2:00PM Water Cooler 2/20/2018

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, I started today filled with good intentions, and then got a late start. I will add more material in a bit! –lambert UPDATE 2:52PM All done!


“China’s got a trade problem that can’t be solved by Belt and Road” [South China Morning Post]. “That’s Belt and Road for you, a storm of hot air that sycophants emit as evidence of their eagerness to obey commands from Beijing, a reactive measure started only because the national authorities were annoyed that a multinational trade pact proposed by the United States would exclude China. Well, if you exclude us, we’ll exclude you, they said. We’ll do business with Uganda and the stans instead, so there. And all I can say for this is that it has wasted much less money than it has wasted breath so far and may yet be wound down before real money is lost.” Looks like whichever, er, Mandarins decided that OBOR would be funded by loans instead of directly did Xi a favor…

UPDATE “The slate of recommendations Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross gave President Donald Trump to impose restrictions on steel and aluminum imports reverberated around the world over the weekend, with U.S. allies and trading partners in Asia and elsewhere warning the administration against taking drastic action” [Politico].

UPDATE “EU prepares response to possible US tariffs” [Deutsche Welle]. “Should EU nations be affected by higher tariffs, the EU executive would ‘come up with an adequate response within days,’ [Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung] reported, adding that the focus would most likely be on agricultural produce including tomatoes and potatoes.”

UPDATE “In a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, the U.S. Food and Agriculture Dialogue for Trade urged him to re-engage in trade talks with other member-nations of TPP, which is driven by Japan, Australia, and Canada” [Farm Journal]. “At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland last month, Trump made the suggestion of re-entering TPP ‘if it is in the interests of all.’ Legislatures from Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam still need to ratify the deal.”



“How Much Will Redrawn Pa. Map Affect the Midterms?” [RealClearPolitics]. “The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania recently revealed its newly drawn maps for the commonwealth… The bottom line is this: The court acted largely within the confines of its initial order, which demanded compactness, contiguity and minimal jurisdictional splits. Within those confines, however, it repeatedly made choices that increased the Democrats’ odds of winning districts…. In an election where Democrats win all of the districts that lean Republican by three points or more – which is roughly the environment they need to win the House, this map only nets them one seat over what they would expect to win under the current map.” In other words, a wave would be sufficient to overcome any gerrymandering in the first place.

UPDATE “The New Pennsylvania House Districts Are In. We Review the Mapmakers’ Choices.” [New York Times]. “Democrats couldn’t have asked for much more from the new map. It’s arguably even better for them than the maps they proposed themselves. Over all, a half-dozen competitive Republican-held congressional districts move to the left, endangering several incumbent Republicans, one of whom may now be all but doomed to defeat, and improving Democratic standing in two open races. Based on recent election results, the new congressional map comes very close to achieving partisan balance.” Of course, the Times doesn’t mean “move to the left.” The Times means “move toward Democrats.”

UPDATE “Pennsylvania’s new congressional district lines are not a game-changer” [Harry Enten, CNN]. “While the new map gives Democrats a better chance of taking back the House in 2018, it doesn’t change the odds greatly You can do different types of fancy calculations, but Democrats are now probably favored in two seats that were at best toss-ups for them before: the new PA-5 and PA-6. Clinton would have won these districts by around 28 percentage points and 9 percentage points respectively under the new lines. Under the old lines, these were seats were carried by Clinton, but by just 2 percentage points or less. A shift of two seats isn’t small, though it’s not exactly that large in the grand scheme. Democrats need a net gain of 24 seats to win the House in November.”

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UPDATE “House Democrats Just Had Their Best Ever January Fundraising Haul” [HuffPo]. “The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced Tuesday that it had raised $9.3 million last month, the largest ever January haul for the campaign arm of House Democrats. Of that total, the DCCC raised $3.4 million online in average donations of $18, a figure that points to enthusiasm among grassroots activists in addition to well-heeled donors.”

UPDATE “Republicans control 32 state legislatures heading into the November 2018 midterms. Over the eight years of the Obama presidency, Republicans picked up 948 seats in state legislatures” [BallotPedia]. “Takeaways: In Illinois, Kentucky, Texas, and West Virginia, where candidate lists are now final, the number of Republican candidates running has increased 7.3 percent. The number of incumbents retiring has increased 50 percent. The number of Republican incumbents facing challenges has increased 7.1 percent and the number of Republican primaries has increased 9.7 percent.” That’s rather a lot of retirements.

UPDATE “San Francisco voters will settle what local media describes as a contest between progressive and moderate factions for control of the Board of Supervisors” [BallotPedia]. “Each faction currently controls five of the board’s 11 seats. District 2 supervisor Catherine Stefani, sometimes identified as a moderate, maintains ties with both sides.”

“Republicans Are Coming Home To Trump” [FiveThirtyEight]. “It’s not totally clear why Trump is getting a boost among Republicans. Perhaps positive economic news has brought some wary GOP voters home. Perhaps Republican partisans are happy that Trump and the GOP-controlled Congress passed some major legislation. But that increased support is showing up in Trump’s overall approval rating. It was stuck in the high 30s for a lot of last year but is now in the low 40s.

UPDATE “Trump endorses Romney’s Senate bid _ and Romney accepts” [AP]. “Within minutes of Trump’s tweet Monday night, Romney sent one of his own: ‘Thank you Mr. President for the support. I hope that over the course of the campaign I also earn the support and endorsement of the people of Utah.'” Mental flexibility. I like that in a politician.

UPDATE “Poll: Most Americans now support GOP tax law” [Axios]. The effects of the tax cut were always going to show up in people’s paychecks immediately. So, in retrospect, liberal Democrat yammering about the sky falling later might not have been the smartest tactic. Of course, the “issue” appears in a different light when you understand that Federal taxes don’t pay for Federal spending, but liberal Democrats are deeply wedded to the false narrative that they do.


Creative tactics, always a sign of health in a movement:

New Cold War

Holy moley. Obama’s law professor:

A phrase I’ve noticed liberal Democrats like Tribe using a lot recently is “our Democracy.” That bothered me when I considered, say, superdelegates, or the general election rigging by the Democratic nomenklatura in 2016. But then I figured out that liberal Democrats meant the phrase quite literally. They mean “our democracy,” as in the Iron Law of Institutions. So now it doesn’t bother me so much.

UPDATE Where do I sign up for the Russian front?

Realignment and Legitimacy

“US veterans answer political call to arms in era of Trump” [Financial Times]. “[Dan Ward] is battling three other Democrats to challenge Dave Brat, a congressman who spectacularly ousted Eric Cantor, then House majority leader, in the Republican primary four years ago in their central Virginian congressional district. ‘It’s going to take a background like mine to win,’ he says about the conservative area. ‘I grew up in the country, I’m a veteran, and I’m a small farm owner. That gives me the ability to talk to the 20 per cent of Republicans who don’t support Trump.'” What bullshit. Bernie Sanders doesn’t have Ward’s background at all, and he does just fine talking to electorates like Ward’s based on policy. Readers, am I right in my recollection that the DNC discourages candidates’ “On the Issues” pages? Google doesn’t come up with anything, but…

It’s good to have some veterans of 2003 around:

My hot take is that liberal Democrat tactics are the same now as they were in 2003; basically, calling their opponents stupid and/or evil and ladeling on the snark. What I would label the left critique — liberal and left were not so clearly distinguished then as now — was a Constitutional one centering on Bush’s abuses of President power, in particular his theory of the unitary executive. Pelosi took that critique out in 2006 by taking impeachment off the table, and Obama signalled he would normalize everything Bush did by voting for retroactive immunity for the telcos who assisted Bush’s felonious warrantless surveillance program, in July 2008. What’s different this time is the open alliance of factions in the intelligence community with the Democrats, and the merger of both with factions in the press.

“How Democrats use dark money — and win elections” [NBC News]. “Alabama’s special U.S. Senate election in December is a case study in the lengths national Democrats, who this year are racing to win back Congress from Republicans, are willing to go to hide their cash in the name of political expediency… Senate Majority PAC’s biggest donations come from a handful of active billionaires: Newsweb Corp.’s Fred Eychaner with $2 million, Paloma Partners’ Donald Sussman with $1.5 million and billionaire businessman George Soros with $1 million. The super PAC’s donor list also includes pages and pages of comparatively small donations, and it boasts of how unambiguous its operations are.”

UPDATE “Amazon’s Jeff Bezos Can’t Beat Washington, So He’s Joining It: The Influence Game” [Bloomberg]. “Amazon has fought for favorable rules regarding online sales taxes since 2000. But its rise as a Washington powerhouse really began amid a flurry of activity in 2013. That fall, Bezos acquired the Washington Post for $250 million from its longtime owners, the Graham family, and two months later, unveiled Prime Air, a nascent project to speed deliveries using drones. At the time, the Federal Aviation Administration required unmanned aircraft to be flown within the line of sight of operators. Amazon argued the rules were designed for hobbyists, not commercial operators.”

Stats Watch

No official statistics today.

UPDATE Chemical Activity Barometer: “Industrial Activity Signals Further Gains in U.S. Economy; Pullback in Equity Markets Betrays Strong Fundamentals” [American Chemistry Council]. “Applying the CAB back to 1912, it has been shown to provide a lead of two to fourteen months, with an average lead of eight months at cycle peaks as determined by the National Bureau of Economic Research. The median lead was also eight months. At business cycle troughs, the CAB leads by one to seven months, with an average lead of four months. The median lead was three months.” And: “The year-over-year increase in the CAB has been solid over the last year, suggesting further gains in industrial production in 2018” [Calculated Risk].

