2:00PM Water Cooler 9/4/14

Here’s a more conversational approach, still with the bracketed links, with more paragraphing. Hopefully the headlines are doing the right thing now. Thanks to all for feedback! –lambert


At the NATO summit, Chocolate mogul Poroshenko said he would order a ceasefire Friday, and the “rebels” say they’ll agree to a truce [CBC]. Or not! [Guardian].

Also at the summit, Hollande conditioned delivery of Russia’s warships on “a ceasefire and a political settlement” [France24]. But “a German government official” says Germany sees “no possibility of a military solution.” Likewise, NATO membership for Ukraine is “not on the agenda” [Reuters].

What does NATO have to trade with, then? This: Four NATO warships are due in the Black Sea for a maritime exercise by September 7: Guided missile destroyer USS Ross (DDG-71); French frigate Commandant Birot (F796); Canadian frigate HMCS Toronto (FFH-333); and Spanish guided missile frigate Almirante Juan de Borbón (F-102) [USNI News]. A big stick, to be followed by soft talk? Obama want simply want to “keep the conflict brewing” [Moon of Alabama] because churn is profitable? Because Obama is, or seems to be, “skeptical” [CNN].


This article on Ferguson from Road and Track — the Corvette Stingray was manufactured in Ferguson, back when the country built stuff — is too awesome not to quote from.

I sleep through the day at my parents’ house, smack dab on the city-county border, then make for Ferguson around 10 pm. Most of the rioting, including that shown in the oft-looped QuikTrip cameraphone video, took place along a single drag of West Florissant Avenue. Actually, it’s shocking how small the affected area is. Blocks turn into miles during a twenty-four-hour news cycle. Widespread looting is sexy. A dozen shameless smash-and-grabs aren’t. That story feels incredibly peripheral once you see everything else that’s happening here.

Through the windshield of the Corvette, it’s hard to spot the anarchic ghetto villains that need to be put down. Instead, the view holds too many payday loan kiosks to count. This is a desperate community. A third of its residents live in poverty. Nearly 50 percent of its homeowners are drowning under their mortgages. Two public schools lost accreditation in the last year. The momentary furor on TV is an irrational reaction to irrational circumstances. The deeper problems here are long-festering.

Nobody’s sure if an unarmed 18-year-old was killed in an act of self-defense or simply gunned down unnecessarily on August 9th, but I know that human beings don’t exist in a vacuum: He graduated from Normandy High, 3.6 miles from Labadie Avenue, and was shot to death 5.8 miles from where St. Louis used to make Chevrolet Corvettes.

On I-55 returning to Ann Arbor, the placard on the Stingray’s console catches my eye again. I can’t help but wonder what Michael Brown’s life might have been like if he’d been born 288 miles away in Bowling Green, Kentucky. [Road and Track] (ToniG)

Bowling Green, Kentucky being where GM moved the Corvette line. Ferguson, we read, is filled with “outsiders,” “bearing witness,” [New York Times] but if it takes outsiders to write a piece like that, let us have more “outsiders,” say I.

Meanwhile. Eric Holder has bestirred himself to take action, or appear to take action. The Justice Department will open a “wide-ranging” civil rights investigation [AP], and the Governor Nixon lifted the curfew [WaPo].

And there’s more good news! Ferguson’s “distressed homes are being bought up by bottom feeding institutional investors [New York Times].

California Megadrought

Looks like we may need to invade Canada and seize their water earlier than planned. Mount Shasta is snowless [KQED]. CA is in the third year of a 100-year drought [USA Today]; they’re replacing cemetery lawns with bark mulch [Accuweather], and thinking of changing the state flag to replace the bear with a camel [CNBC]. They’re even thinking of closing golf courses [NBC]!

More seriously, there are new restrictions on potable water, although few water providers are enforcing the penalties [San Jose Mercury News]. Even more seriously, 37% of wells have dropped more than 10 feet, so the groundwater is in trouble, too [New York Times].

And so but there’s a ginormous boom in groundwater drilling [National Geographic]. CA’s Central Valley produces 8% of US agricultural output by value, on one-sixth of US irrigated land [USGS, cited in Wikipedia]. The Central Valley is relying exclusively on groundwater; “‘We have to be saved from ourselves,’ said (grower) Vince Sola.  ‘Otherwise we’re just going to pump, pump, pump, and it will be all gone'” [NBC]. A black market in water has developed [Quartz].

And it’s not clear what happens if the drought starts affecting municipal supplies.

