Links 1/23/18

Alaska quake prompts tsunami alert BBC

Unique images of Siberian tiger cubs in Russia’s Far East Asia Times

Fur and fury at 40,000 feet as more people bring animals on planes WaPo

Making tools gives crows a big food boost Ars Technica. More on the crow front.

Hip Airbags Aim To Save Seniors’ Lives CBS Sacramento

How Canada’s addiction to road salt is ruining everything National Post (Re Silc)

Being around natural greenery may cheer up even adolescents Reuters

Blockchain Sex Contracts Will Be Weaponized Against Women Above the Law

Serena Williams Could Insist That Doctors Listen to Her. Most Black Women Can’t. The Nation (Chuck L)

Class Warfare

“There’s No Trick” Jacobin

Where the super rich store their money, and where everybody else does MarketWatch. Features a useful chart, which I know Lambert posted yesterday in Water Cooler but I thought deserves posting again.

Sorry, FCC: Montana is enforcing net neutrality with new executive order Ars Technica

Intel asks customers to halt patching for chip bug, citing flaw Reuters. Lambert: “Hoo boy.”

Linus Torvalds declares Intel fix for Meltdown/Spectre ‘COMPLETE AND UTTER GARBAGE’ TechCrunch Lambert: “Hoo boy #2.”

‘Terrifying’: How a single line of computer code put thousands of innocent Turks in jail CBC News

Google suspends fact-checking feature over quality concerns Poynter. Lambert: “What a mess, especially since Poynter is partly funded by Google.”

Facebook is ‘parasitic,’ says Zuckerberg’s former mentor TreeHugger


Trump Got Us Into This Shutdown Mess, GOP Doesn’t Want His Help Getting Out of It New York Magazine (Re Silc)

Why the shutdown battle is only on pause Politico

‘We’re Back at Square One’ Atlantic. Re Silc: “#1….never, ever, never, ever trust the usa usa. ask the kurds.”

Why Democrats Caved Slate. Re Silc: “I’m more happy than ever I voted green last nov.”

Kzoo doctor detained by ICE after 40 years in US Wood TV (Re Silc)

Tax “Reform”

Paul Ryan Collected $500,000 In Koch Contributions Days After House Passed Tax Law HuffPo (furzy)

‘It’s the economy, stupid’: GOP prepares to sell tax law as its 2018 survival strategy WaPo


Brexit: roosting chickens

North Korea

North Korea ski resort: South Korean officials to visit Masikryong BBC


Why Are India’s Strategic Thinkers Silent About the Country’s Decline Under Modi? The Wire

Cash still the king? Digital payments may not be as pervasive as believed post demonetisation Economic Times

To Rid the Taj Mahal of Its Grime, India Prescribes a Mud Bath NYT

Trump takes Modi very seriously on Afghanistan – but also mimics his Indian accent: Washington Post

Saudi corruption probe: Settlements expected to reach $100 billion Austalia (The Rev Kev)


Syria – Some Random Oddities Moon of Alabama

The Menendez trial revealed everything that’s gone wrong with US bribery law Vox. Zephyr Teachout.(Glenn F)

More texts turned over from FBI agent taken off Mueller team AP (Chuck L)

William Randolph Hearst for President Lapham’s Quarterly

Trump Transition

Earmarks: The one thing Trump gets right about Congress Brookings

Are the Supremes About to Give Trump a Second Term? Counterpunch (Chuck L)

Mattis: US national security focus no longer terrorism BBC. From last week, still germane.

Trump’s 24-year-old drug policy appointee was let go at law firm after he ‘just didn’t show’ WaPo (Chuck L)

How unpopular is Donald Trump? FiveThirtyEight (Re Silc)

At Trump’s EPA, once-public chemical safety reviews go dark Science

Team Trump Bypassed DHS Analysts to Produce Bogus Terror Report Daily Beast (Re Silc)

Trump’s Tariffs on Solar Mark Biggest Blow to Renewables Yet Bloomberg (Chuck L)

China slams Trump for raising import duties on Chinese goods SCMP

Here’s What Trump’s Tariffs on U.S. Imports Are Doing to Markets Bloomberg

Antidote du jour:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. The Beeman

      What sweet sounds he made. RIP – he will be missed. Gonna play some me some Cantaloupe Island right now and LOUD.

  1. PlutoniumKun

    How Canada’s addiction to road salt is ruining everything National Post (Re Silc)

    As an aside, sometimes the alternatives can be worse. A couple of years ago Ireland had an unexpectedly harsh cold spell and a local council ran out of ice and started using nitrate fertiliser (urea) instead. It ended up getting into the water system resulting in the shut down of the giant Intel plant west of Dublin. Turns out chips like urea as much as they like fixes for Meltdown or Spectre.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Could Nature be saying, ‘Let me win for once. You humans should stay home?’

      But what about the GDP?

      Well, maybe the GDP can wait.

      1. bob

        Cargil is the largest producer of road salt.

        Road salt weighs less than sand, quite a bit less. Less weight means less fuel cost for hauling and spreading it.

        Cargil sells the salt by claiming fuel cost savings, and that the salt works better for melting. It does work better for melting.

        Also, all that highway sand ends up in streams and rivers, “silting” them in.

        Not a fan of road salt in most instances, but this is how its sold.

        1. Wukchumni

          We only assault the roads here in California, especially in the midst of going nowhere fast in the advance guard.

          1. bob


            They need the roads open, and passable. DOT’s are expected to provide a certain “level of service” for trucks. Trucks carry everything.

            Trucking is the most obvious large, well funded industry interest at play here.

            1. a different chris

              I think (?) Too Early was speaking to the degradation and therefore needed replacement of said autos and roadways due to salt.

              1. bob

                I was saying that those costs are borne by disparate, un-lobbied, and by and large unorganized individuals and munis.

                The trucking industry is very well lobbied, an represented at every single level of government in the US, and Canada.

                Who won?

                1. Anon

                  The camouflaged point, here, is that salt destroys the undersides (and more) of vehicles, requiring the purchase of another one. (A Personal expense.)

                  Not the case in balmy California where my 27 year old vintage car is very presentable in its original paint.

                  1. bob

                    Really? Salt eats cars?

                    The story details that, very well.

                    Who pays for that? Individuals.

                    I’ve battled the salting of roads around here for over a decade.

                    Do you know how many times I’ve seen or heard from a person representing “big cars” as the reason they put down salt? None.

                    Do you know how many times the DOT has pointed their finger at “trucking” as the main force for putting down salt? All of the time. They rely on trucking companies to set policy. They do not rely on the “big car lobby” hoping for a bump in sales a few years early.

                    Does the “big car” lobby benefit? Probably a bit, but with the cost of warranty issues, as well as recalls.

                    See the forest, not the trees.

            2. JTMcPhee

              The massive, enormous, ever-growing vulnerability of us all, to those “supply chains” that loop and drape around us, and bind us, and drag us down… Trade Is God!. Got to have all that Stuff, made and “shipped from” more than half way around the world, made from plastics and metals and such, stuffed into our Master Suite Walk-In Closets and storage units and Home Storage Solutions ™ and Energy! ™ and the rest… and “we” keep forging new links and strands, faster and faster, round and round… And now “we” will have BLOCKCHAINS added to the mix! WHA-FAMILY-BLOG-WHOOOOO!

              The envelope please… and the winner is

        2. Watt4Bob

          The reason Cargil champions using salt is the fact that their business is based on shipping grain down the Mississippi on barges, to the gulf where it is loaded on ships.

          This results in empty barges that must return north which is a big waste in their eyes.

          They looked around the ports where their grain was unloaded and saw huge piles of salt, which would provide a profitable return load if only there were a market for salt up north.