UPDATE Retail: “Hasbro Inc., Mattel Inc. and other companies are rushing to collapse production times and gets to market with uncommon speed as they try to keep up with the rapid rise and fall of trends driven by social media. [T]he big companies are acting as the $27 billion U.S. toy industry copes with a slowdown that comes along with steep and potentially long-lasting changes. The overall business grew only 1% last year, and there’s more momentum in trends driven by social media like slime-making kits rather than big-budget marketing campaigns behind big brands like ‘Star Wars.’ That means jumping on trends in weeks, and moving faster and more nimbly. That may demand big changes in the industry’s supply-chain fundamentals, and may call into question the long cycles built around manufacturing in Asia and shipping across the Pacific” [Wall Street Journal].

UPDATE Shipping: “The surge in goods flowing into the U.S. doesn’t appear to be slowing down in the new year. Imports at the nation’s seaports in January kept up the strong pace that began midway through last year” [Wall Street Journal]. “Trade analysts Panjiva set overall U.S. import growth at 7.7% in January, a signal that international shipments remain a major force filling domestic road and rail distribution networks. Trucking measures show highway shipments remain at elevated levels for the first quarter and intermodal volume on railroads is also strong. The 10% gain in imports at Georgia’s Port of Savannah suggests more goods are on the way. The port is a major gateway to Southeastern U.S. manufacturing sites, where factories appear in position to boost output to match the growing economic demand.”

UPDATE “[V]isibility into real-time information on an industrial scale is a growing focus in the supply-chain technology world as companies try to bridge a gap between broad enterprise planning and the nuts-and-bolts of implementation. Walmart Inc. recently highlighted the issue when it put new demands on suppliers for more precise delivery of goods” [Wall Street Journal].

The Bezzle: “What’s Behind One of the Biggest Financial Scams in History” [Wharton School]. “It was staggering seeing just the kind of depths of depravity that some of these bankers and traders demonstrated.” Must-read. Note that the LIBOR was revealed in 2012, long-forgotten ancient history at this point (although this lowly humanities major had spotted LIBOR’s potential for fraud in 2008).

Banks: “Does More “Skin in the Game” Mitigate Bank Risk-Taking?” [Liberty Street]. “[B]y comparing national (double liability) banks to banks in a state with limited liability, such as Missouri, we can better isolate the effect of liability on risk‑taking while holding economic conditions more or less constant…. Overall, however, it’s not clear whether the extra skin in the game for double liability banks made them safer—they were more liquid than state member banks but also slightly more levered. We emphasize, however, that this interpretation is tentative; we are currently collecting data for a more detailed, rigorous analysis across multiple states.”


Concentration: “The Case Against Google” [New York Times Magazine]. “Once [Moeran and Raff’s product search site] Foundem.com was available to everyone, the company’s honeymoon lasted precisely two days. During its first 48 hours, the Raffs saw a rush of traffic from users typing product queries into Google and other search engines. But then, suddenly, the traffic stopped. Alarmed, Adam and Shivaun began running diagnostics. They quickly discovered that their site, which until then had been appearing near the top of search results, was now languishing on Google, mired 12 or 15 or 64 or 170 pages down.” Odd!

The Fed: “Is the U.S. Due for a Recession?” [Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis]. “So far, the current economic expansion is the third-longest in the U.S. since World War II. The concept of positive duration dependence does suggest that the U.S. economy has become more likely to contract soon, but it’s not a guarantee. It is entirely possible that the U.S. economy will continue to expand for the foreseeable future.” Truman: “Give me a one-handed economist!”

Five Horsemen: “Amazon up, Walmart down — it’s as basic as four legs good, two legs bad” [Hat Tip, Jim Haygood].

Five Horsemen Feb 20 2018

Rapture Index: Closes unchanged [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 186.

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 18 Extreme Fear (previous close: 15, Extreme Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 10 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed. Last updated Feb 15 at 7:00pm. Holy moley, lagged by five days.

Our Famously Free Press

“With its latest series The Upside, the Guardian will focus on solutions journalism in five key areas” [Journalism]. “The Upside will focus on finding innovative but replicable approaches around the world, [Guardian special projects editor Mark Rice-Oxley] added, so that an interesting project or idea can be picked up by councils, organisations or entrepreneurs who can try and put it into practice in their local area.”

“Billionaires gone wild” [Columbia Journalism Review]. “The ones who are doing a pure influence play—and have enough money stockpiled to afford not to care if it works as a business—have the advantage over everyone else. The fact that Gawker had the readership and revenue to sustain itself didn’t, in the end, make a whit of difference to the people who made the decision to kill it off, just as the Gothamist network’s modest profitability made no difference to Ricketts—and just as, in another sense, the financial viability of Breitbart News means little to billionaire backer Rebekah Mercer, nor that of The Federalist to whichever wealthy interests are secretly bankrolling that conservative publication. In this world it makes more sense, from the billionaire’s perspective, to fund Breitbart than own DNAinfo. Both will probably lose money, but one of them might help get a president elected.”

Neoliberal Epidemics

A very good thread that starts with Parkland, and branches out:

The conclusion:

Well, that’s a fine exposition of Rules #1 and #2 of Neoliberalism, though I hadn’t thought of applying them in this context.

Imperial Collapse Watch

“The Americans and their terrible, horrible, no good, very bad Games” [Globe and Mail]. “Now it feels like nothing could be harder than to represent the U.S.A. – a country that no longer understands what it’s supposed to be on the international stage, or how it should act while out in public. Russia may have been reduced to a winless and smouldering resentment at these Olympics. But it plays better than American cringing.” Being slapped around by Canadians may be a new experience for us…

Class Warfare

“How Dental Inequality Hurts Americans” [New York Times]. Bad teeth are one of the most brutal class markers of all.

UPDATE “This is the real reason many Americans stay poor” [MarketWatch]. “In reality, however, the Prosperity Now report said, ‘the dominant narrative about low-wealth people is nothing but a series of myths.’ Poor choices, the analysts there say, aren’t why people are poor…. Low-wage jobs are a chief reason so many low-income Americans have trouble making ends meet these days, according to [Kasey Wiedrich, director of applied research at Prosperity Now].” Seems unexceptionable to me, but it’s interesting to see in a publication titled “Market Watch.” Then again, no demand, no market…

News of the Wired

“The Beauty of the COBOL Programming Language” [DevOps.com] “The more I learn about COBOL, the more I like it. The language continues to evolve to meet the needs of our fast-changing times, with revisions as recent as 2014. Since its inception there have been a dozen enhancements to COBOL including a continuing stream of formal standards.” And what’s really beautiful about COBOL is that you can still bill for it! Maybe I should go back to school….

“How the Porn Industry Evolves With the Internet” [RealClearLife]. Porn adapts to and exploits every new medium, often driving the medium’s development. So, if — and I have no data on this, personal or otherwise — we don’t see porn in holograms, virtual reality, or augmented reality, that’s a good indication those media aren’t going anywhere.

UPDATE “‘The ebook is a stupid product: no creativity, no enhancement,’ says the Hachette Group CEO” [Scroll.in]. Arnaud Nourry: “In the US and UK, the ebook market is about 20% of the total book market, everywhere else it is 5%-7% because in these places the prices never went down to such a level that the ebook market would get significant traction. I think the plateau, or rather slight decline, that we’re seeing in the US and UK is not going to reverse. It’s the limit of the ebook format. The ebook is a stupid product. It is exactly the same as print, except it’s electronic. There is no creativity, no enhancement, no real digital experience. We, as publishers, have not done a great job going digital. We’ve tried. We’ve tried enhanced or enriched ebooks – didn’t work. We’ve tried apps, websites with our content – we have one or two successes among a hundred failures. I’m talking about the entire industry. We’ve not done very well. I’m convinced there is something we can invent using our content and digital properties beyond ebooks but I reached the conclusion that we don’t really have the skills and talents in our companies because publishers and editors are accustomed to picking a manuscript and creating a design on a flat page. They don’t really know the full potential of 3-D and digital.” But we already do 3-D and digital in video games, movies, and the teebee. Idea: Write and edit better books? Books are about reading. 3-D and “digital” are not.

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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 place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant (DK):

DK writes: “I intend to get rid of the front lawn and replace with succulents and poppies. Poppies are remarkably easy to grow and carefree – I’m always amazed I don’t see more of them.” Attaboy!

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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. dcblogger

    I am going to repost Mark Ames’ observation because it cannot be said often enough:

    Much better is to pour arms unrestricted into the population, give them legal cover and political encouragement to take political matters into their own hands with laws like “Stand Your Ground”. That way you wind up creating a political culture of atomized, fear-fueled citizens who think they’re literally at war with each other, and their only way out is to fend for themselves and their family.


  2. Katy

    Readers, am I right in my recollection that the DNC discourages candidates’ “On the Issues” pages?

    My representative, Betty McCollum, doesn’t have an issues page on her election website. I was irked by this initially. I spoke to her in person after a town hall, and I expressed my concern about increased consolidation and monopolization of hospitals and clinics in my area, and asked her to support Medicare for All. Her answer was non-responsive. That’s when I realized that she’s just an establishment Democrat.

    Unfortunately, there are no primary challengers to her seat this year.

      1. Dwight

        David Ward, the Democrat discussed above that is running for Congress in Virginia’s 7th district, has an issues page. Although he claims to support lowering the Medicare age as a “public option,” he does not emphasize this position. He does not support Medicare for All, but rather supports Medicaid for the poor and private health insurance for those who can pay the piper. I don’t see why his wonkish discussion of the Affordable Care Act bending the cost curve will play better in rural Virginia than would a properly explained Medicare for All. (Hint: call it a responsibility, not a right. That’s what my friend in rural Japan called it when I asked him about the Japanese system – everyone has a responsibility to pay.)


