2:00PM Water Cooler 7/19/2017

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Readers, sorry this is a minute late; I had to reboot the router at exactly the wrong moment! –lambert


“NAFTA Plan Does Not Describe Promised Transformation of NAFTA to Prioritize Working People” [Public Citizen]. “Note: Today, the Trump administration published a document on its NAFTA renegotiation objectives. Under the 2015 Fast Track law, the administration must publish ‘a detailed and comprehensive summary’ of its specific negotiating objectives 30 days before formally beginning trade talks. This document does not describe the promised transformation of NAFTA to prioritize working people that some voters were expecting based on President Trump’s campaign pledges. More than 910,000 specific American jobs have been certified as lost to NAFTA under just one narrow program, but this document does not make clear whether NAFTA’s job offshoring incentives or its ban on Buy American procurement policy will be eliminated or labor or environmental standards better than the widely rejected one in the TPP will be added. The document is quite vague so while negotiations can start in 30 days, it’s unclear what will be demanded on key issues, whether improvements for working people could be in the offing or whether the worst aspects of the TPP will be added making NAFTA yet more damaging for working people.”


Health Care

“Health care collapse a blow to McConnell” [Politico]. Delicious factional infighting…

Realignment and Legitimacy

“How to build the coalition” [Alice Marshall, Medium] (in response to Bruce Dixon’s post on Our Revolution and Jackson, Mississippi). “Like his father, Lumumba ran as a Democrat. He was endorsed by Our Revolution. Our Revolution sent out email asking people not merely to send money, but to phone bank for Lumumba, complete with link to automatic dialer, so they could log in and phone bank for him. So it is natural that the People’s Summit should celebrate their contribution to his victory by inviting him to speak at their event.”

“‘If U.A.W needs support asking Nissan for neutrality during the election period Our Revolution and many labor and community organizations will answer the call,’ [OR Labor Chair Larry] Cohen texted Payday Report at 6:04 A.M this morning” [Payday Report]. Nice to see liberal Democrats going all out to help organize the South. Oh, wait…

“President Trump’s voter fraud commission is urging a federal court not to block it from collecting state data on registered voters” [The Hill]. “EPIC claims the commission violated the E-Government Act of 2002 and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) in asking all 50 states and D.C. for voters’ full names and addresses, political party registration and the last four digits of their Social Security numbers.” Madness.d

“Liberals can win again if they stop being so annoying and fix their ‘hamburger problem'” [Josh Barro]. “This combination of facts has me thinking a lot about what I call ‘the hamburger problem.’ As I see it, Democrats’ problem isn’t that they’re on the wrong side of policy issues. It’s that they’re too ready to bother too many ordinary people about too many of their personal choices, all the way down to the hamburgers they eat. they have become smug and condescending toward anyone who does not match the personal lifestyle choices of liberal elites. Why would the voters on the receiving end of that smug condescension trust such a movement to operate the government in their best interest? The nice thing about the hamburger problem is that Democrats can fix it without moving substantially on policy. They just have to become less annoying.” Listen to Josh, Kamala!

Handy map of data center locations (click through the link in the tweet):

Most, though not all, of them are out in the colonized areas, near the hog lagoons, etc.

Stats Watch

Architectural Billing Index, June 2017: “For the fifth consecutive month, architecture firms recorded increasing demand for design services as reflected in the June Architecture Billings Index (ABI). As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending” [American Institute of Architects].

Housing Starts, June 2017: “Housing data have been up and down and are now back up as both housing starts and permits easily beat Econoday’s top estimates” [Econoday]. “As weak as the details were in the prior report is how strong they are in the latest. Looking at permits first, the single-family category rose 4.1 percent to an 811,000 rate with multi-family permits up 13.9 percent to 443,000. Permits are strongest in the Midwest followed by the West and South. Permits in the Northeast are the weakest…. Quarterly comparisons aside, this is a solid report that puts the housing sector back at the front of the economy.” And: “Total housing starts in June were above expectations, and starts for May were revised up. This was a solid report” [Calculated Risk]. And but: “The evidence suggests that housing demand is still strong, but there have been significant issues with supply as builders look to combat land and labour shortages” [Economic Calendar]. “Land shortage”? But: “Better than expected, but not enough to reverse this year’s downtrend, as per the chart, and housing is adding less to q2 gdp than it did to q1 gdp” [Mosler Economics].

Housing Market Index, July 17, 2017 (yesterday): “Trumped up expectations have now entirely faded and the general weakening of housing data is in line with the deceleration of bank mortgage lending” [Mosler Economics].

MBA Mortgage Applications, week of July 14, 2017: “Mortgage activity picked up in the July 14 week, with purchase applications for home mortgages rising 1 percent after seasonal and Fourth of July adjustments and refinancing erasing the prior week’s decline” [Economic Calendar].

Credit: “Optimism in Financial Markets Fails to Show in Real Economy” [Wall Street Journal]. Quotes from that article:

I can’t see how that says anything good about aggregate demand.

The Bezzle: “Ethereum Co-Founder Says Crypto Coin Market Is a Time-Bomb” [Bloomberg]. “‘People say ICOs are great for ethereum because, look at the price, but it’s a ticking time-bomb,’ Charles Hoskinson, who helped develop ethereum, said in an interview. ‘There’s an over-tokenization of things as companies are issuing tokens when the same tasks can be achieved with existing blockchains. People are blinded by fast and easy money.'” ICO = Initial Coin Offering, dear Lord. So I suppose bitcoin is best thought of as a collectible?

The Bezzle, or Annals of Financial Innovation [Reserve Bank of Australia]. From that source, this tweet:

Cool. I wonder if any of that debt has been levered?

The Bezzle: “Netflix executives keep hitting bonus bullseyes” [Financial Times]. As the punchline to the old joke goes, “Just lucky, I guess.” More: “Uncanny accuracy is being achieved on targets set by often volatile video streamer.” “Uncanny.” I see.

Five Horsemen: “Facebook has blown past Alphabet and is now giving pack leader Amazon a run for the money” [Hat tip, Jim Haygood].

Five Horsemen July 19

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 73 Greed (previous close: 62, Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 47 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed. Last updated Jul 19 at 1:00pm. Looks like Mr. Market is happy TrumpUncare went down in flames.

Health Care

“How hospitals got richer off Obamacare” [Politico]. ” The top seven hospitals’ combined revenue went up by $4.5 billion per year after the ACA’s coverage expansions kicked in, a 15 percent jump in two years. Meanwhile, their charity care — already less than 2 percent of revenue — fell by almost $150 million per year, a 35 percent plunge over the same period.” Ka-ching.

