Links 1/14/17

Chickens ‘changed the world.’ So why do we ignore them? WaPo. Fowl seem to be having a moment.

Bernie Madoff is cornering the prison market on Swiss Miss hot chocolate MarketWatch

Moody’s Agrees to Settle Financial Crisis-Era Claims for $864 Million WSJ

The Bond Market Is Shifting, So Steady Yourself NYT

Oil Industry Corruption LRB. The later LeCarré in Lagos.

Wyoming Bill Would All But Outlaw Clean Energy by Preventing Utilities From Using It Inside Climate News (PT).

Bone-Chilling Winter From Berlin to Davos Causes Energy Scramble Bloomberg

Sustainability: Earth, the long view Nature

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Obama Opens NSA’s Vast Trove of Warrantless Data to Entire Intelligence Community, Just in Time for Trump The Intercept. Once again, watch what Democrats do, not what they say. Either Democrats don’t believe Trump is a fascist (or Putin agent, take your pick), else why hand over this data to him, or they do, and they’re fine with that.

Intelligence community publishes all classified material online to stop leakers Duffel Blog

Our Famously Free Press

Pravda on the Checkout Line Jack Shafer, Politico. Note the URL: “tabloid-newspapers-trump-media-propaganda.” Politico editors sexed up the headline. The article is useful.

2016 Post Mortem

NYC Board of Elections broke federal law for booting nearly 120,000 Brooklyn voters from rolls: Department of Justice NY Daily

Liberals Have Enemies to Their Left National Review. NR is a bit late to the party, and they don’t really know the guests. Or the hosts. Or the house rules, if any. But Chapo Trap House gets a shout-out.

Obama Told Us To Speak Out, But Is He Listening? William Grieder, WaPo (RH). From 2009…

Read The Women’s March On Washington’s Beautifully Intersectional Policy Platform HuffPo (original). “[I]t’s the definition of intersectional feminism.” But that cuts both ways. The list of “revolutionary leaders” on page 1 indeed contains many illustrious names. But the only labor leader on it is Dolores Huerta. Where’s Emma Goldman? Velma Hopkins? Elizabeth Gurley Flynn? My goodness, if I didn’t know better, I’d be mentioning the concept of “erasure.”

Corporate America is Inching Even Closer to a Constitutional Convention In These Times (AM). Important.

The New Cold War

Did the Russians Really Hack the DNC? Counterpunch (DG). “Attribution” is hard; good technical analysis of the JAR and subsequent “report.”

The Released Trump Dossier Is Not the Complete Dossier EmptyWheel

“35 Pages” Attack Against Trump Fails – Foreign And Domestic Losses Moon of Alabama

Trump dossier throws light on murky world of private intelligence FT

Former MI6 agent Christopher Steele’s frustration as FBI sat on Donald Trump Russia file for months Independent. Dear Lord. Steele was shopping product for the firm he owned, and he couldn’t close the sale with multiple outlets. No wonder he experienced “frustration.” I mean, Steele couldn’t get Jebbie to buy in, and the Jeb! campaign lit $250 million on fire and threw it up into the air…

Some on the left want Democrats to move on from Russian hacking WaPo

Democrats let FBI Director James Comey have it during tense closed-door meeting on Russian hacking The Hill

Wasserman Schultz confronted Comey about Russian hacking The Hill (DK). Hilarity ensues…

Trump Transition

Don’s what? Portable toilet names covered for inauguration AP. Sloppy advance work followed by a kludge.

Transition Team Assures Public Trump Has Too Many Conflicts Of Interest To Favor Any Specific One The Onion

Wall Street wins big from Trump transition FT

Trump open to ending sanctions on Russia & ‘One China’ policy RT. If I don’t put this in, Dmitri won’t pay the rent for my dacha. So here it is.

First sign of enhanced U.S.-Russia relations under Trump: An invite to Syria talks WaPo

Trump’s Team Looks Smarter on Russia Leonid Bershidsky, Bloomberg. Apparently, Putin has gotten to Mike.

The potential for military confrontation due to Trump’s foreign policy Credit Writedowns

Trump Is Going to Regret Not Having a Grand Strategy Foreign Policy

Every Trump tweet activates thousands of computer algorithms MarketWatch

Senate splits 49-49 on amendment based on Trump’s entitlements campaign promise WaPo

Health Care

The Convoluted Process for Dismantling Obamacare Roll Call. With handy diagram.

Obamacare Repeal Is Moving Forward. When Will Changes Affect Consumers? NYT

One of the biggest parts of the GOP’s Obamacare replacement plan has already been tried — and it hasn’t worked Business Insider. Selling insurance across state lines.

Health Care’s Bipartisan Problem: The Sick Are Expensive and Someone Has to Pay WSJ

America’s Crappy Healthcare Serves As A 8% VAT On The Entire Economy Business Insider. Interesting to see Charles Hugh Smith in BI….

DOJ Report Rips Chicago Police for Poor Training, Excessive Force, and Racial Bias New York Magazine

Class Warfare

Economic Realities in America: By The Numbers ABC

My next book won’t be the non-fiction Silicon Valley exposé we desperately need (but here’s what it will be) Paul Carr. Title suggestion: “The Bezzle.”

Ride-Hailing Drivers Are Slaves to the Surge NYT (Hubert Horan). Hubert comments:

The article explains that actual Uber driver earnings are only about half the levels cited by Uber, those actual earnings are no better than traditional taxi drivers earnings, and its impossible to actually make a living as an Uber driver unless you work ridiculous hours and get a lot of surge pricing benefits (i.e. driver earnings impossible at traditional taxi fares)

Has anybody noticed that “an Uber” has now become a noun? Well, this is what that noun means.

To be relevant, economists need to take politics into account The Economist

How 3D printing could disrupt Asia’s manufacturing economies The Conversation (J-LS). Maybe. The matter compilers of Neal Stephenson’s The Diamond Age remain fictional….

No more dental fillings? Drug found to stimulate tooth regrowth Treehugger (J-LS).

The Smithsonian loses one of its top scientists after a bitter conflict with administrators WaPo. Because, as we all know, administrators (and not scientists or scholars or civil servants) embody the values and best practices of institutions.

The problem with English FT

The Trouble with Quantum Mechanics NYRB

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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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. fresno dan

      January 14, 2017 at 7:14 am

      What’s with the black/white feathers? Is that a police bird?

      1. ambrit

        Notice that the “Black and White” markings are sort of covered up. This would indicate the bird to be a variety of “Common Lesser Snitch.”
        Expect to see a lot more of these “in the wild” as the B&W ecosystem grows.

    2. kgw

      Hitori hissori … Alone, silently,
      take no ko … the bamboo shoot
      take ni naru … becomes a bamboo

      Santoka (1882-1940)

      1. Clive

        My own translation (not necessarily better than the original! But note a slight change in nuance and, my intention, a hoped-for recreation of the original’s aesthetic of simplicity and economy):

        Alone in a quiet place
        Bamboo shoots
        Become bamboo

        1. diptherio

          I prefer kgw’s (not speaking any Japanese, personally…though I did wait tables in an authentic Japanese restaurant once). Your plualizing of “the bamboo shoot” to “bamboo shoots” removes the ability of the reader to identify with the bamboo shoot and its process of becoming, which is, I think, at least one intent of this poem.

          1. DJG

            Haiku party. Pass the sake, please. Not sure that I agree with diptherio. Clive has put in a hinge-word (kakekotoba), “shoots,” which can be interpreted here as a verb or as a noun.

            Both efforts are good. I prefer Clive’s for his placement, alone, in that quiet place, of the effort (bamboo shoots) of becoming. Action makes the person.

            Also, I’m going to quibble about the critique of the plural: Japanese doesn’t have (m)any plural words, so it is always a debate among English speakers about how many. Even the famous haiku, A frog jumps…the sound of water, can be interpreted as “frogs jump.”

            That written, I will admit that I don’t speak Japanese, but Japanese literature and culture have been a minor obsession for a long time. Also, I have eaten unagi sushi!

            1. Clive

              Unagi ! That’s one up in me, I’ve never summoned up the courage. That said, I did eat possibly the worst known slice of apple pie in the world in a French Maid Cafe, which sounds a somewhat Trump-esqu establishment but that could not be further from the truth.

              Advice to weary travelers — if you want to understand why non-Japanese will never really understand the Japanese, visit both an unagi restaurant and a Maid Cafe.

      2. Squeeky Fromm

        Haiku??? Oh Boy! This onje is about Trump Winning, and it has a few word plays in it!

        Shoots: The Messenger???
        A Political Haiku by Squeeky Fromm

        Swamp of Frozen “Poles”
        Presses the Pool with bad “reeds”
        Bamboozles what’s “Left”

        Squeeky Fromm
        Girl Reporter

        1. Ben Hill

          Wasserman Schultz confronted Comey about Russian hackingUnreal.

          Hello, anyone remember the Primaries? WOW, Hubris until the bitter end I guess.

  1. Christopher Fay

    Business Insider is a fount of Neo-lib Neo-con propaganda amplification. They run repeated stories on the perfection of our weaponry and wonders of our special forces. For them to reprint Charles Hugh Smith is something.

    1. DJG

      It looks like a Northern Flicker, with the yellow of the feathers highlighted by the photography. Can anyone confirm?

      1. crittermom

        I’ve filmed a lot of birds but still can’t ID it.
        It’s not a Flicker, however. They don’t have yellow eyes (nor the same head markings).

        1. Katharine

          At this site I always have to remind myself the pictures may be from other continents. I think VK nailed it (fortunately for the rest of us) with Picus viridis, the European green woodpecker. Wikipedia says there are four different green woodpeckers, and that’s surely the one that looks right. (They have a great picture of a juvenile eating ants. What a tongue!)

    2. Robert Frances

      It’s not native in the US or Canada, I know that much. If its upper feathers (coverts) were black, it would look very similar to the common Acorn Woodpecker found in western US and Mexico.

      The closest I could find is (female) European Green Woodpecker, found mostly in Europe and parts of Asia. But without knowing where the photo was taken, it’s difficult to accurately ID many bird species. From wikipedia:

      The European green woodpecker measures 30–36 cm in length with a 45–51 cm wingspan. Both sexes are green above and pale yellowish green below, with yellow rump and red crown and nape; the moustachial stripe has a red centre in the male but is solid black in the female.There are four subspecies and it occurs in most parts of Europe and in western Asia.

      The European green woodpecker spends much of its time feeding on ants on the ground and does not often ‘drum’ on trees like other woodpecker species. It is a shy bird but usually draws attention with its loud calls.

      It can be distinguished from the similar, but smaller, Grey-headed woodpecker by its yellowish, not grey, underparts, and the black lores and facial ‘mask’. In Europe, its green upperparts and yellow rump can lead to confusion with the Grey-headed woodpecker or possibly the female Golden oriole, though the latter is smaller and more slender with narrower wings and longer tail. The closely related, very similar Levaillant’s woodpecker occurs only in north-west Africa.

      In a recent study based on mitochondrial DNA analysis of subspecies, it has been proposed to split this species into three distinct species: P. viridis (Linnaeus, 1758), P. sharpei (Saunders, 1872) and P. innominatus (Sarudny & Loudon, 1905).

      More than 75% of its range is in Europe, and over half of the European population is thought to be in France, Spain and Germany, with substantial numbers also in Portugal, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Russia, Croatia, Romania and Bulgaria.[8] It also occurs in western Asia.