    1. Buck Eschaton

      I also have noticed she’s not a sponsor for the medicare-for-all act. Which is for me is very surprising/shocking because St. Paul is one the most liberal districts in MN. Also, very disappointed with Klobuchar and her weird market-driven healthcare “ideas”, I’m thinking of her performance with Sanders and the two Republicans at that CNN townhall.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Are you prepared to accept the pain of having a Republican representative in order to inflict the pain of losing that seat on the Clintobamacrat Party? If you are prepared to accept the pain of having a Republican representative, then there are ways for you to vote to defeat Betty McCollum in the upcoming election.

      1. Darius

        I’m sure Betty McCollum will do just fine losing that election on her own. As will Tim Walz. Bolstered with help from DNC types.

        1. Mark Gisleson

          Walz is not running for reelection, he is running for governor. Many candidates to replace him but DCCC and Bernie have already endorsed one. I doubt anyone at DCCC or in Bernie’s camp could name all the candidates, but they’ve already picked one for us.

          So incredibly sick and tired of being told who to vote for, and that contested primaries use up all the precious money.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        What is the political gain of not having issues on a website? Given the criticism of Hillary’s own campaign and Democratic campaign efforts when they lose, shouldn’t the Democratic elites who keep losing be the ones you complain about instead of random people with little power?

        Oh right, yes, the powerful are the ones who should be held accountable.

      3. NotTimothyGeithner

        What is the political gain of not having issues on a website? Given the criticism of Hillary’s own campaign and Democratic campaign efforts when they lose, shouldn’t the Democratic elites who keep losing be the ones you complain about instead of random people with little power?

        Oh right, yes, the powerful are the ones who should be held accountable.

      4. Massinissa

        I would rather have a Republican-In-Dem-Clothing lose to a real Republican than win. Because if they win, that means we get more Republicans-In-Dem-Clothing, Blue Dogs, Neoliberals, or whatever you want to call them. No thanks.

    3. KB

      I don’t know of any Democrats in the state of Minnesota that Aren’t Corporate Democrats…..I have been elected twice as a state delegate to state conventions, once as an alternate and participated since 2002 in party affairs intimately in order to see what needed “changing” a very long time…..no longer a Democrat….nothing will be fixed as it stands….Also have testified at State Capital hearings and more…..all of them are neo-liberal Democrats by design..

      1. WJ

        I agree. Lots of good social democrats among the younger and older sort in St Paul, but those between 35-60 tend toward the liberalism of virtue-signaling NPR-stickered Suburus.

    4. ChrisPacific

      My recollection is that Kamala Harris did have one, but I can’t find it now. Most of them were just anodyne Democrat talking points. One or two she seemed genuinely interested in, but I can’t recall which ones they were.

    5. ChrisPacific

      Bernie Sanders, unsurprisingly, sets the standard. Multiple pages of them, with links to detailed and well-supported position statements for each. Just his statement on the rights of native Hawaiians takes up more space than the entire issues page for most of the others. He does use the “fighting to/fighting for” verbiage more often than I’d like though.

    6. Watt4Bob

      The DFL was ‘establishment’ before establishment was cool.

      My daughter, a college junior asked if we could go to the DFL caucus last year, so we went.

      The moment we walked through the door we were accosted by a volunteer trying to pin Hillary buttons on us.

      Our precinct voted for Bernie by a wide margin, but all the volunteers going to the convention were Hillary people because at that point most Sanders people were neophytes and hadn’t yet realized that the caucus was simply the first step in participation, and if you wanted to support anyone other than the anointed one, you’d better volunteer to go to the district conventions and then on to the state convention and be prepared to be marginalized by people much more organized, and experienced than you, and dedicated to maintaining the status quo.

      It’s embarrassing to admit that the biggest barrier to political progress in the DFL is a bunch of vicious retired school teachers dressed in sweats who have been waiting their whole lives to make a woman president.

      That’s small ‘d’ democracy, I don’t blame them, I just wish they didn’t have such sharp elbows.

      1. Altandmain

        It’s embarrassing to admit that the biggest barrier to political progress in the DFL is a bunch of vicious retired school teachers dressed in sweats who have been waiting their whole lives to make a woman president.

        I don’t think that Clinton liberals truly understand the damage that they have done to the Democratic Party and to feminism with their stunt of favoring Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders. The sad part is that many of these supporters would probably have favored what Sanders would have done. It’s confirmation bias at its worst – they ignored the Goldman Sachs speeches, the dark money, the wars, the constant scandals, and worse, they ignored that they had a better alternative.

        They’ve alienated a good chunk of my Generation, Y, and especially young women – they clearly felt entitled to their voters. People are going to remember this. Oh and the idea that any criticism of Clinton is sexist worsened things considerably.

        They shot themselves in the foot – big time. Not only have they alienated working class whites, they have also alienated future potential voters. Oh and due to the way they treated Sanders voters, they managed to ensure enough Sanders supporters stayed home in the Midwest and Florida that they lost the one thing they coveted … to Donald Trump of all people.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          It is even a little worse than what you think. The Clintonites managed by policy and by nastiness to get some Bitter Berners to straight-up outright vote for Trump. I don’t know how many. Someone should do a study.

        2. Skip Intro

          The Obama bait and switch really burned a lot of credibility for the Dems’ identity-politics-only strategy. Trying to pull that off with a woman whose main qualification was her skill/ambition in picking husbands, and who was so widely disliked and distrusted was just lazy, and as so many noted so early in the game, doomed..

      2. Katy

        I’m a delegate! I’m backing Rebecca Otto, the progressive candidate (endorsed by Our Revolution).

        Tim Walz is the Anointed One in the DFL. He got 30% of the vote in the preference poll. Rebecca Otto got 20%. Tim had better be sweating right now….

        1. KB

          If you want Medicare for all, Otto is only “pretending” she is for single payer….Read Kip Sullivan’s lengthy discussions about what she is proposing….
          I know Walz is worse, but investigate please…

    7. Jen

      Annie Kuster (D-NH) has an issues page on her campaign website, but, well, I’ll just quote from the “Health Care” section:

      “Annie is focused on reforming our health care system to improve access to affordable, quality health care. She knows the Affordable Care Act is not perfect, which is why she is working to improve the law. Annie sponsored the bill to fix the “family glitch” and make family health coverage more affordable, and cosponsored legislation to expand tax credits so small businesses can more easily afford to provide health care for their employees. She also successfully pushed the Obama administration to ensure that drugs that help combat breast cancer will be covered by health insurance providers​.

      Annie opposes efforts to completely throw out the health care reform law, which would increase pharmaceutical costs for seniors and reinstate discrimination against women and patients with preexisting conditions, and she is committed to fixing remaining problems with the law and increasing competition in the New Hampshire health insurance marketplace.”

      Well, alrighty then.

      And then there’s this “issue” – working across the aisle:

      “Annie strongly believes we must responsibly reduce the federal budget deficit and pay down the national debt to ensure the long-term health of our economy. That’s why she is working across the aisle with Republicans and Democrats to cut wasteful spending and make our government more efficient. In Congress, she sponsored legislation to stop spending taxpayer money on maintaining long-empty federal bank accounts, and cosponsored legislation to save hundreds of billions of dollars by eliminating and streamlining duplicative programs.

      Annie cofounded the United Solutions Caucus, a group that brings together Democratic and Republican Members of Congress who are committed to ending the gridlock in Washington and working together to get things done. She’s also a member of the Problem Solvers, a bipartisan group working to pass the Make Government Work agenda to save tax dollars and make Washington more efficient.”

      Wasteful spending…like increasing the defense budget perhaps? Nah, she voted for that.

      No mention of guns, but if I could bring myself to check out her facebook page, I’m sure she’d express her disappointment in the lack of bipartisan solutions, because that’s pretty much her go to.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Well . . . at least she has the decency to have an issues page. She gives you something specific which you can vote for or against.

    1. Oregoncharles

      It’s considered a native in Oregon. Can be a bit invasive from seed, but so can some other natives. I think it’s a pretty strict pioneer; doesn’t like competition.

    2. diptherio

      …and in Montana we consider Californians invasive weeds, and do our best to remove them….kidding…sorta….

      1. Wukchumni

        The key to being an equity refugee in the Golden State is to go intrastate, where nobody’s gonna bag on you for being a Californian.

    3. Wukchumni

      I’ve noticed that the most spectacular California golden poppy years tend to be drought years following a big water year, such as this one.

      Locally, Dry Creek Road heading up to the town of Badger, is usually amazing, whole hills full of them that shimmer like a golden hologram as you drive past. We’re about a month away from the action~

      1. Ed Miller

        Don’t you mean last year? Big rains in CA in the 2016-2017 winter followed by the best desert bloom in decades, for sure. Unfortunately for me I only saw the photos since I left CA in 1993. Normally I would be visiting in SoCal but it didn’t work out in 2017.

        Much less rain this year from what I’ve read.

    4. polecat

      ‘we’ ?? … speaketh for yourself !

      I have California poppies, which I started from seed, come up every spring, creating quite a show … with the added plus of attracting at least two spicies of Bumblebees, as well as other benefical insects !
      If you wanna talk noxious weeds, lets start with Scotch broom, which is taking over much coastal habitat ..
      And then there’s the impenetrably spiny, and highly flammable Gorst ! … also from the emerald isle … ‘Uhg’ !

