2:00PM Water Cooler 11/14/14

By Lambert Strether of Corrente


“Rich liberals” give Warren “rock star’s welcome” [Talking Points Memo]. “Run, Liz, run!”

Maybe those “chaos and infighting in the Clinton campaign” stories are so easy to write because they’re true [ABC].

The private emails were provided to ABC News by a Democrat on the listserv who has worked alongside [Democratic stragegists] Mook and Marshall on previous campaigns. The person who provided the emails is, like the vast majority of those on the listserv, supportive of Hillary Clinton, but does not support the idea of Mook or Marshall holding leadership roles in a second presidential bid. They were provided on the condition of anonymity.

That the emails are emerging publicly reflects the ferocious intra-battle to populate the top positions of an expected Clinton campaign.

I wouldn’t say the leaker, whoever they might be, looks much better then the leakees Mook and Marshall. I mean, which listserv gets dumped next?

There’s an old saying that there are only two ways for an incumbent to run: “scared or unopposed” [Charles Cook, National Journal]. And that’s why the left should put Democrats in fear and keep them there. And make sure Democrats know the left will make — has made — them lose races, pour encourager les autres. Democrats, it’s simple. Stop sucking!

Yet another example of “top two” voting reinforcing the legacy party duopoly [Ballot Access News].

2014 Fallout

Nooners:  “People do what they know how to do” [Wall Street Journal]. Which is what Obama will do.

Steve Israel, resigning as DCCC chair, gets “ovation” from his remaining colleagues [WaPo] (“People do….”). Believe or not, Pelosi had asked him to sabotage another election [Newsday]. Somebody needs to tell Pelosi that David Broder is dead [Down with Tyranny]. I know, I know: “Can they tell?” But no. Apparently not. PCCC: Not Himes [The Hill].

“The belief that more cooperation could produce greater benefits united groups that often diverge on political questions” [National Journal](“People do….”). Which the Democrats tried in 2009. And here we are!

Congressional Black Caucus strongly supports seniority in choice of ranking members [Roll Call] (“People do….”).


Protests spread to Chiapas, Oaxaca and Michoacan [Mexico Daily].

Nothing that happened to the 43 Ayotzinapa students is new [Democracy Now]. Important perspective.

Soldiers face charges in massacre, but officials have immunity [McClatchy]. Very ugly.

Former mayor Mayor Jose Luis Abarca charged in Mexico student deaths [KVIA]. The ol’ Russian sleigh…

The Institutional Revolutionary Party, historically, has plenty of blood on its hands [Union-Tribune]. “Mexico is suffering a national tragedy, the details of which make the Day of the Dead look like a walk in the park.”


“I want to believe there is a way to protest that is more than marching but not bloodshed” [Kansas City Star].

Will Bunch: “Tin soldiers and Nixon coming” [Philadelphia News].

Governor Nixon sounds just like George Wallace before Selma [Vox].

Obama expresses “real heart-driven concern” [Politico]. Riiiight. That’s why he sent Holder in!

Non-violent organizers preview post-grand jury map [St Louis Today].

They expected four areas to emerge as protester “hot spots” after the announcement: the Ferguson police station, the stretch of West Florissant Avenue near the QuikTrip that burned the day after the killing, the business district in Clayton, and the Shaw Neigborhood, where VonDerrit Myers Jr. was killed by a St. Louis police officer last month after the officer said Myers fired at him.

Protesters making wooden shields [WaPo]. Good idea?

Berkeley, Mo. city government passes out riot prepper leaflet. Resident: “It is very sad that we have to live in this fear” [Yahoo News]. True, really, but then again, it’s unlikely anybody’s going to whack that resident and leave their body out in the street, in the summer sun, for four hours, either. So there’s that.

Gun sales boom before grand jury verdict [ABC]. Great. Ammosexual vigilantes.

Ferguson protesters, Brown family, attorneys at United Nations Committee against Torture in Geneva [St Louis American]. So, if some liquor store goes up in flames, where do you think the focus will be? That, or Geneva?

Hong Kong

Beijing said to be in no hurry to clear out Occupations since opinion on the Mainland is against them [EJ Insight]. However, Hong Kong will not be groomed for any bigger role, and no mainland cities will be limited in favor of Hong Kong.

Students Beijing trip still said to be happening [Reuters].

Women in Hong Kong protests [Quartz]. Better than the New Left, but still…

Life hacks from the Occupations [Coconuts Hong Kong]. “Tent maintenance has been a key factor throughout.” I know this sounds boring as all get-out, but professionals study logistics…

OccupyHK organic garden (!) [Tom Grundy]. With gnome.

