2:00PM Water Cooler 2/6/15

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


Clinton supporter (!) on campaign line-up: “It’s not thinking outside the box, it’s essentially using the same class of political operative. Why is there not one new face from Austin, Texas or one person who hails from Silicon Valley? It’s tired and predictable.” [The Hill]. The pessimist in me puts that down to Hillary’s lack of imagination. The optimist in me says you want outside-the-box thinking in the policy shop, not the campaign operation (at least if you’re not an insurgent). Anyhow, does a real “outside the box” thinker ever even use the phrase “outside the box?”

The group portrait of Clinton campaign staffers is being filled in. The portrait of policy staffers is not [Ezra Klein, Vox].

Mandy Grunwald, long-time Clinton operative, leaves Warren staff for Hillary Clinton campaign [Politico].

No-names at the White House as Obama enters lame duck territory [CNN].


Bush on immigration [The Atlantic].

Here for example is an informal Jeb Bush speaking to a friendly interviewer, National Review’s Jay Nordlinger, early in 2014. “If we’re going to grow at 4% a year, we have to have young, aspiring people be able to create dynamic activity. And we can’t do that with our existing demographics.”

Bush seems to have something more in mind than just the the familiar (if overstated) claim that immigration can counter the aging of the population. He seems to think that there is some quality in the immigrants themselves that is more enterprising—more dynamic to use his favorite term—than native-born Americans. This is not only a positive judgment on the immigrants themselves. It is also a negative judgment on native-born Americans.


Principled Insurgents

Walker adds a half-dozen new advisers and consultants this week. “Veteran Republican operatives” [Wall Street Journal]. Ka-ching! Guess Walker talked to a real Koch this time…

Walker: “I think [vaccination is] an issue that should be left up to the states” [Talking Points Memo]. Because contagious diseases totally respect state boundaries.

Clown Car

Perry has recently “sought to portray himself as a more moderate, thoughtful contender” than he was in 2012 [Politico]. I’m sure the million-dollar felony defense for abuse of power will help with that.

Headline: “Rick Perry’s Donor List Is a Sports Almanac” [Bloomberg]. So I find the list, and the “sports figures” aren’t players, but owners. Well, I suppose…

“Since the dawn of the Obama era, the whole country has shifted to the right. Literally every state but one is now more Republican it was than six years ago” (with handy chart) [Washington Post]. That’s quite a record. Thanks, Obots.

Jill Stein to form exploratory committee for second Presidential run on Green Party ticket [Yahoo]. Hilariously, Bloomberg plays the Nader card in the subhead and the lead. Too bad it’s not true; 308,000 Florida Democrats voted for Bush in 2000. Those Democrats lost the race for Gore, the end. I’m not sure when the behavior pattern, for Democrats, of never accepting responsibility for any failure began, but the fingerpointing and blameshifting certainly intensified after 2000. Fifteen years later, and Democrats are still mewling and puking about it.

The Hill

“Confessions of a congressman” [Vox]. Worth a read, especially the idea that we have a parliamentary system.

Herd on the Street

“Twitter’s Earnings in Five Charts” [Wall Street Journal].

“With each product release, Twitter gets closer to resembling the vision that Costolo has outlined, where the social network becomes a place to find coverage of events as they happen” [Bloomberg]. That story is in fact Twitter’s story; it has the great merit of being true. Let’s hope they stick to it, and don’t try turn themselves into Facebook.

Pascal resigns as Sony CEO after hacked emails debacle [New York Times].

Shale output will rise 3.2 percent in 2015, led by gains at the Marcellus formation [Bloomberg].

America’s most-hated (and most-loved) companies [Bloomberg]. In a crowded field, the most-hated, where first is worst:

  1. Goldman Sachs
  2. AIG
  3. Dish Network
  4. Monsanto
  5. Halliburton
  6. Sears Holding
  7. Koch Industries
  8. Comcast
  9. Charter Communications
  10. Bank of America

Take a bow, Lloyd!

Stats Watch

Employment Situation, January 2015: “Heavily positive.” Unemployment up, but that’s because “the labor force participation rate rose to 62.9 percent from 62.7 percent in December.” “[A]verage hourly earnings rebounded 0.5 percent,” partly due to some state’s increase in minimum wage [Bloomberg]. So not sure how long the Fed’s “patience” will last. Now, if only the jobs weren’t crapified.

Police State Watch

“He never resisted, he never struck them, he never fought back, they just started hitting him” [Los Angeles Times]. Frank Rizzo lives!

