Links 9/22/17

Bear Warning: How to Stop Trains From Killing Canada’s Grizzly Bears CBC News

Amateur Archeologists in England Unearth Rare Roman Mosaic Mental Floss

You Don’t Need a Brain to Sleep. Just Ask Jellyfish Science

Fossils Show Dinosaur Eggs Were Blue, Scientists Say International Business Times

Is the Milky Way Actually Kind of Weird? Futurity

Teens Aren’t Grasping the ‘Responsibilities of Adulthood,’ New Study Says USA Today. The title is demented – there’s no way teens can win. If they were having sex and drinking at younger ages, the spin would have been “teens growing up too fast.”

Read: Bernie Sander’s Big Foreign Policy Speech Vox. Reactions from two fairly different sources (both h/t re silc):

Bernie Sanders Just Gave the Progressive Foreign Policy Speech We’ve Been Waiting For The Nation

Sanders Speaks on Foreign Policy The American Conservative

NATO Is Seeking to Revive Cold War Climate – Lavrov at UNGA RT. Wide-ranging speech from the Russian Foreign Minister. Video provided, no transcript yet.

Hot Damn! An Old-Fashioned Down ‘n Dirty Board Election for CalPERS CityWatch. Mentions our humble blog.

The Ultimate Anti-Competitive Mergers The American Prospect. David Dayen, on fintech.

Catalan Leader Accuses Spain of Violating Rights in Referendum Guardian

Debating Catalonia Jacobin

Will the Splintering of France’s National Front Help or Harm It? Atlantic

Le départ de Philippot laisse orpheline la sensibilité “sociale souverainiste” au sein du FN Le Monde. More details, in French.

Rohingya Between Rakhine and a Hard Place Le Monde Diplomatique

Going Stag: How Brideprice Influences Participation in Violent Conflict Political Violence @ A Glance (micael)

The Smog Chancellor George Monbiot

What the Commission Found Out About Copyright Infringement But ‘Forgot’ to Tell Us Julia Reda


UK to Diverge From EU on Bank Rules After Brexit FT. Meanwhile…

EU to Tighten Supervision of Financial Sector After Brexit EUbusiness (micael)

North Korea

‘A Rogue and a Gangster’: Kim Jong Un’s Statement on Trump in Full Guardian

Inspector O Sings 38 North


Syria – Russia Accusing U.S. of Attacks, Abduction Attempts, Team-play With Al-Qaeda Moon of Alabama

Russian Special Forces Repel a US-Planned Attack in Syria, Denounce the USA and Issue a Stark Warning The Saker (KW)

The US Is More Deeply Involved in Syria Than You Know BuzzFeed. From early August, but with valuable information.

Pressure Mounts on Iraqi Kurds to Cancel Independence Vote NYT

The U.S. Should Halt Arms Sales to the Saudi-Led Coalition The American Conservative

Empire of Madness – Fiddling Through the Smoke in 2025 Tom Engelhardt

Democrats in Disarray

What Should Have Happened In Hillary Clinton’s Useless Book Sam Kriss, Huffington Post

Meet the Leader of the Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy Politico. Blob terminology.

Health Care

The Benefits of Bernie Sanders’ ‘Medicare-for-All’ Plan Boston Globe

Fool Me Twice: Trojan Horse Democrats Pile Into the House of Single-Payer Counterpunch

Rural Hospitals See Graham-Cassidy as Latest Threat to Survival Modern HealthCare

Realignment and Legitimacy

The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism First Things. A social conservative rethinks the relationship between modern capitalism and his own ideals.

Can Conservative Journalism Survive? Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic

Still Waiting on a Peace Dividend National Review. Note the source.

Class Warfare

Life on the Road, and in a Walmart Parking Lot Lit Hub (EH)

Oklahoma Is Imprisoning So Many People It Can’t Hire Enough Prison Guards to Keep Up In These Times (micael)

Pregabalin, Known as ‘New Valium’, to Be Made Class C Drug After Deaths Guardian. But our commenters were already on this story.

The Road to a Stable Job Without Crippling Student Debt Washington Monthly

Hurricane Alley

Maria’s Parting Shot: Flash Floods Hammer Puerto Rico Weather Underground

We Are Seeing the Shock Doctrine in Effect After Hurricanes Harvey & Irma Naomi Klein, Democracy Now

Why the Mexico City Earthquake Shook Up Disaster Predictions Scientific American

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Dear Apple, The IPhoneX and FaceID are Orwellian and Creepy Hacker Noon

Distrustful US Allies Force Spy Agency to Back Down in Encryption Fight Reuters

SEC Hacked: Information From Breach May Have Been Used in Trading International Business Times

Beijing’s Battle to Control Its Homegrown Tech Giants FT

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Enquiring Mind

    The Antidote picture reminded me that it will be soon to find that old alpaca sweater for the coming colder months :)

    1. Stephen V

      Yes EM. And after the last two non-winters here in flyover AR and the mildest summer in recent memory, we’re prepping for a helluva winter…

        1. Edward E

          Winter in north Arkansas is forecast to be another mild one. Last winter was really way too mild, this winter is forecast to be in between that and normal. November and December are forecast to be a little wetter than normal but the rest of the winter drier to near normal. That’s according to Cliff Harris and Randy Mann at Long Range Weather and they have good accuracy on what they see ahead although sometimes the timing can be off just a little. In all the years I’ve been following them since 2008 they’ve been really good. They say that the next few winters afterwards could be pretty brutal and then snap back hard the other way we go warm five years out.

    1. voteforno6

      Has Greyball 2.0 been deployed yet? The chances of Uber actually being deterred by this are pretty low, I think.

    2. Basil Pesto

      The obliviousness in the comments is disheartening, but I can’t really hold it against them. I used to believe Uber was some kind of progressive force for innovation as well (and they’ve invested a lot to make sure others see them that way too). Ugh.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        “Simpler” solutions are attractive. The short term convenience of Uber trumps the consequences of VC supported fares turning to price gouging when the traditional cab companies are forced out of business, never mind the economic conditions that make the “gig” economy function.

        Calls for a false civility, faith in the dictates of experts, both sidesisms, and so forth all work because “simpler” is seductive.

        1. Mike

          Indeed – and the simpler the solution, the simpler the populace, eh? It may end up, if we simplify enough, those professional complicators (aka “consultants”) might become extinct. But then, as you infer, “simple” is not so simple as we would like.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            One driver calculated he was making $0.43 per mile but his on-road vehicle costs were $0.44 per mile. I’m sure Travis has a few nice mansions, though, so there’s that.

