Reason Morning Links: Musicians Demand List of Torture Songs, Pay Czar Makes Deep Slashes at Bailout Firms, Drought Looms in Africa

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• Economy showing signs of recovery, but not when it comes to employment.

Pay czar to slash executive salaries at bailed out firms by average of 50 percent, some as high as 90 percent.

Recording artists demanding the federal government release list of songs used to torture prisoners in Guantanamo.

East African drought has 23 million facing famine.

• New bill would give FDA broad power to oversee the food supply.

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  1. Global Warmers vs. PETA. I’ll get the popcorn.

    Sustainable living now includes “edible pets” to curb global warming
    The eco-pawprint of a pet dog is twice that of a 4.6-litre Land Cruiser driven 10,000 kilometres a year, researchers have found.

    Victoria University professors Brenda and Robert Vale, architects who specialise in sustainable living, say pet owners should swap cats and dogs for creatures they can eat, such as chickens or rabbits, in their provocative new book Time to Eat the Dog: The real guide to sustainable living….

    1. New bill would give FDA broad power to oversee the food supply.

      The Fido and Drug Administration?

    2. What? I can’t eat my dog? Who comes up with this racist bullshit?

    3. Soylent Green is poo-dles!

    4. Why are rabbits in the edible cuteness category but cats aren’t?

      1. Herbivores are the tastier pets.

        1. Generally true, herbivores are tastier than carnivores. How many carnivores do we eat, with the exception of fish? I suppose pigs are omnivores.

        2. Herbivores tend to be more healthy to eat. Hence the taboo on eating carnivores.

        3. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if everyone in my inner city neighborhood traded their cats for goats and chickens? We could cook them on dung-fueled fires. For the Earth. I love progress.

          1. It also has to do with how much energy is transferred up the food chain.

            I think I remember from freshman biology that after a carnivore eats an herbivore, only 10% of that energy is transferred up the food chain to the carnivore that eats that carnivore.

            Most of the energy goes into things like making hair and whatnot…

      2. There’s always a cat in the kettle at The Peking Moon.

      3. Rabbits yummy. Cats stringy and gamey.

      4. Totally counter-intuitive, but rabbits don’t have that much protein (for humans, anyway) and you can die if the only meat you eat is rabbit.

        Click my name for a link to the Wankipedia article on this phenom.

  2. Recording artists demanding the federal government release list of songs used to torture prisoners in Guantanamo.

    Yoko Ono and Linda McCartney must be on that list.

    1. definitely. But let’s not forget celine dion and that song from Titanic.

  3. Pay czar to slash executive salaries at bailed out firms by average of 50 percent, some as high as 90 percent.

    If they’d have let these companies go bankrupt, most of those salaries would be slashed by 100%.

    1. The stupid argument I heard on the radio this AM, from some politician, was one tall pile of BS. He seemed to think lending money to a firm made you dictator of that firm. Nice try.

      If the feds wanted to dictate internal operations they should have bought equity instead of leanding them money.*

      *I am against either practice.

      1. They should not have been given or loaned any money at all from the public coffers. But now that it’s done, we decide how much they pay the executives. That’s how it works.

        1. No, that is not how it works. If it worked that way they would not need special laws to make it work.

          If the government bought nough shares to sit on the board of directors, then that would work, but lenders and bond holders do not have that sort of say unless it is agreed on in advance.

        2. My bad. RB is playing new troll. Back to ignore mode.

  4. ? Recording artists demanding the federal government release list of songs used to torture prisoners in Guantanamo.

    Ooh. Bad news, Nickelback.

  5. ? Recording artists demanding the federal government release list of songs used to torture prisoners in Guantanamo.

    Also, RIAA is looking into whether or not the music was downloaded illegally.

    1. FTW!

    2. If those guys who were running the question and answer sessions thought they were in trouble before they didn’t know the half of it.

    3. I was thinking more along the lines of unlicensed public performances violating the Copyright Act.

      1. They should have stuck with annoying ringtones. But who would possibly know at the time how that case was going to come out?

  6. East African drought has 23 million facing famine.

    JL gave them the solution @ 8:56AM.

  7. NO! NO! Not Beethoven!

  8. This picture pretty much sums it all up
    http://tinyurl.com/ygepwt3

  9. East African drought dictatorships and failed states hasve 23 million facing famine.

    FTFY. If East Africa had any states that recognized things like property rights and the rule of law, they wouldn’t have most of the problems they do. Including problems of resource management.

