Links 10/1/17

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Tropical forests may be carbon sources, not sinks Nature. “[A] growing consensus: that tropical forests are drying out or being cleared, burned and logged so fast that they now spew out a lot more carbon than they squirrel away.”

The world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data The Economist

Welcome To The Age Of Cheap Overseas Information Buzzfeed (Furzy Mouse).

Inside the New Proposal That Exacerbated Uber’s Board Divisions NYT

Dara Khosrowshahi has called Travis Kalanick’s board move “disappointing” and “unusual” to Uber staff Recode

AIG freed from ‘too big to fail’ regulation FT

Exclusive: Blackstone, Apollo team up for Westinghouse bid – sources Reuters (Richard Smith). Just what we want: Private equity in charge of nuclear plants.

STD rates hit another record high, with California near the top LA Times

What Does the Sale of Venezuelan Oil in Currencies Other Than the US Dollar Mean? Venezuelanalysis

Puerto Rico

DoD Accelerates Hurricane Relief, Response Efforts in Puerto Rico Department of Defense and Factbox: Relief efforts in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria Reuters. Normally I wouldn’t link to a DoD press release, but at least these two posts provide a baseline of facts to check. The ratio of advocacy to reporting on Hurricane Maria is frustratingly high.

Thousands of Puerto Ricans evacuated as dam threatens to breach New Scientist

Report from Puerto Rico: Death Toll Higher Than Reported Amid Water Shortage & Health Crisis Democracy Now

Machete, origami and reading: life in San Juan a week after Maria France24. “[M]iddle class residents of Puerto Rico’s capital San Juan’s outskirts are afraid, and straining to keep up hope.”

Teamsters organize truckers to move supplies in Puerto Rico CNN. This is not an easy logistics problem.

As Wall Street Vultures Circle, Demands for Immediate Puerto Rico Debt Relief Common Dreams

Memento Mori: a Requiem for Puerto Rico Counterpunch (Re Silc).

Lost weekend: How Trump’s time at his golf club hurt the response to Maria WaPo


China’s mortgage debt bubble raises spectre of 2007 US crisis South China Morning Post. I’m not seeing anything about leverage, though.

What’s Behind China’s Unquenchable Thirst for Bubble Tea? Caixin

Rice and Banchan – a Love Affair Ask a Korean

North Korea

U.S. in Direct Communication With North Korea, Says Tillerson NYT

North Korean companies in China ordered to close FT

Thinking the unthinkable in China: Abandoning North Korea The Economic Times

Modi Faces Limited Options to Reverse India’s Slowing Growth Bloomberg


Queen’s fury with May: Palace aides claim PM misled monarch by claiming DUP deal was finalised weeks before it was actually signed leaving courtiers ‘alarmed’ at breach of protocol Daily Mail

Newspaper headlines: May targets young voters to see off ‘coup’ BBC. Let me know how that works out…

Jeremy Corbyn: neoliberalism is broken and we are now the centre ground Guardian (SS).

Crunch time as Catalonia holds independence vote AFP

New Cold War

Latest Fake News Panic Appears to Be Fake News Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone. Today’s panic, not yesterday’s.

The “Russian Influence” Stories Promote Russia’s Might – Is Putin Paying For Them? Moon of Alabama

The MSM’s Anti-Russia Bias Consortium News

Robert Mueller Is Facing His Biggest Question Yet: Should He Prosecute the Cover-Up Before He’s Certain There’s a Crime? Vanity Fair. Seems a little meta…

Trump Administration

Trump’s tax plan is a potential turning point for markets FT

Good Riddance, Tom Price. But What About the Other Grifters? The Nation (Re Silc). Re Silc: “Like Obama and Clinton on Wall Street?”

The Media Needs To Stop Rationalizing President Trump’s Behavior FiveThirtyEight

Most Americans Desperate for Third Major Political Party in Trump Era Newsweek

Democrats in Disarray

What Democrats Must Do Jacobin. Grab a cup of coffee. Probably harshes the Democrat mellow less than it needs to be harshed. (For example, dropping the so-called public option from ObamaCare is mentioned, but Democrat suppression of single payer advocacy is not.) Nevertheless, worth a read to the end.

Homework Assignment Clusterf*ck Nation

The Unlikely Alliance That Could Stop Keystone and Transform the Democratic Party In These Times

Former Nobel chief: Obama Peace Prize a failure USA Today

Police State Watch

Bound to Pay Texas Monthly (CL). For-profit ankle monitors.

How Bad Apples Spoil the Whole Bunch The Marshall Project. Time for the “good cops” to speak up…. ‘

Health Care

Intentionally Or Not, Administration’s Actions Will Limit Number Of Healthy People Bolstering Exchanges Kaiser Health News. Nice wrap-up.

Washington state’s health-exchange rates to jump 24 percent Seattle Times

California Scrambles To Contain ‘Unprecedented’ Hepatitis A Outbreaks Kaiser Health News

Sports Desk

How the Pentagon Paid for NFL Displays of Patriotism TruthDig (CL).

Burning questions about the NCAA basketball corruption scandal Daily News

Bribery and kickbacks: the FBI’s college basketball sting has only just begun Guardian

Entire Notion of NCAA ‘Amateurism’ May Be on the Line in FBI’s Corruption Case Sports Illustrated

Class Warfare

Who’s Left Out of 401(k) Nation Bloomberg

Rich people in California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania are to blame for dangerous anti-vaxx surge Boing Boing (original).

What Will Replace Outdated Left and Right Economic Thinking? The Commons Paradigm. Evonomics

America’s 8-Step Program for Opioid Addiction Editorial Board, NYT. Now that we’ve safely medicalized that portion of Case-Deaton’s “deaths of despair” from which pharma and medical professionals can profit, it’s OK for the very serious people to talk about it (and not about all the other causes of excess mortality and declining life expectancy in deindustrialized America).

Tough-Love Urbanism: On Jeremiah Moss’s “Vanishing New York: How a Great City Lost Its Soul” Los Angeles Review of Books

The War on General-Purpose Computing Turns on the Streaming Media Box Community EFF (CL). CL: “I bought a Raspberry Pi to serve as a Kodi box a few weeks ago. Still working on getting all the features I need loaded and working.”

Welcome to the Romance Resistance Salon

The Repressive, Authoritarian Soul of “Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends” The New Yorker

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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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. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I think it’s oxygen.

        Maybe potable water.

        Or cooler weather.

        “No resource is an island…”

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I think it’s oxygen.

        Maybe potable water.

        Or cooler weather.

        “No resource is an island…”

    1. Poopypants

      I can say unequivocally that for any living being, energy is the most important resource.

      All the ‘feel good’ responses, are just a bunch of hooey.

