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Wednesday Open Thread

by afew Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 12:54:31 PM EST

Is this an Open Thread?


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by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 12:54:55 PM EST
Given what I paid it may not be worth the effort. :)

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sapere aude
by Number 6 on Thu Nov 1st, 2012 at 05:54:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The disappearance of the middle class...

...might just as well be referring to western civilization.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anas Nin

by Crazy Horse on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 01:00:28 PM EST
by Number 6 on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 01:21:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I call shenanigans.  We don't watch baseball with the nuclear family.  We watch football as an excuse to get away from it. :)

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 01:54:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have just walked about 4 miles and dug part of the veggie patch and now my knees are screaming.

If I weren't out drinking for the next 3 nights I'd be tempted to self-medicate

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 01:30:12 PM EST
There's a difference? ;)

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt t gmail dotcom) on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 02:09:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't often drink in the week, usually only doing so Friday and Saturday. I'll be out tomorrow, so would prefer not to booze tonight as well. It messes up my sleep

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 02:26:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Case Against Romney: At Heart, He's a Delusional One-Percenter

Every election is a choice between imperfect alternatives. I will examine both choices in turn, but the first one, Mitt Romney, has rendered the normal analytic tools useless.
[...]
Starting with the transformative first presidential debate, Romney has wafted the sweet, nostalgic scent of moderate Republicanism into the air. [...] This hopeful vision immediately runs into a wall of deductive logic. If Romney were truly planning to govern from the center, why would he leave himself so exposed to Obama's attacks that he is a plutocrat peddling warmed-over Bushonomics? [...] if he fears such a revolt now, when his base has no recourse but to withhold support and reelect Obama, he will also fear it once in office, when conservatives could oppose him without making their worst political nightmare come true as a result.
[...]
Barely any points of contact remain between party doctrine and the consensus views of economists and other experts. The party has almost no capacity to respond to the conditions and problems that actually exist in the world.
[...]
To think of Romney as torn between two poles, then, is a mistake. Both his fealty to his party and his belief in his own abilities point in the same direction: the entitlement of the superrich to govern the country.


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sapere aude
by Number 6 on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 01:32:48 PM EST
Ha, the fix is in. Too many democrats voting it seems, so Florida is throwing out absentee ballots

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 01:38:29 PM EST
Now they just need Ohio (do they still use Diebold?) and some smaller state.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!
by A swedish kind of death on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 04:21:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Found out last night that one of my favorite bands of all time, Soundgarden, got back together and has a new record out in two weeks.

It's the little things.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 01:57:11 PM EST
Ah, favourite band reformation Bad album blues. Been there, done that.

apparently Yes are still making albums  {shudder}

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 02:00:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nah, I've heard a few bits and pieces.  What I've heard so far sounds quite good.

I could listen to Chris Cornell sing the Encyclopedia though.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 02:13:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Me, watching the Sf Giants victory parade, complete with heroes past (Willie Mays, Stretch McCovey, Gaylord Perry) and present (well, the Jints), and suddenly my eyes begin to tear up. Because this was such an amazing postseason win? No. Because the Giants did it a second time in three years? no. Because they won six straight elimination games? No. Because they swept the finals? No.

Because one of the floats had a model network helicopter flying over the bay area's landmarks...

with the Golden Gate bridge leading to model windmills from the Altamont Pass, where I built the first projects so long ago. Of all the landmarks from Frisco Bay... wow.

Can you imagine my feelings?

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anas Nin

by Crazy Horse on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 02:53:00 PM EST
And Sergio Romo, who struck out the Major League's first Triple Crown winner since 1967, to end the Series for chrissake, wearing a t-shirt which reads...

I Just Look illegal

!!!

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anas Nin

by Crazy Horse on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 03:10:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]


"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anas Nin
by Crazy Horse on Thu Nov 1st, 2012 at 04:13:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So the  Labour candidate for police comissioner in my local are has been forced to pull out as he had a £20 fine for something 30 years ago, which leaves me with a choice between UKIP, Tory, Liberal, and Independent., and I bet the Independemnt is a lunatic right winger

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 02:55:20 PM EST
Urgh. Sick to death of it all.  I don't believe the Police Commissioner role should be politicised.  I know people who intend to deliberately spoil their ballot for this reason.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 05:06:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Agreed. We may not get a Joe Arpaio, but this should be a civil servant not whoever shouts the loudest about law and order.

