Tag: ek Politics

A Japanese Lesson

Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

mishima is excluded because he’ll spoil the curve.

In 1930, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, in an effort to alleviate the effects of the… Anyone? Anyone?… the Great Depression, passed the… Anyone? Anyone? The tariff bill? The Hawley-Smoot Tariff Act? Which, anyone? Raised or lowered?… raised tariffs, in an effort to collect more revenue for the federal government. Did it work? Anyone? Anyone know the effects? It did not work, and the United States sank deeper into the Great Depression. Today we have a similar debate over this. Anyone know what this is? Class? Anyone? Anyone? Anyone seen this before? The Laffer Curve. Anyone know what this says? It says that at this point on the revenue curve, you will get exactly the same amount of revenue as at this point. This is very controversial. Does anyone know what Vice President Bush called this in 1980? Anyone? Something-d-o-o economics. “Voodoo” economics.

How many of you know that Fukushima means “fortunate island“?  Hands?  Mr. Hand?  I like irony except I find that if you just toss your clothes in the dryer for a few minutes you hardly ever have to use it.

Now, how many of you know that Dai’ichi means “number one”?

Just as when we start numbering battles (First Bull Run, Second Manassas) and wars (WWI, WWII) and movies (Han shot first!), this should be a clue that there are others out there.

Dai’ni means “number two”, and now you and Elmo can count in Japanese.

Tepco Plans Radioactive Water Release from Second Plant

By MITSURU OBE, The Wall Street Journal

JUNE 8, 2011, 10:55 A.M. ET

TOKYO-Tokyo Electric Power Co. is planning to release 3,000 tons of lightly radioactive water into the ocean from the Fukushima Daini nuclear complex, the sister plant of the stricken Fukushima Daiichi complex, officials said Wednesday.

The government’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said the water contains a small amount of radioactive material, including manganese-54 and cobalt-58, but that the amounts are mostly within permissible levels for being discharged into the ocean. The total amount of radioactive materials contained in the 3,000 tons of water is estimated at three billion becquerels, NISA said.

Not that this is the worst news-

Blackout hits Fukushima nuclear plant’s Nos. 1, 2 units

Japan Today

Wednesday 08th June, 06:59 PM JST

TOKYO – The crippled Fukushima Daiichi (that would be number one original for you newly bi-lingual folks) nuclear power plant suffered power outages at its Nos. 1 and 2 reactors temporarily Wednesday, with lights in the units’ central control room being cut off and the transmission of radiation data being partially halted.

The system to transfer data from radiation monitoring posts was found to have partly stopped. The blackout is also believed to have affected the nitrogen supply system for the No. 1 unit’s containment vessel so its operation was stopped manually.

They’re also having humidity problems which they’re going to “solve” by leaving the doors open and letting radioactive vapor vent into the environment.

High Tech, isn’t it?

But wait, there’s more!

Since I’m entirely vain and constantly in search of validation I’m happy to report my original estimate that all three active reactors suffered containment vessel breaches is now confirmed

‘Melt-through’ at Fukushima? Govt report to IAEA suggests situation worse than meltdown

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Jun. 8, 2011

Nuclear fuel in three reactors at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant has possibly melted through pressure vessels and accumulated at the bottom of outer containment vessels, according to a government report obtained Tuesday by The Yomiuri Shimbun.

A “melt-through”–when melted nuclear fuel leaks from the bottom of damaged reactor pressure vessels into containment vessels–is far worse than a core meltdown and is the worst possibility in a nuclear accident.

The possibility of the situation at the plant’s Nos. 1 to 3 reactors was raised in a report that is to be submitted to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

smiley face

Have a nice day.

Our Aust(eri)an Goolsbee Nightmare Is Finally Over

Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Or is it?  Despite the headline (which I think is punny and the important thing about my pieces is that they amuse me), if I really believed that I’d be guilty of what lambert calls a category error.  Expecting a freshwater economist from the Chicago school to promote anything but the discredited theories his academic position is based on is as naive as blaming anybody but his boss, Barack Hussein Obama, for hiring him in the first place and listening to them.

