Links 11/30/14

The truth about sharks: Far from being ‘killing machines’, they have personalities, best friends and an exceptional capacity for learning Independent

How Humans Learn to Communicate With Their Eyes WSJ

Here’s Proof Pigs Actually Do Fly (Almost)  ABC. Kids are bad enough. But emotional support animals?

Just Released: Household Debt Balances Increase as Deleveraging Period Concludes Liberty Street

Why cratering oil may not crush shale producers Online WSJ

Market rout as oil slide rocks energy groups FT

Inside OPEC room, Naimi declares price war on U.S. shale oil Reuters

Leonard Grunstein: Sell city assets to ease fiscal woes Crains New York Business (furzy mouse). Ka-ching!

2014 Holiday Shopping Guide for the Weather and Climate Change Enthusiast Weather Underground

Black Friday

Bricks-and-mortar sales edge lower at start of holiday season; online surges- data Reuters

Black Friday Online Sales Up 8.5% Over Last Year, 20% Of Sales Came From iOS TechCrunch

Black Friday, Or the Circulation of Commodities The New Inquiry

Black Friday Blues Slate. “Semantic satiation.”

Is ObamaCare on your Black Friday list? The Hill

Gun sales boom on Black Friday: Almost 3 background checks per second  CNN

Right-to-carry gun laws linked to increase in violent crime, Stanford research shows Stanford News (furzy mouse)


Darren Wilson Resigns From Ferguson Police Force ABC

On Rooftops of Ferguson, Volunteers — With Guns. Ammosexual vigilantes. What could go wrong?

Colorado man arrested after pointing banana at officers like a gun New York Daily News. “[L]ighten the holiday spirit.”

UN Committee Against Torture Calls Out Chicago Police for Brutality, ‘Excessive Use of Force’ FDL

How Police Unions Stopped Congress From ‘Militarization’ Reform Bloomberg. 1033 reform falls off the radar.

Race inequality between US Whites and African-Americans by the Numbers (Again) Juan Cole


The Dismantling of Medicaid In These Times

Exclusive: U.S. CEOs threaten to pull tacit Obamacare support over ‘wellness’ spat Reuters

Suit on Health Law Puts Focus on Funding Powers New York Times

Medicare’s Chronic Care Management Payment — Payment Reform for Primary Care NEJM. EHRs, 20% co-insurance, missing crucial details on care plans, including no dedicated functions in current EHRs. 2015 launch.

I’m Pretty Thankful This Year. Here’s Why. Kevin Drum, Mother Jones:

And one more thing: health care is suddenly a lot more real to me than ever before. Sure, I’ve always favored universal health care as a policy position. But now? It’s all I can do to wonder why anyone, no matter how principled their beliefs, would want to deny the kind of care I’ve gotten to even a single person. Not grudging, bare-bones care that’s an endless nightmare of stress and bill collectors. Decent, generous care that the richest country in the richest era in human history can easily afford.

As I keep saying: I’m happy that some poeple get lucky under ObamaCare. Why shouldn’t everyone?

CDC: Vast majority of HIV-positive people lacking treatment The Hill

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Germany signs no-spy deal with BlackBerry after NSA phone tapping New York Daily News

Talking to James Risen About Pay Any Price, the War on Terror and Press Freedoms The Intercept


‘We have no homeland’: Ukraine dissolves as exiles flee Globe and Mail

How Russia outmanoeuvred the west in Ukrainian finance FT

West struggles with Russia’s ‘ambiguous warfare’ tactics Reuters


More U.S. dishonesty The Daily Star.  “Does anyone really believe …  there is no tactical or strategic coordination between Washington and Damascus?”

Obama Falsely Claims Human Rights Law Does Not Apply To Syrian Mercenary Training  Moon of Alabama

Islamists come out on top in new effort to unify Syrian rebel groups McClatchy

Hosni Mubarak: Egypt court drops charges over 2011 uprising deaths BBC. Court erupts in cheers.

