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Monday Open Thread

by Nomad Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 11:04:43 AM EST

More space for you


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Cyberly speaking, of course.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 11:38:23 AM EST
Boing Boing : If a corporations are people, do they qualify as carpool-lane passengers?
Marin's Jonathan Frieman set out driving in the carpool lane with his articles of incorporation in the passenger seat, and when he was ticketed, he offered this defense: Corporations are people, I had a corporation in the car with me, therefore I had two people in the car, and qualified for the HOV lane.


It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 12:02:35 PM EST
Boing Boing: One-armed man arrested in Belarus for clapping

The headline says it all: after the Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko passed a law making it illegal to clap (because dissidents began using applause as a form of protest), his cops began rounding up and arresting people who applauded, or stood near people who were applauding, or thought about applauding...

Anyway, once it became clear that clapping was dissent, clappers were rounded up. And like all thuggish regimes this one was not too particular about who it arrested. That included Konstantin Kaplin, who said he was convicted of "applauding in public" despite fairly conclusive evidence of innocence: he's only got one arm. "The judge read out the charges [and] the police affirmed that I was applauding," said the one-armed man. "The judge looked ashamed of herself," he said, but imposed the fine anyway.

Lukashenko is a closet Zen master. Only he can hear the sound of one hand clapping.

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

by eurogreen on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 12:11:27 PM EST
Since we're graced by the great god Boing and her consort Boing, i surface from further negotiations to drop this Lego bomb on ET.



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

by Crazy Horse on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 12:48:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Still under the weather. Sux bein' sick

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 12:24:15 PM EST
If it's the same crude I've been enjoying™ be prepared for about 3 weeks of ick and another couple of weeks of below normal energy & etc.  

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot
by ATinNM on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 12:55:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nooooo, I'm on a course in 2 weeks and have to be up and at 'em

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 02:40:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Looks like the Bush era torturer and big friend of drones is making a comback - or mabey not, as he seems to have been an advisor to Obama all along. :-(

Hagel, Brennan nominations expected Monday  - Daily Kos :: News Community Action

Administration officials say President Obama will announce two nominations today: former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense and counterterrorism adviser John O. Brennan to direct the Central Intelligence Agency. That continues, as Hunter writes, "the long tradition of Democratic presidents putting Republicans in the top Pentagon position for no clear reason.

You might remember John Brennan from 2009, when he was reported to be President Barack Obama's first choice to head up the CIA, then this:

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 12:29:34 PM EST
Heh, Dems don't believe anyone but a repug can run their wars for them properly

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 12:41:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was thinking more of Brennan. But Hagel seems to be questionable too.
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 12:42:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My brain is going.

I mis-read "Hagel" as "Hegel" and a experienced a couple of seconds of huh?

Enough of this.  Off to work.

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

by ATinNM on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 02:32:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]


"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 05:56:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
More necessity and possibility and less phenomenology of spirit?

(LOL)

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

by ATinNM on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 07:50:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
US Imperial over-reach has been a bi-partisan compromise all my life.  In the 60s and 70s it helped cause the failed states of Cambodia and Laos. In the naughts ditto to Iraq and Afghanistan.  In the teens the same seems to be happening in Pakistan (a nuclear power, remember.)

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot
by ATinNM on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 01:02:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Next episode:

Gérard Depardieu offered post of culture minister in Siberia - Telegraph

Depardieu had already fuelled a national row over his decision to leave France for tax reasons by receiving a Russian passport on Sunday and then meeting President Vladimir Putin in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

Now it transpires the actor, who recently called Russia a "great democracy", was also offered the vacant seat of minister of the republic of Mordovia, 438 miles south-east of Moscow.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 12:30:59 PM EST
Mordovia ?? Are they just making these places up ?

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 12:43:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
See here :
Depardieu to move to Mordor

Biggest employer in Mordovia is its Stalin-era gulag prison camps.

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

by eurogreen on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 12:44:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is where a Pussy Riot member - Nadezhda Tolokonnikova -  is reportedly imprisoned. Even Sacha Baron Cohen couldn't make that up...
by Bernard on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 05:27:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps he can be known as The Dark Minister of Mordor!

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 10:47:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Putin is having too much fun.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 10:48:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EDL leader Stephen Lennon jailed for passport fraud - Crime - News - London Evening Standard

The leader of the English Defence League was today jailed for 10 months after admitting using another man's passport to travel to the United States.

