. craazyman

      “The biggest mistake of my life”, he said, “was taking a military education”. And whenever his students and those of the neighboring Virginia Military Institute marched together, [Robert E.] Lee made a point of staying out of step.

      – Ken Burns, Civil War, Episode 9, “The Better Angels of our Nature”; Robert E. Lee, President, Washington College, Virginia, 1865-1870

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Education from any education factory is something one can hope to improve upon…if not for oneself, maybe for posterity, which, truth be told (or I am just quoting here) has not done anything for anyone yet.

  13. Daryl

    > How the GOP Bought, Rigged, Stole and Lynched the 2014 Election Common Dreams (Judy B)

    Bad link here.

  14. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Mysterious ancient earthworks.,.Khazakhstan

    Interesting article.

    I wonder about that three-limbed swastika. Maybe to related to treskelion. I wonder if I would find anything similar in my collection of ancient Chinese relics which are always full of cloud, rice grain (so they say) or some other abstract patterns.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      But scientists marvel that a nomadic population would have stayed in place for the time required to fell and lay timber for ramparts, and to dig out lake bed sediments to construct the huge mounds, originally 6 to 10 feet high and now 3 feet high and nearly 40 feet across.

      Like pottery predates agriculture.

      Specifically, Jomon pottery made by hunter-gatherers in Japan.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Everything is linked through the cult of the sun,” said Mr. Dey, who spoke in Russian via Skype through an interpreter, Shalkar Adambekov, a doctoral student at the University of Pittsburgh.

        Deity is a fairly recent (by evolutionary or geological clock) invention.

        Just because you are in awe of it and pay some attention, it doesn’t there is a cult or a deity.

        I mean, you could be in awe of Science and erect a few building with in its name, but we insist it’s not a religion with deities.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          That Big Ashutastinsky Cross – it looks like some prehistoric Siberian virus recently reported to have been unlocked by global warming.

  15. ewmayer

    Re. “All my trash for a year fit into two plastic bags. Here’s how I did it. Washington Post”

    All my trash in a typical year fits into a dozen used quart-sized paper ice cream tubs, and is nearly 100% biodegradable (exception is occasional small piece of scrap [nonrecyclable nonorganic], like ‘random blob of excess bathroom caulk’). And it’s not especially hard, just follow the standard recycle, reuse, compost recipe, along with “don’t buy non-organic shit that is nonrecyclable.”

    Downright un-American of folks like us to not do our patriotic duty to support the GDP, I realize.

  16. different clue

    “Indonesia is burning. So why is the world looking away?” Probably because Third World-o-Centric intellectuals like that Indian proFESSor stand ready to accuse the West of imperialism and colonialism and scapegoating for bringing it up. “Let the West solve the global warming problem it created before accusing US of releasing excess carbon” or some such crap. “Indonesia has a right to develop” and don’t you forget it, buster.

  17. different clue

    Perhaps the Kazakhsteppe earthworks WERE meant to be seen from the sky. Perhaps they were constructed as an offering by the Kazakhsteppians to be seen from the sky by their gods.

    1. Oregoncharles

      Something similar is suggested of the Nazca drawings in Chile. (apparently they also point to water sources in the Atacama desert.)

      A further issue: The account says there was a contemporary Neolithic village nearby. Neolithic cultures were agricultural, not nomadic, so this implies that the mounds were made by settled farming people, not hunter/gatherers, as the article suggests. The latter would be truly implausible. But extremely impressive earth and stone works (Stonehenge) are widely associated with Neolithic cultures. It’s possible the area is a bit drier than it was thousands of years ago.

      1. different clue

        A strange little thing I’ve heard about the Nazca line-makers is that their highly-advanced textile-making skills would have allowed them to make a primitive hot air “balloon” within the limits of their technology . . . if it would have occurred to them, which we don’t know/ can’t know if it did. But if it did, the Nazcars would have been able to see their own lines, and monitor progress in making them.

  18. 3.14e-9

    On the Hillary’s smiley face and the HuffPo slideshow — which indeed is very funny:

    I watched a good bit of the last five hours and was struck by how little eye contact she made with committee members. Much of this was because she was reading answers from prepared scripts, but even when she wasn’t reading from the notes, she rarely looked up. Here’s a typical exchange, starting at 2:46:00:

    BTW, that exchange was interesting. Roskam was obnoxious, but he was right that she didn’t answer his question about exactly how she “took responsibility.” If anyone was industrious enough to scrutinize all 11 hours of testimony, I suspect they’d find that her best skill was being able to match the right script to the question (thanks, of course, to staff) and, when pressed, to continue to repeat the script until the committee member’s time ran out.

Comments are closed.