Links 9/16/16

Religion in US ‘worth more than Google and Apple combined’ Guardian. Just think of the profit potential of running a New Age cult!

There may be an evolutionary reason suburbia feels so miserable Business Insider

The architect building his own skate oasis in the ruins of the Greek crisis Huck Magazine (Emma)

How Morality Changes in a Foreign Language Scientific American (Emma)

Pacific Ocean’s response to greenhouse gases could extend California drought for centuries PhysOrg (Chuck L)

YouTube gets its own social network with the launch of YouTube Community TechCrunch (furzy)


Australia’s China contradictions go global MacroBusiness. Why Australia will inevitably become a Chinese client state.

How China’s Past Stimulus Is Dogging Its Growth Prospects WSJ China Real Time


Philippines president ordered murders and killed official, claims hitman Guardian (furzy)

Philippines leader ‘ordered 1,000 killings’ as mayor MSN (furzy)

SUMMARY: Allegations of ‘DDS’ member in Senate hearing Inquirer (furzy). Lurid.


Brexit fallout: markets v economists Financial Times

UKIP plans invasion of the Continent Politico (furzy)

Juncker hits out at Barroso’s Goldman role Financial Times

Germany’s Efforts to Integrate Migrants Into Its Workforce Falter Wall Street Journal (furzy)

How Vestager took a bite out of Apple Politco. Read past the opening paras of sniping at Vestager to get at the logic of the move.

Italy government to decide date of referendum on Sept. 26 Reuters. I had wondered why I was unable to find an election date..

Fog descends on Vancouver house price bust MacroBusiness

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

House Committee: Edward Snowden’s Leaks Did ‘Tremendous Damage’ NBC. In case you were laboring under the delusion that Obama might pardon him…..

If Snowden Doesn’t Know Privacy Protections of 702, That’s a Problem with NSA Training Marcy Wheeler. Get a load of this:

The House Intelligence Committee just released a report — ostensibly done to insist President Obama not pardon Snowden — that is instead surely designed as a rebuttal to the Snowden movie coming out in general release tomorrow. Why HPSCI sees it as their job to refute Hollywood I don’t know, especially since they didn’t make the same effort when Zero Dark Thirty came out, which suggests they are serving as handmaidens of the Intelligence Community, not an oversight committee…

It concerns me the “Intelligence Committee” can’t distinguish between details that help and hurt their case.

This Loophole Ends the Privacy of Social Security Numbers Bloomberg

Imperial Collapse Watch

Our leaders are hooked on the narcotic of glory. That’s why we rush to war Guardian (Emma)

Trade Traitors

The transatlantic trade deal TTIP may be dead, but something even worse is coming Guardian


Guccifer 2.0 drops more DNC docs Politico (furzy)

Trump support surges in Pennsylvania towns Financial Times

Putin finds a fan base in Trump country Financial Times

Sheryl Sandberg Could Be Clinton’s Treasury Secretary New York Magazine (resilc)

Hillary Clinton Vs. The Obamas: Inside Their Vicious Feud! National Enquirer. Resilc: “Too funny, but could be better journalizm than NYTimes PR machine.”

Voters’ View of a Donald Trump Presidency: Big Risks and Rewards New York Times. As Lambert has been saying, the volatility vote.

Campaign Money Magically Makes Lead Paint Safe Again Charles Pierce, Esquire (resilc)

Connecticut Gov. Malloy’s Appointee Recuses Herself From Anthem-Cigna Merger Review David Sirota, International Business Times

At Camp with the Standing Rock Pipeline Protesters Outside Online (furzy)

Did an Industry Front Group Create Fake Twitter Accounts to Promote ND Pipeline? Steve Horn

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Sandra Bland’s family hopes $1.9M settlement results in jail reform nationwide Chicago Tribune

Chancing it: How secret company owners are a risk to investors Financial Transparency Coalition (Richard Smith)

Guardian to make major cuts to US news operation Politico (furzy)

Goldman Sachs Crushes Hopes Of Oil Price Recovery OilPrice

Collision Course: Motor Vehicle Production +0.5%, Motor Vehicle Sales -4.4% Year-Over-Year Michael Shedlock (EM)

Q&A: Former LA Times reporter on story that led to $185 million Wells Fargo fine Columbia Journalism Review

Adviser With Ties to Hedge Fund Platinum Put Client Funds in It Wall Street Journal

Private Equity Fund Adviser Settles with SEC for Failing to Disclose Financial Conflicts SEC. Weird. Amount in this First Reserve settlement is way lower than initially reported by Chris Witowsky at PEHub. What sexual favors were exchanged for this to happen?

Deutsche Bank is getting walloped Business Insider. Litigation reserves look awfully light…

Wells Fargo faces scrutiny over lack of sales scandal disclosure Reuters

The alchemists who turn negative bond yields into profit Gillian Tett, Financial Times

Federal Reserve stress test may be illegal: banking group Reuters. Need to look at their filing…

Why companies make their products worse Economist (Kevin C)

Class Warfare

The number of people on food stamps is plummeting at the fastest rate ever after the government made a key change Business Insider. As in restricting access via work rules.

My Self-Driving Uber Needed Human Help MIT Technology Review (resilc)

The rise of the superstars Economist

The Cold War is Over First Things (Emma). Today’s must read.

Antidote du jour. Chet G:

Presently, in central PA, we’re at peak Monarch time. Of course, it doesn’t compare with the one day, 20 years ago, when I drove through OK during Monarch migration and through a cloud of what would be thousands upon thousands of them. From the Snetsinger Butterfly Garden at Tudek Memorial Park.


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I wasn’t feeling so miserable, but I think I am now.

      For the same price, the only urban areas I can afford are quite ‘adventurous’…perhaps too adventurous for not a few to survive evolutionarily.

    2. different clue

      About that Miserable Suburbia article . . . . I would feel pretty miserable in a Suburbia like that . . . with the houses so close together and no yard to speak of.

      My experience of Suburbia was different. Our subdivision that I lived in 45-59 years ago had houses wider spaced on bigger lots. Our house was on a quarter acre lot as I remember. That was enough space to do all kinds of gardening and micro-landscaping on. Present day knowledge would allow even more all kinds of gardening and micro-foodscaping on it. And when I lived there there was undeveloped land nearby to go walking and stuffdoing in or on. (That land was mostly gone when I went back there in l982. Still, the house’s yard had just as much foodgrowing yardscaping potential then as before).

      So it depends on what kind of Suburbia we are talking about. And then too, even small yard Suburbia provides space for micro-gardening and micro-yardscaping/ foodscaping for uniqueness. The lack of such things in the Suburbias picture probably reflects the spiritual and cultural sterility of the people who went to live there. They would carry that sterility with them wherever they go. Even if they go back into the Great Urban Shit-holes.

  1. Roger Smith

    For some second (or third) hand personal angles: I have a family friend who is from and has family that still lives in the Philippines. Before he started making news waves here I heard about Duterte through this friend. She specifically mentioned his tough on crime policy, that he was just killing gangs etc… and my impression from her was that Duterte’s policies were making visible changes in the amount of crime and that they were at least somewhat favorable if not liked by the citizens outright.

    Obviously this does not apply to everyone there. Just wanted to share the story from the area.

    1. timbers

      First thought I had upon seeing the headlines of articles on Philippines is: here comes the beginnings of regime change in Philippines. The Empire has invested to much in conflict with China and Russia to let this guy complicate things now and we’ve seen this movie before. On the other hand, maybe not.

    2. ambrit

      Considering how ‘involved’ in the drugs trade local police forces are in most jurisdictions, the man is being very brave. His vigilante style of social engineering could be called, with little chance of sarcasm, Systema D(uerte.)
      Remember the outcry when some Black Power advocates started armed patrols in high crime drug neighbourhoods, I believe in Houston? They had the temerity to assert the public’s right to peace and security in their homes and on the streets. I expect to see more of that as social infrastructure unravels.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Look for the silver lining… however, if what the fella is testifying to the Phil legislature has any truth to it, the “peace and security” only extends to cronies, and is like the “peace and security” the various crime syndicates reputedly brought/bring to “their” neighborhoods — otherwise, tiptoe around, keep your eyes down, and never cross an idiot driving an expensive car, or wind up in a “quarry.”

        Seems to me the analog to Black Panthers would be ordinary citizens being brave enough to arm themselves and drive the hit squads and death squads out of their environs. That is not what is described. The Philippines is such an interesting product of Empire, isn’t it? The grift that keeps on grifting.

        Moving toward that ultimate in impunity, that 0bomba and a lot of the other people who have risen to the tops of the power structures in the imperium, wish they could dare reach for…

        1. Unorthodoxmarxist

          Yes, the government murdering the accused without trial seems fair… maybe we can lend him some drones to get it done more efficiently. I wonder how many political opponents have been classified as criminals over the years? Or until they will be? Would you oppose Duterte if you could end up on the other side of a death squad? How long until union organizers are considered criminals and shot?

