Month: March 2013

Expect a Major Fruit and Nut Shortage

Because we are killing the bees necessary for these crops in unprecedented numbers:

A mysterious malady that has been killing honeybees en masse for several years appears to have expanded drastically in the last year, commercial beekeepers say, wiping out 40 percent or even 50 percent of the hives needed to pollinate many of the nation’s fruits and vegetables.

A conclusive explanation so far has escaped scientists studying the ailment, colony collapse disorder, since it first surfaced around 2005. But beekeepers and some researchers say there is growing evidence that a powerful new class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids, incorporated into the plants themselves, could be an important factor.

The pesticide industry disputes that. But its representatives also say they are open to further studies to clarify what, if anything, is happening.

“They looked so healthy last spring,” said Bill Dahle, 50, who owns Big Sky Honey in Fairview, Mont. “We were so proud of them. Then, about the first of September, they started to fall on their face, to die like crazy. We’ve been doing this 30 years, and we’ve never experienced this kind of loss before.”

In a show of concern, the Environmental Protection Agency recently sent its acting assistant administrator for chemical safety and two top chemical experts here, to the San Joaquin Valley of California, for discussions.

In the valley, where 1.6 million hives of bees just finished pollinating an endless expanse of almond groves, commercial beekeepers who only recently were losing a third of their bees to the disorder say the past year has brought far greater losses.

They talked to a bee keeper who was planning to take 13,000 hives to California for the almond season, but only had 3000 because of hive losses.

The long-persistence neonicotinoids are being fingered as the likely cause, but given the mode of both the EPA and the Department of agriculture will demand definitive proof of harm, rather than requiring proof of safety, particularly when big Ag, like the seed suppliers who have taken to using said pesticides to pre-treat the seeds (Monsanto and their ilk), we are in for a bumpy ride.

Horny Man Says That He Won’t Cum In Your Mouth

My bad, it’s actually a German banker saying that Euro Zone deposits are safe:

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has said savings accounts in the euro zone are safe, adding that Cyprus is a “special case” and not a template for future rescues.

In an interview with Bild newspaper published on Saturday, Schaeuble distanced himself from comments on Monday by Eurogroup chairman Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who said the rescue programme agreed for Cyprus – the first to impose a levy on bank deposits – would serve as a model for future crises.

“Cyprus is and will remain a special one-off case,” Schaeuble said.

“The savings accounts in Europe are safe.”

If you believe a German Finance minister right now, I have a bridge in Brooklyn that I want to sell you.

Just a “special case.”  Yeah…Sure.

I Want to be an Icelander

Because they indict their banksters:

Public frustration has been mounting over the lack of high-profile criminal prosecutions in the wake of the financial crisis here in the U.S. But the same cannot be said abroad.

Several news outlets reported that Iceland’s special prosecutor, hired in 2009 to investigate suspicious activities at several major banks, indicted fifteen bankers — including two chief executives — earlier this month over illegal activity tied to the meltdown of the country’s banking system in the fall of 2008. The bankers are accused of stock-price manipulation and securities fraud.

“These are quite big cases by any measurement, they’re my biggest cases so far,” Olafur Thor Hauksson, the prosecutor, told the Wall Street Journal last Friday, adding that the charged could face up to six years in prison if convicted.

Some blogs reacted to the news with the observation that Iceland’s actions are in contrast to the lack of prosecutions in the U.S.

Gee, you think it’s a contrast?

Our it is a mark of our corruption that not one of the big banksters has even been seriously investigated for crimes.

Henry Ford Knew This 99 Years Ago

When he doubled the pay of his workers to reduce turnover and increase productivity.

It turns out that Wal-Mart has not realized how this works, and as a result, it is losing customers who are facing empty shelves:

Margaret Hancock has long considered the local Wal-Mart Stores Inc. superstore her one- stop shopping destination. No longer.