Our Famously Free Press

“What happens to local news when there is no local media to cover it?” [WaPo]. “The ‘[news] desert’ phenomenon holds a special irony in East Palo Alto, a multiethnic, largely working-class community. The city sits amid, but largely apart from, the bustling corridor of companies that have revolutionized and conquered the global information market. Google’s campuslike complex is just five miles to the south in Mountain View. Apple, maker of the devices on which so many get their news, is 13 miles away in Cupertino. And Facebook — the behemoth that facilitates the trading of GIFs and gossip among 2 billion humans each day — is headquartered in Menlo Park, literally across the street from East Palo Alto’s northwestern border.”

Guillotine Watch

“Want to become a better listener? This is what you need to do” [World Economic Forum]. “Life is busy, and it seems to whirl by faster every day. We all try to do a million things at once, and sometimes it works out. But active, effective listening isn’t something you can do on the fly. It requires a conscious effort.”

Class Warfare

“Poor Whites and the Labor Crisis in the Slave South” [LAWCHA].

Although life had never come easy for the region’s poor, the financial upheaval of the Panic of 1837 devastated the vulnerable lower classes and rendering many small landholders landless. Problems for non-slaveholding whites continued accruing throughout the 1840s, right on the heels of the economic recession, as over 800,000 slaves poured into the Deep South, displacing unskilled and semi-skilled white laborers. By this time, the profitability and profusion of plantation slavery had rendered most low-skilled white workers superfluous, except during the bottleneck seasons of planting and harvest. Shut out from much of the Deep South’s agricultural work, many poor white laborers spent the late-antebellum period experiencing long bouts of unemployment or underemployment. Though impoverished whites were never subjected to the daily violence and degrading humiliations of racial slavery, they did suffer tangible socio-economic consequences as a result of living in a slave society.

Shot: “In Chicago.. StoryCorps aims to showcase diversity and document the effects of police brutality and redlining. ‘Here was StoryCorps, trying to elevate those stories to be more considerate of the type of country we want to live in,’ [social justic activist Justin] Williams said. “Compassion and justice were in the mission statement” [The Nation]. Chaser: “And yet, when a group of employees told management of their intention to unionize in late May, the organization declined to voluntarily recognize the union. In the weeks that followed, management required employees’ attendance at meetings where it discussed its opposition to the union and later disputed the workers’ bargaining unit in front of the National Labor Relations Board. The employees have continued with their unionization campaign, and will vote on whether to unionize at an upcoming NLRB election, the date of which has not yet been set.” Love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal…

“A growing number of companies are finding it difficult to recruit skilled workers, which threatens to curtail profits and growth, according to a quarterly survey conducted by the Washington-based National Association for Business Economics” [Bloomberg]. “In response, companies are sponsoring foreign workers, expanding their search and hiring more independent contractors, according to the survey. They’re also boosting automation, stepping up internal training and in some cases improving pay.” Anything but raise wages or do on-the-job… Anything…

“So why did pigs rule Manhattan for the first half of the 19th century—and what finally led the city to shed its swine?” [Quartz]. Interesting:

As land to raise hogs disappeared, New York’s working folk came upon a simple solution: let the pigs loose on the city’s streets. There was good reason to do this.

Unlike chickens, cows, or sheep, pigs fit seamlessly into New York’s fast-urbanizing ecosystem. Hogs in general convert feed into meat more efficiently than other common livestock. And the city provided plenty of it; for much of the 19th century, even in wealthier neighborhoods, trash collection was virtually nonexistent. Piled with spoiled food, offal, and vegetal refuse, the streets of New York were one giant trough. Their detractors called pigs “walking sewers.” More accurately, they were self-sufficient protein machines that cost next to nothing to raise.

For these families, pigs were a crucial social safety net—an insurance policy that paid out in bacon. A family short on food could always slaughter one of its hogs; preserved by curing or smoking, the meat could feed a household for a long time. Plus, pigs were a source of instant liquidity for a cash-poor populace. Since pork was a staple of the American diet, butchers were always eager to buy hogs.

“Blood from young animals can revitalise old ones” [The Economist]. Elevator pitch: “Uber for blood!” Use the app, a blood bag cheerful and compliant young person appears at your door, pint bottle and kit in hand!

News of the Wired

“Building a fully featured burner phone with Kotlin” [Twlio]. Well, modulo social engineering, it seems. Still, there’s demand…

“Housing for Homeless Vets—in Transformed Shipping Containers” [University of Southern California]. I’ve been persuaded by readers that using shipping containers as dwellings is a bad idea, but I’m curious why it keeps cropping up. Is modularity that appealing?

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Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allegic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant (Aleric):

Aleric writes: “Just took some good pictures of my bee garden – though there was a frightening lack of bees. Didn’t see any bumble bees though the past two years there have been dozens at any time of day. No honey bees either though I am less than a mile from the U of Mn colony.”

I’ve noticed the same thing (and my “masses of color” look a lot like Aleric’s). Nevertheless, everything got pollinated. Somehow…

NOTE Readers, if you want your handle to appear as a credit, please put it in the subject line. Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. Thank you!

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. marku52

    The reason there are data centers in OR is due to access to cheap hydropower from the Columbia River dams. Most located in Prineville, near Bend, and the Dalles on the river itself, right by the dam.

    1. Charger01

      Qunicy, Connell, Moses Lake, and near Wenatchee (in WA state) are sites for data center as well due to the low electricity costs and ease of permitting (especially backup diesel generation)

  2. Jim Haygood

    From an article about the House Budget Committee’s blueprint which is being marked up today:

    Defense Secretary Jim Mattis went as far as to blame the [Budget Control Act of 2011] caps for inflicting more harm on the military’s combat readiness than any foreign enemy.

    Rep Liz Cheney (R-Wyo) and Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis), who have both advocated a complete repeal of the law, raised concerns that Democrats would use the caps on defense spending as a bargaining chip to pursue more funding for nondefense programs as they have in previous years.

    Gallagher told the Free Beacon he hoped Congress was at the point where both parties recognize “defense spending is too important and too sacred to be held hostage to a partisan political fight.”


    Got it … ruling the world with military bases in a hundred countries is a religious quest, for which a grateful Deity will reward us handsomely.

    *genuflects toward the TOW missile shrine in the living room*

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      There was an epic rant over at ZH yesterday, typical over-the-top but it did get me thinking:

      “The more bombs I get over the target area the more lethal I am,” said Commanding Officer Capt. Rick McCormack, of the new $13B USS Gerald R. Ford attack aircraft carrier, still stuck in shake-down trials without a proven launch system. Get it?!

      Congress is giving the Luciferian Satanists $754B of your childrens’ lost inheritance next year. That’s 3x Reagan’s budget in the Cold War. It’s almost twice Nixon’s $394B Viet Nam War budget or Bush Jr Iraq War budget!