Albert Cheng throws his hat in the ring against Leung? [HK]. Not a class traitor, but still interesting.

America the Petrostate

Senate nears 60 on Keystone [The Hill]. Anything to save Mary Landrieu!

Shell told to replace aging pipes years before giant spills in Niger Delta [Independent]. It can’t happen here.


Ron Fournier on l’affaire Grube: ObamaCare built on a foundation of lies [National Journal].

Liberals should be the angriest. Not only were they personally deceived, but the administration’s dishonest approach to health care reform has helped make Obamacare unpopular while undermining the public’s faith in an activist government. A double blow to progressives.

Any single payer advocate could have told Brownstein that in 2009. Whether “progressives” were deceived, self-deceptive, or themselves deceivers is an open question.

This year’s ObamaCare marketing campaign to leverage social media [Politico]. Really?! Looks more like walking around money for tech dudes than outreach! And read the story for detail on the utter lack of transparency for enrollment spending at the Federal level. And that Democrats exempted Covered California state freedom of information requirements should be a ginormous red flag for how those contracts were bid, who got them, and what the actual performance was.

Imperial Collapse Watch

Am I the only one who gets nervous reading headlines that include the phrase “scandal-plagued nuclear weapons programs”? [WaPo].

Class Warfare

Our Walmart stages sit-down strike in Crenshaw, near Los Angeles [Guardian] 23 later arrested for blocking traffic near Pico Rivera [CBS].

Our Walmart to protest at stores on Black Friday [Reuters].

Federal contract workers plan one-day strike [McClatchy].

Stats Watch

Consumer sentiment, November 2014: “Spiking” going into the holiday season [Bloomberg]. Current conditions lead, expectations “respectable.”

Business inventories, September 2014: “Balanced” [Bloomberg].

News of the Wired

  • Scientists to try to “hop” Philae into better sunnier position to recharge its batteries [Guardian], since it landed in the shadow of a cliff [BBC].
  • Bike path inspired by Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” [CNN].
  • Cleveland has a director of sustainability and is using sheep to cut lawns [National Journal]. So now, abolish lawns in favor of gardens, and plant some food forests.
  • California pension funds are running dry [Los Angeles Times]. Uh oh, better seek higher rates of return. But how?
  • The UK parallel to the DLC: “New Labour” [London School of Economics].
  • Bipartisan group of lawmakers propose stripping Nazis of Social Security benefits becaue they’re war criminals [Talking Points Memo]. Forgive my cynicism, but don’t we have war criminals close in space and time? And who gets their benefits stripped next?

* * *

Readers, feel free to contact me with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, and (c) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. And here’s today’s plant (LJ):



Talk amongst yourselves!

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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. trish

    re Nothing that happened to the 43 Ayotzinapa students is new [Democracy Now].

    I think this is a must-read. Journalism at its finest.

  2. NOTaREALmerican

    “The left”… funny one.
    There’s no “left” left because no-one rich enough (successful enough) to run a huge society like the US got there by even being aware of the concept of “the left”. (Do people even know what “the left” means anymore? “The left” is as useful a term as “neo-liberal”, or conservative, or socialist.)

    “The left” is for children to believe in, like any other religion is. The adults use the religion to manipulate the children. The US adults don’t need “the left’s” religion to manipulate the US children, the slow-motion eagles-n-flags have been working fine for generations now.

    1. scraping_by

      Identity politics is where liberalism went to die. Tons of newsprint and barrels of tears were spent following the fortunes of who you sleep with, what medical procedures you can have, and the exact percentages of preference quotas. Since that’s the popularly identified Left, most people have a rational indifference and go back to Dancing With The Stars.

      The one identity/lifestyle issue that might have wider repercussions is the current movement to legalize weed. The drug war is the #1 pretext to continue and widen the Police State (domestically) so depriving fascists of that excuse will improve life for ordinary citizens. It’s running into some trouble, since the states can’t keep it illegal are making it impossible, using bureaucratic warfare on suppliers. Familiar to anyone following abortion rights in states with politicians playing the evangelical role. But even those of us who don’t use the herb will feel the positive effects of fewer bad interactions with the police.

      1. RWood

        Yeah, well, I have it that Grace Slick put up the comment that when it’s legalized, that’s when to stop using it.
        Though that might be too authoritarian and past due date…

        1. different clue

          Grace Slick said that? Well, I heard her say her own self once in a radio interview that convicted prisoners should be used against their will in medical experiments. So I am not impressed by any advice Grace Slick has to offer about marijuana or anything else.