Stephen Lennon, 30, pleaded guilty to possession of a false identity document with improper intention, contrary to the Identity Documents Act 2010, at Southwark Crown Court.

Lennon used a passport in the name of Andrew McMaster to board a Virgin Atlantic Flight from Heathrow to New York, but was caught out after his fingerprints were taken by customs officials.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 01:26:10 PM EST
The real iPad - revolutionary 'paper' screen you can twist and bend unveiled | Mail Online
  • 10.7inch screen as thin as a sheet of paper
  • Several sheets of 'paper' can be used at one to create a virtual desktop
  • Experts claim the development could change the way we use computers

See video inside.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 02:30:02 PM EST
Joseph Stiglitz: The Post-Crisis Crises (January 7, 2012, Project Syndicate)
Some suggest that, given the economic slowdown, we should put global warming on the backburner. On the contrary, retrofitting the global economy for climate change would help to restore aggregate demand and growth.

...

Just as the Great Depression arose in part from the difficulties in moving from a rural, agrarian economy to an urban, manufacturing one, so today's problems arise partly from the need to move from manufacturing to services. New firms must be created, and modern financial markets are better at speculation and exploitation than they are at providing funds for new enterprises, especially small and medium-size companies.

Moreover, making the transition requires investments in human capital that individuals often cannot afford. Among the services that people want are health and education, two sectors in which government naturally plays an important role (owing to inherent market imperfections in these sectors and concerns about equity).



I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 03:26:18 PM EST
Krugman Op-Ed: The Big Fail (7 January, 2013)
But it all went wrong in 2010. The crisis in Greece was taken, wrongly, as a sign that all governments had better slash spending and deficits right away. Austerity became the order of the day, and supposed experts who should have known better cheered the process on, while the warnings of some (but not enough) economists that austerity would derail recovery were ignored. For example, the president of the European Central Bank confidently asserted that "the idea that austerity measures could trigger stagnation is incorrect."

Well, someone was incorrect, all right.

Of the papers presented at this meeting, probably the biggest flash came from one by Olivier Blanchard and Daniel Leigh of the International Monetary Fund. Formally, the paper represents the views only of the authors; but Mr. Blanchard, the I.M.F.'s chief economist, isn't an ordinary researcher, and the paper has been widely taken as a sign that the fund has had a major rethinking of economic policy.

For what the paper concludes is not just that austerity has a depressing effect on weak economies, but that the adverse effect is much stronger than previously believed. The premature turn to austerity, it turns out, was a terrible mistake.



I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 03:38:50 PM EST

The truth is that we've just experienced a colossal failure of economic policy -- and far too many of those responsible for that failure both retain power and refuse to learn from experience.


"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 03:45:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Meanwhile, I was just seeing an interview with a Spanish engineer and economist who has published an optimistic book on the economy, and who said that Angela Merkel should be canonised.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 03:50:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Carbonised?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 05:15:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Decarbonised.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Jan 8th, 2013 at 03:27:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Canonized? Canned is more like it, perhaps caned as well.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 10:53:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Congressman Greg Walden: Greg Walden plans to introduce bill to stop U.S. Treasury from creating trillion dollar platinum coins to pay bills and expand debt (January 7, 2013)
"Some people are in denial about the need to reduce spending and balance the budget. This scheme to mint trillion dollar platinum coins is absurd and dangerous, and would be laughable if the proponents weren't so serious about it as a solution. I'm introducing a bill to stop it in its tracks," Rep. Walden said.

"My wife and I have owned and operated a small business since 1986. When it came time to pay the bills, we couldn't just mint a coin to create more money out of thin air. We sat down and figured out how to balance the books. That's what Washington needs to do as well. My bill will take the coin scheme off the table by disallowing the Treasury to mint platinum coins as a way to pay down the debt. We must reduce spending and get our fiscal house in order," Rep. Walden said.

Within the last week, numerous media reports (example here) have suggested that the U.S. Mint could create trillion dollar platinum coins, which would then be deposited into the Federal Reserve to be used to pay the federal government's bills or avoid hitting the debt ceiling. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on the Constitution, touted the proposal last week (story here). New York Times columnist and Princeton professor Paul Krugman suggested the idea in an article as well (click here). Other leaders in Washington, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, have urged the President to raise the debt limit unilaterally without permission from Congress.

Republicans appear intent on causing the US to default, for the 3rd time in 80 years.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 03:44:31 PM EST
"My wife and I have owned and operated a small business since 1986. When it came time to pay the bills, we couldn't just mint a coin to create more money out of thin air.