      So $754B won’t be enough, and the zombies will burn through their 2018 budget in six months, just like this year. Next the zombies will take over our SS Trust Fund, and we will meekly mewl, “Oh, how could this happen to US, we did not know!”

      Then our children and our elderly will be abandoned in unheated apartments, while workers fight over cash gigs on street corners, servicing the Exceptionally Rich. The US now has nothing the World wants in trade except our food and our bombs.

      We will be just another starving diseased and over-populated Chiquita banana republic with a fat military:corporate junta.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        According to Murphy’s Law, MMT will be invoked to fund the military.

        “Give me a few more Platinum Coins to buy drones.”

        1. John

          Unlimited money gotten without effort will always lead to the highest evolved smart-n-savvy people capturing the money fountain for their own benefit.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            The power is like that of the Ring, forged in the deplorable fires of Mount Doom.

            “My precious.”

            It tempts, and it corrupts the holder.

  3. Livius Drusus

    I think Barro is right on when it comes to how liberals have positioned themselves culturally. Yes, some of the complaints about annoying liberals are overblown as pushed by Fox News, talk radio and the usual suspects on the Right. But I do find things like soda taxes and campaigns against big gulps to be counterproductive. They end up targeting the poor and working class and usually don’t target the same bad habits among the affluent. I rarely hear about sugar taxes including expensive coffee drinks, for example.

  4. Vatch

    ICO = Initial Coin Offering, dear Lord. So I suppose bitcoin is best thought of as a collectible?

    You made me chuckle. Will collectors buy proof quality bitcoins? Will uncirculated bitcoins be worth more than the bitcoins with a few scratches on them? Will a 1955 double die obverse bitcoin be worth thousands of times its face value?

    1. PKMKII

      20 years from now, today’s infants will grow up, and start ironically collecting bitcoins as part of the teens comeback fad. They’ll be highly coveted among the neohipsters, along with vintage Juiceros and Uber badges for their used Camrys.

    2. Savonarola

      Vatch, an ICO is like an IPO — it’s an investment vehicle. You are buying a company, but instead of holding a stock it is in virtual currency. It’s a really, really bad idea I think, but it is a growing phenomenon. Not just Bitcoin, Ethereum and similar.

      1. alex morfesis

        a securities attorney would probably argue that if the person is converting their asset for an investment vehicle, then an ICO is an improper securities offering…if people read some of the pitched fine print, the argument attempting to be made is the purchase of the “coin” is for future personal use…much as a 50% off coupon from some online sales/marketing company, or as priceline type purchase of inventory for direct resale as commerce with risk factors…

        in a securities offering “anything of value” that is converted for shares is required to be properly documented and disclosed, unless it is under some accredited investor scenario or some reg a+ argument, but nothing that has been laid out and seen by my eyes suggests there are risk factors being properly disclosed and even in those being disclosed, the marketing is “way over the top” in terms of claims of future prosperity…

        but…maybe we have entered a world of “back to the biffland”…we do seem to have a biff president…and today, it looks like the federal courts put another nail in the coffin of the cfpb trying to actually enforce decades old rules against kickbacks in real estate closings and respa…

        in kentucky, Borders & Borders law firm case, where the courts had originally suggested in a ruling the CFPB had a good leg to stand on, the final ruling today threw out the case and put another nail in the HUD/FHA ten-factor bona fides test laid out in HUD’s Policy Statement 1996-2, 61 Fed. Reg. 29258

        the original ruling back in 2015 allowing the case to proceed and not ruling based on the pleadings…


        but now after further review, the call is overturned…first down…


        nixon in 1969 uncorked all types of economic nonsense to kick start the economy to make himself look grand…the falling apart of the us economy after his “convenient” removal left him not holding the bag for his economic fumbles and foibles…

        life in the new wild wild west perhaps ???

        have we gone beyond just eliminating glass steagall and moving to life before there were securities laws ??

        1. Procopius

          Well, Sarbanes-Oxley seems to be a dead issue, too. The Jon Corzine MF Global meltdown should have been a sure thing, $7 million of customers’ money, supposedly sequestered, somehow being used to pay company debts but eventually being clawed back be a very aggressive administrator in bankruptcy. It seem to me the missing money should have been prima facie evidence that when Corzine certified that he had good controls in place he was lying. I’m pretty sure that’s a felony. I never heard why the Justice Department decided not to prosecute. And as far as I’ve been able to discern there has not been a single anti-trust prosecution since 2004. I gather the Supremes handed down some kind of decision that year, but haven’t been able to identify it.

      1. clinical wasteman

        Which, given the amount of computing power and therefore electricity squandered in “solving” a single rigorously trivial blockchain “problem”, could be any moment now.

  5. Altandmain

    “A growing number of companies are finding it difficult to recruit skilled workers, which threatens to curtail profits and growth, according to a quarterly survey conducted by the Washington-based National Association for Business Economics”

    As someone who has been rejected for more jobs than I count, and usually because they hired someone else with more experience, I find that hard to believe. Agree with Lambert, anything but the higher wages.

    There’s no shortage of workers, just a shortage of honest employees.

    Why the US has no universal healthcare

    Single payer the only way forward as per Medicare architect

    Heavy civilian losses in Mosul

    Former Employee Testifies Shkreli Threatened Him and His Family

    State prison spending

    REvenge attacks in Iraq

    1. kurtismayfield

      I really think that management at corporations think that labor is a commodity.. they have it in their heads that with 7 billion bodies on the planet to choose from they can just set a price for a job and the market will create the candidate.

      Lambert, can you please add at the end of every article that mentions a labor shortage “at the rate they want to pay.”? They could easily fill any position if they offered enough.

      1. Cujo359

        The professional organization for engineers to which I used to belong has been discussing H1-B visas (for foreign workers to be hired by US companies) ever since I joined it back in the 1980s. Seems like hardly a year goes by where some industry group or another just can’t find the qualified people they need, so American competitiveness depends on having more H1-B visas to grant.

        Now, I’m all for recruiting the finest minds no matter where they come from, but when there are plenty of applicants already in the country for a position who can handle it just fine with a little training, there’s no need for looking overseas. Yet those visas seem to be awfully easy to come by.

        As everyone here has been saying, it’s almost never about qualified applicants. It’s usually about keeping wages low and employees in line.

  6. douglass truth

    liberals: on NPR a repeated promo that urges you to donate your old car to the radio station… and says you’ll enjoy that new car smell as much as you do NPR. who are they talking to?

    1. nippersmom

      I find new car smell nauseating, so in that respect, I may enjoy it as much as the present iteration of NPR.

