2:00PM Water Cooler 11/4/2015

By Lambert Strether of Corrente


Orrin Hatch: “Right now, it is not clear whether the TPP meets the high standards laid out in the TPA statute. Congress is still waiting to see the final details of the agreement” [The Hill]. Hatch, however, does not mention loss of sovereignty under ISDS, most likely to resonante with his conservative constituency.



“The [leaked Clinton campaign memo], titled ‘The Importance of the African-American Vote,’ suggested this plan to woo the community is a crucial part of Clinton’s overall election strategy. It described Clinton’s platform as ‘the most comprehensive agenda to help African American families get ahead and stay ahead’ [Yahoo News]. “Clinton’s plan to win the African-American vote is two-pronged. It includes an aggressive ground game and policies that the campaign believes are tailored to the community’s interests, including a commitment to address concerns about police violence.” Oh? Let’s take a look at that.


“Hillary Clinton Meets With Mothers Of Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Michael Brown And Tamir Rice” [HuffPo]. “‘It doesn’t matter what color we are, I felt that she really understand where we are coming from,’ Rice’s mother said.” Clinton plays to her strengths in small groups.

“‘To [younger women] it seems obvious and indisputable that if Clinton doesn’t win, some other woman will, and soon,’ one Democratic strategist [snort] and Clinton supporter said, adding that Clinton seems ‘too old, too moderate and too caught up in another time'” [The Hill].

“Cambridge Analytica, which is partially owned by hedge fund manager and Cruz donor Robert Mercer, has taken microtargeting in a new direction for its clients in the United States. The young company persuaded hundreds of thousands of Americans to take a 120-question test that measures the “big five” personality traits. These traits — extroversion, openness, conscientiousness, agreeableness and neuroticism — are broad, stable psychological characteristics that shape individuals’ behavior and attitudes. The company then matched the personality profiles to the thousands of data points it collected on each U.S. voter and created an algorithm that Nix claims can predict a voter’s personality based on the data alone, without anyone having to take a test” [Yahoo News].


“Rubio received donations from execs of hedge funds invested in Puerto Rican debt before opposing bankruptcy” [Fusion]. “According to public campaign-finance documents, at least six executives of hedge funds that hold Puerto Rican debt have donated to Rubio’s presidential campaign. Rubio appears to be among the only major presidential candidates who has explicitly opposed bankruptcy reform for Puerto Rico.” Ka-ching.

WaPo’s fact-checking operation gives Sanders four Pinocchio’s for saying the Kochs will achieve their spending goals in the 2016 election [WaPo]. (Via @froomkin).

The Trail

Profile of Jane Sanders [Yahoo Politics]. A sighting shot, no doubt.

The Hill

“Can Washington’s Most Interesting Egghead Save the Senate?” [The Atlantic]. Ben Sasse (R-NE) doesn’t actually sound crazypants, but the “Republicans are the party of ideas” trope is exceedingly well-worn. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Margaret Chase Smith, and Robert Byrd are his role models…. 

Stats Watch

MBA Mortgage Applications, week of October 30, 2015: “Mortgage applications are settling down after spiking and dipping sharply in volatility tied to new disclosure rules put in place last month” [Econoday]. Down 1% on the week, up 20% on the year.

ADP Employment Report, October 2015: “ADP is calling for a 182,000 rise in private payrolls, a respectable gain that is right at expectations and that would likely keep in place chances for a December FOMC rate hike” [Econoday]. But: “ADP reported non-farm private jobs growth at 182,000. The rolling averages of year-over-year jobs growth rate remains strong but the rate of growth continues in a downtrend” [Econoday].

Gallup U.S. Job Creation Index, October 2015: “Gallup’s U.S. Job Creation Index [the perception of hiring] averaged plus 32 in October, the sixth month in a row in which the index has held at this level. This is the highest index score since Gallup began measuring employees’ perceptions of job creation at their workplaces in 2008″ [Econoday]. “In October, 43 percent of workers said their employer was hiring workers and expanding the size of its workforce, and 11 percent said their employer was letting people go and reducing the size of its workforce.” 

Ag: “US ethanol production soared last week at their fastest in five months, defying low margins identified by sector giant Archer Daniels Midland – and with the potential for further increases to come” [Agrimoney]. Turning oil into plants, and plants into gasoline. That makes sense.

“[I]f the economy doesn’t pick up appreciably, the FED has little in the tool box, so there will likely be a need for fiscal stimulus..which means more borrowing..but that is for another day” [Across the Curve]. This after a segment of bond geek musings that I couldn’t penetrate, but that sounded interesting. Readers?