      A study of a nest in Romania found that 10 species of ant were fed to the chicks. During the first 10 days, the young received an average of 15 g each, from days 10–20, 39.5 g, and from day 20, 49.3 g. The seven chicks consumed an estimated 1.5 million ants and pupae before leaving the nest.

  2. Tom

    From Former MI6 agent Christopher Steele’s frustration as FBI sat on Donald Trump Russia file for months:

    “Steele was so concerned by revelations he worked without payment after Trump’s election victory in November.”

    That’s what happens when the dog won’t eat the dogfood! Ha ha ha!

    1. Gareth

      Poor Mr. Steele. But that’s what happens when you compile a dossier comprised totally of third and fourth hand information. Who would take it seriously but enraged Clintonistas, DC grudge holders and shakedown artists in the IC? It’s kind of like when you’re having a drink in a bar and the guy next to you says he has a cousin who has a friend who knows someone who works in the government and that person heard…. Breaking news on CNN!

      1. james wordsworth

        What you do not know is who his sources are. He does. He also has a pretty good idea of the validity of the information. What he knows can be substantially more than what he can divulge – given the location and vulnerability of his contacts (could be deadly for them).
        Based on his reputation and experience – read his biography – I would be more inclined to believe him than Presidick tRump.

        1. Tom

          Steele shopped around his pile of questionable accusations to oppo research entities of both Democratic and Republican parties and major media outlets for months and no one bit, at least until the Buzzfeed/CNN debacle. Don’t you think if his report was even semi-believable, all of this would have come out much, much earlier — say, before a certain someone came up short on election day?

            1. Tom

              Read it and wow, what a convoluted series of accusations, anonymous conjecture and “what if” scenarios.

              However, given today’s TMZ-centric media scape, most telling is that Larry Flynt and Penthouse have each offered a reward of $1 million for video of Trump’s Girls Gone Wet hijinks — and no one has cashed in yet.

              Balif, release that man … case dismissed!

      1. integer

        Does Ukraine have one there?

        Not sure, but if there isn’t a Ukrainian embassy in London, I imagine the Polish one would be a viable alternative.

        Adding: After spending a minute on DuckDuckGo, I can now confirm that there is in fact a Ukrainian embassy in London.

    2. Hen Kai Pan

      Steele must be an ex-spy with a conscience, to try to give his info to a foreign nation (as in US/ FBI).
      There are so many aspects of this story that seem so unlikely, to a simple ignorant but sharp mind like mine.

  3. allan

    3D printing: Until 3D-manufactured parts can operate at acceptable failure rates
    under realistic conditions, this is blowing smoke
    Just imagine making sh*tty made-in-China zippers even crappier than they already are.

    1. scott 2

      I got to play with that Colt 1911 pistol that was 3D printed down in Austin. It was made of laser-sintered metal and I think the barrel was good for 5 shots IIRC. The parts come off the 3D printer with so much support material and tolerances so large that it took weeks to clean up the parts so they fit together. The machinist there told me that he could have made a 1911 in half the time with his milling machine and a block of steel and aluminum.

      Loose tolerances, shrinkage, rough finishes, process time, and brittle materials have been, and will continue to be the barrier to 3D printing replacing conventional mass manufacturing. The dental implant 3D parts are an exception (but those are essentially prototypes anyway).

      1. John Wright

        Not quite the same as implants, but a dental item related process is the subtractive machining of ceramic crowns in dental offices

        My dentist gave me a tour of the new ceramic crown creation system in the office.

        As I remember, they can scan the existing tooth with a camera that gives them a 3D model they can input to the rest of the process.

        Then they insert a partially cured ceramic blank in a small Computer Numeric Controlled (CNC) milling machine and let it mill away the partially cured material to get to the final crown.

        Then they fire the result, again under automatic process control.

        This results in a crown that is NOT a prototype, but is installed in the patient.

        This is all done on small scale equipment in the office, with an equipment cost of 100K to 130K per the below link.

        Apparently it is not good for front teeth as human artistry is better.


        1. sd

          I have two. They fit and feel much better than the older crowns they replaced (which were side by side). The entire process lasted under 3 hours in the dentists office in one visit. With one quick follow up visit just to check.

    2. Bugs Bunny

      I need a small plastic part for my 6 year old Dyson vacuum and since Dyson stopped making parts for it years ago (illegal in France btw, but Dyson don’t care), I got the bright idea to scan the old part and have a new one 3d printed.

      I got a quote back for about half the price of a new vacuum. I’m interested in knowing if this is typical or if others here have used 3d printing for something useful.

      1. Optimader

        Weekend project–assuming it is a small (thermoplastic) plastic part glue it together, make a plaster mold of it, melt out the plastic outside on a grill and cast a new one with epoxy resin filled w/glass powder-fibers.
        Ive done this in a pinch

            1. bob

              I’ve been trying to get one of those catalogs for years.

              Everything. In one book.

              Great website too.

              “what the hell is that called?”

              …oh… they have it, and pictures, with labels, and sizes, and measurements, and how to measure it

      2. hunkerdown

        Bugs Bunny, did you ask your local machinist? Half a new vacuum sounds like a couple hundred €. I imagine the cost of subtractively machining you a one-off out of aluminium or acrylic would have been not much less than the scan-and-print price. What you’re paying for in either case is skilled labor.

        If you could have drawn a functional equivalent in solid CAD software in a few minutes and run it off on your own printer, the part’s stock cost is on the order of a mass-molded factory replacement. Your money value of time and 3D printer depreciation schedule will almost certainly vary.

      3. bob

        It’s normal, and the end product is normally sub standard. 3d printing is very time consuming and tricky, before getting into inherent materials problems– they’re not very good, under the best circumstances.

        one comment above– “we just need better materials”

        What can’t you say that about?

      4. Lambert Strether Post author

        I have an old house (as in “This Old House”) with a lot of fixtures I can’t replace any more since our local hardware store (which had drawers and boxes full of inventory, poor devil) shut down. I have always cherished the hope that 3-D printing could print those fixtures, but apparently I still have to wait for my dream to come true…

    3. John Wright

      I work in product development in the electronics industry and tried to imagine how 3D printing would be price competitive in the parts used in electronics.

      Will 3D printing be able to make multi-layer printed circuit boards economically, competing with Asian factories that well understand the current technology? These boards frequently have physical and electrical constraints (0.003″ lines/spaces) that are handled by well understood drilling/etching/plating/layering processes.

      I don’t see how 3D could layer up multiple low resistance copper layers + connecting vias.

      What about the many complex ICs such as microprocessors, again 3D printing cannot make these.

      Even the passive components, resistors, capacitors, and inductors are unlikely to see much threat from 3D printing, given they are already made to tight tolerances at very reasonable prices.

      3D printing of complex multi pin connectors that are currently molded? No I don’t think so, how does one 3D print a gold plated contact?

      3D print a Lithium Ion battery? How? Maybe 3D printing could make the battery’s plastic case. But how does it compete with a plastic molded part?

      3D print an LCD display which is already produced at low cost in automated factories that have refined their processes with decades of experience. How?

      3D printing could be used to make plastic outer cases for equipment, but once a design is prototyped, going to an injection molded part makes great economic sense (effectively the part is quickly 3D printed(formed), but in a mold)


      These 3D articles always seem to be written by people who have never taken a manufactured product apart.

      They should go to a thrift store, buy any small appliance or electronic product, and take it apart.

      As they are doing this, they should imagine how 3D printing could possibly make more than a small fraction of the components, and very few of these economically.

      Before I am accused of being a Luddite, remember the Luddites were actually worried that machines would take their jobs. Maybe I am a post-Luddite, as I don’t see any disruptive threat from 3D printing in much of the manufactured goods industry.

      Perhaps 3D printing will produce unique medical joint on demand..

      Where I work, 3D printing is used to do concept mechanical samples, which is a good application.

      And this is the only cost/time saving figure quoted in the entire article. “According to the (Ford) company’s additive manufacturing technical expert, these prototypes can be ready for testing in under a week, down from eight to 16 weeks and cost just a few thousand, rather than US$100,000.”

      Ford will not be 3D printing many shippable car parts any time soon.

      And remember, some form of 3D printing has been around since the 1980’s


      1. scott2

        3D printing is still awaiting good materials. If we can expose with light shorter than 360 nm UV there is enough photon energy to break the carbon double bond. That opens up a new world of cross-linked molecules that would behave like the plastics we mold today.

      2. hunkerdown

        The threat is in lifetime extension beyond the manufacturer’s intent. Had Bugs Bunny accepted the quote above, he could have gone from the state of no working hoover to having a working hoover for half the price of a new one, merely paid to a different set of people, and with the bonus of not adding the entire old hoover to the waste stream. I see this disincenting engineered obsolescence and possibly annexing some IPR territory.

      3. zapster

        Material strengths are often what you do to them after shaping–annealing, sintering, pressing, etc. With 3D printing you get the equivalent of a blank for a sintered part. Needs further processing to make it usable.

        1. bob

          That’s not accurate. You can “heat treat” after shaping, but sintering, pressing, annealing are all done prior to shaping, or as part of shaping– they change the shape of the ferrous metal, in this case.

          Annealing reduces hardness, which is not what you want after shaping something, it’s much more useful before. Hardening is done after, and it’s usually at a lower temperature than annealing over a longer time frame.

          There are libraries full of books and an entire discipline on the subject — Materials Science. The words that are used have very specific meanings, which don’t always line up with what is perceived to be. Ductility is one, off the top of my head, that gets terribly abused.

          I’m just trying to point out how much more complicated it is that just saying- better materials, or processes.

  4. Jim Haygood

    An economist who did something useful in his life:

    Zhou Youguang, known as the father of Pinyin for creating the system of Romanized Chinese writing that has become the international standard since its introduction some 60 years ago, died on Saturday in Beijing, Chinese state media reported. He was 111.

    It took Mr. Zhou and his colleagues three years to develop Pinyin, but the most striking thing about his involvement was that he was neither a linguist nor a lexicographer but an economist, recently returned to China from Wall Street where he represented Sin Hua Bank from 1946 to 1949.

    Knowing that linguistics was a hobby of Mr. Zhou’s, Zhou Enlai drafted him to come to Beijing and lead the committee. Mr. Zhou’s protests that he was a mere amateur were to no avail.

    “Everyone is an amateur,” he was told.

    “Pinyin is not to replace Chinese characters; it is a help to Chinese characters,” Mr. Zhou explained in the interview with The Guardian. “Without an alphabet you had to learn mouth to mouth, ear to ear.”

    Until the advent of Pinyin, the most prevalent system was Wade-Giles, the work of two British diplomats in the late 19th century. Today, Pinyin is used by hundreds of millions of people in China alone. Schoolchildren there first learn to read by means of the system before graduating to the study of characters.

    It took awhile for western school books and maps to reflect China’s shift from Wade-Giles to Pinyin in 1958. Peking changed to Beijing; Canton to Guangdong, and so forth.

    The political aspect of Pinyin is that its phonetics are based on the Mandarin dialect native to Beijing. Pronunciation of Cantonese in Hong Kong, or Taiwanese in Taipei, is completely different.

      1. stefan

        Pinyin is a god-awful guide to Chinese pronunciation.

