2:00PM Water Cooler 1/9/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente


2016 Post Mortem

“What went wrong? Dem. Party contestants to face tough questions” [USA Today]. “As the party searches for a new chair and vice chair, the DNC has decided to hold four regional forums, moderated by journalists instead of party insiders. It’s the first time Democrats have held regional forums for party elections in more than ten years.” Guess who the forum chair in Phoenix is? Jon Ralson, the “reporter” who smeared the Sanders campaign with his fake story on chair-throwing at the Nevada caucus. “Journalists instead of party insiders” my sweet Aunt Fanny.

“President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama will host a goodbye party for close friends and major donors Friday, according to a person with knowledge of the marquee affair” [WaPo].

Realignment and Legitimacy

2017 is already great. Be sure to read the image:

“The End of Progressive Neoliberalism” [Dissent]. “n its U.S. form, progressive neoliberalism is an alliance of mainstream currents of new social movements (feminism, anti-racism, multiculturalism, and LGBTQ rights), on the one side, and high-end “symbolic” and service-based business sectors (Wall Street, Silicon Valley, and Hollywood), on the other. In this alliance, progressive forces are effectively joined with the forces of cognitive capitalism, especially financialization. However unwittingly, the former lend their charisma to the latter. Ideals like diversity and empowerment, which could in principle serve different ends, now gloss policies that have devastated manufacturing and what were once middle-class lives.” And not just manufacturing. And what a sloppy formulation “middle class” is, to be sure. Still, the idea of “charisma” is useful.

“The Democratic Shake-Up in Virginia” [National Journal]. “TThe first in­tra­party Demo­crat­ic show­down of the new year will take place in Vir­gin­ia, where former Rep. Tom Per­ri­ello ab­ruptly an­nounced his can­did­acy for gov­ernor Thursday. His de­cision ended Demo­crat­ic hopes of unit­ing be­hind Lt. Gov. Ral­ph Northam be­fore the gen­er­al elec­tion and cre­ates a split between the party’s prag­mat­ic and pro­gress­ive wings.” I don’t know why the faction in charge of the Democrat Party is called “pragmatic” when they’ve lost control of the legislative and executive branches of the Federal government, and most statehouses. What’s pragmatic about that?

“President-elect Donald Trump won an intraparty proxy battle over Ohio Gov. John Kasich Friday, ousting Ohio’s state GOP chairman who’d been selected by the governor.” [Wall Street Journal].

Stats Watch

I’ve accumulated too many bezzles without being able to get to them, so here’s a bunch. –lambert

Labor Market Conditions Index, December 2016: “The economy may be at full employment but it’s not helping the labor market conditions index which remains flat” [Econoday].

Coops: “At long last, Boulder approves new co-op housing ordinance” [Daily Camera (DB)].

The Bezzle: “In conservative India, a startup is helping unmarried couples find a room” [Quartz]. “Enter StayUncle. The New Delhi-based startup has tied up with hotels where unmarried couples can rent rooms for a duration as short as 8-10 hours.” What could go wrong?

The Bezzle: “Right now the most expensive house sold in San Francisco in 2016 belongs to Kyle Vogt, a 30-year-old co-founder of Cruise, an autonomous technology startup recently acquired by GM” [HuffPo]. I can’t really do justice to this piece.

The Bezzle: “Faraday Future Has A Long Way To Go To Prove It’s Not Bullshit” [Jalopnik].

The Bezzle: Sleep startups [New York Times]. “‘I’m fascinated by helping people live better,’ said Mr. Proud, 25, a British citizen who came to the United States via the Thiel Fellowship, which gives entrepreneurs $100,000 for skipping college. ‘And sleep is the foundation of everything. So it’s the best place to start.'” So the device wakes you up if you don’t pay your monthly fee?

The Bezzle: And then there’s this:

The Bezzle: “The Ugly Unethical Underside of Silicon Valley” [Fortune]. “No industry is immune to fraud, and the hotter the business, the more hucksters flock to it. But Silicon Valley has always seen itself as the virtuous outlier, a place where altruistic nerds tolerate capitalism in order to make the world a better place. Suddenly the Valley looks as crooked and greedy as the rest of the business world. And the growing roster of scandal-tainted startups share a theme. Faking it, from marketing exaggerations to outright fraud, feels more prevalent than ever—so much so that it’s time to ask whether startup culture itself is becoming a problem.” Gosh, I know it’s unfair, but I file “startup” under “The Bezzle” automatically.

The Bezzle: “Under securities rules sometimes referred to Regulation A-Plus, which took effect late last year, small companies are allowed to raise up to $50 million each year through stock or debt. Much of it can come from individuals who are not ‘qualified’ — that is, from people making less than $200,000 per year, or having net assets below $1 million” [New York Times]. “To prevent swindlers from trying to shake down naïve investors, the Securities and Exchange Commission bars certain ‘bad actors’ from being on a company’s management team. That includes those with certain criminal convictions, or those who have engaged in fraudulent activities or are subject to cease-and-desist orders.” Well, that’s re-assuring. I hope they know how to check for straws.

The Bezzle: “No One Questioned This Hedge Fund’s Madoff-Like Returns” [Bloomberg]. “That Platinum was able to avoid scrutiny for so long illustrates flaws in the post-Madoff regulatory regime. While the SEC says it now conducts “risk-based examinations” of funds that have suspiciously smooth returns, the agency didn’t do a thorough on-site audit of Platinum until 2015, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. Judy Burns, an SEC spokeswoman, declined to comment.”

The Bezzle: “Google Sued by U.S. for Declining to Disclose Compensation Data” [Bloomberg]. “Google was asked in September 2015 to submit information about its equal opportunity program, and to provide supporting documents for a compliance review, the agency said in a statement. Google is required to let the government inspect records for an audit because it’s a federal contractor, the department said.”

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 68 Greed (previous close: 68, Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 86 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jan 9 at 1:01pm. Still the doldrums.

Health Affairs

“A surprise medical bill is a bill from an out-of-network provider that was not expected by the patient or that came from an out-of-network provider not chosen by the patient. In 2014, 20 percent of hospital inpatient admissions that originated in the emergency department (ED), 14 percent of outpatient visits to the ED, and 9 percent of elective inpatient admissions likely led to a surprise medical bill” [Health Affairs]. Yikes. That’s a lot of balance billing!


“The crack in this Antarctic ice shelf just grew by 11 miles. A dramatic break could be imminent” [WaPo (PT)]. “An enormous rift in one of Antarctica’s largest ice shelves grew dramatically over the past month, and a chunk nearly the size of Delaware could break away as soon as later this winter, British scientists reported this week.” And check out the picture. It’s impressive. Here’s the original: “Larsen C Ice Shelf poised to calve” [Project Midas]. “Only a final 20 km of ice now connects an iceberg one quarter the size of Wales to its parent ice shelf.”

