2:00PM Water Cooler 10/8/2015

By Lambert Strether of Corrente



Ben Carson, long interview. Let me quote the interviewer: “Ryssdal: I’m really trying not to be circular here, Dr. Carson, but if you’re not gonna raise the debt limit and you’re not gonna give specifics on what you’re gonna cut, then how are we going to know what you are going to do as president of the United States?” [Marketplace].

“The Republican acknowledged that “there is sea level rise” in his native Florida, and that the flooding should be addressed with preventative measures in the short term. But Mr. Rubio said that market-based approaches should be employed to tackling climate-based problems in the long-term, and that he didn’t believe in numerous pieces of legislation that sought to regulate the matter” [Wall Street Journal, “Marco Rubio Says New Regs Wrong Way to Fix Climate Change”].

Clinton campaign taking advice on banking from Barney Frank, now a banker, who doesn’t want to reinstate Glass-Steagall [Business Insider]. Ka-ching.

“Clinton’s campaign confirmed that the proposal for tax on high-frequency trading was crafted with input from her campaign Chief Financial Officer Gary Gensler” [Reuters]. “Gensler’s hiring was seen as a move to both contain the high costs that plagued Clinton’s 2008 presidential bid and send a signal that she would take a hard line on Wall Street.” See Yves and Bill Black on Gensler here.

“Hillary Clinton’s TPP opposition shows just how worried she is about Bernie Sanders” [WaPo].

“Conservative groups have written to President Barack Obama asking him to back a push for strong encryption” [Daily Dot]. And they’re right.


How Revolution Messaging has “been working to translate grassroots enthusiasm for Sanders into dollars” [Yahoo]. “The loyalty established among the campaign’s followers, [Dean alum Michael Whitney] says, is due to their willingness to learn about the policies that are central to the election, and parse through emails from Sanders that are sometimes as long as 2,000 words.” This reads like a beat sweetener, but there’s also a lot of good detail.

“How Did the Democrats Become Favorites of the Rich?” [New York Times].

Profile of reclusive Republican hedgie squillionaire Robert Mercer, international man of mystery [WaPo]. His own staff sued him for screwing them out of their pay, along with assorted wacky behaviors typical of the overly entitled [Bloomberg].

The Voters

“[A]fter a bruising 2012 cycle, in which its polls were farther off than most of its competitors, Gallup told Politico it isn’t planning any polls for the presidential primary horse race this cycle. And, even following an internal probe into what went wrong last time around, Gallup won’t commit to tracking the general election next year” [Politico].

The Trail

UPDATE “These People Are the Secret to Bernie Sanders’s Success” [The Nation (Furzy Mouse)]. Aidan King, the Sanders volunteer group’s 24-year-old senior digital organizer:

“I was so excited about Obama. And I still think he’s done amazing things. But I wanted more follow-through,” says King, listing “drone strikes, kill lists, NSA spying on Americans, the expansion of Bush-administration policies, a failed drug war, failed foreign policy,” and the increasing influence of money in politics as his main concerns.

That’s quite a list.

“I put a lot of stake in authenticity,” [King] says. “And I’ve been exposed to Bernie’s politics and his honesty since I was in diapers.”

Rubio panders to Uber and AirBnB [Bloomberg]. “Ask any Uber driver about the wonders of the on-demand economy, and you’ll get an earful about the squeeze being put on them.”

“When asked why Trump is so popular [Bill] Clinton said it was because the real-estate mogul is a ‘master brander’ and ‘the most interesting character out there.’ [Hill: “Thanks, Bill!”] Clinton explained that when Trump speaks he ‘overrides the ideological differences'” [Salon].

Graydon Carter returns to the fray: “Why Donald Trump Will Always Be a ‘Short-Fingered Vulgarian'” [Vanity Fair].

To this day, I receive the occasional envelope from Trump. There is always a photo of him—generally a tear sheet from a magazine. On all of them he has circled his hand in gold Sharpie in a valiant effort to highlight the length of his fingers. I almost feel sorry for the poor fellow because, to me, the fingers still look abnormally stubby.

“As Colombian Oil Money Flowed To Clintons, State Department Took No Action To Prevent Labor Violations” [Business Insider].

Stats Watch

Jobless Claims, week of October 3, 2015: “Initial claims fell 13,000 in the October 3 week to 263,000 for the sharpest decline and lowest level in 2-1/2 months” [Econoday]. “Breaking even lower to point to even less slack on the unemployment side of the labor market.” And: “Claim levels are at 40 year lows (with the normal range around 350,000 weekly initial unemployment claims of levels seen historically during times of economic expansion” [Econoday].

Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index, week of October 4, 2015: “Consumer confidence readings continue to show unusual strength and acceleration” [Econoday]. Up nearly 5 points since mid-September for the best 3-week run in six years, a run that belies soft job growth and volatility in the global markets.”

Consumer Credit, August 2015: “Revolving credit continues to show life, up a solid $4.0 billion in August for a sixth straight gain. Non-revolving credit, driven by both vehicle financing and student financing which is tracked in this component, rose $12.0 billion to make for a headline increase of $16.0 billion.” [Econoday]. “Gains in this reading, which have been scarce this recovery, perhaps suggest that consumers are growing less reluctant to run up their credit cards, which would be good news for retailers going into the holidays”

Glencore: “Glencore’s problems strongly suggest that we will be hearing more about bank or hedge fund losses tied to this commodities behemoth before this cycle ends in the same kind of hubris as the last one – with regulators rolling out the same nonsense that no one could have seen it coming” [Wall Street on Parade]. And a parade of horribles indeed, including Deutsche Banks ~$8 billion kitchen sink.

VW: “[New CEO Michael] Horn said he was made aware of the ‘possible emissions non-compliance’ following the publication of a West Virginia University study in spring 2014” [Sky News]. But this is 2015, amiright?

VW: “[Michael Horn]: ‘This was a couple of software engineers who put this in for whatever reason” (the defeat device) [NBC]. Had anyone heard the phrase “rogue engineer” yet? How about “bad apples”?

Canada: “Now that Statistics Canada has reported the latest numbers for July, we can see that the country’s economy has once again surpassed economists’ expectations. July GDP grew 0.3% month over month, ahead of the consensus forecast by a tenth of a percentage point” [Econoday]. And: “Canadian housing starts surged in September” [Market News]. Good news for Harper?

Ag: “Crop market behaviour signals that prices have reverted to a long-term downward trend seen before the 2008 spike, United Nations researchers said, casting doubt on the prospects of a rebound in values for now” [Agrimoney]. “‘That agricultural commodity prices are interconnected with energy prices has long been established,”‘the [UB] said in a report, noting the use of many crops in making biofuels, and the increased mechanisation which has increased farm sector’s fuel dependency.”

The Fed: “The Federal Reserve needs to prepare financial markets for a possible rate hike soon, if it hopes to raise rates off the zero lower bound in December, Moody’s Analytics Chief Economist Mark Zandi said Thursday” [Market News]. “‘Financial markets are not on the same page as the Fed,’ Zandi said in an economic briefing. ‘If policymakers don’t soon prepare markets for a rate hike, it won’t be in December.'” Well, as I keep saying, the 1% need to buy their stocking stuffers. So no “lift-off” in the holiday season! And: Asset purchases by central banks from 2009 (handy chart) [The Economist].

Honey for the Bears: “The next financial crisis is coming, it’s a just a matter of time – and we haven’t finished fixing the flaws in the global system that were so brutally exposed by the last one.” [Christine LaGarde, Guardian].

Fear & Greed Index, October 6, 2015: 39 (-2); Fear [CNN]. Last week: 17 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed).


Headline: “Good woman with a gun shoots up Home Depot parking lot trying to take down suspected shoplifters” [Salon]. Remind me what’s “good” about filling a parking lot with random gunfire over some guy trying to boost a power drill? How much you wanna bet she didn’t have gun insurance? 

Here’s the list from People. It would be great if this list were updated and kept public somewhere. “People” seems like a great place to do that, if you think about it.

Dear Old Blighty

“The Great British Bake Off 2015: the final – Nadiya crowned winner” [Telegraph]. This is such an encouraging story!

Our Famously Free Press

“The ‘value’ of a Peter Spiegel retweet in EU policy communications” [LinkedIn, naturellement]. “It’s a metric by which Brussels communicators often measure success. Often, it’s the only metric.”

“The Story Behind Medium’s New Logo” [Medium]. Once you see that Medium’s new “M” logo looks like an “N,” you won’t be able to unsee it.

Imperial Collapse Watch

“Everyone loves an artfully shot post-communist ruin” [The Calvert Journal]. Look on my works, ye mighty…. 


“World’s oceans facing biggest coral die-off in history, scientists warn” [Guardian].

Guillotine Watch

“Zeines and Hurwitz made their money in a field that’s now called merchant cash advance” [Bloomberg]. “They figured out how to hook people such as florists and pizzeria owners with promises of fast cash and discovered just how ridiculous the profits could be—even if it meant driving their borrowers into bankruptcy.” Giving bros a bad name….