News of the Wired

  • Human brains can communicate directly with each other [Times of India]. They did that already. In the 60s.
  • Handy map of 17 “interceptor” cell towers, not associated with carriers, detected by the CryptoPhone 500 around the United States during July [Popular Science] (hat tip James Levy).
  • Shirt worn by Navy SEAL who shot Osama bin Laden dead to be displayed at 9/11 museum [Daily Mail]. Classy. Will the gift shop sell replicas?
  • Russians are dying of broken hearts [NYRB]. Reminds me of what has happened to the permanently disemployed in this country.
  • The SC Department of Natural Resources plans to sink 36 surplus armored personnel carriers at two artificial reefs [Charlotte Observer]. Police militarization solved!

* * *

Readers, feel free to send me (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, and (c) images of plants; I now have some of yours to choose from, and I’ll start running them. Vegetables are fine! See yesterday’s Water Cooler (with plant) here. Don’t mail Yves! And here’s a plant:


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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

    weed growers are resourceful and their monetary motivation will leave ponies eating cake…
    The beachfront Biltmore Four Seasons was whacked with a penalty of $48,000 for using about one million gallons over its allotment in April, while a nearby private home sucked up a $30,000 fine for the month for guzzling an extra 750,000 gallons. The district receives about 30 appeals a week.”
    CA goes long yeast …drinks urine.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Drink urine.

      At some critical point of a young koala’s development, in order to be weaned off the mother’s milk, it has to eat her feces containing the necessary bacteria to digest gum tree leaves, its main source of food.

        1. abynormal

          TOO FUNNEE you can’t keep doing this…i think i pulled something
          (there are recipes using yeast to drink urine)

          1. ohmyheck

            I actually read a long treatise on one person’s belief that the Sorcerer’s Stone, the substance that turns base material into gold, is actually distilled human urine.

            The distilling process takes a year and a half.

            I am not making this up.

            Craazyman? Any thoughts?

            1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

              I ain’t craazyman, but I think a distillation of urine would result in water and some salty, mildly acidic residue. Not that I have any specific experience in distilling urine . . .

  2. Banger

    As we drift into the mid-terms Congress and the Administration become increasingly bellicose which is a tradition in the US. You never loose votes by beating your chest, pointing fingers and yelling. Today we have Putin and IS to “hate” and so it goes.

    There’s an interesting piece on Washington’s Blog:

    In some respects, “The Singularity” has occurred in the financial markets, only humans are incapable of perceiving it except by inference.I will reiterate from the past my assertion based on direct and highly suggestive personal evidence that the major US, UK, and EZ equity markets are being “managed” offshore by the TBTE (too big to exist) banks’ dark pools’ pass-through entities in the Caribbean banking centers, levering up US Treasury and MBS (mortgage-backed securities) holdings to jam equity index with the assistance of NYSE-Euronext exchange-sponsored HFT (high fequency trading) at the price margin.

    And so on. I personally believe there, that there is and has been since the end of the financial crisis an emergent system for “fixing” markets using an alliance of sovereign funds, international organizations and the major financial firms to not only run the markets but the world. The story offers some intriguing ideas. Asset bubbles, in other words, are our friends as I’ve often said.

    1. Doug Terpstra

      This is quite illuminating. Even though the market rigging has been quite obvious for some time, there has been, for all but a “fringe” of Jeremiahs including NC, a tacit widespread conspiracy of silence and an officialy fabricated illusion of a free market, with all the cables and levers camouflaged. It is based on nothing more than wishful thinking, blind hope, and inertia … that extending and pretending must, according to The Secret, make it so.

      Economic management by central committee is such a novel and compelling concept I’m surprised no one’s ever thought of it before. What could go wrong? This time it’s different; history has ended and it’s the perfect time to go all in on stocks and get your bid in on that house now that profits are guaranteed by the printing presses of the “Federal” Reserve.

    2. Jackrabbit

      Asset bubbles are NOT our friends. They are friends of financial oligarchs who enjoy tax benefits like ‘carried interest’.

      ‘Establishment’ (read ‘sell-out’) economists like Bummers and Slugman tout bubbles to combat ‘secular stagnation’ – fancy term for “the economy is broken by all the looting.” But ultimately, bubbles pop and make things worse for everyone, except the Oligarchs.

      H O P

      1. Banger

        Assuming that economic groaf is a good thing–for me I depend on other people having money in their pockets so smoke and mirrors are welcome. Ultimately, of course it has a rather interesting down side.

    3. Paul Tioxon

      It sounds like the Committee For managing the general affairs of the bourgeoisie. Marx is a haunting presence because capitalism is capitalism. Its general features, its superstructure does not change much over time, but its adaptability is without par.

