Links 3/13/17

You’ll never want to buy synthetic clothing after watching ‘The Story of Microfibers’ Treehugger

Remembering Tristan Voorspuy, one of the last stylishly mad people in Kenya Spectator

So You’ve Been Contacted By Aliens, Now What? Motherboard

Yes, Your Sleep Schedule is Making You Sick NYT

New bill takes aim at men’s masturbation habits San Francisco Chronicle

2016 Post Mortem

When Nothing “Left” Is Left The People Will Vote Far Right Moon of Alabama

Camille Paglia Predicted 2017 New York. Love her, hate her, sometimes completely bonkers, sometimes right on point (e.g., on the Clintons). I confess I find her rants to be a guilty pleasure.  And I’m with her on disdaining the horrible pink pussy hats.

Tim Berners-Lee: I invented the web. Here are three things we need to change to save it Guardian

How a 94-Year-Old Genius May Save the Planet AlterNet

Time To Revisit The Two Cultures Standpoint. A mentor directed me to C.P. Snow’s essay during my first year as an MIT undergraduate, and it’s always stuck with me.

When a hippo is angry, even other hippos get out of the way BBC

Parts From Hell Jacobin

Attempts to honor Obama legacy generate fury Politico. Moi: As well they should. Can’t wait to see what you, dear readers, have to say about this.

SCHOLARLY DOUBLE STANDARDS AND THE AMERICAN PRESIDENCY War on the Rocks. Much more interesting than the dull headline suggests.

Scandal-Free Obama The American Conservative


To stay here after Brexit, scientists are swotting up on Morecambe and Wise New Statesman

The Commonwealth and Britain: the trouble with ‘Empire 2.0’ The Conversation

No-deal Brexit ‘would put UK in worst trading position of rich nations’ Guardian

Leaked Treasury report warns of painful ‘economic shock’ if Britain crashes out of the EU without a deal Independent

Dutch Election Upended as Turkey Dispute Seen Boosting Wilders Bloomberg

How I help my children navigate their incredible life journeys FT. How I will miss Lucy Kellaway when she quits the FT later this year (IIRC, to retrain as a maths teacher).

You’re Not Busy, You’re Just Rude WSJ

New York’s Vast Flop NYRB


Yemen is a complicated and unwinnable war. Donald Trump should stay out of it Independent. Patrick Cockburn’s latest.


Theresa May wants British people to feel ‘pride’ in the Balfour Declaration. What exactly is there to be proud of? Independent. Although this is from last week, I always make time for Robert Fisk.

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

Use of high-tech tool to locate shooters may greatly expand in California under proposed bill LA Times

Scrutiny Intensifies on the Warrantless Collection of Americans’ Communications MIT Technology Review

This troubled, covert agency is responsible for trucking nuclear bombs across America each day LA Times

Trump Transition

Many foreign tourists say they’re afraid to visit the US after Trump travel ban Stuff NZ

THE MEMO: For Trump, an early test of leadership The Hill

Trump’s in the White House bubble, and he loves it Politico

New Cold War

Hillary Clinton’s team met with Russian ambassador, says Kremlin spokesman, as he warns against ‘hysteria’ Daily Telegraph

Diplomats warn of Russia hysteria The Hill

US-Russia Relations 2017: Hacking Claims Affect Prospects Of Improving Relations, Kremlin Spokesman Says International Business Times

Inside New York’s Pension-Fund Scandal: What Went Unchecked WSJ

Imperial Collapse Watch

The Empire should be placed on suicide watch Vineyard of the Saker


Holi 2017: Here’s how people are celebrating the festival of colours in India, Pakistan and Nepal The Indian Express. Flick through these fab photos. Happy Holi!

The BJP Now Has Absolute Power in UP. Brace Yourself for the Aftershocks. The Wire

Banning the BBC for its Kaziranga story is a dangerous act of muzzling the media

India’s elite IITs are on a quest to develop self-driving cars for the country’s crazy roads Quartz

The need for a museum on British colonisation of India Al Jazeera. Shashi Tharoor promotes his new book that debunks Raj nostalgia.

Iceland to lift capital controls in return to financial markets FT



Dipole: the ‘Indian Niño’ that has brought devastating drought to East Africa The Conversation

Class Warfare

AT&T allegedly “discriminated” against poor people in broadband upgrades Ars Technica

2 of a Farmer’s 3 Children Overdosed. What of the Third — and the Land? NYT

Rubber and Heroin in a Dying City The Baffler

Fake News

Now even high school journalists are getting smeared with ‘fake news’ claim Columbia Journalism Review

Migrant Watch

Short Cuts LRB

Antidote du jour:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. vlade

    “Attempts to honour Obama’s legacy generate fury”. Of course people are furious with the most visible bit of Obama’s legacy – one Mr. Trump.. But I thought it was ok, even expected?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Those who voted for Trump are not furious…well, at least at the time of voting.

      Obama’s supporters still refuse to believe it’s his legacy.

      Some of the rest may be too busy trying to survive to know.

      Leaving all of the above, some may be just furious, some may be simply be shaking their heads, disappointed but not furious at his legacy, and some are indeed furious at Obama’s Trump legacy.

      But then, Obama’s Bush’s legacy.

      So, look for a legacy’s legacy source, I guess.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          You’re right.

          I was going to add that Bush II was Bill’s legacy.

          Bill, of course, is a prime mover type of guy, and, so, he is nobody’s legacy, though many would argue Bush senior’s No New Taxes broken pledge or Greenspan created him.

          1. WheresOurTeddy

            Why don’t we all just round up and call it what it is: the failure of the Neoliberal Era.

            For my money, everyone since FDR was garbage, with the exception of that nobleman’s son that wouldn’t play ball and was shot in Dallas. And even he left a lot to be desired.

    2. fresno dan

      “Attempts to honour Obama’s legacy generate fury”

      I think it shows a noble, gracious, magnanimous impulse to recognize mediocre, middling, undistinguished presidents without regard to race – otherwise, we succumb to the Soft Bigotry of High Expectations…or sumthin’

    3. dontknowitall

      Is Obama tired of getting meaningless peace awards and is reaching for the brass ring through his agents?…I remember last year when Obama had an aircraft carrier named after George H. W. Bush and the guy may be older than Moses but he’s still alive and kicking. It just seemed inappropriate. I generously grease your backside and you do mine when I am out of office. Where’s an ethics cop when you need one…

      Obama should just enjoy his new presidential library (where he has stashed the senate torture report for the next 29 years), the wildly excessive profits from his many autobiographies, his living room display* with his two Grammy awards and his Nobel Peace prize, his Shoah humanitarian award, and pretty please I hope he quits the coup attempts against Trump and just let us carefully consider for the next century (or two) his true neoliberal legacy before naming any damn thing after him.

      * I don’t actually know for a fact he has his awards displayed in the living room but it makes no difference.

      1. Linda

        Add to his list of awards: Obama recently received the Profile in Courage Award from the Kennedy Library Foundation.

        1. perpetualWAR

          Its very courageous to golf with Jamie Dimon while eviserating middle class wealth. That takes an abundance of courage.

          1. bronco

            Or to press a button in DC that launches a hellfire missile at some kid leading a mule down some trail in Afghanistan

        2. Jeremy Grimm

          Your comment reminds me of a quip Howard Zinn repeated in his speech about the Southern Influence on Politics: Zinn said one Senator observed of Kennedy — around the time Kennedy’s “Profiles in Courage” came out — that Kennedy showed great profile as a Senator but little courage.

