Links 12/14/15

Here’s what you need to know about the new Paris climate agreement Grist

Democrats Ignoring Climate Implications of Lifting Oil Export Ban – “We Can Have Our Cake and Eat It Too” DeSmogBlog. Important. We’ll know the fate of the oil export ban this week.

Third storm in a week brings more rain, snow to California Associated Press. Here comes El Nino. I stepped into freshly fallen snow in the San Bernardino Mountains this weekend.

French National Front fails to win any regions in elections Irish Times. A big deal, as they were ahead in several key regions in the first round of voting. a sign that establishment parties (and voters) are taking the implications of the far right coming to power in France seriously.

In Milestone, Saudis Elect First Women to Councils NY Times

The Senate is so crazily designed it would be literally illegal for a US state to copy it Vox

High-yield debt crash:

Third Avenue CEO David Barse Departs Wall Street Journal

Investors See More Carnage as Third Avenue Spurs Contagion Risk Bloomberg

“Is my high-yield fund in danger?” The Reformed Broker

The Next Financial Crisis Will Start Here I wrote this for The Progressive back in July 2014, but they never released it online. So I liberated it. It’s about high-yield debt and I think it still holds up.

Are We Headed for a Credit Market Crash? House of Debt. Another blast from the past: April 2014. Mian and Sufi point out that rises in high-yield corporate debt almost always predates financial crises.

Canada Need Not Fear Deficit Financing Sober Look

Senator Failed to Properly Disclose Millions in Income Wall Street Journal. Corker (R-TN).

Banks weigh threat from internet sector Financial Times

Supreme Court Rules Mortgage Registration Business Has No Constitutionally Protected Interest In Property Looks like a solid victory. See also:

If MERS Had An “Ass” … the Tennessee Supremes Would Have Kicked It! Clouded Titles Blog

Latest Cyberthreat: Stealing Your House Wall Street Journal (h/t LS)

Class Warfare:

Maryland county wants to ease the burden of student debt for its residents The Washington Post

Seattle Considers Measure to Let Uber and Lyft Drivers Unionize NY Times

Dispossessed in the Land of Dreams New Republic. This is tremendous.

Alibaba agrees on $266 million acquisition deal with South China Morning Post Reuters

Net-Neutrality Proponents Warn of Loopholes Wall Street Journal

Assange to be questioned by Sweden BBC

Iran editor faces trial after printing ex-president’s photo The Washington Post

Chinese rights lawyer stands trial for social media posts Kansas City Star

Redskins appear to be running fan Twitter account in support of name Sports Illustrated

Antidote du jour:


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About David Dayen

David is a contributing writer to He has been writing about politics since 2004. He spent three years writing for the FireDogLake News Desk; he’s also written for The New Republic, The American Prospect, The Guardian (UK), The Huffington Post, The Washington Monthly, Alternet, Democracy Journal and Pacific Standard, as well as multiple well-trafficked progressive blogs and websites. His has been a guest on MSNBC, CNN, Aljazeera, Russia Today, NPR, Pacifica Radio and Air America Radio. He has contributed to two anthology books, one about the Wisconsin labor uprising and another on the fight against the Stop Online Piracy Act in Congress. Prior to writing about politics he worked for two decades as a television producer and editor. You can follow him on Twitter at @ddayen.


  1. vidimi

    re: the elections in France.

    IMO, the rise of FN is inevitable. if not in 4 years then 8, and if not 8 then 16. the only thing that can stop them is if the establishment parties somehow make things better. that’s a mathematical impossibility. in fact, the next ste^p is probably the TTIP, which will strengthen the FN more by weakening the core of the country. each domestic failure will only make the FN and other right wing parties in Europe stronger.

    perhaps this doesn’t apply to the US as the extremists are already the establishment.

    1. Inverness

      Well, I am glad that the FN aren’t performing well during the second round. However, they have won the ideological battle. Look how far to the right even the socialists have moved. Republican candidate Sarkozy was already sounding xenophobic during the last federal election running against Hollande, warning about unsafe immigrants from Africa, instead of the more welcome ones from the USA and Canada (you can see it during one of their debates).

      When the socialists are holding Parisian activists under house arrest, and waging war on Syria…well, where’s the left? Where’s the vocal left? Also, you could argue it’s a great sign many voted strategically to keep the FN out, but what remains is so war-mongering and xenophobic that I wonder if this is an actual show of progress.

      1. OIFVet

        The French left is dead, the same as the European left as a whole. FN’s gains mostly come from socialist party voters leaving Hollande’s neoliberal “socialists” for the populist economic message of the FN. That’s what happens when limousine liberalism takes over the “left”. Same processes happen elsewhere in Europe as well. The “socialists” and Sarko working together to forestall the FN only provides a vivid proof of just how meaningless the old “left/right” paradigm has become. They succeeded yesterday, but as you and Vidimi point out, that will only strengthen the FN long term.

        1. Kurt Sperry

          If you are rich, you can let your people handle the paperwork and come right over. If you have a job lined up, then possible. Otherwise, no.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Most Americans don’t have $1,000, so, that leaves only the latter option – have a job lined up.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              From Marketwatch (currently front page over there): Half of all millennials have less than $1,000 saved.

              I think

              a. If you have less than $1,000 and can’t borrow (like many people in the early 20th century, today’s $1,000 adjusted for inflation to whatever amount then – maybe $5 ?), you are liable to do something drastic

              b. If you have less than $1,000 but they make it easy for you to borrow, but you need a good credit score and no past record of not behaving properly, you don’t do something drastic.

  2. abynormal

    Ha! my kiddo landed in San Bernardino yesterday to pick buds/$1500./3days to pay huge fines on two joints in jax FL. …gotta love today’s ironies! hope she packed accordingly…

  3. craazyman

    the most insulting logo in all of sports is the Notre Dame fighting irish. are all irish pugilistic drunks? What about James Joyce and William Butler Yeats? They were both skinny and bookish. What about Oscar Wilde? I don’t think he engage in fistfights after downing pints at the pub from 9 am. Why do Irish always start drinking at 9 am. You see them sitting in the Irish bars in New York when you’re on the way to work and they’ve got beers on the bar in front of them. usually they’re smoking a cigarette. (They may not be irish but it’s always an Irish bar. Maybe they’re from someplace in Europe or America.) But they’re probably Irish or if not, they’re in an Irish bar not an Italian bistro. What’s up with that?

    What about the Cleveland Indians basebal team? There’s not one Indian on the team! It’s confusing. Has anybody seen that logo? Oh my. What about the Kansas City Chiefs? An arrowhead for a logo? What is this, the stone age? Even the Indians had rifles. What about the Atlanta Braves in baseball? anotther war implement for a logo, a tomahawk from the stone age no less. What about . . . . oh never mind. What are these compared to the ‘Fighting Irish”?

    Sports teams probably should be named after animals. Names like the Washington (there aren’t many animals in Washington except the politicians, so it’s not easy to think of a good one), maybe the Washington Squirrles. That’s not so good. Allthough there are squirrels. I don’t know whether houseflies wouul be a good logo, there are those for sure. Misquitoes, bumblebees, sparrows, pigeons, crows. Crows! They’d be good. They have the Baltimore Ravens right up I-95. Ravens vs. the Crows. Oh man. Talk about TV ratings!

