Links 11/17/14

Dogs Loved Like Children Fuel Pet Insurance Sales  Bloomberg

Court orders strip club to pay $10M in back wages to dancers CNN

Monsanto settles with wheat growers over GM contamination Farming Online

Borrowers, Beware: The Robo-signers Aren’t Finished Yet Gretchen Morgenson, New York Times.

Big Bang and financial crisis did nothing to the City bullyboys FT

World Economy Worst in Two Years, Europe Darkening, Deflation Lurking: Global Investor Poll Bloomberg

China Bad Loans Jump Most Since 2005 as Economy Cools Reuters

BlackRock defends non-disclosure deals FT. They would, wouldn’t they?

Back to the healthcare debate Digby

Whither Democrats

Delusions of the Democrats New York Times

The trouble was that the Clinton-Obama strategy got things upside down from the start. Why try to cast yourselves as economic moderates and cultural progressives when the disparate elements of your coalition have little in common culturally, but are all struggling with the same wretched economy?

Happy Days Are Here Again FDL. Pass the Victory Gin.

No Inevitability? Are You Sure? Down With Tyranny

Thomas Frank on Ronald Reagan’s secret tragedy: How ’70s and ’80s cynicism poisoned Democrats and America Salon. Terrible headline; the article is really an excellent, wide-ranging interview with Rick Perlstein.

Kennedy’s power lives on through former staff members Boston Globe

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

The Police Are Still Out of Control Frank Serpico, Politico

D.C. police plan for future seizure proceeds years in advance in city budget documents WaPo. Just like Ferguson; law enforcement is a profit center. What could go wrong?


What Factors Might Have Led to the Emergence of Ebola in West Africa? PLOS One

Clinical Care of Two Patients with Ebola Virus Disease in the United States NEJM

WHO Isn’t Getting Any Closer To Finding A Cure For Ebola Business Insider

U.S. commander ‘optimistic’ Ebola war being won USA Today

The ignorance epidemic The Economist

Ebola Could Hit Global Economy, G-20 Leaders Warn WSJ

G20 leaders back drive to unmask shell companies FT. Odger cull!

Saudi Arabia at the G20: Is it waging Econ War on Iran, Russia and N. Dakota? Juan Cole

Putin Leaves G-20 Summit Early as Ukraine Dominates Talks  Bloomberg


Obama Says Russia’s Arming of Separatists Breaks Pact With Ukraine New York Times

Putin says he’s convinced solution to Ukraine crisis possible Reuters

MH17 flight investigators remove crucial debris BBC

In Donetsk, homeless Ukrainians loathe Kiev government AFP

Donbass Romanticism, Misha Friedman


Obama’s Mercenary Attacks On Syria Are Breaking The Law Moon of Alabama

Obama rules out alliance with Assad in fight against ISIS Daily Star

Significant nuances between Turkey and US fine-tuned  Hurriyet Daily News

Can night-time light images play a role in evaluating the Syrian Crisis? International Journal of Remote Sensing. See Figure 2, March 2011 vs. February 2014.

Class Warfare

Revealed: how coalition has helped rich by hitting poor Guardian. Wait, wait. This is the Tories you’re talking about?

When the Gini Index Is Redundant Letting the Data Speak

Comet Politics  The New Yorker

The Four Types of Sleep Schedules The Atantic

The mathematician who proved why hipsters all look alike WaPo

Antidote du jour:


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Guest Post, Links on by .

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. Carla

      Unfortunately for all of us, digby’s got a big surprise coming: supplement and Advantage plans are steadily crappifying Medicare, a seemingly inevitable side-effect of Obamacare.

      1. sleepy

        I’m starting to scratch out my medicare budget when I hit 65 a couple of years from now.

        Looks like with payments for part B, a supplement, and a drug plan it should run about $400/month.

    2. Kokuanani

      You’ll note that digby has eliminated comments so no one can ask or tell her anything.

      Or even offer some sympathy.

