Links 6/9/14

The dolphin who loved me Guardian (KF)

Rats Regret Making the Wrong Decision Wired

First pants worn by horse riders 3,000 years ago Science News

Gunmen kill 11 at Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport BBC

On the trail of Fred the Shred Herald & Times (RS)

Study Dismisses Geoengineering Quick Fix For Global Warming DeSmogBlog

Hundreds more fatalities if Keystone XL isn’t built? Not exactly McClatchy

The Decline and Fall of IBM Beta News (RS)

Net Neutrality n+1. A good summing up of the “common carrier” issue.

In Harm’s Way: The Dangers of a World Without Net Neutrality EFF

From teledildonics to interactive porn: the future of sex in a digital age Guardian (CL)

Big Brother Is Watching You

Edward Snowden in conversation with John Perry Barlow – Liveblog at PDF’14 MIT Center for Civic Media (furzy mouse)

NH Town To Pay $57,000 To Woman Charged For Videotaping Police CBS Boston

Uncovering the Cover Ups: Death Camp in Delta Harpers. “An upset student came to me, saying, ‘I think that we have found something horrible.'”

Encouraging Words of Regret From Dean Baquet and Weasel Words From James Clapper The Intercept

California billionaire may be Democrats’ savior McClatchy

Hillary Clinton’s Book ‘Hard Choices’ Portrays a Tested Policy Wonk Times

10 key passages in Hillary Clinton’s book Politico. “[Clinton let] Obama know that ‘the preposterous charge of racism against Bill was particularly painful. Barack made clear that neither he nor his team believed that accusation.'” 

California’s Top-Two Primary Eliminates Third-Party Rivals Truthdig

The Drunken Downfall of Evangelical America’s Favorite Painter The Daily Beast. The walls of all those McMansions built in the 90s had to be covered with something, so why not Thomas Kincade paintings? Also, Warhol was Kincade’s early hero.


Ukraine must correct its chaotic response Telegraph

‘Masterly’ Russian operations in Ukraine leave Nato one step behind FT

Back in the USSR Le Monde Diplomatique

Complex Times for VP’s Son to Work at Ukraine Firm AP

Tariq Ali: In Cairo London Review of Books

Thai army’s struggle to unite polarised country BBC

Aunties on the Frontline Against the Coup: A Special Report Prachatai English

Gold Mine Protesters Hurt by Armed Mob and Shady Deals Isaan Record

The Black Iron Cage: Taiwanese Protesters in an Age of Global Unrest by Albert Wu Los Angeles Review of Books. Taiwanese students had occupied the Legislature for three weeks. Missed that one.

Class Warfare

‘Homeless spikes’ installed outside London flats Telegraph

Ten eye-popping homes on the market right now WaPo. Versailles.

Unmaking Global Capitalism Jacobin

Can the Great Recession ever be repaired? Gavyn Davies, FT

THE GREAT DELEVERAGING: SIX AND A HALF LOST YEARS John Cassidy, The New Yorker. “From the perspective of ordinary folks, it feels like we’ve been [sic] experienced six and a half lost years.” That one sentence explains everything I hate about today’s post-Tina New Yorker, down to the grotesque copy editing #FAIL. Sad.

Trafficked Teachers: Neoliberalism’s Latest Labor Source In These Times

Money for nothing Phillip Pilkington, Al Jazeera America

It is dangerous to feel passion for your work FT (SW). Back when all the jobs weren’t crapified, we didn’t hear this “passion” bullshit.

Brain stimulation: The military’s mind-zapping project BBC

The Partial Promise of Feminine Hygiene Patenting The Baffler

Mommy-Daddy Time London Review of Books

Computer becomes first to pass Turing Test in artificial intelligence milestone, but academics warn of dangerous future Independent

Happy Birthday Frank Lloyd Wright Architecture Daily

Antidote du jour:


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. abynormal

    KinKade Art: “your audience hasn’t even been born yet” has always been the painful knowledge in the artist heart. Born Again’rs fraudulent artist and his cottage lights will never even hold a candle for the darkest cave art.

    used car salesman line:
    “In art school I was told so many times ‘your art is all about you,’” he later remembered. “And something about that didn’t sit well with me. I began to realize my art’s not about me, it’s about you. It’s about that other person. It’s about letting something within you pour out in love to other people.”
    (KaChing…for another grandiose bi-polar kink)

    1. Jim Haygood

      ‘Many Thomas Kinkade collectors keep a photo of the painter in their living rooms, surrounded by his prints that have been mocked by every serious art critic of the past fifteen years.’

      Jesus in the center, flanked by Kinkade and Elvis (on black velvet). That’s the Holy Trinity of living room decoration.

      1. abynormal

        “All of life is a dispute over taste and tasting.” nietzsche

        speaking of taste…think McD’s sales report can pop the dow to 17k today?
        Yes We Can…Eat Up America

        1. Working Class Nero

          What’s actually interesting about Thomas Kinkade, despite the fact that article tries to associate him with the current whipping boys of America, evangelical white males; is that 80% of his buyers were women, the vast majority white and many without a college degree. So what we have is basically a female, high-prole demographic against which a primarily elite, male, and New York (in all its meaning) crowd is conducting a snob jihad for among other reasons the startling fact that for the first time in human history, an artist has been found who had substance abuse issues!

          Sure, my mom is the typical Kinkade fan, only she is far too cheap to actually buy one of his paintings and instead goes to garage sales to buy even cheaper imitations. I long ago gave up trying to explain to her what a cultural embarrassment she was. I even left her my copy of Avant-Garde and Kitsch but she refused to read it. To this day, she has completely failed to gain the artistic taste (or more correctly put, elite-class socialization) needed to understand why a conman like Damian Hirst is clearly so much superior to a conman like Thomas Kinkade.

          So a far more interesting study would be what was it about Kinkade’s art that on the one hand spoke so profoundly to the souls of high-prole white women while at the same time creating such revulsion in the hearts of elite New York male art critics?

          1. Garrett Pace

            Reassuring I suppose, to see that it wants more than a tortured soul to produce a great artist.

            This article isn’t about Kincaid; it’s like you say – critics are cross that the public won’t like what they are told to like.

            1. abynormal

              critics have Always been a thorn in the side of the Artist…regarding this particular fraud/artist the critics are caught flatfooted by the rush in “sentimentality” from his followers.(ive met too many of these followers and most sparked codependency throughout their gawking) imho, your offering too much credit to the critics.

                1. abynormal

                  true…we live in a time of McArtist
                  as for Jon, whats that Lambert says….LAWDY!

          2. James Levy

            Oh, those poor, put-upon white guys–no wealth, no power, no influence, the butt of everyone’s jokes. Make the blacks guys in the ghetto look like kings.

          3. craazyman

            It”s much better than people give it credit for.