    OK, I just had a brainsttorm. There’s a lot of white people in Washington in the govermint. What abouut the “Washington Whiteskins”. I don’t know if that would fly in Southeast DC. They like their Redskins there. Andd in Northeast too. And in McLean and in Potomac and in PG county. In fact, everybooy down there loves their Redskins. Whiteskins would be a real shock, for a while anyway. But maybe they’ get used to it — especially if they could win a superbowl again

    1. abynormal

      hey just a momo…we got the Falcoon‘s

      Georgia (#2) had 531 lynchings occur during this time with 492 of them targeting Black people. Fewer than 40 of the lynching victims were white. According to a report by the University of Georgia’s E. M. Beck and the University of Washington’s Stewart E. Tolnay, the frequency of the lynchings in Georgia were particularly disturbing. Their New Georgia Encyclopedia entry reveals that there was at least one mob killing of a Black person every month in Georgia between 1890 and 1900. The scholars also point to the fact that these numbers represented the recorded number of lynchings and didn’t account for the many Black victims who were lynched secretly before their bodies were burned or disposed of without any official record being made.

      1. craazyman

        haven’t you noticed that people are crazy everywhere? you don’t need to live in the past to see it.

        1. abynormal

          around here Fans still refer to Falcon’s as coon’s…it slips even on the radio. Present can’t shake Past and ‘crazy’ don’t cover it.

          The past is never where you think you left it.
          Katherine Anne Porter

          1. craazyman

            wow. do they really? that’s incredible.

            People in New York are way too cool for that kind of thing. At least in Manhattan they are. Out in Queens or Jersey or on Lon Gyland they might say that kind of thing and mean it. If we said it here, in Manhattan, it would only be as a form of mockery, the way an author writes a foul character and has things come out of its mouth, in quotation marks on a page, that nobody with any soul would say in real life, and only so the reader can feel a proper revulsion.

            If you really want to run over somebody’s humanity in Manhattan you do it with money. You don’t need to utter a word. That way, nobody can blame you.

      1. Edmondo

        The DC Prostitutes would be more accurate and really encapsulate the atmosphere of the city. Besides, if they other team paid them enough money, they could just lay down for the entire game.

        Go Whores!

          1. craazyboy

            But they would still insist on calling themselves the Washington Quarterbacks – for appearances sake.

      2. ewmayer

        Ha, you beat me to it, Kokuanani. :) Heck, we could have a whole league of weasel-family-named teams, in addition to your “Double-Dubs”:

        Settle Stoats
        Minneapolis Martens
        Fargo Ferrets
        Erie Ermines

        Any others I missed?

    2. craazyboy

      ” Names like the Washington (there aren’t many animals in Washington except the politicians, so it’s not easy to think of a good one), ”

      Um, there is the “Nats” baseball team.

    3. Vatch

      I’ve often wondered why the Notre Dame sports teams aren’t known as the “Cathedrals”. People could call them the “Cathies”.

    4. OIFVet

      Of course the Irish are pugilists, though not all are drunk while throwing haymakers. Tom Cruise did a good job of documenting the vandalistic tendencies of the Irish in ‘Far and Away’, and the dearly departed KSK blog did likewise document the exploits of ruffian NFL QB JT O’Sullivan. And what of skinny and bookish Irish? Did not Matt Damon exact vengeance on half of South Boston and on Hahvahd dandies in ‘Good Will Hunting’? Popular culture is always right, you know, so embrace the truth about those Irish.

      1. ewmayer

        Long before pretty-boy Tom was blighting our movie screens there was John Wayne in the in-aptly named The Quiet Man, whose protagonist spends most of the movie noisily brawling his way across Eire. Bit big to be the ND mascot, though, was the Duke.

    5. JEHR

      Please don’t forget the “Mighty Ducks of Anaheim” who often beat the best of our Canadian hockey teams–Blast them!

      1. jonboinAR

        In fact, I vote to put it to the Native American nations. Say, “We like the Redskins name, but it’s up to you.” If they come back with, “No we don’t think it’s cool”, then we say “OK, out of respect, we’ll change it”. Then we’ll make it the “Washington Whiteboys”.

    6. optimader

      the most insulting logo in all of sports is the Notre Dame fighting irish….
      What do you expect for 50bucks that was spent in a bar later that day?

      are all irish pugilistic drunks?
      Just the short white ones, the rest smoke reefer.
      The Black Irish

      On a more serious note, as questionable a personal investment as Collegiate Football is for many players in the full course of life, at least it’s an opportunity for some smart ones to receive an education they might not otherwise, and in that regard ND at least tries more than many institutions to provide said education to the players before they are spit out.

    7. Jess

      Being half-Irish, that Notre Dame nickname and it’s logo — a leprechaun brandishing a billy club — is repugnant. I’ve actually thought about trying to find an attorney who likes to get in the media to sue ND over the issue.

    8. Massinissa

      As someone whose high school team was the Vikings, ive always been amused by that mascot. How is it ok to have a mascot that represents pirates that raided coastal settlements across Europe, pillaging and raping? Surely Vikings should be more politically incorrect than Fighting Irish or Redskins.

      At least neither the Irish or Native Americans are famous for how many people they killed and how much stuff they stole.

    9. craazyman

      well, if we’ve discovered anything today I guess it’s this;

      sports team names are a national disgrace. how can we as Americans stand for this one more minute without exploding from moral umbrage?

      I don’t know but what’s even more amazing to me is the ‘Skins won in Chicago on Sunday and they’re in first place in the NFC East! Wow. I feel like singing “Hail to the Redskins, Hail Victory, Yeah Yeah Yeah, Braves on the warpath, Fight for old DC!” I’m sorry but it’s my team and my hometown and my soul is Burgundy & Gold. Only a true Redskin fan knows how that feels . . .

      1. jonboinAR

        My favorite Redskin moment was when, at a social gathering, John Riggins told Justice O’Connor, “Lighten up, Sandy baby”, before passing out.

          1. jonboinAR

            Imagine. To win a Superbowl MVP AND pass out drunk at the feet of a Supreme Court Justice. What a glory hog!

    10. different clue

      I read a suggestion somewhere about the Washington Redskins. They should keep the name but change the picture. They should have a picture of a red skinned poe-TAY-toe.

      Like these . . .

      Or specifically this . . .

      1. craazyman

        that’s hilarious!

        i’ve never seen that before.

        we can call them “the potato heads’ — that might actually work, it’s on the edge between endearing and demeaning. if they put a winning streak together it’ll be the best nnickname ever in the history of spawts!

      1. ambrit

        One of my relatives, who shall remain nameless, works for a company that, like many corporations, has several courtside seats reserved every game for veeps and big shot visitors. When such lofty personnas aren’t around, the worker bees can petition for one or more of these seats. So, the relative gets a couple of courtside seats for a Pelicans game, and takes the kids. He noticed the price while knoshing on the catered buffet all the VIP seat holders get to enjoy at halftime. $1000 per seat. All a write off as “business entertainment.”
        Remember the old New Orleans Jazz, now reincarnated as the Utah Jazz. Local wags have suggested that Benson should sell the New Orleans Saints to the LDS.

  4. wbgonne

    Democrats Ignoring Climate Implications of Lifting Oil Export Ban – “We Can Have Our Cake and Eat It Too” DeSmogBlog. Important

    Important on two levels. First, because it turns the U.S. into a petro-state just as the disastrous impacts of global warming become manifest. And also important because it is a crystal clear indictment of Obama and the Democrats for duplicity:

    Jason Bordoff wants to lift the oil export ban and has been actively working on this for the past two years. Which is odd if you believe that President Obama is against lifting the ban as the White House claims. Prior to Bordoff’s work to lift the oil export ban at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP), he was special assistant to President Obama and senior director for energy and climate change.