          Wouldn’t you know it, there were friendly legislators up north who would pass laws mandating the use of salt to ‘make our highways safer’.

          Of course all that salt is not good for our water quality, and it rots the steel reinforcing rods out of our bridges so they must be replaced more often, and makes our cars rust alarmingly fast.

          But hey, small price to pay for Cargil not having to pay to dead-head all those barges back north.

          1. bob


            “Cargill acquired the mine in 1970 and annually produces approximately 2 million tons of road salt that is shipped to more than 1,500 locations throughout New York and the northeast United States.”

            Lansing, NY just north of Ithaca, NY, home of Cornell University

            A recent accident, with pictures from inside the mine-


            1. Watt4Bob

              Thanks, I wasn’t aware they were mining in NY, guessing they save money on transport in the NE.

              The Avery Island mine is the one highlighted in the book, a best-seller, non-the-less not printed since 1980.

              Once you discover a good grift you usually want to see where else you can work it.

      2. Kurt Sperry

        Random plant material gives excellent traction on ice. I found I can make a frequently icy spot on our sidewalk safe for pedestrians by simply raking fir needles, dirt etc. from a nearby bed over the ice. I’ve been through salt and sand, the compost/plant debris actually works better and lasts longer. Aside from being ubiquitous, it’s also very light in weight compared to salt or sand.

  2. PlutoniumKun

    Syria – Some Random Oddities Moon of Alabama

    As a ‘contrast and compare’ here is an article in the Guardian which seems to be based on british diplomatic briefings.

    The outlines of a deal are discernible – in which Turkey backs a Russian peace process and Moscow tacitly accedes to a Turkish drive to weaken the Syrian Kurds on its borders.

    The US can argue it tolerated Kurdish territorial expansions across northern Syria, and specifically west of the Euphrates river, only so long as the Kurdish militias inside theSyrian Democratic Forces were needed to defeat Isis, but now that battle has been won the US priority is to stop the freefall in its relations with Turkey. If that means a temporary Turkish foothold in the patchwork that is Syria, so be it.

    Not said of course is that once again the Kurds chose the wrong ally, and once again they will get sold out. If there was any genuinely admirable actor in the whole Syrian mess its the YPG, seemingly a genuinely progressive force, if somewhat overhyped by some sections of the media. Getting the aid of US bombers in their fight against Isis probably seemed a good idea at the time. It certainly doesn’t now.

    If its true that Putin gave Erdogan the nod to go into Afrin then its curtains for the US presence in Syria, between the Turks and Russians/Assad the Kurds will be brought to heel, even if the YPG make life very difficult for the Turks (which I suspect they will, they are very good fighters and very well equipped). They will have no choice but to make a deal with Assad (probably some sort of very limited local self determination), which will be much less favourable than a deal they could have made just last week. Even if the US had the will to protect Syrian Kurds, it looks logistically impossible to do anything for them.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Apparently the Syrian Kurds told the Russians that they will not give up any of the Syrian Arab territory that they have seized nor will they give up the oil fields that they took with US help in the country’s east. In other words, they want it all and have dismissed what happened to the Iraqi Kurds with the impression that their ‘big brother’ will protect them against the Turks. If the US had to choose between a NATO Turkey or a patchwork of Kurdish territories, guess who they will choose.
      Lavrov said that the US trying to set up a 30,000 Border Guard on the Turkish border was either stupidity or a provocation. For the US, an equivalent move would be to have Russia set up a 30,000 proxy border force recruited from Mexican drugs cartels on the Rio Grande so I am going with provocation. Not necessarily from Washington though. It may be the action of the local theater commander with the help of political appointees stationed there.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        If MoA is right about what is going on, I suspect the Kurds thought they could drive a harder bargain with Russia/Assad. They probably reckoned Putin wouldn’t support Assad going for a full assault on Kurdish areas, so if they hung on for a while they could get a better deal. I’m sure (given their long historical experience) they don’t have any illusions about their US ally, but they calculated that with Russia not being keen to confront them directly and Assads war weariness, they could hang on for months and eventually drive a hard bargain which would amount to local autonomy with a bit of oil, which has always been the most they could reasonably aspire to.

        But my guess is that even the Kurds didn’t think the US would be stupid enough to provoke the Turks with their ‘Border Guard’ idea. It makes no sense whatever. I think that while ideally Putin would love to wind the Syrian conflict down as fast as possible, he was too tempted by the idea of playing the Turks against the US, further weakening both. I’m sure he’s aware that the Turks are wading into a potential morass in Afrin, its perfect defensive territory for the Kurds, who are probably the best rural guerilla fighters in the region.

        It would seem a no-win conflict for the Turks, Kurds, and the US, so Putin, Assad, and the Iranians can sit back and admire from a distance as everyone ties themselves into bloody knots. The losers of course will be civilians in the region, and the Kurds in general, as every week goes past they lose more of their bargaining power.

        1. Katsue

          According to my recollection of a Twitter thread by Ehsani22, a pro-government Syrian émigré who has written on Joshua Landis’s site, in negotiations between the Kurds in Afrin and Damascus, the government demanded that the Kurds in Afrin restore government administration and disarm.

          If true, it’s not very surprising that the Kurds didn’t agree.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Autonomy was on the table under a light government umbrella but the Kurds want full independence – that not one single country bordering them will tolerate.

            1. Katsue

              Link to his thread.

              Note post 10 – “As the Syrian army would now fully be in charge of confronting the impending Turkish attack, Kurdish fighters can either become part of the local civilian population or decide to leave towards Hasake province. In either case, they would have to disarm first”.

              Note that in other reconciliation deals, the Syrian government has enrolled rebel brigades into the National Defence Forces and kept their unit structure and leadership intact. This does not appear to have been on the table on this occasion. It sounds as if neither the government nor the Kurds were seriously interested in making a deal.

        2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Who lost China? That question used to be asked.
          Who lost Turkey? Pakistan? Russia? The Phillippines? The list is getting pretty long.

    2. Sid Finster

      My SWAG is that the United States is not doing more to restrain Turkey because it hopes that Erdogan will keep right on going and topple the Syrian government. Of course, he will be encouraged to do so. If the Kurds suffer as a result of their naive faith in the Americans, well, that would not be the first time.

      That is the real goal of the United States – to destroy Syria on the way to Iran. They do not care whether ISIS, The Moderate Jihadi Unicorn Army, the Kurds, Al Qaeda or the Turks do it, as long as it gets done.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Or to put a finer point on it:

        “That is the real goal of the United States Israel – to destroy Syria on the way to Iran.”

        And we helped! :-)

      2. JTMcPhee

        Let us remember with sadness another group of allies suckers in “my” bit of the forever war, the Montagnards and other tribespeople in Vietnam and Laos. “Fight with us and we will love you forever and care for you and all that,” whispered the CIA spooks and “paramilitaries” and those wonderful “Best Of The Best” Green Berets…

        “History does not repeat, but it often rhymes…”

  3. allan

    Opioid commission member: Our work is a ‘sham’ [CNN]

    … “Everyone is willing to tolerate the intolerable — and not do anything about it,” said former Democratic Rep. Patrick Kennedy, who was one of six members appointed to the bipartisan commission in March. “I’m as cynical as I’ve ever been about this stuff.” …

    “This and the administration’s other efforts to address the epidemic are tantamount to reshuffling chairs on the Titanic,” said Kennedy. “The emergency declaration has accomplished little because there’s no funding behind it. You can’t expect to stem the tide of a public health crisis that is claiming over 64,000 lives per year without putting your money where your mouth is.” …

    Not anything that wasn’t already obvious, but coming from a commission member is sweet.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Maybe not everyone.

