The recession opens up wonderful new opportunities...Open Thread

mmghosh's picture

Has the recession driven the world mad?  I think so.

Koos Hermanus would rather not give names to the lions he breeds. So here, behind a 2.4-metre high electric fence, is 1R, a three-and-a-half-year-old male, who consumes 5kg of meat a day and weighs almost 200kg. It will only leave its enclosure once it has been "booked"' by a hunter, most of whom are from the United States. At that point the big cat will be set loose in the wild for the first time in its life, 96 hours before the hunt begins. It usually takes about four days to track down the prey, with the trophy hunter following its trail on foot, accompanied by big-game professionals including Hermanus. He currently has 14 lions at his property near Groot Marico, about two and a half hours by road west of Johannesburg.

After the kill Hermanus will be paid $10,000, but he can boost his earnings further by selling the lion's bones to a Chinese dealer based in Durban. At $165 a kilo (an average figure obtained from several sources) the breeder will pocket something in the region of $5,000.

If his client does not want to keep the lion's head as a trophy, the skull will fetch another $1,100. "If you put your money in the bank you get 8% interest," he explains, "but at present lions show a 30% return."

30% return on lion?  And wait a minute.  Hunting?

Moreson ranch is one of more than 160 such farms legally breeding big cats in South Africa. There are now more lions held in captivity (upwards of 5,000) in the country than live wild (about 2,000). While the owners of this ranch insist they do not hunt and kill their lions, animal welfare groups say most breeders sell their stock to be shot dead by wealthy trophy-hunters from Europe and North America, or for traditional medicine in Asia. The easy slaughter of animals in fenced areas is called "canned hunting", perhaps because it's rather like shooting fish in a barrel. A fully-grown, captive-bred lion is taken from its pen to an enclosed area where it wanders listlessly for some hours before being shot dead by a man with a shotgun, hand-gun or even a crossbow, standing safely on the back of a truck. He pays anything from £5,000 to £25,000, and it is all completely legal.

When in America, can burgers be far behind?

One of the first lion meat cases evolved in 2010, when an Arizona restaurant served up lion meat burgers in honour of the South African football World Cup. It sparked criticism—and drew in a fresh set of patrons, eager to try the gamey meat.

Most recently, lion popped up in some pricey tacos in Florida, and on even pricier meat skewers in California. Various gourmet clubs specifically aimed at daring eaters have also found inspiration in the trend. "It's been this quirky situation from time to time; every six months or so you hear 'lion meat tacos,'" says Crawford Allan, director of TRAFFIC, and a wildlife trade expert with the WWF.


First, that the sale and consumption of captive-raised lion meat is totally legal in the US. Shelly Burgess, team leader for food, veterinary, and cosmetic products at the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said, "Game meat, including lion meat, can be sold as long as the animal from which it is derived is not on the endangered species list"—and the African cat is not, though conservation groups are currently petitioning for it to be listed there.

And what goes with lionburger?  Why, lion bone wine, naturally.

In China, lion bones are soaked for a variable period in rice wine, whereas in Laos and Vietnam the bones are made into a “paste” with added ingredients like herbs (some reports say opium is also mixed in). The paste is then also dissolved in rice wine.

Vicisti, Guerrero.  I give up.


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Ask A Stupid Question. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

Young Mr. Puig proves himself to be a weirdness magnet as well as a five tool player when his nose gets grazed with a 90 MPH fastball--a specific thing I had never seen happen in a MLB game before. The inevitable happened in the seventh inning when Zack Greinke hit Miguel Montero in the back with an obvious intentional pitch, leading to the benches clearing but no one being thrown out. Both benches were warned, and the Dodgers came up in the bottom of the seventh with Greinke coming up second. I called my dad and asked, "You don't think Mattingly is crazy enough to send Greinke out to hit, do you?"