      1. sleepy

        Yes, she did that a few years ago when things began to get heated between Obama fans and the rest of us.

        1. different clue

          She did it when “the rest of us” showed threatening signs of out-arguing and even winning-over some borderline Obama fans.

    3. fresno dan

      The hospital, meanwhile, said it empathizes with Rothbauer’s situation, but that it already wrote off tens of thousands of dollars in costs and that the conversation should also focus on the fact its doctors and nurses saved Rothbauer’s life.

      “When you’re looking at saving a life, you’re not looking at whether or not you can save them money,” said Cyn Gunnelson, manager for Managed Care Contracting for the Wisconsin region of SSM Health Care. “I can only do so much. The hospital can only do so much. And I think the best outcome is the person walked away from the emergency room.”
      You know, real reform would start with the idea that prices have to be posted, and that there can’t be a difference in price between the insured price and the posted price.
      “Under U.S. federal law, all new cars must carry a sticker showing the offering price and summarizing the vehicle’s features.”
      “….you’re not looking at whether or not you can save them money”
      Unfortunately, we don’t have very good reporters, who didn’t think to ask, “Why do you charge so much more money? Did you spend your time BEFORE the patient arrived thinking up ways to gouge them???”

      Now, there are so many kinds of cars, foreign exchange rates, state laws, etc. yet somehow, we have a law that you have to post (what usually turns out to be the maximum price that a dealer could charge because of market forces) the price of the car. We could do that we hospitals as well. But that would mean someone would ask if the point of health insurance reform to help the patient, or the insurance company????

      As I’ve said before, a lot of people are gonna learn that “health insurance” doesn’t mean what they think it means….

      1. cwaltz

        If there was no difference between posted price and insured price we’d be back to a system with no middlemen. You’re making the savvy businessmen cry. ;)

    4. Ned Ludd

      Who are you going to believe, the Democratic Party or your own experience? (emphasis added).

      Oh, and by the way, the plan I bought last year through Covered California has been discontinued. So I have to go through the process again and possibly switch doctors and hospitals again. It’s not the end of the world (and yes, it could have happened before Obamacare, although it never did) but it’s a major pain.

  1. diptherio

    Re: Monsanto settles with Wheat Growers

    On Wednesday (12 November), Monsanto agreed to pay $2.13 million (£1.35m) into a settlement fund, which will go to farmers in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho who sold soft white wheat between 30th May and 30th November 2013, albeit “without any admission of liability” for the contamination.

    Oh man, that will teach Monsanto a lesson–that there are essentially no repercussions for contaminating the food supply with unapproved, proprietary genetics. Score another victory for corporate Amerika…

    1. ambrit

      I am seriously wondering about the digestibility of GMO cereal grains. How long does it take the human organism to adjust to digest a new food source? Generations?

      1. craazyboy

        I’m more worried that yeast will refuse to ferment the stuff.

        But if that happens, we will get a global revolution of the proletariat! hahahaha.

        1. ambrit

          We might also get a wheat that takes a psychotropic producing yeast to ferment it. “Water of Life” anyone?

        1. Gaianne


          Amazing link!

          Wheat has not been a large part of my diet, but it looks like I should be eliminating it entirely.

          It is a shame that food is part of the crapification of everything, but it is time to face up to it. Unplugging from the industrial food system is necessary.


      2. optimader

        Still leaking after all these years…
        For Immediate Release: Thursday, February 13, 1997

        Frito-Lay Study: Olestra Causes “Anal Oil Leakage”
        In documents marked “Confidential and Proprietary,” Frito-Lay admits that olestra caused “anal oil leakage” in a study commissioned by the company. Olestra is the controversial non-caloric fat substitute marketed by Procter & Gamble.
        Last April, Frito-Lay became the first company to market olestra-containing chips. It sold a line of “Max” potato chips and corn chips in three test markets. It is expected to begin a new test market in Indianapolis in several days….

        And as they say, when put out the door, back in the window!