            They only see the what and not the how. If somebody don’t master the how, they can’t create the what. They can’t create nothing. Nothin.

            People who criticize can’t see. And those who can see and who know, they don’t criticize. They just say “Well, it was his paint and his canvas and his vision and his choice. So be it. If somebody don’t like it, then do it themselves, if they can.” That would shut up an honest man

            1. abynormal

              but it wasn’t his paint nor his canvas. he hired folks to add oils to his mass produced work…then he sold Their work as his original = fraud.

              im taking your words with me…they are important. encouragement is the strongest critique…honest artist of every medium deserve no less.

          4. fresno dan

            Nice analysis.
            I would posit the art critics are angry because Kinkade threatens/contaminates their religion (high art) with the religion of the proles…..

          5. JTFaraday

            “I even left her my copy of Avant-Garde and Kitsch but she refused to read it.”

            Right now, all I want to know is, did the Woody Harrelson character come back in “Hunger Games II”?

            Because if he didn’t, I don’t think I’m going to be able to watch it. :(

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            That’s the German version of economy stimulating, trickle down via strengthening the 0.01%’s financial-infrastructure project.

            Eventually, it will flow to the people and children.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Forgot to add a very important point.

              The stock market trickle down, along with BIG/JG, or even GDP sharing, would do wonders for distracting ourselves from worrying our little heads about past deeds.

              To rectify the past, we need a wealth tax.

              To give ourselves a meaty (sorry, can’t think of another word right now) ray of hope for the future, we need GDP sharing.

    2. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      Looking at a Kinkade painting is like eating refined sugar from a bowl, with a side of sugar, and a tall glass of corn syrup to wash it down.

      Some folks enjoy it.

    1. OIFVet

      Message: “We care”. That’s about the substance of it. Soros as a class traitor losing sleep over the proles’ well-being is particularly noxious. Is that before or after his Open Society disburses the annual funding for scores of neoliberal think tanks and media in Eastern Europe?

  2. Erick Borling

    I carefully vet all progressive economics and democracy sites for their truth-value, relevancy, and evidence-integrity, then I read the articles carefully. This site is the most robust. Outstanding work. I love it. Fer chrissakes don’t stop. Also, tell the MMT snobs at UMKC to get out of their ivory towers (or tweet-o-spheres) and write something for the common man. We’re going nowhere fast if clear progressive thought can only be (almost) obtained by folks like me with 29 years of education, and I still have to struggle to synthesize an explanation of economic accounting and values versus money.

    1. susan the other

      They aren’t snobs. They are the opposite, because they assume we can follow them. And yes, it is not easy.

    2. Jackrabbit

      One certainly has to be wary. Spread the word! I find that people that won’t listen to me will at least check out online sources that I recommend.

      If you haven’t seen it already, Matt Stoller’s The Con Artist Wing of the Democratic Party nicely picks apart Geitner’s BS in his book ‘Stress Test.’ This is is a nice start but more should be done to debunk the pervasive public manipulation via a wide range of devices, such as:

      – selective disclosure
      – half truths (failing to provide all relevant info)
      – false narratives (“shared sacrifice”)
      – pseudo science
      – bought and paid for experts
      – misdirection
      – access journalism (equates the ‘message’ with truth)
      – intimidation
      – flattery (exceptionalism)
      – deceit (“if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear”)
      – strawmaning
      – wordplay (“spying keeps us safe” – who is “us”?)

      and many more.

      IMO, relentlessly calling out “the unreality industry’ is vital. For illustration, have a look at an exchange between that occured on NC between Skippy and Moneta a few days ago. Many people can’t, or don’t want to, see beyond the surface. Not only are they deluded but they spread the delusion.

      The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting’ – – Milan Kundera

      1. OIFVet

        Yes, the “unreality industry” has long since taken Goebbels’ advice to heart: “If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth.” It has even created its own approved “opposition”, which “works” within the framework of the false narrative established by TPTB and its media- and academia-based TINA industry, so as to prevent the rise of true opposition, or paint such as “far-left” or even “far-right” in the case of some old-fashioned populism. Instead, this PTB-approved “opposition” argues for some marginal changes to the system rather than calling for the destruction of this “the fix is in” system in its entirety in the first place. The unknown, as I see it, is whether repeating the truth often enough is sufficient to establish the truth as the truth. Yes, crazy question to ask in the first place, but then again the deck is quite stacked against the truth. Call me extremely cynical but I think that language is important too, and relentless repetition of the truth needs to be done in as provocative a language as is possible without undermining the underlying message. People need to be jarred awake from the propaganda they have been immersed in and caused to experience some uncomfortable cognitive dissonance if they are to reexamine their consent for the the unreality manufactured by the TINA industry.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Wasn’t there a link that that was how music worked – everything turned musical when repeated?

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              I think that’s why all dictators have songs about them.

              By the way, this morning, I turned off the car radio while waiting for my brother. With the window down, I could hear Nature talk to me.

              No human music = conversation with Nature.

          1. OIFVet

            I don’t remember seeing the link but personal experience tells me it’s probably true. Back in the summer of ’97 I took a trip to SF with my then-girlfriend, who could not wait to go to a two-night performance of some band in SoMa. It was simply a cacophony of random sounds, but quite menacing and disturbing when put together. After that first night I had to put on ‘In a Silent Way’ to calm down enough to go to sleep. The second night it was the same but somehow it made sense and was not as disturbing. I am sure a few more nights and it would have turned as pleasant as Vivaldi’s L’Inverno or Bach’s Aria. Thankfully I never had the chance to find out for sure, we broke up soon thereafter.

            1. optimader

              ‘In a Silent Way’
              That is a sublime album, and is pretty much the introduction of a wonderful guy John McLaughlin, whom Miles mentored on the music biz. JM continues to be the best guitar player alive. Very coincidentally I know a second guy Miles mentored who I went to high school with, the incredibly gifted Sax player Bill Evans.

              As for me, my slide-trombone was taken away at a young age and hopefully given to someone who didn’t scare the house cat w/ it.

        2. hunkerdown

          The unknown, as I see it, is whether repeating the truth often enough is sufficient to establish the truth as the truth.

          But truth is a social construction, distinct from yet informed by both observed facts and sensibilities. Repeating the lie often enough and loudly enough is often sufficient to *reorient* popular sensibilities to accept the observed facts (or counterfacts) as evidence of the desired truth (even when it may not follow).

          Starting to think that dealing sensibly with these people is both an entirely futile run at the mega-church of the US mainstream, run by political class wannabes and faithfully attended by tens of millions who hold “I am x therefore I y” as their central executive principle and membership in cliques as their sole unrestrained source of purpose, and yet the most important thing that we must do to keep the boutique coffee plantations out of the fjords.

