2:00PM Water Cooler 6/10/15

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“Supporting NAFTA Was the Kiss of Death for Democrats — Why Dems Should Think Twice About Voting for TPP” [Down with Tyranny]. IBGYBG….

Democrat traitors in the House: Letsgetitdone puts on his yellow waders and calls out Don Beyer ($-VA; contact, 202-225-4376), Kathleen Rice ($-NY; contact, 202-225-5516, and Jim Hines ($-CT, contact, 202-225-5541).

“After repeatedly hedging their bets on whether the big vote would take place this week, Republican leaders announced the Friday vote at a closed-door caucus meeting” today [The Hill].

Democrats at their own closed-door meeting complained to Pelosi that the Medicare deal wasn’t good enough because GOP leaders plan to attach the fix to a separate trade “preferences” bill.

Since the bill granting trade preferences to African countries is not considered must-pass legislation, that means there is “no guarantee of enactment,” said a source in the meeting.

Boehner and Republicans don’t want the fix attached to either fast-track or Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA), the bill granting aid to displaced workers. Doing so would alter the Senate-passed package, requiring another vote by the upper chamber.

Here is the Hill’s whip list; scroll down, it was updated today [The Hill].

“The obscure legal system that lets corporations sue countries” [Guardian]. Good long-form on the history of ISDS.

“Grass roots opposition to TTiP in Germany” [New York Times]. Note the organizing infrastructure and tactics.



Sanders as Burlington mayor and his support of the punk scene [Vice]. Moral: Government can be a force for good.

New Hamphshire polling: “The reason Sanders’s numbers are so close to where Obama was in 2007 is because in 2007 Clinton and Obama both also had to contend with the reasonably strong candidacy of former senator John Edwards” [WaPo].

The S.S. Clinton

Editorial: “It is not hard to vote in Ohio. It is especially easy” [Columbus Dispatch]. IMNSHO, it’s good that Clinton focuses on voting rights. It would be even better if she also focused on voting systems, and it’s especially curious that she does not, given Jebbie’s attempted election theft in Florida 2000, as well as the shenanigans in Ohio 2004.

O’Malley’s zero-tolerance policing [Baltimore Sun].

Republican Establishment

Jebbie’s SuperPAC unlikely to hit $100 million goal by end of June [WaPo]. What a shame!

Republican Principled Insurgents

“It’s easy enough to mock a particular media portrayal of Marco Rubio, cast as — shock! — someone who has struggled with his finances yet owns a luxury boat” [The Note]. It certainly is! I mean, I don’t own a boat!

Is the conservative brand tanking? [Will Bunch, Philadelphia Inquirer]. “The ‘liberal comeback’ is more a function of millions of Americans running away from — or, in the case of young people, shunning — the conservative brand.” Alas, branding and policy outcomes are not the same thing, as Obama passing the Heritage Foundations health care plan shows.

“At this point, the campaign is largely just performance art for the press and the donor class” [Politico]. In other words, the elite that runs the country, along with their key enablers, are managing their portfolios for next year.

Herd on the Street

“A deer in headlights is stuck in place and too overwhelmed to act. So too are stock investors as they await action from the Federal Reserve” [Bloomberg]. S&P trades in lowest range in  twenty years.

Stats Watch

Portuguese 10-year bonds: “GSPT10YR:IND Yield 2.975; down 0.022; change: 0.73% [Bloomberg]. Mr. Market’s mild worries on contagion decrease. Motion is progress, and motion there has been.

MBA Mortgage Applications, week of June 5, 2015: “Calendar factors tied to the Memorial Day weekend made for outsized gains in mortgage bankers’ data”  [Bloomberg]. “Cash sales are down sharply, so it seems that buyers have shifted from all cash to borrowing” [Mosler Economics].

Quarterly Services Survey, Q1 2015:  “Year-on-year, information revenue rose 3.0 percent in the first quarter” [Bloomberg].

“In its annual teen summer job outlook, Challenger estimated that the summer employment market would be stronger for this year’s teen job seekers” [Econintersect].

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Ta-Nehisi Coates on “the bias of now” [Medium]. Important insight with wide application.

High cash bail: ” His family tried to hold bake sales to raise money for his bond, Mr. Wheeler said, but the police came asking if they had a license to sell food” [New York Times].

