Thursday, 31 May 2012

07:40 – Illustrated Guide to Home Forensic Science Experiments is officially complete and off to O’Reilly’s production folks. I’ve already issued several purchase orders for the forensics kits, and will be putting together and issuing more of them over the next few days.

10:08 – I’ve enabled registration for this site, which I’m hoping will allow registered users to edit their own comments, at least for a short time after they post them. If you’re a regular here, please go ahead and register and let me know if you can edit your own comments.

16:44 – That loud sucking sound you hear is the sound of people withdrawing their money from Spanish banks. The MSM hesitates to call it a bank run, but what else would you call a net withdrawal of about $125 billion for the month ending today? Like all other eurozone banks, all Spanish banks are not just bankrupt but zombiefied. Their net worth is so far into the red that there’s nothing to be done. The Spanish government, bankrupt itself, can’t help them. The EU can’t help them. The IMF can’t help them. The ECB has already put more than $1 trillion in funny money into the EU banking system. As I predicted, that’s actually done more harm than good. It delayed the final collapse, of course, but at what a price. Spain is very close to following Greece down the tubes, and there’s nothing anyone can do now to stop it. Expect severe capital control measures to be implemented, possibly as soon as tomorrow. Not that those will do any good.

Even EU, ECB, and IMF officials are now speaking openly about the collapse of the eurozone, and “collapse” is one of the kinder words they’re using. This is a real train wreck, not just for Greece and Spain, but for the rest of the eurozone. The UK, Sweden and other EU nations that are not members of the eurozone will also suffer heavily, but nowhere near as badly as those in the eurozone. Germany has to be very near the point of abandoning the euro, if only in self-preservation.

56 Comments and discussion on "Thursday, 31 May 2012"

  1. SteveF says:

    Good on ya! I’ll definitely be buying a copy when it’s in print.

  2. BGrigg says:

    And in a story that could easily be (and probably will be) a CSI story French gay porn star , I submit the rest of the foot story Greg posted about earlier.

    Student riots, mob corruption, collapsing infrastructure, gay necrophilia, what’s not to love about Montreal?

  3. BGrigg says:

    CSI story *about a* French gay porn star.

  4. test user says:

    I just created a test user account to see if I could edit my own comment.

  5. test user says:

    Okay, I had to approve that comment, so here’s another.

  6. test user says:

    And it won’t let me edit my own comments. Geez. I hate WordPress.

  7. Ray Thompson says:

    Where does one register?

    Never mind. I see that I am registered and can edit comments for about 30 minutes after posting.

  8. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    I just installed a comment-editing plugin. I have no idea what many of the configuration options do, so I’ve left them pretty much at default.

  9. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Shit. It appears to me at least that anyone can edit anyone else’s comments in addition to their own. Is that the case?

    Apparently! -bgrigg

  10. bgrigg says:

    My, isn’t all this power FUN!

  11. bgrigg says:

    Mucking about with the editing. So far I’ve edited Bob’s comment above, just to see if it would actually accept the save command.

    And it’s not too time limited, I just opened a comment by Greg on the 3rd of May, but chose not to edit it.

    And I’ve noticed that some people’s names (and I’m looking at Ray!) are appearing as URLs that lead to forbidden access pages. I presumed it was a WordPress login thing, but I’m still just plain old bgrigg. I think I want a forbidden access page, too! 😉

  12. test user says:

    Okay, I changed some settings. Let’s see if it’ll still let me edit my own comment.

  13. test user says:

    Okay, I now have an edit button for the last comment and a count-down timer that starts at 30 minutes. I can’t edit any other comments. Let’s see if this works.

    RBT: okay, as admin it appears that I can edit other’s comments.

  14. bgrigg says:

    Well, I can’t see an edit button in your posts anymore! I should have taken the now lost opportunity to “correct” Greg’s numerous posts about Barry Manilow and Hillary Clinton!

    And the timer is ticking…

  15. Ray Thompson says:

    And I’ve noticed that some people’s names (and I’m looking at Ray!) are appearing as URLs that lead to forbidden access pages.

    That is not a WordPress problem. My website currently has nothing on the site therefore you get the message. When I posted I entered my website just to see what happened and it apparently makes my name into URL. On this post I left the URL off.

  16. eristicist says:

    Editing! It’s weird; I could swear WordPress has comment editing by default.

  17. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Well, if it does, please tell me how to enable it. I can’t find anywhere to do that.

    This plug-in appears to be slowing the site down significantly.

  18. Don Armstrong says:

    Testing. Toasting.