      2. OIFVet

        Le Pen as President? France thinks the unthinkable. Unthinkable for whom exactly? TPTB and their TINA Ministry of Truth are a bit hysterical at the prospect of some old-fashioned populism to counteract the neoliberal globalization and integration project. Also, see the provocative language Le Pen uses in this interview on RT: Marine Le Pen: EU robbed us of all liberties, we should fight to get them back. Keep repeating it relentlessly Madame, it seems to be working. I am not particularly enamored with some of her anti-immigrant and anti-muslim rhetoric but the rest of what she is saying is spot on IMO.

        1. Synopticist

          The big change in French politics going forward is that no-one will believe the socialists any longer. Hollands got elected by claiming to be a genuine leftwinger who’d reject austerity and create new jobs.
          He did the absolute opposite. It’s worse for the French centre-left than New Labour was for the UK’s. At least Tony Blair didn’t pretend to be a leftist radical.

          So a NF government isn’t out of the question by any means.

          1. William C

            Much more likely, I think, is the return of Sarko or one of his ilk in 2017.
            Ok nearly 25% voted for Le Pen, but that means over 75% did not and are much more likely to vote for anyone but the FN in a general election.

            1. OIFVet

              Which would only prove the point she made in the interview about the “left” and “right” being meaningless labels as they basically working for the same interests. There is a lot of time until 2017, and I don’t see TPTB being able to arrest the trends and erase the awakening realization amongst the citizenry that the traditional labels no longer apply.

    3. Benedict@Large

      Just because you can’t understand MMT doesn’t turn the people who do into snobs.

      There are literally hundreds of explanations out there at all levels of complexity from junior high school to PhD to help you long. Pick out one that suits you instead of wasting everyone’s time with ad hominums.

      And as for your 29 years, here’s a hint. Throw away EVERYTHING Uncle Milty said. It’s all garbage.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        When I read it, I thought he was for MMT but wanted a more accessible version.

    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      Pascal: “I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time.” In other words, simplifying and propagating heterodox ideas takes a lot of work, and the MMTers are trying to do just that. Takes awhile, and for good or ill, the only way to do it is to interact with readers, which is sometimes a success, from the readers’ standpoint, and sometimes not. I know for a fact that the MMTers were stunned at their success in getting the word out through blogging, after they started it. Had they been true snobs, they would have stayed purely academic and written “write only” papers to each other.

    1. cwaltz

      I, for one, will welcome our new rat overlords(Thanks to the government I don’t even need to worry about that plague thing.)

      It appears that the rats seem to be better suited to running things then a good portion of the human population in DC who make the same damn mistakes over and over and over again with little to no regret(because hey payola!)

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Whatever the size of the brain of an animal, you have to ask, does it need all that to just pick nectar or chase rabbits?

      There must be more it is used for, other than grazing, for example.

      That’s when we realize we don’t really know much about animals.

      1. cwaltz

        We ARE animals.
        Animals that seem to have a superiority complex, but animals nonetheless.

        It doesn’t surprise me even a little that other animals have feelings. Just because we tend to think of humanity as “special” doesn’t mean it actually is.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          You’re right we ARE animals.

          And we don’t much know about us either.

  3. diptherio


    Completely fails to mention the change in job composition from pre-crisis till today.

    We have the same number of jobs as we used to: yeah! But what’s that you say? The full-time jobs we lost have been replaced with low-wage, no-bennie, part-time jobs? Shhhh! You’ll scare away the confidence fairy!

    1. Benedict@Large

      This article is just about the biggest suck up to Obama’s failed economic policies as I’ve seen. Is Cassidy trying to compete with Paul Ryan on who knows less about macro? Christ, we had a carpetbagger in charge of the Treasury, and we couldn’t have done any better? Shameful.

  4. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©

    California billionaire may be Democrats’ savior

    Or maybe not.

    So how did he pick his targets? I was at a board meeting the other day for one of the preeminent progressive groups in the country. The staff outlined their political plans for the cycle. As best I could tell, it came directly from the DSCC and was utterly unrelated to the progressive values of the organization. Grotesquely conservative Democrats in states the DSCC has signaled are top priorities– Mary Landrieu (LA), Mark Pryor (AR), Kay Hagan (NC), Alison Lundergan Grimes (KY), Sam Nunn’s daughter (GA) were the organization’s top targets. No Shenna Bellows in Maine, no Rick Weiland in South Dakota, both of whom the DSCC say are too progressive for their states. Ironically, Weiland has a better chance of winning– or he would if he were funded as well as the DSCC targets– than Grimes and Nunn’s daughter.

  5. Jim Haygood

    A misaligned exchange rate fuels vice:

    [Venezuelan] prostitutes more than double their earnings by moonlighting as currency traders in Puerto Cabello. They are the foreign exchange counter for sailors in a country where buying and selling dollars in the streets is a crime — and prostitution isn’t. Greenbacks in the black market are worth 11 times more than the official rate.

    The bolivar has fallen to 71 to the dollar since President Nicolas Maduro succeeded his mentor Hugo Chavez in April 2013. The official exchange rate, reserved for imports of food and medicine, is 6.3 bolivars per dollar.

    The dollar shortage is turning Venezuela into a two-tier society similar to the Soviet Union and Cuba, said Steve Hanke, professor of applied economics at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Those with access to dollars such as prostitutes, tour agents, airport taxi drivers and expatriates are able to shield themselves from inflation by trading their greenbacks at ever higher rates. Those who can’t are seeing their living standards decline.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s interesting that the Dollar is the reserve currency because (or largely is helped by the fact that) we convinced the oil exporting nations to price oil in dollar.

      And here we have an oil exporting nation facing a dollar shortage.

  6. nony mouse

    Money for Nothing:
    “Many children who grow up in such an environment would also likely emulate their parents by simply collecting BIG payments and buying drugs with them. ”

    I want to see proof. is it more likely? probably. but there are exceptions to the rule.

    I know, because I am one.

    1. nony mouse

      “What is needed in such circumstances is a program that at once increases income and ensures that people do not remain idle because, as is well known among labor economists, it is idleness and unemployment above all else that lead to problems such as drug addiction.”

      are you sure about that? because I never saw people who just did drugs because they were ‘idle’. actually, many people who do drugs are employed, in my experience. they do them for ‘recreational purposes’. then, usually they have some underlying psychiatric issue causing them to stall out in drugville, and use them to assuage their feelings on a more regular basis. having been in the company, and family of drug addicts for much of my early life, it is my opinion that society and alienation, and lack of choice or power other than mindless consumption, are some of the more important driving forces behind drug use. idleness in a more intellectual, emotional way than simple joblessness. having a life that has no meaning in it, basically. and crap jobs do not provide meaning, so simply having one is not enough nor is being forced to have one simply to survive enough.

