Links 10/30/17

Raccoons prove they understand cause-and-effect by passing the Aesop’s Fable test Quartz

As ice retreats, frozen mosses emerge to tell climate change tale Science News (EM).

‘Minsky Moment’ Hangs Over World Swimming in Debt: QuickTake Q&A Bloomberg

Big Tech and Amazon: too powerful to break up? FT. Did Bezos get that vest from Deray? Or vice versa?

If you think Washington’s going to regulate Big Tech, I’ve got a bridge I’ll sell you Business Insider

Why we need a 21st-century Martin Luther to challenge the church of tech Guardian

We’ve seen an 82 percent jump in bitcoin-related jobs, says employment website CEO CNBC. “People are getting freelancers to design new types of cryptocurrencies.” So totallly not frothy.

Hurricane Alley

Bigger, badder typhoons and climate change – what’s the link? South China Morning Post

Crime plummeted in Houston during Harvey. So why do many assume otherwise? Houston Chronicle

On New Jersey’s Bayshore, Waiting For A Post-Sandy Recovery That Never Came HuffPo

Puerto Rico

Bernie Sanders, in Puerto Rico, Calls for Nullification of Whitefish Contract The Intercept

Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority Cancels Whitefish Energy Deal HuffPo


Catalonia, Quebec or Scotland: who has the most power? El Pais

‘We can’t recognize the coup d’état against Catalonia,’ vice president Junqueras says Catalan News

RECAP: ‘Catalonia is Spain!’ crowd chants at Barcelona rally The Local

Spain faces test of authority in Catalonia under direct rule FT

Catalonia’s Parallel World Collides With Harsh Spanish Reality Bloomberg

ANALYSIS: Spain should find a way not to smash Catalonia’s romantic movement for independence ABC


Tory Aides’ Spreadsheet Names 36 Sex Pest MPs Guido Fawkes. Hoo boy.

Corbyn: ‘Warped and degrading’ abuse culture thrives in Westminster Sky News

Theresa May’s £1bn for Northern Ireland on hold as talks falter FT

Tory donors tell May: no deal is better than a bad Brexit Guardian

Conservatives must tell us what Brexit really means — as voters are becoming wary of their values and fed up with austerity The Sun. If the Tories could do this, they would already have done it.

This may seem ridiculous, but leaving the EU might not trigger the apocalypse. What then for UK politics? The Independent. “I suspect that, if the EU side decides that it doesn’t want us to leave without an agreement, it would be possible to sign a skeleton treaty – one that leaves a lot of details to be negotiated later, during the transition or ‘implementation’ period.” Why would the EU do the UK that favor? Because it would make it easier for other countries to leave?


Modi looks to spark India electricity drive FT

India is killing the Ganges, and Modi can do nothing about it South China Morning Post


Trump’s China Trip to Broker Billions of Dollars in Energy Deals Bloomberg

Imperial Collapse Watch

Waning US influence in Asia on display ahead of Trump visit Asia Times (Re Silc).

Southeast Asia’s Democratic Decline in the America First Era CFR

2 Navy SEALs Under Suspicion in Strangling of Green Beret in Mali NYT (Re Silc).

A Deadly Ambush’s Great Mystery: What Are We Doing in Niger? Editorial Board, NYT. “What did we learn, Palmer?”

New Cold War

Speculation rife over possible first arrest in Trump-Russia probe Agence France Presse and Dread, expectation hang over Washington before Mueller sweep CNN

These 13 Wire Transfers Are A Focus Of The FBI Probe Into Paul Manafort Buzzfeed. Between 2012 and 2013.

Meet the reporters behind the Trump dossier Axios. Just as public relations pays better than journalism, I guess oppo does, too.

Collins: Top Democrats need to come back before intelligence committee CNN

Trump Transition

The Collapse Of Paul Ryan Down with Tyranny

Republicans, desperate for a win, already face setbacks as they prepare to unveil tax bill this week WaPo

State Department Scraps Sanctions Office Foreign Policy

How Rex Tillerson Is Remaking the State Department Bloomberg

Judge rebukes handling of JFK records Politico

John Boehner Unchained Politico. The big news, which nobody is talking about, is that Boehner and Obama had a handshake deal on a Grand Bargain. “Harry Reid insists his caucus would have provided enough votes for passage.” Blame-fixing differs, but it looks to me like the proximate cause of death was the [genuflects] bipartisan Gang of Six, who released their own plan, stepping on Boehner’s plan, since he’d been negotiating with Obama, that truly progressive genius, in secret. The Gang of Six: “Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., and Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho.” So I guess I have this horrible bunch of centrist weasels to thank that my Social Security check won’t be even more miserably inadequate than it already will be, along with Monica Lewinsky. Ironies abound!

Our Famously Free Press

“Maybe it is a purist attitude we have, but we believe that being funded by your readers is the best guarantee for independence” Neiman Labs. Thank you, readers! And When a Facebook test moves news stories to a separate feed, traffic — and public discourse — are at stake Nieman Lab. Again, if your business depends on a platform, your business is already dead.

At Facebook, Hand-Wringing Over a Fix for Fake Content NYT

Health Care

Freedom for the Many Jacobin

Tension Between High-Deductible Health Plans And Payment And Delivery Reform Health Affairs

States running out of cash for children’s health insurance The Hill

Trump’s Next Chance to Wreck Obamacare: Open Enrollment Bloomberg

The man who runs the second-largest Obamacare exchange says the Trump administration is causing a ‘s—storm’ in the insurance market Business Insider

Two Texas ERs got bad reviews online. Now they want Google to help them find out who did it Dallas Morning News

Sports Desk

Astros walk off with crazy 13-12 win to take 3-2 World Series lead over Dodgers USA Today

Are the World Series Balls Too Slick? Some Say Yes NYT

Emails Show Colin Kaepernick Frozen Out of Discussions Between NFL Players and Owners Slate

Class Warfare

The psychological importance of wasting time Quartz. Nonsense. You should either be at your job, or figuring out how to be a “smart shopper,” which is also a job. What’s wrong with these people?

Protesters are increasingly being labeled domestic terrorist threats, experts worry McClatchy. That’s not a bug…

On archives, macroeconomics and labour markets The Long Run

Extract from Plato’s Republic: On That Which is Correct Politically McSweeney’s Internet Tendency

The Infinite Suburb Is an Academic Joke The American Conservative

Colliding Neutron Stars Could Settle the Biggest Debate in Cosmology Quanta Magazine

Antidote du jour (EM):

EM writes: “This is the most loved beagle in Newton County, my neighbor belongs to him.”

