Saturday, July 7, 2012

Yield Versus Irrigation

Two interesting maps.  First, crop yield:

Then, irrigation:

Since irrigation isn't sustainable outside of the Mississippi delta, what are we going to do if climate change messes up the weather patterns significantly enough that the corn belt can't rely on rain to produce good crops?  I don't know, and I hope we don't find out.

Thirsty Corn In Iowa and Illinois

Iowa and Illinois - which produce about a third of all U.S. corn and soybeans -- are threatened by the harshest heat wave in more than half a century. Blistering temperatures, combined with little rain, are stressing corn during pollination, the key growth stage.
"By Sunday or Monday if we don't get rain here we will be losing anywhere between 7 to 9 percent of our yield potential," said Roger Elmore, corn agronomist at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. "If it drags on into next week, it is going to be worse."
Drought conditions, which intensified during the past week across the central United States, have caused irrevocable damage to crops in Missouri, Indiana and even southern Illinois, where farmers are cutting stunted corn for silage, a low-grade feed for cattle.
"Next week is critical for Iowa," said Elmore. "Even the crops on good soils are going to start showing a lot of stress going into next week if we don't have rains soon."
Mike Hutjens, University of Illinois professor of animal sciences, said corn plants, especially in the southern third of the state, are showing irremediable stress from the heat and drought.
"Corn plants are firing from the roots up the stalk of the corn plant," he said, meaning stalks are drying out. "Some corn has tasseled, which may not pollinate, resulting in barren corn stalks" with no ears of corn.
We are well beyond the 7 to 9% yield hit mentioned here.  Based on what the corn looks like, and the weather forecast, I'd say we're at the 30 to 50% yield hit point.  That may be overly pessimistic, but that is what my gut tells me.

It's Hot!

It is stupid hot here right now. This is just kicking the shit out of the corn and beans. The corn in the area is almost all pollinating right now. This will not turn out good.

Seeing The Large Hadron Collider

The Atlantic shows photos of the LHC under construction.  One cool one:

One of the end-cap calorimeters for the ATLAS experiment is moved using a set of rails. This calorimeter will measure the energy of particles that are produced close to the axis of the beam when two protons collide. It is kept cool inside a cryostat to allow the detector to work at maximum efficiency. February 16, 2007. (Claudia Marcelloni/© 2012 CERN) #

The complexity of the thing overwhelms me.

The Invention of Sliced Bread

July 7, 1928:
Sliced bread is sold for the first time by the Chillicothe Baking Company of Chillicothe, Missouri.
Sliced bread is a loaf of bread which has been pre-sliced and packaged for convenience. It was first sold in 1928, advertised as "the greatest forward step in the baking industry since bread was wrapped." This led to the popular phrase, "the greatest thing since sliced bread".
Otto Frederick Rohwedder of Davenport, Iowa, USA invented the first loaf-at-a-time bread-slicing machine. A prototype he built in 1912 was destroyed in a fire and it was not until 1928 that Rohwedder had a fully working machine ready. The first commercial use of the machine was by the Chillicothe Baking Company of Chillicothe, Missouri, which produced their first slices on July 7, 1928. Their product, "Kleen Maid Sliced Bread", proved a success. Battle Creek, Michigan has a competing claim as the first city to sell bread presliced by Rohwedder's machine; however, historians have produced no documentation backing up Battle Creek's claim. The bread was advertised as "the greatest forward step in the baking industry since bread was wrapped."
St. Louis baker Gustav Papendick bought Rohwedder's second bread slicer and set out to improve it by devising a way to keep the slices together at least long enough to allow the loaves to be wrapped. After failures trying rubber bands and metal pins, he settled on placing the slices into a cardboard tray. The tray aligned the slices, allowing mechanized wrapping machines to function.
W.E. Long, who promoted the Holsum Bread brand, used by various independent bakers around the country, pioneered and promoted the packaging of sliced bread beginning in 1928. In 1930 Wonder Bread, first sold in 1925, started marketing sliced bread nationwide.
During 1943, U.S. officials imposed a short-lived ban on sliced bread as a wartime conservation measure. The ban was ordered by Claude R. Wickard who held the position of Food Administrator, and took effect on January 18, 1943. According to the New York Times, officials explained that "the ready-sliced loaf must have a heavier wrapping than an unsliced one if it is not to dry out." It was also intended to counteract a rise in the price of bread, caused by the Office of Price Administration's authorization of a ten percent increase in flour prices.
I didn't know all of that stuff.  Now my life is richer than before.