          I guess legalizing drugs to end gang violence is just a Western thing, once profits are to be made.

          1. Adam Eran

            One thing to add…. Gangs are political organizations. Chicago’s Mayor Daley (the first one) ran an “athletic club”…a gang…before he ran the city.

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              Duterte: when people get fed up enough they’ll support a strongman who will do *anything*. Drug gang violence had reached that tipping point, so now they have murderous hitmen sponsored by the government and Duterte’s approval rating is 92%

          2. hunkerdown

            Well, when he starts attacking political opponents as criminals, then the “get out or we’ll get you out” can start. In what world are instrumentalities moral?

    3. justanothershrubber

      Frankly, I am unpleasantly surprised to find this collection of negative Duterte stories on the NC site. I do not know, one way or the other, whether the myriad accusations against him are true; nor is it really my place, for I neither reside in nor am a citizen of the Philippines. But my understanding is that Duterte was democratically elected, that the democratic process that elected him was not credibly impeached by international observers and that he continues to have the overwhelming support of the citizens of the Philippines.

      What I have noticed, however, is that the MSM is uniformly against Duterte, and has been for months. It’s puzzling, as I am rather surprised to find that the media is suddenly concerned about the deaths of drug dealers and users on the other side of the globe, whether or not those deaths resulted from the alleged orders of that country’s democratically elected leader. In the past, strong-arm tactics and authoritarian governments have rarely seemed to be cause enough for the outcry from the media, as that same media is silent in the face of other dictatorial regimes with poor human rights records (e.g., Saudi Arabia (including abuses against many filipino OFW’s by the way) and Bahrain (critically, during the Arab Spring) – but I’m sure you can think of your own examples too).

      My point is not that Duterte is innocent or that his policies are correct. But I cannot help but be suspicious that the chorus of Western media is rising in unison to object to his alleged strong-arm tactics against drug dealers. To me it sounds like a narrative spoon-fed to the media by the government. I do not know what the issue is, but from what I see, it seems that the US is intent on removing this democratically elected leader, and I am not convinced that it is because of his hard line against crime and drugs. If human rights abuses are really the reason, it would be a first.

      1. Lambert Strether

        If we decided to run links where nobody had an agenda, and where not-necessarily-visible geopolitical motivations were possible or even likely, there would be no Links section at all. Of course, we try to avoid outright propaganda and public relations plants and stunts, but from my reading of these links, they’re not in that category at all.

        I suggest you modulate your sense of surprise, given that NC readers are a pretty sophisticated bunch.

  2. I Have Strange Dreams

    I really enjoyed Peter Hitchen’s article, the Cold War is Over. What a pity that we live in a world of such deceit and ignorance that this article must be written.

    1. Cocomaan

      That really was a great article.

      Russia’s population is falling, and the combined populations, economies, and militaries of European nato countries outstrips it from what I understand. It just isn’t a threat.

      HRCs baiting of Russia is just as exploitative as Trumps baiting on Islamic extremism.

      1. fajensen

        It just isn’t a threat.
        We only ever attack states that are not a threat. Islamism *is* a threat, an existential one even, there is no way in hell that anyone can manage to keep western civilization, never mind population levels, going while being limited to year 700 thinking.

        The Islamic world were the leaders in culture, commerce, art, science back when – right up until religion managed to assume political power and the Europeans basically lapped them – and have continued to do so ever since.

        Therefore we know that religion-above-all work at all. Even if we are ignoring that the nutters – Christian and Islamist both – have Women and LGBTQ-issues, which I think is already enough of a reason to shun them.

        So, why don’t we? Because they pay people like Hillary and the Koch Brothers to be able to inflict their stupidity onto society not only in relatively safety but even with official government support.

        If nothing else Trump made the GOP applaud him calling LGBTQ people “part of America” and “part of American the freedom to be who you are” … that was not bad, IMO, and it certainly beats the tribalism … “identity politics”, I think its called on that side of the pond, that the Democrats are spewing.

        1. RabidGandhi

          The Islamic world were the leaders in culture, commerce, art, science back when – right up until religion managed to assume political power and the Europeans basically lapped them – and have continued to do so ever since.

          History actually teaches the opposite of your point, as Islam played a predominant role in the Ummayyad and Abbasid Dynasties (the “Islamic Golden Age”), which were the pinnacles of scientific advancement in the Islamic world. Meanwhile, the Ottoman Empire was far more secular and diverse but never achieved the same level of cultural and scientific influence.

      1. Roger Smith

        This was the one issue I had with the article as well. Injecting religion into this really is not helpful. But the journal or magazine seems to publish pieces along this line based on their info.

          1. Patricia

            Yes, it’s very conservative Christian. And excellent material by Peter Hitchens, too.

            Hah, I’m always glad to be surprised.

      2. Enquiring Mind

        Russians had Orthodox Christianity for centuries before the Bolsheviks took over. There is some awareness and recognition of the beneficial family and community aspects of a shared spiritual life that is no longer proscribed. That is rekindled in part as a way to stave off the literal and figurative Tatars at the border.

        1. Bugs Bunny

          I think Peter Hitchens is of the view that atheism leaves a moral void that was filled by lies like the Pavelik martyr story. Denial and suppression of religiosity is certainly worse than benign practice in a liberal space.

          1. hunkerdown

            Can persuasion ever be trusted as absolutely benign, or is it always driven by vested interest? There’s a question that Aristotle never quite answered. And can the commandment to groaf that is inherent in (especially) Christianity, as with its predecessors and successors, ever be trusted as benign? Nope. We’ve seen what happens when such beliefs are allowed to capture populaces for centuries on end, and it’s not pretty. Religion is not a vitamin.

      3. Brad

        A paean to Russian nationalist organicism counterposed to a “Leninist” strawman. Funny how the article doesn’t account for how it was Bolshaya Ordynka could be developed in “the bad old days”.

        Or, “In the urn-shaped trash cans on dozens of streets, there were heaps of red Communist Party membership booklets, burning. All those people who had been compelled to adopt this badge of servitude for the sake of a promotion or an apartment or a child’s education, who had publicly swallowed what they knew privately to be a lie, at last felt free to assert the truth”.

        But Hitchens doesn’t bother mentioning the truth: These badges were now worthless. We all swallow things we know to be lies, every day, especially in the USA, precisely “for the sake of a promotion or an apartment or a child’s education”. It’s called a job.

        And here’s another truth: it was the evil “commies” themselves that carried out the top-down process that dissolved the USSR as they turned themselves into capitalists dominating the country. Putin is the end result. We need more truth and less BS like this article.

    2. hemeantwell

      The Cold War is Over First Things (Emma). Today’s must read.

      When it addresses its topic, current international relations and the strategic aims of NATO and Russia, the essay is good. But, sadly, its historical understanding is sloshily revanchist in a Cold War way. There’s no time for the possibility that Stalinism might not have been the only outcome of the 1917 revolution. The author indifferently merges Lenin and the other Bolsheviks with Stalin under a more or less “awful totalitarianism” rubric, phases of the revolution vanish, and the impact of external forces blurs together. I realize my concern may appear academic, at best. But my belief is that since we are facing major social changes, i.e. a prolonged capitalist crisis, we need to be more fully aware of the political dynamics of prior attempts to escape capitalism. The author, who appears to welcome the return of that old time religion to replace the Bolshevik “blight,” is a lazy and lousy guide in this respect.

      1. statiq


        The focus on religion completely misses the point. While the geopolitical analysis might be right and close to what Stephen F. Cohen has being saying for months about the Ukraine crisis, the fanatical pro-Christian message is an unmistakable red flag. That kind of religious proselytism can have no place when thinking about foreign policy.

        >”because they have seen what a world without Christ actually looks like”

        I am the only one shocked by that sentence? The problem of the Soviet Union was that it lacked Christ, really? This George W. Bush-level thinking.

        It might be useful to remind people that Reagan-era neocons loved Ben Laden and the various Islamist Mujahideen that they unleashed in Afghanistan precisely because of their religious fanaticism. They were seen as “god-fearing freedom fighters” (aka on “our” side) in the struggle against the soviet union.

        Look how far that use/support of religion as a foreign policy weapon has taken us…

        1. Patricia

          One might take a step back and see it as an issue of ethical ideology. Every religion has stuff to say about that. In the same way that all of Islam is not terrible, so too not all Christianity.

          And if one is to reject religion, one needs a sturdy ethical ideology to replace it. Not having something clear and concrete causes a society to self-destruct as much as does having a terrible version of whatever religion, mostly because that vacuum will be filled with whatever is available.

          Bush et al used Christianity as a cover over a social vacuum into which they were delighted to slip a very ancient money=power=value ideology.

          1. hemeantwell

            Socialist humanism would do just fine and I don’t think the Soviets lacked a “sturdy ethical ideology.” If you spend any time reading about the pre-Stalin period, you’ll see there were plenty of people and tendencies that, in and of themselves and under less constrained conditions, could have made for an acceptable moral-political milieu.