      1. Carolinian

        Outgassing vinyl….probably cancer causing (kidding!)

        The gasbags on NPR also outgas.

        1. sid_finster

          No lie. Made the mistake of turning on NPR just in time for the Two Minutes Hate for Russia.

          Turned that [family blog] right back off.

    2. justanotherprogressive

      I think they are talking to the same people my local PBS station talks to. Every few months they ask for operating funds, but I’ve noticed that they just aren’t interested in small donations from viewers any more. They spend all of their time asking people to include PBS in their financial and “estate planning”……

  7. grayslady

    Regarding the antidote: I haven’t seen bumblebees for a couple of years now, either. However, bumbles need flowers that provide a sturdy “landing pad”, due to their body weight. Only the Monarda (Bee Balm) in the photo would be truly comfortable for a bumble bee. Also, all bees prefer blue and lavender flowers. According to a study in Germany, bees have discovered that blue and lavender flowers provide more nectar. I had half a dozen honeybees literally living in my lavender Nepeta (Catmint) while it was in bloom. Strangely, a few honeybees decided to transfer their interest to my yellow Coreopsis ‘Zagreb’ once the Catmint finished its first flush.

    1. cocomaan

      Our bumblebees love the coneflowers pictured. I mean, they’ll die of exhaustion on those things they love them so much.

      For Aleric, unfortunately, many municipalities now do nighttime spraying for mosquitoes and black flies. You might do research into what kind of spraying is being done.

      They claim the nighttime spraying doesn’t harm local fauna, but of course that’s probably BS.

      The best thing to encourage bumblebees to come back is a ton of leaf litter.

    2. Hana M

      I’ll second the Nepeta recommendation. The common blue-lavender varieties are great, also I’ve had good luck with the lovely Calamintha nepeta nepeta. Drives bees wild! White Flower Farms is my go-to source: http://www.whiteflowerfarm.com/25000-product.html

      Plenty of other insects, as well as bats and hummingbirds, are good pollinators so I’m not surprised your bee-less garden still set seed.

      1. polecat

        The bumble bees that frequent our yard, of which there are several species, really like the Calif. Poppies and Lithiodora … as well as the huckleberries and blueberries when they’re in bloom ..
        So there you go, orange and blue … complimentaries !

    3. Aleric

      Mosquito control is a possibility – there have also been notably fewer mosquitos this year, though the local control board’s website doesn’t mention increased spraying. There have been a few more bees around over the last week with my Giant Hyssops starting to bloom – still only one or two bumble bees and a handful of honey bees.

      1. UserFriendly

        Less than a mile from the U of MN hive… I used to live in that area. I had an apartment directly across the street from where Philando Castile got shot. If I had still lived there I could have filmed the whole thing from my livingroom. It’s a nice area.

    4. DH

      The pollinators missing in my garden this year are the hummingbirds and butterflies. We had a cold spring and maybe they have been slow in migrating north.

      I have seen a fair number of different bees on my flowers. Everybody focuses on honeybees, but they are non-native. There are many more species of native bees. Even NYC has had over 250 species of bees recorded in it.

      There have been a number of studies in multiple countries indicating urban bee populations are often healthier than their rural cousins. The data indicates gardeners are supplying them with a diverse food supply unlike monocultural industrial farming that also uses pesticides. Much of the anguish over the loss of pollinators would probably go away if farmers re-established bio-diverse ditches and hedge rows in and around their farms and roadways. That would provide diverse habitat and food for native pollinators that would then be available to pollinate their crops. I assume that the farmers assume somebody else will do that to fix the problem.

  8. Propertius

    Re: Poor Whites and the Labor Crisis in the Slave South

    Frederick Douglass pointed this out quite some time ago (as well as identifying the encouragement of racism among white laborers by the wealthy as a means of social and economic control):

    The slaveholders, with a craftiness peculiar to themselves, by encouraging the enmity of the poor laboring white man against the blacks, succeeded in making the said white man almost as much a slave as the black slave himself. The difference between the white slave and the black slave was this: the latter belonged to one slaveholder, and the former belonged to the slaveholders collectively. The white slave had taken from him by indirection what the black slave had taken from him directly and without ceremony. Both were plundered, and by the same plunderers. The slave was robbed by his master of all his earnings, above what was required for his bare physical necessities, and the white laboring man was robbed by the slave system, of the just results of his labor, because he was flung into competition with a class of laborers who worked without wages. The slaveholders blinded them to this competition by keeping alive their prejudice against the slaves as men–not against them as slaves. They appealed to their pride, often denouncing emancipation as tending to place the white working man on an equality with negroes, and by this means they succeeded in drawing off the minds of the poor whites from the real fact, that by the rich slave-master, they were already regarded as but a single remove from equality with the slave. The impression was cunningly made that slavery was the only power that could prevent the laboring white man from falling to the level of the slave’s poverty and degradation. To make this enmity deep and broad between the slave and the poor white man, the latter was allowed to abuse and whip the former without hindrance. But, as I have said, this state of affairs prevailed mostly in the country. In the city of Baltimore there were not unfrequent murmurs that educating slaves to be mechanics might, in the end, give slave-masters power to dispose altogether with the services of the poor white man.

    1. barefoot charley

      Excellent! And postmodern wage-slavery gives “slave-masters power to dispose altogether with” the flyover homelands of the poor white man. Let ’em eat OxyContin.

    2. Elizabeth Burton

      Or, as LBJ more succinctly put it, “If you can convince the lowest white man that he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll even empty his pockets for you.” — Lyndon B. Johnson

  9. Benedict@Large

    If employers are not raising wages, then they do not have a shortage of employees. Sorry, but that’s ECON 101. If they claim that they can’t compete if they raise wages, then what they have is a failed business model. This crap about everything being the fault of employees wanting to eat and pay rent is just that: CRAP.

    And hunting for employees isn’t cheap. Why can they afford to do this hunting but cannot afford to train internally. And when you train internally, you already know the person’s work habits, and you certainly engender loyalty.

    This stuff is all made up by the H1-B Visa vendors and economists whose bread and butter is to sell their reputation on the nonsense that this is full employment. I grew up in the 50s-60s and remember when the people start throwing hissy fits when U-3 got over 2%. Then the Arabs jacked the price of oil, and Greenspan and his buddies all claimed every problem after that was that employees were making too much. It was all garbage after that.

    1. Altandmain

      They just want to come up with any excuse of obfuscation to prevent real wages from increasing.

      It’s a shortage of honest employers. That and companies need to invest in employees, but that never happens. Labor is regarded as disposable.

    2. Huey Long

      Employers are a bunch of cheap bastards running their businesses for what I call “maximum Learjet.” They’re (family blogging) all over us for that shiny new jet or 13th home/condo.