The Oil Boom Economy


Across South Texas, some ranching families being offered more than a million dollars for mineral rights. Several people told me there was a job for anybody who could pass a drug test. Even fast food restaurants are paying $15 an hour. But what happens when the energy companies leave? How long can the Eagleford Shale last?
I put that question to John Pettit, back at the Pearsall General Store.
Pettit: What's the long-term? You hear the estimates. You get the pessimists saying three years, the eternal optimists are saying thirty years. I think it's probably somewhere in between there.
Mike Wilson: You don't want to let short-term greed lead you to long-term problems.
 $15 an hour for fast-food jobs?  These booms just seem crazy to me.  Rush in, spend more than you would need to if the development occurred more slowly, drive down the price of the commodity you are producing because you are producing more than the market currently demands-does this make sense to anybody?  It just seems like a giant market failure.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Who Wrote This Shit?

For once, it wasn't me:

A Crowd Of Lunatics

Morning Edition:
"The overly dramatized story of how Chief Justice Roberts' view of the health care law may have shifted or evolved during the deliberations by the court is an indication, I think, of how deep into politics the court seems to have been plunged," says Dellinger, now a Duke University law professor. "If this story is true, this leak would be an instance of an attempt coming from within the court itself to undercut the authority of an opinion. And I think that's something we've never seen before."
Stanford professor Pam Karlan, also a former Supreme Court law clerk, is more blunt.
"[The leak] really was an act of extraordinary rage and destructiveness on the part of the right-hand side of the court," she says.
Federal Judge Richard Posner, a Reagan appointee and sometime conservative icon, calls the leak a "serious mistake."
"Does that help the conservative movement?" he asks. "I mean, what would you do if you were Roberts? All of a sudden you find that the people you thought were your friends have turned against you. They despise you. They mistreat you. They leak to the press. What do you do? Do you become more conservative? Or do you say, 'What am I doing with this crowd of lunatics?' "
I think any Republican with a functioning frontal lobe has to be asking the question Posner asks.  Seriously, why would somebody who can think on their own stay aligned with these freaks and loons?  For the four millionth time, the individual mandate was a Republican idea, and yet, when Obama pushes it, they act like he's worse than Stalin.  I don't get it.  A party which ignores facts is extremely dangerous.

What's Going On In China?

Evan Osnos:

If China’s economic growth drops to seven or eight per cent this year, it will be led by declines in two of the main engines: real estate and exports. With Europe and America slumping, exports show no sign of improvement. And real-estate construction has stalled. As recently as March, economists were cheering Beijing for cooling the real-estate market down and managing what appeared to be a soft landing. Not anymore. There is a slowdown in steel and copper production, the first layoffs in a decade by manufacturers of construction equipment, and electricity production, which usually grows faster than the economy, grew by just 0.7 per cent in April, suggesting to those inclined to see it that growth may have flatlined. There are physical signs, too: coal and iron ore and other commodities are piling up at Chinese ports, and the huge fleet of coastal ships that usually move them around have been forced to venture beyond the Chinese seaboard, sailing out to look for new business—the freight equivalent of deer wandering out of the woods in search of food. Because it materialized out of the shadows, shipping people have it named the “ghost” fleet. And, yet, for all of that reason for alarm, flip through a few more (digital) pages, and you’ll discover analysts who suspect that, actually, as Stephen Green at Standard Chartered told to the Financial Times, “The market may have bottomed—a development that could reignite the construction boom and have big implications for economic growth.” Indeed, after falling for nine months, housing prices began to rebound in major cities in June. Moreover, some developers are feeling bullish enough to begin buying land again. Sentiment is looking up, and if the sales increases persist, the property market just may “muddle through,” as Green put it. Worries about inflation are also down sharply from their peak in late 2010. And for all the talk of a slowdown, one other group is arguing that China’s official stats don’t capture signs of recent improvement. The China Beige Book, a new private survey inspired by the U.S. Federal Reserve’s Beige Book, drew on interviews with two thousand or so bankers and executives and found strength in retail, manufacturing, property sales, and hiring—findings that “diverge considerably from the current ‘gloom and doom’ narratives,” according to the organizers.
I'm not surprisingly in the pessimistic camp, but China is so opaque, especially with the view from Western Ohio, so one never knows.  With the stagnation in the United States, the ongoing Depression in Europe, and potential slowdown in China, things are going to be a mess in 2013.  Unless we are lucky, and I am wrong.  Both are very real possibilities.

Emerald Ash Borer And Power Outages

Dayton Power and Light has somebody to blame for last week's power outages:
On Thursday, DP&L announced power had been restored Wednesday night to the last few customers affected by the storm, but said the cause of many of the outages remains.
Ash trees infected by the Emerald Ash Borer, which has spread to 63 Ohio counties, are being singled out as the biggest problem.
“Ash trees damaged by the insects become unstable and may fall at any time, posing a danger to people, property and power lines,” said the electric provider, in a statement. “While there may be an expense for property owners to remove the damaged trees, the potential for injuries, death and damage to property is far worse.”
DP&L trims tree limbs in its “right of way” year-round to prevent power outages. The company touts that it has trimmed along 10,000 miles of its power lines since 2008.
While I will be the first to admit that damage from the Emerald Ash Borer is real, I think this is a little bit of a stretch. While  I've seen quite a few ash trees which are dead or dying because of the Ash Borer infestation, healthy ash trees are much more prone to splitting than most other hardwood trees.  I've also seen a lot more limbs coming out of other hardwood species which appear to be healthy.  If I were to assign blame, I would guess that expected levels of return to investors (cost cutting) and deregulation of the electric generation and distribution markets play an under appreciated role.  DP&L also makes a point of emphasizing how often much tree trimming they do.  Does somebody want to distract people from something they might be slacking on?  I might say yes

Trying To Return To The Days Of Glory

Sonari Glinton visits South Bend, Indiana and looks at the town's attempt to get over the closing of Studebaker nearly 50 years ago:
South Bend is like so many towns in the Midwest: If you look around you can see traces of their former glory.
Near downtown, there's a Catholic church less than a block from another Catholic church — one for the Irish and another for the Poles. Sturdy, low slung houses line the streets, and there's a tavern on almost every corner.
For many years the leaders of the town had anything but a vision for South Bend's future. The city lost about one-third of its population in the years after Studebaker. Last year, Newsweek put it on its list of America's Dying Cities.
The town spent years trying to figure what to do and how to get another Studebaker-type company to fill the hole. Meanwhile, old factory buildings took up blocks and blocks of real estate as a constant reminder of what the town had lost.
South Bend is an interesting place, and the old factories at Studebaker did make the town seem almost haunted.  I loved the part about the ethnic Catholic churches closer than Subway stores, Dollar Generals or Starbucks today.  But the part about the town losing a third of it's population kind of grates on me.  That doesn't take into account the effects of suburbanization.  Take a look at the data for St. Joseph County, where South Bend is the county seat:
1900 58,881
1910 84,312
1920 103,304
1930 160,033
1940 161,823
1950 205,058
1960 238,614
1970 245,045
1980 241,617
1990 247,052
2000 265,559
2010 266,931
Compare that to South Bend itself (also, look at Granger, whose Census data makes Russia, Ohio look like a bunch of poor folks, I mean $80,000 median household income, seriously?):
1900 35,999
1910 53,684
1920 70,983
1930 104,193
1940 101,268
1950 115,911
1960 132,445
1970 125,850
1980 109,727
1990 105,511
2000 107,789
2010 101,168
While single-digit growth for the county doesn't look that impressive, it is still growth.  From 1930 to 2010, the county population increased nearly 67%.  But in 1930, 65% of the county's population resided in South Bend, as compared to 38% in 2010.  South Bend may be struggling, but it won't be disappearing from maps anytime soon. 