        The article skips over the fact that Pinyin is a systematic rip off of Yale romanization with a few transpositions of letters, “Yale romanization with Chinese characteristics.” The sad reality is that, unlike Yale romanization which is a reasonably good guide to pronunciation for the foreign language learners, Pinyin introduces numerous arbitrary and counterintuitive letter combinations that have little or no connection to the way those letters sound in their native settings (such as English). Thus, compared to Yale romanization, Pinyin greatly obstructs learning how to pronounce Chinese, especially for beginning learners. Needless to say, it is not politically correct to point out these facts, though I suppose some argument can be made that Yale romanization was particularly geared for native English speakers and may not seem as intuitive to others.

        Wade-Giles romanization is used in the venerable Mathew’s Chinese-English Dictionary, one of the truly great bi-lingual dictionaries of the world. While Wade-Giles has its problems, compiled at an archaic time when there was much greater variation of spoken Mandarin dialect in China than there is today, it is at least a somewhat useful guide to pronunciation. The beautiful Mathew’s Dictionary is also valuable for citing examples of usage, sort of like a mini OED (but don’t stretch this comparison too far).

        Words like Peking or Canton are not examples of romanization, they are simply English words for Chinese places.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          None addresses the 4 tones of Mandarin.

          See this from Wikipedia:

          The Lion-Eating Poet in the Stone Den (simplified Chinese: 施氏食狮史; traditional Chinese: 施氏食獅史; pinyin: Shī Shì shí shī shǐ; literally: “The Story of Mr. Shi Eating Lions”) is a passage composed of 92 characters written in Classical Chinese by Yuen Ren Chao (1892–1982), in which every syllable has the sound shi when read in modern Mandarin Chinese, with only the tones differing. It is an example of a one-syllable article, a form of constrained writing possible in tonal languages such as Mandarin Chinese.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Forgot to bold this part:

            The Lion-Eating Poet in the Stone Den

            Unlike chicken poets of other nations, Chinese poets (or at least this one) eat lions.

            1. Isolato

              Thank you all for this wonderful examination of a fascinating topic. It is why I find the comments of NC the most interesting and informative part of my day. Whether it is ” The trouble with Quantum Theory” or the laughs about the “police bird” this community is constantly curious, witty, engaging and thoughtful. Thanks again for providing a true “salon”

        2. james wordsworth

          Agreed. I tend to like the bopomofo system used in Taiwan. It uses a set of characters and their sounds to build pronunciation. It is better as it sticks with characters and assigns a sounds to each character (rather than trying to teach you that xi sounds like she).

        3. HopeLB

          Our South Korean friends had a similar view and gave us a parting gift a Starbuck’s travel cup with the Korean alphabet. They said it was a great accomplishment and facilitated pronunciation. I wonder if that alphabet inventor is still alive?
          On the bright side, the fact the Chinese have to memorize thousands of characters
          is probably the only reason they haven’t yet gained world control.

          1. hunkerdown

            HopeLB, Hangul’s new, but not that new. King Sejong the Great created it in 1443, published it in 1446, and died in 1450. (cf. Dmitry Orlov’s “Unspell”) It’s easy to create a coherent, sensible writing system when you’re not actively trying to keep the lower classes illiterate.

            And the Japanese haven’t done so badly with their thousand or two of everyday kanji, though I’m sure a halfway phonetic alphabet (or two) helps.

            1. OwenFinn

              Yes, but so few Japanese adults are capable English speakers(or any other language for that matter) .

              My sons are both in Japanese public schools and they spend a tremendous amount of classroom and HW time learning those kanji. More of that time would certainly be better spent learning English (or even Chinese) in this day and age – especially for a country so dependent on doing business globally. As it is, kids don`t start learning English until 5th grade and it is only one class a week – no conversation, just rote memorization of vocabulary and phrases. Older kids obsess over the grammar rules simply to pass tests but, again, never practice real conversation.

              1. hidflect

                That’s not a bug, it’s a feature. I believe the Japanese education in English is intentionally deficient to prevent a brain drain from the country.

        4. JoeK

          Wade-Giles et al represent Chinese pronounciation in an overly academic way divorced from actual pronunciation unless you have a separate guide to the pronunciation of a large number of sounds. With pinyin there are only a handful or so of sounds that need to be learned by rote. And q, for ex., is a much better representation of the frontal “chi” sound in Chinese, which differs significantly from the “ch” sound in English WG uses with an apostrophe to indicate the aspiration, thus “ch’i.” And “j” in PY represents the related non-asipirated consonant better than “chi” does.

          “Beijing” is a much, much better representation of the name than “Peking,” even though the “B” in Beijing, being non-voiced, is not exactt;y like our b, but then one has to learn separately that “P” in WG is this Chinese B, while “P'” is close to our P. For French speakers of course that makes perfect sense but a Brit referring to French pronunciations doesn’t make much more sense than referring only to non-existent English pronunciations.
          Similar with the “j” vs. “k” in WG, where the latter is actually an unvoiced “g” and represents a historical pronunciation (in “Mandarin”) preserved in, for one, Cantonese (another inaccurate historical transliteration of Guangdong).

          IMO WG, Legge (even less legible IMO) are artefacts of the idealization of the “Orient” by Westerners, that is rather than create the most transparent way to represent modern Chinese sounds they created a system that’s less legible and accurate due to preserving old/no longer relevant pronunciations.

          This is a legacy, speaking of which, of the “mysterious and inscrutable Orient” mentality that links arms with colonialism, political or cultural. I would guess the instigators in China of pinyin were well aware of this fact.

          Pinyin was also created by a Chinese person, not a foreigner. Learn the special pronunciations of q, x, ch, zh, and r, basically, and it’s simple. No apostrophes, no legacy/irrelevant (except to scholars) pronunciations, no special characters to remember (I spent years dog-earing my East-West Chinese-English Dictionary so am more familiar than I ever cared to be with bopomofo, a system better-suited to native speakers who would have been intimate with the ruby characters from grade school, foreigners have to learn a special set of signs, an extra alphabet and a sometimes confusing one at that).

          The simplified characters were and are a travesty, for the most part, but pinyin’s a winner :-).

  5. Ottawan

    Lets gloss over the precarious ethics of everyone else’s political philosophy.

    Inspired by the NR piece.

  6. ArkansasAngie

    Re — Handing over NSA data.

    They had to. They been breaking the law. It amounts to a full pardon

  7. jhallc

    RE: Pravda on the Checkout line
    Now it’s the Natonal Enquirer’s fault that Hillary lost. I’d thought I’d seen everything. The comments are typical Politico HRC rump swabs. Most don’t seem to realize that the “Pravda on the Potomac” (WP) did the same to Bernie Sanders, just with a finer brush. Oh well…

        1. HopeLB

          Yes!lol! But perhaps the Beatles singing Back in the USSR could do? Though to be fair, the line “you don’t know how lucky you are man” sort of suggests longing for the capitalist US. The overall message might have been lost in all the lovely “knock you out” girl adoration.

    1. alex morfesis

      Its pravda on the Hudson & “izvestia” on the Potomac…izvestia having originally been a menshevic leaning anti monarchist publication soon to be 100 years old…

      and about the “real” & “original” pravda…

      shouldn’t McCain be “baker acted” if not have the dallas 1963 “wanted for treason” poster be put up
      (or memed)…

      He goes to georgia in the middle of his campaign for presidency in 2008 & basically starts a war…He goes to the ukraine and basically tells them to start shooting at russians…

      he sends one of his krewe to london to get “the dossier” after talking to a brit that was involved in the phony talk up campaign that began in mid 2015 that putin has skittles so we should invade or the eu & nato will collapse scamscam…

      too many nights alone with Lindsey graham…Graham must roofie him, and john is too lost to remember…(although, when the crisis in georgia didn’t play out with the russians backpedaling, his krowbar close buddy Lindsey went there “for him” the next week)

      Mccain is so lost and daft, he once burped out that “he” should be allowed(a lowly senator) to write an op-ed in “pravda” since putin(sotra kinda the “leader” of russia) did an op-ed for the grey lady….

      Turns out he “claims” he thought he was writing for “that” pravda when he ended up online at pravda dot ru…but turns out he knew(or is too crazed not to realize) the online version had split off from the communist party version

      Yes yes john we are going for a nice little scenic ride…just put your arms through these pajamas…

      dont worry about the sleeves being to long, just push in as far as you can…

  8. David

    Constitutional convention

    This is exactly what we need. Congress will never reform itself and the federal government is certainly not going to voluntarily roll back its own power. The push will have to come from the states.

    The bureaucratic administrative state needs significant dismantling. I see a return to federalism, with more substantial regional governance, our best bet to keep some form of the Union together in the longer run and to allow our differences to coexist is some peaceable manner. We spend all this time fighting over the central levers of power and never stop to ask if some of the levers should even exist in the first place.

    1. Antifa

      Any and all promises to limit the scope of a Constitutional Convention to matters related to limiting the Federal government are outright lies. There is nothing not on the table at such a Convention, including rewriting the whole damn thing. Anyone can introduce an Amendment saying money is not political speech, or that corporations have no intrinsic human rights over humans. Or reorganize the 50 states into six regional Federations. Don’t kid yourself — nothing is off limits at a Constitutional Convention.

      As to the absurd notion of the Federal government running a balanced annual budget — words can hardly be found for how stupid this is. In our money-as-debt economy, from where will new credit come from if the government doesn’t spend it into existence? And how can we have FEMA disaster relief, or foreign wars of regime change, if we take away the President’s and the Pentagon’s credit card?

      Ah well, even if ALEC gets its wet dream of a Federalist feudal state based on the gold standard, it is unlikely to ever get 38 state legislatures to approve it, not when the public begins hearing and experiencing the damage such a governing standard will cause.

      1. David

        Yes, everything is on the table, save altering equal representation in the Senate. We will not get any real reform of the federal government unless Congress is cut out of the loop. The 3/4 threshold for ratification will keep all but the most broadly-accepted proposals from taking effect. I am willing to take the chance and bet that delegates and legislators would weigh the proposals with the gravity appropriate to the occasion. A constitutional revolution is preferable to the other kind, in my view.

      2. Clive

        We in the UK rehash endlessly “why don’t we write everything down in a nice, tidy, consistent and easily understood constitution, like all those sensible people in the US do?”

        It all sounds such a good idea in principle. Sometimes (like at the start of the previous Liberal Democrat / Tory coalition administration) it gets a bit of traction.

        But then the penny drops and a consensus realises who exactly will be writing our shiny new written constitution. And it dies a deserved death in the long grass.

        (this is not to suggest that written constitutions are inherently a bad thing; just that they are not necessarily all good, all the time)

        1. aab

          As an American who majored in British History and Literature, I think your looser system is better, because it can be more responsive to changing times and needs. You guys have improvised a bunch of times, and while all those improvisations tended to benefit the elites below the Crown, there were at least a couple of dramatic changes in how the country is governed that were peaceful. The United States suffers from First Mover status, I think. (I’m so old I remember when the tech industry thought this was an AWESOME advantage.) My kid did a research paper once on constitution writing, and it was interesting to see the things in 20th Century drafted constitutions that seemed to me to be big improvements over ours.

          On the other hand, we’re both in the grip of brutalizing neoliberalism that the people don’t seem to be able to get rid of. So maybe I’m in the grip of optimism bias, and forces greater than governmental design are driving things.

          1. integer

            I saw your replies the other day to the advocate of phrenology racial IQ differences, and I was wondering what you had ended up studying. For the record I am often skeptical when people assert their intelligence, but having read many of your comments I was not at all surprised to read about your experiences. Certainly not my kind of scene, but I have often wondered what those high IQ groups are like. Care to share some details?