Bonus antidote:

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. allan

    So, Tom Coburn, Saxby Chambliss and Mike Crapo are now “centrists”?
    Even at NC, the Overton Window moves right.

    1. DJG

      allan: Conversely, although I’ll be hearing from my fellow denizens of the Land of Lincoln, Durbin is a liberal with some leftist tendencies who knows the Senate all too well. So Lambert may (in part) owe his gigundo Social Security check to Dick Durbin making a (deliberate) mess of the whole shebang.

      And Monica Lewinsky, too. (But let’s not talk about serial sexual predators, please!, when the memories of Podesta and DWS are at stake as noted in the CNN story above about top Dems being summoned before the intelligence committee by Susan Collins, of all people.)

        1. DJG

          marym: Among the many reasons why I have to send Dick letters now and again, telling him to shape up.

          I’ve taken to sending letters to Tammy Duckworth, too.

          At least Durbin answers.

            1. DJG

              Vatch: I have letters in to Durbin and Duckworth about why they aren’t supporting Medicare for All / single payer. I wait each day at my e-mailbox for their answers.

              1. Vatch

                Were they physical paper postal letters, or were they submitted via the web site? Because of security concerns, the physical postal letters take a couple of weeks to reach their destination. In either case, it’s great that you sent the letters. Next step (provided you agree on this issue): send letters in support of S.881. It’s okay to disagree — by itself, the separation of savings banks from investment banks won’t solve much. There’s a lot more that needs to be done.

              2. Darn

                Can you tell me anything about Duckworth other than opposition to M4A/SP? I ask because I keep seeing her name suggested for prez in 2020 literally for “ticks all the boxes” reasons

  2. Darius

    I thought it was because the tea partiers couldn’t take yes for an answer that the Grand Bargain failed. Obama wanted to give them the store but they thought they were going to get to drag him down Pennsylvania Avenue in chains. Still, let’s chase the Bipartisan! holy grail.

    1. Pat

      I really don’t care about how it failed. I am just glad it did. I will thank the tea partiers and Durbin. What makes me sad is that friends who are still in denial about Obama’s continual sell out of his voters will remain in denial.

      I was speaking to someone yesterday about the election who derided Sanders because he was pushing an agenda that couldn’t pass. What I should have pointed out was how so many of “our” representatives spend years even decades working hard to pass an agenda that the majority of Americans don’t want and will make their lives harder and more miserable. Not just the other tribe but the one we claim. Free college, fair wages, healthcare for all are impossible but continuous debt, poverty, and early death are achievable goals. Perhaps we need to stop electing them and start electing the ones with the so called impossible agenda that benefits us.

      1. John k

        And don’t forget the endless wars highly favored by both parties… witness Clinton bush love fest… so much in common…

      2. Jeff W

        I was speaking to someone…who derided Sanders because he was pushing an agenda that couldn’t pass.

        You don’t sit around waiting until an agenda “can pass” to push it. You create the conditions in which that agenda can pass—and one of the principal ways you do that is to push it.

        Some people have a bit of a reversal problem with cause and effect. It’s not “can’t pass → don’t push,” it’s “don’t push → can’t pass.” Perhaps, raccoons and ravens do better.

        (There is, of course, the additional problem of why, exactly, some things that are favored by large majorities of the population—and are completely accepted and utterly uncontroversial in other advanced countries in the world—“can’t pass” in the US—and what does that say about the state of our democracy?—but one doesn’t want to boggle the mind too much.)

  3. Linda


    WASHINGTON — Paul Manafort and his former business associate Rick Gates were told to surrender to federal authorities Monday morning, the first charges in a special counsel investigation, according to a person involved in the case.

    The charges against Mr. Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, and Mr. Gates, a business associate of Mr. Manafort, were not immediately clear but represent a significant escalation in a special counsel investigation that has cast a shadow over the president’s first year in office.

    1. Yves Smith

      Well I was wrong, I thought Flynn because the charges on him would be easy to prove. But the flip side is Mueller would look pretty silly after raiding Manafort’s house and grabbing his computers if this didn’t lead to…something.

      Manafort had a close relationship with Yanukovich, the deposed head of Ukraine, who like all big dogs in Ukraine, was seriously corrupt. IIRC there was some evidence before the raid that Manafort took payments he didn’t report.

      But despite the terrible optics, I’m not sure this advances the ball all that much re Trump. Manafort does not appear to have had much of a relationship to Trump prior to having worked on the campaign. Manafort worked for Trump a mere four months and was fired by Trump. They didn’t have a good relationship.

      I am assuming that the charges will include money laundering and/or tax evasion. The interesting question will be what Manafort’s attorneys do. If they decide to fight and seek a jury trial, that suggests at a minimum they think the prosecution has a complicated story it will be hard to tell well. Plus it will be very hard to find a jury that has not heard anything about Russia. That means they might wind up with some pretty dim bulbs. Confused jurors tend not to convict, and a jury that is not engaged at all with the media (which would seem to be a requirement) might be easier to fog that most. But we’ll know a lot more as we see the charged, and who Manafort has hired and what sort of responses they make in court.

      1. vlade

        TBH, I’m dubious whether even if they showed a link to Trump (unless it was like passing the nuclear codes or what have you), the Reps. would impeach him. And, even if they would, who knows what it would lead to, as I’m at this stage not sure whether there’s any reasoning possible with Trump’s base (to be fair to Democrat’s there’s no reasoning with their leadership possible either..)

        1. TK421

          even if they would, who knows what it would lead to

          It would lead to President Mike Pence, which many Democrats seem to ardently want.

      2. Linda

        Conspiracy against the United States sounds pretty scary.

        Spencer Ackerman-Daily Beast.

        The charges, which include “Conspiracy against the United States” were unsealed on Monday morning. Manafort is indicted on several counts including multi-million dollar tax fraud, money laundering and acting as an unregistered agent of a foreign government.

        1. mpalomar

          From the Daily Beast article, “The impending prosecution creates substantial pressure on him and Gates to trade testimony or other cooperation against other Trump associates, or Trump himself, in exchange for leniency”

          Money laundering is mentioned as a charge and coincidentally the most likely crime Trump is up to his waders in. Is this the blob asserting and reminding all concerned of its ability to confine the id in chief to the attic and his twitter account, while letting the deep state continue on its merry way?

          No need for impeachment, just arranging the legal levers of control where they can be easily seen and appreciated and if need be accessed.
          Perhaps not as simplistic as I’m suggesting but it seems to me that’s what this exercise is about.