        P&G is marketing its sucrose ester products under the brand “Sefose” for use as an industrial lubricant and paint additive.[24] Because olestra is made by chemically combining sugar and vegetable oil, it releases no toxic fumes and could potentially become a safe and environmentally friendly replacement for petrochemicals in these applications.[25] It is currently used as a base for deck stains and a lubricant for small power tools, and there are plans to use it on larger machinery.[26]

        In 1999, researchers discovered olestra helps facilitate the removal of dioxins from the body, as it apparently binds to dioxins in a manner similar to that of normal fats. This unexpected side effect may make the substance useful in treating victims of dioxin poisoning.[27][28]

        Recent research by groups at University of Cincinnati School of Medicine in Ohio and the University of Western Australia indicates olestra can be used to treat poisoning due to exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), including chloracne symptoms.[29]

        1. ambrit

          I like that dioxin binding and excretion action. We’ve looked at a few places here in the south where dioxin and PCB contamination is a real problem. Anniston Alabama for one.

          1. optimader

            That is actually a notable development that I didn’t know about relative to Olestra. Dioxin is as stable (persistent) as it is bitterly toxic

    2. McMike

      First thought: at least the tables are turned, and Monsanto is the one getting sued instead of strong arming the farmers for patent infringement.

      Second thought: the timetable for destroying class action lawsuits as an option just got pushed up.

      Third thought: how does the settlement amount compare to the farmers’ loss?

    3. KFritz

      It’s the Guardian that’s reporting this, not any of the American mainstream media. I did a Google News search, and only Reuters (British), Pacific Northwest news outlets, and the St. Louis (home of Monsanto) news”paper” reported on this.

  2. dcb

    on the hipster article, I think it applies further
    why hft becomes unstable, and hy you get rouge waves in the ocean
    I call it resonance
    from article
    “What Touboul noticed is that if you increase the delay factor past a certain point, something amazing happens. Out of what appears to be random noise, a pattern emerges. All of the hipsters start to synchronize, and they start to oscillate in unison.”

    1. ambrit

      I was particularly intrigued by the end paragraphs of the article that tied economics in with the theory.
      As the economics imbroglio has shown, there seems to be a minimum level of complexity required to achieve reproducible results.

    2. craazyman

      total geek porn nonsense. if hipsters all look alike, they’re not hip!

      they’re conformists. duh.

      What a bunch of nonsense all this “model math” is. In almost every field. Complete nonsense. If these dudes were really smart they wouldn’t waste their time with this sh*t. It works in Newtonian gravitational fields so people think it must work everywhere you can count. That’s how dumb they are. faaaaak what a bunch of idiot savants.

      assume a world in which idiot savants can count and do addition. since multiplication is repeated addition and subtractin is addition of negatives and division is repeated subtraction, they can do all sorts of math. if 2 idiot savants create a model, a third will critique the model and a fourth will critique the third. Let the 3rd by “n” and the fourth “n+1”, we can show this leads to an infinte number of Geeks without a clue. this is the “infinite math theorem”. QED

      1. craazyboy

        Was working on a dynamic array for Rover this morning. This will resize itself to hold as many numbers as I need. But it also shows how to add as many idiot clueless Geeks as you want!

        #include “stdio.h”
        #include “stdlib.h”

        /* This program takes input and outputs everything backwards */

        int main()
        int *data,*temp;
        int c; /* c is the current character */
        int i; /* i is the counter */
        for (i=0;;i++) {
        c=getchar(); /* put input character into c */
        if (c==EOF) /* break from the loop on end of file */
        data[i]=c; /* put the character into the data array */
        temp=realloc(data,(i+2)*sizeof(int)); /* give the pointer some memory */
        if ( temp != NULL ) {
        } else {
        printf(“Error allocating memory!\n”);
        return 1;

        /* Output data backwards one character at a time */
        for (i–;i>=0;i–)
        /* Free the pointer */
        /* Return success */
        return 0;

          1. craazyboy

            Sure, but first he’ll need a couple of appendage bots. But they have those for sale on the ‘net, so I wouldn’t need to make them from scratch, at least.