“It’s not just OPEC, but most entities with oil related income seem to have only partially cut back on spending as prices collapsed, perhaps ‘betting’ on a price recovery. This includes US states with oil and gas revenues, oil companies, and individuals collecting royalty checks” [Mosler Economics].

Honey for the Bears: ““The reality is that the public has not been involved this time around, unlike in the late ‘90s,” [Peter Thiel] said. He added that if there were a bubble today, he believed it had arisen because of prolonged low interest rates that had spurred a huge wave of investing across sectors [New York Times]. In other words, and as I’ve been saying, all this garbage about “unicorns” and “startups” and “founders” (!) is the result of free money sloshing around from QE. It’s a bubble, and a grotesquely skewed malinvestment of capital, to boot, just as surely as the “foreclosure crisis” was, with its subdivisions full of houses with styrofoam pediments and no insulation thrown up so the FIRE sector could collect its fee fees.

The Fed: “Janet Yellen’s Congressional Testimony—Recap” [Wall Street Journal].

“This U.S. earnings season is on track to be the worst since 2009 as profits from oil & gas and commodity-related companies plummet” [Bloomberg].

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 72 (-2); Greed [CNN]. Last week: 69 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed)

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“In both cases, a deputy sheriff responded to misbehavior by handcuffing the children. Their arms were so tiny that the cuffs were applied at the biceps” [New York Times]. Context, as if that mattered: “The Justice Department filed court papers last month in support of a civil rights lawsuit brought by the parents of two disabled children — one 8 years old, the other 9 — who attended public school in Kenton County, Ky. Both children have severe disabilities that make it difficult for them to follow instructions. In both cases, a deputy sheriff responded to misbehavior by handcuffing the children. Their arms were so tiny that the cuffs were applied at the biceps.”

Health Care

Newly-elected Republican governor Bevin will probably dump the state ObamaCare exchange, Kynect. But then the Federal Exchange could be used. It’s less clear that he’d dump Medicaid expansion. Then again: “[Medicaid is] not meant to be a lifestyle. It really isn’t. The point of it is to provide for those who truly have need” [Politico]. As if an over-55 would put the family house at risk from estate recovery as a life-style choice. Vicious and delusional.

“[T]he [“Wellness] program’s biggest critics say the programs are yet another way to push more costs onto employees, and even worse, potentially a backdoor way to discriminate against less healthy workers by making them pay more if, for instance, they fail to meet a goal of lower cholesterol” [New York Times]. “For lower-income employees, who may feel more pressure to participate, there is the potential for another type of discrimination.” Another form of backdoor underwriting! Which ObamaCare encourages.

“Patients of color are more likely than non-Latino white patients to say doctors are unconcerned about their health and don’t see them as equal, according to a study produced by Emory University on patients’ trust of physicians” [Latin Post].


“How do fraudsters ‘cash out’ stolen credit card data? Increasingly, they are selling in-demand but underpriced products on eBay that they don’t yet own. Once the auction is over, the auction fraudster uses stolen credit card data to buy the merchandise from an e-commerce store and have it shipped to the auction winner. Because the auction winners actually get what they bid on and unwittingly pay the fraudster, very often the only party left to dispute the charge is the legitimate cardholder” [Krebs and Security]. Amazingly intelligent, especially (I assume) for the non-credentialled.

“Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen said Wednesday she still sees “substantial compliance and risk management issues” at the largest financial firms the Fed regulates” [Wall Street Journal, “Janet Yellen Still Sees Compliance, Risk-Management Issues at Big Firms”]. Filing this under Corruption because those are obvious signs that a criminogenic environment is still in place.

“Mr. Thiel later said that Uber ‘is not morally corrupt, just a little corrupt'” [New York Times]. So that’s alright then.

“Goldman Sachs announced last month that its investment in a Utah preschool program had helped 109 “at-risk” kindergartners avoid special education. The investment also resulted in a $260,000 payout for the Wall Street firm, the first of many payments that is expected from the investment” [New York Times]. “Yet since the Utah results were disclosed, questions have emerged about whether the program achieved the success that was claimed. Nine early-education experts who reviewed the program for The New York Times quickly identified a number of irregularities in how the program’s success was measured, which seem to have led Goldman and the state to significantly overstate the effect that the investment had achieved in helping young children avoid special education.” Shocker!

The 420

“Ohio votes down legalizing pot for medical, recreational use” [WaPo]. What the coverage doesn’t mention (and NC readers know) is that Ohio voters rejected handing control over growing and selling marijuana to a monopoly (of referendum sponsors (!!). In other words, a victory for strange bedfellows.)