        2. Basil Pesto

          Oh, I totally understand the, I guess, psychological mechanisms at play. It’s a bit like smoking, people do it for the short term reward and ignore the long term consequences (I say ignore advisedly, because these days the adverse effects of smoking are almost universally understood. In my parents’ day when they started, that wasn’t the case). Fortunately for me I’m in a position where, once aware of thebig ol scam that is Uber, it had no significant short term effects on me as I’d hardly used it in the first place, and can pretty much always afford to take a taxi. Going by a lot of the comments in the above piece, that’s certainly not the case for everyone, particularly older retirees. But short term benefit at the expense of long term disadvantage is an extremely powerful psychological force that is difficult to overcome so it’s hard to begrudge people for it, especially when they’re not even aware of the long term disadvantage (and for that, I can and will blame much of the press). Thankfully, other forces seem to be in effect that will serve to put Uber out of business eventually.

  2. Wukchumni

    I love Roman mosaics, and the new find in the UK looks quite intricate.

    There’s some awesome mosaics in Ostia Antica-the ancient Roman harbor, now a few miles from the ocean. I liked the fishmonger ones most of all.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I hope you like mosaic-like Erlitou (Xi dynasty) Inlaid Bronze masterpiece as well:,_1900-1350_BC,_Neolithic_to_Shang_period,_Erlitou_culture,_China,_bronze_with_turquoise_inlay_-_Sackler_Museum_-_DSC02627.JPG

      The emerald was probably from Central Asia (proto-Silk Road?), and the cut pieces were inlaid without glue of any kind. They were just shaped so they fitted into the cast grooves.

    2. Irrational

      If you have the time and means do not miss Pompeii, the villa at Stabia, numerous places in Sicily (though a lot of Greek influence) and there are a fair few in Germany, particularly around Trier.

      1. Wukchumni

        I’ve traveled extensively through Sicily, and if you want to see ancient Greek structures, it’s the place to go.

        I’ve been to Pompeii and Herculaneum many times, and something many visitors miss out on, is the museum in Naples where a good amount of the stuff they excavated, is on display.

        My favorite is the gladiator ‘uniforms’ they found in the ‘locker room’ under the colosseum in Pompeii~

    1. Wukchumni

      It’s interesting how the CANZ housing bubble really changed all 3 locales, in terms of how the people living there used to be say 20-30 years ago, versus now when they had all become house wealthy. I first went to NZ in 1981 and have been about a dozen times since, and noticed a profound change in people’s attitudes towards money. It didn’t used to mean that much, wasn’t the end all-be all, that it’s become, not to mention the stress of say a home in Auckland that used to be worth $50k back in the day, now being closer to a million bucks.

    2. CanCyn

      I live in Burlington ON and am getting close to retirement and we’re exploring a bit, trying to decide if we’ll stay put or move out of the gigantic city that stretches around the north shore of Lake Ontario from Niagara to Oshawa. As we peruse the real estate ads, we note with surprise that prices are no where near as crazy when you are out of daily commuting distance from T.O. We’ve been living in our own little bubble, thinking it was crazy everywhere! I know there are many things driving this crazy real estate streak. And I have no doubt that houses and properties farther away are over-valued too but it really was a wake up call for me to see how much peoples’ willingness to commute seems to be a factor. I drive opposite the TO bound traffic from Burlington, towards Niagara for my own daily commute and seeing that Toronto bound ‘parking lot’ that is our main highway, the QEW, every morning and the Niagara bound parking lot in the evening has really made me think that it might be time to get out of dodge!

      1. CanCyn

        And I forgot to note the ‘pressure’ to cash in on our amazingly high-valued house. Everyone says, “why don’t you sell? Your house is worth 3X or maybe more what you paid for it!” You hear that often enough and you start to think you’re crazy for not selling. The dilemma is finding a place that isn’t equally over-valued somewhere you actually want to live!!

        1. Wukchumni

          You’ve hit on a curious issue in the CANZ housing bubble, in that unlike the USA where the hinterlands can be a quite reasonable place to relocate, the housing bubble was quite widespread (they aren’t making anymore Medicine Hat!) in all 3 countries.

          That said, yes, SELL!

          I know about 10% of the population here by name and face, and there is accountability to your actions, which I think is nice.

          1. sleepy

            unlike the USA where the hinterlands can be a quite reasonable place to relocate,

            Yes, houses here in northern Iowa are dirt cheap. Plenty of beautiful old 1920s era housing and only a couple hours from Minneapolis if you want the big city fix. But no jobs here and the young all leave, but it’s not bad for retirement.

    3. JEHR

      party on, I looked at the article you linked to and find it difficult to see how lumping together private sector debt and public sector debt can tell us anything about what is really happening in Canada. These are separate kinds of debt because public sector expenditures put money into the economy for the private sector’s use. It would seem to me that the financialization of the Canadian economy has brought about increase in the private debt of individuals and there are obviously banks and other financial institutions lending money to those already overburdened with debt. These institutions need to do their fiduciary duty and make sure that those to whom they are lending can really afford to borrow; and the government should be doing more to control or regulate the inflationary pricing of housing in our largest cities.

  3. m

    Wow, a story about van dwelling. As I pack to leave Maine & head to work in hurricane hit Florida this is a lifestyle I have been investigating. I slept at the Bangor Walmart a couple nights with other travelers, but I will never shop there. My goal in life is to be a hobo.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Maybe you might pick up some useful guidance toward successful and decent hobo living from this: “The hobo ethical code of 1889:”

      The Hobo Ethical Code

      1. Decide your own life; don’t let another person run or rule you.

      2. When in town, always respect the local law and officials, and try to be a gentleman at all times.

      3. Don’t take advantage of someone who is in a vulnerable situation, locals or other hobos.

      4. Always try to find work, even if temporary, and always seek out jobs nobody wants. By doing so you not only help a business along, but ensure employment should you return to that town again.

      5. When no employment is available, make your own work by using your added talents at crafts.

      6. Do not allow yourself to become a stupid drunk and set a bad example for locals’ treatment of other hobos.

      7. When jungling in town, respect handouts, do not wear them out, another hobo will be coming along who will need them as badly, if not worse than you.

      8. Always respect nature, do not leave garbage where you are jungling.

      9. If in a community jungle, always pitch in and help.

      10. Try to stay clean, and boil up wherever possible.

      11. When traveling, ride your train respectfully, take no personal chances, cause no problems with the operating crew or host railroad, act like an extra crew member.