“[S]olitary confinement creates more violence both inside and outside prison walls”  [Scientific American]. In other words, solitary confinement is a self-licking ice cream cone that tortures people. It’s a two-fer! Make that primarily black people. It’s a three-fer!

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

“Justice Department Subpoenas Reason.com To Unmask Commenters” [Buzzfeed]. You’re bringing down the curve, dudes!

“Why Google is a political matter” [The Monthly]. Interview with Julian Assange.

Amtrak Crash

Amtrak engineer wasn’t using his phone [Bloomberg]. So far, we’ve had a first world-quality investigation on this, which we can still do with aircraft, although no longer with food (no doubt because the elite take the Acela and sometimes even non-private planes, but don’t eat prole food. Or else they have food tasters).

“Feds order trains to have more crew after fatal Amtrak derailment” [USA Today]. Wait, what? More workers? What’s wrong with these people?

“The [Federal Railroad Administration] advisory focused mainly on controlling excessive train speeds, which are believed to be the primary cause of the Amtrak derailment last month in Philadelphia and a Metro-North crash in the Bronx in 2013” [New York Times]. 

Climate Change

“It seems perverse, but a load of evidence shows this to be true—our grey matter is set up to instruct us to cope with the here-and-now, and flails in the face of long, uncertain future threats” [Vice].

Avian Flu (H5N2)

“Why Aren’t We More Scared of the Bird Flu?” [New Yorker]. Michael T. Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy: “We used to think we had outstanding biosecurity in poultry. But, except for the outbreak in 1983, which was stopped quickly, we have never been tested before.”

The avian influenza virus, as it is constituted now, does not attach to receptors in the human throat. But many of the largest hog-production facilities in the United States are located in the upper Midwest—often on the same farms where millions of chickens and turkeys are bred. That makes for a particularly ominous convergence: epidemiologists consider pigs an ideal mixing vessel for human and animal flu viruses, because the receptors on their respiratory cells are similar to ours.

Headline: “7 maps and charts that explain the looming egg crisis everyone will soon be talking about” [WaPo]. Classic new media, or perhaps I should say “neomedia”: 1) Misdirection to price and consumption, as opposed to, say, an epidemic, because markets (ergo, go die); 2) False authority from infographics driven by selective data; 3) Assumed identity of interest between writer and reader (Whaddaya mean, “everyone”? 4) Clickbait headline. No doubt there’s more.

Squillionaire Wretched Excess Watch

“John Kerry Saves $500,000 By Docking 76-Foot Luxury Yacht Out Of State” [HuffPo]. In state taxes, mind you, so that really does take away from spending. And Kerry and Rubio both have boat trouble now. How cozy.

Class Warfare

“[T]he monetary authorities have superpowers which environmental regulators could only dream of” [Edward Hadas, Reuters]. “[I]t may take a few hard lessons for investors and speculators to learn about the new world order (!).” Indeed! Of course, investors and speculators never have to learn the really hard lessons themselves, eh?

The productivity puzzle [WaPo]. This is rich:

Or it could be that the financial sector, still damaged by the crisis, is having problems helping the most efficient firms get loans.

As if the banks were even in that business anymore.

“Walmart maintains a steady drumbeat of anti-union information at its more than 4,000 U.S. stores, requiring new hires—there are hundreds of thousands each year—to watch a video that derides organized labor” [The Atlantic]. Very good roundup of Walmart dynasty’s congealed decades of union h8te. One might wonder if workers getting squat from a generation’s-worth of productivity gains has anything to do with the productivity puzzle, here and in the UK, the neo-liberal heartless land.

“Executives from the finance industry represent a growing percentage of board members, and an even larger percentage of board leadership, at some of America’s most influential nonprofits” [Stanford Social Innovation Review].

“Remarkably, it costs less to house, educate, and employ homeless people than it does to maintain their status quo on the streets” [Fast Co-exist]. Another self-licking ice-cream cone.

News of the Wired

  • “Iterating Grace” [Fusion (original)]. Silicon Valley roman a clef, supposedly pitch perfect. Worth a takedown?
  • “Tesla in line for $15 million in California job creation tax credits” [Los Angeles Times]. Elon Musk, master grifter.
  • Vienna coffee houses [The Atlantic (KF)].
  • “Latvia elects Green party’s Vejonis as president” [Tengri News]. Not sure where Vejonis is on austerity, but the Latvian Greens are said to be center-right.
  • “More U.S. Children Being Diagnosed With Youthful Tendency Disorder” [The Onion].
  • “[T]he Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association — a secretive food industry trade group that has no in-house employees, no office of its own and a minuscule budget — serves as the de-facto regulator of the nation’s flavor additives,” which are in everything [Center for Public Integrity]. What could go wrong?