“Oxytocin makes socializing feel fun, just like marijuana” [Ars Technica]. Not Oxycontin, unfortunately.


“Soda is on the verge of becoming the liquid cigarette” [Guardian]. How Mexico imposed a tax on soda.

Guillotine Watch

Martin Shkreli: “Nobody’s lowered their prices … why should I?” [Business Insider]. Indeed!

“[Investor Chris Sacca] also noted that people in the Bay Area tended toward ‘upspeak,’ the use of a rising inflection in speech. While men can get away with it, he said, women who adopt that speech pattern are not taken seriously” [New York Times]. So women should invest in speech therapy, as opposed to men stop being jerks who can’t listen (the vast majority of Silicon Valley squillionaires being men).

Class Warfare

“All six editors and all 31 editorial board members of Lingua, one of the top journals in linguistics, last week resigned to protest Elsevier’s policies on pricing and its refusal to convert the journal to an open-access publication that would be free online” [Inside Higher Ed]. “As soon as January, when the departing editors’ noncompete contracts expire, they plan to start a new open-access journal to be called Glossa.” This is a big deal, actually.

“In 2013, the rate of non-fatal occupational illnesses, including common musculoskeletal disorders like carpal tunnel syndrome, was 18.8 per 10,000 workers in the US. For poultry workers, it was 104.2” [Quartz].

“In some cases, the most intimate questions a person is asking—about health worries, relationship woes, financial hardship—are the ones that set off a chain reaction that can have troubling consequences both online and offline” [The Atlantic]. What happens if you Google “need rent money fast”? A chain of events that kicks people who are already down.

News of the Wired

“Staring at computers at night is frying your brain. Here’s one easy fix” [Vox]. I’ve tried this, but it doesn’t work on my iPad without jailbreaking. Yves tried it, and didn’t like it.

“The news around the cryptocurrency world has been pretty bright lately. Even if bitcoin still has a stigma in the public eye, the hype around the potential of bitcoin’s underlying mechanics – the so-called blockchain – has positively exploded.” [Wall Street Journal, ” BitBeat: Bitcoin Surges Past $400 on Back of the New ‘Shining Star'”]. Halo effect?

“Fear Not: You Can Use Chrome to Bring Stars Back to Twitter” [Wired]. Well, I avoid Google. “One Account, All of Google” gives me the creeps. In fact, it’s exactly what I don’t want.

“A new study suggests that schizophrenic people in more collectivist societies sometimes think their auditory hallucinations are helpful” [The Atlantic]. I’m resisting filing this under 2016…. 

* * *

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 (Isabel):


Manjerico (Ocimum minimum L). So pretty. Makes me want to visit Portugal.

If you enjoy Water Cooler, please consider tipping and click the hat. Winter is here, I need to keep buying fuel, and I need to keep my server up, too. And thanks so much for the donations during the annual fundraiser, which I immediately socked into infrastructure. They are much appreciated, both practically, and as signs that you enjoy the work.


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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. hunkerdown

    You could run the starifiers on the Chromium browser, which is far less assimilated than the branded Chrome.

  2. rich

    The Case for Bernie Sanders His critics say he’s not realistic – but they have it backwards By Matt

    If questioned, most reporters would justify this by noting that an effective president must be able to bridge the gap between powerful interests and populist concerns. So it makes some sense to interrogate candidates accordingly, to make sure they’re acceptable to both sides.

    The flaw in this reasoning is that it assumes that Wall Street and Silicon Valley and Big Pharma and the rest need the help of us reporters to weed out the undesirables.

    They don’t, of course. Big money already has a stranglehold on the process of government. It outright owns most of the members of Congress, and its lobbyists write much of our important legislation. With Citizens United, buying elections is now more or less legal. Big money even owns most of the media companies that employ those pundits who are all telling us now to worry about how “realistic” Sanders isn’t.

    Everybody knows this. In fact, this numbing reality of how completely corrupted the modern American political process is bends the brains of those whose job it is to cover it. What happens over time is that you lose hope, and you begin to view everything through the prism of the corruption to which you’re so accustomed.

    When you stop believing in the electoral process, then the only questions left to interest a professional observer are who wins, and how many laughs there will be along the way. We’ve gotten good at thinking about these things. Cassidy’s bit about Sanders harmlessly occupying the left flank and blocking more “plausible” candidates from threatening Hillary is exactly the kind of sounds-smart observation we’ve been trained to believe passes for political journalism today.

    Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-case-for-bernie-sanders-20151103#ixzz3qYExJPpU

    New Poll Shows 60% of Americans Think Hillary Clinton is Untrustworthy and Dishonest

        1. Steven D.

          The pundits are saying that because we have a corrupt, compromised and purchased Congress, the only way to get anything done is with a corrupt, compromised and purchased president. An honest president would want to ensure this kind of Congress does as little as possible, not work with them to enhance the screwing of the people.

          1. Jeff W

            The pundits are saying that because we have a corrupt, compromised and purchased Congress, the only way to get anything done is with a corrupt, compromised and purchased president.

            And to even think that it’s possible that things might work differently is not “realistic.”

            What gets me is not how true that is (if it is) it’s how normalized it is.

  3. allan

    ” “The [leaked Clinton campaign memo], titled ‘The Importance of the African-American Vote,’ ”

    Distrust but verify. Is this any more sincere than her alleged support for LGBT rights back in the day?

    There’s No Evidence In Clinton White House Documents For Clintons’ Story On Anti-Gay Law

    Over the past few years, some Democrats — including the Clintons — have offered a new explanation for why they supported the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996.

    The threat of a federal constitutional amendment, these Democrats have argued, motivated them to support DOMA — a law that defined marriage for federal government purposes as between one man and one woman and said states could refuse to recognize same-sex couples’ marriages from others states. …

    There is no contemporaneous evidence, however, to support the claim that the Clinton White House considered a possible federal constitutional amendment to be a concern, based on a BuzzFeed News review of the thousands of documents released earlier this year by the Clinton Presidential Library about same-sex couples’ marriage rights and the Defense of Marriage Act. … The claim has faced renewed scrutiny in recent days after Hillary Clinton made an extended argument in an interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow that DOMA was a “line to be drawn” to prevent further action.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I don’t care about personally characteristics like sincerity a lot (see e.g.). But if you check the policy chart, you’ll see the differences between the two Democratic campaigns on Campaign Zero. That should matter a lot more.

      1. allan

        Personalities (especially those validated by the outside world as `successful’) tend not to change.
        What’s past is prologue.

      2. steelhead23

        A bit off-topic here, but I encourage everyone here to watch Chris Hedges’ interview with Ralph Nader. http://www.truthdig.com/avbooth/item/video_chris_hedges_ralph_nader_liberals_hillary_clinton_20151103. Nader suggests that it was during the 70s that the Democratic Party recognized it could garner funds from corporate PACs, just like the Republicans. This placed them in the thrall of K Street, led to the defeat of Nader’s pet Consumer Protection Agency, etc., etc. Nader sees this sea change, from a populist Democratic Party to a corporatist Democratic Party as a bigger threat to democracy than Citizens United – a fascinating perspective. Nader also takes some jabs at U.S. voters that vote for candidates that say the right thing – after doing the opposite. Anyone who voted for Obama after he interrupted his campaign to support FISA should wince a bit at that. Thanks for all you do Lambert.

        1. Carla

          “Nader sees this sea change, from a populist Democratic Party to a corporatist Democratic Party as a bigger threat to democracy than Citizens United – a fascinating perspective.”

          Of course, Nader is right. The change took place long ago, under the aegis of the Democrat party. Citizens United only made it evident to the public at large. It took the Republicans commandeering the Supreme Court to do that.

          Beats me how anyone can vote for a Democrat for President ever again. Since there has not been a Republican I would vote for since Lincoln, that leaves me supporting Dr. Stein — a candidate far superior to any the majoritarian parties have offered up.

  4. craazyboy

    “Soda is on the verge of becoming the liquid cigarette” [Guardian]. How Mexico imposed a tax on soda.
    Well, can’t drink the water….

    1. Uahsenaa

      Which is why you drink the beer. After all, many alcoholic beverages were used in ancient times as a means of preventing water from becoming so fetid that it would no longer be potable.

    2. Jeff W

      I’ve tended to view soda as “liquid candy” which was, in itself, enough to make me want to stop drinking it. (Turns out that is the name of a report originally published in 1998 by the Center for Science in the Public Interest—which I either didn’t know or forgot—about the consequences of massive consumption of soft drinks. CSPI refers to soft drinks also as “sugar drinks.”)

      1. Carl

        I’ll give CSPI credit for this one; they’ve been beating the drum about sugary drinks for awhile. On other dietary issues, however, their credibility is completely shot; they swallowed the “low fat, low cholesterol” bs whole and banged on about it for years.