            It’s not enough to just refer to external factors to account for the regression of the Soviet revolution, but they go a long way. For example, the need for total militarization at the very outset had a very strong path-constraining impact, particularly coming after 3 years of WWI. From the very get-go the left political alliance was fractured by the question of whether and how to fight the Germans; that the popular, peasant-based Left Social Revolutionaries, who opposed a concessionary treaty, engaged in an assassination campaign against the Bolsheviks for that reason seriously undercut the possibility of a more broadly representative politics. And that was before the civil war was fully under way. All along a logic of national defense mobilization and the unity imperative was in the air, supplementing and warping “domestic” politics. Just look at the authoritarian dynamics set off in the US by 9/11. Imagine what would have happened if all the Homeland security alerts had come to pass, and there was one every other day. We’d having Hate Halftime shows, with mandatory standing for the extended version of the Star Spangled Banner.

          2. inhibi

            Completely and utterly disagree. One needs a good education that promotes freedom of thought and expression, not an ideology. Basically, we need independent thought. That is by far the best way to prevent the collapse of society. How many societies have collapsed because the few mask and hide the true problems through religion or lies, usually in the form of an ideology? Fact of the matter, ideologies engender laziness and laziness causes weakness. Though not all religions exploit (Janism), the most popular ones do because behind their popularity lies tremendous amount of power and money. So when you say that Bush used Christianity as a “cover” for money=power, what exactly do you think the Vatican has been doing for years? In fact, that may have been the truest thing Bush ever did.

            While religion, at some early stages of human development, may have filled the role as a teacher, it is woefully misguided (except Janism! But janism is woefully impossible to implement en masse), the major religions are no longer needed. In fact, they are at odds with the modern way of life. Just look at the clash of Islam in the Western world.

            1. Patricia

              Independent thought, critical thinking, well/deeply learned humanities degrees—these great qualities do not, of themselves, create a vision for a particular culture. To do the latter, individuals with those qualities need make connections and work together to agree on basic matters. Religion has done that for humans for a long time; to replace it is fine, IMO, but the replacement needs to be as concretely held as what occurs more easily in religions with all their doctrines and such.

              IMO, a major flaw in what remains of the US left is that we believe a functional society largely only needs it’s constituent parts to own individual standards/values. It’s a half-baked unworkable response to the old ‘melting pot’ meme as well as ideas of nationalism.

              1. Patricia

                Even to say that what we need is good education for our citizens (and I agree that we do), presupposes that we have a common understanding of what makes up a good education. But we don’t even have that.

                I would never defend any religion from respective terrible actions caused by adherents–every one has them in spades. But so does any non-religious system. One cannot fairly say that communism was a good ideology that went awry (thus millions killed), and not also be willing to see how there was good in the various religions but they also went awry (thus millions killed). And apparently murder and destruction can’t be resolved by simply dispensing with ideology.

                The problem is in the human creature (not all of them but some and the many others who become willing followers). Facing that would be a start, ISTM.

        2. different clue

          Japan was always a world without Christ. What does it look like? India, China, others are worlds without Christ. What have they looked like over the long terms?

          Perhaps it might be better to narrow the assertion down to ” a Western World without Religion”. And think about what that has looked like.

    3. RabidGandhi

      NC was the last place I expected to see a link to First Things, and that is what makes this website so extraordinarily valuable. Links to Counterpunch, American Conservative, Alternet, Richter, Helmer… all mixed together with the usual FT, WSJ, NYT. No where else can you get such a solid, variegetated mix.

      Furthermore, I see a lot of comboxes on the left-ish side of the internet that would immediately reject the First Things post or posts from say American Conservative for taking heretical stances on topics like affirmative action or abortion (as in today’s example). The tendency is roughly “because they are publishing X heresy, I never want to read anything they have to say”. Thus we end up with rancid comments about “deplorables” instead of listening to the valuable things someone like P. Hitchens has to say, even though I disagree with him on most issues.

      1. PlutoniumKun


        It should of course be pointed out to those who don’t know, but Hitchens is in most regards a nasty right wing bigot – but even nasty right wing bigots sometimes get it right, and he is certainly on the ball with that article.

      2. Emma

        Rabid Gandhi – A fair comment. I suspect many of us would agree just how important it is to avoid the systemic and pervasive perversion and suppression of independent thought so rife within an adversarial society. A partial picture at best simply provides a half-clear apprehension of sorts. It’s therefore inadequate if we’re to constructively address and find solutions to many of the issues we face.

    4. Jeremy Grimm

      I got depressed reading just how bad things got in the Soviet Union before it finally collapsed. I don’t know that Stalin was the only possible outcome of the Russian Revolution but his rule certainly gives depth to the old saying “Be careful what you wish for.”

  3. temporal

    Religion worth big bucks.

    I’m guessing that a certain hack science fiction writer figured this out a long time ago. Later, a bunch of silly Hollywood actors and actresses proved him correct. For that matter a bunch of folks in Constantinople had some ideas on the subject a few years back as well.

    Or maybe it was Karl Marx who was proven right.

    Scientology 2.0 should include a phone app that hooks directly into the followers bank account. That way the user will know exactly how much they need to spend to get clear. All of it.

    1. ambrit

      Religion has always been worth ‘big bucks.’ Just ask Pharaoh.
      That ‘hack science fiction writer’ was a high level con man from the beginning.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The founders of many religions have become immortals.

        Can the same be said about the founders of our seemingly omnipotent tech corporations? Blood transfusion can only work the magic for a while.

      2. lyman alpha blob

        Heh. I was in Hollywood recently for the first time and saw several different Scientology facilities on the street. The architecture on one peaked my interest so for the sake of curiosity I poked my head inside to see what it looked like as they had very invitingly left the front door open. After about a minute looking around the lobby one of their flunkies tried to accost me and asked about my interest. I said something insinuating Hubbard was a con artist and it did NOT go over very well with this woman at all and I got out of there in a hurry. These Scientologists really have no sense of humor!

    2. Pat

      Elmer Gantry.
      Jim Baker. Jerry Falwell. The 700 Club. Robert Schuyler and the Crystal Cathedral, Joel Osteen, the Reverend Sun Young Moon, Rick Warren, Billy and Franklin Graham …and that’s just off the top of my head. All people who have gotten and largely remained rich on the donations of people trying to be closer to God. Many times to their own financial distress.

      A whole lot of people figured it out in my lifetime alone.

      1. ambrit

        Please do not forget the politicians who show up at churches to exhort the ‘faithful.’ That’s another dimension of the “power” inherent in Organized Religion. The fight to abolish “State Religion” has been a long and bloody struggle, which is still going on.

      2. Optimader

        Those are just the ones hustling jesus. How about every rabbi hustling his parasitic kosher incantaions, their functionally identical muslin Imam counterpart hustling their form of dietary and social manipulation, Hindu priests… The beat goes on

        This joint is exclusively constructed of Italian Carrera marble, shipped to india for carving then shipped to the US for construction. Apparently their are all flavors of ppl who line up to give serious money to be closer to god(s)

        (They do have a nice little inexpensive cafeteria style restaurant/grocery store in the basement where i can indulge my corporeal husk when I’m in the area, so there is that! )

    3. Alejandro

      Some believers believe that some corporate “CULTures” are cults unto themselves, e.g., God’s hand picked apostle, Llord Bank-fiend, has accumulated an impressive flock of followers with world-wide influence, coordinated to do God’s work.

  4. Cocomaan

    Food stamps:

    When I worked in welfare in 2009, it staggered me to see how many people relied on the stamps as a matter of course. Also WIC, which in PA was food and formula for infants.

    Kicking people off the rolls means social unrest. There is no way around it. The millions on SNAP are, iirc, mostly children.

    When babies are crying because they are hungry, parents lose their minds.

      1. Steve H.

        ” In two years, Walmart received about half of the one billion dollars in SNAP expenditures in Oklahoma. Overall, 18 percent of all food benefits money is spent at Walmart.”

        Thanks for the link, Paul.

          1. ambrit

            Not combinable with any other employee benefits I’ll bet. (Do Wal Mart employees get an in store discount?)

            1. Funco

              Walmart employees receive a 10% discount card after 3 months of working. However, it doesn’t cover grocery which would probably be most beneficial.

    1. ambrit

      Then there were the “surplus” food giveaways. I grew to like those big chunks of Wisconsin cheese; perfect when melted over toast.
      America exports food while Americans starve. Where’s the ‘moral hazard’ in that statement?

      1. Uahsenaa

        Not to mention the food waste in the US. Something like 2/3 of all food produced is simply thrown away. You’d think at least some of that could be diverted (by which I mean simply given away) rather than become fodder for a landfill.

        Then again, some people get really pissy when something they paid for gets given away for free. It’s almost as if it has no value to them, if it isn’t denied someone else.

        1. lyman alpha blob

          The problem is that for many foods, you aren’t allowed to give them away even if you wanted to. I believe once anything perishable hits its rather arbitrary expiration date it has to be tossed whether or not its still perfectly edible. Food banks and homeless shelters can’t or won’t take it for fear of a lawsuit if someone should get sick.