During recent visits, the retired accountant from Newark, Delaware, says she failed to find more than a dozen basic items, including certain types of face cream, cold medicine, bandages, mouthwash, hangers, lamps and fabrics.

The cosmetics section “looked like someone raided it,” said Hancock, 63.

Wal-Mart’s loss was a gain for Kohl’s Corp., Safeway Inc., Target Corp., and Walgreen Co. — the chains Hancock hit for the items she couldn’t find at Wal-Mart.

“If it’s not on the shelf, I can’t buy it,” she said. “You hate to see a company self-destruct, but there are other places to go.”

It’s not as though the merchandise isn’t there. It’s piling up in aisles and in the back of stores because Wal-Mart doesn’t have enough bodies to restock the shelves, according to interviews with store workers. In the past five years, the world’s largest retailer added 455 U.S. Wal-Mart stores, a 13 percent increase, according to filings and the company’s website. In the same period, its total U.S. workforce, which includes Sam’s Club employees, dropped by about 20,000, or 1.4 percent. Wal-Mart employs about 1.4 million U.S. workers.

Disorganized Stores

A thinly spread workforce has other consequences: Longer check-out lines, less help with electronics and jewelry and more disorganized stores, according to Hancock, other shoppers and store workers. Last month, Wal-Mart placed last among department and discount stores in the American Customer Satisfaction Index, the sixth year in a row the company had either tied or taken the last spot. The dwindling level of customer service comes as Wal- Mart has touted its in-store experience to lure shoppers and counter rival Inc.

Yes, they want to tout their in-store experience.

As a part of that experience, they want their customers to deliver their packages for them for free:

Wal-Mart Stores Inc is considering a radical plan to have store customers deliver packages to online buyers, a new twist on speedier delivery services that the company hopes will enable it to better compete with Inc.

Tapping customers to deliver goods would put the world’s largest retailer squarely in middle of a new phenomenon sometimes known as “crowd-sourcing,” or the “sharing economy.”

A plethora of start-ups now help people make money by renting out a spare room, a car, or even a cocktail dress, and Wal-Mart would in effect be inviting people to rent out space in their vehicle and their willingness to deliver packages to others.

Such an effort would, however, face numerous legal, regulatory and privacy obstacles, and Wal-Mart executives said it was at an early planning stage.

Wal-Mart is making a big push to ship online orders directly from stores, hoping to cut transportation costs and gain an edge over Amazon and other online retailers, which have no physical store locations. Wal-Mart does this at 25 stores currently, but plans to double that to 50 this year and could expand the program to hundreds of stores in the future.

Wal-Mart currently uses carriers like FedEx Corp for delivery from stores – or, in the case of a same-day delivery service called Walmart To Go that is being tested in five metro areas, its own delivery trucks.

“I see a path to where this is crowd-sourced,” Joel Anderson, chief executive of in the United States, said in a recent interview with Reuters.

This is brilliant.

Let’s see, we have:

  • Honest, I left the big screen TV at their front door?
  • When I was driving to deliver the box, I was rear-ended, and now I have whiplash.
  • The package was fine when it left the store, the damage isn’t our problem.

And that is what I came up in about 3 minutes.

Why is this group of fools the largest corporation in the world?

Pass the Popcorn

The high powered DC law firm Williams & Connolly has sued the OCC to get information about how they selected consulting firms to review the foreclosure settlement. Considering the half-assed job done by the consultants, and the indications that there were ties between the banks and the consultancies, this should get interesting”

A top Washington law firm is suing regulators to hand over information about how it selected consulting firms to participate in a multibillion-dollar review of banks’ past foreclosures.

The reviews, mandated by regulators in 2011 after widespread foreclosure shortcuts came to light, proved slow and expensive, and earlier this year 13 banks agreed to pay $9.3 billion to end them and compensate foreclosed borrowers.

But in a lawsuit in federal court in Washington, D.C., the law firm Williams & Connolly revisited the original reviews.

