2:00PM Water Cooler 1/13/15

By Lambert Strether of Corrente


“When half a dozen voters in a conversation say they would back a law that would ban any Bush or Clinton from running, it makes you sit up and take notice” [Charles Cook, National Journal].

Handy chart of the Republican five-ring circus [FiveThirtyEight]. Seems like an awfully crowded, and not especially distinguished, field. For my money, which is practically non-existent, Walker is the one to watch. He brutally whipped Democrats in Wisconsin, and presumably that’s what Republicans want to do; I’m looking at the whole field, and so as I can tell, Walker is the only one who took on a reasonably successful Democratic establishment, and destroyed it. And a corruption scandal and a lousy track record didn’t stop him. And how big is that “Republican establishment,” really?

Cruz: Jebbie and The Mittster part of “the mushy middle” [Bloomberg]. Like the chart shows!

The Mittster to make his decision in “weeks, not months” [Politico]. I really don’t know which I’m looking forward to more: Clinton v. Bush, or Clinton v. Romney!

Jay Leno: “Because I say to people, ‘how much younger is Elizabeth Warren than Hillary?’ And people go, ‘oh, 15 years.’ No! 18 months.” [The Hill]. Ouch.

Coca-Cola Co. North American Marketing Chief Wendy Clark took leave of absence for “passion project”: advising Hillary Clinton campaign [Advertising Age]. Probably. Haven’t heard anything more for a couple of days, though. Super optics!

The Hill

Cass Sunstein: Regulators actually take public comments seriously [Bill Moyers]. Amazing, and could even be true; this was our experience in fighting the landfills, although it took some time to build credibility.

Herd on the Street

“Some traders have begun to place bets on oil prices slumping to as low as $20 a barrel” [Financial Times, “Oil rout takes Brent to near 6-year low”].

“[Oil] futures fell as much as 4.1 percent in New York, declining for a third day” [Bloomberg].

“Market participants estimate that crude supply is overshooting demand by as much as 2 million barrels a day” [Wall Street Journal, “Oil Extends Selloff As OPEC Seen Standing Firm on Output “]. Wheeeeeee!!!

Charlie Hebdo

Charlie Hebdo: first cover since terror attack depicts prophet Muhammad [Guardian].

“Voices say that what Western developed societies have gone through is payback as it is their historical acts of slavery and colonialism which led to their current demographic structures” [People’s Daily]. But wait! Those darn Communists then go on to adopt Huntington’s “clash of civilizations” as an analytical tool! Hilarity ensues.

French intelligence agencies “lacked resources” to track Kouachi brothers, because of “flood of citizens” traveling or planning to travel to Syria and Iraq starting in 2013 [Wall Street Journal, “Overburdened French Dropped Surveillance of Brothers”]. Gee, that’s odd. What was happening over there in 2013?

Exegesis of Charlie Hebdo cartoons [Understanding Charlie Hebdo]. Fair enough. But in a way, this whole discussion reminds me of the discussion of The New Republic after it blew up. “Sure, The Bell Curve, and the Iraq War, but what about all that other great stuff?”

Netanyahu visits French synagogue, tells congregation to emigrate to Israel [Reuters]. Crowd responds to Netanyahu’s classy gesture by breaking into La Marseillaise.

Southeast Asian leaders condem attacks, silent on press freedom [Rappler].

America the Petrostate

Ibsen’s An Enemy of The People plays out in Utah [Los Angeles Times]. You’d think even the most vehement hydrocarbon boosters would be concerned about birth defects, but n-o-o-o-o.

Two months since Illinois enacted rules for high-volume oil and gas drilling, no company has applied for a state permit to put hydraulic fracturing to use [Seattle Post-Intelligencer].

The Mysterious East

“If public opinion differs from the Party on any matters, the media are responsible for sufficiently guiding the public so as to bring their opinions in line with the Party spirit” [China Media Project]. Seems reasonable. I mean, that’s what we do.