            1. aab

              Let me think about it. One of the most infuriating things about having a ridiculously high IQ during the neoliberal/meritocratic era is that people with actual extreme intelligence get treated very, very badly, in part because the affluent see you as a threat to their little snowflakes’ chances — completely misunderstanding that the system does not actually prefer high intelligence; it prefers moderate giftedness (I hate that term, but it’s the one currently used) combined with compliance, a desire to please authority figures, and craving status — these are often traits which the profoundly gifted have lower, rather than higher, levels of.

              My husband, my child and myself all bear long term psychological scars from our experiences in the school system. The best analogy is if adult-sized Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was forced to spend his entire educational life sitting at kindergarten desks. He’d be unable to move after a couple of years, and basketball success would be out of the question. Profoundly gifted children wash out of the school system all the time, and often lead ruined lives.

              One of my issues with writing about my own life experience is that I already worry that I am giving out too many personal details, and given that Brad DeLong threatened me during the primary (he named Yves, but it was my comment in Politico he was targeting), I am afraid. I never intended to be a big poster here, and I did not understand when I started writing politically online how much danger I might be in. I didn’t do any of the things I should have (no VPN, for example), and I figure now it’s too late to start. Yet by definition, if you have an IQ so high you ceilinged* the test, you are a rare bird, and talking about some of the specifics of my life as a PG person would make it very, very easy to figure out who I am.

              I will say this, briefly. Being an outlier in human society is painful. I embraced certain PG communities because I felt I finally belonged, but I have left them behind. They seem to all get infested with neoliberal nonsense over time. Part of the problem is the confusion between actual extreme intelligence and its benefits, and what’s useful in our current society. Because wealth has now been falsely associated with intelligence, and the testing instruments that exist have so many flaws, you get all sorts of weird undercurrents, where poor people are convinced, despite the evidence, that their hyper-intelligent child will definitely get into Harvard and have an awesome life, and affluent families with their networking and social capital advantages don’t want to acknowledge the truth of their privilege. My biggest take-away from being in high IQ communities (and I have been in a lot of them) is that being extremely intelligent does not protect you from cognitive bias, or make you a better person.

              * That refers to hitting the ceiling on the test. It’s actually bad, because if you run out of questions that you can’t answer, there’s no way to determine what your IQ really is. I personally have issues with the use of all numerical IQ tests, and think holistic evaluation is more useful and accurate. But that wouldn’t benefit the affluent and the systems they have set up to game IQ tests to benefit their children.

              1. integer

                Thanks for the reply! I really appreciate it and found it very interesting. I certainly understand your concerns about giving away too much personal info. Fwiw I have never bothered using a VPN or anything like that either, and even though I live in Australia, I have experienced a few coincidences that I attribute to my commenting on the election and/or CIA at NC. Of course, there is a chance that they were simply coincidences, but tbh I am skeptical of that possibility.

                Take care, but don’t stop posting at NC!

              2. Lambert Strether Post author

                On VPNs, one of the nice things about the Opera browser is that it has free VPN built in. I don’t think it’s too late to start. If we were professionals, I think it would make sense to always assume the worst, and to think that our entire online history can be called up at a keystroke. And probably that’s true, for a level of effort that it’s not worth expending for most people, including us. However, IT is fucked up, programming is fucked up, data is most certainly fucked up, compromised and hacked (bought and sold, which comes to the same thing), and also huge hunks of data are outright lost or inaccessible.

                So I think take a reasonable level of care, and it’s not too late to start.

    2. human

      A Constitutional Convention influenced by corporate lobbyists would be the end of “natural personhood.” Be very careful what you wish for. I certainly don’t have the answers.

    3. Pat

      Is this Constitutional Convention going to make clear that corporations are not persons and should have no Constitutional Rights? Is it going to declare health care a right and make clear that insurance is NOT health care. Is it going to correct our broken and corrupt campaign system by requiring that campaigns be largely publicly funded and severely limiting the time periods of campaigns AND the amount of media advertising? Is it going to make real bank regulation something that cannot be discarded willy nilly? Is it going to make customer and employee rights something that cannot be ignored?

      Somehow I think not. And I certainly cannot cheer anything that doesn’t start with that as a goal. Throw in that as a woman who has watched how little my right to make my own decisions matters to these jerks. I really cannot cheer.

    4. dcblogger

      we do not want a constitutional convention unless until we control the process. A new constitution written by Koch Brothers/ALEC would be our worst nightmare.

    5. Norm

      The prospect of a constitutional convention is fraught with dangers and opportunities. Most likely, the best and worst results of such an exercise will be accurately described, some day, as unintended consequences. There’s lots of nice things that could happen in a decentralized state, e.g., single payer health care in states that so choose, less money for the military (indeed, if California decided that the MIC is too big, Californians could say to Texans, “if you want it so much, you pay for it;” it’s intriguing to imagine how those kinds of scenarios could play out). But the central question would probably be who would have control of the Fed and its printing presses. It’s pointless to talk about political independence without a clear delineation of where the power to control money would reside.

    6. Kurt Sperry

      Unless the states have their own currencies, they will always be subservient to the federal government whose currency they must use.

    7. Katharine

      Exactly what we need when it’s being engineered by ALEC, and at a time when our political processes are manifestly corrupt and out of control of the people? I don’t think so.

    8. uncle tungsten

      Vale USA if ALEC gets its way. Wont China + Russia be pleased and the rest of the world can breath freedom.

    9. Lambert Strether Post author

      The agenda is insane. No deficit spending? No automatic stabilizers. I suppose you could argue this is good because it caps growth, but absent redistribution these guys are really sowing the wind…

    10. zapster

      Unfortunately, one of the items lined up for such a convention is a federal budget cap. *Really* bad idea.

  9. RenoDino

    Intrepid ABC reporter/anthropologist Diane Sawyer is doing a series of reports for the Nightly News about a newly discovered tribe of poor people living on the edge right here in America. This tribe, thought to be extinct according to Obama, now numbers 60% of the population. They are very hard to find and highly elusive, but with a little luck and the right native guides, they can be located in the outback regions of the country living in cities, small towns and on the range. They are shy and suspicious of rich strangers, but are willing to talk about their condition if you speak calmly and slowly. With a little prodding, they will talk about not having enough money to pay their bills and support their families. Several questions arise. Who are these people? Where do they come from? Why aren’t they rich?
    Ms. Sawyer is very excited to have made contact with these native people and promises many startling revelations about their habits and customs in the weeks ahead.

    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      I still have flashbacks to her reporting from Moscow: ‘Everyone here is acting so over-the-top serious! LOL!’. Days later, tanks are firing at state buildings.

  10. VK

    THAT is a cool bird. What is it?

    Picus viridis, female, I presume.
    They are particulary fond of ants and their pupae. That’s why you can often watch them working the ground.

    Lured into writing a comment at NC by a bird ;-)

    1. fresno dan

      January 14, 2017 at 9:12 am

      Lured into writing a comment at NC by a bird ;-)

      It wasn’t so bad, was it? But be careful, there are some craaazy people around here….but I hope we can look forward to your bird expertise and whatever else you care to expound on in the future!

  11. Burge

    What word will you NOT see in the NY Mag and other summaries of DOJ’s Chicago Police whitewash?


    When police have impunity they are criminals who get away with it. DOJ likes it that way. The DOJ report is a bowdlerized compilation of this and associated civil society submissions. Expert independent review by civil society and the international community laid out all these derelictions before, but US media sat on it until they had something homegrown to report. That way no one will think to go over the head of their government to the legitimate authorities, the outside world.

    1. fresno dan

      January 14, 2017 at 9:15 am

      Black Lives Matter activists say they don’t trust Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to reform the Police Department after the U.S. Justice Department concluded officers have used excessive force and violated people’s constitutional rights for years.

      Hours after the mayor appeared with Attorney General Loretta Lynch and others on Friday to announce the report, the activists say they have no faith that Emanuel will reform the police force as he pledged to do.

      Arewa Karen Winters says they do not believe Emanuel about the report any more than they believe his contention that he did not see the video of the 2014 police shooting of Laquan McDonald until the public saw it more than a year after the black teen was killed.
      The black teen was shot 16 times by a white officer in 2014 and dashcam video released a year later conflicted with officers’ accounts of what happened and led to large protests and the Justice Department investigation.
      “…. activists say they have no faith that Emanuel will reform the police force…”
      Neither do I.

      “…. dashcam video released a year later conflicted with officers’ accounts of what happened…”
      Uh, trotting versus running is a conflict. Nike versus Adidas shoes is a conflict.
      Lying about whether someone is within a few feet of you facing you and trying to knife you versus being yards away facing away from you and shot in the back is a conspiracy to obstruct justice.

      “According to the Sun-Times the report originally said: “Officer Van Dyke fired his weapon in fear of his life when the offender while armed with a knife continued to approach and refused all verbal direction.”

      I would say giving false testimony – what in effect filing a false police report is – and in particular in this case in which governmental authority is being used to cover up murder, demand something more stringent than merely firing someone.

  12. Cocomaan

    Something is missing in the Smithsonian zoologist reporting or it’s just sloppy. “Research misconduct” means three things under statute: falsification, fabrication, or plagiarism in the conduct or dissemination of research.

    From what I can see, the scientist in question is only accused of messing with wildlife recovery and transport permits. That doesn’t really jive with RM under Office of Research Integrity rules. It’s a problem for in house legal counsel, but his research maintains its integrity.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if he did mess with permits, but in these developing countries, it’s all baksheesh and patronage. It’s possible he was doing as he was told by authorities.

    But his data is fine. These news outlets are screwing him even as they try to save him.

  13. oho

    Nothing like governing incompetence to nudge your country right.

    Over half of Germans stand behind the police’s decision to check some 2,000 North African and Arab men on New Year’s Eve in Cologne based solely on their appearance while a staggering 69 percent believe racial profiling is a must in police work, a new poll reveals.

    1. cocomaan

      Did they really nudge their country right? Or is this just something European? Or perhaps just human?

      Hannah Arendt talked a lot about the League of Nation’s role in the holocaust, particularly the Minority Treaties and the refugee crisis that resulted.

  14. JTMcPhee

    Yes, turn loose the dogs on the carcass of that dead letter (except power of property and gunzgunzgunz.) “Federalism?” You like the way Oklahoma and Wisconsin and Mississippi and my state, FL, “run” under the “gerrymandered legitimacy” of ratf@ck reactionary wholly-owned by kleptocratic squillionaires and “developers?” Like the state boundaries and political subdivisions the way they are? Looking forward to having Sullivan Cromwell and Squire Sanders Dempsey write a new document for you, like they did for Balkan states and Iraq and others, with a careful ear to the ones who pay their hourly rates?

    You think you might gain something out of a laying down of another set of fundamentals by who exactly is going to be working the “delegates” selected just how and meeting where, Bilderberg or Palm Springs?