    1. ewmayer

      No longer follow Mish since he moved to that silly “platform solution”, but given his long history of railing against anything that connotes Labor power it’s clear that the only thing he hates more than price inflation is any hint of wage inflation for the Deplorables. Between that and his fetishizing of techno-griftware – first his 2-year-long “cryptocurrencies will change everything!” mania, which gave way to his self-driving-vehicle love affair – I couldn;t read him on economics anymore, even before he platform-hopped. Does he still answer every reader objection to his “automation will make everyone better off” dogma by trotting out his ridiculous “horse-drawn carriages went away, but buggy-whip makers found plenty of fabulous new jobs in the automotive industry” meme?

    1. djrichard

      Or, it’s thanks to the 13 week treasury yield which is pushing up from the short end of the curve.

      By the way, 13 week is at 1.573%, more than 25 basis points above where it was the last time the Fed Reserve raised it’s rate. I’m thinking we’ll see the Fed Reserve raise their rate before their March 20th meeting.

    1. JohnnyGL

      Agreed, it was excellent. His tone of scorn towards this round of Mueller indictments is well-deserved.

      Nailing a dozen troll farm employees for impersonation of US citizens and ID theft is bog standard FBI work, not Special Counsel with all those extra special investigation and subpoena powers needed.

      No ties to Russian Intel.

      Run by a guy who used to do hot dog distribution in schools. Parents complained about bad food in the kids schools, so the guy hired online trolls to drown out their complaints. This is how the guy got into the troll farm business.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        And it’s not as though Herr Mueller can “nail” those supposed Russian trolls anyway since his indictment will result in no trials or evidence or judges or juries, and no verdicts. (You remember, all that stuff we used to do to enforce the law of the land).
        Nay, Mueller relies on the updated form of justice these days, popularized by #MeToo: just accuse somebody. No need to determine whether the accusations are true or false, we go straight to the “punishment” phase and skip all that “burden of proof” nonsense

    2. geophrian

      Lee Camp? On RT?!? The Russian propaganda channel!?!??!

      Just kidding. ;) His constant snark turned me off to his show but I definitely appreciate his insights. It’s a shame our own media won’t allow those ideas on the air from serious commentators. They still welcome all the liars and scammers that lead us into our awful wars, the economic collapse, and are wrong about every other issue of importance, but god forbid they ever allow on people who were right about these issues! Their advertisers and paymasters will never allow it. So, we have to turn to blogs, YouTube channels, and RT while hoping the info were getting is legit (and using critical thinking of course).

  3. grayslady

    Readers, am I right in my recollection that the DNC discourages candidates’ “On the Issues” pages? Google doesn’t come up with anything, but…

    Quote from an article in Down with Tyranny on pro-NRA candidates:

    “The DCCC discourages its candidates from putting up issues pages on their campaign websites, so it’s hard to tell which of its wretched candidates are the most supportive of the NRA.”

    As to finding nothing when searching on Google for information, it seems appropriate that the NYT story on the Raffs identifies why both Google and the internet generally have become crapified when it comes to attempting to search for serious or specific subject matter anymore.

      1. DonCoyote

        Well, we already knew the DCCC was unabashingly cozying up to the Blue Dogs.

        While looking for the above source (nice find!), I stumbled across this little gem about DCCC/consultants instructing corporate Democrats on how to claim they support MedicareForAll.

        “Short version is this: As you know, “Medicare for All” is language that can either refer to Medicare as a public option or Medicare as a vehicle for single payer. It’s intentionally confusing (my DC consultants advised me to use this language…)”.

        So you can have an issues page and even claim you support MedicareForAll, and then say gotcha suckers, I just meant a public option, the language is vague (HRC lawyerly parsing). And put your support for guns under “national security” (aka Because terrorists).

        Of, as Jimmy Dore says, they’re Republicans who are for abortion…and maybe have a gay friend.

  4. It´s all in the numbers

    One belt, one road. Really interesting. Just a couple if questions though.
    Trade deficit w/ROW: is that China buying raw material from their companies in Africa and elsewhere to feed their production? How does that influence the analysis?
    Depedency of Europe for trade: isn´t the goal of the OBOR exactly to connect with EU but together with everything else in between?

    1. jo6pac

      Yes, the story is written in a talk down the New Silk road. This project started over 20yrs ago and the only person following that long is Pepe Escobar.

      There rail line leading to every country that doesn’t have access to it’s on ports. Serbia is one of the big winners so far. Then other rail lines are about 6 months away from Iran and every country in-between has a share of the prize. Trade not war.

  5. allan

    Diseased Streets [NBC Bay Area]

    An NBC Bay Area Investigation reveals a dangerous concoction of drug needles, garbage, and feces lining the streets of downtown San Francisco. The Investigative Unit surveyed more than 150 blocks, including some of the city’s top tourist destinations, and discovered conditions that are now being compared to some of the worst slums in the world. …

    With a handy map of the blocks with the highest concentrations of needles and human feces.
    Poverty tourism – no need to travel all the way to Mumbai when the experience can had in USA!USA!!

    1. perpetualWAR

      “Reports to 311 of Needles and Human Waste in San Francisco Have Steadily Risen Since 2008.”

      Hmmm, let’s think about what happened in 2008…..that led to this desperation. Anyone???

    2. geoff

      I was in SF last month (first time!) and the level of homelessness was fairly off the charts compared to what I’m used to here down south (east). My daughter was even assaulted by an obviously insane woman who apparently stays at the same Muni station all the time. (She was not hurt, but was shaken up.)

      As for the feces, there’s an easy fix: public toilets, which were generally unavailable even at Muni and BART stations. I found out as a tourist wandering the city that if you need to use the bathroom, you’re gonna need to pay somebody, and even then, good luck.

    3. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Incredible responses in the article and comments, by both sides of the spectrum. Leftie City politician: “we need more beds for the homeless!”. Neo-con fascist commentators “Damned freeloaders, give them more beds and you’ll have even more of them looking for free beds!”.

      Bloody hell people if you can’t even diagnose the problem correctly and address the root causes what hope is there for a solution. Can I suggest it starts with Burgermeister Bezos and his ilk who siphon off the top 50% in this naked kleptocracy for the benefit of the holy 1%?

  6. fresno dan


    The mockery of Trump’s claim arises, (i.e., that Trump is tougher on Russia than Obama was) I think, from two sources. The first is Trump himself. The administration has been tough on Russia, but Trump himself has NOT been rhetorically tough. For reasons that have launched a thousand theories, the president cannot bring himself to speak harshly about Vladimir Putin in a convincing way.

    The second, related, reason is that the Russia investigation has become a carryall for anti-Trump obsessions among the press and Democrats generally. The narrative (God, I’m getting sick of that word) is that Trump is in league with the Russians. There’s no room in that storyline for the Trump administration to be hindering Russia.
    It is amazing to me how many people will twist themselves in knots to maintain a narrative coherence.
    But why? Oh yeah, to maintain a LARGER narrative coherence to back one’s own ideology…..

    Of course, will the people at National Review acknowledge that Trump is no cold warrior and for a deal for golf courses throughout Siberia would dismantle our nuclear arsenal unilaterally (and that Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity would cheer Trump on because……Russia is a construct of the deep state?)

    Heaven forbid our MSM ever delve into what our ACTUAL policies are, and how inconsistent that is with what politicians say and the media NARRATIVE… Hmmmm….maybe politicians are so inconsistent because they understand that what they say has more attention paid to it THAN WHAT THEY DO…..

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Access journalism. Bernstein and Woodward basically had a story gifted to them by a jilted J. Edgar Hoover lackey that Nixon thought was a weirdo. Besides the corporate influence, the press pushes interviews with famous people as if it will break news. What interview has been newsworthy? The Couric interview with Palin. I already knew Palin was a trumped up moron, but she attained her position because much of the Alaskan GOP was caught up in that oil scandal, not through political talent. She just was a useful idiot. Couric exposed the jokes to everyone clearly.

      People like us know who Dave Sirota is, and he and his team have been breaking stories. Those stories weren’t gifted to them by a porn enthusiast. They did research and looked at the books. They didn’t ask questions such as “Hillary, what are you going to do with the first gentleman? Because he is a man, not a woman”. Bernstein and Woodward aren’t heroes, but they’ve become the model for a reporter which is to wait around and be hand fed a story from a guy Hoover’s goon squad. Yes, it was a big story, but they needed an upset person with the goods.

      Bernstein has spent the intervening years recording those in power, but he’s welcome, a stenographer. The most newsworthy elements of his work is the stuff the ilk of Rumsfeld didn’t think was embarrassing because it was such a rotten group.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Are you confusing “Bernstein” with “Woodward”? I thought I remember Woodward being the one who has been rewarded with lucrative bookwriting opportunities and Bernstein being left to fade away into lower middle-class obscurity.

    1. Under the thumb

      The Economist is a neoliberal promoter and a spineless publication that just follows the political winds. Their methodology is a question mark https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democracy_Index

      “There are a few questions considered so important that a low score on them yields a penalty on the total score sum for their respective categories, namely
      “Whether national elections are free and fair”;
      “The security of voters”;
      “The influence of foreign powers on government”;
      “The capability of the civil servants to implement policies”.”

      “The influence of foreign powers on government” This does disqualify the whole of EU that is under the US-thumb for their policies: economical and military.

    2. Sid_finster

      I guarantee you that if HRC were installed in the White House today by military coup, the Economist would be hailing the result as a Triumph of Democracy and Also Leadership.