Here's Lord Beecham (Lab - Newcastle) earlier this year: "It doesn't give power to the people. It gives an enormous amount of power to one person."

For Newcastle, the libdem candidate doesn't appear to be insane. Still as vague as the rest of them.
That just shows the problem with having a beauty contest for this job.


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sapere aude

by Number 6 on Thu Nov 1st, 2012 at 06:04:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's really hard to write a succinct, rational, White Paper when restraining oneself from throttling idiots.

Was on my daily perambulation when I saw an older gentlemen, with anti-Obama stickers stuck all over his car, walk into the Senior Citizens Center to grab a government subsidized lunch.

 

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 03:11:32 PM EST
keep your damm gummint hands of his medicare

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 03:16:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you speak with them, you'll find that each has a very carefully reasoned argument justifying why their particular government perks are necessary, and why all others are superfluous.

  • Social security: "I payed into this for 40 years."
  • Tricare: "I put my life on the line in the military for 20 years."
  • Etc.
by asdf on Thu Nov 1st, 2012 at 12:35:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm entitled. You're in need. He's a scrounger.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Nov 1st, 2012 at 03:21:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
PMQs and EU budget vote: Politics live blog | Politics | guardian.co.uk

The coalition government has suffered its first significant Commons defeat as MPs voted by 307 to 294, majority 13, to back a Tory rebel call to cut the EU budget.

The deputy political editor for the Daily Mirror, James Lyons tweets:

JamesLyons @MirrorJames

That was a proper thumping for David Cameron. So much for Sir George Young getting Tory MPs back under control.

Andrew Neil predicts further problems ahead for Cameron:

Andrew Neil

Tonight's vote suggest Cameron will have huge problem getting any EU budget increase through Commons.



It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 03:39:42 PM EST
Rial devaluation and inflation -- without the hype « Tyranny of numbers

This is pretty much what happened this summer to Iran's foreign currency market.  Iran lost about half of its supply of foreign exchange  because of sanctions, and the government decided to protect its population from the worst part of its consequences.  It abandoned the unitary exchange rate regime that had brought a decade of economic growth to the country in favor of multiple rates.  As in our example, there is a single supplier of foreign exchange -- the government -- which allocates a part of its forex to basic necessities (at 12260 rials per dollar) and sells the rest to licensed buyers in the recently set up Foreign Exchange Center (at about 25,000 rials per dollar).  It may be supplying some of its forex to the so-called free market (at widely fluctuating rates, between 30,000 and 45,000 rials per dollar) but we do not know how much, if any.  The latter price is equivalent to the price of auctioned stadium seats.  So, as in the example, calculating the rate of devaluation by dividing the rate in the free market by the previous singular rate (say 33,000/11,000, or 300%) is incorrect.

A more reasonable estimate of the extent of devaluation in Iran should take into account (at least) three rates of devaluation: the official rate (10%), the Exchange Center rate (about 200%), and the free market rate (about 300%).  But, unlike in the example, we do not know the shares of the forex going to these three markets, so even a simple weighted average of these rates is not available.  If the share of forex allocated to the three markets are o.40, o.55, and 0.05, the weighted average would be 129% (= 0.40 x 10 + 0.55 x 200 + 0.05 x 300), which is much lower than 300%.

Any devaluation over 100% is a huge shock to the economy, so the point of this exercise is not to minimize the gravity of the situation, nor to simply offer a formula to estimate size of the devaluation.  Understanding the mechanism is the important point.  If we cannot quantify the rate of devaluation, we can analyse its consequences if we have the right model.  The consequences of a single-market devaluation are very different from one that involves transition from a unitary to a multiple exchange rate system. Put this together with the fact that the government is the main supplier of forex, and you can see why hyperinflation is a misleading account of post-devaluation Iranian economy.