      Or everyone is tolerating the intolerable surveillance state – not doing anything about it.

      From above:

      Why the shutdown battle is only on pause Politico

      Maybe there will be no funding for much of the government.

    2. Wukchumni

      {pulls reynolds wrap toque on tight}

      It’s a bit odd, this fenatyl showing up all of the sudden 5-6 years ago. It isn’t as if the heroin dealers wanted to kill off their clients, right? That’s not good business.

      But a rather easy way to unburden society of those deemed undesirable, if matched up with heroin, so the user is none the wiser to his or her demise when departing, leaving a trail of broken hearts who all wondered if there wasn’t something they could have done to stop it?

      1. marieann

        I also have been wondering why and where Fentanyl came from, and why so many people are dying, and why the drug dealers are killing their clientele.

        It has been in use for years as a long term pain treatment. Was there a glut on the market that had to be used up.
        Do I need to stock up on Reynolds wrap?

        1. Mulish

          Most Fentanyl comes from China, who don’t crack down on producers, most assuredly for all the Afghani heroin that flows into Western China.

          Chin, Iran (I think I read in some parts of Iran, 10% of the population is addicted), Russia have significant heroin problems because Afghani heroin flows into to all of them, thanks to the US government protecting poppy fields. If you don’t think the Pentagon/CIA have fostered the Afghan heroin trade, well, you’re naive frankly. Seeing how much social destruction our opioid epidemic is causing, there’s definitely a nat sec reason to keep Afghani heroin flowing.

          1. cnchal

            Most Fentanyl comes from China . . .

            and delivery is via USPS, FedEx, UPS, Amazon . . . flown in night and day, mixed in with legitimate packages.

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Shouldn’t there be LESS funding for the Pentagon/CIA then? (At least funding for operations in that area).

    3. Sid Finster

      I could have told the Commission that their work is a sham, but, like so many other shams, this is not something that anyone is supposed to say in public.

      BTW, Fentanyl is cheaper than heroin, more potent, more easily transported, and can be manufactured in a nice anonymous lab somewhere rather than growing the precursor in a vulnerable field that can be located and burned.

      1. Wukchumni

        When Janis & Jimi o’d on heroin, it kind of put the kibosh to use, and for decades we only knew this one couple that were users. They had a ghastly pale to them, as if they had started the embalming process, er, no thanks.

        Even when high profile people die on opioids as of late-it’s akin to oh well, and nothing happens, no shock value.

  4. taunger

    Why Dems Caved – I must be getting old. Both sides are crappy, but I’m pleased the Ds recognized the only leverage, keeping the government shut, was not a viable tactic.

  5. Wukchumni

    Loved the photo of the ’emotional-support duck’ in the aisle of a commercial jet, but what happens when duck’s oop gets deposited on the carpet?

      1. Craig H.

        I went to see a talk by this guy and the most interesting thing I learned is the vast majority of rattlesnake bites in the last ten years were people who owned pet rattlesnakes and did something stupid. He had a photo of a rattlesnake bit thumb and it was swollen up to the size of an orange.

        Also a good fraction of the houses in Texas have rat snakes living in the attic.

        1. a different chris

          >were people who owned pet rattlesnakes and did something stupid.

          I don’t get the use of “and” in this sentence. :)

        2. Wukchumni

          If I or any of our neighbors sees a rattlesnake, we’re like Charley Bronson on their swither, all in agreement for the death penalty.

          When you occasionally see them in the higher climes its a live and let live situation, one time I was backpacking with a friend on the High Sierra Trail in Sequoia NP, and we were held ‘hostage’ for about 5 minutes, as that stretch of trail had been blasted out a quite vertical rock wall, there being no place to go up or down and away from the cold-blooded one. And then I figured out a great way to move them along, in that you grab a handful or dirt, gravel, what have you, and gently toss it at them, and then they skedaddle.

          One of the neighbors dog has been bit twice, and did the whole rattlesnake shots regimen after lust at first strike, so it wasn’t as much money out of pocket for pricey anti-venom, I think $4400 was the bark tab.

        1. ArcadiaMommy

          Would you have to buy a separate seat for her (making an assumption here) or would she have to sit on the floor at your feet?

      2. Brian

        I want wolverine. Can sleep gut mitt volvey watching out. Taught volvey to eat wall if we need to get out.

    1. RUKidding

      The photo was amusing, and I believe that the duck had a diaper on (might be wrong).

      Frankly, I’m not amused at all by this so-called “support animal” tsunami. People are using it as an excuse to drag their untrained pets everywhere. Most of these animals have no business being on already crowded airplanes. A lot of people get the documentation so that they can fly their pets for free. A lot of people are bad pet owners, in that they never train their pets, and they’re a menace on airplanes.

      It’s also very unfair to people with properly trained service dogs.

      My hope is that the laws around this will change soon.

      1. Wukchumni

        I was kind of secretly hoping it would be accepted and a common practice for a selfish reason, in that you can’t take dogs into the backcountry in Sequoia-Kings Canyon NP’s, and i’d love to have a well trained mountain dog as a companion, and over the past 5 years or so, i’ve seen maybe 6 ‘service dogs’ whereas it’d never occurred that a cur came along.

        1. a different chris

          Dogs are really (family-blog)ing good at keeping you from getting lost. I do understand why they aren’t allowed in the back country, but man I miss them when there.

          Maybe we should be allowed to demonstrate a certain incompetence with maps and compasses (I personally could just demonstrate my ability to walk by the largest of trail markers) so we can be allowed to bring a “service” dog along…

        2. RUKidding

          I have too many friends who take their poorly trained dogs into the back country in national forests, where it’s permitted. These people let their dogs do their business absolutely everywhere including in streams and lakes, near to where people are camping. All the while cooing about what a “good doggie” it is.

          I really like dogs, but I’m not thrilled with any of them being in the back country where they really don’t belong, unless it’s a service animal. Too many owners are simply not “well trained,” and then the rest of us get to suffer from their stupidity.

          Just my 2 cents worth.

          1. Wukchumni

            It’s one of those whet dreams, and i’ve seen it done the right way on forest service land, BLM & national forests with not too much drama, but we’re talking about taking pooch out 10 miles, which usuaslly eliminates those not up to the task.

            …but it’ll never come to pass around these parts

            Besides cats are so much easier to be slaves to…

          2. lyman alpha blob


            Everybody thinks their dog is well trained until it gets away and starts chasing the local fauna to death.

          3. Arizona Slim

            If any of my friends behaved that way with their dogs, they’d be former friends in a New York minute.

      2. Arizona Slim

        RUKidding, you hit the nail right smack on the head.

        And, to the people who need these so-called support animals, I have this to say:

        If you’re that [family blogged] up, you shouldn’t be traveling. You need to be in intensive therapy until you can face the world without your furry or feathered crutches.

        Furthermore, animals are not here on this planet to serve our emotional needs. Nor are birds and reptiles.

        1. ArcadiaMommy

          I know someone that has 2 ESA’s. I call them yippy and snappy, which she thinks is so funny.

          I have another set of names for them but they are not family blog friendly. These poor dogs must be miserable themselves, kind of like how bratty kids are miserable.

          Can’t wait until someone declares their kids are their emotional support persons.

        2. JBird

          If you’re that [family blogged] up, you shouldn’t be traveling. You need to be in intensive therapy until you can face the world without your furry or feathered crutches.

          With the agreement that far too many people are abusing the use of service animals, would you put the blind in that list also? Just because one cannot see the problem does not make it less disabling, it merely means it’s invisible. And no, intensive therapy does not always make the problem go away.

          I would suggest tightening the requirements for a service animal especially on airplanes. It’s hard enough to fly.