It is seeking documents explaining how the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency defined “independent” in its requirements for mortgage servicers to hire “independent consultants” to conduct the reviews.

The law firm declined to identify the client on behalf of which it filed the complaint.

It is possible that a consulting firm that lost out on the review contracts is behind the suit.

An OCC spokesman declined comment.


In the new lawsuit, Williams & Connolly said it had sought through a Freedom of Information Act request to the OCC any documents or records about the independence requirements for the consultants, and any documents about OCC standards for independence within the context of the foreclosure reviews.

The OCC initially denied the law firm’s request, then provided limited information on a redacted basis, the law firm said. The firm said in its filing that it went to court to obtain all of the information.

David Aufhauser, the Williams & Connolly lawyer who filed the action, and who is a former general counsel of the Treasury Department and of investment bank UBS, declined to comment on the case.

At least one of the consultancy firms was suspended, and if you follow Naked Capitalism you can get a full picture.

While one can generally be certain that any deal for the banks will be a corrupt bailout, when the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency is involved, you can be sure that it’s well over the line of what normal people will call corrupt self dealing.

I am looking forward to hearing more about this.

Another Triumph of Defense Procurement

The Litoral Combat Ship may lack sufficient firepower to do its job:

The U.S. Navy’s troubled Littoral Combat Ship, a vessel intended to be small and speedy for use in shallow waters close to shore, lacks the firepower it needs, a top U.S. navy commander said in a classified memo.

Vice Admiral Tom Copeman, the commander of naval surface forces, called on the Navy to consider a ship with more offensive capability after the first 24 vessels are built, according to a Navy official who asked not to be identified discussing the confidential document.


Producing a ship that can accommodate larger guns or Harpoon anti-ship missiles “would be a major redesign,” Polmar said in an interview. “It will be real work to put major weapons on the ship.”

Replacing the 57mm popgun with something larger might not even possible for the Independence class trimaran, because of the extremely narrow forward central hull.

The ship is a failure.

The modular nature of the ship does not work, because you have to return the ship to a US base, or you need to fly a  team out to a foreign port in order to swap out the modules, and the modular nature of the ship results in a hull that is much larger for a set of capabilities.

The savings in crewing has proved to be illusory, the current crew levels result in an overworked and ineffective crew, so they are adding berths.

The primary offensive system, the NLOS-LS, was canceled, and replaced with a system which has about 80% less range and a smaller warhead.

And that’s ignoring the (probably fixable) facts that there are issues with hull cracks, corrosion, and leaking.

It’s dead, Jim.

The entire concept was flawed.

Another Study Proves that Jenny McCarthy is a Dangerous Loon

We have another study showing that there is no connection between vaccines and autism:

There is no link between receiving a number of vaccines early in life and autism, researchers said on Friday.

In a study slated to appear in The Journal of Pediatrics, researchers said there is no association between receiving “too many vaccines too soon” and autism, despite some fears among parents around the number of vaccines given both on a single day and over the first 2 years of life.

As many as one in 50 U.S. school-age children have been diagnosed with autism, up 72 percent since 2007.


Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Abt Associates analyzed data from children with and without autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to a statement from the journal.

Researchers examined each child’s cumulative exposure to antigens, the substances in vaccines that cause the body’s immune system to produce antibodies to fight disease, and the maximum number of antigens each child received in a single day of vaccination, the journal’s statement said.

The antigen totals were the same for children with and without ASD, researchers found.

Not surprising.

In the normal course of growing up, a child is exposed to hundreds, possibly thousands, of new antigens a day, the idea that adding a dozen or so to that would be received through a series of vaccinations would “cause” autism is ludicrous.

Of course, the antediluvian thinking of the anti-vax crowd has real consequences: we have seen increases in outbreaks of previously nearly vanished childhood diseases resulting from a loss of herd immunity.