* * *

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 third of Gardens, Week Six:


Beach roses are invasive. So sue me!

Readers, the weekend’s discussion for “Open Thread on Water” was terrific. So many interesting projects! Please, send me pictures of your projects, at least if plants are involved, and when aren’t they? If only of maple twirlers in gutters!

If you enjoy Water Cooler, please consider tipping and click the hat. I need to keep my server up! And pay the plumber….


(Readers will notice that I have, at long last, improved the hat!)

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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. Vatch

    Trade traitors, or at least leaning that way.


    The aggressiveness of unions’ attacks on the trade front has Democratic Representatives very angry at their usual allies. Rep. Cedric Richmond, a Democrat from New Orleans, told CNN: “Labor is going a little overboard and I think there is some potential backlash for how far they are going.” Chicago Rep. Mike Quigley was even harsher, noting, “If you just look at [Trade Promotion Authority] from a rational view, you’d have a lot more yeses.”

    Quigley and Richmond need to hear from their constituents (politely – they might change their minds about fast track).

    Mike Quigley:

    2458 Rayburn HOB
    Washington, DC 20515
    Phone: (202) 225-4061
    Fax: (202) 225-5603

    3742 W. Irving Park Rd., Chicago, IL 60618
    Phone: (773) 267-5926
    Fax: (773) 267-6583
    Hours: Monday – Friday 9am – 5:30pm

    3223 N. Sheffield Ave., Chicago, IL 60657
    Hours: Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm
    (I guess this office can’t afford a telephone)

    Cedric Richmond:

    240 Cannon HOB
    Washington, DC 20515
    Phone: (202) 225-6636
    Fax: (202) 225-1988
    Hours: Monday-Friday 9:00AM-6:00PM Eastern time

    2021 Lakeshore Dr., Suite 309
    New Orleans, LA 70122
    Phone: (504) 288-3777
    Fax: (504) 288-4090
    Hours: Monday-Friday 8:30AM-5:30PM

    1520 Thomas H. Delpit Drive, Suite 126
    Baton Rouge, LA 70802
    Phone: (225) 636-5600
    Fax: (225) 636-5680
    Hours: Monday-Friday 8:30AM – 5 PM

    200 Derbigny St., Suite 3200
    Gretna, LA 70053
    Phone: (504) 365-0390
    Hours: Monday-Friday 8:30AM-5:30PM

        1. different clue

          Well . . . Obamatrade skeptics could always write someone at that address to give them a piece of their mind.

          If life hands you lemons, make lemonade.
          If life hands you demons, make demonade.

        2. Yves Smith

          You need to reframe this. The opposition is wasting its money by in a teeny way funding a site fundamentally opposed to its stance. Think any NC reader is gonna be swayed by that ad?

          1. thoughtful person

            I am just sharing info. I assume we all see a variety of ads cycle through. Interesting to me that there must be some concern on the pro TPP etc side, or buying ads would not be needed. Probably flooding all political sites at the moment. No criticism of webmasters intended – naked capitalism is one of my favorites!

    1. Brindle

      I called up the D.C. office of my rep, Utah Rob Bishop (GOP) and gave a comment to the intern who answered. I stated national sovereignty as my concern as to TPP, and as far as I could tell she seemed pleased that I urged a no vote. Bishop is listed as undecided.

    2. Bernard

      i called the DC office, the local office is nothing but a recording saying “they will call you back”. I told the receptionist my zipcode and that i pay attention to politics, asked him to vote against Fast Track.

    3. Gerard Pierce

      The aggressiveness of unions’ attacks on the trade front has Democratic Representatives very angry at their usual allies.

      Actually, unions and the rest of us should be a lot more aggressive. If Democratic Representatives are on our side, they should be marching in lock-step with the Unions.

      The Democratic Party stopped being allies of labor when they ran the register tape and found out that there was more money available to “New Democrats” and DINO sellouts.

      If these “angry representatives” intend to continue selling us out, they should be given an early opportunity to move on to their new careers working for their owners as lobbyists..