    That’s what Progressives get for enabling and protecting Obama.

    1. Carla

      “That’s what Progressives get for enabling and protecting Obama.”


      But, but — the lesser of !!! — I fail to see “the lesser evil” in being MORE duplicitous. Never again. I’m a registered Green until there’s another new party that suits me better. Jill Stein is a fine candidate. Unfortunately, the Greens offer nothing at the local or state level in Ohio and most other states.

      1. Edmondo

        That’s what Progressives get for enabling and protecting Obama.

        But he’s black. He has to be a good guy. Besides, if we elect a woman next year, she’ll fix all the things that Obama was forced to do by those mean old Republicans. (sarcasm off)

        1. Carla

          That’s about as true as “if we elect Bernie next year, he’ll fix all the things that Obama was forced to do by those mean old Republicans.”

          It’s systemic, folks.

          1. MojaveWolf

            Look, I fully agree with you on the Dem leadership being duplicitious sellout scumbags (I’ll even throw in “evil,” since what else do you call selling out the future of the world plus screwing over billions for your personal short term gain?) but comparing someone who has a 40 year track record of NOT selling out and is doing a better job to advance the “Green” part of the Green party’s agenda than the Green Party itself has done in… well, at any point in my lifetime, and I’ve been alive a long time, comparing that person to the Democratic Party establishment is just silly. What Bernie stands for and is presently advocating is clear. If you don’t like it, fine, but suggesting he is a crypto-Republican (to steal a phrase from a long gone from the internet online friend of mine) seems to require some evidence other than “he chose to run as a Democrat and the Democratic Party is infested with crypto-Republicans.”

            As for the Obama comparison, Obama had a minimal but somewhat disquieting track record before running for president, and had written this little book called The Audacity of Hope that should have scared the hell out of any progressive who read it (I know it scared me; I read it after Iowa cause I figured he was going to win at that point and went from thinking he would be a good president if he won to thinking the only reason he didn’t run as a Republican was because he thought the Dems offered a black guy an easier path to becoming president). And since then he has joined the rest of the Dem leadership in frequently saying really good things while doing something completely else. It’s why I bailed on the Dems for party registration back in 2006, iirc, that’s what most of them do. The only reason they still have jobs is corporate control of media + other party getting media attention is even worse.

            But Bernie has a longstanding, unbroken pattern of advocating for progressive causes and not selling out. He has a few imo bad votes sprinkled in among the 40 years but nothing to indicate a dishonest pattern (and I will assure you that no one in any forum you will find would not have had a couple of votes in Congress you disagree with;hell, my past self would have had a lot of votes that my current self would disagree with). And presently he is constantly raising issues that the Dem leadership wants everyone to ignore–you think they want people talking about wealth inequality or how poor people are being betrayed & have a right to be pissed off or someone talking about climate change who actually backs up what he says even when it interferes with his personal enrichment? You can’t even say he’s doing it to pander for votes–climate change is sadly not the priority it should be for most voters, and he’s actually trying to lead on this issue by raising consciousness about it, and sticking by his guns even when people attack him or laugh at him for it (see: top national security issue–you’re a green, how could you not cheer both he and O’Malley for highlighting this in the 1st debate, and Sanders for not backing off when challenged on it?)

            I’m not being hostile to the Green party here–I personally think if climate change isn’t your top priority you are badly misunderstanding the challenge it poses, and should Bernie not capture the Dem nomination I will almost certainly be voting Green–but the sheepdog stuff makes no sense, and neither does the “people voting for Bernie are no different than the 2008 Obots/2016 Hillary believers”. If Bernie doesn’t win a big chunk of his people are likely to go Green and your party might even hit double digits, which would have been a laughable suggestion before his candidacy, and if he actually does win, seriously, this isn’t like Obama people projecting their hopes and dreams with nothing but pretty speeches to back it up; the record is there. Obama got nothing progressive done because he didn’t try, just like the past Democratic congresses haven’t tried, and the Clintons faked trying and maybe meant it briefly but ultimately sold the country and the world down the river. Bernie will try, has shown no inclination to sell out so why would he now, and if the Dems try to weasel around him and side with the GOP, their duplicity will be highlighted beyond even the most willfully delusional person’s ability to ignore, and they will be ruined. Unless most of the public actually likes the establishment status quo, or can be persuaded that nothing matters so why bother. If either of those two are true then we are all doomed and you and I are just wasting time here, but I really don’t believe that’s the case. Public discontent is there, we just need someone with the right ideas to advantage of the energy and run with it.

            1. Skippy

              Random thoughts….

              Since Bernie is at the twilight of his career and life… it would be a hell of a thing… if due to DNC shinnanigans and Hillary getting the nod…. that as a final act… he switched to Greens in protest…

              Skippy… not that he would lead it, just as a symbolic act…

    2. cyclist

      Hmm, I hope Jason Bordoff or one his colleagues at Columbia’s CGEP run into James Hansen (who recently called the Paris climate talks a ‘fraud’) at the faculty club – it would be interesting to hear the conversation. Maybe a student green group could set up a debate?

      How is it that elite institutions like Columbia seem to be retirement homes for the serious and important, no matter what kind of crap that they peddle?

      Hansen article

    3. Synapsid

      wbgonne, Carla, Edmondo:

      I don’t see a lot of meat in the Desmogblog article; it talks mostly about people, just as the comments here do.

      I noticed two statements about the effects of lifting the ban (it isn’t much of a ban) on exporting US crude: it would cause an increase in US fracking, and there would be terrible consequences for the world’s climate. As to the latter, the use of fossil fuels does have terrible consequences for the world’s climate, so where is the value of the statement in the article? It’s simple assertion of something that’s widely known.

      Will lifting the export ban lead to an increase in US fracking? No. What led to the whole takeoff in fracking in the US, first for natural gas and then for oil too, was oil priced at $100 a barrel for several years in a row. Look at the ongoing cutbacks, bankruptcies and gobblings-up going on in the oil patch–are they caused by US producers not being able to export crude? No, the cause is oil at below $40 a barrel and dropping. Producers can’t sell their crude for enough to keep the business going, except for a few producers in the Permian Basin, and almost every one of the companies has a crushing debt overhang; the resulting shakeout is getting underway, is already brutal, and will become more so.

      Allowing the export of crude now would allow US producers to try to sell into a market in which the global price is in the basement because of overproduction that has produced a glut worldwide. This is not a seller’s market.

      Well, the price per barrel will have to go up sometime, right? Sure. Then shale can take off again, right? No. Why not? Glad you asked. Consider: almost all the crude oil produced by fracking the shales has come from three plays: the Bakken in North Dakota, the Eagle Ford and the Permian Basin, both in Texas. (There are a few small areas too but they don’t contribute much to total production.) Why only there? Because that’s the only place where there’s developable resource. Well can’t we look elsewhere? It’s a big country, you know. Yes! We can! And we have. This country has been searched and drilled like no other–and the Bakken, the Eagle Ford, and the Permian Basin are pretty much the whole story. Got that? Private land, Federal land–plenty of shales, yes (shale is the commonest rock type on the continents), but very little potential for oil or gas. Hundreds of billions of dollars have been spent, and the technology for finding the stuff is very effective–if it’s there they’ll find it–and we have the Bakken etc. And production from The Three was never the major part of US production.

      The overall judgement, as the I Ching would say, is that the article from Desmogblog is devoid of content with regard to the important question of “Is it a good idea, or a bad idea, to lift the ban on exporting US crude?” Refiners will say it’s a bad idea, and producers will say it’s a good idea, and…go from there. Forget personalities and statement of opinions that were held before reading the article.

