Links 10/21/13

Science Daily

The Australian (skippy)

FT

Times

FT

Economic Populist

Charles Simic, NYRB (SW)

Econbrowser

St. Louis Fed

Brad DeLong

ObamaCare Rollout

Reuters. I’ve helpfully underlined the lawyerly parsing of words:

“The president will directly address the technical problems with HealthCare.gov – troubles that he and his team find unacceptable – and discuss the actions he has pushed for to make it easier for consumers to comparison shop and enroll for insurance while work continues around the clock to improve the website,” a White House official said on Sunday.

Bloomberg. violation? (“Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later.”) Note headline’s implicit synecdoche: Exchanges stand in for ObamaCare as such. Exactly what administration PR does not want.

HHS.gov (marym). Scanning the text, note the language of war: “Surge” (Iraq; Afghanistan) and “best and brightest” ( (!)). That doesn’t bode well for the project (those wars all have something in common) and speaks poorly of the self-awareness and/or historical groundedness of whoever crafted this public relations effort.

WaPo. Backend problems: “The Web site sometimes gives inaccurate information about the federal tax credits that will help most people pay for a health plan, they say. And it sometimes erroneously tells low-income people that they are not eligible for Medicaid.”

Times. Backend problems:

Indeed, several said, the login problems, though vexing to consumers, may be the easiest to solve. One specialist said that as many as five million lines of software code may need to be rewritten before the Web site runs properly.

“The account creation and registration problems are masking the problems that will happen later,” said one person involved in the repair effort.

A part of the system, hidden from users [the backend], draws data from several federal and state databases to determine if consumers qualify for coverage and then calculates the subsidies for which they may be eligible. Another part of the [backend] system sends enrollment data to insurers. Several people involved in the project say that problems like those of the last three weeks are not uncommon when software from several companies is combined into a large, complex system.

KHN. Oddly, privatization isn’t mentioned.

KevinMD. Obama’s a big fan of EMRs, which tells you all you need to know.

Big Brother Is Watching Watch

Der Spiegel

EPIC

Reuters

WaPo

Truthout

Times

Power of Narrative

Reuters

FT. “In the past two years, the Tea Party has converted Mr Obama’s fiscal stimulus into a sharp budgetary contraction – a key aim of the movement. It might be wrong-headed. But its success hardly qualifies it as stupid.”

The Daily Howler

(carbon only) International Forum on Globalization

Crooked Timber

  Mischiefs of Faction. Top two primaries do not depolarize. (Although they do reinforce the two-party duopoly).

Political Violence @ a Glance

WaPo

KevinMD. Every given Sunday…. 

SCOTUSblog

Aquadoc

High Arka

The New Enquiry. DSM-V.

Truthout

Antidote du jour:

snow_leopards

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.

93 comments

  1. Jim Haygood

    ‘Scanning the text, note the language of war: “Surge” (Iraq; Afghanistan) and “best and brightest” (Vietnam (!)). That doesn’t bode well for the project (those wars all have something in common) and speaks poorly of the self-awareness and/or historical groundedness of whoever crafted this public relations effort.’

    Nailed it!

    Does Barry O. actually think his ‘surge’ which tripled U.S. troops in Afghanistan was some kind of success? Last I heard, the U.S. is bailing out next year and leaving the bankrupt, ungovernable country to its unhappy fate.

    If one considers the history of fedgov social wars — the war on alcohol (prohibition); the war on poverty; the war on drugs — then the invocation of war metaphors for Obamacare implies an endless, Sisyphean struggle in which victory is ever-elusive, by design.

    Remember, the best way to bring down O-care isn’t by b*tching to your KongressKlown. Rather, help your poorest, sickest Boomer neighbors grind through the hopeless healthcare.gov site, or call the backup phone line for them, or drive them to a finger-food-and-champagne Navigators healthcare/tupperware party in your area.

    Adverse selection will make O-care choke on its own vomit and die, since young adults (accustomed to one-click convenience on their smart phones) ain’t going anywhere Webmaster Barry’s health site, that reeks of formaldehyde and Geritol and government-troop boots on the ground.

  2. Ned Ludd

    Barton Gellman, who has reported on the NSA documents for The Washington Post, posted a link to this article on his timeline: “From Dissident Gold to Imperial Dross: The Neutering of the NSA Archives”.

    What we want – as our custodians have repeatedly declared – is to have our carefully vetted revelations provoke a debate that will lead to reform.

    But “reform” of what? Reform of the very system that has produced these egregious abuses and capital crimes in the first place. ‘Reform’ which accepts the premises of imperial power, but simply wishes for a more tasteful, “transparent” application of them, with more “oversight” from the power structure. Such “reform” — which, notes, buys into the basic premises of authoritarianism — can never be anything other than cosmetic. The result will be what we have already seen with murder, torture and mass surveillance: a “legitimization” of state crimes, and their retrospective justification and entrenchment.

    Andrea Shepard, one of the developers of Tor, wrote: “That’s exactly the right analogy: we’re now ‘having a debate’ about #NSA instead of condemning, just like torture.”

    Gellman followed up with a comment directed at Chris Floyd, the author of the article: “May not disagree as much as you think. (Sure, some places we do.) Wouldn’t tweet your piece if I didnt think worth reading.”