    3. robert dudek

      There is a definitional problem… The conformist wants to think and act as the majority/dominant group do because they want the safety and comfort of being part of that group. The “non-conformist” isn’t a contrarian for the sake of it; rather he/she is an independent thinker. At times they will agree with and act in concert with the dominant opinion and at other times not. The kneejerk contrarian is simply a conformist who has chosen another group to align with, as when someone gets a tattoo because it is deemed anti-conformist, only to find that it becomes so popular as to form its own conforming group.

  3. Carla

    Wow. “Thomas Frank on Ronald Reagan’s secret tragedy” really shows how smart and sophisticated Rick Perlstein is, vs. Thomas Frank. And Lambert of course is absolutely correct: one of the worst headlines ever.

  4. Larry Headlund

    From the Rick Perlstein interview:

    Jimmy Carter’s first act as president is canceling all these Keynesian water projects all over the country.
    Is that right? I didn’t know that.

    One reason you didn’t know that is because it isn’t true. Carter’s first act as president was the Vietnam era draft and military pardons. Further, while Carter spent his whole term and a lot of political capital trying to cancel water projects, he never succeeded. The most he ever got was some delays. Cadillac Desert by Marc Reisner is the go to text on water projects and their history.

  5. Carolinian

    Mucho thanks for the great, great Perlstein/Frank colloquy. There’s so much there but just to address this particular bit

    But everybody assumes the great turning point comes with Ronald Reagan being elected president.

    Well, he didn’t emerge out of nowhere. He’s the culmination of forces that I’m trying to explain.

    Is anyone nostalgic for the ’70s?

    I am. And for the following reason: If you read my preface, I explain that Americans at the level of popular culture, at the level of grassroots politics, were thinking very hard about what it would mean to have a country they didn’t believe was God’s chosen nation. What would it mean to not be the world’s policeman? What would it mean to conserve our resources? What would it mean to not treat our presidents as if they were kings? That was happening! And the tragedy of Ronald Reagan most profoundly wasn’t policy — although that was tragic enough — but it was robbing America of that conversation. Every time a politician stands before a microphone and utters this useless, pathetic cliche that America is the greatest country ever to exist, he’s basically wiping away the possibility that we can really think critically about our problems and our prospects. And to me, that’s tragic.

    For some of us who were adults in the 1970s there is this profound sense of “where did it all go?” The environmental movement had triumphed, the Vietnam war had been lost and there was a feeling that the country was about to morph into a different place. The era’s innovative movies by people like Coppola, Altman and Ashby seemed to reflect this and the famously brainy Pauline Kael could stand up in public and make brave (and foolish) proclamations about “changing the face of an art form.” But in the end the Boomers didn’t have the heart to follow through. The decade that began with MASH ended with disco.

    Nevertheless Perstein is doing us a great favor with these books exploring our recent history. Perhaps the way for the left to get out of our current mess is to spend less time bashing Obama (although god knows he deserves it) and more time studying how we got here. That revolutionary spirit of the 60s/70s–revolutionary in the right sense–can come back.

    1. David Lentini

      “The past remembers better than it lived.” —Jackie Gleason

      I wanted to like the interview, but I found it mostly trite and simplistic. I reached my teens in the latter half of the ’70s, which means that I missed out on a lot of the social excitement (like the sexual revolution and the demonstrations) of the first half of the decade and remember more of the frustrations of the second half (like stagflation and disco).

      But I would argue that much of what happened with the demise of the New Dealers and the rise of the Reaganites, stretches back to social currents that started running in the ’30s. Many who even supported the New Deal were uncomfortable with the social changes created by a very powerful central government, and the scheming to replace Henry Wallace with Truman was the first death blow to FDR’s legacy. Couple that with McCarthy’s red-baiting and the Cold War, and the rise of consumerism and technological culture through the ’50s, the triumph of progressive ideas in public education that emphasized “life adjustment” over a traditional cultivation of civic virtue, and you have the beginning of the end of what what Richard Sennett called “The Fall of Public Man.”

