2:00PM Water Cooler 8/20/15

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.



UPDATE “We haven’t been talking very much about intra-conservative policy debates since the G.O.P. primary campaign, and especially the Trump boom, began in earnest” [Ross Douthat, New York Times]. [splutter]. Sorry. Should have warned you to put down your coffee.


Republican presidential rivals Jeb Bush and John Kasich bring to their campaigns their experience as governors of major battleground states, but they also share a resume line from their time in the private sector. The Florida and Ohio pols both worked at the ill-fated Wall Street investment bank Lehman Brothers just as the firm was racking up vast losses for their states’ respective pension systems [International Business Times]. Ka-ching.


Clinton communications director Palmieri on Clinton privatizing her email as SoS: “She didn’t really – that’s the thing, she didn’t really think it through. She has said, had she – she would have done it differently” [The Hill]. The Clinton Dynasty is a ginormous hairball of influence-peddling and corruption. Of course Clinton thought it through. And in the unlikely event that Clinton didn’t, her ability to mentally compartmentalize her human relationships is so extraordinary as to verge on the sociopathic.

The Trail

“The Fox Business Network has learned that at least some of the campaigns are discussing an attack-ads blitz against The Donald in the coming weeks, according to several financial executives who have direct ties to the various campaigns. These people tell Fox Business that the campaigns of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio in particular are currently raising money with aims to hit Trump on various issues such as his controversial comments about immigration, as well as his record as a businessman, in these ads” [FOX]. Ka-ching. 

Via [@advanceguynotes]

I don’t want to beat this into the ground, but I’m seeing public disruption here. I’m not seeing a polite private meeting. What’s up with disrupting powerful candidates, #BlackLivesMatter? If “flower dude” can….

“Police: Brothers urinated on, beat Hispanic homeless man; one said ‘Trump was right’” [Boston Globe]. Trump: “I will say that the people following me are passionate. They love this country and want this country to be great again. They are passionate” [The Hill]. Not so much fun anymore, eh?

“O’Malley’s swipes at Trump come as he continues to lag in the polls behind Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is starting to chip away at Clinton’s lead” [National Journal].

“Deez Nuts — In It to Win It” [Foreign Policy]. Nuts “leans libertarian.” He’s 15 [New York Magazine]. That seems about right.

The Hill

“At this point, the chances that Congress will block the [Iran] accord are very slim indeed” [WaPo]. So Schumer got to be a revolving hero for AIPAC? Pretty funny.

Stats Watch

Leading Indicators, July 2015: ” Swings in housing permits have been distorting recent LEI readings including for July, down 0.2 percent vs gains of 0.6 percent in the two prior months. Permits, which fell 16 percent in Tuesday’s housing starts report, more than offset what are a run of mostly neutral readings among other components. The strongest component, as it usually is, is the rate spread which reflects the Fed’s stimulative policy. Also pointing to strength are initial jobless claims, which are at rock bottom lows, and the report’s credit index which points to a rise ahead for lending” [Bloomberg]. “Putting aside the pluses and especially the rate spread, however, points to a mostly flat outlook for the economy six months from now.”  Yes, the FIRE sector is doing everything in its power to shock the patient into life… However: “The data does not exist to establish what The Conference Board’s LEI values would have been in real time – at this point only the final numbers are known. Unfortunately, knowing the current values is no assurance that a recession is or is not imminent as there is no track record of real time performance” [Econintersect].

Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey, August 2015: “The Philly Fed’s index, which is very closely watched, posted a gain” [Bloomberg]. “That sigh you hear is one of relief, that Monday’s historic plunge in the Empire State report is probably a fluke.” But: “This is a very noisy index which readers should be reminded is sentiment based. The Philly Fed historically is one of the more negative of all the Fed manufacturing surveys but has been more positive then the others recently” [Econintersect].

Jobless Claims, week of August 15, 2015: Jobless claims are steady at rock bottom lows and are pointing to continuing improvement on the unemployment side of the labor market.  [Bloomberg]. “All these readings are very low indicating that employers, who may or may not be hiring, are definitely holding on to their employees.”

