Saturday, January 31, 2015

Super Bowl Weekend Links

If you aren't too engrossed in pre-pregame festivities, here are some interesting stories to check out:

The Last Days of Football - n+1

Where Americans Play Football-And Where They Don't - Wall Street Journal.  With red state vs. blue state analysis.  It is striking how rural folks are least likely to tell their kids not to play football because of concussion risk.

How Goldman Banker Became NFL's Go-To-Stadium-Finance-Guy - Bloomberg.  Should have known those fuckers would be making stacks of cash in this taxpayer ripoff, too.

A Brand New Lie To Get the Bucks Their Stadium - Above the Law.  Goldman and Scott Walker.  Everybody notices $300 million in cuts to the UW system and $220 million for a new basketball arena.

In Corn Country We Have Two Choices.  Let's Pick the More Logical, Beautiful One - Big Picture Agriculture

Ingredion bets on flat 2015 corn prices - Agrimoney. 

How can farmers in central and eastern Europe close yield gap with west? - The Guardian

Could This Virus Be Good For You? - Morning Edition.  Welcome news in case of pandemic.  I wonder if this may have spared some of the survivors of the Spanish influenza.

Your Son Is Deceased - The New Yorker

Falling Prices Spread Pain Far Across The Oil Patch - Wall Street Journal

People or parchment? - Aeon

Life in the Sickest Town in America - The Atlantic

American corruption is exceptional, too - Reuters

Getting out of Afghanistan - Fast Company

Arthur Laffer's view on the Kansas economy: Prosperity awaits patient tax cutters - Kansas City Star.  Laffer is a jackass.
In a 45-minute phone interview, Laffer said while he is “not surprised,” he didn’t know why the deficits have occurred. He still believes adamantly in his supply-side economic theory: If you reduce income taxes, you will raise more revenue, not less.
Just when the revenue starts to rise is another matter.
“You have to view this over 10 years,” Laffer said. “It will work in Kansas.”
If you reduce income taxes, you will raise more revenue, not less.  Too bad that has never worked in reality. As far as Laffer and Republicans are concerned, tax cuts can never fail.  They can only be failed.

Scott Walker Isn't Sorry - The Atlantic.  That guy looks like such a used-car salesman to me.  If I looked up smarmy in the dictionary, I'm not sure if I'd find his picture or Ted Cruz's.  Both are going to annoy the piss out of me during the Republican primary.

How an Amish missionary caused 2014's massive measles outbreak - Vox


  1. The relationship between monocultural farming practices and conservation is a contradiction and the bad guys are leading what little discussion there is. Most of the dialogue comes from the production side. The rest of us? Meh. Who changes the direction of the narrative? Farmers? Not likely or it would happened already. With obvious exceptions, many, if not the majority, of farmers, or agribusinessmen or whatever they're called today, have sacrificed conservation practices to the bottom line. If that were not the case, photos like Greg's would be treated as evidence that the operator is not a "farmer" but a coal mine operator with a seed corn cap, and the land wouldn't be used as a toxic waste site. (Meanwhile, the City of Des Moines has to sue upstream counties because of high nitrate levels in its water supply ((and Branstad chastises the city for it)). Landowners? Old guys notwithstanding, farmland as an investment necessitates an immediate return on that investment. There is no incentive to take land out production. Farm management companies? MBAspeak. Lenders: Same thing. Farm interest groups? No comment necessary. Land grant colleges have become recipients of "research" grants geared towards more and more production, with a bone thrown here and there towards organics and sustainability. And the Dept of Ag? Really? Prices decline, CRP enrollment goes up; prices go up, CRP enrollment goes down. (Whose brilliant idea was it to allow CRP buyouts anyway?) It will take a concerted national debate--including debate on long term sustainability and an end to the Stepford Farmer mentality--to change the status quo. Where does it begin?

  2. You've done a very good job laying out all the reasons why conservation is almost an afterthought in the ag economy. That definitely has to change, but I'm not exactly sure how it will come about. Hopefully, it won't take a full-scale Dust Bowl-style disaster to bring about change, but I'm not extremely optimistic on that front. I would think a start would be smaller-scale livestock production and the creation of wider-scale strong local markets for grains other than the big two-and-a-half (corn, soybeans and wheat). I don't see that as extremely likely, and it will end up making food more expensive. But it may have to happen.