2:00PM Water Cooler 3/19/15

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“There’s a healthy irony to the press puffing Gore up, which is that without their antipathy, he might have been president already” [The Atlantic].

Reuters/IPSOS poll: “More than a third of Democrats and 44 percent of political independents agreed that the email issue has hurt the former secretary of state politically” [Reuters].

CNN poll: However, none of Clinton’s potential challengers have made inroads among Democrats, and she leads Paul by 11 points, and Walker and Jebbie by 15 [WaPo].

“In blasts of rapid-fire Twitter messages just this week, Clinton accused Republicans of waging a war on women, playing politics with a black nominee, shortchanging students, endangering the economic recovery and trying to yank health-care coverage for 16 million Americans” [WaPo]. Economic recovery for whom?

Obama: “It would be transformative if everybody voted. [Mandatory voting] would counteract [campaign] money more than anything. If everybody voted, then it would completely change the political map in this country” [Bloomberg].

Rubio: “Not voting is also a legitimate choice that some people make” [The Hill].

“In the new [Heartland Monitor] survey, the largest group, 44 percent, describes the economy as “fair,” an equivocal verdict that is virtually unchanged from the November 2013 result. These assessments vary little across most of the divides that usually segment public opinion” [National Journal].

How livestreaming apps will impact 2016 [Medium]. “This year’s “47 Percent Moment” will be on live video,” whether Meerkat or Periscope or whatever.

ECB HQ Opening and Blockupy Demonstration

Guardian solicits Blockupy stories from participants [Guardian]. Didn’t actually cover the story, eh?

Headline before (March 15): “Thousands to protest in Frankfurt against ECB ‘austerity'” [Reuters].

Headline after (March 18): “Frankfurt burning: Anti-capitalism protesters clash with police near ECB” [Sidney Morning Herald]. Well played.

The Hill

“US sets new record for denying, censoring government files” [McClatchy]. “[M]ost transparent administration in history.” But what is one lie among so many?

“White House Email Archiving Office Exempts Self from FOIA Disclosures” [We Meant Well]. On March 17, National Freedom of Information Day.

Stats Watch

Jobless claims, week of March 14, 2015: “[M]ostly steady indications from initial jobless claims which inched 1,000 higher” [Bloomberg]. “[S]teady but not spectacular growth for the labor market.”

Consumer Comfort Index, week of March 15, 2015: “Americans’ outlooks for the U.S. economy dimmed in March from a four-year high as feeble wage gains and harsh winter weather weighed on sentiment” [Bloomberg].

Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey, March 2015: “Slow growth with weakness in orders is the common thread for both the Empire State report, released earlier this week, and now the Philly Fed” [Bloomberg].

Leading Indicators, February 2015: “Growth in the index of leading economic indicators held steady at 0.2 percent in February, pointing to moderate growth for the economy over the next 6 months” [Bloomberg].


US congressman Danny Davis and Cook County commissioner Richard Boykin hand-deliver letter to Eric Holder and demand an ‘immediate investigation’ into secretive police facility at Homan Square [Guardian]. So presumably there’s something to the Guardian story even though there seems to be a news blackout in Chicago? Where’s Garcia on this?

“In a move that had been widely expected, the Chicago City Council voted 47-0 on Wednesday to transfer about 20 acres of land in either Washington Park or Jackson Park, whichever the president prefers” to the Obama Gilded Pleasure Dome Presidential Library [New York Times]. Both Emanuel and Garcia support.

“Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s complex solution to Chicago’s affordable-housing crisis sailed through the City Council Wednesday” [Chicago Sun-Times]. Hmm:

Downtown rental projects and rental or condo projects in higher-income areas would have the option to build, buy or renovate the required units within two miles as long as it’s in the same zone. And downtown condo projects could build, buy or rehabilitate the required units anywhere in the city.

So it’s OK to gentrify as long as you put the victims somewhere? Is that it?

“After Chicago resolved a local environmental justice problem, Emanuel created a new one by switching to a power source that harms people in more distant, rural communities” via fracking [HuffPo].