          1. Yves Smith

            *Sigh*. I have debunked this repeatedly.

            The buyers of Trump real estate used banks to pay for them. The banks, not Trump, are responsible for money laundering controls.

            The only way Trump would be guilty of money laundering would be if he took cash (as in actual currency) and deposited it in a bank. Or tooks diamonds or gold as payment.

            1. mpalomar

              Whether or not Trump is laundering he’s been involved in marginal real estate dealings involving Deutsche bank, the Bank of Cyprus, Wilbur Ross and Russian oligarchs and people looking to place doubtfully sourced money. My point is that’s likely where Mueller is looking for leverage against Trump.




        2. whine country

          “Conspiracy against the United States” really has no meaning since conspiracy is not a crime. The government must show that someone else committed a crime and that the person charged with conspiracy knowingly aided and abetted the act. Therefore, as Yves suggests, there is more here than meets the eye. What will be critical to watch is if Manafort and Gates simply dig in and defend themselves without using The Other Guy Did It defense – and along those lines who pays for the defense.

          1. Epynonymous

            True but conspiracy can be an element of a crime. Ask Colin Kaepernick.

            Interestingly, treason is the only crime implemented by the constitution. The crime is not defined but the punishment is death.

            That’s why political trials don’t work in stable governments. The real Russians must be part amused and part terrified at our willingness to turn on each other.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              They were ready, according to Ray Lewis, until Kaepernick’s girl friend revealed she was in on the conspiracy as well.

              Ray Lewis: Ravens refused to sign Colin Kaepernick because of …
              Sep 6, 2017 – Lewis, one of the Ravens’ greatest players ever who pleaded guilty to … “Then, his girl [Colin Kaepernick’s girlfriend] goes out and put out this …

        3. Bill Smith

          A few pages of tables of item by item failure to pay taxes.

          And one count they could get half of DC with failure to register as an agent of a foreign government.

        4. Anon

          Isn’t this similar to what Putin does to his political foes? Has them charged with a crime then thrown in jail.

      3. grayslady

        Dave Dayen has a detailed explanation of Manafort’s activities in an article at the Intercept. It seems Manafort was buying expensive NYC properties as a way of laundering money he received from Ukraine. Specific banks are named in the article, as well as amounts borrowed against various properties. However, Ukraine is not Russia, and all of this activity by Manafort was going on years before the election. All of this action against Manafort, or speculation of action against Flynn, seems like spook agency payback against those who thwarted plans to overthrow Ukraine and Syria, or otherwise weren’t interested in playing ball with the Obama/Clinton crowd. That doesn’t mean Manafort isn’t dirty, just that the Borg is looking for scapegoats.

    2. timbers

      It’s Russia fault people evade taxes in the U.S. It causes angst, which benefited Trump and allowed him to steal Hillary’s Presidency. Putin made him cheat on taxes with the $50.000 he spent on FB click bait adds about Black Lives Matter.

      A co-worker – who is all about “the coming indictments” and Dem partisan, blurted out this Saturday “I didn’t know someone could be indicted on nothing.” I think it was directed at me but I wasn’t sure as I was too engrossed and busy setting up the bar for an event and I didn’t have time to notice if he was talking to me or just in gerneral.

      Depending on how this plays out, I expect a lot of crowing from him next Saturday.

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      Lots of scrambling on msnbs right now “reminding” viewers how “critical” Rick Gates was to the Trump campaign. I guess that’s because no one’s ever heard of him. After over a year of digging.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        That sounds like what those bad guys would do – set off one crisis, and as people rush in to put it off, set off the second one.

    4. Roger Smith

      The real crime here is that it took a phony, hair on fire conspiracy about Russia to finger a guy for tax evasion, one of I am sure many just like him. This is all about playground tactic appearances (someone close to Trump got charged by the guy investigating ties to Russia!–they’ll say, proof enough), not reality or justice. Our political system is not going to survive like this (nor should it).

      Jeet Heer and Krugman say a legitimacy crisis is coming… where have they been?? Our government hasn’t had any tangible claim to legitimacy for years now. When is the last time a decision was made that helped citizens, for citizens? Not ACA, not bailing out Wall Street, not the rising student loan debt… Turns out when you learn more, you earn debt. We have a two tiered justice system and Judge Dredd police officers. Decadence and rot is all around us and the typically progressive side of a political spectrum is so infested with identity nonsense and neoliberalism that they are no lifeboat. Obama’s cabinet was practically on a spreadsheet from Citigroup! Where is the special investigation and outrage?? I never saw Kimmel crying about that. The sickness out there is real and in a year it has only gotten worse. Now we are supposed to praise an Iraq War proponent, just like we were supposed to do last November. (moved tag)

      Edit: Manafort never would have been arrested for these things outside of RussiaGate. IRS auditors never noticed because this kind of thing is normal, accepted, and ignored–not unlike Hollywood and Weisntein.That is the crisis of legitimacy.

      1. ChrisPacific

        That’s my immediate reaction to all this as well. WaPo are not gloating about the Manafort indictment because they care about holding money launderers and tax evaders accountable. They are doing it because they see it as damaging to Trump.

        From all accounts Manafort is a slimeball and probably deserves to to go to jail. But he’s just one of a long list of people in that category, many of whom are showered with adulation daily by the same media that is currently experiencing a temporary and selective attack of self-righteousness.

    5. VietnamVet

      Once a special counsel was appointed, Paul Manafort was low-hanging fruit. That he and Roger Stone were campaign managers shows how far out they thought Donald Trump’s chances were. They didn’t imagine that they would be caught up in his corruption investigations.

      Inconvenient truths will be ignored. The Ukrainian source of Manafort’s funds was thrown out by a coup orchestrated by the Obama Administration. This restarted the Cold War. Russia is being scapegoated for the Democrat’s humiliating loss across the board to “Le Porcs”. Millions of Saudi dollars sloshing around Washington DC won’t be investigated.

  4. bwilli123

    Deserves a wider read.

    The Web began dying in 2014

    ..”The internet will survive longer than the Web will. GOOG-FB-AMZN will still depend on submarine internet cables (the “Backbone”), because it is a technical success. That said, many aspects of the internet will lose their relevance, and the underlying infrastructure could be optimized only for GOOG traffic, FB traffic, and AMZN traffic. It wouldn’t conceptually be anymore a “network of networks”, but just a “network of three networks”, the Trinet, if you will.