      When they start paying and stop paying off congress to (family blog) us I’ll stop mailing it in at work.

    3. DH

      I was talking to somebody trying to hire people recently and they said it was almost impossible to find potential hires who could pass a drug screen. As soon as somebody found out there was a drug screen for the job, 80% of the applicants didn’t show up for interviews.

      Also, employers used to have training and apprenticeship programs. Now everybody wants their employees to come pre-trained. I assume they think another employer will train them for them to poach.

      1. John k

        No. Poaching means paying more. That’s not the plan, h1b is the solution… some companies use that program to bring in top people,nand pay top dollar for them, but others just want cheaper bodies.

    4. Procopius

      I happen to believe the real problem was Volcker, not Greenspan. He called for, and got, “blood on the floor.” I believe breaking unions was one of his main goals.

  10. PKMKII

    Wifi routers, classic case of crapification there. So many of them, you so much as sneeze at them, they brick. Not to mention the horrible software interfaces.

    1. Procopius

      I live in Thailand. My ISP provides me with a Huawei router as part of the package (10 Mb/s for roughly $20). I had one that was really, really old when they first installed it, and after it was replaced I’ve never had a problem.

  11. allan

    The top seven hospitals’ … charity care — already less than 2 percent of revenue — fell by almost $150 million per year, a 35 percent plunge over the same period.

    Someone posted this a few days ago. I don’t get the point,
    other than as a cheap drive-by attack on Big Medicine.

    All seven hospitals are in Medicaid expansion states,
    so why should the drop in their outlays for uncovered patients
    be either a surprise or a bad outcome?

    1. PKMKII

      And the one hospital that saw an increase in charity care had the *most* revenue gains. So lesson is, mo’ charity, mo’ revenues.

    2. justanotherprogressive

      I think you need to reread the article. Charity care has nothing to do with medicaid payments – it was the agreement the hospitals made to keep their tax exempt status by providing services to the community….and those services were not just for outlays for uninsured patients. For instance, in my city, one hospital spends a great deal of money on community outreach, training, etc., while the other hospital spends much less…..

      You also need to realize that hospitals do not have to treat you if you have no insurance if there is another hospital in the area that has an agreement with the local government to take indigent patients. Some hospitals still will treat indigent patients as part of their charity work, but there are also many many hospitals that will not (but they still want to claim their tax exempt status……)

      So basically, those hospitals who won’t do charity work need to start paying their taxes….

  12. Oregoncharles

    Politics: https://theintercept.com/2017/07/19/u-s-lawmakers-seek-to-criminally-outlaw-support-for-boycott-campaign-against-israel/ (Greenwald)

    A really big deal. There are now 43 co-sponsors, including a number of Democrats, to a Senate bill to criminalize ADVOCATING boycotts against Israel – for any reason. In other words, a direct attack on free speech, as well as the right to boycott. A majority of Reps. have co-sponsored it, including many Dems prominent in the “Resistance!”, but no vote yet. Co-sponsors include my own slimy Sen. Ron Wyden, who likes to pretend he’s a big defender of civil liberties (personally, I see this as a political opportunity.) The ACLU has taken a stand on it.

    The level of hypocrisy, especially from some Democrats, is just astounding.

      1. Jim Haygood

        “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Not that any senator would, but anything can be advocated on the senate chamber, I believe.

      So, this doesn’t apply to senators at work.

    2. Carolinian

      And the Constitutionality? States like mine have passed laws denying state government business to businesses that support BDS. I believe this was advanced under the theory that SC does business with Israel and therefore boycotts hurt our business partner. So far as I know this law has not been challenged in court. From your Greenwald link

      The ACLU has similarly opposed bipartisan efforts at the state level to punish businesses who participate in the boycott, pointing out that “boycotts to achieve political goals are a form of expression that the Supreme Court has ruled are protected by the First Amendment’s protections of freedom of speech, assembly, and petition,” and that such bills “place unconstitutional conditions on the exercise of constitutional rights.” The bill now co-sponsored in the Congress by more than half of the House and close to half of the Senate is far more extreme than those.

      Maybe it’s time we start boycotting some politicians by not voting for them. Congress members need to learn that this sort of anti-American extremism isn’t penalty free.

      1. nippersmom

        Unfortunately, my state (Georgia) is another that has passed similar legislation. I find it disturbing, but not necessarily surprising.

      2. Oregoncharles

        No, it doesn’t even pretend to be Constitutional, making it even more shocking that people like Wyden would sign on.

        I’ve written to him; will see what he says. But I’m trying to organize a demonstration at his office – this is personal.

    3. Byron the Light Bulb

      S. 720 is an amendment to the Export Administration Act of 1979 enforced by the US Dept of Commerce. It prohibits US companies from participating in boycotts originating from foreign organizations. US citizens are still free to boycott whomever they please. Violating companies doing interstate business may be faced with a fine, however.

      This amendment targets a 2016 UN Resolution calling for blacklists of companies that due business beyond the 1949 Armistice Line. Which is provocative because Israel has been invaded dozens of times since 1949 and no peace plans use this framework.

      The irony of someone railing against injustice hailing from the state of Oregon, a state that was founded on a “whites’ only” clause, after it had been jointly occupied by both the British and American armies. I for one would to see Oregon liberated, as it rightfully belongs to a free and sovereign British Columbia.

      1. Oregoncharles

        So I’m really Canadian? I like it.

        But in that case, I’m an immigrant, since I was born in Indiana.

      2. different clue

        Maybe “Oregon” and “British Columbia” both should revert to the Indian Nations who owned them before the White Settler States of “Oregon” and “British Columbia” were forcibly and violently established.

        1. LifelongLib

          Or maybe the land should revert to whoever had it before the Indian Nations used force and violence to seize it. Or maybe we should just admit that land (a non-human creation) can never be owned, only controlled, and we should all get off our moral high horse.

      3. Carolinian

        Try reading the Greenwald story to see what the new measure actually says. Also, might want to work on your spelling.

        Greenwald confronts several of the sponsoring lawmakers with the ACLU evaluation and they don’t seem to know what it says either. Apparently AIPAC just hands them a bill and tells them to vote for it.