    As I recall, devolutions and decentralization have pretty much always been the result of and process of various kinds of collapse and violence. I can’t think of any situation where the Haves have, ever given up anything to the Mopes — all subsequent political economies have featured the same “feature set” in one form or another. I’d be glad to have some correction on that (exceptions prove the rule?) and of course any guidelines for how one creates (given the dead-letter nature of the present document and its influence on public and private behavior) something that is to YOUR liking and the power preferences and greeds of the other 300+ million “natural persons” residing within the nominal historical boundaries of the US Main Empireland…

    Or maybe the idea is that all the rest of us should just let the Libertarians huddle and tell us how we can govern ourselves relying on reputation and some perfectly crafted “state” that will just enact and enforce just that perfect set of laws that will let Homo Economicus finally get his or her way, in a perfect free market where everyone is completely on their own unless they can get together with a few other autochthons to create another mass of crushing economic and political power…

    1. UserFriendly

      I assume you are talking about ALEC pushing the balanced budget amendment referenced in:

      Corporate America is Inching Even Closer to a Constitutional Convention In These Times (AM). Important.

      This has me very worried too. They only need 6 more states to pass the resolution and they have trifecta’s in enough states to do it (AZ, ID, WY, WI, KY, SC). I could see them getting it if Trump gets his infrastructure plan financed with deficit spending and gets it passed. It would be funny if it wasn’t sad how determined the oligarchs behind ALEC are at destroying the economy and there own profitability.

    2. Inode_buddha

      Got news for you, up here in very Blue NY things are run the *exact same way* (Kleptocracy) as they are in very Red gerrymandered states. And things suck in the *exact same ways* just on a much larger scale because hey, its NY! Dunno, some people seem to think its nobler to be a victim or something, I think its just stupider.

    3. Waldenpond

      Boy, the elites are pissed. It’s the petty things like trying to apply personhood to robots so that luddite vandalism will be reclassified as assault with the attached five year prison term… to the all out desire to have a convention… are they going to tear the constitution up in public to make a point.

      The elites are just so annoyed that people just won’t go away. They refuse to supply jobs or pay people not to work. If you are unwilling to deal with an excess labor pool, you’re marketing isn’t working, how are you going to get rid of them?

      Saw just a couple of minutes of a show… was it the ABC show on poverty the one with Diane Sawyer’s fake concern scowl that ended with some old white guy complaining that only 18% approve of corps and there needs to be a discussion on how to do capitalism better?

    1. Emma

      ………..Mmmm……And the pharma and insurance industries want Americans to keep on using them…….This way Americans are deterred from any serious talk on single-payer – a ‘medicare for all’………..which is a better solution if the objective is to make Americans the healthiest and the greatest in the whole wide world!!

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Because GDP! Dow can make money on the poison, Big Pharma can make money on the pills that treat exposure to the poison, Big Insurance can make dough on the added health care required when you gulp the poison down.
        Somebody get a message to The Donald, I see profits ahead!

    2. Oregoncharles

      The real scandal underlying the vaccine controversy is that autism, or “autism spectrum disorder” (I hate that term, but nevermind), really is an epidemic and is still increasing, per the CDC.

      Thanks so much for posting this article. The GOOD news is that someone is actually researching the cause, and (to no one’s surprise), it’s pesticides – among other things. A lot of them are neurotoxins.

  15. ex-PFC Chuck

    Re Paul Carr’s forthcoming book:

    Specifically, a 100% fictional, in no way based on real people doing real horrible things that I’ve witnessed with my own real eyes, novel about Silicon Valley.


  16. oho

    My pet peeve w/the infatuation with inter-city rail….opportunity costs. Most traveling is via boring, un-sexy daily commutes. Commuter rail, commuter busing cuts down more traffic/CO2 per dollar than sexy intercity trains (unless it’s the Northeast).

    California’s bullet train could cost taxpayers 50% more than estimated — as much as $3.6 billion more. And that’s just for the first 118 miles through the Central Valley, which was supposed to be the easiest part of the route between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Hey, it’s just wealth redistribution, oho– gotta give the grifters more opportunities to loot! And besides, the Liberal Community is all about Rail, because it is Good! And Just! And Environmental! And all that…

      A guy I used to work for (he was a retail store manager doing it for fun, a decent guy mostly) became a many-multi-millionaire thanks to a genetic ability (father did the same) to pick out and purchase “properties” that lay in the likely “natural” path of roadways and rights of way. Did not need to lobby or grift to direct the planning (that evil process,, in reality) toward his owned land — part of his peculiar genius was sensing the currents of “developer” and other corruptniks’ future interests, and moving to buy up that farmland and “waste land” and distressed properties for a song.

      Like a lot of Richers, he got a head start with a few million from his parents’ estate, but as with the curious parable of the faithful and faithless servants, he took the 2 shekels and turned them into huge bags of shekels (while I don’t even bury the shekel I was entrusted to invest, and the Master will be pissed off as Hell that I don’t even give back the one shekel He handed me…) Not that my acquaintance gave any back to the Master, exce;t maybe taxes that could not be avoided or evaded by one of the various means — like kind exchanges, all that…

      Acela For All! Maybe Sir Topham Hatt will run the new lines as a benevolent despotism like the rail lines on the Island of Sodor, where all the workers, natural and anthropomorphized mechanical, work steadily and diligently to serve the wealth holders, and all the well-dressed middle class “people,” and every story has an ethical moral that encourages fealty and strict dedication to Duty…

    2. fresno dan

      January 14, 2017 at 10:03 am

      I LOVE trains and taking trains. But I have very little faith that there is any competency or common sense applied to the endeavor – at least in CA.
      When I lived in Sacramento I wanted to take the train to San Francisco for a day trip. Soooo….you can “take the train” to San Francisco by taking the train to Oakland and than transferring to an amtrac bus from Oakland to San Francisco….
      So at the end of the day I am stuck in an amtrac bus in commuter bumper to bumper traffic to get back to the train station…..for more money than one way than taking an intercity bus round trip.
      YEAH, I took the intercity bus – cheaper and FASTER

      1. Stormcrow

        From SF you can take BART to Richmond and catch an AMTRAK train to Sacramento from there. I just did it last week. No need for a bus.

    3. polecat

      Look on the blight side … It would make it easier, and faster, for all of us to visit/crash fresno dan’s place .. ‘;]

        1. fresno dan

          January 14, 2017 at 11:06 am

          Well, if you want to talk to Putin, you need the bunny slippers with the rabbit ears…antenna.
          Also, don’t expect indoor plumbing….. ;)

          Actually, assuming I can find a house I can afford in Fresno, you are all welcome. I am too cheap to own any beds – I sleep on a foam rubber mat, so you have to bring your own sleepng bag. Fresno actually has a minor league baseball stadium downtown and a brew pub is right across from the stadium. There is a casino in walking distance too! If I can only learn to win at roulette, I’m thinking I can afford one of those fancy indoor toilets….

          1. polecat

            fresno dan … no need for indoor toilets ..

            …. Now that your finally out of ‘drought mode’ .. just start a rice paddy, and we’ll all do our duty .. fertilizing it ….. ‘;]

            besides …those killer fair ‘tacos’ have to go somewhere .. right ?

              1. JTMcPhee

                Hey folks, are we all yuppies at heart? A composting toilet can be as cheap as a sheet of 3/4″ plywood, a 5-gal plastic bucket you can find by the side of the road or a construction dump, a toilet seat if you want it, some weatherstripping, a bit of glue and drywall screws, paint or varnish for the fastidious, and your choice of absorbent material like coconut coir, sphagnum or peat moss, and so forth. Add some absorbent to the bucket, add your addition, add some more absorbent. Stir occasionally. Have a couple of buckets you can swap out, and if there’s a place on your “property,” a separate compost pile for your Humanure — no direct application of undecomposed “night soil” a la rice paddies. You can even go all “tech” and with some 2″ PVC pipe and a computer cooling fan and a small solar panel, add a vent that will vent any odors (there should be little or none if done right) out into the Commons… More responsible than 1.6 gallons per flush, flush twice because the first one didn’t get it all, only once for urine, because those simple notions like “If it’s yellow, let it mellow; if it’s brown, flush it down” are so, you know, ICKY.

                Or buy one of the referenced plastic fantastic expensive ones, that “segregate” urine in a “pod” at the front, have stainless steel “stirrers” cranked at the side, and still require handling the resulting “stuff’ by lumping it out to a compost bin. A thousand or more for the expensive, slick, well-advertised, petroleum-based equivalent,, of some plywood (animal glue) you can often find discarded, a bucket (yes, petroleum-based plastic), also a discard, maybe a toilet seat from a demolition project (wood or plastic), and a few tools and screws. And paint, or varnish, for the really fastidious. May be plant-based finishes…

                Not as sexy as the gold-fixtured Thrones and bidets in the Trump Tower, but one little step toward being ready for when the sewage treatment plants go under water and electricity and running, waste-able potable water get scarce and dopier than now…

          2. craazyboy

            “Well, if you want to talk to Putin, you need the bunny slippers with the rabbit ears…antenna.”

            Be sure to get the kind w/microphone – then Putin can answer back.

            VR goggle rabbit heads w/ antenna ears are hitting the market too, but still priced kinda high and aimed for the early adopter market. I’ve got a early 1st gen pair, but it only receives 5.8ghz video so I won’t see Putin until he’s within half a mile or so. Of course, then it will be too late.

              1. craazyboy

                9. Chuck Norris has already been to Mars; that’s why there are no signs of life there.

                Wouldn’t you be scared?

                1. JTMcPhee

                  Well, craazyboy, I’m scared, all right, of buttw@pes in bespoke suits and slick shoes you would recognize the brand of in a New York instant sitting offhand-arrogant in ergonomic desk chairs in swank offices on C Street and Wall Street and “the Street” and and Warren Buffett who I think sits on ’50s chromed-tubing-plastic-upholstered dinette chairs and Creflo Dollar sitting grinning and smiling and sweating in the tooled-leather recliner his “faithful idiots” furnished him with and CRSP-R and little geeks sitting on lab stools messing with “drone swarms” and autonomous killing machines and “sine-tists” who pay no attention to what they are sitting on and want to resurrect defunct plague organisms and keep smallpox on hand just because it’s cool and generals who sit in ergonomic armchairs and diddle with their joystick-operated Global Interoperable Network-centric Real Time Battlespace toys and stratagems and Netanyahoo with 200 to 600 nuclear weapons and guys and gals who cheat on their competence tests to keep their “really responsible jobs” sitting comfy awaiting Armageddon in older-style ergonomic chairs in front of consoles whose computers operate off 8″ floppies and there are keyholes labeled “LAUNCH” and speaking of Mars, that Fokker Elon Musk hoping to sit in a ass-tronaut launch chair in some rocket to go to Mars and Fokk THAT up too, and you think Chuck Norris and Putin are bad, check the video feeds from Quds and Aleppo and Helmand and what’s that city rubble pile that is called Mosul and the whole “state security apparatus” and of course (though less so every day, as it gets closer) DEATH.

                  And the Clantons. And squinty-eyed Special Forces dudes and now, mirabile dictu feminism, dude-ettes, who don’t sit, they take a knee and keep their sniper rifles and carbines and laser target designators carefully cleaned…

                  Putin sits on horses and bears, if you can believe it, and at least (from what we mopes are allowed to perceive) seems to fear death too, and understands plain old two-dimensional chess. And maybe even is committed to a “national interest” as well as being Big Cheese…

                  You better believe, for the sake of my offspring, I am scared.

                  1. craazyboy

                    Thoughts of killer mice me feel better. Until they figure out how to scale those up. But maybe that’ll take a while.

                    Time to watch another Vikings episode for some light entertainment. Watching psychos armed only with axes is so relaxing.