      12. Do not cause problems in a train yard, another hobo will be coming along who will need passage through that yard.

      13. Do not allow other hobos to molest children; expose all molesters to authorities…they are the worst garbage to infest any society.

      14. Help all runaway children, and try to induce them to return home.

      15. Help your fellow hobos whenever and wherever needed, you may need their help someday.

      1. Sid Finster

        I wonder whether the Hobo Code is authentic. The vocabulary, syntax and areas of concern read more like a 21st century take on how an idealized 1889 hobo should live.

        That said, a hobo told me that hobos see themselves as a higher form of homeless than a tramp or a bum.

        A hobo will accept handouts, but will work willingly.

        A tramp will work, but only if he has to.

        A bum will not work, and may be too messed up to do so.

        1. JTMcPhee

          And I thought I was cynical. I’d refer you to the link and maybe a search of your own for bona fides.

          Another aside: Ever seen the texts that were used in one-room school houses, way back when? Like the McGuffey Readers? They at least preached the virtues of a cooperative society, along with doses of rags-to-riches. And I had, and have sadly lost, a copy of an exam that grade schoolers had to pass in order to get into Cranston High School, back in the Depression days. My recollection is that the incoming student had to answer questions on math, science, history, the Constitution and other stuff that I bet a lot of SAT whizzes and collegiate credential seekers would have trouble with. Because everything required that you be able to write out the answers, not “bubble them in,” and grammar and spelling and neatness of penpersonship also apparently counted.

          Speaking of crapification.

          1. fresno dan

            September 22, 2017 at 11:25 am

            Thanks for that. I certainly wasn’t exposed to who or what Macaulay was or wrote…(actually, the majority of the people mentioned in the index I only became AWARE of after high school, and certainly wasn’t exposed to anything they had written in grammar OR high school). And the below index is just a portion of the authors referenced in the McGuffey sixth reader.

            So I would find the writing of 19th century hobos much more learned than the present twitterings of twits on twitter…..


            Arnold’s (Matthew) Sohrab and Rustum
            Burke’s Conciliation with the American Colonies
            Carlyle’s Essay on Burns
            Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner
            Defoe’s History of the Plague in London
            De Quincey’s Revolt of the Tartars
            Emerson’s The American Scholar, Self-Reliance and Compensation
            Franklin’s Autobiography
            “George Eliot’s” Silas Marner
            Goldsmith’s Vicar of Wakefield
            Irving’s Sketch Book (Ten Selections)
            Irving’s Tales of a Traveler
            Macaulay’s Second Essay on Chatham
            Macaulay’s Essay on Milton
            Macaulay’s Essay on Addison
            Macaulay’s Life of Johnson
            Milton’s L’Allegro, Il Penseroso, Comus Lycidas,
            Milton’s Paradise Lost, Books I and. II
            Pope’s Homer’s Iliad, Books I, VI, XXII, XXIV,
            Scott’s Ivanhoe
            Scott’s Marmion
            Scott’s Lady of the Lake

            1. Ancient 1

              I went to a three room, rural schoolhouse through the eighth grade and then to the county high school. Exposed to JP’s list, along with latin and french and then for practical reasons, double-entry bookkeeping and typing. When I moved on to university, I had to only catch up with calculus for admission to the architectural program. My education made what I became, a practicing architect of some forty five years and ended up doing nanotech labs and photoelectric manufacturing facilities. I am always grateful for what I was given by that simple Tennessee education. Shame it is not around anymore.

              1. Pwelder

                I went to a one room schoolhouse, where grades K – 8 lived together.

                It was better than it sounds. There were less than a dozen of us, so the teacher never had all eight grades to contend with. Plus, in the early grades, if you zipped through your busy work quickly enough you could watch what the teacher was doing with the big kids. A real ego boost, to see some big hulk that had been rolling you around the playground during recess struggling to get his head around something like fractions which you had already figured out.

                In terms of educational practice, way different from current standards. But FWIW, seven decades later I knew what “dotard” means without having to look it up.

                But then again, I’m pretty old….

            2. sid_finster

              I didn’t say anything about the level of vocabulary or syntax – merely that the Hobo Code uses different vocabulary and syntax than what I am used to seeing in 19th century texts.

          2. sleepy

            My mom got a diploma from a rural high school in Arkansas in 1937. I know she took Latin, French, and chemistry as requirements, and no doubt other challenging courses.

            A diploma in those days had more of the economic markers of a BA today, considering that many quit school after 8th grade for farmwork or factory work.

              1. sleepy

                You’re right of course, but even before the depression I think the majority of people quit after 8th grade, particularly in rural areas like my mom’s. A diploma was considered something a lot more special than now.

                None of her brothers, my uncles, had a diploma. They were all farmers. My mom got the hell out of depression Arkansas and got a secretarial certificate from a business college which landed her a nice middle-class life during the WW2 boom.

  4. taunger

    The teens article repeats the worst of the age antogonisms recognizable on both sides; establishment figures bemoan the latest generation being different (read: worse), while ignoring the evidence that this result is a direct outcome of their desire and action to infantilize. Just look at Massachusetts ridiculous driving laws to see why teens are waiting to grow up – they have no choice:

    Even worse, the ridiculous stats on teens working for pay – really? They posit employment is down due to the internet? Outis, you’re killing me. I should have known this would get my blood going too early in the morning.

    1. Tertium Squid

      This was fascinating:

      • 63% dated, down from 86%.
      • 62% had had sex, down from 68% in the early 1990s, the earliest that data was collected.

      So, either there’s ~100% overlap and you’re not “dating” until you’ve had sex, or there isn’t such an overlap and sexual activity has been divorced from romantic activity.

      1. bronco

        Its the second , a large percentage of them just hookup with near strangers they interact with on snapchat , instagram , tinder and other platforms.

        It’s pretty grim

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Yep (for my millennials anyway). Hookup (sex) first, then if you get along it might evolve into a relationship involving emotions.

  5. Terry Flynn

    I’m not sure whether to give myself a pat on the back or not for predicting the pregabalin scandal – this is going to hit people who genuinely need it just as much as those abusing it.

    One General Practice in my local area is a huge outlier – over 10x the prescribing rate of my practice for anxiety. It covers a pretty deprived area and am sure the rates of mental health there are genuinely bad…..but given my own experience I suspect there are a bunch of patients who have developed tolerance and have had their dosage pushed up to dangerous levels – as happened to me in Sydney. I wonder what the street price of a pill will go up to, now it’ll be treated the same as valium and a bunch of other drugs that are difficult to get….the stats are pretty frightening all over the place.