Highly pathogenic strains of H5N2 and H5N8 avian flu virus have led to the culling of about 16,500 geese and ducks across Taiwan [Channel News Asia].

“We”: photographic collages by Beijing artist Zhang Bojun [The Next Web].

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

“What David Cameron just proposed would endanger every Briton and destroy the IT industry” [Boing Boing]. Shaking my head. Cory Doctorow is right.

Prosecutors in Post Falls, Idaho had police arrest a 9-year-old-boy who failed to appear in court to answer charges that he stole some gum [USA Today]. That’s “gum” with an “m.”


SYRIZA leader accuses Greece’s lenders of “fiscal waterboarding” [ProtoThema]. That’s the stuff to give the troops!

SYRIZA has stable lead [Reuters].

Class Warfare

In 19 out of 20 counties, unemployment has yet to recover [WaPo]. Check out the handy map. I’m in a “did not recover on any indicator” county. How about you? Averages conceal, don’t they?


Howard S. Dvorkin of Consolidated Credit Counseling Services also owns interests in businesses that provide services to payday lenders [Wall Street Journal]. One hand washes the other…

Rahm Emanuels red light cameras provide no safety benefits at low crash intersections, where half of them are placed, but do net $140 million in fines [Chicago Tribune]. Law enforcement as a profit center. Again.

Stats Watch

NFIB Small Business Optimism Index, December 2014: “[A]t its highest point of the recovery, since October 2006” [Bloomberg]. “[N]otable evidence of economic strength.”

Redbook, week of January 10, 2015: Chain-store sales slow, but up year-on-year 3.8% [Bloomberg]. “[P]ositive effects of gift-card redemptions.”

News of the Wired

  • Google stops patching Android versions older than 4.4 [IT News].
  • A compendium of California HSR posts from James Fallows [The Atlantic].
  • The trade-off for dyslexia is creavitity [Scientific American].
  • Haikus extracted from random Supreme Court opinions [Legal Geekery].

    The challenged language
    stated that the presumption
    could be rebutted.

  • Is the “Five Stages of Grief” a crock? [New York Times].
  • Gun deaths expected to surpass car deaths [Atlantic]. That’s “gun” with an “n.”
  • “Baby-Faced Celebrities Are More Popular When the Economy’s Strong” [The Atlantic].
  • “Don’t fear Ebola, fear fear itself” [Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists]. Like FDR’s First Inaugural:

    So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.

    We never hear rhetoric like that today from any political leader. Ever. World-wide. Odd.

* * *

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:


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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. flora

    re: “What David Cameron just proposed would endanger every Briton and destroy the IT industry”.

    from the article: “What David Cameron thinks he’s saying is, “We will command all the software creators we can reach to introduce back-doors into their tools for us.” There are enormous problems with this: there’s no back door that only lets good guys go through it. If your Whatsapp or Google Hangouts has a deliberately introduced flaw in it, then foreign spies, criminals, crooked police … and criminals will eventually discover this vulnerability. They — and not just the security services — will be able to use it to intercept all of our communications. That includes things like the pictures of your kids in your bath that you send to your parents to the trade secrets you send to your co-workers. ”


    As long as the NSA/govt require back doors into operating systems, apps, and firmware, as well as crapifying encryption, then the talk of cyber security rings hollow. If they’re serious about security, as opposed to surveillance, they will allow closing the back doors and strong encryption to proceed. But if they’re focused on surveillance, not security, that’s a different calculation.

    1. Ulysses

      Great comment! On a slightly different topic, here in the U.S., where we have incarceration rates so high that over 25% of the world’s prison population are here, in a nation with around 5% of the world’s population, we have a system designed for private profit, and the creation of a permanent underclass to depress wages.

      Our “justice” system is not about “safety” for any but the thieves at the top. For the rest of us it is an instrument of oppression, pure and simple. The murder of unarmed civilians by police is only the tip of the dirty iceberg:

      “The battle for equal justice will only be won when we demand equal treatment in every aspect of our justice system. We must muster outrage over the routine dehumanization that happens in our criminal-justice system, rather than reserve it for the most extraordinary instances of injustice, if we are to maintain a movement for change.”