      The Kennedy assination and the resentment over the lies that became so apparent during the Viet Nam war only created specific moments when the currents of the earlier decades—when the members of the New Left like Tom Hayden were growing up—had opportunities to gain at the expense of the old order. But these events themselves didn’t cause the change. (Wacky Packs? Really?)

      And don’t forget that the GOP was changing too. Conservatives were also becoming far more liberal in their social outlook. We forget that Reagan hailed from that Babylon called Hollywood and was our first divorced president.

      No, we’re all liberals now. What we’re not is socially conscious.

      1. Jim

        It should also be remembered that by the early 1970s the New Left had already basically self-destructed.

        One of the primary reasons for this self-destruction was because the New Left of the 1960s was not capable of articulating a radical new vision(which I believe is the case for the functioning dissident groups of all political persuasions today) and consequently faced the likelihood of being reabsorbed into the status-quo ( of Big Capital, Big State and Big Bank).

        What was left over from the New Left of the 1960s, in the early 1970s, were various Marxist-Leninist grouplets, drug culture types, and for the politically ambitious the beginning of the long-march through American political institutions which deteriorated into the left-wing of the liberal establishment that became the launching pad for political hacks like the Clintons.

        1. Jim

          Just wanted to add that I believe the great mistake that many of the NC commetariat make today appears similar to what went on theoretically in the late 1960s–giving facile outmoded Left explanations of all the evils we face today solely in terms of capitalist exploitation and the logic of institutionalized greed.

          If, contrary to the old base-superstructure mythology according to which all issues can be reduced to economic conflict, the cultural/political dimension is just as decisive than issues like a genuine populism and federalism became a way to redirect critiques back to participatory democratic practices.

          I would argue that rooted specifically within the American colonial and revolutionary experience is a type of federal populism, which if articulated carefully, has the potential to bring together portions of the left and right, as well as many disillusion Democrats,, Republicans and independents, who could potentially become interested collectively in taking on Big Capital, Big State and Big Bank.

          1. Jim

            From my understanding Neocon it is a term first coined by socialist Michael Harrington as a derisive description for leftists and liberals who were migrating rightward.

            Many of the first generation neocons were originally liberal Democrats or socialists and Marxists, often Trotskyites. Most originated in New York and most were Jewish. They drifted to the right in the 1960s and 1970s as the Democratic Party moved toward the anit-war McGovern left.

            The neocon grouping operates as an informal faction through semi-closed networks and penetration of key institutions, revamping them to marginalize other potential players and replacing them with initiatives under their control.

            If you look closely at the early neocons, Norman Podhoretz, Midge Dector, John Podhoretz, Eliot Arbrams, Iriving Kristol, Gertrude Himmelfarb, William (Bill) Kristol, Murray and David Wurmser, Richad Perle, R. James Woolsley, Paul Wolfowitz and Albert Wohlstetter there are many linkages through blood and marriage as well as institutional connections.

            When they first emerged in the early 1970s they worked primarily through the Democratic party and sought to combat the leftist orientation that had enabled George McGovern to become the Democratic leader in 1972. Their standard bearers were Senator “Scoop: Jackson and Daniel Patrick Moynihan. They wanted a return to the anti-Communist Cold War positions that held sway through the administration of LBJ.

            They remained loyal democrats until 1976 when they saw Carter as soft on Soviet Expansionism as well a pursing policies contrary to Jewish interests. They gravitated to the Republicans in the early 1980s.

            I believe such a network would be a primary antagonist to any type of populist revolt.