        2. hunkerdown

          The Washington (Com)post states 40%.

          Massachusetts declared in 2014 (Graun) that its larger food discarders must divert some of the waste from the trash stream to food banks, compost, etc, and mentions VT and CT as states enforcing similar laws. It’s a start.

          Oh, look, the California smog Nazis are getting in on the deal now, too. (CARB)

          And, “It’s almost as if it has no value to them, if it isn’t denied someone else” is all the lowest of American chickens have to give them order.

    2. Pat

      For the record this latest round of cuts is also another example of Clinton welfare reform. IIRC this is from something that passed during his administration.

    3. cwaltz

      Kicking people off the rolls means CRIME. If you can’t find the means to meet their basic needs legally then the likelihood that they’ll be willing to use illegal means increases. Everyone has to eat.

  5. ambrit

    The flower the butterfly is sipping from looks like a Mexican Sunflower, of which we have several along one fence line. All the foraging insects like this small to medium sized flowered, but tall plant. Multiple branches reach over six feet high in our grouping with dozens of blooms coming along in sequence. The flowers really are that bright orange colour. We are seeing few Monarchs down here in Mississippi yet, but other varieties of butterfly make their presence known.
    It’s still running about 90 degrees F during the day, and 70 degrees F plus at night here.

    1. sleepy

      Years ago I remember driving across the Lake Pontchartrain causeway during the right time of year and encountering swarms of migrating monarchs.

      1. ambrit

        Yes! I have not heard about any concentration of butterflies that dense in years from contacts back in Louisiana.
        The Causeway. We crossed that many times in years gone by. I once got my Kawasaki Z-1, (wish I still had that motorcycle,) up to 115 MPH one night while crossing the Causeway. Then I started to lose front wheel contact with the roadway. Talk about a sphincter puckering experience!

    2. Chet G

      Yes, it’s a Mexican sunflower. There’s a small section of them in the Snetsinger butterfly garden, and those sunflowers are also popular with other butterflies (fritillaries and duskywings) as well as many bees.

    3. OIFVet

      I saw my first and only monarch this year just yesterday. There were never many in my urban garden, but in years past I used to see them almost daily. At least the one yesterday was magnificent.

  6. Steve H.

    “This migrant boom will come from the emerging regional powers in China and India and will transform Australia’s two largest metropolitan centres into comprehensively Asian cities.”

    Cecily. I don’t think you will require neckties. Uncle Jack is sending you to Australia.

    Algernon. Australia! I’d sooner die.

    Cecily. Well, he said at dinner on Wednesday night, that you would have to choose between this world, the next world, and Australia.

    Algernon. Oh, well! The accounts I have received of Australia and the next world, are not particularly encouraging.

    1. sleepy koala

      I liked that exchange, however the original humans in Australia managed fairly well for thirty thousand years and more. The next world will be different though. The Australian natural environment is delightful, the oceans, forests, arid zones are not to be missed. Most people are friendly and helpful.

      See it all before it too is neo liberalised, degraded, extracted, sold or refined. The bird life and butterflies and marsupials are just magic and will be here long after the humans are decimated by their own folly.

  7. Roger Smith

    Hillary Clinton Takes Aim at Voters Drifting Toward Third Party [NYT]

    Before you open this, take a few seconds and give a guess as to how you except Clinton to reach out to third party voters. I’ll wait.

    … …

    “We’ll be launching a multimillion-dollar digital campaign that talks about what’s at stake and how a vote for a third-party candidate is a vote for Donald Trump, who is against everything these voters stand for,” said Justin Barasky, a strategist for Priorities USA.

    If you guessed “throwing Super PAC money around and left kicking/shaming” you win!

    1. flora

      It was 3rd party Ross Perot drawing votes away from GHWBush that gave B.Clinton the win. Hillary can only hope that 3rd party Libertarian candidate and/or Green Party candidate draw enough votes away from Trump to give Hillary the win. No wonder her 3rd party reach out looks ham handed.

    2. ambrit

      I love that “..drifting toward…” The ones I have spoken to have been running away from anything tied to H Clinton.
      At this point, all Trump need do is release some ads where he cuddles some puppies and kittens and speaks into the microphone: “I love cute furry creatures. Vote for the Lover, not the Hater.” Election won.

      1. JohnnyGL

        LOL….it’s really amazing that ALL he had to do was to stop being an a-hole for like 5 minutes and suddenly he looks like he might grab OH and FL and a few other midwestern states look like they might flip!

        He’s really pushing this tax cut thing hard, lately. Which is really annoying, but entirely predictable, I suppose.

        For those who are bored at work on a Friday, this is sort of fun to play with….

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Trump should do that in a open, sunny field of flowers, with a baggy lady in the background furiously plucking petals off of daisies.

          1. polecat

            I liken Hillary to that Alien Queen of movie fame ….. pissed off, drooling, and hissing at her opponent, ready to strike with that noxious and extendable mass of pearly whites !!

            …maybe theDonald could utilize some of that movie’s footage in an ad …..

  8. DWD


    Research from evolutionary psychology suggests there is a reason for this feeling, and it lies in humans’ natural preference for socialization and well-defined spaces — both traits suburbia often lacks.

    Well, then. I doubt very much if people who felt the need for constant social interaction would move to the suburbs then.

    Maybe I am still on my first cuppa but this seems absurd and intellectually offensive.

    1. ambrit

      Good point. What, pray tell, changed in human beings between the Neolithic and the Bronze Age? More evidence is needed to support the articles contention.

    2. diptherio

      My experience of the suburbs, where most of my family lives, is one of isolation and sadness. Anything goes wrong and you’re all alone. Almost never talk to the neighbors, have to drive 20 minutes to do anything. I think the suburbs are killing us. Materialism is no substitute for human interaction, and the suburbs are all about the former at the expense of the latter….and this is coming from an introvert, so…

      1. PhilK

        Martin Mull’s “Suburban Blues”:

        Woke up this morning, saw both cars were gone.
        Woke up this morning, saw both cars were gone.
        Well I felt so sad and lonely,
        I threw my drink across the lawn.

          1. Jim Haygood

            Just a Google douche coupe with an online till
            But she’ll drain my credit card while she’s standin’ still

      2. Optimader

        Youll pry my suburban lacation from my cold dead hand.
        For every apocryphal terrible suburban location examples, i can produce a breatakingly horrible urban location, and the inverse if that.
        I live in a suburban location 25 min on an express train (i walk to) from the chicago loop.
        I can leave the front door open. I really can’t think of too nany location un the City where you can do this.
        The point? These sorts of generalizations usually lead back to a confirmation bias

        1. cwaltz

          I like suburbia too.

          I think as I’ve gotten older I’ve discovered my inner introvert. I like people still, just in smaller doses. Suburbia doesn’t force me to interact when I don’t want or need the social interactions.

          1. optimader

            Barfly (1987)
            Stars: Mickey Rourke, Faye Dunaway, Alice Krige

            Based on the life of successful poet Charles Bukowski and his exploits in Hollywood during the 60s, 70s, and 80s.

            Wanda: I can’t stand people, I hate them.
            Henry: Oh yeah?
            Wanda: Do you hate them?
            Henry: No, but I seem to feel better when they’re not around.

            1. cwaltz

              Me explaining to my friend why I chose my field at the tender age of 19: Jodi, I like people. I want to help them.

              My friend Jodi: Chris, be a botanist, plants are way more deserving.

              These days I’m somewhere in the middle to where I once was(very young and idealistic) and where my friend was(jaded and cynical.) I need breaks from people to recharge sometimes(even from my family who I love very much,) being around them 24/7 I suspect would overwhelm and exhaust me.

              I may have to see if I can find that movie. It sounds like something I’d enjoy.

              1. optimader

                Check our library, good writing and good acting.
                No one has to shoot anyone.
                Nothing wrong with cynical yet idealistic. I think that’s me? Might actually be the most effective combination.

            2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Maybe Zen can help.

              (Two monks on a bridge).

              Monk A: Look at the water flowing past the bridge

              Monk B: Is it the water flowing or the bridge moving?

              Monk A: Is it the bridge moving or your mind wavering?

              So it is with people around us. Real (tough) monks can meditate in crowded marketplaces (as if no one is around). Beginner masters go to desolate mountain tops (and still be bothered by humans).

              I always tell my suburban friends, if you can’t find your paradise here, you won’t find it in Tahiti, consuming all that jet fuel to spend a week in an eco-resort.

              1. optimader

                So it is with people around us. Real (tough) monks can meditate in crowded marketplaces
                I see a lot of meditators walking in the Loop staring at little rectangular hunks of plastic and glass in their palm, as if no one else is around. Had one bounce off of me this AM as a matter of fact.

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  Blake predicted this, with his, ‘Infinity in the palm of her hand.”

                  Not sure if he said anything about the End of the Universe.

              2. clarky90

                “Every wakeful step, every mindful act, is the direct path to awakening. Wherever you go, there you are.”


