2:00PM Water Cooler 11/29/2017

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Net Neutrality

“The FCC’s Attack On Net Neutrality Is Based Entirely On Debunked Lobbyist Garbage Data” [TechDirt]. “That net neutrality didn’t harm sector investment isn’t really debatable. Just ask industry executives from Frontier, Comcast, Cablevision, Sprint, AT&T, Sonic and even neutrality public enemy number one, Verizon all of who are on public record telling investors the “net neutrality killed sector investment” claim simply isn’t true. That this concept is a canard is also supported by public SEC filings and earnings reports, as well as the billions being spent on spectrum as these companies rush toward the fifth generation (5G) wireless networks of tomorrow.”

“The New Sewer Socialists Are Building an Equitable Internet” [The Nation]. “Chattanooga is widely known by a silicon-tinged moniker that sounds a bit more Santa Clara: “Gig City,” a reference to “the Gig,” the city’s municipally owned fiber-optic network. Funded in part by a $111 million federal stimulus grant and maintained by the Electric Power Board (EPB), Chattanooga’s public electric utility, the Gig’s ambitions feel more collectivist—and more fundamental—than the superficial “disruption” on offer from private-sector techno-utopians.”


“The Trump administration took the rare step on Tuesday of “self-initiating” a trade remedy case against China, launching a pair of investigations that could lead to steep duties on imports of aluminum sheet valued at more than $600 million” [Politico]. This strikes me as a bad time to drive the price up tinfoil up.



“Alabama Senate Special Election – Moore vs. Jones” [Real Clear Politics]. “Moore +2.0.” (11/28: Jones +0.8). The pollster, JMC, comments: “[T]here are three main takeaways: (1) Roy Moore has regained his lead in the polls; (2) Republicans have similarly regained the lead in the generic ballot test, and (3) allegations of sexual misconduct against Roy Moore have not materially impacted the race.” If the poll’s model of electorate is correct, then, Moore voters are acting exactly like Democrats who support Bill Clinton act: They are saying that their candidate’s views on policy outweigh personal flaws. Isn’t that — within reason — how we want voters to act?

2016 Post Mortem

UPDATE “Bernie Sanders nominated for a Grammy” [The Hill]. “The former presidential candidate and actor Mark Ruffalo were nominated Tuesday in the spoken word category for the audiobook of “Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In,” Sanders’s 2016 tome.”

Trump Transition

Tax “reform”:

“Trump, Republicans back Democrats ideas to sell tax cut bill” [McClatchy]. “The Senate’s big, Republican-authored tax bill is teetering, needing the support of wavering GOP senators. To win the support of the last holdouts, the president and Republican leaders are suggesting sweeteners to Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, that have the imprimatur of two Senate Democrats.” Alexander-Murray, of course! (This is from November 28, so the situation may have changed.)

“Manchin, Heitkamp won’t rule out voting for GOP tax bill” [The Hill].

“Tennessee Republican [Bob Corker] negotiated a budget deal in September that the tax cuts cannot increase the national debt by more than $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years. Now he’s concerned about various gimmicks and overly rosy assumptions [incroyable!] in the bill that would almost certainly mean the true impact on the debt is far greater than that. So the retiring senator has been pushing in recent days to include a ‘trigger’ that would automatically increase taxes down the road if the bill fails to generate the level of economic growth that Republicans leaders keep publicly predicting” [WaPo]. Raising taxes in a recession? What could go wrong?

“Republican voters’ support for the House GOP tax plan dropped significantly in the past week, from 66% to 59%, per a new Politico/Morning Consult poll” [Axios]. “The poll found what voters consider the least popular provision in the plan — the House’s proposal to eliminate the state and local tax deduction (SALT) for income taxes (it will remain in place for property taxes up to $10,000).”

UPDATE “Live Coverage of CNN Tax Bill Debate: Sanders & Cantwell vs Cruz & Scott” [Progressive Army]. Live blog. Good collective effort by Progressive Army!

Realignment and Legitimacy

“It took all of five minutes for Tom Perez to quote Hamilton. The DNC honcho was dispensing his stump speech—he had done about twenty of these events in the last couple weeks—to a gaggle of millennials at the DNC’s Young Professional Leadership Council Launch” [The Baffler]. “There were other signs that this was the same bloated corpse of a political racket that had stumbled through the 2016 election amid a steady stream of embarrassing revelations about its top-down, self-dealing managerial ethos. One corner of the bar had been cordoned off with velvet rope, behind which Perez, before he ascended the stage, schmoozed and took selfies with donors of a certain tier. Once he did take the mic, Perez praised his DNC colleague Meng and then for some reason saw fit to tell the room, “She knows that the most important title she’ll have in her life is ‘mom.'” (Again, Meng is a member of Congress.)” Read the whole thing. I didn’t know whether to puke or go blind, as my father used to say. And don’t miss the part about “The Gyroscope”; it reminds me of Baudrillard’s “The Regulon,” as described by Adam Gopnik (before he lost his mind).

“Democrats Missed Their Opportunity” [Amy Walter, Cook Political Report]. “We are reportedly at a ‘watershed’ moment on the issue of sexual harassment… From an electoral standpoint, this new focus on empowering and energizing women voters should be an opportunity for Democrats… Given the lack of immediate consequences for Conyers and Franken, it isn’t all that surprising that despite expectations of a flood of accusations, we’ve seen just a trickle…. Democrats had the first shot at breaking new ground….. Imagine if, instead, Democratic leaders stood up and said, ‘this is unacceptable, this is the line in the sand, and these are the consequences.’ Maybe it would have been public call for resignation or expulsion. Or, a loss of committee assignments. Or, the loss of their pension. Yes, it would be messy. Yes, it might be challenged in court. And, yes it would have caused intra-party friction. But, it would be a shock to the system. It would say to voters that we are able to exceed the low expectations you have set for us. Instead, the system — and the status quo — continue to survive.” Strong piece from the level-headed Walter. For example–

“An Anguished Congressional Black Caucus Is Trying To Figure Out What To Do About John Conyers” [Buzzfeed]. “‘We all just don’t know what to think,’ said one senior Democrat, who agreed to speak to BuzzFeed News on the condition of anonymity. ‘You don’t want to believe anyone just would lie about something like this. But you don’t want to believe he would do it, either, because we know him. And it’s one thing if it’s Harvey Weinstein, but it’s another thing when it’s somebody you know.'” Weinstein was a fully paid-up member of the donor class, and enough of an insider to have email exchanges with DNC insiders (“Mook wrote back replying to Weinstein’s offer to meet up and discuss strategy: ‘Are you kidding? Let’s do it! I’m here all week. This is all hands on deck–it’s must win! Would tomorrow or Tuesday work?'” Hi, Robbie! [waves]). And this “senior Democrat” “didn’t know” Weinstein? Please.