“Climate change may shut down a current that keeps the North Atlantic warm” [The Verge]. The Atlantic Conveyer. Hoo boy. The Brits could have bigger problems than Brexit.

Class Warfare

“Almost all the US jobs created since 2005 are temporary” [Quartz]. “”[Survey research conducted by economists Lawrence Katz of Harvard University and Alan Krueger at Princeton University shows shows] that 94% of net job growth in the past decade was in the alternative work category,” said Krueger. “And over 60% was due to the [the rise] of independent contractors, freelancers and contract company workers.” In other words, nearly all of the 10 million jobs created between 2005 and 2015 were not traditional nine-to-five employment.” I think we’ve posted Katz and Krueger’s study before, but these workers are really going to get screwed by a “continuous coverage” requirement under TrumpCare.

“$15 minimum wage starts in Seattle” [KOMO News].

“Dissecting the Falling Labor Force Participation Rate” [Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis].

“In Tampa, Food Not Bombs activists arrested for feeding the homeless—again” [Creative Loafing].

News of the Wired

“The complete guide to noise-canceling in open offices and other hectic spaces” [Quartz].

“DeepStack: Expert-Level Artificial Intelligence in No-Limit Poker” [Archiv.org].

“Humans Mourn Loss After Google Is Unmasked as China’s Go Master” [WSJ].

“From Tape Drives to Memory Orbs, the Data Formats of Star Wars Suck (Spoilers)” [Vice].

“Kodak says it’s bringing back Ektachrome film, and photographers everywhere are smiling” [WaPo]. Like vinyl.

“The discovery of medieval Trellech and the plucky amateurs of archaeology” [The Conversation]. “It may seem surprising that an entire medieval town could become lost from the historical record for more than 500 years, but in fact this is more common than you might think. Medieval Britain was characterised by poor documentary records, particularly outside major centres of political or religious power like London, Edinburgh, York or Canterbury.”

* * *

Readers, feel free to contact me with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, and (c) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. And here’s today’s plant (CR):

CR: “Zero-degree sedum.”

Readers, I’ve gotten more plant images, but I can always use just a few more; having enough Plantidotes is a great angst deflator. Plants with snow and/or ice are fine!

Readers, Water Cooler is a standalone entity, not supported by the very successful Naked Capitalism fundraiser just past. Now, I understand you may feel tapped out, but when and if you are able, please use the dropdown to choose your contribution, and then click the hat! Your tip will be welcome today, and indeed any day. Water Cooler will not exist without your continued help.


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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


    1. Steve H.

      Please post independent confirmation. It’s a lot of shoveling to dig up hope from the cold dark earth.

          1. UserFriendly

            Well, we decided to let Boris and Natasha count the votes for us, but who could fault us there?

            1. Greg L

              I always found it curious that Natasha’s term of endearment for Boris was Bubala which is yidish.

        1. Waldenpond

          I don’t think of ourrevolution as a lefty organization… and I’ll wait to see as Clinton Ds were present at every stage and in every aspect of Sanders campaign locally and took it over (cutting out the labor activists) removing Sanders name and tacking on the ourrevolution name.

          1. UserFriendly

            I have complete confidence in the lefty bona fides of the people working on this project. I won’t vouch for everything OR does, but I know the volunteers working on this.

      1. June Goodwin

        Yes, please, I’d like an independent confirmation too. I would, for example, like to see the list of Berniecrats elected in District 15 where I voted. From the names I see, it looks like Bernie supports were not many. I voted for the “Democrats Rising” slate and I see none of their names on it.

        I understand that in CA the rift is not GOP/Dem but Corporate Dems like Feinstein and Pelosi versus Progressives. Can someone assure me that the Corporate Dems have been diluted? I’m new to the state. Thanks.

        1. UserFriendly

          For district 15 they have 8 people down as Bernie/establishment types as opposed to Bernie/progressive, Hillary/Establishment, Hillary/progressive, and unknown. I couldn’t begin to tell you how those labels are applied. However I will say that out of the updated totals 618/1120 and 44/80 that roughly 90% are marked Bernie/Progressive.

        2. aab

          I voted yesterday. I don’t have time to write something long right now, but it does look like the Berners will get close to a majority in the state party, if not take it outright. San Diego looks hinky — reports that the establishment Dems running the meeting refused to announce the final tally on-site for one or more assembly districts, which smacks of vote rigging. Last year at the state party convention, the establishment/Clintonian Democrats were actively abusive to the progressives — I don’t remember the details, but it was bad.

          Despite how the Democratic Party likes to brand itself, actual progressives have been marginalized to the point of irrelevance in the CA state party, and therefore the state. I Demexited in July, and had no intention of going back (after being registered Democrat for decades); I assumed California would be the last state Berners could take, because the establishment is so powerful here. But it looks like they’re so lazy and incompetent, they got caught flatfooted all over the state. So I think it’s safe to say corporate Democrat/New Dem power definitely has been diluted after the results of this weekend, whether or not they hold their majority through vote rigging.

          I went and reregistered because of multiple touch points from grassroots activists all over the state. Despite the fact that almost every single person running claimed to be a progressive and claimed to have the same values and policy objectives (in often mushy, vague terms), you could generally tell the Berniecrats because they were successfully executing retail politics. The slate I came for and voted for really impressed me, from their logo which they put in the background of their name tags to help people remember them (which was very helpful given that the establishment Dems running the meeting did a TERRIBLE job in every conceivable way); to their use of print AND online media; to the cupcakes and donuts they offered at their slate table by the building entrance; to their crisp, excellent, entertaining speeches that brought cheers from the audience. If people like this can take over the California Democratic Party, there is hope for America, seriously. The slate I voted for was multi-ethnic, multi-generational, and multi-class. They’re part of a broader coalition working to unite the San Fernando Valley, which is also potentially significant. The Valley is a mix of affluent whites and working class people of color, segregated by neighborhood. Uniting the identitarian, affluent, symbol manipulators with the people who have been their victims over the past quarter century, in the service of economic justice, could be a model for rapid transformation of the party.

          1. Spring Texan

            Wow, thanks for the report!

            We have a terrible Democratic Party here in Texas too. Going to an “Our Revolution” organizing meeting on Saturday. Not sure what to expect but I’ll give it a chance.

        3. Code Name D

          I woul like to know how oe qualifies to be a “Bernicrat”? As far as I know, he only critria is simply asking

          1. aab

            I won’t relax until the official announcement from the party. Meanwhile, I loved (/s) the quote from the party dude about how the California Democratic Party is “already progressive.” Sure, dude. Sure. I would love to know what definition of progressive includes selling off water to Nestle for pennies during a drought while making state colleges unaffordable and inaccessible for state residents.

    2. Prufrock

      Can you provide more details or links on what this is about? I’m a lifelong CA resident that just switched from Independent to Dem last year to vote for Bernie, and I have no idea what you’re talking about.