City Council to hold hearing on stalled reparations ordinance for torture victims of convicted Chicago Police Commander Burge [Chicago Sun-Times]. One week after the election. Priorities, huh?

“Progressive groups concede defeating Emanuel is an uphill climb, but they are already satisfied with forcing him into a runoff. And they are confident their message is resonating beyond Chicago” [NPR]. Well, at some point, you’ve got to win, right?

New “dark money” group of “progressive Democrats” formed by Emanuel backer Greg Goldne expects to plow $20 million into influencing Democratic state legislators “to support budget compromise” pushed by former private equity firm owner, now Governor Bruce Rauner [Chicago Sun-Times]. Shorter: Illinois Democrats to gut public pensions, because the only contracts that are sacred have a squillionaire on the winning end.

California Drought

“Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders on Thursday will unveil a $1-billion relief plan” for drought [LA Times]. Snowpack at 12% of average; was 28% last year.

“California regulators on Tuesday ordered every water agency in the state to restrict how often customers can water their landscaping” [Sacramento Bee]. They should encourage xeriscaping as a matter of public policy. Get rid of the lawns!

“Based on lessons learned from Australia’s epic Millennium Drought — which parched the land down under from 1995 to 2012 — California should invest in tracking its water with accurate measurements of flow, quality, storage and use, the PPIC report says” [Oroville Mercury-Register]. Well, that would be infrastructure investment, wouldn’t it?

“The drought, and a warming climate here, has had firefighters battling larger-than-usual wildfires for years now. Half of the state’s largest wildfires on record occurred since 2000, Berlant said” [Santa Cruz Sentinel]. On the bright side, I imagine that would take care of the flea problem, at least in the affected area.

“[D]uring the 2011- 2014 drought period, burning more natural gas to compensate for limited hydropower led to an 8 percent increase in emissions of carbon dioxide and other pollutants from California power plants” [KPBS].

“The lack of rain and warm temperatures have allowed the fleas to not just survive, but thrive this winter. On top of that, Kimsey says she’s never seen populations of urban wildlife so high—raccoons, opossums and rats that all carry fleas” [CBS Sacramento].

“California drought postpones High Sierra Regatta” [Sailing Scuttlebutt].

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Mall of America runs intel operation against #BlackLivesMatter activists [The Intercept]. I mean, who knew that “Intelligence Analyst” was an actual job title at Mall of America?

Former top staffer with Project Veritas, Richard Valdes, fired for failing to follow through on assignment to try to incite anti-police protesters by saying, “I wish I could kill some of these cops” [New York Post]. As usual, the first one to advocate violence is the cop (or, in this case, the agent provocateur, which comes to the same thing).

Class Warfare

“Only 36% of college grads have jobs that pay at least $45,000, a sharp decline from the 1990s, after adjusting for inflation. Perhaps most depressingly, the percentage of young people making below $25,000 has topped 20%, worse than in 1990” [CNN].

“[U]nless American elites are dedicated to something larger than themselves, an American commonwealth is impossible” [Foreign Affairs]. The university used to perform that social function. No more. (Review of William Deresiewicz’s Excellent Sheep.

“Progressive Group Takes Aim at Hedge Fund Managers” [New York Observer].

News of the Wired

  • Cabin Fever Watch, Big Sandy edition: “At one point, one of the men in the pickup fired up a chain saw and began swinging it around” [AP].
  • “From Minnesota to Arkansas, state officials are knocking on doors and quarantining areas in a fight to stop the spread of the biggest U.S. bird-flu outbreak on record” [AgWeb].
  • NOAA: More than 1,800 starving sea lion pups have washed up on California beaches since Jan. 1 and 750 are being treated in rescue centers across the state [CBS].
  • “This Is Russia” [American Scholar].
  • “Lorem ipsum” orginated with a text by Cicero [Open Culture].
  • “Yield curve 101” [New York Times]. “It is, inherently, a forecast for what the economy holds in the future — how much inflation there will be, for example, and how healthy growth will be over the years ahead — all embodied in the price of money today, tomorrow and many years from now.” I remember when America’s favorite quasi-Nobelist, Paul Krugman, solemnly advised us to watch the TED spread during the 2008 financial crisis, and, as it turns out, one of its components, LIBOR, was manipulated by the banksters. So I’m leery when the Times forces a card like this. Readers?