Q&A: The Mubarak trial verdict – What just happened? Mada Masr

Thousands gather in Tahrir Square to protest Mubarak’s verdict Daily News Egypt

Umbrella Movement Tents Population Census Google Maps. 2,235 tents at Admiralty

Election Day in the Bolivian Highlands: Local Democracy, Amidst the Contradictions NACLA

Class Warfare

Black Friday brawl videos are how rich people shame the poor WaPo

The American Dream Is an Illusion Foreign Affairs

Falling The Hedgehog Review

The Science of Hate in College Football WSJ

U-Va.’s entrenched fraternity culture at tipping point WaPo. Block that metaphor, but good article.

The Excrement Experiment New Yorker

How transparency met total corruption and they beat Napoleon The Yorkshire Ranter

“Everything is problematic” McGill Daily (MR)

Friday lay day – real resources are available but not used, why? Bill Mitchell. With Burning Spear bonus track.

Hallelujah chorus flash mob Suburban Guerilla. “Yes, I know it’s Macy’s. But I’ll call it Wanamaker’s until I’m dead.”

Antidote du jour:


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


    1. Butch In Waukegan

      Reports that ABC/Disney have signed Wilson and George Zimmerman to narrate an animated version of Birth of a Nation have not been confirmed.

  1. David Lentini

    Letter from McGill
    Great letter from McGill, and I wish the author good luck in his future But having reached an age where I can at least start sounding like a curmudgeon, I have to say that each of the issues he addresses so well is dealt with in the Great Books, especially Dostoevsky and Aristotle, and of course, the Golden Rule.

    Looking back at my own years in college and post-graduate schools, and having watched my oldest graduate from a very liberal liberal arts school this summer, I can’t help but feel that the abandonment of the Great Books has left higher education very much adrift and the graduates struggling to come to terms with a very complex world not much better off than when they were freshman. The model of the research institution we adopted a century ago has gutted the intellectual work of the colleges by creating the “problematical” environment and world view that the author describes so well. Much of this can be cured by returning to the Great Books, not as an end, but as a beginning from which to start making sense of the world.

    1. ambrit

      True. My Dad, who never went to University, but learned enough as an apprentice to be qualified as an engineer by the Feds back in the ’60’s, always said that Philosophy should be a required course in every curriculum. He was a firm believer in the concept of the “Well Rounded Person,” as am I. Unfortunately, the present day PTB’s are afraid of critical thinking skills, (with good reason.)

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Totally agree.

        Philosophy and an ever inquiring mind…even if we have to ask questions that have been answered centuries ago.

        Can we fly to the Moon?

        (You will often hear: “So-and-so wrote about it in this-or-that decades ago!”)

        Another must in curriculum – nutrition.

        Call it self-defense, if you will.

        What you do, express your own ideas, in your own words.

        1. ambrit

          Complete agreement about nutrition. A skeptical attitude towards official medicine too. (The critical thinking skills get a major workout with that subject.)

          1. hunkerdown

            A skeptical, even adversarial, attitude toward official anything would be a good start. If any three Black men in LA congregating constitute a gang, why wouldn’t any three elites congregating anywhere constitute a conspiracy?

            1. David Lentini

              Yes, but you need a place to start and a sense of what’s valuable in order to have standards; otherwise, you’ll run around in circies. Reading the Great Books introduces you to the great arguments, and gives you perspective in judging what’s reasonable and what’s hooey.

              1. Mojah

                But surely these skills can come without reading the great books? I mean I never read them (one of those vile millenials) and I still manage to critique and question things and have a sense of perspective (atleast I think I do..) about what is right and wrong: I gleamed all of this without much reading of books and lots of reading of blogs written by academics/activists/scientists.

                1. Jeremy Grimm

                  You piggy-back on top of great books read by others. You should read the great books that others who come after may piggy-back from your wisdom. Wisdom requires depth. The very wise take the great books and those who extended their wisdom and extend that to deeper wisdom. Acquiring greater wisdom is the best remedy for the sorrows of growing old.

                  1. ambrit

                    Now that I am in my late middle age, the “sorrows of growing old” are a real and visceral part of life. Handling adversity well is one of the benefits of a study of Philosophy. Cast as wide a net as you can. It’s a big world.