It Works, and It Saves the Taxpayer Money, So Let’s Make it Illegal

I am referring to the state-owned bank of North Dakota, which will be made illegal by the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP):

Clearly, from Wall Street’s perspective, the North Dakota bank must go, and all other state efforts to replicate it must be thwarted. Wall Street’s stealth weapon may be lodged within the latest corporate trade agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which currently is being negotiated in secret. We already know that Wall Street is seeking to remove all tariff restrictions that prevent the U.S. financial services industry from doing business in countries like Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. The biggest banks also want the treaty to eliminate “non-tariff” barriers including regulations that create “unfair” competition with state-owned financial enterprises.

Depending on the final language, it is possible that the activities of the Bank of North Dakota could be ruled illegal because “foreign bankers could claim the BND stops them from lending to commercial banks throughout the state,” according to an analysis by Sam Knight in Truthout. How perfect for Wall Street: a foreign bank can be used as a shill to knock out the BND.

The nickel tour on BND is that it is a state-owned wholesale bank (it only makes loans to other banks), and the state keeps its money in an account there.

It generates significant savings, and significant savings for the taxpayer, and its senior executives are paid less than the President of the United States.  (The most highly paid executive is paid about ½ that of POTUS.)

Also, the bank provides a financing alternative to bond sales managed by Wall Street firms.

Considering the Obama administrations neoliberal philosophies, along with its predilections toward direct and indirect government subsidies for the TBTF banks, I’m inclined to believe it.  Particularly since that is what the Obama Administration’s point person is explicitly saying the trade agreement:

Publicly owned enterprises, for example, are being targeted by negotiators. One such entity in the United States that has been the subject of considerable interest in recent years is the Bank of North Dakota (BND) – the only fully publicly owned financial institution in the country. The BND, which is only allowed to lend wholesale, was a stabilizing force that helped keep the already energy-rich state insulated from the shock of the financial crisis (Alaska, for example, didn’t fare as well). It has also brought a small fortune to the state’s treasury – $340 million in net tax gain between 1997 and 2009. Legislators in at least 13 different states have proposed studying or emulating the North Dakota model – state-owned development of central-bank style institutions guaranteed by tax revenue. But if the TPP is passed, that option might not be available. [Chief TPP Negotiator for the Office of the US Trade Representative Barbara] Weisel said that State Owned Enterprises (SOE) are routinely “competing directly with private enterprises, and often in a way that is considered unfair.”

“Some of the advantages that can be conferred on State Owned Enterprises are things like preferential financing,” Weisel said. “Those are things that wouldn’t be provided to private companies – preferential provision of goods and services provided by a government.”

She said that “State Owned Enterprises – which in some cases can comprise a significant percentage of an economy – can be used to undermine what we’re otherwise trying to gain from this free trade agreement.”

What they are “trying to gain” with this agreement is to replace democracy with unregulated markets (aka looting).

Call your Congresscritter and tell him that you are absolutely opposed to the TPP.

You Phone Company is Refusing to Complete Rural Calls, and Deceiving Us About It

Telcom law maven Harold Feld shows how FCC Loopholes resulting from VOIP exceptions are destroying one of the central requirements of voice calls:

Increasing numbers of rural communities are reporting problems with incoming phone calls. Outgoing calls work fine, but when someone tries to call one of these rural communities from an urban area, the connection doesn’t go through.

Though the phone never rings in the rural community, the urban caller might hear a “false ringback” in his earpiece, inserted so he will think there’s simply no answer and won’t complain about the lack of service.

This “rural call completion” problem, which also includes connections with very bad sound quality, is getting scrutiny from the Federal Communications Commission.
The problem “causes rural businesses to lose customers, cuts families off from their relatives in rural areas, and creates potential for dangerous delays in public safety communications in rural areas,” according to the FCC.


In the last several years, businesses called “least cost routing” companies have sprung up. These companies promise phone networks to find the least expensive way to route their phone calls. The phone companies themselves don’t know how the least cost routing companies are routing the phone calls. They just trust them to do it.