    4. gordon

      How do you model a “fixed” market? There are many sorts of models, not all of them mathematical. Here’s one I doodled about 18 months ago:

      Let’s postulate Algernon, who “does something in the City”, and his wealthy aunt Laetitia, who lives on her investments. After a period of low rates, Laetitia notices that her dividend cheques aren’t what they used to be. She rings up Algernon, and suggests to him that he do something about it. When Algernon tries to explain “starving the beast” to his dear aunty Laetitia, he gets the brusque reply “Dear boy, you know I’m not interested in that sort of thing. You don’t want me to start spending capital, do you? If that happens, there’ll be a lot less for you to inherit, you know. I’m sure you can do something if you really try, now get busy!” (click).

      Algernon is now in a bind. He’s committed, along with his City and Tory friends, to starving the beast. It’s what they talk about at the Club, and he would be a brave man to break ranks. But aunt Laetitia is seriously rich, and he also wants to make sure his eventual share of her wealth isn’t diminished. Good heavens, the old bat might even change her will if she gets the idea that he isn’t supporting her!

      The problem as it presents itself to Algy therefore isn’t “how to save the economy”; it’s how to continue austerity but with higher rates.

      I wonder what he will come up with.


      Algy gets some of the chaps together at one of their clubs for a bit of a pow-wow. It soon emerges that they have had phone calls similar to the one Algy had with his aunt Laetitia.

      “If we’re going to starve the beast, rates will be low for some time yet…” says Cyril, gloomily.

      Arthur, who’s a bit slow but comes from a very good (and wealthy) family, just looks serious – his usual tactic when feeling a little lost.

      “That’s no use, chaps! Come on, think!” says Algy impatiently.

      “There’s an awful lot of money out there that isn’t doing much”, says Claude, meditatively.

      “Yes, that’s true,” says Julian (admitted to be the cleverest of the group). “I say, chaps, what if we used it to bubble the old stock market, hey?”

      “Ah,” says Algy, “You mean…”

      “Yes, old man, I mean you shift Letty into stocks, and as the market rises the old girl’s worth more every week!” Julian smiles triumphantly. “Low rates on bonds don’t matter so much then, hey?”

      “And we could use the spare money to leverage her!” adds Claude with a smile of his own.

      “Oh, that means commissions for us all, doesn’t it?” Arthur asks, a little diffidently.

      “Of course, old son, of course!” Julian replies jovially, slapping him on the back. “Waiter, another round over here!”

  3. McMike

    Phantom cell towers, iCloud hacks, mass credit card thefts, NSA pushing bugs into every piece of electronics in our homes….

    I can feel myself starting to imagine what my post-technology life will look like.

    I stopped using Facebook. I never trusted Google/Gmail/Gdocs and have avoided them from the start. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

    I will miss some things to be sure. And it will be very hard to do others, including banking, and other business, including my profession.

    Is there a middle ground? Do we just live our lives like a mouse under the watch of the house cat? Do we opt out entirely?

    1. Banger

      Magic, misdirection, and Jedi mind-tricks. Fortunately the Storm Troopers are becoming more and more stupid at all levels including the Darth Vader class of public official and below. Don’t give up hope.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          That event should be required watching by all engineering/science majors.

          Better yet, along with their college applications, they have to submit certifications of having watched it.

          1. ambrit

            Now we can tell if they complied by downloading their Clarke ‘Brainman’ records and see what they experienced. Direct source compliance!

    2. cwaltz

      I’m actually learning to have fun with it. Would love to be the group of NSA agents tasked with figuring out what I meant when I randomly inserted the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog in my phone conversations.

    3. Ulysses

      The eye of Sauron is everywhere, but it cannot see into our hearts! I still behave as if the Bill of Rights were actually respected by our “legal” system. It’s actually a lot of work to spy on everyone closely enough to discover those most likely to be able to subvert the dominant paradigm. That’s why the Feebs, and other alphabet agency spooks prefer to prey on mentally unstable people, entrap them into agreeing to participate in some sort of plot, and then justify the billions they take from taxpayers by “foiling” the plots they themselves concocted!


    4. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      You have to say what you think and let those listening be damned. Honestly, WTF? To advance your analogy:

      The house cat is a hissing, scratching, cross-eyed siamese. He will sing fine music when we string our violins with his guts.

  4. EmilianoZ

    Related to Russians dying of broken hearts:

    Suicide rates all over the world:


    Russia has a high rate just like Korea (both), Japan and India. Socialist paradises like France, Sweden and Australia have about the same rate as the US. I noticed that in the DC subway, there are now ads for some suicide hotline at the extremities of the train platforms. I think they appeared about 1 or 2 years ago.