Discredited?  Oh my yes.  All you have to do is look at the economic history of the last 30 years to see how wrong their predictions and policies are.  They don’t practice science, it’s faith-based voodoo (my apologies to practioners of Santeria).

Unless, of course, you wish to consider them straight out thieves and con men in which case it makes perfect sense.

So of Obama’s apocalyptic economic team only Geithner the Wall Street toady remains, apparently for the duration.  Given the results achieved their tenure in government would likely be more limited than in academe anyway.

Scarecrow’s Nightmare: Austan Goolsbee Defends President Romney’s Economic Plan

By: Scarecrow, Firedog Lake

Sunday June 5, 2011 7:00 am

Goolsbee correctly told us that a smart economist wouldn’t get overly excited about one month’s jobs and growth numbers but would instead look at the overall trend. Of course what he wouldn’t want to concede is that GDP grew at a meager annual rate of 1.8 percent over the first three months of 2011 and so far was predicted to grow at only 2.8 percent for the next three. And the overall trend for job growth was still not enough to make a serious dent in unemployment unless you believe taking 5-10 years to get back to full employment is okay.

So Goolsbee was in denial from the opening moment because he didn’t have a decent story to tell even in his own framework. When Amanpour asked him what the Administration could or should be doing to improve conditions, he ticked off items you’d expect to hear from a typical GOP Presidential adviser: we’ve got to get the debt under control; we have a White House effort to identify and get rid of governmental regulations that are preventing the private sector from growing the economy; we should pass “free trade” agreements backed by the Chamber of Commerce; and we should leverage limited public dollars to release billions in private funding for investments.

Goolsbee’s bottom line: “It’s now up to the private sector.” That’s exactly what you’d expect from President Romney’s economic adviser.

I’m sure I imagined all this. The country wouldn’t possibly be dumb enough to elect an unprincipled moral chameleon like Mitt Romney President. And we’d never put up with someone as defensive and unconvincing as Goolsbee was today, though we’d wonder how the voters got taken.

No, that couldn’t be real, so when I really wake up, I’ll let you know what the adviser for the actual Democratic President said today about the sagging economy and the undefensible unemployment numbers.

Scarecrow Awakens: Austan Goolsbee To Go *Poof!* But It Won’t Help Economy

By: Scarecrow, Firedog Lake

Monday June 6, 2011 5:53 pm

In recent weeks, after a near stagnant first quarter, we’ve seen one forecaster after another lower their forecasts of economic growth from about 4 percent this year to under 3 and perhaps as low as 2.5 percent. This quarter is expected to grow at an annual 2.8 percent rate or less. Last week, we got confirmation of the slowdown via disappointing jobs numbers, with the unemployment rising to 9.1 percent. While that followed more hopeful March and April numbers, the trend level is clearly unlikely to make a significant dent in the overall unemployment rates before 2013. In fact, at that rate, it would take about ten years to get back to normal.

With reputable economists starting to use the words “panic” and “depression” to describe the potential risks to the economy, it was left on Sunday to Austan Goolsbee to explain why the White House was stuck on stupid, unwilling to change course or even concede that the recovery was in serious danger. We were asked to ignore that the nation’s unemployment is back above 9 percent, extended unemployment insurance is running out, and states are continuing to slash their budgets and payrolls. The latter are offsetting what little stimulus might have come from last December’s tax cut deal. Even someone with straw for brains can see we’re going the wrong way.

Faced with this insanity, even a Chicago economist should have the good sense to get out before the worst is blamed on him, when he’s likely just the apologist for Larry Summers. And following his, uh, strange performance on Sunday’s shows, he got a clear signal from those who might be inclined to be more charitable about motives and predicaments. When a former Democratic Administration econonomist like Brad DeLong linked favorably to Mark Thoma questioning how the Administration could continue to have it’s head in the sand and not see the need to pivot towards job creation, Goolsbee may just have seen it as a sign it’s time to announce his departure.