Since completing calls to rural areas is expensive, least cost routers generally try to find long, complicated routes that will minimize the termination fees and other charges by making the call look like it comes from someplace with lower fees. This introduces something called “latency.” The lengthy routes mess up the IP-based phone call, causing long breaks in the signal that the traditional phone network (operated by a rural phone company) interprets as dead air or a disconnect.


The FCC refuses to classify IP-based services as “telephone” services (although it has the authority to do so). As a result, it can only regulate IP-providers indirectly with something called “ancillary authority.” Whether “ancillary authority” allows the FCC to regulate IP-based providers, such as least cost routers, remains to be seen.

The problem here is one of philosophy: the Washington consensus that deregulation always leads to innovation is a dangerous delusion.

We need only to compare the performance of our lightly regulated telcos to those of more highly regulated places like, Japan, France, or Korea, to see that consumers pay more, and get less, both in terms of performance and reliability.

Deregulation makes it easier to collect monopoly rents, and it is easier, and more lucrative to seek those rents than it is to succeed for innovation or evolutionary product improvement.

Every one gets screwed but the incumbent phone and cable companies, and it strangles real innovation.


Did Steve Cohen Buy Off the U.S. Government?

Seriously. If the SEC is settling for a payment of $616 million dollars, with no admission of wrongdoing, when the case against for insider trading is very strong, and it is a a f%$#ing slam dunk on Sarbanes-Oxley violation.

He got to walk because he’s rich and powerful:

Most scandals involving the cozy relationship between Wall Street and its regulators play out behind closed doors. Others happen in plain view, and this is one of the latter. In a Manhattan courtroom Thursday, a federal judge held a hearing on whether to approve a legal settlement in which Steven A. Cohen, one of the richest and most publicity-shy men in the country, appears to be buying off the U.S. government, which for years has been investigating wrongdoing in and around his hedge fund, SAC Capital Advisers.

Unless the judge, Victor Marrero, rejects the settlement between the Securities and Exchange Commission and SAC, which was announced a couple of weeks ago, Cohen will be free to go about his business, which has long been clouded by suspicions of insider trading, once he writes a check of six hundred and sixteen million dollars to the Securities and Exchange Commission. There will be no further sanctions and no admission of wrongdoing. And in fact, Cohen already appears to be celebrating. ………

To his credit, Judge Marrero has, at least for now, refused to go along with this travesty. Reserving judgement on the case, he asked why the settlement didn’t include an admission of wrongdoing on the part of SAC and Cohen. “There is something counterintuitive and incongruous about settling for six hundred million dollars if it truly did nothing wrong,” the judge said. ………


Exactly how Cohen pulled off this feat is something of a mystery. The details of the dealings between his lawyers and the government haven’t been revealed, and most likely won’t be. What we do know is this: until the settlement with the S.E.C. was announced, things were looking increasingly grim for Cohen and his firm, which is based in Greenwich, Connecticut.

During the past several years, investigators from the S.E.C. and the U.S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan have been carrying on a wide-ranging investigation of SAC, which manages about fifteen billion dollars in assets. As a result of this probe, no fewer than nine current or former employees of SAC have been tied to insider dealing while working at the firm, and four of them have pleaded guilty. The investigation started out with lowly former employees. Over time, though, it moved closer and closer to Cohen, the firm’s founder, until, finally, it enveloped him.

Last November, Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, held a press conference to announce the indictment of Matthew Martoma, a former SAC trader, for what Bharara said was “the most lucrative insider-trading scheme ever charged.” According to the complaint, the 2008 trades at the center of the case involved Cohen directly. After receiving at tip-off from an inside informant about a drug trial that had turned out badly, Martoma spoke for twenty minutes with Cohen—identified as “Portfolio Manager A”—and then started unloading shares that SAC owned in the two drug companies involved, Elan and Wyeth, the complaint said. Once the results of the drug trial became public, the stock prices of the drug companies fell sharply. The government said that Martoma’s trades netted SAC as much as two hundred and seventy-six million dollars.