    1. anon y'mouse

      I leaned Silber’s way from the beginning. that entire thing and the way it went down stank from beginning to end, and still does.

      I just hope that Snowden is getting treated like a pasha in KGB land, because he’s either the King of the Bean or a paid provocateur. if the former, well…you know. if the latter, he’ll be like that Secret Agent Man that was ‘detained’ in Columbia recently and then quietly let loose after a few phone calls.

    2. anon y'mouse

      “But then — well, not much happened. Stories based on the NSA documents appeared at intervals — often rather lengthy intervals — and always from the same sources, in the same dry, dense, Establishment style, interspersed with relentless counterblasts from the power structure — and, always, mixed in with the million other bright, shiny things that pop and flash and draw the eye on the hyperactive screens that ‘mediate’ reality for us. (And what if you were one of the billions of people on earth who — perish the thought! — didn’t read the Guardian, the Times and the Post?) So the Snowden-based stories rumbled away on the sidelines, the momentum was lost, the power structure got its bootheels back firmly on the ground.”

      i’m glad someone else noticed that Snowden (or his files) at least were being treated like a managed asset.

      please see the ‘revelations’ at the end of the Reality Asserts itself broadcast, where Jay is speaking with Oliver STone about the pentagon’s plan to be everywhere and know everything, and be able to stop any group from even attempting uprising or protest.

      this is world wide fascism, and all in the name of Freedom. this is 1984 that surely is giving Orwell fitful slumber in his grave.

      if this isn’t stopped, and the TPP on the other prong of the attack, there will be no fighting back. they’ll just instantly jam your signals, cut your electricity, infiltrate your neighbor’s phone, and then drone you out of the sky because you don’t agree with the program & have not accepted your appointed role in the dharmic drama enfolding.

      1. Doug Terpstra

        Excellent, prescient warning, Ned too. We face a long dark age ahead as Jane Jacobs and Morris Berman foresee.

      2. Glenn Condell

        ‘this is world wide fascism’

        Full Spectrum Dominance. Total Information Awareness. Operation Enduring Freedom!

        ‘ they’ll just instantly jam your signals, cut your electricity, infiltrate your neighbor’s phone, and then drone you out of the sky because you don’t agree with the program’

        I am wondering about what we pinkos will see on the internets … will troublesome nodes get carefully edited google searches? inability to access particular content thanks to ‘service difficulties’? General slowdown and lotsa bugs?

        ‘And what if you were one of the billions of people on earth who — perish the thought! — didn’t read the Guardian, the Times and the Post?) So the Snowden-based stories rumbled away on the sidelines, the momentum was lost, the power structure got its bootheels back firmly on the ground.”

        Hmm… there are still power structures not yet corrupted by the US and several of them have been beavering away since the revelations began to quietly downgrade ties with the US and in particular to explore means and methods for NSA-proofing their communications systems. This at a time when these other large power blocs are openly moving away from the US petrodollar and entering into energy agreements which explicitly exclude Washington.

        No wonder the Yanks are dying to know what everyone else is saying! They know no-one will tell them the truth to their face, so they must eavesdrop.

        The bootheels might dig in at home and get some purchase but increasingly they are encountering shifting ground elsewhere.

  3. Pogonip

    My doctor’s practice, like every other practice in the area, was bought out by a giant hospital system and forced onto EMR. I don’t like it. Instead of focusing his attention on you while he examines you, your doctor is splitting his attention between you and a computer. I can see disaster coming with a patient too young or disabled to talk.

    1. kimyo

      also – how do you disinfect an ipad? it’s tough enough to get doctors to wash their hands, if we were serious about eliminating mrsa etc, we wouldn’t put touchscreens everywhere.

  4. rich

    Wonder how much of this is going around the country?….

    Desperate North PB man posts video about pending eviction

    John Lebeau of North Palm Beach doesn’t mince words in a distressing YouTube video he posted over the weekend about his pending eviction.

    The story is a stark reminder that Florida’s foreclosure crisis is not yet over. Nearly 300,000 foreclosures are still in the court system, and, like Lebeau, those families may also find themselves with eviction notices as the courts work to clear their dockets.

    Lebeau, a father of two, lost his banking job during the mortgage meltdown and quickly fell into foreclosure. But in trying to do the right thing and work with the bank on a loan modification or other foreclosure alternative, he fell into a familiar pattern seen during the early days of the foreclosure waterfall.

    He said his loan was transferred from servicer to servicer with one approving a loan modification and the next rejecting him on the very same paperwork he got approved with initially. Documents were lost. Calls went unanswered and ignored.
    – See more at:

    Bank fraud forces single father family of twins into the streets

    Fast forward over a decade and this father and his kids now face imminent eviction from their home of 12 years. Fraudulently foreclosed on with an approved mortgage modification in place, I spent 2 years and tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees fighting the fraud and was never even granted a hearing to present the evidence. My attorney at the time was granted 120 seconds before the judge.

    With my home fraudulently conveyed to my lender, they simply sold it to an individual investor who now, with 2 days notice, is demanding $17,500 in back rent and attorneys fees, despite their never having been a lease agreement between us. I offered to pay him the first payment of $1500 month rent he requested $500 per month towards the $17,500 and he refused, preferring instead to evict us.

    As I write this, the Sheriff could literally show up at any moment and remove my kids and I from our home of 12 years. The notice was already plastered to our front door 3 days ago with a time limit of 12:01 yesterday to vacate.