      As to turning America into a petro state: The US is the third largest producer of oil on the planet, and not all that far below second. (It’s tied for first in the production of natural gas, most of the time.) And it is a net importer, not exporter, of oil. What would lifting the ban do to that status?

      1. different clue

        If a parallel purpose of fracking is to swindle capital from hopeful investors, then a return to high oil prices can lead to money-raising swindlefrack plays all over the place.

        1. Synapsid

          different clue,

          No argument there, unless the lesson learned by all those, and they are many, who have got burned by investing in the shales, is absorbed by others. I can’t say I’m optimistic about that.

  5. abynormal

    Thanks to NC (mainly Lambert) i’ve extended my education regarding backlash of revolutions & revolutionaries. imo, we hash-out a consistent result of ‘interesting times’. Brain Pickings returns Nin to the forefront of this ‘disaster in the making’: “If we suppress the adventure of the spirit, we will have the anarchist and the rebel, who will burst out from too narrow confines in the form of violence and crime.”

  6. Steven D.

    The Constitution makes abolition of the Senate virtually impossible. I wonder if an equal protection clause challenge would have any chance of success, though.

    The Senate is an abomination. Of course, getting rid of it probably wouldn’t change the entrenched power of money.

    1. James Levy

      We’d likely be better off with a much bigger unicameral legislature that significantly limited the size of single member districts and included some proportional representation. Other than for reasons of cupidity (“the senator from Boeing”) why the states should be represented equally does not impress me as reasonable (yes, I’ve heard the arguments, and they all have an unworldly and abstract element whose practical value eludes me–as if the states were the realm of virtue and the nation the realm of vice, as if the nation were not made up of the states and their populations not identical).

      As for challenging it in the courts, the chances of success I would guess are near zero. Americans in general have such a reverential and deferential attitude towards the Constitution (not talking elites who use lawyers to bend it to their will) that they can’t even image changing it at this late date (which should be part of the imperial collapse watch section, as it shows the sclerotic nature of our governing institutions and the lack of imagination in reorganizing them to meet modern needs). This is all tied into the dominance of Protestantism in the American secular religion (hey, it’s just a hop, skip, and a jump from believing the Bible to be word-for-word true and inerrant to believing the same thing about the Constitution).

      1. Unorthodoxmarxist

        We’d certainly be better off with a unicameral that has proportional representation; open-list proportional voting seems to make the most sense on a national level. More likely we’d get a mixed-member proportional, with either the House or Senate elected the old way (single-member districts) and another based on proportional rep. (or you’d have part of each elected with single-member districts and topped up with proportional voting).

        Part of the problem is that current SCOTUS ruling on one-person, one vote skews heavily towards single-member districts. I’m not sure if it’s technically legal to create one large multimember district and elect proportionally, at least at the federal level. I’m not sure how it would occur but it would certainly be the most important change in election law since the institution of one-person, one-vote by SCOTUS ruling.

      2. Ignim Brites

        There are much greater prospects for success seeking a right of secession amendment to the goal of a state free from obstruction/domination by reactionary forces. Attacking the Senate or the Electoral College are just diversions from the only realistic goal which is seccession.

      3. Jeff W

        Other than for reasons of cupidity…why the states should be represented equally does not impress me as reasonable…

        There was never any logical reason and it didn’t strike James Madison as reasonable, either. He couldn’t figure out a situation where the more populous states would act as a bloc against the interests of the less populous ones.

        Jack Rakove in his Revolutionaries: A New History of the Invention of America had this to say:

        That was the challenge Madison still faced as the convention returned to the issue of the upper house. True, the interests of citizens of small slates did not differ in kind from those of their countrymen elsewhere. Pick three farmers on the eastern shore of the Chesapeake, let each raise tobacco and wheat and take communion in the Methodist church that would soon reap souls by the thousands across the Delmarva Peninsula. Would it matter that one lived in populous Virginia, the second in moderate-size Maryland, and the third in minuscule Delaware? But the smaller states all had a century and more of history on their side and, because they were smaller, an acute sense of their communal integrity. Perhaps they could not refute Madison’s logic. But neither would they allow his reasoning to govern their political identity.

        But, as these things go, it turned on the vote of a single delegate—five delegates in favor, four opposed, one abstaining—in which Gerry Committee on July 16, 1787 agreed to equal representation in the Senate. (There were 11 delegates on the committee, one for each state except, for some reason, New Hampshire. Rhode Island had declined to send any delegates to the Constitutional Convention.) It’s one of those issues like slavery, where the compromises resulting from the exigencies of getting most of the states aligned on ratifying the Constitution would have vast repercussions even to the present day.

    2. Daryl

      It is an interesting article; I didn’t realize that state senates all have proportional representation as well, which seems to sort of defeat the purpose of a bicameral legislature. (making it a bit easier to rig things, that is) Nebraska of all places has a unicameral one.

    3. Ed

      I’m not sure what you are claiming.

      Since the Constitution provides for a Senate, to abolish the Senate entirely and go to a unicameral legislature, or to abolish it and set up some different upper chamber later, would mean changing the Constitution. In this sense you are correct.

      The amending process in the US is difficult, especially compared to other countries, and has the tradition has been to not use it to alter the basic tricameral separation of powers structure, so again the claim that abolishing the U.S. Senate is practically impossible is correct as well. The Senate would have to agree to its own abolition, and there are almost enough small states who are grossly over-represented who could block a change.

      Currently, there are seven states with only one Congressman, meaning their Senate delegation is larger than their House delegation, with Rhode Island likely to join this group after the next reapportionment. Another five have only two Congressman. Fourteen states could block an amendment or convention.

      However, you may be referring to the clause that the Constitution can not even be amended to deprive a state of its equal representation in the Senate, as some people do. Amazingly enough, there is such a clause, but things like this are unenforceable (the original Constitution is remarkably badly drafted). It has probably already been violated by the amendment taking the power to elect Senators away from state governments. Abolishing the Senate entirely would mean that all states would have a Senate delegation of zero, so this would not violate any provision that their Senate delegations be equal. You could abolish the Senate and set up some other second chamber.

      Incidentally, even keeping the Senate as is but cutting each state delegation to one Senator only would be a big improvement and make Senate procedures more workable. The original Senate contained only 26 Senators.

      1. Ed

        Most of the objections to potential reforms of the Senate that you here depend on ignoring that things were changed so that state legislatures no longer chose Senators. After that, it ceased to protect the interests of state governments in any meaningful way, and as you would expect there was a big expansion of federal power vs. the states after that. The current body is basically a second, smaller, mal-apportioned version of the other chamber.

  7. James Levy

    The homelessness article viz. Palo Alto reminded me of a bit of black humor Mike Davis used in an essay: he said that Californians love their children, but they love their property values more. It’s not that Californians are any greedier than most other people, it’s just that real estate valuation and speculation has been the bedrock of their economy for over a century. Airplanes and apps may come and go, but real estate interests remain, and are more broadly based than any single industry. And like the Victorians I read about in Flander’s Inside the Victorian Home, Californians are obsessed not only with property valuation, but with living in income-homogenous neighborhoods and enclaves. Again, this is not unique to California, but it seems to be more pronounced and endemic there, in an area where (outside the limited confines of San Francisco proper) you had the space to create built environments that could so easily and completely segregate one income increment from another.