      Animals, including humans, have two basic functions, 1) Obtain enough energy to reproduce 2) Reproduce

      That’s it, no more.

      If you think that’s incorrect, try this experiment, go without ‘data and knowledge’ for 14 days, and then do the same for calories. I’m willing to bet you’ll agree energy is more important.

      1. queenslawyer

        This. What happens to all the data when we collectively lose the ability to power the massive server farms that store it all? Will data storage be among the more important uses of energy in a post-fossil fuel world?

        In a very real sense, data needs oil to even exist, perverted measures of data’s ‘value’ notwithstanding

        1. Wukchumni

          Somehow we human beans made do without oil for around 59,856 years prior to using it extensively ever since.

          The most useful data storage receptacle we’ve ever known is currently getting quite rusty, not much use for remembering now.

      2. clinical wasteman

        Complete agreement about the ‘feelgood’ answers. But perhaps ‘energy’, in this strict & therefore broad sense, verges on truism, in that: what would be the comparative term? Energy is more valuable than entropy?
        All of which just suggests that ‘which resource is most important’ is a silly question really. Relative preference for one ‘resource’ (or form of energy) over another only makes sense in terms of its use — or transformation* — for one purpose or another. So a better question might be: what use of which form energy is socially desirable in a given situation (and for whom), and what kind of transformation of what combination of ‘resources’ would that entail?
        *Invisible hashtag: “labor theory of value”

      3. mpalomar

        Animals, including humans, have two basic functions, 1) Obtain enough energy to reproduce 2) Reproduce

        Ugh. Those two functions may be basic but such reduction of human existence describes a dystopia that makes Hobbes ramblings look attractive. Yet the time may come when the species returns to atavistic hunt and gathering ways because of ignored knowledge and data.
        Ultimately can information and energy be separate?

        Knowledge/data is fundamental for hunter gatherer’s, our brains consume a great deal of energy processing information. In physics information, energy and matter can not be destroyed and may be thought of as related. “Information itself may be loosely defined as “that which can distinguish one thing from another”.[citation needed] Related to data and knowledge.The information embodied by a thing can thus be said to be the identity of the particular thing itself, that is, all of its properties, all that makes it distinct from other (real or potential) things. It is a complete description of the thing, but in a sense that is divorced from any particular language.”

        As far as Google et. al. the article failed to mention perhaps the most interesting alternative to their problematic ubiquity, utility status. The initial technology was largely developed by the government why not return it hence?

      4. Adam Eran

        Ah, the old “reducto ad absurdum”…

        Karl Polanyi says the trouble with capitalism is that, in it, all of nature devolves to be marketable land, all of humanity devolves to be marketable labor, all human interaction is reduced to a financial transaction, and profit justifies any behavior, no matter how awful. Sort of the Ferengi credo…

        Excuse me if I embrace at least some of the hooey

    2. Steve Sewall

      The world’s most valuable and common resource is the knowledge and wisdom of the people.

      But how to tap it so people can see it for what it is?

  1. Marcus Webster

    Thanks as ever for the links. I’m responding here to the kind commenters who responded to my complaint yesterday morning about the snarky anti-Democratic Party headlines. I note that my comment was variously interpreted to be a troll, a bot, and a Democratic hero worshipper. Really, I asked only that the author(s) of NC posts re-consider their tendency to use pejorative nicknames to refer to politicians. Back to lurking.

    1. johnnygl

      Hi Marcus, thanks for the follow up. I kept an eye on the thread yesterday and i saw a lot of substantive criticsm of the record of prominet dems like clinton and obama. I didn’t see a ton of smear comments, but there may have been some that were harsher than necessary. Please understand that though you may be commenting in good faith, our gracious hosts deal with plenty who do not.

      If you’d like to debate/dispute the accomplishments of the democratic party, we’re happy to do so.

      My view is that clinton, obama, and the dem leadership have earned most of the names they get called on this site. However, people can change their minds and nc has changed mine and quite a few others. Let’s dig in if you are so inclined!

      1. JTFaraday

        I think it’s interesting that so many interpreted that comment as being about the D-Party and not about the snark. I thought it was about the snark. I can appreciate a little snark, but I also generally think that very few people do snark well. Matt Taibbi does snark well, but most of us are not so entertaining. As common bore, I for one would be open to considering that my snark could get tiresome after a while.

    2. Olga

      I wonder what you’d think about this from William Greider:
      For me, at least, it perfectly captures the moment: “For now, our governing system resembles a kind of collective hysteria, an emotional breakdown that reflects problems far broader than our having a crackpot president. Both major parties are stuck in the past and afraid of the future. Fear and confusion have overwhelmed the establishment. They have no plan for our future—not one that speaks candidly to the troubled conditions that have emerged over the last generation.”
      Instead of honestly discussing problems and contradictions that have piled on, the establishment prefers to hide behind the Russia lies. For those of us who try to see through the smoke and mirrors, frustration (and disbelief) keeps growing – so please forgive an occasional snarky comment.

      1. whine country

        Those who posted comments in the food fight related to the Gaius Publius piece would do well to spend their time reading Grieder’s piece. This phrase is a pretty good description of the group of commenters: “People are torn between what they have always wanted to believe about their country and the contradictions they see in real events.” Bottom line: If you want to fix our future, quit living in the past. Thank you for this link.

    3. hreik

      Hello Marcus, By the time I saw your comment yesterday in the late afternoon it made no sense to reply. I sympathize with your complaint b/c I sometimes experience the same exact frustration. (when that occurs, I take a break). I realized though, that I do so b/c of the horrendous incompetence and depraved indifference of the occupant of the white house and his base. In comparison to which Obama and Clinton appear to be balm.

      The truth though is much harder and deeper and is the underpinning of the name -calling. The ‘democratic’, yes “neoliberal’ agenda is strangling the country, polluting the air and emboldening vulture capitalism. Would I rather have HRC or BO in office now,? Yes of course. But the point is that we are on a road to disaster unless w switch course. Just my 2 cents.

      1. John Wright

        I’m not so sure that I’d rather have HRC in office.

        With HRC installed, the TPP might now be law of the land, and the USA might be heavily militarily involved in both Syria and the Ukraine.

        Imagine Secretary of Defense Michele Flournoy and SOS (“Fuck the EU”) Nuland in an HRC adminstration.

        Both Repubs and Democrats would have fallen in behind HRC as she waxed Neolib on the economy and Neocon in foreign affairs.

        I tell people that Trump is like the young relative at a family function who everyone knows likes to play with fire,

        When everyone is watching, it is difficult for the young pyro to succeed.

        With hyperbolic Trump, the Dem’s may function as somewhat of an opposition party

        Note, per

        “Hillary Clinton called for Donald Trump to ‘take out’ Assad airfields hours before air strikes”

        So private citizen HRC endorses more military operations, this one in response to a disputed Syrian chemical weapon attack.

