2:00PM Water Cooler 5/2/2017

By Lambert Strether of Corrente


2016 Post Mortem

“Why did Trump win? New research by Democrats offers a worrisome answer.” [Greg Sargent, WaPo]. “Economic anxiety.” As if an opioid epidemic and tens of thousands of excess deaths per year in deindustriallized America were some sort of psychological condition…

“Clinton headlines events for groups troubled by Trump” [CNN]. That should do it.

“As reported in the Philadelphia Inquirer, On November 9, 2016, Bethany Katz, an organizer who worked directly for the Pennsylvania Democratic Committee, filed a federal lawsuit, on behalf of herself and all other organizers who worked directly or indirectly for the DNC, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania asserting that the Democratic National Committee (“DNC”) and the Pennsylvania Democratic Party violated federal and state law by requiring her and others to work in excess of 40 hours per workweek while denying her and others overtime compensation guaranteed by law” [Swartz Swidler]. “On January 20, 2017, Ms. Katz, joined by 6 other organizers who directly worked for other state democratic parties, amended the Complaint, adding 6 other state democratic parties to the lawsuit, and alleging that the state parties worked with the DNC in coordinating work and denying overtime pay to organizers.”


GA-06: “An internal poll conducted for Democrat Jon Ossoff’s campaign shows him locked in a dead heat with Republican Karen Handel in the June 20 runoff to represent Georgia’s 6th District” [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]. “The poll was conducted by Anzalone Liszt Grove Research, a polling firm that worked for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.” By “internal poll,” we mean “poll designed to be leaked.” 590 likely voters, 4% margin of error.

Realignment and Legitimacy

Seeing the Clintons as a part of one’s own political identity is corrosive and only serves as further indictment of the Democratic Party and its supporters, both of whom are now so out of touch that they’re looking to people spreading Infowars-esque conspiracy theories about a Soviet menace for comfort and direction. Chelsea Clinton, as grounded and benign as she may appear to be on Twitter, is still the wealthy daughter of a former president and Secretary of State. She has not come to prominence because of her own labor but due to the exploitation of the labor of others, and while this isn’t specific to the Clintons, it is part and parcel of the aristocratic nature of American politics. And this deserves challenging” [Paste Magazine].

“The Collapse of American Identity” [New York Times]. “But recent survey data provides troubling evidence that a shared sense of national identity is unraveling, with two mutually exclusive narratives emerging along party lines. At the heart of this divide are opposing reactions to changing demographics and culture. The shock waves from these transformations — harnessed effectively by Donald Trump’s campaign — are reorienting the political parties from the more familiar liberal-versus-conservative alignment to new poles of cultural pluralism and monism.” Monism. Such stuff.

Carmen Rios is the editor of Ms. Magazine. Do click through to the images:

And just to reinforce the message [NOTE: When I pasted this code in, it worked. Now, it doesn’t. I also saw the first tweet imaged above. It too has been deleted.]

I’m so old that I remember when calling for a political opponent’s death would have been considered in bad taste…

“Thanks to human ingenuity, most of the changes history has brought, large or small, whether they seemed catastrophic in the moment or not, have ushered in progress in its many forms and led us to the better world in which we live today — a world in which people live longer, are better educated, are healthier, have access to more opportunities, are wealthier, and have every reason to be happier than any prior generation in history” [David Rothkopf, Foreign Policy]. Shorter Rothkopf: Deal with it, proles!

Even though this is a family blog:

That should play in Peoria.

Stats Watch

Gallup US Economic Confidence Index, April 2017: “economic confidence weakened slightly but remains positive about the current state of the U.S. economy” [Econoday]. “46 percent said the economy was “getting better” in April, while 47 percent said it was ‘getting worse.’… Nonetheless, improved economic confidence has yet to translate into notable gains in “hard” measures of actual economic output, such as gross domestic product or consumer spending. Indeed, “soft” data — measuring general economic perceptions such as Gallup’s economic confidence index — and “hard” data are telling two very different stories of the U.S. economy. The soft data seem to suggest strong economic growth is just around the corner, while the hard data — as evidenced by Friday’s GDP report — currently depict an economy that is slowly growing.”

Motor Vehicle Sales, April 2017: “The earliest hint on whether consumer spending bounced back up in April is not favorable. With about half the totals in, unit vehicle sales are running no better than March’s very disappointing annualized” [Econoday]. “Final unit sales for April will be posted at day’s end…. Note that April’s result will offer the first hard indication on the second-quarter economy.”

Shipping: “UPS Inc. and FedEx Corp. are offering a new type of pricing for deliveries within a 50-mile radius, according to a person familiar with the companies’ strategy, in a move designed to divert local “last mile” business-to-consumer traffic normally moving with the U.S. Postal Service (USPS)” [DC Velocity].

Shipping: “United Parcel Service Inc. is asking major retailers to help pay for the extra workers and added space needed during the year’s busiest shipping periods… and wants them to pay when their forecasts veer of course. UPS, like rival FedEx Corp. , is grappling with the e-commerce boom, and the company wants to recoup the billions it is investing to handle the surge in online shopping, a shift that’s triggered an upheaval in distribution networks, fractured traditional forecasting and carved back profit margins” [Wall Street Journal]. “FedEx has dropped some retailers that refused price increases, while UPS appears to be taking a more targeted “surge pricing” approach. Amazon.com Inc. tried a variation on the strategy last year when it started charging a premium for merchants to use its warehouses in November and December. UPS appears to be saying with the new effort that it will take on the investment but not all of the risk.”

Shipping: “Local authorities in Liverpool are deliberating with the government on the potential of establishing a free trade zone around the port of Liverpool. A free trade area is a designated location within which goods are traded and manufactured without customs duties or taxes” [Lloyd’s List]. Brexit fallout…

Retail: “America’s packaged-food giants are being pushed out of the most coveted space in the grocery supply chain. Instead of promoting canned soup, cereal and cookies, grocery stores are giving better play to fresh food, prepared hot meals, and items from local upstarts favored by increasingly health-conscious consumers” [Wall Street Journal]. “That’s changing the very physical structure of stores, with grocery chains increasingly carving out space for counters with fresh meals that shoppers can take home. That leaves less room for the industry heavyweights and the packaged goods that saw sales volume fall 2.4% in the first quarter, part of a long-running trend that has accelerated during a long stretch of falling food prices.” I’d like to see a breakdown by income on this…

The Bezzle: “Nearly 90 per cent of new cars [in the UK] are sold using finance deals, most of which mean the owner in effect leases a vehicle for three or four years rather than buys it outright” [The Times of London]. “Nearly 90 per cent of new cars are sold using finance deals, most of which mean the owner in effect leases a vehicle for three or four years rather than buys it outright. These so-called personal contract plans (PCPs) allow people to secure cars for monthly payments, helping to cause a motoring boom. Experts fear, however, that many customers are being sold loans without having the terms properly explained to them. Analysts suggest a financial downturn could result in thousands of drivers unable to keep up payments, leaving dealers with a glut of second-hand cars they would struggle to sell. The Times can reveal that The Car Finance Company, a provider of finance to those with poor credit histories, appears to be in financial trouble. Six directors of the ‘sub-prime’ lender have quit since the beginning of March and its accounts are listed by Companies House as overdue.”