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      It’s not just Californians. In my mostly bucolic midwestern college town, property values in the nice neighborhoods have gone nuts over the last 20 years and it has changed the entire social fabric. The new people moving in are much, much wealthier than even those who moved in 10 years ago. And everyone now sees their home primarily in financial terms, not community terms. But it seems churlish to complain about your property doubling or tripling in value, even though I am sure everyone would actually be much happier if that hadn’t happened.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Once upon a time, you had to have property in order to vote.

        That was when voting meant something (your vote counted).

        Now that anyone (property owing or not) can vote, how do those with property make themselves exceptional? I think they do it by giving money, lots of it, to people who run, the candidates.

        In a way, it is still those with property (campaign contribution) who vote (in the sense that one’s vote counts). Nothing has changed. No change – maybe the Luddites are right.

        Since property-owing is not longer political (voting related), it finds its special-ness or exceptional-ness in the potential to double or triple.

    2. Jetfixr in Flyover

      As noted, this is not unique to California.

      Even making a pretty decent salary, I can’t afford to buy a house in the Flyover Town I grew up in (Johnson County, Kansas). I could (theoretically) afford to rent, but have “chosen” to live in a crappier area, to have income to spend on other necessities. My mom got run out of town back in 2001 (lived there for 40+ years).

      Fortunately, I’m divorced, with kids married and on their own (barely), and have had to live in a few s##tholes over the years, so it isn’t such a shock.

      With more and more people being displaced from their homes and hometowns late in life, into their cars or into unfamiliar (if “affordable”) new surroundings, with no friends acquaintances, or networking contacts, and the loss of security and self respect, the average life span of US citizens is going to be sharply reduced.

      The only reason that a lot of these people (like me, who are perceived to “cost more than we are worth”) haven’t been disappeared already, is because the Medical-Pharma Industrial Complex has a vested interest in prolonging their lives until the last penny of profit can be sucked out of them and their estates.

      The attitude of the “producers”, when they feel free to talk, is that if you find yourself in this situation you have nobody to blame but yourself. (My “screw up”? When I found out that I was good at fixing airplanes, and enjoyed it, I decided to make it a career).

      The real answer is that Wall Street and the government have given “Most Favored Class” status to a very narrow segment of the population, who have been feeding off each other, and have thrown everybody else under the bus.

    3. Waking Up

      Are property owners in the rest of the world as obsessed with property values as those in the United States? Is this a reflection of our society in general and our lack of concern for our fellow man when she/he is “down on their luck”?

      I found the following comment from “Dispossessed in the Land of Dreams” article very interesting and apropos: “It’s a new chapter in an old story. In his seminal 1893 lecture at the Chicago World’s Fair, Frederick Jackson Turner summarized the myth of the American frontier and the waves of settlers who created it as an early form of gentrification: First, farmers looking for land would find a remote spot of wilderness to tame; once they succeeded, more men and women would arrive to turn each new spot into a town; finally, outside investors would swoop in, pushing out the frontiersman and leaving him to pack up and start all over again. It has always been thus in America. Turner quoted from a guide published in 1837 for migrants headed for the Western frontiers of Ohio, Indiana, and Wisconsin: “Another wave rolls on. The men of capital and enterprise come. The ‘settler’ is ready to sell out and take the advantage of the rise of property, push farther into the interior, and become himself a man of capital and enterprise in turn.” This repeating cycle, Turner argued, of movement and resettlement was essential to the American character. But he foresaw a looming crisis. “The American energy will continually demand a wider field for its exercise,” he wrote. “But never again will such gifts of free land offer themselves.” In other words, we would run out of places for the displaced to go.”

      That was in 1893….

  8. Steven D.

    The climate agreement commits no one to anything. It’s all shoulds and recommendations. A typical Obama mirage.

    I don’t know if the environmental press are like liberals who can’t come to grips with Obama being a fraud or if they’re just another part of the neoliberal Borg. Probably also career pressure to go along with the crowd.

    1. James Levy

      Part of it may be a need to fight off The Darkness. I find that the more I know, the more passive and terrified I become. We all, in ways little and big, grasp at straws (although Yves presents a persona inured to such weakness!). If you want to be hard about it, if Obama is a fraud, and the only realistic alternatives to replace him are Trump, Clinton, Rubio, and Cruz, what are you as an environmentalist to do? Take out a pistol and splatter your brains against the far wall? Because the Republicans aren’t just mendacious here, they actively and stridently deny the reality that there is any problem here at all. And Clinton can be counted on to be more mendacious than Obama. So you can hope that some of this will come to pass and that it will be just enough to avert a complete catastrophe, or you can weigh the odds and see that the world you were born into is passing away and that your children and grandchildren are going to “enjoy” a lower standard of living, hunger, hardship, and rampant epidemic disease in a society where social services have disappeared and things like sanitation, clean water, and access to medical care are strictly for the rich. For many of us, that vision is a burden too heavy to bear (although I am stuck with it and simply contorting and flailing under its weight).

        1. Steven D.

          True. Don’t give up the ship just yet.

          I wonder though if we’re not living out a Greek tragedy. We’ve created a society based on technology we don’t have the collective wisdom or morality to control. In our hubris, we are careening toward catastrophe.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Like GM foods, toxic environment and global warming are lethal tools, like atlatl and derivatives, that destroy on a massive scale…often slowly, not highly visible, but can be catastrophic and as visible as anything one can encounter or more.

            And we know what we do to any threat that is massive – we will go into any country that harbors too much CO2 emitters.

            We will also go after their money source, whether its ‘as much as we can print’ or not.

            So, are you with us or are you not?

        2. James Levy

          Yes, and if he survives to the Massachusetts primary he’ll get my vote, and perhaps the state. But I rate his chances of getting to, and winning, the national election as very small. And even if he wins, the entrenched interests will prove a daunting obstacle and will do what they are best at: delay. Every Executive Order he signs to limit the damage will be dragged through the courts until they can get a more amenable factotum in the White House. Hell, the Republicans are screaming bloody blue murder over this toothless accord and pledging to eviscerate it. Perhaps I’m wrong, but at least today I am very pessimistic.

          1. Steven D.

            Democrats spend way too much time and energy worrying about what the Republicans are going to do. I’m reminded of Grant, who, in exasperation, told his subordinates to stop worrying so much about what Lee might do and think about what they could do.

      1. Ed

        Excellent point. To really understand the unfolding environmental catastrophe is to treat yourself to big helpings of anxiety and depression. People instinctively don’t want to do this, and this goes double for Americans, who pride themselves on a culture of optimism.

        Red state denial is pretty straightforward, they just convince themselves that climate change isn’t happening or carbon has no effect or a beneficial effect on the atmosphere. Maybe because blue staters tend to be more educated, blue state denial takes the form that the problem is not going to get all that bad ,or that the politicians are working very, very hard on it, or that any solution is compatible with economic or population growth, or at least will be after the perpetual motion machine comes out.

        1. PQS

          Agreed. As a college-educated, Naked Capitalism reading, Democracy NOW! listening “informed voter”, I find the entire climate change issue utterly defeating to consider in its awful entirety. So I try to focus on small victories, which I consider to be most of them. The alternative is too horrible to consider.

          And yes, I know there are only tiny victories, I know Paris isn’t “winning”, I know the degrees Celsius/F are too much as agreed to, but NOBODY will get on board if the whole truth is out there. They will be just as, if not more, defeated than I am.

        2. jrs

          Or there is always “what the hey, I’ll probably be dead then anyway, and at least I wasn’t dumb enough to reproduce” not exactly denial. A humanity that doesn’t even want to save itself might not even deserve to be saved.