      1. different clue

        What if the remnant relics of the Occupy community were to think of “Occupy The Police!” ?

        Whose police?
        Our police!
        Whose Police?
        OUR POLICE!!
        etc. . . .
        I give that meme away for free if any Occupy people or any other people want to use it.
        ( Do the “Occupists” read this blog? Do they read anything not written by themselves or eachother?”)

    2. Vatch

      There’s a delightful comment to the Boing Boing article pointing to the Internet Engineering Task Force document RFC 3514, which describes the use of the evil bit. If implemented, this will solve the problem of internet crime!

      1. Llewelyn Moss

        Haha. You made me look.
        Per wikipedia- The evil bit is a fictional IPv4 packet header field proposed in RFC 3514, a humorous April Fools’ Day RFC from 2003

    3. Banger

      It’s funny how they sell “security” but, in fact, it is a protection racket. Once you face that the authorities can’t be trusted and you see, directly, that they either commit criminal acts or cover them up you learn to believe no one in the current power structure unless you know them personally. I know that the CIA and the DEA has had extensive dealings and cooperative ventures with criminal gangs even before any of them were formed (FBN did favor certain gangs and foreign governments in the drug trade since the beginning). People, because they have seen so many movies about law-enforcement think its honest–most of the time it is–but a significant amount of the time it is not particularly when the stakes are high as they are now with cyber-security. Imagine the possibilities for corruption at NSA, Google and other places.

      1. different clue

        And perhaps there are certain special high-level or regionally designated “go-to” law enforcement cells for handling the narcomoney govercrime?

  2. Jackrabbit

    Blowback: its not just about the Middle East.

    increased skepticism and distrust of govt is leading to questioning and conspiracy theories regarding any major event: oil price drop, Charlie Hebdo, North Korea, etc. And often, there is good reason to disbelieve.

    It goes like this: they lie to us & they have extraordinary powers = TPTB are responsible.


    Reap what you sow.

    H O P

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Some might see your mentioning of distrust of government as an anti-government narrative, but I always find conspiracies irresistible.

      1. Jackrabbit

        I try to keep an open mind.

        It’s like following a soap opera sometimes (pass the popcorn!).

        A tragic folly that is very much NOT worth the price of admission.

  3. voislav

    “Overburdened French Dropped Surveillance of Brothers”

    Don’t you just hate when some of those freedom fighters you’ve been supporting turn out to be terrorists.

  4. Jim Haygood

    ‘Coca-Cola Co. North American Marketing Chief Wendy Clark took leave of absence for “passion project”: advising Hillary Clinton campaign’

    Sounds rather sapphic, if you ask me. Not that there’s anything wrong with that!

        1. different clue

          Who here still remembers the “pepsi challenge”?

          I read about how that worked. When people are dehydrated and hot/sweaty in hot sweatogenic conditions, they will often prefer “more” sugar over “less” sugar in a drink. Pepsi took advantage of that knowledge to stage their “candid camera” pepsi-challenge events during well attended hot summer events.

          I once encountered such a pepsi challenge, during a hot crowded summer event. But I had already read about the perception secret. So I knew to pick and prefer the “less sugary” blindfolded drink. They didn’t know I knew. So they were crestfallen disappointed when unblinding the drinks revealed me to have preferred Coke. Ah ha ha ha . . . .

  5. Garrett Pace

    Oil boom in Utah

    George Burnett owns a Main Street smoothie and juice bar called “I Love Drilling,” which serves organic drinks named after U.S. oil wells, like “Slick,” “Dirty Devil #22” and “Hogback #1.”

    He believes oil and healthy living can coexist. “Drilling,” Burnett said, “brings the earth’s energy to life.” He called Young’s questions “alarmist thinking that has gotten ahead of good science.”