* * *

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, the fourth of “I Wish It Were Spring!” week (MR):


Wild pear in bloom, March 9, 2015, Wraysbury, England. Bastards.

Readers sent in some very nice “I Wish It Were Spring!” photos, but I could always use some more. Glad to put this winter behind!

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

Talk amongst yourselves!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Water Cooler on by .

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. fledermaus

    Obama: “It would be transformative if everybody voted.”

    Don’t blame me, I voted for Kodos.

      1. jrs

        So do we at least get a public holiday on the day we need to cast our mandatory vote?

        Oh wait I forgot what country I lived in, didn’t I? Working more than any other industrial country is what makes the U.S.A. the greatest country on earth! I guess it’s going to be even if you aren’t able to vote and keep a job (definitely true for many of those with lower incomes being discussed), you still get punished for not voting. Kind of like the Obamacare mandate I guess.

        1. kimsarah

          I’m confident that if everybody voted, the Diebold machines could handle it and still produce the desired outcome.

    1. Propertius

      Note that he didn’t say it would be “good”, merely “transformative”. The Black Death was “transformative”, but that doesn’t mean a repeat performance is in order.

    2. Vatch

      Okay, is that an obscure reference to Star Trek, the Simpsons, or something else? Inquiring minds want to know!

      1. Anon

        It’s from The Simpsons. Amazing how apt some of their comedy was, when you look back on it and by look back on it, I mean that golden era of Seasons 2-10 or arguably 11.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Seasons 1 -10. 11 had Behind the Laughter and Xena. ..I mean Lucy Lawless, but it also had the awful Florida, Bart gets a horse, and random Homer job* episodes with no point episodes. Josh and Bill were much better showrunners than Mike and Jean.

          Sideshow Bob Roberts premiered in ’94 and was likely written in a close to final form 18 months earlier. Despite the obvious jokes about FoxNews, FoxNews didn’t exist until 1997. News, government, and traditional public mores have been screwed up for some time.

          The Internet and corporate branding of certain enterprises exposes the problems more routinely. Walter Cronkite pushed the company line about Vietnam for years. He wasn’t ridiculed publicly the way he might have been if he were around today.

          As for Homers jobs, classic episodes had a satirical reason for Homer to be an astronaut or vigilante. NASA was concerned about public interest in space and cooked up ways to spice it up including sending a teacher while ignoring the shuttle. Sending Homer was just one step away from reality. The neighborhood watch is just for would-be fascists, but no one ever says that. Having Homer protect the world’s largest cubit zirconium made sense. Today, the writers just seem to think, hey, that’s a weird job or a loser, let’s have Homer or Bart do that.

      2. Massinissa

        Its funny that you should mention both at the same time, because its a reference to the Simpsons character Kodos, who was named after a Star Trek character named Kodos.

      3. Demeter

        Kodos the Executioner was a character in Star Trek Episode “The Conscience of the King” first aired 8 Dec. 1966, Season 1, Episode 13, Arnold Moss played Kodos aka actor Anton Karidian. Barbara Anderson played Lenore Karidian, his psychotic murdering daughter and leading lady.

    3. jrs

      And what about the opposite statement: “it would be transformative if everyone didn’t vote” Hmm seems equally if not more plausible, although de-legitimization is really not enough.

    4. Crazy Horse

      The USA has a one party political system with both parties representing only the property class– and within that class only a few thousand individuals have any real effect on policy. If voting mattered they would make it illegal, but it serves a useful purpose as circus entertainment just like the NFL.

      Obama’s worst failing is not just that he proved to be a Trojan Horse candidate who lied about every campaign promise— that is just what we expect from any political animal. His actions are even more reprehensible because he came into office in one of those rare moments in the national history when actual change might have been possible. And now he has the gall to tell me I should vote.