    4. hunkerdown

      How does one *politely* remind Rep. Richmond that there is a minimum age in the Constitution for Representatives, and that people who whine like ten-year-olds about how “it’s not fair” because you can’t play mommy and daddy off of one another to get your way probably aren’t qualified for any public office?

      1. Vatch

        Interestingly, according to the “whip list” link that Lambert provided, Richmond may now vote against fast track:

        Rep. Cedric Richmond (La.) — Richmond is “leaning heavily no.” Obama has reached out to him, Politico reported.

        Quigley, though, is still a fast track supporter.

        As for being polite, I guess we should try to avoid swearing at the flunky who’s on the phone.

        1. hunkerdown

          I understood Richmond to be leaning no, otherwise he likely wouldn’t have threatened backlash (presumably, on behalf of the Party machine). Thing is, this isn’t really playing hardball. It’s simply holding the entire Party accountable for the outcome so they can’t play revolving-hero games.

  2. Michael Fiorillo

    Regarding that Onion article, which do you prefer as a fundraising tag line?

    “Together, we can cure childhood.”

    “You can help cure childhood, or you can click on another page.”

    “Only you can help cure childhood.”

    1. ambrit

      “Together we can help our children avoid suffering through the joy and laughter that we endured. Donate now!”

  3. Marianne Jones

    Re: the coming egg shortage.

    I’m wondering what measures are being taken to ensure sufficient growth medium (the vaccine produced using vaccine virus replicated in fertilized chicken eggs) for the flu vaccines. It would be particularly disastrous to (1) have a bad flu year, (2) and not have enough eggs to meet vaccine production demands. I’ve read that normal egg production will not return for 18 months.

  4. Lambert Strether Post author

    Using the Hill Whip List linked above, one of my reps is leaning against Fast Track, so I just called them and encouraged them to vote no. (No phone numbers on the list, alas, so I had to take 5 minutes to Google.)

    The other one is voting against Fast Track, so I just called to thank them.

  5. Odysseus

    “I’ve read that normal egg production will not return for 18 months.”

    There’s certainly no biological reason for that, so it would be interesting to learn why the timeline is so long. Pullets will begin to lay eggs between 6 and 12 months old.


    “The flock quickly reaches peak egg production (90 plus percent) around 30 to 32 weeks of age.”

  6. gil gamesh

    Who enforces ISDS judgments? Navy Seals? the CIA? I’m a foreign government and suffer an adverse ISDS judgment. Sullivan & Cromwell delivers a demand for payment. So, I kill them.

    1. hunkerdown

      Patsies are undoubtedly cheap in this market. But I imagine S&C would be hitting a little close to home. In the framework of the Westphalian psychosis, the state apparatus is more important than the lives of all of its subjects. Thus elites everywhere are much happier to fight wars with prole blood than that of their loyal court. Plus, blowing up a white-shoe law firm would be seen (or marketed) as an attack on the market-state’s very soul (because it is) and would certainly be used as a convenient excuse to “accidentally” a few thousand DFHes daring to defend the act.

      If there are no Sudra absorbing all the trauma and pain from the Brahmin, what point is there to fighting?

      1. hunkerdown

        Point being, in existential matters like this, the second strike can be quite disproportionate, i.e. a doozy.

        Anyway, a more general example of ISDS enforcement against recalcitrant parties is Antigua, who was granted a license to knock-off up to $21 million worth of US intellectual property as compensation for banning cross-border gambling “services” (WTO) in violation of GATS — in fact, one insidery commentator called it “retaliation”, suggesting that rogue nations can generally be brought to heel by coordinated non-performance, in the anti-autarkic, codependent environment of the trade deal.

        If a country were really interested in wrenching the ISDS process, they might set their shock troops on the “persons” of the ICSID and the WTO itself. If the FBI, in cooperation with state and local authorities, can shut down 13 protests at once, a properly positioned guerrilla movement could shut down 15 corporate lawyers, and if anyone complains, well, maybe “they should have picked a better father.” But, once again, the second strike is a doozy. You’d better be prepared to do better press than ISIS, and preferably have the Lawgivers’ dossiers from the NSA Naughty List in hand.