    1. ambrit

      Dear rich, et. al.;
      Painful as this individual case is, I see it as merely the harbinger of a doom hurtling upon the rentier class. Today these foreclosures are hitting the lower middle and upper working classes. The people who were inviegled to enter into, at best, difficult conditions, are hurting now. The longer term problem is with the increases in rents in general that this maintenance of artificial housing values engenders. This hits those least able to weather the storm of evictions and homelessness and forced ‘extended’ family arrangements. The class of people, for one reason or another, who figure most prominently in past episodes of civil unrest. This isn’t classical Rocket Science, and, being foreseeable, could be a primary driver of the militarization of the domestic police forces in America. I think that the more reflective members of the elites figured this dynamic out some time ago, and have quietly prepared. If you have ever wondered how the denizens of poor and inner city ghetto areas justified their basic inaction in the face of the drug gangs and other para military groups sharing the environment with them, just consider their alternatives. As “All Politics is Local,” so are social norms. “Local Boy Makes Good” works just as well for a mid level ‘Pharmaceutical Entrepreneur’ as for a small business owner. H—! They are both locally run small businesses! Given the present day amorality, what’s the problem!
      To put an end to this rant, let me close by saying, as I have done in the past; “Read your history. Look up Peasant Revolts.”
      See you at the barricades!

  5. JTFaraday

    re: HealthCare.gov’s glitches prompt Obama to call in more computer experts, “The Web site sometimes… erroneously tells low-income people that they are not eligible for Medicaid.”

    I think this credit agency involvement is one of the dumbest aspects of this. I don’t know if my credit reports have ever included accurate employment information about me.

    Operationally, it doesn’t make any sense. Why not go directly to the hated IRS? Is Experian pitching a big tax-processing contract, calling for its elimination?

    If our unimaginative business overlords can’t think up new things to do, they’ll just move around the stuff we already do, (making it more efficient in the process, I’m sure).

    Maybe the government’s next billion dollar stimulus project will be Outsource.gov and we can just get this stupid shell game over with already.

    Then our business overlords can pretend to work, and we’ll pretend to pay them.

    1. Eureka Springs

      A frying pan or fire choice if ever I read one. Automatic eligibility/enrollment in expanded Medicare for all at moment of birth would be far less expensive and provide far better health.

      Experian or IRS, choose/demand neither!

    2. Jim Haygood

      Webmaster Barky went on teevee today to exult on the resounding success of his health coverage exchanges — all part of his ‘tech surge’ aura buffing campaign.

      Exclusive screenshot:

      1. hunkerdown

        If it weren’t for the tedious anti-socialist iconography, which is apparently the far-right’s version of Calvin peeing on logos, that would have been a far more amusing graphic.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Credit files are as effective in keeping citizens in check as any Stasi files.

      “Better behave, citizen John Doe, or your won’t be able to borrow again!”

      1. hunkerdown

        All the better for the rentiers when one is compelled by circumstances to finance one’s life on credit, no?

    4. Doug Terpstra

      Great clincher, JTF, a perfect twist on how well crony capitalists fill the vacuum left by the Soviet Central Committee. Ours is becoming a tightly managed, police-state “market”.

      1. Roland

        “The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”

  6. rich

    Magnetar Goes Long Ohio Town While Shorting Its Tax Base

    Thousands of brick houses line the streets of Huber Heights, a leafy suburb of Dayton, Ohio, named for the builder who developed it in the 1950s and nurtured its growth. Until this year, his family was the town’s biggest landlord, with a third of all rental housing. Now the tenants’ payments are being routed to a $9 billion hedge fund.

    Magnetar Capital LLC, investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission for its housing bets leading up to the property crash, acquired a rental business in January with about 1,900 properties from Charles H. Huber’s widow. In April, its management company applied for the largest cut to property tax assessments in the county’s history. The move could curb funding for public schools, the police and fire departments and services to the disabled, said Montgomery County Auditor Karl Keith.

    Private-equity firms and hedge funds have bought as many as 200,000 homes across the U.S., typically in areas hardest hit by the housing crash, to profit from soaring demand for rentals. What makes Magnetar’s investment unique so far is its focus, buying one in 11 homes in the Ohio suburb, magnifying its influence over the residents and the town’s finances.
    The hedge fund picked Huber Heights because it found a ready-made rental company that could deliver the kind of steady returns its investors expect, according to spokesman Tony Fratto. Magnetar wouldn’t disclose its expected return for the Huber investment, Fratto said. The firm had $9.1 billion under management as of January, according to its website.

    Largest Landlord

    While Magnetar is a mid-tier player in the burgeoning home rental industry, the purchase makes it the town’s largest landlord, housing hospital employees, tool makers and federal and civil employees of nearby Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

    “The property values are stable and that’s what’s attractive,” said Fratto, a former White House and Treasury Department spokesman during the George W. Bush administration. “Maybe for other investors going to places like Las Vegas and Arizona, going to hot areas works for them. That’s not Magnetar’s style.”

    So what is their style????????????????

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      “investigated…for housing bets leading up to the property crash.”

      Does it seem like the same players are profiting from the same scheme? The world seems to revolving around them, to exist for their pleasure. Here we are, one and a half decades wasted, with wage stagnation combined with the alluring debt slavery prospect powered by low interest loans, so these guys can house-flip and speculate.