        A New York Times reader characterized HRC as a “well connected mediocrity.”

        This could be a fair assessment of Trump as well.

        But he might be a “well connected mediocrity” who will do less harm to American families (and other families in the Middle East and the Ukraine) than President HRC.

        He may truly be the “less effective evil”.

        1. tegnost

          I agree completely with the TPP/Ukraine/Syria critique of the hrc/obama apologists. I also think it’s a not so rich irony that some how some way russia russia russia is still in the news leading me to believe the hurt feelings re the 2016 results extend deeply into the shadowy corners of the state. I sometimes wonder whether the disgruntled long time reader comments.put forth are not so coded messages to democrats who have doubts that they should look elsewhere for news and stay inside the veal pen as they for the most part talk about feelings being hurt rather than rebut bad argument, which rebuttals over the years have defined the comment section at NC.There is no competent leadership anywhere in this twisted oligarchy, and as others have pointed out, that’s not going to change until we look forward and make it happen. Those who support the previous administrations have only to make a cogent case in their defense, reasonable arguments are generally well received and if not are at least defensible, something that is often sorely lacking in the hagiographies and might have beens.

        2. hreik

          I’m not so sure that I’d rather have HRC in office.

          Maybe. But I’d bet 3.4 million residents of Puerto Rico would disagree with that.

          I take your point. She’s more competent and more mentally stable. i would still be fighting against what she’d put forward, but the fight would be on a different level than we’re fighting w the current occupant.

          1. nippersdad

            How many residents of Haiti would agree with them, though? It is not as though we have not seen the Clinton response to other tragedies.

            1. tegnost

              +1, I’m sure the foundation grift re PR would make the mafia jealous (not that they aren’t already)

            2. Basil Pesto

              Well, Puerto Rico is a US territory, with a US citizenry. I don’t think it’s unreasonable for the people of Puerto Rico to expect a better federal response instead of the atrocious bull[family blog] they are currently putting up with from the president. Logistically not an easy task they’re facing and I’m not sure how all the different parties that could provide aid would be acting with a different president in a difficult situation, but I believe Puerto Ricans would have been treated better, or more seriously at least, if HRC (or BO for that matter) were president, even if she is a dick. I don’t think that believing that makes me or anyone else who believes it a Clinton apologist or cheerleader or anything.

              (Mind you, celebrities using their bully pulpit to tell the president “you’re going straight to hell” is, to put it mildly, not very Christian. Or helpful.)

      2. nippersdad

        “Would I rather have HRC or BO in office now? Yes of course. But the point is that we are on a road to disaster unless we switch course.”

        I see this view a lot. but it doesn’t seem to answer the pre-election question of how one achieves that change of course. Electing Clinton would have had the effect of putting off any such change into an indefinite futurity which may have been rendered moot by intervening circumstances. Electing Sanders would have given him a bully pulpit, but little else; I don’t see either breed of neoliberal (R or D) actively working with him for positive change. Rather they would have burned down the village in order to save it in much the same way that McConnel’s successful strategy of obstruction did.

        No, I think that under the circumstances we got the best deal we could have gotten. Not good, but it could have been a lot worse. Trump’s wily sense of the moment won him the Presidency, but his arrogance and stupidity will prevent him from retaining it. Four years lost is not such a bad scenario in which to marshall forces for change that could never have happened under Clinton.

    4. Jeff W


      the author(s) of NC posts re-consider their tendency to use pejorative nicknames to refer to politicians

      Although I responded to your comment yesterday differently, it did occur to me that that might be your point.

      I agree. I find pejorative nicknames distracting. I have to translate each one back to the actual name. I think, to me, they feel a bit presumptuous as well—it’s like I, as a reader, share the assumptions as to the use of nicknames but maybe I don’t. (I might not disagree at all with the tenor of the nickname but I don’t like the implicit assumption as to its use.)

      1. Oregoncharles

        I don’t like pejorative nicknames, either. They seem, well, less than serious. Which may be the point: a touch of comic relief.

        I fully agree with the evils of the Democratic Party, though, which is why I’ve been an active Green since Clinton I was in office.

        1. Jeff W

          I don’t like pejorative nicknames, either. They seem, well, less than serious.

          Well, I think nicknames generally seem less serious. But, more so, I think that it’s better to accord people (even people I regard as heinous) the courtesy of being referred to by the name they are commonly known as (almost always the name they self-identify with) and pejorative nicknames violate that courtesy—and they do so for what is often a cheap shot. But they also do something else: they carry with them an implicit assumption that the listener or reader is or should be okay with the use of nicknames in that way—and the listener or reader may not be.

    5. Donald

      I went back and looked– I honestly don’t remember seeing any that called you a troll or a bot. Possibly some might have implied you were a Democratic hero worshipper. I thought most ( maybe all, but I would have to go back and check) gave reasoned arguments for why criticism of the Democrats is justified. Some asked you for a reasoned argument defending Clinton or Obama. One or two sympathized a little with your complaint about namecalling.

  2. Jim Haygood

    Hepatitis A outbreaks; record STD infections; an opioid crisis (all covered in articles above).

    Whereas in the former Soviet Union, cheap vodka diminished life expectancy.

    Every dying empire cracks up in its own special way.


    Might as well buy some more stocks.

    1. Wukchumni

      It’s becoming obvious that many cities are actively trying to get rid of their various homeless issues-some draconian measures are being made law, but these people are essentially our untouchables, in that nobody really wants to deal with them, or even get that close. Add in a not so little nasty Hep-A outbreak easily tied to their living conditions, and exit empathy.

    2. Wukchumni

      I was with a friend when we decided to go to Yugoslavia in 1982, yeah, that’s the ticket. And Yugoslavia was not even really in the Soviet sphere, non-aligned commies with more of a toe in the west.

      We were in Athens and took a 24 hour express train to Belgrade, and 52 hours later arrived finally. I’ve been to Europe tons of times and they drink there, yeah I get it, but nothing prepared me for how drunk the lion’s share of the populace was or was in the process of becoming, or was anxiously waiting for a hangover to subside, so as to start anew.

      We were there for 4 days and it never let up, and to give you an idea of prices I noticed in a store, a liter bottle of vodka was a dollar, an 18 inch color tv $300.

      So we’re leaving Belgrade on a train to Vienna and our car is almost to the back, and all along the way as the train is pulling out of the station, we watch about 30 people seeing people off, throwing bottles of hooch down on the pavement of the platform between railroads-fluid & glass flying everywhere, wondering to ourselves, does this happen with every train departing this drunken city?