          I suppose she used it as some kind of performance-art tantrum and display of defiance against the cultural authorities . . . and not for its own beneficial properties. I myself used it for its own beneficial properties. If she thinks that only the illegal status of it made it worth using, how would she explain people using it for thousands of years before anyone had any idea that someone would make it illegal?

          1. three eyed goddess

            by-the-way old Grace Slick has quite a drinking problem
            just ask the cops she tried to shoot a few years back

            1. different clue

              Drinking problem, eh? Not hash oil I suppose? More likely alcohol. he he he . . . So of the two drugs someone in her social class position at that time and place in history could have used with equally small legal risk . . . she chose alcohol over marijuana. The benefits of marijuana were of no benefit and hence no interest to her, I suppose. Well okay then.

    1. Chauncey Gardiner

      Thank you for sharing this remembrance of Alexander Grothendieck. I was previously unfamiliar with both the work and philosophy of this man. That he is labeled “eccentric” is a reflection on those who do the labeling.

      1. Calgacus

        Sad. The deepest and most productive thinker on the planet, period, is no more. Until now, I don’t think one could say this as surely at any time since 1955, when Einstein died. For there is nobody in any major intellectual field whose work is as important to it as Grothendieck’s is to mathematics & allied fields, as every passing year makes clearer. That article has several errors, btw.

  3. MikeW_CA

    Perhaps that NJ story about “Obamacare built and sold on a foundation of lies” links to something which actually details the lies in question, but the article itself is useless, utterly without substance.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Aw, you made me do it. Here’s an extract from the article with the lies helpfully numbered:

      Appearing on an academic panel a year ago, this key Obamacare adviser argued that the law never would have passed [1] if the administration had been honest about the fact that the so-called penalty for noncompliance with the mandate was actually a tax.

      Back to The Post’s story: Gruber’s remarks are evidence that the administration intentionally [2] deceived the American public on the costs of the programs.

      Last year, The Post helped document how Obama and his advisers knowingly misled the public during his 2012 reelection campaign by repeatedly saying that, under Obamacare, [3] people could keep their doctors and [4] keep their health plans.

      [1] and [2] are from the video. [3] and [4] are common knowledge, at this point, although, to be sure, it would have been nice to have links. Under the heading of “disinformation,” rather than outright lying, we might add Obama cutting a deal with Big Pharma that there would be no so-called public option, and the bait and switch operation that “progressives” continued to run well after that point in its favor, sucking all the oxygen away from single payer. Under the heading of self-serving secrecy, rather than disinformation or outright lying, we might add the administration’s concealment of information about enrollment figures, project management on the website, and HHS/CMS enrollment expenditures.

  4. TimR

    Yesterday Banger wrote:

    …Well, the problem with that idea is that he doesn’t understand that “science” as he knows it is no longer a force in public life. People will believe whatever if it suits them science has dramatically lessened in authority–look at how people treat climate change! They believe that scientists are all running a scam to get more research money rather than finding a cushy job with Exxon!

    Banger, you keep banging out (so to speak) these mis-representations of climate skeptic arguments — who really has ever made that particular claim? In my own anti-AGW view at least, I simply view scientists (for the most part) as technicians, under the sway of various institutional forces. I wouldn’t claim there’s any explicit, singular and direct motive; or conscious malevolent and self-interested fraud. That’s a pure strawman, to suggest that is the view of your opponents.

    It’s quite baffling to me that elsewhere you give a somewhat nuanced view of underlying political realities, and yet, when it comes to climate change, you seem to evince almost no skepticism of the various power players involved, and become just as credulous as any media pawn out there. We just gotta trust the scientists! And pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

    Do you think it’s really such a simple duality? Oh, it’s either the mainstream establishment scientists, or else it’s Exxon’s paid lackeys. Exxon can pay off stooges, somehow, but the establishment institutions are pure as snow. And really, why this distinction between them, anyway? Do you think Exxon is just its own little company, trying to make a buck selling oil? Ha. You who tell us about the deep state know that’s not so. Exxon is as deeply embroiled in the machinations of establishment social engineering as it’s possible to be — banking and foreign policy, propaganda and long-range planning — it’s all one big beast. Maybe there are factional differences and arguments over when or how to go about certain things, but the big shots at Exxon sit on the boards of the banks and other corporations, and are not going to “lose it all” if a carbon control scheme comes into play.

    Let’s assume for a moment hypothetically that AGW is the real deal. Do you think the solution, from the same folks who brought you Obamacare, will be anything other than an excuse to lock in neo-feudalism to a degree currently unfathomable by most (at least most older Americans, who were brainwashed to a different status quo)?