Yes, he was. The first pitch from Ian Kennedy to Greinke hit Greinke in his left shoulder and cleared the benches again, with Kennedy and D-Backs manager Kirk Gibson getting tossed. Greinke went back to the dugout, but walked back out to first when play resumed. The next batter hit the ball to second base, and Greinke slid across second hard with his spikes up, though the second baseman nimbly dodged out of the way. He ran off the field to the cheers of an angry crowd (and did not come out for the next inning), and Dodger management no doubt thought again, "Should we really have spent all that money on this crazy SOB?"

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Odd That No One Came Up With This Idea Before

M Scott Eiland's picture

Patriots sign Tim Tebow.

Whereas the Jets' decision to sign Tebow given their shaky QB situation and existing media circus problems was profoundly stupid, the Patriots have a starting QB whose position is as safe as any in the NFL, and a head coach quite willing to tacitly and explicitly tell the media to FOAD if they try to stir up any problems regarding Tebow's status. Tebow's playing time will depend on circumstances and his value to the team, which is as it should be.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

It didn't hurt that Josh McDaniel,

Bird Dog's picture

former Broncos head coach, is the Patriots offensive coordinator. Even so, smart move.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Gotta say, this post just made my day.

Zelig's picture

I haven't read the link yet. For me, this is your finest post....ever. 


Off to read your link. Cheers!!



Me: We! -- Ali

Thank You

M Scott Eiland's picture

I've always enjoyed our conversations about sports, particularly since you have fairly solid knowledge of some favorite players of mine that I was too young to appreciate directly.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Slightly off topic, from the Dodgers website --

Zelig's picture

I hope this link works. It won't cut and paste exactly like it reads on the Dodger website:  (fingers crossed, no previews allowed)


McCovey Cove

Me: We! -- Ali

Darn it. No hot link. I'm stumped.

Zelig's picture

It cut and pastes just fine though. 

Me: We! -- Ali

Nice Gesture

M Scott Eiland's picture

Those paddlers are very dedicated--not so many balls actually make it out there.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Yep. McCovey is my favorite retired ...

Zelig's picture

...old school player. A real gentleman in every sense of the word. Free hotdogs! Great promotion for ESPN.


I also enjoyed the NBA game 3. Spurs vs. the Miami LaBronz. Team basketball vs. 3 stars and a supporting cast. A great coach vs whatever. Spoelstra had his head in his hands during garbage time, no doubt thinking about his next city and housing choice for the family. If they don't win Reilly will pull the trigger before the trophy is awarded. But it isn't over yet. The Lakers and the Clippers should be paying attention to the Spurs team basketball with little ego, no enormous contracts and so on. 

Me: We! -- Ali

I Feel Badly For The Man

M Scott Eiland's picture

Seeing a great athlete crippled in the way Willie Mac's knees have done to him is really awful--it was knowing about his condition that had me wanting Tony Gwynn to retire before he did because he'd already had fifteen knee operations years before he retired and I just cringed every time I heard he was having another one (he had had nineteen by the time he finally retired, IIRC). Last I heard TG could still walk OK, so I guess we'll just have to hope for the best in the future for him.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).


Zelig's picture

I wasn't even slightly ticked at his "god bless" at the end of his short, neat statement to the press. I weigh this up against the constant "praise god" and "praise jesus" comments constantly streaming out of the mouths of super athletes. I believe that thanking a religious entity for any sports contest success demeans the person and the religion. Why would any religious entity ever care about the outcome of a stupid football game?  

Me: We! -- Ali

I really like this kid.

Zelig's picture

I don't give a crap about his silly religious beliefs. This guy is a football player with great athletic skills and desire. 


I've hated the Pats ever since the cheating scandal, but if this kid can contribute, I'm fully prepared to eat my hat. 


Edit: errr...beret.

Me: We! -- Ali

Is Immigration Reform Dead?


It must be on life support if Obama now feels he must join the fight


This is a bad sign. 


I think it also means that the admin's hands-off strategy was probably a significant tactical mistake.  


The president is much less popular now than after re-election, and if political pressure from the WH was necessary to move immigration reform through, as many argued it was, it should've been the strategy all along.