Why become the front for a team that remains committed to failed policies that may very likely take the economy down with them? And when a Nobel laureate has to tell the White House via the New York Times that he’s withdrawing his nomination to the Federal Reserve because Washington, including the White House, has become dysfunctional, it’s pretty clear the communication between the President and the economic team is not what it should be.

More boring numbers-

Austan Goolsbee Is Almost Correct, Just Not in the Fashion He Thinks

By: dakine01, Firedog Lake

Monday June 6, 2011 11:03 am

Now a million new jobs over the last six months sounds good, right? Not so fast there Bucky. In an economy that needs to add roughly 125K jobs every month just to maintain status quo (that would be 750K jobs for a six month period), then a million jobs in six months doesn’t begin to put a dent in the 14 or so millions of unemployed, much less the un and underemployed numbers sitting somewhere between 25M and 30M.

Now I actually went back seven months rather than six months and using information gleaned from the monthly BLS press release for jobs created, I still only come up with 784K jobs. And I haven’t accounted for the little nugget in this past Friday’s report that the March and April numbers were revised down 39K, placing the seven month total at 745K jobs created. 745K jobs created instead of the 875K jobs needed just to maintain the status quo, still leaving the 14M unemployed and the 25M to 30M un and underemployed.

Electoral victory my ass.  NO president has been re-elected with unemployment above 6% except Reagan and then it was trending down.

Barack Hussein Obama is no Ronald Wilson Reagan.

Boo Who?

Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Seems someone has got their po’ wittle fee-fees hurt.

Sunday I wrote about the Yves Smith kerfluffle.  You know, if someone calls you a sellout (or makes other, less flattering characterizations) you have two choices- ignore it or own it.

Now as I’ve always chosen to embrace every vice (unless you have something new and inventive to suggest), my typical response is “Yeah, so?”  The Roosevelt Institute has, on the other hand, decided that Yves’ shoe fits and attempts to defend their neoliberal policy prescriptions as progressive.

What are those prescriptions?  I’m glad you asked.  Jon Walker has a handy little roundup-

Peterson Foundation Proposals From the Roosevelt Institute, CAP and EPI Abandon Progressive Policy

By: Jon Walker, Firedog Lake

Monday June 6, 2011 9:43 am

While Medicare and Medicaid are technically what drives government spending, they are not the problem. They are both dramatically more cost effective than our broken private insurance system, which is what is actually driving all our health care cost radically higher than the rest of the industrialized world.  The projected deficit is due mainly to historically low tax rates, massively unnecessary military spending and most importantly a totally broken health care system.

The “progressive” solution to our current health care problems has historically been to copy the models of nations with cheaper and more efficient systems: it could be fixed by adopting the progressive solutions of socialized medicine (VA for all), or single payer (Medicare for all). If those are “too big a change,” most of the benefits of single payer can be replicated following the model of countries like Germany and Japan and adopting all-payer, where the government plays a role in setting uniformed reimbursement rates that all private insurance companies most pay.  Adopting any of these models would effectively eliminate our long term deficit.

Yet none of the three “liberals” deficit plans even come close to calling for any of these proven progressive solutions for health care. Only one of them, EPI, includes a moderately strong public option. “Tort reform” gets more play than single payer.

Note that the Roosevelt Institute plan doesn’t even call for what became the significant progressive compromise from single payer in the health care debate, an immediate public option. Instead, it calls only for a “trigger” that might make a public option available at the earliest by 2022 if cost(s) continue to increase. If a robust public option can significantly reduce the deficit, which the CBO has concluded, what possible justification exists for waiting a decade to use it? So the Roosevelt Institute plan to reduce the deficit is to needlessly waste a few hundred billion dollars.