          {As I recall — Zinn also spoke about the 1% in that speech.]

    4. cocomaan

      It’s great that Politico really made the effort to point out his accomplishments. Mentioned several times was that he was black. The other accomplishment was:

      Obama’s stimulus plans with helping the town create jobs and redevelop a 40-acre site into an industrial park.

      I think it’s appropriate to give him naming rights for something that a failing chamber of commerce could pull off.

    5. roadrider

      I hope a statue of Obama is erected in Washington DC and that when I pass away I come back as a pigeon so I can fly down there twice a day and crap on it.

    6. crittermom

      I suspect there are nearly 9 million of us who would prefer a road named “Obama HAMP Hwy”, with a high, ever-changing speed limit (that is a lie & impossible to maintain), many unmarked sharp curves, dead-ending in a free-fall off a very tall cliff that is unsurvivable.
      May he be the first to travel it & have Eric Holder, Lanny Breuer & Bill Clinton along for the ride.

      Regarding his ‘library’, I think it only fitting the walls be lined with photos of his victims, rather than his ‘trophies’.

      Gee. Am I bitter? You betcha!

      1. JerseyJeffersonian

        Geez, since his own recognition of just how good a killer he turned out to be, maybe those “victims” are instead his “trophies”.

  2. paul

    India’s self driving cars:

    It’ll take 90% of the available processing power to get the horn working properly in that environment.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      My first reaction is, shouldn’t that be ‘fanatical ITTs’ instead of ‘elite ITTs?’

      1. RUKidding

        I’m not and thanks for that! Toot toot honk honk toooooooooooooot hoooooooooooonk.

        I’ve been to India several times. Quite apt.

        I was amazed, however, when I visited my friends in rural Kerala, and they didn’t constantly honk their horn. They laughed at me (and at themselves) when I pointed that out. It was quite a relief.

        1. JoeK

          I travelled rather extensively in N. India “a while back” and in all the km. logged only took two long-distance buses. The first was a night bus through part of Rajasthan: a 1 1/2 lane hwy, so our driver played chicken with oppsosing traffic, almost all TATA trucks, all night long. The 100% distorted music on the loudspeakers and the pot-holed and bumpy asphalt would have kept me up all night anyway, but the view ahead, augmented by burned out/rusted hulks lining the road on both sides, at least one per km., had me fingering my prayer beads until dawn and vowing never again. But never say never…

  3. JTMcPhee

    Looking at today’s assortment of links and the stuff in my mailbox, it occurred to me that maybe this piece by Hedges might merit a look-see: “The Dance of Death,”

    As always (see the comments on the piece), Hope Springs Eternal and the seeming Cassandras of our day are poor-pooh’d by optimists who tell is it’s not only not all bad, the generators of the New are busily at it — messing with genetic material with their new tools, 3-D printing grenade launchers, every day coming up with a new threat and counter threat gadget in the great Game of War, spinning up the new intersections and nodes of the New Global Economy where some will thrive, I tell ya. We’re just groping, all 7 billion of us, for the New Equilibrium. Or if we are part of the 0.001%, grasping for ownership of everything…

    One telling of the myth of Pandora is that after all the plagues on humankind got out of the cask she was charged with guarding, only one remained, the worst of them all — Hope, which zipped out into meatspace before the astonished Pandora could slam the lid.

    1. Linda

      Ah, Hedges. An uplifting Monday morning read.

      Seriously, thank you for the link, JT.

      Interesting to note the U.S. is Too Big To Fail. We go, we bring the world down with us.

      The complex bureaucratic mechanisms that are created by all civilizations ultimately doom them. The difference now, as Joseph Tainter points out in “The Collapse of Complex Societies,” is that “collapse, if and when it comes again, will this time be global. No longer can any individual nation collapse. World civilization will disintegrate as a whole.”

      Hope and capitalism. I am woke.

      “Hope drives us to invent new fixes for old messes, which in turn create even more dangerous messes,” Ronald Wright writes in “A Short History of Progress.” “Hope elects the politician with the biggest empty promise; and as any stockbroker or lottery seller knows, most of us will take a slim hope over prudent and predictable frugality. Hope, like greed, fuels the engine of capitalism.”

      Recently watched an old talk Hedges gave where he mentions briefly the seductive powerful feeling one gets on killing. He includes it in this article:

      The lust for death, as Freud understood, is not, at first, morbid. It is exciting and seductive. I saw this in the wars I covered. A god-like power and adrenaline-driven fury, even euphoria, sweep over armed units and ethnic or religious groups given the license to destroy anything and anyone around them. Ernst Juenger captured this “monstrous desire for annihilation” in his World War I memoir, “Storm of Steel.”

      Got me wondering if our various presidents (B. Obama, for one example) succumb to this newly experienced, sickening power and excitement and thus cannot stop the drone assassinations, and must increase their frequency.

      1. JTMcPhee

        I did a stint in Vietnam. Not sure if I ever killed anyone with all the “rounds” I fired off at one point or another, but from my experience and observation of other troops, and a faded dip into war-porn in search of some meaning in all of it, yes, there’s a real charge out of trying to kill another person. Ask Charles Manson and Jeffrey Dahmer, oh, you can’t ask him because somebody killed him. As to Obama, I wonder if the thrill is enhanced by being in the position to order other people to kill those still-other people. You can bet Cheney and Obama will have their carcasses “laid in state” and have a nice memorable funeral cortege and burial. Our heroes.

        From Frank Herbert’s observations in “Dune,” if I remember right in the mouth of Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, oligarch par excellence: “A certain amount of killing has always been an arm of business.” Ask the people who run Monsanto and Dow and Lockheed-Martin and Pfizer and Bayer and the rest if there’s truth in that…

        From Winston Churchill, with more gore on him than GW Bush: “There is nothing so pleasing as to be shot at by one’s enemy without result.” And lots more from that bloody imperialist:

        Seems, on the record, that this is a big part of what humans are all about. Too bad we weren’t wired differently from the git-go — but then there probably would be a lot more cave bears and sabertooths and passenger pigeons and even dodos, those ridiculous sports of nature, and a lot fewer humans. Good or bad thing? I guess it just is. The vast indifference of the cosmos, or something.

        1. Linda

          As to Obama, I wonder if the thrill is enhanced by being in the position to order other people to kill those still-other people.

          Hmm, yes, now that’s power isn’t it.

          Thank you for your comments. Interesting and appreciated although I don’t have much to add.

          We give Hedges a run for his money on uplifting this morning. :)

        2. Alex Morfesis

          The love of killing humans vs synanthropia might be less present in this krapitalistik world if it was not tax free…

          Shorting stocks is tax free…celler boxing is tax free…charlie monger(u) & his co-conspirator have helped popularize the tax free privateering of pension funds and the “free float” of calling everything “reinsirance”…the blue chip stamps company is a fairly common example…

          The Wright brothers made life on earth easier for the misanthrope to destroy, debauch and depart…

        3. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Apparently it was very common in the 19th century for pleasure yachts to accompany navies when they went to bombard some helpless nation.
          Algeria, Crimea, et al.
          They’d stay out of range of any shore batteries and view the fun from the rail, in the evenings they’d retire to white tie dinners and discuss their favorite explosions of the day

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        “collapse, if and when it comes again, will this time be global. No longer can any individual nation collapse. World civilization will disintegrate as a whole.”

        Is that totally true?

        Wouldn’t, say, North Korea, which has arguably collapsed, or the people there used to collapse conditions, rise up, when the rest of the world collapses?

        “You Americans call this collapse? It’s much better than what we got back home.”