The Washington Post's Wonkblog argued a few months back: "Obama isn’t leading on immigration, and that’s a good thing".


Their main argument: "Political scientist Frances Lee has shown that when presidents take public positions on even non-controversial subjects, the chances of a party-line vote skyrocket."


Looking back, doesn't that seem like weenie liberal thinking to go back and look at some data on historical correlations and then advocate a non-risky, non-confrontational approach?


Obama's chances for a successful 2nd term in today's hyperpartisan environment likely depended on selecting two popular policies and then working on making the political opposition pay a price for opposing them. 


Instead, Obama immediately chose to prioritize the very unpopular Grand Bargain, got nothing, pivoted to gun control reform, got nothing, and now has just put his toe in on immigration reform more than 6 months after his re-election. If he gets nothing, this is a spectacular failure of a presidential term. 

New opportunities


China is building its own Panama Canal in Nicaragua.


This is an essential component for every story of the form: "This is the Chinese/Asian century"


Lot Easier These Days

M Scott Eiland's picture

I'm reading David McCullough's The Path Between The Seas, which describes the history of how the Panama Canal came to be built--Nicaragua was always the other major route considered. It almost was chosen in the end, until the TR Administration manged to get the assets of the French company that had tried and failed in Panama previously at a relative bargain price, and the opponents of the Nicaragua route had managed to make a lot of hay over the volcanic activity there.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

But this Nicaragua plan, pushed by Daniel Ortega personally

mmghosh's picture

seems very poorly organised.  No environmental impact study, no economic feasibility, even the route is unclear.  Just because Mr Ortega is strongarming the idea, doesn't mean it is good.

The infrastructure committee president, Jenny Martínez, said the bill had immediately been sent to the National Assembly, which is expected to approve it on Thursday. President Daniel Ortega's Sandinista Front controls the national legislature with 63 out of 92 politicians.


"Since there is no defined path, we can't measure the degree of seriousness of this project," the opposition member Javier Vallejos said. "This is like putting the cart before the horses," he added, referring to the fact that legislators are approving the canal's construction before knowing where it would be built.


Ortega has not presented an economic feasibility study or research into the potential environmental impact of the project.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

"No environmental impact study"


My visit to China suggests that may not be particularly important to the PRC.

But they have to respect the wider world, too. nt

mmghosh's picture


freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

Why are small savings in the West dropping so precipitously?

mmghosh's picture

Data from 2004 looked pretty bad for the SS industry, but it has gotten worse, it seems.

As Edward N. Wolff, an economics professor at New York University, said in the column, $10,890 is the median financial net worth of American households of all ages today, including the value of their stocks, bonds, 401(k)’s and other investments. To be absolutely clear, that figure excludes the value of a home. (With home equity included, the median net worth of an American family in 2013 is $60,678, he calculates. That estimate is based on 2010 Federal Reserve data, updated according to changes in the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index and the Case-Shiller housing index.)

What could be the reason?  $11000 is not huge.  I know there is a large safety net for retirees, (compared to here, naturally), and they would be on the right side of the median, but still.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

Manish, I'm still trying to


shake your faith in academics.   Where I work, we get paid a very decent salary, the first of each month. I've had multiple colleagues who tended to be noticeably short starting around the 20th or 25th.  In other words, despite being paid about twice what the average family in our city gets obese on, they live month-to-month.


As usual,  Darth is right, although I'd add the cars to the housing.  These people look at how much they bring home, and pick a house large enough,  and a car expensive enough,  to use up most of their paycheck.  They try to carefully factor in groceries and other bills, but the usual mistake is to underestimate how much they need for pocket money and incidentals.  It's easy to say on the 1st that you're never going to spend money on a fancy coffee, but life gets kind of bleak if you deny yourself every small pleasure in life just to get a larger house and an upgrade on your car. 


I think a lot of lesser paid people I know actually have a healthier attitude about enjoying life day to day versus "investing" in more real estate than they need.

I'd like everybody, and by everybody I mean


Eeeeerrrrrybody, to take note of Eeyn's wisdom here.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

Mmghosh, just from talking to peers...