    2. craazyman

      I was open to pain and crossed by the rain and I walked on a crooked crutch
      I strolled all alone through a fallout zone and come out with my soul untouched
      I hid in the clouded wrath of the crowd, but when they said, “Sit down,” I stood up
      Ooh… growin’ up

      — Bruce Springsteen – Growin’ Up Lyrics

    3. Banger

      For good or ill I am very much a product of the Great Books including classics from the non-western world. Without a grounding in the Great Conversation we are lost little lambs IMHO. We need to know where we have been and the history of social movements, wars, politics, economics and culture but also philosophy, science and religion–this will help us understand who we are and where we are going warts and all. We cannot paper over the ideas that shaped this society–when we talk of the ills of this society, the racism, the war-mongering it all has its origins in our past as do our positive qualities of experimentation, openness to change and compassionate values. The fact we object to war, misery, torture, hunger and our stated preference for peace attest to that.

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      However, here is a paragraph from the article that seems to express the author’s POV:

      Eight decades later, Ukraine is once more seized by a tumult largely made in Moscow, as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin has sought to break the country into pieces in response to a pro-Western revolution in Kiev. Once again, significant parts of the population are being scattered to distant lands.

        1. Brooklin Bridge

          Yep, I wonder just how obsequious one can become without physically being separated from their tongue?

          1. trish

            physically separated from their tongue…I worry the tongue would just regenerate another (neoliberal, neocon) in its place. scary thought.

            1. Brooklin Bridge

              Re-growable tongues Indeed, I KNEW the MSM were genetically different from the rest of us! It must seem normal to them; the ick factor overcome by adaptation :-)

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Well, there is a book called ‘Lies My (History) Teacher Told Me.’

          We also need:

          Lies My Newspaper Told Me.

          Lies My Economics Professor Told Me…This one is particularly needed ASAP. Hint: Government Inflation indices are not what you think. You can’t trust it to promote the relevant ones.

      1. OIFVet

        “Once again, significant parts of the population are being scattered to distant lands.” U-hu, the EU needs the cheap labor to displace the expensive cheap Polish plumbers and Bulgarian produce pickers. Blame the Russkies for driving down Euro wages and destroying the welfare state…

        Another propaganda article is a profile of Merkel in the New Yorker. I posted a long review but it was so link-heavy that it got flagged. It is scary in that it was meant to be highly complimentary of Merkel but ended up convincing me that she is a female German version of Obama. No doubt that will appeal to the professional “left” but the rest of us should be very, very scared of what that means and portends.

      2. Banger

        All writers, to be published in the “respectable” media must genuflect to whatever “line” the National Security State decrees–TINA and all that.

      1. ambrit

        Venice was recently mentioned somewhere as one of the possibly independent states of Europe. Let’s hope they don’t get into it with the Turks again.

  2. OIFVet

    George Packer, the reliable transcriber for the Washington Establishment, has now branched into being a megaphone for the German establishment. He has come out with a long profile of Angela Merkel that is meant to boost her image in the US even as her political standing in Germany steadily deteriorates. The profile is meant to paint Merkel as an impressive figure. It might work for members of the professional “left”, however it left me underwhelmed and even more skeptical of Merkel’s competency. My takeaways:

    — Merkel is a typical Eastern European careerist of the type that came of age in the latter stages of the “advanced socialism”. Such creatures possessed questionable professional skills and qualification but superb instincts for the best path toward personal and political advancement. Many of these made a seamless transition to the new “market-based democracies” of Eastern Europe and continue to inflict their servility and mediocrity upon their populations, only this time in the service of a new master.

    — As her own closest associates admit, Merkel lacks any vision or conviction except her steadfast belief in “freedom”, a term no doubt meant to appeal to American sensibilities. This also explains her growing admiration of Obama that the profile goes to some lengths to emphasize. Funny quote: “Her opinion of Barack Obama has risen as his popularity has declined.” No doubt Merkel recognizes a fellow beigeist; as the Bulgarian saying goes, “Poxy donkeys can sniff each other out over nine mountains.” Or across the Atlantic ocean in this case. The profile goes into some length to stress just how similar Obama and Merkel are, including dismissiveness of critiques from the left and thin-skinned annoyance with any criticism, period. Hardly reassuring, these similarities.