        1. NYPaul

          One of the most repugnant videos ever. Everything you need to know about Hillary Clinton….in 15 seconds.

  4. eD

    “The Commonwealth and Britain: the trouble with ‘Empire 2.0’ The Conversation”

    China is not a Commonwealth member, and the organization effectively started in 1930, seven decades after the second Opium War. This is really on the level of the articles linking the EU with the Nazi German empire.

    The other links are better than usual before. The one on masturbation is fun, and its not clear from the headline that the legislator is trolling. Texas has an interesting style of humor.

    1. MoiAussie

      Interesting. The “Barroso doctrine” says that a newly independent Scotland would have to reapply for EU membership (at the back of the queue). But perhaps Sturgeon could persuade England to “secede” from Britain, allowing a rump New Britain to remain in the EU. The Welsh have apparently had second thoughts about their 52.5% support for brexit and might buy into it. England might even be able to reduce or avoid the 50B pound exit bill – a real win-win situation.

      1. Clive

        Nope, too many succession spats in other EU member states (e.g. Catalonia) for that to be allowed to happen. And as Yves has (correctly) stated on Brexit, the EU is a “by the book” (i.e. follow the rules) type of bureaucracy and not amenable to backroom deals.

  5. fresno dan

    So I’m reading my right wing sites, and they reference an article about how Harvard lists all these conservative sites as FAKE NEWS – doesn’t even occur to them that maybe liberal, left wing, call it what you will sites are blacklisted as well. Now, to be fair, its unclear to me if its Harvard’s “list” or more accurately a list that Harvard links to.

    But, if being branded “fake news” is a badge of honor, akin to being on Nixon’s enemies list, did NC make the cut?

    Now, I could tell you if NC made the Harvard list, but you’ll remember it better if you have to look it up yourself

    1. jo6pac

      Some people are asking which news sources I trust, and all I can say is that I read/watch/listen very widely, from mainstream, corporate owned sources (The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes) as well as The Atlantic, National Public Radio, and various local and alternative sources with different political perspectives (Truth-Out) some of which are included on this list

      Thanks for the list of sites not to trust:) The above quote is from the person who put the list together and I find it kind funny in a sad whey that these are trusted sites. Scary.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The “trusted news sources” reminds me Palin’s “all of them” line. I love that he placed “The Washington Post” second on his list.

        How does he reconcile the Murdoch owned WSJ with the Murdoch owned FoxNews?

        1. Katharine

          She, actually. Women can be blind to their own bias too. There is some comic value in the list, but it’s pretty dark humor.

        2. JEHR

          I read The Globe and Mail, The New Yorker, Harper’s, the local paper, and many podcasts (BBC commentary shows, newcasts, Taxcast, Australian radio, DW), CBC shows (Ideas, News, Fifth Estate, Marketplace, The Passionate Eye {documentaries}), PRI, online (naked capitalism and many links), and so on. I’m not much into conservative ways of seeing things especially when they ignore the public good.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        You trust them today, but will you tomorrow?

        Just because someone doesn’t give you fake news now, that does not guarantee anything, if one wants to be aware…wants to live each moment to the fullest.

        So, right there, the author fails…by not adding, ‘read/watch/listen very widely, and always question the validity or non-fakeness of each bit of information.”

        That’s how she can be true (or can try to be true) to herself.

    2. JohnnyGL

      You got me with your “clickbait-y” commentary! :)

      Lot of people seem think they’re in a position to compose lists of things where they pass judgement on others.

  6. fresno dan

    nneliese van der Pol, now 32, saw the cost firsthand. From 2003 to 2007 she starred alongside Raven-Symoné on the Disney Channel’s “That’s So Raven.” She pointed out to The Post that it’s more than just the bright spotlight that separates the network’s stars from your average 16-year-old.

    “You have all these things that aren’t accessible to other people,” says van der Pol, who managed to avoid the public pitfalls that have plagued so many of her fellow stars. “You don’t really necessarily have to answer to anybody [except at] work, who’s telling you you’re great and fabulous all the time because they need you. And you have all this money and sometimes you don’t always know what to do with it.

    Interesting to me only from the standpoint of what great fame and wealth does to the young human psyche. How many Disney princesses have their been, and how many have had….”problems”? Is the rate greater than the typical rate among teenagers, or merely more publicized?

    1. bronco

      There is something extremely creepy about Disney shows.

      I want to get out in front of the crowd right now and copyright the hashtag #DisneyGate for use later when it comes out that the higher ups at Disney are pedophiles , buying these kids from their money hungry parents abusing them behind the scenes while putting them on the endlessly forgettable formulaic shows then discarding them in the studio dumpster on their 18th birthday

      1. fresno dan

        March 13, 2017 at 9:49 am

        Here is a movie parody/satire – I don’t know what I would call it – I didn’t think it was nearly as good as it could have been, but noteworthy as being shot on Disney property without PERMISSION. Of course, it is almost a documentary when you consider how Disney makes their secret police surveillance unobtrusive and how America makes its secret police surveillance unobtrusive…..

      2. JoeK

        What I find most creepy about Disney animations (aside from the story lines and subtext) is that all of the characters in every production I’ve had a glance at (usually at the homes of friends who are anesthetizing their young children with it) have the same eyes. The exact same eyes. What it means I don’t know but it can’t just be laziness on the part of the illustrators.

  7. fresno dan

    So You’ve Been Contacted By Aliens, Now What? Motherboard

    Is it humorous or ominous that when you click on the link and visit the article, the advertisement at the site is for a science fiction movie called “Life” with the tagline, “We were better off alone.”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Life is indeed better alone.

      The wooden horse may first appear to be a gift, but it will come back to haunt you.

      “It was much better before we came in contact with the Greeks across the Aegean Sea. Now, life is just regrettable.”

  8. Linda

    If I may bring up a topic that was in yesterday’s thread – the Gender Swap debate:

    Watching the video again reminded me of how Trump always called Clinton “Secretary Clinton,” or “Secretary.” She called him “Donald” throughout the debates. Probably only her base thought that was cute and cool. To everyone else it was rude and went against standards of civility and protocol. Not a good look.

    In the gender swap vid, she is calling him Secretary LastName, (I’ve forgotten), and he is calling her Brenda.

    1. Mrs Smith

      I noticed this during the debates and always wondered what the rationale was for Clinton calling him “Donald.” It seemed incredibly rude, though I suppose their reasoning was that he didn’t have any political titles and even “Mr Trump” would afford him too much respect.

      It totally backfired with me, and I find Trump to be undeserving of politeness or respect at any time. In a debate situation though, it just seems like common sense to make strong points while also to trying not to piss off your opponents supporters.

      1. Quentin

        Just recently I realised that common citizen Hillary may not even have congratulated then President-elect Donald Trump on his stunning victory against her. Or did she and I missed it? Generosity is basically a sentiment on which the Clinton Foundation has the world patient and monopoly. So understand, international law wouldn’t allow her to offer congratulations.

    2. sid_finster

      She was trying to look all alpha and in charge, like a schoolteacher laying down the law to a a slow learning kid with a behavioral disorder.

      She came off as a hectoring bully.

    3. Elizabeth Burton

      Posted that to my newsgroup, and a member I’m beginning to think of as “the Clintonite/DNC mole” commented to the effect “I didn’t see it, so it didn’t happen.” It’s very hard not to surrender to despair, especially after you spent the weekend being attacked by hardcore Bernie progressives for daring to suggest the Russians didn’t influence the election.

