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There she goes

Marshall Crenshaw:

Gender bias

Very interesting. A substantial increase in the hiring of female symphony musicians since blind auditions became popular.

Oh come on

Who listens to chicks, anyway?

Dirtballs face off in Florida

Newt accused Mitt of having mutual funds invested in Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, mortgage lenders backed by (gasp!) big government. Mitt counterattacked with the same charge when he learned Newt also had invested in Freddie and Fannie. In debating circles, this is known as the “you’re as big a dirtball as I am” argument. More here.

Priorities

Disheartening, the amount of energy this administration puts into going after legitimate whistle blowers — while allowing the corporate bad guys to walk:

The Food and Drug Administration secretly monitored the personal e-mail of a group of its own scientists and doctors after they warned Congress that the agency was approving medical devices that they believed posed unacceptable risks to patients, government documents show.

The surveillance — detailed in e-mails and memos unearthed by six of the scientists and doctors, who filed a lawsuit against the FDA in U.S. District Court in Washington last week — took place over two years as the plaintiffs accessed their personal Gmail accounts from government computers.

Information garnered this way eventually contributed to the harassment or dismissal of all six of the FDA employees, the suit alleges. All had worked in an office responsible for reviewing devices for cancer screening and other purposes.

Copies of the e-mails show that, starting in January 2009, the FDA intercepted communications with congressional staffers and draft versions of whistleblower complaints complete with editing notes in the margins. The agency also took electronic snapshots of the computer desktops of the FDA employees and reviewed documents they saved on the hard drives of their government computers.

Libra this week

Michael Lutin, Jungian astrologer:

Saturn’s slowdown can be a stinky little moment for anybody. Once the retrograde actually kicks in you will adjust to the fact that healing takes time. OK so you don’t feel sparkling bright. The body doesn’t always cooperate as quickly as we wish. Be patient with yourself, for God’s sake, and get off your case. Remember that although we are all mortal, fragile beings, there’s something brilliant within that never fades or tarnishes. Bet you don’t feel that way right now, though.

Austerity debacle

The Times has Krugman on the disaster that is economic policy:

Last week the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, a British think tank, released a startling chart comparing the current slump with past recessions and recoveries. It turns out that by one important measure — changes in real G.D.P. since the recession began — Britain is doing worse this time than it did during the Great Depression. Four years into the Depression, British G.D.P. had regained its previous peak; four years after the Great Recession began, Britain is nowhere close to regaining its lost ground.

Nor is Britain unique. Italy is also doing worse than it did in the 1930s — and with Spain clearly headed for a double-dip recession, that makes three of Europe’s big five economies members of the worse-than club. Yes, there are some caveats and complications. But this nonetheless represents a stunning failure of policy.

And it’s a failure, in particular, of the austerity doctrine that has dominated elite policy discussion both in Europe and, to a large extent, in the United States for the past two years.

O.K., about those caveats: On one side, British unemployment was much higher in the 1930s than it is now, because the British economy was depressed — mainly thanks to an ill-advised return to the gold standard — even before the Depression struck. On the other side, Britain had a notably mild Depression compared with the United States.

Even so, surpassing the track record of the 1930s shouldn’t be a tough challenge. Haven’t we learned a lot about economic management over the last 80 years? Yes, we have — but in Britain and elsewhere, the policy elite decided to throw that hard-won knowledge out the window, and rely on ideologically convenient wishful thinking instead.

Don’t tell Grandma

Social Security will be dead if the GOP candidates have their way.

Changing his tune

Boner isn’t insisting on the “100,000 new jobs” bullshit he’s been spreading on the Keystone XL pipeline.

Bye bye wheat

It’s strange, how our government “leaders” just pretend nothing’s happening:

A study released Sunday afternoon finds that wheat crop yields could plunge due, in part, to climate change.

Extreme temperatures are already cutting wheat yields in India (Narinder Nanu/AFP)
The study, published in Nature Climate Change, researchers warn that current projections underestimate the extent to which hotter weather in the future will accelerate this process. Extreme heat causes wheat crops to age faster and reduce yields, the Stanford University-led study shows, underscoring the challenge of feeding a rapidly growing population as the world continues to warm.

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