2:00PM Water Cooler 7/21/15

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


List of traitors in House and Senate, with phone numbers. Hat tip, reader Vatch. Be sure to visit them when they return to the district. If a traitor is mentioned in Water Cooler, their name is in bold. (A reader helpfully sent me an updated version with phone numbers which I will install shortly! I swear it!)

And I’m sent this in mail: “BONUS TRUMKA: HILLARY CAN SUPPORT TPP AND STILL WIN AFL-CIO ENDORSEMENT: Trumka said he could envision a scenario in which Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton would back the TPP agreement and still receive the union group’s endorsement. “It’s possible,” he said, “but what that endorsement would bring would be lessened significantly” by disillusion among voters.” Awesome.



“[S]etbacks also revealed a withering of the campaign machinery built by Mr. Obama’s team more than seven years ago” [Wall Street Journal, “Democratic Party Machinery Shows Rust”]. Obama’s Presidential Library, on the other hand, is shiny! Assuming that Obama for America was actually disbanded — certainly as a “mass” “movement” it was — as opposed to key operatives being redeployed, “withering” really isn’t quite right.

The National Review calls Sanders a National Socialist [National Review]. Takes one to know one, I guess.

The S.S. Clinton

Clinton on how she would end structural rasicm [Blavity]. Sounds like small ball, to me.

Cllinton on gender: “‘There is a gender card being played in this campaign. It’s played every time Republicans vote against giving women equal pay, deny families access to affordable child care or family leave, refuse to let women make decisions about their health or have access to free contraception,’ Clinton added. ‘Anyone who doesn’t get that doesn’t understand what our lives are like” [The Hill]. More small ball. Why not a Post Office bank, so every woman can have a bank account, and a Jobs and Income Guarantee, which gives everyone who wants it work? 

Republican “prisoner’s dilemma” on immigration [WaPo].

Republican Principled Insurgents

“Kasich, like Huntsman, is adored by the media, is seen as too moderate by GOP voters and appears to enjoy telling Republicans they’re wrong” [FiveThirtyEight]. Remember Huntsman? Me neither.

Walker steps down as head of State economic development agency [Bloomberg].

Republican Clown Car

Trump surges to big lead [WaPo]. The harder they come… One hopes.

“On Sunday, New Jersey AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech — whose federation represents 1 million workers — called on New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s administration to stop investing state pension money in alternatives. Such investments include real estate, commodities, hedge funds, managed futures, private equity ventures and derivatives contracts” [International Business Times]. “The push to divest comes amid an investigation of hundreds of millions of dollars in pension fees — some undisclosed — that the Christie administration has paid to financial firms. New Jersey has become one of the country’s biggest investors in alternative investment firms. Some of those firms’ executives have made campaign donations to GOP groups affiliated with Christie.” Ka-ching.

[Click-bait Trump-esque headline ignored] [FiveThirtyEight]. This is interesting, however: “This creates the possibility of a feedback loop. Some event sparks a news story about a candidate, which triggers more public attention, which encourages yet more media attention — and so on. It may help to explain why we’ve repeatedly seen the so-called “discovery, scrutiny and decline” cycle in the past two primary campaigns for candidates like Trump, Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain — bursts of attention that coincide with spikes in the polls but then fade or even burst after several weeks.”

Stats Watch

Another light day for stats, so Mr. Market can remain in his hammock!

“Fed: Revised IP [Industrial Production] Puts Past Recovery on Slower Path – Text” [Market News]. “Recovery.” Too funny. I suppose if its slower, we’d better keep giving free money to people who already have it. 

“Employers in some sectors are hoarding workers. Similar behavior in the past has been associated with bubbles, and has led to massive retrenchment, usually within 18 months or so. In the housing bubble, similar behavior continued well beyond the peak of that bubble in 2005-06. Employers seem to take their cues from stock prices. The current string is now 4 months beyond the point at which other major bubbles have begun to deflate” [Econintersect]. Hoarding them they may be, but they’re not raising their wages.

“The selloff in commodity prices is sending the following market messages: China is highly likely overestimating its economic growth rate of 7 percent that it reported last week; despite six years of central banks’ efforts to rev up economic engines, the money isn’t reaching consumers – it’s still flowing to the one percent” [Wall Street on Parade].

“Housing doing a bit better but remains well below levels associated with prior recessions and remains a much smaller % of GDP” [Mosler Economics]. And this chart appeals to a Maine bear:


“Beware spikes in permits!”