In isolation many of these ideas are nice, but the totality of them is incredibly timid. Yes, we could save some money if Medicare negotiated directly for drug prices for seniors, but everyone could save significantly more money if Medicare negotiated lower drug prices for everyone through a single payer system or all-payer.

Given that as a country we probably spend $500 billion more a year than we need to on health care, is it truly depressing that these so-called progressive groups have totally abandoned even talking about a proven solution to our deficit and health care issues.

On an international level I would go so far as to say these three liberal health care plans are all significantly to the right of basically even center-right party in the rest of the industrialized world on health care.

If these constitute the “left flank” of the political discussion around the pressing issue of health care costs in America, we as a country are screwed.

Our Moron Elites

Remember, they’re ever so much smarter and deserving than you and I.

E.coli: Germany says it might not be bean sprouts

German officials are no closer to finding the source of the deadly E.coli outbreak that has killed 22 people, after admitting it might not be the bean sprouts that they blamed only 24 hours earlier.

By Harry Wallop, Consumer Affairs Editor, The Telegraph

6:31PM BST 06 Jun 2011

After incorrectly blaming Spanish cucumbers, German officials said on Sunday that the source was almost certainly a bean sprout farm in Lower Saxony, in northern Germany.

However, on Monday afternoon German officials admitted that 23 of the 40 samples being tested from the alleged source of the outbreak had proved negative, though it insisted that the suspect farm was still a possible source.

Spanish farmers said that there were no signs that business was recovering, even though German officials admitted last week that Spain was not to blame. Antonio Moreno, who helps run a farmers organisation in Almeria in southern Spain, said: “We are indignant, angry, furious and everything else imaginable.

Two points- Germany is the new Randian exemplar of the 19th Century Gilded Age Capitalism that led to the Pure Food and Drug Act.

Food inspection and communicable disease control are exactly the kinds of programs our Austerian Idiots want to cut.  For the consequences of that particular folly I direct you to Edgar Allen Poe’s Masque of the Red Death

And now was acknowledged the presence of the Red Death. He had come like a thief in the night. And one by one dropped the revellers in the blood-bedewed halls of their revel, and died each in the despairing posture of his fall. And the life of the ebony clock went out with that of the last of the gay. And the flames of the tripods expired. And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all.

The Elephants in the Room

Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Now don’t get me wrong, I like Wikipedia from an anarcho-syndicalist standpoint and because I find it presents a fairly accurate consensus view (though not one I necessarily agree with) most of the time.  It’s a very good source for pop culture.  To me the downsides are it’s poorly organized (too much subdivision) and badly indexed (built in search sucks) as well as incomplete in critical parts.  Why no entry for Aqua Duck?

Now we’re all familiar by this point with Sarah Palin’s original flub on Paul Revere-

Frankly, I’m frequently wrong and when confronted by a mistake of this type my general instinct is to say- “I’m sorry, I misspoke.” even when doing so totally invalidates the point I was trying to make.  You know, like H.W. and September 7th-

This is Pearl Harbor Day. Forty-seven years ago to this very day, we were hit and hit hard at Pearl Harbor.

Bush addressing the American Legion in Louisville, Kentucky (7 September 1988).  Love to have a copy of the whole thing, but my Google isn’t up to it.

Remarks to the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana


Thank you all so much. I’m proud to be back with you. This time I’ll remember Pearl Harbor Day, too.

Since that one’s from the H.W. library you can hardly deny it happened.

Sarah has instead decided to double down-

Now the legions of Sarah fans have decided to rewrite history, which is nothing new for Republicans (did I mention I can’t find a transcript of that 1988 speech to the Louisville, Kentucky, American Legion?).  So you don’t have to click through on the LGF links here are the direct links to the discussion pages.

Yet Another Third Way Democrat Victory!

