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Weekend Open Thread

by DoDo Sat Feb 9th, 2013 at 10:29:08 AM EST

What's up, what's down?

I'm down. With a post-Aspirin 38.1°C(armpit) fever. At least it waited until after a busy week.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Feb 9th, 2013 at 10:36:12 AM EST
Hope ya feel better soon.  Seems a lot of nasty colds and flus going around this year.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat Feb 9th, 2013 at 10:56:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We have three right now. Swine, seasonal and a third.

Since the broad vaccination campaign against Corporate Swine flu (named not after the tortured pigs, but their US owners that escaped US regulations by moving the camps to Mexico) vaccination against seasonal flu has gone down. Because the Corporate Swines had apparently their counterpart in the Pharma sector who had sewed up contracts after the bird flu scare and now used insiders at the WHO to get the Swine flu classified as a pandemic level six, triggering those contracts. Swedens pandemic establishment had due to contracts only ten days to decide a course, and once one was set - massvaccination - turning became politically impossible. Now the vaccine was rushed and applied on a massive scale it caused narcolepsy in a small percentage of the vaccinated, mostly children. Add that Swine flu was far less deadly then the seasonal flu and sceptisism agaisnt vaccination in general has increased. Including vaccinating against the seasonal flu. Great mess all around.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sat Feb 9th, 2013 at 04:16:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Get well soon. I'm slowly surfacing after 5 weeks down

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Feb 9th, 2013 at 12:18:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Please get well quick.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Sat Feb 9th, 2013 at 01:12:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Same here, except that my thermometer measured 101 (different units) 2 days ago. It's now only slightly under 100.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sat Feb 9th, 2013 at 01:21:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Get well, all of you.
by Katrin on Sat Feb 9th, 2013 at 01:27:36 PM EST
I have discovered a great treatment for this flu -  milk with turmeric!  I was worrying about developing bronchitis and after only one glass, I feel much better.  I hope it keeps up!
by stevesim on Sat Feb 9th, 2013 at 01:54:23 PM EST
What should you take with the turmeric if you're lactose intolerant?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sat Feb 9th, 2013 at 01:56:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
good question.  I was drinking coconut milk with turmeric earlier in the week but this seems to be much more effective.
by stevesim on Sat Feb 9th, 2013 at 02:06:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Everyone knows turmeric and vodka open the gates of health.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Sat Feb 9th, 2013 at 02:27:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ah, it's true that vodka is very good -   very yang and when one is sick, one's kidney yang is usually low.
by stevesim on Sat Feb 9th, 2013 at 02:35:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't have any vodka. What about turneric and whisky? Turmeric and grappa? Turmeric and Friesengeist?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sat Feb 9th, 2013 at 03:02:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Anything but turmeric and water. It's disgusting.

sapere aude
by Number 6 on Mon Feb 11th, 2013 at 09:48:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Turmeric can, for instance, be added to the water you cook rice in (beautiful colour), and I use it in many sauces because as well as the colour there's an earthy bottom note.

As a former music producer, I like to look at a sound spectrum. And one of the tricks to achieving a tonal balance is, for instance, to make a 'hole' in the overall sound for the vocals, which means a lift at 2.5K and a corresponding dip in all the other tracks - easily done with parametric equalizers.

I use the same approach with sauces.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Feb 9th, 2013 at 06:05:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
it adds a warm colour and flavour to gravies, makes hem taste a bit curry-ish without going the whole 9 yards.

it's milder than ginger or cayenne, about the strength of cumin flavour-wise.

half teaspoon in a pot of white rice gives it an an appealingly vibrant orangey-ochre colour.

people cap up the powder and take it like medicine.

maybe google turmeric recipes... there are scads.

just get it inya anywhichway!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Feb 9th, 2013 at 06:14:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What if you only have access to powdered turmeric ?

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Feb 9th, 2013 at 01:57:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
add 1 teaspoon to a glass of milk and drink between meals 2-3 times a day.
by stevesim on Sat Feb 9th, 2013 at 02:05:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm still of the school that says milk is for calves. Put turmeric in ANYTHING and eat or drink it... I'd suggest turmeric and honey and lemon juice, myself.

'tis strange I should be old and neither wise nor valiant. From "The Maid's Tragedy" by Beaumont & Fletcher
by Wife of Bath (kareninaustin at g mail dot com) on Sat Feb 9th, 2013 at 03:48:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just add it to sauces.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Feb 9th, 2013 at 06:06:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Business Insider: George Will Writes Terribly Ignorant Argument In Favor Balanced Budget Amendment (February 9, 2013)
What's interesting is the fact that the most basic reason to oppose this idea -- that it would demolish the economy -- isn't even well understood by the BBA's proponents, who only see minor technical reasons (there'd be loopholes!) to oppose.