Class Warfare

“Why the term ‘sharing economy’ needs to die” [Guardian]. It will die when the froth from QE ends, which looks like never.

“Online Dating Made This Woman a Pawn in a Global Crime Plot” [Wired]. System D breaks bad.

“The one number that’s eerily good at predicting your success in love” [WaPo]. Spoiler alert: Your credit score. So we, as a society, have decided to define reproductive fitness by the simple rules of neoliberalism. That will work, until it doesn’t.

“Federal Reserve economists Andrew Chang and Phillip Li set about researching how many of the results published in top economics journals could be replicated — repeating the study and finding the same results” [Business Insider]. “That leads the researchers to a pretty blunt conclusion: ‘Because we are able to replicate less than half of the papers in our sample even with help from the authors, we assert that economics research is usually not replicable.'” Perhaps the papers, economic research, and the *** cough *** discipline of economics, serve some other purpose than disinterested science… 

“Why Free Markets Make Fools of Us” [Cass Sunstein, New York Review of Books]. Review of Akerloff and the aptronymic Shiller’s new book: “Phishing for Phools: The Economics of Manipulation and Deception.” Surely “The Economics of Manipulation and Deception” could have some needless words omitted?

News of the Wired

“Off the Rails: A Journey Through Japan” [Al Jazeera]. For train fans and Japan fans!

“A new study reveals where Americans have the most trouble sleeping” [WaPo]. Me, last night, anomalously in Maine, which is why Water Cooler is a bit light on links today. Phases of the moon? Mercury in retrograde?

“The people saying these things are my neighbors. They jog by me in the park, nodding their good mornings, and queue up with me at the bank. They are the same people who belly up to the stands at this farmers’ market, pressing their fingers lightly into the flesh of avocados, testing for ripeness” [Zocalo Public Square]. Potential expats, consider.

Vote for the woman you want on the $10 bill here, or via #TheNew10 [WaPo]. How about Eleanor Roosevelt? Just to balance out that dim bulb Jebbie’s suggestion of Maggie Thatcher. I mean, at least Roosevelt is a U.S. citizen…

* * *

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 (Adrian):


Adrian writes that this plant (whose name “I cannot for the life of me remember”) was from an exhibition: “All the plants Frida Kahlo had included in her paintings and which she grew herself at the Casa Azul.”

If you enjoy Water Cooler, please consider tipping and click the hat. Winter is coming, I need to buy fuel, and I need to keep my server up, too.


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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. Just Ice

    Mercury in retrograde?

    Or in your fish? Fillings? Or Thiomersal?

    What I don’t get is why, with refrigeration widely available, at least in the US, why preservatives are even needed with vaccines and also why those who are squeamish about GMOs are unfazed by a heavy metal injected into children?

    Just asking …

    1. Tertium Squid

      Phases of the moon? Mercury in retrograde?

      Usually it’s easy to tell why a person can’t sleep. Quiet reflection will bring it out.

    2. Vatch

      The preservatives are needed for the multi-dose vaccine vials. Once it’s been opened for the first person’s vaccination, refrigeration isn’t enough. That’s why I always insist on single dose vaccines without any thiomersal. Last year it cost me some money, because I couldn’t get my influenza vaccine at my doctor’s office, where my insurance would have covered it. I went to a pharmacy where they had the single dose variety, but my insurance wouldn’t cover that.

      1. Just Ice

        Ah yes, to save a few cents …

        “Penny wise, pound foolish” comes to mind.

        And with such insensitivity one wonders why parents are skeptical?

        1. Vatch

          In the U.S. and the European Union, childhood vaccines don’t contain thiomersal. Multi-dose influenza vials are an exception, of course.

          So much of the parental skepticism is unnecessary.

          1. Oregoncharles

            Yes – but it’s too late now. The essential problem is that injecting babies with mercury – for decades – was a severe violation of trust, EVEN if nothing came of it at all (which we don’t know, nor even whether the necessary research is being done). Now they’ve taken it out, thus admitting that it shouldn’t have been there in the first place, and so proven that it wasn’t causing autism – of course, we still don’t know what IS causing rapidly rising rates of autism.

            But once trust is broken, especially on such an emotional issue, it’s very difficult to restore. Science education in this country is so poor that most people don’t understand the debate – and Yves has posted multiple links on the questionable honesty of a LOT of medical science, so that doesn’t help.

            It’s too bad that vaccinations are the victim, but I don’t think people should be TOO trusting of authority of any kind. No one who reads this site regularly would think that. If more parents start THINKING about medical advice they receive, that might be a good thing.