The Bezzle: “Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Wary of Auto Loans, Pack Them in Bonds” [Bloomberg]. “Both banks have grown more reluctant to make new subprime loans using money from their own balance sheets. … At the same time the firms are indirectly funding billions of dollars of the loans by helping companies like Santander Consumer USA Holdings Inc. borrow in the asset-backed securities market, essentially shunting money from bond investors to finance companies.” But: “‘There’s a problem with subprime auto, which we see,’ said [Jamie] Dimon, whose bank offers auto lending through its consumer banking division. ‘But subprime auto is so small relative to the US debt market it won’t make a difference to the system.'” [Yahoo Finance].

The Bezzle: “The federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Wednesday took a new action against Security National Automotive Acceptance Co. (SNAAC), an auto lender based in Mason that specializes in loans to servicemembers. The step will cost the company a $1.25 million penalty” [Cincinatti Enquirer]. “In 2015, the bureau ordered SNAAC to pay penalties for illegal debt collection tactics, including making threats to contact servicemembers’ commanding officers about debts and exaggerating the consequences of not paying. SNAAC violated the 2015 order by failing to provide more than $1 million in refunds and credits, affecting more than 1,000 consumers. Wednesday’s consent order requires SNAAC to make good on the refunds and credits it owes and pay the penalty.”

The Bezzle: “Before too long, it will be impossible to buy a new car without an embedded LTE modem” [Ars Technica]. Swell. I sure hope there aren’t any security issues with the firmware…

The Bezzle: “In recent months, major companies that offered dedicated Apple Watch apps have since abandoned the platform, quietly removing support for watchOS in updates submitted to the App Store” [Apple Insider]. Just as dumb as Google Glass, except nobody invented the term “glasshole” for the Apple Watch. So, Apple, go back to making everything thinner, crapifying your software, and failing to deliver for professionals who’ve built a lifetime round your brand.

Concentration: “Domestically, [American, Delta, Southwest and United] control nearly 69% of the seating capacity. For trans-Atlantic flights, three — United, American, and Delta Air Lines Co. (NYSE: DAL) — control 82% of seat capacity. United, for example, controls more than 50% of seat capacity at 31 U.S. airports. At 17 of those airports, United owns 100% of seating capacity” [247 Wall Street]. “In its compilation of 155 U.S. airports, the [U.S. Travel Association] found that, in addition to United, American controlled 100% of seating capacity at 32 airports and Delta controlled 100% of capacity at 25 airports. Southwest controlled more than 50% of seating capacity at 18 airports and more than 90% at four airports. Southwest did not have control of 100% of seats at any airport.”

Statistics: “But every first quarter report in the post-financial-crisis economic recovery has been weak…. That’s because the Commerce Department has not yet fully resolved how to deal with residual seasonality” [Business Insider]. “Here’s how seasonality works: we know that consumers tend to spend more around Christmas. But it’s not because their incomes increase leading up to those holidays. So the Commerce Department has make adjustments to reflect the fact that people are spending more just because they want to give gifts — instead of assuming that something underpinning the economy has suddenly changed.” But why would this same logic no apply before the Crash, as well as after? What am I missing, here?

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 51 Neutral (previous close: 49, Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 46 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed. Last updated May 2 at 12:11pm. Like the Five Horsemen of the Techpocalyse are Mr. Market’s Id, and the Fear & Greed Index is Mr. Market’s superego?

Health Care

“Since the 2010 election, the 24 lawmakers on the two California legislative committees that will consider the single-payer legislation have collectively received more than $819,000 in donations from the industry groups that are officially opposing the measure. The cash haul includes more than $80,000 to the chairmen of the Assembly and Senate health committees, the latter of which is set to consider the legislation at a public hearing Wednesday” [David Sirota, International Business Times]. Ka-ching.

“Sen. Dianne Feinstein told her constituents at a recent San Francisco town hall event that she’s not ready to support a single-payer health care system — an idea that has been gaining steam at the state level in California” [David Sirota, International Business Times]. “A week later, Feinstein was even further from there, benefitting from a fundraising event at the Washington, D.C., office of Avenue Solutions, a lobbying firm that represents major health insurers, pharmaceutical companies and the primary trade association for doctors…. Feinstein supporters at the event were expected to kick in $1,000 to $5,000 for her re-election bid.” Ka-ching.

According to aggregate ‘whip counts’ conducted by various outlets, somewhere between 20 and 22 Republican members of the House have said they will vote ‘no’ on the American Health Care Act, which would repeal and replace Obamacare. That’s right on the edge of the 22 members Republicans can afford to lose for the bill to pass” [Business Insider].

“White House chief of staff Reince Priebus and White House economic adviser Gary Cohn expressed optimism the latest push to unwind former Democratic President Barack Obama’s health-care program would succeed” [CNBC] “‘I think it will happen this week,’ Priebus said on CBS. In a separate interview, Cohn said he expected the plan to come to the House floor for a full vote. ‘We’re convinced we’ve got the votes, and we’re going to keep moving on with our agenda,’ he said.”

“Trumpcare’s long odds in the Senate, explained by a Republican senator” [Sarah Kliff, Vox]. Bill Cassidy: “I guess the roadblocks are you have to socialize everybody to certain concepts. One example: The American Health Care Act had a provision that if you weren’t working, you couldn’t get a credit. There is a gentleman at Heritage Foundation who said it won’t work. EMTALA, the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, means that someone can walk into the emergency room and get treated. Federal law requires that. f you get in a wreck with multiple trauma and you’re in the hospital for six months, society eats that cost. I think people have to become emotionally aware and intellectually aware of the fact that Congress, when it passed EMTALA, made that a right. I see as people become more aware of these issues [that] we’re moving more to an agreement on our approach.”

“[A] procedural rift is beginning to emerge within the GOP, with several Republicans questioning whether reconciliation — the fast-track legislative process that circumvents a filibuster, and thus the need for Democratic support — is even the best avenue for health care overhaul efforts” [Politico].

“Single-Payer ‘Medicare for All’ Is the Only Health-Care System That Makes Sense” [The Nation]. ” California could be America’s Saskatchewan if groundbreaking legislation continues to advance through the legislature.” If only California were sovereign in its own currency…

Class Warfare

“An Uber engineer killed himself. His widow says the workplace is to blame” [USA Today]. “[Joseph Thomas] would say, ‘I feel stupid, they’re all laughing at me,’ and yet this was a guy who was as hardworking, driven and focused as there ever was,’ [said his wife, Zecole Thomas]. ‘He only had one year of college, but if there was a coding language he didn’t know, he’d study hard and three months later get certificates saying he knew them. It’s all very heartbreaking.'”