      2. Oregoncharles

        Well, some of us work on 3rd-party politics committed to environmental sanity.

        Granted that we’re still on the outside looking in, at least it keeps you from blowing your brains out. And we offer an alternative when people wake up.

        We’re always looking for good candidates, too.

    2. ChrisFromGeorgia

      I’ll start taking climate agreements seriously when they result in the tar sands projects in Canada being shut down permanently, along with official apologies from the government.

      I’m talking bulldozers filling in toxic lakes and heavy equipment not just mothballed, but dismantled and sold for scrap.

      Until then, these things should be taken for what they are – feel-good exercises with little impact other than a bump to the local economy in whatever scenic locales they take place in. I’m sure French cafes and pastry chefs got some love from COP21.

    3. allan

      COP21 will not be legally enforceable, despite all the happy talk.
      TPP, on the other hand, will be legally enforceable.
      Big Carbon can sleep easy knowing that ISDS will make them whole on any losses.

      1. jrs

        from the article:
        “The Paris Agreement is not a treaty, and countries’ INDCs are not binding. (The Obama administration made sure of this so it wouldn’t have to submit the deal to the U.S. Senate for approval.)”

        too bad they can’t just call it a trade agreement, that’s already fast tracked …

  9. rich

    Corker’s Refiled Financial Reports Back to 2007

    Corker put the blame on accountants, even though the duty to accurately file is solely his.

    “I am extremely disappointed in the filing errors that were made in earlier financial disclosure reports,”
    Corker’s Refiled Financial Reports Back to 2007

    Mr. Corker said in a statement.

    Maybe those poor filing errors will feel horrible for making Mr. Corker look bad.

    It’s another glimpse into our world of abysmal leadership, where no one takes responsibility, quality is an ancient notion and honor has been replace by greed. Well done, Mr. Corker, another accountant has been vanquished.

    “The senator is the second-ranking Republican on the Senate Banking Committee, which oversees the real-estate and financial-services sectors.”…… least we know he serves………what a gig!

    1. Portia

      An accountant’s job is a thankless one. If you go along with pressure to cook the return, you can be sure you will be hung out to dry when it hits the fan. If you say no, you are screwed also, because then you have a secret that can’t be used against you, and that makes the client nervous.

  10. Jef

    “So we shouldn’t prevent clearly preventable deaths. By your logic, if surgeons not using sterilized equipment before an operation would only account of 1% of deaths in that age cohort, you’d be fine with surgeons using dirty scalpels.”

    Sorry for not responding but was out on flood control all day.

    I am not saying that at all. I am saying that to clearly prevent those deaths we need to focus on the clearly ignorant parents of the toddlers then we would save thousands of lives instead of just delaying the probably inevitable by only taking the gun out of the equation.

    1. Massinissa

      What Yves said. You may have meant what you said just now, but what you actually said is that if its ONLY less than one percent its not worth worrying about.

      Im sure it was a mistake and not what you meant, but thats how it sounded to everyone. You should have phrased it more carefully.

      1. Jef

        I believe my comment was clear. We need to focus on all the issues that kill toddlers and guns are only a small part of that. Why isn’t it that all the other issues get as much blog time.

        I have lived all my 60+ years around guns and families with guns and NEVER has anyone left a loaded gun out anywhere, especially when children are around. EVERYONE I know would be over the top angry and place the blame squarely on the gun owner/parents if anyone was shot. They would be outcasts from the community. It just isn’t done.

        I would also add that as soon as we can utter words and understand them we are told that guns are not to be touched until an adult teaches you how. Of course now a days that is meaningless.

        I am sure there are plenty of ignorant people with guns in the world but its the ignorance that is the problem. Take away the gun and you still have a dangerous ignorant person.

        1. Yves Smith

          No, people without guns can do a lot less harm than someone with a gun. Lordie. How many people do you think you could kill with a bludgeon or a knife? Most people don’t even know how to use a knife correctly in a real fight. You stab, not slash.

          And plenty of evidence shows that if you train someone in gun safety BEFORE they get a gun, they will handle it safely. But they will not adopt safe practices if they already own a gun.

          That is why gun owners should at a minimum be licensed, and part of getting the license is getting safety training. We require that for cars, when cars only kill and maim people by accident, while the express purpose of a gun is to kill and maim.

          1. Jef

            Of the millions of guns owned in America by civilians .001% are owned for the express purpose to kill and maim people.
            Police and military its 100%. I don’t disagree with anything else you said except for the fact that you still don’t address the idiot part of the equation which is the main problem I have with the “get rid of all guns and everything will be better” crowd.

            I am all for gun control, problem is there is no idiot test for a license, for cars either for that matter.

            1. Yves Smith

              Oh, come on. This is now complete sophistry.

              If you own a gun for “self protection” it is for the express purpose of maiming and killing someone.

              If you own a gun for hunting or trapping (trappers shoot the animals in the traps), you own a gun for the express purpose of killing.

              People who want to shoot and shooting ranges for fun do not need to own guns. They can rent them. And from what I can tell, most people at shooting ranges are “practicing” for one of the two purposes listed above.

          2. cwaltz

            According to the DOJ in 2012 over 30.6% of murder victims were killed by means other than guns.

            I do agree with you though that there should be credentialing, although I am not sure that would have eliminated the death of the three year old the other day whose parent was a law enforcement officer that probably should have known better than to leave a weapon lying around(I daresay I would hope he would not have left his gun sitting around when dealing with criminals.)

  11. craazyman

    Wow. If oil goes below zero this could be a real 10-bagger.

    “I’ve got 30,000 barrels of oil. Can somebody come and haul it away for $3 per barrel. That’s all I can afford! You can have my car too! It needs a new transmission system and a new electrical system. Otherwise it works great.”

    Maybe natural gas. UNG looks like it’s setting up to hit $5 then shoot to $25 if not $30. Soon.

    The world is full of 10-baggers. It’s so hard to choose. This could be the year to get rich quick. Enough wasting time already. You can’t waste time if it’s only part time. You have to waste time full time to really waste time. For that, you need a 10-bagger.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s probably too late to get into it now that the deflation dragon is rearing its fierce head in the Middle Kingdom and there is an ongoing anti-corruption drive, but a guy keeps telling me that every piece of Chinese antique he buys is a ten-bagger.

      And that brings me to the topic of the flip side of Minimum Wage, which is, Maximum Effort.

      I went to an estate sale this weekend, featuring lots of Chinese antiques. The sale was to start at 10AM. I figure getting there at 9 in the morning should be good enough. It turned out that some group was there at 3AM. And another group showed up, probably around 3AM as well, tore the first sign up sheet, inserted a new one and put themselves at the top, when the first group went for breakfast. When I got there at 9, I was number 16. After a heated argument, the estate sales agent agreed to a new list and I found myself at 21.

      So, you have to admire people who would work so hard, they are willing to put in all those hours.

      But putting all those hours, in order to succeed in the free market, capitalist system and in order to be held up as a great example, is a form of something more general – maximum effort. Your best effort at surviving.

      If they are willing to work longer hours, are they also willing to charge less to work?

      “My company will paint your house for $50, instead of the one hundred the other guy quotes you.”

      It’s ok for a corporation to charge what it deems to be necessary to survive.

      “I will clean your yard one hour for $3.”

      A self-employed contractor can charge $3/hour for a job (that may require only 10 min, no one’s watching but the estimate was wrong that it took an hour). Not law against that.

      Or, “I will flip your burgers for $4 an hour.”

      That’s not legal…until a roaming gang of self-employed burger-flipping contractors show up charging on a per-job basis.