      Change I can believe in: Obama, Cheney, Hellary Clinton ,Jamie Dimon, Timmy Geithner, Lloyd Blankfein, and a few thousand of their fellow criminals wearing orange suits on work gangs inside of a non-air conditioned maximum security prison in Mississippi.

    5. zapster

      Put a “no confidence” option on every candidate, and watch voter turnout soar. Make them find new candidates if we reject them all. That would cure the problem of Republicrats and Democans once and for all.

      1. direction

        that is a great idea. plus get rid of polling places and have the voting on a secure website so you can vote via internet or cell phone from work. easypeesy.

  2. Llewelyn Moss

    re: 1,800 starving sea lion pups have washed up on California beaches

    Also, Tuna stocks in massive decline. Coral reefs dying off. Lobsters taking over the Gulf of Maine due to global warming.

    But NO, the oceans are not dying from pollution and over exploitation (ie fishing, etc) by 8 billion humans.

    PS. I’m officially protesting having my sloppy comment yesterday being called out as “Sloppy”. I forthwith acknowledge that all my comments are indeed sloppy, so no need to point the sloppy finger at me. hahahah.

  3. Jim Haygood

    Yield curve: the short end (e.g., the overnight Fed funds rate) has been set by the Fed for 100 years. That’s why it’s called a ‘policy rate.’

    Since QE began, the Federal Reserve has bought so much longer-maturity debt (up to 70 percent of each issue, according to its unilaterally-announced rule) that those yields have been influenced too.

    Think of yield curves as the abstract art of central bankers. They draw the lines according to taste. Then their minders collect the crayons, so they won’t eat them or insert them into each other’s bodily orifices.

    1. craazyboy

      Obviously, the long end is an indicator of how much CDS insurance Wall Street has issued. hahaha.

  4. diptherio

    Cabin Fever Watch, Big Sandy edition: “At one point, one of the men in the pickup fired up a chain saw and began swinging it around” [AP].

    Because Montana is for bad-asses. As we say around here, “don’t bring a knife to a chainsaw fight.”

    Big Sandy, home of Sen. John Tester, btw. I love that the only national news stories from my state are of this ilk…helps keep the wrong sort of people away.

  5. Timmy

    The NYT’s yield curve primer is completely conventional thinking in an unprecedented monetary policy environment that central bankers clearly don’t understand very well so declaring it (the yield curve) psychic is probably risky. We should probably better understand a number of issues that have strongly influenced the term structure of interest rates in recent years. For example, the decade long collapse in monetary velocity, the behavioral impact of the zero interest rate bound, the paucity of income options for savers, or the global demand for dollar denominated debt among other things. These issues certainly seem more influential now and probably significantly impact the yield curve’s ability to measure/forecast inflationary expectations.

    1. Furzy Mouse

      Like futures markets going into contango, for example, showing that crude or any other commodity may well be cheaper next year than this year, the differentials shown on the yield curve illustrate the multiple bets by the banks and other players on the future of rates. Consider it a “crowd-sourced” infographic, and as such, not particularly manipulated, except by the central bank’s setting of the Fed Funds rates. More worrisome is the phenomenal rise of the dollar, the new normal of negative rates, and the nearly immeasurable amount of world wide liquidity looking for a home, any home. What black swan may arise from these factors is the bigger question.

  6. New Deal democrat

    On the yield curve, I’ll be glad to help.

    An inverted yield curve, I.e., short term interest rates higher than long term interest rates, is a nearly perfect warning of a recession 12 to 18 months in the future. In the last 100 years, it has never had a false negative, and only one false positive (1966). If we are sure we will have inflation rather than deflation in the next several years, a normally shaped yield curve is also a perfect indicator for the economy about 12 to 18 months later. In times of deflation, however, a normal yield curve is not reliable. On the other hand, an inverted yield curve in the presence of deflation is much to be feared. It has only happened twice in the last century – in 1928 and 2006.

