2:00PM Water Cooler 12/1/2015

By Lambert Strether of Corrente


“Deals like the TPP effectively curtail Congress’s authority, potentially committing the country to abide by its rules for decades to come. That deprives us of the option to change our minds about the propriety of source code disclosure or data localization rules in the future. Even if the rules seem sensible today, we may come to regret them in the future” [Vox]. Not just source code or data localization rules!

“If it is costly to get sued, then rational governments will behave in ways that minimize the risk of getting sued. This is the root of the worry about what ISDS might do to regulation. The U.S. government might think twice about setting regulations that trigger lawsuits” [WaPo]. Then again, Ezra Klein says “No problemo.” So that’s alright then.

“TPP would thus allow foreign companies to bring a wide range of challenges to government IP rulings. A foreign business could challenge the denial of a patent application, a ruling that it infringed a trademark, a decision that its own copyrights weren’t infringed, or a statute restricting the scope of patentable inventions. Any government action that adversely affects a foreign company’s IP expectations could be attacked” [IP Watch]. “Such ISDS challenges are already being brought under other free trade agreements, none of which list IP as a protected investment.”



“Clinton: No U.S. combat troops to fight Islamic State” [Reuters].

The Voters

“In a nutshell, the Cruz case is this: There is an army of silent evangelical voters out there, and I can mobilize them. The country has 90 million evangelical Christians, 54 million of whom stayed home on Election Day in 2012, he says. If I can get just 10 million of the no-shows to vote for me in 2016, we win” [Wall Street Journal].

The Trail

“Elizabeth Warren Only Female Democratic Senator Missing From Hillary Clinton Endorsement Event” [ABC]. Ouch! ” But her continued absence still comes at a time when many high-level Clinton backers are growing increasingly convinced that the Bostonian’s backing will be important for Clinton in energizing Bernie Sanders’ supporters and uniting Democrats during the general election” [Politico]. 

“Republican strategist Karl Rove helped set up a meeting between top fundraisers for Ben Carson and casino mogul Steve Wynn” [Bloomberg]. An anti-Trump bank shot.

Cruz: The Planned Parenthood shooter “also been reported that he was registered as an independent and a woman and a transgendered leftist activist” [WaPo].

Cruz: “Here is the simple and undeniable fact – the overwhelming majority of violent criminals are Democrats” [The Hill].

Trump meeting with Black pastors turns into a clusterf*ck [New York Times]. Apparently, their attendance was to be construed as an endorsement.

“Anne-Marie Slaughter ‘devastated’ by Clinton’s take on her ‘have it all’ article” [Politico]. My goodness!

When it endorsed Christie, the Manchester Union Leader “knew almost nothing about his record as governor” [Newark Star-Ledger]. Too charitable.

The Hill

Senate Republicans may actually vote to repeal ObamaCare, safe in the knowledge that Obama will veto the bill [Politico]. The repeal bill seems as much of a Rube Goldberg device as ObamaCare! There’s a two-year transition period “that keeps federal subsidies flowing until the next president passes a plan,” for example.

“‘I think it’s better than 50-50 that we’re going to get [a shutdown],’ Norman Ornstein, a centrist scholar on politics and Congress at the American Enterprise Institute, said” [McClatchy]. Over Syrian refugees, for pity’s sake.

“The Wisconsin Republican is the first Speaker in nearly a century to sport a beard, or the beginnings of one, on the job” [The Hill].

Stats Watch

Construction Spending, October 2015: “Construction is one of the highlights of the 2015 economy with spending up a solid 1.0 percent in October for the best rate since May.” [Econoday]. “Public spending is holding down totals with educational construction unchanged in the month though Federal spending did jump, up 19.2 percent for the largest gain in nine years that takes the year-on-year rate to plus 10.7 percent.” But: “The headlines say construction spending grew. The backward revisions make this series very wacky. In any event, construction spending is growing much faster than the economy in general” [Econoday].

Motor Vehicle Sales, November 2015: “With about 2/3 of the data in, sales of motor vehicles in November are looking soft compared to prior months” [Econoday].

ISM Manufacturing Index, November 2015: “more than 1 point below Econoday’s low-end estimate for the lowest reading since June 2009.. Decline includes a significant dip for new orders” [Econoday]. “A convincing detail in the report is the breadth of weakness with only five of 18 industries reporting composite growth in the month.” And: “Relatively deep penetration of this index below 50 has normally resulted in a recession” [Econoday]. Although our normal is new. Nevertheless: “This was in stark contrast to the market consensus for a modest rise to 50.5, and it marks the first sub-50 print since 2012 and the sixth consecutive decline in this indicator” [Across the Curve]. “This was a very weak report, and the breadth of the slowdown among industries suggests some broadening in the contraction beyond the energy-dependent sectors. Despite the drop, this index remains well above the 43.1 mark that is broadly consistent with a recessionary reading.”