      “idleness” might be a contributing cause, but is definitely not the major one. having a hopeless life, in general, and running with the wrong pack of people who glamourize drug use is usually sufficient. and, one would still need to prove a major link between idleness and hopelessness.

      the whole article is objectionable to me. it basically trashes the IG in favor of a JG. how about both? an income for everyone, and a job for everyone who WANTS one.
      some of us have duties at home and in our community which want our time and efforts. like taking care of the sick and the old among us. like volunteering at a local school. unless, of course, you want to pay me for what I would do already, IF I did not have to work a crappy job 40 hours per week just to make rent.

      1. Eeyores enigma

        When ever a population is polled on the issue of basic income around 80% say they against it because then no one would do anything. In the same poll when asked what they would do if they received a basic income 85% say that they would still work but it would free them up to do what they really enjoyed doing.

        Humanity has been enslaved by the lie that we must have the threat of “No Money=You Die” hanging over our heads or no one would do anything. This lie has enriched a tiny % of the population and needlessly killed billions in the most horrible way.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Basic income is needed for billions on subsistence now.

          That, however, does not address the issue of a handful of 0.01%ers who are yearning to go where no man has gone before, to explore new looting territories (to become the first trillionaire or the first cent-trillionaire)…and inevitably will destroy Nature in the process – this is where the energy-reactor is located that provides all the destructive forces we see today.

          Only GDP sharing* address both issues…help us the needy and control the looters.

          * GDP Sharing is the generalized theory of Basic Income. There is no guarantee though. Nothing in life is guaranteed. We share what we have.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        One has to wonder if all those jobs ‘regained’ after the 2017/2018 catastrophe that the media has been trumpeting are of the same crappiness as before or worse.

        It’s a ‘quality’ issue, not a quantity issue; so I guess they will just ignore it.

        1. ambrit

          Dear MLTPB;
          Oh, oh oh! The Catastrophe has been put back to 2017 0r ’18? I’m beginning to feel like craazyman. Just when I think I’m doing fine bailing out of the market, another debt fueled binge occurs. Drunken sailors are doing better than sober sided burghers! (Just ask any Venezuelan.) The Supreme Deity, (He, She, or It,) has a sense of humour.

      3. Katniss Everdeen

        This is from The Consumers Union Report on Licit and Illicit Drugs

        by Edward M. Brecher and the Editors of Consumer Reports Magazine, 1972

        It is likely so old, since the information presented does not fit well with the current narrative. Truth can sometimes be unhelpful and, OK, I’ll go there, inconvenient.

        “Referring to today’s addicts, Dr. Jerome H. Jaffe— now Director of President Nixon’s Special Action Office for Drug Abuse Prevention— has this to say in Goodman and Gilman’s textbook (1970):

        The addict who is able to obtain an adequate supply of drugs through legitimate channels and has adequate funds usually dresses properly, maintains his nutrition, and is able to discharge his social and occupational obligations with reasonable efficiency. He usually remains in good health, suffers little inconvenience, and is, in general, difficult to distinguish from other persons.”

        The emphasis is mine. Hell, I’d probably emphasize the entire article, which is titled “Chapter 5. Some eminent narcotics addicts.” It is well footnoted.

      4. Calgacus

        nony mouse: the whole article is objectionable to me. it basically trashes the IG in favor of a JG. how about both? an income for everyone, and a job for everyone who WANTS one.

        Sure, I’m for a small BIG – along with a JG, a JG paramount, a JG a light year ahead if there is a choice between them. For a BIG should be trashed with respect to a JG. A JG is important, essential, a human right. A money using society without a JG is quite literally insane. It is doing something entirely destructive and mad, self-destructive illogic that is not seen anywhere else in nature. Compared to a JG, a BIG is trash. Glittering trash that con-men .1%ers dangle in front of the suckers to keep them from demanding their right – the JG.

        diptherio: Phil seems to have a slight misunderstanding. He says he prefers a JG program to a BIG because, “offering work rather than a large sum of free money is probably less open to abuse.” I would point out that the “B” in BIG stands for “Basic,” as in “minimal.” No one is talking about a “large sum” of money, but rather enough money to make sure that a person doesn’t starve or freeze to death when the physical resources to prevent these negative outcomes actually exist in our society and are available for sale in the market place. … It would be much better for our collective psyches if we just made sure everyone had enough money to afford the basics (which doesn’t require a “large sum of money”).

        Pilkington does not make essential distinctions clearly. The kind of BIG that the main academic supporters like Philippe Van Parijs propose – sometimes called a UBI, a Universal Basic Income- a big BIG, a living wage size, ordinary middle class income given equally to everyone – is just magical thinking. It’s just a lie. It can’t work. (Outside of an oil sheikdom with highly restricted citizenship & a powerless underclass. The kind of society we are trying to escape from.) It does require a large sum, a colossal sum of money. Instant hyperinflation. If people, e.g. Van Parijs, think that the government has magical powers, why don’t they just propose a Three Wishes program? Everybody gets 3 wishes – and one of them can be “more wishes”!

        Far more sustainable is a small BIG, a NIT (negative income tax) kind of BIG – where the state pays or supplements income to those without it. Perhaps more like “made sure everyone had enough money to afford the basics”. But this is just “welfare”. We already have it or frequently, pretend to have it. It doesn’t work as well. Still forces people to be unemployed. Still is authoritarian and paternalistic, with distinctions and conditions which will always become degrading, always maintaining the rule and power of the .1% – what Van Parijis rightly abhors, but proposes a childish utopian fantasy cure for.

        Another issue that a BIG addresses, and which a JG alone does not, is the problem of unpaid domestic labor which is carried out mainly, as we all know, by women. … Requiring that people work at a job outside the home in order to be counted as officially “working” bears, I think, a hint of residual misogyny.
        Misogyny which is not present in the JG. This is just not what the JG is. This is partly the fault of the MMT academics – who go into too much detail about it. (Many make the opposite criticism – not enough detail. They’re wrong.) The JG is money for people – given to whomever the society as a whole decides to give it to, in return for work the society decides is beneficial. The work can be studying, can be domestic labor, can be whatever. This argument is really one for domestic work as a JG component, not for a BIG.

        I would add training in and funding for the creation of worker-owned-and-managed co-ops.

        The JG is by its very nature funding of a “worker-owned-and-managed co-ops” . The whole economy of a modern monetary democracy is a worker-owned-and-managed co-op. Institution of a JG is just the society realizing this. But that’s what the society always was. It was just that some pigs decided that they were more cooperative and equal than the other animals. The pigs were excellent con-men, so they convinced the other animals that co-operation meant the pigs had to be obeyed – OR the co-op would run out of co-operations!!!!