            1. different clue

              I wonder about additive threshhold effects. By itself the mercury in thimerosal might have been harmless. Then again, by itself the low but rising levels of mercury in fish, lakewater, breathable air, etc. might by themselves have been harmless.

              BUT! Possibly the just-barely-harmless thimerosal levels plus the just-barely-harmless environmental and foodborne levels added together might have added up to net harmful levels.

    3. Pepsi

      That would be the difference between ethylmercury and methylmercury. The body easily eliminates ethylmercury, it doesn’t easily eliminate methylmercury. This is why the one in vaccines (ethylmercury) is not a big deal.

      And as Vatch said, the vaccines in the US lack any at all.

    4. Elrond Hubbard

      Re: Mercury in retrograde. First, I’m late with this comment. Second, sorry to be ‘that guy’, but it couldn’t go unsaid: Mercury doesn’t go into retrograde. Outer planets go retrograde when Earth catches up with them in its orbit, then parallax causes them to appear to move backwards as we pass them by. Mercury orbits closer to the sun, therefore faster than we do, so this never happens.

      Whew! I feel better now. :-)

      1. archer

        *Sigh*. You know, because the same observations that are behind astrology were used for navigation, the ancients DID pay a lot of attention to this issue. This was just about their most advanced form of science.

        Inner planets can appear to go backwards even though moving faster when they are on the other side of the sun relative to us. See here for details as to how calculated:


  2. Carolinian

    Re shootout at Home Depot: I think the “good woman” is meant to be sarcastic. The Washington Post story about this says the local authorities are considering a long list of charges against her. So–while it’s not likely–she may be a good woman behind bars.

    1. Just Ice

      I think the “good woman” is meant to be sarcastic.

      I have my doubts since, to make up for subtle, government subsidized theft by the banks, we have to be especially zealous against shoplifters, those wreckers of economies and causers of world wars. /sarc

    2. trish

      “The 47-year-old woman had a concealed carry permit, and — clearly — some good sense to go with it.”

      I don’t think sarcasm was intended here. Though of course I’m baffled on how “good sense” enters into it. Like in the face of seemingly daily insensible shootings, finally, finally a good sensible one? Gosh, if everyone armed would just be sensible, good people, “open carry” would be OK?

      To me just another example of the hidden long term damage of our sick gun laws. Desensitization?

      And I’d like to take the time here to just say thank you, Lambert, for the excellent on-going coverage & commentary on the TPP (among myriad other things). As always. The best out there by a long shot.

      1. Daryl

        Agreed. NC has become probably my primary source of news (or at least I rely on y’all to filter out or expose the propaganda before reading mainstream stuff). Keep up the good work!

  3. John

    Best suggestion I heard regarding guns is to allow open and concealed carry at all Republican campaign events and debates. Long guns, short guns, RPG’s, anything you want to bring. For sure, the Feb debate in Texas. No checking the crowd for guns or any other sort of weapon.
    Ask your republican congress critter, why not?

    The sane suggestion, of course, is registration and liability insurance and let Mr. Market sort out all the crazies. Big insurance should love this. And put something that deserve it under the neoliberal pall.

    1. fresno dan

      Yeah, we could test the proposition that the only way to stop a bad man with a gun is with a good man with a gun.

      Now, I imagine that there are strict checks of all entrants to the debates (does anyone know for sure? Are there any exceptions in the law for campaigns?) – so why no question on the hypocrisy of open and concealed carry not being permitted at the debates….or any campaign gathering – let’s get some data!

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Do the good guys get a shoot first opportunity? If only good guys started firing, god could sort out the rest.

    2. edmondo

      The sane suggestion, of course, is registration and liability insurance and let Mr. Market sort out all the crazies

      Great idea! We could call it Obama_Gun_Care. After Congress passes it we would find out that it’s mandatory for everyone in the country to purchase it, whether they have guns or not; it would have a substantial deductible for anyone who got shot, and, just to get the Republicans in Congress on-board, make all ammo purchases tax deductible.

    3. optimader

      I like the insurance idea, but it would require insurance companies to write policies for illegal acts, which would make for some interesting fine print reading. Is there any precedent in the insurance grifting trade?? I dunno.
      On the dark side , the unintended consequence might be that people intellectually inclined toward discharging handguns in HD parking lots might feel more empowered to do so, Heeeell Jedediah, ah got insurance fo that!