Greece and the role of the IMF [FT, “Why you can’t technically default on the IMF”]. Good detail:

The IMF isn’t a creditor in the usual sense of the word. It’s a collateralised bilateral swap agent that exists to help countries balance international payment obligations so that they don’t have to start wars, grab resources or asset-strip trade partners when they abuse their trust.

[T]he fund is actually made up of capital commitment quotas, not pre-paid lump sums of capital. Pre-paying would be dumb, you see — a waste of perfectly good capital. What if there’s no crisis to allocate the funds to?…

What the quotas really are then are capital pledges. This loosely translates to signed up IMF members agreeing to freeze their own potential counter claims on trade partners who can’t afford to balance their IMF account, until the country in question can afford to honour them. In the event the “creditor” nations don’t have counter claims, they simply agree to assign claims on their own capital resources, and so forth, in exchange for eventual claims on the country in question.

That’s why you can’t actually technically default. It’s not a loan. It’s a swap. A swap of one country’s relatively crappy currency, for currencies that can actually get you stuff on the market.

China: [Remy Cointreau SA] sales fell 9 percent on an organic basis in the three months through June [Bloomberg]. Maybe I should have filed this under Corruption?

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Review of the Sandra Bland death in Waller County, Texas jail [Los Angeles].

“How railroads, highways and other man-made lines racially divide America’s cities” [WaPo]. “The wrong side of the tracks.” Surely class too, eh?

Police State

“Custodial Deaths Report” (with CSV file) [Attorney General of Texas]. There are 4226 lines in the file, each line representing a death. The earliest date can find is 2005, the lastest 2015. So, divide by 10, that’s handy: 423 deaths a year. Doesn’t that seem like rather a lot?

Imperial Collapse Watch

The F-35: “An April GAO report says future technical issues — likely to drive costs up even further — can be anticipated, as nearly 40% of the program’s developmental testing must be still be completed” [CNN]. So, the tested parts are the ones that catch on fire? (Sander had better say something on the F-35, or somebody’s going to say it for him.)

Class Warfare

“Port truck drivers plan sixth strike against company” in Long Beach and Los Angeles [Los Angeles Times].

“Subprime Auto-Loan Titan Defends Longer Terms as New Normal” [Bloomberg]. And it is, it is!

Intersectionality watch: “Yikes: St. Louis Twitter’s Most-Used Curse Word is ‘Faggot'” [Riverfront Times].

News of the Wired

“Colgate-Palmolive. India has successfully blocked two patent claims of US consumer goods major Colgate-Palmolive, which wanted intellectual property right (IPR) cover on two oral compositions made from Indian spices and other herbs” [Deccan Herald]. “India opposed the claim using the traditional knowledge digital library (TKDL) database, created in the last decade to fight biopiracy.”

“Up in the Air: Meet the Man Who Flies Around the World for Free” [Rolling Stone]. Hacking the insanely complex prices structures of the airline oligopoly.

Game-playing as opposed to formal engineering in debugging software [BBC].

“‘Speedometer’ neurons discovered in rat brains” [Nature]. “The cells are a missing component of the brain’s elaborate navigation system, which helps us to know where we are and where we have been.”

“There’s a warning out today for those who go online or to apps to figure out why they have an upset tummy or nagging cough or occasional chest pain. Symptom checkers, those tools that ask for information and suggest a diagnosis, are accurate only about half of the time.” [CNN].

“A French teenager infected at birth with HIV has shown the ability to control levels of the infection in her body — without being on antiretroviral treatment” [CNN].

Garrison Keillor retires, after four decades [AP]. It seemed longer. No, but seriously, I thought Keillor turned saccharine after he took that trip to Sweden to meet (IIRC) his high school sweetheart; I preferred his humor bitter. 

“Gazprom to charge higher prices in countries that are more dependent on Russian gas” [Bruegel]. Boy, that’s a shocker. It’s almost like markets are more about power than value.

* * *

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 (Vicky):

Vicky writes:

I have a short video of some amazing bee balm from my sister’s garden,
with a bee buzzing through it.

One of the great pleasures of sitting, as opposed to working, in the garden, is seeing and hearing all the animal life: Bees, wasps, dragonflies, damsel flies, hummingbirds, chickadees, cardinals… The biophilia really kicks in. If readers have more videos, I’d love to see them!