Our Famously Free Press

What if there are no news websites? [Awl]. That’s gonna suck, because every app is an AOL in the making.


Cuomo officials directed state loan to Cuomo donor, real estate mogul Leonard Litwin, at center of Sheldon Silver corruption probe [David Sirota, crushing it at International Business Times]. Oopsie.

Private equity veteran new Governor of Illinois Bruce Rauner brings in Laffer Curve veteran to straighten out state budget [Bloomberg]. I’m filing this under corruption because selling state assets to cronies, or privatizing state services is part of the playbook.

Christie signs bill allowing simplifying towns’ selling of water systems to for-profits [North Jersey].

The bill has the potential to benefit water companies with ties to Christie [Shocker!]. Top representatives of American Water and United Water sit on the board of directors at Choose New Jersey, a tax-exempt organization that was created by Christie’s office in 2010 to help sell New Jersey as a business-friendly state but lately has been helping pay the governor’s expenses for overseas trips.

Class Warfare

Problems that have social gradients get worse across all classes as inequality increases [Inequality.org]. Interview with authors of The Spirit Level.

The URL: occupy-burning-man-class-warfare-comes-to-desert-festival; the headline: “The Billionaires at Burning Man” [Bloomberg]. NC, 2014-08-31; the sherpa stories broke on 2014-09-12.

Nebraska’s socialized energy distribution system [Alternet].

“The Real Problem with Fast Fashion: Codes of Conduct” [The Fashion Law]. A knowledgeable take at compliance issues with industry “codes of conduct,” and “compliance” as such, especially in clothing manufacturing.

“The [Pacific Maritime Association] made it clear that the disruption from go-slows by the union was growing so severe it would impose a lockout on workers within five to 10 days if the offer was not accepted” [FT, “Costly lockout looms on US ports”].

Aetna minimum wage boosted to $16/hour [Courant].

News of the Wired

  • The Silk Road is gone, but the dark web lives on [USNews].
  • People hate digital rights management in coffee machines [The Verge]. Keurig tried to make the coffee pods for its brewing machines proprietary, pays the price in sales.
  • Airlines still planning standing sections [The Economist]. “Perhaps it is time to introduce work-your-passage class,” where passengers could provide personal servies for the super business-class types up in front. One more option in my portfolio of things to generate an income, I auppose.
  • “Um” is replacing “uh” in Europe and North America, with the change led by women and youth [PRI].
  • “My Dad, the Pornographer” [New York Times]. How Dad paid for his braces.
  • Europe’s wealthy families invest in tech [Reuters].
  • So where’s Alvarez on that Fed leak, anyhow? [Bloomberg].

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 (Jeff):


Not a bougainvillea, but I bet it would like to be!

If you enjoy Water Cooler, please consider tipping and click the hat. It’s the heating season!

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. Kokuanani

    It’s a camellia, right?

    I think Comcast would be higher on the Most Hated list if folks realized it went into the Witness Protection Program and came out as “Xfinity.” All hatred for Xfinity should be credited to Comcast.

    1. Vatch

      I agree that Comcast should be higher on the list. They have a history of changing customer’s names on their invoices to insults such as “A-hole” or “Super Bitch”. There are so many articles about this, I won’t bother providing a link. Just do a web search (Google, Bing, or something else) for:

      comcast insults customers

      1. jrs

        Oh yes Google should probably get an honorable mention, for being such a good friend of the NSA and the State Dept.

    2. jrs

      As is it’s not a bad list, I’d move Monsanto up quite a bit. I don’t own a t.v., so why should I care what Dish network or Comcast do, but I still need to eat.

      Honorable mentions:
      Tepco: for poisoning the Pacific ocean, you have to hand it to them.
      BP: for poisoning the Gulf of Mexico, you have to hand it to them (actually did get on the top 20).
      Corrections Corporation of America: for profiteering off human enslavement

      I have suspicions things like the Carlyle group should get in there as well, uh oh CT, but there’s a lot of real connections there.

  2. hunkerdown

    20 years ago, I remember reading someone’s quotation in someone’s .signature on Usenet: “The Internet is set to become television with fewer moving parts.”

    The Awl: aspiring MSM careerists who can’t get over their own sense of indispensability.

    1. ambrit

      Indeed. The camellias are blooming all over the neighbourhoods down here. They like the cold weather. The only thing they hate is a hard freeze. They have the most beautiful leaves; such a rich green and can get quite large. The family across the road has some ten foot high bushes in their side yard.