      Bottom line, it’s clear that as a minimum the “HD loss prevention officers” should equip themselves with 22cal nailguns. Probably don’t bounce off asphalt as nicely as a jacketed bullet, but that’s a small concession.
      FIle with:
      The Wire-Snoop buys a nailgun

    4. JTMcPhee

      Nope, it will be like the Republic convention in Tampa– Total Security Matrix, for the Reds and their posses. No protests allowed except in Free Speech corrals miles from the site. And well screened back entrances to the conveniently located strip clubs like “Mons Venus.” Lap dances all around, for our Family Values Red Doers and Shakers, no pesky cameras to catch their little indiscretions, and no fears of retribution or revolution, from the Right or Farther Right. (Lefties are too squeamish and sensitive to take up arms against that sea of troubles …)

  4. fresno dan

    “How Did the Democrats Become Favorites of the Rich?” [New York Times].

    ‘The majority does not rule — at least not in the causal sense of actually determining policy outcomes. When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites or with organized interests, they generally lose.’

    FIFY: …they always lose

  5. Chris Geary

    Urggghhhhh on the Great British Bake-off Spoiler. Please provide a spoiler alert next time /

      1. Jeff W

        I think he means that, if someone was intending to watch the show on delay and didn’t know who the winner was, that headline spoiled it for him or her. (In fact, I just told a friend this morning not to search for Great British Bake Off, if he was intending to watch the show later (which he is), because he’ll undoubtedly find out who the winner is.)

        Incidentally, according to the Guardian, the final show for 2015 “attracted a record audience of more than 13 million viewers, making it the most-watched TV show [in the UK] of the year.”

  6. jgordon

    On the new Gunz section:

    I was really struck by the contrast about how Obama and co are currently showering Al Qaeda associates in Syria with guns, ammo and supplies while Obama is simultaneously running around America lamenting about how Americans have too much access to firearms. It almost seems like there is something contradictory and not at all on the level there.

    Anyway, I’m starting to consider the very real possibility that Obama is an NRA shill. Every time he opens his mouth about gun control sales of fire arms go through the roof. And certainly if I were someone in the NRA I’d be finding circuitous ways to fund and encourage this kind of activity.

    1. allan

      One of the charges:

      “According to the indictment, on April 29, 2012, Solomon sent an [email to] Byrd-Bennett saying, “When this stint at CPS is done and you are ready to re re re retire, we have a spot waiting for you.”

      Isn’t this exactly what Covington&Burling did for Eric Holder, even going so far as to leave a corner office unoccupied, awaiting his return? Of course, they were undoubtedly smart enough not to put it in writing.

      1. OIFVet

        There is no honor among petty thieves like BBB and SUPES, I suppose. Good to see her indicted, her reign was a disaster. Wonder if Arne Duncan’s return to Chicago is related. After all he did a lot of the heavy lifting in the ongoing destruction of CPS.

      2. crittermom

        allan, I have the same question, but include Lanny Breuer in that, as well. What a pair!
        I continue to be flabbergasted over the fact that we the American public are supposed to be satisfied with an answer of “lack of evidence” & the “economic effect”, following investigations into the TBTJ banks being given as reasons for no prosecutions.
        I refuse to in any way believe the argument there was “lack of evidence”, so let’s call the “economic effect” referred to what it really is…

    2. Carla

      Oh, gee, Ms. Byrd-Bennett did her best to put as many nails as possible in the coffin of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District first. That was her qualification for the Chicago job. Let it not be said that Rahm hires unqualified executives. She’s a real pro!

  7. DanB

    ‘“I was so excited about Obama. And I still think he’s done amazing things. But I wanted more follow-through,” says King, listing “drone strikes, kill lists, NSA spying on Americans, the expansion of Bush-administration policies, a failed drug war, failed foreign policy,” and the increasing influence of money in politics as his main concerns.’

    Concerns? I’d say these are the amazing things!

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I thought it was unfortunate there was nothing about finance on the list, though King had clearly been paying attention. (The “kill list” is pretty esoteric, by the standards of the ordinary voter.)

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        It’s just campaign code for “I can’t say anything nice” about someone who isn’t on the ballot. I’m sure other Bernie staffers would have been less kind.

  8. RUKidding

    LOL re Ryssdal’s interview of Candidate Dr. Carson. Not a huge fan of Ryssdal or Marketplace but catch it from time to time. Ryssdal was REALLY kind to Carson who basically couldn’t really answer the question about what he’d do as Pres, if faced with the same debt limit situation. Carson said he’d “make” every govt dept “immediately” cut 4% from their budget, which would almost surely never happen. OTOH, even if such cuts are implemented, Ryssdal was pressing Carson to state plainly what he’d do if such cuts could not be implemented immediately.