(#305140)'s housing.  I know that's anecdotal so take it FWIW.  Guys buying the house they can just afford; low/no down payment, no payments toward principal but a nice shack over their heads.  That or guys move and they can't unload the house they had and so they are paying for where they live while paying the difference between rent and mortgage plus fees on the home they used to live in.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

And then there's the corruption

Bird Dog's picture

From the WA Post:

Hundreds of federal employees were given advance word of a Medicare decision worth billions of dollars to private insurers in the weeks before the official announcement, a period when trading in the shares of those firms spiked.


"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

The System Works. . .Sort Of

M Scott Eiland's picture

Richard "The Night Stalker" Ramirez dies after 24 years on California's Death Row.

Death is listed as being due to "natural causes."

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

The most interesting post on Antartica I've ever read

Bird Dog's picture

Here. You gotta love those fascinating graphics.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Liftime Cost of $22.2 billion

brutusettu's picture

$6.27 billion upfront cost.


Waiting for at least Solyndra x 12 outrage.

The current crop of CH-53s has been in service


since the early 80s, i.e., about thirty years. The CH-53K will probably have a similarly long lifespan. These things will be operating under really punishing conditions for longer than the military careers of anyone who flies or rides in them. All told, not actually that bad a deal.


(Everyone who ever had anything to do with the adoption of the V-22, however, should be shot without trial.)

The Marines bought "extra" that the DoD says they don't need

brutusettu's picture

Nearly 1/4 of the purchase was "extra" that's where the $6.7 billion up front cost comes from, just the 44 the Marines weren't supposed to order.

My 15yo self thought the V-22


My 15yo self thought the V-22 was an awesome design!

"Outrage"?? Keep waiting..

Jay C's picture

Neither the public (even when they do hear about these things) nor, especially, the politicians who fund these boondoggles, give a good flying about these expenditures - when they accrue to the military. Civilian projects that end up wasting money? Outrage-meter-turned-to-11/impeachment talk. But put 'em in a uniform? Nary a peep...


And after all, someone has to think of all those well-paid executives and "consultants" in their gated communities American workers who depend on the MIC for their daily bread!

Important WHO report held up.

mmghosh's picture

For us who work in this field, this is a vital document.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

Serena Williams Beats Sharapova In Straight Sets For Slam #16

M Scott Eiland's picture

Jason Whitlock could not be reached for comment.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Breeding Carnivores As Meat Animals Seems Inefficient

M Scott Eiland's picture

I think they should try bears--big ones. They're omnivores, so it's cheaper to fatten them up. This advice is in no way motivated by the probable horrific death rate that would occur among those who tried it. Honest.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

The Inuit have hunted polar bear for a long time.

mmghosh's picture

I'm not against the Norwegians or Japanese for hunting whale.  At the same time, tradition doesn't necessarily work with factory anything, be it whaling or chicken.


Traditional hunting, fishing are usually OK from a sustainability POV.  Its the introduction of the factory that makes matters unsustainable.  We could just stop it.  And start by opposing extension of factories to lions.  

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

Hunting Is Very Different From Raising Them

M Scott Eiland's picture

Dangerous, but involves far less time in proximity to a multi-hundred kilo critter that can kill you without even meaning to.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

AM vs PM


Friday morning news:  "Nobody is listening to your phone calls"

Friday afternoon news:  We did listen, but it was an accident.


Bonus Feelings Watch:  The judges "were really upset about this".   Not upset enough, of course, to inform the victims so they could seek compensation or an injunction.

In Happier News

brutusettu's picture

Obama is trying to get an entertainment industry shill to head the FCC.



The only fish the dragnet seems to have caught, afaik, is someone that mailed a known bomb maker that lived outside the US.  Too bad there some sort of process where communication to that bomb maker guy could be intercepted.  A fracking massive dragnet, only way.

No recipes?


Of course it would be for tiger curry,  but I've heard lion can substitute in heavily spiced dishes.