    1. ambrit

      Then we’d have such infamous lines as, “Ah ha! We are approaching New York! Ramming speed you lazy infidels!”

    1. MJ

      The word “like” has also evolved to be the equivalent of the verb “said” as in:
      She was like, “I don’t want to do that.”
      And I was like, “Why not?”

  3. Llewelyn Moss

    Good ole Rick “Coat Hanger” Perry is gonna have a tuff time gettin the ladies to vote for him. “portraying himself as a more moderate, thoughtful contender” , yeaaah, right. haha.

  4. DJF

    If what Jebb Bush says is true shouldn’t he be against more legal immigration since this will turn dynamic innovating immigrants into lazy old Americans?

  5. Gee

    On the um vs uh…

    …where is the time component. If you take this sample now, it only reflects what people of different ages use now. What if they transition from um to uh as they get older?

  6. Adam Eran

    This post: “Jill Stein to form exploratory committee for second Presidential run on Green Party ticket [Yahoo]. Hilariously, Bloomberg plays the Nader card in the subhead and the lead. Too bad it’s not true; 308,000 Florida Democrats voted for Bush in 2000. Those Democrats lost the race for Gore, the end. I’m not sure when the behavior pattern, for Democrats, of never accepting responsibility for any failure began, but the fingerpointing and blameshifting certainly intensified after 2000. Fifteen years later, and Democrats are still mewling and puking about it.”

    …needs to be engraved over the entrance to any building where Democrats meet.

  7. gonzomarx

    I know nothing about NY politics but this quote just leapt off the page.
    “I’ll tell you the truth: I was totally shocked on a number of levels,” Governor Cuomo said of the allegations
    pure Casablanca man!

  8. Hacker

    Look, I can put up with calling the Keurig copy protection scheme ‘DRM’,because one just has to put up with people being lazy with language like that. But please don’t actually use the term ‘digital rights management’ because it is nothing like that at all. All they have is something with non-visible ink printed on their cups. Real digital rights management is much more complicated and its social consequences go much deeper than just the source of consumable materials in printers, coffee makers, 3d printers, etc.

    1. Carolinian

      Not really. They are using “digital”–the software inside their coffee machine–to enforce their “rights”–the use of their presumably patented machine. A digital watermark in a video file would be similar and the entertainment companies tried to add this form of “DRM” to tv broadcasts but were blocked by the FCC. Of course requiring proprietary supplies for printers etc has also been declared illegal. Still I don’t think this coffee twist violates the definition.

      Needless to say more serious forms of DRM are hacked constantly up to and including supposedly uncrackable BluRay discs. It’s always more of a speed bump than a serious impediment.

  9. neo-realist

    Re Gore’s defeat in FL in 2000, this involved not just FL dems jumping over, but also massive black voter disenfranchisement, with many kicked off the rolls by the SOS even though they had a legal right to vote; Many of those voters had erroneous information in the voter registry—criminal records and wrong names. Greg Palast wrote about this gaming of the vote in FL in great detail in his terrific book–Best Democracy Money Can Buy. Given all the shenanigans with the FL vote including the machines, who knows how many of those FL dem votes for Bush were really legit.

    I understand that Gore ran a stinkbomb of a campaign which allowed the fraud in a single state to steal a Presidency from him that should have been rightly his in spite of himself given a clean election.

    1. ambrit

      Remember the story about the Florida Highway Patrol being said to have put the word out that they would be running traffic checks several blocks away from predominantly Democratic leaning areas’ polling places on election day?
      Here’s Greg Palasts’ wiki:

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      Well, I’m not in the “fix the electoral system” mode, here. I’m the “do the Democrats get to whine and blame others” mode. And no, they don’t.

      A functional party — OK, we can have the conversation about what the Democrats actually function at another time — should be able to do at least two things (besides deliver concrete material benefits to its constituencies):

      1) Get its own members to vote for its own candidate. The Democrats didn’t do that, so they lost, the end.

      2) Deal with and control threats to the electoral machinery. This the Democrats failed to do, and have continually failed to do from that day to this. They whine and point fingers after the fact, but do they take any preventive measures, legislative or judicial? No. Are they mobilizing unregistered voters? Don’t be ridiculous. Democrats don’t get to blame those mean Republicans when they keep letting the Republicans get away with outrage after outrage, that by inaction they become complicit in.