  7. Jonathan Holland Becnel

    Re Porn

    Idk, ive seen a couple VR clips posted online…

    But its regular 2 D for me!


  8. subgenius

    Re. Bad teeth..

    Well, there’s bad teeth, as in bad teeth

    There’s bad teeth, as in look uneven, crooked etc

    And, there’s bad teeth that look great but actually are functionally terrible.

    USA masters on the last.

    As an aside, I had never encountered somebody suffering tmj before relocating to California. Now it is probably the single most common problem I hear about. Might want to consider where that comes from.

    1. Arizona Slim

      I’m going to take a wild guess and say cosmetic dentistry that put the patient’s mouth in worse condition than it was before.

      1. Darius

        USAians used to make fun of the English for their teeth. But the UK has universal dental insurance. They should be ridiculing us.

    2. Yves Smith

      I hate to say it, but you don’t get it.

      Bad teeth in some parts of America means visibly missing teeth, as in all you could afford was an extraction (which is pretty cheap) when people with more money can do things like root canals if the root is salvageable, implants, or a bridge.

      And this is not uncommon. I have a sister in law who had her front teeth knocked out by a car door and she has not replaced them. Why? She has more pressing health problems, and even though that brother has $1 million in savings thanks to having a union job and being disciplined, he can’t take what the new PE owners of his mill are doing to drive older workers at higher pay rates out (physically punishing schedules) so he is quitting at age 56. Do you think he can get insurance or another job? And how far do you think $1 million goes these days if you have to tide yourself over to getting inadequate Social Security? Answer: not far.

      1. J.Fever

        I’m in the same boat as “that” brother. I just hope in 10 years time we have Uni-Health care 4 all.

      2. Grebo

        And how far do you think $1 million goes these days

        Depends where you are. Mexican government bonds pay 7% and $70,000 a year goes pretty far in Mexico.

      3. geophrian

        I was on a job in Cuba a while back when one of my teeth became terribly infected. Had no idea how lucky I was that it happened there. The doctor was amazing, and the tooth extraction, emergency room care, painkillers, antibiotics, and hospital stay (one night) cost less than $100.

        Once back in the US my 30 minute checkup cost over $500 and getting an implant is way to expensive so I just have a hole in my mouth. But, I’m lucky. Being in Cuba for the emergency extraction saved me a ton of money. And, again, the doctor and nurses were super caring and professional. Much better than my hospital experiences in NYC where I was treated like cattle and had misdiagnosis’s, lost EKGs, and other expensive annoyances when going to the emergency room in the past.

      4. Lemmy Caution

        Getting a bad tooth pulled costs about $250; an extraction and a dental implant to replace the tooth runs about $3,500-$4,000. I know cause I’ve had both procedures done recently. As someone who pays for everything out of pocket, the second option is a biggie and caused us to significantly reshuffle our budget for the year.

        1. Arizona Slim

          One of my friends had an implant that his body rejected. ISTR him saying that he replaced it with a bridge.

  9. DJG

    It was ever thus:

    “Porn adapts to and exploits every new medium, often driving the medium’s development. So, if — and I have no data on this, personal or otherwise — we don’t see porn in holograms, virtual reality, or augmented reality, that’s a good indication those media aren’t going anywhere.”

    I learned something close to this a long time ago: Many of the museums in Italy and France are proud of their collections of Greek vases, which are displayed in beautiful cases. Very often, a case or two is against the wall, and it is hard to see what is on the back of the vase. And, lo and behold, it will be Zeus making love to Ganymede or naked dancing girls playing the double flute after a symposium or ithyphallic (see, it isn’t porn! I used a big word) satyrs prancing. The image, the word, the image that can be shared, the erotic, the pornographic (if you can define pornography, you’re much more analytic than I am): Yes, they have driven mediums to innovate and still do. And these are the reasons why the puritans among us cannot control these words and images.

    1. Wukchumni

      Pompeii is full of porn on the excavated walls, including a fresco of a fellow that makes John Holmes look like a piker.

      1. Byron the Light Bulb

        “A widespread taste for pornography means that nature is alerting us to some threat of extinction.” – JG Ballard, Myths of the Near Future.

        “Science is the ultimate pornography, analytic activity whose main aim is to isolate objects or events from their contexts in time and space. This obsession with the specific activity of quantified functions is what science shares with pornography.”
        ― JG Ballard, The Atrocity Exhibition.

        1. Wukchumni

          Hard to imagine JG Ballard wrote The Drowned World in 1962…
          …and such a masterful writer

          “Set in the year 2145 in a post-apocalyptic and unrecognisable London, The Drowned World is a setting of tropical temperatures, flooding and accelerated evolution.

          At the beginning of the novel, the catastrophe responsible for the apocalypse is explained scientifically: solar radiation has caused the polar ice-caps to melt and worldwide temperature to soar, leaving the cities of northern Europe and America submerged in beautiful and haunting tropical lagoons.”


    2. fresno dan

      February 20, 2018 at 3:26 pm

      I read a book called I think “The Box” – it was about innovation in shipping. The innovation was NOT science or technology – it was just making steel boxes of a uniform size to facility shipping. It changed the world.

      The innovation in porn is much, much darker – again, not technology. If you go to mainstream sites like Pornhub you can’t search for “rape” – literally the search results will tell you that is does not recognize the word “rape”.
      But go to a site like Motherless and see the stuff put out by PKF. But the “innovation” in porn is not technology – it is horror porn or snuff porn. Realistic scripts, better make up, much, much “better” acting depicting fear, terror, and psychopaths in action. The depiction of rape, torture, and murder in a way that is revolting and realistic. I have seen Cannibal Holocaust and I have seen Evil Dead and plenty of porn. This is different. But I wish I could unsee and unknow what I have seen now.

      We don’t let “Crush” porn exist, nor child porn, so I think the repetitive depiction of misogyny tells us something, akin to the every expanding number of children gunned down in schools – something mean, cruel, and depraved when we are left totally unrestrained to our most base desires.

      I never in my life would think I would say porn needs to be controlled. I was quite the libertarian for most of my life, and I have frequently admitted on this site that I now see how wrong my views were. Don’t get me wrong – I still love pictures of naked women. But I just don’t believe in the “unregulated world” like I did when I was younger.

    3. The Rev Kev

      I find it funny that mobs like Facebook will have a user that will post a classic piece of art that features a nude – and will then find their account suspended. A few complaints to the local government will have Facebook back off but it is funny that they are trying to use the standards of a puritanical prim aunt in deciding what can and can’t be allowed on the internet.
      Somebody posted that famous image of the young Vietnamese girl running down a road after a napalm attack too and Facebook tried to ban that off their site until told to pull their heads in. Is this all a case of (In a Jack Nicholson type voice) “You can’t handle the nude!”

  10. Oregoncharles

    “if we don’t see porn in holograms, virtual reality, or augmented reality, that’s a good indication those media aren’t going anywhere.”

    Porn was the first example of virtual reality I saw reported. I think you don’t see them because you don’t have the equipment. Pretty expensive to start with.

  11. George Phillies

    “He nails it with his unnerving comparison of Russia’s war on our democracy with the 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers. ” You can also out there find comparisons with Pearl Harbor.

    OK, I have only one ICBM at my disposal. If this is likebombing America, do readers prefer I nuke Moscow or St. Petersburg?

    If you do not think that is an appropriate response, well, maybe it wasn’t really an act of war.

    Going back to the 1950s, was the equivalent electronic attack–yes, there was one–an act of war? I am referring to Radio Free Europe. Would it then have been appropriate for Stalin to nuke, say, D.C.? That’s what war is.

    To answer my questions, the answers are NONONO! The original claims are clueless bloviation.

    1. RMO

      There is a disturbing implication in all this: that speech is equivalent to a weapon used violently and therefore when you encounter speech you consider contrary to your interests you should respond with violence.

      Even more disturbing is that this insanely dangerous move is being undertaken simply for short term tactical political advantage. Not too surprising though when you think back about the actual response to the 9/11 mass murder: the people responsible for that act were a tertiary target at best, most of the “response” consisted of gutting the constitution and using the tragedy as an excuse for a widespread empire-building operation. Oh well, the U.S.S. Maine was destroyed by a coal bunker accident and that led to was with Spain so maybe it’s nothing new.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      The comparisons with 9-11 are not inappropriate. The response to 9-11 was completely inappropriate, disproportionate, misdirected, and ineffectual. The difference from 9-11 is that people died and buildings collapsed on 9-11 but the Russian meddling in our elections has as much substance and impact as a thin smoke on a foggy evening.

      If the Russian meddling — in its most corporeal forms assuming its actuality — if it actually impacted U.S. voting patterns then I mourn for our “””””democracy””””” such as it remains.

  12. kees_popinga

    The e-ink reader (I use Kobo’s) is a significant advance in itself — hundreds of books in a device the size of a paperback, no-glare reading experience as friendly as book pages, AND fonts that can be enlarged, unlike a book. The Hachette dude is “full of it.”

    1. JohnnySacks

      Nah, books are for owning outright, not renting from Amazon. Books are for reading and loaning to anyone you like. Your e-readers are sorry compromises. I have books from the 80s and earlier stored in a format (print) that has been around for thousands of years. Kindle goes obsolete quicker than I wear out a pair of shoes.

      1. geophrian

        I’m an avid book collector and have a deep love for reading dusty old tomes that have often been forgotten by time. So, I share your views in many ways.

        But, I also love my e-reader for many things. When I’m doing research and have numerous documents over a thousand pages each, want to read a book that’s out of print and originals cost hundreds of dollars but PDFs can be downloaded or bought for a fraction of that, and all of those items fit in a little device that slips in my bag as easily as a notepad, it’s a wonderful tool.