      I think the middle class can survive a ‘normalized’ housing market if we confront neoliberalism so working wages can rise again.

      But we never address the real cause. So, we make sure to reinflate the housing bubble and trick ourselves into believing we need the government to print more money, instead of getting it back from the 0.01%.

      1. Doug Terpstra

        It looks like a well-oiled looting machine, with Magnetar a black hole of subprime collapse for profit by design as revealed in Econned. Hedge fund slumlording via zero-percent QE, is now the perfect mop-up, almost like it was planned …. which of course is absurd.

        Rich’s report complements the deeply disturbing Bleak House link. 46.5 million vacant houses in the US, ‘Fed’-“managed” inventory for bubble-baeses

        1. Doug Terpstra

          (Smart phone/dumb thumb error). 46.5 million vacant houses are withheld by the “Fed” to pump bank balance sheets, while accelerating rentier looting. Couldn’t have worked out “better” if it was planned …. which of course it was not.

  7. Tim Mason

    France summons US envoy over NSA surveillance claims:

    You’ve been spying on us, and of course, we never knew. Boy, are we angry.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I want to say it’s just more kabuki, but I believe putting it that way shows no respect for our own Hollywood writers or Italy’s opera composers.

      1. hunkerdown

        The respect Hollywood deserves is nothing less than a sucker punch to the jaw, and probably much, much more.

  8. anon y'mouse

    Half-life sounds like it provides a cynical slant on American Empire in the same vein as Vampire the Masquerade did for urban proto ‘hipsters’ (90’s goth version). as a former Gamer (non-rabid variety), I shied away from it because I don’t like the typical military shooter. those military shooters are tied up in our empire, and deliberately meant to desensitize the (mostly) boys who play them to the idea of gunning everything in sight down with your crew/posse of comrades.

    a common urban myth is that, post advent of the genre, marksmanship of military recruits shot up from barely passable to most being accurate with never having held a gun in their hands. I have no idea if this is true, but saw their psychological import from the beginning and have been concerned about it for years.

    1. Having both hunted ducks and played Duck Hunt, I can tell you that they’re nothing alike. I can’t imagine that playing video games would help much with actual gun-firing, where you’ve got wind and recoil…not to mention possibly being shot at with bullets that will kill you for realsies, with no respawning possible. IDK, sounds like an urban myth to me.

      OTOH, playing video games does seem like good training for drone piloting…

      1. hunkerdown

        Nintendo had no intent whatsoever to make Duck Hunt an immersive experience, just a playable, modestly[1] entertaining aim-and-shoot game. First-person shooters, on the other hand, live and die by their attractiveness. They’re different generations of a product, if not different products altogether.

        [1] As an in-box freebie to improve Zapper skills so that other Zapper games might sell, one shouldn’t be able to have too much fun for free, or something.

        1. Well, maybe you didn’t find Duck Hunt immersive…I, for one, was utterly transported…

          Even the current hunting arcade games with the plastic shotguns don’t seem like good practice for shooting an actual firearm. No recoil, no bruised shoulder or ringing ears…

          As for these Call-of-Duty-style FPSs, they seem even less likely to help marksmanship. Don’t you aim with your mouse or controller or something? Doesn’t seem anywhere close to reality to me…

          Paintball on the other hand…

    2. ambrit

      Dear anon y’mouse;
      I agree with diptherio about the mechanics of shooting, but agree with you wholeheartedly about the psychological toll of video game playing. The obvious harm is in the loss of direct interaction with other real people. Social skills and plain old human recognition and validation fall away. Secondly, video gaming, by its very nature, involves the human in a limited range of experience. One of the great surprises most of us experience when leaving the home and embarking on the voyage into the unknown is the sheer size and complexity of the world you encounter. Video games? Made by humans, on budgets! There is no comparison between the two. I really do feel compassion for the cohort of people who did and are growing up immersed in the ‘Floating World’ of the unreal. Sooner or later, the real world is going to rise up and slap their faces, hard. If they are lucky, it will be an admonishing ‘love tap’ to set them on the path to sanity and enlightenment. If they are not lucky…

      1. ScottS

        Au contraire — this world would make a lot more sense if it was designed and implemented by someone with a budget and a deadline.

    3. When I was in college, my abnormal psych professor brought a book to our attention. Can’t remember the title off hand, but the author was a retired general and, I think, psychologist. One of his main points was this: if he were contracted to train children and adolescents to become soldiers in the modern military, he would give them video games. This was pre-drone, but he was convinced that pushing buttons while staring at a screen was the future of warfare. More evidence for your concerns…

      Also, an anecdote:
      I had a friend who was in the military before he became an anti-establishment anarchist. His favorite game was Golden Eye, the James Bond themed first-person shooter. He pointed out that the logic of the game was the exact opposite of real combat. In the game, when you see someone get shot you immediately run over to them to see if they dropped any “items” you can grab; in real combat, when you see someone get shot you run the other way.

