By Lambert Strether of Corrente
Lambert here: Oopsie. That’s 13:55, not 15:55. Sorry.
Three things about the Clinton campaign: Personnel are drawn from Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns, not from the Clinton 2008 campaign; Clinton won’t be challenged in the primaries; 2016 is the year of the retread [NBC].
Republicans already doing Clinton oppo in Arkansas [Bloomberg]. I would have though Scaife exhausted that seam. Maybe not?
Scott Walker throws his hat near the ring at the RNC winter meeting [Time]. Casts himself as “new, fresh leader.” “Bold Ideas from Outside Washington” [Wall Street Journal]. Yeah, but what does he think of Reagan’s “sunny optimism”?
Three-quarters of New Jersey residents believe Gov. Chris Christie’s accomplishments are minor or non-existent since he first took office [Star-Ledger]. He hugged Obama!
Republican National Convention Date: July 18-21, 2016 [WaPo]. Oh joy, oh rapture unforeen, the clouded skies are now serene.
Partisan loyalty begins at age 18 [FiveThirtyEight]. Even with the 18-year-olds Obama burned so badly?
SOTU rollout: “White House Proposal Would Encourage Public-Private Infrastructure Projects” [Wall Street Journal]. Yeah, heaven forfend there should be any projects that are just plain public.
Drinking contest: How many times will Obama say “jobs”? [National Journal].
Hog castrator Jodi Ernst to deliver Republican response [Weekly Standard].
Strange bedfellows on civil forfeiture [The Marshall Project].
Herd on the Street
The first time a major nation’s 10-year bond yield has turned negative at least as far back as the 1980s. “Unprecedented in modern financial history” [FT, “Swiss 10-year debt yields turn negative”]
Swiss stocks tank, and everybody wants safe-harbor German debt [WSJ, “Swiss Stocks Continue to Slide”].
If you shorted the Swiss franc, you’re in trouble [Reuters]. Apparently $3.5 billion did. But surely that’s not much?
Heaviest blows dealt to FX traders with small-scale retail clients [Reuters].
“Utmost determination” [Bloomberg]. Snicker.
Requests for a total of €5bn in emergency liquidity assistance (ELA) from the ECB were made by Alpha Bank and Eurobank, the smallest of Greece’s “big four” lenders [FT, “Two Greek banks seek emergency funds from ECB”].
SYRIZA MP Candidate and Levy Institute scholar Rania Antonopoulos: Responding to the Unemployment Crisis in Greece [YouTube].
“Charlie Hebdo’s biggest problem isn’t racism, it’s punching down” [Vox]. Ding! Good article includes close reading of Charlie Hebdo covers.
Charlie Hebdo’s latest cover isn’t objectionable; it’s brave and touching [NOW].
Hysterical wankery at Duke from Franklin Graham [The Atlantic]. And, naturally, successful, backed as it was by threats of violence.
Black Injustice Tipping Point
Role of Twitter in Ferguson [Vox]. Partly true, partly triumphalism, in that the tweets (I would argue) conceal on the ground (organizing) as much as they reveal (tweet-worthy episodes), and partly the age-old process of elevating black spokespersons. All that said, these processes IMNSHO operate with far less virulence than normal in the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
St Louis cops blame shootings on protesters [Buzzfeed]. One, deploy the force to beat down and jail non-violent protesters. Two, collect the OT. Three, fund the court system with fines and the bail money. Four, whine. The problem is right there at step one.
Oakland activists chain themselves together and block the Federal Building [San Francisco Chronicle]. Slogan: “Third World for Black Power.” What does that mean?
One third of Americans believe police lie routinely [Reuters].
Big Brother Is Watching You Watch
“Were Gitmo Murders Covered Up As Suicides? – Interview with Joseph Hickman” [YouTube]. From Army Staff Sergeant Joseph Hickman, who was on duty that night at Camp Delta.
Jimmy Carter: Surveillance has “gone too far” [HuffPo].
“I have felt that my own communications were probably monitored,” Carter said. “And when I want to communicate with a foreign leader privately, I type or write the letter myself, put it in the post office and mail it.”
Fair enough, but Carter thinks they’re not opening his mail?
Consumer Price Index, December 2014: Falls 0.4%, matching expectations, for largest drop since 2008 [Bloomberg]. Gasoline dropped 9.4 percent (!). “Excluding food and energy, consumer price inflation slowed to unchanged.”