        1. jo6pac

          Right is because those fine people that are Amerika citizens elected are to busy doing the $$$$$$$$$$$$$$ circuit to care about that those that do Care;-(

    4. giantsquid

      If anyone would like to contact any of the Senators who’ve co-sponsored this bill, they are as follows:

      Sen. Cardin, Benjamin L. [D-MD]
      Sen. Nelson, Bill [D-FL]
      Sen. Menendez, Robert [D-NJ]
      Sen. Blumenthal, Richard [D-CT]
      Sen. Peters, Gary C. [D-MI]
      Sen. Cantwell, Maria [D-WA]
      Sen. Schumer, Charles E. [D-NY]
      Sen. Hassan, Margaret Wood [D-NH]
      Sen. Gillibrand, Kirsten E. [D-NY]
      Sen. Donnelly, Joe [D-IN]
      Sen. Manchin, Joe, III [D-WV]
      Sen. McCaskill, Claire [D-MO]
      Sen. Wyden, Ron [D-OR]
      Sen. Coons, Christopher A. [D-DE]
      Sen. Bennet, Michael F. [D-CO]

      Sen. Portman, Rob [R-OH]
      Sen. Rubio, Marco [R-FL]
      Sen. Collins, Susan M. [R-ME]
      Sen. Graham, Lindsey [R-SC]
      Sen. Young, Todd C. [R-IN]
      Sen. Boozman, John [R-AR]
      Sen. Isakson, Johnny [R-GA]
      Sen. Hatch, Orrin G. [R-UT]
      Sen. Perdue, David [R-GA]
      Sen. Roberts, Pat [R-KS]
      Sen. Wicker, Roger F. [R-MS]
      Sen. Hoeven, John [R-ND]
      Sen. Cornyn, John [R-TX]
      Sen. Fischer, Deb [R-NE]
      Sen. Heller, Dean [R-NV]
      Sen. Moran, Jerry [R-KS]
      Sen. Crapo, Mike [R-ID]
      Sen. Grassley, Chuck [R-IA]
      Sen. Capito, Shelley Moore [R-WV]
      Sen. Ernst, Joni [R-IA]
      Sen. Lankford, James [R-OK]
      Sen. Burr, Richard [R-NC]
      Sen. Scott, Tim [R-SC]
      Sen. Cruz, Ted [R-TX]
      Sen. Strange, Luther [R-AL]
      Sen. Thune, John [R-SD]
      Sen. Sasse, Ben [R-NE]
      Sen. Sullivan, Dan [R-AK]
      Sen. Cassidy, Bill [R-LA]

      There are also 238 members of the House of Representatives who are publicly supporting an identical bill. https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/1697/cosponsors

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Co-sponsorship is like extra-credit homework.

        The final score is likely a Little-League-world-series-esque 100-0 or 99-1, won by our senators, just to let the Taiwanese kids how tough we Americans can be too.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Because Big Boys (and Girls) don’t cry.

            “This is politics, the ultimate game.”

      2. Darius

        Of course the slimeball Ben Cardin. With Trump on Iran nuclear deal. TPP enabler with feints at plausible deniability.

        1. B1whois

          I’m actually surprised at Dianne Feinstein isn’t on the list of supporters. Does that surprise anyone else

  13. PlutoniumKun

    “So why did pigs rule Manhattan for the first half of the 19th century—and what finally led the city to shed its swine?” [Quartz].

    In the early days of the industrial revolution in England, a typical workers housing terrace block would have a communal space in the middle for the pigs. The houses would have a tiny yard, with behind this the shared strip. I assume that everyone just threw their leftovers over the wall (they didn’t even had doors). I don’t know how they decided who owned what pig. You can still see these sometimes in ownership maps where there is a blank unowned ‘space’ surrounded by the tiny house plots. This practice seems to have fallen out of use by around the 1820’s, judging from the old plans I’ve seen.

    But pigs were always common in urban areas up to the mid 20th century at least. My mother, who lived in the heart of some of the worst slums in north Dublin told me that she and her sisters would (in the 1930’s) sit on a wall after school to watch the butchers on Moore Street slaughter the pigs. ‘we didn’t have TV then’ as she explained.

    1. Carolinian

      I’m reading Ghost Map about the mid 19th cent London cholera epidemic and it says not just pigs but all forms of eatable livestock including cows were kept in the city. And of course transportation was by means of large pooping herbivores. Add in overflowing basement cesspits and the book says the smell was horrific.

  14. ekstase

    Re: Want to Become a Better Listener

    – “Becoming cognizant of your gestures, expressions, and tone of voice (and making certain they’re positive) will draw people to you like ants to a picnic.”

    That sounds like a hellish nightmare in which you have become potato salad and itchy things are all over you. And while that’s going on, you can ponder this:

    -“The word listen contains the same letters as the word silent.”

    But with a little research you find that, “pretend to listen,” includes the letters to, “i teleported pintos,” and 1436 other words.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Interesting, that the word ‘listen’ contains the same letter as the word ‘silent,’ in English, but not in say, German.

      Are we to conclude that French, Japanese or Swahili listening is different from English listening?

      1. edmondo

        Forget those languages, in Washington DC, the word “listen” contains all the same letters as “campaign contribution”.

    2. craazyman

      Were they cars or beans? If they were cars, I’d really really be impressed! :-)

      If you can teleport a Pinto car why waste your time doing it? You don’t even need a car! You can just teleport yourself where-ever you want to go!

      This is news that stays news.

      The only problem is, if you teleport yourself you won’t have any cool company — like you would on the bus. It’s not just smelly fatsos that ride the bus. It’s all sorts of people and if you wander in your mind you can see all their souls floating in the air. That’s the strangest thing, how obvious it all is.

      I read yesterday that Bruce Springsteen’s father drove a bus for a living for a while, that’s what Bruce Springsteen himself has said at any rate. That was a long time ago, back when the US was mostly blue collar citizens. I bet he, the dad, thought alot of things driving the bus. He thought alot of things like dreams in his mind when he drove, and all the things the people on the bus thought, they mixed in with his thoughts like clouds mix together with each other in the sky. But the dreams and ideas didn’t fully form in his mind. Then Bruce Springsteen was born, and all the thoughts and dreams and ideas fell down into the earth and into Bruce Springsteen’s mind when he was born, and then he thought, later in his own mind . . .

      Spread out now Rosie, doctor come cut loose her mama’s reins
      You know playing blind man’s bluf is a little babys game
      You pick up a little dynamite, I’ll pick up a little gun
      And together were gonna go out tonight and make that highway run

      That’s the beginning of Rosalita, a song of pure genius. All because it came from the bus in a previous life. I think that’s what happened! All those songs about roads, highways, cars, last chance power drives. They came from bus dreams down through the strange attractors in the DNA and they fell like clouds into Bruce Springsteen’s child’s mind.

      That’s your downside with self-teleportation. You don’t absorb as much reality as you do on the bus. QED

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Why can’t they be cars and beans simultaneously?

        This Neo-Luddite is going to lose confidence in technology if we humans can’t do something simple and easy like that.

  15. Synoia

    I assume that everyone just threw their leftovers over the wall = “slop” over the wall.