      1. foghorn longhorn

        Have seen these spasmos actually bringing their “service animals” into the local grocery store.
        For real?
        I would bring my aussie and schnauzer but, yeah, reality.

  6. Andy

    Sex Contract:. Either party could revoke consent by text, email or other means. The bigger problem is that people who do not have a contract will be presumed to lack consent. Big can of worms. Next relationship agreements.

  7. Bernard

    Couldn’t find the Ryan/Koch bros article in the US Huff Post. the story here comes from the India version of the Huff Post.

    corporate media at it finest!

  8. freedeomny

    Why Democrats caved – “Looking at the smiles and backslapping among these Democrats, one couldn’t help but wonder: Do they have the faintest idea how pissed off the Democratic base is? ”

    No. They are completely clueless.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      By being outraged at Trump’s occupying the White House, they believe they can just win like that.

      1. Arizona Slim

        They need to study American history.

        There were plenty of people who were beside themselves when John Adams was president. And that election of 1800? A real donnybrook, let me tell you. Jefferson won, and oh, did that make plenty of Americans unhappy.

        Coarse presidents? Well, how about that Andrew Jackson. His inauguration party was such a major rager that the White House was left in shambles. And then there were LBJ, Nixon, and Clinton. Pottymouths, every one of them. Their naughty vocabulary was huge, and included many more words than [family blog] hole.

    2. Sid Finster

      Do you mean the real Democratic of billionaires and Silicon Valley moguls? Why are they pissed? #idon’tgetit

      1. RUKidding

        I dunno, but maybe… Trump and the Freedumb Caucus keep threatening to cut back on all Legal Immigrants, including H1(b) visas. Silicon Valley Billionaires loves ’em som H1(b) visas bc it enables them pay their Legal Immigrants sub-standard wages. So those Billionaires wants ’em som Legal Immigrants. Of course, they could give a crap about DACA and CHIP.

        1. Gary

          H1B workers are everywhere. Hospitals, defense, pharmaceuticals, probably nail salons.
          I worked for a retail shoe store a few years ago. One of the other computer programmers was an H1B visa guy from Canada who was originally from Poland. I think I made about 30% more. The only reason I was there is because they couldn’t get another visa worker. Even though he was coming out of Canada, he had to go to Mexico to update his visa. We were in Texas. No wonder so many of them just stay. Growing up under the Soviets he was worried about firing squads so he stayed on the up and up…

          1. RUKidding

            Trump also used a lotta H1(b) and H1(l) workers, as well as loads of undocumented, aka illegal alien, workers. But hey! That doesn’t count because Trump talked to some Evangelicals once, and they forgave him of all sins/crimes past, present and future.

            So it’s all good.

            Agree that H1(b) workers are all over the place, not just Silicon Valley (and other Tech hubs), but SV is particularly noted for it. And the Three Comma Club Chieftans constantly whiiiine that they simply cannot find well-enough trained and educated US workers. And that’s a lie, but I guess the Evangelicals pardoned them for all of their lies/sins/crimes past, present and future as well because RICH. Or something.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              “I was a Democrat once. I had to…in order to take advantage of their infrastructure (tor run for an office…a particular one). But I’m urging people to change the party.”

              In many businesses, you either join the race (or join the political party) to the bottom, or you are out. In the meantime, you can ask the government to change it.

              (I admire people who choose to be out).

        2. Elizabeth Burton

          When I mentioned that the big corporations love H1(b) visas because it allows them to replace US workers with ones that will work cheaper, I was roundly chastised as a racist by a corporate recruiter of H1(b) workers who sternly informed me they were hired because there were no US workers able to do the jobs as well, and that they were paid market rates.

          It is to weep.

          1. ambrit

            Yes, but there is a big difference between what a strapping young coder will bring in Mumbai versus what an equally strapping young coder will fetch on the block in Sacramento.
            Location, location, location.

    3. RUKidding

      They pleased their corporate doners, while doing their usual Kabuki Show for the worthless peons in their “base.” By pretending that they hate Trump, they believe that they’ve done their job.

      Would love to see the lot of ’em replaced, stat.

  9. Wukchumni

    North Korea ski resort: South Korean officials to visit Masikryong BBC
    Quite modern ski resort, what a thrill it would be to fling myself down a steep embankment in NK at a fair amount of speed with parallel planks underfoot!

    Our local resort is named China Peak, an hour and a half east of Fresno, and they hope to open this Friday, as it’s really cold and they can make snow and it’ll keep, as otherwise there is scant amounts of the real deal.

    We love this resort, it was built in 1959, and the restaurant & lodge hasn’t been updated much since then, while the lifts are modern, but basic. If they had photos of the China Peak lodge and rooms in the BBC article, and played it off as being from the ski resort in NK, it’s more of what you’d expect NK to be, ha.

    For whatever reason, the Estonian Ski Club has been coming here for about 55 years now, and I love the way they do it, all dressed up and some place to go. And they are really good skiers.

    Like Kim Jong Un, my dad went to school in Switzerland, graduating from the University of Lausanne with a degree in finance, and while many DP’s scattered across Europe after the war wondered where the next meal was, there weren’t those kind of issues in Switzerland, he skied, hiked and climbed mountains when he wasn’t going to class.

    He immigrated here in 1952 after having lived in Paris for a couple years after graduating, and lived in NYC for a short spell, and then he and 2 other Czech fellows did a Kerouac-age road trip to go find where they wanted to live, heading west. They got to Denver, and my dad said to the other 2 fellows that wanted to keep going, “this is it for me, boys” and he grabbed his belongings out of the trunk and called it home for 8 years. My mom told me they skied everywhere in Colorado in the 50’s.

    1. RUKidding

      Ah, China Peak! Learned to ski there, myself, ages ago, when there was actually real snow most of the time. It’s a fun little resort. Very easy access from Fresberg, but we used to have to watch out for this one Trooper from Clovis who was always out on the weekends hoping to ticket some hapless skier going over the speed limit.

      1. Wukchumni

        It draws skiers in an interesting population triangle from Santa Barbara in the south to Carmel in the north and everything inbetween. Some of the best powder days i’ve ever had in California have been @ China Peak.

    2. Lee

      Kirkwood was our favorite. Long leisurely blue runs for me. Black runs and moguls I did mostly on my butt.

      1. Wukchumni

        i’ve joined up with a merry band of San Diegans for a once a month 5 day trip in Mammoth after doing it the first time last year, and we’re all in our 50’s to 70’s-have skied forever, and are content to do a steady diet of blue runs all day. Never have I been in such rhythm with so many for so long. (quite Churchillian that)

  10. allan

    Uncalled Senate election means GOP keeps control in NY budget talks []

    Republicans will maintain control of the Senate during state budget negotiations now that a key deadline for calling a pair of crucial special elections has passed.

    Gov. Andrew Cuomo has yet to call a special election to fill two vacant Senate seats, including one in a Westchester district once filled by former Sen. George Latimer, who stepped down in early January after he was elected county executive.

    By law, if Cuomo, a Democrat, decides to call a special election, he has to set it between 70 and 80 days from when he formally declares one.

    That means the closest date an election could be held is now early April — after the state’s deadline to have its 2018-19 budget in place.

    Democratic activists had urged Cuomo to quickly call the elections to give their party a chance at regaining control of the Legislature’s upper chamber before the state decides on a spending plan …

    Some of us are old enough to remember when, to fend off the Working Family Party’s threatened endorsement
    of Zephyr Teachout, Cuomo promised to fundraise and campaign to gain the Dems a majority in the state Senate.
    Which of course he never did, since gridlock between the Senate and Assembly is his friend.