    And that’s really what it’s all about, is the political angle. Forget “the science is in” and all that public theatre propaganda. That’s just how it’s being sold. The real angle is the realpolitik that is not discussed among us plebes — the end-game, of global centralized control over every dot and dash of everyone’s daily life. In a way previous totalitarian societies, lacking modern tech, never could have dreamed. And some of those pushing it may even think they have the best of intentions, that it will be this sanitized utopia. I pray that enough people wake up to see it as the nightmare vision it is.

    1. James

      I get all that, but what’s your view on the underlying AGW Theory itself and the observed effects so far? I can understand people being extremely skeptical about the politics that’s sprung up around the issue (I for one think that all the so-called green initiatives are way too little way too late at best and merely cravenly opportunistic methods to cash in at worst), but surely you’re not suggesting that the whole thing is merely an elaborate liberal scientific conspiracy to… do what? Deprive us all of our rightful carbon-based energy fix?

      1. TimR

        Scientific facts depend on the paradigm, or lens, through which they are viewed. As Thomas Kuhn explains in “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions,” the practice of “normal science” is not the daring enterprise of constant theoretical re-appraisal we might imagine from textbooks.

        Many scientific theories have been overturned that were not conspiracies; the scientists may genuinely have believed their theories.

        Although, I do wonder if AGW in particular is such a lynchpin in globalist plans, that they may have made funding and resources highly politicized — favoring scientists and institutions that hold the “right” views. It’s similar to Chomsky’s idea in “Manufacturing Consent” — you just hire the “right” people, those people may really “believe” the propaganda themselves.

        People may be sick of my bringing up Gary Taubes’ tome “Good Calories, Bad Calories,” but it provides a compelling story of the politicization of nutrition science, to serve giant agribusiness. Should we believe AGW is immune to what may be even more powerful interests?

        1. James Levy

          Baloney. Ebola exists. Gravity exists. Bullets, when they hit you, tear through your flesh. Taking cyanide in large doses kills you. Standing in front of a moving train is a really bad idea. DNA controls the development of embryos and the operations of cells. The Earth revolves around the sun.

          These are facts.

          The climate is changing. At this point it doesn’t matter much if people are causing it or not. What we are going to do about the fall in crop yields, the climate refugees, and the acidification of the oceans matters. I read Kuhn. He wrote that book in 1962. It’s an interesting book but is treated like the gospel by everyone who wants to pretend science isn’t real and push relativism.

          People on the Titanic may have believed they weren’t going to sink, but nature doesn’t give a damn about what we think. Hitler in his bunker thought he could pull victory from the jaws of defeat. William Jennings Bryan thought that the world was created in 6 days 6000 years ago. Reality says different. All the paradigm talk in the world doesn’t change that. Because the phlogiston theory of why things burn was wrong didn’t change the fact that things burn. The reality of fire was unaffected. As you say, you don’t really know anything about climate science but because you don’t like the idea of AGW you come up with some high-sounding pseudointellectual crap, throw a famous name in, and QED, I’m right! And guess what–there is a slim chance you are. But the preponderance of evidence says you are wrong.

          1. TimR

            It’s an interesting book but is treated like the gospel by everyone who wants to pretend science isn’t real and push relativism.

            I don’t consider it gospel, nor that science isn’t real. I want to encourage people not to fall into the opposite error of treating science as gospel though, and scientists as an infallible priesthood.

            Let us remember that scientific theories are a sort of dogma, and most scientists are not really in the business of questioning them, in the course of what is called “normal science” at least. They are largely working on small fragments of the problem, and assuming the theory is correct. They literally ignore or adjust any inconvenient data, try their best to make it fit the theory, at least until such time as enough problems accumulate that it forces a crisis situation. That can take many decades.

        2. rusti

          Although, I do wonder if AGW in particular is such a lynchpin in globalist plans, that they may have made funding and resources highly politicized — favoring scientists and institutions that hold the “right” views. It’s similar to Chomsky’s idea in “Manufacturing Consent” — you just hire the “right” people, those people may really “believe” the propaganda themselves.

          And that’s really what it’s all about, is the political angle. Forget “the science is in” and all that public theatre propaganda. That’s just how it’s being sold. The real angle is the realpolitik that is not discussed among us plebes — the end-game, of global centralized control over every dot and dash of everyone’s daily life. In a way previous totalitarian societies, lacking modern tech, never could have dreamed. And some of those pushing it may even think they have the best of intentions, that it will be this sanitized utopia. I pray that enough people wake up to see it as the nightmare vision it is.