  1. Bullwinkle

    The Obamas just hosted a part this past Friday at the White House. Haven’t they held more than enough parties? Who is paying for all this? Just go already.

    1. Linda

      The WaPo article in the Water Cooler mentioning Friday probably refers to last Friday’s party. The article is dated Jan. 3.

    2. Katharine

      Is it just me, or does anyone else think it’s insulting to ask your “close friends” to the same party as your major donors?

      1. neo-realist

        I suspect for the most part that they wouldn’t be “close friends” of the Obama’s unless they were major donors.

      2. nippersmom

        You’re assuming they’re actually two separate groups. Don’t let the phrasing fool you- their “friends” are their donors.

  2. allan

    A sad anti-plantidote :( Storm fells famed drive-thru tree [NY Post]

    Nature lovers are pining over the loss of a historic centuries-old California tree that toppled in a wild storm over the weekend, according to reports.

    The giant hallowed-out sequoia dubbed Pioneer Cabin — which was large enough to drive a truck through — fell Sunday afternoon in Calaveras Big Trees State Park after it was hit with strong rain and wind, officials said on social media. …

    The tree was hollowed out in the 1800s to allow tourists to pass drive through it. It’s exact age is unknown.

    The wild “atmospheric river” storm was one of the worst storms to strike the West Coast in decades. Dozens of California drivers were stranded on the side of flooded roads and 1,000 people were forced to evacuate homes in Nevada. …

    1. Carolinian

      Even sadder: if you visit Sequoia National Park there’s an available side trip to a field of sequoias cut down for no particular reason during the park region’s prehistory. Because the wood doesn’t rot they are still laying there as the lumbermen left them.

      Hollywood made a highly fictionalized Kirk Douglas movie about saving the trees called The Big Trees.

    2. cocomaan

      I didn’t realize they purposely hollowed out the tree to enable the gimmick. No wonder the thing fell over.

  3. flora

    re: Fortune

    ” Suddenly the Valley looks as crooked and greedy as the rest of the business world. ”

    Suddenly? /s

    1. Praedor

      Don’t you know that people would not commit suicide if there were no guns? Suicide NEVER happened until the 2nd Amendment!

      Also, ban assault weapons just because (no matter what gun-related issue pops up, no matter if it even remotely involves the use of an “assault weapon”, it ALWAYS moves around to “ban assault weapons!”). Handgun suicides would END if we banned assault weapons!

      1. dcblogger

        other methods of suicide require more resolve. also other methods of suicide allow for better possibility of being discovered in time to save the person.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Does anyone have a suicide-breakdown by cause?

        Financial related causes?

        Terminal illness related?

        Assisted suicide being legalized related?

        And in an assisted suicide, what is the most popular way to go?

        1. Oregoncharles

          Drugs. That’s why they want a doctor’s assistance – you can shoot yourself without medical help.

          Seems to me an overdose of H would do it, but how to get that if you’re bedridden?

      3. Hana M

        I would guess it might depend on demographics, personal history and availability of means. I think most women would opt for drugs/alcohol given the choice. Men who’ve seen combat might know that a gun death can be relatively fast/painless. I can’t imagine self-immolation or hanging or jumping from heights, yet people do it. No simple answers except people of compassion reaching out to those who are desperate.

    2. FluffytheObeseCat


      A lot of suicides would not happen if not for easy access to guns. Despair can be brief and not founded on valid matters. But once you’ve shot yourself in the head you’re dead.

    3. Adam Eran

      Sorry, guns are very effective means to kill. Before the NRA sued to have it overturned, Washington D.C. banned just *hand* guns. Suicides declined 23%.

      A little more from Shankar Vedantam’s The Hidden Brain:

      People feel safer barreling down a highway at seventy miles an hour-without seat belts-than they do sitting in a passenger plane going through turbulence. The fact that we are in control of the car gives us the illusion of safety, even though all the empirical evidence shows we are safer in the plane.

      Suicide rates in states with high levels of gun ownership are much higher than in states that have low levels of gun ownership. Alabama, Idaho, Colorado, Utah, Montana, Wyoming, and New Mexico have twice the rate of suicide of Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Connecticut, Hawaii, and New York. The United States as a whole has a very high suicide rate compared to other industrialized
      countries. Researchers working for the federal government once examined the suicide rate among children in the United States and twenty-five other industrialized countries over a single year. The suicide rate among American children was more than twice the average suicide rate among children in the other twenty-five countries. The homicide rate among children in the United States was five times higher. Guns were responsible for much of this. If you measured only gun-related homicide and suicide, American children were eleven times more I likely than children in the other twenty-five countries to commit suicide by shooting themselves, were nine times more likely to be killed in accidental shootings, and were sixteen times more likely to be murdered. There were 1107 children shot to death in all the countries; 957 of these victims-86 percent-were children in the United States.

      The researchers Arthur Kellermann and Donald Reay once examined all gun-related deaths over a lengthy period of time in King County in the state of Washington. They were trying to find evidence for the common intuition that gun owners are safer because they can protect themselves and their families should someone break into their homes. Kellermann and Reay identified nine deaths during the period of the study where people shot and killed an intruder. These are the stories that gun advocates endlessly relate to one another. In the same period, guns in people’s homes were implicated in twelve accidental deaths and forty-one homicides–usually family members shooting, one another. The number of suicides? Three hundred and thirty-three.

    1. polecat

      If, and when this country becomes engaged in a civil war, the ‘self-stroking’ glitterati will shout out in their support to the killers of the despicable, and deplorable secessionists, from atop of the highest hill .. right behind the generals !

    2. Jake Mudrosti

      In my country, her boneheaded MMA comment is already spreading everywhere, and being roundly mocked. MMA is entrenched and respected, in the same sense that Americans celebrate their own big sports celebrities. The general conversation runs along the lines of: How could she fit so much delusion into so few words? So yeah, a huge anti-persuasion moment.

      One interesting speculation I heard: she might have had a vague impression about “so-to-speak lowbrow wrestling showmanship events”, perhaps from some earlier South Park episode, and then confabulated the rest. Sounds damn likely. This is going to be a fun 4 years.

      1. armchair

        Take it easy on the Muscle Milk. I think MMA can survive some gentle teasing. Although if a couple more insults from Ms. Streep meant I would never have to see it again . . .

  4. Left in Wisconsin

    “The End of Progressive Neoliberalism” [Dissent].

    This piece by Nancy Fraser is outstanding. One insight after another:

    In short, Clintonism bears a heavy share of responsibility for the weakening of unions, the decline of real wages, the increasing precarity of work, and the rise of the two–earner family in place of the defunct family wage.