        Basically, a BIG is by its nature, paternalistic, authoritarian, tyrannical and fascistic. That is why plutocrats with their back to the wall always choose it over the full employment right they loathe and fear. A JG can be, has the possibility of being libertarian, for a society without a JG is behaving in an utterly irrational, self-contradictory manner to those it decides to disemploy, and a society with a JG is in principle putting consumption, money at the disposal of, subject to the decision of the person who wants it, not some charity-trickling-down bureaucrat overlord.

        I am quite aware that it can seem the other way to other people – e.g. Frances Coppolla, also myself at first. But are surface impressions always true? The plutocracy has always known what the invincible enemy weapon is, and it ain’t the BIG.

        1. hunkerdown

          Speaking of lies that can never work, conflating “middle-class” income levels with a “living wage”? I had no idea that bourgeois trappings were essential basic needs. You have only successfully illustrated that bourgeois mainstream culture is too arrogant, self-absorbed, evangelical (large or small e, your choice) and insufficiently respectful of others’ lived realities to even speak to the problem that is largely not even their own creation but in fact their own selves.

          1. Calgacus

            Well, I conflate when it makes things simpler, and when the terms are ambiguous, like “living wage” & “middle class” – being old enough to remember back when almost everyone earned a living wage, the minimum wage not being too far off, and this supported what most people called a “middle class” existence.

            Such differences don’t really matter for the purpose I had in mind – very grossly characterizing how much spending a Van Parijs BIG involves. The inflation and then hyperinflation is just a bit slower with lower amounts, just as the demand increase and unemployment reduction is slower too. Because the Van Parijs BIG doesn’t change the capitalist control and structure of the economy and thus the society – while the JG, of course, does. And note that in today’s societies it is the basic needs – rent, food, fuel whose price goes ever up, while the bourgeois trappings get cheaper.

            Working class people support JGs above BIGs, because of their lived reality. They see a Van Parijs type BIG is a joke. Tons more money chasing fewer goods as fewer people work. Inflation explodes. The End.

            Again, it is the BIG that is arrogant, disrespectful, top-down in comparison to the (libertarian) JG. Only the JG can put the decision of how much money a person gets from society in that person’s hands as much as possible.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          “This argument is really one for domestic work as a JG component, not for a BIG.” That’s the basic reason I think combining an income guarantee and a jobs guarantee is a good idea. Has domestic work ever been covered by a JG in practice? How would the implementation work?

        3. MikeNY

          Very nicely reasoned and written comment, Calgacus. Like all your comments, which I always enjoy reading. Props.

    2. cwaltz

      My biggest concern is children but for reasons other than “they might grow up to emulate their parents.” My concern is that the parents that are addicts would utilize the payments meant for their kids on their addictions and with a dismantled social service system these kids will a) die b)live in neglect and misery for 18 years or c)be exploited to survive.

      For adults, the idea works pretty well. For some just starting, you might be able to use the money to pay for education, or transportation. It might help fund you moving to somewhere where else if a job market dries up. It’d allow those with student debt or household debt to deleverage. The fact that it’s something we intend to give to everyone also gets high marks because it means it wouldn’t easily get used as a political football like social spending that affects the poor usually does.

      Overall, if our country were just better about addressing mental health and addiction I’d feel way better about this option. However, without real measures to address how we protect innocent young people in households with these issues I have real problems with dismantling systems that give them some semblance of normalcy.

      1. hunkerdown

        There’s no fixing a society that considers closed-loop decision making a cultural affectation of the propellerhead class.

    3. cwaltz

      I also am his exception to the rule. I grew up in a household with addiction issues and dodged the bullet. My brother wasn’t as lucky. That being said, I think it is interesting that he suggests that children are “emulating.” I suspect that a lot of addiction issues have a genetic component. My brother never looked at my father’s disease as something to emulate, it was just something he got stuck with. The fact that the household was dysfunctional meant that my brother had a smaller chance of adopting the healthy habits that might have allowed him to conquer addiction. In short, it was less about “adopting” behavior then biological imperative coupled with really crappy environment.

      I also think it’s interesting that he thinks that JG and BIG have to be competing ideas(and I like BIG less if it isn’t something everyone collects annually and instead is some office that you have to go to in order to collect that harkens back to a “welfare office.”) I don’t understand why one of the richest nations can bail out banks and pay defense contractors to the tune of trillions but can’t offer everyone a basic income that would allow the young opportunities to explore skill sets or invest in their ideas AND have a database with opportunities that would allow people with skill sets that can work the opportunity to work? It makes no sense. The ideas would work well in tandem. One provides the seed money, while the other ensures that the seed comes to fruition. With a BIG, the workforce could also become a more mobile one. A basic income would help with costs associated with moving to places where there were more opportunity. As it stands right now, a lot of people(especially the young) forgo moving because there are costs associated with it and there doesn’t seem to be a guarantee that the risk will be worth the reward(the basic income guarantees that you won’t be stuck in a cardboard box if you take that risk.)

      1. sd

        Heck. Just provide health care so that employees dependent solely on the benefits package can start their own businesses.

    1. Jackrabbit

      The tactics described in this video have prompted talk of ethnic cleansing.


      It seems that we are witnessing is a classic power play. The setting up ‘bad’ and ‘very bad’ choices for Putin. I wonder if he has been promised that Ukraine would not join NATO (at least for now) if Russia:

      – sells gas to Ukraine at ‘acceptable’ price, and

      – stops all support for separatists
      (despite continuing operations against the east – a black mark for Putin)?

      If Russia does not ‘back down’/’fall in line’ then it seems likely that:

      – Ukraine enters NATO

      – Ukrainian separatists get stronger and Ukrainian civil war ensues (eventual breakup: defacto or dejure)

      – US/EU propaganda machine blames Russia for a cold European Winter. Russia loses (most) gas income. (Question: what is the status of the gas pipeline to China? AFAIK, it is not built/completed.)

      – Fracking occurs all over Europe, not just Ukraine (Europeans have been reluctant to frack but this TINA would be a big boon for US energy companies). Though it could take several years before ‘frack’-ing produced enough gas to meet demand, the first winter would be difficult but that hardship may be deemed acceptable by TPTB.

      – Europe and US might enter recession but the Russian economy might fare much worse. US/EU would hope that Russia’s economic straits would prompt regime change.


      We hear so much about how vital Russian gas is to Europe. But the sale of gas to Europe is (at least for now, I think – until sales to China start) also vital to Russia.

      Disclaimer: I don’t know nearly enough to say that these are the only choices or to handicap the outcome. I’m not sure anyone has enough info except the governments themselves.

      Key questions:
      1) What happens to Russian economy if gas deliveries to Europe drop considerably this winter, and even more the following winter?
      2) How much of Russian gas can be replaced with fracked gas this winter? The following winter?