It'd be fine if George Will and everyone else wanted to say that the above analysis is wrong, and that the economy would be just fine if it had to balance the budget every year. That'd be a fine to debate to have. But at least be aware that this is the main issue.

This problem isn't confined to just Will.

The same ignorance was seen when Joe Scarborough wrote about how Paul Krugman was all alone in thinking that the deficit was not an urgent issue, which was just untrue. Lots of people agree with Paul Krugman on the question.

Clearly in DC, the deficit debate is so one-sided, that many people aren't even aware there are counter-arguments or people who could be opposed, for economic reasons, the wisdom of shrinking the deficit.

And not just in DC... Europe is like that, too.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Feb 10th, 2013 at 06:03:45 AM EST

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Feb 10th, 2013 at 01:52:44 PM EST
Sorry for the lack of a beer bar post. I've had a setback weekend and haven't been up to it.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Feb 10th, 2013 at 01:56:40 PM EST
Well, I hope you're better soon.
by stevesim on Sun Feb 10th, 2013 at 02:28:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Sun Feb 10th, 2013 at 03:33:36 PM EST
EU Inside: European Commission: EU Railways Are in an Inexorable Decline (8 February 2013)
"Europe's railways are approaching a very important junction", said on January 30th Siim Kallas, vice president of the European Commission responsible for transport. They are facing the perspective of stagnation and decline or taking efficient decisions for restructuring of the markets with the aim to encourage innovation and increasing the quality of service. Probably another "package" (fourth in a row) of the Commission is not such an encouraging news for countries like Bulgaria, Spain and Portugal which, regretfully, are moving downward after the junction. In other words - the direction where European railways are headed, the Bulgarians can welcome them there as hosts.

For years in many member states under-investments have created a vicious circle - deterioration of infrastructure and rolling stock (locomotives, passenger carriages and rail motors), which makes railway transport non-attractive, therefore leading again to loss of interest for investments. But it is essential for the functioning of the EU economy, with turnover of 73 billion euros, which is 65% of the turnover of air transport, and ensures employment for some 800 000 people. Railways have a 10% share in the overall freight traffic in Europe with revenues of 13 billion euros, while the number of passenger trips for 12 months is more than 8 billion.


The new proposals of the Commission are focused on several weak spots in the current practise: bureaucracy, bad management of infrastructure, uncompetitive access to markets for passenger transport and quality of services.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Feb 10th, 2013 at 03:47:18 PM EST
(Late reply due to ill health)

Well in a comment I can only regurgitate stuff I wrote several times, but given that Kallas does the same...

Whatever the depth of the analysis, the recipe always ends up the same: the market solves everything.  In a part regarding which I'm not sure if it paraphrased Kallas or not, the article discussed one key issue: the decades-long under-investment. And what is lacking among the measures? That's right: new investment to supplement what has been denied.

Of course, any PwC analyst or Adam Smith Institute alumni will tell our leaders with reassuring confidence that more competition results in more new market participants which results in more private capital influx from financial markets. And if reality looks quite different (the bigger/more healthy old state railways buy up privatised ones in other countries and the financially too weak new entrants, private companies seek to socialise losses in public-private partnerships, the financial market ask for a much higher risk premium and thus counter eventual savings due to efficiency with increased financial costs, for-profit train operators [whether their owners are public or private] exploit unbundling by seeking to externalise costs to infrastructure management and via the latter further to subsidized passenger transport, services are eliminated as a way to prepare for future competition or privatisation, etc.), then the recipe is always more market.

But, the rail sector doesn't exist in a vacuum: it is just a part of the transport market. So it is senseless and somewhat disingenuous to speak about it in isolation. While railways were starved of investment, billions were poured into other modes, which also meant that those were made more competitive. Actually, in most EU members, this is still the case. Yet Kallas & co act as if railways had some innate problem, rather than recognise the effects of a government intervention into the economy (even if that government intervention wasn't or isn't any more one following a strategic policy, more one with an inertia where say building roads is the best way to get noticed with the electorate and give contracts to friendly businesses).

Now for some nitpicking. I wouldn't say that EU railways are in an inexorable decline: some are some aren't, even among the countries under the austerity dictate (rails in Italy, Spain and Ireland didn't see a disaster on par with that in Greece and Portugal). There definitely has been major investment into rolling stock in the last decade and half, so the glass is quarter-full. But the situation should certainly appear dire when seen from Bulgaria, where AFAIK successive governments saw EU-suggested privatisation as a way to get rid of the most toxic part of the severely under-funded railway but the Commission stopped their particular privatisation idea.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Feb 13th, 2013 at 07:29:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EU Inside: Roucek: Croatia Does not Need a Post-Accession Monitoring Mechanism (7 February 2013)
Croatia's rapporteur in the European Parliament Libor Rouček (Socialists & Democrats, Czech Republic) is convinced that the country does not need a post-accession monitoring mechanism, similar to that imposed on Bulgaria and Romania in 2007. The reason, according to him, is that Croatia is fully prepared for EU membership, if, of course, it does its homework. In an interview with euinside, Mr Rouček disagreed with the proposed amendment to his draft resolution on Croatia's progress for EU membership by his colleague Monica Macovei (EPP, Romania). She proposes for Croatia to be introduced a post-accession monitoring mechanism because she believes corruption remains a serious problem in the country.