      Remember kids: in real life you don’t get any continues…

      1. optimader

        “..if he were contracted to train children and adolescents to become soldiers in the modern military, he would give them video games…”

        Accepted practice for training commercial pilots..
        Just say’in

  9. anon y'mouse

    “For years, the NFL would co-opt an influential medical journal whose editor in chief was a consultant to the New York Giants. The league used that journal, which some researchers would come to ridicule as “the Journal of No NFL Concussions,” to publish an unprecedented series of papers, several of which were rejected by peer reviewers and editors and later disavowed even by some of their own authors. The papers portrayed NFL players as superhuman and impervious to brain damage. They included such eye-popping assertions as “Professional football players do not sustain frequent repetitive blows to the brain on a regular basis.” ”

    gee, and being published in a peer-reviewed journal is considered the gold-standard of our current knowledge-discovery system. we are in trouble. there might be more noise than signal in those things.

    1. anon y'mouse

      as an aside, anyone who has ever played or known someone who played football could’ve told you this.

      a friend in middle/high school got epilepsy after taking a few serious knocks on the field, one of which gave him slight concussion. granted, I think they believe that the underlying basis is genetic, but I doubt he would have ever shown symptoms without his involvement in the sport.

      1. Yves Smith

        The research is apparently pretty conclusive: if you have three concussions or more, you have serious cognitive/neurological issues later.

        Tell me how many pro football players haven’t had three concussions after you include their high school and college experience. I bet it’s a short list.

        1. anon y'mouse

          definitely…in his particular case, it was very striking because no known member of his family tree had ever had epilepsy to anyone’s knowledge.

          after meeting a small handful of former players from pre/non professional levels, it is a grand waste of time for the many thousands who don’t “make it” as well. they spend a significant portion of their early lives training for something that does not come through, and have usually neglected other areas of their studies in favor of this (although it can be argued that these are the exact types of people for whom sitting and reading dull facts is a waste of time. not that they are not smart, but that they need more interactive, dynamic learning situation. my friend was mildly dyslexic and a poor reader, but not stupid by any means).

          then these individuals flounder trying to apply their skills to the rest of their lives, or have to write those years off as a waste and begin from scratch. we only need so many personal trainers and coaches and so on.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      There used to be a sign out of the Colosseum in Roma that said something like this, if I recall my Ancient History 101 correctly: ‘“Professional gladiators do not sustain frequent repetitive blows to the brain on a regular basis. Enjoy the games!”

      1. ambrit

        Dear MLTPB;
        Wasn’t that placard mounted beneath the famous bust of Janus by the Roman sculptor What’s His Name?
        You know, Janus, the god of two faced people, like Gladiators who’d been smote too many time by the other fighters.
        So that’s what they mean when they say, “He’ll turn your head around, he will.”

    3. charles sereno

      More research is called for in sports, including effects of subconcussions. A recent study of high school girls playing soccer showed some surprising results.

      The recent PBS Frontline broadcast “League of Denial” was one of their best ever.

      1. afisher

        The Frontline programs were great. It was interesting that what finally got the attention of many is when the NFL flacks were called out for the like the Tobacco Industry.

        Excellent read: Trust Us, We’re experts! Rampton and Stauber. Center for Media and Democracy used in in 2012 for fund-raiser.

    4. nobody

      “…being published in a peer-reviewed journal is considered the gold-standard of our current knowledge-discovery system…”

      “I’d like to think I’m still doing research that is interesting, but once the work is written, it is out there on the web where anyone can find it, so why go through the agony of dumbing down the work for a major journal which will then hide it behind a paywall?”

  10. [email protected]

    I don’t get it. Every single computer system I’ve developed has had AS A REQUIREMENT a paper version of the system that could be hauled up in the event of a computer disaster (like Healthcare.gov). Are the IT people at Healthcare.gov seriously saying they didn’t think of this?

    1. afisher

      DOWNTIME FORMS – oh yeah, ACA does use them – surprise!, but it requires folks to actually engage their brains and oh, you know, make a phone call and possibly download them, fill them out and mail them in.

    2. Walter Map

      You must be on the system administration side. Most Amerikan software is developed according to the “get it done, fix it later” methodology. Microsoft has never operated any other way and has been notorious for buggy OS releases for their entire history.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      No, they’re not. There are alternative ways to enroll, on paper (which families with more than two children will have to do anyhow) or through navigators.

      Doens’t make the rollout any less than the clusterfaak it is, though.

    1. tyler

      If Hedges expects me to go out and get arrested because the unemployment rate is seven percent, he should expect to be disappointed.

      The fact is that, yes, Democrats are disappointing, but progressive Democrats understand the challenges facing the world. We are not confronting these challenges because the House is controlled by the GOP. The solution to our problems is not complex: win back the House and elect Barbara Lee as House Speaker.

      1. Aww yes…If only would could elect the right people, all would be well…where have I heard that before?

          1. jrs

            Ok but how do you get there? Maybe you get to a progressive congress and president by going out in the streets, maybe that’s the fastest path. Has progressivism ever, like every suceeded without strong movements behind it? (not just voters, movements)

      2. jrs

        Btw I find it impossible to believe this is even a response to Hedges essay. It was a beautiful essay (sure he predicts the future on little basis, sure he generalizes – still).

        In his very essay he says ” Half of the country is now classified as poor or low-income.” but hey don’t go getting arrested over that 7% official unemployment rate that doesn’t even count discouraged unemployed whose unemployment has run out. Because those jobs we have must be so good if 1/2 of them leave you working poor! But you won’t get arrested. Good for you I guess.