    For a detailed look with helpful graphs, here is Mish in 2007:


    And here I take the analysis all the way back to the 1920s, again with illustrative graphs:


    Since normally you would want to be paid more interest in order to take the risk of holding on to a bond for a longer time, when the curve inverts, it means bondholders think current rates are too high compared with the longer term – they expect weakness. So the yield curve does give a solid economic signal.

    One statement made by the article, however, is flat out wrong: “The yield curve is fairly flat, which is a sign that investors expect mediocre growth in the years ahead.”

    Not so. The link below will take you to a graph of the spread between 10 year and six month bonds, currently at 2%. The graph then subtracts 2 so that the current spread = 0.


    The spread is not fairly flat, but is steeper than most other times during the last 30 years. It is also steeper than at almost all times between 1933 and 1954, when the US saw the strongest growth in its entire history.

    Finally, The treasury market is way too huge for any private participant to make a significant difference. Only central banks can influence it.

    Hope that helps.

    1. craazyboy

      ‘Course if all of Japan, China, and Europe buy it, it just makes the whole thing cheaper.

  7. Thomas Aquinas

    “[U]nless American elites are dedicated to something larger than themselves, an American commonwealth is impossible” [Foreign Affairs]. The university used to perform that social function. No more. (Review of William Deresiewicz’s Excellent Sheep.

    Ya mean like, Christianity?

  8. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

    I think people are stuck in an old paradigm on Hilary, that paradigm says “oh oh our public servants should be honest and trustworthy and obey the law”. The new paradigm says “we expect our public servants to break their promises and break the law, we just want them to be very good at it”. A new form of American Exceptionalism: we cheer when our snipers kill better than anyone else in our extra-legal wars; we gloat when our drones violate the sovereignty of little pissant countries who refuse to submit, we celebrate billionaires and corporations who hide their fortunes from taxation. “Get rich or die trying”. Our TV heroes manufacture ice, or are serial murderers (Dexter), and get away with it. “I know Obomba lies to me, what do you expect, but he does it soooo well, that other guy’s lies aren’t nearly as smooth, yay!”

    1. RUKidding

      One of my Obot friends, who is now also a Hillbot, commenced to lecturing/haranguing me about why it was “absolutely ridiculous” and a “total waste of time” to even comment about HRC’s use of her personal server for email.

      Disclaimer: for all the other bigger issues I have with HRC, the email “scandal” rates low on the totem pole, sadly. That said, there ARE issues of concern with how HRC conducted herself.

      However, I feel like I have to cry “uncle” anymore when citizens are so willfully captured by their tribalism and, frankly, sheer barking ignorance about how the USG is being run these days; why certain things really should matter to the populace (and used to at one time); and why ignoring these kinds of transgressions, at the least, just gives these thieves and war criminals more leeway to do worse the next time.

      As long as what’s left of the dwindling middle & working classes are willing to put up, endorse and go along with the venality, criminality and predations of the politicians working for the 1%, then we’re screwed, imo.

      1. Steve in Flyover

        “Yeah, Billary is a lying, thieving scumbag, buts they are OUR scumbags”

        The fact that Hillary is the only candidate that is even on the radar screen tells you everything you need to know about the Democrats

        That, and the fact that a bunch of people believe Al Jazzera and the Moscow Times are more credible than mainstream US media sources.

        I’ve come to the conclusion that none of our problems are going to be addressed (much less fixed) in my lifetime. Hell, you can’t even get anyone to agree on the facts.

        1. RUKidding

          But even suggesting that it might be, you know, “nice” if HRC had a D challenger is considered the very height of heresy. Why? I have no idea. The R Team somehow manages to come up with a never-ending slew of hopeless Klowns to sit in their Klown Kar. Admittedly, the vast majority of R candidates are pretty pathetic, but at least there’s some *notion* of having a choice.

          Anymore D-tribalists just want one, and only one, “savior” to whom all should bow, scrape and venerate no matter what they do.