“The Cold World of Deindustrialization” [Stanford University Press Blog]. “[M]aking work more like art was an effective way to get people to work longer and harder and commit more fully to their jobs, often in exchange for mere psychological compensation.” Hmm…

“Using panel data on individual labor income histories from 1957 to 2013, we document two empirical facts about the distribution of lifetime income in the United States. First, from the cohort that entered the labor market in 1967 to the cohort that entered in 1983, median lifetime income of men declined by 10%–19%. We find little-to-no rise in the lower three-quarters of the percentiles of the male lifetime income distribution during this period. Accounting for rising employer-provided health and pension benefits partly mitigates these findings but does not alter the substantive conclusions. For women, median lifetime income increased by 22%–33% from the 1957 to the 1983 cohort, but these gains were relative to very low lifetime income for the earliest cohort” [NBER]. “[T]he closing lifetime gender gap has kept overall lifetime inequality virtually flat. The increase within gender groups is largely attributed to an increase in inequality at young ages, and partial life-cycle income data for younger cohorts indicate that the increase in inequality is likely to continue. Overall, our findings point to the substantial changes in labor market outcomes for younger workers as a critical driver of trends in both the level and inequality of lifetime income over the past 50 years.”

News of the Wired

“What makes someone donate a kidney to a stranger?” [WaPo]. “”Extraordinary altruists,” as the researchers call them, come from all age, race and socioeconomic groups. Some are religious, others are not. But unlike almost everyone else, they don’t see less value in a stranger’s life than in the life of a close friend or relative, the researchers found. And they are genuinely puzzled that the rest of the world doesn’t view other people the same way.”

“Red alert! Intel patches remote execution hole that’s been hidden in biz, server chips since 2008” [The Register]. “The programming blunder can only be fully addressed with a firmware-level update, and it is present in millions of chips. It is effectively a backdoor into computers all over the world.” Hoo boy.

For those who like their humor very, very dry, Bob & Ray:

“There in stately splendor, far removed from the squalid village below, they play out their petty games of money and power….”

* * *

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

And here’s today’s plant (via):

Diphterio: “Another ‘alien’ plant species: Beargrass. Since they only bloom once every four years, it’s always a little bit special to come across a field all in bloom…and so much pollen!” See additional discussion from NC plant geeks.

* * *

Readers, Water Cooler is a standalone entity, not supported by the Naked Capitalism fundraisers. Please use the dropdown to choose your contribution, and then click the hat! Your tip will be welcome today, and indeed any day. Water Cooler will not exist without your continued help.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Guest Post, Water Cooler on by .

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. Tom_Doak

    Why don’t California leftists primary Senator Feinstein? She is clearly out of step with what they want and a challenge can be made without fear that Team D will lose the seat as a result. I guess it would only cost 50 or 100 million dollars to make it a contest.

    1. Vatch

      She’s up for reelection in 2018, so it would make sense for her to have a primary opponent. Pelosi has a primary opponent, so Feinstein should, too. As you say, it would be expensive, but it might not be as expensive as you speculate.

      1. jrs

        She’s mostly pretty popular I think (I know this should not be but … things are that should not be let’s just say). State single payer might be a vulnerability but she technically doesn’t get a vote on that anyway (she’s not in the state government afterall), so it’s a token advocacy position she’s taking, it’s blowing hot air and trying to persuade people which it might, or toadying to donors, but she has no actual power in the state government period. And Democrats have no actual power in the Federal government for the most part.

        Yes people can keep on wasting time pining for a sovereign currency at the state level or some unlikely story. but if we want state single payer many of us in California are MORE THAN willing to pay higher taxes for it.

        1. Vatch

          Dianne Feinstein is one of the trade traitors who voted for fast track trade promotion authority. She betrayed her constituents.

          1. jrs

            I don’t like her, I think it’s fine to primary, I just wouldn’t assume she is widely disliked in Cali at present though as I don’t think she is (I’ve written to her about issues for years, I personally dislike her but ..).

            However a really strong charismatic popular candidate could beat her maybe. I have to think she is also thinking of retiring sometime.

            1. Darius

              That’s why someone needs to run and rip her a new one. Go real nasty. It shouldn’t be hard, given her record of betrayal. Win or lose, just blow a huge hole in the SS DiFi.

            2. Tim

              The Hispanic runner up lady in the Barbara Boxer primary, sounded like a shoe-in to replace Feinstein, not Boxer. Not sure if she will be up to campaigning a second time around.

              1. Anon

                Not certain what primary you are referring to, but Boxer did not seek re-election in 2016. Kamala Harris won her vacated Senate seat.

                DiFi definitely needs to be primary’d, but she and her husband are gazillionaires and California is a big state and requires lots of TV exposure (big bucks).

            3. Ivy

              Feinstein is polarizing to California voters. Some, like me, detest her for the venality and other uncharming attributes she brings to her family business, er, her Senatorial duties. That whole CBRE post office real estate scam to benefit her hubby Blum was a few too many steps over the line. Others like her championing of various positions and seniority to influence Congressional actions.

              1. jrs

                There is something to be said for being represented by someone with some seniority, serving on committees etc. (i.e. someone with power) as many a person represented by someone without that power, at any level of government (even if they are a truly progressive fairy decent human being that is powerlessly representing them) can testify to.

                Although how much it matters so long as the Dems are out of power is probably not all that much.

                She’s too cozy with N.S.A., and the M.I.C. etc. for my taste though.

          2. John Wright

            One must remember Feinstein’s vote to supporting Medicare Part D (in which Medicare was PROHIBITED from negotiating for lower drug prices).

            This drug plan was promoted by George W. Bush,and appeared to be a push for elderly votes for Republicans.

            Her vote was good for Republicans running for office and for big pharma.

            Feinstein voted for Part D saying, that while it was flawed, it could be fixed later

            Feinstein is a MIC/Security state neocon who is, amazingly, viewed as a “moderate”.

            She was all for unrestricted government surveillance until her staff was spied on by the CIA..

            Feinstein USUALLY betrays her constituents, but has survived because the Republicans usually run lame candidates against her (maybe they like what she does?).

            She seems to naturally cleave toward supporting corporate America and more wars in the Middle East.

        2. different clue

          A well-funded kamikaze primary opponent who knew it would be a kamikaze effort could leave a lot of fresh bite-wounds all over Feinstein’s face and neck.

      2. Adam Eran

        David Hildebrand is running for Feinstein’s seat now.

        His platform includes:
        – Healthcare for all
        – End Corporate Citizenship
        – Living Wage for all Workers
        – Strengthen Unions
        – Tuition-free College and Trade Schools

        …so there’s that.

      1. Darius

        That’s why someone needs to do the political equivalent of a kamikaze run on her. (Metaphorically) fly the plane right into the carrier and kaboom. Show the DNC their dominance won’t go uncontested.

        1. Oregoncharles

          I think what you’re describing is a spoiler campaign in the general election. I’m sure the California Greens would be thrilled to do it. We tried it against Wyden, but the Repubs are so weak here they can’t come up with a threatening candidate.

          1. Marina Bart

            We have jungle primaries — precisely to protect the corporate Democrats. It’s one primary, all parties combined, top two vote getters go to the general.

            That’s why general election voting for Boxer’s seat was two Democrats.

            The good news is that means that we don’t have to beat DiFi in the primary. We only have to get more votes than the Republican. In 2016, something like 9% of the vote would have been enough. The leftist getting to the general could help, with more free media and more time to introduce themselves to people.

            But it’s going to be tough to pull off. We need to start now. I haven’t heard of anybody feasible yet.