Industrial production, December 2014: “After discounting the heavily volatile utilities component, manufacturing continues recent improvement” [Bloomberg].
Consumer sentiment, January 2015: Expectations “surge,” on gasoline. “Gains underway in the labor market are giving consumers a new confidence that sooner or later will be reflected in consumer spending” [Bloomberg].
Navy contractor Leonard Glenn Francis pleaded guilty Thursday to running a decade-long bribery scheme that bilked taxpayers of tens of millions of dollars and involved payoffs to “scores” of U.S. Navy officials, who were plied with more than $500,000 in cash [McClatchy]. What trivial amounts of money. Was Francis just another small fish?
Probe finds NYC jail guards hired despite arrests, gang ties [AP]. It actually gets better:
[Application investigators] were also reliant on an applicant evaluation scale of 1 to 5 despite no clear understanding of whether a ‘1’ or a ‘5’ was the best score. Thus, the report found, 90 percent of applicants received a meaningless ‘3’ on the scale.
That’s awesome. It’s like a double-reverse literacy test.
“Tell Us About Your Experience With the Affordable Care Act,” with handy online form! [WSJ]. Based on comments on our ObamaCare posts, plenty of NC readers will be happy to share….
Marilyn Tavenner steps down as head of CMS [HuffPo]. And nobody, not one person, lost their job or was even disciplined over the launch debacle.
Republicans shifting tactics from outright repeal to incremental changes [The Hill].
Aetna CEO seeking “grand bargain” between parties if King v. Burwell goes against the administration [Talking Points Memo]. Well, that makes sense. After all, the insurance companies wrote the legislation in the first place.
“A student at one of America’s most selective colleges is 14 times more likely to be from a high-income family than from a low-income one” [Bloomberg].
Why North Dakota has the highest worker fatality rate in the nation [Al Jazeera].
News of the Wired
- Zombie cookies for Verizon users [Pro Publica]. Well, this is horrible.
- “26 Ways To Know Your Software Development Project Is Doomed” [CIO].
- Windows 10: Last chance? [Business Insider].
- “This viral click whore left Gawker to join a tech company. You will believe what happened next” [Pando].
- UK’s lost Beagle 2 spotted by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The lander is intact, but its solar panels failed to deploy [Guardian].
- 2014 hottest year in recorded history [New York Times].
- Silk Road trial defense bombshell: Defendant Ross Ulbricht was set up by Mt Gox owner Mark Karpeles [Ars Technica]. Interesting, if true.
- “Random Acts of Crassness” [Disability Now]. “It is the realm of everyday crap where each outing poses the risk of more non-consensual invasions of your personal space.”
- How the carmakers invented the crime of jaywalking [Vox]. Rather like the cops who invented the crime of being a free-range kid.
- Chinese tourists behaving badly to be ranked [South China Morning Post].
New theory of sex discrimination in academe [The Economist]. From the Science abstract:
We hypothesize that, across the academic spectrum, women are underrepresented in fields whose practitioners believe that raw, innate talent is the main requirement for success, because women are stereotyped as not possessing such talent.
Cultural solution: Stress the virtues of hard work.
- “The sheer number of mirrors found in Greek graves show that beauty really counted for something” [BBC]. The Greeks were face-ist.
- Armed Open Carry ammosexual confronts legislator in Texas Capitol building: “I’m asking you to leave my state” [Talking Points Memo].
- “Who’s Afraid of ‘Waging Nonviolence’?” [Waging Nonviolence].
- Dalai Lama: “As far as socioeconomic theory, I am Marxist” [Salon]. Alrighty, then.
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:
If you enjoy Water Cooler, please consider tipping and click the hat:
Talk amongst yourselves!
Lol. Carter and my late grandpa had a lot faith in the sancity of mail. Messing with that is a federal offence you know
Pssst. Don’t let anyone go the Villa Giulia Museum in Rome to see all of those Etruscan mirrors, of which there are dozens. Some of the them have mythological scenes on them that archeologists are still trying to decipher–the mirror as miraculous and sacred object.
Those Etruscans, always primping. [Sure beats being a lumbersexual, though.]
Mirrors and their magical properties and historians with issues. File the article among my misgivings about the “gaze” folks, who seem to get so much of it wrong.
