Tuesday Reads

Good Morning!! WTH is going on with the weather? When I got up yesterday, the temperature was -9 degrees! It got up to about 10 degrees during the day and back into the below zero numbers last night. On top of that, we have another nor’easter coming on Wednesday and Thursday. How much more of this can we take? Even southern states have been getting snow and cold this winter. Meanwhile, it’s way warmer than usual in the Arctic regions.

According to this article by Justin Gillis in The New York Times,

The immediate cause of the topsy-turvy weather is clear enough. A pattern of atmospheric circulation that tends to keep frigid air penned in the Arctic has weakened during the last two winters, allowing big tongues of cold air to descend far to the south, while masses of warmer air have moved north.

The deeper issue is whether this pattern is linked to the rapid changes that global warming is causing in the Arctic, particularly the drastic loss of sea ice. At least two prominent climate scientists have offered theories suggesting that it is. But others are doubtful, saying the recent events are unexceptional, or that more evidence over a longer period would be needed to establish a link.

Since satellites began tracking it in 1979, the ice on the Arctic Ocean’s surface in the bellwether month of September has declined by more than 30 percent. It is the most striking change in the terrain of the planet in recent decades, and a major question is whether it is starting to have an effect on broad weather patterns.

Ice reflects sunlight, and scientists say the loss of ice is causing the Arctic Ocean to absorb more heat in the summer. A handful of scientists point to that extra heat as a possible culprit in the recent harsh winters in Europe and the United States.

Apparently it’s all related to the jet stream being too “weak” and something called the “arctic fence.” Interesting article, check it out.

The Chicago Sun-Times is raising some questions about one of the judges who may have to decide what to do about Rahm Emanuel’s appeal of the ruling yesterday that he cannot run for Mayor of Chicago. The Illinois Supreme Court Judge in question is Anne M. Burke, who is married to a powerful Chicago Alderman–one who doesn’t support Rahm’s candidacy.

Now that Rahm Emanuel has been tossed off the mayoral ballot by an appeals court, Ald. Edward M. Burke (14th) and his wife, Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne M. Burke, will each have a role in Chicago’s mayoral election.

Ed Burke, the city’s most powerful alderman, has said he’s backing Gery Chico — a former staff member for Burke and Mayor Daley who’s trailed Emanuel in every poll on the mayor’s race.

In the past Justice Burke has recused herself from cases involving Chicago politics. What will she do this time?

Dakinikat will probably like Paul Krugman’s latest blog post: The War on Demand.

Something really strange has happened to the debate over economic policy in the face of the Great Recession and its aftermath — or maybe the real point is that events have revealed the true nature of the debate, stripping away some of the illusions. It’s a bigger story than any one point of dispute — say, over the size of the multiplier, or the effects of quantitative easing — might suggest. Basically, in the face of what I would have said is obviously a massive shortfall of aggregate demand, we’re seeing on all-out attack on the very notion that the demand side matters.

This isn’t entirely new, of course. Real business cycle theory has been a powerful force within academic economics for three decades. But my sense is that the RBC guys had very little impact on public or policy discussion, simply because what they said seemed (and was) so disconnected from actual experience.

Now, however, we’re seeing a much more widespread attack on demand-side economics. More than that, it’s becoming clear that many people don’t so much disagree with the idea that demand matters as find it abhorrent, incomprehensible, or both. I fairly often get comments to the effect that I can’t possibly believe what I’m saying about monetary or fiscal policy, that no sensible person could believe that printing money or engaging in deficit spending will increase output and employment — never mind that all I’m saying is what Econ 101 textbooks have been saying for the last 62 years.

It seems the powers that be are determined to put us into a deep depression by basing policy decisions on Reaganite voodoo economics. And no matter how hard Krugman tries, I don’t think the guys in charge are going to wake up to reality.

There was a terrible suicide bomb attack at Domodedovo airport in Moscow yesterday.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has vowed to track down and punish those behind an apparent suicide bomb attack at Moscow’s Domodedovo airport killed 35 people and injured more than 100.

[….]

Unnamed officials said three suspects were being sought over the attack.

Suspicion has fallen on Russia’s restive North Caucasus region.

Last March the Russian capital’s underground system was rocked by two female suicide bombers from Russia’s volatile Dagestan region, who detonated their explosives on the busy metro system during rush hour, killing 40 people and injuring more than 80.

But the airport was up and running again very soon after the attack, according to The New York Times.

Just hours after a suicide bomber struck at the international arrivals terminal at Moscow’s busiest airport on Monday afternoon, passengers coming off flights from abroad were being ushered through the very same terminal where bodies had only just been removed.