PMI Manufacturing Index, November 2015: “Markit’s U.S. manufacturing sample, which has been reporting much stronger levels of activity than others, reports slower rates of growth in November” [Econoday]. “Softness in new orders, rising at their slowest pace in just over two years, is the chief reason for the dip. Export orders are in contraction, once again the result of weak foreign demand made weaker for U.S. goods by the strength of the dollar. Weakness in new orders is compounded by the first contraction in backlog orders since November last year.” And: “Another bad one, reversing last month’s suspect move up” [Mosler Economics]. “Along with the ISM, it’s decelerated with the collapse in oil related capital expenditures, and nothing yet has come along to fill that spending gap (apart from building unsold inventory):”

Ag: “Dow Chemical Co is selling off part of its herbicide business, amid continued talks of consolidation in the ag-chemical sector” [Agrimoney]. Hmm. Taking action before the lawsuits, perhaps? 

The Fed: Put yourself in J-Yel’s chair: “Given all of the above, how significant is this Friday’s employment situation report? Does it really matter if nonfarm payrolls increase by 150,000 or 250,000? Unless the number is some shocking outlier, is it anything more than noise?” [Barry Ritholtz, Bloomberg].

The Fed: “Economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York say their economic model  s projecting [here] slightly slower economic growth than previously expected due to tighter financial conditions” [Market News]. “They see only a slow return to the Fed’s 2% inflation target.”

The Fed: “The latest read on the Fed’s preferred inflation metric was not particularly kind to policymakers” [Tim Duy’s Fed Watch]. “Hence I think the base case of rising wages and prices remains reasonable – assuming sufficient cyclical momentum to carry unemployment lower still. But how much tightening can the economy weather before that cyclical momentum wanes? Therein lies the Fed’s challenge. Employment indicators tend to be lagging, and the economy may already be already easing into a soft patch.”

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 56 (-2); Greed [CNN]. Last week: 58 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed).

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“There’s been a cover-up in Chicago. The city’s leaders have now brought charges against a police officer, Jason Van Dyke, for the first-degree murder of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. But for more than a year, Chicago officials delayed the criminal process, and might well have postponed prosecution indefinitely, had it not been for a state court forcing their hand.” [New York Times]. So, Obama’s chief of staff crooked, violent, and secretive. Seems odd.

“Deval Patrick To Advise Chicago Police Accountability Task Force” [CBS]. Another Axelrove client…. 

“Mayor’s Meeting With Black Clergy May Have Made His Standing In Black Community Worse” [Aldertrack]. As I read it, Rahm threatened the clergy with lost jobs if there were demonstrations.

“Chicago police superintendent fired by mayor amid outcry over video of shooting” [WaPo].

“Mitchell: City blocking release of another police dashcam video ” [Chicago Sun-Times].

Health Care

“[UnitedHealth] CEO Stephen Hemsley said that it had made its best effort to keep costs down by selling plans with small doctor networks, and that it had priced them competitively. The company signed up members with better health than the overall exchange population, but it still lost money, he said” [Reuters]. So, narrow networks and successful underwriting, and UnitedHealth still can’t make money. Time to take profit and highly paid CEOs out of the equation, then?


“How one tiny salamander affects an entire forest’s carbon cycle” [American Forests].

“‘If, 50 years ago, I had shown you an iPhone and an iPad, and how FaceTime works, you would have thought I was insane,’ [Miami Mayor Philip] Levine said. ‘So, 10, 20, 30 years from today, humankind will come up with amazing, innovative ideas that will create an even greater level of resiliency for coastal cities.'” [Vanity Fair]. Whenever you hear the word “innovation,” or “innovate,” your bullshit detector should go off, and you should put your hand on your wallet (or purse) to make sure you still have it.

“Exxon Vice President for Public and Government Affairs Kenneth Cohen accuses a Columbia journalism professor and her team of potentially violating the university’s policy on research misconduct by downplaying or ignoring information provided by the company” [Politico]. Chutzpah!

Class Warfare

“The lower middle class and poor came into the Great Recession with a lot of debt and they haven’t been able to pay it down since” [CNN]. “About 1 in 5 American families who make $41,200 or less have what’s considered a hefty debt burden — defined as more than 40% debt-to-income load.” So if they have jobs, they won’t risk leaving, even to better themselves.

“New York City is a case study for how loosening land use restrictions promotes gentrification. That’s because allowing thirty-story condo towers in formerly low-rise neighborhoods like Williamsburg rapidly expedited the gentrification process. This new housing, like most of that built after the Bloomberg Administration’s rapid upzoning of 35% of the city, did not serve “the 90%” and instead contributed to the city’s rising homelessness and increased displacement” [LA Progressive].

News of the Wired 

“New maths formula is first ever ‘quantifiable theory of humour'” [International Business Times]. No it isn’t. 

“Simply put, the days of easy retirement are over” [MarketWatch]. Goes to show that the whole theory of “saving” for retirement was a phishing expedition that ensnared in a whole generation, leading to disaster, even for those who played by the rules. Social Security is the answer, not more privatization.