Existing Home Sales, July 2015: “There’s plenty of life in the housing sector with existing home sales up a stronger-than-expected 2.0 percent in July” [Bloomberg]. “[D]emand is well ahead of supply which is very thin. …. The balance of this report is impressive, pointing to a rising tide of strength across housing which, given spotty performances by the factory and consumer sectors, looks to be the leading driver for the second-half economy.”

Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index, week of August 16, 2015: “[T]he consumer comfort index, after falling for four straight weeks including a very steep 1.9 points in the prior week, is up 4 tenths at 41.1” [Bloomberg]. People have done the math and they can travel on the Labor Day weekend?

The Fed: “Adding to uncertainty for markets, Ms. Yellen won’t be attending the central bank’s annual retreat in Jackson Hole, Wyo., next week, where past Fed leaders have at times left clues about future policy decisions. Ms. Yellen is spending parts of the month of August vacationing out of Washington” [Across the Curve].

The Fed: “The FOMC minutes from the July 28-29 FOMC meeting were released today. Arguably they are stale. Arguably they have been overtaken by events. And because the Fed has been very good about not signaling their exact intentions, arguably you can read anything into them you want” [Tim Duy’s Fed Watch]. “This is shaping up to be one of the most contentious meetings since the tapering debates. We will soon learn more exactly what data the Fed is data dependent on.”

” The Asian Century Hits a Speed Bump” [Bloomberg]. “Trade slowing, currencies weakening, stocks falling, economic growth waning and political wobbles emerging.”

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“Tyranny in the M-O” [Will Bunch, Philadelphia Inquirer]. Bunch is always worth a read.

“Dear #BlackLivesMatter: We Don’t Need Black Leadership” [Orchestrated Leadership]. Readers like this one; and so do I.

“In a new paper, published in the journal Social Science Quarterly, [University of Connecticut researcher Thomas Craemer] makes the case that there are other examples of historical reparations paid many decades later after ‘damages; were incurred. He also has come up with what he says is the most economically sound estimate to date of what reparations could cost: between $5.9 trillion and $14.2 trillion” [Newsweek].

“A Meme Gets An Uncomfortable Backstory In ‘Straight Outta Compton'” [National Public Radio].

Dear Old Blightly

“Jellyfish Sightings At Record High Across UK” [Sky News]. Blairites. At least if they sting.

“Supporters who joined the [Labour] party in recent months – as £3 affiliates or fully fledged members – have been written to by the party telling them they will not be allowed to vote in September’s election” [Channel4]. “Furious would-be voters, including the Have I Got News For You writer Peter Sinclair, have taken to Twitter to express their fury. The hashtag #LabourPurge was trending on Twitter on Thursday morning.”  For example, British comedian @jeremyjhardy:

“Russell Brand backs Jeremy Corbyn in Labour leadership race” [Guardian].

Open letter from 35 economists: “It is to Corbyn’s credit that he has broadened the policy discussion so that the shared assumptions behind the narrow range of policies advocated by both  the Conservative government and the other Labour leadership candidates are now being debated” [Open Democracy].

“Taking Corbynomics Seriously” [Project Syndicate]. “Corbyn’s proposal, unlike orthodox monetary financing, would not add to the national debt – a major advantage.”

“Underlying much of the political discourse [including Corbyn’s] is the flawed analogy, ‘the government is like a household'” [Prime Economics]. And see here.

“Britain has responded to the recent news that the Department for Work and Pensions used fabricated testimonials and stock photos in their benefit sanctions leaflet in the best possible way: by coming up with a new meme” [Mashable].

“From 2020, schools will be judged by the GCSE scores Year 11 students achieve in the core subjects, but others like art, music and drama, will not be included” [Sky News]. See, art, music, and drama aren’t “core” because there’s no demand for narratives, or even aesthetics. If you think Torystan is ugly now, just wait.


