Friday, October 25, 2013


Franz Ferdinand - Right Action


Friday, October 18, 2013


Daft Punk - Get Lucky


Wednesday, October 16, 2013


'Slipping behind': Are we becoming a nation of pessimists?

Social mood in America, and I imagine a good portion of the rest of the world, is turning negative.

But America’s black mood is even darker than it already seems. For years most Americans have thought the economy bad, politics awful and the national trajectory skewed hard to doom and destruction. The startling difference in the NBC-Esquire survey is that most Americans now also think life is going poorly in their own backyard. The survey didn’t directly ask about happiness, but when evaluating their own lives more than 85 percent of people in the center thought they were stuck, “falling backward” or “slipping behind.”

According to the theory of socionomics, negative social mood change is the driver of bear markets.  Social mood is the cause and the effect is whether we live in peace or war, bull or bear market.

Social mood is a shared mental disposition that arises in humans when they interact socially. Social mood is unconscious, unremembered and endogenously regulated, and it constantly fluctuates in a fractal pattern. Social mood predisposes individuals in the group toward emotions, beliefs and actions that reflect the positive or negative trend of the mood, its extremity and its position in the pattern.
So what is the social mood and what does it tell us about what is happening in the U.S.?

 Two out of three of these people believe that the next generation has it even worse, and that young people in general are facing vicious headwinds like nothing their parents experienced.
The cost of all this sour feeling is a cascading sense that the old ways of America have failed, say the pollsters. It’s why most of the new American center says affirmative action has to go, and unions are a vestige of the past, and the Bible and U.S. Constitution could be jettisoned without harm as the nation searches for a way to right itself.
“People feel eroded,” said Democratic pollster Daniel Franklin, who helped conduct the survey. “They’ve seen the strength of the middle class wane, and correspondingly, the country as a whole begin to falter. Now they’re looking for new ideas, new strategies to rebuild their hopes and they haven’t found them yet.”

Pretty pessimistic.  Normally, with this much negativity I would say that the stock market could not fall.  I believe we ended the past period of optimism around 2000 and have been slowly slipping into a greater depression since.  The fact that the stock market has risen by 2.5 times since March 2009 masks some of these bad feelings but not entirely.  There is no respect for this bull market and the public has a good reason for this.  The bubble pumping activities of the Federal Reserve are widely seen as the impetus for the bull market and, as we saw a few months ago, any hint that Quantitative Easing will end sends the market into a fit.  This is not a good sign.  I think the market is one crisis away from beginning a huge bear market.  The key will be if we actually can break below 14,500 and how the market looks after that.  

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Obamacare will double my monthly premium

Conservatives have discovered a debate over Obamacare on the Daily Kos after one of their diarists had the temerity to criticize the law after he found out his premiums were doubling.  Lots of accusations of ideological impurity and claims of trollery and being an agent provocateur-- typical progressive/liberal behavior in the face of heterodox opinion.  

One comment caught my eye because it gives a peek into the coming increase in criticism of Obamacare as the law becomes more unpopular and, I think, progressives are forced to abandon it to keep the public from lynching them.

No. If your diary were singing the praises (5+ / 0-)of the ACA, it would be on the rec list by now. Because it contradicts the narrative that this law is all roses and sunshine for everybody, people are jumping all over you.
I'm shocked to look at the barrage of claims to the effect that it's your fault for not reading all the fine print. WTF should it be on us to sort through hundreds of pages of material on all the silly stupid caveats and exceptions the insurance companies impose in order to screw us out of our money? They generate mountains and mountains of garbage deliberately to and now they'll generate mountains more to confuse us even more.
The law is so complicated that no one can honestly say they understand it. Depending on what state you're in your amount of coverage and the options available could vary significantly; it's extremely uneven. Some states won't even have federally run exchanges, so who knows what you'll be getting.
People trumpet the subsidies for those who are too poor to get insurance, but if your income shifts your eligibility for subsidies may change as well and you may have to pay penalties as a result. And this could happen without your knowing because the law is so complicated.
I sort of have to laugh when people claim that it's the insurance companies' fault that this kind of thing is happening, and that the ACA has nothing to do with it. If the law were really any good, the companies wouldn't be allowed to pull this bullshit, would they? Would that not in fact be THE POINT of having such a law?
You shouldn't have to fucking shop for health insurance. Health care should be a right. You should be able to go to the doctor when you're sick and get treated. You should not have to worry "Am I covered for this doctor's visit or do I still have to pay for this one out of pocket? If I get sick on my trip to visit my folks, will I still be covered if I go to an out-of-network doctor? Is my income level exactly low enough to get subsidies, if I get this new job will I have to pay a penalty now?"
Life is hard enough as it is without having to worry about all these kinds of stupid minutiae imposed on you by the insurance companies that could nonetheless have a huge impact on your life.
What's so damned insidious about this market-based approach to health insurance "reform" is that so many Democrats have bought, hook, line, and sinker, into the notion that health care is a consumer product like TVs or smartphones, and the burden of responsibility to make decisions about the use and purchase of health care should therefore lie with the "consumer", i.e  sick people who aren't doctors and who know nothing about medicine except that they're sick. That's wrong, it's dehumanizing, it's twisted, it puts profits over human beings.
And yet this corporate mentality has completely infiltrated the Democratic party, thanks to Obama's embrace of an idea that was created by the Heritage Foundation, promoted by Bob Dole as a counter to Democratic proposals in the 1990s, and used by Mitt Romney--Obama's opponent in the last election--as the basis for his failed health care reform in Massachusetts.
Your story is far from the exception. And I am sure more such stories will appear as the law slowly and painfully rolls out.
DIEGO: I'm not convinced the the progressives will abandon Obamacare to keep the public from lynching them. I think the final answer will be what they set out for all along, single payer. They will champion simplicity and fairness, everyone pays the government and the government manages health care. Coupled with the argument that "We are not going back to the days..." it will be promoted as the only way to solve our health care 'crisis'. The 2014 elections may have a say in how this plays out but there is plenty of bipartisan support for this now.