        It’s nowhere near as fulfilling as a real book, but it’s a great accessory for avid readers.

      2. Mark Gisleson

        Gave up and went iPad after third Kindle died. But nothing will get me back to dead tree books, a selfish waste of resources, often in the name of some bizarre romanticized conceit that doing things the same way forever is somehow better.

        And for those of us with difficult to correct eyesight, nothing makes more sense than giving the reader control over type size and style.

        1. Wukchumni

          I’m a book reader, and as it happens often, my wife and I will read one, and pass it on to somebody we know, and they pass it on and so on and so on. It’s a chain letter, of sorts.

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          Once a dead tree book is made, it lasts for decades to a century or more, depending on how well it was made and how well it is taken care of. Which means the resources which went into making it are only used once.

          Whereas an e-book, such as a kindle, wastes vastly more resources mining and refining all the exotic metals used to make an e-book. It then wastes electricity keeping it powered ( unlike a dead tree book which doesn’t need batteries or an extension cord).

          So an e-book is a much more selfish waste of resources.

          Also, about visual quality, I suggest the following test. Let us look at the printed illustration of the Tawny Frogmouth from the book Birds of the World by Austin and Singer and count the rictal bristles in the illustration. Then let us find the same picture of the Tawny Frogmouth on any e-book ( if one can even find it there at all), and see if the rictal bristles are as sharply defined and countable.

      3. The Rev Kev

        Fully agree. I have a stack of books and they are relaxing to read whereas a tablet is work to read. As for renting – remember that time that there was some dispute with the copyright of a book so Kindle went in and deleted all copies on people’s Kindles who had purchased it (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/18/technology/companies/18amazon.html) and refunded the money? The title of the book was “1984” would you believe. And that was not the only time it happened. Can you picture your bookshop seller sneaking into your home, grabbing the book that they sold you, and leaving some money by your bed? Yeah, not gunna happen with a printed book.

        1. Carolinian

          Practically any out of copyright book of any significance is now available for free and legal download online. Some more recent ones from the 1920s and 1930s were and may still be available from Australian sites since they have different copyright terms. If you don’t care to read them electronically you can always print them out.

          The truth is we are living in a golden age of information availability. I’m not sure why that’s a bad thing.

          1. Wukchumni

            I grew up reading a 1966 World Book encyclopedia by the letter, and it was a lot to take in, but limited in scope.

            How does an inquisitive 9 year old discern what to delve into these days, with limitless information at their fingertips?

            1. Carolinian

              I see your point–for me it was the library’s copy of Britannica–and some might say we did pretty well going to the moon using slide rules. But I’d say on balance the computer age is a great benefit to science and human knowledge.

              And encyclopedias still exist for kids to get started. I have one on my computer–MS Encarta….use it all the time.

    2. Carolinian

      The quote is a bit out of context since he is saying that the publishers themselves have been stupid for not doing more with the format, not that ebooks shouldn’t exist.

      It’s not that we’re against ebooks. People have to pay a price that is about 40% lower than the print price. And it works. The ebook market has gone down a little bit, not much, from say 25% to 20% in some countries. There is still a readership for ebooks but at a price that keeps the ecosystem alive. That’s absolutely key because the music business has lost half of its turnover in ten years. I love music but books are about culture, education, democracy, so it’s even more important to keep the diversity in book publishing, more so than music publishing.

      Of course if the business plan works it may be because bibliophiles are not the avid hackers that are found among the ranks of the music and movie fans. That said, I imagine (haven’t tried) that almost any NYT bestseller could be found for download from the usual pirate suspects. As he says, even before the advent of the publisher ebook people were literally photographing books and sharing them online. Long term it’s very much in the publishers’ interests that ebooks not become too popular.

    3. Other James

      I use a Kindle mainly for reading novels. In general for anything other than sequential narrative reading they are useless. For example, I do not ‘mark’ passages as I read, often because I do not know their importance at the time. With a physical book, I can put a bookmark at my current location, and skim back through the book using an extremely loose and fast contextual search to quickly pinpoint the passage of interest. The contextual search just about always includes the physical location in the book, or rapid jumping from contents page to text pages. With ebooks, this process is laborious, much less intuitive, and much less likely to produce meaningful results, and much less productive. Until the search, locate, return to current position trifecta are improved in ebooks then the overall experience will be worse than for physical books. For non-fiction and reference books, of which I read quite a few, these shortcomings are even more apparent..

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        You describe what I would classify as user-interface shortfalls. The programmers for Ebooks are no better than the programmers for our other too-thoroughly crappified software.

    4. Jeremy Grimm

      I don’t own a Kobo but I am very disappointed in Ebooks. Their potential has been squandered in a quest for profits. I do agree that the Hachette dude is “full of shit”.

      Ebooks could be so much more than they are.

    5. Jeremy Grimm

      I have trouble viewing E-ink as a significant advance over the electrophoretic diplays of earlier times. The early patents for electrophoretic displays date from the late 1960s! I think Xerox greatly underutilized the patent wealth they started with.

      Why did the E-ink people at MIT find such great comfort in taking so much profit from their patents? To say they stood on the shoulders of giants would be hyperbole — in no way diminishing the stature of those earlier giants! Oh well … such is greed.

      TEX and LaTEX stand ready to make great strides over the poverty of E-ink technology.

      1. Carolinian

        I have an e-ink kindle–two of them actually–and a laptop and now read all my ebooks on the laptop. IMO high screen resolution and fast page refresh are a lot more important to usability than the ability to read an electronic book while sitting outdoors under a tree.

        1. BobW

          I never read a dedicated e-book device, so can’t judge them, but do read on a laptop. Linux and Calibre, both free, and Baen Books (mostly sci-fi) is DRM-free. Wow. Looky all the hyphens.

  13. Barbara Kurth

    Re: federal taxes don’t pay for federal spending
    I am one of the economically ignorant people who do not understand this even though I read and reread explanations. Is there an explanation that a very simple minded person can go to that says more than it is just a bank transaction or not printing money or something that someone can recommend?

    1. Arthur J

      The argument is that that since the United States is the country that prints the dollar (“sovereign issuer of currency”) it can just print as much money as it needs to pay for things, without having to collect taxes from its citizens. The government doesn’t -need- to collect taxes to pay for what it wants, it can just print the dollars that it needs at will. That’s it.

      What I don’t understand is the claim that this endless printing of money doesn’t eventually devalue the currency into worthlessness. I understand that because of the size of the global economy that it would take a long time, but why it won’t eventually collapse is something I don’t understand, and have not seen a clear explanation of the subject.

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        In a world gone mad with supply-side economics, the demand-side economist is king.

        To which, my feminist wife would note an equivalence to being valedictorian at a boys school.

      2. Phillip

        I think also part of the theory is that the government should “spend” the money into existence, instead of “borrowing” it into existence from our quasi-private central bank cartel. As for inflation, you adjust taxes when necessary (i.e., raise) to take money out of circulation and thus “re-valuing” the currency.

      3. todde

        What I don’t understand is the claim that this endless printing of money doesn’t eventually devalue the currency into worthlessness.

        It will, that’s why you have taxes.

        Either way eventually you will have to raise taxes. The only difference is the interest payment or lack of one.

      4. Ed Miller

        One more point I’d like to throw out regarding endless printing. Good ‘ol USA has an advantage over all other countries in that the US Dollar is currently the world’s reserve currency. I’ve read many times since the GFC that the US is abusing it’s position as the issuer of the world’s reserve currency. That means something that is technically over my pay grade.

        The operative word is “currently”. When (not if) we lose that status then I think we are in deep kimchi*.
        *Reference to years stationed in SK.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      I’ll hazard a simple explanation. If the economy has unemployed people, their labor is available to whomever can or will pay them to work. Similarly the unemployed productive capacity of capital and the unused and available resources might be called on to create products or services. In this situation government expenditures use the slack in our economy otherwise wasted. The costs, if any are small while the increased productivity and employment can be considerable.

      Money paid to people who need the services of people not currently employed in production and/or resources or capital not currently employed in production creates a part of the demand otherwise lacking for reaching full employment — without inflationary pressures.

      1. Arthur J

        I’m not sure I understand your example. It sounds like you’re saying that a dollar spent by the government to employ unemployed people has a multiplier effect in that the wealth (“goods”) they create will exceed the cost of employing them such that there is net return which is more than the loss the government experiences when it pays itself back through taxation.

        example: spend $100 to employ someone, they create $200 of wealth. The government only taxes say 30%, so reclaims $60 in tax thus losing $40 of the original $100, leaving $140 which if we write off the $40 still leaves a net plus to the wealth of a country of $100.

        That only works though as long as the worker is pretty productive. Presumably real economists would be able to calculate the actual productivity rate ?

        1. Grebo

          What I don’t understand is the claim that this endless printing of money doesn’t eventually devalue the currency into worthlessness.

          It’s not endless, just enough. The spending, directly or otherwise, creates wealth to match the money so prices are not greatly affected. If inflation does kick in (because capacity is reached) spending is cut back or taxes increased to withdraw the excess money from the economy.

          As Keynes said, paying men to dig holes and fill them in would work to increase demand because they buy wealth with their wages. He also said that would be silly, but the point is the productivity of the government worker is not an issue.

          Neither is the government’s ‘profit’ or ‘loss’ an issue. They are just numbers in its own ledger.

          In your example the economy has $200 more wealth and $40 more money. This is actually deflationary! There is $160 worth of new wealth floating about without the money to buy it.

