Links 6/2/17

Posted on by

Yves here. Too many links! This is getting to be a problem, since more links means less time for original posts.

Stolen puppies go for a wild ride in Mercedes as alleged thieves flee down interstate Macon Telegraph (J-LS)

Coal Ash Is More Radioactive Than Nuclear Waste Scientific American (Chuck L)

To kill net neutrality rules, FCC says broadband isn’t “telecommunications” ars technica (martha r)

Rise of the crypto-currency “smart ponzi” MacroBusiness

Supreme Court Ruling Could Hinder ‘Patent Trolls’ New York Times (EM). From last week, still germane.

Google’s Map of the Most Misspelled Word in Every State Should Make America Feel Ashamed GQ (Micael)

Bomb-Sniffing Dogs, Scanners Pushed to Avoid Airline Laptop Ban Bloomberg


Let’s reconcile to a diet of squid as we overfish to our own peril South China Morning Post(J-LS)

Girl makes underclassman kowtow to her in show of ‘respect’ Coconuts


India Used Questionable Loophole to Hide Its Zika Cases From the WHO The Wire

Vietnam and the United States Make Nice for Now, but Disappointment Looms Council on Foreign Relations (furzy)

It’s pious and inaccurate to say Manchester attack had ‘nothing to do with Islam’. It was rooted in Saudi Arabian Wahhabism Independent (Sid S)

It’s not Islam that drives young Europeans to jihad, France’s top terrorism expert explains Haaretz (furzy)

Missing the Real Noriega Story Consortium News

Venezuela’s hunger crisis is for real Washington Post (furzy)

EU maps out road to deeper Monetary Union EUbusiness. Micael: “EU maps out road to deeper Monetary Union.”

UK Election

This Facebook comment about Jeremy Corbyn is going viral TLE (J-LS)

‘I don’t think he needs my advice’: Bernie Sanders applauds Jeremy Corbyn Guardian (martha r)

8 ways Jeremy Corbyn is winning Politico (J-LS)

The middle has fallen out of British politics Economist. So the Lib Dems are now the “smart” neoliberal choice.


Kazakhstan rallies equity investors for latest privatization drive Euromoney (Micael)

New Cold War

Vladimir Putin’s interview with Le Figaro Defend Democracy

Report: Nigel Farage a ‘Person of Interest’ in FBI Russia Probe – The Daily Beast (furzy)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Blame game for cyber attacks grows murkier as spying, crime tools mix Reuters (Dan K)

Trump Transition

Despite Paris Accord Exit, Companies Expect Little Change Wall Street Journal

Tesla’s Elon Musk and Disney’s Robert Iger quit Trump advisory councils, citing climate change Los Angeles Times. Martha r: “Don’t miss the last sentence.”

Obama: Trump will ‘reject the future’ by pulling out of Paris accord The Hill. An awfully convenient criticism after Obama took forever to sign up, waiting until two months before he left office, so he would pay no political price, and per below, did not sign up in a clearly binding way.

The U.S. can’t quit the Paris climate agreement, because it never actually joined Washington Post

Trump: Paris deal was ‘massive redistribution of United States wealth Washington Examiner (martha r)

Impacts of Greenhouse Gas Regulations On the Industrial Sector NERA. Thomas R: “The report which Trump and other trumpish talking heads were apparently referencing in the MSM on the heels of today’s announcement.”

Washington, California, New York band together to form climate alliance Politico. Martha r: “Why are so many poor-quality people suddenly taking “principled” stands over Paris? Somehow I suspect they think they can turn Trump’s decision to their advantage. Surely I am too cynical . . .”

Trump appeals travel ban case to Supreme Court The Hill

Comey to testify publicly next week The Hill

Elizabeth Warren Launches Ambitious New Project to Hold Betsy DeVos Accountable Alternet

Warren turns her fire on DeVos The Hill

Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, and the fight to find the antidote to Trumpism Vox (resilc)

Jared Kushner built luxury condos using real estate grants meant for poor communities: report Raw Story (furzy)

Trump Grants Ethics Waivers To 17 Top White House Staffers Huffington Post (furzy)

Hurricane season starts with nobody in charge at FEMA or NOAA Tampa Bay Times (martha r)

Impeachment Advocates Beware: Trump Holds a Trump Card: The Power to Pardon Counterpunch

Ex-DNC aide hits back hard at Clinton, says her campaign ignored data on Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin Washington Post (martha r). Look at how he was bullied into deleting his tweet….

Hillary Lacks the Remorse of Conscience Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal (J-LS). A must read. “Her public statements since defeat have been malignant little masterpieces of victimhood-claiming, blame-shifting and unhelpful accusation. They deserve censure.” Google the headline. When logged out in Google Chrome, I got a $1 for 2 months offer.

Secret Service relaxes marijuana policy in bid to swell ranks CNN (J-LS). I take it no one has told Jeff Sessions.

JAMES O’KEEFE HIT BY GROUP HE STUNG WITH MILLION-DOLLAR LAWSUIT Intercept. Comparison to Watergate is overwrought. The precedent the 1996 ABC-Food Lion case. You’ll see the fact set is similar.

California Senate passes universal health care bill Sacramento Bee. Martha r: “Shades of the Vermont battle–loud objections: ‘How are you going to pay for it’; ‘You won’t say, because we can’t pay for it.'”

Economist Shows That Single-Payer Health Care in California Would Protect Business and Save the Public Money Alternet (furzy)

S&P, Moody’s Downgrade Illinois to Near Junk, Lowest Ever for a U.S. State Bloomberg

POLL: Younger voters favor Ossoff, older voters support Handel WSB-TV (martha r)

Leading Right-Wing Christian Figure Calls for a ‘More Violent Christianity’ Alternet (furzy)

IEX chief sticks to principles in battle for presence Financial Times (David L)

U.S. Homes Are Finally Shrinking Bloomberg

Bleecker Street’s Swerve From Luxe Shops to Vacant Stores New York Times (J-LS). I lived on Bank Street when the West Village was cute due to all the trees and the buildings being small scale, but it was bohemian and a bit gritty rather than twee. We are seeing the same phenomenon on Third Avenue in my ‘hood with less upscale merchants. Landlords doubled the rents, killing quite a few formerly viable businesses. Many storefronts have been vacant for over a year.

The U.S. Has Forgotten How to Do Infrastructure Bloomberg. Important.

Guillotine Watch

Economists say the ultra-wealthy are dodging taxes far more than we think Quartz (Tom H)

Hell Is Empty and All the Hedge Fund Managers are at The Bellagio The Concourse (doak)

Class Warfare

Walmart is asking employees to deliver packages on their way home from work Washington Post (resilc, Dan K)

Wal-Mart tests delivery of online packages by store workers Reuters (Kokuanani)

America’s Toxic Prisons: The Environmental Injustices of Mass Incarceration TruthOut

Resurrecting Black Wall Street Your World. Normally I don’t link to what amounts to ads, but I have to confess that I’d never heard of Black Wall Street, nor that, per Judy B: “It’s Been 96 Years Since White Mobs Destroyed Tulsa’s Black Wall Street”

Tesla Autopilot Review: Bikers will die Medium (furzy)

against white nationalism: full employment & the politics of radical inclusion (guest post) Modern Money Aesthetics (Scott F)

Real Power Is in Production, not Consumption Medium (Scott F)

Antidote du jour. Hodor: “Attached is my puppy threatening my pit bull with the Wuxi finger hold“:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. MoiAussie

    Coal Ash Is More Radioactive Than Nuclear Waste (Scientific American)

    Another completely misleading BS headline from the nuclear apologists. What they actually mean is this:

    In fact, the fly ash emitted by a power plant—a by-product from burning coal for electricity—carries into the surrounding environment 100 times more radiation than a nuclear power plant producing the same amount of energy.

    Note that they aren’t comparing anything to “nuclear waste” here. Not to underplay the fact that fly ash contains radioactive elements, here is the key info:

    McBride and his co-authors estimated that individuals living near coal-fired installations are exposed to a maximum of 1.9 millirems of fly ash radiation yearly. To put these numbers in perspective, the average person encounters 360 millirems of annual “background radiation” from natural and man-made sources, including substances in Earth’s crust, cosmic rays, residue from nuclear tests and smoke detectors.

    IOW, you get an extra 1/2% radiation dose from the fly ash, which is more than the extra dose what you get from a superbly-run nuclear power plant that emits virtually nothing, or having a bad banana habit. But no mention of all the unintended emissions that do occur, the leaks, the waste itself that hasn’t been dealt with, emissions from uranium mining, fuel rod processing, not to mention the occasional melt down. With nuclear it’s always what happens when things go wrong that you need to worry about.

    This is propaganda from the nuclear industry, pure and simple. SciAm is beyond a joke.

    1. vlade

      Well, the problem (having lived both near a nuclear reactor and a polluting coal station) is that the coal station pollutes day in, day out, and no-one pays attention.

      When something like Fukushima/Chernobyl happens, people in the vicinity know they are screwed bad time pretty much immediately.

      I’m willing to bet that coal and diesel emissions killed, in the same time, much more people than Fukushima/Chernobyl and both atomic bombs combined. IIRC, that (combined nuclear deaths) add up to about 300, call it 400k. The UK estimates that particulate polution (of which diesel is main cultprit, but coal until it was banned for domestic pusposes, and filters forced on commercial ones was too) kills about 28-29k people/year in the UK alone.

      1. Skip Intro

        Ok course the nuclear waste from these plants will keep killing for over 100,000 years.

        1. UserFriendly

          How many have died so far? It’s a bad headline but it’s very true that you are safer living next to a nuclear reactor than a coal plant.

          1. Mac na Michomhairle

            I don’t know about coal burning plants, but the population in my county living in a rural area near a nuclear plant has remarkably elevated levels of cancers among children and teens. Can it be proved that the cause is the ongoing release over thirty years of radioactivity?

            Of course not, so we are healthier living next to a nuclear plant than a coal burning plant.

    2. justanotherprogressive


      Scientific American should be embarrassed! Obviously, sensationalism is more important to them than science these days…..

      The last disclaimer says it all: “As a general clarification, ounce for ounce, coal ash released from a power plant delivers more radiation than nuclear waste shielded via water or dry cask storage.”

      1. Roger Smith

        Science has become a brand. No one even expects actual understanding of knowledge anymore. They just snidely retort, “what, you don’t believe in science??” or “It’s science man”. That is right, it is so obvious I should just nod my head in agreement.

        1. Brian

          It has been advertised as a brand for some time now, and melded with politics to form a stream of misinformation by manipulators.
          But not to scientists. When you use the scientific method to solve a problem, opinion is not involved after you have selected your experiment. The manipulation happens after you reach a conclusion, which is immediately attacked for its political ramifications. Just think religion and science, flat earth, etc.
          Science is plagued by non scientists.

          1. Greg Taylor

            Selection of metrics and experimental design trade-offs involve subjectivity and opinion. This allows experiments to be manipulated for a variety of purposes before any data is collected. Too often, scientists are intellectually captured by those funding their experiments and design in ways that ensure the results will please their paymasters.

            1. Roger Smith

              Great point as well. I do not have a real grasp of research, but in an oligarchical society, it seems that it is large projects with agendas that would get the funding.

          2. Roger Smith

            I completely agree, though I would add that it is being plagued by pop culture scientists like Tyson too. (though maybe he is more like Nye than I know, in which case he wouldn’t fit a real definition of scientist at all).

    3. fritter

      thank you for pointing this out. the article is simply appalling. I like how in the note they say they compare fly ash with nuclear waste sealed by a barrier or water and say that nuclear is safer. Scientific method fail.

      One thing they neglected to consider that should be sending off alarm bells is that people can breathe in fly ash. They accounted for exposure to crops around coal plants and the resulting radiation intake from eating those crops, but not a word about radiation in your lungs. Neither method is safe without proper engineering that cuts into profits.

    4. craazyboy

      Go all the way. “Clean Coal Radioactive!”

      Flyash recovery feeds plants[factories] that make green wall board!

      Oopsie. We’re building houses that have sulfur air pollution and radioactive waste?

    5. Optimader

      Thank you for saving me the time
      This clickbait shit should never have been linked
      ChuckL: file in the innumerate fail folder

      1. JoeK

        In the weeks after the Fukushima catastrophe I spent all too much time on the web trying to get the best info possible about the situation since I was living in Japan and was directly affected by it.
        Part of this involved checking a couple of very long and complex conversations (threads) on a forum called physics forum. Primarily from those readings, but also from reading any and all articles online related to Fukushima, I became very aware of how much mis- and disinformation regarding the dangers of radioactivity is being disseminated.

        The “coal is more radioactive than uranium/plutonium” argument is very common, probably beating out the “bananas are radioactive” one. Both are, as has just been pointed out, specious.

        The crucial difference between internal and external exposure is consistently ignored or misrepresented. In the forum threads, the engineers and “science guys” for lack of a better term were just as consistent in disregarding both the non-quantifiable and the non-scientists they were usually in disagreement with (except of course the non-scientists with no scientific sense at all, i.e. the “go live in a cave then” types). One (user name “nuceng” so I’m going to assume from this cohort) was continually disparaging other people posting comments, when I pointed this out I was banned permanently. I’d seen enough by that time, concluding that honest debate with the true believers was impossible.

        The term is apt because the temper as much as the content of the pro/anti nuke debate has revealed to me that nuclear power has a quasi-religious status in many quarters of the science/tech community, no doubt related to the more widespread worship in “developed countries” of the latest shibboleth, Progress With a Capital(ist) P. Nuke power is at the crux of this belief–it’s a quintessentially capitalist enterprise, and it offers the addictive opium of perceived command and control over both hi-tech wizardry and the most dangerous materials on earth.

        The import of the fact that those materials have been underground for 100s of millions or billions of years (where a greater wisdom seems to believe they should remain) seems to escape their understanding.

        1. davidgmills

          People are clueless about radioactivity. You included. Truth is we are probably going to need nuclear power at some point. But I don’t bother engaging on political or financial blogs because it is a religion for people who know absolutely nothing about radioactivity.

          If you think radioactivity is going to kill us all, then don’t ever consider going to the hospital to have an Xray or CT scan, much less radiation treatment.

          The people I trust on the issues of radioactivity and health? Radiology oncologists. Get the scoop from them.

          1. JoeK


            I myself generally only “engage” with thoughtful, logically coherent comments in reference to something I’ve posted, but it’s hard not to respond to yours as it’s such a wholesale misrepresentation of my post, complete with straw-man exaggerations and self-contradiction (beginning with your “engaging” despite not bothering to do so).