  5. Kurt Sperry

    The links on the journal Lingua and the ebay triangulation fraud were both good reads and both have nicely informed comment strings as well.

  6. Will

    Can anybody provide links to those Campaign ZERO comparison charts at full-size? When I click through to them on twitter I can’t get it to provide them at a big enough resolution to read.

  7. Collin Lynch

    Orrin Hatch: “Right now, it is not clear whether the TPP meets the high standards laid out in the TPA statute. Congress is still waiting to see the final details of the agreement” [The Hill]. Hatch, however, does not mention loss of sovereignty under ISDS, most likely to resonante with his conservative constituency.

    I’m not so sure I agree with that. While they won’t shed a tear for the EPA many real conservatives distrust the Federal government because they see it as remote, opaque, and undemocratic (or at least nonresponsive to them). Given that imagine how they feel about an un-elected multi-national tribunal that issues very very expensive rulings in secret and has the power to make new “obligations” that member states must follow.

    Many social conservatives also look at the actions that some big companies have taken to push for equality and nondescrimination rules or, worse yet, “Immigration Reform” and fear that being rammed down their throats in the name of “harmonization”.

    If you visit blogs such as RedState it is interesting to see how this debate has played out with some tea party groups arguing against the TPP because of ISDS and others, notably followers of Ted Cruz who think it is a-ok.

    1. Procopius

      Really, I’ve been puzzled over why they (Tea Partiers) don’t see ISDS as a ploy to implement Agenda 21, the secret UN agenda to steal all out golfs.

  8. Tim


    Curious what your thoughts are if these guys are the poster child for building a big pharma ponzi scheme which tax payers help fund.

    Also … if “the free market” using CDS could bring them down.

    ( Crossing my fingers you guys have found even more fascinating shenanigans then what’s been reported so far. )

  9. Jim

    The Atlantic article about auditory hallucinations raises important questions about the nature of culture, apparent cultural anomie in the U.S. and its causes, the relationship of mind to brain, the nature of modern mental illness and hints as to what are genuine delusions.

    Is it possible that modern mental illness, particularly schizophrenia, is culturally induced?

    If it is culturally induced (a big issue in itself) how and why did our culture become anomic?

    Can our anomic culture lead to a biologically real mental disease?

    Is the loss of control over voices generated by the individual mind tied to identity or its absence?

    1. Paul Tioxon


      ” Bateson et al. (1956) proposed that schizophrenic symptoms are an expression of social interactions in which the individual is repeatedly exposed to conflicting injunctions, without having the opportunity to adequately respond to those injunctions, or to ignore them (i.e., to escape the field). For example, if a mother tells her son that she loves him, while at the same time turning her head away in disgust, the child receives two conflicting messages about their relationship on different communicative levels, one of affection on the verbal level, and one of animosity on the nonverbal level. It is argued that the child’s ability to respond to the mother is incapacitated by such contradictions across communicative levels, because one message invalidates the other. Because of the child’s vital dependence on the mother, Bateson et al. argue that the child is also not able to comment on the fact that a contradiction has occurred, i.e., the child is unable to metacommunicate (Bateson et al., 1956).

      The symptomatology of schizophrenia, it is argued, reflects the accommodation of the individual to a prolonged exposure to such interactions. Once ‘victims’ have learned to perceive their universe in terms of contradictory environmental input, the inability to respond effectively to stimuli from the environment is no longer contingent on the extent to which stimuli from the environment are contradictory in specific interactive sequences. Instead, the individual will generally experience any input from the environment as conflicting information without being able to discriminate between different communicative levels. In the long run, this inability manifests itself as typically schizophrenic symptoms such as flattened affect, delusions and hallucinations, and incoherent thinking and speaking (Bateson et al., 1956).

      It is further stipulated by Bateson et al. (1956) that double bind interactions have a pathogenic effect only if they occur in a context where the accurate discrimination of messages is of vital importance for the participants, and in a relational context which is characterized by intense levels of involvement between the participants. The interaction between parents and children within the nuclear family is a typical example of such a relational context. ”



      Gregory Bateson, among others, developed a theory called Double Bind Schizophrenia, arising from contradictory communications from within the family. A culturally based theory of the disease. It is most likely seen in movies and even comedy shows where the child is told they are loved, as expressed verbally or by cooking a meal or treat and then telling the same child, for example, that they will get fat if they eat too much and will wind up alone at home with mom and dad, where of course, they will continue to be loved with the fattening meals that doom them.