      1. Procopius

        I don’t think they were real BernieBros. There seem to be a large number of trolls attacking doubters. Do you know what the “four-minute men” were? During World War I they pretended to be volunteers going around giving short pro-war anti-German speeches, although most of them were actually paid. I think of myself as a hardcore Bernie progressive and I don’t believe Russia affected the election. Heck, I’ve reached the point where I’m not even convinced the DNC computers were hacked. The only evidence is the report from CrowdStrike, a private security firm with ties to Ukraine. The FBI never even examined the computers before the disks were wiped.

  9. MoiAussie

    The massive heatwave that caused Australia’s Angry Summer in recent weeks, breaking 205 weather records across the continent, has been wreaking havoc on the Great Barrier Reef, 22% of which was killed in the El Nino event of 2016, with up to 85% loss in the far north. As was feared and now reported

    A mass bleaching event is taking its toll on the Great Barrier Reef for an unprecedented second year in a row. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority has declared widespread damage from an underwater heatwave after a single day of aerial surveys between Cairns and Townsville on Thursday.

    The dreams of Global Oil are coming true faster than even they must have imagined. With the reef dead, there can of course no longer be any reasonable grounds for objecting to their exploiting the oil and gas reserves beneath it.

    1. RUKidding

      As a sometime Aussie, I am sorry to learn this news. That’s terrible. Thanks for the update.

    2. MyLesstThanPrimeBeef

      Angry Australian summer.

      Then there is the drought in East Africa, with soaring food prices in Kenya, Ethiopia, etc. in one of today’s links…Indian Nino.

      Moving from there to Egypt, there is another link on soaring bread prices in the Nile Delta area.

    3. Dead Dog

      Thanks, mate. I’m in Cairns and the story is under reported here.

      All the reef systems are doomed now. Can’t be stopped or postponed.

      Sad times

      1. MoiAussie

        Yeah, you’re right about that. The killing of the reef is being accelerated by massive expansion of coal and LNG export terminals, and soil runoff from unprecedented land clearing for cattle ranching in Queensland. Despite its World Heritage listing and value as a tourist magnet, the death of the reef will at least in part be Australia’s doing, sacrificed in pursuit of beef and energy export $$$.

        Back on the ferocious pace and impact of global warming, there’s also the death of mangroves in the north:

        The death of mangrove forests stretched over 1000 kilometres of Australia’s northern coast a year ago has been blamed on extreme conditions including record temperatures.

        And then there’s the lethal stingers killing off aging tourists, despite press attempts to blame it on heart attacks. They’re moving south. There’ll be poisonous tropical sea snakes in Sydney harbour before you know it.

        1. Dead Dog

          I’m friendly with a number of long term residents here. Back in the 50s and 60s, the coast line was all white sand and blue oceans, not the dirty muddy stuff we have now.

          All from humans.

  10. Paid Minion

    Camile Paglia interview…….

    Off topic, but why is it that every New York based writer, when doing an interview, feels the need to give two paragraphs of details describing whatever eatery they happen to be at? Some local reg to promote foo-foo cafes?

    Whats wrong with just saying “I met her at a local cafe/restaurant/Mickey Dee’s”, and leaving it at that? Better yet, skip the meal commentary altogether.

    1. adrena

      On topic response …..

      Camille Paglia is an enigma.

      “I wouldn’t have known how to raise a girl,” Paglia said. “I mean, the idea that I would have to — pink nail polish, all that, oh my god. I don’t know what I would have done.”

      Paglia appears to hold a stereotypical view of girls and to disdain women.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Or, she’s saying that kids tend to fall for the stereotypes – most do, though maybe not hers – and she couldn’t have handled it.

        I presume that in having a kid she undertook that risk, though. Or maybe it was her partner’s idea. She would make an odd parent.

    2. Oregoncharles

      The part about Paglia choosing a table was very revealing. Apparently she doesn’t mind being hard on wait staff, which does not reflect well on her.

  11. Clive

    Re: Screxit

    Oh no, here we go again, another Scottish independence referendum

    The logic of which I don’t profess to get — “we don’t like Brexit because leaving a union is A Bad Thing so we want to leave the union because that would be A Good Thing”. Or something like that. I’m only carping because I’m all referendum’ed out. No doubt the usual Naked Capitalism suspects (PlutoniumKun, paul …) will be along later and you’ll get more sense out of them.

    1. Darius

      Maybe Scotland wants to join the Eurozone. Because we can all see how great that worked out for Ireland.

      1. Anonymous 2

        My first offering would be that Sturgeon reckons it may well be her best chance to win?

        There was a recent opinion poll showing opinion on independence in Scotland on a knife edge, so perhaps she reckons that, if it looks as though England is going over a cliff edge by late 2018, she could persuade a few more Scots to swing to the Independence side. They would have to ignore the economic problems Scotland would face but as the English have ignored the economic problems Brexit will most likely deliver she may reckon people are no longer thinking about economic consequences. There will also be those arguing Edinburgh inside the EU could steal some of ex-EU London’s business.

        At that point of course we should have another referendum whether the UK should leave the EU if it involves destroying the UK. If the English still want to go ahead, London should have a referendum to see if it wants to leave England to ward off the threat from Edinburgh.

        I recently re-read Euripides Bacchae to remind myself what happens when a people go insane. Interesting read. I do not think human nature has changed since his day.

        1. paul

          I’m pretty sure Edinburgh would face the same capacity constraints Plutonium K discussed over Dublin, it’s bursting at the seams as it is.
          Hard to see where you would accommodate the ‘high value’ types here.

      2. Kurt Sperry

        An independent Scotland must have its own currency. If it uses the GBP, it will be ruled from Westminster; if it adopts the Euro, from Brussels instead. I don’t sense there is either the will nor the capacity to do that in Edinburgh. It’s certainly a subject the SNP seems to assiduously avoid.

    2. paul

      As with everything discussed here, there’s no particularly good option. I voted yes last time and I voted for brexit (due the antidemocratic, brutal aspects of its institutions).
      Getting out with an intact Health Service is a good enough reason to escape Westminster.
      In the event of a win, I don’t think rUK is going to play any nicer than the EU is over brexit.
      As for referendum fatigue, as I’ve said before, the Yes campaign was a pretty uplifting affair last time.
      It’s nice to have something to be optimistic (or at least positive) about.
      EU accession? I can contain my enthusiasm, but we’re out either way, so it’s no longer a problem.

    3. Pookah Harvey

      Mark Blyth, political economist at Brown and Scottish national had this to say

      If apparently if there’s going to be a Brexit to get out, then the Scots are going to vote to get back in. Okay, this is fun. So you’re going to give up George Osborne, who is an austerity chancellor, for who? Dr. Wolfgang Schäuble {Germany’s Finance Minister}. So your nice little Scottish welfare states going to be really well protected by the tender embrace of the Germans. How’s that working out for the Greeks? People aren’t thinking this one through.

      1. Anonymous2

        IMO people in the UK have not been thinking things through for a while now. I reckon the condition is contagious.

        I am re-reading Daniel Kahneman (great book by the way) who says most people are System 1 thinkers anyway (what I describe as knee-jerk thinking). The guy could be wrong of course but what he has to say is worrying if you want to believe in the compete rationality of the common man or woman.

      2. PlutoniumKun

        Unusually for Mark Blyth, he gets that very wrong. For all the reasons that Yves and Clive, etc., have outlined, joining the euro would be extremely difficult for Scotland and would take years, even if they thought it was desirable. So it would most likely have to stick with sterling, or possibly go for a sort of transitional Scottish pound linked to sterling (as Ireland did when it got independence). So whatever problems Scotland would have on independence, it would not include Schauble. My guess is that the most practical and sensible option Scotland would pursue would be a gradual adoption of the Scottish pound, first linked to sterling, and then on some sort of float.

