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Why, M/tch, you're very welcome.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.27.13


 

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TPSEP

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.26.13

Jammies had lunch with a friend who was railing against the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership. I've having trouble figuring out how awful it is. The BBC doesn't treat it like the worst thing in the world. The main thing the friend was railing about were the risk of cutting off access to generic drugs in developing nations, and something that would create a lot of red tape around environmental laws. I can't tell if this is ordinary the-world-sucks or extraordinary the-world-sucks.


 

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Public speaking

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.26.13

I never found public speaking difficult, except for giving class presentations as a student. I can certainly get nervous in certain situations, but it doesn't parlay into feeling awkward or feeling like I did a poor job. But as a student, when I had to give a presentation, I could never own the subject matter, quite. I could never quite believe there was a good reason for me to be presenting the material, and the absence of a good reason made me feel completely awkward and stupid.

Similarly with writing. I never intrinsically yearned to communicate the point of the essay I was writing in the classroom, and so it was perfunctory and awkward. When I started having content that I needed to communicate in written form, I began to actually get how structure can clarify or obscure your point, and all the other lessons that I could ape to get through school.

(Originally I was just thinking about public speaking. Now it feels long enough that I need a conclusion but all I can think of are dippy conclusions like "You can't teach disengaged students, can ya!" and so I think I'll just trail off here. Eyes closed, swatting away imaginary flies.)


 

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comments on comments on comments on comments on comments on.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.26.13

Lw writes in: From a description of a fraud trial.

I suppose that's the point of building such a machine: if you compartmentalize knowledge and understanding, disperse responsibility among a bunch of people, get semi-informed signoffs from all of them, and slather the whole thing with a generous topping of lawyers, it's hard to hold any one person responsible.

This is the defense against regulation. I don't know what is the best way for regulators to respond. The SEC is not known for it's acuity or backbone, but even assuming that it developed both, what's the regulator to do? Credit really is what makes the world go around (not marketing), and badly done regulation will damage normal lending.

Heebie's take: This is a defense against anything that occurs in a large institution. Call the SEC a failing school, and bus its regulators to nearby schools.


 

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Refund.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.25.13

Today I got a phone call from a clinic, saying that we were getting reimbursed $500+ for some procedures I had done. And $70 more is likely. In the past year, I've gotten maybe four or five checks ranging $10-20 back from various med clinics where we've gone for off-hours none-emergencies, like ear infections.

My guess is that this is somehow implementation-of-ACA-related. Is anyone else getting this kind of treatment?


 

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Guest Post - As If They Weren't Already Sufficiently Well-Represented ...

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.25.13

Knecht writes: The Bros have their own PAC now.

FratPAC'S activity isn't limited to Congress. It has also lobbied against U.S. Education Department guidelines for investigating sexual assaults on campus.

Will they take on Obamacare? Goldman Sachs' commodity price manipulation?


 

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Before Air-Conditioning

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.24.13

This is a very lovely read, about New York in the summer, in the 1920s. And it's short; you're not overcommitting yourself.

Even through the nights, the pall of heat never broke. With a couple of other kids, I would go across 110th to the Park and walk among the hundreds of people, singles and families, who slept on the grass, next to their big alarm clocks, which set up a mild cacophony of the seconds passing, one clock's ticks syncopating with another's. Babies cried in the darkness, men's deep voices murmured, and a woman let out an occasional high laugh beside the lake. I can recall only white people spread out on the grass; Harlem began above 116th Street then.

I would like to have been there and slept in the park with everyone.

Via Delagar, elsewhere


 

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Aptly named

Posted by Ben
on 07.23.13

Sad Youtube.


 

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Seen by everyone.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.23.13

I do not like the trend of showing the writer of a message when their message has been viewed by the other party. When I'm the recipient, I feel like it starts a timer on how delinquent a responder I am. Quit oversharing, FB/Evite/iPhone.


 

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Vintage Ads

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.23.13

JRoth writes: Photo essay from The Nation, 1970s ads with African Americans, all text removed. Interesting, with one very special image in the middle.

Heebie's take: Am I racist if I can't figure out which one is the very special image?


 

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Royal Labor Has Royally Begun

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.22.13

The phrase "royal baby" keeps cracking me up. The adjective "royal" just always sounds so sarcastic.


 

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Guest Post - Challenging DOMA

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.22.13

Thorn writes: There were questions after the DOMA ruling about how the legal challenges from married couples in states that don't recognize those marriages would work. Ohio's first challenge will be heard today and features an unusually endearing couple, the "twist" being that one husband has ALS and is failing quickly and so it's very clear that the major benefit he would derive from marriage is automatic recognition of his husband's right to make medical decisions for him. In fact, they were able to marry because his hospice program's "make a wish" fund is a large part what allowed them to make the trip out of state to marry. Their local newspaper, historically very conservative, gave their wedding a front-page story that also endorses Ohio's acceptance of their marriage and posted a very moving video.

There's always been something of a press offensive featuring likable gay couples lie Edie Windsor and Thea Speyer,when trying to sway opinions on gay marriage. So in some sense this is nothing new, but this seems like a case that will play well in the court of public opinion, which is important in trying to overturn Ohio's anti-DOMA constitutional amendment in 2014 or 2016.

This comment from their lawyer sort of sums it up: "We do hope to build from here, and have this be the first step towards marriage equality in Ohio. But for now, we just want to be sure that when John dies, the death record shows him as married."


 

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New frontiers in financial supervillainy

Posted by Ben
on 07.21.13

Banks buying up commodities and engaging in chicanery to increase prices:

The story of how this works begins in 27 industrial warehouses in the Detroit area where a Goldman subsidiary stores customers' aluminum. Each day, a fleet of trucks shuffles 1,500-pound bars of the metal among the warehouses. Two or three times a day, sometimes more, the drivers make the same circuits. They load in one warehouse. They unload in another. And then they do it again. …

Metro International [said subsdiary] holds nearly 1.5 million tons of aluminum in its Detroit facilities, but industry rules require that all that metal cannot simply sit in a warehouse forever. At least 3,000 tons of that metal must be moved out each day. But nearly all of the metal that Metro moves is not delivered to customers, according to the interviews. Instead, it is shuttled from one warehouse to another.

Because Metro International charges rent each day for the stored metal, the long queues caused by shifting aluminum among its facilities means larger profits for Goldman. And because storage cost is a major component of the "premium" added to the price of all aluminum sold on the spot market, the delays mean higher prices for nearly everyone, even though most of the metal never passes through one of Goldman's warehouses. …

All of this could come to an end if the Federal Reserve Board declines to extend the exemptions that allowed Goldman and Morgan Stanley to make major investments in nonfinancial businesses -- although there are indications in Washington that the Fed will let the arrangement stand. Wall Street banks, meanwhile, have focused their attention on another commodity. After a sustained lobbying effort, the Securities and Exchange Commission late last year approved a plan that will allow JPMorgan Chase, Goldman and BlackRock to buy up to 80 percent of the copper available on the market.


 

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