            The only possible way you could draw the conclusion I’m “clueless” about radioactivity from my short set of comments is to have misread them completely, or to have made excessive inferences based on your personal prejudices; though I could do so, I’ve no inclination to elaborate beyond pointing at the coal or banana comments as possible sources for this attempt at insight or analysis on your part.

            The second paragraph: are X-rays harmless after all, I missed the news, and x-ray foot measuring for shoes is about to make a comeback? Seriously, didn’t you read the part in my comment about “go back to your cave” comments? Exactly what you’re doing here, sounding like a no-sense-of-science guy.

            Last, having dealt with more than one cancer patient getting radiation treatment, I’ve seen “the scoop” up close and personal, thank you very much. An oncologist’s opinion on radiation, aside from being that yes it kills cells, is going to depend much more on his attitudes and beliefs than hard science. I expect that too will confound you.

        2. UserFriendly

          The import of the fact that those materials have been underground for 100s of millions or billions of years (where a greater wisdom seems to believe they should remain) seems to escape their understanding.

          Are you willing to stop using all petrochemicals, plastics, and most metals since you are so averse to digging things up? You must have really admired pirate’s as a child or something for burying their treasure down in the deep scary earth with all those things the flying spaghetti monster hide from us stupid humans.

          And why is it always assumed that there is some huge profiteer behind nuclear. Just ignor the guy from exxon who loves that you are creeped out from the next to no one who dies from nuclear power compared to every other energy source. More people die installing rooftop solar than from nuclear.

          1. JoeK

            I guess I should have read this before responding to the comment above.

            Interesting how my comments get twisted into something I didn’t say, and I think it’s quite clear I didn’t.

            The tuo quoque argument–if you don’t think technology X is benign than go live in a cave–was referred to, but I guess I should have been more explicit.

            Same re uranium and other radioactive rocks being underground. It’s only one way to look at it, to be sure, one could also say that since we didn’t evolve with built-in lead shields or the equivalent, which we would have had we evolved in the presence of radioactive rocks, and since they are thus extremely hazardous, lethally so, we should–if we are compelled to make use of them, keep ourselves protected from their lethality. Using this stuff to boil water is, even from this more nuke-friendly framing, reckless.

            Building a nuclear reactor takes huge amounts of capital. Guess how one describes a capital-intensive process.
            The centralization of power, both literal and figurative, is another important factor. And the close connection to the military’s use of radioactive materials, both for power production and in weapons. Etc, etc, etc.

            As to the last, how many people X has killed vs. nuclear, this is one I’m well familiar with, and would consider debating, but your example is so ill-considered I fear my responding would eventually lead down a rabbit hole of misrepresentations and sloppy debate. BTDT, don’t any more.

            1. UserFriendly

              Yes, meltdowns cause lots of excess radiation. So does the sun. So do nuclear bombs. How many nuclear warheads do you think have been detonated? Just between 1945 and 1990 there were over 2000 ‘tests’. Tell me why I should worry about a comparatively miniscule amount of radiation leaking from one poorly built plant when the world was dropping hundreds of bombs each year for decades with no noticeable (unintended) effects.

              The problem I have with you anti nuclear people is you have no sense of scale. You are on the same level as the GOP who has been whipped into anti islamic stances by the news making everyone think there are terrorists everywhere when you are more likely to slip and die in your bathtub than get killed by a terrorist.

              A nuclear plant that was designed in the 70’s (so it didn’t have computers to help with the calculations) ran just fine for years until a Tsunami hit it. Some radiation spilt, yes it was unfortunate. How many people died? 0. How many countries are now going to close down nuclear plants in favor of CO2 emitting ones? WAY TOO MANY. You have no sense of scale. We don’t have any wiggle room with CO2. We are on track to turn bangladesh (with 4x the population of California) into Atlantis by the end of the century and that is the best case scenario. We only get one shot at this and you people that jump whenever the news says BOO are killing lots of innocent people. There is litteraly no way to create enough wind and PV in time because they have such a high EROI.

              There have been lots of improvements in the design of nuclear plants, they have been made fail safe in some tests. The biggest hurdle is the public ignorantly thinking that all nuclear is the same and it is all very likely to explode and kill them with things they can’t see. This planet and the people on it are not worth saving I am so sick of everyones selfishness, arrogance, and ignorance.

              1. MoiAussie

                I understand exactly where you are coming from, but you lose any credibility by arguing that
                Yes, meltdowns cause lots of excess radiation. So does the sun.

                The radiation from nuclear meltdowns and the radiation from the sun are completely different in energy. Sure, heatstroke can kill, as can skin cancers, but it ain’t radiation poisoning. Sunscreen is cheap.

                As for Fukushima, the meltdown caused 300,000 people to be forced to evacuate to avoid deaths from radiation. And that evacuation led directly to about 1600 deaths: Fukushima evacuation has killed more than earthquake and tsunami, survey says

                Thousands died promptly or prematurely as a result of Chernobyl. Just because deaths due to radiation exposure are statistical rather than deterministic doesn’t diminish the danger of nuclear accidents.

                Even if we were to accept the risks of nuclear accidents and hope for the best, nuclear energy is not cost-competitive. Nuclear works by an accounting trick that pushes massive costs into the distant future. Only by completely ignoring the fantastic costs of cleanups, waste management, and decommissioning does nuclear make economic sense. Few plants have been decommissioned to greenfield status, and even less waste has been dealt with. Current cleanup cost estimate for Fukushima is $190B USD, double what it was 2 years ago, and it will continue to grow. That figure alone is about 6 times what it would cost to build and run a 2GW plant for 40 years.

                1. UserFriendly

                  Valid point about the evacuation deaths.

                  As far as nuclear waste goes if there wasn’t so much public paranoia, that makes not only the permitting but the fundraising too, next to impossible we would have molten salt reactors that run on nuclear waste, are fail safe, run at atmospheric pressure, and generate electricity for a fraction of the cost. This older article spells out the hurdles rather well.
                  And here is a more recent update.
                  And no I have no ties to any nuclear companie and their are several other startups with worse publicists working on the same type of reactor. I would love to get rid of every nuclear plant we have up now because they are so horribly inefficient and comparatively unsafe. But trust me, CO2 is a much, much bigger threat to the entire species than a handful of suboptimal nuclear plants even if we had 1 meltdown a year.

  2. MoiAussie

    Venezuela’s hunger crisis is for real (Washington Post)

    WaPo gets in a bit of Venezuela kicking.

    Venezuela needs serious and sustained humanitarian aid to stem the current deaths and prevent an entire generation of children from being stunted. But a government that consistently refuses to acknowledge this reality has stubbornly resisted declaring a humanitarian emergency and accepting the aid much of the world — including the United States — is offering.

    Funny that. Yemen and observers have been screaming for a bit of humanitarian aid for the famine there, but there’s no sign of the US offering that or WaPo calling for that. It’s more billions for bombs for the saudis instead. And the pretence that US aid to Venezuela would come with no strings attached.

    1. zapster

      Wapo prepping us for a push to get more regime-change NGOs into the country, is my guess. Maybe even a “kill ’em so they don’t starve” action even.

  3. witters

    “Question: In a perfect world, what would you expect the United States to do to improve relations with Russia?

    Vladimir Putin: There is no such thing as a perfect world, and there is no subjunctive mood in politics.”

    Maybe we talk to this guy?

    1. JerseyJeffersonian

      I forwarded the link to that interview to a friend a couple days ago, and made sure to highlight that very sentence. My comments on the interview from that email:

      “I find it refreshing that the man has the deep history of his nation at his fingertips, and can produce it – in context – in the middle of an interview.

      And then he comes out with this line when asked to speculate about something that might happen in “a perfect world”. “There is no such thing as a perfect world, and there is no subjunctive mood in politics.” No subjunctive mood in politics… I could just hug him when I think what manner of fools and charlatans are in charge in the West. Those jackasses wouldn’t even know what the subjunctive mood is, let alone be able to properly display their comprehension of it on the fly like this.”

      So yeah, maybe we should talk to this guy.

        1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          About as likely as Trump knowing what a “Perfect Passive Participle” is!


  4. MoiAussie

    And getting precisely zero coverage in the MSM:
    Macron Leaks could be ‘isolated individual’, France says

    France has found no evidence that Russia was behind Macron Leaks… Guillaume Poupard, the head of the French cyber security agency, Anssi, told the AP news agency on Thursday (1 June) that the Macron hack resembled the actions of “an isolated individual”.

    Some security experts blamed it on a hacker group called APT28, which is said by the US to be a front for Russian intelligence.

    But Poupard said on Thursday: “To say Macron Leaks was APT28, I’m absolutely incapable today of doing that … I have absolutely no element to say whether it’s true or false”.

    Zero evidence of a “Russian hack”. Obviously not newsworthy.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Is it true that under the Napoleonic Code, Russia is guilty under proven innocent, especially after what they did to the Grande Armée?

  5. Carolinian

    Interesting Tesla article. As for “bikers will die,” bikers die quite a lot due to human drivers and the only true solution may be for bicyclists to have their own physically separated pathways. Motorcyclists also suffer from this “visibility problem.”

    1. bronco

      Would the Teslas be more dangerous to bikers than idiots that use cellphones while driving?

      device obsessed drivers are to others on the road what asteroids were to the dinosaurs

      1. jefemt

        Amen, Bronco. If you need to exercise your sphincter, just have a gander at the car next to you: I seldom see a driver with both hands on the wheel and without a device in hand. (Rural and urban western US). If I somehow can catch their eye, I make a hang up hand signal. Some glares, mostly a guilty ‘oops’ look. Remember Crackberry!?
        Best bet is to stay home, turn off the devices and news, get in the garden, grab a musical instrument, or have a nice chat with a neighbor. (Says he, lurkin’ in comments… )

        1. aletheia33

          reading books is also nice. and interacting with one’s pets and/or children, if any.
          also cooking up something.
          one can also commune with one’s partner, but i know that is stretching it.

          1. Propertius

            However, reading books(or newspapers, for that matter) while driving is definitely contraindicated. So is communing with one’s partner, for some values of “communing”.

      2. Charger01

        As a rider, I can attest to the pervasiveness of people in cars using phones…..constantly. Surface street (stop n go) are the worst by far, freeway seems to be less of a problem.

        1. murdoch matthew

          In the 1970s I commuted 68 miles a day on an Interstate highway to and from my job. I was amazed to see some fellow drivers with newspapers spread across their steering wheels, reading as they drove.

        2. habenicht

          Crash stats published by NHTSA directionally substantiate this. From about 2011 to 2015 there has been a subtle increase in property damage only crashes per mile driven. Injury crashes have been more level during this same period.

          My assumption is that property damage only crashes are more likely in local or stop and go kinds of driving situations. The injury and fatality crashes are perhaps more representative of higher speed situations (freeways).

          The other assumption of course is that the increase in property damage only crashes is due to driver error (distraction).

    2. kurtismayfield

      As an ex-cyclist who rode in an urban environment to work every day for years, I have very little sympathy for the motorcyclists and cyclists who don’t obey the laws. The amount of people who do not treat their cycles as a moving vehicle infuriates me.If you obey the laws yes it is still dangerous, but it is less so than the red light runners and the weavers through traffic. And I was hit twice on a bicycle because of the visibility problem (one not the drivers fault, one yes the driver was a jerk).

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      Maybe it’s a generational “thing,” but when I read the word “biker” I thought motorcycle rider. Bicyclist or cyclist means bicycle rider to me. I found the rest of the article a similarly confusing word salad, maybe also a generational “thing.”

      So, I checked the comments to see if my generational bias was preventing my comprehension of this piece. Apparently at least a few other readers felt the same. Hoisted from article comments:

      “Robotics PhD from Stanford and you write this? It is positively sophomoric. I know high school kids who have more insight and understanding of the subject. My advice: learn a little about something before you broadcast your ignorance about it. The least you could have done is read over the owners handbook about the car and its features, then you could have learn ed a little vocabulary…..”
      “Here is a prime example when you try to get millennials to do a report on something they know absolutely Zero on.. I.e.Control system technology… User programmed, and system learning. The car has a computer. Requires programming.. It is not an intuitive device such as a human. Examples of these individuals ignorance is riddled throughout this article. Do me a favor and keep doing what your best at. and that is taking selfies, wearing yoga pants and believing your knowledge of essential oils will make you a millionaire… F@#K\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\!!!

      Pretty much what I was thinking. And what in the world is this obsession with locking and unlocking things using “apps?” What’s so scary about a key? It strikes me as the ultimate solution in search of a problem. Now get off my lawn!

      1. Carolinian

        In our Jetsons future it would be easy enough for city cyclists to carry some sort of transponder that would warn motorists of their presence or even prevent self drive cars from hitting them. So I agree with the person you quote. Articles about technology are too often written by people with insufficient understanding of the topic.

        1. MRLost

          Isn’t there an ap for that? I mean, your bleeping fone is broadcasting all the time so why doesn’t the Tesla just tune in on all those fones and recognize them as humans and to be avoided? Too simple, I guess.

      2. reslez

        Huh? I’m a software engineer and didn’t think the suggestions were out of line. The fact that a computer is involved means you do need to pay close attention to implementing good usability and intuitive controls. This is even more important when you’re dealing with a mass consumer product that consists of a ton+ of plastic, aluminium and steel traveling at 60 MPH. And who wants a car that’s supposedly so smart but still dumb enough to let you lock your keys inside? My 10 year old Prius is smarter than that, and I don’t have to go through 5 menu levels to turn off the engine….

        1. Propertius

          Why doesn’t the app use Bluetooth to unlock the car in the absence of a cell signal?

    4. roadrider

      the only true solution may be for bicyclists to have their own physically separated pathways.

      Serious road cyclist here:

      Physically separated pathways might be a solution in crowded urban/suburban areas but even there I doubt that enough of them could be built to “solve” the problem. In less crowded areas – forget it, They won’t be built at all. In my experience, most localities that commit to providing better bicycling infrastructure roll out a couple of miles of protected pathways that are isolated and unconnected leaving cyclists to figure out how to navigate through the unprotected areas.

      Yes, human drivers kill and injure many cyclists but I’m 100% sure that they can recognize a hell of a lot more than 1% of them. Color me unimpressed with the “self-driving” car bezzle that is just another misguided tech/utopian fantasy. If you want to understand why just watch the Air Disaster series on the Smithsonian Channel and see how many accidents are caused by pilots misunderstanding/misusing the autopilot systems or being unable to manually fly the plane when the autopilot system quits or malfunctions (Air France 447 is a great example). This kind of problem is going to be much worse with the average human automobile operator in the far more crowded, less controlled and obstacle filled road environment.