“The Blatant Democratic Hypocrisy on Sexual Misconduct” [Current Affairs]. “Here’s something that shouldn’t need saying: if you claim to oppose some kind of conduct, but modify your stance on it based on whether the person who is engaging in it is a member of your political party, people will probably not believe that you are very sincere in your convictions. The test for whether you’re actually principled is whether you are consistent. If someone condemns George W. Bush for some act, but defends it when Barack Obama does it, they don’t really care about the act itself. Likewise, one’s response to sexual misconduct by Democrats has to be the same as it would be to sexual misconduct by Republicans.” Includes excellent Garrison Keillor takedown, which is sad, because I loved A Prairie Home Companion back in, oh, the early 80’s, when Keillor’s schtick was still bitter, astringent, and uncurdled.

“Millennial poll: Strong majority want a third political party” [NBC]. “White millennials, at 75 percent, are most likely to express a desire for a third party, with strong majorities of African Americans (69 percent), Asian Americans (69 percent) and Latinos (64 percent) agreeing.” Imagine taking a poll on third parties in the United States in 1853, a year before the Republican Party was founded, based on ascriptive identities like “white” and “black,” and not on issues, like Abolition! And imagine doing it with a straight face!

This should be interesting:

@LarryWebsite in on the DSA National Political Committee, and seems to have done a lot of the on-the-road organizing work for many of the new chapters that emerged in the last year.

Stats Watch

GDP, Q3 2017 (Preliminary): “Third-quarter GDP proved even more solid than the first estimate, revised 3 tenths higher in the second estimate to an as-expected 3.3 percent annualized rate” [Econoday]. “Turning back to inventories, whether builds are actually positive or negative for the outlook are always difficult to assess, but given this year’s general strength in consumer and business demand, the third-quarter build is probably a positive for the outlook, suggesting that businesses were stocking up for strength ahead including for the holiday shopping season… Early expectations for fourth-quarter GDP are once again in the 3 percent range.” And but: “First revision has the consumer a bit weaker than expected, which means the savings rate isn’t quite as weak as initially reported. The savings rate, however, is still unsustainabl[y] weak, meaning either consumer spending falls further or personal income growth reverses its deceleration. The other revisions include an increase in already too high inventories that have already turned negative in Q4, and a smaller trade deficit that is now showing increases in q4” [Mosler Economics]. And: “The consumer spending declined, but the real improvement came from fixed investment. I am not a fan of quarter-over-quarter exaggerated method of measuring GDP – but my year-over-year preferred method showed moderate acceleration from last quarter” [Econintersect]. And: “Residential investment was revised up slightly from -6.0% to -5.1%. This was at the consensus forecast” [Calculated Risk]. And: “It was no secret that the economic activity was looking stronger in 2017, but now the talk of getting back to 3.0% growth in gross domestic product (GDP) is more of a reality than a theory” [247 Wall Street].

Corporate Profits, Q3 2017 (Preliminary): “Corporate profits, at an annualized rate of $1.86 trillion in the first estimate for the third quarter, rose 10.0 percent compared to the third quarter of 2016” [Econoday].

Pending Home Sales Index, October 2017: “Led by a hurricane bounce in the South, the pending home sales index jumped a much sharper-than-expected 3.5 percent in October which points to continued gains for final sales of existing homes” [Econoday]. But: “The rolling averages are in negative territory. The data is very noisy and must be averaged to make sense of the situation. There is no signs of a surge in home sales, although the trends are now upward” [Econintersect]. And: “This was above expectations of a 1.0% increase for this index. Note: Contract signings usually lead sales by about 45 to 60 days, so this would usually be for closed sales in November and December” [Calculated Risk].

MBA Mortgage Applications, week of November 24, 2017: “Purchase applications for home mortgages rose by a seasonally adjusted 2 percent in the November 24 week, while applications for refinancing declined sharply again, falling 8 percent” [Econoday].

Real Estate: “[Real estate and logistics services firm CBRE Inc.] analyzed the average size of U.S. warehouses built during the 2002-07 development upswing and compared those figures to the 2012-17 period, when e-commerce took hold in the mainstream. The analysis found that the average facility size increased by 143 percent, to 184,693 square feet, and that the average warehouse’s clear height rose by 3.7 feet, to 32.3 feet” [DC Velocity]. “The largest expansions came in metropolitan areas with the big populations coveted by online sellers and the abundant land required by developers.”

Real Estate: “The concept of self-driving, or autonomous, trucks continues to receive more heightened attention. And that is for a variety of reasons, including the difficulty carriers are having in filling trucks with drivers, an aging workforce for active drivers in the market, as well as the impact of fuel on over all trucking costs, among others” [Logistics Management]. This is interesting:

And it outlined what it termed the main consequences of real estate related to autonomous trucking technology, including:

  • lower transport costs, with supply chains needing fewer warehouses, which may lead to fewer but larger warehouses being built in remote locations;
  • last-mile delivery facilities being crucial elements in the network, switching from diesel to electric, with these facilities needing to be able to receive large, or, semi-automated truck convoys and deploy electric city delivery vehicles. CBRE also said these sites will need to be equipped with extensive battery loading stations;
  • and

    all warehouses will need a courtyard that allows automatic maneuvering, accommodating self-driving trucks going to and from facilities

(Assuming we get to Level 5, because that’s what “autonomous” means, which I don’t.). But this “courtyard.” Readers? What’s up with that?

Shipping: “A Christmas bonus for carriers as demand for air freight capacity ‘goes crazy'” [The Loadstar]. “Intense demand for air freight space has led to shippers opting for sea freight as a faster option. Demand ‘has gone crazy’ said one forwarder, citing a four-to-five-week wait for maindeck capacity from Europe to the US and Mexico. ‘I’ve never seen anything like it.'”

The Bezzle: “The scandal in Japan over faked quality data on industrial suppliers is widening and taking in more transport operations. Toray Industries Inc. says a manufacturing subsidiary falsified information on materials used to strengthen car tires… and that irregularities hit shipments sent to at least 13 companies” [Wall Street Journal].

The Bezzle: “Tesla will charge $150,000 for the Tesla Semi model with a 300-mile range and $180,000 for the model with a 500-mile range, according to the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company’s website. Trucks with internal combustion engines typically sell for slightly more than $100,000, so Tesla’s price tag is expensive but ‘not too terribly crazy,’ said Doug Rabeneck, director in the operations excellence practice at business and technology consulting firm West Monroe Partners” [DC Velocity]. “Tesla said today it had increased the deposit required to reserve a Tesla Semi from $5,000 to $20,000. The company also announced it had set a fee of $200,000 to reserve a “Founders Series” edition of the semi, which represents the full price of that model. Tesla did not define what Founders Series meant, but published reports suggest the name refers to the first 1,000 vehicles to be produced.” In other words, the *.0 release, which no sensible person should ever pay full price for.

The Bezzle: “Elon Musk, We Have Some Questions Before Ordering Our Tesla Semi” (PDF) [Stifel (via DC Velocity)]. This is excellent. Read the whole thing. One question: “3. What assumptions go into the total cost of ownership (TCO) and payback calculations? Not having answers here is a non-starter. Tesla claims a diesel truck will be 20% more expensive to operate than its electric Semi, but the company offers little information to support that claim. Outside of vehicle price, our key questions here are around the assumptions for miles driven and the use case for the vehicle.” (Of course, if the real use case is robot trucks….)