        1. Marina Bart

          That’s also not entirely accurate. We have the equivalent of a superdelegate problem in the California State Party. The Berniecrats took the majority of elected seats (despite various attempts, some successful, of election theft by the insiders in numerous AD elections), but the party has been set up so that winning the election doesn’t actually give you control of the workings of the party. (Haven’t I heard something like that before?)

          But we also got the majority on the actual Executive Board. A guy from my slate made on, and he’s really cool. I missed the meet ‘n greet my slate (they all won) did last month, but there’s an extensive Berniecrat network down here. So we might already be in better shape than I realize. There was still some purging to do after the January elections, though.

      2. JohnnyGL

        Pelosi’s got a carefully carved district that looks harder to storm than a medieval mountain castle.

        I’d think taking down DiFi would be easier than that. At least you have the broader population of CA to draw from. There’s a lot of potential votes from areas full of disaffected people priced out of LA and San Fran.

        Senate campaign in CA would definitely be more expensive than a local House seat, though. No doubt there’s a pool of willing donors. I’d throw a few bucks to take down DiFi.

      3. Anon

        Except 40% of California voters classify themselves as independent of party affiliation. The times they are a’changin’.

        1. Marina Bart

          But with a Clintonian bagman as Secretary of State, who votes really doesn’t matter. It’s who counts the votes…

  2. Knifecatcher

    Re: built-in LTE modems, my wife’s car is a Nissan Leaf, which uses a built-in cell radio in order to keep the list of charging points in the nav system up to date. It’s probably one of the earlier “connected” cars.

    At one point Nissan pushed out a software update and basically forgot to put in security. So all you’d need is a Leaf VIN and you could see the battery charge, turn on and off the climate control, and a bunch of other stuff. And that’s without any hacking skills at all.

    The happy ending to the story is that the built-in radio is on an outdated AT&T 2G frequency that was turned off at the end of 2016, so the system no longer works. Nissan is offering to replace it with a modern radio under warranty but I think I’ll pass.

    1. Ivy

      The Nissan LTE issue reminds me of the farm implement IP issues. At what point will all maintenance need to be done at the auto dealer to keep from voiding some warranty? That would mean more struggles for independent mechanics, shade tree or shade shop, and more nails from the NeoLib undertakers in our collective coffins.

      What is next, GMO food sold under warranty where your digestive system gets hacked if you cook it wrong?

      1. Oregoncharles

        Why would farmers buy something like that? They aren’t actually stupid, you know.

        1. Dug Fur

          I suspect Ivy is referring to the very real tractors currently sold by John Deere (and, I assume, others) subject to that exact caveat. There was a very interesting article in the water cooler or links a few weeks back about people subverting the DRM on these tractors and the right to repair being challenged in several states.

          To obliquely respond to your question, I think it bears remembering that one need not be stupid to be preyed upon by the current order of things, and that many smart people are on either side of the whip, handle and lash.

  3. Altandmain

    File this one under class warfare.

    Socialism or bust for Generation Y:

    Early hair loss:

    Of course the Democrats are doubling down:

    Apparently this is an admission the Primaries were rigged, something Clinton supporters have been desperately trying to deny.

  4. jo6pac

    Yep at hillabillie talk on the clinton news network the normal suspects are still to blame.

    “Hillary Clinton said Tuesday she takes personal responsibility for her 2016 loss, but also pointed to the timing of a letter from FBI Director James Comey and Russian interference as factors.

    Same message and the demodogs have no reason to learn a new one because this worked so well in the past.

    I’m going to shuck fava beans see if that helps my vision thingy on the demodogs.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      In the category of things Clinton could not have controlled:

      1) James Comey

      2) Vladimir Putin

      In the category of things Clinton could have controlled:

      1) Messaging, both positive (“Why am I running?”) and negative (“deplorables”)

      2) Robbie Mook

      3) Never visiting Wisconsin

      4) Spending the month of August at fundraisers instead of on the trail

      5) Setting up her privatized email server in the first place

      6) Giving those speeches to Goldman Sachs in the first place

      And on and on and on…

      1. Altandmain

        I’d say Comey could have been controlled.

        Had she not done the unethical things she had done, she never would have been under FBI investigation to begin with.

        If a normal person ran an email server from work out of their own residence, that would be grounds for dismissal.

      2. TK421

        No, she can’t *control* James Comey, but if she didn’t choose to violate federal law she probably would not have been investigated by him.

        1. Code Name D

          Are you kidding? Come you was practically in Clinton’said pocket. Comey’s job was to whitewash her scandals, not investigate them.

      3. LarryB

        Which list do you put Bill in? If he hadn’t unethically met with Lynch on the infamous airport tarmac, Comey would not have been in any position to affect the Clinton campaign.

      4. Ping

        How about Hillary soliciting hundreds of millions (billions) from bad actors worldwide in lieu of presidential access under the guise of a charitable foundation that is really exploiting desperate populations (check Haiti) and piggybacking on the legitimate efforts of real non profits……

        The fact that the Clinton Foundation with it’s opaque accounting has not demonstrated tremendous noteworthy credible verifiable results with it’s massive treasure chest and now many donors (Australia, Norway etc) have withdrawn contribution commitments after election makes clear this was an influence selling operation and a way to reward their faithful with profitable contracts.

        So now Hillary claims to be part of “the resistance”?? Go away Hillary and please direct Chelsea toward something useful instead of vainly exploring political life for which she does not resonate with any authenticity whatsoever, and spend the ill gotten gains on true charitable service rather than clinging to power.

      5. montanamaven

        This is one of the creepiest things I’ve seen since I started to pay attention to electoral politics in 2004. She is… she looks like some sort of demon. And , sadly, there are a lot of people that will follow her to hell.

    2. Jim Haygood

      Distilled version: “I take personal responsibility, but it wasn’t my fault.

      *bows reverently to the bronze bust of Nixon on her altar*

      1. polecat

        I go out and watch the bees flitting to and fro at their hives …… mesmerized to the point of immediately forgetting why I was so pissed-off !

        1. Oregoncharles

          This afternoon I could hear the neighbor’s bees from 50 feet away. They do have a lot of them, some at our place.

          1. polecat

            Our bees were all over our cherry trees, two of which are in their prime state of bloom. Also saw several Bombus (bumble bee) species buzzing around the yard as well … They will be quite active once our California poppies and Lithiodora come into flower !

    3. TK421

      That was so mean of James Comey to decide that Hillary broke the law, then refuse to prosecute her. What a raw deal. Such a shame. How does she bear up under such mistreatment?

      1. Ian

        I’m sure all the malicious and unfair treatment and suffering that she had to endure, will all be in the upcoming straight to TV movie exposing an overworked, bumbling Comey trying to answer to different factions within the FBI, the deplorables being deftly manipulated by Putin trolls and an over the top, fascistic Trump and a blindly idealistic Sanders who doesn’t understand the reality of the situation. Enduring all this as she heriocaly puts on a brave face and tries to deftly guide us to a better America. Maybe they will get Meryl Streep.