    –Concerning the lack of vision: “Kornblum, the former Ambassador, once asked a Merkel adviser about her long-term view. “The Chancellor’s long-term view is about two weeks,” the adviser replied. ” Keep this quote in mind for later.

    — She is an authoritarian at heart, despite her protestations about her love of “freedom.” From the profile: “Over dinner one night in the mid-nineties, Merkel asked Schlöndorff, a former radical, to explain the violence perpetrated by the Baader-Meinhof Group. He told her that young people had needed to break with the authoritarian culture that had never been repudiated in West Germany after the defeat of the Nazis. The more he explained, the less Merkel seemed to sympathize—she wasn’t against authority, just the East German kind. What did kids in the West have to protest about? She didn’t always hide a feeling that West Germans were like spoiled children.” Nothing wrong with authoritarianism, you see, as long as it is the right kind. Packer: “She says Europe has just seven per cent of the world’s people, twenty-five per cent of the economic output, but fifty per cent of the social welfare—and we have to change this.” What’s more, “Our task is to protect Ukraine on its self-determined way…with answers from the global twenty-first century.” So it is the dictatorship of the global corporations, global finance, and the IMF that she likes, and screw the working class, national sovereignty, “freedom,” and “democracy”. That pretty much explains what has happened to Greece, Southern and Eastern Europe, and the European working class in general: crushed under the neoliberal boot of the Fourth Reich.

    — Speaking of which, the following passage should give everyone who knows anything about WW2 a pause: “On June 6th, in Normandy, Merkel and Putin met for the first time since the crisis began, along with Obama, Hollande, Cameron, and Petro Poroshenko, the newly elected President of Ukraine, to commemorate the seventieth anniversary of D Day. News photographs showed Merkel greeting Putin like a disapproving hostess—lips pursed, eyebrows arched—while Putin’s hard features came as close to ingratiation as is physically possible. In the optics of power, she was winning. “This political isolation hurts him,” her senior aide said. “He doesn’t like to be left out.” (Russia had just been suspended from the Group of Eight.) Later, before lunch, Merkel orchestrated a brief conversation between Putin and Poroshenko. On the anniversary of D Day, Germany’s leader was at the center of everything. As Kurbjuweit put it, “That was astonishing, to see all the winners of the Second World War, and to see the loser and the country which was responsible for all this—and she’s the leader, everyone wants to talk to her! That is very, very strange. And this is only possible, I think, because it’s Merkel—because she’s so nice and quiet.” No doubt Merkel’s propaganda people wanted to paint the image of a fully reformed Germany that has gone from being a criminal to being a leader, with Merkel having played an integral part of that transformation. But adding in the image of a self-styled German Iron Frau reducing the Third Reich’s vanquisher to the position of a submissive supplicant reveals something rather dark deep down in Merkel and her circle, something that no sane person should allow to blossom again. Beware of the German revanchist pointing accusing finger at the Russian “revanchist”.

    These are the things that struck me the most in the profile. The timing of it struck me as well: Merkel’s Russia policies have began to undermine her once unshakable political position, particularly in East Germany and with business elites. Her policies have also caused a deepening rift within the EU itself, with other countries such as Slovakia, Hungary, and Austria becoming increasingly vociferous in denouncing sanctions aimed at Russia that have impacted mostly their economies. In the past two weeks there has been a rash of articles pointing out the rifts that are beginning to appear within Germany and within the EU – see Mish. Also see Merkel, Clueless From the Start, Is Now Getting Desperate. and German Social-Democrats Warn Against Putin-Bashing (includes a rather fitting illustration of Merkel’s present place of residence). Losing positions in Russia to Asian companies has also not gone down well with German business. Meanwhile satire about German media parroting German government propaganda on Russia has become commonplace. So it appears to me that the US is trying to both prop up Merkel and to pressure her to stay the course. It remains to be seen whether Germany, as well as the rest of the EU, will finally realize that their interests and those of the US are divergent in regards to Russia but, to me, Packer’s profile is an indication that the US is concerned over losing its most valuable Euro poodle in Merkel. I suppose it should be: commentators such as Pepe Escobar and Paul Craig Roberts have repeatedly written about the mutual importance between Russia and Germany. However, Merkel’s profile does not leave the impression that she is capable or willing to defy the US in regards to Russia.