New Zealand: Tech representatives meet with New Zealand TPP negotiators, who say this on ISDS: “Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions remain, however are only intended [by whom?] to be used for major issues such as asset nationalisation or similarly serious government actions” [Tech Blog]. If that’s the line they’re taking, it doesn’t hold up to even cursory scrutiny. Cigarettes?

Canada: “Canada’s long-drawn-out federal election campaign has become entangled with the 12-sided Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations, which failed to reach an agreement in Hawaii at the end of July. At this rate, with an unpredictable three-sided election in this country, it would be best for Canada if the trade talks did not resume until November, when we will know who the governing party is and when it has had a chance to catch its breath” [Globe and Mail]. I wonder what Alberta thinks…. 

Police State

“The Police Executive Research Forum, a research and policy group whose members include commanders from the largest U.S. police departments, said officers generally receive far too little training in de-escalating conflict and often are embedded in a culture that encourages them to rapidly resort to physical force” [HuffPo]. If you’ve lost the Police Executive Research Forum 

“Spanish Police Park In Handicapped Spot, Fine Person Who Caught Them For ‘Impugning Their Honor’ [Tech Dirt].


“And the argument that there is nothing new about genetic rearrangement misses the point that GM crops are now the agricultural products most heavily treated with herbicides and that two of these herbicides may pose risks of cancer” [New England Journal of Medicine, “GMOs, Herbicides, and Public Health”]. Ka-ching. After all, “engineering” is always done for a business purpose. Eh?

White House commemorates 10 year Katrina anniversary by holding oil lease sale in Superdome [WorldOil].

“An apocalyptic vision of Singapore” [Straits Times]. “Singapore Incorporated runs several suburbs in northern India and China, populated by a diaspora that had abandoned the island founded by Raffles.”


“NASA figures, based on radar data from satellites and aircraft, underscore the unsustainable levels of groundwater use in the San Joaquin Valley. Even in wet times, farmers in parts of the valley pump more from the region’s deep aquifer than is replenished” [Los Angeles Times]. From @reveal:

Wretched Excess Watch

“A 25m glass pool suspended 10 storeys above a London street will be the first of its kind, developers say. It’s 5m wide and 3m deep and you’ll [sic] be looking straight down at a street scene 35 metres below” [Business Insider]. “For the frightening privilege, residents will have to fork out a minimum of £602,000 ($1.28 million).” We’ve got water and you don’t… 

“Burning Man festival hit with horrifying infestation as CEO considers moving event to Utah” [Raw Story].

Class Warfare

Researchers found that “Machiavellians’ brains went into overdrive when they encountered a partner who exhibited signs of being fair and cooperative” [New York Magazine]. That’s probably why you see all those bald heads in finance and software (Bezos; Blankfein). They shave their hair off to allow their overheating brains to cool more efficiently.

Truvada, AIDS, and the class divide [Pacific Standard].

“The genius of the market, as opposed to centrally planned economies, is its humility when it comes to understanding what consumers want” [Econintersect]. As opposed to citizens, say. Or workers.

News of the Wired

fartscroll.js [http://theonion.github.io/fartscroll.js/]. I live in a wonderful world where The Onion has a github account.

“Facebook, for example, is still the most popular social media site in the United States. But its growth over the past year has been fairly flat, the study showed. Still, the site retains a commanding lead over other social media networks, and 72 percent of all American adults online have a Facebook account” [WaPo]. “My Mom’s on Woo Woo” (I know this is a marketing video, but I still love it).

“Facebook’s News Feed algorithm allows it to put pretty much whatever it thinks is relevant to its users front and center. Comparatively, Twitter is bound by the reverse-chronological timeline of tweets from accounts a user follows. (Co-founder and interim CEO Jack Dorsey has emphasized his desire to move away from that strict timeline, though) [Business Insider]. Again, stupid money and craven management combine to gut Twitter’s unique selling proposition. I’d even subscribe to Twitter, if only to stick it to Zuckerberg.