      1. Oregoncharles

        Around that time – before the crackup – I was an avid watcher of foreign films. I noticed that Yugoslav films (“Year of the Gypsies” is the only title I remember, bu tthere were a lot more than that) unanimously expressed a very dark view of the country – as if the writers thought it was partly insane. The crackup and the wars that resulted were hardly a surprise.

    3. Terry Flynn

      Ironic that if you attend (free) STD clinic in UK you can get free vaccination against hep-A and – B.

    4. DorothyT

      Public health warnings about antibiotic resistant gonorrhea infections have been in the news for some time. Here’s a NYT article that is important: “A Dangerous, ‘Silent Reservoir’ for Gonorrhea: The Throat.” Large percentage of young girls think oral sex isn’t sex. Thanks, Bill Clinton.

      To NC’s credit, Yves et al have featured articles for some time on what many in worldwide public health consider an unfolding crisis: antibiotic resistant bacterial infections. Imagine being back to pre-antibiotic days.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        If we could get nutrients directly from the soil, it’d be immoral to eat vegetables (to chew them alive to death…what agony…plants have feelings too!).

        Such is human morality.

        Nature dictates what we claim is morale and proper.

        Will it be that soon, it’s frowned upon to even hug friends? Or separate schools for teenage boys and girls?

  3. windsock

    Apropos Brexit/Tories and the surge of Corbynism, this is absolutely worthy of Mastercard; priceless!

    “The Sunday Times reported that Johnson may be trying to get May to sack him because he is struggling to fund all his personal obligations on a cabinet minister’s salary of more than £140,000 a year.”

    And in the meantime the pay cap on public sector workers remains at 1% (unless you work for the police or prisons), and benefits are frozen until 2020 (£73 p.w. if you are unemployed or too sick to work but expect to return to the labour market). Boris is missing his £200,000 p.a. Telegraph column, obviously, AND the attention that gave him.

    The government of the United Kingdom is obviously trying to outsatirise the Trump administration. How’s it doing? I’m living the Daily Mash alternative universe dream.

  4. Terry Flynn

    Low vaccination rates (MMR in particular) were found in affluent areas of Sydney years ago. It particularly angered me since herd immunity was lost and I lived in the the most affluent suburb (with lowest vaccination rates) in Aus (Mosman – lower north shore – renting I hasten to add!).

    I (being too old to ever have had measles vaccination) was at risk of that (I had mumps as a child but not measles and also got the whooping cough vaccine.) If I’d stayed I’d have paid for MMR vaccination.

    1. Terry Flynn

      Plus a colleague got whooping cough. It was frankly scary to see the coughing fits he was still getting 6 weeks later. Turns out EVERYONE needs a booster in their 40s. When it was invented they assumed the disease would be eradicated so never routinely told people this, not anticipating new losses of herd immunity.

      My sister wasn’t vaccinated (during the first ‘scare’ in the late 1970s) and got it. Her lungs are now permanently vulnerable – she’s had pneumonia twice and most infections go straight to her chest. Nasty.

      I also when shopping saw an obviously well-off middle class dad pulling around a kid who clearly had it. Awful. Yet you can see ‘naturopaths’ everywhere. One thing I hated about Aus.

      1. marieann

        I believe a booster shot is needed every 10 years. I get one along with tetanus as I’m forever getting injured in my gardening escapades

        1. Oregoncharles

          As with mechanic work, an occasional blood sacrifice is part of the deal.

          I think I was told 5 years on tetanus, for those who work in the soil. Not that I’ve done that. Should get it renewed.

  5. Jim Haygood

    “These titans—Alphabet (Google’s parent company), Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft—look unstoppable. They are the five most valuable listed firms in the world.” — The Eclownomist

    Three trillion in market cap for the Fab Five! But beware — this is classic late-stage bull market rhetoric, when Big Tech is seen as “unstoppable” despite having largely saturated its market.

    During Bubble I the WSJ posted an article about networker Cisco Systems, which briefly became the most valuable company on the planet, with the headline “Nothing But Blue Skies Ahead.” Pure euphoria from frayed-collar journos, in other words. Today Cisco’s market cap is a third of what it was during the internet mania.

    There’s a reason why we call these worthies the Five Horsemen of the Techpocalypse. All that remains is for the Economist to splash out a fawning “Tech Lords Rule the Universe” cover to bring on le deluge. :-)

    1. Wukchumni

      The Go-Go Years: The Drama and Crashing Finale of Wall Street’s Bullish 60s, by John Brooks from 1973, is an interesting look back at an earlier bubble, and one thing that my father had told me of in those years when he was in the business, was the hassle of physically matching up stock certificates with trades. You’d have a handful of people whose whole job it was to hang out in the vault, sorting.

      As the number of shares traded went up sharply, things sometimes slowed down, because those sequestered in the vault, couldn’t keep up.

      Anyhow, it’s an interesting look back, and when things started falling apart in 1970, there was no Santa Fed around back then to rescue Wall*Street, and most of the names of that era went away, a good many of which had financial improprieties up the ying yang.

    2. Basil Pesto

      Heh. I’m curious because I’m a bit economics/finance illiterate and you seem to have a pretty good grasp of things, what do you see happening as far as these companies are concerned? Do you envisage a deluge for the whole market or predominantly tech stocks?

    3. ambrit

      I for one wouldn’t shed even a crocodile tear for the Five Horsemen of the Techpocalypse when they meet their comeuppance but for all of the ‘collateral damage’ such a collapse will entail.
      CEOs and sundry henchmen and women get outsized pay packets when bubbles expand. Why not some rules that automatically claw back said spoils?

  6. Juneau

    I agree with points made about the medicalization of addiction above. They have white washed the causes of the opioid epidemic nicely. Just one note though, if you think the health care professionals are making a big profit off of this through medicaid, I have to say that is limited to the major institutions and they often stay away from it. Very few providers want to prescribe buprenorphine because of the high level of regulation. NYS has just allowed PA and NP workers to do it because MD’s are afraid to oftentimes. it may come as no surprise but these patients have very little money by the time they enter treatment and often no insurance or medicaid. Anecdotal so limited information but FWIW.

    1. Aumua

      If you read these kind of articles carefully, it’s really all about that Suboxone, an opioid so potent that it makes methadone look like child’s play, and morphine look like a pile of sugar. Get your patients on that track, and you have long term customers who will not, CAN NOT stop without a prolonged withdrawal experience that will make them wish they just kicked the dope cold turkey to begin with.

      So, they can just stay on it then, right? But after a year passes, two years, it dawns on many of these poor souls that something is missing. Their lives, although more stable, have a certain flatness of feeling: not really sad, but not happy, not anything. It’s a kind of half light life that can hardly be called fulfilling, but hey at least they’re off the street, right?