      And that’s scary. I rather we are allowed to work no more than 10 hours a week and have more leisure time to enjoy life.

      But there are too many hard working people, from around here and other countries, who are willing to work more hours.

  12. Dave

    “Dispossessed in the land of dreams…”

    “They were an interracial couple in the late 1960s, which was unusual, though she says her family didn’t mind. It was also an interclass marriage, and it moved Suzan down the income ladder. ”

    No kidding. She married a junkman 17 years older than she was, supporting him with her family trust fund, which surely alienated her from friends and family. That’s self-disinfranchisement from society, cruel as it sounds.

    Where is her daughter and why can’t she assist or house her mother?

    As to Palo Alto building low income housing, per federal and California law, she would have no more claim to a unit than someone just arrived from the east or a foreign country.

    “Suzan bought a NEW Jeep” Most unreliable piece of junk on the road and a financially suicidal decision for someone in her position.

    Best of luck to Suzan.

    Salvation Army gets a thousand from us at Christmas. No charity is perfect, but they are as good as it gets.

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      I’m interested in why you prefer Salvation Army. I tend to pitch in to the kettles but I’ve always been put off by the organization. It seems weirdly (for what it does) militaristic. I personally also find the religious part off-putting.

    2. HotFlash

      During the months of back and forth, Suzan bought a new Jeep, only one year newer than the Explorer, in case she needed to sleep in her car again.

      and the prev vehicle was

      a ramshackle 1994 Ford Explorer

      So, how much do you think a 1995 Jeep costs? Here’s a clue $2,000.

      That’s not much, and it is a home. A *home*. A home, for about two month’s rent. That is security to Ms Suzan.

      I find your disdain of this lady almost, um, defensive?I

      1. OIFVet

        Hardly defensive. The way I read his comment, Susan’s marriage offended Davie’s anti-miscegenation sensibilities.

    3. Massinissa

      What Hotflash said. You misconstrued the word new as in new from manufacturer. What was meant in the article is that the Jeep was new to her. It was indeed a 95 jeep.

    4. cwaltz

      If an organization that discriminates against gays and transgender is as good as it gets then I’ll find other ways to give this Christmas.

      God LOVES everyone and says that if we judge to judge with mercy.

      1. tim s

        Bringing GOD into it? That’s a slippery slope. Others can (and do) use the same god and bible to justify stoning them.

        They would also use the same bible to say that actions have consequences, similar to what Dave has said….

        1. cwaltz

          The Salvation Army is a religious organization, THEY, by virtue of what they are, bought God into it.

          Jesus seemed pretty anti stoning- if I remember correctly he saved a woman from that fate. Something about letting the first person without sin cast the first stone(which resulted in everyone leaving) –

          1. tim s

            Well, sure, Jesus was. But you said God. Jesus was the peace & love, anti-establishment proto-hippie.

            God was more the kill-em-all and let ??? sort ’em out type, not to mention the phuck with ’em for the hell of it type.

            1. cwaltz

              In the Christian faith- Jesus was the son of God and his life and death were God’s new covenant with mankind. Everything Jesus did was because God asked.

              I think the Salvation Army might want to re read the New Testament(you know the book that they as Christians are supposed to be following) because I’m pretty sure that it states if you judge without mercy then you can expect no mercy to be given to you when it is time for God to judge you(sure hope all those judgy folks never made any morally questionable decisions.) Ostracizing people because you don’t agree with or understand their life choices is pretty un Christian- Jesus went out of his way to find people that needed to feel the mercy of God and to tell them of his Father’s love.

    5. jrs

      It’s only a 13 year age difference which is probably pretty common. Desirable? I don’t know, but common enough. And I don’t think buying a Jeep if you have to live in it is the worst decision. If your going to live, rather than just drive, in your car, better not have bought a subcompact.

      What I do have problems understanding is why people in that situation stay in California and the most expensive parts of it as well. There is no doubt somewhere in the country a trailer park would cost no more than their prior rent and could probably be covered by SS payments. It’s one thing if the only family you have is local, then you stay with them I guess. It’s another if you have a good job that supports you. But to be homeless in Palo Alto .. why?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I too wonder about that.

        On the other hand, I also think, why not? Why should the rich take over a large chunk of Northern California real estate with good weather?

        In China, you find many ethnic minorities in the mountainous regions of Yunan, Guangxi, Guizhou, etc. The Thai people are said to originally occupy as far north as Shandong. In Taiwan, the aborigines live in the mountains as well. All evidence of lost battles and ceded good/fertile lands to the victors.

        “That’s right. Get out of Palo Alto and move to the more affordable Mojave desert.”

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Can Palo Alto be that techno-utopia (technology for a better tomorrow) that will take in our tired, our poor, our huddled masses yearning for a place to call home, and defend us against foreign money buying up homes all-cash?

  13. john

    RE: general interest in low tech vehicles #future
    (a 1950’s survey of China by the CIA)

    I enjoy Laslow Montgomery (introduced to here) and his China History podcast. Also available on youtube.

    Even better is raw footage of western interviews with the Shah of Iran… they even include his name, which escapes me. The best compilation is from “” , another likely govt. front.

    I hate school. Heedless formalism, etc.

  14. Unorthodoxmarxist

    What the article about the French elections doesn’t mention is that the French have runoff votes that prevent anyone without a majority of the vote from winning a seat. Imagine if we had IRV here, or heaven forbid, proportional representation?

    1. ProNewerDeal

      Afaict, 1 “Exceptional”, meaning exceptionally bad & stupid, attribute of Murica, among the public & the Power Elites, is unwillingness to even consider or be aware of what other nations, even OECD rich nations, are doing.

      I recall streaming a few minutes of the Canada network CBC on youtube on the night of their CAN 2015 election. They had a pundit strongly advocating for changing the parliament to a proportional representation (PM) type of parliamentary system, citing political scientist experts’ studies that compared major OECD nations & concluding that the nations with PR systems do a better job of democracy, in terms of implementing policies that reflect the will of the majority of voters, than other systems such as CAN first past the post (FPTP) plurality, or the US FPTP system.

      This segment really impacted me, in that I considered that I can rarely recall any USian, pundit or pol, get on USian CorpMedia, & note how we should implement what another nation is doing on a particular issue, because it has shown to be superior to the Murican status quo. Bernie Sanders is a notable exception, talking about the lack of Medicare For All aka Healthcare as Human Right, and Family Leave, etc.

      Whether it is the USian voting system, 30K+ USians/yr killed due to the pols blocking Medicare For All, or police violence killing 1K+ USians/yr, etc; the US is Exceptionally the Worst or in the Worst Quintile of the OECD at best. Perhaps there are a few remaining issues, like Free Speech Rights, where the US is in the OECD’s Best Quintile. But I strongly want to see more of comparisons by those with a BigPlaform to Civilized nations’ policies on issues where the US is Barbaric and Sux Ballz. IMHO this is one unacknowledged negative consequence of the Murican Exceptionalist Ideology/Progpaganda.

  15. JEHR

    Dispossessed in the Land of Dreams: Well, Margaret Atwood has a dystopian novel that describes the situation in this article. The book is called “The Heart Goes Last.” The following excerpts from the article could have been lifted from her book:

    Their rent was actually a couple of hundred dollars more than James’s monthly Social Security benefits, but he made up the rest by piecing together odd jobs. They looked for a new apartment for two months and didn’t find anything close to their price range. Their landlord gave them a six-week extension, but it yielded nothing. When mid-October came, Suzan and James had no choice but to leave. With hurried help from neighbors, they packed most of their belongings into two storage units and a ramshackle 1994 Ford Explorer which they called “the van.” They didn’t know where they were going. . . .