The Nonexistant Problem

Voter fraud:
In a country of 300 million you'll find a bit of almost anything. But multiple studies taking different approaches have all come to the same conclusion: The rate of voter fraud in American elections is close to zero.
In her 2010 book, The Myth of Voter Fraud, Lorraine Minnite tracked down every single case brought by the Justice Department between 1996 and 2005 and found that the number of defendants had increased by roughly 1,000 percent under Ashcroft. But that only represents an increase from about six defendants per year to 60, and only a fraction of those were ever convicted of anything. A New York Times investigation in 2007 concluded that only 86 people had been convicted of voter fraud during the previous five years. Many of those appear to have simply made mistakes on registration forms or misunderstood eligibility rules, and more than 30 of the rest were penny-ante vote-buying schemes in local races for judge or sheriff. The investigation found virtually no evidence of any organized efforts to skew elections at the federal level.
Another set of studies has examined the claims of activist groups like Thor Hearne's American Center for Voting Rights, which released a report in 2005 citing more than 100 cases involving nearly 300,000 allegedly fraudulent votes during the 2004 election cycle. The charges involved sensational-sounding allegations of double-voting, fraudulent addresses, and voting by felons and noncitizens. But in virtually every case they dissolved upon investigation. Some of them were just flatly false, and others were the result of clerical errors. Minnite painstakingly investigated each of the center's charges individually and found only 185 votes that were even potentially fraudulent.
The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University has focused on voter fraud issues for years. In a 2007 report they concluded that "by any measure, voter fraud is extraordinarily rare." In the Missouri election of 2000 that got Sen. Bond so worked up, the Center found a grand total of four cases of people voting twice, out of more than 2 million ballots cast. In the end, the verified fraud rate was 0.0003 percent.
If you listened to them, Republicans are opposed to the passage of pointless laws.  Their definition of pointless laws are environmental, safety and consumer protection laws.  You know, who needs less polluted air or water, the elimination of preventable injuries and deaths or laws limiting financial fraud and usury?  But, damn it, if old, poor black people are allowed to vote, Republicans might lose elections.  Then find a way to keep them from exercising their electoral franchise.  Every political machine in history knows that the key to winning elections is control of the ballot boxes.  Having real people show up and vote is too damn hard, even if you are paying them (although political patronage and walking around money help win with legitimately cast votes).  If you want to steal elections, make up the vote totals.  That is why the paper trail is important, and the electronic voting machines without paper records were so creepy.  But Republicans have this idea that poor people who they claim are really lazy (or are really old) actually go to the trouble of going several different places to vote, even though about as many people don't go to the trouble of voting once as who actually vote.  Does that make sense to you?  It doesn't make sense to me.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

An Explanation of Particle Physics

Or they might blow up the world.