    As that last point suggests, the assault on social security was glossed by a veneer of emancipatory charisma, borrowed from the new social movements. Throughout the years when manufacturing cratered, the country buzzed with talk of “diversity,” “empowerment,” and “non-discrimination.” Identifying “progress” with meritocracy instead of equality, these terms equated “emancipation” with the rise of a small elite of “talented” women, minorities, and gays in the winner-takes-all corporate hierarchy instead of with the latter’s abolition. These liberal-individualist understandings of “progress” gradually replaced the more expansive, anti-hierarchical, egalitarian, class-sensitive, anti-capitalist understandings of emancipation that had flourished in the 1960s and 1970s. As the New Left waned, its structural critique of capitalist society faded, and the country’s characteristic liberal-individualist mindset reasserted itself, imperceptibly shrinking the aspirations of “progressives” and self-proclaimed leftists. What sealed the deal, however, was the coincidence of this evolution with the rise of neoliberalism. A party bent on liberalizing the capitalist economy found its perfect mate in a meritocratic corporate feminism focused on “leaning in” and “cracking the glass ceiling.”

    The result was a “progressive neoliberalism” that mixed together truncated ideals of emancipation and lethal forms of financialization. It was that mix that was rejected in toto by Trump’s voters. Prominent among those left behind in this brave new cosmopolitan world were industrial workers, to be sure, but also managers, small businessmen, and all who relied on industry in the Rust Belt and the South, as well as rural populations devastated by unemployment and drugs. For these populations, the injury of deindustrialization was compounded by the insult of progressive moralism, which routinely cast them as culturally backward. Rejecting globalization, Trump voters also repudiated the liberal cosmopolitanism identified with it.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      “…culturally backward.”

      Thus the need to move the Smithsonian to Flyover states.

      And the HQ of NPR there too.

      While we are at it, moving the Library of Congress closer to those culturally backward is a good idea.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Also the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

        Move it or keep moving it around the country, like a touring circus.

    2. Dikaios Logos

      Solid stuff, the cynicism of elites here is sickening. This use of charisma compounds my horror at elites embrace of social movements and minorities as “human shields”. Criticism of HRC, BHO, Kamala Harris or many Democratic Party aligned folks and organizations with their token members from minority and disadvantaged groups gets you tagged as sexist, racist, homophobic, against abortion rights. It’s clever defense, but it makes out flanking elites and being ruthless in confronting them all the more important.

      1. Hana M

        …social movements and minorities as “human shields”.

        I will ponder that metaphor, Dikaios Logos. Rather terrifying.

    3. djrichard

      Great analysis. I’m all for what’s being pitched. It just requires the Sanders wing to kill the neo-liberalism wing of the democratic party before it rises up from the ashes to co-opt the thinking. Kill the zombie with fire as Lambert says.

      Because the best and brightest in wallstreet are working hard to figure out how to co-opt whoever is in power or has a chance at power so that financialization is part of the equation. Their first challenge is to square that circle with the Trump regime. But if there’s a viable threat from a a new alliance of emancipation and social protection against financialization, I’m sure they’ll work to figure out how to co-opt that instead. Afterall, they only need to throw a few bones viz “social protection”. People can’t conceive of a world where they’re not debt slaves – why concede that? I can hear the dem-party power elite now, “you mean we can win the populists vote and still get money from wallstreet?”

    4. tgs

      From the article:

      I, for one, shed no tears for the defeat of progressive neoliberalism. Certainly, there is much to fear from a racist, anti-immigrant, anti-ecological Trump administration. But we should mourn neither the implosion of neoliberal hegemony nor the shattering of Clintonism’s iron grip on the Democratic Party. Trump’s victory marked a defeat for the alliance of emancipation and financialization.

      My sentiments exactly. I was actually relieved that Trump won, though I did not vote for him. I don’t think that he is a racist – the actual racists are projecting their fantasies on Trump in the same way that progressives projected their fantasies on Obama.

      I am hoping he holds the line on detente with Russia. Otherwise, I do not have high hopes.

  5. Roger Smith

    I thought this was a really fun read/rant: Against Meryl Streep [Jacobin]

    “That I should live to see the day when Meryl Streep’s speechifying at a Hollywood awards show is admired as solemnly and discussed as fervently as Lincoln’s second inaugural address is a personal nightmare.”

    1. oho

      The Right is smugly pointing out that Meryl Streep gave a rousing standing ovation at the 2003 Oscars to Roman Polanski, who received an achievement award in abstentia cuz of……ya know.

      With friends like these…..

    2. Annotherone

      Thanks for the Jacobin link – enjoyed the read!
      “Even we had to admit, eventually, that Streep was a good actor, if only to keep our citizenship. But I’ve never been entirely sure if she really is, or if we’re all just cowed by the intoxicating aura of classiness that hangs around her.”

      Her faux “aura of classiness” melted away last night . Real class have been to do her thank yous to muses, directors, co-workers and supporters, then just stfu.

      If she wants into politics let her run for office somewhere, otherwise stfu.

  6. cm

    Obama’s govt caving to Monsanto as contaminated grass seed spreads in the wild in Oregon:

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which for 14 years had refused to deregulate the controversial grass on environmental concerns, suddenly reversed course last fall and signaled it could grant the company’s request as early as this week.

    1. Oregoncharles

      Hooo, boy. I don’t know why I haven’t heard about that one. Malheur is a long way away, though.

      I live across the river from Linn County, in the Willamette Valley. It’s difficult to convey how dominant grass is here. It isn’t just a major crop; it’s the default plant. The whole valley used to be meadow, because the Indians burned it. Start mowing a random patch of ground, pretty soon you have lawn. And we have high winds around the time the seed is ripe; you can see dustdevils in the harvested fields. They would carry seed a long way.

      Incidentally, the escape of this GMO grass is exactly the sort of thing everybody is worried about with GMOs. They’re alive; given the chance, they spread like mad.

  7. rich

    Families Fret As Insurers Mull Biogen’s $750K Spine Disease Drug

    Mikhail’s wait has already begun. Memedovich has been feverishly calling and e-mailing the Gillette Lifetime Specialty Healthcare Clinic in St. Paul, MN, trying to contact her son’s neurologist to get a nusinersen prescription. Mikhail’s neurologist this week told her that “critical patients”—younger patients, or those with the more severe type 1 or type 2 SMA—would be treated first.

    According to his mother, Mikhail might not get a prescription until the end of the summer, meaning he might not actually get nusinersen until next year. Memedovich says Mikhail’s neurologist told her the clinic would have to triage patients because of “bottlenecks.” There is only one doctor at Gillette giving nusinersen injections, she says. Triaging is a common medical practice in emergencies to treat the most severe cases first.

    Xconomy asked Gillette to respond to Memedovich’s claims. This is the response a spokesperson sent via email: “The determination of when and to whom this drug is administered is based solely on clinical factors, beginning with a patient’s SMA type and age. Administration of [nusinersen] requires a very specific and complicated clinical schedule involving a series of precisely timed lumbar punctures over a several-month period.”