NOTE: Please free to test the donation dropdown, where the amount you select should finally appear on the PayPal form! Thanks to kind reader DK, who fixed my code. (And if you have problems, please let me know using the contact link, so as not to clutter the thread.)

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


Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Guest Post, 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. lyman alpha blob

    I thought this article was pretty good on what Syriza might have done and what others might do against the neoliberal paradigm which seems to be entrenched everywhere these days – The Courage of Hopelessness by Slavoj Zizek. Very interesting comparison in there between EU government and the Chinese Communist Party which I hadn’t heard before.

    It is admittedly somewhat light on any detailed suggestions but then again the guy is a philosopher, not a technocrat. I did enjoy this one however:

    “It should shamelessly flirt with Russia and China, playing with the idea of giving an island to Russia as its Mediterranean military base, just to scare the shit out of Nato strategists. To paraphrase Dostoyevsky, now that the EU God has failed, everything is permitted.”

    And while he does mention Golden Dawn and other euro- right wing parties he isn’t especially critical of them. Not all that familiar with Zizek’s overarching philosophy but one wonders if he shouldn’t be careful what he wishes for in terms of allies in the struggle against neoliberalism. Anyway, other than that lots to chew on here.

      1. different clue

        I believe Mr. Welsh also suggested other things, including admitting as many Afro-Asian refugees into Greece as possible and sending them all right over the border into Europe. Also, opening some of the islands up to the various Turkish and Balkan mafias for use in mass trafficking every possible thing into Europe. And promising to raise the intensity of those two courses of action until Europe forgave the entirety of Greece’s debt.

        Mr. Welsh also called upon Greece to admit that Europe hates Greece and wants to destroy Greece and that Europe is Greece’s enemy and should be dealt with that way. That was mainly cultural psychological social advice on Mr. Welsh’s part, designed to help the Greeks to set themselves free to see Europe’s war on Greece AS a war, and therefor rightly answerable with warlike tactics of Greece’s own . . . bringing the war home to Europe, as it were.

  2. Chauncey Gardiner

    Re: “It’s almost like markets are more about power than value.”

    You saved the best till last, Lambert.

  3. trent

    @chauncey gardiner

    After reaching the ripe old age of 31 it seems obvious to me that power trumps everything but death.

    1. Chauncey Gardiner

      I take inspiration from people like Andrei Sakharov and Vaclav Havel.

  4. ron

    Outside the beltway, never a political insider that is the turf that Trump owns and why he is a strong force in early polls.

  5. New Deal democrat

    About a couple of the stats:

    In re initial jobless claims, the writer is Lee Adler of Wall Street Examiner. It isn’t clear what “bubble” he is referring to when he says that employers are “hoarding” workers. He discusses the fracking states, where initial claims have been higher just about all year, so employers haven’t been “hoarding” there – but those claims have been more than outweighed by lower claims in the rest of the states. I think he is talking about initial claims themselves, because he has been claiming that they have been in a “bubble” for more than a year — which boils down to, initial claims on a population-adjusted basis have been at or new all-time lows for a year. That very few workers are getting laid off sounds like an item of good news, not bad news, to me.

    In re housing permits, Mosler is not very reliable. Permits increased by +93,000 last month — the 47th time by my count they have done at least that well in the last 50 years. Of those 47 times, 7 were in the year prior to a recession, 8 have been during a recession (including 3 at the end of the recession, and the other 37 have been during an economic expansion. Here’s a link to the interactive graph where you can check my count:
    In other words, the spike in permits is not an indicator of anything bad about to happen.

  6. Llewelyn Moss

    re: “Symptom checkers, those tools that ask for information and suggest a diagnosis, are accurate only about half of the time.”

    Sounds about as accurate has my doctor.
    I had joint pain. Doc says immediately it’s osteoarthritis. I tell him symptoms match Lyme disease symptoms I read on the Web. He acts annoyed that I was doing Web research on health. He tells me it’s definitely not Lyme but if I really, really want to be tested he would order a test. The Lyme test came back positive.

  7. optimader

    F-35= this generations F-111 on steroids

    I ‘m sure you’re aware Bernie already has offered a post GAO report opinion.