The Bezzle: “G.M. Unveils Its Driverless Cars, Aiming to Lead the Pack” [New York Times]. “On Thursday, G.M. will demonstrate its growing fleet of computer-operated, battery-powered Chevrolet Bolts in San Francisco to dozens of investment analysts, who are eager to evaluate the automaker’s advanced test vehicles…. To emphasize the company’s progress, Mr. Ammann said the cars would be ready for consumer applications in ‘quarters, not years.'” Hmm. GM only started testing robot cars in Manhattan recently, so I’d like to know how many quarters. That said, I take GM more seriously than Tesla, let alone Uber, because they actually know something about cars. And I give credit to them for testing in Manhattan, as opposed to sunny Phoenix, with its wide, gridded streets. But Level 5? We shall see.

The Bezzle: A trivial addition to Yves’s post this morning on the Uber v. Waymo trial. This is how I saw the industrial espionage moment flash by on the Twitter, live:

“[extremely long pause].” So awesome.

The Bezzle: Joseph Stiglitz: “Bitcoin is successful only because of its potential for circumvention, lack of oversight. So it seems to me it ought to be outlawed. It doesn’t serve any socially useful function” [MarketWatch].

Tech: “Apple releases a macOS security update to fix huge login security flaw” [TechCrunch]. To describe the “flaw” — calling this a flaw is a bit like calling Fukushima an accident — in macOS “High Sierra” once more:

On the login screen or in the preference panel, you could bypass all security screens by entering the root username and no password. Multiple persons at TechCrunch tested the flaw and could replicate it effortlessly. After that, you can see everything on the computer even if it’s not yours. It even works with a screen sharing session. For hackers, it’s a great way to access your emails, personal data and more.

So, in other words, your Mac had zero factor authentication and was just as vulnerable as the stupidest Internet of Shit toaster or coffee maker or whatever. And this same technical culture is also going to be programming your robot cars and trucks. What could go wrong?

Tech: “Watch Snapchat’s CEO explain the new app design in 60 seconds” [Business Insider]. Snap CEO Evan Spiegel: “”One of the complaints we’ve heard about social media is that photos and videos from your friends are mixed in with content from publishers and creators and influencers. But your friends aren’t content — they’re relationships.” The redesign separates the two forms of content. Note that this is precisely what Facebook does not do; Facebooks “News Feed” expresses the idea in UI/UX form that your transactions are friendly and your friends are transactional. (No wonder kids these days think libraries rent books.) So, contra Tech Crunch, I don’t think algorithmic personalization of published content is the biggest deal here. Spiegel writes in Axios:

The combination of social and media has yielded incredible business results, but has ultimately undermined our relationships with our friends and our relationships with the media. We believe that the best path forward is disentangling the two by providing a personalized content feed based on what you want to watch, not what your friends post.

Our thought bubble: It’s vitally important that future content feeds are built on top of a human-curated supply of content – rather than just anything that surfaces on the Internet. Curating content in this way will change the social media model and also give us both reliable content and the content we want.

I suppose Spiegel tracks me just as much as Zuck, but I’m down to using Facebook for occasional messaging, the experience is so bad. Perhaps I should move on…

Five Horsemen: “Air hisses out of the Fab Five as the mania rotates to the financial sector.” [Hat tip, Jim Haygood].

Five Horsemen Nov 29

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 65 Greed (previous close: 64, Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 54 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed. Last updated Nov 29 at 11:49am. Mr. Market thinks the tax bill will pass?

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Little elves:

Dear Old Blighty

“Viagra to be sold without prescription in Britain” [France24]. Noted.


“Moody’s Warns Cities to Address Climate Risks or Face Downgrades” [Bloomberg]. “In its report, Moody’s lists six indicators it uses “to assess the exposure and overall susceptibility of U.S. states to the physical effects of climate change.” They include the share of economic activity that comes from coastal areas, hurricane and extreme-weather damage as a share of the economy, and the share of homes in a flood plain. Based on those overall risks, Texas, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi are among the states most at risk from climate change. Moody’s didn’t identify which cities or municipalities were most exposed.”

Guillotine Watch

The 1% have horrible taste:

Class Warfare

“Want to Stop Sexual Abuse in the Workplace? Unionize” [PortSide]. “Harassment occurs at all levels of the economy precisely because it’s bound up with economic hierarchy. Women (and sometimes men) are targeted because they’re dependent on someone else — be it a boss or customer — for an income, a job, a promotion, a career path, etc. Women in low-wage work also often face retaliation for trying to fight back: not merely the loss of a career, but the loss of a viable income of any form.”

“BLOOD SUCKERS: CALL CENTER WORKERS BATTLE ABUSIVE CUSTOMERS, MANAGERS, BEDBUGS” [digboston]. “Abraham Zamcheck had had enough. On Wednesday, Nov 8, the 32-year-old call center representative jumped onto his desk in the offices of downtown Boston security systems firm SimpliSafe and attempted to rally his fellow workers to fight for their rights…. This time, it was an infestation in the company’s third- and fourth-floor call centers at 294 Washington St in Downtown Crossing. The bed bugs issue, which has reportedly been a problem since April and continues to plague the company’s Boston offices, was the tipping point for SimpliSafe workers.” Holy moley. Solidarity is the antidote to precarity… And bedbugs.

R.I.P. Douglas Oliver:

This tweetstorm is both joyful (I love good food and respect those who make it) and immensely sad.

News of the Wired

“Thank You” [Your Man for Fun in Rapidan]. A belated link to a Thanksgiving Post (and an example of the sort of small blog that would be utterly disappeared with the Packaged Internet brought about by ending net neutrality).

Internet of Shit:

So what happens to the dog when the Internet goes down?

* * *

Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please put it in the subject line. Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant (CR):

From Cleveland, OH (though it could be out my kitchen window in Maine).

* * *

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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. WobblyTelomeres

    But this “courtyard.” Readers? What’s up with that?

    Perhaps they meant “switch-yard” as with a railroad switch-yard.

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        If they are going to drop off and pick up trailers, they will have to back up at some point. Backing up isn’t difficult, even autonomously. Auto-parallel-parking cars are available today. Toyota, Lexus, BMW, Ford, Audi, Mercedes, even Jeep. I think they can handle it, especially if the vehicles are in a well-defined space. Like a switch-yard.

    1. FreeMarketApologist

      All this discussion about backing & loading in narrow space, has me wondering: Why not re-engineer truck dock areas so that a truck can drive straight onto onto a low platform, which is itself on rails / turntable / etc., that then ‘parks’ the trailer at the appropriate bay, or moves it inside the building for loading/unloading? Maybe the idea of parking / loading needs to be ‘disrupted’, not driving.

        1. a different chris

          Why not? KATO makes great stuff. Or is that the problem :)

          We have a beautiful KATO railcar/trailer that can go around no commercial curves that I have tried. Whatever radius it takes, I don’t think it will work in my tiny house. I should sell it but it is just so awesome…

          1. WobblyTelomeres

            Man, I’m still paying off a Zephyr set. And there is that little problem with the F3A/B that’s arriving in a few weeks.