                  2. HopeLB

                    I am scared for my daughter! But not in the way the MSM directs me to be. Thinking of NPR’s Science Friday segment on CrISPR and the statement, “If we don’t do it some other country will”. Wow, so let’s beat them to it! Making this end of humanity virus/creature/optimal human. Let us be the ones to do it. Afterall, we’ve wiped out plenty already! We are damn good at this kind of thing. And we are numbero UNO!!!
                    But mostly, I’m thankful for your writing.
                    (And imagine those super viruses mutating to attack the circuits of the AI robots/ swarm overlords! Or better yet some parasite taking control of the AI machines and forcing them to spend their time rebuilding ecosytems so the parasites have more abundant hosts. You never know how it will go.)

  17. fresno dan

    So, there was quite a few comments a few days ago about Hollywood. So last night PBS has a little segment with the director about the movie “Patriots Day” about the terrorist attack in Boston during the marathon. Here is why I think so much of the bullsh*t that Hollywood is “liberal” is myth. Who benefits more (right or left) from the myth of liberal Hollywood? Its a trick question – the interests of the 1% completely coincide….

    So of course the movie is hagiography of the police (I haven’t seen the movie but that is essentially what the director says and I take him at his word). And another point made is ITS a movie, not a documentary – bear this in mind. So this part probably isn’t portrayed all that accurately in the movie (i.e., the police shoot before they know if the guy in the boat is armed or not):

    “Around 6:00 p.m., shortly after the “shelter-in-place” advisory was rescinded, a Watertown resident discovered Dzhokhar hiding in a boat in his back yard. Reports conflict as to whether or not he was armed.[17] *** Located within the boat by thermal imaging, he was shot while in the boat, arrested, and then taken to a hospital shortly thereafter.[18]”
    Initial reports that the neck wound was from a self-inflicted gunshot from a possible suicide attempt were later contradicted by the revelation that he was unarmed at the time of capture and a description of the neck wound by SWAT team members that the neck wound was a slicing injury, possibly caused by shrapnel from an explosion.[134]

    *** CONFLICT as to Armed or not??? Did he swallow the gun? It seems to me that if the suspect is in a boat, he can’t throw or hide that gun if he has one WITH himself when taken into custody.

    And of course, the movie had to be made to show that the terrorists DID NOT WIN
    Hmmmmm…… maybe the movie was actually made to make money?? AND that is why it is not entirely accurate???
    And maybe keeping terrorism in the public consciousness was what the terrorists wanted….so Hollywood is helping terrorists AND right wing repubs (and dems!) who want to keep and extend the police state???

    From the Links:
    DOJ Report Rips Chicago Police for Poor Training, Excessive Force, and Racial Bias New York Magazine

    Will we see a big budget movie about Chicago???? Oh sure, there MIGHT be some modest made for TV movie…but for any such production I would wager at least 1,000 pro police dramas are made.

    Now, I don’t view myself as anti police. Its a hard job. I would shoot the boat too before walking up to it….but I’m not a cop. But I wouldn’t call myself a hero for doing that, and a nation shouldn’t fool itself about how brave it or its police are.

      1. fresno dan

        January 14, 2017 at 10:54 am

        AND I forgot:
        “The Russian government warned U.S. authorities that Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev was a violent radical Islamist more than a year and a half before the April 2013 bombing, but authorities missed multiple chances to detain Tsarnaev when he was traveling to and from Dagestan for terror training, according to a soon-to-be released Congressional report.”

        Will that the FBI/Homeland security missed an ACTUAL CORRECT tip about terrorists, which shows either great incompetence or that all the money spent on terrorism prevention is a big waste, BE in the movie?? I very much doubt it.

        I note also that Russia is the enemy meme is in vogue, so I also doubt that the Russia tip will NOT be in the movie. But, I haven’t seen the movie, so time will tell.
        But just as there is a propaganda milieu that Hollywood/MSM hews to about police, there is one now about how Russia is our enemy and we must re-institute the cold war…

        1. allan

          Also too:

          Airport shooting highlights nexus between mentally ill, cops

          Just weeks before a gunman opened fire at Fort Lauderdale’s airport, authorities said he walked into an FBI office in Alaska, telling agents the government was controlling his mind and that he was having terroristic thoughts. It’s a daily occurrence for law enforcement agencies and authorities say the difficulty is in assessing whether people are reporting a credible threat, whether or whether they need medical help.

          “A lot of resources, time and effort are all put into dealing with mentally challenged people and trying to sort through that type of information to find out what’s valid,” said Pat O’Carroll, former supervisor with the Secret Service and executive director of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association. …

          “It’s not an easy problem,” said St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne, president of the National Sheriffs’ Association. “There’s no simple fix to say the FBI should’ve just locked this guy away because he’s hearing voices.” …

          Which is exactly the hands off attitude taken towards Occupy and DAPL … oh, wait.

    1. polecat

      Yes fresno dan … It’s all and only about keeping the grift alive …. to pinch and steal for another day ..even if one has to resort to ‘faking it’.. by ‘acting’ ….


      1. fresno dan

        January 14, 2017 at 10:58 am

        And just to beat a dead horse

        “The decision to make John Cho’s character, Hikaru Sulu, a happily married gay man came with its own share of controversy stateside. But according to Cho, even the brief scene between Sulu and his family was cut down from a more romantic version. “There was a kiss that I think is not there anymore,” Cho told Vulture. (It’s not.) While co-writer Simon Pegg says the decision to cut the kiss was “not coy,” the resulting scene was certainly platonic enough to create plausible deniability. Thanks to interviews from members of the cast and crew, there’s no question, here in the U.S., that Sulu is gay. But China still has very strict censorship rules that mostly exclude any depiction of homosexuality on-screen. While the kiss may or may not have been cut out of deference to American values, it will certainly curry favor with Chinese censors.”
        “Another potentially gay character who was toned down for general consumption was Kate McKinnon’s Holtzmann. When asked if the character—who was flirty enough with her female colleagues to raise hopes among L.G.B.T. fans—was gay, director Paul Feig told the Daily Beast, “I hate to be coy about it . . . but when you’re dealing with the studios and that kind of thing. . . . If you know Kate at all she’s this kind of pansexual beast where it’s just like everybody who’s around her falls in love with her and she’s so loving to everybody she’s around. I wanted to let that come out in this character.” But if the gay edges were rounded off Holtzmann in order to please the Chinese, it didn’t end up mattering: Ghostbusters had no shot at a Chinese release anyway, thanks to its supernatural elements.”
        So, to paraphrase Streep: Thank you very much. Thank you very much. Thank you. Please sit down. Please sit down. Thank you. I love you all. And we stand with our LGBT friends….except when billions of dollars of Chinese movie receipts are on the line…than they just kinda disappear….

        1. polecat

          Yep ….. !

          My list of contemporary actors, and actresses, whom I admire and respect is ever dwindling …

          Until this last campaign .. uh .. ‘season’ I didn’t realize just how ‘bubblelicious’ Hollywooden has become !

            1. HopeLB

              Upvote! Rosario sounded the alarm about how they would shut down the internet if Bernie’s insurgent campaign prevailed. Just look at our new Ministry of Truth.

    2. Jim Haygood

      “I would shoot the boat too.” — Fresno Dan

      Bubba shot the jukebox last night
      Said it played a sad song it made him cry
      Went to his truck and got a forty five
      Bubba shot the jukebox last night

      — Mark Chestnutt

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      I would shoot the boat too before walking up to it…….

      Especially when dead men (and boys) tell no tales. If memory serves, they’d already gotten rid of the older brother by driving over him with a car.

      It took, what, a year or more to turn the younger brother’s brain to mush so that he couldn’t make a peep in his own defense, and even then they had to search high and low for a defense “lawyer” to sell him out from the git go.

      And then there was the kid in Florida. It can get messy when these things don’t go according to plan.

  18. Tom Finn

    Green Woodpecker from England. (had to go down through a bit of the author’s pleasant twitter posts to find out.) Physique and some of it’s plumage a bit like a Flicker over here, to my mind.

  19. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Chickens changed the world…ignored.

    “Com’on, say it. Stopping ignoring them. You’re just too scared to give them credit, you chicken!!!!!!!!!!!!”

    Obviously, that bully knows his chicken stuff…in a bad way.

      1. diptherio

        Pablo Neruda…has one poem called on weariness, in which he speaks of all the things he’s weary of. He says, “I am weary of chickens./They look up at us with their small eyes, as though we were unimportant.” Which is true. They do. We are. But it’s hard to take it from a d*mn chicken, you know?

        ~Greg Brown

  20. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Health Care Problem – The Sick Are Expensive.

    Not short term, but long term, assuming there is still a long term with Global Warming….long term, sickness prevention via nutrition, lower caloric intake and exercise would do a lot to lower health care cost.

    Free cleaning drinking water.
    One free organic apple a day
    Free dog food for dog owners – walking the dog is good for health
    Free cat food for cat owners – cats are good for reducing stress, many times. Not universal.
    Free organic garden plots by converting public funded football stadiums
    Use local post office buildings for farmer’s market on Sundays, when there is no work there
    Convert school yards to organic gardens…veggies and exercise for kids…oh, real education too.*

    * Once saw that in a French documentary about food. A small town did that to its school. Also discussed in that film – life expectancy was calculated based on people who grew up before wide spread use of pesticides. Seeing more kids with cancer Europe-wide. Parents not optimistic about kid’s life expectancy.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      The Sick Are Expensive.

      Duh. Does the wsj think 18% of gdp is generated doing all that “healthcare” on people who are NOT sick?

      Logically, an effective “healthcare” system would decrease its financial claim on society over time by generating fewer sick people. But that would be the opposite of “growth,” which is anathema in capitalist world.

    2. Katharine

      Convert school yards to organic gardens…veggies and exercise for kids…oh, real education too.*

      * Once saw that in a French documentary about food. A small town did that to its school.

      Not the whole school yard! Kids need some place where they can run around and play. There’s far too much regimentation of their activities as it is.

      1. Waldenpond

        At the local high school the football team has priority rights. For pe, the rest of the kids walk to the local junk food corner store for chips and soda and walk back. You could re-do the old concrete play yard of the abandoned elementary school right across the street, but for the past few years, that’s designated student parking.

        1. ambrit

          “…designated student parking.” Oh, too rich! The whole place is designated student parking now. To paraphrase Judge Dee; “Doesn’t anyone do any educating in this school anymore?”

    3. Waldenpond

      Community food programs…. We have a few community gardens (not free) and a couple of schools have small gardens but more could happen. Many cities bar citizens from planting trees or certain trees on or near streets. I lived in Chico and remember parking, getting out the step ladder and picking a bucket of persimmons. If you want to restrict streets to certain species because you want to increase poverty by eliminating street maintenance jobs, fine, but provide free fruit trees for yards and as landscaping at public parks fails, replace it with fruit species. A hedge of blueberries is as nice as any other hedge.

  21. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The trouble with Quantum Mechanics.

    Step 1 – always start with at the first grade. Here, I focus on statistics.

    The trouble with Statistics.

    Two cases.

    Case 1: A room of 1,000,000 people. There are 500,000 who are 100% against Trump. And the other 500,000 are 100% for Trump.

    Case 2, Another room of 1,000,000 people. Each of the 1,000,000 at any time of sampling has a 50-50 chance of being for or against Trump.

    If you sample the 2 rooms, you can’t tell.