The Degeneracy of Today's "Capitalism"

Paul Farrell:
“The world is in a state of drift, transition or even increasing chaos,” writes Brent Scowcroft in the recent National Interest. Scowcroft’s a retired Air Force General and Bush-41 National Security Adviser.
In an update to his 1998 book, “A World Transformed,” Scowcroft says, “once we were viewed as trying to do our best for everyone: now we are seen a being preoccupied with our own special interests,” a myopic vision that reflects the trend among many politicians to govern using Ayn Rand’s extreme capitalism.
Now you know why Grantham warns of capitalism’s total lack of “ethics or conscience” and “its absolute inability to process the finiteness of resources and the mathematical impossibility of maintaining rapid growth in physical output.”
No moral compass. No vision of the future. No grasp of the consequences of their short-term thinking. These three threats are merging into a critical mass that will trigger a scenario that will “bring capitalism down and America with it.”
Bottom line: America’s new Ayn Rand style of extreme capitalism is self-destructive.
For Capitalism to be effective, capital transfer must be a two-way street.  Labor has to be rewarded for its input.  Without the enlightened self-interest shown in realizing that one's employees need to be able to spend enough money to make demand for one's products increase, capitalism will fail.  Also, it doesn't help the cause that fractional reserve banking and ridiculously low interest rates make capital less valuable (which undermines the importance of the capital), and, even according to neoclassical economists (who get very few things right) this will lead to very inefficient investment (bubbles and chasing yield).  Those inefficient investments end up undermining the claim that markets are always right.  Hell, if you listen to capitalists and Republicans, they'll occasionally tell you that a government-controlled "Communist" economy like China is better than a regulated free market like the developed world.  With friends like these, does capitalism need enemies?

A Major F-Up

San Diego's fireworks all go off at the same time:

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

The Port of San Diego took to Twitter immediately after the explosion to apologize for what it called a “technical glitch” and said event producers were investigating the cause.
In a statement issued nearly three hours later, just before midnight, the port said that the mistake was caused by technicians who sent a signal “to the barges that would set the timing for the rest of the show after the introduction.”
Garden State Fireworks, the firm hired by the city to produce the show, acknowledged the mistake.  “We will be working throughout the night to determine what technical problem caused the entire show to be launched in about 15 seconds. We apologize for the brevity of the show and the technical difficulties,” the company said in a statement posted on
No injuries were reported but the force of the fireworks exploding at once was so great that a large rumble could reportedly be felt throughout downtown San Diego just before 9 p.m.

Hey, if you are going to screw up, do it with style. I thought our local show was screwed up because they set off the grand finale, then about 5 minutes later found another few rounds that hadn't been set off, and let those off, too. That was nothing compared to this. The part about the large rumble being felt throught downtown makes me wonder whether it was recordable on a seismograph or not.  California has to be relatively loaded with them, so if it could have registered, I'd have thought that would have been reported.  I always wondered when the stone quarry across the interstate from my house blows some rock whether that is big enough to be noticed on a seismograph.  I would guess that one would have to be located very closely nearby, and even then it probably isn't enough motion. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

U.S. Drought Map

From Early Warning:

As you can see, much of the interior west is in extreme drought conditions, and has also been suffering a record breaking heat-wave (even though it's not the height of summer yet):

Record highs continue to fall Tuesday afternoon in the central U.S., where Denver, Colorado had its fifth consecutive day of triple-digit heat after it reached 100°F at 1pm MDT, and could continue to rise this afternoon. This ties the all-time record for consecutive 100°F+ days. Nebraska and Kansas are particularly toasty this afternoon; McCook, Nebraska has reached 113°F so far, and Hill City, Kansas is up to 112°F. Though, to put that in perspective, the state record for Nebraska is 118°F, and the state record for Kansas is 121°F.

The heat moves east tomorrow, and by Thursday, many of the major Midwest cities are forecast to be in the triple-digits, including Chicago, St. Louis, and Indianapolis.
This is going to be one of those years.  Why do heat waves and droughts go hand-in-hand with economic depressions?

A Crisis In The Church?