            Must say no. Must say no. Must say no.

      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        or just maneuver the warehouse into position…
        I’ve never heard it called a “courtyard”, but I glean that its referring to the often large paved area(i remember when they were not all paved) wherein the trucks line up to wait for space at the dock, as well as ample maneuvering room to get turned around and lined up to backup to a dock when one becomes open.
        I’m remembering Houston before the mid80’s bust, and steelyards with lines and lines of flatbeds. incoming had priority.
        I’m just glad I’m not a trucker

        1. Edward E

          Maybe they meant to say marshalling yard or marshalling area and couldn’t quite select the best word. Security always lets me stay all night in the quiet marshalling yard nearby the Grand Ole Opry to go have fun. I’ve often misremembered that they call it a marshalling yard.

  2. Jim Haygood

    Sentiment boiled over this morning as Bitcoin blew through $11,000 and Katy Perry met with Uncle Warren Buffett to discuss the mysteries of blockchain.

    Now it’s dipped back below $10K as sellers top-tick the newbies. Easy come, easy go.


      1. Jim Haygood

        Bit Bros got so carried away, they temporarily broke the Coinbase and GDAX exchanges.

        Mere teething troubles, as our British comrades say.

        Today John McAfee upped his Bitcoin forecast to $1 million by the end of 2020, and promised to eat his reproductive organ if wrong. :-0

        This is how the Nasdaq felt in late 1999.

    1. Mark Alexander

      Like Lambert, I enjoyed PHC when I discovered it back in the mid ’80s (my interest faded when it moved to New York). But I finally lost all respect for Keillor when, during his last PHC show, he sucked up to Obama by calling him “cool”, and then later referred to Hillary’s forthcoming reign as if it were inevitable (to great applause, of course). So yeah, I’m feeling some schadenfreude now; I’m a bad person, I guess.

      1. Hana M

        I first heard PHC in the 80s the same week I moved from NYC to Wisconsin. I had only the day after had a close encounter with a massive sow protecting her piglets. When I heard the shtick about the Norwegian Bachelor Farmers and then a cut to an ‘ad’ for “Buttermilk Biscuits with the brown stains that indicate freshness” I stalled my manual transmission car on a hill in a moment of panic. “What had I done? What was I thinking moving to this wilderness?!”

        Happily, I got over my initial culture shock, fell in love with rural Wisconsin. PHC remained mildly amusing, though far less wonderful than the real Wisconsin and the real people that make the state such a special place.

        After I moved back to NYC in the 90s, PHC seemed artificial, a pale reflection of the reality of living where everyone with sense knows how to pack an emergency winter survival kit and also knows that nursing sows and piglets are not cute animals that strangers can pet..

    2. Annotherone

      And the beat goes on! I’m not a G. Keillor fan – his Prairie Home Companion was a favourite of the husband, but for me it was way too intentionally twee. This latest accusation did surprise me though. It seems he admits his hand slipped, though accidentally, onto the woman’s bare back when he was trying to comfort her. Maybe that’s the twee version of harassment.

      1. JBird

        When he was good, he was Good and comfortable listening like a good book you’re reading again. The idolizing of him was annoying along with his occasional smarm.

  3. Tim

    Courtyard, would just be a set of requirements on what is needed in the dock space for the existing driverless trucks to operate. Could be a combination of minimum dimensions, permanent elimination of any junk, addition of remote sensors or special reflectors that improve accuracy of the truck’s sensors..

    Toray makes lots of composite fibers for reinforcement of everything including aircraft structures. Not good.

    Regarding the temp kennel, it appears to be acoustically isolated, which means it does require power to sustain an HVAC system to keep the dog alive.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Electronic signature required on the release, indemnification and hold harmless EULA document you can read on the tiny screen…

  4. Wukchumni

    So far politicians have been brought down a peg in the which hunt and nothing Moore, the most egregious one in Alabama is in a neck & redneck race a fortnight out and might well triumph.

    But I can see lots more celebrities and the like going down in our version of the Cultural Revolution of sorts.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Cultural Revolution.

      We need a theatrical play to start one, maybe.

      From Wikipedia:

      Hai Rui Dismissed from Office (Chinese: 海瑞罢官; pinyin: Hǎi Ruì bà guān; Wade–Giles: Hai3 Jui4 Pa4-kuan1) is a theatre play notable for its involvement in Chinese politics during the Cultural Revolution.

      The play is a tragedy in which an honest official carries the complaints of the people to the emperor at the expense of his career. It portrays Hai as an efficient magistrate who requests an audience with the emperor. Hai then criticizes the Emperor directly for tolerating the corruption and abuses perpetuated by other officials in the imperial government. The emperor is so offended by Hai’s criticism that he dismisses Hai from office.[3] Hai is restored to office after the emperor dies.[4]

      After the play’s initial performance, critics began to interpret it as an allegory for Peng Dehuai’s criticism of Mao during the 1959 Lushan Conference, in which Peng’s criticism of Mao’s Great Leap Forward led Mao to purge Peng. According to this interpretation, Hai Rui is Peng, and the Ming Emperor is Mao. Peng himself agreed with this interpretation, and stated “I want to be a Hai Rui!” in a 1962 letter to Mao requesting his return to politics.[3]
      After becoming convinced that Hai Rui was an allegory for Peng Dehuai, in 1965 Mao devised a long-term scheme to eliminate his chief rival within the Party, Chinese President Liu Shaoqi, by criticizing the writer of the play, Wu Han. By criticizing and removing Wu Han, Mao planned to criticize and remove his superior in Beijing, Peng Zhen, who was one of Liu Shaoqi’s closest supporters, with the ultimate intention criticizing and eliminating President Liu Shaoqi.[5]

  5. George Phillies

    “Strong majority want a third political party”” Experiment suggests that the ‘say” fades when a speaker is actually presented with third parties. We have already as third parties the Libertarian, Green, and Constitution parties, the short-lived object believed to be a vehicle for Mayor Bloomberg, and many state-level groups. The product sells less than well in the real world.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Is it ‘I don’t like the third party choices I have seen so far,’ or ‘I don’t do what I say?’

      If it’s ‘I don’t do what I say,’ then, taking over a party is just as futile. ‘Join the real world!!!!’

      I hope it’s more ‘give me a good third party that can excite me.’

    2. David, by the lake

      What we need is a form of proportional representation, then the multi-party ecosystem will create itself.

      (Cue plug for Constitutional Convention)

      “Proposed Amendment #4 (Proportional Election of Representatives)

      Article 1. Seats of a State’s delegation to the House of Representatives shall be allocated proportionally among the political parties registering in that State for the election, according to the proportion of the total vote within that State for that party.

      Article 2. Each political party shall be awarded a number of seats equal to the whole number of its proportion of the total vote. Any remaining seats shall be awarded singly, beginning with the party with the highest proportion of the total vote and proceeding to the next-highest, until all remaining seats have been awarded.