      3) What would be the net expected shortfall – and is that manageable for Europe?

      1. Jackrabbit

        Some other interesting questions:

        Could a peaceful solution involve letting Russia take the east and bringing Russia to the West as a ‘full partner’ (whatever that means)?
        I’d guess there is little chance of this, but diplomacy = negotiation and sometimes the outcome of contentious negotiations is surprising.

        Is the West more willing to go to war due to a combination of peak military power and peak ‘ponzi’? I’ve seen comments at MoA and Saker that make this claim, noting that:

        1) Western economies are in trouble (e.g. high un/under employment). Markets are due for a fall and nothing was really ‘fixed’ after the 2008 GFC.

        2) The US can’t afford to maintain massive expenditures on its military (see point #1). It has a big advantage now that will erode over time.

        Under this thesis, absent a war (cold or hot), economic-driven discontent could grow and US leadership of the West could be questioned.

  7. diptherio

    RE: Pilkington on BIG v. JG

    Phil seems to have a slight misunderstanding. He says he prefers a JG program to a BIG because, “offering work rather than a large sum of free money is probably less open to abuse.” I would point out that the “B” in BIG stands for “Basic,” as in “minimal.” No one is talking about a “large sum” of money, but rather enough money to make sure that a person doesn’t starve or freeze to death when the physical resources to prevent these negative outcomes actually exist in our society and are available for sale in the market place.

    Replacing traditional welfare mechanisms with a BIG is preferable for a couple of reasons. One is that applying for food stamps or section eight housing assistance is degrading. Having to prove that you are poor (which, in our society, means “prove that you’re a failure”) in order to obtain the basics of life is not something that we should require of people. Means testing is, at least from the perspective of the recipient, a social shaming mechanism. It would be much better for our collective psyches if we just made sure everyone had enough money to afford the basics (which doesn’t require a “large sum of money”).

    Another issue that a BIG addresses, and which a JG alone does not, is the problem of unpaid domestic labor which is carried out mainly, as we all know, by women. Now admittedly, a BIG doesn’t entirely address the issue, since stay-at-home parents would be receiving the same amount as childless, employed people, but at least people who are working in the unpaid domestic “sector” would be getting a “paycheck,” would be allowed the dignity of having an income.

    Requiring that people work at a job outside the home in order to be counted as officially “working” bears, I think, a hint of residual misogyny. Philip’s suggestion that a BIG would lead to rampant (or at least increased) drug use also strikes me as rather anachronistic. I don’t know who Phil hangs around with, but most people I know actually like being productive when the opportunity presents itself in an empowering, social way. What people don’t like doing is being productive for the benefit of someone else in a disempowering, anti-social environment. If employers can’t entice people to work for them to supplement their basic income, then the fault lies with the employers and not with the potential employees.

    One more benefit of a BIG that Phil fails to mention is that to the extent that people do actually choose to live on only their basic income, it will likely reduce our overall environmental impact as a result of decreased consumption.

    I am coming to the conclusion that both a BIG and a JG would be the ideal policy. However, as part of the JG, I would add training in and funding for the creation of worker-owned-and-managed co-ops. That way, the JG is not just a staging ground for people to move into disempowering private sector work.

    I agree with Phil that it is good news that these ideas are finally hitting the mainstream and may finally be up for some serious debate (although the willingness and ability of our elected officials to carry out any these programs remains seriously in doubt).

    1. cwaltz

      I see the BIG as the means to address training if implemented correctly. However, the way this article explains BIG is not how I’d envisioned it. I’d see it as an annual stipend that people could use to pay for things like education, transportation, moving costs or to deleverage. It would be money you could receive IN ADDITION to an income. If you chose to work you could earn more. The way this article portrays it once you decided to work then you’d lose the guarantee. I could see where he might think that it’s an incentive to not work if you tell someone they can have $10,000 for doing whatever they want or earn $14,000 doing whatever someone else wants you to do(and dealing with people treating you crappily to boot.) It definitely creates a conundrum for lower wage jobs if implemented this way. There are people out there that would scale back to do what they want instead of taking that extra $75 a week and putting up with a load of crap.

    2. susan the other

      About our mutual obligations. Just surfing retirement communities. They all want a big stash of money deposited with them, up front, and then you live without a care for however long you have left. Interesting concept. Currently, when it looks like you’re gonna run out of money because you have longevity genes, you have to move into cheaper housing so your money doesn’t run out. We should look at this retirement model across all ages and classes in society. But if we want to achieve equality we need to look at what a person is worth in a lifetime? That person is worth lots more if he/she has a BIG – for one thing.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        “They all want a big stash of money deposited with them, up front, and then you live without a care for however long you have left.”

        Sounds a lot like social security or pensions or any of the other “pay up front and we’ll keep all of our promises later” scams that seem to be going around.

        If there’s one thing that EVERYONE in this country should have learned by now, it’s that if you have to pay up front, you’re guaranteed to get hosed.

        1. LucyLulu

          My sentiments exactly. What happens to those who spent everything they had to pay up front fees and the community goes into bankruptcy?

  8. Clive

    Re: “Mommy-Daddy Time (London Review of Books)”

    I’d make this today’s Must Read. Worth getting past the first couple of paragraphs. Whereafter we find such gems as:

    One is that they (Clive: “they” being parents in a nuclear familiy, but really the writer means “we”) tend to have greater expectations of the existential satisfaction that children – and life in general – will bring them us. With their our unprecedented array of ‘lifestyle options’, their our tendency to regard happiness and self-actualisation as entitlements and their our habit of constantly taking their our own emotional temperature…

    … to which I can only, alas, respond “guilty as charged” to a lot of the above. I blame Reagan / Thatcher. I’d have to, otherwise, gulp, I’ll have to blame myself. So it’s not just the boomers I don’t think.

    1. JohnL

      Yes. If we regard contentment (rather than happiness) and self-actualization as goals rather than as entitlements, and recognize that attaining them may involve at least temporary loss of “happiness”, and raise our children to understand that, we’re well on the way.

  9. JohnL

    Money for nothing. Who gets to decide which charities and nonprofits are “invited”? Who gets to decide which artists and creative workers are “registered”? Sounds like a bureaucracy to me. Or just an elite who “know better”?

    Better to keep the resources in the community in the first place rather that hand them up to the patricians in the hope that they’ll be handed back down.

  10. Carolinian

    The decline of “60 Minutes.”

    The story doesn’t go even higher up the ladder to the reason for Fager: Les Moonves (who is also reputedly a big Lara Logan fan). One can think back to the palmy days when William Paley kept a hands off attitude and Walter Cronkite said the only thing a news organization had to sell in the end was its “credibility.”