“Leaving the Mac App Store” [Sketch]. The kicker: “We know there are a great number of people at Apple who care deeply about the Mac.” Yikes! (Another straw in the wind pointing to a future in which the Apple of iOS, the app, and Jony Ives isn’t necessarily interested in, or capable of, supporting the sort of platform professionals need, as the slow deterioration of OS X under the impact of iOS shows.

“The procedure for self-mummification evolved through trial-and-error” [Damn Interesting]. Now that’s innovative!

“Is empathy the hidden motor of human history?” [New Humanist]. As opposed to “affective” empathy, “‘cognitive’ or ‘perspective-taking’ empathy …  concerns imagining what it is like to be another person, with their different viewpoints, beliefs, hopes, fears and experiences.”

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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 (Kokuanani):


Water lilies at Giverny.

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If you enjoy Water Cooler, please consider tipping and click the hat. Winter has come, 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. fledermaus

    “‘If, 50 years ago, I had shown you an iPhone and an iPad, and how FaceTime works, you would have thought I was insane,’

    Uh, 2001 was released in 1968, the Jetsons in 1962. I’m pretty sure both had video phones and nobody’s minds were blown. The techno-triumphalists continue to whistle past the graveyard.

    1. James Housel

      And, as far as I know, a wall of iPads is unlikely to hold back the waters…Maybe Facebooks…

    2. Christian B

      There is a huge difference in selling something to people that they WANT and selling something that people NEED.

      The iPhone was not innovation, it was marketing.

    3. Ed S.

      “‘If, 50 years ago, I had shown you an iPhone and an iPad, and how FaceTime works, you would have thought I was insane,’

      No, if 50 years ago you had shown me an iPhone and an iPad and how FaceTime works, I’d ask when the next shuttle to the Moon was leaving…………………………

    4. Paul Tioxon

      If I told you 50 years ago there would be global warming, the government would still not give a shit but the oil companies would get a head start on lying about it.
      Scientists warned the US president about global warming 50 years ago today

      On 5 November 1965 climate scientists summarized the risks associated with rising carbon pollution in a report for Lyndon Baines Johnson


      1. jrs

        If I told you 50 years ago humanity would choose human extinction rather than reconsider their economic faith … yea pretty much.

        And since we’re on this … if I told you 50 years ago, people would be working as hard as ever, there would have been alleged economic growth and real technological progress, but that 99% of the people got no more and often less leisure time out of it, and weren’t that better off economically for it either, because all the “benefits” of “progress” went to the rich … and that people 50 years hence would be more concerned about fooling with their i-thingies than either this fact or the survival of their children and grandchildren …

        1. different clue

          Humanity isn’t choosing extinction. Bossmanity is choosing extinction for humanity in the hope that Bossmanity will survive the extinction event and inherit a planet which will be theirs . . . all theirs.

          Can Humanity somehow rebel successfully and exterminate Bossmanity and change course before it is too late?

        2. tongorad

          50 years ago, my parents could afford a house in the ‘burbs (closet-sized by today’s McMansion standards) – neither of them had a college education. We had vacations and when sick, we went to the doctor without worrying about going bankrupt.
          -gee our old lasalle ran great

    5. Nik

      It’s the stunningly obvious logical fallacy that gets me. Pick any other fifty-year period in human history. There’s nothing even remotely comparable, and yet the implied meaning in such statements is that such rapid “innovation” (and we can have a whole other conversation about the meaning of that word with regard to technologies that actually, say, improve people’s lives or reduce the negative impacts we have on the planet) is a norm which will continue indefinitely. In truth, it’s an anomaly backed by clear biophysical circumstances that we should be actively figuring out, not some built-in, dormant for ten-thousand years component of human genius.

      But apparently we shouldn’t worry about all those pesky future resource and climate problems that get closer every day, because according to Levine, we have no idea what the solutions will look like.

      1. hunkerdown

        Maybe the exponential rate of technological “progress” is driven by compound interest and r>g…

    6. Hope

      Wait are you arguing that imagining something in sci fi is the same as it existing reality ?

      I don’t have a problem admitting there is too much hype but the scientific breakthroughs that we are just starting to see in areas like gene therapy and immunotherapy, material sciences , clean energy are very real

      You seem to confuse the fact you are used to a tech with the idea there is something not very impressive about it

      This community has a weird anti science /tech bent to it that borders on denial

      You can make your point about hype without deny science and tech are advancing

      1. Will

        Who says tech is advancing? Is the iPhone better than a corded phone from 50 years ago? It does seem better at promoting information addiction, surveillance, social separation, etc. It (and even moreso, the IPad) has proven a great babysitting device for tired parents, especially of young kids when social interaction is especially profoundly needed. It’s further concentrated wealth, allowed users to take advantage of slave-labor in far off countries, lead to huge data center-growth and huge power consumption with minimal user knowledge of the impact of their individual and other users’ collective behavior, all of which leads to terrible pollution both from the iphone production/transportation end and the waste-production/disposal (or non-disposal) end. The iPhone and capabilities built with it (various apps) allow users to live in a mental/emotional realm incredibly abstracted from reality. Gold-plated iPhones are a great way to signal wealth. It’s certainly easier to use for calling/texting while driving a car at high speeds.