    Carson’s answer basically boiled down to: argle-bargle CUTS!!11!!

    Carson doesn’t *sound* like some of the other lunatics in the GOP, but he certainly doesn’t appear to me to really understand much of anything about how govt work, esp the vast fed bureaucracy. We’ve heard these “just cut” fantasies before… Of course, such cuts would never ever be countenanced for the DoD, but Ryssdal didn’t ask about that (darn).

    1. Massinissa

      Of all the Republicans, he seems the least able to actually deliver a speech. He cant talk. The rest of them can talk. I don’t know how he is so high in the polls when he is unable to give anything resembling a coherent speech.

      People like Obama Clinton and even Bush the Younger (The Republicans, at least, loved the way he talked) got the presidency primarily by being able to talk well to crowds. Carson just cant do it, so I think hes the least likely of the candidates in double digits to actually win the presidency or even compete in the early caucuses and such.

      I don’t know who is backing him. Moderate republicans who think the others are all crazy? I have no idea.

      As for the cuts, he doesn’t seem to understand the difference between cutting off fingernails and cutting off fingers. I don’t see how anyone could have any faith in him when he fails to explain even the most basic of details.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Widespread dissatisfaction with business as usual, and he isn’t Trump who is a known brand and Fiorina who had plenty of critics before her debate poll bumps.

        The other candidates are crazy. It’s why Carson seemed so innocuous for so long.

    2. jrs

      Well he has no experience or qualifications for the job right? I mean I know people hate the beltway types, corrupt as they are, but these people with no experience whatsoever aren’t really qualified are they? If government was run like a business, one look at the resume and it would be like “ok you’ve never done anything even remotely like this job” and into the circular filing bin.

  9. Oregoncharles

    I really like “rouge engineer”, though I’m told they aren’t usually that big on makeup.

    1. Just Ice

      I wonder if makeup is a self-licking ice-cream cone, ie. the more one wears it, the more one needs to wear it?

      Kinda like lies, the more one lies the more one needs to lie?

  10. optimader

    Re: But Mr. Rubio said that market-based approaches should be employed to tackling climate-based problems

    Rubio walks the campaign plank on climate change
    Pony’s are so 20th century, everyone gets an Alumicraft Rowboat!

    Ultimately aren’t market based solutions instituted through legislated policy?

  11. Matthew Saroff

    I think that we should put Margaret Sanger, who was one of the founders of Planned Parenthood.

    Watch the wingnut heads explode.

    1. grayslady

      I’m a huge fan of Margaret Sanger, except for her belief in eugenics. My vote went to Dr. Frances Kelsey, who singlehandedly changed the way the FDA approached drug approvals, in addition to keeping thalidomide from being approved. I also suspect that Kelsey’s insistence on thorough drug studies and tests prior to considering approval also influenced the way most other countries now approach drug reviews.

  12. Jim Haygood

    ‘Had anyone heard the phrase “rouge engineer” yet?’

    Sure. But most engineering employers are mossbacks who don’t approve of males (85% of engineers) wearing make-up. :(

    You toucha my man purse, I breaka you face.

  13. shinola

    Re. gunz & insurance: If a gun owner has a homeowners/condo/renters policy, then they probably already have liability coverage for damage or injury caused by the accidental discharge of a firearm. The key word here is “accidental”.
    Damage/injury intentionally inflicted (or in some cases “reasonably anticipated”) is not covered by any type of personal liability policy that I know of. Your auto liability insurance does not cover damage/injury if you deliberately ram it into something or someone.
    AFIK, there is no insurance coverage available for intentionally caused damage or injury as this would create an unacceptable “moral hazard” (at least in the eyes of any sane & honest underwriter).

    Yeah, I’m in the “I” part of the FIRE economy.

    1. Oregoncharles

      Does that include the “intention” of someone other than the owner – eg, a child? What about someone who stole the gun?

      Moral hazard would seem to apply only to the policy holder.

      1. Sammy Maudlin

        Generally, if a gun owner’s child took a gun and used it intentionally on another, the parent would be vicariously responsible for the child’s intentional act. In other words, an injured party (or the estate of) could sue the parent in place of the child for the injuries caused by child’s intentional act. State laws vary as to the extent of such liability. However, there would likely not be insurance coverage regarding such vicarious liability for an intentional act.

        However, depending on the facts, a parent could also be sued “directly” under one of several theories of negligence based upon the child’s acquisition and use of the gun. For example, if the gun is left out where a child could easily grab it, there could be negligence claim regarding the care and handling of the gun. There could also be claims of negligent supervision of the child, negligent entrustment (if the child is given the gun), and possibly others.