      1. Carolinian

        Copenhagen has an entire network of bicycle only roads. With enough commitment that could be done here although flat as a pancake Denmark is a lot more bicycle friendly than many US cities.

        And there were far more air crashes in the pre automation era. Much of that was due to pilot error. These days if pilots don’t know how to use the equipment that too is pilot error. And while there have been examples of badly designed automation in Airbus planes that too is-guess what–human error. Computers were added to airliners for a reason–not as some sort of marketing gimmick.

        1. roadrider

          With enough commitment

          And therein lies the problem – this isn’t Denmark and its unlikely that we’ll get that kind of commitment to bicycling infrastructure. Perhaps we would if everyone were not so hell bent on genuflecting before tech giants and their self-serving boondoggles like self-driving cars.

          Yes, there were more air crashes in the pre-automation era and would still be if there were no autopilots. That’s not the point. The point is that even highly skilled and trained professionals who go through a much more rigorous selection (and re-certification) process than will ever be the case for automobile drivers can still screw up when complex automated systems are involved, especially when the automated system throws up its hands and says “You take it!” because they’re so unused to the manual procedure any more.

          And, yes, the badly designed autopilot systems are a result of human imperfection but what are you suggesting – that the self-driving car guys are perfect and will never make mistakes or put out shoddy products or updates that bork the system? That never happens with computer hardware or software, – right? And even if experts at places like Google can get it mostly right (doubtful in any reasonable time frame) what’s going to happen when the inevitable less talented competitors enter the marketplace.

          I’m all for automated safety systems that override potentially bad actions by drivers but the complete self-driving car is something that I don’t think is either feasible or desirable.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          William Holden in a scene in the film, The Counterfeit Traitor, was rescued by a huge group of bicyclists in Copenhagen.

      2. Dead Dog

        Australian cities have designated lanes on the left shoulder of the road for cycles and underpowered (50cc or electric) bikes. They are painted green near intersections and the law states, for car drivers, 1m separation when passing at 60kmh or less and 1.5m separation in zones where the speed is equal or above 80kmh. I can’t point to studies in their effectiveness, but it does help in awareness

    5. Tertium Squid

      Limping along in Bay Area’s dreadful traffic, I’ve often been startled by motorbikes zipping past between lanes. I expect the butcher’s bill is already considerable, robot cars or no.

        1. EricT

          There is a difference between lane splitting and zipping between cars during a traffic jam. Lane splitting is when multiple riders share a lane, like on a highway, zipping between cars in a traffic jam is creating lanes and not lane splitting. It is also highly dangerous, because you never know if someone is going to open a door to take a look at the traffic ahead. Please research what is being said before you go out and put your foot into your mouth.

          1. stand

            Here’s quote from one of the research papers on that site:

            “Lane splitting is the practice of passing slower moving traffic by riding a motorcycle in the gap between two parallel lanes of traffic heading in the same direction.”

            So, perhaps, you should take some of your own advice.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              To be frank, I was confused too.

              I think we could use another word for that.

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I thought lane splitting was for one car to occupy two lanes…split between those 2 lanes, until I looked it up.

            It’s natural to be confused over its meaning.

        2. Dead Dog

          I ride a motorbike. We have all seen us ride up the side or between cars to get to the front of the lights (while the cars all patiently queu). It is now legal in Australia and reflects that bikes can accelerate much faster than most cars and enables them to get a buffer between them and the traffic. Still upsets a few car drivers though.

          1. reslez

            I read somewhere that part of the reason it’s permitted in California is because of the insane summer heat. If you forced the motorcycles to sit in traffic for hours the engines would overheat. (Along with the riders, I presume.)

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Now that I know the reason behind it, I feel sorry to have yelled at them as often as I did.

              But when it’s cold, it should be illegal.

  6. allan


    By backing off the U.S. commitment to address climate change, President Donald Trump leaves an opening for a chief economic rival, China, to expand its increasing dominance in the renewable energy industry. …

    China already accounts for more than one-third of global wind energy capacity. It recently surpassed Germany to become number one in solar capacity.

    Renewables employ more than 3.6 million people in China — more than a third of the industry’s global total. It plans to add another 13 million jobs in the sector by 2020 with investments of $144 billion in new solar projects, $100 billion in wind and $70 billion in hydropower. That also should help China to reach its commitment under the Paris accord to cap greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. …

    Another solid for American manufacturing.

    1. sleepy

      How does withdrawal from the Paris Accord negatively affect US companies’ ability to engage in renewable energy manufacturing?

      I’m ignorant of most details of the agreement, but I am guessing that there were government subsidies involved that now will disappear, correct? I am also speculating that is the reason that Exxon-Mobil and Conoco-Philips opposed the withdrawal.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        How does withdrawal from the Paris Accord negatively affect US companies’ ability to engage in renewable energy manufacturing?

        Good question.

        It seems to me that a fair amount of the criticism is not coming from genuine concern about the climate, but from captains of industry who fear losing control of the “investment” opportunities and profits the “war on climate change” will generate.

        blankfein’s first evah tweet can hardly be interpreted as a deep and abiding commitment to the health of polar bears.

        1. craazyboy

          Answer – because neo_climate_change_market!

          US corps need to put factory in Asia somewhere….I’d go with Bangladesh at this point and beat the Christmas rush.

      2. Optimader

        Business wants clear and stable (not saying sensible) policy codification to justify long term investment

      3. reslez

        The idea is that the US will pour more money into fracking and other legacy fuel technologies rather than green tech, since we’re not trying as hard to reduce emissions.

    2. craazyboy

      Well, under brown Bush and Obama, too, fighting climate change was supposed to be unfriendly to US GDP. Now they reverse? Progress.

      1. Darn

        They had to put opposition to fracking in the party platform last year otherwise thousands of fracktivists would have shown up at the last minute making for embarrassing TV footage.

        1. reslez

          Uh, which party are you talking about? On an episode of Aggressive Progressives a couple weeks ago, Nomiki Konst, who served on the committee, said the Democratic Party’s platform position on fracking was literally written by a fracking lobbyist. And they wonder why they lost:

          During a 9-hour meeting in St. Louis, Missouri on Friday, members of the DNC’s platform drafting committee voted down a number of measures proposed by Bernie Sanders surrogates that would have come out against the contentious Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), fracking, and the Israeli occupation of Palestine. At the same time, proposals to support a carbon tax, Single Payer healthcare, and a $15 minimum wage tied to inflation were also disregarded….

          The panel also rejected amendments suggested by co-founder Bill McKibben, another Sanders pick, that would have imposed a carbon tax, declared a national moratorium on fracking as well as new fossil fuel drilling leases on federal lands and waters. (source)

  7. Darn

    On Lib Dems being “smart”: entered coalition with the Tories without agreement on electoral reform, just to hold a referendum on it; signed up to the Fixed Term Parliaments Act which made it harder for them to get out of it because elections couldn’t happen for a full five years; dropped an important promise from the campaign not to raise university tuition; and despite plummeting in the polls, never even discussed leaving the coalition. If they had done that they could have had the Tories by the balls, with a veto over everything.

  8. Pavel

    I wish some of the liberals expressing OUTRAGE! over Trump’s decision to exit the Paris accord had been as vocal during Obama’s years of expanding mideast wars. The US military is by far the biggest polluter on the planet, and the US spends $700 billion on armaments. Imagine the environmental impact of:

    * manufacturing battleships, tanks, F35s, tomahawk missiles, etc
    * all the fuel used by the military, especially the air force and navy
    * the Agent Orange, napalm, cluster bombs, depleted uranium — not exactly great for the environment
    * nuclear weapons use and testing and waste. NB Obama approved a new generation of nukes!
    * the environmental damage from US missiles cf Syria, Libya, Yemen etc
    * all the US military bases around the world


    Evil mastermind election-hacker Putin’s country spends one-tenth of the US on its military (and still apparently manages to control the world!)

    Hillary voted for the Iraq war and essentially started (along with Cameron & Sarko) the Libya fiasco, with all the resulting environmental damage. For her to criticise anyone re the environment is the height of hypocrisy.

    1. nippersmom


      Hypocrisy strikes me as being HRC’s one real talent. She has developed it to an art form.

    2. Optimader

      Thanks for posting this also. The US military remains the single largest hydrocarbon consumer.
      Solve that first

    3. RUKidding

      Yeah but try talking to any firmly committed D voter, and they put their hands over their ears and go: La La La La La…. can’t hear you! Obama is my savior. Anything bad is all and solely the fault of the Republicans who are root of all evil.

      It’s too bad because I’ve attempted to have these conversations for years, and all I get are outright denials, insane “justifications” for Obama’s decisions, and so forth.

      Unless or until US citizens can get over their tribal identities, it’s next to impossible to have anything approaching a real discussion about these issues.

  9. Bugs Bunny

    On the Monte Carlo receipt – guillotine worthiness increased exponentially by the fact that it was either discarded or absent mindedly lost while in a fog of champagne buzz and pineapple hookah smoke.

    1. David

      Yes, although it was a 30 Litre bottle, equivalent to about 40 normal bottles. Still obscenely expensive, but it makes you wonder how many were there were, and what state they were in afterwards. Odd that nothing seems to have been eaten except a few fish and chip dishes for a couple of hundred Euros. Out of curiosity I looked up the menu ( which is expensive but no worse than many up-market restaurants. I wonder what was going on ….

      1. Bugs Bunny

        It was during the Monte Carlo Gran Prix.

        12 euros for a Coke is pretty typical in a nightclub in France, unfortunately.

        Rumor on a few French sites is that it was Russians but that could just be the stereotype talking.

        1. David

          It would have been on the Friday afternoon before the race then. I wonder what happened later in the weekend ….

      2. a different chris

        haha I have of course no sympathy for the rich, but given that alcohol bill I would think they would have the decency to throw in the rest of the stuff for free. I mean when you have a 130K item itemized next to a 20 euro plate….

      3. craazyboy

        I don’t care what anybody says – I’ve been tracking pineapple prices at $1.98. Just saw a coupon for $1.46. Getting ready to pull the trigger.

    1. Pat

      Thank you.
      Lord that is devastating. And will be immediately rejected by a whole lot of people who should hear it because it is “Nooners”.

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        Agree fully.

        Just one thing: Noting GB and Germany (a more salient example for her purposes might be India back in the day) have female heads of state, Noonan asks, “Is America really more backward, narrow and hate-filled toward women than those countries?”

        Dunno, maybe.

        1. Pat

          Hey, I can’t say that we aren’t behind Germany, Great Britain and a goodly number of other countries in this. Nor can any thinking aware egalitarian American deny that we are still battling not just racism but sexism in large areas of our lives. But Clinton playing victim to misogyny is insulting and misleading in a similar way to the attempt to shame Sanders supporters with the “there is a special place in hell for women who don’t support women candidates’ hypocrisy. I hate to say it but people who ignored disagreement with her policies, chose not to examine her ethics failures and in some cases her history of destructive incompetence in order to vote for the candidate with a vagina are also sexist. Then there is the fact that many of those supposedly misogynist Americans who failed to anoint her have female representation locally, at the state level and sometimes even at the federal level, Can it be misogyny if you are willing to be governed or represented by (shudder) a Mia Love or a Nikki Haley and reject Hillary Clinton? Clinton was not the canary in the coal mine for this, and her playing victim doesn’t make it true.

        2. Darn

          Trump won a majority of white women and a large majority of women w/o college degrees. “Internalised misogyny!”

        3. funemployed

          Well, we’re certainly not more sexist than pakistan, and bhutto became PM 25 years ago.

        4. TK421

          53% of people who cast a vote in the last presidential election were women. So no, our country doesn’t hate women or want to keep them powerless.

        5. jrs

          yes the U.S. hates women, you can’t conclude that from Hillary losing, but you can conclude it from U.S. policies. It doesn’t want women to choose to prevent pregnancy. What other country is so obsessed that women might be getting free birth control? Certainly not many 1st world countries. At the same time it doesn’t like it when nature takes it’s course and women actually get pregnant. What other country has zero paid maternity leave?

            1. Massinissa

              Oh my gosh. Even Saudi Arabia has employer liability. I have no words.

              By the way you forgot a country. According to that map, Australia doesn’t have anything either, apparently.

              1. MoiAussie

                I forgot nothing, just quoted the headline. And from the article:

                (Note that Australia is pink because the Aussies added paid parental leave in 2011; the data are from 2009.)

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        Hillary does portray herself as a victim and in many ways she is, but part of me thinks she is attached to the circle of Clintonistas who have demonstrated loyalty, the used the Clintons like parasites use hosts.

        Given the acrimony over the state of the Democratic Party, I suspect there are Clinton “loyalists” who are begging Hillary to come out and save them from those mean Bernie Bros. I know she likes the spotlight, but I feel she is being used to gin up support for otherwise unemployable people. Take Robbie Mook. He blew a billion dollars on the last election.

        1. Darn

          You bet. But being more liberal than Clinton leaves them exposed as an isolated individual to the anger of big biz and the rich. The Clinton machine’s been I operation for decades so they cling to her apron strings. And now they would have a credibility problem if they tried to save their careers by becoming Sandernistas.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            The values of a Clintonista aren’t as relevant as they are attached to a power couple who came to power 25 years ago and faced a strong challenge from a 73 year old Senator from a small out of the way state with no media presence (take that Brattleboro Reformer!) where the paper of record is the Boston Globe. If you weren’t old enough to vote for Bill in 1996, you didn’t vote for Hillary in the primary in 2016.

            If you were 17 and under last year during the primaries, you weren’t voting for a candidate of 25 years ago.

            Given the divisive nature of the primaries, all these people who threw their lot in with Clinton Inc separated themselves from the future for immediate rewards of the certainty Hillary would be President. Now they live in a world where the great liberal paper of record hired a bunch of climate change denialists and NBCNews is giving Megan Kelly a major platform to make sure black children understand Santa Claus is white.

            I see “OMG Russia” as the Clintonistas trying to hold on and deflect blame for their own failures because they don’t have good options as they have lost credibility.

            1. Darn

              Well, zOMG Russia!! is partly cos they wanna suck up to powerful neocons in the foreign policy establishment cos they think they wield enough power to crown Clinton or another centrist President in 2020, with the help of fired-up patriotic voters. Because they were already using “Russian hacking” and a demented Syrian-no-fly-zone policy to try and get into power in 2016. It’s not just a post-election excuse for defeat. Dumb to use it again when it failed in November, but the alternative is to move left and take on those interests instead, and they’re too scared. And it’s been in the nature of the Clintons just to brazen things out.