Note this, because when Syriza wins and Greece decides to leave the euro they will hopefully institute rationing of basic necessities and imports for their own industry. Then the price of the rest of the goods will rise and that will be claimed as proof of hyperinflation. It is even likely that the resulting "hyperinflation" will be claimed to cause the rise of Golden Dawn.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!

by A swedish kind of death on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 04:20:07 PM EST
maybe this belongs in  the Tony Bliar thread but I read an article about how he uses interns as free labour in the Guardian today.  Since he is the one who passed the minimum wage law, this looks very bad for him.  He is done.  

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012/oct/31/tony-blair-office-unpaid-interns

by stevesim on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 04:26:36 PM EST
As long as the guy doesn't use them for free sex ... it's cool.


Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot
by ATinNM on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 04:30:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
not so sure about that.  
by stevesim on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 04:33:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Perhaps hanging out with some of the richest people on the planet has made it hard for Blair to remember how it feels to struggle to make ends meet every month on a meagre wage.

But he's never had to struggle. He was privately educated and both he and Cherie were practicing lawyers, not a profession known for breadline status in UK, before he won his seat.

He doesn't give a shit and never has.  He was a conservative then and he's always been one and it shows how right wing the labour party became that he was accepted so readily.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 04:36:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Lighten up Helen.  It's hard to live on £100,000 a year.

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot
by ATinNM on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 04:43:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have to admit that I find Tony Blair is the most repulsive living person I am aware of.
by stevesim on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 04:52:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Then of course, there are the Tories...
by Bernard on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 05:28:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
no, I think they at least have their convictions.  Bliar only has love of money
by stevesim on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 05:38:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, Blair, Clinton, and the rest of the "centrist leftists" are elected because the actual leftists are too disorganized to run proper campaigns of their own. Over here, the Tea Party didn't have much trouble paring off a slice of the conservatives and getting a lot of control. Why can't labor or labour do the same thing on the left?
by asdf on Thu Nov 1st, 2012 at 12:37:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Money. the tea party had all the money they needed c/o the Kochs and were well organised by rove.

The left are poor as church mice and cannot be herded

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Nov 1st, 2012 at 03:37:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But still: where is the stringent left narrative of where we are, and where to go, and how to achieve that?
by Katrin on Thu Nov 1st, 2012 at 04:12:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nowhere I can see.

Which is why the bitching between sectors of the left annoys me.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Nov 1st, 2012 at 04:17:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The left narrative has to be economic, but it can't reference back to discredited ideas. Instead it has to reach forward. Which is why I hope people such as Keen or even here can create new ideas and make political concepts around them.

Till then we're stuck with neo conservatism

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Nov 1st, 2012 at 04:36:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The neoliberal narrative already is economic. It treats "the economy" and "the market" as agents. The economy is healthy or not. The markets won't like this or that. We need a narrative that gives agency back to humanity.
by Katrin on Thu Nov 1st, 2012 at 06:35:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Economics is the new thrology. Of course the new narrative needs to be economic. Imagine yourself in the 16th century, arguing for humanism. The arguments were theological.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 1st, 2012 at 06:40:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The arguments, yes. The centre of our narrative mustn't be the economy, though. It must be human well-being.
by Katrin on Thu Nov 1st, 2012 at 07:26:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How is that different from Romney?
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Thu Nov 1st, 2012 at 11:23:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
His smile does drive my to automatic repulsion. I hate few people more irrationally then Blair and I think his smile is the explanation. The policy wise almost identical Gordon Brown never enraged me.
by IM on Thu Nov 1st, 2012 at 03:53:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I feel the same way and many others probably.  yet people voted for him for years.  why?
by stevesim on Thu Nov 1st, 2012 at 06:20:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Because the only alternative is even worse and there are no other options.
by Katrin on Thu Nov 1st, 2012 at 06:37:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
oh,and the uk govt' just lost the vote in the House of Commons over the budget.  could this lead to a vote of non-confidence and bring down the government?
by stevesim on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 04:27:29 PM EST
Looking from the outside, I doubt it.

The Tories and Lib/Dems would be eviscerated in an election.  UK Polling Report has Labour at a 114 seat majority if an election is called.

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 04:33:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I cannot think what Shakespeare play Lib/Dems remind me of. Not quite MacBeth.