          So on one hand there’s the possibility of a gigantic conspiracy, one on a level that makes faking the moon landing seem like an absolutely trivial exercise in comparison. A conspiracy that works directly contrary to fossil fuel interests that have had an incredible stranglehold on world politics for a hundred years.

          On the other hand, the same method of conducting scientific research that provides the foundation for our understanding of the natural world is indicating that burning millions of years of accumulated organic matter over the course of a few hundred is resulting in a dramatic shift in the Petri dish in which we live.

          And in your eyes the former option seems more plausible?

          1. jrs

            A conspiracy that that doesn’t seem to serve anyone’s actual agenda, because climate talk after climate talk comes to very little action at all.

          2. TimR

            I don’t claim that scientist-technicians themselves are in on a giant conspiracy, they may simply be under the sway of the reigning scientific paradigm.

            In addition, as Rancourt points out in the linked article, in an acute and penetrating social analysis, scientists as a group likely hold similar views to their socio-demographic group generally, which would incline them to a human bias in favor of the implications of their research — i.e. it would play into their desire to make a positive difference in the world via their work.

            In fact I once talked to a guy who had a degree in climate science (doing something else though) who told me that, yes, the earth’s climate is too complex for contemporary science to say anything very definitive; however, wouldn’t it be a good idea just generally to do something about pollution, etc.? (!)

            Well, yes, it would, but let’s base our policy on that sentiment then, not doomsday scenarios, and inciting the public to hysteria.

            .. contrary to fossil fuel interests
            As I said in my note to Banger, Exxon et al are not separate actors on the world stage, they are part and parcel of the “commanding heights” of the economy. I think we should be sensitive to the idea that (to be highfalutin’ again as James Levy accuses) often the propaganda model we are served involves a left-right dialectic, in which “our views” are represented by various establishment actors, who are ultimately both controlled by the same puppet-masters. We are all aware of this with the R’s and D’s, but it is less remarked that many “agents” of the empire (oil companies, “green” non-profits) play this sort of role.

            (Now, at the lower levels of those orgs., they may be sincere “True Believers,” but they are still compromised and controlled, or controllable, ultimately — over a long back and forth process, that continually boils the frog in the “correct” direction.)

      2. TimR

        On the specifics of the theory: I am not a climate scientist, nor even a dedicated autodidact layperson on the issue. However, I find Denis Rancourt’s case compelling. Would be curious what you make of his points?

        Again though, my analysis is really more based on my take on how the mass mind is being manipulated, and my understanding of larger political agendas in play.. And my views on science as an institution.

        1. James

          I’ll take a quick stab based on his opening salvo:

          I argue: (1) that global warming (climate change, climate chaos, etc.) will not become humankind’s greatest threat until the sun has its next hiccup in a billion years or more (in the very unlikely scenario that we are still around), (2) that global warming is presently nowhere near being the planet’s most deadly environmental scourge, and (3) that government action and political will cannot measurably or significantly ameliorate global climate in the present world.

          1. Specious argument comparing two totally unlike events. 2. Begs the question. What is? 3. I can buy that, in fact I believe that as well.

          I argue that by far the most destructive force on the planet is power-driven financiers and profit-driven corporations and their cartels backed by military might; and that the global warming myth is a red herring that contributes to hiding this truth. In my opinion, activists who, using any justification, feed the global warming myth have effectively been co-opted, or at best neutralized.

          I’m with him up to the semi-colon, however I fail to see how AGW contributes to the influence of the financiers, corporations, and cartels. In fact, it threatens them across the board, no? Likewise, while I agree that activists of all stripes are more often than not co-opted by big money if they get too threatening, I fail to see how their interests would align in this case so as that would even be possible. It’s as if the author just throws a bunch of random facts against the wall and then adds, “because conspiracy.” But that’s a quick take, and I haven’t even read all of his post yet, so I’ll reserve judgement for now. Let me take care of some other stuff and get back to this in a bit.

        2. James

          OK, skimming over the rest of the post it quickly turned into the predictable grab bag of obfuscation and maybe this, maybe that stuff that AGW deniers always turn too. Now admittedly, certainly not I, nor more than likely you either I presume, are qualified to definitively judge every statement made in such diatribes, but then again, that’s the point in making them in the first place. So, like everything else of this amount of complexity, you end up having to defer to the expert consensus, especially if it’s overwhelming as it is in this case, and then make up your mind from there.

          So if your case is that the expert consensus regarding AGW has reason, motive, and opportunity to flush their professional credibility in service of a conspiracy to support a global financial elite that doesn’t want to hear their opinion in the least in the first place, I’d have to find the accused innocent of all charges.