“Lessons Learned From Reading Post Mortems” [Dan Luu]. “Postmortems that start with ‘Because this was a high risk operation, foobar high risk protocol was used’ are ubiquitous enough that I now think of extra human-operated steps that are done to mitigate human risk as an ops smell.” And see the sources under “Elsewhere.”

On the CAFC’s decision in Oracle vs. Google: “[T]hese non-programmers don’t realize that an API is not software” [Tech Dirt]. Yikes! Tech doc people realize this too, I’ll have you know.

“The story behind Curiosity’s self-portraits on Mars” [Planetary.org].

“Cadavers Are Teaching Doctors to Be More Empathetic” [Smithsonian]. Pretty amazing. Because it didn’t work with neo-liberal economists.

* * *

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 (optimader):


Optimader has honeybees! I have only very few…

If you enjoy Water Cooler, please consider tipping and click the hat. This is turning into a tough month, and I need to buy a new shirt and keep my server up!


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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. Jess

    “Postmortems that start with ‘Because this was a high risk operation, foobar high risk protocol was used”

    Is that “foobar” intended to be FUBAR (as in, Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition), or is there another new kind of “foobar”?

    BTW, for those that don’t know, the other famous acronym from WWII soldiers, SNAFU, stands for “Situation Normal, All Fucked Up”.

  2. diptherio

    Lambert, you apparently didn’t watch yesterday’s Democracy Now! wherein Julius and Daunasia explain exactly how they ended up in a meeting with Hilary, instead of grabbing the mic from her onstage.

    They were intending to disrupt the event, but weren’t let in the door, supposedly due to the venue being at capacity. A CNN reporter recognized them and started tweeting about how BLMers weren’t being allowed into Hilary’s event, at which point a staffer came out and offered them a couple of minutes with the Queen…er, presumptive nominee. So they took the opportunity. What, pray tell, should they have done?

    I know Julius, actually, and he’s a great guy. He’s young, but not dumb, and doing the best that he can for his people and the cause. I’m sure the same goes for Daunasia and the other activists who met with HRC as well. It really ticks me off that supposed allies can’t wait to criticize the people actually doing the work whenever they don’t think something went perfectly. How about a “here’s what could be done better next time…” instead of “you screwed up, what’s wrong with you!”

    And while you, Lambert, keep focusing on Julius’s personalizing of the moment (“what has changed in your heart…”) you havn’t given any credit for the fact that both Daunasia and Julius told HRC, to her face, that she was personally responsible for policies that have torn apart black families and served to enable white-supremacist violence against black communities. They tried to get her to take personal responsibility for the destructive policies she has vocally supported. They confronted her with her own culpability and, as Julius has pointed out in a couple of interviews, she dodged the question and refused to own up.

    I get that others would have done things differently, but for goddess’ sake, try being supportive of the people who are on the right side of the issue, even if you don’t think they did things perfectly. Is that too much to ask? Do young black people really need more folks tearing them down?

    1. Vatch

      try being supportive of the people who are on the right side of the issue, even if you don’t think they did things perfectly.

      Interesting. That’s almost exactly what many of us said about Bernie Sanders after he was disrupted by some BLM activists in Seattle.

      1. Brindle

        Sanders rally in Charleston, SC on saturday will have a #BLM presence. Interesting to see what transpires. Maybe Sanders will follow the Hillary template here.

        —- A spokesman for the Charleston chapter of Black Lives Matter said Wednesday the group will “be heard” in some fashion in regards to Sanders’ stop.

        Muhiyidin d’Baha, an organizer with the local Black Lives Matter group, said members will get together Friday night at the International Longshoremen’s Union Hall on Morrison Drive in Charleston for a round-table on Sanders’ racial justice platform.

        “We’ll be heard, one way or the other,” he said.—-


    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      “They were intending to disrupt the event.” I’m pleased to have the link. At the same time, a typical disruption isn’t announced in the pages of The New Republic in advance. Nor is a disruption held in private, with partial release of video later (of which I published a ginormous chunk of transcript, you may recall).