    LOLOLOLOL Goes without saying that Utah has a robust energy lobby. That we DON’T have an ethic of stewardship regarding our beautiful state is a continual disappointment to me.

  6. Garrett Pace

    “Bush, Clinton and the Fatigue Factor”

    There’s so much to unpack from this idea that candidates can “fatigue” voters. It makes sense if all they are are pre-packaged media creations, or interchangeable spokesmen for sets of toxic ideas.

    Though of course I am exhausted by Romney. I wish he’d go away and I don’t have to worry about a Mormon blowing up 3rd World Nations and destroying the Constitution.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Between Blitzkrieg and fatigue, the latter is often less visible but more effective, any nagging victim will tell you.

      There may not be any visible scars to show the police, but fatigue can even wear out metals, a fact known to all engineers.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      My suggestion is for her to go nucular, sorry, nuclear – a new husband that can get her votes.

      1. Banger

        Actually it would be enough if the American people were aware of precisely what Mormons believe–if they did I don’t believe Romney could get elected. We need to critique religious beliefs and not just let them pass because they are religions.

        1. James

          As if being aware of what Christians believe would be all that much better? Other than as consensus? Not all that worried about Mormons, in particular, myself. More about the monotheists in general me thinks.

  7. Jim Haygood

    As a lay semanticist, Lambert doubtless will be as shocked by this sentence from the gun deaths article as I am:

    ‘And the number of police shootings—including arrest-related deaths, which are recorded but not made public, according to The Washington Post—are notoriously evasive.’

    Evasive, elusive … remember when The Atlantic was a renown [sic] literary magazine? [Not to mention that the verb arguably should be ‘is,’ referring to ‘The number’ (singular).

  8. grayslady

    Lambert, I wouldn’t get too excited about Scott Walker–Walker makes Rick Perry look intelligent. There are a few strong Democrats in Wisconsin, but it’s no longer the Progressive state of LaFollette. Milwaukee, Madison and Kenosha are the only reliably Democratic cities in the state. That leaves a whole lot of agricultural rednecks in the rest of the state, unfortunately.

    1. neo-realist

      Walker also has the charisma of a doorknob. You can be a righty, but on the national stage you have to connect with others beside the homestate redneck dullards.

      1. grayslady

        I agree.

        Speaking of not being able to connect, how about his Jewish holiday greeting this past December: he wished the Jews “molotov” instead of “mazeltov”. When I say the guy is stupid, I mean he is even beyond stupid. He is truly an ignoramus, totally supported in Wisconsin by Koch brothers money.

          1. Banger

            No they wouldn’t. As long as he follows orders they don’t care. They’ll ally with anyone that supports war and Israel uber alles.

          1. Left in Wisconsin

            Scott Walker is not stupid. He is quite politically savvy, a la W. Look what all Jim Doyle’s Harvard degrees got us.

            But it does seem hard to think of him as presidential material – it’s the mug and the voice. On the other hand, the Midwest (except Minnesota) seems to be moving hard right, and if the money decides he could win Wisco, Mich, Ohio, etc., then I could see them backing him to the nomination.

            1. Banger

              Good point–and to answer all the above–Americans, generally, don’t like smart people and feel much safer with fairly stupid people if they don’t seem to be completely hopeless like Perry. I think Walker could be trained to roll-over and sit up and that’s enough to get you nominated in the RP.

              1. sleepy

                I’ve always found that dealing with stupid people is far more difficult than dealing with intelligent people.

                1. George Hier

                  Can you blame them? I’d be rather disinclined to deal with you, if your opening gambit was to call me stupid.

            2. TheraP

              He has no foreign policy experience. He would be a joke internationally. Remember all Mitt’s gaffs abroad? Despite having spent time in France?

              Money alone is not the determining factor if a person is highly inexperienced in certain areas.

              Nate Silver’s article today suggests, to me, that Romney and Bush will first sideline Christie and then they will duke it out as front runners. I’m no prophet but Walker looks very unlikely as an actor on the national stage. And international? What a shame he’d be. I just don’t see it.