        1. Mark P

          I think Blyth knew that, but was just making the rhetorical point off the cuff that the EU and ordoliberalism isn’t quite the wonderful utopian construct that many bourgeois liberals ‘of a certain age’ prefer to believe it is.

      3. Oregoncharles

        They COULD join the EU but not the Euro, like Poland. If the EU would put up with that.

        AFAIK, the North Sea oil is really Scottish oil; Scotland would be a petro-state, while it lasts. More like Norway than Greece.

    4. PlutoniumKun

      I think Sturgeon missed a trick when the Brexit vote finished – she should have said simply ‘Scotland voted to stay, we are staying, if England wants to leave, thats their business’. I understand the reasons she has tried to play a longer game, but I think its too late now for a clean split with the UK because of the complication of currencies and EU membership. The great danger for Scotland is a positive vote for independence leading to a ‘hard’ sterling area exit and a ‘hard’ Brexit/Scotxit, it would be a double clusterf*ck. For this reason, I suspect that in the absence of having contitutional issues tied up, the Scots will vote to stay in the Union again if there is another referendum.

      I’ve speculated before on the whispers of some sort of deal with Ireland and N.Ire allowing Scotland to essentially adopt Irelands membership, but I suspect that this has met a cold reception in Brussels, partly because the Irish government is so weak and divided at the moment its not been able to push a coherent line. Its possible that a rapid election in Ireland leading to FF/Sinn Fein government could change things quickly, but for now I think the opportunity for imaginative thinking has floated away.

      I’m not a close follower of Scottish politics, so this is just speculating from a distance, but I’m guessing Sturgeon has realised that playing a longer game was a mistake – Scotland has losts its window of opportunity for a clean break and staying in the EU – and that this is a slightly panicky attempt to see if she can force a quick change of mind. But I think its too late.

      1. paul

        I’d disagree,
        1, She would have to have been prepared for the brexit result, and not even the most ardent (really most vocal, Boris acting on principle?) brexiteers were prepared for that.
        2. A snap declaration would have set her up as the presumptious shrew her adversaries wish she was.
        Taking a little time, she can say(to the home team at least) she tried, and that Scotland’s view on brexit was of the utmost unimportance to Westminster.
        Also, this referendum will require the SNP to go all in, which they most definitely did not the last time.

  12. fresno dan

    Scrutiny Intensifies on the Warrantless Collection of Americans’ Communications MIT Technology Review

    We don’t know how investigators ascertained the content of conversations between former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak in December. It is possible, though, that they first learned of Flynn’s communications via surveillance of a Russian target authorized under FISA, perhaps Section 702. (The circumstances behind other reported surveillance involving Russian banks are even less clear.)

    Section 702 authorizes the government to compel providers like Google and Facebook to disclose communications content associated with “targets” of foreign intelligence. It also gives it the power to make the companies that own and maintain the Internet’s backbone turn over communications content, including telephone calls. That includes not just communications sent to and from a target, but also communications that are about the target—even if the targeted person isn’t participating in the communication.
    Goitein and many others argue that the government’s refusal to make public a clear estimate of the number of Americans’ communications it collects via Section 702 surveillance, despite repeated requests from advocates and lawmakers including Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, makes a fair debate over the law’s reauthorization impossible. Investigators collected more than 250 million communications under the law in 2011. Even if only a small fraction contained Americans’ data, that could still be a big number.

    Trump, clumsy and inexact in his pronouncements regarding being “wiretapped’ and the media’s purposeful obtuseness about the subject does not negate the fact that the 4th amendment has essentially been abolished. Those on the right (and Left!!! who thinks its OK when their guy does it) who think that these constitutional rights are just technicalities now have the instructive example that the CIA can go after Trump and in the future ANY repub that they find antagonistic to the CIA agenda. Who knows – what with the quality of the presidents we’ve had we would be better off with the CIA running the country /sarc

    Its unclear to me if Flynn could be monitored for failing to register as a foreign agent of Turkey, but the real question is any number of supposed rules regarding release of such material for privacy AS WELL AS PROTECTION OF SOURCES was compromised because the CIA thought that the CIA political agenda of thwarting rapprochement with Russia was unacceptable. Like the movie “Mississippi Burning” that glorified the circumvention of the constitution, the media things secret surveillance is just find as long as its done to the “right” (irony) people.

    One of the few things I agree with Trump on is the de-villain-acation of Russia, and I thought the issue was one of the few clear things set out in the repub campaign – Trump didn’t buy that Russia was an implacable foe that we had to always oppose. The US government manages to do SO much that is contrary to the wishes of the majority that I should not be surprised, but it still is disheartening…

    1. JTMcPhee

      Is the Apparently Permanent State Security Bureaucracy, with its own special funding and long tenure, maybe more accurately thought of as the “4th branch of government, superior to the others in the organizational chart”? I bet someone has proposed this notion long since.

      “The majority” has no power to compel. And once again, the constitution is just a piece of paper, deemed “quaint” by those who dispose and decide. There are no rights, unless there are effective remedies to force compliance with the principles and deter and punish violations.

      The collapse of STASI was an aberration, though much of the structure, as with NKVD and KGB, morphed and persists.

    2. LT

      Those on the right were so concerned with the 2nd amendment, they forgot about the 4th (which also had provided some measure of protection against wanton search and seizure). So they have their guns…which can now be taken at any time.

      And if some fantisize about a grand shoot out before their gun is taken from their cold, dead hands, the surveillance is so thorough now that your guns could be gone before you ever retrieve them.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Completely lost in the sound and fury is a reminder of the FACT that the NSA spies on everyone, always, and everywhere. They “withhold” access to the data via kangaroo court/FISA…but in his last few days in office Obama removed the data privacy protections on the data before the data is transferred to our Five Eyes and other partners.
        Instead of even the slightest fig leaf of data privacy, state actors in the USG can just request the data from an overseas partner.
        Voila: a surveillance police state where spy data is used for political purposes without restriction.

        1. fresno dan

          March 13, 2017 at 7:07 pm

          exactly right. At one time people would have cared. Remarkably, despite people’s experience with the department of motor vehicles, they thing the government is benign….

    3. Rageon

      That includes not just communications sent to and from a target, but also communications that are about the target—even if the targeted person isn’t participating in the communication.

      Hmmm…So, assuming Putin or Assange are “targeted persons”, any mention of them anywhere by anyone can be scooped up? Yikes! So much for that 4th amendment…Gotta start coming up with some good obfuscating nicknames….Mmm, “Tiny Poo”, “Ass Angel”, that might throw them off the scent (sent)…

  13. fresno dan

    New bill takes aim at men’s masturbation habits San Francisco Chronicle

    The satirical House Bill 4260 would encourage men to remain “fully abstinent” and only allow the “occasional masturbatory emissions inside health care and medical facilities,” which are described in the legislation as the best way to ensure men’s health.
    A man would face a $100 penalty for each emission made outside of a vagina or medical facility
    I don’t think that would be too hard on men, as my encyclopedic knowledge on porn informs me that every man going into a hospital for any kind of sexual treatment is tended to by voluptuous young nurses (unless it is a gay movie, where hunky young male nurses do the tending….).

    $100 penalty – well, applying just to me, that would cover the national debt…but the bad news is that I don’t have 21 trillion….