      I think you’re confusing “being supportive” with cheerleading or lack of critique. I’ve been following this story closely for a year, and I think anyone would be hard-pressed to find a blog in the NC space whose coverage and linkage has been as systematic and deep. Or sympathetic.

      My claim is “#BlackLivesMatter does not disrupt powerful Democrats.” My claim is not “#BlackLivesMatter intends to disrupt powerful Democrats.” Can you spot the difference?

      UPDATE And on the “heart” thing… As I pointed out yesterday, I’m not the only one. And as for what, “pray tell,” would I have done, I said that yesterday, too: Had the list of demands in my pocket. We know what happens to decentralized movements with no demands, sadly. I’d prefer that not happen to #BlackLivesMatter. If you want to call that preference “tearing down,” well, so be it.

      1. diptherio

        Thanks for the response. But here’s my question: given what we know about the value of campaign promises and how policy is actually made in this country (see Gilens and Page), why should we think that making demands, even if the politician agrees to them, would actually be doing anything useful? And given that HRC herself encouraged them to make demands, couldn’t we conclude that making demands might just be playing into her game–i.e. doing what the enemy wants you to do?

        I think their whole idea was to take a tack that she wasn’t expecting. They didn’t really manage to throw her off her game (but she’s a professional, so no surprise there) but coming out with a list of demands that she could easily say, “we’ll definitely take those into consideration,” and leave it at that probably wouldn’t have flustered her either. Just sayin’….

        And FWIW, I don’t think Larry Wilmore or Melissa Harris-Perry did a very good job of interviewing Julius and Daunasia. Amy and Juan did a much better job and gave them much more room to express their critique of Hilary, which is actually pretty radical. I’m disappointed with the spin the MSM put on the encounter, not with how these two activists performed in a situation that I’ve never been put in and would probably stutter all the way through…

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Well, that’s a shift; we can have another discussion about the value of electoral politics in an oligarchy (which I would urge is not the same as an ancien regime oligarchy in what sure looks like an advanced state of decay). That discussion is not this discussion.

          And, again, I’m not the only person making this critique; Oliver Willis and Black Agenda Report have said similar things.

          Politics ain’t beanbag. Intent counts for little, especially with the “good guys.” My claim — which I will repeat because it stands unchallenged — is that “#BlackLivesMatter does not disrupt powerful Democrats.”

          Why is that important? Well, that’s one very good litmus test for seeing whether #BlackLivesMatter leadership has morphed into a new version of Black Agenda Report’s Black Misleadership Class (which is one of the most well-thumbed pages in the Democratic Playbook).

          So it will be very interesting to see what happens at the Sanders rally in South Carolina. And you can also be sure, since I’ve done it, that I will whack the Sanders campaign if I think they haven’t prepared for it adequately.

          1. Oldeguy

            I suppose that it’s because I haven’t been politically active that I find the mental picture of a coupe of self important kids pulling a list of “demands” out of their pockets and imperiously presenting them to an individual most likely to be the next U.S. President frankly ludicrous and more than a little repellent.
            Demands on behalf of whom exactly ? Forty million U.S. Black citizens ? Three hundred million U.S. citizens of all hues ? Had they been selected to represent these groups, surely I would heard something concerning the selection campaign.
            It is just this sort of self indulgent theatrics that walls the Left off from the majority of the population.

            1. lambert strether

              I don’t find it ludicrous at all. It would be hard to come up with worse policies than our elites, after all. And in democracies, the people are sovereign. Sovereigns get to issue demands, do they not?

              1. Oldeguy

                Meant no disrespect to you, Lambert. My scorn was directed at the “activists” who had the conceit and the chutzpah to hijack a democratic ( note the small “d” ) , peaceful assembly choosing to come together to hear a specific candidate of interest to them discuss a specific issue of interest to them.
                I fully agree that the “people” ought to be sovereign and that of necessity includes the right to freely peaceably assemble ( at least the authors of the Bill of Rights thought so ).
                Bernie and the the members of that audience, each and every one of them, were not one whit any less sovereign than those kids, and every one of them had their “sovereignty” violated so those kids could indulge themselves for their 15 minutes of fame.
                Amazingly enough, the fellow who met with HRC seems to be defending himself by saying that, yes, he would have acted in a similar manner but, though he feels fully qualified to instruct the Nation’s leadership, he was apparently not sharp enough to show up early enough to position himself for a takeover.
                Trump is doing so well on the Right by eschewing Political Correctness- perhaps a bit of that would be useful here.