    …On the Trinet, if you are permanently banned from GOOG or FB, you would have no alternative. You could even be restricted from creating a new account. As private businesses, GOOG, FB, and AMZN don’t need to guarantee you access to their networks. You do not have a legal right to an account in their servers, and as societies we aren’t demanding for these rights as vehemently as we could, to counter the strategies that tech giants are putting forward.”

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      Very interesting article. In support of the author’s point, I’ve noticed that more and more advertising is omitting a traditional web address (.e.g. in lieu of Facebook and Twitter connecting points. Add apps to that, and it’s clear how the Internet experience, especially for the youngest, most hip users, is leaving the Web behind.

    2. JTMcPhee

      “GOOG the Father, AMZN the Son, FB the Holy Spirit,” and you got a Trinety… an unholy one, perhaps…

      1. Wukchumni

        Give us this day our daily increase in bread, and forgive us our tentacles, as we also have forbidden competitors. And lead us not into lack of temptation, but deliver stocks from evil of losses.


  5. diptherio

    On Puerto Rico: people in a position to know tell me that PR has reciprocal agreements with several coastal states to provide mutual assistance in times of emergency. The lineman in Florida, I’m told, are wondering why they didn’t get asked to help get PR back on-line, instead of these chuckleheads from Whitefish (which is a resort community by the way…thank mini-Vale).

    1. RUKidding

      Yes. I wondered too. I’m no expert, but back in the late ’80s I had job that took me periodically to the Virgin Islands. One time I got stuck in Hurricane Hugo (1989), which probably wasn’t as bad as Maria, but was very bad in its own way.

      When I went back some months later, it was mostly workers from the coastal states, including TX, who were there doing the repair work.

      But yes, let’s hire some completely unknown, 2 person outfit, in Whitefish (yes, I know that’s a resort) MT, where, by the way, Ryan Zinke lives… but neither Zinke, nor Hinky, er, Trump had ANYTHING to do with hiring this “outfit.”


  6. diptherio

    We’ve seen an 82 percent jump in bitcoin-related jobs, says employment website CEO CNBC.

    An acquaintance on FB who I know mainly as an organizer of big-name charity events (FarmAid, for instance) has recently started shilling for Bitcoin hard. All of a sudden, she’s “starting to run into bitcoin millionaires” everywhere she turns, and she’s really keen to make sure her (facebook) friends get in on this incredible opportunity….no word yet on how much return she’s gotten from her beanie-baby collection…

      1. diptherio

        Here’s her FB post from an hour ago:

        I have made $100 in Crypto Currency on and this is just week one. As long as I keep posting there, like I do on Facebook, my value of social media posts will grow. Imagine a Facebook where you get paid for your posts, based on how many likes you get – refreshing considering the billion dollar industry that Facebook has made from using our information and content. Who wants to join me? I’m training people to maximize it for free. Let’s do this. Here’s the future.

        Direct message me if you want to get involved.

  7. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The psychological importance of wasting time Quartz. Nonsense. You should either be at your job, or figuring out how to be a “smart shopper,” which is also a job. What’s wrong with these people?

    That’s wrong is they waste too much time at work…I think.

  8. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Tension Between High-Deductible Health Plans And Payment And Delivery Reform Health Affairs

    Another offshoot of high deductibles that is rarely mentioned is what happens after they are met, particularly among people who have the means to meet them and understand their implications.

    In short, they become hyper “healthcare consumers.”

    I have a fundamentally healthy friend who, once her deductible is met, engages in the most remarkable orgy of self-diagnosis imaginable. Every normal ache or pain is met with a barrage of self-referrals to specialists of every stripe armed with a list of possible conditions fueled by television commercials and internet “research.” Instant, fully-funded hypochondriasis which the specialists oblige and reward with endless diagnostic tests and further referrals.

    What is rightly perceived as a barrier to essential treatment for some, opens gluttonous floodgates unnecessarily for others.

    While I have never seen an analysis of this phenomenon, I have no doubt that it distorts the idea of healthcare “demand,” and influences “supply” to locate where the “need” is greatest. And compensation is the highest and most assured.

    1. Altandmain

      It is a perverse incentive.

      A universal healthcare system combined with no advertising seems like the best solution for this issue.

    2. PureMichiganFamilyBlog

      It doesn’t take hypochondria. Next year that deductible comes back so it’s rational to pursue every ache or pain while you know you can afford it lest it become a giant out of pocket expense later.

      1. GF

        IIRC there was an argument at one time against single payer that stated something like “If you give everyone unlimited access to healthcare the system will be overwhelmed and quality will deteriorate and there will be long wait times for appointments”. Not brought up much recently.

  9. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Emails Show Colin Kaepernick Frozen Out of Discussions Between NFL Players and Owners Slate

    It’s a question whether all or most people in Catalonia voted for independence.

    From what I read, there are more players not kneeling than playing kneeling.

    Are those not kneeling not protesting anything at all?

    Or are they protesting those protesting?

    Should the majority (of players, as people are talking players kneeling, not paying customers, for example, kneeling…How many fans in the stadium not standing…) rule here?

    Does the fact that more players not kneeling weaken the message, like the case of the Independence referendum in Catalonia?

  10. rd

    How Paul Manafort spent his laundered money:

    I assume that tax cuts for the wealthy would result in similar spending after a bunch gets squirreled away to make more future wealth. I don’t see much in this spending list that will put coal miners in Kentucky or auto Flint back to work. But I never have understood trickle-down economics as well as Congress does.

    1. Wukchumni

      “The indictment describes how Manafort bought a $2.85 million condominium in the Soho neighborhood of Manhattan — and then used AirBNB to rent it out.”

      What sort of daily rate would a nearly $3 million condo have to rent out at to make the nut?

      1. Pat

        I am going to approach this with a different assumption than you. Cash purchase, no mortgage so it would depend on the common charges. In a building with few amenities that has a commercial space, they could be a couple of thousand of less. With no mortgage (money laundering remember) and the clear expectation that it will sell for far more than was paid, even a $100/night would take in a lot. Heck even paying someone to come clean and change the linens you could still clear a small profit just renting it four nights a week. So it costs you nothing to have a NYC base.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It seems like peanuts compared with the money you could make brokering uranium deals.

    2. RUKidding

      Here: let me make it simple for you —-

      Trickle down economics works for CONgress. It just doesn’t work for those “economically anxious” WWM across the country, who allegedly voted for Trump. Nor does it work for anyone else who is not in “the club” (hat tip to George Carlin).