  19. Miles_Teg says:

    Geez. Bill won’t get any work done now for three days while he plays with his new toy. Another anarcho-libertarian-atheist snafu.

  20. Don Armstrong says:

    You cannot edit … after other comments have been posted.

    Yep, I can edit this, but my other test post – Greg jumped in on my heels and then I couldn’t edit it any longer.

    Bob, if this is all it does for us, and it costs heaps in overhead, then I’d say its value is dubious. Maybe you ought to wait for a better implementation.

  21. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Yeah, that’s a standard setting. I think I can turn it off to allow people to edit after other comments have been posted.

    And my own Internet service seems slow today, so perhaps it’s me and the site itself is running normally.

  22. bgrigg says:

    It doesn’t seem to be loading any slower at my end.

  23. SteveF says:

    Speed seems ok from here. But I should point out that the site normally
    loads very quickly and I don’t know if I’d notice a difference between
    1.1 seconds and 1.7 seconds.

    RBT, as the site owner/administrator you should have access to some
    reports showing server stats in terms of CPU load, page requests, and
    so on. Exactly what you have available probably depends on your hosting
    company, but you might poke around … in your copious free time, of

  24. Chuck Waggoner says:

    So is there any advantage to registering?

  25. DadCooks says:

    Just checking to see if posting a comment brings up my old registration.

  26. DadCooks says:

    Well I guess I am missing something, used my old “name” and email thinking that would “register” in some way. No indication that it did.

    So what is the secret to registering? Am I missing a link somewhere?

  27. bgrigg says:

    Registering should give you the advantage of editing posts within 30 minutes. It also adds a spell check button and a full screen comment box toggle. There may be more features that remain as of yet unseen.

    To register with the new site, scroll down to the bottom of the right hand column, to the section titled “Meta”. There should be a register button (which I can’t currently see, as I’m registered and logged in), but it was there earlier.

  28. OFD says:

    There are two funny new buttons down by my comment block but I will just go on editing AS I TYPE. Yes, kids, this can be done! It ain’t a hundred percent sometimes but by Jeezum I cum dam close!! Whoops.

    84 here the other day and now it’s 63 and dropping, with more, yes, rain, on the way, yes, again. We just can’t get enuff fucking water up here! Soon babies will drop from wombs with fins and gills in this state.

    And picking up whatever nasty virus shit that daughter brought down from Montreal (probably flying bacteria from all them goddam pots and pans) and gave to her mother and grandmother. This after a day mucking around with a kernel compile and other company-specific sw that had to get loaded with it on our new master cluster master node or whatever it is; an x86 box with mega storage array and a TB of RAM and fiber net adapters, four of them, etc., etc. which will be the Lord and Ruler of a half dozen other clusters with their own master nodes already.

    I am loading up on Vitamin C, and drinking gallons of water and juice and attempting to get as much sleep as possible; I cannot afford to take a nanosecond off from work.

  29. OFD says:

    BTW, I did not re-register, if that is what I’m sposed to do, but the Meta button and the ABC and window button are here anyway.

  30. OFD says:

    Can we still edit other peoples’ posts? I have some ideas…

    RBT: “I have decided that I was totally wrong about my evil atheistic beliefs and have chosen Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and will be entering a monastery for a ten-year stint to purify my soul accordingly. I will come out at Christmas each year to dress up as Santa Claus and distribute gifts to our wonderful public servants in Congress.”

    Miles_Teg: “I am heartily and most grievously sorry for all the bad things I said about cats and have begun a major fund-raising drive in Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania and Indonesia to find luxury mansions for each and every cat in the southern Pacific. I also renounce my boyish obsession with anorexic female celebs and now worship at the altar of zaftig goddesses like Adele and Rosie O’Donnell.”

    Chuck Waggoner: “Germany sucks. Let’s face it. America is the greatest country in the history of the world and I now wear an American flag lapel pin every day and sing the national anthem on rising each new morning. What a country!”

  31. DadCooks says:

    @bgrigg — thanks for helping me find the link. Registration done.

    edit: And the time-limited editing feature is working.

    @RBT — the site does not seem to have slowed.

  32. SteveF says:

    Editing others’ comments? What a great idea!

    OFD: The more I think about it, the more I regret my lost opportunities. The only problem is, I can live only one of my dreams. Should I try to have three more daughters with three different young women and have them all live with me, or should I join the priesthood?

  33. bgrigg says:

    I don’t know if I should feel kind of bummed out that I wasn’t chosen for some of OFD’s selective editing skills, or not.

    @Dadcooks – you are welcome!