According to Ms Macovei, the mechanism should monitor the Croatian efforts in the fight against conflict of interest, corruption and organised crime, as well as the implementation of the reforms plan in the judiciary. In other words, precisely the same mechanism which was the pre-condition for Bulgaria's and Romania's accession in the EU on January 1st 2007, instead when they are ready with the reforms. But Libor Rouček is of the opinion that with every enlargement wave, the candidates are better prepared because of the experience and because more specific problems are addressed. Croatia is much better prepared for EU membership than some countries from the big bang enlargement in 2004 or compared to Greece 30 years ago.


Theoretically, it is possible Croatia not to succeed joining in time because of problems with ratification. So far, only in three member states the ratification procedure has not started yet. Those are Denmark, Germany and Slovenia. The latter is the biggest obstacle for the ratification process because it has put pre-conditions to initiate the procedure - solving the issue with the failed Yugoslav Ljubljanska banka. Currently, the top diplomats of the two countries - Vesna Pusic and Karl Erjavec - are holding a series of meetings together with the special financial experts, appointed by the governments in Zagreb and Ljubljana, to find an expert solution. The last meeting ended on February 6th after marathon negotiations in Slovenia, after which the two ministers announced that they have found a solution but they refused to name it before the prime ministers of the two countries - Zoran Milanovic and Janez Jansa - have approved it.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Feb 10th, 2013 at 03:49:41 PM EST
Grat Leap Forward blog: MMT, THE EURO, AND THE ROAD TO RECOVERY: Interview with L. Randall Wray (conducted by CJ Polychroniou for the Greek national financial daily Express)
Q: You were a student of Hyman Minsky. Was Minsky's view on banks based on MMT principles?

A: Here's the funny thing. In 1996 when I was finishing up the UMM book, I mentioned the prospective title to Minsky. He raised an eyebrow. I talked about "taxes drive money" and the "employer of last resort". Eyebrow was raised again, but he didn't say anything.

I did recall that when I was his student, he had talked about taxes giving value to the currency. And in his 1986 Stabilizing an Unstable Economy book there are two direct references to this: (p. 55-56) "The value of Federal Reserve liabilities is based on the existence of substantial taxes, which must be paid in Federal Reserve liabilities to the government's account at the Federal Reserve. As long the federal government is an effective taxing authority, as long as a major part of government expenditures are financed by taxes, and as long as the government `banks' at the Federal Reserve, conditions cannot arise in which the Federal Reserve liabilities no longer function as money"; and (p. 258) "In an economy where government debt is a major asset on the books of the deposit-issuing banks, the fact that taxes need to be paid gives value to the money of the economy".

So he's got both Federal Reserve "money" and private bank "money" driven by taxes. You cannot get clearer than that. What I didn't know in 1996 was that Minsky had actually started a new book in 1989 with a working title of "Modern Money"! During the period 1991-93 he detailed how modern financial systems work as he continued to work on the book manuscript. And, he had written tons on the employer of last resort approach to ending unemployment and poverty back in the 1960s and early 1970s--including yet another unfinished manuscript. Unfortunately, he died later that year so I never got to talk to him about all of this, and only found all the manuscripts a few years later as we started to put his archives together at the Levy Institute. We are working at getting his drafts out. Stay tuned because it is tremendous stuff. He blows away any other post WWII thinker, in my opinion. He is the giant on whose shoulders we should stand.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Feb 10th, 2013 at 04:05:20 PM EST

Cut and not actually broadcast. One is tempted to think that was because of bad taste, but it is SNL, after all.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Feb 11th, 2013 at 01:51:10 AM EST

No, I don't understand why it wasn't broadcast.

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

by eurogreen on Mon Feb 11th, 2013 at 04:06:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"And for a smaller minority among those individuals, elements of the skit could play into the worst kind of ideas, even reinforcing pernicious notions of Jewish control of government in the vein of those routinely espoused by anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists and anti-Semites by suggesting that U.S. officials would even engage in public sex acts if asked to do so by Israel."
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Feb 12th, 2013 at 01:46:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So with the pope resigning, do we have to start another petition in case Tony's feeling he wants the job?

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 Feb 11th, 2013 at 09:31:54 AM EST
Surely he's aiming a bit higher. Waiting for the top job in that department to become free ...

sapere aude
by Number 6 on Mon Feb 11th, 2013 at 09:54:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We don't have to look after everything, do we?
by Katrin on Mon Feb 11th, 2013 at 02:01:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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