          I swear that Obama could go live on TV and start killing puppies & kittens, and my acquaintances would angrily yell at me for questioning whether this was, uh, a good idea. Certainly drone killing people across the planet is all A-OK with them. Ergo, why stop at puppies and kittens, after all? If Obama is doing it, he clearly has a very good reason for doing so, so STFU. Plus Obama has a gorgeous wife and beautiful daughters, and he really really is a nice guy.

          1. different clue

            Well . . . if Senator Webb were to pursue the Dparty nomination through the primaries, it would give Dparty primary voters a chance to show if they even WANT a choice, or if a pre-selection pre-coronation is the only thing they can even handle. In which case, the Dparty is a perfect fit for the Dvoters, and is exactly the party the Dvoters deserve.

            I hope Webb gets into the race so that the experiment may be run and observed.

            1. cwaltz

              I don’t.

              The guy is a piece of work.

              He was my Senator. We called to complain when he voted for FISA. His excuse? The House will never pass it. Surprise! They passed it. Given a choice between him and Hillary I’d pick Hillary every time and twice on Fridays. I dislike him as a candidate that much(and I actually helped push him for Senator at one time.)

      2. jrs

        They perceive correctly that most of those upset with Hillary’s emails (most) are conservatives scoring partisan points. And they are. Hint: most of those conservatives aren’t any more principled.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          And as it turns out, in retrospect, the Democrats baying for Bush and Rove’s head over the gwb43.com scandal were also scoring partisan points. In fact, both Bush and Clinton were wrong to privatize their official mail. But nobody will say the policy is wrong, just that’s wrong when the other guy does it.

      3. Crazy Horse

        I agree. Quibbling about a little bit of reality management by a future absolute ruler like Hellary Clinton is petty. If you want to see the real Hellary in action watch the video clip that shows her and other National Insecurity staff sitting around a table ostensibly watching live surveillance of Qaddafi being captured, his asshole reamed out with a bayonet by our “freedom fighter Al Qaeda allies, and then left to die a slow death.

        Clinton’s comment for the press: “We came, We saw, He died.”

    2. Brooklin Bridge

      I believe another narrative generally accepted (at great expense in money and think tank thunking) is that the Republican party, particularly in it’s bids for the WH, remains off the deep end whereas Hillary specifically and Democrats in general represent a more reasonable POV. This works fine for the puppet masters because from their point of view a Vichy – or traitor – Democrat is more effective in furthering their interests than a bull-dog Republican with a torture loving monster or abject fruit cake second in command. And I believe there are quite a few moderate Republicans, at least in Massachusetts, who even buy into this. They shudder as much as Democrats at the mention of Sarah Palin and while Hillary carries a lot more baggage than Obama did, she is a woman and loves war in a war loving country.

      Of course anything Chris Cillizza writes should be taken with a fifth of whiskey, and CNN polls are almost certainly well cooked either in the questions, the chosen responders or the math before being served up, but I think Hillary’s chances are better than we might imagine, especially at NC where the depths of her vileness are so obvious.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        I confess to a soft spot for Chris Cilizza because he still says “National” airport, instead of “Reagan National.” Of course, the spot isn’t very soft.

  9. Jess

    California drought:

    We’ll know that it’s serious when the country clubs have to stop watering the golf courses.

    And BTW, I saw our Lt. Governor and erstwhile successor to Governor Lying Brown on Chris Hayes’ show yesterday talking about mandatory water rationing but in the same sentence talking about maintaining the state’s population growth. Seriously. And, of course, he neglected to mention anything about rectifying Nestle’s abuse of the water waste structure to generate massive profits.

    ‘Bout time to start that water pipeline from Alaska on a WWII-type priority crash program. It’ll have to be done at some point, so why not now? And talk about infrastructure jobs!

    1. Ron

      AG is the primary water user in the state. For example wine vines prior to 1986 were dry farmed but U.C. Davis came out with various vines that were shallow rooted,need water on a regular basis they are more productive but use considerable more water, one example among many of new age AG, consider Millions of acres of wine grapes spread all over Ca. Yesterday the State Supreme Court agreed with the State Water Board that the state does have the right to control pumping from rivers and streams no matter what water rights farmers or corporate interest hold. It would be interesting to see this ruling expanded to ground water pumping.