      2. 3.17e-9

        “They were intending to disrupt the event.” I’m pleased to have the link. At the same time, a typical disruption isn’t announced in the pages of The New Republic in advance. Nor is a disruption held in private, with partial release of video later …

        As far as I can tell, it was the TNR reporter who said they “planned to disrupt” the event. In their own words, they planned to “participate” in the forum. And the first question they planned to ask was about the war on drugs, not white cops killing unarmed black kids.

        The event was scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m. The TNR reporter (who, incidentally, used to be a producer for Rachel Maddow and Melissa Harris-Perry) posted the link to his full article at 3:02. How did he know? Dan Merica of CNN tweeted at 3:32 that they were outside, unable to get in due to capacity. A reply to his tweet suggests that attendees had to have tickets. So it appears the BLM delegation was late and didn’t have tickets. How very convenient for Clinton. Not only does she get to give an uninterrupted speech, but she gets to look sympathetic by granting them a private audience.

        Only she didn’t look sympathetic. She looked condescending and even menacing. At one point, it looks like she’s extending her claws. I have to wonder how Daunasia and Julius (and their colleagues) thought that was even remotely “positive,” and yet at the same time say they aren’t satisfied with the response from Bernie Sanders. He had enough of a racial justice policy in place to get it online within 24 hours of being verbally assaulted by BLM protesters in Seattle, and he already had hired Symone Sanders. And all of that with one-fifth the paid staff as the Clinton campaign.

        Daunasia and Julius obviously are bright and articulate, and they did incredibly well, under enormous stress. It’s starting to look like they’ve been had. By whom, it’s not clear, but it sounds like they’re finally getting frustrated. It came out in their interview with CNN. That was the response I’d hoped to see, although it’s probably not the publicity the Clinton campaign had in mind.

    3. Oregoncharles

      Democracy Now interview w/ Daunasia and Julius: http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/32431-when-black-lives-matter-met-clinton-activists-speak-out-on-challenging-candidate-over-crime-record (Truthout link because that’s where I saw it.)

      Daunasia provides the reasoning behind starting with Sanders: ” It’s actually a practice called “power mapping,” where it’s similar to lobbying, where you actually map who’s closest to you on the issue and go to those folks first in order to force them to articulate their stance and then hold them accountable to it. ” Don’t know if it’s a good strategy, but it is a strategy.

      I don’t think they were prepared for the interview with Clinton. They meant to disrupt and make a quick speech, instead. As I suggested before, Clinton has better security. Personally, Julius’s “question” struck me as a model of ineffectuality (and yes, I’ve done this, with both congresspeople and aides). I’m inclined to “he’s young, he’ll learn.” Caveat: I’m white.

      I’ll also say that they were following the usual advice for addressing politicians in office: be polite but firm. I’m not convinced polite is always called for, but it might well be the most effective approach in a personal interview.

      And I suspect Hillary can look forward to future attempts at disruption, since this one went awry. She was lucky they didn’t just picket her event – bad optics.

  3. Ron

    Its not surprising that the site is now attracting a large following of local insects looking for a quick meal while Burning Man has traditionally done a good clean up job after the events its possible that large amount of food and waste products were buried in the sand due to auto, truck traffic and human activity.
    There is plenty of standing water near the burning man site in the form of heated pools of water that are off limits during the event along with a string of pools in and around the area. It may be that many of these pools were cool enough to allow large hatching this year or the word has gone forth in the insect community to view the local art scene at Burning Man .
    The claim that this is not a festival and other related ramblings from the CEO make for a good laugh.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Isn’t Burning Man some sort of in-your-face display, to the local insects, of the concentrated wealth and power possessed by humans, when these humans congregate and concentrate like that, when they could have simply remained dispersed, staying where they were before (in their homes)?