    1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      I’ll bet Iraq/Afghanistan vets stand head and shoulders above everyone but Russia’s Afghanistan/Chechnya vets.

  5. Cujo359

    Love the Road And Track article. There’s a nuance there you don’t get from political or crime reporters. Furgeson’s problems didn’t start three weeks ago, and it’s articles like this that help explain why. So many of our cities, particularly in the Midwest, have felt the effects of lost manufacturing work.

    So I agree, more “outside” observers, please.

    1. optimader

      Agreed. No comparison to the typical MSM rhetoric.
      Reminds me of http://www.kiddofspeed.com/chapter1.html

      What’s the budget for this?”
      “There isn’t a single parking lot or strip mall in sight that doesn’t have a cluster of St. Louis City or County cops laying in wait, while State Trooper patrol cars pace the strip. Hip-badged plainclothes officers mill about while officers in riot gear smoke cigarettes behind the McDonald’s where The Washington Post’s Wesley Lowery was arrested. I get pulled over by a university campus patrol car and asked not to cruise so slowly. Law enforcement may not actually outnumber civilians by a ratio of 100:1, but it certainly feels that way—unrest spurred by either actual or perceived police brutality, quelled by an overwhelming show of force.”

        1. hunkerdown

          It’s a question or two worth asking: must there be University-level criminal justice schools? If there must, what practical component is appropriate? (How many ride-alongs from Washington U roll with Ferguson PD?)

        2. Paul Tioxon

          University of Pennsylvania and Temple University have their own police forces. They are real police. With guns, and squad cars and flashing lights. The campus police went from unarmed rent a cops stature to duly sworn officers of the law no different in legal status from the Philly PD. Of course, when you consider that Penn has a $5Bil/yr operation budget and the Municipal government of the City of Philadelphia has $4Bil/yr operating budget, exclusive of the School District, which has its own police and the public transit authority Septa, which has its own police force, and then there are the railroad police who cover the tracks which are extensive in and around the center of the city with freight trains converging at the ports along the Delaware River, well, you get the idea, there are a lot of police all over the place.


          “The University of Pennsylvania Police Department (UPPD), with 116 members, is the largest private police department in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and maintains the second largest number of full-time sworn police officers amongst all private Universities across the United States, and the third largest number of sworn police officers for all Universities nationwide, both public and private.

          All personnel of the UPPD are full-time sworn municipal police officers certified through the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Municipal Police Officers Training and Education Commission,”.

  6. barrisj

    A superb bit of reporting here, by Radley Balko in the WaPo, on how tens of small municipalities throughout St. Louis County (yes, including Ferguson) use black residents as nothing more than ATMs to finance much of city government. It’s easy: just hand out boatloads of traffic tickets, collect the fines for those who can afford to pay, then issue (multiple) warrants on those who can’t pay, thereby indenturing that group permanently to the issuing municipality. It’s the old “hit em while their down” mindset, overwhelming directed against African-Americans within those municipal jurisdictions. A compelling read, and as DK reckons, Pulitzer material.

    How municipalities in St. Louis County, Mo., profit from poverty

    On March 20 in the St. Louis County town of Florissant, someone made an illegal U-turn in front of Nicole Bolden. The 32-year-old black single mother hit her brakes but couldn’t avoid a collision. Bolden wasn’t at fault for the accident and wanted to continue on her way. The other motorist insisted on calling the police, as per the law. When the officer showed up, Bolden filled with dread.

    “He was really nice and polite at first,” Bolden says. “But once he ran my name, he got real mean with me. He told me I was going to jail. I had my 3-year-old and my one-and-a-half-year-old with me. I asked him about my kids. He said I had better find someone to come and get them, because he was taking me in.” The Florissant officer arrested and cuffed Bolden in front of her children. Her kids remained with another officer until Bolden’s mother and sister could come pick them up.

    The officer found that Bolden had four arrest warrants in three separate jurisdictions: the towns of Florissant and Hazelwood in St. Louis County and the town of Foristell in St. Charles County. All of the warrants were for failure to appear in court for traffic violations. Bolden hadn’t appeared in court because she didn’t have the money. A couple of those fines were for speeding, one was for failure to wear her seatbelt and most of the rest were for what defense attorneys in the St. Louis area have come to call “poverty violations” — driving with a suspended license, expired plates, expired registration and a failure to provide proof of insurance.