    In somewhat rural Norfolk, we lived about 5 miles from the Queen’s Sandringham estate, I watched our local butcher laughter may animals, pigs and cows in the late 1950, behind his butcher’s shop.

    No question about freshness of his meat. No plastic wrappers either.

  16. jsn

    Modular construction is a recurring utopia in architecture schools, I wrote this for Abitare a decade ago and little has changed except that expectations have been so lowered that re-cycling cargo containers for human habitation has gained traction as a “good idea”. Doublewides are now too good for our vets…

    I wish I could figure out how to make this stop!

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I missed the past discussion on why shipping containers are a bad idea for housing.

      I’ve read that the refrigeration containers were available in stainless steel with excellent insulation. The standard containers are strong enough to stack many high. And their price — at least the price I heard couldn’t be beat. I can’t view shipping containers as a substitute for a modular home — double-wide or single. But I remain impressed by their strength and stability. They seem like an inexpensive ready-made way to incorporate steel support into a structure. I recall seeing an attractive Japanese design that used two steel containers to support a roof covering a central courtyard.

      What is it that makes shipping containers so unsuitable as a structural elements replacing steel or wood framing elements? I don’t think their attraction is for modular housing as much as they present an inexpensive modular structural element — not so very unlike modular roof framing pieces or the pre-stressed concrete slabs and beams used in some tilt construction.

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        I think the primary functional complaint is the flooring, formaldehyde-riddled from manufacture (as were the Katrina trailers) and likely further contaminated over the course of a few trips.

      2. B1whois

        I too would be interested to know why containers are unsuitable for conversion to housing. Container homes are actually quite popular here in Uruguay, especially as beach retreats.
        It’s amazing, but here in Uruguay middle class families typically have second homes to vacation an near the beach and sometimes even a third home in Montevideo for their children to attend college. And I am not talking about container homes either…that is more of a new trend…

        1. PlutoniumKun

          When I first came across shipping container homes back in the 1980’s (I think it was in the wonderful Omni magazine), it was for making underground homes – it seemed a great idea just to cut into a slope, weld in doors and skylights, backfill, and have a very well insulated and almost invisible hobbit home. But the more I’ve looked into it, the worse an idea it seems – containers just aren’t built structurally for that type of load and there are all sorts of issues with corrosion. In almost all cases its better to use and buy local materials that are suitable for your climate/geology.

  17. Buttinsky

    San Francisco shoring up its reputation as a bastion of progressive ideals:

    Attorney in City Attorney’s Office blows whistle on inside scam that cost the City millions of dollars.

    City Attorney Dennis Herrera terminates whistleblower in retaliation.

    Whistleblower sues and wins verdict against City Attorney.

    City Attorney bills San Francisco taxpayers for the private-law-firm defense of his illegal conduct, to the tune of some $5 million and counting.

    (My own assumption — the City Attorney knows where more than a few bodies are buried.)


  18. local to oakland

    Re your link about shipping containers for homeless people. I’ve been thinking about a different way to address this.

    My two cents is that there isn’t a good housing solution to match the need of the majority of homeless short of government, or large landowners sponsoring tent cities aka refugee camps. There are too many homeless people.

    However there is a piece of this multifactorial problem that could be addressed economically in a way that would scale to help large numbers.

    Homeless people face problems staying clean enough to interact comfortably with others. They face problems controlling sufficient property to subsist on the street. Any arrest for loitering or whatever causes them to lose everything they have gathered, sometimes even the essential documents for life in society.

    Either a former health club, or a closed middle school or high school could be renovated cheaply to serve as a center where homeless people could shower in safety and be issued with a locker to protect a few important items. The place could also serve as a mailing address, enabling job hunting. A cafeteria could serve as a lunch counter or soup kitchen, and classes could be provided as well as either or both of donations and a small store.

    IMHO, providing just that minimum amount of security and stability, a place people could return to and know that they had a right to be there would go a long way. From there, people could pursue opportunities, jobs, housing, that they currently can’t go near because they can’t receive mail and they can’t clean up.

    Beds are nice, but it is tough to provide enough to match the need. There are worse things than sleeping rough if you can still store your valuables and clean up in safety.

    1. alex morfesis

      well…there really should not be any homeless in this country…the banking industry has more than enough housing to temporarily house every homeless person…but…since no one is pushing them…although…since the new york feds legal department has basically said the banks are all now doing swell and the danger is over…mayhaps methinx a undusting of my old CRA files might be in the offing…maybe something could be triggered…you don’t get if you don’t ask…

      however, there is certainly one person that from my experience did not just talk but forced things to happen…

      Judd Lofchie, now in Aurora, Illiniois, lawyer, real estate agent (and now Alderman) was the catalyst for “streetwise” the newspaper and network which he, by sheer will and force, turned from an idea into a problem for “the chicago machine”…but he ignored the machine and kept pushing forward…but quietly, while no one was watching, he also worked with a small group of rehabers to fix up semi abandoned properties in transportation friendly locations and put roofs over the head of homeless people…he did not get all caught up in this notion people had to “deserve” housing by being clean and sober first…and he created an ecosystem where people could keep personal things and step into a place to clean themselves up and make themselves presentable…he gave people the chance to fail, and many did, but he would keep dusting them off and push them forward again, and again and again…unbelievable tenacity…and belief in humans…

      the machine finally wore him down but he put up a great fight, and mostly won…mostly by not announcing every little thing he was doing…

      if one wants to see real work in action, maybe someone will get him to tell the whole story…not just the small portion the public (& the machine) was able to see…

    2. BobW

      When I was homeless I was fortunate enough to be in a city that had a non-profit organization providing a day center. We would line up at 8 AM for coffee, breakfast, a shower, and clothing. A pair of pants and two shirts/week, socks and underwear as needed. Razors, combs and other toiletries. In winter they gave me a new parka with the price tag still on it. I still use it years later. Also a locker with a padlock, backpack (homeless badge locally), sleeping bag and tent. When I found part-time work enough to pay $200/month I moved into their transitional housing, which has a two year limit. I took early Social Security at age 62, and moved into an apartment. If anyone has “spare change” check out:

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Cities and counties, progressive and conservative, have built many beautiful sports facilities for multi-millionaire athlete-stars, including not-always-in-use showers and bathrooms.

      Why not put them to a more egalitarian use?

      Also, between say, 10PM and 8AM, almost all o them, most of the time, are not in use, during those sleeping hours.

  19. Jim Haygood

    Today was a blowout on Wall Street, as the Dow Industrials, S&P 500, Nasdaq Composite, Nasdaq 100 glamour stocks, and Russell 2000 small-cap index all reached record highs.