      And these ponytailed humans are the most, I am guessing here, creative and enlightened?

    2. vidimi

      i distrust burning man as i distrust everything else in post-racial america. it’s politically limp-dicked and post-racial; i.e. white well-to-do millennials who think peace on earth is a state of mind that can be willed upon by the suffering.

    3. Vatch

      “Burning Man festival hit with horrifying infestation as CEO considers moving event to Utah” [Raw Story].

      When I first glanced at this headline, I thought it was a humorous story about an infestation of CEOs at the Burning Man Festival. After I read the article, I realized it was about insects.

      1. Tertium Squid

        It’s not even about insects I think – it’s BM organizers threatening to move if they don’t get tax breaks.

        Burning Man = sports ball owner threatening to move to another city.

      2. Praedor

        That’s what I thought at first too. Then my reaction was “CEO? Burning Man has a CEO?” It’s a corporation now?! I’ve never been, just seen the pics, heard the descriptions but I would have never thought there’d be a CEO for the whole thing. I thought it was, if anything, an ANTI-CEO gathering (and anti-everything CEOs represent).

        Now I’m even less interested in Burning Man ™.

    4. jrs

      If they really are mosquitoes how could it not be a threat, with west nile and everything else being spread by mosquitoes these days?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      As usual, let’s not do the synecdoche thing and confuse “leaders” with movement. There’s a ton of important stuff being done that isn’t caught up in 2016 at all.

      1. Ditto

        I think the article makes your argument extremely clear. One of the things it does is to lay bare how hard it is to be black and poor and to fight for racial equality. It describes something that I have been badly articulating: if you are poor, it makes racial discrimination more likely bc you don’t have the time, money, resources or access to fight. It becomes a means by which the system preys on you even further in terms of race. It is a point that I have repeatedly tried to argue to my fellow middle class black contemporaries, who, unlike me, did not grow up black and living in deep poverty. I have argued so much so that I’m tired and have given up fighting bc ignoring class is so pervasive it feels natural and unrelated.

        1. cripes

          @ditto 3:19 pm

          James Forman Jr (yes, the son) makes this explicit in his Racial Critiques of Mass Incarceration: Beyond the New Jim Crow :

          It’s worth reading the whole thing.

          “Class differences have always existed within the black community—but never on anything approaching today’s scale.

          Large segments of the black community are in extreme distress. Unemployment rates for young black men are high by any measure, even more so if we factor in incarceration rates.
          In some respects, blacks are no better off than they were in the 1960s, and in others (e.g., proportion of children born to unmarried women) they are much worse off. Yet the black
          middle class has expanded dramatically—and to be clear, I am not talking about the
          handful of black super-elites.

        2. neo-realist

          You get old, tired and jaded from a lack of results so you stop fighting racial discrimination on a militant level.

    1. Tertium Squid

      Should say, Tsirpas is asking for a new mandate, not quitting.

      The election industry is booming in Greece, at least.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Tsipras just might get re-elected when he secretly is hoping he will be defeated.

        That’s just simple Byzantine Politics 101.

      2. ProNewerDeal

        so is Tsipiras the Syriza head in the proposed September Greek election? Or is a leader of the Syriza “Left Platform” faction challenging Tsipiras? Is there a chance that the Left Platform faction, & the Tsipiras/nonLeftPlatform faction, become 2 distinct parties in the Sept. election?

        Is ex-Finance Minister Varoufakis be on the Sept ballot, & if reelected, is he a generic MP, or some minister/leader role?

        What is at stake in terms of policy after the Sept. election? Is the status quo crappy EU oligarch austerity deal subject to change any, regardless of the Sep. election results?

        1. Oregoncharles

          Yes, to essentially all your questions.

          Also meaning, no one knows yet. I suspect the Left Platform will first attempt a takeover (the party central committee voted AGAINST the new bailout), then, if they fail, go out on their own – but that would ensure that Syriza doesn’t form the next government. Of course, that would be good politics: it’s much better to be in opposition when bad things happen.