    (Incidentally I believe “runway explosion ” is an overstated extravagance. What I believe occurred is the plane had a catastrophic engine failure and fire –a rotor failure, which spits out the blades, in this case due to inadequate engine casing support. Admittedly a design defect, this might be a reasonable shit happens on a new design.
    Nonetheless it seems pretty clear the F-35 is a HUGE black hole for money, the entire program being an off the rails run away train obscene congressional district corporate welfare program that at the end of the day will never perform per the proposed mission requirements — no less those mission requirements being obsolete! ‘can’t turn, can’t climb, can’t run’

    At best Bernie I think is poorly advised on this.

    Bernie Sanders Doubles Down on F-35 Support Days After Runway Explosion

    By Carl Gibson, Reader Supported News

    03 June 14
    Me: “You mentioned wasteful military spending. The other day … I’m sure you’ve heard about the F-35 catching fire on the runway. The estimated lifetime expense of the F-35 is $1.2 trillion. When you talk about cutting wasteful military spending, does that include the F-35 program?”

    Bernie Sanders: “No, and I’ll tell you why – it is essentially built. It is the airplane of the United States Air Force, Navy, and of NATO. It was a very controversial issue in Vermont. And my view was that given the fact that the F-35, which, by the way, has been incredibly wasteful, that’s a good question. But for better or worse, that is the plane of record right now, and it is not gonna be discarded. That’s the reality.”


    1. JohnnyGL

      I mostly like the guy, but even Bernie has his TINA on some issues. Certain Pentagon spending and support for Israel seem to be red lines he won’t cross.

      1. Optimader

        And certain pentagon spending is efficacious.

        My underlying frustration is that a program like F35 clearly is not.

        Consequently Sanders (and others) are either ignorant, poorly advised, corrupt or are true believers which leaves stupid as the driver. Of course it can also be any combination.

        1. Cugel

          Don’t be absurd. He’s right about this. The Pentagon and defense contractors have boxed everybody in. They’ve bulldozed blindly ahead over all opposition forcing commitment to this P.O.S. Defense contractors are in almost every Congressional district. So, the fact that the plane is hideously expensive and catches fire? Just something people are going to have to deal with.

          Because what’s the alternative? None. There’s no other aircraft they can switch to is there? That was by design.

          So, realistically, no matter what a horribly expensive P.O.S. this thing is, it’s not getting cancelled. Most of the hideous costs are already baked in. The money’s been spent. Starting from scratch would take years and even more money. A LOT more money. And it’s just not getting cancelled.

          So, Bernie is telling everybody the truth whether they want to hear it or not. I am reminded of the case of Col. David Hackworth who detailed his experiences testing the then new AR-15 rifle in Vietnam, that became the M-16 light infantry weapon. He tested it in all kinds of field conditions and reported back to the Pentagon that it was a piece of crap that jammed all the time, was high maintenance and not at all what a robust dependable G.I. proof, infantry weapon should be. He was then shocked to see the thing green-lighted for use as the main infantry weapon in Vietnam. He went all over to every contact he could find at the Pentagon to talk about the problem. And while the officers who had control over the program were forced to agree with him they told him there was nothing they could do. As he was leaving the building one procurement officer cynically told him “buy Colt industries [stock].”

          That was nearly 50 years ago now, and thing have only gotten worse and more corrupt.

  8. bob the builder

    There is about 40 Trillion in US private and public debt. Does it make sense to tie wages to debt dollars?
    40% earn less than $15 an hour but it become difficult to service the debtload on such an anemic wage,

    Declining wages and increasing debts, with understated inflation. Whats the endgame?

  9. Jack

    Oh, wow. That Sanders = Nazi article. ‘Nationalist economic policy’. Huh? So opposition to free-trade outsourcing is evil now?

    “You know who also wanted to keep his countrymen in their jobs? HITLER!”

    1. ambrit

      I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry after reading that article. The smug self righteousness oozing out of every line reminded me of all the religious fanatics I’ve argued with most of my life. Once Bill bit the dust, the National Review descended into Partisan H—.
      Bill Moyers CBS program that compared Hitler’s and Roosevelt’s lives and programs at the beginning of the Great Depression, “The Democrat and the Dictator” is a useful resource. Both Roosevelt and Hitler came to power at the beginning of the Great Depression. Both enacted similar social and economic programs to bring their respective nations back into some sort of balance.

    2. Paul Tioxon

      Whole Foods should be next on the NR hit list of NAZI cultural appropriators. Muesli, that wonderful whole grain cereal breakfast food, fortified with dry fruit and nuts, was part of the superior race’s superior diet. Whole wheat bread, nutritionally dense foods, were part of the NAZI health kick that would produce Ubermensch by the boxcar load. Healthy lifestyles, anti-smoking campaigns, a War on Cancer! They really were the Soup Nazis!!