Morning Edition:
Polls show that one-third of people raised Catholic no longer attends church.
That may not be a bad thing, says Bill Donohue, president of the conservative Catholic League and author of Why Catholicism Matters.
Donohue notes that Pope Benedict XIV has intimated that a smaller, more orthodox church might be better anyway. If people are so dissatisfied, Donohue says, why don't they just join a liberal denomination, like the Episcopalians?
"I think for a long time, what I would consider the base of Catholic Church — the ones who practice, who go to church regularly and who pay the bills, generally of a more conservative stripe — we feel like we've been neglected," Donohue says. "And now we feel like, 'Hey, maybe our time has come.' "
It certainly feels that way to John Gehring, a church-attending Catholic who works for the progressive advocacy group Faith in Public Life. Gehring says the Church he loves used to care as much about poverty and social justice as sexuality.
"I believe in a 'big tent' Catholicism, where liberals and moderates and conservatives can get along," Gehring says. "We share a faith, we share rituals, we break bread together. But this is as much my church as it is Bill Donohue's church."
And so Gehring plans to stay — and hopes that one day, the pendulum will swing back his way.
Well, I think Benedict and Donohue will get their smaller, more conservative Church, but I'm afraid it will be on a demographic path to oblivion.  Meanwhile, there will be a lot of church buildings and schools to close.  But it will be conservative.

When in the Course of human events...

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.
Happy Independence Day.

Wildfires And Climate Change

Washington Post:
In the past two years, record-breaking wildfires have burned in the West — New Mexico experienced its worst wildfire, Arizona suffered its largest burn and Texas last year fought the most fires in recorded history. From Mississippi to the Ohio Valley, temperatures are topping record highs and the land is thirsty.
“We’ve had record fires in 10 states in the last decade, most of them in the West,” said Agriculture Department Undersecretary Harris Sherman, who oversees the Forest Service. Over the past 10 years, the wildfire season that normally runs from June to September expanded to include May and October. Once, it was rare to see 5 million cumulative acres burn in a year, but some recent seasons have recorded twice that.
“The climate is changing, and these fires are a very strong indicator of that,” Sherman said.
A study published last month in Ecosphere, a peer-reviewed journal of the Ecological Society of America, projected that most of North America and much of Europe will witness a jump in the frequency of wildfires by the end of the century, mostly because of increasing temperatures.
Change is coming, and it won't be pleasant.   Denial won't make it go away.

Monday, July 2, 2012

A Nice Mess

I just pulled off a nice screw up.  I was trying to put together some cornhole boards for our Fourth of July celebrations, and spent an hour putting paint on them.  When I cleaned up the paint, I took a hose and sprayed the roller.  Right as I squeezed the roller, I realized I was using oil-based and not water-based paint.  I hadn't paid much attention at the store, because the last time I tried to find oil-based paint, the only thing I saw was Kilz original formula.  I thought they had pretty well eliminated oil-based paint at the chain stores.  I guess I was wrong.

We Don't Have It So Bad

Sounds like things are a lot worse for crops out in Kansas than they are here:
Records are falling everywhere. Heat maps of the nation are bright red through the nation's midsection and all the way to the eastern seaboard.
One of the worst spots is Hill City, Kansas, where the temperature recently hit 115 degrees -- several days in a row. That is the worst kind of news for farmers in the region. Among them: Ace Billups. He's been farming for more than 40 years. His place in Hill City has about 800 cows, plus he grows corn and wheat and other grains. They -- and he -- are all wilting in the weather.
Ace Billups, nice to talk you.
Ace Billups: Yeah.
Vigeland: How hot is it outside right now?
Billups: Right around 100 right now.
Vigeland: And how long has it been since it rained there?
Billups: Oh, the last real rain we had was about the 20th of April, we had about three-fourths of an inch.
Vigeland: Talk to me about what it's like there on a daily basis, dealing with this heat and trying to save the workings of your farm.
Billups: I'd say it's getting awful depressing. There's virtually nothing to say, I mean, every day you get up and it looks a little bit worse out and a little worse. And then last week when the terrible heat hit, the corn and stuff was holding on -- not good, but just holding on -- but then it just came in and it just took the leaves and turned them like a grayish-white. In a few hours it just went from green to virtually ruining the plants. The corn -- everywhere I've been around here anyway -- the corn is virtually going to be a zero on bushels of corn.
We may have some fields which yield pretty low, but they should be a little above zero.  We got over an inch of rain this weekend, but it came in with some pretty damaging wind too.  I got the power back this morning after almost three days, so I don't have to haul water to the cows.  I just have to tune into the news to know other people are worse off than I am.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Ghost Of Old Highways

Worth watching just to see that gun.