  4. pdx

    Just in case anyone missed it, Rachel Maddow has described Trump as a monster truck in the GOP demolition derby.

  5. twonine

    I’m not sure what you’d donate to a neo-liberal economist to move them toward empathy but my parents are signed up here to help the doctors out.

  6. Carla

    “The Police Executive Research Forum, a research and policy group whose members include commanders from the largest U.S. police departments, said officers generally receive far too little training in de-escalating conflict and often are embedded in a culture that encourages them to rapidly resort to physical force”

    All of a sudden, police officers have become “commanders.” As I commented in Links yesterday, in my inner ring suburb, the police department has dubbed itself the “Command Center.”

    This seems to me like a critical distinction, and I wonder if it strikes anyone else that way.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Livin’ on Pyongyang time:

        It is a problem for small states everywhere overshadowed by mighty neighbours. How to stick out? And perhaps assert national pride at the same time?

        On Friday North Korea came up with its own typically idiosyncratic answer, announcing that from next week it will use its own unique time zone. Pyongyang said that it will pull back its current standard time by 30 minutes, making it GMT +8.30, rather than GMT +9.


        North Korea probably got the idea from Venezuela, whose unique time zone is defined as GMT minus 4:30.

        “Oh-thirty” time, comrades: it’s the road to riches.

        1. Skippy

          Decades, if not hundreds of years, as a colony w/ the latter years spent as a corportist cheap input, does seem to have lingering consequences…. eh.

  7. Vatch

    White House commemorates 10 year Katrina anniversary by holding oil lease sale in Superdome [WorldOil].

    Plus, they can set the stage for the successor to the Deepwater Horizon disaster! It’s a two-fer!

  8. steelhead23

    2016 – Policy Lambert, I find Mr. Douthat’s piece quite literally insane. His argument seems to be “pay no attention to the crusty old (and very, very rich) crooks in the corner, the reformers they fund wants to take back America (from these very crooks).” Frankly, reconciling conservative reformer speech with conservative reformer actions is a job for Lewis Carroll. BTW – I listened to a bit of a too long interview with The Donald yesterday and must say, I very much agree with one thing he said – that companies that hire undocumented workers (not the term he used) should be fined and those who off-shore labor should face import tariffs on their goods. I’d say, sign me up Donnie, only I know that those elements of his so-called platform would never be enacted were he elected. But, it plays well. It plays well.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Well, I did warn you to put down your coffee. It’s like Douthat is the super-ego, sipping tea with his guests with his pinkie extended, and outside on the lawn is Trump, the conservative id, giant-sized, roaring and raving and stomping up and down, and wearing his “Make America Great Again” baseball cap.

      How does Douthat compete with that? Especially, how does he compete with the baseball cap?

    1. jrs

      Oh absolutely. It doesn’t seem organic standards prohibit fracking waste water use either. Organic standards do prohibit some other waste water use like sewage sludge.

      Or we could just mandate the water be treated before use IF there was a way to remove all or the vast majority of the contamination (filtering it on a large scale might work? I don’t know). And oil companies can fund it.

  9. Jim Haygood

    The noose tightens:

    Judge Emmet Sullivan told the [State] department to “establish a dialogue” with the FBI about [Hillary’s server], and be prepared to demand that the FBI turn over documents that may be related to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

    “I’m surprised that State didn’t do that already,” Sullivan told government lawyers.

    On Thursday, Sullivan raised the specter of demanding that Clinton determine whether a backup of her home server was made either by the company that managed it or by someone else, and prepare for the possibility of turning that over to the government. Those files might contain other messages of interest to the government, he suggested.

    “Arguably there were backups of everything that were communicated,” he said.


    Backups? Funny, that’s exactly what Barbara Wells of Platte River Networks told a Bloomberg reporter last week, before she suddenly clammed up and rang off.

    Things is gettin’ real for Hillary Rotten.

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