      Article 3. Each political party shall publicly register a slate of candidates with the State, with the awarded seats being allocated according to the ranking of the candidates within that slate.”

    3. Big River Bandido

      Just like the Republicans and Democrats, “third parties” you listed are political parties in name only. They don’t act like real parties at all. The Bloomberg party in particular is just a storefront…the shelves and aisles are empty.

    4. Elizabeth Burton

      Many of us who aren’t Millennials would like a solid third party as well, and no, we don’t have one. The Greens have wasted two decades that could have been used to make them one, and they were too busy “spreading the message” instead of getting people elected and their name permanently on ballots.

      The problem is that many if not most of those younger folk dying for a third party don’t have a clue what’s involved, so they rail and rant that they will never, ever vote for a Democrat because the party is unredeemable corrupt. They think they just need to have a whole lot of people demand Bernie sponsor it and it will magically appear. Tell them that (a) it will take most of a decade and millions of dollars to get a real third party in place and (b) we need to get progressive butts in seats now if we’re going to have a prayer of saving the country from becoming a neo-feudal state, and they won’t hear of it.

      In other words, to them it’s still a kind of pickup game where if you don’t like the teams that are playing you grab a bunch of your buds and start a new one.

      1. Richard

        The greens have wasted time, and lately (since Nader) have also become co-opted by the dems in an abusive, bullying relationship. David Cobb in particular seems to have encouraged this relationship, and he holds a very senior leadership position. People talk a lot about the Democrats’ need for self-examination and honest self-appraisal after 2016. The Greens need to do the very same thing actually.
        I mean, this is the litmus test, isn’t it? The desire for a reform-based 3rd party challenge could hardly be greater. The “demand” if you will. If the greens can’t prosper now, they never will, and they’re probably not even trying (as an organization).
        But you make a strong point Elizabeth, that all the “demand” in the world won’t do a thing without organization, leadership, and countless hours of gruntwork. If representative democracy is what we’re committed to, then we need thousands of leaders not only prepared to devote themselves to public service, but inspired by a radically different idea of what public service means. Behind them we’ll need tens of thousands of organizers and activists, all unified by a larger sense of purpose, and millions upon millions who support our positions (of course). Too often people start by looking at the millions, rather than the tens of thousands.
        I do think the youngers are absolutely on target that the Democratic Party is irredeemable. There’s a few fine leaders in there, but looked at as one entity, it’s a graft machine.
        Sorry for the somewhat disjointed nature of my response; it was a disjointed day.

  6. neighbor7

    It’s not Baudrillard’s Regulon; it was proposed by an “economist.”

    Baudrillard responds, “There is no Regulon in the Semiosphere.”

  7. WheresOurTeddy

    Re: Roy Moore thoughts

    …then Moore voters are acting exactly like Democrats who support Bill Clinton act: They are saying that their candidate’s views on policy outweigh personal flaws. Isn’t that — within reason — how we want voters to act?

    No, I don’t want rapists representing me regardless of party. I’m a hardliner that way.

    1. Adam Eran

      Doesn’t it seem a little coincidental that all these allegations are surfacing just as Roy Moore runs for senate?

      Granted, Obama normalized dishonesty, but making sexual predation ordinary seems to be the agenda here. Your personal animus against the harassers won’t cut much mustard with Joe Voter. He’ll say either: a) “f*** them all, they’re all disgusting, (and government of any kind is useless), I’m not voting, or b) Aw who cares what Moore did, they all do it. I’ll hold my nose and vote for him anyway.

      The Kochs get a win either way. … oh yes, and what society tolerates will remain essentially current practice.

      Ian Welsh notes that it’s hard for threatened people to act with their full intelligence, and because women have to navigate a world full of threats, or at least unwelcome advances, we deprive ourselves of their intelligence. One only has to look at someone like Yves to appreciate how significant is feminine intelligence.

  8. Summer

    DNC’s Young Professional Leadership Council Launch” [The Baffler].
    “One corner of the bar had been cordoned off with velvet rope, behind which Perez, before he ascended the stage, schmoozed and took selfies with donors of a certain tier….”

    The Hollywood touch…
    Re: Upscale Sex Shop…

    The design isn’t to show off how much empty space they can afford; it’s to show how clean they are.

    1. mle detroit

      Speaking of the 1%’s bad taste, when will somebody say out loud that Melania Trump wears The.Ugliest.FLOTUS.Outfits.EVAH. The “Angels in America” costume this week…

  9. Jean

    Hey G.M. How about unleashing your self driving cars on the streets of San Francisco?
    Chinatown on a Saturday afternoon, now that’s a test of self driving.

  10. Livius Drusus

    Re: Alabama Senate Special Election: In my experience hyper-partisans will believe or will not believe allegations of sexual misconduct based on who the target it is. Here there is no difference between Democrats and Republicans so I am not surprised that the allegations against Moore are not really hurting him.

    Another thing to remember is that most people are not heavy into the political Twitterverse and people are burned out on media and political scandals so I think among ordinary people there is a lot of shoulder shrugging and “how do you know the allegations are true?” or “boy’s will be boys” with regard to sexual harassment allegations especially against politicians. You cannot say this sort of thing as a public figure or you will be branded as supporting or dismissing harassment but I guarantee that ordinary people are not as obsessed about these allegations as the political/media class is.

    I am not saying that it is right that a lot of people don’t care about these allegations but I strongly suspect that many people don’t care or think some of them are false or misremembered or conjured up by the other side for political gain or are simply a case of men doing what men do. It is the same reason people were willing to dismiss all of the allegations against Trump in 2016. Political and media junkies who live for this stuff don’t understand that most ordinary people don’t care that much about the sex lives of the rich and famous outside of whatever lurid entertainment value it has. When ordinary people vote they vote based on other things like whether they think a candidate will be good for their pocketbook, hence why all of those moderate suburban Republicans voted for Trump much to the chagrin of the Democrats. Tax cuts mattered more than allegations of sexual harassment. I am not saying it is right but it is true.

    1. ABasLesAristocrates

      I’m legitimately surprised that even molesting a child is looked at with this lens. For some reason I assumed there had to be a limit to what people were willing to accept from “their side”. I stand corrected, as I usually do when I assume there is some depth to which the majority of people will not sink.

    2. Yves Smith

      I was just in Alabama for ten days.

      It’s not a matter of believing in the allegations. Roy Moore is anti-abortion. Southern Baptists are one issue voters. Doesn’t matter what he did. They’d vote for him over Jones not matter what. Lambert is correct that they are voting on policy.

  11. dcblogger

    If the poll’s model of electorate is correct, then, Moore voters are acting exactly like Democrats who support Bill Clinton act: They are saying that their candidate’s views on policy outweigh personal flaws. Isn’t that — within reason — how we want voters to act?

    Moore’s molestations are so frequent that he is blocked from shopping malls. This is way worse than any accusation against Clinton,

    What this tells us is that you have to have SOME party infrastructure to win a statewide race. The Alabama Democrats are little better than the Green Party; a line on the ballot, but no real political party worthy of the name. This also shows that it is not enough to have a monster for an opponent, you have to demonstrate that you can make life better for voters.