(h/t Chris in Paris @ Americablog)

Tory plans to redraw electoral map could hit Lib Dem seats hardest

Boundary review to equalise and reduce constituencies by 50 could prompt mutiny, with Tory backbenchers also affected

Polly Curtis and Allegra Stratton, guardian.co.uk

Sunday 5 June 2011 21.44 BST

The Liberal Democrats face losing up to a quarter of their seats when a Tory-imposed plan to redraw the entire electoral map comes into force from September, figures seen by the Guardian suggest.

The issue could force a mutiny in the coalition amid mounting evidence that the Liberal Democrats will fare far worse than predicted and with David Cameron facing further tensions with his backbenchers, some of whom are certain to lose their seats.

“The Liberal Democrats clearly did not know what they were agreeing to. It was extremely naive. It’s like turkeys voting for Christmas,” one Labour source said.

Lewis Baston of Democratic Audit, a research group working from Liverpool University, has devised a model of the new map based on the guidelines set out by the legislation behind the reforms. In his version, the Tories would lose 16 seats – 5.2% of their total; Labour would lose 17 – 6.6%; and the Liberal Democrats a crippling 14 – 24.6%. Ministers including Norman Baker, Sarah Teather, Andrew Stunell and Grant Shapps would be among those most vulnerable.

Baston said: “The Liberal Democrats are likely to lose out more than the other main parties because their seats are yellow islands in a sea of red or blue; changing the boundaries is more likely to bring in hostile territories, their majorities tend to be smaller than Labour or Conservative MPs and their Lib Dems trade a lot on incumbency and constituency service. That is disrupted by a boundary review.”

The new seats will be announced from 6 September, making for a summer of uncertainty for MPs. A lengthy consultation will follow in which the parties can make representations to challenge decisions. The new map will be subject to a vote in both houses of parliament, creating a point of rebellion in 2013. One Tory said: “The question is, if you’re a Lib Dem and there is a Labour rebellion, do you join with them in opposing this? You rely on incumbency – being known to your patch – and then not only do you lose that but, by being in government, you’re more unpopular than you’ve ever been. Their party leadership may have decided they can’t ask their troopers to vote it through.”

Voters keep voting for change and they will continue to until they get some.

Another Third Way Democrat Victory!

Given the choice between Republicans and Republicans Lite, Republicans will win every time.

Portugal’s Social Democrats Defeat Socrates, Hand Coelho Coalition Chance

By Joao Lima, Bloomberg News

Jun 5, 2011 3:14 PM ET

The Social Democrats won between 37 percent and 42 percent of the vote, showed the poll by state-run RTP television. The Socialists, who ruled with a minority since 2009, won between 26 percent and 30 percent of the vote. The People’s Party took between 11 percent and 14 percent of the vote.

RTP’s forecasts gave Coehlo’s Social Democrats between 104 and 114 seats and the People’s Party between 22 and 28 seats. The ruling Socialist Party won between 67 and 77 seats in parliament, according to the projection, down from 97.

All three major parties have committed to austerity measures that aim to cut the deficit to the European Union ceiling of 3 percent of gross domestic product by 2013 from a forecast 5.9 percent this year.

The economy is set to shrink this year and unemployment rose to 12.4 percent in the first quarter.

Another such victory and I come back to Epirus alone.

Veal Pen Progressives

Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

(h/t to Xanthe who scooped me, also TMC, Corrente, and FDL)

I am not a “progressive” or a “liberal”.  I’m a leftist, more specifically an anarcho-syndicalist.  I mention this so you’ll understand that “who are the real Communists here” fights primarily amuse me and I’m highlighting this one as recent and illustrative as well.