    “…poverty violations…”. Only in America, folks, land of the brave and home of the free.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s an issue that can unite a lot of people, because, and there is a good piece of reporting just waiting to be seized upon, anyone, black, white, brown, yellow, pink, or green, bourgeois or poor, can be a victim of excessive traffic ticketing, an involuntary contributor to a prosperous local police/sheriff department.

      1. hunkerdown

        Why would they go after the caste of which they are a part? That’s like narcing on one’s neighbor.

    1. hunkerdown

      I read a lot of Slashdot back before they were mainstreamed. So I’m partial to their format [slashdot.org], but I wouldn’t care to trouble Lambert any more to tweak it.

  7. Carolinian

    Paul Craig Roberts: poodledom explained.

    My Ph.D. dissertation chairman, who became a high Pentagon official assigned to wind down the Vietnam war, in answer to my question about how Washington gets Europeans to always do what Washington wants replied: “Money, we give them money.” “Foreign aid?” I asked. “No, we give the European political leaders bagfuls of money. They are for sale, We bought them. They report to us.” Perhaps this explains Tony Blair’s $50 million fortune one year out of office.


    1. Banger

      And the Euro media that won’t report this? Like the US media I suspect it’s a combo of carrots and rather unpleasant sticks. I hope Europeans begin to sniff it out.

      1. James Levy

        I wrote somewhere a couple of years ago that if I could know one thing as an historian, I’d like to know exactly who has been on the US government payroll since 1945. I think much of the history of the post-war world could be explained by that one list of names, dates, and payouts. I’d take odds that two names conspicuous by their absence would be De Gaulle and Nehru, which is why the US elite hated their guts so much–nothing worse than a moralizing son of a bitch who won’t go on the payroll.

    2. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      The blatant corruption is unbelievable.

      There are, of course, legal loopholes that will excuse it, or, in cases when the law has clearly been broken, the statute of limitations can be allowed to run out.

      In practical terms, this means that when we finally go to arrest these sociopaths, we’ll have to beat their asses, first, and charge them with assault and resisting arrest, afterward. To do so is supported by well-established legal/administrative precedent.

      1. sd

        The loophole is obvious, just appoint them to a board or two. One or two meetings a year, vote yes or no as told.

        1. hunkerdown

          Not all penalties can be trivially made whole with money. The beatings might be salutary enough if done to a wide enough, representative enough swath of the political class.

          1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

            My brother, truly I say to you: It will take but 1 in 100 to make the 1% gladly relinquish their ill gotten wealth.

    3. optimader

      That’s so last Century..
      Blair doesn’t need USG handouts. Sovereign dictators and the financial sector are more lucrative low hanging fruit, he’s just working Bill Clinton’s playbook
      Muammar looks less hungover here: http://sugraphic.com/fotograf_goster.php?3262-muammar-gaddafi-madame-tussauds-museum
      Whats w/ old dictators and dyed hair anyway?

      1. Carolinian

        PCR talking to his Ph.D. adviser probably took place quite a few years ago. Still, I thought this was amusing.

      1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

        The French have seduction everywhere they look. I love the French. I love France. Me and George Washington, Ben Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson. Midnight in Paris, indeed.

  8. diptherio

    Re that lovely squash flower:

    Around these parts, conventional wisdom holds that this time of year you should never leave your car unattended with a window rolled down (something that’s still common in Montana)–if you do, you’ll come back to find that someone’s left a grocery bag full of zucchinis on your front seat!

    Note: my housemate discovered this year that zuccs in pots don’t work so well. We got a few flowers, but just one finger-sized squash. Live and learn…

    1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      My mom always said that crook-neck yellow squash tastes better than straight-neck (as a kid, I really didn’t care — squash was squash. Ewwwww . . . ). Couldn’t find crook-neck at the supermarket, so I got it at the farmer’s market. I tried it, and I believe she was correct. Weird quasi-factoid.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      I only grow winter squash for exactly that reason. I don’t like zukes, and I couldn’t even give them away! I finally resorted to leaving them at the nearest bus stop, whereupon they did disappear, though by what agency I do not know.

      1. cwaltz

        Love the zukes. If I lived nearby I’d have taken them off your hands. Hubby is complaining because my raspberry plants have taken on a life of their own. Going to have to trim them back.

          1. OIFVet

            Zucchini pancakes… YUM! The problem with zucchini is that far too many don’t really know how to cook it. Same with eggplants. But go to any decent Turkish restaurant and the taste of zukes and eggplants will quickly make most people converts.

      2. ewmayer

        Zucchini slices or chunks are great slow-simmered into spaghetti sauces and stews.

        But what we really need is a good way to ferment them into booze. Any brainstorming ideas on that topic are welcome.