    This is going to be very humiliating for Alabama and the country.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Our country has known humiliation for a long time.

      Still, many are desperate to come here.

    2. Livius Drusus

      That is a good point about the Democrats not having a strong state party in Alabama. This is why abandoning “Red State America” as hopelessly retrograde and unwinnable was always a bad idea. Even if you have to run social conservatives like John Bel Edwards it is better than abandoning the state to the Republicans. I am sure plenty of Alabama voters would vote for the Democrats if they offered something in the way of populist economics. There are a lot of poor people in the South who are ripe for the picking but the Dems have not done enough to get them motivated and to the polls.

      1. RUKidding

        This! Well Obama abandoned the 50 State Strategy when he won in 2008 and kicked Howard Dean to the curb, until Dean learned to come to heel.

        And this is the end result: there’s no credible to AL citizens candidate with a D beside their names. Sure, it would’ve always been close, but if the D Party had some game on in AL, maybe there would be a different story this time.

        Instead, it’s same old, same old… with no ground game happening, no back bench being developed, no real GOTV campaign.

        Why, it’s almost as the D Party intends to lose.

    3. lyman alpha blob

      This is way worse than any accusation against Clinton

      Thus proving the point of the very quote you pulled…

  12. clarky90

    Rather than the hackneyed and false (IMO) dichotomies of “left or right”, “fascist or communist”, “progressive or conservative”, I propose;

    “Reptilian brain dominant or mammalian brain dominant “

    “Can reptiles love you? A controversial emotion in reptiles is the concept of pleasure, or even love. Many feel that reptiles have not developed this emotion, as it does not naturally benefit them. However, most reptiles do seem to recognize people who frequently handle and feed them.”

    In my now longish life, I have learned to judge people by how they behave over time; not their words, their tone of voice, or their appearance.

    When I pressed wool at our long-gone, local wool scour we called our foreman “Little Bastard”. He was short, crabby and bossy. But, when things broke down or got jammed up, he was the first to dive in to help us. He was a good sort of person underneath. (a mammal, “distinguished from reptiles by the possession of a neocortex, hair, three middle ear bones, and mammary glands”.)

    On the other hand, I have known peaceful, religious, “ethical”, know-it-all types of people….

    I have noticed good people, and rotten hypocritical people in every political, social and religious denomination

      1. clarky90

        Massinissa, you will love this youtube video

        from DAWN CHORUS by Marcus Coates


        British artist Marcus Coates recorded British birdsong in the countryside. He then slowed the bird song down to human speed and pitch. He recruited British singers to sing the slowed down bird song in their (the human singer’s) natural habitat (like in the bath or in a car). He videoed the humans singing. He then sped up the video to bird pitch.

        Amazing, wonderfull! We become birdlike when accelerated up to bird speed.

  13. Sid Finster

    When a GOP tax bill can only muster the support of 59% of Team R voters, then you’re doing it wrong.

  14. marym

    Simpson and Bowles oppose the tax bill because it has only the “goodies” from their proposal, and

    because Democrats will be less likely to agree to entitlement reforms if Republicans won’t allow for sufficient revenue.

    Many members of Congress have privately told us they would be willing to make the tough votes for ambitious tax and spending reforms as part of a substantive fiscal plan but only if members on the other side jump in the canoe at the same time.

    1. JBird

      This is just buck passing.

      They’re in the same building so what’s preventing them from strolling to the other chair/desk/office/wing, or call/text/email/snail mail to meet for a coffee/beer/meal/party? If they are actually terrified, they could ask a staffer/friend/lobbyist/priest/rabbi to start the talks. They could also release a detailed agreement at a Q&A and press release to be done only if everyone was there.

      I think the explanation of wanting to want the other side to go with them does not pass my Bovine Fecal Meter Test.

  15. L

    The Washington Post just published this article which includes quotes from Republican Senators about the tax bill. Needless to say all are supportive but this one choice quote from Senator Pat Roberts is, I think, quite insightful:

    Roberts continued: “You’re asking me if it would increase income inequality — the whole aim of the bill is to [help] the middle class and also those who are less fortunate, so they can be part of this whole enterprise. Whether that’s going to happen or not, I can’t tell you. And I don’t think anybody else can with any factual basis. I guess my answer to you is, well, of course if that is the case, we’ll have to take care of it. This isn’t over with just passing this bill. … I think any tax reform bill will take a year or two to shake out and also a year or two to fix.”

    So a sitting senator is supportive of a massive rewrite to the tax code while candidly admitting that he has no factual basis to belive that it will help. That is where we are now. Cut taxes on a dare then “take care of it” later.

    1. ABasLesAristocrates

      It’s impressive that he could claim with a straight face that there’s any intention to benefit ordinary people, but nothing can approach Senator Hatch’s “outburst” when he pretended to be angry that he was accused of doing exactly what he was doing.

    1. Summer

      Had to come back to this because strip away all the “scientific” job titles and the overall skill is how much can you micro-manage someone else’s life? The majority of the economy is expected to “progress” that way.

    2. Stephen Gardner

      These are really funny to read. Classic futurist nonsense. Chief Trust Officer. Think about it. Instead of establishing trust by earning it. The Chief Trust Officer

      ” work[s] alongside our internal finance and PR teams, managing and enhancing our public and private presence across the financial sphere as we juggle cryptocurrencies and the need for greater transparency. The individual will also advise on traditional and cryptocurrency trading practices that maintain our integrity and brand reputation. The successful candidate will have experience in cryptocurrency trading and speculation, blockchain, traditional currency trading and PR/marketing.”

      . The instant you start talking about working alongside our PR teams and “juggling cryptocurrencies”. It’s not about being honest and worthy of trust but only appearing to be honest and worthy of trust.

      1. Stephen Gardner

        Oh and I forgot to mention what Stiglitz said:

        “Bitcoin is successful only because of its potential for circumvention, lack of oversight. So it seems to me it ought to be outlawed. It doesn’t serve any socially useful function”

        I guess I am not the only one who sees greater transparency as incompatible with juggling cryptocurrencies

        1. Summer

          You can’t have a pump and dump unless you get others to buy in.
          Thought there were enough market pyramid schemes.

      2. Summer

        “It’s not about being honest and worthy of trust but only appearing to be honest and worthy of trust.”
        My thought exactly.
        And crytocurrency mining sounds an awful lot like a video game, except points are exchanged as money.

      3. Summer

        The really telling one: “Genetic Diversity Diversity officer”

        So that you won’t think they are total Nazi, Eugenicists…

        “As our genetic diversity officer, your primary role will be to facilitate the profitability and
        productivity of the organization while fostering an environment of genetic inclusion. You
        will operate within legislative guidelines and mandates regarding the genetically enhanced
        workforce, constructing a companywide genetic equality policy and encouraging manage

        ment to adhere to and implement said policy within their business units. You will also work
        with our in-house and outsourced genetic pathologists to ensure that all members of staff
        are categorized correctly and fairly…”

        Among their primary responsibilities:
        Work with hiring teams to develop our Voluntary Genetic Declaration
        and mandatory genetic testing procedures for new associates.