Most of you will recognize Yves Smith as the author of Naked Capitalism.  Over the last couple of days there has been a lot of discussion which started out with this post-

Bribes Work: How Peterson, the Enemy of Social Security, Bought the Roosevelt Name

Friday, June 3, 2011

Bribes work. AT&T gave money to GLAAD, and now the gay rights organization is supporting the AT&T-T-Mobile merger. La Raza is mouthing the talking points of the Mortgage Bankers Association on down payments. The NAACP is fighting on debit card rules. The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities and the Economic Policy Institute supported the extension of the Bush tax cuts back in December. While it seems counter-intuitive that a left-leaning organization would support illiberal extensions of corporate power, in fact, that is the role of the DC pet liberal. This dynamic of rent-a-reputation is greased with corporate cash and/or political access. As the entitlement fight comes to a head, it’s worth looking under the hood of the DC think tank scene to see how the Obama administration and the GOP are working to lock down their cuts to social programs.

And so it is that the arch-enemy of Social Security, Pete Peterson, rented out the good name of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the reputation of the Center for American Progress, and EPI. All three groups submitted budget proposals to close the deficit and had their teams share the stage with Republican con artist du jour Paul Ryan. The goal of Peterson’s conference was to legitimize the fiscal crisis narrative, and to make sure that “all sides” were represented.

Well, there’s been quite a reaction.  As Yves puts it-

I’m surprised that my post, “Bribes Work: How Peterson, the Enemy of Social Security, Bought the Roosevelt Name” has created a bit of a firestorm within what passes for the left wing political blogosphere. It has elicited responses from Andy Rich of the Roosevelt Institute, Roosevelt Institute fellow Mike Konczal, as well as two groups only mentioned in passing in the piece, the Economic Policy Institute and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Her longer response-

On Fauxgressive Rationalizations of Selling Out to Powerful, Moneyed Backers

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Left wing operatives seem unable to grasp what outsiders see clearly: that what advances their resume is often inconsistent with what is in the best interest of the causes they say they believe in. Some face this tradeoff more on an institutional rather than individual level. The EPI and CFPB were both created to counter the right supply side phantasmagoria with fact based analysis. They’ve been truer to the left wing principles than the Hamilton Project infested Center for American Progress. But they depend on Democratic party infrastructure for much of their fundraising. As a consequence, they are often asked to take dives, such as the stance we highlighted in our post, that of supporting an extension of the Bush tax cuts last fall. The payoff was not explicit as in the Roosevelt case, but maintaining good relationships with money sources is as important as grant funding.

Let’s look at the Mike Konczal post as an illustration. It’s an odd mix of misdirection, rationalization, and coded ad hominem.  His opening sentence depicts me as “unhappy”, thus tagging me as being emotional rather than having a reasoned critique.  It also characterizes the critic as someone who doesn’t see the system as legitimate, and thus cannot be trusted as a credible system-supportive messenger.

But that’s precisely the point – my priority is not sustaining a corrupt order, while that is exactly what he is doing.  I feel no allegiance to the powerful officials and interests who made decisions, and I believe they owe the public an accounting for the deeply destabilizing and immoral two-tiered system of justice they have foisted on all of us.  He is keen to marginalize those who demand answers from our self-appointed guardians of discourse. For instance, his peculiar emphasis on word count is to suggest that people like me are tiresome and irrelevant.

His post is not even an argument, it’s a tribal signal to the insider class that, though he may have liberal sympathies, he can be trusted at crunch time.

It is in fact an argument against moral courage.

(T)he reality is that the Roosevelt participation was utterly irrelevant save for its PR value to Peterson. It’s simply an ornament that allows Peterson to claim millennial support for his toxic game plan. No one cares what the student paper says; the only reason I bothered dealing with it substantively was to show I had indeed read it and point out how it failed to build on or even acknowledge prior (better) Roosevelt work.

Water Water

Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

The cooling pump failure at Reactor 5 (yes, Reactor 5, a new one) seems to have been corrected by the installation of an additional pump.  The failure raised temperatures from 68 to 93.6 degrees in the reactor and 41 to 46 degrees in the fuel pool.  I suspect that these numbers are Celsius, not Fahrenheit, which puts the boiling point of water at 100, not 212.  The explosion heard at about the same time came from rubble clearing equipment damaging a gas cylinder according to TEPCO.