              1. optimader

                “He has no foreign policy experience. He would be a joke internationally. ”
                Who was was the last first term president-elect with foreign policy experience?

            3. optimader

              “.. not stupid. He is quite politically savvy, a la W.”
              Apparently those are two different things because W is demonstrably stupid (as opposed to ignorant).

              1. George Hier

                Dubya was elected twice, and achieved nearly every policy he set out to accomplish, save for privatizing social security. I’d say that’s pretty fucking politically savvy.

                1. optimader

                  Right, Mission Accomplished!, I was merely pointing out that he was stupid. Look up the word, you should find his picture.

            4. Vince in MN

              A good VP candidate perhaps. If an East Coast elitist “moderate” like Romney gets the nom, then Walker would boost the T-Party turnout and ensure a goodly amount of Koch Bros financing, while adding a regional “balance” to the ticket. And, like Oscar Wilde said, “It is better to be talked about than not be talked about”, so if Walker tosses his hat into the ring, even if he comes up short, it boosts his recognizability with an eye to a bigger role at least within his faction if not the GOP as a whole.

              1. neo-realist

                Yes, I could see Walker as a VP candidate, who could help them in the (purple?) Midwestern states. I don’t see the charisma it factor that has appeal beyond that region that could take him to a Presidential nomination.

                1. Vince in MN

                  I’m sure the GOP doesn’t want to repeat the McCain/Palin experiment as far as the charisma factor goes, so in that regard Walker would be a good fit too.

            5. different clue

              Good point. Walker is good at getting snooty liberals to misunderestimate him.
              I wonder if he even says it “nucular”?

              “Duhm”? Not smart? Who has won the union wars so far in Wisconsin? Who were Walkers’ opponents? Where is their victory? Where is their pile of severed heads?

          2. hunkerdown

            Not being inducted into the culture of bourgeois credentialist consumerism is worth more than any earnings one might receive from being so inducted.

            Now, are you quite done committing class war already?

        1. Vatch

          I thought you might be joking about Walker and “Molotov/Mazeltov”, so I did an internet search. You’re not joking; that dingbat really did use “Molotov” as a greeting!

    2. Mike Maloney

      Stupidity is a priceless selling-point for a Republican presidential candidate. Those “nattering nabobs,” those “pointy-headed bureaucrats,” the white-wine guzzling, NPR-pledging, book-reading liberals poke fun and the “Real Americans” line up to vote for the dunce. Politics is voting for the guy who the guy you hate hates.

      1. George Hier

        Maybe if you stopped insulting people, they’d be a little more inclined to vote for you. Just a crazy thought.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      I don’t know if I’m “excited.” Of course, Walker is a miserable human being (for reasons stated by many commenters).

      However, if your criterion is a Republican who successfully stomped a Democratic establishment, then Walker is your guy. Not Romney, not Perry, not Bush, etc. Walker is the only one with that track record. That’s my point.

  9. DJG

    “Passion”: Is it possible to salvage a word that has deteriorated into almost-nothingness? {Putting aside her “passion” for Coke to work “passionately” on a further extension of neo-liberalism?} I suspect that not even the NC comments-groundlings can rescue the word at this point.

    1. Garrett Pace

      Interesting – the word “passion” as a shorthand to describe necessary, flexible tactical enthusiasm for jobs, candidates and lovers – seems to have a very pungent and poignant meaning nowadays.

      1. hunkerdown

        Yeats seems to suggest that the trick is to cultivate intensity and conviction *without* passion.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Passion seems more nebulous. To me, it’s easier to program intensity and conviction in a robot.

        2. MikeNY

          You’re right about Yeats. Yet SK believe that passion was, essentially, truth. I think the differences lies in what one is passionate about. If it’s ideology, that’s bad passion — for both, I think.