        It’s Voluntary AND Mandatory…how about that for doublespeak!!

        Really, somebody thinks they have the keys to the world and are highly mistaken.

  16. Jonathan Holland Becnel

    Regarding Snapchat

    I Fn love it. And the texting function is wayyy more user friendly than Messenger.


  17. L

    Reason.com has a nice insightful point about the so called Deficit Trigger here. While I disagree with Reason’s general call for spending cuts to match the tax cuts, note that they don’t question the need for cuts in and of themselves. I find their point on this front to be quite clear.

    The key takeaway is this:

    It would create the appearance of accountability, not only to the public, but to Republican legislators themselves, many of whom are uncomfortable with parts of the tax bill yet feel intense pressure to pass major tax legislation anyway. In that sense, the trigger may be best understood as a vehicle for politically convenient self-deception, allowing Republicans who don’t care very much about the deficit and those who say they do to support the same legislation. It is a provision designed to let Republicans fool themselves.

  18. Synoia

    G.M. Unveils Its Driverless Cars, Aiming to Lead the Pack” [New York Times]. “On Thursday, G.M. will demonstrate its growing fleet of computer-operated, battery-powered Chevrolet Bolts in San Francisco

    Oh dear, my whimsy jumps to the fore:

    Chevrolet Bolts to the Front.

  19. Kevin

    There is no comparing Moore and Clinton.
    Consensual sex and diddling underage girls are galaxies apart.

    1. nippersmom

      Convenient of you to ignore all the women other than Monica Lewinsky who accused Bill Clinton of sexual harassment and assault. Sexual assault is, by definition, not “consensual”.

    2. Massinissa

      Your second sentence is true… But there are more allegations against Clinton than just Monica. So you’re setting up a straw man fallacy.

    3. WheresOurTeddy

      “Here’s something that shouldn’t need saying: if you claim to oppose some kind of conduct, but modify your stance on it based on whether the person who is engaging in it is a member of your political party, people will probably not believe that you are very sincere in your convictions. The test for whether you’re actually principled is whether you are consistent.” – Lambert, on this same page above

      2nd comment I’ve dropped this on. The allure of the two acceptable cattle chutes of thought is strong…

    4. Yves Smith

      Help me.

      1. Raping Juanita Brodderick was not consensual sex

      2. Clinton flew on Lolita Express at least 59 times, twice including long stopovers in locations where Epsetin was know to restock his supply of underage sex slaves. As far as I can tell, Moore only hit on underage girls and felt one up a bit.

      1. Edward E

        Well, kinda reminds me of helping a lady about Rich Mountain Aviation… and stuff…
        Hogan’s Heroes: “I know nothing!” – Master Sergeant Schultz

  20. Craig H.

    The dog park needs one of those laser-sensor-adjusted spray jet machines like they have in some car washes and you got a dog washing machine. Dog lovers might not buy it but maybe you can get venture capital funding for a couple of years of living it up.

    Are the companies who can’t keep bedbugs out of their call centers partnered with the people who want to retire all the personal automobiles and replace them with shared robotically driven cars?

  21. Jim Haygood

    Riveting news from the workaday world of transport:

    Intense demand for air freight space has led to shippers opting for sea freight as a faster option.

    Demand “has gone crazy” said one forwarder, citing a four-to-five-week wait for maindeck capacity from Europe to the US and Mexico.

    “I’ve never seen anything like it.”


    In today’s overheated speculative environment, this news touched off a frenzy in transport stocks, driving the now-obscure Dow Jones Transportation Average up 3.3% to a record high. Hockey stick chart:


    This poses a serious dilemma for the good Dr Hussman, who in earlier commentary has flirted with a 1920s relic called Dow Theory. It posits that when the Dow Industrials and Transports “confirm” each other, the market is bullish. Both hit record highs today, so their message is unambiguous: BUY.

    Over to you, Dr H.

    1. WheresOurTeddy

      Did the original theory account for a decade of financial sector levitation due to unprecedented quantitative easing and consolidation of ownership of almost all assets in the hands of the 1% due to near-zero interest rates for them and 40 years of stagnant wages + 29% credit card interest for the rest of us?

  22. Laika for the end of the internet

    The IoShit Dog: Laika of cyberspace.

    What does it mean to put a dog at the mercy of a dying internet as opposed to the vacuum of space in a booming aerospace era?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Hysteria over automation overblown.

      Only those who are out of work due to it, and a few Chicken Littles, like me, perhaps.

      In any case, I haven’t heard of any robot economists. So, for sure, overblown in that sector.

  23. Carolinian


    Then he turned more serious: “Anyone who ever was around my show can tell you that I was the least physically affectionate person in the building. Actors hug, musicians hug, people were embracing every Saturday night left and right, and I stood off in the corner like a stone statue.


    I’ve been to the after party for one of his shows and that sounds about right. And you can turn the Current Affairs statement around….we shouldn’t jump to conclusions that somebody did do something just because we don’t like them (and I don’t care for Keillor’s post career HRC boosterism or some of his WaPo columns). If MPR is going to fire their famous associate they should at least provide a non-vague explanation.

    1. MtnLife

      I’ve got some mixed feeling about this. I’m no fan of GK and if PHC disappeared off the face of the earth I would shrug. That being said, if this was truly a one time accident and not his creeper way of feeling her up then excusing it, then this seems overboard. 6″ up the shirt does seem far but my wife has some super flowy shirts that I could see that happening on. If he was actually attempting to be a decent human being when this happened and not being a super creep then this is ridiculous. Of course, if he was a creep he deserves what he gets. This got me to thinking: if any innocuous one time touch is grounds for dismissal – are women just being given enough rope to hang themselves? I can’t think of one woman that I’ve ever worked with that, at some point, didn’t put her hand on someone’s arm while talking to emphasize a point or empathize. In this “brave new world” (reference intended), that’s all sexual misconduct. I am in no way trying to excuse actual predators. I’m a little worried that the less egregious actions (a one time flirty pass, an accidental innocuous touch – things both men and women do all the time) are being put on par with rape and repeated harassment. I’m all for a charge against actual evil. Let’s just make sure we aren’t in the Light Brigade or being led by someone named Pickett.

      1. RUKidding

        I am in agreement with both comments.

        I’m in the crowd that mostly likes GK and PHC, although I haven’t been thrilled with his recent articles.

        That aside, what I’ve read so far about what he’s alleged to have done seems like incredibly small potatoes to me. Of course, I’m waiting to see if more information or accusations come to light. But if the situation remains as described, then I’ll feel pretty uncomfortable. It just doesn’t seem anywhere close to the same level as, for example, what Matt Lauer is alleged to have done (over and over and over). It’s not even as bad as what Al Franken’s alleged to have done.

        It seems like MPR is overreacting to me. One small accusation and boom! You’re out.

        I feel like that’s treading on thin ice – JMHO of course (others may disagree) – and making it such that men and women can hardly be in the same room together.