        2. Pat

          Parasite/host or symbiotic relationship? How many hosts invite their parasites to make a home? They aren’t feeding off the host supplying nothing, this is mutual support. The Clintons worked hard to create this twisted political world.

          But I am sure you are right there are sure to be a whole lot of people telling her ‘America needs her.’ And they are stuck with HER. She was supposed to acquire her desire and consolidate their power. Now they are scrambling. They spent years clearing the runways for her, and now that she has failed to lift off there is really no one in the wings. Oops. Meanwhile Clinton is entitled and arrogant and that Presidency is still HERS. Symbiotic. Malignant for everyone outside the circle but symbiotic for those in it.

          1. TK421

            She’s a victim of herself. She would have won in 2008 had she not voted for the invasion of Iraq. Of course, she is far from the only victim of that decision.

            1. reslez

              I’d also argue that Kerry would probably have won in 2004 if not for his Iraq vote. (And possibly Ohio.)

          2. NotTimothyGeithner

            She’s the most prominent cuckold in the world. This has been bound to have had an affect on her and who she trusts. Given some of the leeches around her, Hillary has been used as a money spigot by people who produce less than stellar results.

            1. Darn

              This is a point not often made. But yeah I expect Mook, Brock etc just wanna get paid.

    2. DJG

      Thanks. Neither Bill nor Hillary takes much time for reflection. They have been too busy wrecking the Democratic Party. And the Bush family isn’t known for meditation. And then there is Obama, who has made seeming reflection into an art form. And then you have the distillation of these tendencies in Trump. But as Noonan points out, a grown-up should expect the pricks of conscience, if the person has a conscience.

      Noonan’s good classical education pays off: The agenbite of inwit. The last sentence of the Wikipedia entry sheds intriguing light and shadow: “In the 20th century, the work gained some recognition when its title was adopted by James Joyce, who used it numerous times in his novel Ulysses as a trope for self-conscience, especially in referencing Hamlet and Walt Whitman. In Joyce’s spelling, agenbite of inwit, the title has gained a limited foothold in the English language.”

    3. Rage on

      After being fired, some bounce right back and look for a new job, some go through depression, some anxiety and some rage for years.

    4. reslez

      The catalogue of excuses HRC recited in that interview was astounding. To me it came across as total shark-jumpery. Imagine if they’d asked how the campaign had gone wrong and she’d acted like, you know, an adult, and cracked a self-deprecating joke about Wisconsin. Instead we get self-serving denial and elaborate conspiracy theories like some sort of mental paranoia. Thank God that lady’s fingers are nowhere near the nuclear launch codes. Can she please just take her millions and go away?

      It seems like all Hillary knows how to do is punch down. Complaining about her data analyst staff. Whining about Trump’s fake Twitter followers when she had more fake ones than he did throughout the campaign, when she literally spent millions bankrolling a sock puppet operation — which is still ongoing, now rebranded as Share Blue. Seeing her repeatedly call WikiLeaks “Russian”, saying there’s “no difference”, this from the woman who reportedly asked why we couldn’t just “drone” Assange. Stomach-turning evil lunacy. To me it looks like she’s very closely involved in pumping the anti-Trump campaign. She recites the cant too well to not be dictating the talking points. If someone subpoena’d her cell phone they’d probably find a mountain of evidence. Meanwhile the corporate media regard themselves as her protectors and attack dogs, as they did throughout the campaign.

  10. jan

    Naomi Kleint and the Paris accord:
    The fact that the agreement only commits governments to keeping warming below an increase of 2 degrees, rather than a much safer firm target of 1.5 degrees, was lobbied for and won by the United States.
    The fact that the agreement left it to individual nations to determine how much they were willing to do to reach that temperature target, allowing them to come to Paris with commitments that collectively put us on a disastrous course towards more than 3 degrees of warming, was lobbied for and won by the United States.

    The fact that the agreement treats even these inadequate commitments as non-binding, which means governments apparently do not have anything to fear if they ignore their commitments, is something else that was lobbied for and won by the United States.

    The fact that the agreement specifically prohibits poor countries from seeking damages for the costs of climate disasters was lobbied for and won by the United States.

    The fact that it is an “agreement” or an “accord” and not a treaty — the very thing that makes it possible for Trump to stage his action-movie slow-mo walk away, world in flames behind him — was lobbied for and won by the United States.

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      So can damages be sought against the US if it’s no longer a party to the Accord?

      1. jrs

        I tend to think the rest of the world should boycott the U.S., or goods made here etc.. We are South Africa. Although I’m not so sure that makes sense for an American as there is some benefit in buying local. We could just boycott our large corporations I guess.

        1. RabidGandhi

          What do y’all even make for me to boycott? I already don’t buy MOABs and teargas cannisters.

          1. MoiAussie

            I wish my country would boycott US media, especially Hollywood and TV shows. The local media just uncritically regurgitate the blob line-of-the-day (mostly murdoch). The TV shows are endless, mindless, pointless, and worthless.

          2. Oregoncharles

            Off-season fruit? I’m buying Argentine and Chilean pears right now – reluctantly, given the fossil fuel involved, but occasionally. It’s a good example of taking advantage of the geography.

        2. reslez

          A boycott might not turn out very well considering the size of the US trade deficit. The indebted US consumer is a massive job creator, of jobs overseas that is. But Wal-Mart would go bankrupt which is a plus.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        Not tolerating the movement of U.S. military operations through local air space would be a good option and would be good for the environment.

    2. Eustache de Saint Pierre

      jan – Thank you for that summation – it really is handy to have Trump as the blame it all on big bad wolf.

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      obama signed the Paris Accord / Agreement on Earth Day, April 22, 2016. He did not have senate support to ratify it as a binding treaty, so he chose to make it an “executive agreement” with his administration, with full knowledge that it was valid only for the remaining nine months of his final term.

      The President’s counterparties in Paris realized that he lacked the support to bind the country. In fact, they watered down the wording of the Agreement to facilitate the Administration’s argument that it does not require ratification. For example, they changed the word “shall” to “should” in many places, and they avoided calling it a “treaty.”

      The negotiators had a choice between a treaty that might bind the United States and nine-month promise from an outgoing president. They chose the promise from an outgoing president. Any claims that the next administration or the country is “going back on its word” will be disingenuous. Only the Obama administration gave its word, and the other parties in Paris helped design the agreement to make that result possible.

    4. mpalomar

      Also from the article.

      When aggressively lobbying to weaken the Paris accord, U.S. negotiators usually argued that anything stronger would be blocked by the Republican-controlled House and Senate. And that was probably true…

      But weak is not the same as useless. The power of the Paris Agreement was always in what social movements resolved to do with it…even without legal enforcement behind it, has been a potent tool in the hands of movements against new oil pipelines, fracking fields, and coal mines…

  11. RenoDino

    THE best part about about HRC’s reaction to her defeat is the news that she thinks she’s the President in waiting, attends daily briefings and keeps a staff at the ready in case she’s called on to serve. Unpacking this explains everything you need to know about her failure to come to terms with her defeat. In other words, “What Defeat, I Won.” It’s simply a matter of correcting the record.

    I would like to know if her staff must address her as “Madam President” or if they have given her the nuclear codes to her dummy “football” or if she calls retired generals to discuss military strategy.

    Of course, her reaction is easy to explain. Her supporters and the MSM have also failed to accept the results. She is their leader and she is faithfully executing her role as their Commander and Chief in absentia. Trump is the imposter. His eviction will come any day. The Revolution will be Glorious.

    1. TK421

      Some of her supporters truly believe (they’ve told me so) that if President Trump is convicted of conspiring with Russia then the election will be overturned and Hillary installed.

      1. Pat

        I’d be really curious what legal mechanism they believe exists which would do this.

    2. yan

      This reminds me of the french movie Marguerite. Where the protagonist -a wealthy older female married to a nobleman- thinks she is a soprano and stages soirees in her house and collects opera parafernalia. Her butler enables the illusion and a group of artists prod her on for the laughs. In reality she can´t sing for her life.

    3. zapster

      What really puzzles me is that if she was so determined to win, why did she not support the recount? With her backing, it might have been done properly and she very likely did win. It’s almost like neither she or Trump wanted to know what was going on with the elections.

  12. ChiGal in Carolina

    Midas Armand de Brignac brut @130,000 a bottle – golden showers part of the night’s entertainment?

    1. charles leseau

      My mother died last year and left my brother and me her house plus her 401K, life insurance policy, and IRA, which we split evenly.

      I’m looking to buy a house this year with my half of her liquid assets, and my intention is to buy it outright so I have no debt/mortgage. While half her IRA was rolled into a beneficiary IRA for me and I’ll have that to help with my eventual retirement, the amount I have to spend without dipping into it is going to be $40,000 less than that stupid bottle of wine. Her entire life savings and saleable assets, and she was as frugal and hard working as they come. This world we live in is certainly strange.


      I always think of Roald Dahl’s great short story, The Butler, when I see people buying wines like these. In that story, a nouveau riche couple tries to develop a taste for top end wines and meals to accompany their newfound millions and lavish lifestyle. They hire a butler and a French chef, then hold dinner parties with wildly expensive clarets of the very finest vintage. The husband develops a concordant ostentatious manner of waxing rhapsodic about the pricey wines they serve as if he’s an expert and as if the wines are the ultimate nectar from heaven. At the end of the story the butler ends up handing in his resignation and informs the man that he has been substituting the cheapest Spanish reds the whole time and drinking the top stuff with the chef!

      1. a different chris

        Evidence is growing that the butler and chef also may not have been drinking anything better.

        1. charles leseau

          The operative word there being “may.” I believe the point of the story is that they were serving up something that was demonstrably inferior to the couple, but then one would have to question whether there is any cheap Spanish red that could be called bad, or even worse than the most lauded of French wines in the most lauded years.

          Evidence about taste is in any case always going to lead to that dreaded word “subjective.” Certainly, one could compile enough people who think McDonalds is superior or equal to whatever the chef in the story (or any chef) could cook up too. And I’ve seen enough people in Guardian comments section arguing vehemently that Kanye West is a musical genius. Whether this puts him on the level of a Beethoven, Chopin, or Ellington? I know what I think of that, but no, I’m not going to argue about it no matter how much someone tries to spur me into it.

          To argue that all cheap Spanish reds are the equal to a top Bordeaux of one of the supposedly great years is thus fine, I guess. Anyone can argue anything along those lines with food or drink. Certainly, ever since the “Judgment of Paris” back in the 1970s people have been looking to knock French wine down a peg or 20.

          In any case, both the story and the idea that people have for centuries not been able to distinguish value or superiority in wine until apparently now does bring the purchase of a $140,000 bottle into question.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              “A typo lead to a revolution.”

              That’s what someone like Terry Gilliam could use to make a movie sequel: Brazil II.

            2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              Possibility #3: there’s so much money printing the stuff’s become worthless

    2. cyclist

      From my research at the restaurant price is only about 2.6 times retail. That is less of a markup than one sees in many NYC restaurants!

  13. justanotherprogressive

    Yikes! Walmart isn’t satisfied just using the employee? Now they want to use their employee’s cars too? Next thing you know, they’ll be wanting employees to use their houses to warehouse Walmart goods……

    One thing is for sure – Walmart never does anything to benefit their employees – so I wonder how much this will again be subsidized by taxpayers…..

      1. craazyboy

        I think they lease those Wallie World Scooters at the store to make the jaunt to and fro the workplace.

    1. Ivy

      Will that cut into the time needed by Walmart employees on their second jobs as Uber or Lyft drivers? Maybe Walmart can work out some arrangement with all those Chinese factories to have the offshore folks deliver finished goods to the ships on their way home, too.

    2. cnchal

      Walmart workers taking their oil dripping beaters with dirty windows looking for addresses will no doubt lead to road mayhem, from kids getting run over to crunched fenders.

      It’s a sign of management desperation. Wally makes money and churns a lot of product and Amazon churns a lot of product but makes no money. Wally sees Amazon stawk bid to infinity and just can’t take it anymore, hence idiotic schemes.

      Whoever thought that up should be fired.

    3. reslez

      The fundamental problem is that Wal-Mart doesn’t pay its employees enough to afford a car. The money for the car, its upkeep and gasoline have to come from somewhere else. So this is yet more subsidy-snatching in disguise.

    4. wilroncanada

      Re jup: using the employee!

      Walmart closing time
      Manager: we’d like you to deliver this couch on your way home.
      Staff: but I take the bus.
      Manager: that’s OK, it’s a sectional.
      Walmart closing time
      Manager: we’d like you to deliver this bedroom suite on your way home.
      Staff: but I ride my bicycle to work.
      Manager: that’s OK, it’s disassembled in boxes, so when you’re finished delivering, you can assemble it for the customer. We’ll pay overtime for the delivery.
      Staff: you mean you’ll pay me time and a half?
      Manager: no, we’ll pay you half; you’re doing it for the customer, not us. And, by the way, if there is any damage, you’ll have to pay the insurance claim.

  14. Alex

    against white nationalism: full employment & the politics of radical inclusion

    Essentially what is proposed is to do away with the immigration controls altogether, and the consequences of such policy are not examined well enough. Their argument runs as follows 1) with more people we can build more things 2) even if their culture is different we’re gonna take care of it somehow and 3) it’s gonna be alright
    It’s hard to believe that there’s not enough people to build or restore all the needed infrastructure in the US or in any other western country.
    And regarding the culture, if the “newcomers” with different culture outnumber the “natives” (realistically at a municipal or regional level – remember we’re talking about a free entrance to the US) why wouldn’t *their* culture dominate there?

    Historically the shortage of workers has always worked to their advantage to it’s hard to see how it can be different this time. So the article looks like an attempt to evade the less-than-pleasant-for-certain-people conclusions from both history and MMT

    1. justanotherprogressive

      “why wouldn’t *their* culture dominate there?”

      And that would be bad because??????

      How much of our culture is because of the Irish, the Asians, the Latinos, the Germans, etc. that have come here as immigrants? I hesitate to include Africans because most of them were not immigrants, but yes they too have added immeasurably to our culture. And yes there were regions (and still are) where the Irish controlled politics, where Asians controlled politics, where the Germans controlled the politics, where the Latinos controlled politics, etc….

      I’m wondering what is so “exceptional” about the US that so many people think “everyone” will want to come here? It seems to me that they come here not because the US is “exceptional” but because the US and other countries have destroyed their countries……and there is no where else to go…..