    2. Jess

      If yo want to read about how a revolution of the type you’re talking about might come about, check out my novel novel Public Enemies on Amazon. 4.5 out of 5 stars and lots of great reviews.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      And when your payment to the killers through the international settlement system gets blocked, and they show up at your house with a paper bag, and ask you to fill it with cash?

    4. vidimi

      generally, countries in violation can have their international assets seized. argentina had a navy schooner seized when it docked at an african port not too long ago. a country with no international assets (e.g. real estate) may have less to worry about but even then there are ways to make life miserable. accidents, terrorist attacks, colour revolutions may all happen.

  7. DJG

    The moral question with John Kerry has always been, “How can you ask a man to be the last man to think that John Kerry is a serious person?”

    1. ambrit

      76 foot is barely a fishing smack. His wife must be keeping him on a short leash. (I will not accuse the man of doing a Gary Hart. I have some, admittedly low, standards.)

  8. DJG

    Grand Bargain. Barack W. Obama gets the Grand Bargain through by the back door: “Democrats at their own closed-door meeting complained to Pelosi that the Medicare deal wasn’t good enough because GOP leaders plan to attach the fix to a separate trade “preferences” bill.”

    So Obama attaches the Grand Bargain to trade (which is the new Hope), and the Democrats, ever the useful idiots, vote for it.

    The Republicans are nihilists and deserve their fate. But the Democrats are stupid, and they deserve to go into an even lower level of the Inferno.

  9. hunkerdown

    Trapped in a Bubble (Golem XIV). “When you’re in a hole, stop digging, but when you’re in a bubble, keep blowing.”

    A lot of people argue that the elites would not tank the system that works perfectly well for them. Two paragraphs from this piece lay out the counter-narrative better than I could explain, the key dynamic explained in nine words (emphasis mine):

    Of course if everyone knows the whole thing is a bubble it might seem insane. But if your alternative is to see the bubble burst then its still a rational decision to keep playing. It will pop one day and all that paper will turn to ash. But if, in the mean time you have been siphoning off some wealth to buy up actual stuff then when the ash settles you will still own stuff. So keep playing.

    I wonder if this is why there is such a political push in the US and Europe to privatize anything and everything still in public hands?

    1. nippersdad

      Sounds logical. I have been thinking that the whole point of pushing the TPA is to get ISDS in place before the meltdown, then TPTB can say that they “are powerless to change the law and have to ante up in spite of how they feel about it”. An exercise in blameshifting when the SHTF.

    2. different clue

      Well, yes. I will claim credit for having in the past called it Plan Yeltsin for America in past comments over time.

  10. OIFVet

    Putin is a ‘bully,’ U.S. needs to respond resolutely: Jeb Bush. From the article:

    “Ultimately I think to deal with Putin you need to deal from strength – he’s a bully and … you enable bad behavior when you’re nuanced with a guy like that”

    Jebbie sees nuance in Obama’s Russia policy? I must have cataracts… He also also wants to send thousands of additional US troops to Russia’s borders. He is supposed to be the smart Bush, too…

    1. Carolinian

      Well he is running in the Republican primary. Gotta have that red meat. Wasn’t it Jebbie’s brother who said he looked into Putin’s eyes or some such? The romance faded but Steve Cohen says even Dubya wouldn’t go where O and his neocons have gone in the Ukraine situation. Perhaps it’s Jeb who is the family idiot.

    2. Peter Pan

      This is Jebbie utilizing his diplomatic skills. It’s his nuanced way of requesting the driver’s seat in The Clown Car.

  11. OIFVet

    Not sure where Vejonis is on austerity, but the Latvian Greens are said to be center-right.

    That’s pretty much an universal phenomenon in Eastern Europe. In BG it’s weird to see “free market” liberals (Euro meaning of liberal) argue against “free market” development of pristine areas, exert pressure to pass legislation to strengthen protection of wildlife, and expand the natural park system, Anti-fracking and anti-logging campaigns have been driven by the center-right as well. These center-right campaigns have been quite effective too, so it’s often the case that environmental issues make for strange bedfellows…

  12. Benedict@Large

    The Kerry story was obviously written by someone who knows very little about yachting in New England. Newport is the elite yachting address east of the New York Yacht Club, and anyone who’s anyone in the region would choose it as their home port. For dozens of reasons beyond tax treatment, which was liked enacted exactly because so many elites do call the state home port.