        1. optimader

          4 pounds zucchini
          •3 campden tablets
          •2 oranges
          •2 lemons
          •7 cups sugar
          •pectic enzyme
          •1 package wine yeast
          • water
          1.Wash zucchini. Leave skin on. Chop zucchini and place in primary fermentor.
          2.Wash oranges and lemons. Slice thinly and add to zucchini.
          3.Stir in sugar and nutrients.
          4.Pour 16 cups boiling water over mixture. Stir to dissolve sugar. Let cool.
          5.Add pectic enzyme.
          6.The next day, check specific gravity — it should be between 1.090 and 1.100.
          7.Add yeast.
          8.Stir daily for five days, until frothing stops. Strain. Siphon into secondary fermentor and attach airlock.
          For a dry wine, rack in three weeks, and every three months for one year. Bottle.

          For a sweet wine, rack at three weeks. Add 1/2 cup corn syrup dissolved in 1 cup wine. Stir gently, and place back into secondary fermentor. Repeat process every six weeks until fermentation does not restart with the addition of syrup. Rack every three months until one year old. Bottle.

          Variations: http://winerecipes.blogspot.com/2010/09/zucchini-wine.html

          1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

            Is it beer, or is it wine? It’s fermented, with residual alcohol, so it will persist. I’m sure, like all things with alcohol, it grows on the consumer.

            1. optimader

              Wine. my Italian friends ferment all manner of things into wines and liquors this time of year. Old recipes literally refined over centuries, unbelievably great stuff
              Speaking of great stuff Rufus does a good job w/ this blog. I love to smoke stuff. Maybe I’ll try smoking some Zucchini this weekend.

              It’s in your power to eat and drink better than the oligarchs!

              1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

                We have lots to complain about, but I wouldn’t be surprised that I and everyone I know have eaten better than 99.99% of all humans in history.

                I have ranged from mayonnaise sandwiches on Wonder bread to old vine Spanish wines, planted by the Romans, accompanied by Tapas with ingredients from far-flung places — and pretty much everything in between. It hasn’t always been feast, but it’s never been famine.

                1. optimader

                  “mayonnaise sandwiches on Wonder bread ”
                  Is it fair to assume you had some pretty good pot in college?

                  1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

                    Sadly, (actually not too sadly, now that I think back), It was as a small child, when my mom, sister and I, lived in public housing projects in DC, in the early ’60s.

                    College was hard-boiled eggs (and yes, good pot).

    1. optimader

      What some people don’t get about Russian history is that the Vor v Zarkone , originally organized as an antigovernment criminal class during Tzarist Russia, further cultivated in Stalin’s gulags emerged as a potent criminal force and metastasized in the freeforall after the wheels came off the SU.
      It was a bloodbath in Russia in the 1990’s as they infiltrated all manner of business and enterprise.

      As well, Russia has a long tradition in the theoretical aspects of mathematics and other scientific/analytical disciplines as these intellectual skills sets do not necessarily depend heavily on technological artifice, which the SU chronically trailed behind the west.
      As an example, the mathematical formulas that were the basis for the models from which stealth aircraft radar signal attenuation was developed were of Russian origin. These formulas were first published in an obscure Russian language journal applied to antenna design, and were data mined by an enterprising Lockheed Aircraft engineer who put two and two together to apply the theory.

      The point is, post SU Russia had a hugely unemployed Numerate class, a sophisticated and well infiltrated criminal class, legions of unemployed military vets and skilled KGB types with all manner of intelligence, forging, counter intelligence and computer skills. This is exactly the dream team of skills you would organize for large scale hacking.

      1. Mark P.

        ‘…technological artifice, which the SU chronically trailed behind the west.’

        Not entirely fair. The Russians/Soviets have been leaders in reliable rocketry, from being the first to introduce Katyushas on a battlefield in WWII to today.

        Their rocket engineering tended to be locked into industrial-era heavy-steel approaches, while we favored increasingly digital systems. But that’s actually served them — and the rest of the world, which benefited from the Russian launch industry in the 1990s — well.

  9. John Smith

    Thank you so much, the water cooler post is so much more readable today.
    thank you, thank you, thank you.

  10. Jackrabbit


    I clicked on “Please consider tipping” and it takes me to a Paypal page that only says: “Fatal Failure “

  11. Jackrabbit

    @ Lambert: Suggestion

    I like the idea of a mid-day post but I wonder about the format. And I like focusing on a few issues for discussion. But it gets to be a bit disjoint when you cover some of the same ground in the Cooler as was covered in the morning.