            1. spooz

              The American hard core Israel supporters that I know think Israel is all the justification we need for our involvement in the Middle East.
              In this article, the author makes a case for the distracting influence of the Israel lobby being only thing keeping us from world war:

              “Why has the U.S. not committed more forces to East Asia since the “threat” is greatest there? The answer lies right in front of us, out in the open. U.S. forces are committed elsewhere – specifically in the Middle East. And why is that? The principal reason is Israel. Israel’s demands keep the U.S. from freeing its forces to confront China more sharply. But in that direction lies the danger of World War. So Israel is a factor keeping the U.S. from getting us into a predicament that might lead on to world war. And Israel is able to do this because the “Israel Lobby” is so powerful.”


            2. juliania

              I’m sorry, I got lost in that interview when the observation was made that Americans lost faith in government after Watergate – I remember the Watergate hearings very well, and it seems to me faith in government was restored by those hearings and the outcome of Nixon’s resignation. In retrospect we became unhappy that he was pardoned, but America was licking its wounds through the Ford and Carter presidencies and I cannot see any resemblance between Carter and Obama – sorry, I can’t.

              Not that I can pass judgment on Carter’s presidency but I don’t think he and Reagan were birds of a feather – maybe I am misunderstanding, but that Reagan ‘didn’t come out of nowhere’ sure – there were neocons building him up from his Westinghouse days and while Carter may have had some imperial tendencies he is still the man he was as president, and his record speaks for itself. Teflon he wasn’t, and that says a lot for him in my book.

              I guess I am out of touch, but maybe it’s just the age gap.

      2. Carolinian

        That’s all true of course and I’m not peddling some kind of starry eyed nostalgia for hippie times. Nevertheless genuine reforms did take place during that era–the rise of the environmental movement for example–and the sense that the old order was passing was palpaple among, for want of a better term, the intelligentsia. People like Leonard Bernstein went around wearing jeans and giving parties for Black Panthers. Eleanor Roosevelt may have been viewed as a fossil by many but the right was also totally outre. Conservatives like William Buckley were treated as a joke by people like Dick Cavett (more recently warmly memorializing his fellow Yalie).

        This may all seem quite superficial but having large segments of the elite, and most especially of the press, on your side is a considerable weapon. Perhaps the biggest diff between then and now is the current vast corruption of our public intellectuals. In an era of diminishing university tenure and huge Wall St payoffs everyone seems to be on the take.

        I’m just saying that it’s worth thinking about what changed and why. Culture, the “zeitgeist,” matters and it’s hardly a trite subject if nobody ever talks about it (and silly nostalgia shows like Mad Men don’t count). Perlstein, with his books, is doing a valuable service.

    2. neo-realist

      One can argue that Occupy was saying what the Punk Rockers (at least the more politicized bands) were saying in the late 70’s and early 80’s. And there appear to be rumblings of a political movement in Ferguson going beyond the grand jury decision to shape and change the power dynamics in that city.

      David, you missed Punk?

      1. David Lentini

        “David, you missed Punk?”

        I didn’t get into Punk. I found it too incoherent and nihilistic; lots of rage with no direction. I think Occupy is different, but suffers from our inability to conceive an articulate political visions. We’re trapped in a world of simplifications and platitudes.

        1. Chris in Paris

          David, to me that explains a certain conservatism in your view. Punks were never incoherent nihilists (check out the Dead Kennedys, the Clash…Johnny Rotten is a Labour supporter to this day…) — there was clear disappointment with the New Left as a motor for social progress. Rightfully so.

          1. legendary bigfoot

            Rx Ramones were conservative reactionaries opposed to black gay disco music and lifestyle. Reagan fixed that for Jeff Hyman at Bitburg cemetery.

  6. appointmetotheboard

    Ah, and with the ink barely dry on forex fines…

    HSBC accused of tax fraud by Belgium

    Authorities in Brussels have charged HSBC’s private banking arm, which is based in Switzerland, with assisting wealthy Belgians – including diamond dealers – in avoiding taxes.

  7. McMike

    re Dems.