    @SteveF – you could try both by inventing your own religious cult, setting yourself up as the Chief Priest and building your harem. Banish all male whelps along with their mothers to reduce the possibility of a coup d’etat.

  34. OFD says:

    OFD Himself: “Priesthood? No. Religious cult? No. Three more daughters by three more women? Don’t think so. Ever hear of them ascetic desert hermits, like St. Anthony? Yeah. That’s what I’m thinkin here….”

    bgrigg: “Canada sucks. I’m moving to the U.S. this next week. America is the greatest country in the history of humanity. I have started wearing TWO American flag lapel pins every day and not only sing their national anthem on rising each morning but also “American the Beautiful” and then I put on selections from my stash of Barry Manilow and Abba records. America: what a country! Is the nearest Marine Corps enlistment center in Seattle?”

  35. Miles_Teg says:

    Dave, I realise your daughter is a complete PITA so I’m willing to take her off your hands for 30 or so years. Just send her over.

  36. bgrigg says:

    Closer to the mark than I’m willing to admit, and I’m closer to Spokane than Seattle, BTW.

    I prefer the purple mountain majesties to standing on guard in the frigging north, too!

  37. Miles_Teg says:

    Most of all I bet you prefer this sort of guard duty:

    How much weed did you have to give the cops to make this problem go away? 🙂

  38. brad says:

    Apropos the Euro: I spoke to someone recently who has beein paying some attention to Portugal. She notes that Portugal – which is in basically the same shape as Greece – has not made any headlines recently. From what she knows of the country, she says that the attitude is totally different. Where the Greeks are protesting any attempt to recognize reality, the Portuguese realize and accept that they have a bad situation, and are just buckling down to fix it.

    Be interesting to see if this attitude lasts, and if they can fix it…

  39. brad says:

    “American the Beautiful”

    Which one would that be? Hillary?

  40. Miles_Teg says:

    Boy, the upskirt photo of Mrs Clinton will get OFD all hot and horny… 🙂

    One of the “unflattering” photos of HC looks quite nice, although the one of her with 4′ circumference thighs isn’t one of her better ones. I kinda wonder how Bill found the right spot with those thighs in the way.

  41. OFD says:

    I would guess that Larry Klinton found the right spot only once, and that only by using the flour trick.

  42. OFD says:

    “…so I’m willing to take her off your hands for 30 or so years. Just send her over.”

    I’ll be looking into one-way ticket prices later today. Just keep in mind she’s six feet all and over 200 pounds and either 42 or 44 D, but I ain’t about to break out the tape measure to find out. Also, I dunno the status of your co-op stores down there, but I hope there’s lots of super-organic, vegan and Asian food available at reasonable prices. Also, do you like to argue? Are you prepared to spend hours and hours and hours arguing every day? About everything under the sun?

    So have at it, and may God have mercy on your soul.

  43. OFD says:

    and that’s six feet TALL, of course.

  44. Ray Thompson says:

    I kinda wonder how Bill found the right spot with those thighs in the way.

    Rolled her in flour and looked for the wet spot.

  45. Dave B. says:

    I’ll be looking into one-way ticket prices later today. Just keep in mind she’s six feet all and over 200 pounds and either 42 or 44 D, but I ain’t about to break out the tape measure to find out. Also, I dunno the status of your co-op stores down there, but I hope there’s lots of super-organic, vegan and Asian food available at reasonable prices. Also, do you like to argue? Are you prepared to spend hours and hours and hours arguing every day? About everything under the sun?

    Wow, and I thought keeping our 24 pound 30″ tall daughter supplied with food was rough. At least she doesn’t insist on vegan or organic food. Of course, that may just be because she doesn’t know how to say vegan or organic yet.

  46. Chuck Waggoner says:

    Germany IS beginning to suck. They do everything but the one correct item that would put an end to it all: make the ECB guarantee member states’ bonds. When it is all over, Germany will have spent FAR more than if they had just done that in the first place.

    We got some welcome rain overnight. That will make the farmers happy. Makes me have to mow the lawn.

  47. Dave B. says:

    Germany IS beginning to suck. They do everything but the one correct item that would put an end to it all: make the ECB guarantee member states’ bonds. When it is all over, Germany will have spent FAR more than if they had just done that in the first place.

    Chuck, let me ask the analogous question. Should the Federal Reserve guarantee the bonds of the 50 States?

  48. Chuck Waggoner says:

    They already do. It is most frequently hidden as ‘bank bailouts’, but if you missed the issue, here is an article from a couple years ago, when municipalities and states were closer to default than they are in today’s improving economy.