      1. Jim

        Paul–try applying Bateson’s cultural theory to someone like John Nash who has been diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic. Syliva Nasar’s award winning Biography, The Beautiful Mind, which later became a somewhat popular film, gives an extremely detailed background on the man, a background which is usually not available in most cases of schizophrenia.

        To me Nash sounds more like someone suffering from status issues and an uncertain identity rather than contradictory family injunctions,

        1. cwaltz

          I think that these diseases like most diseases are probably a combination of nature and nurture. I do think it’s downright cruel to blame mental conditions on parenting when we know that most of these conditions come with problems related to the chemicals and structure portions of the brain and that genetics do play a part in how our body structures itself.

          This study makes parenting sound like a convenient scapegoat. Bateson sounds an awful lot like Freud. It also makes me wonder if schizophrenia were a result of being unable to respond to external conflicting injunctions then why is it not seen in childhood when we are least effective and capable of communicating? Why does it instead wait to manifest in someone’s teen to late thirties? It also doesn’t explain the reason why someone diagnosed with schizophrenia would have smaller than average cranial size as it has been documented and noted.

      2. Carl

        This seems similar to the experiments on dogs wherein the animal was subjected to a high-pitched sound tied to a reward, and a low-pitched one tied to a punishment. When the researchers gradually brought the two sounds together, the animal became schizophrenic.

    2. LifelongLib

      It reminded me of the “bicameral mind” theory that holds that human consciousness appeared only a few thousand years ago. Before that people supposedly heard voices (actually the “god” right side of the brain communicating with the “human” left side) that told them what to do in novel situations. Whether or not that theory is true, it certainly seems some people are able to integrate what we would call hallucinations into their lives without too much disruption, maybe even with some benefit. Is something an illness if it doesn’t disrupt your life?

  10. rich

    A drug stock skyrocketing from painkiller profits http://cnb.cx/1PmjLvK

    The United States’ opiate drug problem isn’t limited to illegal narcotics. The sale of dangerously addictive painkillers prescribed by our physicians has quadrupled in the past decade, and one company in particular is pushing pain to the legal edge of aggressive medical marketing.

    According to criminal complaints, attorneys general reports and CNBC sources, specialty pharmaceutical company Insys Therapeutics — with the help of several physicians across the country now under investigation — is putting profits before patients as it makes millions off your pain.

    Insys is subject to investigations regarding the sales and marketing practices of its main product — Subsys Fentanyl, a painkiller delivered as an oral spray — by both federal and state attorneys general offices in California, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Arizona and Illinois, according to its 10-Q filing.

    “I’ve been investigating drug cases for about 15 years now, and the conduct that we saw in this case was among the most unconscionable that I’ve seen,” said Oregon Assistant Attorney General David Hart, who led an investigation that resulted in the first state-level settlement with Insys and a detailed, published report on the company’s practices. “There was harm done to patients on a level I’m not used to seeing,” Hart said.

  11. KFritz

    The results of various arbitration searches and specific news searches @ DuckDuckGo are much, much better than Google. The New York Times articles are ranked between #1 and #5, and you can even read the Cato Institute’s article tearing into the NYT piece. I rarely do Google search these days, though I keep it as home page for convenience sake. Two quick clicks and I’m @ DDG.

  12. Eric Patton

    NC helps preserve the very small amount of sanity I have left. The only thing better than the Water Cooler is sliced bread.

    I want a sandwich. With mustard. Unless it’s a sub. I don’t like mustard on my ham and cheese.

  13. Jim Haygood

    “Given Treasury’s commitment to increasing bill supply, adjustments in coupon offering sizes may be necessary in order to increase bill issuance sufficiently in 2016.” — Across the Curve

    After J-Yel does her December rate hike, the Fed is expected to maintain its new target range (e.g., 0.25 to 0.50%) by greatly expanding overnight reverse repos. RRPs are a form of secured lending, in which the Fed puts up T-bill collateral to borrow overnight and pay interest.

    Apparently “MOAR T-bills” are needed as collateral. With the fiscal deficit slowly shrinking, Treasury might have to cut the issuance of longer-term debt to make room for the quantity of T-bills needed.

    Arguably with long-term rates at generational lows, Treasury should raise the average maturity of federal debt, to lock in low borrowing costs. “MOAR T-bills” is yet another example of a distortion caused by three rounds of QE. With $2.6 trillion of excess reserves at banks, the Fed can no longer hike rates by making reserves more scarce. Ergo, “MOAR T-bills” to run the overnight RRP program.