    1. Alex Morfesis

      Texas is a funny place, but it might be interesting for Jessica Farrar to not so much “joke” about “the staff of life” & maybe take a slightly different tact…

      a womans uterus is not just her “health” issue…it is private property…when the govt “takes” property for the “commonweal, it is an eminent domain taking that needs to be compensated…also, perhaps women are not exactly thinking about childbirth when they are doing internal yoga stretching with the aid of the male species…

      why is then the deposting of male bodily fluids not a trespass ???

      Why not require the “express written consent”(thank you baseball) of deposting and absent such, the trespass is a criminal offense ??

      Punishable by requiring the “criminal” felonious trespasser to serve time, pay a 5 thousand dollar fine, lose their voting rights and be required to help change and despose of diapers in public arenas…

      If the he-man woman haters club can attempt to reserf or reslaverize women, then women can use their majority voting capacity to return the favor…

    2. fresno dan

      fresno dan
      March 13, 2017 at 10:26 am

      a gay friend reminded me that the bill is homophobic…..

      1. Alex Morfesis

        Well…it is the south, where being gay is something respectable people only do behind closed doors…although we all know politicians can be buysexual publicly…who ever is buying, they are having sex with…

    1. fresno dan

      Robert Hahl
      March 13, 2017 at 10:29 am

      WOW! And it looks like the machine is made out of plastic – it has that whitish color. Is it constructed of titanium?

  14. allan

    US military leak exposes “holy grail” of security clearance files [ZD Net]

    A unsecured backup drive has exposed thousands of US Air Force documents, including highly sensitive personnel files on senior and high-ranking officers.

    Security researchers found that the gigabytes of files were accessible to anyone because the internet-connected backup drive was not password protected.

    The files, reviewed by ZDNet, contained a range of personal information, such as names and addresses, ranks, and Social Security numbers of more than 4,000 officers. Another file lists the security clearance levels of hundreds of other officers, some of whom possess “top secret” clearance, and access to sensitive compartmented information and codeword-level clearance. …

    File under Big Brother is Watching the Imperial Collapse.

  15. Carolinian

    I always make time for Robert Fisk

    Good for you. He is a great journalist. For awhile the hasbara crowd was promoting the word “fisking” as a clever (in their own minds) way of undermining this long time correspondent’s reputation. Needless to say their real beef was that he is, for example, willing to call the Balfour Declaration the cynical and colonialist move that it was.

  16. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Rubber and Heroin in a Dying City The Baffler

    While this piece is mostly about the scourge of opioids, I think the brief history of Goodyear’s decline is the real story that demands more in depth discussion.

    In the 1960s, the tire industry in America shifted in response to new radial tire technology. Radial tires were stronger and more flexible, due to a network of cords reinforcing the rubber, giving it better shape. But the technology used to build them cost hundreds of millions of dollars. As other companies floundered or sought outside funding, Goodyear C.E.O. Charles Pilliod chose to keep Goodyear independent. Despite heavy criticism, he invested in new factories and tooling to build the radial tire. The factory in Akron became a technical center, working to stay ahead of the industry’s research and design curve.

    Pilliod’s strategy wasn’t without flaws: in 1986, Goodyear hemorrhaged two billion dollars to stop a corporate takeover. After the immediate dividends paid by the shift, the cost of the transition eventually caught up with the company. The first big layoffs came in 1991, when Goodyear had to expand into new international markets, resulting in twelve thousand lost jobs, several hundred in Akron alone. In 1999, Goodyear made a $1 billion deal with Japan’s Sumitomo Rubber Industries, establishing joint ventures across the globe to make them the world’s largest tire company. When demand dropped at the end of the nineties, in concert with rising oil prices, the 2001 layoffs seemed inevitable to the town’s struggling residents, many clinging to hope in the form of a local legend—a high school junior at Akron’s St. Vincent-St. Mary high school named LeBron James.:

    Long story short: A CEO’s decision to invest “hundreds of millions” in business innovation is “flawed” due to the need to spend two billion fending off rent-seeking corporate raiders and the “need” to jump on the globalization bandwagon. That two billion dollars would have come in handy in weathering the inevitable business downturn of 2001. Also no mention of the cheap Chinese and Korean tires that were allowed to flood the u. s. unimpeded.

    I’ve no doubt that when the postmortem on this sorry saga is written, the authors will wonder how a few dollars less spent on tires (or any other product formerly manufactured in this country) could ever have been balanced against the immense social costs required to achieve it. No doubt “mistakes were made” and “lessons were learned” will figure prominently in any explanation.

    1. fresno dan

      Katniss Everdeen
      March 13, 2017 at 10:47 am

      Great analysis Katniss
      “A CEO’s decision to invest “hundreds of millions” in business innovation is “flawed” due to the need to spend two billion fending off rent-seeking corporate raiders and the “need” to jump on the globalization bandwagon.”

      I didn’t realize it as I lived through it, but it was decided at the time that the most important thing this country could do was assure that the rich got richer and everybody else got poorer…

      1. MyLesstThanPrimeBeef

        “…was decided at the time (by the elites) that the most important thing …the rich got richer…”

        Of course, we also went along (that’s what democracy was and is for – so now, we can’t complain, “they” tell us).

        What was said to convince us to go along? Free trade? Trade deficits don’t matter? We just need better re-training?

        Who were the outstanding salesperson of those years? Greenspan? Bill NAFTA-and-I’m-cool Clinton?

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        I always find it “clarifying” to remember that a billion is a thousand million.

        It puts “hundreds of millions” in perspective.

        1. Richard

          Actually, it’s not. A billion is a thousand thousand million.
          Your “hundreds of millions perspective” is much more impressive when seen through the proper use of language.
          A thousand million is… a thousand million.
          Americans, however, thought they knew better. So they “invented” their own ridiculous concept of what they decided a billion should be. It just sounds good, you see. Americans love exaggeration and hyperbole. So…. 100,000,000… a billion it is!
          Poor Americans… they so desperately wanted to have their very own language, didn’t they? So they butchered English instead…

    2. djrichard

      In towns like Akron and the even smaller towns that surround it, officials have begun to throw up their hands and just let the epidemic play out, hoping that there will be a population left when it does.

      As long as it’s only the losers, the winners have nothing to worry about. Problem is today’s winners become tomorrow’s losers in an ever shrinking main-street economy, where each recession reveals the new “new normal”.

      Parents who watched their children escape the minute they could

      To escape now-of-days requires more than getting out of dodge. It means being nimble enough to follow the bubbles: either asset-wise (and getting out early before they deflate), or job-wise and having skills the translate from one bubble to another. Of course every bubble requires salesman-ship and marketing, so those skills will always be in demand. [Or you can always try to stick it out with the main-street economy and see how well that works out for you.]

      1. a different chris

        The best part is that if you have a job the power-that-be are so on your case to buy a house/start a family but when your local economy collapses you are supposed to move. Of course your house is now unsaleable and the cost of living where the job market is “hot” is impossible to manage (since somehow the Elite has decoupled the need for workers from actually having to up their pay).

    3. Shirley Ende-Saxe

      Absolutely on the mark, Akron has been the locus for Capitalism’s shenanigans for a very long time and suffers greatly from the scourge of heroin/meth. However. It’s where I live. And while everything in the article is true, it failed to mentions thousands of people (including LeBron James) working to make life better here. We have some of the most affordable housing in the nation, a thriving local arts scene, excellent food and nightlife and many, many craft brewing businesses. Not to mention 2 major public universities and many small businesses. Just sayin’.