    1. jawbone

      What is wrong with Cuomo the Younger? Yes, he’s a Corporatist Dem, plays at some progressive words, even a few actions. But this election thing is getting really old and is way beyond the pale.

      Seems he likes those Repubs controlling the Senate. And may the Dems who join those Repubs rot in political hell.

      I would never consider ever voting for Cuomo for any higher office. I would not have voted for him if I lived in NY. It’s bad enough that he seemed to enjoy dancing with Chris “We Dasn’t Tax the Rich” Christie. Given what we do know about their collusions, I fear what was done more secretly is far, far worse.

  11. johnnygl

    They’ve been brimming with confidence since VA and AL special elections. They think ‘not trump’ is good enough to win them at least a few seats and don’t seem worried about primary challenges.

    I’d rather see a small dem wave with some high profile scalps from the primary….Manchin, DiFi, and/or a couple others would be nice. That would put the fear of god into the rest of them.

    I’d like to see schumer and/or pelosi get tossed as minority leader, but we might need a couple of cycles to get that much progress.

    For those who are skeptical of direct action….note that the DACA protestors have been the most public and the most well-organized and it’s the only thing that dems are even PRETENDING to fight over.

      1. JohnnyGL

        Those two will be allowed to peel off because ‘compromise’ and ‘local politics in WV and AL mean they have to vote with Repubs’.

        This kind of game-playing and performance stuff is endlessly tiresome and frustrating. I really need some dem scalps in primaries….can’t come soon enough….

  12. The Rev Kev

    Blockchain Sex Contracts Will Be Weaponized Against Women

    This is just stupid on a stick. A coupla nights ago I put a link to a film (“Cherry 2000”) where such a thing was the norm but as a joke. Now someone wants it for real? Of course it will be used against women. It may be the whole point of the exercise. This sounds like the sort of idea that a bunch of tech bros would think up at a strip club late on a Saturday night. As always, I ask ‘who benefits?’ and I do no think that it will be the girls and women involved.
    And how, pray tell, will such a contract be written? Will it have standard sex with optional “extras” in a list of tick-boxes? Any backdoors written into the contract? Satisfaction guarantees? Performance criteria? Key indicators? How about quality control? Will you have to wear a GoPro on your head to prove that the contract – and your partner – was fulfilled? Or maybe you can have the mobile that the contract was written up on have a recording window open up.
    I blame this whole thing on an idea that has taken hold over the past two generations and that is the idea that the whole of society can be run like a market. Government service? Run it like a market with most people on contract. Military service? Employment services? School children? All the same. The standard tool for doing so is the contract and I have seen this tool sprout up everywhere that it could be crammed into. It’s like business people last century said “Hey, we can run businesses. We should be allowed to do the same to society as it would be a great success!” I won’t go into how many business crash and burn but it has been a disaster for human society. You cannot boil down all human inter-reaction to a written contract – but they still insist that you can.

    1. Wukchumni

      You were mentioning yesterday that in WW2 war movies made during the conflict, there were distinct regional accents in our ranks, and so true. We’ve done homage-inized ourselves now.

      One other thing missing aside from local colloquialism from most every movie as of the past few decades, is kissing.

      Nobody bothers anymore, there’s porn for that.

    2. John Zelnicker

      @The Rev Kev
      January 23, 2018 at 9:24 am
      “You cannot boil down all human inter-reaction to a written contract – but they still insist that you can.”


      That is exactly what the neo-liberals have been doing for almost 50 years now. I know you’ve seen Lambert’s 2 rules of neo-liberalism: 1. Because markets; 2. Go die.

      It is, IMNSHO, the fetish for markets that has destroyed the sense of community that we had in the US from the New Deal to the Great Society. Now we are expected to compete with everyone else just to get the necessities for survival, and if one is not successful in that competition then it is their fault for being lazy and not competing hard enough and therefore, they are undeserving of any help from others better situated. Thus, any kind of social safety net is wasted on the undeserving and the money could be better used by those who already have more than they will ever need. (A perfect Ayn Rand/Paul Ryan result.)

    3. Hana M

      Contracts that specifically protect women’s rights in a marriage are ancient. For example the ketubah, which is a required part of all Jewish marriages, specifies the legal duties of a husband to his wife including food, shelter, clothing, and conjugal rights; as well as financial compensation and return of all her property in the event of a divorce.

      1. The Rev Kev

        An honest question here. How does the ketubah fit in with ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel? The ones that I have read about remove women from public life, censor their images in fotos, etc. It’s almost the same as the Wahhabism in application. Or are they an aberration on traditional Jewish beliefs that contain elements such as the ketubah? That article you linked to seems to imply an equality of women before the law similar to what the Romans had, hence my question.

        1. John Zelnicker

          @The Rev Kev
          January 23, 2018 at 7:01 pm
          The legal duties to the wife of food, clothing, shelter, etc., can all be provided within the privacy of the home. How women interact with the outside world is dictated by the laws and rules in the Torah and the Talmud.

    4. JTMcPhee

      Anyone remember when Gingrich put out the “Contract With On America?” Speaking of contracts. And of course for libertarians, and for those who have dived a little bit into L. Ron Hubbard’s “Scientology,” one discovers that every interaction is a transaction, and everything is a contract. With all kinds of rules of construction and arcane terms that supposedly bring “Cleardom” and “liberty.”

    5. Summer

      “Of course it will be used against women. It may be the whole point of the exercise.”

      That’s why the most important thing is to stop raising females with this “oh, gee, I just couldn’t be mean and say ‘no'” attitude.

      1. Oregoncharles

        I’ve met hardly any with that attitude. Teaching that after two generations of feminism would be very strange. Frankly, I think it’s just an excuse.

        Come to think, I encountered two who apparently couldn’t say “no thanks;” instead they made a date and stood me up. I’d prefer “no thanks,” but I certainly got the point. This was in small communities where we were going to see each other again, too.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Ah, analysis. Something that needs to be done when one isn’t running around with hair on fire.

      If my Faceborg feed is any indication, a lot of the D crowd still needs to find the fire extinguishers. Because smoking hair produces really bad smell.

    2. ewmayer

      What’s there to analyze? “Multiple unnamed intelligence sources on the DNC payroll agree that deplorable PutinRooskies hacked our wunnerful American Democracy and rawbed HRH HRC of her long-awaited coronation.” The totally non-CIA-affiliated journalistic bastion that is Pravda-on-Potomac, erm I mean WaPo, confirms – end of story!

    1. Stephen V.

      Thanks for this. (Thanks to Lambert!) I’ve been lurking on Twitter which has been abuzz about all this for quite some time. There is def. a *there* there but I worry that like the FBI’s *lost text messages* and the trashed autopsy bullets in Las Vegas that this whole thing is just too big to come to fruition. We might destabilize our gov’t. Ha !

      1. Lynne

        I’ve heard about it from relatives, who touted it as “proof” that Trump is scum because it’s obvious he’s using McCarthy tactics to discredit the FBI and his opponents. YMMV

    2. apberusdisvet

      Frankly, I am surprised that NC hasn’t provided more links to this ongoing scandal, replete with blatant corruption at both the DOJ and FBI, and which may prove to be the greatest political criminality EVAH. It appears that many should be in prison for, sedition, or “extreme recklessness” with the possibility of execution for outright treason. But is the Rule of Law only applicable to the 99%?

      1. JohnnyGL

        They still haven’t released the memo. Some of the Repubs were crowing so loudly about this that it gave me a weird feeling of a nothingburger. If it were as huge as they say, they’d let the doc speak for itself.

        This DiGenova guy is talking specifics, but he’s telling the Repub voters exactly what they want to hear, which is a bit too neat for my tastes.

        Once they release it, we can see how serious this is. I hope they do release the FISA memo, regardless.