    Among the Five Horsemen, Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft set new records.

    As in 1995, when a debt ceiling-induced government shutdown loomed in the autumn, gridlock looks to be bullish. The Trump admin labored, and brought forth a ridiculous mouse.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Every time new records are set, we get more confirmations of the greatness of status quo gods.

      “A bright future awaits the faithful, and those Deplorables will still be deplorable.”

      Thus proclaims the Induction Prophet.

      1. Jim Haygood

        New records mean the trend is still up. When new records cease, but everyone is certain they will resume, Bubble III will have breathed its last.

        Dr Hussman — the ultimate contrary indicator — could stop this rally in its tracks by flipping bullish. But true to form, the more relentlessly stocks rise, the harder he shakes his fist at the wanton beasts:

        The estimate [of an inflection point] that best fits recent market dynamics would place the critical point in the first week of August, within less than 2% of current levels.

        Indeed, the 30-day crash probability that we estimate from this particular model is rising vertically, and will continue to do so with every market advance from this point.


        Obviously the good Dr H doesn’t recall Maynard Keynes’ sage advice: “The market can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent.

        1. John k

          He makes the pretty good point that the higher equities rise the worse the return will be over the next 10-12 years.
          Keen famously predicted tha oz housing crash that remains a future event.
          But you’re right, don’t bet the ranch on the timing… I didn’t bet that much, but I did spec a bit and so far it’s a write off.

    2. DH

      “No man’s life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session.” – Mark Twain

      The primary accomplishment of this Congress has been its ability to effectively be permanently not in session, which has been keeping our life, liberty, and property safe resulting in a rising stock market. If they become efficient after the summer recess, expect a bear market.

  20. John

    Re: “Liberals can win again if they stop being so annoying and fix their ‘hamburger problem’” [Josh Barro].

    Josh? Are those regular liberals you are talking about or NEO-liberals?

    I wonder of any of the Deplorables know what the difference is… (But, I guess the liberals and neo-liberals can agree that they don’t really need the Deplorables; or want their daughter to date one).

    1. Darius

      Barro said Democrats don’t even have to change policy. To which I said, what policy? They don’t got any.

    2. polecat

      But I’m sure that both the liberals, and their neo-librul brethren men-like folk can do a bang-up job …

    3. Elizabeth Burton

      I wonder of any of the Deplorables know what the difference is…

      Not very many, and the MSM is doing its corporate best to ensure they are totally confused about the difference. I have seen MSM articles that [deliberately] misuse “neoliberal” as if it were a political ideology by implying that’s what progressives are. Indeed, I had to explain the difference just yesterday because someone expressed total confusion about that difference.

      1. jrs

        it is an unfortunate choice of terms in the U.S. period, and economically is better associated with conservativism in the U.S. although that has also become a somewhat meaningless term.

  21. Cujo359

    (this is a reply to Darius @ July 19, 2017 at 6:38 pm)

    Barro wrote that Democrats should “Offer an agenda that provides benefits people can see as mattering in their daily lives”. To my way of thinking, that means they have to change policy.

  22. Cujo359

    Re: “Liberals can win again if they stop being so annoying and fix their ‘hamburger problem’”

    I agree that liberals could be less preachy in their approach to public discourse. That would certainly help them win converts to the Democratic Party. I can tell you that I personally stopped listening to liberals who blame third party voters and non-voters for the fact that the Democrats can’t win anything.

    Unfortunately, they are not what bothers me about the Democrats. There’s been lots of talk about “messaging”, which seems to mean that Democrats just can’t get across to people what they’re about and why it’s just so splendid. For me, exactly the opposite is true, because actions speak louder than words. I remember what they did the last time they had the power to do what they wanted, and what they did was so unimpressive that increasing numbers of people have been not voting for them ever since.

    When they had the power to end the war in Iraq quickly, they didn’t. They didn’t pass a universal health care bill, and instead passed one that benefited people who could afford health insurance but weren’t allowed to buy it, and the lucky few who now qualified for Medicaid who didn’t before. After nearly nine million jobs disappeared, they passed an economic stimulus that wasn’t a quarter of what it needed to be. They didn’t even expand the Voting Rights Act when they had the chance, losing that advantage to the Supreme Court a couple of years later.

    And then they spent the next eight years telling us how we should be grateful they managed to do that much. As Captain Obama gracefully steered our economy away from, well, whatever they imagined was worse than a stagnant economy that mostly kept up with population growth, we should have thanked our lucky stars he didn’t give away Social Security, too. Except for a retirement or two, the folks who did and said all this are still in charge. So how do they suppose better messaging will make me forget all that?

    If the people who were in charge of that fiasco had quit or been fired, or if they at least admitted they screwed up and want to do things differently, that might make me reconsider not ever voting for Democrats again. That’s not happening, though, and it’s pretty clear it isn’t going to at least until after they get their heads handed to them yet again in 2018.

    Still, it would be nice if “liberals” preached a little less and listened a little more. At least that would make the next few years a little less obnoxious.

  23. Optimader

    “…. Anything but raise wages or do on-the-job… Anything”
    Absolutely an inaccurate broad generalization in my commercial interaction in the Chicago area.

  24. Naïf

    I pay Netflix $7.99 a month, or something like that, for unlimited streaming of their basically crap offerings. But as they produce more and more, I begin to wonder–how do they make their money? I see no advertising. And it can’t be from subscriptions.

    1. Daryl

      They recently exceeded 100 million subscribers. Yes, I’m pretty sure it’s mostly from subscriptions.

  25. Bunk McNulty

    Citing Recusal, Trump Says He Wouldn’t Have Hired Sessions

    “Jeff Sessions takes the job, gets into the job, recuses himself, which frankly I think is very unfair to the president,” he added. “How do you take a job and then recuse yourself? If he would have recused himself before the job, I would have said, ‘Thanks, Jeff, but I’m not going to take you.’ It’s extremely unfair — and that’s a mild word — to the president.”

    Mr. Trump also faulted Mr. Sessions for his testimony during Senate confirmation hearings when Mr. Sessions said he had not had “communications with the Russians” even though he had met at least twice with Ambassador Sergey I. Kislyak. “Jeff Sessions gave some bad answers,” the president said. “He gave some answers that were simple questions and should have been simple answers, but they weren’t.”

    Hmmm. And if ol’ Jeff decides to quit…and does a little trash-talking of his own about his boss…who on Earth would want to replace him?

  26. ScientistYouLike

    “Blood from young animals can revitalise old ones”

    Also too feces in human animals!

    Transfer of Intestinal Microbiota From Lean Donors Increases Insulin Sensitivity in Individuals With Metabolic Syndrome [Gastroenterology]

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