    1. craazyboy

      Even dumber, the Fed decided to “keep it’s balance sheet constant” after the end of QE. When their holdings mature, rather than let the balance sheet slowly shrink naturally, and lessen the amount of excess reserves, they have been buying longish bonds to keep their balance sheet constant.

      I haven’t seen anyone question them on this logic, but I can’t make sense of it, considering the huge amount of “excess reserves” presumably sitting idle and the Fed paying interest on it to banks to boot.

      Not to mention the question of why do banks need T bills for collateralized borrowing when there are so much excess reserves. That’s a head scratcher. You could envision a land of haves and havenots in Banker Land, but the havenots wouldn’t have money to buy T bills for collateral either??

      1. Jim Haygood

        Reverse repos turn the standard repo transaction around, such that it’s the Fed supplying T-bill collateral to private counterparties to guarantee repayment of its overnight borrowing. From page 6 of the seminal Frost paper:

        An RRP transaction is economically similar to the Federal Reserve borrowing from a
        counterparty, with the loan secured by collateral from the Federal Reserve’s securities


        This certainly raises the deeper question you brought up, which occurred to me as well: why does a highly-rated borrower like the Fed have to supply collateral? After all, the Fed can repay its borrowings by just creating more reserves.

        Evidently it’s because the Fed is offering RRPs to non-bank counterparties such as money market funds. With non-bank counterparties, the Fed lacks the authority to just credit reserves to their account with a keystroke. Thus the need for collateralized borrowing.

        1. craazyboy

          There is an easy solution to everyone’s problem – interbank repo and Fed RRP and Uncle Sam can sell 30 year bonds at 2.5%. They just need to discount longer bonds when using them as collateral. Something like you can borrow 80% of the bond face value used for collateral.

          So I still don’t understand everyone’s moaning.

          The alternative is quite ridiculous when the Fed jumps in the fray (just to avoid selling long bonds on their balance sheet – even as they are rolling over the ones they have now) Now the Treasury has to sell all new T-Bills to the primary dealers, whom sell them to whomever has money, some of that money becomes excess reserves, the Fed borrows it from banks and money market funds to tighten up liquidity – using T-Bills as collateral…..whoops.. the Fed is low on T-Bills too!

          Almost makes ya think this is the first time they ever did QE???

  14. rich

    Sen. Bob Corker profits on quick stock trades http://on.wsj.com/1RtL8Dj

    Tennessee Republican discloses a dozen previously unreported share purchases in a little-known real-estate firm

    Until recently, he hadn’t made public a dozen stock purchases in the firm, including several that resulted in his most profitable investments.

    In one previously unknown purchase, Mr. Corker purchased between $1 million and $5 million in shares of the firm, CBL & Associates Properties Inc., in late 2011 and sold them five months later for a 42% gain. A pair of purchases in 2009 in accounts in the name of his daughters likely netted more than $1 million, though in that case the exact gain is impossible to calculate.

    The trades are among the CBL stock purchases that Mr. Corker disclosed only recently after questions from The Wall Street Journal about apparent discrepancies in his Senate financial-disclosure reports. Congressional ethics rules require lawmakers to make public their financial investments in broad ranges each year.

    Some of Mr. Corker’s newly disclosed trades came during a period of heightened scrutiny of financial investments by members of Congress and as Mr. Corker was preparing to run for re-election in 2012.


    the things we forget?

  15. marym

    There may be incentive for even a Republicans to retain Kentucky’s Medicaid expansion

    Kentucky has awarded new contracts to the five private companies that manage its rapidly expanding Medicaid program, its growth fueled by hundreds of thousands of new members under the Affordable Care Act.

    Last year, four of the companies hired to manage Medicaid — the government health plan for low-income citizens — cleared more than $500 million in income above expenses, according to statements companies must file with the Kentucky Department of Insurance. Only Humana posted a loss.

    Some of the profits ranged from 7 percent to nearly 18 percent in 2014. The new contracts limit income to about 6 percent and spell out new standards for claims payments and penalties for companies that don’t comply.


    The 6% profit margin needs to be taken with a few grains of salt, since most states, including Kentucky, don’t have a medical loss ratio for Medicaid managed care, so there are probably gaming opportunities there. Not to wander too far OT, but in June CMS published a proposed a rule for a federal minimum MLR for Medicaid:


    1. lambert strether

      National Review, who knew? Vivid writing, but I’d sure like confirmation on soda as an alternative currency.

      1. abynormal

        desperation births a craftiness we probably can’t imagine. my sisters neighbor networked underground with their snap cards, they didn’t do drugs and had 3 kids. ‘they said’ they used it to keep their car running, utilities etc. wasn’t enough…they were evicted 2mos behind on rent. i suspect there’s more going on than you & i can relate to. i can’t see how it can last much longer…but what will happen to all the children?