    It appears the propaganda machine needs to get its act together though. In Packer’s profile, “The Chancellor’s long-term view is about two weeks” according to an aide. Yet as the Reuters article cited by Russia Insider states, “For Merkel however, the showdown seems to be evolving from a fast-moving tit-for-tat affair into a longer game in which the West slowly squeezes Russia’s struggling economy in the hope that Putin eventually blinks.” That is hardly reassuring. Reuters published the article on November 25th, so let’s hope Russia’s economic collapse comes by December 9th. Otherwise poor Merkel will need to take another two-week long term view and who knows how that will end for German business and the economies of the EU as a whole. Spray-and-pray sanctions are hardly a viable long term foreign and economic policy, though they do seem poised to become a very fitting epitaph for Merkel’s political career.

    1. squasha

      the piece seemed less an effort to boost Merkel than a fruitless fiddling-with of a sliding puzzle of trusty tropes about Germans, women, German women and Ossies, albeit better than other efforts one typically comes across. Given her stature and staying power on the world stage, it’s remarkable how seldom bios of her are published, so maybe you’re right that the timing here is some sort of surgical strike at a western audience, perhaps softening resistance to Hilary?

      1. OIFVet

        I put this comment together pretty quickly after reading Packer, when I was a bit annoyed with the profile and with the same old “the Novorussians looted the valuables of MH17 victims” BS it contained. My first impression, it was an attempt to introduce/boost Merkel’s image with the US audience. On further reflection I was less sure that that was the main motivation: the favorable comparisons with Obama might work for the audience of the New Yorker but the piece can still leave those types feeling ambivalent about the subject. So I actually agree with your first sentence. Strange piece with ambiguous purpose, at least where Merkel is concerned. No doubt about the anti-Russia misinformation purpose though, Packer lays it on so thick that its impossible to mistake it for anything else.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Yes, I wondered about the timing, too. Speculating freely, perhaps matters are worse in the periphery than anybody’s letting on, hence the need to boost Merkel as “Leader” in the case of a SHTF moment?

          1. OIFVet

            Let’s hope that the SHTF moment, which will come sooner or later, is one that consists of an outbreak of common sense in Europe and democratically driven regime changes in key EU nations. Though it would no doubt be a “tragedy” for the neolibcons, the alternative is far too frightening. Will see, I am waiting to see whether Hungary will find itself with a color revolution, and whether the new BG government survives the winter. The disconnect there is huge: 61% think the country is on the wrong track, 80% think the situation is critical. The new old PM and the president are russophobes and maintain anti-Russian policies in a country where the latest survey shows that 78% of the population calls itself Russophile and 63% of the population wants to resume and maintain friendly cooperation with Russia, and where the real estate market is largely driven by Russian buyers. Sorry, I can only find the link for these numbers in Bulgarian, though google translate does a decent enough job: And self-immolations continue apace, another one last week. Something is going to give on the periphery, and my guess is that it will start in central and southern Eastern Europe. These countries are between the rock and the hard place, and will suffer the most in the event of further escalation, something General Strangelove seems hellbent to accomplish by announcing the forward deployment of Abrams tanks in Eastern Europe this week. Scary, isn’t it?

            1. Brooklin Bridge

              I’ve been really surprised at Merkel’s willingness to carry so much water for the US; the sanctions, the cold shoulder to Putin and so on. She is playing with fire as if she were on a fire truck when in fact she is sitting on a gigantic bone dry pile of hay.

    2. OIFVet

      Ya, there is a Merkel prop-up campaign unfolding. From Deutsche Welle:

      “Angela Merkel has more than one way of going about things. As far as domestic politics is concerned, she could be said to lead from behind. And, particularly with the more hotly contested issues, the chancellor is happy to remain at a distance. It means she can appear to be a spokeswoman for the majority opinion. But it’s a situation that not everyone finds ideal. She differs is on foreign policy, though, where she plays an assertive, more dominant role. Merkel has pushed European partners in the direction of greater financial discipline. The Franco-German locomotive at the heart of the European Union now seems to have Berlin as its engine and Paris as a trailer carriage. Merkel has also sent weapons to the Kurds in Iraq, breaking one of Germany’s big postwar taboos. And now she is confronting Putin. It is a foreign policy of strength.”