  17. LT

    Re: Brexit and the trouble with empire 2.0

    The history of empires: please, stay over there while we bomb you and control your resources.

  18. skk

    That link

    >The BJP Now Has Absolute Power in UP. Brace Yourself for the Aftershocks. The Conversation

    is misidentified. The article is from “The Conversation” is rather different from as seen by the Commonwealth article also linked and that IS from “The Conversation”.

    As it was it was when I clicked the link that I realised it was from, and that it was by SV. So the article wasn’t a shock.

    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      Yes, the link is indeed from The Wire. I typed The Conversation by mistake. Thanks for pointing out the error. As you note, the two publications are very different (although The Wire often cross-posts articles from The Conversation).

  19. JTMcPhee

    Stuff that happens while we sleep: And where does the money come from, again? And how does any of this make any kind of sense at all? “We want better F-15s than what you sold to Saudi and Qatar.” The self-licking is not of an ice cream come… But as is said of dogs, “They do it because they can.” See, e.g., discussion of current snark legislation on taxing or regulation male self-pleasing. Another effective form of Resistance.

  20. fresno dan

    SCHOLARLY DOUBLE STANDARDS AND THE AMERICAN PRESIDENCY War on the Rocks. Much more interesting than the dull headline suggests.

    It all comes down to the chimera that we have TWO parties – every president makes a show of pretending that he is the opposite of his predecessor, when in fact 99.9% of the workings of the government are exactly the same. The 0.1% difference is that there has been some rotation in the lobbyists and hangers-on who service the suppliers of the grift…

    thank you for these links Jerri-Lynn Scofield!!!
    I seem to have a real affinity for what you post!

  21. fresno dan

    Yemen is a complicated and unwinnable war. Donald Trump should stay out of it Independent. Patrick Cockburn’s latest.

    FIFY: Iran, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Libya, etc. are complicated and unwinnable wars. Donald Trump should stay out of them…

    1. nechaev

      you might be interested in Bruce Reidel’s column today:

      Reidel, as you probably know, is the Brookings heavyweight on the Gulf / WOT [Saban Center for Middle East Policy… three guesses as to who financed that]. Plays up the –minimal– Iranian influence on Houthis to some extent, but fairly devastating on the mess the Saudi’s have got themselves into [“while the Yemeni war is only a part of the Saudis’ military spending, it is a burden far beyond what a nation of only 20 million citizens can sustain....”]
      Of course his major concern is perpetuation of the status quo in the Guilf: “The prime American interest is to help our oldest ally in the region, Saudi Arabia, find a way out of a conflict that is not working out in its own interests” Lotsa luck on that one.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Trump should ban his intervention mind from travelling there.

      Hopefully, the judges will be OK with that.

  22. Tom

    “Parts from Hell”…

    If you still have Takata airbags that need replacing get them fixed for free, paid for by the greedy bastards that thought they could save money.

    Make sure and demand a loaner rental car, paid for by the manufacturer. And, if you have anything other than a subcompact that needs new airbags, demand a comparable sized free rental vehicle. We did, and we got to drive an SUV for a week. No, we were not in a hurry to reorganize our work schedule to get the rental car back to the dealer’s lot in a hurry.

    Financial pain is the only moral compass that affects corporations.

    1. JTMcPhee

      If there’s zero realistic threat of jail time or worse, there’s no chance the individuals who make the decisions that become “the corporation’s” actions will change their modus operandi. Just sat ting, as a former EPA enforcement attorney who saw such changes in the’80s. when EPA started up an active criminal enforcement program and actually put corporate executives in jail. Even if those jails were not the real hard time nasty places. And even when in some cases, a corp servant was willing to “take one for the team.” And where plea deals and prosecutor preferences for “largest penalty evah!” checks had to be opposed.

  23. TK421

    How a 94-Year-Old Genius May Save the Planet

    But what is he wearing? If it’s a racy shirt, he must be fired.

  24. LT

    Re: Empire on Suicide Watch

    The writer thinks its Trump vs the Trump administration. But you have to remember that Bannon was first on the Cruz bandwaggon, then jumped to Trump. The people pulling (or subsidizing) Bannon’s strings are the real power. They intended to get into the White House no matter which puppet stirred the popular imagination for their purposes.

    1. fosforos

      Re: Empire on Suicide Watch: This “Saker” type writes “a society which not only is unable to differentiate right from wrong, but which now decrees that deviant behavior is healthy and normal.” Straight from the hymnbooks of the Westwood Baptist Church, the Russian Orthodox Church, and every other organization of what we used to call “clericalfascism.” Loathsome.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        If the deviant behavior is to believe ‘greed is good,’ or ‘It’s glorious to make money, black cat or white cat,’ and if that’s deemed healthy and normal, that society is in trouble.

      2. Mark P

        Much non-ironic commentary invoking the evil Anglo-Zionists and the Rothschilds, etcetera, on that site, both from the Saker and those posting, I see.

      3. I Have Strange Dreams

        America is a deviant society:
        Late-term abortions, death penalty, 70% marriage failure rate, 40 million living in poverty, endless war mongering, highest rate of drug use in the world, mass shootings….. Sorry, you were saying?

        1. I Have Strange Dreams

          Not to mention the world’s largest prison population. Or terrible healthcare system.

  25. Kurt Sperry

    Echoing fresnodan above, I just want to say this is a delicious collection of links today, and it’s getting to the point where I get a little anticipatory thrill when I see the links have been compiled by JLS. No disrespect to YS or LS at all, but Jerri-Lynn does a truly fabulous job.

  26. LT

    Re: Time To Revist Two Cultures

    Literati and scientists have the same problem: Too much co-option by corporations, including in academia.
    Both sets would be better served attacking the corpo status quo, which has put much of their ethics and ideals on the back burner, instead attacking one another – a result of that frustration.

    1. Portia

      but, the money! they have forgotten how to exist without grants, nonprofits that suck up to corps, and endowments. how can they find their way back to their origin?

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      I agree with your view. The Muses have become servants to the Market. They may quibble and pick at each other but they do so wearing a Neoliberal collar. They achieve little more than spoiling any chance for uniting against their common enemy.

      After reading what I could access from the link and listening to a BBC presentation about the two cultures debate [] — I left with the feeling that C.P. Snow’s “Two Cultures” was distinctly retro. By the start of the 1960’s science and mathematics were already firmed established in the German University system and the German model for the University was already replicated in the American University system. I hope it’s not unkind to suggest the Universities in the United Kingdom were debating a matter already settled elsewhere. As an American I have difficulty not attributing part of the debate in England to remainders of the English class system struggling to preserve some class markers of the old leisure class.

      In one version of Snow’s “Two Cultures” — which I found on the web — he mentions problems of the over-specialization of English education — problems I believe also trouble American education. The gulf between Science and the Arts is only one branch of the problem of the many and growing gulfs between specializations within the Sciences and the Arts. He also touches on the problems of testing and training to a test in a discussion of the Mathematical Tripos and how “fifty years ago … the old order-of-merit … was abolished.” And he touched on another topic — what education should be and should mean — which perhaps underlay some of the acrimony of debate around the many theses in his essay.

      Just out of curiosity — why did a mentor at MIT refer to Snow’s essay instead of some of the writings of Veblen or Mumford? I recall Herbert Hoover was described as one of the first technocratic Presidents of the United States. Seems to me that the debate troubling Snow in England had long ago been decided in America where the Arts were already fighting a rear-guard action to hold onto their places in the American University system.

      1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

        Can only tell you what she did– and not why she didn’t do something else. Also, while this occurred while I was at MIT (as I wrote above), the mentor– although I scientist– wasn’t actually at MIT herself.