Some inbound flights had to circle for a time after the bombing, and some arriving passengers had to wait on the tarmac before being asked to make their way through the terminal. But Domodedovo Airport is an important transport hub for Moscow, the capital, and the authorities decided to keep it open.

Sheets of blue plastic had simply been hung to block out the scene.

Meanwhile, people continued to arrive to pick up loved ones and to embark on flights out of the city. It was as if officials, passengers and Muscovites in general were displaying a particular brand of Russian stoicism, if not fatalism.

The Huffington Post reported “exclusively” last night that:

The bipartisan panel appointed by Congress to investigate the financial crisis has concluded that several financial industry figures appear to have broken the law and has referred multiple cases to state or federal authorities for potential prosecution, according to two sources directly involved in the deliberations.

The sources, who spoke on condition they not be named, declined to identify the people implicated or the names of their institutions. But they characterized the panel’s decision to make referrals to prosecutors as a significant escalation in the government’s response to the financial crisis. The panel plans to release its final report in Washington on Thursday morning.

In the three years since major lenders teetered on the brink of collapse, prompting huge taxpayer rescues and amplifying an already painful recession into the most punishing downturn since the Depression, public indignation has swelled while few people who played prominent roles in the crisis have faced legal consequences.

That may be about to change. According to the law that created the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, the panel has a responsibility to refer for prosecution any evidence of lawbreaking. The offices that have received the referrals — the Justice Department, state attorneys general, and perhaps both — must now determine whether to prosecute cases and, if so, whether to pursue criminal or civil charges.

Very interesting. Will Obama’s Justice Department act? Stay tuned….

I know I should be linking to stories about the SOTU, but I just can’t bear to do it. I’m already bored with the whole thing. So I’ll end with this story about new research on what is making the honey bees sick.

Ecologist Colin Henderson co-authored a study that may have identified the cause of the honeybee illness that has plagued U.S. bees since 2006. Henderson, 59, is an associate professor of biology at the University of Montana. He and colleagues there found a correlation between colony collapse disorder (CCD) and a lethal combination of a parasite and a virus.

The study, on which Army scientists at the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center near Baltimore also collaborated, has been called groundbreaking (though also controversial because one of the study’s lead authors previously received funding from a maker of pesticides that some blame for CCD). By the way, for an overall house pest control service, consider having bed bug treatment lexington ky at premierpests.com. The honeybee die-off strikes about 20 to 40 percent of commercial beekeepers in a good year, Henderson says, and up to 60 percent in a bad one. When it hits a beekeeping operation, it can take out up to 70 percent of its colonies.

There’s an interesting interview of Henderson in the article.

So….. What are you reading this morning?

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42 Comments on “Tuesday Reads”

  1. Pat Johnson says:

    Good morning, bb. Here in Western MA we are looking at another possible 6-8 inches of snow and I have no idea where we are supposed to put it since the current snowbanks are close to 4 feet high in the ‘burbs!

    Like you, I am already bored to death by this upcoming SOTU speech what with all the pundits “plugging” it from morning to night. Frankly, I am looking forward to Michele Bachmann’s follow up since it will at least afford some comic relief. I expect the usual “rah rah” from Obama that will soon be forgotten by Thursday. Sad to say this man turns me off.

    With one of the hottest records for this past Summer having been recorded, along with the violence of this Winters storms going as far south as it has, it certainly does make one question this trend in global warming. Those rapidly melting ice caps should cause many of us to wonder if the prophesy of “doing nothing” is actually proving itself to be quite real.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I woke up to find that it already snowed overnight! It’s just a couple of inches, but I’m getting really tired of it.

    • votermom says:

      It’s also disgusting that pundits are pre-plugging it as “Reaganesque.”
      BO is apparently, the reincarnation of St. Ronnie. In him we have the melding of two great American leadership traditions — Camelot and the shining city on the hill. Plus he’s also our National Pastor.
      For the low low price of only One Billion dollars, you can have him for a second term!
      But wait, there’s more! Pre-vote now and you also get a free T-Shirt!

  2. zaladonis says:

    Hey bb and Pat – here in CT it was 14 below Sunday morning and 17 below yesterday morning. Water pipes in the kitchen froze (thankfully not the heating pipes beneath the floor – that happened once and what a nightmare) both nights and took hours to thaw. Now it’s snowing again, two inches on the ground, and then we have that new Nor’easter on the way. All over, most days, people are precariously perched on their roof trying to shovel off snow or break ice dams. But in the country it’s gorgeous! In NYC it’s a gray slushy icy mess.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Oh wow. I thought it was cold here. If you leave your faucet just dripping a little bit, that should keep the pipes from freezing.