On cops lying “routinely”: Actually all public officials lie just as we all bend the truth when confronted by authority like doing taxes (when we can) or whatever. Truth is overrated not because it isn’t a very good thing but because it is too rare at least in the world of public disclosure. Anybody that has hung out in PR circles or is as familiar as I am about “public information officers” in government gets it. You often find officials at odds with their own paperwork forms and will tell you to lie on the paperwork because they know the whole thing is bullshit. Cops do lie even when they mean well because the truth won’t fit into the boxes they have to put things in.
There’s actually a term, discussed in criminal justice classes, for it when it occurs in court. “Testilying.”
Wow them creeps at Turn sound like some serious scumbags.
What, they run out of little old ladies to sell left hand monkey wrenches to?
Turn = Advertising scum. they are all the same. No ethics.
So, given #1 below, what is to stop Verizon from making a secret deal with NSA (or anyone else) to provide user web visit breadcrumbs. Nothing to stop them that I can see.
All from the comments section of that article:
1) Turn uses a Man In The Middle attack inserting the code into the users network traffic. So changing browsers won’t help.
2) Max Ochoa, Turn’s chief privacy officer, posted to the comment thread of that article. He made some blah, blah, blah, BS statements about how Turn is all ethical and sh1+ and that they honor the User Opt-out request (which Propublica disproved). Then a user replies and basically hands Ochoa his arse back to him in a flaming paper bag.
3) Also EFF has a petition asking the FCC to make Verizon cease and desist.
Round up the usual clowns:
Good thing Obama signed the derivatives pushout just in time, so that taxpayers can lend their financial support to a beloved bank after this tragic, unforeseeable event.
Why do bad things happen to good banksters?
Does the derivatives pushout really cover this?
Currently reading a book by the creator of the neutron bomb. About halfway through it as I post. Mostly anecdotes and stories about the early US nuclear program and the post WWII military complex. Not at all objective, but an interesting read. The main takeaway (so far) is that the important people were generally smart, capable, and often passionate, but they suffer from insufficient factual information, heavy cognitive bias, and often make decisions based on social and political interactions rather than any rational process.
There are striking parallels to our current mess of economic policies.
Book is here, link is to a pdf (free):
xax, that is an AWESOME source. The Appendix, “Overview and Postscript: The Profits of Fear” is especially a propos. Highly recommended (and beautifully written).
Unfortunately, it’s not possible to read the full Science article mentioned in The Economist without some sort of password. Equally unfortunately, The Economist doesn’t bother to mention how many of the academics surveyed were white, black, Asian, or male v. female. Most of us tend to be tribal: someone with a similar background or upbringing is a person we are likely to relate to, and work is still a social environment in addition to a business environment. The so-called “innate ability” is just a politically correct way to excuse prejudice. Once the tribe begins to undergo positive experiences with the Other, those prejudices usually start to break down. Still, you have to get a foot in the door before that’s possible, and, even then, you have someone like Sonia Sotomayor having to ream out the old white guys on the Supreme Court for being totally clueless about what it’s like growing up in this country as a member of a “minority”.
In addition the NY Times article about 2014, the hottest year on record, here’s an article at NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies:
Although 2011, 2012, and 2013 were hotter than any year before 1998, they were cooler than a few recent years, most notably 2010, 2005, and 1998. The anthopogenic climate change deniers made a lot of this apparent anomaly. Now that 2014 is known to have been the hottest year on record, I wonder what the arguments will be.
It was because they moved the thermometer to the parking lot on the south side of the building. Honest.
Dear NC PTB:
Could we please try to hew to a consistent link-naming convention for the the 2PMWC? Compare the link for yesterday’s and today’s — the latter appears to be suffering a severe case of acute ‘html-substring-insertion-itis”.
I like to keep a separate tab open in my browser for the 2PMWC, and each day simply increment the day-number in the URL, with a once-a-month rejigger. Roughly 1/3rd or 1/4th of the time this fails to work because the latest installment has a link not following the usual convention.
Thanks for listening!
I’m not sure why it’s not working. Gee, that is a horrible URL today, isn’t it? Generally, I do whatever WP does, but apparently WP’s interface didn’t show me the URL I was going to get….
The big military contractors don’t necessarily need quid pro quo bribery, as they operate on a scale that allows them to do legal bribery to senators.
The appropriations system is so broken. So many officers have internalized the notion that contractors can basically do whatever they want and can deliver broken products, then charge more to make them work. They can’t, it’s the law, but intellectual capture has taken place.
It’s going to take a lot of work and a lot of backbone to fix.