      So when they complain to doctors of these side effects, the doctor’s response is (of course) to up the dose. And later on, when that has worked only temporarily, they up the dose again. I’m sure you can see where this is going. A dead end, basically the same as the orginal herion or oxycodone addiction.

      As Juneau pointed out, it is the actual causes of opioid (and other) addiction that needs to be looked but, but guess what? Society doesn’t really want to look at that too closely, because a profoundly ill society is precisely from where addiction arises.

  7. dk

    How Bad Apples Spoil the Whole Bunch The Marshall Project. Time for the “good cops” to speak up…. ‘

    “Good cops” are in a terrible position on this.They have to work around armed colleagues, some indeterminate number of whom are untrustworthy and corrupt, this due in considerable part to poor hiring standards, in turn due to budget cutting.

    Cops can pressure each other through claims of distrust and unreliability, lack of fortitude, etc. Such claims can cost jobs, promotions, and careers. They can also arrange unfortunate events for each other, including getting shot and killed. Good cops aren’t supposed to do that… bad cops actually do it.

    Combined with tacit and explicit encouragement from the ranks of government (Trump’s far from the first), for cops willing to cross moral, ethical, and human lines, the position of honorable officers is grim.

    But of course a “a senior editor at The Marshall Project.” knows better. This is the pattern of blaming the lowest rungs, giving higher-level officials/managers/administrators a pass.

    One of my occasional training partners is a retired captain, whoi travels the country lecturing and training about conflict resolution. He says point blank, “I don’t trust cops.” HE tells of overt and explicit racism by white cops, who then turn to him, a black man, and say “don’t worry, you’re okay as long as you’re one of us.” In other words, play along or suffer the consequences.

    Why Cops Aren’t Whistleblowers (2011)

    1. allan

      At what ratio of bad cops to good cops does the problem become unfixable? From 2011:

      Officers Jeer at Arraignment of 16 Colleagues in Ticket-Fixing Investigation [NYT]

      A three-year investigation into the police’s habit of fixing traffic and parking tickets in the Bronx ended in the unsealing of indictments on Friday and a stunning display of vitriol by hundreds of off-duty officers, who converged on the courthouse to applaud their accused colleagues and denounce their prosecution.

      As 16 police officers were arraigned at State Supreme Court in the Bronx, incensed colleagues organized by their union cursed and taunted prosecutors and investigators, chanting “Down with the D.A.” and “Ray Kelly, hypocrite.”

      As the defendants emerged from their morning court appearance, a swarm of officers formed a cordon in the hallway and clapped as they picked their way to the elevators. Members of the news media were prevented by court officers from walking down the hallway where more than 100 off-duty police officers had gathered outside the courtroom.

      The assembled police officers blocked cameras from filming their colleagues, in one instance grabbing lenses and shoving television camera operators backward. …

      And hundreds more, in uniform, turned their backs on DeBlasio at the funeral of two policeman
      shot in their squad car by someone from Baltimore.

      Hundreds here, hundreds there. Even in a force of 36,000, this is not just `a few bad apples’.

      1. dk

        The NYPD union leaders completely supported and encouraged this, too.

        Not letting LEOs off the hook, but I don’t think the good cops are in a position to be the primary/sole agents of comprehensive and broad change, absent significant and aggressive support from up the ladder.

        In the field, cops have a lot of discretion, and get the benefit of the doubt. The job pretty much requires that. It’s a good thing, among the best things, when we have good, honorable, well informed and appropriately trained officers at the scenes. And when we don’t, it perverts the benefits of rules of law.

    2. Terry Flynn

      I also think the mental health burden of being a whistle-blower cannot be ignored. Whilst I obviously don’t condone keeping quiet about corrupt colleagues it is natural to consider what it can do to yourself (and family) if you suffer resulting extreme mental health issues and are then told by a lawyer “yes you can win a case but are you willing to endure two years more of this to achieve that?”

      It’s sad that whistle blowing can be as detrimental to the whistle blower as to the person(s) having the book thrown at them.

      1. justanotherprogressive

        I have a brother-in-law who was a “whistleblower”. Although he won in court, what he had to go through destroyed his life. He was never able to find steady work as an engineer again, and when he did find a job, the paranoia he developed (about other workers were doing) meant that he was never able to integrate into that job….

        If you want to be a whistleblower, you had better be smart enough to have an escape plan, like Snowden did, or be financially independent……

        1. Terry Flynn

          Well that’s true in the extreme circumstances of national security concerns but in the situation where you don’t need to “escape” as dramatically as Snowden, even having the escape plan doesn’t, unfortunately, always work…

    3. justanotherprogressive

      This article and so many others misses something that has been going on right in front of their noses:

      After Viet Nam, the Federal Government was giving Law Enforcement grants to hire vets. Worked very well – got a lot of vets employed who wouldn’t have been able to find other jobs and gave Law Enforcement money to upgrade. But that policy has had it’s downside – what it did was turn Law Enforcement Agencies into military agencies. Law Enforcement academies now try to out-military the military. If you’ve ever been to one, you know it is more like a boot camp than a training academy. And boot camps teach people to follow orders – they don’t teach people to think.

      So now we have police who are really no different than soldiers – and how many “whistleblower” soldiers have you ever seen? Like in the military, you protect your buddies, even when they’ve done wrong – you don’t turn on them…..if you do, then YOU are the one who will be attacked for not protecting your buddy……

      It isn’t that there aren’t “good cops” (I know many, some in my own family), but those “good cops” got through the training academy by their willingness to follow orders and be “military” – and that military training stays with them – always…..anyone looking for “good cops” to turn on their fellow “soldiers” is dreaming…..

      There has to be a complete reversal in the way we teach police officers – they need more critical thinking skills than “drill”, but I don’t see it happening soon…..

    4. marym

      Star Tribune (Minnesota) today

      First of a 4-part series Shielded by the Badge.

      Convicted, but still Policing

      Over the past two decades, hundreds of Minnesota law enforcement officers have been convicted of criminal offenses. Most were never disciplined by the state.
      [Instances cited] are among hundreds of sworn officers in Minnesota who were convicted of criminal offenses in the past two decades yet kept their state law enforcement licenses, according to public records examined by the Star Tribune. Dozens of them are still on the job with a badge, a gun and the public’s trust that they will uphold the law.

      Deep systemic problems, not just bad apples.