        1. Ian

          As Chomsky put it quite succinctly, everywhere outside of N.America and a good portion of Europe (put forth by at least the corporate media and gov sections) the Russian angle being so seriously pursued is a fucking joke, and a very bad and scary one at that. Ad-libbed a bit, but true to the spirit of the comment.

    4. Adamski

      Hillary Clinton: I was on the way to winning until a combination of Comey’s letter and Wikileaks raised doubts. From Vox: “To be sure, the gap with Clinton was narrowing before Comey dropped his bombshell, but the pace also picked up significantly after that. For example, averaging across 14 battleground states, the race moved 1.1 points in Trump’s direction in the week following the third and final debate – but Trump gained an additional 2.4 points after October 28.”

      In other words she was on the way to losing

  5. Left in Wisconsin

    Someone linked to this yesterday but now I can’t find who it was. Anyway, excellent if depressing analysis, throwing in with Lambert in regards to current period best understood as Gramscian interregnum.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      From memory:

      The old is dying and the new is struggling to be born. In the interim, a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.

      And, sadly, 90 years ago and still valid.

      1. Left in Wisconsin

        Here is the relevant passage from Streeck. He would argue the Golden Age was a stable period between Gramsci’s interregnum and the current one:

        What are we to expect now? Trump’s demolition of the Clinton machine, Brexit and the failure of Hollande and Renzi—all in the same year—mark a new phase in the crisis of the capitalist state system as transformed by neoliberalism. To describe this phase I have proposed Antonio Gramsci’s term ‘interregnum’, [20] a period of uncertain duration in which an old order is dying but a new one cannot yet be born. The old order that was destroyed by the onslaught of the populist barbarians in 2016 was the state system of global capitalism. Its governments had neutralized their national democracies in post-democratic fashion so as not to lose touch with the global expansion of capital, putting off demands for democratic and egalitarian interventions in capitalist markets by conjuring up a global democracy of the future. What the still to be created new order will look like is uncertain, as is to be expected of an interregnum. Until it comes into being, according to Gramsci, we have to accept that ‘a great variety of morbid symptoms will appear’.

        An interregnum in Gramsci’s sense is a period of tremendous insecurity in which the accustomed chains of cause and effect are no longer in force, and unexpected, dangerous and grotesquely abnormal events may occur at any moment. This is in part because disparate lines of development run unreconciled, parallel to one another, resulting in unstable configurations of many kinds, and chains of surprising events take the place of predictable structures. Among the causes of the new unpredictability is the fact that, following the populist revolution, the political classes of neoliberal capitalism are forced to listen rather more closely to their national populations. After decades in which national democracies were hung out to dry in favour of institutions that promoted globalization, they are now coming back into their own as channels for the articulation of discontent. The times are now past for the planned demolition of lines of national defence in the face of the rationalizing pressure of international markets. Trump’s victory means that it is highly unlikely that there will be any second referendum in Great Britain on the EU model according to which referendums are repeated until the people produce the right answer. A newly composed electorate will no more go along with supposed economic necessities than it will acquiesce to claims that border controls are technically impossible. Parties that have relied on responsibility will have to relearn what responsiveness means [21] or else they will have to give way to other parties.

  6. cojo

    RE: “America’s packaged-food giants are being pushed out of the most coveted space in the grocery supply chain. Instead of promoting canned soup, cereal and cookies, grocery stores are giving better play to fresh food, prepared hot meals, and items from local upstarts favored by increasingly health-conscious consumers”

    This trend is obviously a continuation of high end boutiques like Whole Foods and the organic movement, but I think this is overall a good thing. Policy in this country has been to make food as cheap as possible from the post war period onward leading to foolish things like subsidized corn and corn syrup found in everything you eat, to the foolish “food pyramid” created by the USDA to promote the four “special interests” eh, I mean, four food groups.

    In essence we have food insecurity/malnutrition yet caloric overabundance in this country creating an obesity epidemic. It doesn’t have to be that way. Eating healthy does not have to be that much more expensive if you know how to cook, assuming you don’t need meat with every dish. I am heartened to see people more interested in what they eat, where it comes from, etc. The promotion of fresh foods is an important shift in the way our grocers sell to their customers. I hope this leads to healthier eating habits overall.

    1. TK421

      Eating healthy is less expensive than eating poorly. And the cure for obesity is spending less on food.

      1. Big River Bandido

        Eating healthy is less expensive than eating poorly.

        This is only universally true in the long-term sense.

        In the short-term, the truth of that statement depends very heavily on where you live and how much you earn. People who live in poorer neighborhoods have far less access to healthy foods — good grocery stores, farmers’ markets, etc. Very often, healthy foods are marked up in price in the supermarkets located in the poorest neighborhoods. Often, in the short term, poor people only have enough cash to take care of immediate needs, thus fast “food”.

        This is to say nothing of the “free time” required to buy and prepare good food at whatever “home” you might have.

      2. different clue

        No. Actually a cure for sugar-starch-and-fat-caused obesity is spending MORE on BETTER QUALITY food.

        Which people without the money to pay more for better less obesogenic food can’t do. And which people living in Food Junkyards have trouble finding such food.

        And 24/7 media advertising for obesogenic sugar-starch-fat food plays a role in obesity similar to the role that 24/7 cigarette advertising played in lung cancer.

        1. jrs

          despair plays a role too, junky food is afterall much more accessible than opiates (and a slower way to kill oneself).

          One of the leading causes of death of the middle age white people I think was “liver disease” which most people think of a synonym for alcoholism, which of course it can be, but I have to wonder how many of them have non-alcoholic fatty liver caused problems instead (it goes with diabetes etc.).

        2. tony

          Actual poor nations are rarely fat. Potatoes are some of the healthiest food on the planet, and cost very little, and the same goes for milk products. Coffee is cheap and nutritious. Also, starch and sugar do not cause obesity. De novo lipogenesis from carbohydrates is almost non-existent in most people, and extremely metabolically costly.

          Quality food is cheap.

    2. Marina Bart

      Eating healthy does not have to be that much more expensive if you know how to cook, assuming you don’t need meat with every dish.

      I learned to cook as an adult, and now I’m pretty decent at it. But there was all sorts of really basic stuff that even cookbooks and cooking shows didn’t explain, because to people who already know how to cook, it’s automatic. I had to work to figure all that out. And you really can’t do cheap/healthy/tasty/fast. One of those always has to go, and “cheap/healthy/fast” is going to be impossible to do every time. Yet that’s what most low wage workers are being asked to do, usually without ready access to produce and fresh food, too. Cheap/healthy/tasty/slow, OTOH, is consistently doable, if you know how to cook. I have a much greater appreciation now for the economic value of the grandma who cooks all day for the family. She’s working. Believe me. There’s a ton of stuff you can do to extract every last spec of flavor and nutrition out of the food you bring home, but it requires knowledge, skill and time.

      I often think now about how terrible it is that so many Americans have been pushed away from understanding how to feed themselves. I think it’s more similar to the war on cash than people might realize. If you don’t know how to prepare food from scratch — and huge numbers of Americas don’t — you are extremely vulnerable to various forms of predation. Everybody needs to eat.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Cooking healthy and cheaply at home is an art, especially if you live alone (I find it much harder to cater just for myself than for a family – there is a lot more waste). Its not just a matter of cooking – its about knowing what ingredients to have at hand at all times, what you should buy at a certain time of the year, what foods keep in the fridge for a week and what needs to be bought on the day you cook, etc. It took me a long time to work it out myself (I’m not one of those people who enjoys cooking or shopping), but its very satisfying and works out much cheaper, healthier and better than being dependent on fast food or pop-in the microwave stuff.