        Obviously there are positive aspects as well. However, if you only look at certain capabilities and impacts, such as the ones marketed, it’s easy to say the tech has advanced. If you look at the total impacts with a long-term view, particularly regarding resource use and environmental impact, it’s easy to feel otherwise.

  2. wbgonne

    Ezra the Idiot:

    After reading a lot about ISDS provisions and hearing from both their supporters and detractors, I don’t think ISDS is likely to matter much from the American point of view. Few ISDS cases are brought against America, and no one has ever won an ISDS case against America.

    That’s the past, Ezra. It will be a Brave New World once the globe is fully shackled in its corporate bondage. And while Ezra the Idiot can’t see it the corporatists surely do. So what happens when we do start losing ISDS suits? Does Ezra guarantee it won’t happen? Or what happens when U.S. companies prevent other countries from enacting health and safety regulations? Is that OK, Ezra? What happens when the Democrat/Republican political hacks start using ISDS as a Sword of Damocles to preemptively strangle potential regulations? Oopsie, says Ezra, my bad? Of course, fearmongering like that could never succeed here in the U-S-A, not with our precious Fourth Estate guarding the truth and standing up to power and corruption. Right, Ezra?

    This is the genuine Professional Left at work, the fauxgressive Democrat enablers in the corporate media. Corporate stooges suckling on the DC teat. They don’t deserve the First Amendment.

    1. Jess

      I have a hard time deciding who is worse, Little Ezra or Jonathan Alter. Think it’s probably a tie.

    2. ChrisFromGeorgia

      So many layers of fail in that quote from Ezra the Idiot – just a few off the top of my head:

      1. So Ezra is OK with ISDS as long as “Team America” always wins. What happens when those losers in other countries show up at our doorstep as refugees?
      2. The concept of “nations” is so passe … once ISDS is in place, it will be corporations that decide and make laws, not legislative bodies.

        1. polecat

          you know, if these bozos were around, say, back in the Triassic, they’d be T-rex fodder……cause they’re troglodytes……with a magaphone!

  3. Gee

    Energizing Bernie Sanders supporters???? Really? There is literally nothing the Clinton campaign could do to get me to vote for her. Nothing.

    1. wbgonne

      Warren has already sold out by not endorsing Sanders. I assume she will endorse Clinton at some point. Frankly, I hope it comes soon because that will hasten the demise of the Democratic Party. There is a complete disconnect between the Democratic Party establishment and Democratic partisans, never-mind progressive independents. Nobody wants Clinton except the neoliberals and the Emily’s List-ers, a tiny number combined, yet Clinton is being supported by the entire Democratic political structure (now including Boston’s oh-so-progressive mayor). The Democratic Party is an empty shell, nothing but a conduit for corruption and graft, and the sooner it collapses the better. Bring it on, Hillary! Sanders should run as an Independent.

      1. Massinissa

        He doesnt need to run as an independent. Theres always the Green party. Or not voting.

        Honestly I dont think theres a difference between voting third party or not voting, but I vote third party anyway.

        1. wbgonne

          [Sanders] doesnt need to run as an independent. Theres always the Green party.

          That’s an excellent idea. Unfortunately, I don’t think Sanders will do it. Which is sad. But, on the bright side, Hillary’s nomination/coronation will accelerate the miserable end of the despicable Democratic Party, which is now a salutary and necessary development. So I say: Go, Hillary!

          1. Crank

            Perhaps Warren will take the highest road and endorse neither.

            I’m not aware of anything in her job description that says she has to.

            1. polecat

              the highest road to where???……..we’re ALL treading on a high road……… right over the cliff….

          2. ex-PFC Chuck

            Sanders long ago said he would support the ultimate Democratic nominee. That told me that deep down he wasn’t serious.

            I think part of Trump’s appeal to the GOP base is that he originally refused to commit to backing the party’s eventual nominee. IIRC he has waffled on that of late.

            1. Left in Wisconsin

              If Sanders is sane, which I think he is, he couldn’t have believed when he got in that he had a snowball’s chance in hell of winning. So his goals were, as I read it, to provide an alternative to HRC to D voters (thank you!) and to get a(n electoral) sense of where we really are – how many actual votes can he get. If you are playing a long game, which guess what we are, then you need to take the temperature from time to time to understand where you presently are (apologies for mixed metaphors).

              But, lo and behold, the answer to #2 turns out to possibly be much higher than he thought. And so now he is trying to morph into a serious candidate. Without changing who he is. Which I think is the right thing to do.

              1. Left in Wisconsin

                So, just because he has committed to supporting the eventual D nominee doesn’t mean his supporters have to.