  27. Portia

    You’re not busy, you’re just trying to make me understand how much more important you are.

    See, I can squeeze you in for a few minutes, look how little time I have for little folks like you. I’m BIG, baby!


  28. Portia

    re NY’s Vast Flop

    I can not imagine how many birds slam into those buildings every day. and people complain bitterly about solar panels’ bird mortality.

      1. Portia

        the mayhem reported about solar panels has not been documented in fact. guess I’d better consult the birds about that.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          No, I should consult my sarcasm meter.

          Sorry, I missed it the first time you wrote “people complain about solar panels’ bird mortality” (the mayhem of which has been reported, but not documented).

  29. allan

    Under radar, Florida spent $240M on lawyers [AP]

    Gov. Rick Scott and other top Florida Republicans frequently complain about government spending, but they have quietly spent more than $237 million on private lawyers to advance and defend their agendas, an Associated Press investigation has found.

    Florida taxpayers also have been forced to reimburse nearly $16 million for their opponents’ private attorney fees. That means an overall $253 million has been spent on legal fights in the last six years, including a water war with Georgia and losing battles to test welfare recipients for drugs, trim the state’s voter registration lists and ban companies that do business with Cuba from bidding on government contracts. …

    Maybe in part 2 the AP could look into how much of that $237 million was recycled
    into campaign contributions to the Florida officials who hired the outside law firms.

  30. a different chris

    Go Dr. Goodenough!

    As for the article, it unfortunately shows how tricky it can be tough to be hip/sarcastic though, these days:

    >so a hoverboard won’t suddenly melt your kid’s Vans

    This was no doubt funny when written, but I guess everybody’s now seen the national story on the hoverboard tragedy in Pennsylvania.

  31. Goyo Marquez

    Re: Scholarly Double Standards
    Back in the late 80’s a professor at the UCLA School of Management did a study about political advertising. His conclusions, IIRC,
    – Negative political advertising is meant to suppress voting for the other guy not to change minds.
    – Voter’s have pretty solid assumptions of what the two parties represent, as a result attacking the Democrats from the left or Republicans from the right is ineffective.

    So, one of the greatest warmongers in our history is given a pass by the peacenicks and receives no credit, from the deficit hawks, for reducing the deficit.

    In the same way the huge increase in the deficit under GW was given a pass by deficit hawks and Reagan is given a total pass by anti-immigration forces for the 1986 illegal alien Amnesty law.

    My hope is Trump will be able to fund several trillions of infrastructure with deficit spending, since it will cost him nothing politically and that he will be able to end our ceaseless wars because only Nixon, the anti communist, can go to China.

  32. JohnnyGL

    “Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel proposed naming a new elite Chicago high school after Obama in 2014, but the idea was torpedoed amid anger that the school was to be located on the city’s mostly white North Side.” —

    For those who like their irony served “delicious”.

    Here’s another amusing one…

    “In San Francisco, an inverse honor was even attempted: A proposition was put on the ballot to rename a sewage plant after President George W. Bush, who was wildly unpopular in the area. That effort failed in 2008.”

    My, my, how times have changed. GW Bush is now being thoroughly rehabilitated as a sympathetic figure.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Are they saying Bush dirtied himself to make the world a cleaner, better place?

      “Somebody has to do it. That’s my sacrifice.”

    2. fresno dan

      March 13, 2017 at 12:51 pm

      “In San Francisco, an inverse honor was even attempted…”

      If there were a repub in Chicago, some body could suggest naming the morgue after Obama….

  33. nechaev

    report on last week’s Egyptian bread price protests & prospects of unrest:

    “…While the bread crisis was quickly contained, it sounded the alarm, alerting authorities to the growing public discontent over soaring prices and economic mismanagement. Some analysts have warned that the protests might be the first rumblings of a violent social backlash spurred by economic hardship….”

    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      I was in Egypt for Christmas, arriving the same day the USG issued a travel warning advising US tourists to stay away. That can’t have helped the country’s already poleaxed tourist sector now, could it? Many of the main Cairo and Luxor tourist sites were nearly empty. My husband and I had a fabulous time and I really can’t see the reason for such a warning (although I am aware of the bombing of the Coptic church in Cairo, which occurred a couple of weeks before our visit).

      Note that this warning was issued in December– before Trump took office– so its consequences cannot be laid at the new admin’s feet.

  34. Pookah Harvey

    From Moon Of Alabama’s “When Nothing “Left” Is Left The People Will Vote Far Right”

    When LGBT claptrap, gluten free food, political correctness and other such niceties beat out programs to serve the basic needs of the common people nothing “left” is left. The priority on the left must always be the well-being of the working people. All the other nice-to-have issues follow from and after that.

    This you tube clip is from “The Liberal Redneck” from June of last year warning liberals of Trump. Trae Crowder is an interesting character with a history that gives him an insight on the Southern working class. He’s a stand up comedian(with a MBA) enjoy.

    1. djrichard

      Good way of mixing humor with a serious topic. From your link:, “Take my hometown for example, for decades the center of the town’s economy was a large clothing factory. And in the mid-90s after NAFTA it made a like a stoner at midnight and went south of the border and we never recovered.”

      Reminds me of a quote from“lots of reporters came around. Said it reminded them of an indian reservation: no work, no money”. [I have to admit, it didn’t really hit home for me what it was like for native americans on indian reservations until seeing this film.]

      Anyways, I think that’s the end-game that the elite have for those of us who fall off the conveyer belt: for all intents and purposes it’s the indian reservation. Problem is, people on the indian reservation are becoming a larger and larger demographic. And if it’s like what is depicted on cottonland, instead of the natives on the reservation self-destructing with alcohol, they self-destruct with oxycontin and other opiates instead.

        1. djrichard

          I can identify. I grew up blue-collar in the mid-west (Illinois/Wisconsin border along the lake). But this was in the 70s, when blue-collar was still thriving. Better life than I have now as white collar on the east coast.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        They will sell you alcohol and opiates to buy your votes.

        “It will kill your pain.”

  35. robnume

    On Presidential Commemorations: I find naming a sewage plant after Dubya to be a very fitting idea. In fact, as long as the proposed “naming” site is a landfill, sewage plant, nuclear waste storage or receptacle I think that is just fine. I live in San Diego and I propose we re-name the Mira Mar Landfill the “Barack Obama Landfill.” I have many other such fine ideas. I could do this all day. Bet you could, too.

    1. lambert strether

      Up in Maine we have a landfill named — only in jest, only by everyone — “Mount Baldacci,” for the corrupt Democrat hack who put it in place.

  36. John Ware

    Yes, it is way too early to praise Obama, give him a holiday, make him a saint or whatever flaming libtards would do for anybody who was presidential in every way possible, save for governance and, well, getting shit done. Since I can’t remember what Obama did from Harvard Law to when his truncated Senate career commenced in 2006, when he immediately ran for POTUS, let’s wait another 20-30 years before we sanctify him with a monument on the Washington Mall or a Star on Pennsylvania Avenue.

  37. John Ware

    Re: NYC Vast Flop, I believe we have found an answer to our infrastructure problem: get some low level terrorists to blow up some of our worst bridges, highways, power grids, rail lines and, yes, even an airport or three – then appoint a Silver Spoon, er, Gold Chalice, er, Gold Star panel to fiddle and fuss for ten years what to fix first (and you know the bridge people will probably be pissed), then they can take the requisite next five years to put some mortar and stone together and build something our 49th POTUS can be proud of.

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