        These direct claims of negligence against the parent would likely be covered under a general liability/negligence policy.

        If the gun is stolen, it’s highly unlikely that the owner would face any liability for its use or misuse. People generally aren’t liable for the results of the criminal acts of others over which they had no influence or control. So generally, coverage under the liability policy is a non-issue.

        Liability may arise in unusual circumstances (e.g. a dangerous felon is a houseguest), and the owner doesn’t take proper precautions to keep the gun safely kept out of the third person’s control. But the intentional act of a third party adult who stole the gun would not be imputed to the owner.

  14. Ed Walker

    Re: credit score as indicator of success in romance. See Super-Sad True Love Story by Gary Steyngart, in which everyone’s “hotness” rating, including their credit rating, is available so you can see it on your phone.

  15. pdehaan

    About the Bake Off – “This is such an encouraging story”. Yes, very much so, until you scroll down to the comment section and get gobsmacked about all the bigotry and racism.

  16. Tertium Squid

    Interesting ruins article. Ruins show us where we compare to history’s high water mark, when ambitions led to the most wasteful exertions.

    There are few ruins in the US now, but I imagine there will be plenty in fifty years.

    1. Tertium Squid

      “Likewise, a faded red star on a rusting missile is no longer a threat”

      Depends on whether the missile was disarmed!

    1. Vatch

      I think Frank’s point is that reinstating Glass Steagall wouldn’t be enough to solve the financial industry’s problems, because there would still be banks that are too big to fail. Well, yeah, of course. There are plenty of other things that need to be done, and I’m sure Sen. Warren knows that. But reinstating Glass Steagall is one of the many steps that need to be taken.

      Barney Frank is more wrong than Elizabeth Warren is.

      1. JTMcPhee

        …it’s not the financial industry that has ” problems “– it’s the rest of us non-Galtians that don’t seem fit to prosper oreven survive in the Great Ocean of Money…

  17. Carolinian

    Graydon Carter seems to think that Trump is a joke whereas Hillary is a serious candidate with an image problem. Given this low information skew, I’m not sure Carter’s entitled to be quite so snooty. How about conceding that both candidates are a joke but Trump seems to be the only one with a sense of humor.

    It’s true that Vanity Fair has managed to snag a couple of decent writers including the great James Wolcott, but then everyone has to eat. The mag itself is utterly trivial. So should the proprietor of a high end gossip magazine be giving the guy with the giant letters on his plane the high hat? When did the ink stained drudges become so self important? The public will soon enough decide for itself about Trump and all his competitors and only one will be left standing. Our journo arbiters, on the other hand, go on forever until they drop in the traces like Broder or Tim Russert.

      1. Carolinian

        Well “short-fingered vulgarian” did become sorta famous. You could say Trump is being peevish or maybe he’s just playing along with the joke. All this umbrageousness gets him more ink.

  18. ewmayer

    Re. Trump’s tax proposal:

    If Apple didn’t hold $181B overseas, it would owe $59B in US taxes | Ars Technica

    This is the reason the CBO ‘analysis’ of da Trumpsta’s tax proposal is worthless – if companies actually *paid* a loophole-free 15% on profits that would represent a rather large net revenue *gain*, and would also be fairer to small businesses, which [a] have all the corporate-tax paperwork burden but lack the global scale required to game the system in the above way, and [b] create most new jobs, especially of the rather crucial ‘onshore’ variety. Not that I’m saying a President Trump wouldn’t succumb to lobbyist-induced loophole-itis, but given his non-big-money-beholden-ness we shouldn’t assume it in his case.

    And frankly, among the dismal, psychopath-riddled GOP field I’d take the short-fingered vulgarian over the bankster-owned long-fingered crooks.

    (However, as long as there is a credible alternative in Bernie Sanders my choice of GOP candidates will be ‘none of the above’.)


    Unrelatedly, re. “The one number that’s eerily good at predicting your success in love | WaPo”, in my case I think my Cupid coefficient (not to be confused with my cupidity coefficient – though the alleged ‘one number’ hypothesis a la WaPo would seem to imply a strong correlation between those two metrics) is not linked to my credit score, since I insist on living the debt-free life, but rather the imaginary constant raised to itself, i^i. At the risk of outing myself as a math geek, that means that I do in fact have a real chance at true love, but a much smaller one than one might imagine based on my credit score.

  19. ProNewerDeal

    pbs newshr lead story.. McCarthy B0ner Jr withdrawing from the House Speaker race, & that Paul Ryan might be the candidate.