    In the van, Suzan was in charge of taking care of everyone and everything, organizing a life that became filled with a unique brand of busy boredom. She and James spent most of their time figuring out where to go next, how to get there, and whether they could stay once they arrived. They found a short-term unit in a local family shelter in Menlo Park that lasted for five weeks. Afterward, they stayed in a few motels, but even fleabags in the area charge upwards of $100 a night. When they couldn’t afford a room they camped out in the van, reclining the backseats and making a pallet out of blankets piled on top of their clothes and other belongings. Slowly, there were fewer nights in hotels and more in the van, until the van was where they lived.

    Suzan is treated every bit as abominably as the characters in Atwood’s book. Atwood is a marvel at depicting the horrors that her characters live through and these horrors echo what Suzan experiences. Life imitates art; art imitates life.

    I am appalled at the way people treat other people!

  16. JEHR

    Canada Need Not Fear Deficit Financing: Thank you for providing that link. I have been busy sending e-mails with links to this article to the members of parliament of all parties. I won’t hold my breath for answers!

  17. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    From the Next Financial Crisis Will Start Here link:

    If multiple bankruptcies cause defaults in the commercial paper market, that could flow throughout the system, as it did in 2008, when commercial paper losses led to a run on money market mutual funds, seen as completely boring and stable up to that point.

    The more complex a system, the more we don’t know everything and have to rely on others to assure us that it’s stable/OK, the more we live in a faith-based world, and the easier we can be manipulated/brainwashed.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      “Can you explain your system in a page or less?”

      “Can you tell me your machine in a way the general public can comprehend?”

      More complicated than that, (or even that) and you have to have faith what others are telling you is true, as there are too many things to know in the world.

  18. Jess

    I take it that Lambert is either still traveling or still having problems with his Mac/PC tools, or both, and this is why there is no Water Cooler so far today?

  19. optimader


    My dad taught me cabinetmaking and I have a small but very well stocked shop at home, a sanctuary where I can just enjoy building things for us and for friends. Frankly it is much more pleasant and useful way to live life than my day job…

    If you’re interested in producing custom furniture/cabinets etc you might look into this joint as a local retail venue
    Made by Hand, Not by a Factory
    All things are not created equal. Fine,handcrafted home furnishings stand apart. Admire select wood grains. Note precision joinery. Savor fine finishes. Celebrate the hand of the artist. Come explore collections from some of the finest artisans in America. Eeach piece is made with extrordinary pride and skill.

  20. Jim Haygood

    Samsung appeals Apple verdict:

    Samsung Monday asked the [US Supreme Court] to hear an appeal of its long-running feud with Apple, hoping to upend much of a 2012 jury verdict that found the company liable for infringing patents on Apple’s iPhone. Samsung was ultimately ordered to pay $930 million.

    Specifically, Samsung is asking the court to review rulings concerning “design patents” that cover the look and feel of a product. At trial, Apple convinced the jury that basic design elements of certain Samsung smartphones–essentially a rectangle with rounded corners and a touch-screen grid made up of smaller icons–borrowed too closely from Apple’s iPhone design. A federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., largely upheld the verdicts on three Apple design patents earlier this year.

    Samsung argues that the lower courts misapplied the law covering design patents, which it says are meant to protect “ornamental” features that aren’t part of a product’s function. Samsung argues that U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh should have told the jury which parts of the iPhone design were ornamental, and which parts were functional.

    Apple’s win in the district court outraged me. It’s as if Cadillac had sued all other auto makers in 1959 for copying its tail fins, which in turn were copied from spacecraft. But each auto maker’s fins were different.

    A “rectangle with rounded corners” is a geometric shape, not intellectual property. If that can be patented, then I’m patenting the “upraised middle finger” gesture. Every insult sends me laughing to the bank.

    1. Carolinian

      Au contraire. The rectangle concept sprang from the genius brow of Steve Jobs himself. An ordinary mortal might have come up with a round IPhone.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Jobs – the son of a Syrian immigrant.

        Is he a good example of immigration or should we find another example?

        1. Carolinian

          I guess if you are Samsung or a disabled person looking for a handicap parking space you’d say no.

          We are all children of immigrants of course except for the Native Americans. And they too came from somewhere. I think both sides on immigration policy have reduced a complicated issue to soundbite status.

    2. Daryl

      But there’s clearly prior art on this one, I’ve been flipping the bird for decades now…ah who am I kidding, you’ll probably get the patent.

  21. Irrational

    Re. Saudi elections:
    Forgive me for being cynical, but how exactly are these newly-elected ladies going to get to work? They have to find a male relative to drive them.
    Then, how will they interact with their male fellow-elects? From a separate office via video-conference so the poor males do not get “contaminated”? forward…
    Yet, it is a step

  22. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    From ‘Iranian Editor Faces Trial…”

    Doaei is a representative of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, but is a strong supporter of moderates and fellow reformists. He is also a cleric, so the case will go to the Special Clergy Court, with the trial to be held behind closed doors.

    Is this an attack on Iran’s Supreme Leader? I don’t know the politics there.

  23. Jim Haygood

    New York, New York:

    Through September of this year, 11,099, or nearly 89 percent of those arrested on charges of possessing marijuana in the fifth degree were black or Hispanic, according to the Division of Criminal Justice Services. For the same period, 997 white people were arrested, about 8 percent of the total.

    Evidently the NYPD is working tirelessly to make a self-fulfilling prophecy of ol’ Harry Anslinger’s claim that the devil’s weed is a vice indulged in mainly by black jazz musicians and latino lettuce pickers.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The Bodhisattva way – stop smoking, delay your entry into Nirvana, and save your supplier from getting arrested.

      I found a ceramic cup I made a few years ago and had forgotten about it in storage somewhere in the kitchen. On it, I etched on the outside of the cup:

      “Outer freedom – freedom to do what one wants to do.”

      On the inside, just below the rim:

      “Inner freedom – freedom to do what one doesn’t want to do.”

      Perhaps we don’t want the other car at the stop sign to go first, but we free ourselves so we can yield the right-of-way.

      1. MikeNY

        I like it, Beef. Sounds to me like what Augustine was talking about wrt “the bondage of the will”.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Thanks Mike. I am inspired to more thoroughly clean up my kitchen (and other rooms).

          Maybe I will find more stuff I have forgotten.

      2. ShamanicFallout

        I don’t understand your formulation. Who is the ‘one’ who does or does not want to do? And who or what is the ‘one’ who is free from that?

        1. optimader

          “Outer freedom – freedom to do what one wants to do.” Drink a draught Guinness

          “Inner freedom – freedom to do what one doesn’t want to do.”
          Sadly, decline on drinking a second draught Guinness

    2. Massinissa

      To be fair, don’t white people usually use things like powdered cocaine or heroine or meth instead? I don’t know a whole lot about drugs.

      1. ProNewerDeal

        iirc a stat noted that pct of population using cannabis were near identical, Black USians vs White USians, but arrest probability was 6X higher for Black USians

  24. bob

    “Redskins appear to be running fan Twitter account in support of name Sports Illustrated”

    The number one “advocate” of the name change, the probably billionaire Ray Halbritter, just opened up a Wizard of OZ themed casino, in the author’s home town.

    Problem- Frank Baum, the author of the wizard of oz, was a huge fan of Native American genocide.

    Don’t let your ideals get in the way of a good casino theme.

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