          1. Oregoncharles

            ” If inflation does kick in (because capacity is reached) spending is cut back or taxes increased ”

            Aye, there’s the rub – two of them. Taking the second half first: that’s a political decision. You’re counting on Congress to do the right, unpopular thing, at the right time.

            And the first half: you don’t know you’ve spent too much until you’ve already done it, so this approach would, indeed, cause significant inflation over time.

            The basic observation about sovereign currency is just a fact. The government could, indeed, do that. Not doing it is purely a political decision. And the thing I like best about MMT is that it emphasizes resource limits – they’re the source of inflation. That makes sense, and it’s a valuable thing to emphasize.

            The policy prescriptions are logically separate. As someone pointed out, it can justify defense spending just as well as health spending. (Well, that’s qualified, but a first approximation.) That isn’t what the MMT theorists advocate, but it seems to be what actually happens in our crumbling empire.

            Big caveat: some claim that the economy hasn’t REALLY grown for quite a while now, because we’re up against basic resource limits. “Bads” are increasing much faster than “goods,” and basic stocks are being depleted without being accounted for. This would be an underlying explanation for, eg, the repeated bubbles and escalating financialization: only money can “grow,” because it’s an abstratction.

            It might be too late.

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          Money makes the monkey jump . . . IF the monkey has somewhere to jump from and somewhere to jump to.

          Unused capacity waiting to be used if somebody has the money to pay somebody else to use that unused capacity to make something or do something that wasn’t being otherwise done . . . and if somebody else therefor also has the money to buy some thing or some service which they had wanted for a while but didn’t have the money to buy it with.

        3. Jeremy Grimm

          If someone or something is not currently employed then employing them neither causes inflation nor diverts their productive capacities from the general economy. I said nothing about any multiplier effects as a result of their income nor did I claim their labors or production were “productive” to level ‘X’. Total productivity would certainly be higher than the productivity of what is unemployed and the unused. I was merely attempting to explain how a government “printing” money might employ people, capital, and resources without unhappy result assuming there is slack in the employment of labor, capital, and/or resources.

          What “endless printing of money”? I only suggested creating enough money to make use of unused labor, capital, and resources.

          What purpose do taxes serve? Taxes free up demand for labor, capital and resources to the government’s purposes. Taxes arrogate a portion of aggregate demand to the government in situations where there is already full employment. So far this is Keynesian econ 101. The MMT theory goes beyond that to explain how money is created and how it has value and explains other questions neither of us has raised or attempted to analyze.

          Your question asking in effect whether a worker is paid according to their productivity is more than a little pregnant. How is labor valued? Is the price set by some Market for labor? If you believe it is then try to find out what Market sets the price for steel. Your statement “when it [a government] pays itself back through taxation” suggests that you retain the kitchen table view of macroeconomics and government finance as analogous to a household bookkeeping activity. Household and government finance differ in more ways than they might be similar. At home you might run a deficit but don’t try printing your own money.

  14. Drop in the Ocean

    The Raffs and Google. I love the story, I hate the punishment.
    NET income for Google was 2017 12.6 billion, 2016 19.7 billion, 2015 16.3 billion = 48.6 billion

    2.1 billion GBP or 2.9 billion USD is a slap on the wrist = 5.9% of only the last 3 years
    just a fair cost of business. still 46.5 billions in net profit to handout to interested parties.

    Why is media touting this as a mind-bending victory? Is this the business world´s/competition regulation´s Russiagate? Just a smoke-screen?

  15. Wukchumni

    China has no history with the majority of places it’s taking on as partners in new endeavors, whereas the rest of the west wore out their welcome eons ago. A weird advantage.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The West is more technologically savvy…hence, we look forward to new partnerships with Martians, and Moonies (or Lunarians, Loonies, Mooninites) to be announced soon.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Lunaria is a flower, also called “Money Plant.” It has purple flowers and round, translucent seed pods that look like coins. And it spreads like mad if you let it set seed.

  16. visitor

    Regarding the “Beauty of the COBOL Programming Language”, and especially the (relatively) widespread notion that

    And what’s really beautiful about COBOL is that you can still bill for it! Maybe I should go back to school….

    True if you are also knowledgeable with the environment in which the COBOL programs have to operate, for in most cases such programs are scaffolds that rely upon several, often complex libraries to deal with user interfaces, databases, inter-process communication, etc. When I was programming MIS software decades ago, COBOL code consisted largely of calling external libraries (with plenty of parameters one had to be careful about), or embedding macros that were then automatically translated into “pure” COBOL.

    And of course the programs must be developed, compiled, linked and run on a specific OS — which sometimes makes for interesting declarations in the ENVIRONMENT DIVISION or the LINKAGE SECTION.

    So if you know COBOL and zOS JCL, CICS and DB2, then you may have a good time billing. Myself, I was into DEC VMS DCL and such packages as Ingres, Datatrieve and Rdb — which have been probably fully discontinued by now, and my skills there have completely evaporated anyway. So no fat COBOL billing for me :-(

    1. Enquiring Mind

      One of my colleagues managed to ride the COBOL wave through all the Y2K upheaval. His timing was good, using earnings to pay cash for a place in his home state of North Dakota to be near family. The subsequent Bakken-forth made some things more expensive for a while but that house equity increase offset the effect by quite a bit. In light of subsequent revelations on NC about how that fair state manages to look out for citizens via such things as a state bank and family-owned pharmacies, that may be a type of beacon for the non-residents.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      I remain in wonder about how many “interesting” COBOL programs we have and had running in our banking systems after the Y2K craziness. I always found a certain beauty in those rounding programs. And of course the way digital banking works — why bother with rounding? I can imagine discrete — that is to say not too greedy — account creation followed by code deletions and system cleanings.

      1. Arthur J

        Large systems database managers like IMS which is what you use for things like banking are quite complex. While it would be technically possible to write code that could run through the backups of transaction logs to remove the transactions involving “fake” accounts, in reality nobody is going to try it. The chance that your program is going to work perfectly and not damage the file whose structure is not documented is virtually zero. In addition, other system components will be logging the fact that you are touching that file. The only way to leave no trace would involve the physical destruction of some medium, like tape, which itself is going to attract attention.

        It would be much easier to simply have your accomplice enter the fake transactions and then kill them to hide your tracks. You could also both flee the country. What you aren’t going to do is mess with an IMS log.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          I believe the first rounding program was written into the code of a German bank. It worked nicely and was not discovered. The author got cold feet and confessed. The code did not inhabit complex systems database managers like IMS but lived in the operating software of the banking code embedded within layers of assembly coding. Your faith in large systems database managers like IMS is touching as is your suggestion that a hacker would directly employ transactions in that system. I suppose they might. Do you recall the Sapphire Worm? It attacked Microsoft SQL Server software — widely used in the commercial world but not quite your complex systems database manager like IMS. Oracle which might qualify has had its share of little problems. Is IBM immune to errors? And a COBOL coder working on a bank’s systems software to repair a problem like Y2K might qualify as a privileged insider … possibly knowledgeable in IBM mainframe assembler and machine code? And how did Wells Fargo create so many mystery accounts and charges? There is a human side to banking and banking security.

          1. Jeremy Grimm

            I should be more succinct. Do you really believe IMS would stop or catch a hacker working as a temporary contractor repairing bank code as a privileged insider?

            1. Arthur J

              No, IMS itself isn’t going to catch anything. There’s two parts to your scenario. The first, introducing a modified transaction to siphon money, that’s easy. It might even be trivial if your colleagues and the security people are slackers. Even in a tight shop, it probably isn’t going to be too hard.

              The second stage, removing the evidence of what you have done, that’s virtually impossible. You need more people for that: the IMS guy to clean the transaction log, you might need a DB2 admin if DB2 is used as the database rather than IMS’s own database options to clean the DB2 logs, and most importantly you need a very good, highly skilled z/OS system guy. You need the last because he’s the one that can blind the security system to what the IMS and DB2 guys are doing, and he can grant them the security accesses that they will need to purge things.

              The hardest part is for the z/OS guy to hide what he did. If he’s really good, and your security guys and the operations staff are lazy, he can probably get away with it. If your security team is really good and paranoid, they’ll catch him. It’s just not possible in z/OS to be able to alter the system so you can delete things and not be seen if someone is watching. The watchers have to be good z/OS systems people themselves so they will recognize when the z/OS sysprog is doing something sketchy.

              He’s the main risk to any company, the really good z/OS systems programmer. If you piss him off and he wants to destroy you, he can, if your security team is not top-notch. What company is going to survive if they lose all of their electronic data, including the backups ? Nobody. It would take him maybe a couple of months to lay the groundwork and when it’s done, he can press Enter one last time and wipe you out in about 40 seconds. Blam, and -all- your data is gone never to be seen again. Really to be safe, you need somebody on your security staff who does nothing but watch what your sysprogs do -every- day, so they can spot when things are looking odd.

          2. Arthur J

            It’s a nice thought, but that sort of thing isn’t going to work in z/OS. The database systems in z/OS are not mickey mouse things like SQL Server. Sure, some clever application programmer could alter a specific program to make changes, but that’s it. That program is what I’ve been calling a transaction, sorry, that’s mainframe speak. Nobody alters a database by editing it directly, like you might in SQL Server or mySql, it simply doesn’t work that way. You -must- run it through some kind of transaction manager like IMS, CICS, or something like them. When I say transaction, I don’t mean specifically like what a bank teller does, I’m talking about the software that processes the requests for changes to the underlying database.