    • madamab says:

      Ahem! I’ll have you know that since the temps went down to 1 in the past couple of days, the slush has disappeared and we are full of lovely whiteness. In fact, I’m looking out my window at whirling giant snowflakes right now.

      Of course, it’s supposed to go up to 40 degrees later on, at which point the slushiness will make a reappearance. Oh well – at least Central Park will look gorgeous.

      • zaladonis says:

        The worst is when the temps go up and those concrete puddles form, curbside. Step off the sidewalk onto what looks solid, and sink six inches into ice water and slush. Hilarious – if it’s not your bass weejuns!

        I’ve been at our house shoveling the roof and trying to keep the pipes from bursting, but yeah my partner returned to the city early yesterday and says it’s beautiful. Enjoy it while it lasts!

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        My favorite place for dirty NYC snow was on Canal St. around Church, there was this great little Latin South American cafe, made good coffee and these big breakfast sandwiches on huge rolls. The snow piled up just off the corner of W. Broadway and Canal. You could still see the displays in the Army Navy Surplus store, and feel some sense of security looking on those mannequins with the gas mask and cool combat boots. I miss Manhattan.

  3. Pat Johnson says:

    Zal: I b*itched all Summer about the lack of rain and the relentless heat as my lawn became browner and browner. I am now b*tching about the snow and the fact that my driveway is about 4 inches wide. There is never a happy medium for me!

    But I have to admit that I am ” so over” Winter and we have another 8 to 12 weeks of this to go. Aye yi yi yi yi!

    Where are we supposed to put the next deluge is my concern.

    • zaladonis says:

      That’s exactly what I was just contemplating, outside with the dogs. The driveway gets narrower and narrower, and the piles along each side higher and higher – where will this next delivery get stored??

      Good news is my snow shoveling muscles are back to prime. Who needs a gym when we live in New England?!

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        Well, you just need to take a break and get some mushroom and artichoke heart pizza at Doc’s. Then take a drive around the lake and watch the people and cars wandering around the frozen ice. That always amazed me, a Florida girl who never saw snow until we moved up north to Manhattan. The cars just drive on the lake, like nothing.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I don’t know where to put the snow either. When I was shoveling last week I accidentally locked myself out of the house and I had to shovel my way to the garage to get back in. The snow piled near the garage must have been 4 feet deep at least! I can barely see past the pile at the end of my driveway when I go in and out.

  4. zaladonis says:

    I fairly often get comments to the effect that I can’t possibly believe what I’m saying about monetary or fiscal policy, that no sensible person could believe that printing money or engaging in deficit spending will increase output and employment — never mind that all I’m saying is what Econ 101 textbooks have been saying for the last 62 years. — Krugman

    A lot of people are stupid today. Too many of them.

    Even smart people.

    That’s how someone like Obama gets elected after eight years of someone like Bush.

    It’s happened before in history, and leads to bad things.

    Funny that comment fits here because I wrote a frontpage piece yesterday that touched on that, but decided it’s too snarky and cynical to post. Better in a short comment!

    • bostonboomer says:

      Post it today! You can never be too snarky, Zal!

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      You best get that post up, if my snarky Sunday post did not offend…much. I love your writing Zal. I bet you have some great stories written down and stuffed into cubby holes and piled on tables.

    • dakinikat says:

      It’s that same group of politicians and people that make livings out of denying climate change, denying evolution and denying anything that comes out of peer reviewed academic literature that’s decades and centuries old that do this. They control the conversation in the media these days. There’s an entire group of people out there that live in fact denial land and it’s getting to be a larger group all the time because they’re message is getting out more than it used to get out.

      I’m still thinking it has to do with the radical changes that evangelical christians have brought to public education and school boards. When they implant crap in curriculum that ‘creationism’ is a valid response to science and that people should question scientific theory, all hope for this country is lost. Kids are being taught that mythology and any opinion based on any old thing is as valid as things that come up through the scientific method, are data based, and are subject to tons of peer review.

      These folks make a living out of pushing us back into the dark ages and its part and parcel of the reason our young adults come to university badly unprepared and they don’t go into any worthwhile fields at critical levels. They also think any their uninformed opinions equal years of study by hundreds of academics.

      Also, government’s been de-funding basic science research for years now. I love this push for ‘innovation’ when piggybacked on the entire thing is a bunch of republican senators and congressman that openly misunderstand and talk down evolution, climate science, economics, medicine and psychology and just about everything else based in research. Look what they did branding and banning something that doesn’t really exist; “partial birth abortion”? They’ve got laws now banning something that isn’t even a medical procedure but manages to hit procedures that are and all in the attempt to criminalize all abortions because a few religious freaks won’t their view of the world to dominate our lives. It shows you can make things up and be taken seriously.