      So yes, this is almost a formal declaration of a new German policy of a more aggressive, dominant international role. I guess German guilt is over as far as Merkel is concerned. There is also a reference to Thatcher that confirms my inference about Merkel viewing herself as an Iron Frau. Again, this as Germany’s economy is slipping, Merkel’s political power eroding, and EU nations beginning to vocally question Germany’s US-influenced Russia policies. A bit of self-encouragement to firm up Merkel’s committment, and hell of a statement toward the rest of Europe to fall in line behind the Iron Frau. I don’t think this will go down very well if it gets backed up with more aggressive arm twisting or outright shoving. Historical memories run long in Europe, and countries like Greece have already been victimized by Merkel’s Germany. Eastern and Southern Europe will be key in what happens next, mark my words.

      Also, anyone care to guess what kind of embarrassing secret CIA’s wiretap of Merkel’s phone turned up? Obviously it is some fairly explosive stuff.

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      You’re right. It’s a beautifully written article about falling into poverty – something becoming almost inevitable for so many – without self pity or rancor.

    2. susan the other

      I enjoyed it too. In a reverse-perverse way. I actually achieved a sense of well-being reading it. It’s just kind of lingering now and I can literally feel my muscles relax. Go figure.

      1. pretzelattack

        for some reason it surprised me that somebody that had been so successful in their career is struggling so much. i guess i need to revamp my expectations, there are certainly enough examples of this.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          There was a programmer riding the 22 bus in Silicon Valley the other day; since that’s an all-night bus, that’s how she slept. No reason to be surprised.

    3. jrs

      Of course as lousy as their pension may be we will soon hit a whole generation that will be old (and maybe unemployable) without pensions. Anyone younger than the boomers. It’s going to get much worse.

  3. Jim Haygood

    One of the few integrated schools in Jim Crow Israel goes up in flames:

    The Max Rayne Hand in Hand School, which serves more than 600 Arab and Jewish pupils from throughout Jerusalem in the capital’s Pat neighborhood, went up in flames on Saturday night. With classes from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade, it is the largest Arab-Jewish cultural institution in Israel.

    An initial police investigation showed signs that the fire was set intentionally from inside the school. Hebrew graffiti was found on the school’s walls, with slogans such as “You can’t coexist with a cancer,” “Kahane was right,” “Enough with assimilation” and “Death to Arabs.”

    A Meretz representative commented, “This is a direct result of the ‘Jewish state’ bill, which gives legitimacy to harming the fabric of relations between Jews and Arabs.


    This arson is reminiscent of the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham by white supremacists in Sep. 1963.

    No one ever said maintaining the rotting structure of apartheid was gonna be easy.

  4. Chris in Paris

    Re CDC says vast majority of the HIV-positive not getting care – why in hell are people with HIV not automatically enrolled in a health plan or Medicaid? This kind of public health lacuna makes me furious.

    1. Eureka Springs

      Among so many pitiful excuses…. Because Kevin Drum and his ilk…. Pompous, mean-spirited bastar*s. I mean Democrats.

    2. hunkerdown

      Because Americans have some pathological (to put it kindly) delusions about sex, and are barred by law from reaching a mental age where they might talk about it without giggling like middle-schoolers.

  5. Butch In Waukegan

    Does this story illustrate imperial collapse? Class war?

    Former al Qaida hostage recounts nightmare – of dealing with FBI (McClatchy)

    WASHINGTON — The only thing as bad as being tortured for months as a captive of jihadists in Syria was dealing with the U.S. government afterward, according to one former American hostage.

    Matt Schrier, 36, a freelance photographer held by extremists for seven months in 2013 until he escaped, has told McClatchy that the bureaucracy he endured upon his return home was a second kind of nightmare following the months of abuse he suffered while he was a hostage.