It’s a farce, and it’s not getting any funnier. The SAC settlement marks the first time, to my knowledge, that the S.E.C. has accorded such deference to a hedge fund, and it also raises the question of whether the Justice Department is now ducking bringing criminal charges against Cohen himself. Some folks who know how the system works from the inside think that that’s what it looks like. “I read the Martoma complaint,” Bradley Simon, a prominent white-collar criminal defense attorney and former federal prosecutor, told me. “It seems like there’s evidence there for them to charge Cohen, but they don’t want to do it.


A second possibility is that, despite the Martoma complaint, there simply isn’t sufficient evidence to convict Cohen, and the prosecutors have reluctantly accepted this fact. Insider-trading cases are tricky. We don’t know what Cohen said to Martoma during their conversation, or whether Martoma would be willing to testify against him. In the insider-trading cases of Raj Rajaratnam, who ran the Galleon hedge fund, and Rajat Gupta, the former head of McKinsey, the government relied heavily on wiretap evidence. According to the Wall Street Journal, the government obtained a warrant to tap Cohen’s home phone in 2008, but it isn’t known what, if anything, these intercepts yielded.

(emphasis mine)

They have f%$#ing wiretaps, and they are doing nothing.

Even if they don’t they have a slam dunk on the insider training, they do have a prima facie case that he violated SarBox when he certified that his company had sufficient internal controls, which would get him banned from management of a publicly traded company for life.

This is bullsh%$, and I am pining for Mmme. la Guillotine.

A Solution to Our Energy Needs Forever

Just attach generators to the Obama administration’s revolving door. Problem solved:

Coming off a grueling four-year stint at the Justice Department, Lanny A. Breuer is poised to make a soft landing in the private sector.

Covington & Burling, a prominent law firm, plans to announce on Thursday that Mr. Breuer will be its vice chairman. The firm created the role especially for Mr. Breuer, a Washington insider who most recently led the Justice Department’s investigation into the financial crisis.

For Mr. Breuer, who will now shift to defending large corporations, Covington is familiar turf. He previously spent nearly two decades there.


“We’re proud to welcome him home,” said Timothy C. Hester, Covington’s chairman.

FWIW, I think that “welcome” is spelled “Ka-Ching.”

He did his job, and now Mr. Breuer is going to be paid for, “not bringing cases against the banks and executives at the center of the crisis.”

Torture, and Get a Promotion

This is what “Looking forward, not backward,” as Obama says, is such a bad idea.

It means that deeply evil people are given the more power over the rest of us:

Today’s Washington Post has a front-page article on the impending promotion of an official involved in running the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) torture program to head the CIA clandestine service. According to WaPo, the officer

helped run the CIA’s detention and interrogation program after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and signed off on the 2005 decision to destroy videotapes of prisoners being subjected to treatment critics have called torture.

WaPo reports that newly-confirmed CIA director John Brennan (who was also involved in the CIA’s torture program and has since moved on to writing an assassination-without-due-process “playbook”) has tapped three former senior officials to oversee the appointment of the former chief of staff to brazen torture apologist Jose Rodriguez to head the CIA’s clandestine service. The group consists of John McLaughlin (CIA deputy director during the CIA’s torture heyday), Stephen Kappes (another rendition, torture, and interrogation (RDI) supervisor – read about his covering up a prisoner’s death here) and Mary Margaret Graham (whose problematic professional history you can read about in Steve Coll’s recent New Yorker piece on CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou). Does anyone not see the problem with RDI daddy Brennan assigning RDI supervisors to promote the RDI queenpin?

BTW, she is hip deep on the coverup of torture:

When the head of the Counterterrorism Center, Jose Rodriguez, was promoted to head of the clandestine service in 2004, he took the female officer along as his chief of staff. According to former officials, the two repeatedly sought permission to have the tapes destroyed but were denied.