            2. 3.14e-9

              Chuck, I agree with Left in Wisconsin. I don’t think Sanders — or anyone — could have foreseen how far he’d get. It was easy back then to say, “Yeah, sure, if I get a few votes, I’ll toss them your way, Hill.” Whole different kettle of fish now, and there’s going to be hell to pay if he tries to persuade his supporters to vote for Clinton.

        2. DJG

          Voting for a third party, as I also did in the 2012 presidential, means voting for a candidate, Stein, and a platform that I thought best for the country. So I voted for what I wanted and didn’t get it. I’m from Chicago, and I’m used to that.

          But voting for what you don’t want, and then facing the consequences of getting what you did not want, now that is depressing.

          So you are not “wasting” your vote. The “wasted” vote is one given to a candidate who does not care for what he or she produces: Like the many Chicagoans now wondering how they could possible ever have voted for Rahm, who is so cool and dreamy and edgy.

        3. Oregoncharles

          At least there’s a message – and yes, that does matter; it’s part of the fundamental plan of representative democracy. It’s how we tell our “representatives” what we want from them.

          Strategic voting, ie “lesser-evilism,” violates the basic logic of democracy.

      2. Pavel

        If Hillary gets the Dem nom and Trump (or really, any of the Clowns) gets the Repub one, the entire US will lose, but will win ultimately as both of those useless toxic greedy corrupt good-for-nothing parties will destroy themselves. After 4 years (if the world survives) the country can start over.

      3. Malcolm MacLeod

        wbgonne: Senator Elizabeth Warren will never indorse Hillary Clinton, because she’s
        honest and has integrity. And yes, the Democrats are an empty shell, and the Republicans
        are brain dead. This nation may have to scratch for survival. Just observe.

    2. Massinissa

      Ill vote for Clinton the moment she takes off her mask and reveals herself to be Kodos the alien overlord from the Simpsons. Until then im voting Stein.

      1. Eureka Springs

        Interesting straw poll over at Sic Simper Tyrannis. Well it is to me since I’ve been reading the site for over ten years now.

        Surprisingly… Sanders by a landslide. And more than a few third partiers.The Hillary voters have nothing to say except “experience”. None of them even bother to mention one positive aspect (in their opinion) of her experience.

        1. Foy

          Yes, I saw that too, very interesting comments and result, wasn’t expecting it to lean so far to Sanders. It really confirmed the disillushionment with anything mainstream. Great blog that one for geopolitical commentary and the machinations of ‘The Borg’.

          1. Massinissa

            Did you notice that everybody not voting sanders was voting either Trump, or Webb, who isn’t even in the race anymore?

            I think that website had WAY MORE Webb supporters than most of the country, because there were so damn many votes for him, and he dropped out of the race because of terribad polling…

            1. Foy

              Yes Massinissa. Trump or Webb seemed mostly the other choices. Anyone but whom the main party apparatchiks proposed. And many did not want to vote at all, no choice worthwhile, or only voting with the gravest misgivings. And a state of despair in many/majority of the comments as well.

      2. rich

        Ironic Headline Of The Day: Billionaire Buffett To Stump For Hillary’s “Everyday Americans” Campaign

        And so now, he is going to stump for Hillary in Omaha this month…

        The Democratic presidential front-runner will be stumping in Omaha on Dec. 16, with the help of famed Omaha investor Warren Buffett.

        A Clinton campaign staffer said the visit is an effort to organize grassroots support before Nebraska’s Democratic caucuses.

        She is also expected to talk about tax reform with Buffett, who has called for an income tax increase on the nation’s wealthier citizens.

        Iowa holds the nation’s first presidential test Feb. 1, but Nebraska Democrats follow a little less than a month later on March 5.

        * * *

        We are sure average joes and janes across America will feel relieved that two such ‘feet on the ground, down to earth’ people are representing their needs and hearing their fears.

        can you see it now…both of them riding into town on Cat road pavers flattening what’s left of us to our grass roots…all with full support of the demo~CRACtKic party…that’s what we’ll get for giving up on Bernie..

        1. McKillop

          Is it too minor a quibble to point out that the time elapsed from Feb, 1 to March 5 is not “a little less than a month later”?
          For want of a nail.

    3. jgordon

      No kidding. I could see myself supporting Bernie, with the full cynical understanding that he’ll stab me in the back later. He seems like an honest, if hapless, good natured sort who’ll at least feel mildly uncomfortable while he’s screwing everyone over. Clinton however strikes me as just too repulsively mendacious. Whereas Bernie might be reluctant Hillary will be gleeful at the prospect of destroying the lives of most Americans–not to mention the other people around the world who will be afflicted by her psychotic foreign policy decisions.