    Of course Paley did do plenty of meddling on the entertainment side of CBS and one doesn’t want to oversell the past. But hard to remember when NPR or Sixty Minutes seemed two of our few bulwarks against the corporate America phalanx. We do still have Hollywood, when they aren’t making comic book stories or tales of Millenial romantic angst.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      “We do still have Hollywood, when they aren’t making comic book stories or tales of Millenial romantic angst.”

      Or “Zero Dark Thirty.”

    1. cwaltz

      You have an interesting take. I don’t think that most of the economists are thinking about the $50,000 a year jobs though when they bring up the BIG. I think they are worried on what this effect would have on low income jobs. There isn’t a huge incentive to take a job for $14,000 a year performing crappy, menial labor when you there is a possibility you can subsist on $10,000(or $12,000 if you go with the $2000 a month scenario) without having to labor at all. How it would impact things is fairly obvious. It would place a floor on labor. If you couldn’t guarantee me at least $2000 a month($24,000 a year) then it makes more sense for me to stay home and collect that basic income. In 2012, around 25% of the country earned under $25,000 a year. Implementing this would essentially bypass the minimum wage debate because an employer would have to guarantee an income of over $11.50 at full time to exceed a basic income of $2000.

      This isn’t to say that I don’t like A LOT of the basic ideas behind a guaranteed basic income. It means that I do see where some people are suggesting that it could potentially cause potentially create disincentive to work and create problems for businesses that potentially might not need “full time” labor forces yet but do need help to meet demand. We’d need some sort of mechanism that could help smaller businesses while telling the cheap businesses like McDonalds who have plenty of capital to spend on labor but choose not to pound sand.

      1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

        The wealthy, 1%, has a disincentive to work. No one could work enough, by comparison, or at any task, to make their share of wealth.

        It’s not about productivity, it’s about position.

        1. cwaltz

          I’d argue that a good portion of them DON’T WORK. They live off the income they derive off other people’s labor. Mitt Romney or Bill Clinton’s speechifying is more like a hobby than actual work. If they didn’t do it they’d still survive off the money that their money made from “investing.”

          The reality though, is that we do need a healthy labor force. We need people who not only can come up with ideas but people who have the incentive to help implement them.

          I do understand what you’re saying though. The system we have is broken. For years, people were told to work hard and study hard and that they’d succeed. That has turned out to be a crock of crap. Work hard and study hard get’s the guy in charge richer and just leaves you exhausted, broke and wondering where you went wrong. Hint: It’s believing a sociopath to begin with when he/she pretends he/she intends to share gains made.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          To ascent to the blissful land of the 0.01%, the seeker has to annihilate her/his attachment to notions like work.

          When you have arrived, you realize it’s just a way of being. You are beyond work – that’s something for the unenlightened.

          1. cwaltz

            I think we definitely should make the distinction between work for mere survival and working at what you enjoy.

            I’d imagine that a person who loves to cook might not see cooking as labor, they’d see it as sharing a passion. Unfortunately, a good portion of people never get the opportunity to explore what they’re passionate about and instead are stuck doing what they need to do to survive. I don’t know that a BIG would completely alleviate that and elevate us to peerage with the enlightened 0.01% but I do think it might do something to equalize things for the people who don’t win the parent lottery and aren’t handed the equivalent of minimum wage as a “gift” annually so they can explore what they love.

            I still am trying to picture how traditionally lower wage industry leaders attract labor if the floor is $2000 a month and you’re making the BIG a competing choice between working and not working. . Places like Walmart have a corporate average that is lower than the $11.50 an hour . How do you convince people that they WANT to stock your shelves or monitor your registers if they can make a similar amount by choosing not to work? It makes more sense to me to have the BIG be an amount of money that everyone receives and allowing people to EARN on top of it. You then might be able to attract people who want to earn “extra” or are trying to break into the labor force(which is one of the things that minimum wage- entry level jobs are portrayed as by the right anyway.)

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Cwaltz, I was a bit facetious with that, trying to make fun of the 0.01%.

              On GDP sharing, I believe it is what we should strive for,

              It may sound a bit radical. And maybe we have to compromise, but it will have to be something closer to GDP Sharing than to Basic Income.

  11. susan the other

    Just an observation on Jacobin’s “Unmaking Global Capitalism.” Everything was coherent for me, all the advice for achieving socialism and controlling imperial capitalism and imperial free trade, etc. But I didn’t like the short shrift the article gave to the environment. Only a brief mention about our mutual obligation to suffer our losses because we can no longer exploit the environment. It made me think of how we all just cut Ecuador off at the knees and refused to establish a fund to protect their environment from oil exploration-exploitation. And this in the name of capitalism, so I fear any socialization of capitalism will be more of the same. One thing that this article touched on but never fleshed out was the fact that “productive” human activity is just as destructive as “speculative” activity. More so because it devastates the environment for a few dollars more. The article went on to imply that environmentalism is a form of “fear-mongering.” My personal belief is the opposite – that environmentalism is the model for a sustainable politics.

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The Turing Test.

    “In the field of Artificial Intelligence there is no more iconic and controversial milestone than the Turing Test, when a computer convinces a sufficient number of interrogators into believing that it is not a machine but rather is a human,”

    It’s not about the machine convincing humans.

    The machine HAS TO convince itself that it is a human.

  13. Jeff W

    “Computer becomes first to pass Turing Test in artificial intelligence milestone…”

    P.Z.Myers at Pharyngula says:

    …it seems to me that the actual result should be reported as a minority of poorly qualified judges [including actor Robert Llewellyn, who played robot Kryten in the sci-fi comedy TV series Red Dwarf] in a single media-driven event were trivially fooled by a clumsy chatbot with a background story to excuse its bad grammar and flighty behavior into thinking they were talking to a real person. It’s not so much a validation of the capabilities of an AI as it is an indictment of the superficiality of this test, as implemented.

    1. ambrit

      The poor sods got ‘decimated’ I guess. What grabbed my attention was the use of the bald faced phrase “sent to war.” No pussy footing about with these lads. My worry is that, if this lot runs true to form, we will be hearing about reprisals and ethnic cleansing soon. A fully ethnocentric Ukraine will be easy for Moscow to demonize. The Kremlin doesn’t need to impose any sort of hegemony on Kiev; just bomb it back to the Stone Age and dare the West to rebuild it. Wash, rinse, repeat.

      1. Yonatan

        Ukraine is effectively back in the stone age, thanks to looting by oligarchs. Now they have the IMF on their backs with their austerity package – fuel costs up 50%, public sector wages cut by 70%, pensions halved. The loans are conditional on the country being ‘united’ to allow Big Oil access to the fracking sites in the east – primarily around a place called Slavyansk, which you may have heard of. So if the oligarchs want their loot, they have to solve the eastern Russian problem. Poroschenko’s approach? One of the first things he has done is to ban Russian as a state language, even though the majority of Ukrainians use it over the Ukraine dialect – especially for international business. That should go down well in the east.