    That doesn’t make it any easier for Memedovich, who must now sit and wait for a phone call. “Why are we supposed to sit back and relax until we hear from them down the road? We are not taking anyone’s place,” she says. “We just want treatment and are flat out being denied one.”

    Memedovich and other parents of SMA patients are worried that the high price will add another obstacle to their loved ones getting nusinersen. “The concern that insurance companies will deny coverage has echoed throughout the SMA community,” says Khrystal Davis, whose five-year-old son, Hunter, has type 1 SMA. “However, the concern is not restricted to those with type 3 and type 4 of the disease—we all fear our insurance companies will deny coverage.”


    The best healthcare in the world most can’t afford ?

    1. oho

      All Trump has to do is billy club Big Pharma/Biotech (conveniently mostly clustered in Mass. and California) and he’s half-way to securing re-election.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        His bill clubbing is bullying to others.

        And already Hollywood has spoken – that’s our monopoly, to billy club, to bully-pulpit, to bully, to moralize. etc.

    2. Jagger

      Biogen’s $750K Spine Disease Drug

      I would like to see a justification of that $750,000 price tag. Maybe they can justify but I would like to see it and if so, all is good. But if it is just because they can and they want richness on the ills of the world, then there needs to be consequences. Maybe there is such a thing as a hell but I would like to see some sort of justice in this world and not rely on hope of justice in a next world.

      1. craazyboy

        First check the efficacy number. If it comes out 1-2% better than a sugar pill, which the FDA has been known to approve, all is not well.

  8. herman_samson

    Ms. Byerley:
    Maybe we don’t want to work for a soul-sucking corporation, but rather a cooperative or small business?

    1. Mark Gisleson

      Byerly tweeted an actual apology. I think the reaction reached her and she’s genuinely sorry.

      1. hunkerdown

        “I spoke about middle america – my birthplace – inartfully and disrespectfully. I’m sorry for that.”

        “Sorry for letting my private position out.” More like an acted-out performance of forgiveness. It’s how right-wing liberals roll. Words are cheap. She needs to apologize for being right-wing.

      2. katenka

        There was an apology…but, I don’t know, I looked at it and it didn’t feel genuine to me. Cf. this tweet of hers, which followed the “apology” by a few hours: “A learning from today: the far right monitors the far left to know who to attack in the middle. Make of that what you will.”

        I hope she’s right, though! That would be awesome.

        1. Michael Fiorillo

          Her “apology” is meaningless, since the original statement obviously reflected her true sentiments. She just regrets her unmindful lack of discretion and being called out on her truly flabbergasting narrow-mindedness and ignorance.

          As I sometimes tell my high school students (every single one of whom is more sensitive, compassionate and intelligent than this arrogant piece of neoliberal protoplasm) when they’ve crossed the line once too many times, “I don’t care about your apologies: change your behavior.”

          1. katenka

            Yes, the “apology” sounded pretty much as bad as the original statement, and then that follow-up tweet…whew.

          2. craazyboy

            Whomever wrote the original missive doesn’t apologize.

            The tell is when they firmly announce they are the “Best and Brightest”, and we need to shape up before they grace us with their presence. And then design a Internet Hairbrush.

      3. hunkerdown

        I spoke about middle america – my birthplace – inartfully and disrespectfully. I’m sorry for that.

        Suuure. She’s a marketing professional who once worked for the company CheckPoint (see FEC disclosures on the original thread), which among other things makes filtering software. Sounds like she’s Tipper bullying her way back to the table.

        1. craazyboy

          Checkpoint was an Israeli PC firewall software maker. I had stock in them. They were a tech darling in the 90s. They had massive market share in PC firewall software back then. The founder was a “Best and Brightest”, I have no doubt. Everyone else listed in the annual report was male, so this lady wasn’t a even a marketing heavy.

    2. nippersmom

      Maybe Ms. Byerley and others of her ilk “would like to live a more rural lifestyle, or at least a less urban one” but it doesn’t necessarily follow that those already living that “lifestyle” are interested in being invaded by a bunch of smug, self-important, judgemental, condescending prats.

      1. BecauseTradition

        Proverbs 11:12 He who despises his neighbor lacks sense, But a man of understanding keeps silent.

        Proverbs 14:21 He who despises his neighbor sins, But happy is he who is gracious to the poor.

        I hope to live in a rural area some day (to escape neighborhood association nazis for one thing) but I sure don’t plan to despise my neighbors.

        1. Michael

          Then don’t move to rural America. You’ll learn to despise them within weeks. I cannot be clear enough about this.

          1. Outis Philalithopoulos

            Treating demographics as if they were subhuman, on the basis of stubbornly confident assertions (and “personal experience”)…

            What does the word “bigotry” mean if not this?

            1. Michael

              They’re not “subhuman”. They’re just easily despised humans, because they are so unthinkingly cruel on a moment-by-moment basis. It’s their culture and they love it.

              1. Outis Philalithopoulos

                People that are so fallen that they love their degeneration and are incapable of moral improvement — surely you’re familiar with this sort of rhetoric when it is deployed against, say, inner city African-Americans.

                When you claim that yes, you are saying this, but you are not questioning their humanity, it’s difficult to see how to respond.

                1. Michael

                  You’re making stuff up and putting it in my mouth. Why? What’s in that for you?

                  Anyone is incapable of improvement. Our personal power is limited, and living in a culture where its adherents enthusiastically engage in systemic cruelty is soul-destroying. You’re welcome to head out to Methland and prove me wrong by having your brilliant example change the hearts and minds of the Trumpbaggers around you.

                  1. Outis Philalithopoulos

                    Regarding your first paragraph:

                    You said that anyone living near them “would despise them” almost immediately. You said that they are “unthinkingly cruel” because it’s part of “their culture” and “they love it.”

                    If people were to say that blacks living in the inner city were people whom one “despises” almost immediately, who are “cruel,” albeit in an “unthinking” way, because of “their culture,” and they “love” being that way, I would also say that they are depicting a demographic as subhuman and incapable of moral improvement. Would that be putting words in their mouths?

                  2. Outis Philalithopoulos

                    Regarding your second paragraph, suppose someone had written about the incorrigibility of the inner cities, and then responded to criticism with:

                    “You’re welcome to head out to Crackland and prove me wrong by having your brilliant example change the hearts and minds of the ghetto losers around you.”

                  3. Outis Philalithopoulos

                    Your posts are significant in another way. Compare the National Review’s Kevin D. Williamson, writing last March:

                    The truth about these dysfunctional, downscale communities is that they deserve to die. Economically, they are negative assets. Morally, they are indefensible. […] The white American underclass is in thrall to a vicious, selfish culture whose main products are misery and used heroin needles.

                    It sounds like you agree wholeheartedly with Williamson, who I believe makes an analogous critique of the “black underclass.” Is this a case of realignment? Have your negative feelings toward “flyover country” led you into embracing rhetoric that fits surprisingly well within the National Review’s general philosophical perspective?