  4. DanB

    ABC reports: “Elizabeth Warren Only Female Democratic Senator Missing From Hillary Clinton Endorsement Event”. So Warren’s endorsement is setting up as a dramatic one. If she does endorse Hillary it will come with a price- Sec of Treasury? The cost for Warren -over the longer haul- will be a loss of any claim to progressive politics or “fighting” for the common people. Or, if she goes for Bernie. -well, I will be very surprised if she does.

    1. Massinissa

      She wont go for Bernie. But I kinda figure she might ‘endorse’ Bernie by not endorsing Clinton until the primaries are over. Im pretty sure at that point she WOULD endorse clinton.

      But I could be wrong and she could endorse klinton earlier.

    2. Chris in Paris

      She’s likely to get offered a cabinet position for the first half of the term and will have to accept to be pushed out in the first reorg. I’d say Sec of Labor. Treasury will have to go to a Goldman alum. De rigueur.

      Hope she says no and stays in the Senate.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        I’m very dubious that Warren could be controlled in a Clinton administration. Obama’s faction thought they could deke her into a CFPB fail and instead — if you accept the “consumer” model, which I don’t — she performed admirably. Warren may think she can name her price — how about the Fed? Kidding! — but if I were Clinton I’d be very leery about letting her anywhere near real power, and I think Warren wouldn’t settle for less.

  5. Nigelk

    Between the mayor of Chicago and the governor of Illinois, I ask as a non-resident:

    WTF is going on over there?

    1. DJG

      You do know that Rahm and Rauner are pals, so “between” truly means “between” here.

      Much of the problem comes from a citizenry that believes that corruption is just a charming folkway of Chicago. Further, many of the Rahm and Rauner voters are motivated by resentments: Rahm can tame dose unions. Rauner will teach dem state employees a thing or two. Somebody has to to something about the schools!

      Throw in the intersecting problems that (1) government has to be run like a business (with a balanced budget, like a household, a truism of the Obama wing of the party and people like Rauner) and that (2) no one knows how much money even is available in Chicago, where so much public money disappears into TIFs and other slush funds, let alone the rest of the state (including some famously corrupt areas like DuPage County). The result: Stalemate and collapse.

      This is the same group of people who, for no apparent reason, think that Ditka is a viable person rather than just a media whore.

        1. DJG

          And Rahm is saved by being an anti-union, fiscally messy, privitizing-of-public infrastructure Democrat? Illinois is mismanaged by both parties.

    1. Gee

      You don’t NEED a mandate per se. But having one would be a good way to say it and still keep your position. Without one, it’s pretty much career suicide. Of course, that is all moot, since not one of these people has the inclination.

      A truly sorry state of affairs.

  6. fresno dan


    It has taken more than a decade but transparency has finally won. As of today, we can see, at least in one case, what information the FBI demanded an online company provide to them—without a warrant and with a permanent gag order—about individuals as part of the war on terror.

    Nicholas Merrill, the former owner and operator of New York-based Calyx Internet Access, received in 2004 what is called a National Security Letter (NSL), a demand from the FBI that he provide information about his company’s users to the FBI and to keep his mouth shut, with the possibility of prosecution if he failed to keep his secret.

    Merrill refused to provide the information and fought the gag order. With the assistance of the American Civil Liberties Union and Yale law students, he has finally, as 2015 comes to an end, won. Today he has revealed an unredacted list of demanded information that was included in the NSL. Are you ready for the information the FBI has been fighting for so long to keep secret? Here it is:

    Well, you have to click on the link to see. Seems to be electronic addresses and other generic stuff related to computer accounts.
    Now, I don’t understand if this was for each and every subscriber? If so, it seems quite a fishing expedition that would be a tremendous waste of resources.
    What is a “radius log” – is that just a distance, or can it tell you if someone is emailing Saudi Arabia?
    I really would like to know the rationale – because it strikes me as if a rape occurred and the police asked for the address of every male. By SHEER luck, you might hit the address of the rapist if you just happened to check the right geographical area. But really, it would DIMINISH your chance of catching the real rapist cause your wasting so much of your time and effort on this.
    You start an investigation by checking on PARTICULAR suspects.

    I would really be interested on what criteria once this information was collected resulted in further investigation. And how much of that panned out…

    1. hunkerdown

      Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service (IETF RFC 2865) is a protocol used by network access servers to authorize and configure terminal server ports. I suppose it’s a bit like a Windows Domain Controller, but simpler. It is still commonly used today for access control by cable modem terminal servers and DSL access multiplexers.

      Anyway, it’s usually co-resident with a RADIUS Accounting (IETF RFC 2866) server, whose logs include sign-on and sign-off events for users, along with their vital connection parameters. With them, you can map (address, time) or (port, time) records to a user, and vice versa.