In 2005, instructions to get rid of the recordings went out anyway. Former officials said the order carried just two names: Rodriguez and his chief of staff.

Not only should this woman not be promoted, this woman should never hold a security clearance ever again.

This is Free Market Mousketeer Bullsh%$

Bolivia President Evo Morales is looking about setting up a state owned concern to refine his country’s huge lithium deposits:

Is Bolivia poised to become the “Saudi Arabia of lithium,” the vital ingredient in batteries for smartphones and electric cars?

The Uyuni salt flats, stretching across a remote Andean plateau in the southwest of the country, are easily the world’s largest reserve of the soft, light, whitish metal coveted by high-tech firms from Silicon Valley to Tokyo.

This year, President Evo Morales has moved swiftly ahead with plans to finally begin reaping a potential lithium windfall of billions of dollars for the impoverished South American nation.

In January, Bolivia opened its first trial plant. It will produce 40 tons of lithium carbonate a year. Over time, the government wants to ramp production up to 30,000 tons — roughly a fifth of current global demand.

Of course there are some potential difficulties, the salt flats are both moist, and contain a fair amount of magnesium, which makes extraction more difficult.

But here is the assumption that seems to be everywhere these days that just pisses me off:

Meanwhile, Morales’ socialist administration’s go-it-alone attitude — including recent nationalizations of everything from utilities to airports — may mean it will have problems accessing the foreign technology needed to process the lithium.

This is bullsh%$.

If they want the technology, they will get it the same way that multinational megacorporations do today: they buy the f%$#ing technology.

Exxon, BP, and all the rest don’t know how to do difficult drilling, they hire companies like Halliburton or Slumberger for their expertise in deep water drilling, they hire companies like Transocean for its expertise in building deep water rigs.

I’m not talking about industrial espionage here, it’s that companies have increasingly outsourced core competencies in the name of cost savings, and these are now available freely for sale.

You hire a company to do the design, you hire another to do the construction, and if you have any sense, you structure it so as to ensure that the local folks get at least a general understanding of the process when you do this.

Ain’t capitalism grand?

I Dope Slapped Him, Then I High Fived Him

Just watch, you’ll understand

Charlie told me that he had uploaded a video of him doing the “The Knife Song”.

You know the one, where you take a knife, and stab it between your spread fingers at high speed.

He told me about this, and I told him that he was so grounded.

Well, he wasn’t grounded, but I was unimpressed that he pranked me.

I did not know whether to dope slap him or high five hin, so I did both.

There is No Medicine for Stupidity

Click for full size

Much better than the Euro Zone

Because their currency floated

Paul Krugman has noted that Poland has done remarkably well by retaining its own currency and allowing it to float, (see chart pr0n).

Of course, the response of the Polish leaders is to try to join the Euro:

Donald Tusk, Poland’s prime minister, took a big political gamble on Tuesday when he opened the door to a referendum on joining the euro, in the face of strong public opposition to the common currency.

The move is part of a campaign to prepared Poland to begin the final stages of accession to the single currency by 2015. Mr Tusk had previously opposed a public vote, arguing that Poles had already bound themselves to the euro when they voted in 2003 to join the EU.

The crisis in the eurozone has hit support for the euro – the latest opinion survey shows 62 per cent of Poles are opposed to joining, with scepticism increasing markedly since the financial and debt crises hit Europe five years ago.

But now Mr Tusk has publicly raised the possibility of allowing a referendum – demanded by rightwing opposition parties opposed to euro membership – in return for an agreement with the opposition to push through the necessary constitutional changes.

Seriously, they want a piece of this?

You see, what happened was that instead of creating inflation, the wild capital flows caused the Zloty to appreciate, and when those flows reversed, the currency depreciated.

In the Euro zone, what happens is inflation, and then the need for depression to contract the economy. Wanting to be a part of this is stupid and insane.

Seriously, we need higher quality elites running the world.