        1. Kurt Sperry

          Yep, allegations–even these, which I consider plausible–need hard, corroboratory evidence and if these allegations are true, it shouldn’t be that hard for Republican insiders with their access and resources to obtain. The lack of hard evidence brought forth is extremely damaging to the allegations here. Nothingburger, kayfabe, or inept Republican leadership? Pick any two.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            So this investigation needs hard evidence/proof, while RussiaGate does not? But I think we are getting close: a sitting president conspiring with one presidential candidate to destroy another presidential candidate, using the tools of the intelligence community, illegally engaged using falsified evidence, and also helpfully covering up felony mishandling of top secret information. The only problem: she lost.

            The Di Genova interview is a must watch. This is much bigger than Watergate. Chances of a perp walk however, by anybody (except perhaps some rats and mice), in my mind is zero.

            File under “Banana Republic”

            1. Kurt Sperry

              “So this investigation needs hard evidence/proof, while RussiaGate does not?”

              No, they both are sadly lacking in that so far. But, who knows what might turn up? Still, I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting. If there were actual actionable evidence, someone most likely would have leaked it by now. I don’t think it likely the crazier partisans among the Rs who’ve seen the memo could be convinced to quietly sit on bombshell evidence against the Democrats if any were there. Why would they?

              1. Oregoncharles

                While I agree that Russiagate is largely made-up, the ideal would be hard evidence for BOTH, collapsing the political system, and especially both parties. We need to start over.

    3. Jim Haygood

      This morning:


      The thousands of texts @TGowdySC and I reviewed today revealed manifest bias among top FBI officials against @realDonaldTrump. The texts between Strzok and Page referenced a “secret society.”

      7:34 PM – Jan 22, 2018

      Partisan angle? No doubt. But Strzok & Page’s “secret society” seems to have been radically (if not illegally) partisan as well.

      Presumably, this means war. Arm the Congresscritters!

      1. JohnnyGL

        When I hear things like “secret society”, it starts to smell like pizzagate….I’m going to stay skeptical.

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        I’ll see your “secret society” and “manifest bias among top fbi officials,” and raise you one PORN STAR named “Stormy” who was paid $130,000 in “campaign cash” through a “shell corporation” by Trump lawyer Cohen to cover up a 2006 “consensual” affair carried on when Trump had a “new baby” at home.

        I’d say that “new baby” puts the “royal” in front of “flush.”

    4. JohnnyGL

      Here’s the only write up I saw in a quick google search for the court opinion that DiGenova references.

      This guy might be onto something, but he seems really partisan….major repub figures are all heros, major dems are all sleazy hacks.

      He does credit Obama for refusing to fire Admiral Rogers under pressure from Clapper and Brennan. This sounds like something I can believe.

  13. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Trump’s 24-year-old drug policy appointee was let go at law firm after he ‘just didn’t show’ WaPo (Chuck L)

    Still needing to add his age to refer to the appointee.

    Because not showing for work is (or needs to be) connected to young people?

      1. Arizona Slim

        Yeesh. When I was 24, I knew how to show up on time.

        I had a problem with that on my first job — I was 21 — and the boss told me that I needed to shape up or ship out. So, I shaped up.

        1. RUKidding

          No kidding. I had difficulties, too, when I was around 18 but shaped up before I turned 21. I don’t know what this guy’s problem is, but no law firm wotth its salt is gonna put up with an associate who doesn’t show up on time.

          But now we get this scofflaw running a whole gubmint d*mn department. Yippee. Freedumb!

          1. ArcadiaMommy

            Don’t kid yourself about law firms. They will absolutely put up with a non-performer if that gives them access to getting favors or business from those in high places. What they paid this guy would pale in comparison.

        2. Lee

          Had to show up 10 minutes before shift at my first job. The dishwasher is a key person at a busy restaurant. Now, it’s true that my dad was the head chef, which secured my job, so at 16 and still living in his house, I found it difficult to make up excuses. Also, he had no compunctions about chewing me out in front of the rest of the crew in his WW2 sergeant style. Always on my best behavior, me. Perhaps as a result of this, I am an on time person and get really pissed off at people who are chronically late.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        With Chelsea Manning, she made it clear it was not about experience or inexperience.

        I think we should move on from the age issue, directly to performance.

  14. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Or is this to do with ‘young, impressionable voters belong to our sphere of influence?’

  15. crittermom

    I enjoyed the article about the Siberian tigers, including the photos.
    I found this point interesting: “The survival of the species has been championed by Putin for at least a decade, however: he has tried to present an environmentally-friendly stance and enforce conservation in the face of rampant poaching and loss of habitat. As a result, the Amur tiger population has risen by some 20% in the last decade and a half.”

    Since Putin & Trump are such ‘good friends’, maybe Putin can convince Trump to think more about the environment & Trump’s own ‘poaching of the planet’ (more off-shore drilling; drilling in wildlife areas), rather than just his real estate holdings & the almighty dollars in his bank accounts?

    1. Lee

      Interestingly, IIRC, Jared Diamond attributes the relatively better environmental conditions prevailing in Dominican Republics as opposed to its neighbor Haiti is attributable to the conservationist policies of the DR dictator Trujillo.

      IMHO, this tension between the immediate needs of the numerous poor, leading them to commit desperate ecocide, versus the long term survival of our species and the aesthetic preferences of the relatively privileged and less desperate (a group to which I belong), is at least as great a problem as the environmental threats posed by greed heads like the Koch brothers.

  16. Wukchumni

    Judging from the last flurry of articles in regards to the reign of error, he’s performing as advertised, content to get us back to the 50’s, er what things looked like in China in the 50’s, that is.

    Make America Great Leap Forward

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      China in the 50s was not that bad.

      Air was cleaner.

      Barefoot doctors were free, I think.

      Not much wealth inequality. People were poorer, but state surveillance was not so technologically dazzling.

      1. Wukchumni

        All wealth wiped out in 1949, made for not much wealth inequality in the Happy Days of the 50’s, i’ll give you that.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I think it was OK, even then, to own a bicycle.

          If not, it would mean food, Mao’s suit, etc were all free from the state.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I think, at that time, one could easily visit the Palace Museum (the former Forbidden Palace) without having to wait too long.

          I came across an auction lot recently that was bought by a member of the British embassy, in Beijing, in the 50s or 60s, for something like $10 (the original receipt was included with the lot), and that porcelain sold (recently) for thousands of dollars (don’ remember the exact amount).

          1. Oregoncharles

            Isn’t that because the Chinese, now drowning in foreign exchange, are trying to buy back their heritage?

  17. Steve H.

    > Why the shutdown battle is only on pause

    Turchin expresses an opinion:

    “As you can see, after an initial uptick during the 1970s, the threat, or actual occurrence, of filibusters has been trending up. Interestingly, the first government shutdowns also took place during the late 1970s. I am thinking that I should add them as yet another proxy of government dysfunction.

    Keep in mind that what is at stake now is only an extension of government spending for another 30 days. So even if the current impasse is overcome, then we will have another one in February, and who knows for how long. Then we get to the next fiscal year, and it’s deja vu all over again. In fact, given the degree of intra-elite conflict we currently have in the US, I wouldn’t be surprised if we are soon in a permanent state of government shutdown.”

  18. DJG

    Emotional support animals. Don’t even get me going. (And I have to add here the usual caveats about growing up with dogs and not ever being a member of the communist party…)

    Recently, on a flight, some jamoke shows up late, dragging a three-pound excuse for a dog on a long leash. The airline’s attendant at the desk, who has seen everything in her time, told him something about having to get control over the dog, which was wandering into various lines of passengers and filling out some paperwork (the man, not the Maltese-ette). Naturally, the emotionally crippled jamoke started to protest. I was worried that I would end up seated next to him (just my luck). Fortunately, not.