  7. TK421

    Clearly, Bernie Sanders is the worst villain walking the Earth today. But what can right-thinking people do about him? Waiting for his death just seems so passive.

    1. Stupid is . . .

      OK, I’ll bite. Please qualify that remark. Or is this an attempt at humor re: Carmen Rios is the editor of Ms. Magazine.

        1. Marina Bart

          I got it.

          It would be nice if the magazine fired her, but that never seems to happen to Hillbot media figures.

  8. a different chris

    You know, I would like to teach 3 little letters to the morons that interview our betters:

    >”Now the North Koreans are always interested … in trying to get Americans to try to come to negotiate to elevate their status and their position and we should be very careful about giving that way. We should not offer that in the absence of a broader strategic framework to try to get China, Japan, Russia, South Korea to put the kind of pressure on the regime (that will bring them to the table).”

    W, H, and Y. WHY do you need a “broader strategic framework” — actually, WTF do you even mean by that? Does Hillary and her crowd even know? Just because it isn’t clearly word salad doesn’t mean it has any more calories.

    And it does turn into word salad, as we can see with a bit of deletion: “in trying to get Americans to try to come to negotiate … put the kind of pressure on the regime (that will bring them to the table)” Actually if you don’t know about the crap in the middle the elipses make it look like Americans are the “regime” that needs to come to the table!

    She didn’t mean that, but that’s what happens when you try to bullsh*t, doesn’t it?

    I am under no illusions about North Korea, but the actual problem is the illusions Americans are under regarding our government.

  9. Kokuanani

    Re the Apple watch: every time I go by or into the Apple store in our local mall, I notice that there’s NO ONE at the case that displays the watches. Folks are looking at other products or huddled at the back of the store trying to get service, but no one’s looking at [and thus I assume not buying] those watches.

    1. PKMKII

      Never see people on the street wearing them either. See plenty of iPhone, iPads, macbooks, no Apple Watches.

    2. Elizabeth Burton

      I bought a Samsung Gear 2 refurb because I wanted a watch and since I get a lot of alerts via text it struck me as making more sense than hauling my phone around every time I had to work in another room for more than a few minutes. It’s handy, and it tells the time; and I got it for half-price so quite reasonable since the regular watches I looked at that appealed were running $80-$100.

      Apple screwed up when they made it possible to link all Apple devices. There’s no reason for an Apple Watch so long as you have an iPhone and an iPad, which both provide the necessary portability, and given a Fitbit provides the “health” stats for a fraction of the Watch cost.

      Smartwatches are useful if one has the lifestyle to make use of them; otherwise, they’re just overpriced toys. I found them cool when they first came out but saw no compelling reason to own one. Then I did, but I still wasn’t interested in giving Apple $500.

      1. Anon

        …there is a “price” you pay for allowing your personal “data” to be gathered by others.

    3. ewmayer

      Living in the belly of the beast, Cupertino, I see a modest number of the local techno-poseur class sporting these inane gizmos, but tellingly, all the sporters appear to be well-off middle-agers, i.e. 0 penetration amongst the young techies. Possibly the timepiece analog of the mid-life-crisis-mobile?

    4. nowhere

      Tim Cook – “When we combine Watch, Air Pods, and Beats, our revenue from wearables in the last Q was the size of a Fortune 500 company.”

      Somebody is buying them.

      1. Plerner

        i had to find out what an AirPod is. Should have been AirBud, but that may have been a TM infraction on the movie series. I see tons of people with overear headphones so I see the beats point. I have noticed more airbuds than watches simply because wireless buds really make it look like a person is crazy when talking on a phone using them.

      2. RMO

        “When we combine Watch, Air Pods, and Beats, our revenue from wearables in the last Q was the size of a Fortune 500 company.”

        When you combine the sales of the home made soap my wife and I make with the sales GM makes of its cars and trucks, that total revenue is also the size of a Fortune 500 company. Yeah, they’re selling them but compared to the two types of headphones mentioned they’re not too impressive in sales or profits. And for that matter, notice the tactic of slipping two lines of headphones into the newly invented “wearables” category seems a little desperate.

    5. Ook

      These watches are potentially the equivalent of the pagers of the 1980s.
      I’ve heard that there is a promising platform being built where the watches detect the presence of a VIP customer based on proximity to his cell phone, and feed instructions accordingly.
      So it could become part of the uniform for waitresses/bouncers at mid-level restaurants/night-clubs.

      But definitely not for the non-dork leisure class.

  10. flora

    re: Healthcare

    going waaay out on a limb here. I’m starting to think of health [sic] insurance companies as similar to tobacco companies. Tobacco companies for years and years stalled, stonewalled, tried every legislative trick to avoid regulations; regulations that were necessary because their product has significant adverse health effects.

    Insurance companies in their current incarnation have significant adverse health effects, too, imo.

    1. jerry

      You’re not too far out on the limb, the overton window just makes it seem that way.

  11. nowhere

    Being a “watchhole”, I found no value in Amazon’s implementation on the watch. Google says it will be coming back to the watch (one of the most surprising values for me are the notifications during navigation). Not every app needs to be on the watch.

    As to the other points, abandonment of developers and the scarce output of professional hardware, continue!

    1. Knot Galt

      I’m beginning to wonder how much of “being connected” is just a fad? Or, a promise of a better life that with every passing day seems to be an outright lie?

      When the full appeal of net neutrality begins in earnest, how many people will choose to stay connected when they also know, or suspect, that hi tech gadgetry only gets you more oils salesman and snake charmers and less content providers and information? Who is going to want to scale those paywalls?

  12. voxhumana

    “Single-Payer ‘Medicare for All’ Is the Only Health-Care System That Makes Sense” [The Nation].

    yeah…like they have in Iraq…. because Dubya’s team, post invasion, insisted:


    “Article 31 of the Iraqi Constitution, drafted by your right-wing Bushies in 2005 and ratified by the Iraqi people, includes state-guaranteed (single payer) healthcare for life for every Iraqi citizen.”

    1. Marina Bart

      Are we paying for Iraq’s single payer healthcare, the way we basically for Israel’s?

  13. PKMKII

    re: Paste article on Clintons as Dem party identity. Besides the problems mentioned, the Clintons are an awfully flimsy “aristocracy” to hang a political hat on. Let’s be honest about their “success.” Credit where credit due, Bill does a decent enough job in Arkansas to get national prominence and the nomination in 1992. However, he wins the presidency purely on Perot’s proto-Tea Party candidacy splitting the conservative vote. Without that, HW wins a second term. Bill then goes up in 1996 against a cranky, bewildered, uncharismatically stiff relic from a bygone era, and still can’t manage to get more than 50% of the vote in his re-election. He then proceeds to nearly get kicked out of office due to his taste for chubby interns. Clinton’s protege, Gore, then runs one of the most inept presidential campaigns in U.S. history, running in an economic boom against a guy with negative name recognition and yet loses anyway.