          As to the “truth” of the AGW Theory itself, the jury is still out, as it is on ALL legitimate scientific theories (And you DO realize that gravity itself is still a “theory” as well?).

          But what AGW ULTIMATELY comes down to one thing: risk. Whether tis more noble to risk the very real possibility of annihilation of the human species and the world as we know it a century or two (or less!) down the road in favor of relatively certain profits now, or tis nobler to forego said profits now in the interests of something potentially far, far bigger than ourselves in the future. With no guarantees either way.

          It’s gonna be a damn tough choice, but one that’s almost certain to define us for the ages!

        3. different clue

          I am just an amateur science buff myself. I remember a year ago or so writing a comment about why I was impressed with the usefulness of AGW theory. To synopsize briefestly, several decades ago I read a speculative article in CoEvolution Quarterly ( by the Whole Earth Catalog people) which discussed Svendt Arrhenius’s discovery of carbon dioxide’s ability in the atmosphere to absorb otherwise-escaping-into-space IR rays and move around faster, imparting their faster motion to all their neighboring air atoms and molecules . . . raising their heat-energy.
          He called that the “greenhouse effect” and used it to explain how the earth did not lose all its heat right back down to Deep Space Zero. The article then noted how much carbon skydumping we have done since the Industrial Revolution began, and how putting that much heat-trapper carbon in the air should raise the amount of heat-energy retained in the air/water/surface system of Earth. That was written decades ago.

          More recently, but still longish ago; a building-up cadre of AGW-theory climatologists said that “if this is so, the Arctic/SubArctic will warm up way faster than the nonArctic. Random storms and raindump events here and there should drop more rain per time interval than what they had used to dump before rising atmospheric heat-loads enabled a heatier atmosphere to hold more water vapor. Life zones should begin moving both poleward and upward up mountains. Non-polar icefields and glaciers should begin net-melting and net-shrinking.” And etc. That stuff was not yet happening when those predictions were made. That stuff has since started happening and then happening more. So the AGWarmists made predictions based on their theory which then took place and are taking place as predicted by their theory.
          So it looks to me as if their theory is passing some basic “predictions coming true” tests so far.
          The arctic icefield, glaciers, etc. don’t seem to care whether the field of mainstream science has institutional biases or not. So that issue and issues of “paradigm shift” and “Kuhn” and so forth don’t appear to impress the icefields and icecaps and glaciers. Raising those issues certainly hasn’t convinced the ice fields and ice caps and glaciers to stop shrinking and start growing again.

          But if you feel confident that AGWarmism is a delusional mainstream fad of the moment among the herds of lemmings who populate the field of science, then you have a golden contrarian investment opportunity laid out before you. If the global is not warming and will not warm, and the ice is not melting and will not melt, and the sea level is not rising and will not rise; then silly fools like me who accept the predictive robustitude of AGWarmist theory and avoid the coastlines are making a silly mistake. This is your big opportunity to invest all the money you have or can borrow and buy up all the seaside coastal oceanfront land you can afford in Florida, Louisiana, or wherever . . . and leave it to your descendants as the start of a vast family fortune in the centuries ahead. When the oceans have failed to rise, the rest of our descendants will sheepishly admit their wrongness, and start buying land from your descendants; because you took the bold risk of buying that land for them to hold and then sell.

    2. Oregoncharles

      I’m not at all sure that this worth responding to, but here it is:

      The greenhouse effect is a laboratory finding. Air with more CO2 or methane in it retains more solar heat . It’s a fairly simple experiment, involving sealed bottles with various gas mixtures, the sun or a light source, and thermometers.

      From that, it’s a straightforward deduction that as CO2 increases, the Earth will be warmer than it would otherwise have been. If there were an Ice Age on the way, this would be a good thing, but there isn’t. Plus, we now have actual measurements that the ocean is rising and becoming more acidic (another dangerous effect), the atmosphere is getting warmer, and storms are increasing. Whadda ya know.

      Talking as if it was a problem in politics is just purest bullshit; it’s called a “red herring” argument, aka propaganda. Makes me wonder who pays your salary.

  5. prostratedragon

    Regarding Cleveland’s new sheep flock: The Sheep Meadow in Central Park, and a similar area in Chicago’s Washington Park, originally did support flocks of sheep. Both parks were designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, who saw them as nature reserves within the city. The sheep were meant to enhance this idea as well as to keep the grass trimmed.