        I’m so glad the solutions are so easy, just voting. Easiest way to overthrow plutocracy ever devised. More easy ideas like this please.

  11. Jess

    The problem with football and concussions is that:

    a) Not everybody who plays gets a concussion.
    b) Not everybody who gets a concussion or who suffers repeated blows exhibits brain damage.

    Steve Young retired because of multiple concussions. Then he went to law school, became a lawyer, and also appears as an ESPN commentator. And he’s older than Seau, who evidently suffered concussions that never showed up on an injury report. (I think he’s also older than Duerson, but not sure.)

    Lynn Swann retired because of concussions, went on to be a broadcaster and run for Governor of PA. And yet he was a teammate of Webster with the Steelers.

    Clay Matthews III, who plays for the Packer is the son of Clay Matthews, Jr. who played 19 season as a linebacker int he NFL, now runs a successful business, and moonlights as the defensive coordinator for a top high school football team in So Cal. And he’s the son of Clay Matthews, Sr., who also played pro football. Clay III also has a brother playing for (I think) the Eagles. Clay Jr’s brother, Bruce, is in the NFL Hall of Fame and has two sons currently playing in college. AFAIK, nobody in this family tree has shown concussion-related symptoms.

    The key here is figuring how (if possible) why some people sustain permanent damage and others seemingly skate away unscathed.

    1. hunkerdown

      Political correctness demands that we preserve the prestige of oppression by inviting selected out-groups in from the cold (but not too many — someone’s got to the chickens) and avoiding structural or class-based critique (as that’s impolitic and divisive).

      It is endlessly amusing to me that people will actually line up for that shite.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I think it’s reasonable to say we figure out why some get hurt and some don’t.

      It’s equally reasonable to say, prior to figuring out, to not do anything we don’t know.

      It’s like if we didn’t know how the space shuttle exploded, let’s just ground the whole thing. It didn’t matter if there had been another flight that was successful.

      1. optimader

        “I think it’s reasonable to say we figure out why some get hurt and some don’t.

        It’s equally reasonable to say, prior to figuring out, to not do anything we don’t know.”

        Extrapolates to limiting quite a variety of human activity right down to riding a bike.

    3. optimader

      ” …The problem with football and concussions is that:

      a) Not everybody who plays gets a concussion.
      b) Not everybody who gets a concussion or who suffers repeated blows exhibits brain damage….”

      a.) Don’t know that. I’ll speculate this is a demonsratable matter subject t the laws of physics;
      b.) Don’t know that. Is this provable short of forensic examination of brain tissue?

      Maybe your actually commenting on the residual intellectual capacity rqd to:
      c.) go to law school then become a ESPN commentator;
      d.) become a broadcaster, run for Governor of PA? Cerainyl I can think of a few goveners that present with behavior consistent w/ brain injury.

      Maybe it is more fair to say:
      e.) American football should be an informed consent elective activity, which in most cases probably isn’t.
      f.) at the level of organized (for profit) college/professional at least, the organizing entities should carry insurance to cover brain injured former players.

      1. anon y'mouse

        another element:

        the people cited may have started with different cognitive abilities to begin with. they may have had other biological or experiential benefits which insulated them or absorbed some of the damage resulting from the concussions they experienced. they might’ve been just smarter all around, luckier all around or for a million reasons able to leverage what they did have in a way that was better for them (social connections?) even while sustaining some damage.

        we don’t know why they are different yet, do we?

        1. optimader

          A’Mouse

          “..the people cited may have started with different cognitive abilities to begin with…”

          Thought I implied that , but thanks for stating it explicitly..

          The physiological damage is all about physics, the intellectual presentation probably has alot to do with what the player (victim) starts with as well frequency/intensity of concussion events.

      2. Jess

        “I can think of a few goveners that present with behavior consistent w/ brain injury.”

        LOL. No argument there!

  12. ScottS

    Joining the ACA Exchange dog-pile:
    Ars Technica

    The above is worth reading for the comments.

    My observations:
    o I also noticed the “surge” warmonger terminology. Is that all those in the federal government understand — sacrificing others for their own self-aggrandizement? Has the Obama Administration misunderstood the dark sarcasm of people who suggested they invade Detroit and actually started invading the “homeland”?
    o Can someone send Obama a copy of Robert Brooks’ The Mythical Man-Month?
    o Congrats to Cfdtrade for being way out ahead of this one!
    o For fans of the British comedy The IT Crowd: “Hello, IT. Have you tried turning it off and on again?”

  13. down2long/David Chaney

    As anyone who reads this blog knows, I have a deep animus toward Slimin’ Dimon for taking – via elective foreclosure – my paid up building that I had spent four years restoring.

    As a result of that, I never miss an opportunity to bring my biting critique to the NY Times whenever they do a story on Chase, Dimon, or the other RICO banks.

    They usually get published, less so when I respond to the swill that Andrew Ross Sorkin and Ben Protess pour down upon us.

    With all due humility, my comment on U.S. Deal With JPMorgan Spurred by a Phone Call Times was the top reader pic today.