  11. Abigail Caplovitz Field

    Re raccoons

    It’s a cool story, but I live in raccoon land and they’re famously ingenious at getting into trash, and they’ve used a cat door to get into my father’s kitchen/pantry (such that as a 9 year old I confronted one in the kitchen), and, well, the idea that they don’t understand some basic physics/cause and effect–that they don’t have problem solving skills when it comes to food–the idea that this kind of test is necessary–boggles my mind. It seems pure human vanity and hubris.

    I mean, the evolutionary pressure to figure out how to access food would seem pretty intense, right? Why wouldn’t developing robust problem solving skills for food access happen pretty close to the roots of the tree of life, rather than way out on a filigreed limb at the top? Why do we assume all the food-access focused changes are physical (developing different beaks, etc.) and not cognitive–?

    1. Wukchumni

      My orchard has taught me that if you put food* on the table, you don’t need to send out RSVP’s, everything shows up for the buffet.

      And really a non domesticated animal’s life revolves around looking for the next meal, where’s it coming from?

      And once they get a taste of what we eat, sometimes there’s no going back. For about 25 years here in Sequoia NP from the 1920’s to the 1940’s, there was a place called ‘Bear Hill’ and there was 4 grandstands placed in a loose square with about 15 feet between them, and in the middle was where all the uneaten/spoiled food from the restaurant went, with a cavalcade of bears showing up for a free lunch, and the tourists always got to see a bear, sounds good so far?

      Well, it’s been 70 years since they stopped the practice, but to this day there are bears that are many generations removed from the salad days, who will take your food if it isn’t placed in a bear box. (a lockable food storage locker that’s at every car campsite in the NP)

      *Citrus is the one bright shiny spot, nothing really seems all that interested in it.

      1. polecat

        You forgot about the psylids … they seem to have found a liking to shiny ‘pine apples’ .. ‘;]

      2. HotFlash

        Well, it’s been 70 years since they stopped the practice

        Lack of a cargo cult among bears is proof that bears are smarter than humans.

    2. Brian

      Our raccoon neighbors just knock on the door if we haven’t put something out for them. They wait patiently and wave thanks after we answer.

      1. polecat

        I found a spray (derived from ‘putrid egg’ solids) that, when applied at monthly intervals, keeps them outta my yummy edible yard ! .. Has been effective all the growing season .. not a grape devoured, nor a fish molested !! Yay !

        Doesn”t smell too objectionable to me .. so that’s a plus.

    3. TK421

      the evolutionary pressure to figure out how to access food would seem pretty intense, right?

      Well, kitchen cabinets and cat doors are far too recent an occurrence to have spurred any kind of evolutionary change.

      1. Mel

        I think the evolutionary change would have been a drive to figure out how things work, just in case there’s food inside. That change would have happened quite some time ago. Ravens mangled the latch of the new mailbox beyond all recognition. Silly manufacturers made the latch out of soft aluminum. There’s no sign the ravens ever got the box open, thank heaven. They must have seen us putting stuff in and taking stuff out, and if it was that important to us, they had to have some for themselves.

        1. barefoot charley

          Dunno about evolution, but do know a raccoon mama whose babies couldn’t reach our cat door, so she picked up and stuffed each kid through it into our cabin. Good thing brooms terrify coons like they do cats!

    4. Jeff W

      …the idea that they don’t understand some basic physics/cause and effect…boggles my mind. It seems pure human vanity and hubris.

      It strikes me that way, too. Any racoon or cat that’s knocked over some container to get to the food inside understands cause and effect. The idea that other animals are presumed not have some of the same cognitive abilities as we do, until they demonstrate that they do, says something more about us than it does about them.

      Far more so than the raccoons, crows are pretty sophisticated at that water displacement task, as this article says,

      …preferentially dropping stones into a water-filled tube instead of a sand-filled tube, dropping sinking objects rather than floating objects, using solid objects rather than hollow objects, and dropping objects into a tube with a high water level rather than a low one…[possessing an] understanding of the causal properties of volume displacement, rivaling that of five-to-seven year old children.

      I’d surmise that most five-to-seven year old children have not been plunking stones into water to get some tasty treats but obviously they’re figuring something out, maybe from watching their Cheerios floating in milk or seeing their rubber duckies bobbing up and down in the bathtub, as they themselves displace the water. I wonder what it is in the crows’ environmental histories that allows them to understand similar things.

      1. Craig H.

        Little known hidden history. They taught you Newton conceived the law of gravity seeing an apple fall from a tree. The truth is that Newton discovered the law of gravity when his cat knocked a glass of water off his bed headstand onto his head.

        Cats know physics.

        1. Jeff W

          Cause and effect, I’d say. (Newton’s cat: “Hmm, I can’t write the Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica but maybe this guy can.”)

      2. Yves Smith

        But that could be related to their bodies. Raccoon’s front paws come close to having opposable thumbs. A raccoon’s first impulse would be to try to use its “hand” to wrestle or break something open. Birds can’t do much in that category, so displacement would come faster to them as a fallback.

        1. Oregoncharles

          You know the old-fashioned type of storage can with a lid that slips on very tightly? People have some difficulty opening them, but raccoons can – and did, resulting in little floury raccoon prints all over the house (while I was gone.) I have the greatest respect for their abilities. But I certainly don’t want to feed them.

        2. Jeff W

          Yves Smith

          But that could be related to their bodies.

          Yeah, that’s very true. Raccoons can directly manipulate things with their “hands”; birds might have more experience “operating at a distance” by dropping things, such as when seagulls drop clams from a height to break them open.

          But, still, there’s the question of how crows learn those particular discriminations—that, say, some objects (those that sink) work to displace water but others (those that float) don’t. There’s apparently enough in the natural environment that allows them to learn that. (We don’t know exactly how five-to-six year old kids learn those things, either, but they obviously do.)


          People have some difficulty opening them, but raccoons can

          That’s another point I have a problem with in these animal intelligence studies. They tend to focus on things we are intelligent about but not so much what these other animals might be intelligent about—we probably can’t even imagine some of the things they are intelligent about.

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    ANALYSIS: Spain should find a way not to smash Catalonia’s romantic movement for independence ABC

    We should ask, Is it a given that any state will, if not smash, instinctively, initially (and often subsequently) oppose independence for any of its parts?

    It seems to be so.

  13. Ned

    On suburbs–

    People want back and front yards for clean air, for the ability to grow food and for their kids to play. Chickens, orchards and recreation are another attribute. Granny units, now allowed by California law are another benefit of traditional suburbs.

    The “planners” working hand in glove with the financial parasites, consultants, social activists and the green utopianists are serving the same masters of development and creating the insertion of high and a few low income outsiders into the dystopias they have created. Adios Middle Class.