    3. EGrise

      Note: those corporations of whom Ms. Byerley is so fond have been working night-and-day for years to outlaw communities installing their own fiber-optic cable networks. In some states they’ve succeeded.

      Just so we’re clear. Lots more to this “economic development” stuff than meets the eye.

      EDIT: just learned that she’s a Cornell MBA, so there you go.

      1. Christopher Fay

        Progressive neoliberalism is neoliberalism that is starting to see something in the rearview mirror.

    1. Eureka Springs

      Well when Sanders, runs as a D, caucuses with them, endorses Obamacare and or Clinton herself… you have to wonder. And then their is the whole Prog House caucus itself.

      Either way, I don’t think Prog is what most think it is.

  9. Andrew Watts

    RE: Humans Mourn Loss After Google Is Unmasked as China’s Go Master

    I’m not buying into the hype but I can’t wait until they release a commercial ‘GO’ game. It’ll revolutionize the game and make it less of a “Chinese/Japanese players usually utilize a traditional defensive game” and “Korean/Western players owing to their mimesis absorbed from RTS games play aggressively”.

    One of my favorite military strategists articulated how Alpha-Go won.

    Surprise was the foundation of almost all the grand strategical combinations of the past, as it will be of those to come. The first thought, and the last, of the great general is to outwit his adversary, and to strike where he is least expected. And the measures he adopts to accomplish his purpose are not easily divined.


    It should be remembered, however, that the means of concentrating troops and ships are far speedier
    than of old ; that false information can be far more readily distributed ; and also, that if there is one thing more certain than another, it is that the great strategist, surprise being still the most deadly of all weapons, will devote the whole force of his intellect to the problem of bringing it about. -Colonel George Henderson in The Science of War

    Unpredictability was the key factor. The article even confirms this assertion.

    Master puzzled its human rivals by placing pieces in unconventional positions early in the game and changing tactics from game to game. Sometimes Master skirmished with its opponent across the whole board, while other times it relinquished territory with hardly a fight.

    Everybody watching probably knew they were viewing a human playing against a bot. The problem was the players were unable to think or respond outside their cognitive bias towards cautious/aggressive playstyles they’re mired in. That’ll change with both exposure and experience. New stratagems will be devised.

    I’m sure the US military will be happy to subsidize Google Al to do their strategic thinking for them. Unfortunately for them the reality of war has certain political and physical/mental limitations that makes war more predictable compared to Go which has an almost unlimited number of moves that can be made.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      No Go master ever has had to exhort his, say, black pieces, in order to capture some white territories.

      In war, that used to be possible, for a general’s pieces to do the impossible, after a stirring speech.

    2. carycat

      Commercial GO programs have been around for many years, although unlike Chess programs, they are only at the level of a strong amateur, and can still be beaten by professionals (I don’t think many people have the basement full of machines needed to run Google’s GO program). If you have money to spare, look for Crazy Stone from Rémi Coulom who did seminal work in applying Monte Carlo method to game tree search and Many Faces of GO from David Fotland which has been around since the ’80s.

  10. ChrisPacific

    The Melinda Byerley tweet doesn’t strike me as much of a way to win back Trump voters.

    “Revitalizing the rural economy is easy. Just make your town a place where people want to live. Specifically, people like me. Add fiber Internet, a Whole Foods or two, a Pottery Barn and some antique stores. Bulldoze all those unsightly poor neighborhoods and replace them with rows of McMansions. There, that wasn’t so hard, was it? This place looks nice now. We’ll look forward to living with – wait, where did you all go? Oh well, you were all ignorant racists anyway.”

    1. Mel

      Yup. Thereby hangs a tale. Specifically the 448 pages of Jane Jacobs’ excellent The Death and Life of Great American Cities. Attracting investment in droves has been the ruination of many great human environments, and the fact that Byerley can just blurt it out as though it’s an automatic answer to everything suggests to me that I can ignore all her advice.

    2. Eureka Springs

      In order to have a nice antique store someone had to make and buy quality or at least unique new things to begin with. I don’t think Wal-Mart or Ikea, or enter big box of your choice here____, bode well for the future of antiques.

      Our little tourist town used to have dozens of antique stores, now we have two. And we are still a busy tourist town.

      But she’s right about fiber… even if little towns want to keep who they have… especially their young.

      1. Greg L

        Back in the good old days we used to go to EU and China for antiques. We had people who would locate and if necessary repair them before they were put on a container for resale here in Seattle. Most of those sources have dried up and it’s no longer worth the effort.

    3. clinical wasteman

      And it bears repeating that the urban version of the same procedure proves that the Pottery Bulldozer crowd are the ignorant racists. At least insofar as every time a ‘slum’ gets cleared here in London or a ‘sink estate’ (housing project/s) gets knocked down, the Stunning Apartments and World Class Artisanal Services that replace it tend to paint the town a bit whiter than it was before. Along with all the other damage done.

      1. Vatch

        Of course we have enough information for a reasonable person to judge his character. But we may not yet have enough to satisfy many politicians.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          To satisfy the voters maybe, for great many politicians are never satisfied, ever, or by this.

          It’s interesting…the need for more stories, in addition to the existing ones, that have not, so far, burst forward on their own.

    1. allan

      More Mnuchin sleaze: Mnuchin’s Loans to Failed Movie Studio Face Scrutiny [Bloomberg]

      When a movie studio couldn’t repay an almost $80 million loan, it put Steven Mnuchin in an awkward position. He ran the lead lender, OneWest Bank. He was also co-chairman of the borrower.

      The conflicts didn’t end there. Mnuchin ran a hedge fund that owned a stake in the Hollywood studio, Relativity Media LLC. And he owned a three-engine jet with Relativity founder Ryan Kavanaugh that had been zooming in the spring of 2015 to Aspen, Cabo San Lucas and Maui, federal aviation records show.

      One day before the loan matured that May, Mnuchin resigned from Relativity’s board. Then his Pasadena, California-based bank seized about $50 million from Relativity accounts, recouping some of its loan and helping tip the company into bankruptcy, according to court filings. …

      It’s not conflict of interest if the nominee does it.

    2. DanB

      Let’s see if any descriptions of how Geithner, Holder, Obama and their subalterns failed homeowners are allowed on this website. Corruption is not a partisan phenomenon.

  11. Praedor

    Ugh. Silicon Valley has NEVER been a bunch of altruistic geniuses who tolerate capitalism. Silicon Valley is infested with libertarian “ME FIRST!” and “I GOT MINE SO FUCK YOU” people. Libertarians are the diametric opposite of altruistic.

    Thiel is THE poster boy for Silly Valley.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      To me, an altruistic genius is someone who will give away his superfluous IQ to others.

      And a genuinely altruistic genius gives away more IQ than what he needs himself.

      “I used to have an IQ of 180. Now, it’s down to 85, after giving most of it away. Just so you know.”