    1. flatstanley

      I’m sure there must be a Dune reference but will have to depend on Lambert for a posting. All I have is this from Serenity movie.
      “G-23 Paxilon Hydrochlorate or “Pax” (Latin for “Peace”) was a chemical compound added to the air processors in order to pacify the populace, by the Union of Allied Planets. An Alliance research team on Miranda discovered that the Pax was effective with 99.9% of people. It was such an effective means of pacifying that the people stopped doing anything, they simply waited for death. However, a tenth of a percent (0.1%) of the population had the opposite reaction. They became highly aggressive, committing unspeakable acts including cannibalism, rape, and self-mutilation. These people would come to be known as Reavers.”

      1. Terry Flynn

        Thanks, very apt. And (as I think I mentioned in the discussion a while back on here), whether you develop tolerance or not is not predictable by the ‘usual’ measures (addictive personality etc). They’re going to need a *lot* more work to find out who is safe to take it and who is not. I wonder if my Aussie shrink will get into trouble, if this also hits Aus – it isn’t (or at least wasn’t when I was there 2009-15) indicated for generalised anxiety disorder so he was prescribing it off label….until I mentioned my slipped disc and he used that as his justification. Neuropathic pain is something it is indicated for….but I wonder whether 600mg/day would be considered appropriate for “just” a slipped disc!.

    2. JTMcPhee

      A glimpse at the real world, outside the NC space:

      I was going to link to some places that track street values of various diverted medications, but they all seem to activate my virus protection’s sensors. Looks like there’s the equivalent of market makers well distributed over space and the ‘net — lots of advice on what kind of “high” or “down” or “buzz” one can get from all the different chemicals. And of course lots of “price discovery,” and “talking one’s book…” Same category of reporting, it seems to me, as one finds on the sites that day traders look to for cues on buying and selling. So:

      1. Because Markets!

      2. Die quicker.

      Past performance does not reflect future experience…

      Speaking of which, when I started law school in 1976, a friend roomed with 4 other males in a (nasty) walkup. One of them was a pharmacy student, and one day, looking for the group cat, my chum happened to look under that Pharma boy’s bed. There, still in original shipping cartons, were over 5,000 quaaludes (anyone remember when ‘ludes were a choice drug?) The other four residents were all law students, and he called them in to see the stash. So they confronted the dude, and kicked him and his boxes and dirty underwear to the curb. All the while thinking “there go our law licenses, before we even complete law school…”

      La la la la life goes on…

      1. Tooearly

        It would be truly useful if the market value corresponded to efficacy…
        But efficacious just might be in the eye of the beholder here…

  6. Basil Pesto

    It’s kind of fascinating/weird that ~the valley~ takes its ideas for ‘innovation’ more or less directly from science fiction: facial scanning to unlock things, (utterly superfluous) gesture control or voice control of AI ‘personal assistants’, flying/self-driving cars, hyperloops. Get your own ideas guys! I guess it does fit in with the manchild mentality that seems to be prevalent in that particular community.

    1. subgenius

      Virtual reality – Michael Frayn “A Very Private Life” (1968)….Jaron Lanier named his company VPL (Wikipedia claims it stood for “visual programming languages”…not true, it was named for the book)

      William Gibson’s “Neuromancer” (1984) expanded the theme and has been a source of inspiration for a lot of internet/vr/ar development.

      John Brunner’s “The Shockwave Rider” invented the concept and term of a “worm” and also a proto-wikileaks idea (“hearing aid”) back in 1974/5. Lots of network hacking…but this is pre-personal computer, pre-internet, pre-gui, so the interface is a telephone (cap’n crunch style…)

      Going back a bit, “The Brick Moon” by Edward Everett Hale, published in 1869, contains the first known idea of a satellite…beating Jules Verne’s “The Begum’s Fortune” by a decade. Communications satellites were first conceived in a 1945 article by Arthur C. Clarke in a (non fiction) article in Wireless World article.

      Robots evolved from way back – LieZi (10th C, BC!) Talks of Yan Shi’s automaton…then there are eg. Cadmus/Pygmalion/Talos of Crete and golems…and da Vinci penned a design in the late 15th C. The word robot (robota : czech for ‘forced labour’)a is from K. Čapek’s play R.U.R. ‘Rossum’s Universal Robots’ (1920).


    2. subgenius

      …another thought:

      Health care, politics, ‘news’ media, and society are doing the same – unfortunately they reference Orwell’s ‘1984’, Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’, and Bradbury’s ‘Fahrenheit 451’. I am waiting for ‘Null States’ to catch on…

  7. ambrit

    Quickly before work. The “On the Road” article has all the earmarks of the aspirational classes’ deep held belief that things will all work out “in the end.” I have lived in a van for periods during out of town construction work. First, one needs support services to maintain a socially acceptable facade: showers, toilets, clothes washing services, food, other supplies, and, the most important, security. It was taken for granted a hundred or more years ago that a ‘local’ could kill a hobo almost with impunity. The local attitudes and mores would determine the degree of latitude for anti-‘drifter’ actions. The Rom (aka Gypsies,) were reviled and ‘moved on’ almost everywhere in the world. During the Third Reich, the Rom were officially determined to be ‘objectionable’ and killed off in their myriads. What’s to stop a near future ultra-fear controlled America from “cracking down” on ‘deadbeats’ and other ‘houseless’ people for whatever reason fits the contemporary mood? “The Grapes of Wrath” deals with this issue in the context of a Great Depression. The Okies tried to move on to the promised land of California. Bloodshed and mayhem ensued. Finally, the point about the rise of mini-communities points to the essential lesson here. The “On the Road” cohort is already self identifying as a separate and insular culture. (Even Kerouac, who wrote “On the Road,” had his sisters Carolina farm to head to in times of need to ‘crash’ in.) Middle class hobos if you will. It all goes to show that ‘class’ is much more that ones’ economic standing.
    Off to work. I’m one of those sixty-somethings enduring a low paid physically demanding job. I’m lucky, I already have the house paid for. Now for the taxes: electric bill, water and sewer bill, the garbage pick up bill, the property taxes, auto insurance, bank fees, gasoline for car to get to work and shopping, telephone bill, internet connection bill, auto license fees, and a few more that I’ve suppressed.

    1. Wukchumni

      Some of the best hobo stories i’ve ever read, along with a wealth of other oral history vignettes, is Barry Broadfoot’s masterful “Ten Lost Years”.