  10. DJG

    An odd thing about Illinois these days is certain laws and such (Rahm) that are being forced on the state for no apparent reason. They have little to do with local conditions. Maybe they’re the revenge of federalization. Maybe they’re the revenge of too many media (blame it on Facebook?). So, first, concealed carry is forced on Illinois (the last of the states to give in to it). Now fracking? There are plenty of things in Illinois that’ll give gas, like “stuffed pizza,” but Illinois is not likely to turn into the new Norway, even if much the state sits on a deposit of pretty lousy coal.

    1. grayslady

      Illinois is really two states masquerading as one. The southern part of the state is mostly poor and rural, and that’s the area where they want the fracking. Fortunately, Illinois is a home rule state, and the central and northern communities are anti-fracking, anti-gun, home to major universities, and the location of all major industry. So we’re generally saved from statewide stupidity. Rahm was actually opposed to either open or concealed carry (his only palatable political position so far).

        1. grayslady

          What makes you think that Rahm is a Democrat? Everyone who runs for office in Chicago runs as a Dem if they want to win–that doesn’t mean they believe in historic Dem values. Rahm lives in the city, albeit a mostly white, well-to-do neighborhood (Ravenswood), but even his son was assaulted and robbed a few doors from his home just a couple of weeks ago. As a city dweller, I think Rahm understands that guns just add another element of danger to an already dangerous city.

          1. optimader

            It’s criminal, as a minimum it should be extended for bulk food items like rice beans veggies fruit The criticism of the program I heard farmers market people was that it stovepiped to processed foods that require FDA nutritional labeling rather than unmolested bulk ingredients, so GeneralMills (or equal) gets their piece of the action peddling crap like Count Chocula :
            “The loss of this food assistance, which averages approximately $150 to $200 per person per month for this group, will likely cause serious hardship among many. Agriculture Department (USDA) data show that the individuals subject to the three-month limit have average monthly income of approximately 19 percent of the poverty line, and they typically qualify for no other income support.

            The indigent individuals at risk are diverse. About 40 percent are women. Close to one-third are over age 40. Among those who report their race, about half are white, a third are African American, and a tenth are Hispanic. Half have only a high school diploma or GED. They live in all areas of the country, and among those for whom data on metropolitan status are available, about 40 percent live in urban areas, 40 percent in suburban areas, and 20 percent in rural areas.

            Many in this population, which generally has limited education and skills and limited job prospects, struggle to find employment even in normal economic times. And although the overall unemployment rate is slowly falling, other labor market data indicate that many people who want to work still cannot find jobs, while others who want to work full time can find only part-time employment. Cutting off food assistance to poor unemployed and underemployed workers doesn’t enable them to find employment or secure more hours of work.”

  11. diptherio

    Re: County by County Economic Recovery

    I’m in a “recovered on 3 indicators” area and things don’t seem to have gotten much better here. It’s not like we’re booming or anything…

    As for the numbers concealing more than they reveal, lets take a look at three of the counties that did “recover,” according to the Post’s economic indicators–namely the three in Montana where I live. I notice that they are all in the extreme Eastern part of the state where populations are not what you’d call dense. All three counties are in oil-rich fracking territory, though.

    Richland County, pop: 10,817
    Sheridan County, pop: 3,576
    Fallon County, pop: 3,039

    I wonder how evenly the recovery has been spread among the 17,000 and change that live in “recovered” counties in Montana?

  12. diptherio

    Why does part of Eastern seaboard look like the interior of Alaska on the county recovery map? Anyone? Has the recovery there been equal that of the frozen tundra? (Fun fact: the Alyeska Pipeline, which transports oil from AK’s North Slope, is built up on stilts to keep the heat of the oil moving through the pipe from melting the tundra the pipeline travels over and making it unstable. If the warming of the arctic continues and the permafrost under the pipe starts thawing out in the summer….well, use your imagination…)

  13. hunkerdown

    Detroit doesn’t need to recover. Nooo, we just shake it off and go back for more.

    The nice people over in Washtenaw County where the intelligentsia are drawn appear to have improved their lot on one indicators, though.