At long last:
Somehow playing the victim card don’t always win the poker game the way it used to. Most victims aren’t nuclear armed …
All the more absurd Bibi:
Estragon: What about hanging ourselves?
Vladimir: Hmm. It’d give us an erection.
Republicans have been doing Clinton oppo nonstop since 1992. Hardly newsworthy.
A fact that no doubt gives warm fuzzies to the money guys backing Hillary. No unexploded ordinance likely to go off.
Jon Ronson in Conversation with Adam Curtis
Actually, it may be even more provocative than you ever thought possible. The analysis of the latest cover page is starting to make waves in France: for instance here and in a lower tone also here.
It is all in French, but there are useful diagrams that do not require translations.
Yikes! Unless… Given the drawing style, such diagrams could be created for anything? Can any cartoonists in the house speak to this?
There is evidence it is intentional. The French articles report that the Charlie Hebdo team, when reviewing proposals for the cover page, found the picture hilarious.
Besides, Charlie Hebdo has a habit of caricaturing people in that way. Here is another example: “Jacques Chirac is a bespectacled dick!” Besides, the author of that NYRB post also detected the phallic image in the Charlie Hebdo front page.
Microsoft lost the battle for mobile years ago, so it’s not even an issue of ‘last chance’. Windows remains the dominant force in PC-land however, and I see no reason that will change anytime soon. There’s a lot of hemming and hawing about PC sales being down, but it’s a very relative statement. The fact is that mobile is ass. People have a high tolerance for its many failings because of, well, the mobility aspect, but when I’m sitting waiting for my tablet to navigate through browser tabs so slowly that it would actually be faster to go into the other room and boot my PC from a totally shutdown state, I’m reminded why full sized computers exist, and why they won’t be going anywhere for a good long while.
In regard to bad cops – I have just finished watching season 1 of ” Fargo ” – please tell me that the good cops fictionally featured in Minnesota & hopefully other similar areas, do actually exist in real life within the US. It’s just that with all the Bad cop news & only being outside looking in, tends to lead to a perhaps an overall unbalanced view. Not to say that it isn’t important to highlight the worst aspects of their behaviour.
I’ve known some guys that worked the job, all pretty cool actually. One quit because it just wasn’t his thing. The tribal aspect of the culture blurs things because they generally will protect their bad actors as much as possible.
I can vouch for 2 of them in Brevard county FL. Two of my siblings are sheriff deputies. I also saw one out here put himself in harms way to try and save trailers next to a trailer on fire while waiting for the volunteer fire dept. to show up. Instead of just letting them burn he was out there wetting down the houses with hoses.
Now mind you I’ve also had awful experiences here too. The drug task force out here is staffed with arrogant douchebags and the town police next to me imagines every person out for a walk is up to no good. Go figure.
Thanks fellas – pretty much the same as the UK probably except for the weaponry. I also new a decent fella who was a cadet but didn’t fit the macho groove of his peers so was forced to quit.
Don’t go to Worcester or psycho Gitmo torturer Richard Cipro is going to shoot food up your ass with a hose and stuff your socks down your throat till you choke and die.
Here’s the Worcester Telegram link from which your link seems to derive. That’s ugly. I like the “life-changing” part. Bringing the war back home! Never let it be said that America’s educational system is other than successful! It’s only a question of what it is successful at…
“SOTU rollout: “White House Proposal Would Encourage Public-Private Infrastructure Projects”
This is much more about minting tax free muni’s than building any infrastructure.
Shovel ready, lately, means a private retail/stadium/hotel/conference center…yanno, the new “infrastructure”. So much easier to shed all those pesky gov contracting laws and just dump a giant lump sum on a design-build, private sector “developer”.
Cost savings? No way. There’s every incentive to make the cost higher, minting more munis. The point isn’t “infrastructure” it’s the muni’s.
Even the gilded classes trust muni’s more than banks these days. Got a couple dozen million hanging around? Let the tax free coupon payment (tax dollars) income take care of your expected tax bill.
The demand is not for the infrastructure, it’s for the munis. That no actual “infrastructure” gets built is completely beside the point, and as noted above, a feature, not a bug.
Yes. I’d welcome comments with more bond (heck, finance) expertise than I have. But it does seem a little sketchy what we just went through a period where entities like the Federal government could borrow money for infrastructure at 0% or near it. So now that is coming to an end, and suddenly we’re going to encourage borrowing so long as a private middleman is involved. Seems odd.