      1. jo6pac

        Yep vines and almond trees what a waste and I like wine. I’ve always felt u.c.davis is the enemy of real food production. Asparagus use to grow only in the Calif. Delta and still does but with a little help from u.c.davis the can grow in the lower San Joaquin valley that use to be desert.

        The water rights issue has been along time coming but from I understand if you can prove you have water rights you get water. The San Joaquin river near Tracy, Calif. you can walk across and the pumps are high a dry. I know in my area most framers have them but in other area the mineral & riparian rights have been sold. You better start a Garden if you can because farmers in my area will get water from the state but it might not be enough to grow anything. There will be no Federal Water this year.

    2. lee

      A bit gobsmacked when hearing back to back stories on NPR about our having only a year’s worth of water in our reservoirs followed by how Orange county needs to build 7,000 new homes per year to meet demand. This is particularly galling for a northern California chauvinist like myself.

      California has the 8th largest economy in the world, and largest within the U.S. Its agricultural production is twice that of the nation’s second place Texas, also in deep trouble owing to the drought. I hope somebody has a plan and that the issue would receive at least as much media attention as people having to shovel more snow than usual in Boston.

      1. RUKidding

        I hope somebody has a plan and that the issue would receive at least as much media attention as people having to shovel more snow than usual in Boston.

        Recommend you don’t hold your breath on that.

        I wasn’t super hopeful with Jerry Brown as Gov but had some slim hope that he might step up to the plate on the water issue, esp given the severity of the drought. The silence on this topic is not golden; rather it’s frightening.

        CA citizens seem to be hopelessly clueless and worthless in terms of actually demanding anything to be done other than that they choose to water their stupid lawns at night so they won’t get busted for wasting water.

        Some CA cities do provide subsidies to rate payers who get rid of their dumb water-wasting lawns in favor of less water using alternatives, which is good. But such programs are not widely publicized, and to date, I’ve seen very little discussing how “average citizens” can do more to economize on water usage.

        And yes, CA has always had water-wasting crops like rice paddies in the central valley for example! Plus cotton! Plus lots and lots and lots of vineyards! And almond trees! Water hogs all.

        And now, in its infinite non-wisdom, Sacramento City govt has approved of a HUGE property development out by Folsom in the low foothills. Yep right near the now almost totally drained Folsom Dam. Where the water is supposed to come from to 1) build the d*mn project, and 2) provide water to the thousands of future residents… who knows? Guess someone will hire local Native tribes to do rain dances? (no disrespect intended. I just can’t think of anything else). Plus they also want to build yet another University (why? I don’t know) out there…

        Go figure. Someone will make money off of this foolishness, and I guess anymore that’s all that matters.

      2. different clue

        Most of the food coming from California is fun food and festive food. Life would be drab without California artichokes, avocados, almonds, asparagus, etc.
        But if agriculture came to a stop in California, Great Lakestanis could still survive on Great Lakestani potatoes and cabbage and apples and so forth. It would be a drab food-existence, something like a kinder gentler Ukraine or Moldova or Belarus, but it would be survival.

        1. Demeter

          You can grow asparagus in Michigan….hell, I grew it in New Hampshire! Nut trees do well here, as would anything that wasn’t actually tropical. Although, with glass houses, pineapples, citrus, coffee and coca can grow in Michigan, too. See the U of M Botanical Garden’s greenhouses, if you don’t believe me.

      3. jrs

        The news is east coast biased and always has been, so you are never going to get it to focus on the west coast equally. And of course it also raises too many uncomfortable issues, or would that be inconvenient issues, climate change you say? Whereas extra Boston snow is “climate change? what climate change?” Yes, even colder winters could be a result of climate change, but tell that to the denialists.