  7. abynormal


    I used to eat a lot of natural foods until I learned that most people die of natural causes.
    Garden Rule: When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant.
    The easiest way to find something lost around the house is to buy a replacement.
    Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.
    Have you noticed since everyone has a camcorder these days no one talks about seeing UFOs like they used to?
    In the 60’s, people took acid to make the world weird. Now the world is weird and people take Prozac to make it normal.
    How is it one careless match can start a forest fire, but it takes a whole box to start a campfire?
    Who was the first person to look at a cow and say, ‘I think I’ll squeeze these dangly things here and drink whatever comes out?’
    Who was the first person to say, ‘See that chicken there? I’m gonna eat the next thing that comes outta its butt.’
    If Jimmy cracks corn and no one cares, why is there a song about him?
    Why does your OB-GYN leave the room when you get undressed if he’s going to look up there anyway?
    Do illiterate people get the full effect of Alphabet Soup?
    Why doesn’t glue stick to the inside of the bottle?
    How does Craazyman type while in a straight jacket?
    Ever ponder why Yves & Lambert haven’t barred me?

    1. fresno dan

      I was gonna say LOL, but upon further reflection, its all so profound and deep I just sit here….pondering….
      And than I think, is Ponderosa Spanish for pondering? Cause I don’t think the Cartwrights spoke Spanish, though maybe they could ponder in Spanish???

  8. Jim Haygood

    Cruz: “Here is the simple and undeniable fact – the overwhelming majority of violent criminals are Democrats.”

    Thus the advisability of conducting voter registration drives in prison to raise turnout. And packing heat at D-party caucuses.

    1. jrs

      I though politicians from both parties Democrats and Republicans were equally violent …

      I’m here all week …

      Although on the prisons isn’t much of the prison population (unlike our politicians) non-violent?

  9. subgenius

    Is there something in the air down here in hell-A???

    I mean, other than the flocks of black helicopters?

    What is this, black helicopter Tuesday? Sponsored by all your fave private contractors, no doubt…

  10. PQS

    That Marketwatch article was just a sales pitch for retirees to hire “experts” to help them “manage their money” in their waning years, since everybody’s getting 1% or less from TBTF. You know, people to “help” them with their nest egg so they don’t outlive their money. I think I just threw up in my mouth a little after reading it.

    Here’s a sample:

    “The good news is that income exists, and those with the proper skill sets to navigate today’s markets are finding it safely. Much like a driver with engine problems, a retiree should have help from an expert who understands the complexities associated with financial planning and investing.

    Many of today’s strategies for income generation require the use of riskier assets, such as equities and alternative investments.”

    Paging Bernie Madoff.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Today the Nasdaq 100 index set a new record high — ho ho ho!

      Ask for some QQQ shares in your Xmas stocking.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Another survival strategy for senior savers is learning how to count cards, I think.

      I know I probably have to look into that some time in the future.

    3. Montanamaven

      Is 4% a good rate for a mortgage? And where are people here retiring? It’s expensive, but upstate NY appeals to me.

      1. PQS

        I refinanced several years ago to 4 1/4. Not sure I could get much better than that these days….

        When I first bought a house in 2000, I was paying 8 and 1/4. (!) Then refinanced down to 6 1/2. Bought the current house in 2009 for 5 and some change, and am now at the aforementioned 4 1/4.

        I also bought a car for 4 1/4 about ten years ago – never thought I’d see the day when car payment and mortgage were the same rates.

  11. Benedict@Large

    Regarding Ted Cruz and 90 million evangelical Christians, I learned a long time ago that you have to be very skeptical of claims as to the high religiosity of the American people (even when they come from major poling firms, BTW).

    Consider what Cruz is claiming. Evangelical Christians are those who actively try to spread their religious belief. With 90M evangelicals out of 330M American, this would mean that (approximately) every 4th person you ran into would be selling extreme Christianity to you. Is that your experience? Of course not. In fact, I’d venture that the average American rarely ever talks to a friend, neighbor, or co-worker, and hears anything about religious conversion.

    90 million evangelicals, Ted? Hardly. You’d be lucky to have nine.

    1. Carolinian

      I was dubious myself but here’s what Wikipedia has to say:

      According to a 2011 Pew Forum study on global Christianity, 285,480,000 or 13.1 percent of all Christians are Evangelicals. The largest concentration of Evangelicals can be found in the United States, with 26.8% of the U.S. population or 94.38 million, the latter being roughly one third of the world’s Evangelicals. The next most populous is Brazil, with 26.3% or 51.33 million.

      Of course evangelical takes in swaths of the Baptists and Methodists and branches of other denominations. It doesn’t just mean hard core fundies.


      We did have a “born again” president in Jimmy Carter but if anything that seemed to make him less popular. There probably aren’t too many evangelicals in the press corps.

    2. tongorad

      I learned a long time ago that you have to be very skeptical of claims as to the high religiosity of the American people…

      You obviously don’t live in Texas! If I had a dollar for every time I’m told to “have a blessed day,” well…

      I could see Cruz making contact with the evangelical and the identity politics voters. One of my work colleagues was crowing about Julian Castro getting the VP nod from Clinton. A female president and a hispanic VP, whoopee!

  12. Oregoncharles

    ““The Wisconsin Republican is the first Speaker in nearly a century to sport a beard, or the beginnings of one, on the job””

    Oh, no – does that mean I have to start shaving? I’ve forgotten how.