    You’d make better use of your time, and encourage reader opinion if you highlighted one or two discussions from the morning. Maybe CUT (not copy) and paste the entire morning discussion on a certain topic into the Cooler with notations/prompts for further discussion?

    The result is the following: 1-3 major discussions ‘pulled’ into one thread where it is easy to follow the discussion, and everything else in the morning thread where insightful info on each of the many topics is more accessible. And also, maybe a little extra time for you to work your magic in other areas.

    H O P

    1. Jackrabbit

      Another suggestion: Could you set up a Library?

      There are important links that are referenced all the time about certain issues. It would be really good if you could set up a page that just contained a list of links that readers have nominated for inclusion. There’s room in the menu bar to add “Library”. Not sure exactly how it might work: maybe there is a threshold of ‘votes and/or you and Yves decide what you think is important.

      I think it could be a valuable resource to readers. New readers can come up to speed on an issue. Commenters don’t have to go searching the internet to re-read and article or pull quotes. Just go to the Library!

      Obama speeches, for example. When he announced the Iranian peace initiative he spoke of it as an important step for peace AND the last step toward war. I have referenced that a lot, because I think the ‘step toward war’ part is an important caveat. But why should people trust MY memory? Anyone that wants a better understanding could go to the Library, look for the section: “Obama’s Media Appearances (Speeches, News Conferences, etc.)” and click the link.

      1. hunkerdown

        What’s the difference between that and a link farm? What’s the difference as far as Google is concerned?

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          It’s a lot like an idea that’s been batted around called a cornerstone post. It wouldn’t be a link farm, again, because there would be a prose context. The issue is how to avoid maintaining it. We don’t have the crew or the budget for that.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      Anybody who wants to carry on the discussion is free to do so. I don’t see a reason for me, personally, to invest in maintaining continuity across discussion threads, or to, as it were, “pick winners.” I don’t see value in either.

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    I am not sure about that direct brain to brain communication link….there is a lot of machine coding and decoding, lights flashing, to be anything ‘direct.’

  13. trish

    “Ferguson, we read, is filled with ‘outsiders,’ ‘bearing witness,’ [New York Times] but if it takes outsiders to write a piece like that, let us have more ‘outsiders,’ say I.”

    We cannot see ourselves as outsiders any longer. A big part of the problem. Not enough are bearing to the the impoverishment of our country (and indeed the world) by our morally impoverished elite.
    There are many many places like Ferguson, impoverished cities & towns, people who are jobless, homeless, hungry, people in crowded detention centers, in cages. We get occasional looks at selected places, a news focus on this struggling place, person, often due to some tragedy or another, and we can be briefly saddened/sickened/horrified/titillated/reminded that we are better off (and we retain the option not to look at all), then on to the next infotainment story, our daily lives, forget about it, move on, till the next tragedy or human interest focus piece comes along.
    Sometimes there is more hard-hitting journalism that hammers away at an issue and it is often because of caring “outsiders” that sometimes something meaningful gets done.
    The thing is we are not, can not be outsiders to what is happening. Happening perhaps not (yet?) to us but to other people like us in plenty of ways.
    god, we don’t need anymore fergusons. But we need-the entire country- to bear witness to what is happening to this country. and do something.
    It would be nice if the Ferguson tragedy and the protests and the “outsiders” “bearing witness” was a crisis that became truly meaningful. Not just a Holder Justice Department investigation or anymore Obama phony sermonizing, but actual change. Government action benefiting the people pushed through. Reverse Shock Doctrine. Concessions from our elite.
    Like the use of crisis that allowed the Afro-Colombian communities to gain collective title to land (this morning’s links: The Lands of the Afro-Colombians).

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Ferguson is still roiling along, I think, under the surface. Stories like this prove it. I put it down, first and foremost, to social capital by the locals (not the same as whether your house is underwater or not). Organic discipline. And I bet that Corvette plant had a lot to do with that. Did you see this?

      When you’re at Goody Goody Diner, you have to order ‘The Wilbur.’ It’s a local delicacy—a grotesque, heaping pile of hot food—consisting of an omelet filled with potatoes, onions peppers and tomatoes, all drowning in chili cheese. At sunrise on Saturday, I drive the Stingray toward 5900 Natural Bridge, where Goody’s has stood since it opened in 1948, just a few blocks from the Union Boulevard GM plant. Autoworkers ate here a lot, and helped make The Wilbur famous.

      It’s delicious.

      Good local food is always a good sign.