    1. Here’s some other things Kenya, for example, does to make famine just one bad season away:

      A selected list of sensitive items … has [import tariff] rates above 25 percent, including milk and milk products, corn, popcorn, rice, sugar, wheat, and wheat flour. In response to public demands that the government reduce the price of bread following two months of ethnically-charged political violence in January-February 2008…the newly formed coalition government reduced the duty on imported wheat from 35 percent to 10 percent and to 0 percent on 297,000 metric tons of imported corn in mid-June 2008. Corn imported from outside COMESA [an east-African trade organization] is normally assessed a 50 percent import duty. The government also waived the 60 percent import duty on 52,149 tons of imported wheat flour, and the Minister of Agriculture set the value added tax on bread, wheat flour, milk, rice, yeast, and corn flour to 0 percent. …
      The regular import tariff for wheat flour was increased from 35 percent to 60 percent, notwithstanding the limited waivers of the duty adopted in mid-2008.
      In August 2008, the Ministry of Industrialization and the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) attempted
      to arbitrarily require importers to attach an import standardization mark (ISM), costing $300 per product,
      on a wide band of imported goods by October 1, 2008. … After representations by the United States and business association representatives, the government agreed in late August 2008 to limit the products requiring the KEBS ISM to food products, electronics, and medicines…
      All Kenyan importers pay an import declaration fee set at 2.25 percent
      Kenyan law limits the importation of refined petroleum products…thus requiring that it be refined by the monopoly Kenya Petroleum Refineries. …
      In late October 2008, the Energy Minister announced plans to institute fuel price controls [and] that the government would mandate a 7 percent profit margin on the cost of refining one liter of crude oil.

      Here are several methods to encourage famine: keep food prices artificially high, restrict the food supply through taxes, and fix prices of inputs to industrial agriculture, like fuel.

      As far as Ethiopia goes, their currency is basically incontrovertible due to the policies of their government/central bank. I’ll just stop there.

      [source: USTR.gov]

      1. And, just think, Kenya is in pretty good shape as African states go.

      2. While were on the topic, could we please end the USA government mandate that we add corn ethanol to gassoline? The price of bread in Egypt jumped 17 cents when that policy came into effect and it still has not declined.

  10. JUDGE: CRAIGSLIST Can Sell Sex…

    http://www.nbcchicago.com/news…..13422.html

  11. ? Economy showing signs of recovery, but not when it comes to employment.

    The Whitehouse has released a statement about this: “The economic slowdown created by the Bush administration as a tool to escalate the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has resulted in mental anguish that is crippling the hard-working middle class in this great nation. This emotional setback has resulted in Americans being unable to fill the 14.7 million high paying jobs that my administration has created or saved.”

      1. The no handle option is back. Progress!

    1. Too awesome to be true.

    2. Stupidest post of the day. What is this? NewRepublic?

    1. Mars, fuck yeah! Looks interesting.

      As far as destinations go, I think we have a more immediate concern: cheap access to orbit. The rest of the solar system will come if we get that.

  12. “The fact that music I helped create was used in crimes against humanity sickens me,” Morello (Rage Against the Machine) said in a statement.

    If he had said that when the album was released, I’d have more respect for him.

    Played at a certain volume, she said, “it simply prevents people from thinking.”

    That explains a lot of rock concerts I have attended.

    1. Morello, the wanna-be Che one, right? He really said that?

      No depth is too low for a Marxist to sink.

    2. They should use this on Leonard Peltier.

      OK, not really, but it would be pretty funny to break the news to Morello.

    3. Despite their politics, their music is pretty good. Most bands are like that actually.

      The only band that comes to mind that wasn’t exclusively liberal is Rush, and maybe a few metal bands.

  13. ? Recording artists demanding the federal government release list of songs used to torture prisoners in Guantanamo.

    Yay! Listening suggestions! Or else it’ll be like when they released the list they used on Noriega. I had about 3/4 of it.

    I wonder if the Meow Mix song was used again? I thought that was genius when I found that out.

    1. Great news to send me off to lunch with!

  14. Mr. Feinberg will also demand a series of corporate governance changes at the firms, including splitting the chairman and CEO positions, requiring boards of directors to create “risk” committees and eliminate staggered board elections, which critics charge inhibit change.

    The point of biggest debate will be the cutting of cash salaries, which are expected to hold below $500,000. Instead, employees will receive what has become known as “salary stock” — long-term stock grants in lieu of cash that can’t be touched for at least four years. Employees could receive a lot of these grants in the next two months because Mr. Feinberg wants them issued in 2009.
    -WSJ

    I wonder if the IRS has been involved in these deliberations; something tells me we’re going to hear a lot of squawking about “unfair” tax treatment (“carried interest” anyone?) of fatcats.