    They are by nature, two different beasts.

    The first one is subject to manipulation. One group inside the room can hinder the other group in the same room from being sampled, so, when sampled from outside not knowing the manipulation, it’s not 50-50 anymore.

    Just because we apply statistics and it helps to establish a pattern, it doesn’t tell us what the underlying reality is – is it case 1, or case 2?

    1. Jake Mudrosti

      As Harvard’s Eric Mazur has said, it’s difficult for a physics professor to write good multiple choice questions — because the professor has learned the material so long ago, it’s no longer possible for him to understand the difficulties going on in the student’s mind.

      If you already read the linked essay before writing your post, it pretty much settles the matter: the essay did a poor job.

      I’d be curious to know whether this abbreviated lecture is at all useful:

      First, a Feynman diagram: Draw a capital letter H. Put a pair of big dots where the horizontal bar meets the vertical strokes.

      Only the particle interactions (i.e., just the dots in the Feynman diagram, but not the lines) are the things that are ever registered in our instruments and senses, and thus collectively have been always referred to as our “physical reality” in everyday usage. Reichenbach’s useful definition “phenomena” would apply to these dots here.

      Now for an epic switcheroo: modern quantum field theory has quietly redefined the word “particle.”
      The left and right lines of the Feynman diagram represent what Reichenbach’s term “interphenomena” would represent — not anything that ever could or ever would register in instruments or senses (but which follow causal deterministic wave equations that define the probability distributions that allow statistical predictions of phenomena.)

      These lines represent a particle on the left, a particle on the right which are undergoing the interaction. So they are participating in physical reality, without themselves having physical reality. (This isn’t unusual if one considers, for example, the lack of physical reality of money in a direct deposit bank transaction. We’d err if we assumed that the “money” had to be physical, just because the interactions were real. We’d also err if we doubted the tallies due to the lack of physicality.)

      To recap: causal, deterministic wave equations allow us to calculate the statistical distributions of the interphenomena (which are not physical reality), so that we can make statistical predictions of the non-deterministic interactions (which are physical reality). To rephrase it in a jokey way: the answer to life, the universe, and everything is “42” but the question we ask doesn’t align.

      Astute commenters would notice that I haven’t defined “real.” This is correct. But students have reported insight, which makes it easier to later define words such as “real” or “is.”

      1. craazyman

        If the lines don’t register on our senses, then how can anybody read a word wih the letter “H” in it if it was just two dots?

        You could never say “house” or “hyena” or “Holy shlt”. You may not be able to say “honorable” but you probably almost could and nobody would notice.

        This is admmittely a complicated topic. There’s a lot of cranks out there. I saw a video once of some MIT phystics professor lectuuring about Einstein’s field equations and he said “I get letters from cranks all the time telling me Einstein was wrong. I say one thing to all of them: Where’s your evidence?” Then he went on about what it means to do science.

        The one thing that amazed me was this. I said to myself in my own mind: “Wow, there must be a lot more cranks out there than I thought!” That’s a fact. It’s not even my opinion!

        1. Katharine

          Define crank. Better yet, show me someone who is not, in some way, by someone’s standards, a crank.

          1. craazyman

            Somebody like me. That’s how I’d define a crank. Somebody who believes all sorts of crazy shlt and has theories that nobody would believe unless they were a crank too.

            If you think my definition is circular, consider that the circle is one of the elemental forms of nature. QED

            Are you a crank? Or are you too mentally boring to be a crank? It’s OK if you are too boring. I personally don’t mind.

            1. craazyboy

              But if you have a whole lotta Hs lying around in the front yard and the dots go from fuzzy to in focus and fuzzy again…you might be a redneck!

            2. ambrit

              Nice touch craazyman. Cranks of the mechanical kind go round in circles. So too do cranks of the metaphysical variety. As above, so below.
              And, what’s an anti-crank? Something that squares the circle?
              Happy Inauguration Day rioting!

            3. craazyman

              guys, seriously, fukkk I think Jake knows his shlt for real. I don’t think he’s a crank or a cut-up like we are. Honstly Ambrit I never did think of a crank going in a circle but you’re right! See you have crank potential too. I didn’t even think of it like that! a crank in a circle. You’re like a coiled crank ready to explode with nonsense. LOL

              It would be pretty hilarious if the universe just kept going on and on forever. That would freak people out. Just thinking about it. Not that they’d every go out there and empirically test the theory. But it’s one of those theories that makes you nervous just thinking about it. Blaise Pascal had that problem. It’s true.

              1. craazyboy

                I was trying to remember back 40 years if the wave equation is time variant. Couldn’t remember, but the redneck joke was too tempting, so I went for it.

              2. ambrit

                Yaay craazys!
                I admit to having not just “crank potential” but actual “crank current!” I go with the flow, if you get my drift. Then, I could go AC, or I could go DC, but both ways? I would definitely need to be an Invert to achieve that. (For some definition of “vert.”) Or I could go “green.”
                True nonsense is slow and stealthy. It implodes into and through the event horizon of meaning. An Ur crankery is like Gilgamesh diving for the plant of immortality. It can be apprehended but never possessed. Use politics as a prime example; a cranked firing squad. Or take the circumlocutions of a seasoned politico; an extended foray into null space. A well rounded crankery is a joy to be satellite to. Going into orbit, be it Terrestrial or academic, ecstatic or devotional, partakes of a wholeness defined by it’s neverendingness. If the snake grasps it’s own tail, thus fulfilling the prophecy of Ouroborus, it no longer sheds it’s skin, becomes frozen, static, in short, cranked.
                Yes, I also think that Jake knows his stuff. Ave Jake! (I smashed my head bloody against the adamantine wall of fluxions. My Dad never forgave me my weakness mathematical. Is it any wonder I’m a crank?)
                Sleep well craazys.

        2. Jake Mudrosti

          … then how can anybody read a word wih the letter “H” in it if it was just two dots? You could never say “house” or “hyena” or “Holy shlt”. You may not be able to say “honorable” but you probably almost could and nobody would notice.

          Big idea — this is yuuuge! Yuuuuuge!

  22. fresno dan

    Wasserman Schultz confronted Comey about Russian hacking The Hill (DK). Hilarity ensues…

    So curiouser and curiouser…..
    If one actually has to have access to a computer to determine if the computer has been hacked….how did the FBI determine if the DNC was hacked? It seems that supposedly the DNC never allowed the FBI access to the servers….

    I found an article saying that the Crowdstrike firm found hacking in June 2016

    “At DNC, COZY BEAR intrusion has been identified going back to summer of 2015, while FANCY BEAR separately breached the network in April 2016.”

    So if the DNC hires a firm to find if it has been hacked….did they not pay any attention to the results?
    What did the DNC DO?

    And than I read this link:
    Did the Russians Really Hack the DNC? Counterpunch (DG). “Attribution” is hard; good technical analysis of the JAR and subsequent “report.”

    “”The intent of the joint analysis report was to provide evidence of Russian state responsibility for the DNC hack. But nowhere does it do so. Mere assertions are meant to persuade. How much evidence does the government have? The Democratic Party claims that the FBI never requested access to DNC servers. [32] The FBI, for its part, says it made “multiple requests” for access to the DNC servers and was repeatedly turned down. [33] Either way, it is a remarkable admission. In a case like this, the FBI would typically conduct its own investigation. Was the DNC afraid the FBI might come to a different conclusion than the DNC-hired security firm Crowdstrike? The FBI was left to rely on whatever evidence Crowdstrike chose to supply. During its analysis of DNC servers, Crowdstrike reports that it found evidence of APT28 and APT29 intrusions within two hours. Did it stop there, satisfied with what it had found? Or did it continue to explore whether additional intrusions by other actors had taken place?””
    And it IF there was hacking of the DNC and/or Hillary it seems it occurred because none of these people understood cyber security or didn’t take it seriously. And of course, the strange lack of interest with regard to whether the secretary of state was hacked and ACTUAL government secrets were compromised….
    It seems to me the DNC can run but it can’t hide.

  23. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Did the Russians Really Hack the DNC? Counterpunch (DG).

    I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t understand one iota of the technical questions, presented in the article, to the conclusion that Russia definitely hacked the dnc with the intention of influencing the election and “destroying american democracy.” But given the criticism of the methods outlined, along with the fact that the fbi did not do its own investigation but relied on the, possibly compromised, private company crowdstrike to arrive at that conclusion, there seems to be no reason not to suspect that the Russian hacking claims are agenda-driven.

    I’d be willing to bet that Trump feels the same way.

    Since it appears that murky accusations of “cyber” plots will be the newest way the deep state foists its will upon a clueless public, I hope President Trump will realize the need for a counterbalance. I hope he assembles a group of cyber-security “experts,” that reports to him personally, and is able to directly challenge questionable assertions such as the widely panned JAR report.

    I’d like to be a fly on the wall during one of his security “briefings” when the briefers are questioned by the same experts whose concerns were raised in this article. While Trump may not know “cyber,” he’s reported to be a pretty good judge of character. I’d imagine he could glean all he’d need to know about the veracity of a report by the reactions he gets to challenge by adversarial experts.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        Further comment unnecessary:

        In short, official propaganda is not designed to deceive the public (no more than the speeches in an actor’s script are intended to deceive the actor who speaks them). It is designed to be absorbed and repeated, no matter how implausible or preposterous it might be. Actually, it is often most effective when those who are forced to robotically repeat it know that it is utter nonsense, as the humiliation of having to do so cements their allegiance to the ruling classes (this phenomenon being a standard feature of the classic Stockholm Syndrome model, and authoritarian conditioning generally).

        The current “Russian hacking” hysteria is a perfect example of how this works. No one aside from total morons actually believes this official narrative (the substance of which is beyond ridiculous), not even the stooges selling it to us. This, however, is not a problem, because it isn’t intended to be believed … it is intended to be accepted and repeated, more or less like religious dogma. (It doesn’t matter what actually happened, i.e., whether the “hack” was a hack or a leak, or who the hackers or leakers were, or who they may have been working for, or what whoever’s motives may have been. What matters is that the ruling classes have issued a new official narrative and are demanding that every “normal” American stand up and swear allegiance to it.)

        1. three eyed goddess

          “It’s not about the Big Lie. It’s about making people SAY they believe the Big Lie”
          The Mayor of Sin City

  24. oho

    ‘NYC Board of Elections broke federal law for booting nearly 120,000 Brooklyn voters from rolls: Department of Justice NY Daily’

    The article doesn’t mention if the purging was randomly geographically distributed—which would imply mere incompetence; or

    if those purged were located in specific precincts—which could lend credence to murmurs from Bernie supporters that the NYC Clinton-istas were suppressing Bernie turnout.

    1. UserFriendly

      They were all in Brooklyn, the borough Bernie was born in and the one known for it’s hipsters, Can’t imagine Hipsters voting for Bernie.

  25. Dave

    Oho, comment above, make sure and watch
    “Uncounted” the video about the Calif Scty of State who worked for HRC’s campaign.

    Obama opens all NSA data to investigators….
    That solves everything!

    The origins and minute by minute flow of bytes of the the “hacking”, right down to the apartment addresses in the Ukraine where Hillary’s freedom fighters hang out, the street address of the Syrian Observer On Human Rights over the tea shop in London, Jeb!’s family book keeper’s pool cabana, it’s all there.

    Maybe they have a bitching cool giant screen at their Utah repository of absolutely every digitized thing? Think of the cool Power Point slides.

