2:00PM Water Cooler 12/1/14

By Lambert Strether of Corrente


Obama holding White House meetings on Ferguson today with “protest leaders”  [WaPo], which apparently means “young civil rights leaders” (TFA people?) [New York Times], or “young people involved in civil-rights issues” [Wall Street Journal], or “local and national civil rights leaders” [Politico]. (I’m focusing on composition of the invitees because I’d like to know if there are any locals, as opposed to members of the Black misleadership class, like AL Sharpton.) The initiative draws a “mixed reaction” from people on the ground [WaPo]:

“Where has [President Obama] been all of these months?” said one Ferguson activist Monday. “And now he wants to have a meeting? Please.”

Some of those who had attended the September meeting with the White House also remained skeptical of whether more meetings would yield real results.“They told us they wanted to know how they could help,” said one attendee. “But after that they did nothing. They sent one email.”.

It’s like I said. The same people who launched the ObamaCare website organized this. Sorry to be cynical….

Ferguson Commission also has first meeting today, in St Louis [St Louis Today].

Explainer on Ferguson protest groups [Bloomberg]. More on the movement(s) [Jacobin].

St. Louis Police Officers Association wants Rams players punished for pre-game “Hands up, don’t shoot” protest [Think Progress].

“Darren Wilson: America’s ‘Model Policeman'” [The Nation].

Why black men should take advantage of open carry [HuffPo].

Ian Welsh: “If you really want to make the system work, make all private lawyers for criminal charges illegal, and use only public defenders, chosen by lot” [Ian Welsh].


Six Republican governor’s flirting with running, but undeclared [Time]. “Christie, Ohio’s John Kasich, Wisconsin’s Scott Walker, Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal, Indiana’s Mike Pence, and Texas’ Rick Perry.” Perry? Again?

The best date to launch a Presidential campaign [Bloomberg].

Boehner works to put the crazies back in the box on government shutdown [New York Times].

The old “no ideas” trope, which might in fact be true [FT, “Hillary Clinton’s rickety bridge to the White House”].

Riverdaughter thinks a Jim Webb challenge would be good for Hillary Clinton [The Confluence].

Deval Patrick not running, says anointing Clinton premature [Bloomberg].

Michael Tomasky: Whither Democrats? [New York Review of Books].

Conservative media booming. Film at 11 [Bloomberg].

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

“Uber has become particularly popular among the political class in Washington” [Washington Post]. What could go wrong? Especially when Uber does stuff like give a job applicant access to the rider database for a whole day, which he spends happily looking for records of people he knows.

Hackers with investment background tackle biotech [New York Times].

Police at war with British journalists? [Guardian]. I like the example where the police are mistakenly sent 1,757 Times staff records. Indeed, they file an error report, but only after building a spreadsheet and doing data analysis on it.

Hong Kong

Police break attempted seige of government offices [New York Times].

Class Warfare

Demand for storage units booming, driven by the Four Ds: “death, divorce, disaster, and dislocation” [Bloomberg]. All those factors are driven by the crapified economy. The headline calls American’s “hoarders,” but “eternal optimists” might be a better choice.

News of the Wired

  • Today in history: Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of the bus [Time]. And her refusal was not just a random act of heroism, though it was heroic. It was planned for, leveraged, involving a big support network.
  • India sisters beat up alleged molesters on bus [Channel News Asia]. “We could not take it any more and started beating them.”
  • Stretchy, reusable airtight food-wrap [Boing Boing]. Maybe if I’d used it…
  • The value of an electric vehicle is in the battery, and the value of the battery is in the IP, which isn’t owned by the manufactuter [Wolf Street]. Makes you wonder about those Tesla valuations.
  • “[V]ehicle-to-vehicle communication systems” run into problems [National Law Journal]. A collective action problem for government to solve?
  • MH370: “I have flown these jets, here’s what probably didn’t happen” [Daily Telegraph]
  • “Should digital monopolies be broken up? [The Economist]. Or just let them wither on the vine, like AOL?
  • SMS shows us what a world without net neutrality looks like [Techcrunch].
  • Argument preview: Social media as a crime scene [SCOTUSblog].
  • Facebook to make life harder for small accounts [WSJ, “New Facebook Rules Will Sting Entrepreneurs”]. What, you thought your friends were on your balance sheet?
  • Stanislaw Lem, Summa Technologiae [Muse].
  • The historical roots of the police: “Paddy rollers” and strikebreakers [Hampton Institute].
  • Review of Goya exhibit at Boston’s MFA [New York Review of Books]. I always run an etching from Disasters of War on Veteran’s Day.
  • Chris Rock interview [Vulture]. Never liked the guy on TV. I thought this was funny and smart.

* * *

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 (josh):

last squash

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. kj1313

    The huffpost piece about having African Americans open carry predictably went down the racist road with many of the commenters. Who couldn’t see that coming.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Quite the reverse. Caveat that I haven’t watched SNL regularly since the late 70s, and I’ve only intermittently had a TV since that time. So I can’t even remember a sketch. But I did a quick Google search and found this 2014 headline in the Daily Mail: “SNL in race row over ‘slave draft’ sketch as Ebony editor calls comedian Leslie Jones a ‘big loud monkey,” which is one of those “Well, er” moments. And I have the memory of that feeling from other sketches like that. So, why would I want to watch that? was my basic feeling, and when I’d see Chris Rock on the show, I’d think “Huh?”

          But the interview is super. Real old brandy.

  2. Code Name D

    Obama’s move with the “young activist” remains cynical. He knows he can’t control the older and more experienced activist, but the younger ones can still be reached and manipulated. It’s a standard play.

  3. ChrisPacific

    Stanislaw Lem is a good writer but I find him a bit too cynical for my taste. That arguably makes him a much more accurate prognosticator than most authors, but I find it a bit wearing in story format after a while.

  4. dearieme

    “Indeed, they file an error report, but only after building a spreadsheet and doing data analysis on it.” What, police behaving like journalists? Outrageous!

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