    Hill, at the same time, gets gifted a senate seat in a solid-blue state, running both times against complete sacrificial no-namers. Loses the 2008 presidential nomination, despite having the full establishment backing and running against a novice. Gets the Sec. of State position purely as a way for Obama to placate the Clintonites. Barely wins the nom in 2016 against a short, bald socialist with a heavy Brooklynite accent, and then makes Gore’s campaign look genius by losing to a reality TV star with zero political experience and an apparent inability to read a book.

    This is not an aristocracy, it’s a house of fools that can only succeed when they fall upwards or get to shoot fish in a barrel.

    1. Pat

      Please do not leave out that Hillary Clinton also lucked out in her original Senate race because her likely opponent had his life implode and they were left with the inept Lazio (who ran the race as the entitled winner in a manner that could have been the blue print for Clinton’s run in 2016).

      There is a very good chance that if Rudy Giuliani had not gotten prostrate cancer AND have his mistress come to light in the spring of 2000, she could very well have lost. Sure he could have stupidly menaced her in the debate like Lazio did, but if not…

          1. OpenthepodbaydoorsHAL

            You do NOT want to cross Bubba Inc.
            Read up on the list of deaths, I thought it would be 3 or 4 but it’s more like 20+

        1. kimsarah

          When the heat is on, stay away from airplanes and nail guns and really tall buildings.

    2. polecat

      At some point they become the fish !

      I can almost smell the rot wafting through the intertubes …

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Height-adjusted scoring.

        In the business world today, height discrimination is real.

        One day in a more progressive world, colleges will height-adjust when admitting new students.

        “We lead the way to height-equality. Long legs are no more superior than short legs.”

        1. Marina Bart

          He’s like 5’11”. If you look at pictures with Obama, he’s a tiny bit shorter, but he’s also hunched over.

          Bernie is not short.

  14. diptherio

    Some links on the Co-op tip:

    A video from Kali Akuno of Cooperation Jackson. Important insight for effective organizing for social change. Kali suggests 1) convene People’s Assemblies; 2) organize worker co-ops; 3) organize for electoral power…in that order. Cooperation Jackson actually did the third step before the second — getting Chokwe Lumumba elected mayor, before his untimely death — but now Kali says he thinks they should have done the co-op work before throwing all their energy into the electoral realm. Food for thought.

    Learning from Mississippi: Building a Social and Political Strategy

    Youth solidarity economy organizer from Minnesota talks with an old hand in the worker co-op movement. Very good conversation.

    The Kids Are Alright: A Conversation on Youth and Cooperation

  15. clarky90

    I am a scientist (really) and am used to noticing correlations. I think I have noticed one. Significant?, who knows.

    Everything President Trump is in favor of, the Democrats, Main Stream Press and Film Actors Guild (Team America ref) are against. If Trumps “likes it”, they immediately and passionately “hate” it. Now that Trump “hates” Putin, look for the democrats to start finding Putin’s lovable side.

    If Trump wants “single payer health care”, all he has to do is be “totally against it”, and his enemies (the top 10%, not the left and the right, but the up and the down, so “the up”), will be suddenly “for it”. Trump’s opposition are such geniuses!

    It takes me back my days of dealing with bratty siblings and spoiled little kids.

    1. kimsarah

      What would a psychiatrist’s diagnosis of the Democrats be when they cannot support positions of Trump’s that they agree with?

    2. different clue

      Your prediction about Trump and Putin will be proven wrong. The more Trump appears to be “opposing” or even “hating” Putin, the more all the groups you mentioned will pet Trump on the head and say ” good boy. good doggie Donald. keep it up.”

    1. DJG

      This is a Family Blog! (And I don’t mean a family quite that talented.)

      Damn. I forgot how funny that joke is, as I sit here with my nose running from laughter. (Yeah, yeah, I have to get up now and go catch it.)

      Educational, as he says in the middle.

  16. Andrew Watts

    RE: Chelsea Clinton and the Problems of American Aristocracy

    It’s popular to compare Trump to Hitler/Mussolini but what about Hillary? If I had to choose a historical leader which Hillary reminds me of I’d say it’s Sophie of Bavaria. This domineering woman was defined by her ruthless ambition even though her child was destined to inherit a crumbling empire. When the ungrateful Italians rejected token concessions offered to them during the Lombardy uprising (1848) Sophie was furious at their ingratitude. Why couldn’t these peasants be content with their wretched lot under the most exceptional of governments?

    To be fair, Sophie had a sentimental side and was reportedly quite silly at times. Which kinda reminds me of instances where Hillary would make goofy faces/motions and people thought she was having a seizure during the campaign. Still historians haven’t been kind to poor ole’ Sophie.

    Seeing the Clintons as a part of one’s own political identity is corrosive and only serves as further indictment of the Democratic Party and its supporters, both of whom are now so out of touch that they’re looking to people spreading Infowars-esque conspiracy theories about a Soviet menace for comfort and direction.

    It is obviously the fault of some traitor or schemer who brings about unfortunate setbacks or even the downfall of Dear Leader! Authoritarians do not and cannot accept failure.

    1. LT

      “Authoritarians do not and cannot accept failure.”

      In the business world they adore, they love the saying “fail and fail again.” They think of everything as related to their personal glorification, but these are failures with implications for masses of people and not all about them. They don’t see themselves as authoritarians, but as “positive thinkers.”

      But yes, they are authoritarians. They imagine any deviation from their ingrained order of things is the collapse of humankind.

  17. Kurtismayfield

    The Bezzle: “Before too long, it will be impossible to buy a new car without an embedded LTE modem”

    The real test will be when a person like me tries to disable it, especially in the secondary market where the owner has no relationship with the manufacturer or the dealership. I can’t wait to see the licensing agreement for the car, because there is no way the company is selling it to you in the traditional sense. You will be licensing the product, and be an end user.

  18. diptherio

    Beargrass also survives forest fires quite well. The clumps of grass burn down to a little stump, but come the next spring, they come right on back, just like nothing happened.

    1. Marina Bart

      I’ve never seen this stuff. It’s amazing looking. Someone should put it in a sci-fi movie.

  19. ewmayer

    “Using panel data on individual labor income histories from 1957 to 2013, we document two empirical facts about the distribution of lifetime income in the United States. First, from the cohort that entered the labor market in 1967 to the cohort that entered in 1983, median lifetime income of men declined by 10%–19%. We find little-to-no rise in the lower three-quarters of the percentiles of the male lifetime income distribution during this period. Accounting for rising employer-provided health and pension benefits partly mitigates these findings…” — And said mitigation is bogus, in the sense that the rapidly rising health-bezzle-related outlays aren’t buying us any better quality of actual health *care* – if anything, it’s worse. And w.r.to the rising incomes of women over the same 50-year period, how’s that whole being-able-to-afford-nice-things-and-retire-securely-on-a-single-salary thing working out for us? Now you know why economists and politicians are so wedded to persistently understating price inflation: the illusion of progress must be maintained at all costs.

  20. BrianC

    The plant photo… Glacier National Park? Maybe somewhere around Iceberg Lake?