    I pulled my punches to make sure it got published, but the fact that it is the top reader pic says something about the zeitgeist. I also cross post this to prove that I can sometimes not be a raving lunatic, although as friends of mine are quick to point out: They (the Banksters) made me that way:

    It is unseemly, to say the least, that Mr. Dimon was invited to the White House last week along with 17 other bankers to discuss their “solutions” to the government shutdown and the debt limit being reached (while their banks hold a great deal of the government paper, and their bailouts ran up the Fed debt by trillions.)

    There is simply no one else in this country that has been at the center of such costly malfeasance and animus toward the average American that not only would be invited to the White House, but also invite themselves to a meeting with the Attorney General of the United States. And then, bring as part their “entourage” Mr. Cutler, their attorney, who just spun out of the revolving door, as a prop.

    Sadly, this sum is small (we know the $4 billion in “help” to homeowners will be window dressing. If it is structured like the $25 Billion 49 AG sellout, Chase will make a few $1,000 adjustments on $800,000 loans, and then the full loan amount will count toward satisfying the “settlement.”) Not only does that only help the top tier (whom I do not begrudge help, given the fraudulent nature of most foreclosures) but it doesn’t help the people (many people of color) in the lower valuations who have been the hardest hit by fraudclosures.

    Of course, the settlement also does nothing to make whole all of the pensioners who took a hit when their pension funds bought Chase’s dreck.

    Someone else pays Jamie’s bills, the victims lose again, and Dimon gets lauded.
    It is unseemly, to say the least, that Mr. Dimon was invited to the White House last week along with 17 other bankers to discuss their “solutions” to the government shutdown and the debt limit being reached (while their banks hold a great deal of the government paper, and their bailouts ran up the Fed debt by trillions.)

    There is simply no one else in this country that has been at the center of such costly malfeasance and animus toward the average American that not only would be invited to the White House, but also invite themselves to a meeting with the Attorney General of the United States. And then, bring as part their “entourage” Mr. Cutler, their attorney, who just spun out of the revolving door, as a prop.

    Sadly, this sum is small (we know the $4 billion in “help” to homeowners will be window dressing. If it is structured like the $25 Billion 49 AG sellout, Chase will make a few $1,000 adjustments on $800,000 loans, and then the full loan amount will count toward satisfying the “settlement.”) Not only does that only help the top tier (whom I do not begrudge help, given the fraudulent nature of most foreclosures) but it doesn’t help the people (many people of color) in the lower valuations who have been the hardest hit by fraudclosures.

    Of course, the settlement also does nothing to make whole all of the pensioners who took a hit when their pension funds bought Chase’s dreck.

    Someone else pays Jamie’s bills, the victims lose again, and Dimon gets lauded.

  14. down2long/David Chaney

    Also, I want to add I owe a very deep debt of gratitude to Yves for keeping me up to speed on this, and helping me understand the nuances and see around corners. And I also owe her a deep debt of gratitude for keeping this on the front burner. Thank you Yves. Without you, many of us would have been forgotten.

  15. down2long

    Hi Lambert, It’s linked in your Links above “US Deal with JP Morgan spurred by Crucial Phone Call”

    Here is my less elegant link:

    1. down2long

      Upon rereading my post I hope I did not leave the impression I had the most recomended post in the ENTIRE NY Times. Just the most recomended of the comments regarding the article about Slimin’s disgusting phone calls to AG “Place”Holder.

      This is what comes of Tunnel Vision. Please accept my humblest apologies. PTSD

        1. down2long

          I agree. All comments in Dealbook have disappeared although the tally of comments at the top by the headlines reads “283 Comments” for the Phone Call article, “Comments 30” by the article “Has Dimon been Damaged” or some such nonsense. No comments there either.

          The last couple weeks I could find no comments on Dealbook -I thought they had discontinued them. They are not exactly a fan club of the oligarchy. I could see comments in the general section. I was somewhat despairing since I do feel need to dump on the banks whenever possible and I thought one of my favorite venues had been shut to me. Perhaps it has.

    1. anon y'mouse

      “Something has gone terribly wrong in the world; we are living the wrong life, a life without any real fulfillment.”

      this is the feeling I have had all of my life. I know that this is mostly my own damned fault, but I still can’t help feeling subject to the larger patterns of history.

      a strong memory I have concerns the day that the original Gulf War broke out. I came home depressed from a typical day at school (soph. year) because no one seemed to notice that this would be our generation’s version of Vietnam. it didn’t turn out that way initially. they took careful steps to make sure that our involvement at that time was minimal, and to roll out the shock & awe from afar thing. which was even more horrible, in a way, because it decimates with little repercussion. if one is going to carry out warfare, they should do it with more sacrifice than merely high-tech resources. it should hurt the punisher as well as the punished. without this deterrent, war becomes too easy.

      at any rate, I suspected on that day that what we were doing was what we eventually returned to do later. we just couldn’t pull it off at that time. and since then, witnessing and trying to (often mistakenly) analyze what is happening has left me feeling not a part of this world at all. one can’t agree with any of this. and I can’t take my own direct non-involvement as absolution for the blame of what is carried out supposedly for my/our benefit.

      a poster here said the other day it is like watching a train roll off a bridge in slow-motion. even worse, it is one that happens while most seem to be intent watching their Ipods or the TV screen (American Idol or NFL, take your pick). like you’re in the train tipping over the side and everyone around you is calmly sitting as though nothing is happening.