Don’t think “the era when borrowing for 0%” is coming to an end anytime soon, I think instead we will get QE4, 5, and 6. After that they will try “helicopter money” and after that I have a proposal for “confetti money” that I think the Fed will love. MMT’ers assure me these approaches will have absolutely no effect on the purchasing power of said paper bits. We’re all going to be rich!
“QE is over” LOL, the Fed’s balance sheet continues to grow, all-time high in December.
“We, as a society, have all agreed that there can never be any justification for such an attack and that free speech is an irreducible value. That question has been answered.
But an entirely separate set of questions still stand: are Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons racist? Did they go a step beyond satire and become something uglier?”
Uglier than satire? How about using a mass murder to “talk” about racism? This talk will be full of questions and passive aggressive non-arguments about something “uglier”.
The royal we, and pregnant pugnacious placement of the question by the polity police lets me know that I’m in for a good long sermon from a Very Serious Person, who doesn’t want to talk about the mass murder.
Fuck. That. Shit.
Mr. Fisher’s attack on the offended reader, not brilliant enough to grasp the double layer of satire, is charming.
I thought it was a really good article, though the double layer of satire is crazy subtle.
What about the 12th dimension chess move? It’s 7th dimensional time effects? Wow, F’ing blew my mind.
It’s a fucking sermon.
Satire? He spends the majority of the article ‘explaining’ the joke. That’s not satire, it’s speaking for someone else.
Which mass murder? Of Charlie Hedbo journalists by violent extremists? Of Muslim’s by Western foreign policy backed up (but not caused by) racism?
Because racism = murder, and there are drones flying all over paris looking for children to blast away?
Contrails? The NWO? Obama is actually a jew too?
Which mass murder? Check the title of the story, the title of the link, the title of the section its under on this page….
What does any of that have to do with “western foreign policy” or racism? In case you’re still completely missing the point of this, it has NOTHING TO DO WITH WESTERN FOREIGN POLICY OR RACISM.
But, keep following the circle jerk Very Serious People who want to tell you why there was a mass murder in paris at a newpaper.
One of the critically important roles that an independent blog, not owned or in any way beholden to corporate power, can perform, in the revival of democratic discussion and general improvement of life, is to serve as a censorship free zone. Not a place where anyone can ramble on about anything under the sun and not have to defend comments against rigorous criticism, but a place where people can speak openly about all sorts of things without having to walk on eggshells. This is especially important for a finance blog because it just so happens that the financial world is very adept at shielding itself from public scrutiny.
Indeed, stories about shenanigans in the world of finance are among the least reported, and most censored stories in both the MSM and even “alternative” news sources.
This was one of the most under-reported stories of recent years:
I strongly believe that “journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed; everything else is public relations.” I really do hope that NC continues to serve as a model of “fearless commentary” in the weeks and months ahead, when there will surely be many situations that arise in our inter-connected world where there will be a strong temptation not to question the “official” narrative!
Every publication has the right — I would argue, the duty — to manage the comment threads it supports. The end.
Well, not the end. This is, in fact, very hard and time-consuming to do, and that’s why some major publications (too lazy to find the links now) have put an end to comments altogether.
If you want a venue that doesn’t work that way, the door to 4chan is that way. Or try the comments sections on major news sites.
I appreciate the truth of that very much, Lambert, and I hope that you don’t misinterpret my comment as an expression of discontent.
In my many years of teaching I must have run thousands of hours of discussion sections, so I have a lot of empathy for the delicate balancing act required to keep conversations both free and lively, but also thoughtful and focused. You and Yves both do an admirable job in managing the conversations here.
It is a real testament to your open-mindedness that commenters as diverse as Jim Haygood and diptherio both feel free to engage in lively discussions here. My comment was intended to encourage you to keep up the good work, not to throw hyper-critical brickbats. And so I repeat:
I really do hope that NC continues to serve as a model of “fearless commentary on finance, economics, politics and power.”
Is it possible to name plants and animals in pictures in future? I think that a cattleya orchid??
My guess is Cymbidium, most of which are in full bud now (in CA), with a few of the sub-species blooming since December.
PS – I sorta like the guessing game on the plant and animal photos. It hones my ID skills and I often do some interweb research when not quite sure of the specific species.
If they’re not from my own garden, I don’t necessarily know. I could ask readers.
It is important to remember that Wellpoint (the private Blue Cross/Blue Shield company) wrote the legislation. What advantages them does not necessarily advantage all insurance companies. The thieves are beginning to have a falling out.