  8. Olga

    Thanks for “Rice and Banchan – a Love Affair Ask a Korean.”
    Love Korean food – somewhere in the bowels of box piles, I have a photo of a small table in a Seoul restaurant with at least 40 small bowls, containing all sorts of delicacies – a very generous banchan.
    (Alas, sadly, a recent trip to a Korean grocery store yielded no red pepper paste – I discovered that all available jars had corn syrup, and at least 50% contained high fructose corn syrup. The price of occupation, I guess…)

    1. Wukchumni

      The first time I flew to South Korea was almost my last time, and obviously nothing happened as i’m here to tell the tale, but my flight was the very same flight as KAL 007 that was shot down by the Soviets, but a day later. There were more help yourself mobile bars in the aisles of that plane than i’ve ever seen before, ‘please drink & don’t think about yesterday’ was the prevailing theme.

      Back then in SK, it was where the tennis/athletic/running shoes were made, and you could buy most anything for $3-5 a pair, all the brand names of the era.

  9. justanotherprogressive

    Re: “Thomas the Tank Engine”

    When my youngest grandson was about 3, I sent him some “Thomas the Tank Engine” videos. He was in love with trains and I thought he’d enjoy some cartoons about them.
    But my son (who is MUCH smarter than me) called me and said that my grandson wasn’t allowed to watch “Thomas the Tank Engine” – my son didn’t want my grandson to think that was how people should treat each other.

    So I watched the videos myself. YIKES! They start the propaganda early, don’t they? I’ve been much more careful about what videos I send my grandchildren since then. Not everything “made for children” is good for them to watch!

    1. Clive

      I think it was quite a formative experience for me when I read (or, more likely, was read to by my mum) about the form of capitalism in the Thomas the Tank Engine books. I was, of course, far too young to critically evaluate the messaging and my otherwise fairly clued up parents didn’t spot it either.

      But looking back on it now, all that hardline free market ideology — how “lazy engines were sent away” (a euphemism for being fired) by The Fat Controller for not doing crappy jobs unquestioningly, Daisy the Diesel Multiple Unit must pull the milk tanker (and was an out-and-out neurotic female stereotype, to boot) or else be “sent away” (a lot of the stories seemed to centre on the threat of being “sent away”!) for being uncooperative with management’s demands, old worn out and coked up boiler afflicted engines had to spend their days stuck in the engine shed and threatened with being broken up for scrap (hmmm… maybe being “sent away” wasn’t the worst fate the engines could be made to suffer…) because The Thin Controller would not pay for “the expensive Welsh coal” to allow them to keep working — I would liken it, with a sarcastic smile, to borderline child cruelty.

      For parents looking for books to put on the banned list for their children to uncritically lap up, also remember to add the entire Harry Potter series.

      1. justanotherprogressive

        I don’t think JK Rowling is a bad person, but yea, I got the message right away that some people are better than others by virtue of birth, and those lucky enough to be born witches or wizards needed to “protect” and take care of those “lesser mortals”, like muggles and squibs (who have no chance of ever becoming witches and wizards)….

        1. c_heale

          I agree. Harry Potter is interesting from a class point of view. Although there are working class characters in the book, most of the characters are very middle class (working class characters are generally portrayed as less intelligent and/or more vulgar, and have less agency), Hogwarts is very much based on a private school or elite university and things like the car (a Ford Anglia) are taken from the more class stratified society of the 1950’s. It’s very much a middle class fantasy.

  10. Wukchumni

    So, it wasn’t just the NFL that waxed patriotic for paydays, damn near every possible pro sporting league got their $10 million for putting up with military dog and pony shows, in a display of:

    Fee all you can fee.

    “For the past several months, we have continued to work with DOD to fully understand the nature and extent of these contracts. In all, the military services reported $53 million in spending on marketing and advertising contracts with sports teams between 2012 and 2015. More than $10 million of that total was paid to teams in the National Football League (NFL), Major League Baseball (MLB), National Basketball Association (NBA), National Hockey League (NHL), and Major League Soccer (MLS)”

    1. Wukchumni

      Now the flipside…

      My dad loved hockey, and as a result we went to a lot of LA Kings games in the 70’s, and it was always easy to buy cheap seats and then drift down to better ones, as the Fabulous Forum held 16,005 and the announced attendance would be say 7,541, and you’d look around and say to yourself, nah 5,500 tops. The owner-Jack Kent Cooke was Canadian-American and he’d done his due diligence and had figured out that there were 300,000 lapsed Canadians living within a 3 hour drive of the Forum before he built it in 1967, and in later years, he said “Now I know why they left Canada-They hate hockey”.

      Well one night early in 1973 we were at a Kings game when they announced that the Vietnam War was over via the p.a., during a break in play on the ice, and cheers broke out for about a minute amongst the sparse crowd, and players on both sides hugged one another~

      Was a different era~

  11. s.n.

    an interesting rundown of what is known in the Robin Symes antiquities racketeering affair:

    Once among the world’s richest and most celebrated antiquities dealers, Symes has spent the past decade as a disgraced bankrupt, exposed as a former linchpin in the networks that once traded almost with impunity in such material. But for all Symes’s proven crooked dealings, the full extent of his hidden plunder has still not yet been revealed. Furthermore, although Symes, who is now in his mid-70s, spent seven months in prison for contempt of court in 2005, he has never stood trial for illicit antiquities trading, nor been forced to reveal where he might have squirreled further contraband.

    Another cache of Symes’s former stock — possibly the largest known accumulation of illicit antiquities in the world — has been stuck in a legal impasse in London for 14 years. …

    , in 2013, 10 years after the liquidation began, rumours began circulating within the industry that items from the RSL stock were being sold in the Middle East, now the home of some of the wealthiest private collectors of antiquities. Since HMRC, the British government’s tax and revenue service, was the largest creditor with claims on the company, an easy narrative emerged: Was the British government selling looted cultural property to pay back taxes?….

    1. Wukchumni

      His American counterpart would most certainly be Tommy Thompson, the guy that brought up all that glitters from the the SS Central America.

      Here’s what he’s up to:

      “COLUMBUS, Ohio (CN) – A federal judge in Ohio ordered a former treasure hunter to divulge the whereabouts of 500 missing gold coins or face another contempt-of-court charge.

      Tommy Thompson, 65, has been in jail since December 2015 on a civil contempt charge for refusing to reveal the gold’s location.

      At a hearing Friday, U.S. District Judge Algenon Marbley ordered Thompson to sign a power of attorney allowing the federal government to investigate a Belize trust, which was revealed in court filings and may point to the location of the coins.

      The coins were struck from gold recovered by Thompson in 1988 from the S.S. Central America, an ocean liner that sank in an 1857 hurricane, taking more than 400 people down with it. The ship sat undisturbed, more than a mile deep on the seafloor, until Thompson found it during an expedition in the late 1980s. The ship was said to be holding one of the largest reserves of lost bullion in modern history.”

  12. shargash

    From the Newsweek article on 3rd parties:

    George Washington was the last candidate not connected to a major political party to win the presidency—he was elected twice as an independent. Since then, Theodore Roosevelt is the only person to run as a third-party candidate to come anywhere close to winning an election. In 1912, he came in second place—with 27 percent of the vote—while running as a member of the Progressive Party.