    2. Daryl

      I feel like techno-libertarianism’s ubiquity is a more recent thing. Certainly it has always been there but tech was also a refuge for people with fringe ideas and people who genuinely wanted to improve things. Now that programming is a respectable career choice, programmers are infected with this bullshit early on, and as long as it continues being a giant money funnel it will probably not improve.

  12. Waldenpond

    Because word use changed over time, I became confused over what people meant when they called themselves liberal and/or progressive especially with the rise of the terms neoliberal and neocon. So I resorted to backing up and looking at the history of ‘liberal’ and how it was formed and then ‘progressive’ and how it was formed. They are not counter to five planks of conservatism. They are ameliorating ideologies. Liberals use transfer payments to pacify anti-capitalists and progressives use unions as their main ameliorating strategies. People are forced to use the term neoliberalism (which is adding financialization on to liberalism) when actually politicians are liberals and progressives and the policy proscriptions (roundly criticized) are within the spectrum of liberalism and progressivism. Politicians are called out for their positions as not true liberals/progressives when actually they are.

    My dividing line for left versus right is based on the five planks of conservatism. If a politician is for private property (private ownership of the means of production, small government (low taxes, low transfer payments – yes, conservatives support transfer payments as a public pacifying system), markets, religiosity and foreign intervention….. they are a conservative.

    The issue is Ds do not have a platform that is counter to private property, small govt, markets, religion nor foreign intervention yet the campaigning/elected Ds are criticized when the don’t comply with a party that does not exist.

    1. divadab

      Where does Pat Buchanon fit in your overly-generalized system? He’s not religious, and is against foreign intervention, and yet a Conservative by any definition.

      FUrther, no party in America stands against private property, which is the basis of the Western order.

      I think you are confused by the basket of issues that have been carefully orchestrated to divide Americans from themselves. MOst Americans favor private property, transfer payments, are moderately religious, against foreign interventions, and for small government. Why don;t we have a party that represents these views? It’s the owners – they will not allow it

      1. Art Eclectic

        Moderately religious is your sticking point.

        Most people are moderately religious and one party has been captured by religious extremists attempting an unconstitutional forced adherence to their particular religion. Those who value the freedom of worship fight them at every opportunity.

        1. EoinW

          On the theological front I’d say the most important extremists are the secular anti-Christian Left. What you consider to be religious extremism is mostly fundamentalist Christians circling the wagons, reacting to the endless attacks their belief system must endure from modern, western society.

          BTW Pat Buchanan is a conservative Roman Catholic. That makes him religious, just not a fundie.

      2. Waldenpond

        I don’t overgeneralize conservatism. I read conservative writers (found the links through NC) on the history of their movement and their summary of their five planks. Traditionally 3, based on free markets, small govt, low taxes etc and then expanded with religion and a strong military which is where the libertarian split comes in. http://www.nationalreview.com/article/434548/conservative-intellectuals-george-nash

        Buchanan defined himself as a paleoconservative (I think he now considers himself a traditional conservative which is anti-interventionist … Buchanan stated he believes interventionism an incubator of terrorism and is from arrogance and hubris) and is a self proclaimed Catholic that thinks religion has wrongly been expelled from public school and supports state sanctioned prayer in school, rejects evolution and endorses intelligent design. [Our culture is superior because our religion is Christianity and that is the truth that makes men free.] He also says John Kerry is a heretic because of his views on abortion and gay marriage.

        Of course, there are Americans that stand against private property. Not many, but they exist. I would agree though, that Western order (exceptionalism/imperialism) coups, assassinations and wars the US wages aren’t just for profit and resource/human exploitation but also for crushing any country that provides anything more that a minimal support system for those in extreme poverty. An example is a country that was giving homes to newly married couples… naughty, naughty.

        Arguing Americans support small govt and transfer payments like mcd/mcr/ss seems inconsistent as those are large govt programs.

        I don’t agree that most USians are center right. When generic bias questions are asked possibly, but not when detailed policy questions are asked. Most Americans support eminent domain of public lands to private hotels with increasing the tax base as the rationale? $30 toll to take the privatized exit to your home at rush hour? advertising by corporations on national park land? laws that block communities from public ownership of utilities and mandatory hook up to private corps like Enron? mandatory payments to private insurers? abolishing public housing? I wonder if employees would want the right to eminent domain the plant that is about to outsource their jobs.

        Most Americans support foreign intervention.
        Iraq…started with 72% http://www.pewresearch.org/2008/03/19/public-attitudes-toward-the-war-in-iraq-20032008/
        Iran… 60-80% https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Support_for_military_action_against_Iran
        China…. USians don’t like China either. http://www.gallup.com/poll/1627/china.aspx
        Torture… 46% https://mic.com/articles/161277/poll-finds-almost-half-of-americans-support-torturing-prisoners-of-war#.bHW4LM5FR

        1. EoinW

          As usual, Pat Buchanan is correct. John Kerry is a heretic. Any Catholic who supports abortion and gay rights is. That’s simply based on ideology the church established centuries ago. Given the chance I think Buchanan would point out to the Pope that he is head of the first Christian church. He’s not the host of American Bandstand. Of course, seeing that the Pope is infallible, I guess that makes Buchanan and me both wrong.

          1. Waldenpond

            Heresy isn’t just related to religion. It’s just differing from established and ‘official’ beliefs. I am thankful for those that consider rejecting beliefs from those that have managed to accrue outsized power to themselves and proclaimed themselves the establishment or the official arbiters of the range of acceptable human behavior.

  13. RenoDino

    Jon Ralston is Harry Reid’s presstitute henchman. After he was disgraced with his coverage on Sanders, he wrote a column about how people in his family are very ill and he is stressed out from over their condition. He had never written anything like this before, and there was no mention of the Sanders affair, but it was pretty obvious he was using it as an excuse to feel sorry for him. Pretty pathetic.

    1. Renoite

      As a fellow Nevadan, I noticed Jon Ralston’s column about his family. While I don’t wish illness on anyone, the timing of that was suspicious.

      He is now starting up a new website/publication/blog (?? not sure what it is) and it will go live next Monday. It’s called the Nevada Independent – as if he is independent.

      As the french say, ‘plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose’.

  14. Waldenpond

    Hospital billing…. yes, you need to ask if each interaction with each individual is in-house or contract, whether they individually accept your insurance and whether they accept the insurance payment as full payment or if they balance bill.

    I am currently going through a diagnostic process. I was initially annoyed but now I just refuse to argue with them… I needed a particular test, my gp ordered it, the radiologist disagree, I demanded/argued, they refused, I had the test the radiologist insisted on, got a referral to the next level of care (going through the gp is required) and they want me to go do the test I demanded. No. ha!

    Still waiting for the bills to come through. One test did not bill for the total amount left over….. just an additional $250.

    1. craazyman

      that is cool. books too. And, as Lambert says, vinyl.

      They’re all coming back.

      people are getting tired of reality that isn’t there.