    The FBI put him up in a hotel when he returned to the United States. But one month into his return, with his lack of valid identification contributing to his difficulty finding an apartment, the FBI suggested he move to a homeless shelter.

    “I hear they are not that bad,” he said the victims assistance agent told him.

  6. sleepy

    Re: Medicaid article

    Next up on the hit list–medicare, though it would probably be more accurate to say that the process is already well underway. To completely privatize or otherwise destroy it would require the parties to figure out a way to sell it to the pesky voting seniors.

    Oh, I get it! One party or the other will claim they changed medicare in order to save it. Works like a charm every time.

    1. trinity river

      RE: Medicare’s Chronic Care Management Payment — Payment Reform for Primary Care
      “NEJM. EHRs, 20% co-insurance, missing crucial details on care plans, including no dedicated functions in current EHRs. 2015 launch.”
      Could you link me to the crucial details that were missing? This article explains a phone call I got recently from a doctor’s office. Yet, I don’t understand how EHRs are going to be an improvement (or not).
      Thanks for any links you can add.

  7. Kokuanani

    That poor “companion pig” is the one who needs emotional support. He/she doesn’t need to be mistreated by fulfilling a fake “companion animal” role.

  8. PQS

    Re: Black Friday Videos
    Can’t believe the Wapo actually published this…I’ve thought this for a very long time. The fact that people don’t have enough money to buy things either for their kids to give them something on Christmas or for their household to allow them to participate in the so-called American Dream is just shameful and further evidence of the cruelty of our system.

    As Russell brand said recently in an interview, “people who say the system works / work for the system “

  9. craazyman

    Shakespeare Mystery Solved

    by D. Tremens
    European correspondent

    Nov. 30 – (Stratford upon Avon, England)
    Who was Shakespeare? The identity of world’s most famous playwright has remained an enigma wrapped in mystery since Elizabethan-era ttroupers staged the master’s plays 400 years ago in the Globe Theater, located in this small Brithish Hamet. But Renainssance scholars affiliated with Cambridge University have proposed a startling new theory — William Shakespeare was actually a shark.

    Pouring over original manuscripts in the British Library, a research team led by Jack Koostow, PhD, Professor of Literature noticed something that had eluded more than a century of scholarship, faint streaks of salt water residue and flecks of seaweed on the margins of the folios upon which Shakespeare recorded history’s greatest drama. That launched Dr. Koostow to the docks of the Thames, the Isle of Man and ultimately the Atlantic ocean.

    “Sharks are highly intellligent animals. It sounds unbellievable but if you watch sharks you can almost imagine it.” said Dr. Koostow. “I said to myself: What if it’s true? What f a shark wrote Hamlet?” Dr. Koostow’s research remains controversial, but his elaborate theory holds that Shakespeare transcribed his perceptions swimming among sharks, through an incredible power of metaphor, into the language of human existence. Dr. Koostow believes that Shakespeare used power of telepathy to control the minds of several agents affiliated with the Globe theater who actually drafted the manuscripts in a dreamlike state. The experience was so powerful, he argues, that salt water and seaweed came through the sessions and formed faint deposits on the page.

    But why a shark? Couldn’t any fish be responsible for Shakespeare’s plays? Not according to Dr. Koostow. “Sharks are really creative,” he told an inteviewer. “I’ve actually seen them do matrix algebra and discuss revoluationary theology over dinner. Whales can’t do this. No fish can.” What about shark attacks? Dr. Koostow rejects any notion that sharks are bloodthirsty killers. “Everybody has a bad day.” he said, “You can’t judge people or sharks on just one thing, you have to look at the whole thing. Do you think Homer or Virgil was nice all the time?”

    1. ambrit

      Sorry Charlie, the Globe Theatre was in Southwark, London. The Stratford Little Theatre you mean was called Ye Spheere, in which Shaksper debuted and usually played weekend matinees of his Childrens’ Revels. (Many reputed scholars hold that these plays were really written by a member of the Canadian branch of Lord Bacons’ family.) Be it a Globe, Spheere, or Choice Cut of a Conic Section, all the stage was a world to this master practitioner of early Depth Psychology.