    These animals are best thought of as remote hard drives for emotional lives that their caretakers and “companions” don’t have.

    And because we’re Americans gosh darn it, and these colors don’t run, we’re going to deal with climate change, too.

    Not with a bang but with a whimper.

    1. Lee

      I wonder if I’d be allowed to board with my pit bull, I mean Staffordshire Terrier. She’s a real sweetie, who loves people. Her only fault is that she does tend to view hyper active, yappy little dogs as between meal snacks.

      How do you get strikethrough to work on this site? When I use the s or del command on both sides of the words I want struck through the line continues through all subsequent characters.

        1. Lee

          My pit bull, I mean Staffordshire Terrier was set upon by three mini-pinschers at a dog park. She tried to forbear by standing stock still but finally got one pinned on its back, which scared the other two away. She then snapped hard several times at but not on the little dogs face then let it go scampering back to its owner, who then began to remonstrate me for my dog having defended itself from her little shit dogs. That she had a thick German accent, was just too much. I couldn’t help but laugh in her face and she stomped off.

    2. nycTerrierist

      Dog (and cat!) person here. Those long retractable leashes are the worst — especially
      in a crowd or city street. They’re only good for open spaces like parks etc.
      Any responsible dog person with common sense knows they can’t control
      your roving dog and the cord is easily tangled with other leashes and passersby.
      Whenever I see these leashes on a city street, I cringe,
      accidents waiting to happen.
      That said, I am all for travelling with companion animals if they are well-behaved
      and their people are above all considerate of others.

      1. Lee

        As a kid I walked around with a pet rat on my shoulder. Don’t know if that would fly these days ; )

        1. Oregoncharles

          I once walked into the bank with a ferret inside my shirt (she’d been sick, and it was cold out). Of course, she immediately stuck her head out between the shirt buttons. I could see the clerk eyeing the little head, so I explained it wasn’t a rat. She agreed – the nose is different. More like a cat’s.

          The old canard about putting a ferret down someone’s pants as a test of bravery? They love being inside clothes, and would promptly go to sleep. No challenge at all.

    3. Lynne

      I used to have a registered therapy dog, with whom I made visits to nursing homes. Registration required an actual test, which included walking calmly through a crowd of people seeded with two little kids running around screaming and a man who lurched up to us with his cane; ignoring treats dropped on the ground; etc. One dog had a bomb-proof temperament and passed the test (wow, do I miss that dog). My other dog failed — couldn’t handle the man’s lurching gait, so one dog went on therapy visits and the other stayed home. It infuriates me to see people who can’t be bothered to train their dogs responsibly inflicting untrained dogs on everyone else. Ruins it for the people who try to do it right.

  19. allan

    Cy Vance at the Oscars: financial crisis documentary Abacus: Small Enough to Jail was one of the
    five* feature-length documentaries nominated this morning for an Academy Award.
    From the film’s website:

    Abacus: Small Enough to Jail tells the incredible saga of the Chinese immigrant Sung family, owners of Abacus Federal Savings of Chinatown, New York. Accused of mortgage fraud by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., Abacus becomes the only U.S. bank to face criminal charges in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. The indictment and subsequent trial forces the Sung family to defend themselves – and their bank’s legacy in the Chinatown community – over the course of a five-year legal battle.

    * Sadly, one of the other documentaries nominated was Last Men in Aleppo, so the fix is in.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        With the length of time it took (from 2008 to 2017, with the case being 5 years), the expectations are higher than, say, a documentary about a presidential election a few months later (I think there were a few, Trumped, How Donald Trump WON the Election, The Choice 2016, etc).

        Too bad it didn’t come out in, say, 2015 or 2016, when Obama was the government.

  20. Eureka Springs

    Seems like every woman over 40 I know who owns a small dog has registered it as service or emotional support animal. None are formally, much less properly trained. That goes for the pets too. That said, considering most are a substitute for children I appreciate the honesty in this. For any reason less important than seeing eye dog I cannot fathom why any critter would be allowed on a plane unless caged.

    1. 3.14e-9

      While checking for carriers a few months ago for a cross-country move with my cat, I discovered small carriers sized to fit perfectly under airline seats. Unfortunately, it wasn’t an option, as they fit animals up 10 pounds. My cat is a lean 15 pounds with long fur. But it wouldn’t have worked anyway. He would have howled the entire way, worse than sitting next to a screaming baby.

      Putting him in the cargo hold was out of the question. So I drove, nearly 3,000 miles over eight days, with the cat in an extra large carrier strapped into the passenger seat. He was still terrified, but less stressed out by being able to see and talk to me. FYI, for anyone driving long distances with pets, Motel 6 allows pets for free (with a few reasonable restrictions), and their flooring is all laminate. Highly recommended.

      I have never heard of this “emotional support” animal thing. To the contrary, my VA medical center back in Seattle had a strict policy for service animals, having tolerated only briefly all the pretenders. Vets with guide dogs had to have certification that the dog was a trained service animal, meeting a specific medical condition. And of course the dog had to wear a harness and behave properly. There were signs posted at every entrance that animals other than certified service animals were not allowed anywhere on the campus, and that included leaving them in parked cars.

      I can’t even wrap my head around the concept of an emotional-support duck, much less an airline policy allowing such a thing on commercial flights. Are they that scared of being slapped with an ADA lawsuit for telling a weepy passenger she needs to make other arrangements for Fifi? I don’t see why they couldn’t require pre-approval for certified service animals, with rules for acceptable forms of documentation, and then give preferential seating to the passenger and guide. No more ducks run amok.

  21. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Serena Williams Could Insist That Doctors Listen to Her. Most Black Women Can’t. The Nation

    The disparity in sentencing between crack and powder cocaine is racist. Stop and frisk is racist. Mass incarceration is racist. Criticism of anything barack obama did is racist. (OK, that last one is snark.)

    But in the hierarchy of victimization, I’d have to go with medical misogyny here, particularly in view of the ob-gyn context. Fairly well documented if not generally copped to by the “healthcare” establishment.

    1. Lynne

      Bottom line is that almost all women, regardless of color, can’t get their doctors to listen to them. That Serena Williams could get them to listen is because she’s famous. If she were not famous or breathtakingly rich, it wouldn’t matter what color she was, the docs and many nurses would ignore her. That doesn’t change the fact that there is a significant disparity between the health outcomes for the average white woman and the average black woman. The reason for the disparity, however, has nothing to do with this fantasy that doctors will listen to any average woman. I’ve been down that rabbit hole myself over the last 5 years, and the misogyny from pretty much all “health-care” workers is breathtaking.

      1. Yves Smith

        One example I had: After I had been in Oz, I came back and my former (terrific) GP was no longer practicing, so I needed a new doctor. Took a surprising amount of shopping.

        When I told him I had fatigue, one doctor proceeded to tell me I reminded him of three people he hated, including his mother, and wanted to put me on Adderall “to put a smile on my face”. I kid you not. I’ve never been in the business of being a smiley woman, as you can imagine….

  22. Matthew G. Saroff

    The reason that India’s “Strategic Thinkers” are silent about Modi is because there is an increased climate of violence from Hindu nationalists, and they do not want to be murdered in the street.

  23. Fastball

    The Facebook article is alarming but not for the reasons the author states. All of this “Fake news” blather has but one function: TO SILENCE THE LEFT.

    Zuckerberg responded by promising on January 4 to fix Facebook:

    “Facebook has a lot of work to do — whether it’s protecting our community from abuse and hate, defending against interference by nation states, or making sure that time spent on Facebook is time well spent.”