And we all believe them, don’t we?

On the credibility front, Prime Minister Naoto Kan barely survived a no-confidence vote by making a pledge to resign “once certain progress” has been made.

Former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, who brokered the deal, said that Kan had agreed to go by the end of June, while Kan said at a press conference late Thursday that the work required him to stay at least through the end of the year.

Hatoyama shot back Friday morning, saying that Kan was a “con artist” if he tried to stay on.

“Right before the no-confidence vote, he says he will resign, and then once it’s voted down, he says he won’t. The prime minister should not be behaving like a con artist…If he is such a person, I should have supported the no-confidence vote,” Hatoyama told reporters Friday morning.

But there are more important things happening, like the imminent exhaustion of ALL the storage for the now highly radioactive water they’ve been pumping to prevent another out of control reaction.

Fukushima Radioactive Water May Breach Plant’s Storage Trenches in 5 Days

By Tsuyoshi Inajima, Bloomberg News

Jun 2, 2011 6:32 AM ET

Tepco has pumped millions of liters of cooling water into the three reactors that melted down. By May 18, almost 100,000 tons of radioactive water had leaked into the basements of reactor and turbine buildings, connecting tunnels and service trenches at the plant, according to Tepco’s estimates.

Water levels are between 27.7 centimeters (11 inches) below the top of a shaft leading to a trench connected to the No. 2 building and 23.9 centimeters below the ground at the No. 3 unit today, Junichi Matsumoto, a general manager at Tepco, said.

The levels were 64.1 centimeters for the No. 2 building and 45.6 for No. 3 on May 27, showing a rate of increase that will reach the lip of the trenches as early as June 6.

The rate of increase in water level quickened because of three days of rain from typhoon Songda that weakened as it swept past Japan earlier this week. Namie, a town near the Fukushima Dai-Ichi station, had 112 millimeters of rain on May 30, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.

The Associated Press is currently reporting that TEPCO is planning on removing 1,500 tons of water immediately, but you don’t have to be a math genius to compare 100,000 to 1,500 and reach the sure and certain conclusion that this represents 1.5%, literally a drop in the bucket.

Even this more optimistic piece from AFP says that only 2 or 3 of a planned 370 temporary storage tanks are expected to reach the site in the next few days with the rest taking as long as mid August to get there.  And when they do the capacity will be a mere 40,000 tons which some quick and non-controversial arithmetic tells me leaves 60% still sloshing around.

They still keep pumping more too.

59% of Japanese are worried they have been exposed to radiation from the Fukushima disaster and at least 2 workers have exceeded their lifetime limits with an additional 40 being tested.

When you’ve lost James Carville…

Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

He actually admires this, but consider whom he wakes up next to.

Obama is looking like a 2008 Republican

By James Carville, CNN Contributor

May 24, 2011

In 1992, Bill Clinton famously proclaimed himself to be an Eisenhower Republican. By that measure, I’d say President Obama is a pre-2008 John McCain Republican.

But this much is sure: The policies of the eventual Republican nominee, that is, anybody left running for it by the time of the vote, will be right in line with those of Sarah Palin. It’s pretty remarkable that the next election is going to boil down to a competition between the 2008 Republican presidential candidate and his vice presidential nominee.

Remarkable is not the word I’d use.


Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

The Shame of the Ratings Agencies: How Moody’s Blows It Again

By Zachary Karabell, Time Magazine

June 3, 2011

Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s, and Fitch are three of the most powerful actors in the global financial system. Their inability to discern the flimsiness of those “investment grade” mortgage-backed securities between 2006 and 2008 was one reason for the implosion of that system in 2008 when it became apparent that those trillions of dollars of securities and their derivatives were worth a lot less than it seemed. Yet for all the reforms since then, the ratings agencies remain largely untouched.