      1. Darn

        Ppl are concerned that economic growth may be helped by a growing population from immigrants, but per capita incomes would not. And ppl are loss-averse. I assume it has little effect either way, positive or negative. But since a “more mouths to feed, competing for our jobs” argument is simple and plausible, there will always be a big fraction of the public who oppose mass immigration. Enough to swing an election or two.

        As for cultural dominance, Alex was talking about completely free migration. That means a hell of a lot more cultural dominance than the Irish dominating politics in an American city of yesteryear. There is a language barrier: historically limits of immigration meant English has always been the national language. Completely open migration would change that, and it would be economically inconvenient. Then there is whether greater numbers would help or hinder public services and infrastructure. Even if you think so, you must admit voters’ fears over this would be a political problem, preventing other things getting done.

      2. Alex

        Darn, thank you, that was indeed my point. I don’t think immigration is bad per se and certainly every country has been affected by it

        In addition to that I’d suggest the author to start not from the whole country but think about his town or neighbourhood and conduct a thought experiment – what kind of difficulties can arise and what kind of consequences follow from adding to the current population as many economic migrants that look different and have different culture. Like where would they live, where would they work (especially while they still don’t know the language), who would gain from such an influx etc

        1. Darn

          Yes. And at a time of economic stress (after 9 yrs since the Great Recession without full recovery for a large part of the population) ppl are gonna be more desperate for solutions and stopping immigration is an easy idea to grasp. The Brexit vote would never have got to 52% without this. Only partly about immigration, but it got them over the finish line.

          I don’t think MMT is necessary, but try getting a party for Keynesian stimulus into power when the first question you get asked on the doorstep is, “why don’t you just cut immigration?”. Personally I don’t think we have to sacrifice any votes or other policies just to keep immigration at the current level.

    2. LT

      There is no shortage of workers.
      There is a shortage of willingness for those who want work done to bear costs for training workers.
      Work to be done is all around us, all over the world. The root of the controversy, debate, and employment problem is over who is going to pay for the work and workers and pay for the training.

      1. Alex

        I was referring to the historical examples of shortage – like after the Great Plague in Europe, the peasants’ lot improved quite a lot (of those who survived, that is)

        1. LT

          Oh, I can imagine they did economically, but it was still traumatic.
          Remember the posts about a few weeks ago about traumatic memory surviving in cultures?

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      There are currently 7.5 billion humans on earth. All of them cannot live in the u.s.

      At some point, the doors to this country will necessarily close.

      The argument seems to be over who gets to decide when the inevitable will happen, and how much chaos will reign on the inside when it finally does.

      1. craazyboy

        It’s always been who has the mostest bucks wins. However, we still have a lot of unpopulated land, and could build multilevel marketed, multilevel, materials free, life space.

        Or perhaps a pyramid scheme, now that Ben Carson runs HUD. Free stowage on an oil tanker if you contract for 7 years carrying a millennial on your shoulders. That would be a popular financial product hawked by Wall Street. The Pharaoh Street Vertically Leveraged Buy Up Fund?

        Haygood could synth a perfectly redundant tracking index on it and State Street could market futures against it? GDP positive!

      2. clinical wasteman

        I’ve asked versions of this question before, and I can’t emphasise enough that — at least when commenting here — I NEVER mean it sarcastically or derisively*. Anyway, here’s one more iteration:
        “Why stop at ‘this country’ in that case? A hugely disproportionate amount of wealth (and with it, the chances for the non-wealthy to earn an income) circulates inside a few states and cities of the US (just as in Europe, India, China, etc.), but available space and physical resources in those places are limited. Is it also inevitable that New York, California, Bavaria, Guangdong and, say, the Federal District of Mexico must “close the doors” on “deplorables” from elsewhere in the larger federal/national territory?
        And isn’t that what eg. San Franscisco, Manhattan/Brooklyn, “petit Paris” and parts of London are already doing by way of a de facto “property qualification” for residence?**

        (*The impolite version — quoted here for information purposes only, because it’s only for use against those “closed doors” advocates who don’t sincerely detest exploitation and economic injustice, i.e. no-one I recall seeing on NC ever: “which do like better, the Chinese Hukou or the South African Pass Laws? Because the only difference between those ‘closed doors’ and ‘national’ ones is the size of the administrative entity.
        (**Yes, the property qualification is technically non-discriminatory as well as conveniently deniable, but class cleansing, which is exactly what’s going on in those cities, is always also ethnic to one degree or another.)

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          An answer to your question —
          “class cleansing, which is exactly what’s going on in those cities, is always also ethnic to one degree or another” …
          Yes — I believe that is true. However I don’t believe ethnic cleansing is a root intent — it’s merely a by-product — not a goal per se. Money distribution in the U.S. is strongly tied to “ethnic” — dare I say race — backgrounds. Elsewhere. that is not so much the case — or at any rate the dominant “ethnic” background isn’t always the same as in the U.S. I believe — admittedly without evidence to point to — that the only “color” which matters for purchasing the astronomically priced real estate in too many cities of the U.S. is the color “Green”. [Some ethnic groups have to fight harder to get in than others but “Green” seems to overcome all but the most idiosyncratic obstacles.]

          1. clinical wasteman

            Thanks Jeremy for the thoughtful observations. I agree that the ‘ethnic’ part may very well not be a a conscious aim of the cleansing, but that doesn’t seem to stop it happening, and it probably doesn’t matter much mid-eviction or when you know your kids will either have to live with you forever or leave town. Pursuit of “Green” is, as you say, the decisive intention, but the second-third-fourth-degree effects are almost always ‘ethnically’ skewed — or in practice, for those on the receiving end, racist — even if their landlords, bailiffs and bosses are untainted by prejudice deep in their hearts.
            With the many exceptions duly noticed (i.e. a few rich ‘minority’ brackets and many many ‘non-ethnic'(?!) poor), the ‘race’/power/class breakdown does broadly work that way here in London and elsewhere in the UK too, which is why the recent attempts to set (implicitly ‘white’) ‘working class’ and ‘ethnic/metropolitan’ pseudo-identities against each other — rhetorically expelling ‘minority’ and ‘metropolitan’ workers from our own class — trouble me so much.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          Your question triggered many pet peeves clawing about in my twisted mind! Is there any way to put a stop to — or at least stifle the noise and air pollution from the endless mowings of lawns, blowings of leaves, trimmings of hedges and other mechanized noise of lawn maintenance? And — with all the yard maintenance companies hiring people of dubious citizenship and paying them dubiously and little while charging nice prices — how are teenage boys [and enterprising teenage girls] supposed to start small businesses mowing their neighbor’s lawns and/or shoveling their neighbor’s snow? I’d far rather exploit the cheap labor of my neighbors children than be exploited by the many yard services around — exploited along with their foreign laborers.

        2. craazyboy

          Specially trained and bonded Asian Karma Armpit Whisperers use Yoga Technique to rotate arms slowly in Big Harmonious Circle causing Green Grass to slowly return GDP Conserving Energy back into the soil. (Does not work indoors with houseplants.)

          That’s how it’s done now in Asia. You never here them complaining about too much green grass?

          Bill Mitchell captured one in Australia, without papers, and is studying the young boy now. The kid was hiding in a Kangaroo pouch.

          Bill thinks some of the Green Energy is split and is stored in the young boy’s body, probably in blood and spleen. Steve Keen is quite excited about the prospects and is working on updating his Javascript model of his General Relativity Economic Model.

          Peter Theil has expressed interest in Jump Start funding. Bill signed an agent contract with the kangaroo. The kangaroo goes by “Skippy”, and knows about MMT.

  15. Detroit Dan

    I’m catching Corbyn fever. The rise of Corbyn is a great story. Wishing him and Labor the best on Thursday!

    1. Darn

      Thanks. (Labour member here.) Now share the Metro article where he explicitly condemns the IRA, posted 6 hrs before the Manchester bomb. It got buried, but the IRA charge is his single biggest handicap. If you’d spam social media with it I’d be grateful, nobody is taking an interest.

    2. begob

      Lots of online speculation that Theresa May is ill. She has type 1 diabetes, but my impression is she’s suffering severe anxiety. All guesswork, but curious parallel to Clinton – campaigns in safe spaces and a certain oddness in public appearances.

      1. Darn

        Because like Clinton and Cameron she is so right-wing that everything is decided with powerful interests behind the scenes. Then she tries to sell it to voters while avoiding the issues as much as possible in case hard questions are raised. So, vilify her opponent (like Trump, Miliband). Her idea of dealing with the weakness Brexit exposed is to say “meritocracy” and say she’ll build more grammar schools so that middle class kids (it will mostly be them) get a more academic education than working class ones. And cut benefits to disabled people by £30 a week. Then let scaremongering right-wing newspapers do the heavy lifting.

        Another parallel is her speeches and literature have all said I I I, me me me. Strong and stable. Basically Jezza will ruin everything and is dangerous, Tezza is the safe choice — #imwithher.

    3. lyman alpha blob

      Ditto. Would love to see the media aligned against him eat it. Even articles ostensibly supporting him or at least not outright hostile can’t conceal their bias.

      From the 8 ways Jeremy Corbyn is winning link above:

      The Labour Party has run a traditional left-wing “giveaway” campaign.

      Is it really a giveaway campaign Politico?!?!?!? Because the free education that Corbyn is promising will be paid for through the taxes which everybody in the working class has to pay so there’s no “giveaway” involved.

      Yet somehow when politicians create tax codes riddled with loopholes that let the rich and big corporations get away with paying no taxes whatsoever, that’s not ever construed as a giveaway but as sound fiscal policy that will trickle down to the rest of us.

      Go get ’em Corbyn.

      Eat the Rich.

      1. Dead Dog

        How any Brit (except the privileged class) could vote for the Tories given their track record I will never know. Corbyn is a once-only chance for the working class. If they don’t choose him now, he will disappear forever.

        If he gets in, the political landscape will change globally and Australians might, just might, get a Labor party that works for the working person, instead of the opposite.

        1. Darn

          Oh it’s easy. Get wealthy middle class ppl by telling them Labour will tax them and saying immigrants are using up their taxes. Get working class ppl by telling them Labour are unpatriotic and immigrants are stealing their jobs and lowering their pay and benefit cheats are living it up at the expense of struggling workers. Then say they’ll die in a terrorist attack if Labour get in. Oh, and having a government deficit will make you poorer somehow.

        2. reslez

          I thought I was hallucinating yesterday when I saw Lord Monckton being interviewed by Alex Jones. He was complaining in the most Hoorah Henry tones imaginable about the many elderly Britons who die because they can’t afford their heating bills and how global warming is a conspiracy to keep the rest of us poor. Lordie…

    4. Mel

      Now that the press isn’t trashing him, it turns out he looks kind of like Michael Caine.

  16. Mikerw

    On Infrastructure

    I was speaking to a friend who is a professor of engineering along these lines just recently. We concluded that the explanation is actually pretty simple. Everything is run by the MBAs, not by the engineers.

    They are designed to maximize profit extraction and executive compensation, not get anything done.

    Like so much else.

    1. Mike Mc

      For “infrastructure”, insert “Higher Ed”, “public schools”, “health care”, “environmental issues” etc. etc. etc.

      MBAs are the useless 2nd Lts./Lt. Colonels that got fragged in ‘Nam for getting troops killed due to their incompetence and obeisance to higher echelon brass.

      Sadly, until the US becomes an active combat zone, fragging the corner office will be difficult to explain.

    2. Left in Wisconsin

      One thing that is of course ignored by Vox is the decline in unionized construction. Not only did the unions insist on apprenticeship programs but the law was flexible enough to allow union workers to fill most of the lower level supervisory positions – so the front-line management actually knew the work.

      Not all that long ago, most of the big construction projects were still union – non-union was big in residential construction but barely present in big commercial projects. No longer.

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      I believe the Federal Government is captured and manifestly corrupt. But what little I’ve seen of state and local government leads me to believe the Federal Government is saintly by comparison. Every time I pass a state construction site with one or two “workers” present — trading a shovel back-and-forth — and surrounded by expensive heavy equipment parked around the worksite I can’t help but wonder how much my state pays to rent that sitting equipment [exclusive of the costs to commuters and transport companies — more often to individual truckers] for the delays the “construction” adds to the already horrible transit costs for traveling in my state. I believe even the most cursory investigation of our state transportation department, the governor’s office and/or the contracting my state does would considerably bolster the pockets of myriad defense attorneys while providing countless long-term tenants for our growing Prison Industrial Complex.

      We can’t repair infrastructure — without breaking the bank? Who are they trying to kid?

    4. KFritz

      Something not mentioned in the article: worker training. There may be a way to verify this as a culprit/contributory factor to US underperformance. The gold standard of American construction unions is the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). The union and its client employers work well together to ‘produce’ workers who can perform at a high level. It would be interesting to find out whether the IBEW outperforms US construction workers, and/or performs as well as electrician counterparts in comparable nations. If the IBEW does outperform other American workers and compares well to other countries’ electricians, training is certainly one culprit.

      I’ve also heard, anecdotally, that the American system of contractors and subcontractors is much less efficient than vertically integrated ‘full service’ construction firms , which are the most common form in many other comparable countries.

  17. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Google’s Map of the Most Misspelled Word in Every State Should Make America Feel Ashamed GQ (Micael)

    I believe if more Americans misspelled the word, or any word, it would become the new accepted way and new standard of spelling.

    That’s how the American English language, like others, evolves…one huge mistake at a time.

    “A sporadic misspelling is a shameful thing. Spread it deep and wide or spring not to the next progress phase.”

    1. Darn

      Irregardless of youre opinion its literally a million miles away from the truth! I could care less!

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I just think they should busy themselves shaming those overly educated, but not wise (sad state of our education, free or not free), bankers, instead of shaming these creative spelling pioneers.

        1. witters

          We used to call it Elizabethan Spelling. And if was good enough for Shakespeare, its gude enuff fure mee.

          And from just a bit earlier (Henry VIII) the incomparable Sir Thomas Wyatt on Anne Boylen:
          ‘Whoso List to Hunt, I Know Where Is An Hind’

          Whoso list to hunt, I know where is an hind,
          But as for me, hélas, I may no more.
          The vain travail hath wearied me so sore,
          I am of them that farthest cometh behind.
          Yet may I by no means my wearied mind
          Draw from the deer, but as she fleeth afore
          Fainting I follow. I leave off therefore,
          Sithens in a net I seek to hold the wind.
          Who list her hunt, I put him out of doubt,
          As well as I may spend his time in vain.
          And graven with diamonds in letters plain
          There is written, her fair neck round about:
          Noli me tangere, for Caesar’s I am,
          And wild for to hold, though I seem tame.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          In the good auld days, people who spelt the word awld old or olde were shamed mercilessly.