    Zuckerberg said he will get together a group of experts to discuss and work through “questions of history, civics, political philosophy, media, government, and of course technology.”

    It sounds vaguely noble, but McNamee, who is a managing director at Elevation Partners and was an early investor in Facebook, said it’s likely to fail for two reasons:

    First, Zuckerberg and Facebook view the recent criticisms of Facebook as a PR problem, rather than a reflection of a systemic issue in the product itself.

    Second, problems like addiction and ‘fake news’ are embedded in the very architecture of Facebook. Russians did not hack Facebook; they simply used it in a way Facebook allows it to be used, but that raises important ethical questions.

    (Emphasis added). Pretty much all the blather about Russia is either based on shaky evidence, or complete bunk.

    If a Russian posts a picture of a cat, is that fake news? Yet, most of the content from Russia that was swept up in the McCarthyite hysteria was just that kind of thing.

    Second of all many people try to manipulate affairs in other countries. Would a Canadian be regarded with suspicion if she commented on affairs in the U.S.? Of course not. Yet we are to credulously believe that any interaction with Russians whatsoever needs to be suppressed because it is, by origin alone, fake.

    Who says a Russian, or even Russia, should not be allowed to air an opinion about America?

    Give me a break. The government and this shady company are treating adults as children who need to be protected from reality and who cannot distinguish what is real from what is not. This is a wholly disingenuous concern meant to do one thing: silence the left.

  24. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    From Trump’s Tariffs… (Bloomberg):

    Some Chinese solar companies had already been preparing for the news, with the prospect of tariffs prompting Longi Green Energy Technology Co. to consider building factories in the U.S.

    There are lots of places in the US to build those factories.

  25. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    From SCMP’s China Slams Trump:

    Beijing faces growing complaints from Washington, Europe and other trading partners that it improperly subsidises exports and hampers access to its banking, energy and other industries in violation of market-opening commitments it made when it joined the WTO in 2001.

    There is ‘trade in the name of peace,’ and there is ‘trade in the name of aggression.’

    The Black Ships in the Yokohama’s harbor were there and, per Wikipedia, threatened to attack if Japan did not begin to trade with the West.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      This part (from the same article) is also interesting:

      The Trump administration is expected to announce results in coming weeks of its “Section 301” investigation launched in August into whether Beijing improperly pressures foreign companies to hand over technology.

      Likely, a few already-rich corporations will benefit from this action as well.

  26. Helios

    Another Bloomberg article on the tariffs:

    Even with tariffs, a U.S. manufacturing revival isn’t likely. China is the clear market leader, home to fertile tech communities that manufacture and assemble solar panels, dragging prices down for solar modules – and helping spur a clean energy boom. Its dominance probably isn’t replicable “in any location because market conditions changed,” according to a report from the U.S. government’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

    The tariffs “may be about boosting the value of the assets before liquidating them,” said Hugh Bromley, an analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

    Just as I suspected:

    A net blue collar job loser, and a bailout for investors.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      As mentioned above, Chinese companies thinking of building factories here can pick those assets up cheaply (but not, as Mr. Bromley said, as cheaply).

      We only have to make sure those acquirers are not controlled by the communist party, nor the People’s Liberation Army.

  27. Chris

    Re: Hip protectors to reduce fractures in the elderly – not a new idea.

    From the BMJ (

    “Pooling of data from 11 trials carried out in nursing or residential care settings, including six cluster randomised studies, showed evidence of a marginally statistically significant reduction in incidence of hip fracture (relative risk 0.77, 95% confidence interval 0.62 to 0.97). Pooling of data from three individually randomised trials of 5135 community dwelling participants showed no reduction in hip fracture incidence with provision of hip protectors (1.16, 0.85 to 1.59). No evidence was found of any significant effect of hip protectors on incidence of pelvic or other fractures. No important adverse effects of hip protectors were reported, but compliance, particularly in the long term, was poor.

    It’s quite possible that in some cases a weakened bone will fracture, causing a fall, rather than the other way around.

  28. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Reuters’ Cheering Up Adolescents

    Researchers looked at more than 9,000 kids aged 12 to 18 and found those who lived in areas with lots of natural vegetation nearby were less likely to display high levels of depression symptoms. The effect was strongest among middle schoolers, the study team reports in Journal of Adolescent Health.

    Lots of.

    Not one indoor plant or two.

    This argues against dense urban living, in favor of suburban sprawl, which is more natural, and is not bad if we can forget the GDP for a moment (Go, GDP…or not), and if people have basic income so they don’t have to commute far.

  29. Oregoncharles

    From “Blockchain Sex Contracts Will Be Weaponized Against Women”: “it is acceptable AND LEGAL for a person to revoke consent at any time, there’s the more obvious point that consent is a one time offer. …[many paragraphs] We need to be teaching boys and men about consent — enthusiastic, durable consent.” “Durable”?

    A correspondent, who should really get credit for this insight, observed that it may not be adaptive to talk about sex in good faith, so we aren’t wired to do it. I think this has been painfully obvious (I assume I’ve been guilty, too). The article is a good example. On top of adaptive pressures, there’s point of view, which is crucial. Aside from a handful of transsexuals, who haven’t been heard from, we simply don’t have access to the other sex’s POV.

    There’s another oddity in that article: ” have you at all paid attention to what juries do to women?” Juries are about half women.

  30. Oregoncharles

    From “Roosting Chickens:” “”Referring to the rules “in the field of industrial products” and the “consequences for conformity assessment procedures and notified bodies”, the Commission confirms that Union product legislation requires “Notified Bodies to be established in a Member State and be designated by a Member State notifying authority”.”

    That is called a “non-tariff barrier to trade.” I thought the hyper-neoliberal EU was against those? Or is that only when OTHER countries impose them?

    And yes, it’s yet another example of a problem with Brexit that May’s government is failing to deal with. Yet more evidence that they secretly intend to call it off when it becomes obvious they can’t really do it.

  31. Elizabeth Burton

    Those curious about what the Democrat Party’s “progressive” group The Resistance is doing, their most recent activity was sending an email offering to sell bumper stickers reading “Dump Trump.” No mention was made of what the money raised by the sale of these truly useful bits of paper would be used for. Perhaps to print more bumper stickers.

    Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders has just turned his fundraising apparatus to getting money to support the progressive candidates now running against both Republicans and corporate Democrats and will be traveling nationwide to support them. Given most are actively being ignored by the Democrat Party apparatus, I’m stocking up on popcorn. Oh, and if you can spare three bucks to help with the campaigns, Bernie would appreciate it.

    1. Oregoncharles

      Yes, the Queen of Science Fiction and fantasy, and widely loved and respected – not true of all authors. She’ll be missed.

      Especially appropriate here, because many of her stories had a strong political and feminist element.

  32. Keny

    This website is painfully left leaning.

    No articles about the FBI corruption?

    How about using a non-liberal leaning website for news articles?

    Otherwise it’s just an echo chamber.

    1. Yves Smith

      No one is holding a gun to your head to read this site. Moreover, we did have a link on this, which you appear to have ignored, so your reading comprehension skills appear to be wanting.

      And you appear to miss that we haven’t promoted Russiagate, unlike pretty much every nominally left wing and MSM site. to the degree that we have been depicted by both the Washington Post and Vanity Fair as Russian stooges.

      This is a not a political site. This is a finance and economics site. There is way too much noise and not enough signal. We’ve already made clear that the idea that Trump is some sort of Russian stooge is not only not proven but is implausible on its face. We aren’t interested in the froth on either side. It distracts attention from far more important issues, like the opioid crisis, the surveillance state, net neutrality, and the lousy state of the labor market. If you want a right wing news summary, Drudge is over there.

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