  10. afisher

    The “banana war” in Columbia will have been going on for decades. Chiquita Banana Corp, an American enterprise has lost it’s court case to keep it’s terrible history hidden.

    Court Rejects Chiquita’s Bid to Hide Terror Payment Records

    U.S. Appeals Court Upholds National Security Archive Victory in Fruit Company’s “Reverse-FOIA” Action


    A minor win for the American Public and those who have been following the trail of CIA misadventures for years.

  11. Jessica

    “More small ball. Why not a Post Office bank, so every woman can have a bank account, and a Jobs and Income Guarantee, which gives everyone who wants it work? ”

    Because one of the major mechanisms by which the servants of our oligarchs and other elites misdirect our politics is to steer all broad, inclusive demands (demands that would connect ordinary people with each other) into narrow, exclusive demands that separate people. This is also one of the ways that identity politics are turned into a block against economic demands rather than a launching pad for them.

    In China, the Communist Party works very hard and almost paranoicly to prevent the emergence of any form of organized We that is not under its control. In the West, it is the servants of the elite (for example, those voices acceptable in the mainstream, academic administrators, media) who perform a similar role.
    The difference is that here, organizations that represent only the comparatively well-off within a group are allowed to form organizations that sell out their own supporters to the benefit of the elite-within-the-group and such groups can serve as a roach motel opposition.

  12. JohnnyGL

    I really enjoyed the NYT on this one :) Show your true colors!!!

    Rotten oligarchs from Cuba who collaborated with the murderous Batista regime must be made whole if we’re going to make real progress in USA-Cuba relations. Well done by the NYT for showing those dispossessed in the most positive light possible and taking them very seriously. The word “Batista” doesn’t show up once!


    Richard Feinberg from Brookings is quoted using the lovely coded and loaded language like “market-friendly” and “attract foreign investors”. I’m pretty sure no foreign investor cares in the slightest if Cuba pays off back-dated claims from 54 years ago.

    1. Llewelyn Moss

      RNC must be soiling themselves over unexpected Trump events unfolding. Who could have predicted this (except everyone)?
      Of course it is the party that caters to the whacko base (Gunnuts, Gawd, Not-Gays, Not-Gynecology, Not-Immigrants) — All in Trumps wheelhouse.

      1. ambrit

        How then to explain how the “whacko base” seems to have been driving the narrative for the last four decades?
        The Junkers and the Deutsch Robber Barons of the twenties and thirties thought they could maintain control over their “patsy” anti communist National Socialists. That worked out well, didn’t it.

        1. Ron

          Not sure about the Whacko Base issue but dissatisfied citizens on the left and right seemed interested in those outside the mainstream political stream which fits Sanders and Trump. Trump o has targeted inside the beltway Republicans for the Party’s ills as they fit the image of Corporate political figures not interested in main stream life.

          1. Ian

            the quote I remember from this site ‘Democrats hate their base and Republicans fear theirs.’

            1. hunkerdown

              Understanding the American order as a market-state (Bobbitt) governed by an elected aristocracy (Gilens & Page), and the parties themseles as quasi-corporations competing within the same market (and, I hasten to add, colluding nearly everywhere else (Wedel))…

              The GOP’s whacko base subscribes to ideologies that are compatible with the Party’s objectives and the prevailing “useful” religion, as long as they don’t begrudge rich women their abortions or important people their immunity from consequences, even in criminal sentencing. Hence, the fear of disunity among the mobilized base.

              The Democratic Party relies on kinder gentler branding and corporate money to maintain their popular legitimacy and their position in the aristocracy. Unlike the “moderate” base, who is near indistinguishable from the Other Party’s “moderate” base, their whacko base does not subscribe to the ideologies of said corporate money, is unwilling to live inside the Party narrative and exclude inconvenient observations of facts on the ground, and vocally holds the Party and its enablers to account for the contradictions. Thus, hate, for spoiling the brand image of corporate unity.

              So, anyone raise your hand if you really want the aristocratic system we’ve got?

    2. jgordon

      Rather than a jaded and stale oligarchy-approved candidate I’m looking forward to seeing someone novel, if batshit crazy, on the ballot. I’m being completely serious: if Trump is on the ticket opposing Hillary, then I’m going to vote for him.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        If I could *only* vote Hills or The Donald, I’d pick The Donald too. Anything is better than more corporate neoliberal Democrats–and I mean literally anything. Plus it’d be waaaay more fun.