      I’d prefer a heavy old dial telephone, personally, and a black & white TV. Color is too complicated for a TV. It just looks bad. Except I did have a TV from 1985, a Sharp brand TV, the old kind that went back to the wall like a pyramid on its side. The color was fantastic. I’d prefer that to any flat screen POS. Also the shag rug. You can watch your Cheech & Chong movies laying on a shag rug watching a TV that sticks out two feet from the wall because of the huge vacuum tubes. Then you can put an album on and smoke some reefer. Then you can read a book about the future. LOL. God only knows what it would say.

      1. carycat

        I love those indestructable dial telephones too, but I draw the line at vinyl (unless you consider extra snap crackle at the top end and vibrato for piano notes as enhancements to your listening pleasure) or vacuum tubes. But the cat always enjoyed the extra heating and will happily sleep on top of the working amplifier unless it gets the urge to bat at the tonearm as it wobbles around on a warped record with an eccentric center hole.

    2. DavidLA

      I agree, very cool. I learned photography using Kodachrome 64, which had warmer tones and saturated color than Ektachrome. They are both slide films, by the way.

  15. LT

    “Smart hairbrush”..sounds alot more warm and fuzzy than “Hair Sample Acquisition Prototype.”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      To know what you been eating with your diet, so they can sell more of the same (since you like them so much, or at least show no resistance so far to invasion of your body by their food-like stuff***).

      ***In the future, that food-like stuff will be smart-food-like stuff (smart because everything from our geniuses is smart). That smart-food-like stuff, once in your body, will be able to re-engineer your brain…telling your brain for whom to vote.

    2. JustAnObserver

      Look forward to trying one just to see the message “Insufficient data to determine current hair state” followed by a torrent of ads for hair loss clinics & REGAIN.

  16. dcblogger

    The first in­tra­party Demo­crat­ic show­down of the new year will take place in Vir­gin­ia, where former Rep. Tom Per­ri­ello ab­ruptly an­nounced his can­did­acy for gov­ernor Thursday. His de­cision ended Demo­crat­ic hopes of unit­ing be­hind Lt. Gov. Ral­ph Northam be­fore the gen­er­al elec­tion and cre­ates a split between the party’s prag­mat­ic and pro­gress­ive wings.

    that is not what I heard in Virginia. I heard that Perriello is a water carrier for Obama. Given Perriello’s record as anti-abortion and pro-assault weapon, I am not sure that he can sell himself as the progressive in the race. I don’t think there is an progressive in this race.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Back during ACA, Obama put pressure on Periello to vote for it despite Periello’s reservations and district standing. Jim Webb was the hippie in the 2006 Democratic nomination contest.

  17. clarky90

    “A highly-anticipated declassified US intelligence report, aimed to prove that Russia supported Donald Trump, has turned out to be a huge embarrassment. The annex that contained factual material that was thought to provide evidence of RT influencing the American public was compiled in December 2012, right after the reelection of Barack Obama.”


    This gives me great hope. USA “Intelligence” agencies are human just like the rest of us. My guess is that The Dog Ate Their Homework, and in a panic, they submitted work from 2012.

    1. MyLessThanPriemBeef

      Is it embarrassment, clairvoyance, or long range planning?

      Perhaps some merit promotion.

  18. Waldenpond

    Coop article: Can’t help themselves can they…. 4 unrelated persons max in housing? I know people who have married just to bypass education loans and housing restrictions. Now with same sex marriage, even more people can legally couple up to bypass these attempts to exclude ‘those’ people.

      1. John k

        We’re in the oligarch era, only oligarchs need apply for top political positions.
        She’s just a wannabe oligarch, not that surprising she lost to a real one.

  19. ewmayer

    o “The End of Progressive Neoliberalism” [Dissent]. “[I]n its U.S. form, progressive neoliberalism is an alliance of [long-winded blah blah blah]” — We can express things much more succinctly in mathematical form:

    Progressive Neoliberalism = IdPol + Elite Looting

    o “The discovery of medieval Trellech and the plucky amateurs of archaeology” [The Conversation]. “It may seem surprising that an entire medieval town could become lost from the historical record for more than 500 years, but in fact this is more common than you might think.” — This is not just restricted to Medieval Britain. Ever heard of Troy? That was a major city/state and well-documented in legend (e.g. the Iliad) but nonetheless remained ‘lost’ for over 3000 years, until Hollywood and Brad Pitt rediscovered it.

  20. JustAnObserver

    Re: Mnuchin & OneWest. Lets not forget that OneWest was formed from the wreckage of one of the sleaziest Cali sub-prime lenders – IndyMac. Basically OW was the “bad bank” holding all the poisonous sludge. Just another vulture fund following (or leading) the Argentina debt model.


  21. marym

    Town hall with Sanders at GWU on CNN 9pm ET

    Christopher C. Cuomo ‏@ChrisCuomo · 3h3 hours ago
    football game on tonight – but also have fate of your democracy! See u at 9p for #CNNTownHall with voters of all stripes and @SenSanders!

        1. Waldenpond

          Yep, MSM is tweeting that crap. The summary is: hand wave on the Sanders stupid statement on Russia, Russia, Russia (there seems to be no war mongering the Ds don’t tolerate) because he got a sick burn on the self described wealthy moderate D.

  22. Dave

    “The End of Progressive Neoliberalism” [Dissent]. “n its U.S. form, progressive neoliberalism is an alliance of mainstream currents of new social movements (feminism, anti-racism, multiculturalism, and LGBTQ rights), on the one side, and high-end “symbolic” and service-based business sectors (Wall Street, Silicon Valley, and Hollywood), on the other.

    Guilt by chosen association with the gravediggers of our society.
    Thus they all become the enemy.
    F* them all and anyone who adheres to them politically.

    Keep them talking, i.e. Streep. They are the vanguard of the reelection of Trump in 2020.

  23. gepay

    Climate change may shut down a current that keeps the North Atlantic warm
    New research suggests this conveyer belt of warmth could be more fragile than we thought
    by Rachel Becker Jan 6, 2017, 2:53pm EST
    Do you notice the words?, “may shut down”, “suggests”, “coud be” and when are these possibilities supposed to happen? – “His findings echo other scientists’ recent results that suggest that if carbon emissions continue their steady climb, the AMOC has a 44 percent chance of collapsing as soon as the year 2300, Hakai Magazine reports.” Oh As soon as 2300AD I presume. But the article does point out that the present climate models, if Liu is correct, get some things wrong. As many other peer reviewed published papers trying to explain the “pause” pointed out , there are many natural variation (mostly to do with the ocean) that the models get wrong. However, NOAA has changed the data so there was no pause and BEST got their data to agree by adding 1.2 degrees to the more accurate buoy data to avoid a cooling bias and make it agree with the less accurate engine room SST (sea Surface temperature) intake data. But this is climate science so the science is settled.

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