Seriously,  the fake hunts offend me but the lion tacos don't.

Hungry people can, should, do eat anything

mmghosh's picture

but these are not poor people looking for a protein source.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

Maybe turn it around mmghosh


Perhaps it's a case of lions looking for an honorable death.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

Factory farmed lions

mmghosh's picture

for hunting, burgers and wine?  I mean, advanced societies (and we too) have been expensively educated to acquiesce with factory chicken, pigs and so forth, but still.  



freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

Farmed game isn't anything new.


I don't hunt (though I have shot pests) so I don't get the whole draw to the 'sport'*.  But I used to have a neighbor that farmed pheasant.  Some he'd let go, some he sold to restaurants but most he sold for hunting.  Again, it ain't my thing but there was enough demand for it that the guy could make a living.  I suppose it is better to let hunters hunt farmed game than it is for them to reduce wild populations of these animals.

* I don't know what to call it.  In some of the gun discussions folks talked of hunting deer like it means something, while just this morning I had to chase three of the nitwits out of my yard.  Not sure what sort of sport it is where I can come out on top if I dress like a hosta and have a sharp stick.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

Are you being serious here?

Zelig's picture

Don't equate chasing deer out of your back yard with hunting. Do hunters hunt in your neighborhood? No. 


Deer do become pests. This is due to our encroachment on their turf, and the deer population at a given time in your area, due to environmental factors. The deer in your back yard are not in their natural element. When they move 2 miles away to forage, they are still not in their natural element. The deer are in your back yard to forage. If I were you, I'd consider the deer a gift, give them easy access to your back yard, and plant something they will find delicious. Add a salt lick or two and a bucket of fresh water. The payback will be your enjoyment in watching the deer. That would be cool. 


You will not come out on top if you challenge a mature buck on his turf wearing a clown suit and armed with a sharp stick. You will be gravely injured or die. Then the birds and other little critters will eat you. 


If you must keep the deer out of your back yard due to wifely pressures, probably due to the fact that she likes to grow pretty stuff and doesn't want it eaten by the deer, then there's an excellent solution, panther piss. There are also other urines available to apply to the perimeter of your turf, but this stuff works. Your neighbors are probably using it, which makes you a target. I force myself to not think about how it is collected, but that would not be a fun job. (Aaak! I thought about it. Reality TV material.) Google is your friend. Cheaper than a clown suit and a sharp stick. 

Me: We! -- Ali

I do get hunters in my neighborhood.


I've gotten two that wanted to cut through my yard, my backyard is literally the city limit, 15 feet beyond the mowed grass and you're in the county and a long stretch of wooded land. I like the fact that I get deer, which are actually the more ' boring' of the wee beasties. In the last year I've had a hereon, GH owl and screech owl along with a hawk. The only thing that concerns me is the red wolves and/or coyotes, I can't tell the difference but a few were holed up maybe 150 yards away from my house.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

Now I have a better picture.

Zelig's picture

Panther piss works well on coyotes, and likely red wolves also. There are websites that offer very precise advise. If I were in your shoes, I'd put a drop each on at least a dozen trees away from your property and they will find other places to hunt and breed. I believe that clever application of the substance may well preserve the deer and keep the canines away. 


A buddy of mine, a film sound recording engineer, uses the stuff to keep the coyotes away from his raised, well built chicken coop. He just follows the instructions and is amazed at the results. Heck, I just saw a mama coyote the other night on my bicycle ride bring back a house cat to her hungry pups. But I don't need panther piss. My house cat died of old age, and I haven't found a suitable replacement. 

Me: We! -- Ali

That's exactly it. We've been educated to consider

mmghosh's picture

such practices as OK.  


In the past people kept parrots in single cages.  These days we know that parrots are extremely social and gregarious birds that tend to flock, have stable, usually monogamous relationships and are extremely long lived with the intelligence approximating to a human 2-3 year old - i.e. needing intense attention on the part of the owner 24/7.  Would we keep such in cages today?  Obviously not.  

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency