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Lilacs by the kitchen window. April, 2013. Photo by joanneleon.



Linda Ronstadt Poor Poor Pitiful Me



News and Opinion


I sympathize with Graeber and agree with his take on the history of this but I have a more optimistic view of this latest trainwreck.  Things take time and this latest event lends itself to soundbites and headlines and double segments on the Colbert Report.

Will the Harvard Austerity Error End Economic Sadomasochism?

“It seems unlikely,” anthropologist and author David Graeber writes. “After all, as I and many others have long argued, austerity was never really an economic policy: ultimately, it was always about morality.

“We are talking about a politics of crime and punishment, sin and atonement,” he continues. “True, it’s never been particularly clear exactly what the original sin was: some combination, perhaps, of tax avoidance, laziness, benefit fraud and the election of irresponsible leaders. But in a larger sense, the message was that we were guilty of having dreamed of social security, humane working conditions, pensions, social and economic democracy.”

Reinhart-Rogoff a Week Later: Why Does This Matter?

Retreat!

Well this is progress. We are seeing distancing by conservative writers on the Reinhart/Rogoff thesis. In Feburary, Douglas Holtz-Eakin wrote, “The debt hurts the economy already. The canonical work of Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff and its successors carry a clear message: countries that have gross government debt in excess of 90% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) are in the debt danger zone. Entering the zone means slower economic growth. Granted, the research is not yet robust enough to say exactly when and how a crisis will engulf the US, but there is no reason to believe that America is somehow immune." (h/t QZ.)

Today, Holtz-Eakin writes about Reinhart and Rogoff in National Review, but drops the "canonical" status. Now they are just two random people with some common sense the left is beating up. "In order to distract from the dismal state of analytic and actual economic affairs, the latest tactic is to blame...two researchers, Carmen Reinhardt and Kenneth Rogoff, who made the reasonable observation that ever-larger amounts of debt must eventually be associated with bad economic news."

That's not actually what they said, and if you read Holtz-Eakin in February Reinhart-Rogoff is sufficient evidence to enact the specific plans he wants. Now there's no defense of the "danger zone" argument; just the idea that the stimulus failed. Retreat!

This is getting a bigger audience. (If you haven't seen The Colbert Report on the Reinhart/Rogoff issue, it's fantastic.) But going foward, plan beats no plan. And a critique isn't a plan. So what should we conclude about Reinhart-Rogoff a week later, now that the critique seems to have won? How should the government approach the debt?

How TPP will hurt America

Published on Apr 24, 2013
On Wednesday, the Senate Finance Committee met to discuss the opportunities and challenges the Trans-Pacific Partnership could pose on the United States. The TPP is a multi-national trade agreement that would involve nearly 40 percent of the global economy. In the hearings two Senators expressed their concern over the danger the trade agreement could have on America's auto and dairy industries. Margaret Howell reports on their unease towards the TPP.

VIDEO: Are Happy Gut Bacteria Key to Weight Loss?

Published on Apr 22, 2013
Imbalances in the microbial community in your intestines may lead to metabolic syndrome, obesity, and diabetes. What does science say about how to reset our bodies?

Read the full story by Moises Velasquez-Manoff on MotherJones.com:
http://www.motherjones.com/...

It's interesting that this involves gut bacteria too.
Study: Monsanto's Roundup Herbicide Linked to Cancer, Autism, Parkinson's
Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, may be "the most biologically disruptive chemical in our environment," say authors

The active ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup herbicide may be "the most biologically disruptive chemical in our environment," being responsible for a litany of health disorders and diseases including Parkinson’s, cancer and autism, according to a new study.
[...]
Looking at the impacts of glyphosate on gut bacteria, Samsel and Seneff found that the herbicide "enhances the damaging effects of other food borne chemical residues and environmental toxins," and is a “textbook example” of "the disruption of homeostasis by environmental toxins."

Wow.
SF Pride: ‘Bradley Manning will not be a grand marshal’

Further to the outrage expressed at the announcement of Bradley Manning being a grand marshal at San Francisco Pride, a few minutes ago Lisa L. Williams, SF Pride board president issued the following statement:

26 April 2013: Bradley Manning will not be a grand marshal in this year’s San Francisco Pride celebration. His nomination was a mistake and should never have been allowed to happen. A staff person at SF Pride, acting under his own initiative, prematurely contacted Bradley Manning based on internal conversations within the SF Pride organization. That was an error and that person has been disciplined. He does not now, nor did he at that time, speak for SF Pride.

Bradley Manning is facing the military justice system of this country. We all await the decision of that system. However, until that time, even the hint of support for actions which placed in harms way the lives of our men and women in uniform — and countless others, military and civilian alike — will not be tolerated by the leadership of San Francisco Pride. It is, and would be, an insult to every one, gay and straight, who has ever served in the military of this country. There are many, gay and straight, military and non-military, who believe Bradley Manning to be innocent. There are many who feel differently. Under the US Constitution, they have a first amendment right to show up, participate and voice their opinions at Pride this year.
Specifically, what these events have revealed is a system whereby a less-than-handful of people may decide who represents the LGBT community’s highest aspirations as grand marshals for SF Pride. This is a systemic failure that now has become apparent and will be rectified. In point of fact, less than 15 people actually cast votes for Bradley Manning. These 15 people are part of what is called the SF Pride Electoral College, comprised of former SF Pride Grand Marshals. However, as an organization with a responsibility to serve the broader community, SF Pride repudiates this vote. The Board of Directors for SF Pride never voted to support this nomination. Bradley Manning will have his day in court, but will not serve as an official participant in the SF Pride Parade.

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