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Google reportedly investing hundreds of millions into its new life extension company, Calico

Thinking that it would be a lot better...*
As The Verge reported earlier, both Google founder Larry Page and Google Ventures' Bill Maris have been driving forces behind this project, and both are personally interested and invested in the idea of radical life extension. Calico will be headed up by life sciences legend Art Levinson, chairman of Apple's board and former CEO of Genentech. According to Primack, Maris pitched investors on the idea with an analogy about asking a genie for infinite wishes: if you could change your life in one way, wouldn't you ask to live forever?

*Flaming Lips,  Hit to Death in the Future Head

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Monday, October 14, 2013


Impotent Rage~The Liberal Superhero

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Sunday, October 13, 2013


Obamacare Anna

My latest memes.

Please meet Obamacare Anna.

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Saturday, October 12, 2013


Why feminized societies will fail

An interesting experiment - I decided to test Vox's idea that women working was bad for society and gender relations in general. I can get away with little sociological experiments occasionally as I am a [REDACTED] teacher in China. I teach high school boys and girls. The sample size here was about 12 girls and 9 boys. Recently we had "women's day" here in the PRC and on this day at about 10am I brought in a bunch of snacks and drinks for the class. Teenagers are always hungry so when I busted these out I got their full attention. Since it was women's day I assembled the snacks and drinks out on the main table and let the girls choose first. The foodstuffs here were packs of spiced meat, chicken feet (a favorite here), and various and sundry other things. Girls picked first - one bag each and one drink. They naturally took the best stuff on the first cut and the boys got what was left. An interesting thing happened.
The girls refused to share anything *except* with the two most popular boys in the class. Those two were pretty much free to travel between the desks eating as they wanted from whatever bag the girls had on their desks. The less popular boys either didn't try or were flatly refused in a not very nice way. The best food here went to the two boys (and one in particular) who dominated the social scene while the remaining seven sat with their bag of lesser desirable foodstuffs.
Two days later with the same class I declared a boy's day and broke out snacks again, approximately the same mix as before. This time however I allowed the boys to choose first and same as before, the first crew took the best things leaving the dregs for the rest. However, after everything was distributed the girls, all of them, visited and stuck near the boys with the best snacks. As the boys coming first were random, it wasn't the two most popular that got to pick first. Overall though there was a far greater amount of mixing, the social scene was much more evenly distributed boys and girls, and moreover, everyone got to eat some of the best food. Even the gamma/delta/omega boys got female attention and begun to act a little more confident. They had something the girls *wanted* which inverted the power structure and made the girls nicer as compared to the observed harpy bitchiness encountered two days prior. There was a lot less snapping (which the girls engaged in on womens day when they had the food and a less popular boy wanted something) and what snapping existed was playful rather than malicious. Even the ugly girls got a share of the good stuff, exactly the reverse of the boys experience. I can easily state the overall happiness of the class was greater on this day then when the girls had first pick. In other words when the girls have the power - they don't use it well and the whole class suffered. Nothing was even close to fair, and a super majority of the boys are left out doing nothing productive unless you consider sitting alone being resentful productive.
While I realize this is hardly on par with a real actual experiment with controls, white lab coats, etc. it was quite interesting to watch this play out on a micro basis. I don't think it is a stretch to imagine that something akin to this is occurring in the outside world continuously. Let the boys pick first and they naturally and happily provide for the girls. This requires no coaxing or incentives. Let the girls have the power and they naturally shut out all but the most popular boys, leaving the rest to solitude. Everyone was a lot less happy also.


Friday, October 11, 2013


Kings Of Leon - Supersoaker


Friday, October 04, 2013


MGMT - Your Life Is A Lie


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