      He went all over Canada with his trusty tape recorder in the early 70’s, and it’s in the style of Studs Terkel, but the vein Barry was tapping into was much richer. Each story is a page to 5 pages long, and it really gives you a feel for the Great Depression, and the differences there versus in the USA (We had FDR, they had R.B. Bennett-who was loathed) were vast, in that there was little effort to help the populace, who were very much in need.

  8. Marco

    “Life on the Road…” Thanks for posting. I have never heard of Jessica Bruder before and glad someone I presume is a current resident of NYC…with an elite education at Amherst and Columbia…can eke out a healthy niche reporting on a crumbling American working class…while posing defiantly on top of a camper-sized van. I’m sorry I loved the article but the picture of her at the top didn’t sit well with me. I would have preferred to see a Walmart parking lot filled with the subjects of her piece. Oh well.

    1. ambrit

      The reason for the lack of a WalMart picture is probably that most of the RVs that I’ve seen ‘overnighting’ in their parking lots were upper end motorhomes and similar. Sort of like the caravan in “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.”

    2. m

      Go to youtube, tons of travelers’ blogs. Who needs the elite scholar when the retiring & working poor are doing the reporting themselves.

  9. Jim A

    Re: teens and adulthood. I remember watching the movie “The Devil’s miner” about a 14 year old silver miner who was supporting his mom and their family. He was more of an adult at 14 than me or my friends were at 20.

    1. justanotherprogressive

      Praise the young man but don’t praise the conditions that got him into having to support his family at 14 and have some empathy for the damage this did to him, his family, and his society.

    2. Sid Finster

      It wasn’t that long ago and that sort of thing was not uncommon.

      [family blog] in many parts of the world today, it still is.

      Perhaps what we are seeing in America today is simply a reversion to the mean?

      1. justanotherprogressive

        I’m sure the 1% would like you to believe that, because in every society where it occurred there were people getting fabulously wealthy on that type of exploitation…..

    3. todde

      My mother quit school in the 5th grade to work as a waitress to support her family. Of course, she was born in the 1920’s.

      Never went back to school, owned a liquor store that she ran until she retired. The college educated men who bought the store bankrupted it within a few years.

      Oddly enough, one of the guys was my Algebra teacher in high school.

  10. Craig H..

    They should be in the dock, and not in charge.

    If Naomi Klein thinks she knows more than the municipal government of Houston who should manage the Harvey recovery, she is mistaken. The last I heard Marvin Odum was driving a Prius.

  11. Mike

    RE: Read: Bernie Sander’s Big Foreign Policy Speech Vox.

    OK, take a deep breath, Mike…

    Very nice that Bernie cares about individuals and people over systems and authoritarian governments. However, the governments he names are the usual culprits for US foreign policy- North Korea, Al Qaeda, ISIS, etc. He talks about 9-11 in the usual terms. He names Russian ‘interference” as a problem. On all points, all I can say is hoo-boy.

    We will never move off the aggressive US foreign policy merry-go-round until we have a reality check:

    1- North Korea is following a logical, if dangerous to our current governing regime, policy of self-protection. Their hurry, and “irrational” non-response to the world, is thoroughly logical if you know their history and our destruction of their nation and population. We made their intransigence. All they want is for us to leave the peninsula and maybe, just maybe, they would allow neutral checks on the destruction of their missiles and nukes – but not if the US determines the search or the measurement of its progress.

    2- Al Qaeda and ISIS are beholden to OUR foreign policy, and would not exist if not for Jimmy Carter, Brzezinski, Reagan, Cheyney, and all the otheer clowns inhabiting the policy corridors who funded ANY opposition to Soviet/Russian maneuvers. Yes, THEY stink, but we do in spades. Lesser of two evils? I think not.

    3- The whole argument and repetition of the 9-11story is spurious, and without proof, just as the Russian “meddling” story is without proof. He copies establishment policy without regard to any cautionary reserve, and in this, his policy is dangerously sycophantic.

    4- No mention of detailed Middle Eastern policy regarding Israeli or Saudi Arabian aggressions and especially Israel’s land theft. Afraid? Beholden? I dunno, but doubt leads to suspicion

    In short, I see no advance into a new relationship with other nations, or with their populations. I see cherry picking of points to allow the establishment contentment he will not rock the boat too much. Will he cut defense spending? Only if he can expose the waste and theft that has occurred will he get popular support for that, but that means opposing the defense monolith as a whole, and they will surely take it as such. Will he curtail their power? How, pray tell? What will he do to replace those jobs with well-paid positions?

    Lambert and Yves have said it before – practical, real benefits to the populace as a whole (not per interest group or identity) can prevent this nation and its citizens from tearing each other apart. Mend domestic policy and procedure by curtailing corporate power, if you can, and then remove American military, as you must, and foreign policy will almost fix itself. But beware – Russia, N. Korea, Israel, S. A. are all dependent upon US belligerence, just as we have become dependent upon theirs. Maybe we can build a wall…

    1. Olga

      Israel may be dependent on US militarism, but I doubt Russia is. Lumping Russia in is just a basic misreading of where that country is coming from. It has tried to work with the US for many years, and only started to give up after US repeatedly sidelined it. The 2007 speech by V.V. Putin at the Munich defense conference explains quite straightforwardly the change in Russian thinking.

      1. Mike

        Arguable, but let me say this: Their dependency is in how they approach “terrorism” and problematic nations, which is pretty similar to ours. The mindset is that they need enemies to justify a host of wasteful expenditures, like their Gen 5 fighters, new missile defense against anti-missile emplacements placed in Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, etc. by the NATO alliance (read US). The dependency is in always looking for stuff to spend on that is NOT their populations real security or real “happiness” (we all know it when we experience it, but damn if I can define it).

        It is exactly the cooperation that Putin sought that is my reason for saying dependency- all “advanced” nations have read Bernays, and propagandize incessantly to their populace, whether it’s about Chechnya, Georgia, and Nagorno-Karabakh, or whether it’s N. Korea, Venezuela, or Iran. This on top of the common “enemies” of Al Qaeda, ISIS, etc. The cooperation sought is to fight these common “terroristic” enemies and the nations that harbor them (a la GWB, Cheyney, and all the way back to the Carter/Brzezinski drama, and maybe back to the Kennedy/Krushchev agreement which discussed cooperative “spheres” of mutual anxiety). As for the current animosity, thank Clinton and the media pals of the DNC for creating something out of nothing much. We all spy on each other, but how dare they…

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Yes but Bernie’s entire foreign policy worldview is just more of the same exceptional crap, empire-building, bomb people who pose no threat blah blah blah.