      3. DWD

        Then I am pretty sure you would agree with the article.

        To me it reeks of, “Big City Fears.”

        This particular genre’ includes the horror stories of urbanites having their cars break down in the hinterlands where ever single house features a serial killer and a deranged sexual predator.

        Having lived “Rural” or “Semi-Rural” my entire life, I find the same to be true of the big cities. (sigh. You wanna make me uncomfortable, drop me in the middle of NYC or Chicago)

        I dunno: I live with a giant woods abutting my property that is home to a plethora of fauna including turkeys, deer, squirrels of all descriptions, small birds, ‘possum, raccoons and so on and yet I am five minutes or less from everything I need.

        Different strokes and so on.

        1. diptherio

          I’m no fan of cities (seriously contemplating moving to NYC literally gave me nightmares), and I also live in a rural state, although within a “city” (for Montana). In the city, it seems like you are mostly anonymous, although you’ve got plenty of company. I don’t like that. In the country or the suburbs, the problem (to my mind) is the lack of other people around. There needs to be a happy medium, which is why I’m trying to manifest an ecovillage for myself and my friends and family to inhabit.

          My mother just had a hip replaced and I went and stayed with her and dad for the first 2.5 weeks of her recovery. It sucked. They live in a middle-class subdivision on the edge of town. All the houses have 1/2 acre lawns (~1/2 football field square), which is nice but also crappy since nobody ever interacts “by accident.” If anyone wanted to come visit mom, they had to go out of their way. No foot-traffic on the sidewalk (oh wait, there is no sidewalk), no one to talk to unless someone made the trip out to visit. No community, in other words.

          That’s one of the things I love about the village in Nepal: it’s rural but with a tight-knit community where personal space is small but public space is large and well used. So much of what we call progress appears to have the effect of simply isolating us from each other, which actually makes life worse, as everyone knows (or should know).

          1. SoCal Rhino

            Live in suburbia. Didn’t know many in my current neighborhood when we moved in. Got a dog. Walked the dog, a lot. Everyone learned my dog’s name, many of them learned mine too. Some friendships ensued.

            My new next door neighbor drives straight into their garage and is never seen. Way, way big improvement on the previous owner, as was the house sitting empty for two years. I think bad neighbors are worse than good neighbor are good. Dogs, pretty much all cool.

        2. Praedor

          Me too. All the people I need are the people of the woods or prairies (wildlife) and all the flora that goes there too. People ruin it.

      4. Jess

        The beach city I live in seems to be the opposite. It’s not generally the expansive lots you find in many suburbs but it’s all single family homes, mostly two story but some one story. Folks on the east end of my block where I live interact all the time. The next block east has an annual summer block party with BBQ, bounce house and water slide for the kids, etc.

    3. MikeNY

      I find evolutionary psychology almost comically lacking as a science. To me, most of it reads like the “Just So” stories of Rudyard Kipling. They start from the conclusion that every trait must be explained by competition and the ‘desire’ of the individual to pass on his or her genes (or the group / species, when that data are paradoxical, such as in cases of altruism), and then concoct the story. The entire discipline is practically a petitio principii. Chomsky and EF Schumacher have offered good criticisms and insights on the social sciences that apply strongly to evolutionary psychology, IMHO.

      1. Ted

        Of course its Science. It has the word “evolutionary” right in the title! I mean that is about as scientific as you can get! Everyone knows that using the word “evolutionary” makes you very scientific and a devotee of that UR-scientist Charles D … oops I mean Thomas Hobbes.

        1. cwaltz


          I’m glad I wasn’t the only one thinking that the last article I read on the subject said that modern man could have had 20 ancestors that provided our “human”(hominid) genes and that something like 10% of our genetic material may come from things like bacteria. I’m trying to understand how that morphs into ” because of evolution.”

          Anything that lumps us all into boxes when it comes to personalities always comes off as false science to me though. There are even conditions out there that make “socializing” painful for some. Are we really suggesting it’s compassionate to have their anxiety always dialed up to 10?

          1. Praedor

            What makes you think that such diseases of modern life are “natural” to Homo sapiens? Find me the exact same floofloo crap you mention among any aboriginal societies.

            Painful socializing, etc, are MODERN diseases of MODERN life, not “natural” to our ancestors. Very little of illnesses, problems, and fears of modern social life can be found in any aboriginal groups.

            1. hunkerdown

              Praedor, false. There have always been the differently socially abled. The difference is that aboriginal societies find functional, integrated places for them instead of staining them with some inferiority and indesert complex and pushing them out of life. Aboriginal religions tend not to be purity cults, unlike certain famous families of world religions.

            2. cwaltz

              Who is saying anything about diseases?

              We have a giant biome of bacteria living in and on us that benefit us and that science suggests actually impact our well being. The bacteria living in our guts being one example.

              Nevermind, are you seriously asking me to find evidence of disease before we even catalogued something as disease?

              Yeah, I’ll get right on that.

      2. Optimader

        I find evolutionary psychology almost comically lacking as a science.

        My other comment is in moderation, so it must be good!
        You can suss out that EPsych is doubtful as a Scientific discipline when all statements should more candidly start with the preamble “I feel”.

        Yet another publish or parish example of “everybody’s gotta eat”

        1. MikeNY

          Doncha hate it when your good comments go into mod? My dumb ones always get published right away, without fail … ;-)

    4. PlutoniumKun

      Yeah, the ‘evolutionary’ part is dodgy, but there is lots of research on environmental psychology which backs that up (but doesn’t claim that its evolutionary, which implies its in our genes). For some reason, its a big thing in Denmark, which has led to all sorts of research into ideal layouts (as one example, apparently 6 foot is the optimum depth of a front garden to maximise neighbourhood chats).

      There is also a lot of research into aesthetics, or to be precise, why certain landscapes or streetscapes please the eye, while others don’t. In short, it seems to be the balance of order and fine grain interest. Too much rigidity (think modernist streets like Fifth Avenue), and its dull. Too much randomness is confusing. But a balance of mathematical order (as found on classical streets) with some additional randomness to add interest, makes a streetscape, be it an Italian village, a Paris boulevard, or the manhattan skyline look great.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It would be ironic if they first perfected the ideal layouts with our prisons.

        “It’s so nice here, nice layouts, proximity to medical dispensing, lots of human interaction, dense cells are balanced by spacey open, and yet random, exercise yards, etc.”

        Kind, merciful judges would definitely house more people there.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          I live close to a 19th Century ‘ideal’ prison – the layout was called an Opticon – it was designed like spokes on a wheel, with warders in the hub who could see everything. It was considered a humane design at the time, a step up from dungeons. I’ve seen a number of nursing homes that take the same layout.

  9. Steve H.

    – Altering quality, even if that means damaging goods, can make total supply rise. [Why Companies Make Their Products Worse]

    Wrong: should be ‘total PROFIT’ or ‘total REVENUE’. If total supply is the criteria, you have one class with minimum benefits, a straight-up supply-demand relationship.

    If you have three classes, however, you frame the middle choice in an A-B testing tree. If the price were the same for all classes, 1st-class would be stuffed full, so the first frame is the unattainable, which helps provoke desire. But by setting the price for 3rd-class higher than what would maximize 3rd-class revenue, it frames 2nd-class in a way which boosts 2nd-class ticket prices.

    A side note: Daniel Kahneman got the prize, and he has shown himself to be a wise man. But it was Tversky that provided the direct link to the behavioral equations that were simplified to Economics level in Prospect Theory.

  10. RabidGandhi

    w/r/t the Snowden non-pardon, forgive me if this has already been hashed out here earlier, but what exactly would Snowden be pardoned of doing? Aren’t pardons for criminals? Wouldn’t accepting a pardon be an admission of wrongdoing by Snowden?

    He shouldn’t be pardoned; he should be awarded the highest honours.

      1. RabidGandhi

        Right, drop the charges, no pardon. In fact, it should be Snowden issuing a pardon to the US Gov’t, not vice-versa.

        That said, I don’t want him pardoned from anything. Let’s say, very hypothetically, he just happened to whack a pawnbroker and her sister whilst in Hawaii. He should be held responsible for those crimes, whistleblowing notwithstanding.

      2. uncle tungsten

        HRC will get one long before Snowden. In fact I reckon she will get hers within five months. Snowden could not trust a pardon from those guys even if written in blood.

    1. John Wright

      If one wants to see how pardons may be time period limited, read the Ford pardon of Nixon.

      “Now, THEREFORE, I, GERALD R. FORD, President of the United States, pursuant to the pardon power conferred upon me by Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution, have granted and by these presents do grant a full, free, and absolute pardon unto Richard Nixon for all offenses against the United States which he, Richard Nixon, has committed or may have committed or taken part in during the period from January 20, 1969 through August 9, 1974”

      This pardon also alluded to the “already suffered enough” defense of the well-connected.

      “The prospects of such trial will cause prolonged and divisive debate over the propriety of exposing to further punishment and degradation a man who has already paid the unprecedented penalty of relinquishing the highest elective office of the United States.”