    Watch for hundreds of stack and pack apartments to be built where neighborhoods burned down in Santa Rosa. After all, the expensive new train tracks are right there. The hive tenants will surely ride the train to their jobs instead of taking their cars parked in the underground garage–no? Of course, the places they used to live will be occupied by new arrivals, living four to a bedroom. Onward overpopulation and demographic disaster.

    Land is the last real wealth, now that the fire has done the work, the disaster capitalists can build one last wave of apartment buildings, take their profits and go elsewhere.

    1. Harold

      Skyscrapers not necessary to achieve density. A city can have a mix of row houses and low rise apartments with balconies. Row houses can have back and front yards. Small parks, playgrounds, and community centers provide kids with spaces to play. Community gardens, such as they have in Germany and elsewhere, allow people to grow vegetables, which need a lot of space — often more than a back or front yard affords.

      1. Marco

        Paris is always the perfect example of a super dense (and very livable) city achieved mainly with 6-8 floor apartment blocks. Who needs skyscrapers.

        1. B1whois

          It’s the same in Montevideo Uruguay. It allows for neighborhoods to be walkable. I’m back in California now after a year and a half in Uruguay, and I have to walk a mile and a half to get to any service whatsoever. In Uruguay five blocks was the max. I hate it here. The culture shock is severe.

        2. Ned

          There are no yards in Paris, the air is filthy and a nosy old woman guards your every move in the concierge’s apartment. That’s a perfect place for people with no expectations of privacy or individuality to live under state control.

    2. cyclist

      That’s odd, because where I live the suburban lawns appear to be unused expanses of grass that is occasionally set upon by armies of ‘landscapers’ (most likely picked up from the day labor corner at Scotland Rd. and Central Ave.), blocking half the street with an oversized truck and making a terrible racket and stink with leaf blowers. That is when they aren’t spraying Round-Up or some other noxious substance….

      1. HotFlash

        Many cities have bylaws to ensure that, we had a big tussle here in Toronto to get the bylaw requiring mowed front lawns rescinded. I will not even mention that ultimate enemy of American Freedom ™, the HOA. Wherever are all those Libertarians on HOA’s?

  14. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Trump’s Next Chance to Wreck Obamacare: Open Enrollment Bloomberg

    So, to “rearrage” the facts in this article a bit:

    Trump is “wrecking” obamacare by refusing to taxpayer-fund advertising and “outreach” (or advertise himself on jimmy kimmel) for an industry that is raising prices 30% on average this year, even though ” there are signs that health plans had raised prices enough in recent years that the market was stabilized in 2017. Insurers’ profits on individual plans, before counting administrative costs, more than doubled in the second quarter of 2017, compared to the same period last year, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis.”

    The target market for this neglected advertising is 17.5 million american souls, half of whom are immune to the price gouging since the taxpayer takes up the slack, and the other half of whom are collateral damage since they receive no subsidies, but are lumped in with those that do.

    If I were a purchaser on the individual market without subsidies, I would thank Trump profusely for attempting to limit the contamination of my “risk pool” with those for whom price is no object, and for refusing to advertise on behalf of an industry for which a doubling of profits is not enough to advertise on its own.

  15. Patrick Donnelly

    There is no proof of the existence of Neutron stars. Let alone any collisions.

    Physics still cannot predict a mere three bodies in space, based on what they think is gravity!

    Economics has some basis in reality….

  16. Quanka

    YVES – why aren’t you shredding that Bloomberg minsky moment article, especially point 2 about the 2007-2008 crises and the minsky moment caused by the housing bubble?

    Wouldn’t a more accurate reading be … the minsky moment (event) was credit/liquidity tightening in certain markets … which led to the implosion of the housing bubble (the consequence from the moment) and the broader market turbulence we call “the 2007-8 crisis”?

    Also – isn’t the focus on China and more macro-level debt concepts missing the point? In my understanding — a MM is reactive from the market perspective. Something that should be normal, say a small rate hike (or increasing collateral calls) ends up causing a disproportionate market reaction based on the leverage/debt accumulated in the system.

    For a Q/A ‘explainer’ type article that piece seems more dis-informative than helpful.

  17. Wukchumni

    I love the Beatles, and have been trying to overdose on the XM radio station devoted to them, but so far after months of trying, there is only one song I never want to hear again, ‘Blue Jay Way’.

    The cult of celebrity worship is something to behold though, and the prices paid to own something of theirs, ye gads.

    Paul Newman’s watch fetched almost $18 million the other day, I can buy his salad dressing for $4.

    1. TK421

      Paul Newman’s watch fetched almost $18 million the other day, I can buy his salad dressing for $4.

      And I bet I know which purchase Mr Newman would approve of more.

      1. skippy

        The True Story of Paul Newman’s Salad Dressing

        When Paul Newman died, in 2008, he left his Newman’s Own food empire, and the charitable foundation it supports, in the hands of his adviser Robert Forrester. But, his eldest daughter says the family believes their father’s principles are being betrayed. – snip

        Disheveled…. file under the market demands it… surely some PE mob could come in and sort it all out…

    2. polecat

      I like the Beetles also, with their seemly infinite shapes and sizes, from the various styles of their antennae, to the wonderous, almost acid-like ‘Lucy-in-the-sky’ colors of their elytra.
      … and what can one say about a group of creatures who have such a varied diet, from fruit .. to flesh, from foliage .. to sh!t ! … living in climates more blisteringly hot then the outside of a yogi’s calm, to a frigid waste only a walrus could love …
      Yes, I just WUV my beetles………
      …. What’s that ? … You meant ……. beatles ??!! … Pifft ! They and their kind are a dime-bag a dozen .
      But just never you mind …

  18. Craig H.

    The best World Series take I have seen is not even provably true. It depends on game simulation software statistical output. But some stats geek tweeted out:

    There have been two games in World Series history with 5 plays where win probability changed at least 25%
    Game 2, 2017
    Game 5, 2017

    (This was in the ESPN story.)

    It was crazy and it wasn’t over until 1:30 A.M. or so Eastern Time so if you were not a baseball lover and you had to watch the game for job requirements or something you might have thought you were being tortured. I thought it was great. When the Dodgers tied it up in the 9th I was cheering and I am an Astros fan.

    Here is what I would be curious about and I have not seen. The Astros fired their closer in the meetings on Sunday morning and I want to know the last time a team fired their closer in the middle of the World Series and still won it. That is a pretty hefty advantage for the Dodgers.