      1. anon y'mouse

        above was not to the point directly of the DSM, but betcha anything you can find that “psych disorder” somewhere within its pages, since they seem intent on characterizing every mental object, tendency or pattern as a pathology.

        when the time comes, half of us will be in institutions for being merely the way some humans have always been.

      2. Ned Ludd

        “like you’re in the train tipping over the side and everyone around you is calmly sitting as though nothing is happening.”

        That image resonates a lot. It is strange how people lose interest as soon as a conversation gets serious. People want to gossip about the others on the train; but very few want to look out the window and contemplate our collective fate.

  16. optimader

    FYI Yves, Lambert, Webmaster or whomever..

    One of my laaate night posts on Saturday that may have been missed? I pointed that:

    Clicking on Topics–> Healthcare (161) results in Internet Explorer crash.

    Reproduced this on a bulletproof desktop computer/ different physical location.

    This issue does not reproduce on other Topic subjects.

    Thought you might be interested..

      1. craazyboy

        I just tried it on my Win 7 / IE Latest and it crashed the browser. That happened a couple weeks or so ago on one of the main posts too, but I forgot which one. Tho, coulda been a healthcare subject one since there were a lot lately.

        Tried it again w/Firefox Latest and no problem.

        Over the years I’ve adopted a “shit happens” attitude towards browsing the web, so I just keep multiple browsers installed on my machine. Then if ones blows, I try another.

        Beats trying to figure out all the browser settings that might get IE to work. That’ll drive ya nutty fer sher.

  17. Rob1010

    America’s Water – The problem goes well beyond pricing.
    Ernst & Young recently published a report about multiple failures and challenges, noting:
    – Inefficient usage as aquifer/well levels run low
    – Mispricing
    – Unsustainable financing, especially given rising debt/deficits on local, state and national levels, inflation risk, and over reliance of low interest rates+dividend distribution
    – Bad bond rating practices
    – Huge CAPEX coming up and climate change only adding to it
    – Decaying third-world type infrastructure – water main breaks everywhere
    – Lack of private sector involvement as compared to other countries, including very limited Private Equity and VC involvement
    – Lack of national strategy/coherent policies
    – Limited enforcement
    – Almost no supply side efficiency measures
    – Extreme conservatism/anti-innovation
    – Lacking and inconsistent data with limited quantitative management
    – High industry fragmentation and more

    The full report can be found here:

  18. afisher

    Depressed to learn that no one here seemed to have any interest in the $52+ million that a couple of brothers have sent to organizations to undermine the decision about XL-pipeline. It will increase their net worth of $100 Billion, so the econ folks here – is that a decent ROI? Only $1+ M to buy off Congress.

    Just an FYI – the numbers are a little low, as I’m guessing that the donation pages were prior to Politico article on Freedom Partners.

    1. Auntinene

      It’s no skin off a politician’s nose selling us out so cheaply. As I once read somewhere, “It’s like selling your neighbor’s car for 20 bucks.”

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        :

        I’ve long thought that the problem with politicians isn’t just that they’re constantly passing bills they’ve been bribed to pass, but that they sell out so cheaply. … Any corporation large enough to buy politicians which isn’t doing so is clearly failing in its fiduciary duty.

        But it’s the cheapness which used to puzzle me.  No more though.   pointed out what should have been obvious to me.

        (They sell out cheap) because it’s not their money.  It’s like selling your neighbor’s car for twenty bucks.

        America’s politicians: cheap and crooked.

        1. J Sterling

          There’s a scene in Goodfellas where Henry Hill is explaining the economics of a mob bustout. Having installed themselves as “partners” of a restaurateur they start to order tons of booze and cigarettes on his tab, and sell them for next to nothing. They’re selling the stuff cheap, sure, but they’re going to be getting it for nothing, which the suppliers (who thought they were supplying to the old, trustworthy, business) don’t know yet.

    2. jrs

      Getting upset about the pipeline may be kind of a distraction anyway. There are alternate pipelines the tarsand oil will flow though if not that one, they all reach the same destination. The fight to fight was tarsands exploitation period – do not develop the tarsands. That there is money to be made by pipeline developers regardless of alternative routes sure, and they pay for it, but that carbon would be likely burned even if they didn’t.

  19. Bruno Marr

    F#cked, Baby response:

    Well, this isn’t the “power of narrative”. This is classic musing about the future without giving thought to the past. It’s character assassination without reserve. It’s certainly fearfull without fact.

    GG hasn’t stopped dissemination of the NSA documents. They just haven’t appeared on his blog. Spiegel, WaPO, ProPublica, El Globo, among others have continued publication of the NSA docs (via GG). Just today, Le Monde published new revelations about the NSA interception of phone calls in France. GG is a co-author of the article.

    Fulminating about the pace of NSA revelations does not make ones fears into fact.

  20. optimader


    The Artist of the Unbreakable Code

    Composer Edward Elgar still has cryptographers playing his tune.

  21. Trisectangle

    Just a quick thing about EMRs. Most of the issues he hightlights in this article also occur with written records. Paper records do get mixed up, lost, mis-intepreted or rendered partly illegible. There have been plenty of medical incidents around incorrect paper records in the past.

    The problem is not with the records it’s with the fact that within our current system of medical care basic metrics are King and that Doctors in most hospitals do not have the time a resources to properly look at each patient. A Doctor who trusts an incorrect digital record would also trust an incorrect paper record.

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