    As long as the Dems take their money from the Chamber of Commerce types, socialize with the Chamber of Commerce types, go to the same schools, live in the same neighborhoods, let them come in for secret meetings, and join them through the revolving door after office (along with their staff and spouses), there’s really no reason whatsoever to talk about Dem strategy.

    The author of the first piece still assumed a top-down frame. When he talks about the Dems borrowing big ideas from the grassroots, he neglected to mention that this requires there to be an active grassroots, out organizing, independent of the party and corporate money, and developing ideas, developing a base, and having conversations without corporate or media filters.

    I’ll say this again: aside doing some kitchen table organizing and running for local office, the only thing the left can do with any meaning is to move their votes to the left, and force the Dem party to come after it.

  8. dearieme

    “An Ebola outbreak of unprecedented scope emerged in West Africa in December 2013”: why, then, was the US federal government so ill-prepared for Ebola reaching the USA? Perhaps it’ll prove a damp squib; let’s hope so. But the preparation seems to have been at Keystone Cops level.

  9. dearieme

    “The mathematician who proved why hipsters all look alike”: mathematics proves nothing about the real world. All it does is show the logical consequences of the premises adopted. So: what were his premises?

    1. cwaltz

      I was appalled to learn that when my 20 year old went to the doctor this week they suggested that she try taking Paxil for some anxiety she has been having(She really lets pain in the backside co workers get to her and her lack of a sleep pattern and poor diet don’t help. ) There was no discussion of exercise(in particular yoga), diet modifications(she’s a young adult and in typical young adult fashion eats crummy), psychotherapy( for help with dealing with stress) or anything other than a magic non addicting pill that “she can stop if she doesn’t like how it makes her feel.” (I’m guessing that is why they chose an anti depressant over an anti anxiety medication.) *shakes head* At 20 I doubt her brain is even completely finished developing. Needless to say mom suggested she try the 3 other options before going with a pill that will change physiology and alter her serotonin production. Not sure she’ll listen but she wasn’t keen on medication either(and I wish the medical community luck with that since I struggle with getting her to regularly take a multivitamin to make up for her sucky diet.)

      1. optimader

        Parental advise is often the choice of last resort, but suggest she maybe just take a walk at lunch/after work/ after dinner.
        Pharma intervention for anxiety/insomnia? seems crazy to me. I’d sooner take a hit of a bong. Personally, I swim but that doesn’t work for most people’s schedule/inclination.

        1. cwaltz

          I definitely have found that my kids are independent thinkers sometimes to their own detriment(Darn me for wanting them to think for themselves.). There is hope though. The oldest went through similar issues and basically when he went to a psychologist got told exactly what mom had told him(create a routine, lower amount working, etc, etc.) He’s 22 and just recently I came home to a very thoughtful robe, candies the movie Tammy, and a very thoughtful card apologizing for being hard headed when he was younger when it was clearly apparent that I had his best interests at heart(listening to his two teenage brothers arguing with me compelled him to realize HE did the same thing). Definitely one of those parental moments that made what I do worthwhile. I feel they’ll be a time when my daughter will have an epiphany too. Then I’ll have 2 more hardheads to go. Sigh.

          1. optimader

            He’s realizes your invested in his best interests.. He’s an adult now!..
            I cherish the time I get to spend w/ my “folks” (out of favor term), that clock is ticking down unfortunately. Always have enjoyed them and their cool extended group of friends, sadly all now passed.
            And now you have a 22yo “fifth columnist” to pass your advise through.. HAHAHA.

      2. Gaianne


        Paxil is extremely addicting–for reasons you will understand presently.

        Paxil seems to work: Often anxiety is reduced, and it is obvious that anxiety was reduced. Fine.

        Now, what happens if you stop taking paxil? If you had anxiety before, now you can look forward to panic attacks. Just for example.

        It is possible to taper off–certainly not easy!

        A friend of mine (somewhat stupidly) ran out her prescription while she was traveling–big mistake! Going cold turkey is not just unpleasant, it is really dangerous.