        Of course, time will tell, and we’ll see if there’s anything else. But so far?? Not so much.

        1. lyman alpha blob

          Could all be just a convenient excuse for the neolibs in charge of NPR to put an old cow out to pasture.

      2. Chris

        If GK really was, as he says, “…the least physically affectionate person in the building” then it’s quite likely that he could fumble a relatively innocuous social interaction that more polished social animals would get right every time. I’ve been known to mistime an anodyne social interaction, and run close to being in trouble.

        And MPR’s response seems a bit too swift and convenient, almost as if they were looking for an excuse to dump a fading ‘celebrity’.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          I don’t like Keillor much, but I don’t see any evidence of serial offense, as seems to have been the case with all the others. Serial offenses are a nice rough guide to seriousness, not least because it turns “he said/she said” into “he said/they said.”

      3. Oregoncharles

        It’s a sex panic, full blown now, and it’s leading us to a terribly cold, alienated society. Well, even more cold and alienated.

        That, or there’ll be a backlash that creates a license for sexual harassment. Back where we started, IOW.

        A little more realistically: this excessive reaction seems to be how we process change in our sexual norms. Remember the panic about “Satanic rituals” at daycares? Arguably a reaction to bad conscience over putting kids in daycare. We got over it, but people went to prison who shouldn’t have.

        I have yet to see a constructive discussion of the difference between rape, sexual harassment, and normal social interaction. Maybe it’ll happen, but at this point I’m not confident.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          The obvious solution is for everyone, male and female, to wear burkas. One upside would be (assuming some sort of voice changing) would be equal employment opportunities (as has happened with orchestras who disguise the gender of candidates when they audition). A second upside (assuming a big error factor with gait recognition) would be freedom from surveillance.

          But, as you say, complete alienation. Everybody disguised.

      4. Oregoncharles

        @ Mtn Life: My son works in one of those cubicle offices. At one point, a young woman, his superior, was trying to get a good look at his screen (he’s a computer jockey) and laid her breast on his arm. I gather she’s quite attractive; he went stiff, no idea how to respond. Still talks about it. No idea what she had in mind, if anything.

        Could he have gotten her in trouble? Not then, but now, yes, he could.

        Truth is, this kind of thing happens all the time. A lot of it’s innocent, but nobody’s completely innocent. I’m starting to wonder where this is all going to go. Surely we can protect people from real harassment, let alone assault, without completely losing control.

  24. L

    File this under oh crap. According to the Washington Post one of the structures being discussed for the “trigger” are automatic spending cuts. So if the experiment of giving the very wealthy much much more does not work out then instead of taking the money back they bleed everyone else more. This is still one suggestion but I would not put it past these venal things.

  25. ewmayer

    o “The Bezzle: “Tesla will charge $150,000 for the Tesla Semi model with a 300-mile range and $180,000 for the model with a 500-mile range … The company also announced it had set a fee of $200,000 to reserve a “Founders Series” edition of the semi…” — I’m starting to think “Founders [sic] series” is intended in the sense of watch this Bezzle-product in action as the hype about it helps boost Teslas share price into Bitcoin-style tulipmania territory but the the actual product predictably founders before a single one ever hits the road.”

    o Re. macOS login patch: As I noted over in links, there’s long been a ‘legal’ backdoor of this sort on Macs, via boot into single-user mode and some fiddling of settings there, which allows one to subsequently create a new user account and give it admin privileges. Don’t see anything about that one getting ‘patched’.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      That’s only 180 bitcoins…more if you have to pay capital-gains (on selling) and sales (on buying) taxes.

    2. WheresOurTeddy

      “Founders”, as in “suckers who will pay $50k more for a little decal, FOUND another one!”

  26. Lee

    Net Neutrality

    Yesterday I posted about one of my attempts to get out from under the jackboot of AT&T by querying Common Networks, a wireless line of sight transmitting service provider that guarantees 75 mbps for the lowlow price of $50 per month. I pay AT&T $52 per month for 12 mbps.

    I am currently out of line of sight so I checked with Google Fiber, rated number 1 by Consumer Reports. They are in my area but will only provide service to multi-unit buildings with 10 or more units. May I should erect a 50 foot pole in my backyard to achieve line of site for Common Networks. I’ll ask them.

    I’d like to know if any ISP will maintain net neutrality in spite of what the FCC does.

  27. ewmayer

    My comment on this appears to have fallen prey to Skynet memory-holing, but Re. the macOS login patch: As I noted over in links, there’s long been a ‘legal’ backdoor of this sort on Macs, via boot into single-user mode and some fiddling of settings there, which allows one to subsequently create a new user account and give it admin privileges. Don’t see anything about that one getting ‘patched’.

  28. marym

    Textbook co-authored by Roy Moore in 2011 says women shouldn’t run for office

    Alabama Republican Senate Candidate Roy Moore co-authored a study course, published in 2011 and recently obtained by ThinkProgress, that instructs students that women should not be permitted to run for elected office. If women do run for office, the course argues, people have a moral obligation not to vote for them. The course is also critical of the women’s suffrage movement, which in 1920 secured some American women the right to vote.
    For at least a decade, dating back to 1999, Moore served on the “faculty” of Vision Forum’s so-called “Witherspoon School of Law and Public Policy.” Not a school at all, Witherspoon was instead a series of four-day crash courses that taught men — and only men — that the Bible is the source of “law and liberty and the only sure foundation for addressing the challenging ethical questions of the twenty-first century.”

  29. marym

    Rubio: Offset Tax Cuts By Reducing Social Security, Medicare Benefits

    Tax reform is only one piece of the overall puzzle needed to revitalize the American economy, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) told a group of Washington, D.C., lobbyists and policy analysts this morning…

    …“Many argue that you can’t cut taxes because it will drive up the deficit. But we have to do two things. We have to generate economic growth which generates revenue, while reducing spending. That will mean instituting structural changes to Social Security and Medicare for the future,” the senator said.

  30. The Rev Kev

    Re “Bernie Sanders nominated for a Grammy” there is this

    As for Tom Perez’s comment on Congresswoman Meng: “She knows that the most important title she’ll have in her life is ‘mom.’” this will probably get this comment deleted as criticizing people but, speaking as a guy, does someone have to practice to be so much of a d***!

  31. Oregoncharles

    ““Want to Stop Sexual Abuse in the Workplace? Unionize””

    Actresses have a union; so do all the tech people. Hollywood is highly unionized.

    Fat lot of good it did them. Apparently their union(s) are deeply sold out.

    The real problem there (this doesn’t cover Spacey) is that there is a severe scarcity of roles for women, especially newbies. That means that those doing casting, especially producers, have grossly excessive power. The best thing regular people can do is go see a lot of films with a lot of women in them.

    Appropriate for NC, a lot o fthe problem is financial. The producers have power because they represent the money that gets films made. A different financing model – perhaps a performers’ co-op? – could make a big difference.

    Ironically, one model is Woody Allen, who had his own financing sources (even though he had to resort to Weinstein at least once. I wonder how they got along?)

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