  49. brad says:

    Make the ECB guarantee national bonds? That would surely just give all the countries the freedom to rack up as much debt as they want!

    The original screw-up was not enforcing the requirement that no country using the Euro was allowed to run a deficit more than 3% of the GDP. Germany was one of the first (possibly the first) to violate that – showing the other countries that it was not meant seriously. Looking at this report, and this one it appears that the following Euro-countries met their budget requirements for the years 2005-2010: Estonia, Finland and Luxembourg. Not exactly the powerhouses of Europe. I’m not sure if the rule applies to other EU countries not in the Euro, but if it does, Denmark and Sweden also managed this.

    Once that horse had left the barn, the rest was inevitable, and the poorer countries tried to keep up with the Smiths. The only sad surprise is that almost none of the Euro-countries has attempted any sort of budget discipline, even in the face of this crisis. Despite all the talk about austerity, nearly all countries have continued to increase spending every year.

  50. Dave B. says:

    They already do. It is most frequently hidden as ‘bank bailouts’, but if you missed the issue, here is an article from a couple years ago, when municipalities and states were closer to default than they are in today’s improving economy.

    I know the whole stimulus was largely a blue state bailout, but didn’t (and still don’t) think we’d taken the formal step of guaranteeing the debt.

  51. Miles_Teg says:

    OFD wrote:

    “Just keep in mind she’s six feet all and over 200 pounds and either 42 or 44 D…”

    It’s okay, I quite like short, skinny, flat chested chicks… 🙂

    Seriously, I’m 6’1″ so she’d be shorter than me. And she sounds like my sister so I’m used to argumentative women.

  52. Chuck Waggoner says:

    There is no question that the US has, would, and will guarantee whatever is necessary to keep the nation solvent, and to keep any state from facing the kind of serious default like the EU is going through. Even various troubled US municipalities have gotten money from both state and federal sources during the economic slowdown that began in the US in 2007. But the US is much better at dealing with this, than has been the situation in the EU so far.

    IMO, one needs to apply the correct treatment to the patient. You don’t provide defibrillation to someone with a broken leg. What is specifically needed for Europe’s problem, is to get bond prices down, so countries can pay their debts and go about their business without anyone fearing default. There is no economist that I trust—or even am familiar with,—who does not support the idea that the ECB should guarantee member states’ bonds in order to accomplish that. Now such a thing may never have been necessary for the US to do on such a scale in quite the same way, but no matter. With the symptoms this patient presents, even those economists who disagree about the EU, agree on the need to guarantee those bonds. It would have been the cheapest route for the whole of Europe, and would have prevented the slowdown, joblessness, and misery that is now taking a strong grip over all of Europe—these days finally including Germany. And the chances that they would actually have to pay out a guarantee was low a year ago, but is rising every day that they delay.

    It is an entirely separate issue regarding how EU member states enforce their economic disciplines and keep Peter from robbing Paul; however, again, there is no economist I trust who believes the one-size-fits-all can work across the varied states of the EU. Every state/nation, IMO, is going to have its pork projects, and some states will benefit at the expense of others. Nothing is clearer in the US than how military spending unequally benefits some, to the disadvantage of others. We certainly do not enforce any such “economic equality” requirements in the US, and to say what is right for France and Germany is also the correct option for Italy and Spain is about the same as saying what is right for North Dakota and Wyoming also needs to be applied to California and New York. Furthermore, 3% of GDP is much too low of a cap, IMO. That favors the rich nations at the expense of keeping the poorer ones at the back of the bus. Amazon lost money for a decade before finally turning a profit. But they are making money now, and likewise, the poorer nations of Europe need the ability to take greater risks within some framework that sets reasonable boundaries for doing that. The current structure does not allow that at all; it forces the southern nations to just stay where they are, at the back of the bus.

    As far as spending within individual EU countries goes, one has to go much further than the mainstream media to get accurate information. Reporters in this era know nothing about economics. If you go back to the beginning of this forum with our host, one of the economists mentioned here early on, was the late Jude Wanniski. He was the most astute economist I have ever read, and thanks to whomever it was who brought him up here. He, like Dean Baker, almost daily pointed out just how little those reporting on economic issues know about economics at all. Baker has repeatedly shown with supporting figures, that it was NOT irrational spending by poorer countries that caused Europe’s current problems; it was a housing bubble that burst in Spain and Ireland, then spread throughout Europe, which caused the whole wicked problem the EU now faces. I repeat: it was NOT profligate spending by the pejoratively so-called “poorer” countries. It was the EXACT SAME CAUSE as that of the US debacle—a housing bubble burst and consequent loss of personal wealth and corporate capital asset value causing reduced spending by both consumers and business,—and it occurred a good two years later in the EU than in the US. It was NOT caused by profligate spending of southern EU countries. That is a mainstream media lie.