            See my lower post for more details. Also, IBM has had 40 years to perfect the security architecture of z/OS. It’s really quite excellent -IF- you implement it fully and correctly.

  17. Wukchumni

    It’s a real trying time for orchards in the Central Valley. Citrus trees were persuaded by unseasonably warm temps to blossom a month early in some cases, and now we’re in the grips of a freeze that supposed to last through the week. The problem is with both the fruit ripening on the trees enduring the cold snap, and the next crop’s blossoms, which don’t do well in sub freezing temps, and tend to drop. A double whammy.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      In the near the future and for an unknown while the weather will be Mercurial. Now is a time when we need to invent as many ways as we can to mitigate the effects of sudden cold and hot on the growth of the many plants we depend on. We need solutions to improve on smudge pots and better mulching.

      1. Wukchumni

        The citrus industry pretty much has it down pat, with heat wind machines, and overwatering trees, which actually raises temps thanks to humidity. That said, in a prolonged freeze such as this one, it might not be enough. They seem to lose a big crop to the freeze every decade or so.

  18. Jeremy Grimm

    RE: “Ebook is a Stupid Product”
    I was very excited when the first Ebooks came onto the market … until I saw one and found out how very limited they were and became aware of the marketing strategy. I have no problem with 2-D books without hyperlinks or other gimmicks. I’ve had to move many times in my life and my library has always been the greatest weight and volume in my moves. I will not part with my books but hoped the Ebook would give me a new window through which to view the masses of pdf files, text and word processor files I’ve collected. Before I retired I had to collect multiple volumes of pdf documents which I was supposed to read. I tried to read most of them on my computer screen — which tired my eyes — or printed them wasting far too much paper. I dreamed of a better way to deal with this flow of documents I had to wrestle with for my job, and later with the flow of documents I wrestle with now to satisfy my interests.

    The Ebooks which came on the market were small, limited in their ability to handle text and pdf files, and very very slow with exceptionally poorly designed user interfaces. [I should note I am older and my eyes are not so capable as they once were.] I was particularly unimpressed with the marketing strategy attempting to lock Ebooks with vendor based formats. Someone correct me if I am wrong — I arrived at the strong impression Ebooks were sold at-cost or even at-a-loss with dreams of making up the difference on the Ebooks sold, a strategy similar to what I perceive as the game platform and video disk strategies. Considering the costs of generating an Ebook version of a mass media paperback, the genre which seemed to be the concentration of efforts expended by Ebook publishers, I was appalled at the efforts Ebook publishers made to keep ALL of the cost savings from the format and distribution of Ebooks as their profits. I see absolutely no reason to pay the same price for an Ebook as I would for a paperback I pick up at a local retail outlet.

    Where is the commodity Ebook hardware designed to readily handle text, pdfs and TEX/LaTEX files? Where are the large format Ebooks to read pdf and TEX/LaTEX publications in an 8″ x 10″ or ‘A’ size formats? Where are the larger faster memories and displays? Where are the more permanent memories for storing and preserving the knowledge we have today to help the lucky few who survive past the coming collapse. Where are the technologies to preserve knowledge and make it available to a society without computers and special hardware built with exotic technologies which demand large amounts of power in their production and use?

    Are the Ebooks lacking in imagination? YES! But that is the least of their drawbacks.

    1. Lee

      We have a couple of pretty good electronic public libraries here in Alameda county. I don’t buy ebooks, I check them out for free from home. If I want to own a book, I buy a book. But then, I’m from the era when the content of one’s bookshelves served a purpose similar to that of the peacock’s tail.

      1. Wukchumni

        We were at a relatives house, and managed to glimpse 3, maybe 4 books scattered throughout the 4 bedroom domicile.

        The times they are a changing…

      2. Jeremy Grimm

        Ouch! I don’t have a tail, or feathers, and I don’t have any visitors who might admire my library. Would you believe it did benefit me in my employment? Also I did have hopes the presence of many books might have a beneficial effect on my children. I learned a great deal from reading and scanning the books in my father’s considerable library. [He was a high school teacher and I am very proud of that.]

        Actually I didn’t realize there were any era or place in the U.S. where “the content of one’s bookshelves served a purpose similar to that of the peacock’s tail”. I come from an era and place when it was considered nerdly to have or love books and being regarded a nerd, dweeb, or geek was no complement. Actually has anything changed about that?

  19. Plenue

    “Being slapped around by Canadians may be a new experience for us… ”

    It’s almost as old as the country itself. The one time we picked a fight with them they kicked our asses and burned down the capital.

    1. Wukchumni

      If it wasn’t for that pesky Laura Secord, we might’ve won, and boxes of chocolates would’ve had to have another name up over, like say See’s.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Anybody else think it strange at the opening ceremony as each team came out that the American team was literally huge compared to all the others, and I mean huge. I’ve read that after the US lost to Russia 4-0 in ice hockey that the American coach refused to shake the Russian coaches’s hand as was traditional. Things like that put any team in a poor light.
      Be interesting to see the closing ceremony and how Trump’s daughter handles herself. Hopefully she can do a lot of good in putting America back in a good light again. Maybe she could actually talk to Kim’s sister there though I could see a lot of pundit’s heads explode at the thought of that.

      1. Dwight

        The U.S. coach was reportedly furious that the Russian team tried to score a last-minute power play goal when already winning 4-0. Most news sites, including the Washington Post, didn’t report that increasing point differential could favor Russia in playoff seeding, so it apparently wasn’t just a gratuitous attempt to run up the score to humiliate. The U.S. coach presumably knows this. How embarrassing. Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I expect sportsmanship from teams representing my country, even if the other team is not acting in a sporting manner. Russia beat Norway 6-1, an even greater point differential, with two points in the last 6 minutes of the game. I doubt Norway’s coach embarrassed his country by not shaking the opponent coach’s hand.

  20. Darthbobber

    The new maps are giving a number of Dem wannabes conniption fits, especially those planning to run for finally-retiring party boss Bob Brady’s seat.

    It was about a third or so in Philly, but is now entirely outside the city, and the two seats in Philly are both held by incumbent Dems.

  21. geophrian

    Regarding: “Seems unexceptionable to me, but it’s interesting to see in a publication titled “Market Watch.” Then again, no demand, no market…”

    Back in 2014 the LA Times reviewed my movie “Fray” (about the impacts of our wars and the economy which I wrote and shot in 2009/2010) and overall gave it a very glowing review but said the depiction of the economy have it a “review” perspective implying things had gotten better for people in the fringes of our society (the “Fray”). I wondered, “what economy are you living in?”

    It’s amazing to me how insulated so many in our media are from the reality of life for most Americans. Maybe they need to send investigative journalists into the regions outside their cosmopolitan enclaves?

    1. Duke of Prunes

      Of course the economy was wonderful in 2014. Obama and the Democrats said so. Didn’t HRC campaign on “America is already great”. It’s just those racists who voted for Trump and sexists who wouldn’t vote for a woman. Oh yeah, and the Russians!

  22. Wukchumni

    BISHOP, Calif. (KOLO)– The Pleasant Fire is now 35% contained after burning 2,250 acres as of February 20, 2018. The fire was reported around 2 p.m. February 18.

    The fire is burning in Inyo County northwest of Bishop, California.


    Too lazy to give you an exact altitude, but a guestimate would have the wildfire @ 5,000 feet or so on the left flank of the eastern High Sierra, in the winter.

    This will end up being a 5,000 acre conflagration, in February!

  23. Elizabeth Burton

    Contrary to what most people think, ebooks were not invented by Amazon. The first profitable ebook publishing companies launched in 1996; the most profitable one ever, Ellora’s Cave, was started in 1998. My company has been around since 2000. Indeed, both Amazon and Barnes & Noble only had decent ebook catalogs to offer when they made their respective readers because they purchased established ebookstores Mobipocket and Fictionwise respectively.

    It was only after the above launch of Kindle and NOOK that the tech industry suddenly decided ebooks were boring. They needed to be jazzed up, because who just wants to read a book, y’know? So, it was barely a year after the Kindle arrived that techies were telling we publishers we could never compete unless we had video and links that popped up pictures to illustrate those boring words and, hey, what about having background music?

    Having scorned ebooks until Kindle, the Big Five wouldn’t be left out so they started doing ebooks, too. Only they decided ebooks were really just a nice little extra revenue stream they could use to shore up their dying hardcover business. That’s why they went ballistic when Amazon sold their books for ten bucks and colluded with Apple to develop a plan that would let them overprice their ebooks. That’s why the ebooks from the Big Five will cost you between $13 and $20, whereas those produced by us old folks who’ve been publishing them for nearly two decades generally go for five bucks. Sometimes less.

    And then their sales declined (quelle surprise), so once again it was “well, nobody really reads ebooks.” I therefore am not surprised that a new broom at one of the Big Five would decide the way to boost sales is to turn books into multi-media events (which, I’ll note, no ebook reader of my acquaintance has asked for). I can see them wanting to do it first because it will be all nifty, but second because they can then continue to deny the viability of just plain books in electronic format. Well, there’s probably a third—if they go all fancy they can start charging as much for their ebooks as they do their hardcovers.

  24. Edward E

    Congressional Republicans just roll over and suck up to Trump no matter what he does. Mitt Romney is clearly that different breed of Republican, he’ll shake things up by……. rolling over and sucking up to Trump no matter what he does.

  25. John k

    Because markets is explanatory.
    But there are all kinds of markets, some well regulated that are fair and bring benefits to all participants.
    Maybe ‘because profits’ is more to the point… the whole point of neoliberalism is obscene profits.

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