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      Fired their closer? AFAIK, the manager just committed to not using him in the next game. Because he was hit very hard (in baseball terms) in his previous outings. Pretty straightforward baseball decision.

      SI has a very interesting article on evidence that the balls they are using for the World Series differ from the ones they use in the regular season. In particular, pitchers who throw sliders, including the Astros’ closer, are having a very difficult time. Others suggest they are “juiced.” The Puig homerun last night seemed did not seem to be hit very hard yet cleared the fence.

      Regardless, what an amazing game.

  19. JTMcPhee

    Two little bits for today:

    How did “propaganda” get morphed into “fake news,” which is a particularly piquant style of Bernays Sauce (TM)?

    And “indictment” is a very long way from “conviction.”

  20. nippersmom

    Raccoons prove they understand cause-and-effect

    Wouldn’t it be nice if more humans understood cause and effect?

  21. jo6pac

    I’m not sure but when I bring up the site I get big ad on the left that blocks some of the site also the letters size has increased. I checked on my side for the letters.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Since I have to use reading glasses, I quite liked the big letters (no obscuring ad). Gone now, though.

  22. e waugh

    having the same problem, site unusable. mint linux current with vivaldi 1.8.770.56 (Stable channel) (64-bit), seamonkey, midori.

  23. Wukchumni

    Two Texas ERs got bad reviews online. Now they want Google to help them find out who did it Dallas Morning News

    Online reviews are useful, but seem like a mindfield of potential problems for the proprietor.

    People can be real pricks, I knew somebody wronged by a retail business, and his revenge was to let about 500 crickets in through the mail slot of the front glass door one night, many decades ago.

    If you were smart about it through a concerted effort, a determined mouse clique of naysayers could lay waste to the reputation of anything or anybody. And it’s their word against yours, anyhow.

    1. Arizona Slim

      I got a negative Google review from someone I’ve never done business with. Or heard of.

      Wondering how I can make that review disappear. Anyone have any tips?

    2. Enquiring Mind

      Protection rackets evolve, too. It isn’t enough that people have every bit of equity extracted through the Uberization and overall crapification of life. Now they can look forward to some protection derivatives. Not every culture enjoys relatively high trust and even a hint of altruism.

      Say, nice anything you got there, shame if something happened to it.

  24. John k

    LA times article on waves of Venezuelans bailing out and moving to other Latin America countries because of crime, hyperinflation, food shortages… many well educated… should be a prosperous country, granted many oil exporters succumb to corruption and mismanagement, though rarely on this scale…
    Article says they stopped issuing travel documents, reminding me of the East German wall…
    Nothing wrong with socialism, providing for the poor, particularly education.
    Everything wrong with corruption. The twin exchange rate is an example, providing. 4x for favored elite, helping them loot the country. This then leads to inability to get 4x for imports, shortages lead to price controls, and local production shuts down because can’t get critical supplies or make profit.
    At some point the army will step in, delayed so far as leaders themselves have benefitted from the corruption.

    1. Wukchumni

      My brother-in-law’s sister taught in Caracas in the late 70’s and she told me it was a great situation, as she was paid nearly double what she would’ve gotten teaching back in the states, and she and her husband liked the people and the land and it was kismet, and then Black Friday came calling early in 1983, and within 6 months they were on a big old jet airliner back to the states, as the rates of pay no longer favored their Venezuelan play, as the 1st instance of hyperinflation hit, and has largely run unabated ever since.

      I believe it to be the longest epoch of paper money hyperinflation, ever.

  25. subgenius

    Hmmm. Is it just me, or do others have this new thing where a phone pops from displaying threaded comments to larger font and unthreaded as the page finishes loading?

    Feature or bug?

    1. subgenius

      Sorry my in page search was apparently on the wrong terms…thank you Outis..just saw the comment slightly above…

    2. Left in Wisconsin

      I had luck actually increasing the font size, which moved that large ad back over to the right side of the page where it is intended to be.

  26. Kurt Sperry

    A Lincoln Financial Group ad is breaking the page formatting here for me on Opera browser. The ad inhabits the left margin, pushes all the content to the right, and then adds a corresponding empty margin on the right. Turning my ad blocker helps a bit but then reduces the font size.

  27. David

    It will take days to cancel the contract with Whitefish – El Nuevo Dia (via Google Translate)

    Whitefish Energy Holdings’ controversial contract with the Electric Power Authority (AEE) continues to run until that company and its subcontractors complete work with two downtown transmission lines. Meanwhile, the key remains open for the company to continue receiving public funds.

    …by the time that the cancellation is executed, AEE subscribers will have paid more than $ 30 million for the contract, said yesterday the executive director of the public corporation, Ricardo Ramos, who said that the contract has a notice of cancellation 30 days in advance.

    …It was said that the contract awarded to Whitefish was signed on September 26, but a new version of that agreement was signed on October 17, a version that the Governing Board approved retroactively. The governor’s executive order (OE-2017 53) declaring an emergency and flexible contracting in public agencies and corporations was issued on September 28.

    Ramos acknowledged that the contract with Whitefish said in a clause that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) had reviewed and approved the agreement. It also stated that it was not subject to review.

    “The clause was there because the Authority intended and the consultants intended that the contract be approved by FEMA,” he said, noting that “there were several” lawyers who reviewed the contract. “Never forget that we are working in an emergency,” he added.

    …The Nuevo Día knew that, upon seeing the initial contract, FEMA requested that the error be corrected, which was not done. Now, the federal agency can choose one of three ways: to be paid for what they call “eligible work” (repaired), that is not paid or that determines the eligible cost in full.

    Both Ramos and the governor have said the contract would be paid with FEMA disbursements.

    Yesterday and to questions from this newspaper, Ramos said that the AEE, which is bankrupt and faces restructuring under Title III of the federal law PROMESA, had before the hurricane passed $ 100 million in an emergency fund. FEMA then awarded it $ 128 million. Asked about the current liquidity of the ESA, Ramos said, “Yes, I have, but a little.”

    He said the initial contact he had with Whitefish was through an email he received from the company. This is one of several versions offered by Ramos. “A proposal was requested. That proposal was received directly. There was no type of intermediary, “he said.

    Ramos and Andrew Techmanski, founder of Whitefish, have not been able to specify when the call was issued for the granting of the large contract. Ramos said he chose to issue a call.

    He said they received six proposals in total from interested companies. Previously, he had told this newspaper that there were five companies. He assured that the rates were similar. But at the moment, no copy of the initial contract has been obtained from Whitefish, who subcontracted its employees to work in Puerto Rico.