    3. Brindle

      Trump understands his brand.
      Remember in the flick :”Gladiator” where Maximus (Russell Crowe) after vanquishing a foe in the arena yells up to the crowd, “Are you not entertained !!”. Trump knows how to entertain and he is being rewarded by the audience.

      From the Daily Beast:

      —-Trump spent an hour-plus ranting on everything from South Carolina’s senior senator Lindsey Graham (“a total lightweight idiot”), to the Obama administration (“a bunch of dopes”), and his policy plans for everything from saving Social Security to reforming the Veterans administration and strengthening the military.

      Trump was so annoyed that Graham had called him a “jackass” earlier in the day that he crammed Graham insults throughout his speech, mocking the senior senator’s high-toned southern drawl and reading Graham’s Capitol Hill phone number aloud to prove Graham had once come “begging” for a favor. “I think that’s his number- somebody try it!”

      (Somebody did.)

      Not only did the audience tolerate Trump’s bluster, many said they welcomed it.—-


  13. hunkerdown

    I saw a couple of weird signs around town lately.

    An independent general practitioner, still apparently accepting new patients as of a month ago, had the message on his sign today, “No electronic medical records”. From the patient’s and the doctor’s point of view, that’s one less corporate insinuation into a relationship, and undoubtedly a positive. From someone whose bread and butter comes from software similar to EMRs, that’s unsettling.

    Second, probably more germane to finance, I’m seeing fewer little pop-up coroplast signs with “Ed Buys Houses”, and in their place “Quality Tenants Provided” signs for property management services.

    1. Yves Smith

      No, you need to read our posts on EMRs (actually cross posts from Health Care Renewal by an MD who is a recognized expert in this area, he also does IT). They are terrible. For instance, they’ve been cited in hospital surveys as THE top risk to patient care.




      They are about billing, not about patient care, and as a result, they are a negative to patient care.

      1. hunkerdown

        Yves, if you think the front-ends are bad, you should see the source code. From a near-complete lack of security on AJAX endpoints to a backup script that couldn’t create a dumpfile larger than 4GB, I’ve seen some stunningly braindead work in health care software. Something about installing a window in a car where windows were never intended to go, as Troutwaxer brilliantly put it a few days ago, but also the weighting of the deeper concerns of management (like icon images) over those whose time and data are being lost/stolen by the new system. Such is the life of the independent software vendor…

        As a patient, I support that the presently awful IT wouldn’t be a part of my patient relationship with him and would be happy to count him as my doctor. As a health IT paraprofessional, I’m worried that the bean counters are keeping us from serving the interests of our users and are crapifying the category of products that I work on these days. I expect that’s not an unfamiliar tension to most employed Westerners.

  14. Wyoming

    Re: the Custodial Deaths Report

    A scroll through the data seems to show a preponderance of the dates are front loaded and that there is not that high of a number (in comparison as the total is astonishing) in the last couple of years.

    Sort of begs the question if reporting requirements have been modified (ignored?), or is it even conceivable that Texas is not as dangerous of a place as it used to be?

    1. Jess

      I was thinking about those numbers, too. A little more than one person a day. Considering Texas’ huge population (bigger than many countries), the poor health of many who end up in jail, etc., absent cause of death info it doesn’t seem all that disproportional. Put another way, given the number lifetime alcoholics and drug abusers with compromised organ functions who are arrested on a daily basis, heart attacks, and the occasional murder by a fellow inmate, the number alone isn’t enough to cause shock. (It may, however, be a result, to some degree, from inadequate jail medical care, which is a horse of a different color.)

  15. PQS

    Ahh, Monarda! I can almost smell its sweetness. Thanks for sharing. I try and try to grow it, to no avail. I submit that sometimes, as Beverly Nichols said about his alstromeria that came up and died almost immediately, “death, they obviously said to themselves, is preferable to seeing THAT face again”.

    Re: GOP horserace: As hilarious as the Klown Kar is, once again, it absolves the media and the candidates of their real job – to discuss issues/policies and instead focus on personalities. So as awful a spectacle as it is, I will not be enjoying any schaudenfreude. Trump is a knave and a fool, but can anyone name anything he’s said he will actually do, besides “deport the illegals”?

Comments are closed.