  13. dcblogger

    The kicker: “We know there are a great number of people at Apple who care deeply about the Mac.” Yikes! (Another straw in the wind pointing to a future in which the Apple of iOS, the app, and Jony Ives isn’t necessarily interested in, or capable of, supporting the sort of platform professionals need, as the slow deterioration of OS X under the impact of iOS shows.

    The future belongs to Linux.

    1. hunkerdown

      Not that one should ascribe too much professionalism to a company blog hosted on Tumblr with a brogrammer hexagon-derived insignia… but the author of that post doesn’t seem to recognize who Apple’s app stores are there to serve. Friendly purchase policies, enforced self-containment, and curation, among others, are designed to make it easier and safer to buy. Sketch’s software (service?) doesn’t seem to jive so well with this.

      Nothing stopped them from opting out of Apple’s law and building their own private storefront, in much the same way I had to: write your own code to enforce your own law, then ask users to hold Option while installing/opening your app for the first time. If such steps stymy you, chances are you’re not a working web designer and Sketch won’t be that useful to you.

      I don’t anticipate Apple will stop people making use of alternative distribution channels, either. Look what happened to Sony when they withdrew the PS3 OtherOS feature for no good reason: the company’s IT infrastructure completely violated, their online gaming network temporarily shut twice, a European trade agreement sunk, the PS4 coming to market earlier than customary, Apple biting off a big chunk of their consumer electronics market, and a near-complete lack of consumer trust in Sony. Macintosh hardware is fairly popular among *nix and server-side administrators and developers, who will have no use for such elegance if they can’t run or develop own code on own hardware without ceremony.

      Then, and only then, would the future belong to Linux — and then, only if Red Hat doesn’t succeed in jamming the highly dubious systemd userland replacement down everyone’s throat.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Well, they’re in business, they’re competing with Adobe, and they’re still alive. (Here’s a review.) They aren’t some sort of $2.99 app company. I don’t know how high one would wish to set the bar for professionalism, but that’s surely a reasonable level.

        Personally, I don’t find the Apple store — whether on iOS or, hideously, on OS X — is all that easy to use (and I’m a very heavy user of platforms). Start with the search function: It’s horrible, both imprecise and not finding items known to exist. And the search function isn’t even in comments. If you want a real store front, try Amazon, and compare how it handles reviews to how Apple does.

        Bottom line for me is that Apple is showing signs of losing its way. Within reason, I don’t care how slim the case is if my workflow, as a professional, is all fouled up by weird platform demands. That stuff used to be for Windows users, the poor lost souls; but now it’s for Apple users as well.

  14. Wayne Harris

    “Whenever you hear the word ‘innovation,’ or ‘innovate,’ your bullshit detector should go off, and you should put your hand on your wallet (or purse) to make sure you still have it.”

    Business starts and closings since the advent of the PC, World Wide Web, and iPhone: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1klKK39VfqFXXnXmUaJxqoVrKS1-942R7dQXPuM6SHOE/edit?usp=sharing

    Much as I love these Johnny-come-lately innovations, they kill as many jobs as they produce, and I’d discard them in a heartbeat if I had to choose between them and electricity (1887), potable water (1894), indoor plumbing (1790s), refrigeration (1913) and air-conditioning (1902).

  15. optimader


    Meet the Chicago entrepreneur who picks up rotting food in alleys and feeds it to worms.

    Jonathan Scheffel is 28 and owns Healthy Soil Compost. He is the sole employee. His fleet is a $1,500 custom-made cart attached to one of two bikes. His main bike cost $1,300; the backup, $300.

    Scheffel’s workday begins with him pedaling from his home in Bridgeport to clients’ addresses in Logan Square, Wicker Park, Bucktown, West Town, Streeterville, Lincoln Park, Gold Coast, McKinley Park, Hyde Park, Chicago Lawn, Chinatown, Pilsen, Bridgeport, River North, the West Loop and the South Loop, though not all in one day.

    His trail markers: bright-orange 5-gallon buckets filled with compostable food scraps. If clients are following Scheffel’s instructions, the buckets will be filled with fruit and vegetable peelings, old bread, coffee grounds and filters and pesticide-free yard clippings. There won’t be any dairy, oil or meat scraps, all……

      1. Optimader

        Good for the kid, tho I dont think I would have mentioned on the record that my cash business was in part being financed with food stamps! Its little guys that have no barrier to being crushed that are used as object lessons

  16. Ed Walker

    Re Chicago: Rahm is throwing McCarthy to the wolves, but note: none of those lying cops who reported that Laquan McDonald lunged at the cops on the scene, not one, is indicted or facing any disciplinary action for filing false reports or anything else. Thanks to the people who are protesitng and getting some results. Also on the hit list is Anita Alvarez, the county prosecutor, who’s up for re-election in March. This is a prosecutor who needs to be tossed.

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