          And they should be, for old or olde meant neither ole nor alde.

          But with progress, people who spell old old today can shame those who misspell it, for example, alde.

    2. cm

      I’m reading Ambrose’s book about the Lewis & Clark expedition. Lewis spelled mosquito more than 20 different ways. Reading their letters one sees how “flexible” English spelling was.

    3. TK421

      Evolution is not always for the better. It took flight away from the dodo, legs away from the snake

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I am trying to think of an example where the olde way of spelling is better.

        Is ‘labour’ better than ‘labor?’

        1. Darn

          I’ve seen some Americans spell grey instead of gray. And in Australia it’s labour usually except for the name of the Labor Party.

          1. wilroncanada

            In Canada too.
            Maybe those grey Americans are Canadian USites, just labouring there before returning to their birthplace.

          2. Yves Smith Post author

            I often use “grey” in large part because one of the too-many places I lived during my childhood was on a Grey Cliffs Drive.

          3. witters

            “And in Australia it’s labour usually except for the name of the Labor Party.”

            It is hard to believe, but the Australian Labor Party was called that (1912) in an attempt to reassure voters that it had little or nothing to do with representing the labouring classes. And to signal its closeness to the USA. Since then nothing much has changed.

        2. Propertius

          Is an English copy of a Norman misspelling of a Latin root better than the original spelling of the Latin root? Just asking…

  18. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Coal Ash Is More Radioactive Than Nuclear Waste Scientific American (Chuck L)

    The first question is more radioactive per gram or more radioactive as a whole (and probably more coal ash around than nuclear waste, weight-wise).

    And that would be a great lesson – small things add up.

    Like billions of smartphones and the toxic substances inside, for example.

    We need to end smartphone production worldwide.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If not (per gram), it would still make a great point, as the example shows.

      “Those smartphone jobs are not coming back.” But we’re not reading about cumulatively toxic phones at this moment, perhaps not politically timely for Scientific American…or not…just something to ponder.

  19. funemployed

    I know how to spell better than most, but a pretty high percentage of my google searches contain spelling errors because it’s a waste of time to correct typos. Why should I feel ashamed? Google knows what I mean.

    Also, that map can’t be correct. Maybe those words have the highest rate of being misspelled, but I doubt it, because if it was pure frequency relative to attempts that they were looking at it is more likely that very uncommon and difficult words would be the most frequent (i.e. the sort people look up specifically because they’re so uncommon that educated people who might want to use, for example, “autochthonous,” need to look it up because it isn’t in autocorrect dictionaries). So they must have a reasonably high threshold of attempts to make the cut.

    Also, many of the most common spelling errors are those that google wouldn’t likely catch, because they’re grammatical in nature: affect and effect, they’re their and there, to and too, etc.

    Also, if it was just aggregate totals of misspellings, I’d bet double or nothing on my student loan debt that in each state the most often misspelled word is “the.”

    Also, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious is a made-up silly word, and the only people who should be ashamed are those who actually think they know the “correct” spelling, and that that somehow matters.

    The authors of that article are the ones who should be ashamed for generating clickbait for pretentious twits who get warm fuzzies from talking about how stupid and uneducated americans are because of something as superficial as “correct” spelling in google searches.

    1. funemployed

      Also, most of my misspellings in google searches are keystroke errors in words I know how to spell, so they might be saying more about the layout of the designed-to-be-as-inefficient-as-possible QWERTY keyboard than people’s actual knowledge of spelling.

      Also, knowing how to spell from memory is mostly superfluous in the digital age, and has always been superfluous for those of us with good dictionaries and a willingness to use them.

      Ok, rant over. Wife made strong coffee this morning.

    2. Vatch

      Good points. I don’t think that the most misspelled words can be deduced from a list of the most looked up words. It’s some of the words that aren’t looked up often that are frequently misspelled. Two examples:


    3. Katniss Everdeen

      The data comes from Google searches that begin with “how to spell…”

      Dunno. Does counting the number of “how to spell” searches really indicate the number of “most misspelled words?”

      What’s happening here–is the google giving them the wrong answer?

      1. funemployed

        overlooked that. thanks. and I doubt it. I’m guessing that most people who search “how to spell” subsequently then spell the word correctly. just a hunch

  20. craazyboy

    To kill net neutrality rules, FCC says broadband isn’t “telecommunications” ars technica (martha r)
    oh nos. not this again.

    The FCC needs to firm up their rules. If they define wifi as landline, then we can rap our heads against it and be convinced broadband is telecommunications – like “tele”. The Dumkopfs !

    It’s not like Putin invented the stuff yesterday. That was old Russia, before the turn of the century.

    1. Vatch

      Unfortunately, we’re stuck with Ajit Pai until the end of the current session of Congress or the appointment of his replacement. Or even worse, he might be reappointed. He’s already been renominated:

      As for commissioners serving past the expiration of their terms, see:

      Please tell your Senators to vote against Ajit Pai’s reappointment, even though he’s like a piece of chewing gum stuck to the bottom of our shoe through the end of the year:

    2. Synoia

      I believe a phone call could be defined as an information service under Pai’s changes. Especially a cell phone call, which is nothing more that a data connection between two computers.

      1. craazyboy

        Unless you talking to an idiot, or downloading news faster than you can read it in real time.

        Udder sillyness. (sp^2)

        Like splitting hardware and software? An ancient, black, Bell telephone is telecom, the analog signal is broadband? [Broadcom stock just crashed]

        An airplane is 1G (hahaha. That’s really good! I can really crack myself up! oh-nos. again!]

        The passenger and flight controller must be physically rubbed together before flight to make them quantum entangled pairs, otherwise neither will know what state they are in – evah!

        Laptop, or no laptop.

        This could go on forever.

        1. reslez

          Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of tapes hurtling down the highway.
          – Andrew Tanenbaum, 1981

    3. JerseyJeffersonian

      Ja, and since so many of us, at least when out in the world access the internet through 4G or such, I just have to ask, doesn’t that qualify as telecommunications? So why the artificial distinction, as if I had to ask.

    4. jawbone

      Does this mean that Verizon, for example, will no longer have to charge its users some of the fees which are applied to “telecommunications”?

  21. allan

    C.I.A. Names New Iran Chief in a Sign of Trump’s Hard Line [NYT]

    … the official, Michael D’Andrea, has a new job. He is running the C.I.A.’s Iran operations, according to current and former intelligence officials, an appointment that is the first major sign that the Trump administration is invoking the hard line the president took against Iran during his campaign.

    Mr. D’Andrea’s new role is one of a number of moves inside the spy agency that signal a more muscular approach to espionage and covert operations under the leadership of Mike Pompeo, the conservative Republican and former congressman, the officials said. …

    Siding, in a religion-based regional dispute, with the people who attacked us on 9/11,
    supported al-Nusra and are currently engaged in genocidal agression in Yemen.

    Another solid for his non-interventionist supporters.

  22. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Morality is defined by technology.

    Bomb-Sniffing Dogs, Scanners Pushed to Avoid Airline Laptop Ban Bloomberg

    If we could survive on rocks today, with the right technology, it would be immoral, for spiritual people, to kill and consume (or consume by killing, that is, eating them alive) living vegetables (though rocks are living, too, as like vegetables are living beings for vegans who eat them…just lower forms than morally ok).

    So, if we don’t have the right technology to combat the laptop threat, by the same logic, a ban is the way to go….by the same logic. Of course, I think we should be queasy about chewing living vegetables to death, as such when having a salad.

  23. RWood

    When were such practicalities (looks like the Panamanian bankers had to act) established as US justice? And that long ago, so what are comparable scales of justice?

    “Big-time drug bosses enjoyed great rewards for telling the jury what the government wanted. Observed reporter Glenn Garvin, “To convict Noriega, the strike force had to make a flurry of deals with other accused narcotraffickers, bargaining a collective 1,435 years in prison down to 81.”

  24. Vatch

    Leading Right-Wing Christian Figure Calls for a ‘More Violent Christianity’ Alternet

    Oh, goody. Maybe we too can experience the death toll and destruction of the religiously motivated Thirty Years War.

    1. Darn

      Could be legit to do this if they need the ability to lower rates enough to cope with the next recession esp when fiscal stimulus is unlikely with GOP in Congress

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Anticipating fewer cheap(er) H1B visa workers, and fewer undocumented immigrants, those native deplorables might just get too uppity.

      Time to mobilize for the second phase of War on Wage Inflation (WWI).

        1. craazyboy

          I think Deb is still using old voice mystifier tech. It’s just a common, very large, conch shell anyone can find on the Gulf Area beaches.

          Inside is a large, hollow area which has a nice ambient echo to it. Ya stick yer bandwidth device in there, then shout at it, but not too loudly. Then it sounds like you are a Fallen Angle calling from Tara, Clayton County, GA. You can switch on choir and clapping background sounds too!

          They make electronic guitar effect boxes that make noises like that too. Clapper has one wired to his Captain Kirk microphone.

          1. Jeremy Grimm

            Are these devices available on Amazon? They sound [and sound like they sound] way cool! I could use one for when I talk with telemarketers and put a little fear into their lives. It might also work to scare my daughter into not exceeding the 6 GB data limit on her Verizon phone — [Otherwise I may have to send her one of the bills.]

            1. craazyboy

              We’ve been killing off the conchs, and they’ve become quite rare. They are collectors items, and occasionally auctioned off at Sotheby’s. Prices vary wildly depending on “market” – sorta tracks the Old Masters market.

              But not to worry. Electronic tech to the rescue. Large choice, and cheap. See Amazon.

  25. bronco

    Can we ban cell phones on flights instead of laptops? It’s all security theater anyway why not have a little fun with it.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If that would make fewer passengers, so much the better.

      Air travel is not quite green.

      Mind travel is better.

      Why must one be able to brag about flying to Monaco for an expensive romantic dinner?

  26. Ranger Rick

    “Forgot how to do infrastructure” indeed. They should instead be wondering how the government does contracting, because they are so far beyond catastrophically bad it qualifies as biblical in scope. Everyone charges the government more.

  27. Vatch

    Hurricane season starts with nobody in charge at FEMA or NOAA Tampa Bay Times

    When the Katrina catastrophe occurred during the Bush administration, President Bush was able to say:

    “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job”

    When there’s a catastrophe during the Trump administration, the President will have to say:

    “Nobody, you’re doing a heck of a job”

  28. funemployed

    Don’t want to post a link here, lest NC be accused of supporting copyright violation, but if you google the title to the noonan piece and “investor discussion board,” somebody copied and pasted the whole thing there.

  29. LT

    Re: Paris Climate Agreement…

    Really! All these world “leaders” love the planet, but not enough to stand up to or de-escalate what scientific studies studies show as the greatest single industry for oil consumption, a rampant purveyor of environmental and health disaster, and has products that could wipe out life as we know it tomorrow (and not some hypothetical
    future date).

    It’s nothing more than an over-glorified international trade treaty that features alot of privatizing the profits and socializing the losses. Oppositon to it just favors other ways to privatize the profits and socialize the losses.

      1. Jim Haygood

        It started in 1984 under Ronald Reagan and Atty Genl William French Smith. Their diabolical plan was to crank federal sentences so absurdly high (multiple lifetimes in some instances) that most cases would be settled by plea bargains without trials. This vastly increased judicial processing capacity to feed an enlarged federal Gulag.

        Today about 95 percent of federal criminal cases produce guilty pleas which lead directly to sentencing. “Criminal justice today is for the most part a system of pleas, not a system of trials,” “Justice” Anthony M. Kennedy wrote in 2012.

        What passes for criminal justice today bears no resemblance to the pre-1984 system. They substituted a completely different regime, in which going to trial amounts to gambling with the rest of your life, and no one noticed. Current attorney general Ku Klux Jeff Sessions just ordered drug defendants to be whacked with maximum charges.

        You can see why “we” love Saudi Arabia — a medieval regime with savage punishments and zero rights for defendants. Washington DC is a showcase for hard-core federal “justice.”

        1. craazyboy

          Gag orders, Clean Speech Initiative, Green Speech, Globally Cool Speech (Double Talk).

          It’s all a result of folks like Weiner, Pizza Gate and Assange screwing things up for the rest of us.

          This is why we can’t have good hotdogs, anymore. Or pizza with toppings!

        2. Jeremy Grimm

          My state, New Jersey, handles state criminal cases much as you describe for Federal cases — absurdly high sentences, with most cases settled by plea bargains not trials. And in my opinion, most of the state judges I’ve observed (admittedly not all that many) seem afraid to do anything that steps outside Draconian sentencing guidelines established by the state legislature [both Republican AND Democratic legislators]. And, in my humble opinion, prosecutors have little interest in “Justice” — only in improving their chances for promotion within the “system” while minimizing any “risks” they might face for being “too lenient”.

          This harsh way of things may have started with post-1984 “justice” but they continue — live and well — to this moment.

  30. Altandmain

    The fight over superdelegates in the Democratic Party continues:

    These quotes from the DNC are interesting (more from the same Andrew Therriault):^tfw&

    The Tweets have since been deleted.

  31. Sandler

    Just watched Keith Ellison (DNC chair) on Morning Joe. Holy cow. I’ve never seen him before. He seems incredibly incompetent and frankly, quite dumb. He started everything answer with “Lemme tell ya, man,” even when answering a woman! Who is this guy? Where do they find these people? It’s obvious to me he was installed as a total puppet for Obama to control. It’s clear to me that Democrats are completely screwed, and the left will only make a comeback after hitting rock bottom (probably after getting killed in 2018 and Trump reelection in 2020) and imploding into a new party. Wow.

    1. Sandler

      Correction, he lost the DNC chair, was backed by Bernie. I would say that was a folly by Bernie, I don’t know much about Tom Perez.

      1. nippersmom

        Perez was hand-picked by the establishment dems to run against Ellison.

        Sanders supported Ellison because Ellison endorsed Sanders for President, at a certain amount of political risk to himself.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The problem is Ellison is trying to polish a turd. The DNC has been a disaster since Kaine started and was a disaster from 1993 through 2004. Gee. I wonder what happened. Im sure Perez, Kaine, and Obama are super nice in person. Kaine is so damn friendly. There are still enough Hillary supporters who will react to the first Democrat who hits the Clinton wing hard.

        What is Ellison going to say? “I tried to reform the DNC but its owned by corporate lobbyists and Obama is a tool”?