    Dean Baker points out that the Washington Post repeatedly lies about Spain in particular, as it maintains that Spain was a profligate spender and outside the EU guidelines, a major cause of the current troubles. That is just not not true and the Post does not back up their contention with proof or figures, while Baker does back his refutation up with facts and numbers. How many other media outlets around the world make the same or similar lying claims? IMO, there is a good deal of racism and bigotry in such outrageously false reporting.

    I have noted before that growing economies require MORE money to be spent, not less. What matters is debt to GDP (most people—including the mainstream media—equate debt and spending, but they are not the same). Those figures were improving in Spain, Ireland, and Italy before the housing bubble burst, and Portugal was not getting substantially worse. So when you get more income coming into your house, and your salary increases by $10,000/yr over last year, it is wrong to go out and—with a portion of that new money—buy a new car to replace the old one that needs constant repair? GDP was increasing in Spain and Ireland, so they have no right to go out and spend more on infrastructure and other items necessary to keep the economy growing, but must reduce spending to be good boys? Really?

    Remember—until the housing bubble burst—those two countries were running budget surpluses and WERE WITHIN the EU spending guidelines. Tell me, how did they cause the current crisis when they were within the guidelines? The answer—contrary to the mainstream media—is that they did not! But the mainstream media never lets up on whipping those countries for reasons that are blatantly false. Let’s get straight what actually happened. The FANG nations fed a housing bubble that burst; the economy sputtered as wealth disappeared and spending therefore slowed; the southern countries were hit the hardest, and suddenly—through no fault of their own, at least no one got blamed for the US housing bubble, why should the EU southern tier be blamed for theirs?—they have austerity measures slapped on them; their economies, of course, get worse; they are driven to the edge of collapse as joblessness rises; and FANG says, “it’s all YOUR fault! cut spending more!” Moreover, those countries are now condescendingly referred to as “poor”. Slanted, biased, false, bigoted reporting, IMO.

    Yes, in the last few months things have gotten much, much worse, caused by Germany’s dictatorial stand that spending must decrease in face of the economic downturn which is worsening by the week. I do not really get this line of reasoning, because no qualified economist on any side of the fence agrees with it. In fact, only in Germany and at the ECB do they believe that cutting spending during an economic downturn will grow an economy out of its troubles. As my college roommate used to say: those boys are sucking on a dreamsicle (and they ARE all boys, no girls allowed to play with the boys in Europe). As Baker frequently points out, the Germans, who lent tons of money into the housing bubble of the South, thereby propelling it, and the ECB who already had the example of a bubble burst in the US, but yet were so totally incompetent that they did not see their own coming,—these are the people who now dictate the terms that the deficit-laden countries—fostered and fed into bankruptcy by the North—must now follow. Monkeys could do a better job throwing shit and bananas than is Germany and the ECB doing. It is not spending that is the problem here. It is the failure of the EU to stand behind countries whose economic troubles were started by no cause of their own, were aided and abetted by the FANG banks, while Germany—as always throughout their history—wants to dictate its way through a course to oblivion for everyone.

    Fortunately, France is the first to rebel against the unnecessary and counterproductive austerity. Time now for the others to stand up and give Merkel and her stupid, stupid advisers the finger, and get on with something that works, instead of calling for yet more and more of what has failed miserably and does not deal with the real cause of their problems in the first place. One way or the other, Germany is going to pay for its stand on this, whether directly or indirectly. And it is going to make their WWI reparations to France pale by comparison. They will not escape, even if they withdraw from the EU—which, IMO, is highly unlikely.

    Meanwhile, as Dean Baker often says, “don’t believe anything you read in the newspaper.” Especially on economics.

  53. SteveF says:

    OFD, have you warned Miles_Teg about your “no returns” policy?

    Though for marketing purposes you might want to refer to it as the “customer satisfaction guaranteed” policy. And it’s Miles_Teg’s own fault if he doesn’t realize that means “You will be satisfied or she’ll beat the crap out of you”.

  54. Miles_Teg says:

    I’ll just tell her if she isn’t an obedient and dutiful wife I won’t let her have her wicked way with me for a week. I’m sure that’ll make her behave.

  55. OFD says:

    The word “obedient” has never been in her vocabulary. Good luck with whatever you think you can make her do.

    Yeah, no returns. Deal with it.

    Wot’s the nearest airport?

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