          I still think if we had a real anti-war candidate, single-issue and laser-focused, they would do great. People are sick of war.

          Ron Paul: “Bring the troops home”. When? As soon as the boats can get there, they can “nation-build” in Chattanooga and Corvallis. You can re-aim all the drones so they blow up in a remote desert in Nevada and Krugman can still get his “broken window” economic groaf, LOL

    2. nippersdad

      Good points, but do you think that all of that could have, or even should have, been enumerated in one speech? He has only just now gotten the ability to get his views out there and have them received with any degree of credulity. He may view it as the conversation starter that his campaigns’ reliance upon economic inequality turned out to be. Should he be getting that far ahead of his skis at this point?

      Small steps.

      1. Mike

        You may be right in a practical political way, but Bernie has had decades in political life to hone his thought and bring forth proper criticism in a pungent and concise way. My gut says he is too enigmatic about detail, and that brings him back into the establishment liberal mode of naming, but not solving.

        Briefly, political revolution cannot be encapsulated in one speech, but his reluctance to oppose foreign policy disasters while bluntly exposing domestic policy disasters, smacks of split personality… or opportunism. I would rather doubt the “savior” (I’m not into them), and trust the mass of informed citizens to come to a better conclusion. Bernie talks that point well (“let’s all do this together”), so I expect him to question the populace, not recite a list of solutions. Lead them to question and answer for themselves. Just don’t be afraid of the nasty conundrums, since “they” already hate you – go for the gold.

          1. Arizona Slim

            That was a small plane, Tooearly. And Wellstone was only flying within MN.

            When Bernie was out on the campaign trail, he used chartered jets. They weren’t much to look at as compared to say, Trump’s 747, but they were airworthy.

            How do I know this? Because one of my Tucson acquaintances was one of his southern AZ motorcade drivers.

        1. nippersdad

          Rather than thinking of his segmented approach to political issues as opportunism or split personality, I think it might just be a case of realism and priorities. It wasn’t all that long ago that over eighty percent of the US population wanted to invade Iraq; “to kick their ass and take their gas.”

          I was getting my transmission fixed today and the people in the shop with whom I was talking didn’t know who the Koch brothers were, much less their effect upon Republican politics. Trusting in the mass of informed citizens to come to any realistic conclusions without the kind of background that a slow and sustained message involves may be an unrealistic expectation for one speech…or even ten or fifteen. He chose his battles such that he could live to fight another day, and I respect that even if I am a little frustrated at the slow pace of his process.

          1. Jeff W


            I think it might just be a case of realism and priorities.

            I think Sanders thinks in terms of high and low leverage points and then factors in political realities in setting priorities.

            So a high leverage point would be “getting money out of politics” (because that gets at the root cause of our dysfunctional political system); perhaps a medium-high one might be “single payer” (because that removes or greatly diminishes the power at least one cluster of entities that are driving policies that are not necessarily in the public interest); and maybe a $15 minimum wage is still lower (because, while it gets people somewhat closer to a “living wage” it doesn’t get at a root cause in the same way that, say, powerful unions with real bargaining power would).

            I’d say that, if that is how Sanders views it, then, perhaps, foreign policy issues, very broadly speaking, don’t have the same leverage that domestic policy issues do. Of course they’re important—and, all other things being equal, it’s better to have “good” foreign policies positions than “bad” ones (however you define them)—but, since they’re more of a consequence of a corrupt, dysfunctional political system than an underlying cause, those issues are not foremost in Sanders’ view.

            1. Lambert Strether

              > high and low leverage points

              I like this metaphor a lot, thank you. I think the military term would be Schwerpunkt? With the caveat that there are multiple points of leverage in the political system, but only one Schwerpunkt in a campaign.

              1. Jeff W

                I like this metaphor a lot, thank you. I think the military term would be Schwerpunkt?

                You’re welcome. I’m not familiar with the military term but it seems similar.

                Leverage points are a key concept in systems thinking.

                The shift from the social liberalism of the 1930s–1960s to neoliberalism effected a change in one of the highest leverage points because paradigms dominate every aspect of complex social systems. Issues around identity are very low leverage—they seek to reduce disparity between groups in the system but leave the system itself largely unchanged—which is why they are focused on by those in power. We’re allowed to debate very low and low leverage points in the political system but not high leverage ones.

    3. marym

      Excerpts from an interview with Sanders. A note at the end says the Intercept will publish the full transcript today.

      Sanders issued a scathing denunciation of the Gulf kingdom, which has recently embarked on a new round of domestic repression.

      “I consider [Saudi Arabia] to be an undemocratic country that has supported terrorism around the world, it has funded terrorism. … They are not an ally of the United States.”

      Also calling for policy changes re Iran, Israel, NK

      1. Mike

        Yes, and stated before in speeches he made previously. Not brought up during the campaign, and his reservations about Israel are, I’m guessing, more about not being caught up in Holocaust denial or anti-Semitism, as the DNC tried to smear him (with AJC and B’nai B’rith help) during the primary.

        As the cowardly lion said –”courage”. We have it in some places and times, not in others.

  12. justanotherprogressive

    Re: The Road to a Stable Job Without Crippling Student Debt

    If you’ve never been around the blue collar life, you might think that what Virginia is doing is “innovative”…..but if you’ve ever gone to a union hall in the past, you would have seen postings for apprenticeships all over the place – it used to be the way corporations trained their entry-level people to become “skilled” employees. I guess what is “innovative” is that now the corporations get the State to pay for it.

  13. The Rev Kev

    Re: Life on the Road, and in a Walmart Parking Lot
    This has got to be one of the saddest stories that I have read lately. This whole extract sounds like something that John Steinbeck would have written if he was still around. I could see this book “Nomadland” sandwiched comfortably between “Cannery Row” and “Tortilla Flat” on a bookshelf somewhere.
    You know what is really sad about this whole story? What underpins this lifestyle is exactly the same thing that underpins suburbia, driving season, Walmarts and the rest of Western lifestyles the past seventy-odd years and that is cheap gas. Thing is, when gas eventually starts skyrocketing, and it will, what will happen to all these people?