  14. Carolinian

    To Katniss Everdeen above.

    Point taken. We don’t have Hollywood either.

    Although they might disagree. It would depend on whether you consider Obama liberals to be liberals.

    Should be said that the Bigelow film became controversial when some H’wood liberal stalwarts attacked it. It probably didn’t win best picture for that reason.

    And hey consider your moniker. Hunger Games is kinda liberal.

  15. ambrit

    I had to sit and think a while after reading the Feminine Hygiene article in the Baffler. I, being a middle aged male plumber, had to try and tease out my male biases from my original incredulity at what appears to be a technical misapprehension on the part of Mz. Moore, the author. Not, again, to deny my, and other male plumbers biases, but, there remains the fact that feminine napkins and, not even mentioned in the article, tampons, are not appropriate for flushing down the toilet. They do not dissolve, unlike just about everything else deposited in the toilet. Hence, they tend to cause clogs and blockages. This is inherent in the materials that they are made of. (Not to mention the “tails” of what the Trade usually euphemises as “Sewer Mice.” Said ‘tails’ will snag on any obstruction inside a piping system, causing blockage.)
    The social criticism Mz Moore makes feels sound to me. The merchandizing of previously home based activities is everywhere. The gender gap is everywhere. I took the Harvard bias test, and failed.
    Human nature is human nature. Materials science is materials science. Let’s not confuse the two.

  16. JohnB

    When I visited NC today, I was given a survey link to the site:

    Is this really a NC survey? All the questions didn’t seem that well suited to the site, more to a generic financial-advise site, and I searched through comments in all recent posts for the word ‘survey’, without seeing anyone commenting on it.

    If it’s not an NC survey, then I’m afraid you guys have a bad ad service or something, which presents misleading popup links.

  17. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Geo engineering quick fix* not gonna work link, I would add, not just to focus on abatement, but what type of abatement – more sci/tech gadgets or less consumption…the former are mere smaller versions of geo-engineering quick fixes; while the latter is of a different mode of thinking.

    *I have been thinking about an idea of mine (probably someone has thought of it before) – move our orbit around the Sun a little bit further from the furnace to counteract global warming. I don’t much like it, as it seems, on the surface, a ‘smart,’ or cute, but not really a wise thing to do. It doesn’t address the core issue – the wastefulness of humans and our own anthropocentrism.

  18. fresno dan

    They say Larry Summers is a smart man….
    It does say something about who is put at high positions in our government and Harvard, and one’s logic when determining causality of certain patterns…
    “It is vital to remember, however, that important aspects of inequality are unlikely to be transformed just by limited income redistribution. Consider two fundamental components of life – health and the ability to provide opportunity for children.”

    “Barry Bosworth and his colleagues at the Brookings Institution have examined changes in life expectancy starting at age 55 for the cohort of people born in 1920 and the cohort born in 1940. They found that the richest men gained roughly six years in life expectancy, middle-income earners gained roughly four years, and those in the lowest part of the distribution gained two years. To put this in perspective, the elimination or doubling of cancer mortality would mean less than a four-year change in life expectancy.

    Why these differences? They more likely have to do with lifestyle and variations in diet and stress than the ability to afford medical care – especially since the figures refer to relatively aged people, all of whom, once they reach 65, fall under Medicare.”

    I would say the above is not as idiotic as it initially appears. The ability of medicine to reverse the effects of black lung, auto crashes caused by bald tires cause your too poor to afford new tires, stress if you go bankrupt and can’t pay your 100K grand mortgage, (as opposed to if you lose 100 billion, the government prints money to cover your losses)……well, I didn’t go to Harvard, and I think it is pretty simple to come up with hundreds, if not thousands of examples of where having more money (air conditioning) would be very helpful in extending life, e.g.,
    So the rich may live longer not because they get more and better medicine (though that may be part of it) but mostly because they are shielded from all the deleterious effects when you don’t have a money shield…
    Summers again:
    “A famous literary spat between 1920s novelists F Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway has been boiled down over time to a succinct, if apocryphal, exchange. Fitzgerald: “The rich are different from you and me.” Hemingway’s retort: “Yes, they have more money.”
    These observations on health and the ability to provide opportunity for children suggest that the differences between the rich and everyone else are not only about money but about things that are even more fundamental: health and opportunity.”

    And money has very little ( or little??? I don’t want to be unfair to Mr. Summer) to do with opportunity or health????
    If this is Summers “sophisticated” thinking, no wonder we’re in a world of sh*t…
    and this:

    “At the same time, unless one regards envy as a virtue, the primary reason for concern about inequality is that lower- and middle-income workers have too little – not that the rich have too much.”
    Because the rich never, ever use their wealth to influence the tax breaks they get, the regulations they don’t have to abide by, (or that aren’t written OR are written to prevent competition) and the influence they have in determining which binary choice (dweedel dee or dweedel dumb) we have…..

    Summers agrees with Fitzgerald and I agree with Hemingway:

    1. James Levy

      Ah, that favorite delusion of the neoclassical economist: money has nothing to do with power. We’re all equal in the eyes of the Holy Market. Me and Exxon–not a dime’s worth of difference. Either Koch brothers and a single mother in rural poverty–they both have one vote! Everything Summers says is predicated on the fantasy that having lots of money doesn’t give you power and influence, and the more money you have, the greater the power and the influence. The fact that the rich DO have too much money, because that money allows them to circumvent majority rule and subvert the democratic process is unmentionable, unthinkable, to men like Summers. The man is a fraud, an idiot, and/or a craven tool–can’t say it more plainly.

  19. Chauncey Gardiner

    Thank you for the post concerning Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture. I have an elderly friend who earlier in his life had at one time lived in one of the lesser known homes in the Midwest that Frank Lloyd Wright designed.

    Walking by my friend’s current modest residence last summer, I noticed he was working on something small inside his open garage and inquired about it. He said it was a damaged outdoor light fixture he had salvaged many years ago from the house Wright had designed. He then showed me a book with photos of the house that included pictures of the outdoor light fixtures. Frank Lloyd Wright’s attention to this seemingly innocuous design detail, which included unique metal work and stained glass in a design that was consistent with that of the house, impressed me, as did my friend in his effort to restore an item of deeper value.

  20. Alexa

    Thank you for this touching ‘elephant’ Antidote du Jour.

    From what I’ve read, and from what I recall from a documentary that I saw several years ago, elephants are not only highly intelligent creatures, but they are also very sensitive and loving animals.

    The documentary showed one of the native elephant “keepers” sleeping on the straw (through the night) with an orphaned Baby Elephant (in an Elephant Sanctuary), because elephants can be so sensitive that they sometimes literally “grieve themselves to death.”

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