      Good thing the rest of the world still takes our university educations seriously. Oh, and any seriously whacked group with a billionaire can now set up think tanks and ‘institutions’ and put out stuff that no one in the professional community takes seriously. Some how they get a voice on a TV show and media pays attention to them too. Take the Austrian school nuts. Paul Samuelson and Milton Friedman who are basically opposite sides of the political spectrum both agreed that those folks lost the battle years ago for a place in theory. So, all they’ve done is create their own industry and advertising and now I see kids coming into classes thinking it’s legitimate. I imagine it’s like a biology professor having to deal with a kid that insist that dinosaurs and neanderthals and modern man all existed in the garden of eden. You don’t get that level of stupid without some one trying hard to create stupid people.

      • Sima says:

        I completely agree with your comment and want to add something..

        (hello, I’m back! Off-line life got too involved for a bit there)

        I think another problem is academics aren’t defending themselves as rigorously as they used to. I notice this in the social sciences all the time. Because of post-modernism everything that was a ‘fact’ is now a ‘fact’ but… feminists/blacks/greys/whites/libs/blues/reds/children/whales/etc might see it differently. This hasn’t translated to the hard sciences so much, but it’s really prevalent, and annoying, in the social sciences.

        I’m reading a great book about history which discusses this, in reference to history, in detail. I hope to review it here when I get a chance, and make my above blitherings more intelligible.

  5. Fannie says:

    About that article from Huffington Post on the Commission investigating individuals and institutions who need to be prosecuted
    for breaking laws during the financial crisis.

    It’s almost a waste of time, as taxpayers we don’t have any money to pay those legal bills. After reading this article you’ll see that it’s costing us $160 million for the legal bills of Fannie & Freddie.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/24/business/24fees.html?src=busln

  6. paper doll says:

    When the press calls him” Reagan” , that means they are still soooooo in love .

    We are so F-ed…I don’t even see who will be trotted out for the GOP in 2012 …the GOP will lie down again for Obama like they did in 2008 . And why not? He’s a God send to them. Nancy was right : Obama is God’s gift.. But she forgot to add” ….to the GOP.”

    help

  7. RSM says:

    Here’s an article I’d be interested in seeing Dakinikat’s take on:

    Stop the Austerity Craze! Massive Budget Slashing Can Lead to Economic Disaster, Violence and Repression

    It outlines the history of national austerity programs over the last century, including laying the blame for Nazi Germany in their lap.

    • paper doll says:

      Yes, it seems the Nazi won…it just took 70 years

      Budget Slashing Can Lead to Economic Disaster, Violence and Repression

      Lord , don’t they know such words merely inflame the upper crust’s desires? Their tongues hang out even more when they read such words . ( comment content disclosure : 95% serious , 5% joke )

  8. CoalCracker says:

    I am reading this:

    http://tinyurl.com/4ekkg9t

    Louise Raggio Dies, Fought Laws Requiring Husband’s OK for Wife’s Legal Transactions

  9. Woman Voter says:

    DanielEllsberg: We Need Whistle Blowers to Stop Murder http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yB12WQqCg_Y

    Interview with Daniel Ellsberg, has a good discussion on why we need Free Speech and a deep discussion about how the Obama Administration has prosecuted more whislte blowers than ALL past administrations combined for a total of five thus far. Transparency?

  10. Woman Voter says:

    GOP pushing for ISPs to record user data

    The House Republicans’ first major technology initiative is about to be unveiled: a push to force Internet companies to keep track of what their users are doing.

    A House panel chaired by Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin is scheduled to hold a hearing tomorrow morning to discuss forcing Internet providers, and perhaps Web companies as well, to store records of their users’ activities for later review by police.

    Read more: http://news.cnet.com/8301-31921_3-20029393-281.html#ixzz1C4HS9dCH

    Yup, they want to ‘Push/Force’ private companies into keeping track of all our movements and doings and I imagine then they will have a computer program that will pluck out what they deem is not a good read activity and then who knows. Maybe they will make us agree that the world is flat…

  11. dakinikat says:

    ABC News’ Chris Bury reports Illinois Supremes grant Rahm’s stay to stop Chicago Bd of Elex fr printing ballots w/o his name.

  12. dakinikat says:

    Here’s an interesting read:

    Why women end marriages more than men http://huff.to/eMQBfz

  13. dakinikat says:

    Most of the Supreme Court’s conservative wing to skip State of the Union http://ainn.ly/fDLti3

  14. Minkoff Minx says:

    So lets see, this makes three? Lebanon, Tunisia and now Egypt.

    Thousands Join Antigovernment Demonstration in Cairo – WSJ.com