        Where is OFA? A rhetorical question.

        1. justanotherprogressive

          If you want to get a nice gloss on a turd, you have to let it harden for a few years. There are some nice polished turds out there – like what a great President Carter was, or like the attempt to resurrect Bush during the last election (I don’t think that turd was old enough….).

          Ellison needs to wait longer before he starts his polish job, because now it sounds like he is just rubbing sh*t around…….

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Ellison and his allies, with the reform project, do take away people’s minds off the Green Party, or another 3rd party.

          2. UserFriendly

            It drives me so fucking nuts that everyone still tiptoes around Clinton and her supporters. She lost and bad and her flunkies need to wake up and be told how much of a failure she was by everyone because the longer they live in this fantasy land where she ran a perfect campaign the more they pretend the party doesn’t need to change.

          3. UserFriendly

            Ellison is my rep. I just emailed him this:

            Subject: Your Morning Joe Interview about Clinton.

            It drives me crazy that everyone still tiptoes around Clinton and her supporters. She lost and bad and her flunkies need to wake up and be told how much of a failure she was by everyone because the longer they live in this fantasy land where she ran a perfect campaign the more they pretend the party doesn’t need to change. Why are you holding water for her? The party establishment has done NOTHING but say sit down and shut up with your stupid ideas about healthcare and college we don’t want to scare off our billionaires. To the extent you don’t rhetorically smack her down when she lies and comes up with excuses for losing you are keeping her as the figurehead of the party; you don’t want her to be the figurehead of the party. America hates her. There is a reason 43% of the country is independant. A majority of Democrats may like her but a majority of 30% of the country isn’t going to win you any elections. Why is the party completely incapable of producing an autopsy that doesn’t sound like McCarthy wrote it. At this point if Putin was on the ballot I’d vote for him over a democrat because at least he is trying to avoid nuclear war. And I’m gay so that would have significant downsides for me. The party can’t run fast enough from her smug insider loyalist toxic politics; stop defending her.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          He had plenty of precedents about anyone else trying to reform the DNC.

          Perhaps the decision itself can be questioned.

  32. LT

    Re: Bleecker Street’s Swerve From Luxe Shops to Vacant Stores New York Times…

    Reminds me of the area I live in with its increasingly gentrifying rents.
    A few months ago, I went there for the first time in a few years and saw that it had a new owner. I asked how it was going and he solemnly commented something that equated a weak “ok” and that he thought it was supposed to be up an “up and coming neighborhood.”
    The prices for the restaurant had always been higher than some big chain restaurant, but not elite prices. And more of the Chipotile type of chain restaurants had opened in the area.
    The higher rents are what is making it slow for him.

  33. LT

    Re: The Middle Has Fallen Out of British Politics…The Economist

    I couldn’t read any more after the part about Corbyn supporting Chavez “the human rights violator” …when he’s running against a Saudi suck-up.

  34. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Is it or is it not?

    It’s pious and inaccurate to say Manchester attack had ‘nothing to do with Islam’. It was rooted in Saudi Arabian Wahhabism Independent (Sid S)

    It’s not Islam that drives young Europeans to jihad, France’s top terrorism expert explains Haaretz (furzy)

    Jihad, though, seems to be uniquely Islamic, as a crusade is uniquely Christian.

    Without a doubt, it was not Islam that drove young Europeans to crusade. Saladin and his soldiers were just minding their business in their sphere of influence.

    1. Plenue

      Both of those views can be simultaneously accurate. There are a whole lot of people, particularly Muslims, who consider Wahhabism in general, and ISIS in particular, to be takfiri apostates, not real Muslims. Certainly the vast majority of the Syrians, Iraqis, and Kurds fighting and dying everyday to stop ISIS and AQ are also Muslim. Wahhabism is so disdained by the majority of Muslims that there’s apparently a widespread conspiracy theory in the middle-east that it was created by the British and/or the CIA as a Trojan horse to undermine Islamic and Arab unity.

      Personally I find it all a bit No True Scotsman-y. The fact is that in the end the head-choppers consider themselves Muslims who are doing what they believe Allah wants them to do. But it’s also true that a whole lot of the people, particularly Europeans, who sign up for ISIS are apparently so grossly ignorant of the basics of Islam that they had to buy ‘Islam for Dummies’ type books.

      So while Wahhabism is undeniably a branch of Islam, and is the driving ideology of jihadist movements, that doesn’t necessarily mean any kind of piety is what is driving a large number of people to sign up with jihadist groups.

      Also, Jihad in the sense of a military expedition doesn’t strike me as demonstrably different from a Crusade. And I’ve seen the argument that the Crusades were fundamentally a belated response to the initial Islamic incursions into Europe; they didn’t just happen completely without provocation. But regardless, it’s also clear that the Levant was basically the Wild West for Europeans, and many people signed up in the hope of getting land and riches.

        1. Massinissa

          Well, to be fair, some jihadi groups like the Mujahideen were in fact sponsored by the CIA. But Wahhabism as an ideology is almost 200 years old, so it definitely predates the CIA.

      1. Massinissa

        “And I’ve seen the argument that the Crusades were fundamentally a belated response to the initial Islamic incursions into Europe;”

        Belated response? You mean the crusades were a response to the Muslims taking over Spain and failing to invade France…. THREE centuries before? The Muslims invaded western Europe in the 700s. The first crusade was in 1096. The Muslims hadnt taken jack since then. And the crusade wasn’t even focused on Spain, which was indeed actually taken from Christendom, but on the Muslim heartland.

        Forgive me if I’m skeptical of this hypothesis. Oh yeah, and it also doesn’t explain the fourth crusade, which was aimed at…. Orthodox Greece.

        I’m pretty sure that explanation is just too facile.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          And that brings us to the Children’s Crusade.

          Using boy-soldiers seems to go way back.

        2. reslez

          > The first crusade was in 1096. The Muslims hadnt taken jack since then.

          Aside from when they invaded Sicily and southern Italy 800-1000, sacked Pisa and Rome (which I’m sure had nothing to do with anything), then there were the Islamicized Huns and Tatars who invaded Russia, Bulgaria, and Ukraine from 1200 onward. I mean, I’m not a fan of the Crusades or whatever but let’s be honest about how expansionary Islamic forces were. Eastern Europe fought them in waves for centuries.

          1. Massinissa

            By the time of the crusade they took south Italy back so its sort of moot. And as for the invasion of Russia, Bulgaria and Ukraine by nomads… They were not Catholic. The Crusades were by West European Catholics only, and bringing up Orthodox Christians other than the Byzantines is completely irrelevant.

            If anything the crusades made Eastern Europe less safe when the Catholics decided it would be way easier to get loot and plunder by ransacking the Byzantine Empire instead of trying to take Jerusalem back the second time.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Mueller can then move on to the massive influence and collusion with Israel on American policy LOLOLOLOLOLOL

  35. a different chris

    If we can pull away from “all that politics slop” for a moment…. can anybody clue me in on a question I have about the Hot Chili article? It talks about (and I also followed the link given) about somebody getting hospitalized after a pepper-eating contest.

    Peppers are “hot”, not hot. A billion Scovilles, as I understand it, wouldn’t put the slightest singe on the most delicate paper. So what exactly happened here?

    1. Fried

      As far as I can tell in my tired state of mind, the linked article doesn’t really say the injury is because of the peppers. Anyway, I looked it up on ducky and found this bit of information:

      I particularly liked the bit where the answer seamlessly moves on to “In the future, if you don’t have access to a question answering service like this one, and you have questions like this, it’s never a bad idea to schedule an appointment with your primary care physician.”

      I’m sure she’d be delighted.

      In any case, I found the link funny because earlier today, for the first time in my life, I was wondering why and how pepper feels hot.

  36. Indrid Cold

    re: single payer in California

    I don’t see it often discussed that the real reason we don’t have single payer is the debased Calvinism that is the bedrock ideology of Anglo-America. If you are rich, it’s because you have Grace. Being rich means you have ‘worked hard’ because we live in a meritocracy. Some of the poorest people you will meet buy into this idea that Bill Gates ‘worked really hard’ for all his money. His daddy being a fancy patent lawyer had nothing at all to do with it. Same thing with Trump. If you’re poor, you are morally defective. Hard work = success. Notice how you can plug “God” or “Markets” into it and the ideology is exactly the same.
    These same people will laugh and shake their atheistic or christian heads when they read about some fellaheen in Egypt shrugging off their poverty and oppression by saying ‘God wills it’. Why if they just believed in (free markets) or (Jesus) everything would be jake!

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Not just Calvinism.

      In India, under the caste system, you’re born to respect those ranked above you. I think they got rid of it (or are trying).

      And in China’s no-longer-persecuted Confucian society, one must uphold one’s place in the hierarchy (and natural for those are poor to uphold the positions of those who are higher up the wealth ladder…subconsciously perhaps, as one is encouraged to make money…how, that’s another story).

    2. Vatch

      His daddy being a fancy patent lawyer had nothing at all to do with it.

      Let’s not forget that his mother was personally acquainted with the CEO of IBM, which helped Microsoft win the contract for PC-DOS, which became MS-DOS on non-IBM computers:

      Beyond the Seattle area, [Mary Maxwell] Gates was appointed to the board of directors of the national United Way in 1980, becoming the first woman to lead it in 1983. Her tenure on the national board’s executive committee is believed to have helped Microsoft, based in Seattle, at a crucial time. In 1980, she discussed her son’s company with John Opel, a fellow committee member and the chairman of International Business Machines Corporation (IBM). Opel, by some accounts, mentioned Mrs. Gates to other IBM executives. A few weeks later, IBM took a chance by hiring Microsoft, then a small software firm, to develop an operating system for its first personal computer.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        I can’t get past believing there was more to it than that. IBM was notorious for “protecting” its intellectual property and famous for exploiting that property. Letting Mr. Bill “own” the operating system for PC computers just doesn’t compute without a LOT more to it than that. [No I don’t know what. The story as told just won’t hold water for me.]

        1. Vatch

          It is strange that IBM let Microsoft get so much out of the deal. At the time, IBM’s mainframe division was king of the company, and they had only released their first midrange computers in 1979. In 1981 personal computers were so under powered compared to what exists today, it’s possible that the IBM executives simply did not believe that the PC would become a major product line. In consequence, maybe they didn’t pay as much attention to the negotiations with Microsoft as they should have.

          Does anyone have any other information about why IBM let Microsoft get so much from the deal?

          1. craazyboy

            Dunno what happened. Buts looks funny here!

            Belongs here:
            June 2, 2017 at 6:15 pm

            I wonder how the Genghis Kahn invasion of the 1300s fit in. The kings of Western Europe were pretty tapped out by that time and only a modest number of troops were raised at noblemen level to defend Western Europe, and they barely pushed into Eastern territory. Plus they had to split and go north to Poland and south east.

            The Crusaders were still around but not a huge force and they had begun to be under attack from the Church and supportive kings at that time.

            The only reason the Kahn boys won was Genghis killed his liver, and law recalled the troops back to the homeland to settle the succession. They never did return west, and I haven’t seen any good reason why, other than they just lost interest.

          2. craazyboy

            Back to the subject.

            I’m pretty sure that’s it. I think Gates has confirmed as much, also.

            IBM was really that dumb. Or had their heads in the Mainframe cloud. PCs were toys, to be made for hobbyists, maybe in garages, with silly names like “Apple”. Or, Altair – Bill’s first employer – and was a hobbyist machine. Basic was the language – not so impressive to a mainframer either.

            Then Paul Allen was known as the grownup in the room. Along with Bill’s Dad and Mom, I’m sure Bill had lots of really good negotiating advice.

            They really underestimated Intel and Andy Grove.

            So you can take a corporation for a ride, once in a great while.

    3. JustAnObserver


      Hasn’t all this been codified into some pseudo-theological drivel called the “prosperity gospel”.

      I think its even worse than you state since IIRC by Calvinist doctrine of predestination the seats on the private jet to paradise have been pre-allocated (*). So however much you screw over the rest of the world to get your $$$ it makes no difference. Your boarding pass for the Pearly Gates is secure; faith alone is sufficient, good works in this life are not required.

      (*) 144K of them I seem to remember although I’m sure some cunning Calvinist Vroomfondle has managed to increase this.

    4. Massinissa

      Ol’ Ben Carson recently made headlines stating that ‘poverty is a state of mind’.

      So clearly, theres nothing to see here. Lets starve the poor because theyre mentally defective and not optimistic enough. /s

      1. witters

        I know it is a long, long shot, but is Carson perhaps a Berkeleyan? You know, an esse est percipi man?

    5. Left in Wisconsin

      the real reason we don’t have single payer is the debased Calvinism that is the bedrock ideology of Anglo-America.

      This suggests the problem is that Americans don’t want single payer. That is demonstrably untrue.

      I would argue instead that we don’t have single payer because when the UAW and Steelworkers pushed for it in 1946-48, they were ultimately bought off by employers who agreed to provide comprehensive health care insurance to their employees. Or, taking the big picture view, we don’t have single payer because we don’t have working class organizations with nationwide agency.

      1. financial matters

        Good point.

        It would also be useful if the US was a true democracy so that it could get what the people want which is single payer.

        “”Economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial impacts on government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence.

        The scholars’ (Gilens and Page) findings seriously challenge the idea that, as a type of society, the United States is democratic.

        If a semblance of democracy is reached, it is usually because the rabble has exerted pressure on decision-makers through extra-electoral means – strikes, riots, demonstrations, civil disobedience, even insurgencies; in other words, because they’ve rejected the constraints of the electoral arena and moved the competition to the streets, where the constraints of procedural democracy no longer obtain.”” (Washington’s Long War on Syria)

        1. financial matters

          This discussion was in light of contrasting the ‘democracies’ of the US and Syria. As an underdeveloped nation struggling against powerful opponents, Syria gives priority to the Ba’ath party as being in favor of Arab secular nationalism.

          “”In effect ,then, the difference between presidential elections in Syria, under its 1973 constitution, and the United States today, is that presidential candidates in the former were chosen by Arab nationalists to carry out the country’s Arab nationalist mission, while in the latter, the candidates are chosen by the U.S. capitalist class to carry out the country’s capitalist-based imperialist mission. The Syrian system at least had the advantage of representing Syrians en masse as part of an oppressed Arab nation. By contrast, the U.S system almost ineluctably leads to the selection of candidates who have a high probability of being committed to policies that favor their country’s wealthiest citizens at the expense of the voters who elected them.”” (ibid)

    6. Jeremy Grimm

      I think Weber’s analysis is too limited to explain why we don’t have single payer. It’s the Market! What kind of Market could there be with single payer? That’s no market for medical care! And it doesn’t bolster profits for anyone who matters.