  14. mitzimuffin

    Hey, Charlie Cook,
    Some of us are old enough to remember that W. won the election under the specious efforts of his brother who happened to be gov. of fla. at the time. It’s more like they totaled the car together and ran away laughing. With, of course, the help of the Supremes who picked them up at the corner of Voter Suppression St and Corruption Tpk. Don’t even get me started w/Hillary.

  15. Ulysses

    Apologies if this was already linked here at NC, but this seems like a very strong attempt to haul some criminal banksters into the court of public opinion:

    “The authors write: “These are not isolated incidents; the pattern is clear. JPMorgan Chase has a culture — like the mob — where anything goes so long as it is profitable. This is precisely the kind of pattern of criminal activity that RICO was intended to target.”

    The Wheel pinpoints crimes that are as unconscionable as they are systemic: overcharging active duty military on mortgages and illegally foreclosing on their homes while they put their life at risk for their country; billing customers for credit monitoring services that never existed; rigging California and Midwest electric markets, and on and on.”


  16. Howard Beale IV

    Supreme Court clarifies rules for rescinding mortgages: AP via Yahoo:

    WASHINGTON (AP) — A unanimous Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that home buyers don’t need to file a lawsuit, but may simply write a letter if they want to back out of a mortgage because they claim their lender violated the federal Truth in Lending Act.

    The decision came in a case involving Larry and Cheryle Jesinoski, a Minnesota couple who refinanced their home in 2007 with Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., now part of Bank of America Corp. They claim the company failed to provide some disclosures required under federal law.

    The couple sent a written notice of rescission within three years after the loan closed. But a federal judge ruled they should have filed a lawsuit instead. The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed.

    Resolving a split among lower courts, the Supreme Court said written notice was enough.

  17. hidflect

    I’m sure Madame Walmart has a gaggle of analysts reading every blog mentioning her to feel out what issues are pertinent and need addressing to ensure her coronation. Well I have bad news and worse news for them. Comments about her run a 100 to 1 against on any blog I read. And the worse news: these are the left-leaning blogs. I don’t think she can win and I’ll even lay odds she’ll realize this and save her ego by not running. The fault is hers entirely. Being a status quo proponent serving the interests of banksters. corporations and Israel, she’s on the wrong side of history.

  18. ewmayer

    Re. “Getting Grief Right” in the NYTimes —

    This opinion piece rightly takes the “standard Kubler-Ross 5 Stages of Grieving” recipe to task — Attempting to live one’s life according to some canned ‘standard narrative’ is a fraught thing to do, especially when the narrative comes from as fuzzy an “ivory tower bandwagon” quasi-science as psychology. But after the taking-to-task of the narrative he was indoctrinated with in school, what does the author do? That’s right, he immediately foists upon us an alternative pet narrative:

    Based on my own and my patients’ experiences, I now like to say that the story of loss has three “chapters.” Chapter 1 has to do with attachment: the strength of the bond with the person who has been lost. Understanding the relationship between degree of attachment and intensity of grief brings great relief for most patients. I often tell them that the size of their grief corresponds to the depth of their love.

    Chapter 2 is the death event itself. This is often the moment when the person experiencing the loss begins to question his sanity, particularly when the death is premature and traumatic. Mary had prided herself on her ability to stay in control in difficult times. The profound emotional chaos of her baby’s death made her feel crazy. As soon as she was able, she resisted the craziness and shut down the natural pain and suffering.

    Chapter 3 is the long road that begins after the last casserole dish is picked up — when the outside world stops grieving with you. Mary wanted to reassure her family, friends and herself that she was on the fast track to closure. This was exhausting. What she really needed was to let herself sink into her sadness, accept it.

    So, if one finds oneself stuck deep in the Chapter 1 footnotes, or not able to finish Chapter 2 because of leftover casserole dishes one is unable to reuinte with their owners, is one ‘doing it wrong?” And how many hours of paid psychotherapy might be needed to “restore the narrative flow” in such cases?

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