    The Central Park sheep (the flock started with 200 of them) were moved to Prospect Park in Brooklyn in 1934 at the behest of You-Know-Who, and eventually were retired to Upstate. The Central Park sheepfold was converted to Tavern on the Green. Interestingly, I’m pretty sure that there’s a quick glimpse of some sheep in Central Park in the 1948 movie Portrait of Jennie which is both a fantasy, and told in flashback.

    The Washington Park sheep were also retired some time ago, but the area of the park where they grazed remains quite lovely, in part because of Chicago’s loss of the 2016 Olympic bid; the main stadium was to have been built in the park.

    1. prostratedragon

      Oh my, I just noticed that the removal of the sheep from Prospect Park was, according to the wikipedia account, on account of the Depression.

      I am reminded of J.S. Bach …

      1. grayslady

        Well, that’s an elegant way of saying that the sheep were probably turned into leg of lamb and shoulder chops.

    2. bob

      Have you ever seen shit shit? I just googled for pictures. None were brave enough to post a picture of what I’ve seen, with my own eyes, on sheep farms.

      It’s usually a thick patch of brown sludge topped off with a pool of piss. The smell is also one of a kind.

      I like the idea, but in practice, in a park for people, you don’t want sheep. Sometimes history is correct.

      1. prostratedragon

        There are a few pictures, most likely from the 19th century given how little structure shows up beyond the trees, with this article about how the Sheep Meadow came about, and its fate. I don’t get the impression that many people in the flock’s more than 70 years of residence regarded it as a nuisance.

  6. Carolinian

    This may not be exactly fresh but if true, and that’s a big caveat, somewhat amazing.

    The US destroyer is equipped with the most recent Aegis Combat System. It is an integrated naval weapons systems which can link together the missile defense systems of all vessels embedded within the same network, so as to ensure the detection, tracking and destruction of hundreds of targets at the same time. In addition, the USS Donald Cook is equipped with 4 large radars, whose power is comparable to that of several stations. For protection, it carries more than fifty anti-aircraft missiles of various types.

    Meanwhile, the Russian Su-24 that buzzed the USS Donald Cook carried neither bombs nor missiles but only a basket mounted under the fuselage, which, according to the Russian newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta , contained a Russian electronic warfare device called Khibiny.

    As the Russian jet approached the US vessel, the electronic device disabled all radars, control circuits, systems, information transmission, etc. on board the US destroyer. In other words, the all-powerful Aegis system, now hooked up – or about to be – with the defense systems installed on NATO’s most modern ships was shut down, as turning off the TV set with the remote control.

    The Russian Su-24 then simulated a missile attack against the USS Donald Cook, which was left literally deaf and blind. As if carrying out a training exercise, the Russian aircraft – unarmed – repeated the same maneuver 12 times before flying away.

    After that, the 4th generation destroyer immediately set sail towards a port in Romania.

    Since that incident, which the Atlanticist media have carefully covered up despite the widespread reactions sparked among defense industry experts, no US ship has ever approached Russian territorial waters again.

    According to some specialized media, 27 sailors from the USS Donald Cook requested to be relieved from active service.

    Vladimir Balybine – director of the research center on electronic warfare and the evaluation of so-called “visibility reduction” techniques attached to the Russian Air Force Academy – made the following comment:

    “The more a radio-electronic system is complex, the easier it is to disable it through the use of electronic warfare.”


  7. dearieme

    “the stretch of West Florissant Avenue near the QuikTrip that burned”: ‘that burned’? Just like that; spontaneously?

    “if some liquor store goes up in flames”: ditto.

  8. Jeff W

    “Students Beijing trip still said to be happening”

    I have not been getting that go-to-Beijing thing.

    The Quartz piece alludes to Yvonne Leung saying to the government reps that it’s the government’s responsibility to fight for democratic reform so it seems like the idea is, if the government won’t, we will.

    But I think it would make more sense for the protesters to be holding the government’s feet to the fire publicly about living up to its responsibility and the protesters could keep up that pressure indefinitely. (And as Hong Kong law professor Surya Deva said a few weeks ago, there’s no legal reason why the government can’t ask the NPCSC to reconsider—it just doesn’t want to. Force the government to say why it won’t, if it won’t.)

    Talking about going to Beijing themselves muddies that all up—there’s no reason for Beijing to accede to such a request (or even acknowledge it) not least because it’s all downside for Beijing. And it probably conjures up very bad memories of the televised dialogue that Li Peng held with students in May, 1989, prior to the events in June. And once the request is made, there’s really nowhere to go if the request is ignored or denied.

    1. psychohistorian

      Thanks for the link.