    1. Bernard

      or what Democrat ever filibustered to stop Republican ” tax giveaways. ” ever!? Vichy D’s only want their fair share of the looting.

  37. Jim Haygood

    “Complete calm,” comrades. That’s what’s called for when shares in your bank have crashed to 41.3 centavos:

    The solution for troubled Spanish lender Banco Popular is either a capital raise or a sale, a spokesman for Spain’s government said on Friday, adding that it was not worried about the situation.

    “(Popular) passed its stress tests … it is in the process of a sale or a capital raise, nothing more. Complete calm. We are going to wait for the next steps,” Inigo Mendez de Vigo told a news conference.

    Popular says it is seeking a buyer after Spanish Economy Minister Luis de Guindos ruled out a state bailout. The bank says it could extend a deadline of June 10 for binding offers.

    Sharp-eyed readers will note that Popular’s price chart runs on the wrong diagonal: upper left to lower right = BAD.

    Italians do not intend to take this Spanish challenge in the Bank Bust Sweepstakes lying down. Alle barricate!

  38. Massinissa

    “Landlords doubled the rents”

    Why would they do that? Do they want to replace the shops with a new building or something? Otherwise I don’t understand why they think its a good idea to raise the rents so high that no business would want to rent there…

    1. Oregoncharles

      Did anyone say they were smart?

      But they might indeed be trying to empty the building for a rebuild.

    2. WeakenedSquire

      As long as the space remains vacant, it’s a tax writeoff for the landlord. And even if it takes 4-5 years to fill it, the expectation is that eventually an international retailer will pay the full asking price for a at least a few years, and that will make the wait worth it. You never know when that tenant will come along, either–so best have inventory ready and not tied up in a lease to a struggling mom-and-pop.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        That strategy calls for an all-cash buyer/landlord, or an owner having access to practically 0% financing.

        Just one more way the Fed is doing for or to America.

      2. HotFlash

        Dunno how it is there, but here (Ontario) commercial leases are voided on sale of the property. New owner, therefore new lease — or not, of course. Residential leases may also be voided, if the buyer is moving family in. I got evicted once that way, although the buyer lied. But I digress.

        We have lots of commercial properties here, landlords have jacked up the rent and if tenants can’t cough up, vacancy. Currently, the city reduces property taxes for vacant commercial property, and of course, with no income there is no income tax for the owner. Sometimes the places stay vacant for a long time.

        In my neighbourhood (Parkdale, yes that Parkdale) we are seeing our local coffee shops, bookstores, hairdressers, greengrocers, ethnic food and clothing shops, and barbers replaced with galleries, martini bars, cannabis clinics and (tada!) a 24-hour A&W. Are we going upscale or down? I can’t tell, but it sure is getting different around here.

  39. rich

    Carlyle’s Rubenstein Returns to Bilderberg

    Carlyle Group co-founder David Rubenstein returns to The Bilderberg Group meeting in Chantilly, Virginia. Carlyle has $100 billion in fundraising to do and a junk bond IPO fund to push, TCG BDC.

    Other private equity firms at Bilderberg include KKR, Thiel Capital, Johnson Capital Partners, Ariel Investments, Citadel, Carlyle Group partner Koc Holdings, Evercore, Greylock and Goldman Sachs.

    Bob Rubin, Vernon Jordan, Andy Stern and James A. Johnson will be at Bilderberg to relish the millions they’ve made by integrating the Blue Team with Wall Street and the greed/leverage boys.

    Palantir will be at Bilderberg to protect the secret enclave from public scrutiny or accountability. Trump Commerce Chief Wilbur Ross will attend the meeting. He and Rubenstein could tell deadly stories of how they failed workers and customers.

    Billionaire’s don’t talk about the little people very often. Their pocketbooks are more important.
    Posted by PEU Report/State of the Division at 12:14 AM

  40. crittermom

    RE: healthcare/single payer in CA.
    Isn’t it convenient how the figures can be skewered to make healthcare for all appear impossible?

    I live in another state.
    I just received my first bill from the hospital. It was for the tests back in March, before I even began my treatments for Stage III breast cancer. Treatments will be ongoing through the winter, with 5 yrs of estrogen therapy to follow beginning next year when I’ve finished all other procedures. (I now have to wonder how much big pharma will charge for the Estrogen?)

    Despite having Medicare (I’m 65) plus “the best Medicaid supplement” I’m allowed (which, BTW, doesn’t cover one penny of this), this one bill alone amounts to exactly half my monthly income–despite the $134 mth the govt takes out of my SS for Medicare. All for one day of tests.

    I called the billing ofc and told ’em they’d better hope I live to be 200, as that’s the only way they’ll get repaid if I’m going to receive bills like this over the coming years. I’m already considered “below extreme poverty level” with just my SS for income.
    And the Drs wonder why I’m now suffering some depression?
    Now my car insurance is going up due to the extra miles I’m putting on it to travel to my treatments, despite my clean driving record.

    Yeah. Ain’t America grand, where healthcare is a privilege and not a right?
    So, so sad that Bernie was never given an honest chance to win…

    1. reslez

      Ain’t that America, where the people are Free and health care is Expensive. How we handle this in the US is by setting up pity pageants on GoFundMe where sick people can portray themselves as deserving of care and donations, the more photogenic the better. But if you do set up a gofundme, or something like it, I hope you post it here so those of us who are able can help.

      The system is rotten. All we can do is make the world a little brighter for each other.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      First question — why doesn’t Medicare or your Medicare Supplement cover the costs of your tests? I’m asking because I wondered why my Medicare Supplement insurer was trying to sell me additional insurance for cancer. What gives?

      I’m appalled at the costs of medical care in our country but two costs particularly anger me. The first is the cost for hospital care along with the endless hospital subcontractors who pile-on their charges. The second cost — which most particularly relates to your comment — is the totally outrageous costs for lab tests. Lab tests require a location, a low-paid phlebotomist and an overpriced piece of medical equipment. That overpriced piece of medical equipment is often old and probably paid-off in the first few months it runs. There are overpriced reagents and overpriced repairs and maintenance items … but the providers keep a fat part of the charges they make for each test. I believe that in the worst case a state could buy some of this equipment and hire some civil service phlebotomists, pay them well and give them benefits and retirement, and still end up making embarrassing amounts of money for the state coffers while cutting the charges for lab work in half.

      Most/[all?] states license medical doctors to practice medicine and to some/[full?] extent could control the costs for various treatments. Given the ready willingness to undercut the “market” for engineers and nurses [RNs] through H1B Visas I have often wondered at the remarkable power of the doctor’s union — the AMA. A state like California could make single payer very affordable by modifying a few state laws. Physicians can reasonably and should complain about the outrageous costs of medical school and malpractice insurance and the overheads associated with insurance billing systems. These costs are all under some/[full?] control of a state. Each state has considerable leverage to make single payer work. But who controls the levers?

      Finally — I hope all comes out well for you. My mother had breast cancer in her early 30’s and it affected her, and her family deeply. I was 13 years old at the time and mostly fussed about getting stuck doing the family dishes. It’s taken years — many many years to grasp even a small part of how this disease devastated my mother.

  41. pzoe

    I’m so amused by Hillary’s often stated claim that she really won because she won the popular vote. Reporters echo this mindlessly. I’ve never seen anyone refute this.

    Hello, it’s the Electoral College, stupid.

    As every educated marketing person knows one develops a strategy towards winning by winning with the score that counts. For the US Presidency what counts is electoral college votes, not popular votes. So you concentrate your campaign, spend your money, focus your efforts, visits, etc. with the view o fwinning those electoral states. One doesn’t spend time in states where you can get lots of votes but lose. A simile is the 1960 World series where the NY Yankees absolutely dominated in the “runs scored” column but lost in the game score. The Yankees won three games by huge margins but Pittsburgh won its four games and the series by lesser run margins.

    1. Lambert Strether

      Yes, I’ve never understood why losing the game by rules you knew going in is considered virtuous. The odd thing is that the failure mirrors 2008’s Democrat primary, where Clinton pulled even with the popular vote, won all the large states, but butchered the delegate count, apparently because they didn’t know how caucus states worked.

  42. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Girl made underclassman kowtow to her.

    From Kowtow, courtesy of Wikipedia:

    Kowtow, which is borrowed from kau tau in Cantonese (koutou in Mandarin Chinese), is the act of deep respect shown by prostration, that is, kneeling and bowing so low as to have one’s head touching the ground. An alternative Chinese term is ketou; however, the meaning is somewhat altered: kou (叩) has the general meaning of knock, whereas ke (磕) has the general meaning of “touch upon (a surface)”, tou (頭) meaning head. The date of this custom’s origin is probably sometime between the Spring and Autumn Period, or the Warring States Period of China’s history because it is already known to have been a custom by the time of the Qin Dynasty (221 BCE – 206 BCE).[citation needed]

    Did the underclassman have to prostrate and make a knocking sound on the ground?

  43. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Washington, California, New York band together to form climate alliance Politico. Martha r: “Why are so many poor-quality people suddenly taking “principled” stands over Paris? Somehow I suspect they think they can turn Trump’s decision to their advantage. Surely I am too cynical . . .

    Prevailing offshore winds send a lot of air-born pollutants from California to Nevada, Arizona and beyond, just as they also send the same pollutants from the neoliberal Santa Monica to the San Gabriel Valley.

    I think California should compensate its neighboring victims as a part of its better-climate-for-all program.

    1. Synapsid


      Offshore winds would take pollution from California out over the Pacific.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      California is sharing. I live in New Jersey a state of refinement. We send our best to NYC — in the prevailing winds.

  44. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Let’s reconcile to a diet of squid as we overfish to our own peril South China Morning Post(J-LS)

    As a reminder, for I mentioned this many times before, that when we humans say, ‘I love tuna,’ that means, ‘I will kill you and eat you, tuna fish.’

    “Beware of humans who love you.”

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Squid — dried and then roasted over an open fire makes an excellent and tasty anju. You just need to peel off the outer skin to get rid of the bitterness. But squid is also high in cholesterol — so I’m told. Better than crab (?) but still not as happy as a cholesterol anju could be.

    2. HotFlash

      Pseudofish salad: coarsely smash a can of chick peas, add whatever you expect, eg, chopped celery and onion (that’s what my mom used), vegan mayo (recipe here) and *secret ingredient* ground up wakame for that fishy taste. Most people can’t tell.

      Of course, there is that other problem, “I love you, wakame.”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      And to think humans migrated out of Africa along the Yemen coast.

      “No more humans out of Africa.”

  45. LT

    “Resurrecting Black Wall Street Your World. Normally I don’t link to what amounts to ads, but I have to confess that I’d never heard of Black Wall Street, nor that, per Judy B: “It’s Been 96 Years Since White Mobs Destroyed Tulsa’s Black Wall Street”

    A “fun” fact about Tulsa’s Black Wall St (though what happened was hardly “fun”): The main streets of that neighborhood were Greenwood, Archer and Peoria. GAP – immortalized for ever by Tulsa’s own GAP Band.
    “You Dropped A Bomb On Me”…indeed.

    1. LT

      Another thing about Oklahoma is that it was the home to a number of self-sufficient, all black towns up to the around the mid-20th century – the land run and a lot of black people were with the Native Americans that were relocated there. I still believe there may be one or two left.

  46. financial matters

    Seems like a useful ISIS update.

    F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”

    “”Today the CIA uses IS as the cover to justify keeping US forces in Iraq after the government asked them to leave; a cover to bomb Syria in order to topple Assad, something Russian presence has made embarrassingly difficult since September, 2015. And they use it to recruit thousands of young psycho recruits from over the Muslim work, train them and send them back to places like Chechnya in Russia or Xinjiang in China, or Balochistan Province in Pakistan where the Chinese have built a new deep water port at Gwadar on the Arabian Sea near Iran, the heart of its $46 billion China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a strategic part of its One Belt, One Road Eurasian infrastructure project.

    Now the West’s favorite terrorist mercenaries are being told to take down Duterte in the Philippines””

    1. Plenue

      Michael Hudson has refereed to ISIS as the American Foreign Legion in the past, I believe.

  47. Albacore

    There are way too many links. Too much repetition. Too much raking over old coals. Not enough emphasis on positive initiatives for change. Too much hand-wringing. Comment threads all over the place so becoming not worth trawling through. No need to post MSM stuff you don’t agree with. Go back to what you did well – incisive economic and political analysis. Look around the world a bit more.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I’m inclined to agree with you — mildly so I don’t piss anyone off.

      I know a lot of the “news” revolves around Clinton, the allegations against Trump and coming to terms with the meaning of Trump’s election. The Presidential election was last year. It’s over. Hillary lost and Trump won. Why is it so hard to get past the strange events of 2016? True — it is wise to learn from history. But when will November 2016 fade into a moment of history instead of a cluster-point for thrashing about?

      I disagree with you about there being too many links. I would prefer the more to less. I can pick through this level of links to find what I’m really interested in. I would be very hard pressed to sift through the web to find what is of value.

    2. kareninca

      It’s great that you are planning to start your own blog, with the sorts of links and comment section you describe! It will consume a huge amount of your time and be costly to run, but I’m sure you are up for the tasks involved. Let us know when it comes online.

      1. Albacore

        Done that already – www, and – they have both been going for eight or nine years, and they run efficiently with mix of angels, co-operative authors and presenters and crowdfunding. Not US scale but the internet makes us all citizens of the world, and we need all the good ideas and good change examples we can get. We also have Tillerson coming to visit us next week to jerk our string to stay in Iraq and Afghanistan.“>

    3. craazyboy

      I think of it as perennial baseball season and we have 200 or so Spin Doctors serving up curveballs and sliders. It’s the only game we got. So take aim and hit the suckers outta da park. It’s a fun way to waste time at least. Otherwise we’d only have Cuban baseball.

  48. screen screamer

    Warren’s take on DeVos is a bit over the top. Especially in lieu of the last eight years of wild west tax payer sponsored blood in the water shark fest. Now she wants to what, gander over the shoulder of education types who want to game the system. For what exactly? Schools as we know them are obsolete and are indeed a waste of tax money and the human capital that keeps the machine going. The sooner the education system wakes up and figures it’s days are numbered, the better. But technocrats and bureaucrats hate to hear the train coming and will stick their fingers in their ears until the din of the horn blasting pulls them into reality.

Comments are closed.