      I mean, were the Democrats trusting little children? Did they seriously think the Republicans were anything other than crooks and thieves? They were running against a party that impeached their guy over a ****-***! Did they imagine they were dealing with good faith actors? Utter dysfunction (granted, for some definition of function), and if you want to see it in action, watch Fahrenheit 911, where you can see Al Gore, himself, gavel the Congressional Black Caucus — who, incredibly, and for once in their lives, actually stood up on their hind legs and tried to do the right thing, the outrage was so bad — into silence, for the very election fraud you decry. The Democrats really do need to go the way of the Whigs; they will have richly earned that fate.

  10. DJG

    “puking and mewling”: compliments to you from a groundling. A snippet from that wondrous speech:
    All the world’s a stage,
    And all the men and women merely players.
    They have their exits and their entrances,
    And one man in his time plays many parts,
    His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
    Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.
    Then, the whining school-boy with his satchel
    And shining morning face, creeping like snail
    Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
    Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
    Made to his mistress’ eyebrow.

      1. DJG

        As my Italian friends say, You English speakers are so lucky, because Shakespeare invented your language, and it’s from the theater, and look at us, speaking Italian invented by Dante, who wrote a theological epic! [I know. It’s a lousy argument, but they always look so pitiable when they assert the inflexibiity of Italian.]

        1. ambrit

          You can always decline to argue.
          The Italians should take some comfort from the Spanish. The Spanish language solidified around Cervantes and Lope de Vega.

    1. Dana

      Brian Williams thought RPG still stood for Role Playing Game. I’m not the only one who’s that old.

  11. laughingsong

    I am waiting for the coin-operated oxygen vending machine installed in every row in steerage on airplanes. It’s gotten that bad.

      1. Laughingsong

        Lol – I purt-near wet meself reading that!

        My better half and I have talked often about opening a small carrier called Valium Air: we have pods like the mini-hotels in Japan, where you and your luggage reside for the flight. An anaesthetist comes by and puts you out, then you are awakened with coffee or tea close to the destination. No services or entertainment during flight. Detox lounge at the airport gate with continental breakfast. Pack em in!

  12. Dana

    Standing sections in planes when flight crew is required to be seated during takeoff, landing and turbulence? Not seeing it. But I would pay extra for a seat where I was ALLOWED to stand for more than a few seconds at a time on a long flight. It’s been a long time since passengers were permitted to stand in the aisle or galley.

      1. Dana

        They call it “economy comfort” and for most flights, if you plan to check a bag and buy your ticket at the right time, it isn’t any cheaper than first class …

  13. ginnie nyc

    Re: Sheldon Silver, Leonard Litwin & little Andy Cuomo – Litwin’s company is Glenwood Management, my document-losing, law-breaking, lying landlord. Glenwood is part of the thoroughly corrupt system in NYC real estate that gives wealthy firms severely discounted loans to build luxury apartments, with a few “affordable” units thrown in. The subsidized tenants are excluded from pay-to-play amenities, and generally treated with contempt.
    Thanks for this article, Lambert.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      You’re welcome. If you come on any useful — that is, particularly nasty — links on Glenwood, or Litwin and his buddies, do feel free to send them on to me at the link up in the plants section.

  14. GuyFawkesLives

    JPMorgan Chase is not on the list of most hated corporations?
    This simple fact is exactly what’s wrong with Americans.

    1. hunkerdown

      JPMorgan Chase bribes the peons well when they open a new account.

      Golden Sacks doesn’t generally return their calls.

      1. jrs

        I’ve thought about taking the bribe, then I realized it had so many conditions, a certain amount of in and outbound transactions on the account a month and so on, that there is no way I could work a second job, trying to get my bribe money.

  15. Jim A.

    Re: Immigrants being harder working than natives..
    I certainly believe it. Mostly self-selection bias, I think. People who are sure enough of their own abilities and driven enough to leave their families, history and friends behind to journey to a foreign land and try to make a go of it are, on average, going to be harder workers than those they left behind or those who were born in the country they they travel to. Possibly less true than 100 years ago, before television and long distance telephones, when you had less of an idea of what you the country that you were travelling to was like and the most contact that you could have with your family was an occasional letter.

  16. Oregoncharles

    308,000 Democrats in FL voted for Bush. Anyone who was watching could see first Gore and then Kerry throwing away the election, as if it was prearranged. To throw away an election and then blame some other party for it is just deeply pathetic. No wonder they’re doing so poorly. The ONLY thing they have going for them is the clown-car quality of the Republicans.

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