        Well, every drug has its uses, under the right circumstances. But look down that road very carefully before you embark.


  10. Jackrabbit

    Syraqistan links: Obama Rules Out Alliance with Assad (Daily Star). . . and Breaks the Law (MoA)

    Sadly, this ‘news’ is not surprising.

    Here is a particularly relevent quote from the NYTimes (in links under ‘Ukraine’)

    Mr. Obama denied reports that he had ordered a formal review of the strategy against the militants in Syria. He said that while the White House was constantly reviewing its tactics in both Syria and Iraq, the basic elements of the strategy remained in place.

    Rebuffing a growing chorus of skeptics of his strategy, the president said the United States would never make “common cause” with President Bashar al-Assad of Syria in the campaign against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, because that would alienate the country’s Sunni Muslim population.

    “We have communicated to the Syrian regime that when we operate, going after ISIL in their air space, that they would be well advised not to take us on,” Mr. Obama said. “Beyond that, there’s no expectation that we are in some ways going to enter an alliance with Assad. He is not credible in that country.”

    At the same time, he said, the United States was not exploring ways to remove Mr. Assad from office — a recognition that the campaign against the Islamic State fighters had given Mr. Assad breathing room. Any lasting political settlement in Syria, he said, would have to involve Iran and Turkey, as well as the Assad government’s primary patron, Russia.

    The last part is a bit of double-speak as the US+allies have been trying to oust Assad covertly for several years and the notion that the US+allies would work constructively with Russia and Iran while Ukraine tensions/Russian sanction are in effect and Iran’s nuclear program has not been resolved to the satisfaction of the US+allies is nonsensical. (Naturally, the NYTimes passes this on with no comment.)

    H O P

  11. Cynthia

    “Child homelessness in U.S. hit all-time high in recent years, new report says”:

    Yet Hollywood and corporate America would rather give to kids in Africa:

    Whatever happened to the age-old concept of taking care of your own first? I guess it’s now more fashionable and way cooler to give to those in faraway lands.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Poverty is a global problem.

      If we only address it here, and not elsewhere, we will just get ourselves buried under the problem, unless we confront poverty anywhere it exists. Immigration reform will either 1) see the continuation of the existing pace of new global victims of imperialism, neoliberalism and colonialism (because more are made everyday) coming through the borders, in time for the next immigration reform, or 2) if combining with tough border control to get the congressional votes, mean more and more sick, starving huddled massed just outside the borders, yearning to elude the border guards.

  12. Savonarola

    That face coming straight at me gets me in the hind brain! Amazing, gorgeous, regal creatures. And scary as hell.

  13. L.M. Dorsey

    Merest nit-pickery, perhaps, but Perlstein is (oddly) wrong about the climax of the Exorcist:

    And finally what restores her to sanity is this ancient orthodox priest, this medieval rite. The exorcism.

    Well, no. The exorcism fails, leaving the old exorcist dead and the demon pretty cocky. Enraged, the young priest with the wonky faith improvises an extra-institutional alternative (and dies for his trouble). It’s a version, I would say, of that perennial Murican wetdream: the hard-bitten, skeptical loner consenting — in the end, out of love — to put his ass on the line to defend others against evil badness: like Rick in Casablanca. (Or Shane or Bad Santa or whatever your taste.)

  14. optimader
    A startling collection of previously unseen photographs featured in a new documentary provides a fresh perspective of life and death in the trenches during World War One

    Belfast man George Hackney was a keen amateur photographer in the innocent years before the outbreak of war, and when he was sent off to fight in 1915, he took his camera with him.

    Unofficial photography was strictly illegal, but this means his snaps have a candid quality that capture the often mundane aspects of life in the trenches, as well as an almost unbearable sense of poignancy as many of these men never made it home.
    Hackney himself lived into his late 80s, and his collection was donated to the Ulster Museum before his death in 1977….

Comments are closed.