    I am worried about Paul Ryan, iirc Ryan & 0bama are both fellow Pete Peterson Whorez working on the Grand Ripoff.

  20. Faye Carr

    RE: “How Revolution Messaging has “been working to translate grassroots enthusiasm for Sanders into dollars”

    Can someone tell me what happens to all the money Bernie rakes in if/when he doesn’t get the nomination?

    I’m aware he’s promised to not run as an independent (or whatever) against whoever IS nominated. But I can’t seem to find a clear answer on the campaign contribution issue.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The money can go to:

      -any future campaign committee for the same candidate
      -state and local part committees (unlimited), probably the DNC
      -donations to federal candidates are capped as if the candidate with the leftover funds made a personal donation
      -money can be doled out to staff; I believe Obama paid his organizers through the end of the year with his extra money in 2008. Does anyone remember his infomercial?
      -the money can be spent on post campaign incidentals. I’m pretty certain the Obama campaign “Obama for America” paid for his stuff to be moved into the White House.

      Hillary in 2008 had a huge campaign debt because much of her donations were pledges, not cash. The great bundlers who become ambassadors raise nothing but pledges until October anyway. What’s left over is usually pretty small. The DNC tries to help retire the debt for candidates.

    1. Gio Bruno

      …or quite possibly Phlox paniculata? Common name Garden Phlox

      Possibly the cultivar “Blue Ice”? The plumbago spp. has flower petals that are slightly different.

  21. Bubba Gump

    Re the Ryssdal interview of Carson:
    I listened to that also, but I thought Ryssdal was actually rougher on Dr. Ben than many media shills have been. At the end he got Carson to erupt about how he’d be so tough, he’d go to war with everyone just to prove the US hasn’t lost her mojo [gulp] and that he’d start by dealing “much more firmly with Putin” to the point that Putin wouldn’t know what hit him (all quotations paraphrased). So Kai circled back around and asked ” so you’re going to do this, this, this, that, and go to war with everyone, and you’re going to cut 3-4%?” To which Carson answered, “People have been telling me all my life that the things I aim to do are impossible.” All in his gentle semi-tranquilized tone.

    This is the kind of crazy that could keep one up at night.

  22. optimader

    pretty succinct
    Was the Civil War About Slavery?
    What caused the Civil War? Did the North care about abolishing slavery? Did the South secede because of slavery? Or was it about something else entirely…perhaps states’ rights? Colonel Ty Seidule, Professor of History at the United States Military Academy at West Point, settles the debate.

  23. Foy

    Re “Why free markets make a fool of us” article.

    There are some good lines/concepts in Akerlof and Shillers book that could be levered to push back against free market neoliberal beliefs. I like the “phishers and phools” concept to explain what is really happening.

    ” the United States has suffered from false and skewed claims that fail to account for the fact that free markets make people free not only to choose but also “free to phish, and free to be phished. Ignorance of those truths is a recipe for disaster.”

    “Like magicians and pickpockets, phishermen are able to take advantage of “an errant focus by the phool.”

    We need a simple concept or line that succinctly explains what is really going in the free market (“phishers and phools”). Imagine if that concept got the same level of marketing of say a Coke or McDonalds campaign. Of course the problem is getting people to understand they are the phool (self denial, I’m not that stupid), not just the other guy standing next them. But the sooner they realise it the better off they will be.

  24. JoeK

    When I read about so-called men like Zeines and Hurwitz, I do wonder why mass shooters are so indiscriminate and unjust in selecting targets? When do we get to have a feel-good shooting of a large gathering of lizards in human form, like these guys? Apologies to the vast majority of lizards out there who are just trying to get by.
    /sarc (or is it?)

  25. Oguk

    Re: VW: “[Michael Horn]: ‘This was a couple of software engineers who put this in for whatever reason” (the defeat device). Not credible. Isn’t VW bound by SOX reporting requirements, which mandates a change management procedure to be followed for all software changes, including proper management approvals? I found links on line for VW’s SOX filings, so I think it’s true.

  26. Sam Kanu

    Re: credit score: long lasting relationships are NOT what people are after – that isnt “success”!!

    Re: Credit score and relationships

    They found that people with higher (i.e. better) credit scores are more likely to form a committed relationship, as the chart below shows.

    This is interesting, but I would argue that in the age of Tinder people see hookups as the goal, relationship is the fallback option ie failure (see disruption chart here :
    http://applicoinc.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/2.png )

    Let’s face it – matches everything else in our society: people want shallow and easy. Deep is “boring”. Never mind the devastating consequences of a society that is an inch deep on all dimensions..

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