  10. fresno dan

    The Excrement Experiment New Yorker

    “Nothing in health care works ninety per cent of the time,” Mark B. Smith, a microbiologist at M.I.T. who is a co-founder of OpenBiome, the stool bank, told me. Zain Kassam, a gastroenterologist who is OpenBiome’s chief medical officer, put it this way: “It’s the closest thing to a miracle I’ve seen in medicine.”

    Being cynical, I expect a treatment this effective won’t become commonplace into you have to pay hundreds of dollars in copays and your insurance company thousands of dollars to specialists, for the good sh*t
    And the actual article

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      If sh*t is the cure, given the infusion we get every day from the MSM, I’m surprised Recurrent Clostridium difficile infection even exists.

  11. Banger

    Just a quick note on Black Friday. For me the Event is a religious event and should be seen as that–as the Church Lady might say–could it be…..SATAN?

  12. GuyFawkesLives

    In Seattle, the police chief is actually the one who runs this city. The police force has installed surveillance cameras along a major beach front of the city without any elected governmental oversight. The police force installed a Wi-Fi network downtown to capture anyone’s cell phone and is able to track that phone around the city without elected governmental oversight. And finally, the police force purchased drones without any elected governmental oversight. The citizens are up-in-arms over every single one of these items, but the mayor and city council do nothing.

    Who runs Seattle? the police chief. He should be in handcuffs.

    1. Chauncey Gardiner

      Not to diminish the concerns about the level of surveillance of citizens and the implications for both civil liberties and the right of privacy, but Kathleen O’Toole was recently appointed as Seattle’s Police Chief. I am not a resident, but I appreciated the view both she and the mayor of Seattle publicly expressed concerning events in Ferguson:

  13. rich

    Tampa homeless program uses unpaid, destitute residents as steady labor force, revenue source

    TAMPA — Before every Tampa Bay Buccaneers home game, dozens of men gather in the yard at New Beginnings of Tampa, one of the city’s largest homeless programs.

    The men — many of them recovering alcoholics and drug addicts — are about to work a concessions stand behind Raymond James Stadium’s iconic pirate ship, serving beer and food to football fans. First, a supervisor for New Beginnings tries to pump them up.

    “Thank God we have these events,” he tells them. “They bring in the prime finances.”

    But not for the workers. They leave the game sweat-soaked and as penniless as they arrived. The money for their labor goes to New Beginnings. The men receive only shelter and food.

    For years, New Beginnings founder and CEO Tom Atchison has sent his unpaid homeless labor crews to Tampa Bay Rays, Lightning and Bucs games, the Daytona 500 and the Florida State Fair. For their shelter, he’s had homeless people work in construction, landscaping, telemarketing, moving, painting, even grant-writing.

    Atchison calls it “work therapy.” Homeless advocates and labor lawyers call it exploitative, and possibly illegal. It is the latest questionable way Atchison has used homeless people, and public money, a Tampa Bay Times investigation has found.
    Aramark, which runs concessions at Raymond James Stadium, declined to comment. On the stadium website, a page about nonprofits volunteering for Aramark states that “some organizations raised up to $50,000 in one football season!”

    Tampa Bay Rays concessionaire Center Plate told the Times it was unaware that homeless men worked for their room and board at games there.

    “We are deeply concerned and have begun a close review of the partnership in question,” wrote Keith King, chief legal officer. In its contracts with charities, King wrote, Center Plate prohibits sending volunteers “dependent upon the charity for food, clothing, shelter … or any other necessities of life.”

    Labor lawyers told the Times a company can compensate employees with shelter and food but needs to document hours worked and the value of the housing and meals provided to ensure workers earn at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.

    hmmm….how about those labor costs??

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        Whether an officer fears for his life or not — the police rules of engagement are unconscionable. Fear or no fear there is no excuse for a summary street execution.

  14. ambrit

    Metals are tanking again. Gold has broken below $1150 an ounce, silver below $15 an ounce, copper stays below $3 an ounce. Oil keeps sliding. What was that break even price for Saudi production, $40 a barrel? If Saudi manipulation breaks the back of U.S. shale production, I say, good for them!

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