  13. Herky

    For those of us trying to keep track at home, how does the previously mentioned-on-this-site Anti-Human-Trafficking-addendum play into (if at all) the Friday Fast-Track vote? Could you connect those dots for us?

  14. Lisa

    Re finance industry execs on boards of non-profits
    See also non-profits silenced by fear of alienating wealthy donors :

  15. OIFVet

    U.S. contractors in Bulgaria blast were working on Syria contract: embassy.

    Bulgarian Defense Minister Nikolay Nenchev has ordered a full examination of reports that weapons destined for opposition forces in Syria were being tested at Anevo, a defense ministry representative told Reuters.

    Yes, one of the US’ most loyal puppets in the BG government is shocked, shocked that there’s arms trading going on. Especially since Bulgaria has been inundated with Syrian refugees that the EU’s poorest member can’t afford to host, and the electorate has been a bit less than hospitable to the Syrians and refuses to show them “European hospitality”. Some in the commentariat will recall that I have written about this guy before. Nenchev came to power as result of a little-noticed color revolution in Bulgaria that replaced one set of pliant puppets with another, even more pliant ones.

  16. Cujo359

    The Guardian’s “The Counted” project seems to produce a new headline just about every day. Today’s is Number of People Killed by Police This Year Reaches 500.

    For those who haven’t heard of this project, The Guardian has been doing what the FBI is supposed to be doing – keeping track of the number of people killed by American police. This year’s total has already exceeded last year’s FBI count, and it’s looking like we’ll break 1000 before December 31.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Ugly, and a great project by the Guardian. I’m not sure the numbers were any good in past years, though. We are certainly seeing an increase in visibility (rightly!) and perhaps in reporting as well.

      1. Cujo359

        The old numbers were completely useless. You couldn’t even take any meaning from changes in the numbers from year to year, because not all municipalities reported consistently. The only thing anyone could be sure of was that there were more people killed than were compiled in the FBI’s counts.

  17. ambrit

    Concerning the piece about solitary confinement, you say, “Make that primarily black people. It’s a three fer!” Not to be picky, but, being constitutional scholars all, that should be, “It’s a two and three fifths fer!”

  18. Swedish Lex

    Yes, our brains are unable to cope/compute complex issues; our “ability to adequately process the concept of long-term, civilization-threatening phenomena”, like climate change.

    Now if we all agree on the fact that we “only” possess what amounts to turbo-charged chimp brains, nothing more, how on earth should with our minute proceccors be able to pinpoint the existence and intentions, down to the smallest detail, of a Creator of everything?

    1. vidimi

      i don’t even see that as the problem, because even with our limited scope we can grasp that we are going to kill ourselves off.

      the real problem is the inherent prisoner’s dilemma that climate change presents: sure, i can give up modern life and become an ascetic luddite to minimize my footprint but others will continue to live as they do meaning we’re all doomed anyway so i might as well make the most of it.

      at the root of the problem is a real leadership crisis. without leaders taking drastic measures to rewire their societies and especially rewiring peoples’ mentalities (i.e. the idea that we’re all doomed becomes the idea that we’ll get through this by collectively pulling together) change will not happen. and here we’re looking primarily at the major powers, the US and china, to lead the way but let’s not hold our breath. but here, too, we have a prisoner’s dilemma. if china reforms its economy to a sustainable model while the US doesn’t, it will quickly become victim to america’s pillaging. if america does but china doesn’t, it will quickly lose all its global influence to china.

      thus the problem is very clearly not a problem for the individual brain. even were it infinite in power that would not help as this is a collective problem. if you want to frame it as a failure of the brain then you may as well blame the lungs for not allowing us to fly or some other such ridiculous claim. i’m sure that even most of those in power recognize the catastrophic danger posed to us by our exploitation of non-renewable resources but they’re not willing to do anything about it because they would have to pay in the short run whereas everyone pays in the long run.

      sorry for ignoring your rhetorical question but i wanted to chime in on the article itself.

  19. vidimi

    iterating grace was one of the turdliest things i have ever read. as much as i pity myself for having wasted my time reading it, i weep for the people who created it.

      1. vidimi

        i admit that i read the original, made this comment, and only then did i read the fawning article on fusion. at that point, i started to wonder whether there was indeed a very subtle, self-deprecating irony that i had missed, having mistaken it for self-unaware, frat-style inside jokes, but alas, i will leave that for greater minds to discover.

Comments are closed.