      However, that a Snowden pardon is being mentioned at all is good news as the “Snowden is a traitor” meme may be losing acceptance with the USA population.

      But Obama pardoning him seems inconceivable as it has no upside for Obama’s legacy.

      1. John k

        Actually it would, but he can’t comprehend or accept that possibility because of what it would imply about his legacy to date.
        And just my .02, but his post pres activities will follow the golden Clinton path, not so good for legacies.
        Wonder how much he anticipates from Tpp, if he drags that disaster over the goal line…
        My other half and I have a bet on the post period.

      2. hunkerdown

        Gag. Nixon’s office was never “his” to relinquish. The office exists because we don’t laugh it out of existence; no, we actually crave pompous crap for some reason.

  11. DCSweeney

    I work for a major DC based publicly traded healthcare consultancy and there is one topic that is the talk of the town, but is never covered in the press. Has anyone heard of MACRA?

    I am a long time reader/lover of Naked Capitalism, but I have noticed a big hole in your coverage; the Medicare Access & CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA). This bi-partisan ‘reform’ will impact all Medicare payments made to hospitals over the coming decade and, in my opinion, has serious disaster potential. The program is designed to shift the payment system from the current fee for service (FFS) to a slew of pay-for-outcome systems, with an eye towards bending the notorious cost curve.

    The key mechanism is reminiscent of No Child Left Behind, poor performers see their reimbursement rates cut while high performers see their reimbursements increase (+/- 9% by 2022!). The kicker is that this is zero-sum, so 50% of hospitals will see their reimbursements cut no matter how well they perform.

    Margins for providers on Medicare reimbursed services are already razor thin(often negative) but represent more than half of revenue for many health systems. Moreover, rural and inner city health care markets are often served by only one provider and tend to have populations with ‘sticky’ health problems and may not see outcomes improve (working class white women for example).

    My worry is this: The only outcome of this scheme is mass bankruptcy coupled with consolidation, caprification, loss of service, and looting (see ACA and charter schools).
    Can we look into this issue? I have great respect for the comment board here at NC so I would really love to hear your thoughts! I am happy to provide data on request, you can also go to CMS.

    1. flora

      Thanks for this info.
      imo, people know Medicare reimbursements have been getting crapified. ( Maybe one reason plans named “Medicare for All” get defeated. ) This MACRA plan sounds like the worst assault yet. Rural hospitals already struggle to stay open.

      1. HBE

        Rural hospitals will be gone soon, I had a talk with a Marketing Manager of a large regional hospital network and they are planning on bringing a “remote care system” focused on rural areas online in late 2017. The plan is to be able to make “minor” diagnosis remotely and fully online and prescribe the necessary medications through the RCS.

        So you get sick in a rural area, you sign into the RCS, describe your symptoms or preexisting issue, a remote diagnosis is made based on the symptoms described and past medical history, a script is written you get it emailed to you, print it off and pick up your drugs at the local pharmacy. All without ever actually seeing a doctor in person.

        Say goodbye to your rural hospital and hello to remote care, coming to a town near you soon.

        1. flora

          What could go wrong? (Just don’t break any bones, have a heart attack or stroke, have a bad accident, or require any sort of ER treatment. And I doubt doctors will locate to areas without hospitals nearby. )

        2. lyman alpha blob

          The plan is to be able to make “minor” diagnosis remotely

          Good to know there will still be work for Bill Frist.

        3. ginnie nyc

          So under ‘RCS’, what happens is the patient doesn’t have a computer, doesn’t know how to use a computer, or their computer is ‘too old and/or slow’? Or don’t have a cell phone (more people than you would think). Not everyone, particularly in rural areas, would have access, or reliable access, to an RCS.

          1. HBE

            This was just an informal conversation about a new program they will start marketing on soon.

            But I imagine it will be opt in, (with a strong push that opting in is in your best interest, they will be spending A LOT marketing it) and they will scale up from there.

            Think uber for rural healthcare, uber hasn’t replaced all taxis yet but they would like to eventually, from my conversation this sounds like what they want to do with RCS.

            Not everyone is forced into it, but they opt in because it appears so much more cost effective and convenient initially. Kind of like uber v taxis.

    2. Otis B Driftwood

      Also known as “value-based care”, right? I work in healthcare IT myself and working now on tools to improve reporting and analytics. By no means an expert on how this relates to policy and the move away from fee-for-service, but one of the critiques of FFS is that it has lead to a lot of unnecessary testing, as one example, and higher costs. The value-based model is supposed to correct this, providing incentives to providers who can show, for example, that they have tested all their patients at risk for high blood pressure over the course of a reporting period. Or demonstrating a decrease in re-admits for hospitalization as a way of incentivizing hospitals to provide higher quality care. But this, too, might lead to unexpected and contrary outcomes.

    3. Steve H.

      Had not heard and this affects our household in two ways, as >50yrs and as my wife is a nurse. Even the threat of coming bankruptcies alters conditions the worse for labor. A forced artificial glut of nurses means those who don’t drop out of the profession are faced with lower wages, schedule instabilities, and ultimately patient care suffers as dispensing medications squeezes out observation and interaction time.

      I notice from your link that Eligible Professionals (EPs) will be evaluated on ‘Meaningful use of certified EHR technology’ (Electronic Health Record). ‘Meaningful use’ has translated in practice to crapification or off-the-books work hours, with repetitive entries not contributing to redundancy of information. Those who meet the hourly often short-change the quality of the notes. Greater morbidity and mortality follows.

      Thank you, and I hope you bring more to the comments.

      1. DCSweeney

        A big concern for me is that the health care industry is often the last major industry and steady employer in may of those communities. Medicare and disability function almost a transfer payment or remittance for rural america. Quality issues aside that income will be lost to remote care.

        Where is the money going to come from when this last keystone leaves? Teacher salaries? Infrastructure investments? Fracking?

        1. hunkerdown

          DCSweeney, how about mailing checks? If you think money “comes from” enterprise, please do stick around. From a fellow in the field over in software development, please do stick around anyway. You got some good boots and some good eyes.

    4. Otis B Driftwood

      I should have also noted that there has been quite a bit of consolidation of health care facilities in recent years. And it will continue apace. Again, whether or not this improves the quality and availability of health care is debatable. Some would argue that the Kaiser Permanente model works pretty well (others, and I speak from personal experience, may say not so well).

      Another problem is the lack of interoperability in healthcare. Consolidation here does help as various IT systems are consolidated, clinicians will have more access to a patient’s entire history (this is particularly important for the elderly and those with multiple chronic illnesses).

      1. Steve H.

        Yup, complete lack of leadership in terms of medical records entered in one system being accessible in another system. And great variability on the front end, we have heard of nurse-friendly data entry but haven’t seen it.

        Medicare For All would at least force consistency. *sigh*

  12. Katharine

    In the article on suburbs, I find it hilarious that right below the suggestion that big houses with big yards and long driveways make socializing much harder is a picture of excruciatingly crowded houses with barely room to set up a ladder between them for maintenance and barely two cars’ length in the driveways. The problems alleged are not those depicted.

    1. diptherio

      Probably depends on where your suburb is located. Where we’ve got space, as in MT, houses are spread out and almost no one interacts with each other.

          1. fresno dan

            One thing anyone can notice when walking down the street in older neighborhoods is porches. When did having a back deck become the vogue? Of course, how often do you actually see someone walking down the street?

            1. polecat

              We don’t have a ‘front porch’ …… we have a front woodplie …with garden space in-between ….. Now you might think that anti-social …. but the hummers ,jays , finches, titmice, flycatchers, raccoons, deer(if I allowed them in) bees, wasps, and the multitude of other insect life, …… would disagree ! Also ….. just witnessing the two-block long lot across our street being logged off means dealing with obnoxious, often loud people on the other street beyond ….so yeah ….. socialbility !!

              There’s only one neighbor who I ‘socialize’ with …because she ALSO a gardener …… as for the rest, they seem too self-centered or too busy to care, having all the mechanical ‘toys’ of modern life!

              1. Tom

                The first part of your comment immediately put me in mind of a cherished 70’s song by Jesse Colin Young called Ridgetop.

                Sample lyrics:

                Now, when I built my house
                I cut six trees to clear out the land
                But there’s thirty or more left
                And you know that they’re gonna stand

                It’s a squirrel sanctuary
                They think this woods is their home
                And as long as I’m here
                I’ll make sure people leave us all alone

                Have a listen to Ridgetop if you haven’t heard it for a while — very soothing.

            2. Jim Haygood

              The internets are stangely silent on the architectural history of the deck. But wasn’t the redwood deck a 1950s California innovation, exploiting both the mild weather and the availability of suitable local materials?

            3. optimader

              my parents had a Codswold style brick house with a raised front entrance w/ porch ~say 6 ft up.
              We used to wile away summer evenings on it drinking beer w/ friends. The guy that built it apparently knew mosquitos wouldn’t go that high to seek victims because we would never be bitten.