    The corporate governance changes seem pretty inoffensive, to me.

    1. “splitting the chairman and CEO positions”

      Epic stupid.

  15. As far as the banker’s pay issue goes, I don’t see where they can take essentially “free” money from the gov’t without submitting to their political whims.

    “Come into my parlor…” said the spider to the fly.

  16. I don’t have time to RTF(music)A, but I’m assuming the Jonas Brothers were on it.

    1. Not even a CIA black-ops contractor would be that cruel, Epi

      1. Maybe not, but I am.

        1. Evil Epi. Weren’t you on a poster sitting between bin Laden and Evil Bert?

  17. Recording artists demanding the federal government release list of songs used to torture prisoners in Guantanamo.

    I would think that any recording artist who thought his/her music had been used would be fighting to keep the list secret.

    1. Hell no. one royalty check is as good as another.

  18. Mr. Feinberg will also demand a series of corporate governance changes at the firms, including splitting the chairman and CEO positions, requiring boards of directors to create “risk” committees and eliminate staggered board elections, which critics charge inhibit change.

    The legal/Constitutional authority for demanding these changes is what, exactly?

    1. requiring boards of directors to create “risk” committees

      The typical government solution – a superfluous comittee to oversee a task that’s already being handled (no matter how adequately) by other employees.

    2. What rights do state governments have over the corporations whose charters they approve (I assume there aren’t any corporations chartered by the Feds except GSEs like Fannie Mae)? Could states do this?

  19. The legal/Constitutional authority for demanding these changes is what, exactly?

    Come on, R C, don’t be such a racist.

  20. Funny how Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan avoided pay cuts…I guess they didn’t really get bailouts. People really beleive this shit?

    1. The net result will be the destruction of the firms that took bailouts as their key employees jump ship to the firms that didn’t.

      Even if you assume that the leadership of these firms was “terrible”, massive turnover has consequences.

      1. The solution, of course, is to make it illegal for those people to work anyplace else.

        1. Put them on the road to serfdom, so to speak.

    2. You should read the New Yorker article about Larry Summers and the rest of Obama’s economic team.

      Goldman Sacks and JP Morgan I believe were two of the firms that had weekly meetings with Geithner and other in the administration.

  21. From the article:

    ‘For now, the artists are trying to find out what songs were played. They say they will explore legal options once the songs are known. It is unclear what, if any, recourse they may have.’

    As suggested above, they might have a copyright claim. In all seriousness, RIAA might be enlisted in this cause, because there were certainly unlicensed public performances (unless there was a secret deal between the U.S. and RIAA).

    Artists who believe the U.S. govt violated their copyright can get a hearing for their claims by suing the U.S. for damages. The administration will probably try to block the suit on the usual national security grounds, but I’m not sure if that would work.

    Also from the article:

    ‘Cusick, the NYU music professor, has interviewed a number of former detainees about their experiences and says the music they most often described hearing was heavy metal, rap and country. Specific songs mentioned include Queen’s “We Are the Champions” and “March of the Pigs” by industrial rockers Nine Inch Nails.’

    So these artists won’t have to wait for the freedom of information request before filing suit. They can even try to use the discovery process to find out what other songs were used, but of course the administration will try to keep these depositions secret on natl security grounds.

    1. “March of the Pigs” is an awesome song. Also, the irony of using NIN music as a torture device is simply delicious.

    2. The torturers are missing a trick if they aren’t using this.

  22. New bill would give FDA broad power to oversee the food supply.

    It will pass.

    It will cost more than projected 5 years down the road.

    There will be no evidence that this reduces food poisoning cases, i.e. present trends will continue on the same slope.

  23. Salary cuts for those who aren’t good soldiers; no salary cuts for those who are. But the government is better than the free market.

    If this idiot cuts compensation that much, then the people taking the hit will leave. Granted, plenty of executives are fools who lucked or cheated their way into the executive club, but that’s not true of all of them. In any case, you get what you pay for.

  24. What rights do state governments have over the corporations whose charters they approve (I assume there aren’t any corporations chartered by the Feds except GSEs like Fannie Mae)? Could states do this?

    Not under their current laws. Theoretically, could states exert control over individualized compensation? Maybe.

    Funny how Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan avoided pay cuts…I guess they didn’t really get bailouts. People really beleive this shit?

    Not sure, but I think they paid it back to avoid exactly this scenario.

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