Showing posts from April 20, 2015

Canada’s housing bubble tops America’s

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[Selected charts from Maclean's article, The charts every Canadian should be watching by Jason Kirby, 20 April 2015. I picked 3 that show: #6) how, compared with the US, the Canadian housing bubble continues to expand toward a Big Bang, #9) our total obviousness to the fact that we have become an all-eggs-in-one-basket Petrostate, and #31) how our corporations are even greedier than American ones in hoarding liquid assets, to turn them into dividends and CEO bonuses without doing squat for the real economy. The remaining charts are just as thrilling; these just stood out for me. *RON*]

6. Canada’s housing bubble tops America’s

David Madani, Capital Economics

House prices for Canada relative to income per capita have deviated from their long-term historical average, to the same degree that occurred at the peak of America’s housing bubble. In the chart, the long-term historical average is set to equal the value 100. The data range covers 1981Q1 …

The Continuing Depopulation of Detroit

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["Just over 60,000 homes, about half of them occupied, are slated for the auction block. As many as 100,000 of the city’s residents — about a seventh of the total number — are now on track for what many are calling an eviction 'conveyor belt.'" Where on earth will these people go? And why does America seem so okay with all this? *RON*]
Posted on Named Capitalism, 20 April 2015 by Yves Smith

Yves here. Detroit is getting the same treatment as Latvia and Ireland, and we are already seeing similar results in Greece, with most people who have good foreign job prospects taking a hike. But while Latvia and Ireland stabilized at much lower levels of output and have started to recover from their, Detroit, like Greece, looks like a failed state. And this is perversely seen as acceptable in America.

By Laura Gottesdiener, a freelance journalist based in New York City. The author of A Dream Foreclosed: Black America and the Fight for a Plac…

Meet the lawyer taking on Uber and the rest of the on-demand economy

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[A good piece on Uber, the devil-'employer' and the new wave of on-demand services. Plus, links to a few related pieces at the end of the posting. *RON*]

by Kashmir Hill, Fusion, 16 April 2015

Several years ago, Boston lawyer Shannon Liss-Riordan was visiting family and friends in San Francisco. While she was out at a restaurant in the West Portal, one of her friends pulled out his smartphone. “You have to see this, Shannon. It’s a new thing and it’s changed my life,” she recalls him saying. The friend fired up Uber, the car-hailing app. “You push a button and a car comes to pick you up.”

Then, Liss-Riordan says, her friend looked at her. “He saw what was going through my mind. Then he said, ‘Don’t you dare. You’re going to put them out of business.’”

Liss-Riordan, 45, has spent her entire legal career going after employers for allegedly short-changing their employees. She specializes in worker misclassification lawsuits—the illegal practice…

FBI admits flaws in hair analysis over decades

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[The FBI overstated hair matches in nearly all criminal trials for decades, including 32 defendants sentenced to death. "These findings are appalling and chilling in their indictment of our criminal justice system, not only for potentially innocent defendants who have been wrongly imprisoned and even executed, but for prosecutors who have relied on fabricated and false evidence despite their intentions to faithfully enforce the law." *RON*]

By Spencer S. Hsu, Washington Post, 18 April 2015

The Justice Department and FBI have formally acknowledged that nearly every examiner in an elite FBI forensic unit gave flawed testimony in almost all trials in which they offered evidence against criminal defendants over more than a two-decade period before 2000.

Of 28 examiners with the FBI Laboratory’s microscopic hair comparison unit, 26 overstated forensic matches in ways that favored prosecutors in more than 95 percent of the 268 trials reviewe…

The TPP: Toward Absolutist Capitalism

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[The TPP pushes the envelope in saying that corporations are entitled to profits, regardless of concerns of national sovereignty. *RON*]

By Lambert Strether of Corrente, posted on Naked Capitalism, 20 April 2015

There are many excellent arguments against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), two of which — local zoning over-rides, and loss of national sovereignty — I’ll briefly review as stepping stones to the main topic of the post: Absolutist Capitalism, for which I make two claims:
The TPP implies a form of absolute rule, a tyranny as James Madison would have understood the term, andThe TPP enshrines capitalization as a principle of jurisprudence. Zoning over-rides and lost of national sovereignty may seem controversial to the political class, but these two last points may seem controversial even to NC readers. However, I hope to show both points follow easily from the arguments with which we are already familiar. Both flow from the Investor-Stat…

Greece on the Brink

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[A left-wing government tries to find its footing while creditors aim to undercut in the name of ideology. Krugman says a compromise could be reached that’s good for everyone, if the banks and other European creditors are willing to take the responsible path. *RON*]

Paul Krugman, New York Times, 20 April 2015

“Don’t you think they want us to fail?” That’s the question I kept hearing during a brief but intense visit to Athens. My answer was that there is no “they” — that Greece does not, in fact, face a solid bloc of implacable creditors who would rather see default and exit from the euro than let a leftist government succeed, that there’s more good will on the other side of the table than many Greeks suppose.

But you can understand why Greeks see things that way. And I came away from the visit fearing that Greece and Europe may suffer a terrible accident, an unnecessary rupture that will cast long shadows over the future.

The story so far: At the en…

BP oil spill: The economic and environmental cost, 5 years later

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[The BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was five years ago today. A reminder of what oil spills can be like at their worst. See also Five years after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, we are closer than ever to catastrophe. *RON*]

By Riannon Westall, CBC News 17 April 2015

On April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, which was owned by Transocean and leased by British energy giant BP, exploded and started spilling oil into the sea.

Eleven workers died and 17 were injured, and it took 87 days to cap the well and stop the flow of oil.

Five years after the largest marine oil spill in history, the cost continues to climb for the companies associated with the accident. Environmental issues also persist.

Here's a look at the numbers surrounding the spill and its aftermath. (All figures in US dollars)