    1. justanotherprogressive

      This is just another one of those “rah-rah” stories that the elite are trying to fill our newspapers with these days – ah, yes, the “romance” of homelessness……. (when the person isn’t really homeless and isn’t really living in her car (a fancy van is not a car ) and isn’t really without funds and is doing this “temporarily” for a kick). There were a lot of these stories (and movies) in the 30’s too……

    2. Jim Haygood

      Bob Wells’ book How To Live in a Car, Van or RV is useful practical advice for post Bubble III living in the 2020s. (He’s the organizer of the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous in Quartzite AZ.)

      Some of his practical space-organizing solutions also apply to tiny houses. In my town, a development of 48 tiny houses of 400 sq ft has sold all but six units in two years.

      Don’t try this in snooty east coast locales like NJ and CT, with their 5-acre lot zoning. They’ll keep up the appearances of middle-class respectability until it’s time to burn the furniture to stay warm.

      1. Carolinian

        Haven’t read that one but as someone who occasionally longmiles America by car I thought the Link was quite good. Worth noting that the late great Alex Cockburn–a transplant from Ireland–drove crosscountry regularly once he moved from NYC to Petrolia, CA. I think Europeans with their crowded cities trip out on our magnificent bounty of space.

        And perhaps those unfortunates who are homeless and not just houseless sometimes enjoy it too. Middle class Americans, who worship security, may not truly appreciate the true taste of freedom.

      2. subgenius

        There is a lot to learn from living on a small sailboat, too – mine was tiny inside, and full of multi use areas that utilized every bit of the complexly curved envelope. Dmitry Orlov’s ‘quidnon’ project is a palace in comparison…and we’ll worth a look for an example of radically reworking the ideas usually found in the modern boating world…

        1. subgenius

          …and for a look at small boat living and adventuring, there is a great anarchist pirate movie from 2007 called ‘hold fast’ available on Vimeo/YouTube etc by Moxie Marlinspike (made for about $0, including the sailboat…this is from before he came into millions via whisper systems/Twitter/signal/WhatsApp and was more of a squatter…)

  14. Olga

    I almost skipped “What Should Have Happened In Hillary Clinton’s Useless Book Sam Kriss, Huffington Post” (after all, at some point, we have to put the topic to rest), but it is worth a read. The author reminds us that HRC lost twice – once to a promise of hope and the second time to what happens after the hope remains unrealized (or abandoned). Together with y-day’s article Hillary Clinton Will Never Understand What Happened (and its observation that “Above all, Clinton has relentlessly embraced the notion that politics must bend to the world as it is—no matter how sordid—rather than imagine the world as it could or should be. It is this quality that she defends perhaps most zealously in What Happened, despite the fact that her unapologetic embrace of that ethos helped create the world that gave us Donald Trump.”), we have good analyses of where it all went wrong for her.

    1. nippersdad

      That was an fun article, the comments were pretty disappointing though. The Brock Brigade does not seem to have lost their fervor. She lost twice; at some point that should be a message that anyone could understand.

  15. Peter L.

    “The study’s conclusion: With the exception of recently released blockbusters, there is no evidence to support the idea that online copyright infringement displaces sales.”

    I’m embarrassed to say that I find this result shocking. I had assumed that there must a large and clear effect on sales from copyright infringement. I thought this despite the fact that my own behaviour doesn’t support it. When it comes to music, for example, I don’t believe access to so-called “pirated” music has ever caused me not to pay for a physical copy of an album, or caused me not to go to a live show.

    In its discussion of the music industry the report remarks that “When looking at market trends, most interesting to see is development that occurred in the record label business due to the increasing internet piracy, namely this market was forced to change from acquiring rights and releases on CD / Vinyl, to management, physical products, digital products, synchronisation and live concerts.”

    While this probably tangential, this issue always makes me think of Steve Albini’s fantastic essay, “The Problem with Music”:

    The music industry, at least major label part of it, had and has serious problems that aren’t related to copyright infringement, but to an exploitive and counterproductive relationship with artists. Albini’s essay predates online music copyright infringement, but it points to a problem that could arise because of the business model used by major labels, when confronted with music piracy. The reason that we are supposed to enforce copyrights is to reward the creators of the content, but in the case of music, Albini makes a convincing case that bands were being destructively exploited before any problems with piracy arose. Copyright protection was not helping the artists.

    1. Mike

      Agreed. My memory goes back to two bands, high school and college, that had potential contracts hung before us, and of course, bands like the Kinks who were in constant litigation or legal trouble of one sort or another. In all regards, young musicians with insight or creative ability were twisted like pretzels to become the cash cow necessary. I ran from professional music before the swallow occurred, and have never regretted a day.

    2. fresno dan

      Peter L.
      September 22, 2017 at 11:54 am

      “that aren’t related to copyright infringement, but to an exploitative and counterproductive relationship with artists.”

      I would also say there is a abusive relationship with customers…..
      To me music finance or as a business is one of those things that is quite interesting with respect to the “FREE market” if one really examines it. For instance, before recorded music, the number of great, well known singers or musicians (could one even include composers prior to printing to financilize sheet music? Who were the great composers of the 1300’s? – before Gutenberg) was very limited. Many people made their own music or listened for FREE to the people in their vicinity who had a singing talent (at church, ho-downs, etcetera). A singer for money could only sing so many songs in so many halls to so many people for money. Big money for music is pretty much due to technology….and legal contrivances. Would composers not compose without copyright? Sure, SOME would not, but plenty would.

      So I come across the Dean Martin song on YouTube “The Birds and the Bees” which is a catchy little song I became aware of because of a Volkswagon commercial. How much should it cost me to buy it? Take your time…..
      I would say a rational market driven price would be…..a nickel. Dean Martin is dead. I suspect the song writer is dead. So incentives to the artist and songwriter are not pertinent. Other than contrived legalisms like copyright, there is no true market reason for anyone to own rights to a song other than the songwriter.
      Bits and Bytes are almost free. Now trying to buy it on Amazon and it will cost you 1.29$, although I have found sites that will sell single tracks (but apparently not the Birds and the Bees) for a dime.
      Watching it on YouTube is free and I have just noticed that one can subscribe to YouTube “Red” to get commercial free videos (I actually very seldom watch YouTube so I am just not interested).

      Who is the ?greatest? … ?best sounding? singer you have ever heard??? WHY do you think that?
      Frank Sinatra? Nat King Cole? The Rolling Stones? The Beatles? Kanye? Taylor Swift? Beyounce?
      I would say it was someone I heard sing at Roger Rocka’s Music Hall (dinner theatre place in Fresno and yeah, Roger Rocka is the owner’s real name). I think the dinner theatre ticket was 20$ and you got food, and an entire musical to watch.