GHOST OF OLD HIGHWAYS from Lovett on Vimeo.

The Penn State Mess Gets Worse

The Atlantic:
The emails reportedly never mention Sandusky by name, instead referring to him as "the subject" or "the person." The first email, sent 16 days after Mike McQueary reported witnessing Sandusky in the shower with a boy, was from Vice President Schultz to athletic director Curley explaining the plan was to "talk with the subject [Sandusky]... contact the charitable organization [Second Mile]... and contacting the Department of Welfare."
But, a few days later, Curley apparently wrote this in an email to President Spanier:
"After giving it more thought and talking it over with Joe [Paterno] yesterday, I am uncomfortable with what we agreed were the next steps. I am having trouble with going to everyone, but the person involved. I would be more comfortable meeting with the person.. tell him the information we received... and tell him we are aware of the first situation."
They develop a plan to deal with the problem in house, to tell Sandusky there's a problem and offer professional help. Curley writes in an email that if Sandusky cooperates, they'd be willing to work with him. If not, they'd have to inform Second Mile and the Department of Welfare. Former university President Spanier was supportive of the new idea, but was also aware how bad it would be if people found out they didn't report Sandusky:
"The only downside for us is if the message isn't 'heard' and acted upon, and we become vulnerable for not having reported it. But that can be assessed down the road."
It was in that same email that Spanier used "humane" to describe the way they were planning on handling the situation.
What a major league fuck up by the University.  It is probably a good thing that Joe Paterno is no longer available to testify or serve time in jail, because that is probably where he'd end up.  As it is, his reputation is in absolute tatters.  All the good things he'd done in his life will forever be overshadowed by this disaster. 

When are institutions like Penn State and the Catholic Church going to realize that the cost of making such a scandal public are much lower than the cost of covering up the crime while the perpetrator goes and commits more crimes?  But, a word of suggestion: if somebody is going to make such a terrible decision, try not to do it in email.

The Origin of the FBI Ten Most-Wanted List

LA Times:
The idea came out of a card game. A reporter playing Hearts with FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover asked him to name the meanest, wiliest fugitives the bureau could not track down. He thought putting their pictures in the newspaper might help.

It was 1949 and Hoover long had insisted no one could outsmart his FBI, not for long anyway. But a few weeks later, 10 names and pictures appeared at the reporter's door, and he got them plastered on the front of the Washington Daily News.

They were a sorry lot. Four escapees, three con men, two accused murderers and a bank robber. They were plucked from 5,700 fugitives hiding in the U.S. or abroad. To Hoover's surprise, nine of the 10 were soon captured. A year later, the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list was officially born.

Since then, 497 fugitives have made the roster. Their photos and IDs have gone from newspaper pages to TV screens, from post office posters to iPhone apps. Some names remain etched in the nation's psyche, including Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassin, James Earl Ray; serial killer Ted Bundy; and Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.
 With Whitey Bulger and Bin Laden, they've opened up some long-held spots in the last two years.