        Agricultural production in a state where the population is many millions is not to be so easily dismissed (and of course that produce is also shipped all over the country). One article I read was arguing “agriculture production is no problem for California’s economy as the state can just grow other economic sectors”. Okay. But what will we eat? Economists!!! As if there’s some substitute good for food.

        1. craazyboy

          You shouldn’t eat economists. It’s illegal, if you get caught.

          Besides, this is all small grapes stuff anyways. Nothing that the Americas-Pacific Rim resident -consumers can’t handle. We can always find GDP data somewhere in a region that large – and the TPP is on the way..

      4. Crazy Horse

        As is often the case, the simple answer is staring you Northern Californians in the face. Join Oregon and Washington in their move to secede from the Empire and form a properly sized country called Cascadia. The Empire will not dare object, not with our Tridents as deterrent!

  10. afisher

    For those who have an immediate negative response to the verbage: mandatory, don’t whine when you have no rights – because freedom of speech will be deemed mandatory and idiots will demand that it be downvoted.

  11. Carolinian

    I’m all for mandatory voting. Don’t they have that in Australia? If you can be forced to shoot people for the good of your country then mandatory voting is a mere bagatelle. Of course this might not necessarily push our politics to the left–witness Australia–but certain popular ideas could finally reach fruition. National health care comes to mind.

    Which is why the Republicans and plutocrats would never allow it to happen. Mandatory not voting (unless you’re a squillionaire) is more their ideal.

    1. RUKidding

      I agree. I used to live downundah (long ago), and I thought mandatory voting was an excellent idea. Not many citizens complained about it, either. Sadly, yes, Australia has gone all corporate/rightwing like everywhere else, but there are things that work better for the citizens there than here. I happen to think a lot has to do with the fact that voting is mandatory. Even low info voters have to get off their duffs and figure some of it out.

      I don’t see mandatory voting as some terrible onerous burden.

    2. RanDomino

      This is a brilliant trend. First mandatory health insurance, now mandatory voting. Next it will be mandatory to have a middle-class income, then it will be mandatory to have a bachelor’s degree. There will be fines for failing to achieve either.

    3. jrs

      If it doesn’t lead to more left wing policy then it further entrenches right wing policy right? Can’t vote for the righties and not identify with them more after doing so, too much cognitive dissonance. Of course the same is true for obamabots.

      And by the way HOW would it lead to national healthcare? Maybe if we had a national REFERENDUM I could see it. But otherwise they can always rig it so neither tweedledee nor tweedledum will support national healthcare.

  12. DJG

    “Well, at some point, you’ve got to win, right?” Not if you are a “progressive” in Chicago. This idea that Rahm is a-shaking in his booties because of the runoff is being passsed around widely. “Progressives” seem to think that he’s been chastened. It’s a white-collar mentality: Let’s not have consequences. Meanwhile, the city and the state are being looted, and the “progressives” very shortly will be back to the usual debates about whether or not to put ketchup on a hotdog and the merits of Lagunitas Extra-Hoppy Big Upchuck IPA. And “resonating beyond Chicago” means New York [!] and California [!]. Don’t fret too much about democracy breaking out in the Second City, not when it is easier to remain second rate.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Yes, “progress” toward what has always been my question. Seems to be an ever-receding horizon. “Progress yesterday, progress tomorrow, but never progress today.”

  13. RUKidding

    “With billions in the bank, Blue Shield of California loses its state tax-exempt status.”

    Anyone wanna bet how long it will take for Blue Shield to get their tax exempt status back? And what back door negotiations will make it so?

    National Propaganda Radio had a “bit” on it today around Noon. Made it sound like just a little “oopsie” that could be corrected. Head of Blue Cross getting paid over $5million, billions in profits, and keep raising rates on the rubes. Yeah, yeah, tax exempt status! THAT’s what we ‘need’ to stay in business.

    1. jo6pac

      Yes my former employer ran into this problem but easily fixed but starting a holding company with whole lot little shell corp. Same criminals.

  14. neo-realist

    On the possible black injustice tipping point, Black man hung to death in Mississippi

Comments are closed.