    Ummmm…. I wonder if the author has ever heard of Abraham Lincoln?

    1. Vatch

      In 1860, Lincoln’s Republican Party was the number two party, after the dominant Democratic Party. There were two Democrats, a Republican, and a Constitutional Unionist in the 1860 election. The Constitutional Union Party was founded in 1860, and it dissolved in 1861:

      The Republican Party, in contrast, had been created in 1854 upon the dissolution of the Whig Party in the same year. In 1856, John Charles Fremont ran for President as a Republican. He finished second, after James Buchanan, and ahead of Millard Fillmore.

      Lincoln was not a third party candidate.

      1. shargash

        Sorry for being unnecessarily sarcastic. The Republican party arose out of the collapse of a previous two-party system, and I think it is reasonable to consider them a “third party,” along with the other remnants like the Know Nothings and the Constitutionalists.

        In any case, I find it bizarre that an article about the party system in the US and the potential rise of a new party does not even mention the rise of the Republicans.

  13. George Phillies

    “Most Americans Desperate for Third Major Political Party ” We already have a bunch of them. A left party – Green. A right party – Constitution. A radical center party – Libertarian. Occasionally someone tries to launch a moderate centrist party. It always crashes and burns. Perhaps the Progressives — left, but not hyperfixed on environmental issues — will take off.

    Readers will note that the desperation does not extend to voting for their candidates, giving them money, or volunteering for their campaigns.

    1. Vatch

      I question whether the Greens are really hyperfixed on environmental issues. They seem to be more interested in identity politics, despite the name of their party. Their choice of a Vice Presidential candidate in 2016 is an example of this phenomenon.

        1. Vatch

          I don’t think the Greens chose Baraka out of a concern for human rights. They chose him because he’s black, and in the process, they sabotaged their chance to get 5% of the popular vote, because Baraka wouldn’t back down from the insulting things he said about Sanders and his supporters. The 5% threshold was crucial, because it would have provided them with eligibility for federal grant money.

          The Greens seem to be more interesting in performance art than in winning elections. Yes, I know that Green candidates have been elected to various local offices around the country. I strongly suspect that those people have a different attitude from the people who run the party nationally.

          1. justanotherprogressive

            OMG! I was impressed that they could get someone of Baraka’s caliber to run on their ticket and all you can see is his skin color?

            1. Vatch

              No, all I can see is the insulting things that he said about Sanders and his supporters. If there were people who only saw his skin color, I suspect it was the people who nominated him. If they had paid attention to what he said, they would have known that he was damaging to the party’s chances.

            2. justanotherprogressive

              And yet, you stated that the Greens chose him because he was “black”……

              I might add that the Greens have said a lot of things that were “unpopular” during their time, but they never backed down from those views just for “politics”, so to accuse them of “identity politics” because of someone they’ve chosen to be on the ticket really isn’t all that viable as a theory, is it?

              I’m sure the Greens could have become more “mainstream” if they so chose, to win that 5%, but perhaps that 5% isn’t as important to them as other things….

              1. Vatch

                And yet, you stated that the Greens chose him because he was “black”……

                Exactly. Identity politics. I’m not the one who has an opinion about him because of his race or ethnicity. It’s the people who chose him to be the Vice Presidential candidate who have such an opinion. My opinion is based on his snotty comments about Bernie Sanders. The Greens had a golden opportunity to convince a substantial fraction of Sanders supporters to vote for them, and they squandered it.

                I’m sure the Greens could have become more “mainstream” if they so chose, to win that 5%, but perhaps that 5% isn’t as important to them as other things….

                I’ve voted for Greens and donated money to them because I hoped that either some of them might be elected, or they might influence the people who are elected to adopt their positions. As long as they receive fewer votes than the Libertarians, they will fail to do either. They need to start acting more like a political party, and less like a troupe of performance artistes.

      1. Sid_finster

        My suspicion is that the Greens don’t really want power.

        They want to stay the Ecology Club for Misfits.

        1. justanotherprogressive

          I wouldn’t call them “Misfits”.

          I think there is something truly unique and admirable in a group of people who won’t “sell out” for political gain…..

    2. Terry Flynn

      I do in idle moments wonder what the “most-least” voting system would have done in the US primaries. Most-least preserves a lot of what people like in systems like the UK/US (where you have representatives tied to geographical areas) but (like the Alternative Vote system) allows strength of preference to influence who wins. It differs from the AV in that you don’t rank candidates (which due to the maths can give undue weight to candidates who get few ‘top ranks’) and is simpler. You simply get two ‘ votes’ – the candidate you like most and the one you like least. Most counts are done as now. But then the ‘least’ totals are subtracted from most. The ‘net most-minus-least’ candidate wins.

      Trump might have been in trouble – a high ‘least’ count would have cut his lead massively. Meanwhile his supporters would have had to do some serious co-ordinated tactical voting to all use their least votes on one candidate perceived to be his biggest rival. And by having a neither ‘fantastic’ level of support or hate a Bush/Rubio type could have come through the middle to win.

      Likewise HRC’s huge levels of hate might have knocked her out in favour of Sanders or a third candidate.

      I make no comments as to the ‘desirability’ of who might have got through to the general election! Just an idle thought based on a voting system a colleague proposed and did the maths on. It can encourage third parties who are less dogmatic. Of course in a general election it requires 3+ candidates to work…..

    3. oh

      The Repigs and the DImocrats have effectively blocked off access to third parties at the State and National level. Until this illegal blockade is removed, no third party can take off.

  14. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Queen’s fury with May: Palace aides claim PM misled monarch by claiming DUP deal was finalised weeks before it was actually signed leaving courtiers ‘alarmed’ at breach of protocol Daily Mail

    A historical lesson for billionaires.

    The monarchs of Europe who refused to turn over power voluntarily, they lost everything – in Russia, France, etc.

    Those who relented, many have become very rich, as many tourists know.

    What should billionaires do?

    “Keep your 90% share, but let workers run the business.”

    That’s a lot of to live on…90%.

  15. Wukchumni

    I’m thinking it wont be long before Santa Claus himself is politically corrected into the scorned field. A grown man popping in on little kids, come on, there has to be a whiff of impropriety there.

  16. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Who will take a knee to protest modern slavery in our universities?

    Burning questions about the NCAA basketball corruption scandal Daily News

    Bribery and kickbacks: the FBI’s college basketball sting has only just begun Guardian

    Entire Notion of NCAA ‘Amateurism’ May Be on the Line in FBI’s Corruption Case Sports Illustrated

    And who will take a knee for municipal money, intended for the poor, diverted to build football stadiums?