Iowa Hog Inventory Tops 20 Million

Des Moines Register:
The USDA said the national hog inventory was 68.5 million on June 1, up 1 percent both from March and from June of last year.
Iowa’s 20.1 million inventory easily surpassed number two North Carolina’s 8.7 million. Minnesota is in third place with 7.8 million. Illinois, 4.7 million and Indiana, 3.8 million, rounded out the top five hog producing states.
Iowa has seen a surge in applications for new hog confinement barns, although not at the same pace as in 2005-06. About 80 percent of Iowa’s hogs now are raised in confinements.
Hogs bring about $5 billion in cash revenues to Iowa producers and support a network of processing plants around the state.
Commodity traders have warned that the hog  industry is in danger of slipping into one of its periodic burst of price-depressing overproduction. Market analyst Alan Brugler of Omaha described the report Friday as “neutral to slightly bearish.”
Dennis Smith of Archer Financial Services in Chicago said “”there’s nothing here to change the production outlook which is for larger production down the road.”
Not bad for a state with 3 million people.  Over 6 pigs per person, impressive.

Will Dickey Start The All-Star Game?

R.A. Dickey has one -- maybe two -- starts to go before the All-Star break. He's assured of being named to his first All-Star team when the rosters are announced Sunday afternoon. But what about starting the Midsummer Classic?
"Oh, man, just getting to the All-Star Game would be fantastic," Dickey said Friday night at Dodger Stadium after his latest fantastic outing. "Obviously, it would be a tremendous honor."
Dickey, who shut out the Dodgers on three hits in eight innings in the Mets' 9-0 victory, is the majors' only 12-game winner. He has one loss. He has allowed 75 hits and walked 25 in 113 innings. He has struck out 116. He threw back-to-back one-hitters earlier this month. His ERA is 2.15.
With his knuckleball and his rags-to-riches back story, the 37-year-old has the goods to be a terrific draw for the July 10 game in Kansas City.
I'm only slightly biased, but I'd definitely give him the start.  Look at the stats.  He's leading the league in wins, he's third in ERA, he's first in WHIP, hell, he's second in strikeouts.  And his start would garner more attention for baseball than anything.

Canada Day

To the neighbors up north, enjoy your national holiday.  Don't drink too many Molson, Labatt's or any of those other beers you've got up there.

Casino Capitalism In The New Gilded Age

Robert Reich:
Connect the dots of casino capitalism, and you get Mitt Romney. The fortunes raked in by financial dealmakers depend on special goodies baked into the tax code such as “carried interest,” which allows Romney and other partners in private-equity firms (as well as in many venture-capital and hedge funds) to treat their incomes as capital gains taxed at a maximum of
15 percent. This is how Romney managed to pay an average of 14 percent on more than $42 million of combined income in 2010 and 2011. But the carried-interest loophole makes no economic sense. Conservatives try to justify the tax code’s generous preference for capital gains as a reward to risk-takers—but Romney and other private-equity partners risk little, if any, of their personal wealth. They mostly bet with other investors’ money, including the pension savings of average working people.
Another goodie allows private-equity partners to sock away almost any amount of their earnings into a tax-deferred IRA, while the rest of us are limited to a few thousand dollars a year. The partners can merely low-ball the value of whatever portion of their investment partnership they put away—even valuing it at zero—because the tax code considers a partnership interest to have value only in the future. This explains how Romney’s IRA is worth as much as $101 million. The tax code further subsidizes private equity and much of the rest of the financial sector by making interest on debt tax-deductible, while taxing profits and dividends. This creates huge incentives for financiers to find ways of substituting debt for equity and is a major reason America’s biggest banks have leveraged America to the hilt. It’s also why Romney’s Bain and other private-equity partnerships have done the same to the companies they buy.
These maneuvers shift all the economic risk to debtors, who sometimes can’t repay what they owe. That’s rarely a problem for the financiers who engineer the deals; they’re sufficiently diversified to withstand some losses, or they’ve already taken their profits and moved on.
But look how many hours they work.  Of course, if I was making what worked out to be $20,000 an hour, I'd probably work as much as I could.  Oh, right, no I wouldn't.  It makes no sense to me that our system taxes those with millions of dollars in assets and who get their income from those assets at a lower rate than those who have very few assets yet make $300,000 a year.  Does that make sense to anybody?  How come Republicans insist that taking money away from poor folks causes them to work more, but taking money away from rich folks causes them to work less?