        1. ambrit

          “…but what will happen to all the children?”
          Something like what happens to the street kids of Mumbai or the ‘desesparacidos juveniles’ of Mexico City.
          One ‘bright’ note, they will have opportunities galore as child soldiers for some local “mover and shaker.” (Look to the social dimensions of Americas’ “Gang Culture” for a hint of things to come.)
          Unfortunately, this will all keep going until the Guillotines start to do their work.

    2. MDBill

      Those who have the required work skills, the academic ability, or the simple desperate native enterprising grit to do so get the hell out as fast as they can, and they have been doing that for decades. As they go, businesses disappear, institutions fall into decline, social networks erode, and there is little or nothing left over for those who remain. It’s a classic economic death spiral: The quality of the available jobs is not enough to keep good workers, and the quality of the available workers is not enough to attract good jobs.

      But when this happens on the national level, then what? I guess we’re not quite to that point yet. Great article. Thanks.

  16. steelhead23

    I have to laud the linguists who bolted from Elsevier over their prices. Elsevier publishes some important stuff, but their prices would only be appropriate for hand-made books with gilded margins and hand-made illustrations – like a pre-Gutenberg bible. It seems that publishers of academia are marching in lockstep with big pharma.

    1. ambrit

      Also, academics are mimicking doctors. Many courses now require the purchase of the “latest edition” of a text book, or more usually, the CD that accompanies the book, for a course. Like ‘reformulated’ medicines, small tweaks to texts are a convenient pretext to drive demand and price up.

      1. DanB

        This constant introduction of “updated” editions is both superfluous and exploitative of students. Plus my colleges bookstore slaps a surcharge on class textbooks and tells students this extra charge helps support the college. Students with government loans are required to buy their class books from the college’s bookstore or pay out of pocket if they buy their books elsewhere. To overcome the high costs of course books I have down two things: First, I have found a good Wikibook to textbook to assign (it’s free online). Second, to replace readers -whose articles are typically mainstream and increasingly irrelevant (I teach Social Problems) even though constantly “updated”- I give student reading assignments of current articles, reports, etc. available free online (often from here at NC).

  17. Daryl

    > “Staring at computers at night is frying your brain. Here’s one easy fix” [Vox]. I’ve tried this, but it doesn’t work on my iPad without jailbreaking. Yves tried it, and didn’t like it.

    I use amber sunglasses at night for this exact reason. It takes some getting used to, but then you are getting little to no blue light from all electric lights without the need for any software/settings adjustment. It has improved my sleep schedule a lot.

    1. ambrit

      Thanks for the tip. As an amateur insomniac, I need all the help I can get to regularize my sleep schedule.

  18. Carla

    Re: Marijuana in Ohio: “Ohio votes down legalizing pot for medical, recreational use” [WaPo]. What the coverage doesn’t mention (and NC readers know) is that Ohio voters rejected handing control over growing and selling marijuana to a monopoly (of referendum sponsors (!!). In other words, a victory for strange bedfellows.)”

    As a lifelong Ohioan, had the vote on Issue 3 (Legalizing marijuana and a cartel to grow and market it) been close, I would agree with your assessment, Lambert, that voters were rejecting the marijuana cartel. But it was a landslide: 65% against, 35% for. This indicates to me that my “purple” state is becoming more conservative. I don’t think there are enough thoughtful, well-informed voters–on this issue– in Ohio to have accounted for such an overwhelming “No” vote, even though I agree, “No” was the right choice on this issue.

    Unfortunately, Issue 2, which was even trickier and perhaps has longer term negative consequences for the state, passed. It will considerably hamper citizens’ ability to put issues on the ballot by the petition process.

  19. Barry B.

    The Ohio marajuana referendum was actually entitled “Marijuana Monopoly” on the ballot: no kidding. Another referendum, which went to big lengths in its text to paint itself as anti-monopoly, ended with a short bit targeting the marijuana referendum specifically. The phrasing of the MM had so many holes in its text that even a non-legalistic yahoo like myself could tell it would end up in the state courts as attempts were made to keep all the hash in a very few hands. (And people growing it for their own private use, which was allowed.) I saw many signs advertising the so-called anti-monopoly referendum as an “Anti-Drug Levy.” The whole thing looked as though deliberately and thoroughly titled against the marijuana legislation at every level. But hey, that’s Ohio. Why provide information when you can get a better result by keeping people misinformed?

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