    …Rosselló [Governor Ricardo Rosselló] insisted yesterday that the largest contract awarded after Hurricane Maria was not consulted.

    “No (I was consulted on that contract). And is that now the Authority has its role. They had emergency powers. They have their (government) board, they consult with the board and everyone has to do their job, “he said.

    He added that due to the emergency caused by the hurricane, which entered the island as category 4, the executive order that the Secretary of the Interior, William Villafañe, must review any contract greater than $ 10,000.

    …Documents provided by La Fortaleza indicate that AEE management did not communicate with its Board until 14 days after Maria, despite the fact that these directors reside in Puerto Rico. The vice president of the AEE Governing Board is the director of the Ports Authority, Omar Marrero, while the president is Ernesto Sroig, who was the finance director of the governor’s election campaign, his committee said.

    This Governing Board was appointed by Rosselló in summer, under the justification that it should respond to its public policy. The new configuration left out two of three of the consumer representatives. The remainder has not yet been designated by the Department of Consumer Affairs.

    …Initially, Rosselló entrusted an audit to the Office of Management and Budget, which desisted from investigating for lack of resources, despite the fact that its organic law confers that power.

    The first executive left the door open to give the same treatment that yesterday gave Whitefish to the contract of Cobra Acquisitions LLC.

    Ramos, meanwhile, said that with the cancellation of the contract and, “if we do nothing,” work would be delayed to restore power.

    Therefore, the AEE will seek to change the logistics of the works and shuffle several alternatives. These options are to increase “the scope of work of Cobra Acquisitions LLC, whose contract is for a ceiling of $ 200 million. That contract will cost subscribers, in principle, about $ 4,000 per day.

    Another alternative is for new companies to move to Puerto Rico. The third option is for the EEA to negotiate directly with Whitefish subcontractors. “I do not know if it is contractually possible,” said Ramos, who asked press questions that a first option is for the Corps of Engineers to increase the number of brigades on the island.

    Apologies for the length. What a mess.

  28. Juliania

    Somehow the Platonic spoof connects for me to an excellent book I am reading (from the library!) – ” Lincoln’s Virtues” by William Lee Miller. Here is what the young politician had to say to a well-meaning temperance group early in his career:

    “On the contrary, [ On the subject of roundly denouncing ‘dram drinkers’] assume to dictate to his judgment, or to command his action, or to mark him as one to be shunned and despised, and he will retreat within himself, close all the avenues to his head and his heart; and tho’ your cause be naked truth itself, transformed to the heaviest lance, harder than steel, and sharper than steel can be made, and tho’ you throw it with more than Herculean force and precision, you shall no more be able to pierce him, than to penetrate the hard shell of a tortoise with a rye straw. “

    1. LifelongLib

      Lincoln was not a drinker himself, but apparently had little use for temperance groups. His secretary John Hay wrote that “He [Lincoln] was very abstemious — ate less than any one I know. Drank nothing but water — not from principle, but because he did not like wine or spirits. Once, in rather dark days early in the war, a Temperance Committee came to him & said the reason we did not win was because our army drank so much whiskey as to bring down the curse of the Lord upon them. He said dryly that it was rather unfair on the part of the aforesaid curse, as the other side drank more and worse whiskey than ours did.”

    2. ChrisPacific

      It lacked the elegance of the original, but the ending was fairly accurate.

      I made it about halfway through The Republic and more than once found myself wishing that this Socrates guy would just shut up – a sentiment that was occasionally shared by some of the other characters.

  29. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The big issue, after Climate Change, Free Universal Healthcare and Wealth Inequality.

    Big Tech and Amazon: too powerful to break up? FT. Did Bezos get that vest from Deray? Or vice versa?

    If you think Washington’s going to regulate Big Tech, I’ve got a bridge I’ll sell you Business Insider

    Why we need a 21st-century Martin Luther to challenge the church of tech Guardian

    Maybe we tax Big Tech to fund the solutions to all 3 issues, not because the government needs that money, but because it will show who’s the boss here.

  30. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Brawn > Brain?

    From the Raccoon article, Quartz:

    Another raccoon, a lab-raised female, did her own thing. She displaced the water but didn’t reach for the marshmallow like the others. Instead, she gripped the inner rim, jumped on top, rocked the apparatus, toppled it and hopped off to collect the treat. This feat surprised the researchers. The test was specifically designed to prevent that result; the plastic tube raccoons used were mounted on a stable square platform, yet this didn’t deter her.

    It’s like both the pitcher and the hitter know a sneaky, brainy curve ball is coming. This is not the 100MPH fastball, mano-a-mano all-game-long stuff. It’s about outsmart one another, with a particular pitching selection.

    Yet, when both the pitcher and the hitter are equally smart, it then comes to be brawn or muscle reflect and reaction.

    Here, both the humans and the raccoon are equally matched, as far as the expecteed particular result goes. So, this little raccoon won, with brain, and brawn (strong enough to topple what the humans thought impossible to topple.

    1. HotFlash

      If raccoons and squirrels ever make an alliance, we humans are doomed — *DOOMED!!*. Me, I try to be nice to raccoons and squirrels and hope the remember me.

  31. Oregoncharles

    Looks like the Catalonian independence movement fizzled:

    “The Oct. 1 vote in the prosperous region with its own language and culture has triggered Spain’s biggest crisis in decades. On Friday, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy sacked Catalonia’s secessionist government and called a snap regional election for Dec. 21, and said the central government would take direct control.

    That process began smoothly on Monday as employees ignored calls for civil disobedience and turned up for work, while secessionist parties agreed to stand in the December poll.

    A senior Spanish government official said on Monday that Puigdemont had traveled to Belgium. He drove to the French city of Marseilles to catch a flight to Belgium with five other members of his sacked administration, Spanish media reported. ”

    Probably too divided internally. They’re charging the leadership, though, which will prevent them from running in the new elections.

  32. ewmayer

    It seems there is another ‘EM” who frequently sends links and such to the management, since neither the frozen mosses link nor the beagle pic are from this EM. Hey, getcher own set of initials, pal!

  33. Daryl

    > “People are getting freelancers to design new types of cryptocurrencies.” So totallly not frothy.

    I see a LOT of these jobs and I avoid them like the plague. It’s the new “I’m going to get rich off the app store” thing but somehow even more riddled with scams, bad faith and people who have no understanding of the underlying technology. I can’t wait until this thing blows over.

    I saw a headline the other day about coins and immediately rolled my eyes only to discover that it was about an actual mint who make coins for fantasy books: . Seems like a fairer business model…

Comments are closed.