    Hillary can sit there in the commanders chair and look serious for her next political run as dog catcher and head castrater in the town she and Chelsea moved to so that her daughter can start her inevitable pupation into politics.

    Honey! What did you put in this coffee?

  26. Pat

    Yes that article about how close the ALEC jerks are to getting their Constitutional Convention terrifies. That said I also believe that we need to state the obvious.

    Thanks, Obama!

    Forget the failure of opportunities and the sheer stupidity of doing little or nothing for people over the last eight years. It is that limiting true focus of the Party to the Presidency as a strategy alone should prove that Obama is not a chess master but the luckiest man alive. The severe losses that Democrats have had over the last eight years since his handpicked people have taken over the DNC is breathtaking. Dismantling the 50 state initiative has been devastating. And to think one of those leaders is still trying to become our next President even after losing the Vice Presidency. Wowsers.

    I hate these people.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The 50 state initiative (all states count) – and when California rids of the those establishment Dems, this state might just secede, as some ‘He’s not my president’ VIPs have threatened.

      Then, it will be the 49 state initiative.

      1. Waldenpond

        You might have to adjust that number…. I believe we’re taking Oregon and Washington with us.

            1. aab

              Nah, that’s not how California breaks down. We’re infested with neoliberal Democrats in both cities, but those ARE the Democratic citadels. Then there’s a backwards C around them that’s more rural and/or conservative. I don’t think the pot farms in the north have turned it progressive, but maybe someone else has more direct knowledge of the situation.

              The California Democratic Party still hasn’t certified the Berniecrat party takeover, and it was supposed to be done by yesterday. I’m getting antsy. With the DNC looking like it will continue to suck, it’s more important than ever to get California in hand.

              1. ambrit

                So, if I understand you right, we are looking at City States with attendant rural agricultural hinterlands. How Sixth Century B.C. Greece, or Middle Ages Europe.
                I love the delusion within our thinking that “progress” is a one way process.

    2. Romancing The Loan

      A Constitutional Convention where the states can’t agree on anything and eventually disband the federal government in frustration (limiting it down to nothing!) is a plot point in a near-future John Michael Greer novel. …He thinks it’s one of the better outcomes for the US over the next few decades.

      1. Pat

        Considering the dystopian scenarios I can come up with for at least ten states left when the federal government is disbanded, I really do not want to imagine what he thinks are the less good outcomes would be. Just consider the number of states dependent on federal employment and that isn’t just military installations. While a number of states would probably be all right for a time, I’m not sure any of them come out of that unscathed.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Yah, this place in blogspace is a lot about money and MMT and Policy. What happens to the issuer of currency or however that whole thing works when there ain’t no more “full faith and credit of the United States?” Will Greenspan be dug up and made to sit in the corner and watch “the Fed” conjure digital dollars into existence, and continue to be “distributed” through the unholy mess of corruption and dysfunction that we mopes have grown used to?

          “Suicide is painless
          It brings on many changes”

          Through early morning fog I see
          Visions of the things to be
          The pains that are withheld for me
          I realize and I can see…
          That suicide is painless
          It brings on many changes
          And I can take or leave it if I please.
          I try to find a way to make
          All our little joys relate
          Without that ever-present hate
          But now I know that it’s too late, and…
          The game of life is hard to play
          I’m gonna lose it anyway
          The losing card I’ll someday lay
          So this is all I have to say.
          The only way to win is cheat
          And lay it down before I’m beat
          And to another give my seat
          For that’s the only painless feat.
          The sword of time will pierce our skins
          It doesn’t hurt when it begins
          But as it works its way on in
          The pain grows stronger… Watch it grin, but…
          A brave man once requested me
          To answer questions that are key
          Is it to be or not to be
          And I replied ‘oh why ask me? ‘
          ‘Cause suicide is painless
          It brings on many changes
          And I can take or leave it if I please.
          … And you can do the same thing if you please.

  27. NotSoSure

    Link Correction required. The following “Ride-Hailing Drivers Are Slaves to the Surge” points to

  28. TedWa

    Can we have a re-set on our priorities? We’ve been following the wrong road for too long. Can I hope Trump is that re-set??

    1. Robert Hahl

      Trump may be an FDR in the making. Lots of parallel: born rich, posed as a traitor to his class, survived coup attempts due to influential generals.

  29. Waldenpond

    Chickens… a break in the storms here in CA so I went out to clean the poop shelf, change water and fill the feed bin… it’s mid January so it is also time to check and see if anyone is laying. Yep, 4 eggs. I tossed out some dried meal worms and a seed treat mixture. They like the tiered perch and the swing (just a 3 foot long 2×2 6 or so inches off the ground) but haven’t used the 2×2 tree I built yet (it’s 2x2s staggered around a 2×2 center). They are still working on tearing apart the half straw bale. So it’s time to put new straw in the laying boxes and before you know it, they will be in the front yard garden with me. While I turn the soil to prep for peas, they will be underfoot grabbing pill bugs and cut worms and when I sit down for a pause, one or more will sit in my lap. If you sing to them, they’ll close their eyes.

      1. Waldenpond

        I’ve been to chicken shows, it’s a different experience from just hitting the livestock section at a fair. The people can be intense….

        Oh that looks so funny, I started laughing at the trailer so, yes, I’ll be watching the full thing. I was forced to give my chickens a bucket bath after a poo event and yes, I have pictures of me with my chickens on me, but that looks over the top. The woman at the end of the clip… looking into her chickens eyes “you are a warrior” … Well, I have called one of my chickens a beetch and threatened her with the stock pot.

    1. polecat

      hope you got a vinyl apron handy … just in case ..

      I know my hens aren’t exactly discreet when it comes to pooping ….

      maybe the singing helps in that way .. ‘;\

  30. ambrit

    Not trying, very hard, to hijack, but, the froofraw about Biloxi trying to emasculate MLK day raises a wry eyebrow. Here in the Inland Empire, next monday is officially both MLK Day and R E Lee birthday holiday. And this in a 50/50 town. Biloxi, the last time I checked, had a large Vietnamese population.

  31. Foy

    Zuckerberg is getting sued for $2b for stolen tech on his virtual reality startup.

    Looking at the photo attached to the article I’m not sure what to think of humanity anymore, we are lost. The smile on Zuckerberg’s face and the upside down smile on the big guy in the blue shirt (and most others) and everyone blinded by their virtual reality headsets. No one except Zuckerberg looks happy. A sad sad photo… I wonder what Orwell would make of this…

  32. fresno dan

    2016 brought a lot of changes, or rather, brought them to light. In reality, the world has been changing for many years, but many prominent actors benefitted from the changes remaining hidden. Simply because their wealth and power and worldviews are better served that way.

    2016 will go down in history as the year when a big divide between groups of people in the western world became visible, a divide that had until then been papered over by real or imaginary wealth, as well as by ignorance and denial.
    When politics and media conspire to paint for the public a picture of their choosing, they can be very successful, especially if that picture is what people very much wish to see, true or not. But as we’ve seen recently, our traditional media have become completely useless when it comes to reporting news; the vast majority have switched to reporting their own opinions and pretending that is news.

    Both Britain and the US boast low unemployment numbers, but as soon as you lift the veil, what you see is low participation rates, low wages and huge numbers of part-time jobs stripped of all the benefits a job used to guarantee. It allows those who still sit pretty to continue doing that, but it’ll come right back to haunt you if you don’t turn it around, and fast enough.

    For many people, Obama, Merkel, Cameron and the EU cabal have been disasters. For too many, as we now know. That doesn’t mean that Trump will fix the economic problems, but that’s not the issue. People have voted for anything but more of the same.

    1. Tom

      Well said. I think Clinton lost because it was the voters’ chance to say, “Take your status quo and shove it.”

  33. Waldenpond

    No more fillings… It’s likely just me, but drug development seems to follow a certain path… develop a drug for symptom ‘A’. Test. Does not effect ‘A’ but side effects are b,c. B is mood related. Test as anti-depressant. No effect. C is brain related, test as alzeimers drug. No effect. Any other side effects? It may effect dentition. Test. Side effects of weeks of exposure to a mood altering/brain altering drug may not outweigh the benefits of tooth repair.

    In other words, it sometimes across as random invention and then tries to find uses for the side effects. I won’t even get into the times when it looks like they try to create a symptom for a particular solution.

  34. Synoia

    Oil Industry Corruption LRB. The later LeCarré in Lagos.

    I lived there as a child. FCPA is avoided by hiring expensive local “consultants,” typically family members for connections.

    The Nigerians have earned $1 Trillion from oil. None of it is visible in the infrastructure of the country.

    It could be that the experience of the western elites when seeing the looting in Africa was, not to condemn the looting, but use it as an example.

  35. Pat

    Just a thought, but wouldn’t a cold winter make Europe more likely to rethink their acceptance of a new cold war with Russia? Or were they able to lessen their dependence on Russia for heating oil? It isn’t as if America can supply it without it being very very expensive.

    1. Yves Smith

      My impression is that a lot of Europeans are not at all keen about it. Merkel is a diehard Commie-hater even though Russia is no longer the USSR. Her popularity has nosedived as a result of the refugee crisis plus a lot of German businessmen were unhappy re the sanctions.

  36. Waldenpond

    Sometimes I like to watch twitter fights. Some are angry about something Trump said about John Lewis (sorry, I could care more, but I won’t). Complainers are asked to name one thing John Lewis has done in the last 30 years…. and can’t. It makes me laugh that people who are defending Lewis can’t name one thing immediately, and after hours of this, it’s still crickets. So did google fail them or are they failing google.

    1. Pat

      He did just win a National Book Award for being co-author of a graphic novel about the Selma March including his part in it. Now that amuses the hell out of me in this context because it was recent but he is still all about that brief period in his life when he was young and idealistic and willing to fight for those ideals.

  37. Brad

    Liberals Have Enemies to Their Left National Review. NR is a bit late to the party, and they don’t really know the guests. Or the hosts. Or the house rules, if any. But Chapo Trap House gets a shout-out.

    Thanks. Confess I’ve never heard of Chapo Trap House. Punch line was quite weak: “Their ideas are old, tried, failed…” and here it comes! …dangerous”. Ooohh. I say: Fail Better next time.

    Is that all NR’s got? What happened to the good old days of smearing CPer Herbert Abtheker as a child molester?

    1. bob

      This is a hit piece?

      “They preach a kind of leftism that would be more at home in Paris during the 1968 May uprisings than at the New York Times. They reject technocratic liberalism favored by “wonks” and academic economists, preferring traditional, class-based revolution that’s materialist and vaguely existential in its goals.”

      It’s not even funny in how bad it is as a hit piece. It’s straight off the scrip-

      “But make no mistake,”

      Uh oh, Here it comes. You’re about to have your mind blown-

      ” the Chapo Trap House hosts and the leftist milieu in which they operate are old wine in a new, digital bottle.”

      That doesn’t even make sense. A digital bottle? And, isn’t old wine, of certain vintages, “better”?

      I hope the author let his or her toddler fill in Mad Libs for Ownz, and is trolling TNR with it.

  38. Oregoncharles

    ““35 Pages” Attack Against Trump Fails – Foreign And Domestic Losses Moon of Alabama”
    Make sure you read it. It’s ultimately pretty hilarious, at least if you’re an outsider to the shenanigans.

    The [family blog]-ing match within the elite is heating up. More popcorn!

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