              Cool 1927 vintage house, all plaster interior with arched ceilings. Of course right before the market crash it was torn down to put up a hideous MCMansion thing that looked like they dumped a load of building supplies and just went at it w/o drawings. A shame, the only satisfaction is they had a hard time demo-ing my parents house.

              Front porches are in style again in the new construction, never see anyone using them tho..

          2. sd

            Strange, isn’t it, our anti-social society?

            That relies on social media for its social interaction in an era of mass shootings where the public gathers.

            Some how fitting…we have a choice of either antisocial Clinton or twitterstormer Trump as our new dystopian overlord.

    2. Goyo Marquez

      One thing you notice in our neck of the California woods, the public spaces, parks, beaches, public gyms are put to great use by Hispanics, mostly Mexican Americans where we’re at. I’ve always assumed it was cultural, but maybe it has to do with lack of space in your apartment or home.

    3. Lord Koos

      Affluence breeds separation. As soon as someone makes enough money, they buy a big house with a wall around it. Poorer folks have to help each other to survive.

      1. cwaltz

        Dysfunctional poorer folks also can tend to mire their families in poverty and dysfunction too though.

        The statement about society only being as strong as its weakest link is pretty apt.

  13. Robert Hahl

    Re: Fascinating ethical shifts come with thinking in a different language

    “…differences arise between native and foreign tongues because our childhood languages vibrate with greater emotional intensity than do those learned in more academic settings.”

    Seems correct. One can observe similar emotional effects of different words in a native tongue. For example I am opposed to drinking raw milk, but like milk which is not pasteruized.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      We don’t learn a new language.

      The new language will change you as a person (both better and worse off).

      First you learn the alphabet.

      Then, you have to read stories (the reading comprehension part of learning)…stories about imperial conquests or how imperial subjects entertain themselves in the most wasteful ways, etc.

      “How can you not become imperial when you learn the imperial language?”

    2. skeeeter

      One consequence of studying law is indoctrination into a entirely new vocabulary and its abstractions. The knockon ethical shifts are compounded when the language of law intersects with and borrows from languages and cultural frameworks across jurisdictions and borders.

      The Kingdom of Hawaii is a historic example where a formal judicial system was adopted in the mid nineteenth century in the common law tradition. The 1892 overthrow is popularly recognized as Hawaii’s loss of sovereignty. The water and the law were lost well before in the courts and in the statutes, often in reliance upon bastardized constructs of the common law or alternatively misinterpreted elements of traditional and customary law. There are no limits on legal formalism when the law reaches between languages.

      It is concerning particularly when contemplating the TTP, TTiP evolution of the ISDS system wherein all the legal expertise are trade and corporate lawyers. The consequences, however innocuous or grave, cannot be contemplated from our current linguistic frameworks.

  14. diptherio

    Re: WF story in Reuters

    “They should have tried to get control over the release of the news, so that it wasn’t a bombshell that went off on someone else’s schedule.” Said Erik Gordon, a University of Michigan business professor

    “Now they’re in the terrible position of looking like they did something and hid it.”

    Gee, it does look that way, doesn’t it? {facepalm} Shill or just stupid? You be the judge!

  15. Fool

    I swear I don’t get this Snowden hagiography. At best — even if this technodrama isn’t nearly as choreographed as it all seems to me — he still privatized and personally gained from the data that he’s whistleblowing on the government for collecting. I’d also love someone to explain to me how it’s not ok to entrust our data with the NSA but it is ok to entrust it with the tech billionaire who created a global internet bazaar.

    1. ForFreedom

      Personally gained? Not hardly, he’s torn up his whole life!! and has to live in Russia, and is still luckier than he might have been. His courage in doing what he did is astounding and he has paid a high price.

      What world do you live in, “Fool” (you named yourself, I didn’t)?

    2. JohnnyGL

      Did he “gain” when the State Dept. yanked his passport while he was transiting through Moscow airport?

      He “privatized” it? The NSA already kept it a secret, so it was hardly made public. As he’s releasing stuff he’s actually, “publicizing” it. And he, and the journalists he’s worked with, have done extensive research to make sure that they’re NOT causing the harm that government officials keep saying he’s caused.

    3. diptherio

      Snowden gave up his career and any semblance of a normal life to do the right thing and expose the lies of TPTB. I fail to see much that he “gained.” That said, I would have preferred that he handed the docs over to Wikileaks rather than some journalists. What have we seen, maybe 5% of the documents so far?

      1. sd

        I think there’s an argument that handing leaks over to Journalists he stayed within the historic use of the Consitution and the role of the press.

  16. human

    And while riding in the cars is a futuristic thrill, for the time being I think I’d prefer to hail a human driver, no matter how chatty.

    So this is where “humanity” is headed … a world where humans need not interact with each other.

    I will not welcome our robot overlords, but then again, I’ll not be around. I feel the loss for my children and my children’s children.

    “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; We borrow it from our children.” ~ popularly attributed to Wendell Berry

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      “Humans need not interact with each other.”

      Then, other humans become just abstractions.

      Then, they disappear.

      Easier to do cruel things in the world.

      If we think we are already too cold blooded now, well, it will be nothing compared to that future.

      “More human interaction is better.”

  17. Steve H.

    – Did an Industry Front Group Create Fake Twitter Accounts to Promote ND Pipeline?

    Disclaimer, I am not the Steve Horn who wrote this fine article.

    From one to another, however, may I give a caution about quoting McKibben, who functions as an industry shill by inhibiting competition, as Cory Morningstar devastatingly documented.

  18. Unorthodoxmarxist


    “It might seem like product sabotage should be banned. But as research by Preston McAfee – now chief economist at Microsoft – has shown, it can make customers better off. The key test is whether the practice means more goods are sold. Suppose the French had regulated trains so that all carriages had roofs. All those in second class might have switched to third class, potentially rendering both uneconomical to provide. Altering quality, even if that means damaging goods, can make total supply rise. So the fact that apps are rammed with annoying adverts is actually a sign of good economics. If that is little comfort, perhaps it is time for an upgrade.”

    Suppose everyone had a roof over their head! How horrible. Or perhaps capitalism is the problem, and in a post-capitalist society we could mandate efficient production of goods with durability instead of deliberate sabotaging to force us to pay more.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I wonder how the author of this link feels about the product sabotage argument when applied to the products of the Medical Industrial Complex.

    2. JohnnyGL

      So research by Microsoft, who actively works to make their products crappier, says it’s a good idea? Seems legit.

      Pay no attention to real world examples like indicate the exact opposite.

      Some pro-sports teams that raise ticket prices every year by 10% and lose 5% of their attendance. They call that a win! Fewer customers, but higher margins that more than make up for it.

    3. a different chris

      >All those in second class might have switched to third class

      Or not. Well who cares about the regular world when you can first distance yourself by being a Phd in Econ and then further by joining Microsoft. “Imagine a train…”

  19. Jim Haygood

    The Evil Lizard, Sen. Mitch McClownell, strikes again:

    Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, [decided] to not allow a vote on a [criminal justice reform] proposal most believe would pass easily.

    “I think [Trump’s] highlighted some of the crime surges we’ve seen, and I do think it should require proponents of the federal legislation to re-evaluate their position,” said Senator Jeff Sessions, Republican of Alabama, referring to Mr. Trump.

    Mr. Sessions is both a chief ally of Mr. Trump on Capitol Hill and a leading opponent of the criminal justice legislation, along with the Republican Senators Tom Cotton of Arkansas and David Perdue of Georgia.

    Mr. Cotton said this year that the United States suffered from an “under-incarceration” problem, not from too many people being in prison. These critics have been supported by an association of federal prosecutors that has assailed the legislation.

    It’s hard to tell whether the NYT’s “blame it on Trump” theme is real or just political editorializing. But if Trump’s emulation of Reagan extends to expanding the Gulag that Reagan created, he can forget about 4 percent GDP groaf. Paying one group of people to cage another group of people is value subtraction on a large scale.

    The Gulag is the health of the State.

      1. Jim Haygood

        An uptick in violent crime has occurred in some urban areas. But the bill is about reducing sentences for nonviolent offenders.

        In the caricaturish world of Mitch McClownell and Tom “King” Cotton, where every inmate is a Willie Horton waiting to commit mayhem, this doesn’t matter.

  20. JohnnyGL — Warren on Fox Business — Warren on CNBC

    Warren making the rounds on business shows, beating the drum about big bank rottenness. Clinton and Obama have got to be steaming about both the timing and the content of this.

    “We need to hold people personally responsible!”

    She also mentioned she is willing to work with Trump to restore Glass-Steagall.


    1. Bob

      So does this mean she thinks HRC should be held accountable for her campaign overcharging (i.e., stealing from) small donors?

  21. L

    Sheryl Sandberg Could Be Clinton’s Treasury Secretary New York Magazine (resilc)

    And what, exactly, are her qualifications for the role? Yes she has strong personal ties to the new gilded in the bay area. But how does that help her run the FED? I mean I get that she is female and popular.