      1. ToniG

        I several days in Detroit recently; we happened to arrive the evening when the city received a record rainfall — a unexpected biblical-scale deluge — and so the next day scores of abandoned cars and non-functional traffic lights contributed to the general atmosphere of non-functionality. But, as in Ferguson and with the example of Goody’s, there are of course still people there, struggling along, and in the meantime interacting with each other, usually decently. We had lunch at an exceptional spot called “Mike’s Ham Place,” which has been in business for 40 years, and which used to be down the street from Tiger Stadium (Mike’s didn’t go anywhere, but the stadium did.) Best ham you’ll ever eat, and that’s all you’ll eat if you go there, as there are four choices on the menu: ham and eggs, split pea soup with ham, bean soup with ham, or a ham sandwich with a ham garnish on the side. Mike and his wife are Polish; the customers were mostly African-American. Everyone chatted with everybody else and we all really liked the ham. Detroit has good local food too.

        Everybody now lives close to a city or town that has been decimated by the loss of one or more major manufacturers and the good union jobs that went along with them. I live in Chicago so we’ve felt that loss here, but if you only go downtown it’s easy to miss that. I learned a lot exploring Detroit. I encourage everybody to take a look at one of these places near you, to see up close what a calamity we are experiencing, and what it means to the folks on the front lines.

  14. ambrit

    The presence of four missile cruisers in the Black Sea is hubris of the greatest sort. Frankly, four hostages to Russian forbearance. I would be interested to know if the Russian Imperial Navy has any submersibles in the Black Sea at present. If there are any at Sevastopol, their going to sea will be basic self defense. This will be an interesting exercise in bullying.

    1. optimader

      I think these torpedo/missile magnets have been cycled through there for a while and get regularly scheduled airshows. Wouldn’t last long

    1. OIFVet

      Jon Stewart: hypocrite. If Bush was still occupying the Oval Orifice, would he still be presenting those MSM clips as uncritically as he does in this clip? Would he be urging Bush to hurry up before the Russkies invade the Baltics? There is a reason I stopped watching his brainwashing act shortly before midterms 2010: the guy is a pseudo-“liberal” fraud.

      1. Carolinian

        John Oliver’s new HBO gig is not that different….smirky snark from a frame of liberal conventional wisdom. And I like John Oliver–Stewart as well for that matter–but when they give themselves airs of being serious commentators it can be quite tedious. They should stick to japing at Fox News. Colbert is probably the smartest of the lot if you don’t mind his schtick.

  15. ewmayer

    Judge may hold Microsoft in contempt after refusal to hand over foreign data: Obama administration contends that company with operations in US must comply with warrants for data, even if stored

    Scylla and Charybdis for MSFT: Get in trouble with the US kangaroo courts for (for once) standing up to the demands of the NatSec shadow state, or get sued by the EU for violating its privacy laws.

    Given how all the US big data cos. were 100% in bed with the NSA until very recently, I say ’tis a consummation devoutly to be wished.

    1. hunkerdown

      Ooh, it’s Jeremy Hammond’s hanging judge from the Stratfor hack. Intriguing. I wonder how much time she’ll spend on the war path if her husband isn’t personally affected.

  16. hunkerdown

    Big Brother Watch carryover: Now that Twitter, by way of their CFO (!), has announced that algorithmic curation is a mandatory part of the service, serious people are seriously seeking alternatives. There’s a new kind of puddin’ and kids can (almost) make it. It’s called trsst and all you do is download and run it. Kidding aside, it’s the open-source, strangely beautiful love child of an RSS reader and a microblogging platform. Apparently there’s encrypted private group messaging as well. Even though it’s still alpha software, it’s an interesting enough idea, in any case, and a good transition step away from Twitter. We’ll see if RSS feeds are a robust enough transport for this type of thing, or whether that part’s more about The Internet’s Own Boy.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        No, if you curate your list properly, twitter is great. Can’t live without it for breaking news, and it constantly tosses strange, interesting gems. I don’t need another Facebook. I have Facebook. If you want to learn about Ferguson right away, Twitter is your tool. If you want post after post on the ice bucket challenge, use Facebook.

  17. James Dodd

    Big Brother is watching

    Americans as ‘vulnerable’ to NSA surveillance as foreigners, despite Fourth Amendment, http://www.zdnet.com/americans-as-vulnerable-to-nsa-surveillance-as-foreigners-despite-fourth-amendment-7000031045/?s_cid=e589&ttag=e589&ftag=TREc64629f

    The research paper released Monday by academics at Harvard University and Boston University details how the US government can “conduct largely unrestrained surveillance on Americans by collecting their network traffic abroad,” despite constitutional protections against warrantless searches. http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2460462

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