Congressman Greg Walden obviously cannot grasp the concept that the government has powers not available to the individual citizen. Well, most of them.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 10:59:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But it's a narrative that works, reinforcing the difficulty most people have in grasping that concept.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Jan 8th, 2013 at 02:11:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Were newly resurrected Alan Greyson and/or others in Congress repeatedly point out that difference during TV interviews and press conferences and point out as well the difference, in so many ways, having TBTF status and being the recipient of QE money makes for organizations it will, in time, begin to undermine the narrative. It also raises the awkward issue of why some have this status and receive this boon and others don't.    

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Jan 8th, 2013 at 11:25:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Spiegel: Model Reformer in Trouble: Ireland Lobbies to Have Europe Share Banking Risk (01/07/2013)

I love Spiegel's narrative-setting...

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 04:09:57 PM EST
Slate: Leading Environmental Activist's Blunt Confession: I Was Completely Wrong To Oppose GMOs (January 3, 2013)
Lynas has changed his mind--and he's not being quiet about it. On Thursday at the Oxford Farming Conference, Lynas delivered a blunt address: He got GMOs wrong. According to the version of his remarks posted online (as yet, there's no video or transcript of the actual delivery), he opened with a bang:
I want to start with some apologies. For the record, here and upfront, I apologise for having spent several years ripping up GM crops. I am also sorry that I helped to start the anti-GM movement back in the mid 1990s, and that I thereby assisted in demonising an important technological option which can be used to benefit the environment.

As an environmentalist, and someone who believes that everyone in this world has a right to a healthy and nutritious diet of their choosing, I could not have chosen a more counter-productive path. I now regret it completely.

So I guess you'll be wondering--what happened between 1995 and now that made me not only change my mind but come here and admit it? Well, the answer is fairly simple: I discovered science, and in the process I hope I became a better environmentalist.

His honest assessment of his heretofore poor understanding of the issue continues for almost 5,000 words--and it's a must-read for anyone who has ever hesitated over conventional produce. To vilify GMOs is to be as anti-science as climate-change deniers, he says. To feed a growing world population (with an exploding middle class demanding more and better-quality food), we must take advantage of all the technology available to us, including GMOs. To insist on "natural" agriculture and livestock is to doom people to starvation, and there's no logical reason to prefer the old ways, either. Moreover, the reason why big companies dominate the industry is that anti-GMO activists and policymakers have made it too difficult for small startups to enter the field.


I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 04:18:17 PM EST
I was seeing a lot of "this proves GMOs are ok" stuff over on fb when this broke.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 05:10:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I confess irritation.  If the doofus didn't understand the science then he should have kept his *^&#%#@! mouth shut.  Oh well, whatever.

GM crops are facing declining yields as the pests evolve ways to eat 'em.  Coupled with higher seed costs for GM cultivars I'm expecting the whole thing to become moot in about 10 years.  We may, or may not, have bees in ten years ... but who cares about them?

</snark>

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

by ATinNM on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 05:28:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Moreover, the reason why big companies dominate the industry is that anti-GMO activists and policymakers have made it too difficult for small startups to enter the field.

Silly me! Here I was thinking that the reason big companies dominate the industry was intellectual property rights. Perhaps Mark Lynas will push for making such rights public domain. That might quash thoughts that he might be a newly minted GMO shill - unless evidence of a financial relationship emerged.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 11:05:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If he's making out that science has proved that GMOs are the only way to feed a growing population with "quality" food, then he'd better show that science.

(Repeat: most science on GMOs is corporate property under the seal of trade secret).

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Jan 8th, 2013 at 02:16:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
  1. There's plenty of evidence of GM contamination of normal crops - this wouldn't matter except that Monsanto will then sue you...

  2. There's no meaningful studies of the environmental impact of GM crops, particularly on the food chain. To suggest that this absence of studies makes GM crops safe to be used out in the fields is not scientific.

  3. There's already evidence of Roundup resistant weeds in GM fields in the USA. Maybe it would be "scientific" to think about resistance as a problem?
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Tue Jan 8th, 2013 at 11:57:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
make diamonds?

Tequila may be just another drink to those out in the town, but to a team of scientists in Mexico their country's native alcohol turned out to be a gem; a diamond, to be precise.

Now how weird is that?

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

by ATinNM on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 05:31:35 PM EST
Carbon is as carbon does...
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Tue Jan 8th, 2013 at 11:54:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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