      So how many of the singers making money in the “music industry” are really any better than people you can see singing in a local dinner theatre or at a church or a bar??? Why are they rich, really, other than luck? Sure, they may put more effort and make more sacrifices, but just as I don’t believe billionaires and merit necessarily go together, I don’t believe popular entertainment is all about the “music” or talent – the overwhelming factor, often not even NOTED, is MONEY. Again, people got to make money, but never forget it corrodes as well as enables….

      Now I don’t begrudge “star” singers making millions – after all, people in finance make billions and actively make many, many people poorer by corrupt and criminal means, and singers don’t do that. As Warren Buffet says, most financial advice is not only worthless, but harmful – listening (insert who you think is a terrible singer here) doesn’t make anyone all that much poorer.

      But like so much in our all market all the time economy, other than being “commercialized” or propagandized into believing these people are so talented and worth so much of your money, are they really? What percentage of your music “dollar” are you going to spend on just ONE musician nowadays?
      Technology changed music “economics” and its still changing. Was “music” better in the 1970’s than it was in the 1560’s?

      1. Wukchumni

        Fresno dan wrote:

        Who is the ?greatest? … ?best sounding? singer you have ever heard??? WHY do you think that?

        Frank Sinatra? Nat King Cole? The Rolling Stones? The Beatles? Kanye? Taylor Swift? Beyounce?


        I’d have to give Eva Cassidy the nod, and i’m not sure she made hardly anything singing like a nightingale, before her untimely death some 20 years ago, in fact hardly anybody knew who she was…

          1. wilroncanada

            You must listen to Randy Bachman on CBC Radio.
            He has frequently promoted her for her voice, seems to play her stuff frequently (though not as much as his own),

        1. WobblyTelomeres

          Of all I have heard, I suggest Rhiannon (of the S.F. band, Alive!, the song ‘Step by Step’ heard live was mesmeric).

  16. joe defiant

    Re: the russian facebook ads. It turns out it’s not even actually illegal for Russia or Russian “foreign nationals” to purchase political ads. It’s illegal for them to purchase ads explicitly promoting a candidate like an ad stating “VOTE FOR TRUMP!” or “REAL AMERICANS VOTE FOR CLINTON”. It is not illegal to purchase an ad for an opinion piece on RT “Clinton imperialist policy will murder millions across the globe” or a russian blogger who wrote an article titled “Clinton Foundation is a billion dollar pay for play scheme designed to circumvent United States laws forbidding foreign contributions to political campaigns.” This doesn’t stop the corporate media from telling me 20 times a day that “it’s illegal for foreign nationals to purchase political ads.” According to their twisted double speak they are not lying or pushing false information.

  17. Mike

    Only one more comment from this ideologue: Outis has done a fantastic job of collection for this day. I have seen few websites that garnered as many thoughtful articles. Of course, my main effort has been to get to the philosophical/ethical/principled root of questions, and this crop is a goldmine in that regard. So, my personal thanks to Outis for this effort.

  18. Oregoncharles

    From “Going Stag,” about bride price effects:
    “Though brideprice traditions have largely fallen out of practice in the United States and Western Europe,” is flat wrong. Those areas were never bride price cultures; they were dowry cultures, where the bride’s family paid the groom to take her away (in more advanced stages, the payment served as a trust fund for the wife). The remnant of that is the tradition that the bride’s family pays for the wedding – which can be a lot. Which is why a lot of modern couples refuse to let them do that.

    The article is making an interesting point about the pressures that a bride price tradition puts on young people, especially men; but I question the validity of an article that makes that big a mistake right up front. Dowry and bride price are very different, and say different things about the value of women.

  19. Enquiring Mind

    Re bride price, how has modern finance changed western views on the practice? One anecdatal bit, the occurrence of a push gift, as a deferred or installment plan approach? ;)

  20. will_f

    That politico article on Jeff Merkely is something.

    He’s presented as the titular “Leader of the Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy” even though the article points out that almost no one knows who he is.

    And this paragraph does not lend one hope if he indeed turns out to be Sander’s successor:

    Every other Thursday, around the table in his conference room (or sometimes over the phone), top staffers from leading progressive groups, Ultraviolet, Democracy for America, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Daily Kos, Credo and Indivisible join him to plot strategy and share information. If there is a nerve center of the vast left-wing conspiracy, this is it.

    The Daily Kos? Indivisible? MoveOn.Org!?

    These are not organizations that supported Sanders in 2016, but Clinton. As did DfA and to a lesser extent the PCCC.

    It seems the blob wants to anoint Merkely as Sanders’ heir before the facts are all in.

  21. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

    Our company has a 90-day “change password” security policy. Anyone wondering how one would accomplish that with the new i-Phone…plastic surgery perhaps?

  22. clarky90

    Re, “‘A rogue’ and a ‘dotard’: Kim Jong-un’s statement on Trump in full”.

    Kim Jong-un’s statement sounds exactly like what I have been hearing from the MSM mouthpieces (CNN, WaPo, NYT…) for the last 12 months, even here in NZ. Perhaps Kim J-u is positioning himself for a big-time job in USAian media, say if he has to transition out of being a totalitarian dictator? A book deal? Speeches for Wall Street high flyers? I predict a warm welcome.

    Do USA elite dream of being Kim Jong-un?

  23. Doug

    Re: Life on the Road, and in a Walmart Parking Lot. “They wash their clothes at Laundromats and join fitness clubs to use the showers.” This morning, as I pulled into the strip mall parking lot of my gym, I drove past a pickup with a camper top. The back was open and two skillets were sitting on the gate cooking breakfast. Shortly after I joined this gym (a Planet Fitness outlet) I realized fitness was not the only thing that attracted members. It’s open 24 hrs M-F but opens at 7 am on Sat and Sun. Almost every time I come on those days, shortly after opening, there is usually one or more people already in the shower–probably not after a five minute workout. On any early morning I often see cell phones plugged into wall outlets. With memberships costing only $10/month I wonder if companies like this shouldn’t get some recognition for performing a public service.

    1. Adam Eran

      FYI, older motels are also doing a land-office business with inexpensive monthly rentals that the near-homeless inhabit, with hot plates and microwaves serving as kitchens.

  24. Pat

    I know I’m late to the party, but still wanted to say how happy that antidote makes me. And apparently I am not just a crazy cat lady, but a crazy alpaca lady because I secretly wanted to figure how to have one in a studio apartment in NYC.

    That their fleece makes magnificent yarn is just a bonus.

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