    I remember hiking up to Iceberg Lake when I was a kid with my Dad. Probably around age 8 or 9.

  21. chuck roast

    “FedEx has dropped some retailers that refused price increases, while UPS appears to be taking a more targeted “surge pricing” approach. Amazon.com Inc. tried a variation on the strategy last year when it started charging a premium for merchants to use its warehouses in November and December.”
    This is an interesting variation on the retail built environment. For example, when a regional retail mall is designed, the parking lot must contain enough spaces for the busiest shopping day of the year…Christmas Eve. So, you now know why when you drive around the local shopping mall during the other 364 days a year the lot looks like a vast wasted space…paid for by the rent of the retailer.

  22. different clue

    About the disappearing Ms. tweets . . . . if programs or systems exist for copying a tweet and an image as soon as it is seen exists . . . then pro-Sanders ( or at least anti-Clinton) people should figure them out and use them to time-stamp copy-preserve all such tweets and images as they think might be revealing of the Clintonites and their minions . . . like Ms. Magazine. The fact that it has been memory-holed so fast means that Ms. Magazine can get away with pretending it never existed, and can get away with calling everyone who claimed they saw it by the name Misogynist Bernie Bro.

    And there is nothing anyone can do about it, because the Clintonites have learned to start watching and are probably working with their moles and assets inside Twitter to disappear those compromising images and tweets as soon as they are discovered. Hence the need for programs to copy and preserve them onto non-Twitter devices upon the Very Instant of their being seen.

    1. Marina Bart

      Snipping an image of the tweet ought to work. Twitter itself has a way to copy a tweet; it looks like that’s what’s being used to kill the replication.

      I’ve seen numerous professional and amateur Hillbots threaten death towards Bernie, the Bernie supporter they’re tweeting at (I’ve gotten it, and I’m nobody on Twitter), all black people, all women, all men — I’m not kidding, there’s a very disturbingly violent undercurrent to what these “liberals” want to and feel it’s appropriate to say on social media.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Despite the claims about Bernie Bros, many Hillary primary voters are upper class and entitled white people.

        The people who chew out the staff at restaurants are chewing out the “deplorables” for not vindicating their feelings.

      2. John Zelnicker

        @Marina Bart – (Love your comments and posts).

        “…I’m not kidding, there’s a very disturbingly violent undercurrent to what these “liberals” want to and feel it’s appropriate to say on social media.”

        Damn right it’s disturbing. WTF is wrong with these people?

  23. allan

    Folks need to have a conversation:

    Obamas to start ‘conversation’ with South Side over library
    [Chi Trib]

    Former President Barack Obama’s second Chicago trip in as many weeks on Wednesday will include two events and a first look at a design for his presidential center in Jackson Park. …

    “It was important to (Obama) to make the initial announcement to community members on the South Side of Chicago and to have that conversation with them,” said a source familiar with Obama’s plans who spoke on condition of anonymity. …

    “He very much wants this to be a project that’s a part of the Chicago South Side community, even though this is going to be a center that has relationships globally,” the source said. “It’s very important to him that the connection is felt locally.” …

    Relate globally, feel locally.
    The most inspiring slogan since Forward.

  24. Vatch

    Jay Clayton was confirmed by the Senate by a vote of 61-37 to be a member of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Will he frequently recuse himself because of his numerous conflicts of interest, or will he illegally continue serving his clients while he is on the SEC? Stay tuned.



    An article about this:


  25. allan

    American Airlines is cutting more legroom circulation in economy class [CNN]

    American Airlines (AAL) is planning to decrease the front-to-back space between some of its economy class seats by another two inches.

    The airline says it plans to add more seats on its coming Boeing (BA) 737 Max jetliners. To do that, it will shrink the distance between seats, also known as pitch, from 31 inches to 29 inches on three rows of the airplane, and down to 30-inches in the rest of its main economy cabin. …

    With the change, American will become the first large U.S. carrier to offer legroom with a pitch that’s nearly on par with ultra-low cost carriers Spirit Airlines (SAVE) and Frontier Airlines. Those seats are an industry minimum 28-inches apart. …

    The bathrooms on American’s 737 Max jets will also be smaller, one person familiar with the planning said. …

    Fliers will still pay regular economy fares for the 18 seats with two inches less leg room. Two of those three rows of 29-inch pitch will be in the back of the plane and a third farther forward. These seats won’t be part of its new basic economy fares, which sell for less because fliers don’t get access to overhead bins, a seat assignment or frequent flier miles. …

    1. Vatch

      We really need to reestablish the Civil Aeronautics Board. Alfred Kahn was either naive or corrupt.

  26. Pookah Harvey

    Off the subject:
    I found this at Politico

    How a GOP bill could cause the next financial crisis

    Here’s how it would work: Under the legislation, within 48 hours of a failing megabank declaring bankruptcy, a court would hold a hearing to allow the bank to transfer selected contracts and liabilities, consisting mostly of its derivatives and repo agreements, to a newly formed company. This so-called bridge company’s sole purpose is to take on the liabilities owed under these financial contracts and loans. The bridge company will be required to pay 100 percent of those liabilities, without any writedown, even if the property transferred to the bridge company is worth only a fraction of the debt. Once the transfers are made, the bridge company is outside of the jurisdiction and supervision of the bankruptcy court.

    At the same time, Main Street creditors — such as the 401(k)s, pension plans and other businesses that extended credit or invested in the failed megabank the old-fashioned way — would receive no payment at all. Instead, the bankruptcy process would wipe out those debts and give the former creditors stock in the newly formed, post-bankruptcy bridge company. As the bridge company emerges from bankruptcy and restarts its businesses, those shares could be valuable. But the new entity’s very first job would be to pay back Wall Street banks 100 percent of their money — thus likely wiping out much or all of its value to its unfortunate new owners. Only after Wall Street gets paid would average Americans receive anything. And if those Wall Street liabilities exceed the new bridge company’s assets, then the stock held by Main Street creditors would be worth nothing.

    The Financial Institution Bankruptcy Act has already passed the House on a voice vote with bipartisan support. A Google search shows very little discussion on the bill.

  27. kimsarah

    I never thought anybody could be worse losers than New York fans, but Hillary and Rachel and the Dems take the prize.

  28. John Zelnicker

    Lambert – At the end of the Stats Watch section you asked what you missed about the issue of seasonal adjustments. This is how I understand it.

    I assume you know the purpose of seasonal adjustments.

    You are correct that the logic should not be different now from that which applied before the GFC. I don’t think the logic is different. The problem seems to be that the seasonal adjustments that were being used before the GFC are no longer smoothing out the curves of the graphed data to the same extent that they used to. The seasonally adjusted first quarter data (and it’s only the first quarter that’s causing problems), using the previous methodology, is showing dips that the experts believe is a seasonal artifact and that needs to be included in the seasonal adjustments being applied to the data since the GFC. Their evidence for this theory is that the unusual dips in the first quarter have been consistently showing up in the seasonally adjusted statistics at similar magnitudes every year since the GFC.

    It’s basically a matter of updating their quantitative assumptions to better match the historical data so they are more accurate going forward.

    I hope this helps.

Comments are closed.