They have the choice between
a) continuing to support policies they despise
b) not being in "power."

Is "power" you don't really have and cannot use better than no power at all? Apparently, yes.


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sapere aude

by Number 6 on Thu Nov 1st, 2012 at 06:18:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A French ex-minister described the shock of losing power thus :

It's when you go to your car. You get in the back seat. And nothing happens.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Nov 1st, 2012 at 07:05:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
they may object to Cameron's policy on europe but they aren't suicidal.

Europe is peripheral to UK politics, it's not a resigning issue and will never be a confidence measure

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 04:39:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The govt wanted to freeze the EU budget, the loony fringe conservatives wanted to lower it. Labour voted with the loonies to defeat the government.

Now if Labour were smart, they would propose a deal : we vote with the govt for an INCREASE of the EU budget, along the lines of the EU Parliament budget proposal.

Not holding my breath here.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 04:51:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Now if Labour were smart...

I think I can see the problem with your idea.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 04:55:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the Communists hold the balance of power. This point was rather lost in the joy at a majority for the left for the first time ever, but is becoming interesting...

They voted down an energy law (i.e. voted with the right to defeat the government) because it was too ecologist for their taste. Now they have voted down the five-year budget program, for good reasons : they want to increase the upper income tax rate, among other things.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 05:18:40 PM EST
If yu're a UK voter sign this now

http://isupportpatspetition.blogspot.co.uk/

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 05:37:50 PM EST
Already done.

(PS. Site says the new address is http://patspetition.blogspot.co.uk/)

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sapere aude

by Number 6 on Thu Nov 1st, 2012 at 06:21:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
TED Blog: The complexities of the psychopath test: A Q&A with Jon Ronson (15 August, 2012)
It's a contradictory thing. Because on the one hand I do believe that the Robert Hare checklist really is as admirable and as scientific as psychology can ever be. From my two, three years' research in the book -- I do believe that psychopaths exist and that the nuances of their behavior can come out when somebody is trained to use the checklist. However, an awful lot of people -- and Hare himself complains about this -- an awful lot of people misuse his checklist and become power-crazed when they use his checklist. You know, I became a bit power-crazed. Parts of my talk are a cautionary tale to not do what I did -- to not start diminishing people through labels.

...

Certainly -- or three, four, five. I remember Robert Hare told me that he would give himself like a four or a five, with the top score being 40. Hare would say, "Even though it is a spectrum, there's a big difference. When you meet a high-scoring psychopath, the difference is stunning." I agree with that. So with all this talk about gray areas, I think it's important to remember that psychopaths really do exist. I'm sure of that, even though that goes against all my liberal instincts to consider everybody to basically be the same, to basically be good. That's a fundamental rock of my belief, yet some people do seem to be different.

...

If I could have made one point stronger in the talk, I would have made that point that with me it doesn't matter, because I'm not a scientist. I'm a journalist who's writing as a thoughtful cautionary tale for people. But what I went through, the way I succumbed to confirmation bias, is actually really real, and people's lives are destroyed by it. I think Robert Hare cares about his checklist and really wants it to be administered properly and it really troubles him that there's a lot of people out there who don't administer his test properly. And so I suppose the point I would have made -- and I wish I had -- is that my story happens every day in the real world in places where it really matters, where people's lives are destroyed by it.



I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 05:44:37 PM EST
No it's not global warming or the gays. Rabbi Amnon Yitzhak has the reason.
He implied that the storm was a message from God against the State of Israel's dependence on the United States, and that he had a more efficient and simple answer to all its needs. "God has no problem helping his sons, but the sons must recognize their father," he explained.
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Thu Nov 1st, 2012 at 11:31:24 AM EST
According to Yitzhak, the Americans want Israel to be "devoted to them, captured by them," and that is the reason why they have prevented the Jewish state many times from developing advanced weapons - so that it depends on their military aid.

Well, yeah. Like every other country.

Finally: Jacob and Esau?
Is he saying Israel has tricked the USA out of something for a spot of massage?


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sapere aude

by Number 6 on Thu Nov 1st, 2012 at 12:16:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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