Add to this yet another issue: the United States debt market of Treasury bonds and bills is one of the anchors of the global economy. The dollar remains the preferred – though not much loved – currency of international commerce. The purchase and sale of U.S. Treasuries is not something the world can halt if Moody’s or S&P or Fitch decide one day that there are credit questions. Until the Chinese yuan or the Brazilian real or the euro or some new synthetic currency replaces the dollar, and until there is a market liquid enough to absorb the trillions now invested in U.S. Treasuries, countries and institutions can’t just shift gears and divest of their U.S. holdings simply because one day ratings agencies decide that they should.

So it is patently ridiculous that these agencies are even in a position to hold court on U.S. creditworthiness. It’s not that their analysis of the challenges and pitfalls is useless: far from it. But it is the degree to which that analysis is supposed to be connected to action, and there is a world of difference between saying that company X is no longer investment grade and saying the same of the United States. At best, such a decision will roil markets and sow confusion; at worst, they will trigger a wave of selling and a race to the bottom that could make the mistakes of the ratings agencies during the financial crisis look small in comparison.

U.S. Treasuries are the world’s reserve currency.  They’re currently trading at less than 3% (as Colbert would say- the judgment of the market).  To think that any other currency could or would want to absorb the $600 TRILLION notional value of derivatives (1000% of the WORLD GDP) is as foolish as wishing the Sumerians had never invented cuneiform

Some ten millennia ago the Sumerians began using clay tokens to count their agricultural and manufactured goods. Later they began placing the tokens in large, hollow, clay containers which were sealed; the quantity of tokens in each container came to be expressed by impressing, on the container’s surface, one picture for each instance of the token inside. They next dispensed with the actual tokens, relying solely on symbols for the tokens, drawn on clay surfaces. To avoid making a picture for each instance of the same object (for example: 100 pictures of a hat to represent 100 hats), they ‘counted’ the objects by using various small marks. In this way the Sumerians added “a system for enumerating objects to their incipient system of symbols.” Thus writing began, during the Uruk period c. 3300 BC.

Hilda Solis- Shill

Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

“I’m optimistic!”

That was the message from Hilda Solis, Secretary of Labor, in response to a jobs report that can only be described as appalling.

The Obama administration is in a complete disconnect from the Main Street economy and Ms. Solis looked pathetic and frantic as she denied reality on behalf of her employer.  It’s really not a good sign when you let a CNBC reporter PWN you like this.

Unless Obama can change these numbers (or at least the stink of failure that permeates his record) he is doomed no matter what nut job the Thugs put up.


From Calculated Risk, h/t Atrios

The Mistake of 2010

By PAUL KRUGMAN, The New York Times

Published: June 2, 2011

In fact, in important ways we have already repeated the mistake of 1937. Call it the mistake of 2010: a “pivot” away from jobs to other concerns, whose wrongheadedness has been highlighted by recent economic data.

Back when the original 2009 Obama stimulus was enacted, some of us warned that it was both too small and too short-lived. In particular, the effects of the stimulus would start fading out in 2010 – and given the fact that financial crises are usually followed by prolonged slumps, it was unlikely that the economy would have a vigorous self-sustaining recovery under way by then.

By the beginning of 2010, it was already obvious that these concerns had been justified. Yet somehow an overwhelming consensus emerged among policy makers and pundits that nothing more should be done to create jobs, that, on the contrary, there should be a turn toward fiscal austerity.

(T)he news has, indeed, been bad. As the stimulus has faded out, so have hopes of strong economic recovery. Yes, there has been some job creation – but at a pace barely keeping up with population growth. The percentage of American adults with jobs, which plunged between 2007 and 2009, has barely budged since then. And the latest numbers suggest that even this modest, inadequate job growth is sputtering out.

(T)he mistake of 2010 may yet be followed by an even bigger mistake. Even if that doesn’t happen, however, the fact is that the policy response to the crisis was and remains vastly inadequate.

Somewhat corrected transcript below.

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