      I commented yesterday that this is a move to keep your enemies close.

      It would be interesting to be a fly on the wall during some of the coming conversations between Schumer and Warren. I know I bad mouth Warren here because I am jaded about any that play in the arena. That said, I give her credit for providing the best kabuki going these days. If she is the Trojan hopium hook for “progressives”, you have to give her some credit for playing the role well. I guess to me a good acid test these days is the stance toward Israel and Warren fails there.

      Maybe we need to build a nominate Alan Grayson for President campaign.

  9. ewmayer

    Mish’s latest technotopian fantasy post:

    Businesses Moving Too Quickly to Robots? Will 1 in 3 Jobs Vanish by 2025?

    The Computer World interview he quotes from is quite worthwhile, but then we get a raft of goalseeked, confirmation-biased claims like “Computers ended the need for a slide rule. The skill simply vanished. Should anyone care? As a side note, I can still use a slide rule. Many today have never heard of one. I have a totally useless skill.”

    There are some non-obvious aspects to the slide rule example, e.g. “were the folks using slide rules on average more or less numerate than their computer-reliant analogs today?” And, slide rules and utterly primitive computers sufficed to send men to the moon nearly 50 yers ago. Does anyone here think we could pull off a similar feat today for similar cost in adjusted terms? I have serious doubts – I see a complex-software budget alone that exceeds the entire 60s mission cost, and produces bug-riddled software that either dooms the effort, or leads to massive delays and similarly massive cost overruns. In other words, we have become so addicted to complexity that in many fields we have forgotten how to do things simply, reliably and robustly.

    And I can easily give at least one recent example of automation leading to erosion of skills of the human “minders” which had fatal consequences: The Asiana airlines crash at SFO a couple years back. The pilots had been trained almost exclusively on simulators, spent 99% of their flight time twiddling their thumbs and when the automated systems ran into problems, they had no clue about whether the landing approach “looked and felt right” or not.

    And I’ll let my fellow NC readers discuss one-sided howlers like this one:

    With the possible exception of warfare and nuclear accidents, there has never been any technological advance in history that was a “recipe for diminished quality of life”.

    Trite counterexample, but I just saw a smartphone addict glued to his device walk face-first into a plate glass window at my local coffee shop. There are of course deeper areas of debate here that boil down to “are we on average healthier and happier than 50 or 100 years ago?”, but I like the smartphone angle because it illustrates one area of pervasive diminishment of the human experience brought to us by tech, namely “the simulacrum of human connectedness” afforded by such “innovations” such as social media.

  10. By the yawbs

    The nuts and bolts of compliance review naturally got pushed into the background at home (though not abroad.) It basically went:

    “Don’t give me Oops. Who are you going to prosecute for this?”
    “We’re going to come to terms with torture. We’re going to champion the eradication of torture.”
    “Yeah, yeah, Who you gonna prosecute?”

    Impunity for the killer pig Wilson tees up the pending Conclusions and Recommendations very nicely, since one of the issues that came up was US attempts to subvert the International Criminal Court and its universal-jurisdiction law. The Committee members varied in approach, but the Italian guy was really spitting nails, maybe because the Italian judiciary is chasing twenty fugitive CIA torturers. Any country can join the fun, as Panama did with Robert Lady, because they can void state immunity for criminals like Lady or Cofer Black or Wilson. This sets the stage for another Western-bloc mutiny like 2004.

  11. psychohistorian

    I posit that anyone reading the comments and associated links here, especially the last few, needs to laugh at the current disintegration of our world.

    Just like the unstudied/unreported dangers of nuclear radiation released from Fukushima over the next century, we face growing threats to life as we currently know it, but here we are and unless/until any one of our blow backs become serious our course is set and its partiiiiiii on…….

  12. Oregoncharles

    “And make sure Democrats know the left will make — has made — them lose races, pour encourager les autres.”
    Here’s how: http://www.gp.org.

    And the Antidote: strawberry bush/Arbutus. Beautiful, but unfortunately, those fruits don’t taste like much.

  13. Oregoncharles

    “Protests spread to Chiapas, Oaxaca and Michoacan…”
    Is Mexico coming apart, right on our front doorstep? We’ve been there for some very happy times – notably in Oaxaca and Michoacan. Beautiful place, very sweet people. What a tragedy.

  14. habenicht

    I’m a day late on this (chronically behind on everything at the moment), but felt compelled to propose a new usage of common NC vernacular regarding the Ferguson links (Will Bunch: “Tin soldiers and Nixon coming”):

    Authorities must evade all accountability for murdering citizenry because keeping us safe.

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