    Is that enough to quit football, baseball or basketball?

  17. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Thinking the unthinkable in China: Abandoning North Korea The Economic Times

    That does not bode well anyone wanting to be the next strongman in the Middle Kingdom.

    From Wikipedia, on the man who became the last emperor of China (after the last emperor of China, who later became the emperor of Manchukuo, abdicated), so that he, Yuan Shikai, really was the last emperor of China, and not the person in the film, The Last Emperor:

    In 1885, Yuan was appointed Imperial Resident of Seoul.[4] On the surface the position equalled that of ambassador but in practice, as head official from the suzerain, Yuan had become the supreme adviser on all Korean government policies. Perceiving China’s increasing influence on the Korean government, Japan sought more influence through co-suzerainty with China. A series of documents were released to Yuan Shikai, claiming the Korean government had changed its stance towards Chinese protection and would rather turn to Russia for protection. Yuan was outraged yet skeptical, and asked Li Hongzhang for advice.

    The situation there exploded shortly after, resulting in the First Sino-Japanese war, which went disastrously and humiliatingly for China, having to cede Taiwan to Japan in order to conclude peace, and soon, the dynasty ended.

    How does Xi downplay this current abandonment?

  18. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Washington state’s health-exchange rates to jump 24 percent Seattle Times

    Received notice Friday that my health plan will no longer to be offered after 12-31-2017.

    Have to contact the insurer this week to find what options are available and I am preparing for a huge jump in premium.

    1. Charger01

      The looting continues. Thanks Mike Kriedler!

      And to much lesser extent, Governor Capt. Planet…

  19. Tracie Hall

    Great shot of the little bandits–so lucky to catch in the day–I’ve yet to get a good shot. Flashed night shots just don’t get it done.

  20. Meher Baba

    Policing. A new documentary about the Oakland , California , (US-North America) police and their scandals and subsequent attempts to improve with a new boss, and how that worked out for them. Its said to be excellent. I read about it on Roger Eberts site ( the most respected film critic in history). It’s called The Force

    1. tegnost

      FTA….”The indictment also charges Jon Waldron, a former IT manager at CBA, with participating in the scheme by facilitating the approval of contracts with ServiceMesh in exchange for approximately $1.9 million in bribes, most of which was paid to him through a shell company in New Zealand.

  21. nippersdad

    Re: What Democrats must do from Jacobin.

    The article seemed like a very good synopsis of the economic and sociological state of play, I found it very interesting that no mention was made of the wars. There is an enormous anti-war constituency out there, and not mentioning the ease with which neoconservatives so easily float between the leadership of both Parties seems like a large subject to be silent about.

    1. DJG

      nippersdad: Great catch. I read the article, and it didn’t even register that much of the distemper of the times stems from the endless wars, the money thrown at the wars, the war profiteering, and the militarization of the populace.

      What struck me also is that Yves, Lambert, posts by other writers, and the discussion among the commenting groundlings have also reached similar conclusions based on a similar analysis of history and the trends.

      I was suprised how many times the names Clinton, Nixon, and Al From came up–till they finally blended together as one sad case after another of doing anything to get a vote. Even in hindsight, it is disturbing to recall their racially tinged campaigns. They are P.T. Barnums of stoking the racial tensions. And it was good to have a reminder of both parties’ anti-labor, anti-union stances (hardly biases–because they are important ingredients).

      The observation about how Trump was broadcasting ads criticizing the economy and Clinton was running ads snarking about Trump was worth the price of admission: What incompetence.

    2. VietnamVet

      The Democrats have three major problems; 1) they restarted the Cold War, lost political power and are now scapegoating Russia rather than reforming, 2) Americans’ health is deteriorating and the current system is too costly and 3) they are complicit with the top 10% looting the bottom 90%.

  22. Oregoncharles

    ” Time for the “good cops” to speak up….”
    Snicker. My second thought: that’s Strether snark, isn’t it? Sure enough.

  23. Wukchumni

    Bound to Pay Texas Monthly (CL). For-profit ankle monitors.

    I had no idea how lucrative it is being an ankle byter, it’s like taking candy from a baby, er one that did some sort of crime.

  24. rd

    Re: Tropical forests

    If it is logged, cleared, and burned then it is no longer a forest.

    Its not that the forest is ceasing to be a sink; instead it is ceasing to be a forest.

  25. Jeremy Grimm

    RE: “Vanishing New York”
    I walked the Skyline for the first time last week. The plants and flowers are well selected, arranged and cared for and I was pleased to avoid all the many traffic lights I hit earlier when walking on 8th Ave. There was building demolition and construction along the whole way from its start at the Whitney Museum to where I got off at 30th Street. It was very difficult to find a way through to get from the Skyline to Penn Station. The extra walking to get around closed sidewalks blocked by construction used up most of the time I saved avoiding the cross street traffic lights on 8th Avenue. I like newer architecture and I value old architecture but most of the high-rise buildings I saw going up looked garish, and ill-suited to the surrounding buildings. One especially ugly building reminded me of an apartment building in “Futurama” from the episode where Frye looked for an apartment with Bender.

    I don’t know where the money or political umph for the Skyline came from but the buildings were all there for the benefit of the very wealthy – not me.

  26. Grebo

    Bubble tea. I inadvertently ordered one of these at a swanky new Chinese restaurant in what passes for a metropolis in my neck of the woods. Never having heard of it, the pictures on the Chinglish menu were mysterious and the waitress’s English was not up to the job of explaining. I like trying new things so I went for it.
    I got a tall glass of cold, sweet, milky tea about one-third full of spherical jellybeans. Not actual sugary gelatine beans but I wasn’t sure what they were. Tapioca, it turns out. Chewiest cup of tea ever.
    I can’t see it catching on outside China, but fashion often proves me wrong.

  27. ewmayer

    Re. Taibbi’s “fake news” piece, I wonder if the only reason the RS deciderers allowed him to write this was because in this particular case it was a far-right GOP pol and the alt-right (via Breitbart) that were going gaga over the alleged subversion of our so-called democracy – which is so wonderfully embodied in its true core values by the militaristic rentier and tax-grifting monopoly which is the NFL – by those dastardly, deplorable Rooskies.

    But I haven’t followed Matt T. much at all since he revealed his liberal-elite-tribalist biases so vividly during last year’s electoral cycle, so let me ask of those who still faithfully read him – has he been regularly calling BS on the Team D red-hysteria, in fittingly scathing terms? (And if so, specific links illustrating such would be very helpful.)

    1. voteforno6

      He’s been skeptical…on the one hand, based on his experience reporting in Russia, he doesn’t seem surprised that Russia would do something. On the other hand, he has certainly called out the hysteria. His Twitter feed is a good place to look for this.

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