    But she has not demonstrated experience with or a capacity to manage the nation’s financial system and is likely only to focus on further deregulation of stock because that helps her friends. If anything this would be a bigger gift to Wall Street than bringing back Greenspan.

    If this is who Clinton is seriously considering it calls into question her claim to be focused on serious wonks.

  22. Optimader

    Emma great article on the greek architect. He is a hero. Plugging a skating park in a tough neighborhood, fantastic anchor. I love to skate, i dream about skating. Vectored motion, good for the soul.

    Meanwhile, Here in chicago, the cycling analog.

    South Chicago Velodrome:


    Thank you for your support and efforts.

    South Chicago Velodrome Association (SCVA) is a 501c3 non-profit and community driven organization, formed in order to save the velodrome on Chicago’s south side. It provides opportunities for the community to expand their access to the sport and seeks to collaborate with other organizations to grow track cycling in Chicago.

    The last one in a City that had dozens at one time, closed -couldnt afford insurance :o/

    Instead we have incredibly stupid corporate sports

    1. diptherio

      I’m helping a friend with her 1 year old indoor rollerskating biz. It’s a hit. We haven’t had a rink in town for 20 years and people love it! You should come visit, we can skate and argue :-D

      Thanks for the history lesson. We need to bring back the six-day velodrome races! How the F is insurance for bike racing more expensive than insurance for coordinated head-bashing football? Strange world we live in.

      1. optimader

        Indeed, I like your neck of the woods, ever been to Chico Springs?
        –or I’ll put you up sometime when youre passing through ORD.

        One of the most fun activities in Chicago on a hot summer evening I feel is the 9:45 to 11:00pm evening adult open ice skating sessions at Mcfettrich Center — a Chicago park District facility. A couple martinis, MuShu pork and Spring rolls –then out on the ice in shorts/teeshirt at 1.2 times crowd speed kibitzing with friends, then retire to a german bar in the neighborhood. Sublime.

        One last velodrome (in suburban Northbrook) can still go and cycle there, or just watch while emptying a cooler of beer w/ friends good fun.

        1. diptherio

          I grew up in Livingston, so I am very familiar with Chico. They have a locally famous sign above their big pool: “Welcome to Chico ool. You’ll notice we’ve left the P out of our pool and we hope you’ll do the same.” Classic.

          1. optimader

            indeed.. a great spot –fun pool, fun bar great restaurant. Last time I was there, some guy was teaching ~12 identically dressed Chinese how to flyfish in the lawn.. Mentally logged that for the screenplay. I like the concept of a runway compass heading painted on their entrance road for the errant 172.

            I recall hearing Jim Harrison died earlier this year. a crotchity link to the past in your parts, too bad.
            I’ve enjoyed some time in Bozeman, i like most university towns. Friends that live out there

    2. Chauncey Gardiner

      Agree, Optimader. Nice to read about constructive and truthful efforts of creative people. That the Greek architect accomplished this in a deeply troubled urban neighborhood under externally engineered and imposed austerity is both impressive and inspiring. Stands in stark contrast to the economic subjugation and pathological looting of his nation by those at the other end of the spectrum running the neoliberal austerity and privatization playbook.

      1. LMS

        Agreed. Emma, thanks for the link.

        It made me think of Sergio Fajardo, of whom I became aware when he was interviewed on Charlie Rose in 2009: While mayor of Medillin from 2004-07, Fajardo used architecture and improvement of public spaces to effect social change: . He also increased spending on education to 40% of the city’s budget (

        Fajardo: “We are going to build the most beautiful things for the humblest people in the city. That’s a political decision. We are going to go to the spaces of the city where we know we have the most need, and we are going to come up with architecture as a social program. That’s the first step in building a new society, and it deals with a word that is not often used in politics, which is dignity. And that’s a respect for the humblest people in town. Usually you don’t talk about those things. Some people say, “Well, it’s just a building.” It’s not just a building. It’s a public space, and the dignity of the space means the whole society has invested there. The whole society is present there.”

        A few more links, if anyone is interested:
        A more general article about Medillin, 2013:
        Nice photos:
        More detail on the topography and the Metro Cable:
        Fajardo became Governor of Antioquia 2012 through 2015. Here are pictures of an “Educational Park” in Antioquia:

        1. Chauncey Gardiner

          Thanks, LMS. Given its history, it is good to read this about Medellin. Especially enjoyed the links to Parque Bilbioteca España by Bogotá based architect Giancarlo Mazzanti; and the Educational Park in Antioquia.

      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        That’s a really nice formulation: “constructive and truthful efforts of creative people”. I’m thinking of a world full of such activities, yes we need to rage, rage against the lies and the perfidy of the State and the Corporate State but building something honest and local and creative can heal the rifts.

  23. Vatch

    The article about suburbia prompted me to think about E.O. Wilson’s biophilia hypothesis, articulated in his book Biophilia. He argues that our affinity for life is central to our being, and we crave the sort of environment in which our ancestors lived for hundreds of thousands of years. Here’s a fragment from an interesting commentary on Wilson’s ideas:

    Today, we are clearly not in a hunter-gatherer situation, but these naturalist tendencies have remained. In the chapter entitled The Right Place, Wilson explores the original habitat in which the human brain evolved arguing that certain elements of the past physical environment impact the preferred environment of modern human beings. Based on archeological evidence, it seems evident that human beings, for the majority of their two million years on earth, occupied the savannas of Africa. As a consequence, Wilson proclaims that the mind is predisposed to life on the savanna and that we continue to simulate a savanna-like environment. For example, humans craft formal gardens, cemeteries, and suburban shopping malls striving to create an open, but not barren, landscape. Second, Wilson points out that people desire high points (cliffs, hillocks, and ridges) because far back in our evolutionary past hilltops assisted distant surveillance. Third, bodies of water appeal to modern humans because our predecessors realized that few natural enemies occupied the shorelines. Wilson states, “Put these three elements together: it seems whenever people are given a free choice, they move to open tree-studded land on prominences over looking water” (110). We no longer chose this situation due to a hunter-gatherer tendency, but rather because our brains have been wired to accommodate and prefer these conditions. We continue to search for high places (skyscrapers, ocean cliffs, etc.), to take leisure moments along shores and rivers, to create courtyards, gardens, and pictures of savanna-like environments. Our minds are predisposed to the savanna which leads to an interesting question: Do we have generalized central pattern generators embedded in the nervous system that have this memory of mankind’s optimal, original environment? It is certainly conceivable.

  24. Ignacio

    I don’t know what worries me more: if religion values more than google and apple together, or the contrary.

  25. Goyo Marquez

    One point people ignore about driverless cars is that the ability to go places without anyone in them is one of their greatest advantages. How wonderful to be able to send my car to pick up the kids from x-country practice instead of having to drive there myself.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Good for good guys.

      And good for bad guys as well, though. Gotta find a way to make sure the bad guys can’t take advantage of that.

    2. Sam Adams

      If driverless cars are successfully deployed, watch within 6 months the cars will become annual paid subscription plans without underlying ownership. Say hello to Apple-drive.

      1. a different chris

        Yup, why would I send “my” car? Why move my car X miles closer to new tires and brakes, even assuming nothing else happens to it? Why depreciate my car?

      1. Cry Shop

        or the batteries blow up and roast the kiddies with no adult to help them smash the windows out. One of the great ones is just how many people had drowned because their car electronics failed when they rolled into water.

  26. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Trump support surges in Penn towns…

    Will every state become a swing state? That may be a stretch. California is still for the neoliberal gal.

    But will fewer voters be able to vote their real choice (because not-swing states)?

  27. sd

    Pop culture…

    Sony & MGM Team Up For Online Shoot-To-Kill Video Game Tournament To Promote ‘Magnificent Seven’

    The shoot-to-kill online video game will be set in the Old West and involve seven of the best players of the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive game. Fans will be able to dial in and watch the skill of these players as they kill bandits and fellow gamers one by one.

    Maybe we should move wars to an online battlefield where everyone can just shoot the crap out of each other and subscribers can pay to watch.

  28. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    China’s past stimulus is dogging its growth prospects.

    “Son, if you stimulate too much, you will go blind. and dim your job prospects, not to mention your growth.”

    1. hunkerdown

      The line, I presume, being “neutralizing covert US state actors”. Por favor Señor Duterte, ¡mantenga la molienda!

  29. Cry Shop

    Regarding Bloomber’s report on Social Security number secrecy. The whole federal law was a band-aid to help the banks/creditors to keep using/abusing the SS number as a authenticator (like a PIN (a misnomer itself**), when it is nothing more than an unique identifier. It is unique to the holder, but is not an authenticator, All of these articles and discussions will get nowhere if they don’t even grasp this basic issue.

    **PIN, which stands for “personal identification number” is a misnomer – it doesn’t identify you at all. It authenticates you when you use an automated teller machine or a web site that requires such a number. Numerous people may have chosen to use the same secret number – so it can’t be an identifier. A PIN should be called a PAN – personal authentication number.

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