2:00PM Water Cooler 2/26/2018

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“The outcome of talks unfolding in Mexico City this week could hinge on whether U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will be willing to work with Canada’s recent offers and others Mexico is expected to make. After the fall rounds ended in impasse and pessimism, with the Trump administration blaming its counterparts for refusing to engage, negotiators finally seemed to take a step forward in late January in the aftermath of the Montreal round, when Canada, in particular, began floating ideas for the first time to respond to U.S. priority issues like auto rules of origin and a five-year sunset provision” [Politico]. “If Lighthizer doesn’t demonstrate the U.S. is willing to compromise, the goal of reaching a deal at all, let alone by the end of March, feels increasingly unachievable, public- and private-sector sources close to the talks told [Politico].”

“Not surprisingly, the administration is seeking a deal that counters NAFTA’s job outsourcing trend and appeals to the Democratic-swing voters in Midwestern states that sent Trump to the White House – and the unions to which many of them belong” (PDF) [Lori Wallach, Public Citizen]. “And, certainly this administration does not want to repeat the Obama administration’s strategic blunder of agreeing to a deal that cannot achieve majority support in Congress despite months of intense lobbying a la the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Agreement on the U.S. proposal on NAFTA’s controversial investment chapter and its Investment-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) system could be the key to unlocking the impasse. ISDS is unpopular in Congress, not only with Democrats but with a sizeable bloc of GOP committed to opposing any pact that includes ISDS. Progressive and conservative organizations and unions have long held the same view. ISDS has become a third rail issue because it both promotes job outsourcing and undermines what conservatives call sovereignty and progressives call democratic governance.” Typically incisive analysis from Wallach; well worth a read in full.

“President Donald Trump’s planned meeting with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto in Washington was dropped after the two leaders clashed during a phone call last week over Trump sticking by his demand that Mexico will pay for a border wall” [Politico].



“Kamala Harris positions herself for White House run” [The Hill]. A Rolodex dump… And then there’s this:

“Elizabeth Warren’s stealth campaign to shed ‘Pocahontas'” [Politico]. “Warren has met with close to a dozen tribal leaders and prominent activists recently. She has also signed onto at least six bills directly related to Native American policy. It’s clearly an organized effort: Four of those co-sponsorships came within two days of her speech, and Warren endorsed two bills around that time even though they’d been introduced months earlier.”


New York: Hoisting alert reader pq’s comment on New York’s 22nd Congressional District:

[S]everal election trackers New York 22nd] as a “race to watch.” The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has listed the incumbent, Claudia Tenney, as a target for 2018, while they aren’t going after Stefanik.

Tenney was elected to her first term in 2016. The 22nd district voted for Trump by about the same margin as Stefanik’s 21st district, but it favored Romney in 2012 (by less than half a percentage point), and was evenly split between Obama and McCain in 2008. So, even though Stefanik’s district flipped and Tenney’s didn’t, Tenney is the one whose seat isn’t safe.

Her main Democratic opponent is State Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi. Politico reported that Brindisi had raised nearly twice as much as Tenney in 2017 Q3. She also will face Republican challengers in the primary.

I get Tenney’s weekly e-mails. Her positions are straight party line, although considering that her district is solidly Republican, she may actually be listening to her constituents. Also, she at least discusses the issues. To her credit, she doesn’t (she says) support Trump’s proposed budget cuts to social programs like HEAP, Community Development Block Grants, and a few others. She hasn’t said anything about Medicaid or SNAP (nothing about the food boxes), but I doubt she would support cuts, when so many of her constituents rely on these programs.

This may be New York State, but it’s Rust Belt flyover country. Many people don’t know that this area was the original Silicon Valley, headquarters of IBM and the dozens of companies that sprang up around it. All of that is long gone now. Disastrous flooding in 2006 and 2011 further kicked the region in the head.

Like the 21st district, the 22nd was solidly for Bernie in the Democratic primary. In fact, Bernie won all but three Upstate counties. It’s also interesting that both districts ultimately elected women. There goes the theory that the gun-toting deplorables rejected Hillary only because she’s a woman.

Would other New York readers care to comment?

“California Democrats deny Sen. Feinstein an endorsement” [CNN]. “Even had De León notched the endorsement, Feinstein is still heavily favored to win in November — in part because of her nearly unlimited resources, and her support among California independents and some Republicans.” Sounds like the future of the Party!

UPDATE “California Democrats’ snub of party icon Dianne Feinstein could be a speed bump — or a signal” [Los Angeles Times]. “Feinstein was warmly received by many delegates, including members of the party’s women’s caucus, who greeted her with a standing ovation.”

New Cold War

“Collusion or not, Russia probe is worst political scandal in decades” [NBC News]. “Whether or not Mueller ever finds a smoking gun that Trump and his campaign colluded with Russia, this is already the biggest political scandal in decades.” Er.

“Democratic memo shows no wiretap scandal” [Editorial Board, USA Today]. “According to the redacted Democratic memo, the Justice Department did tell the court that the dossier’s author ‘was hired by politically motivated’ people to gather information ‘to discredit’ Trump’s campaign.”

“The Schiff Memo Harms Democrats More Than It Helps Them” [Andrew McCarthy, National Review]. “Another major takeaway from the Schiff memo is that the FBI and the DOJ withheld from the FISA court the fact that Steele’s work was a project of the Clinton campaign.” Quoting the warrant: “The FBI speculates that the identified U.S. Person was likely looking for information that could be used to discredit Candidate #1’s campaign.” My takeaway remains that when oppo becomes the basis for a FISA warrant, that’s a Very Bad Thing. One might picture a cycle whereby the intelligence community feeds the political class tidbits of information, which is then laundered through opposition researchers, becomes the basis for FISA warrants, creating new information assets, which are then fed through the political class, with the cycle endlessly repeating. Is there any reason such a process would not be in place for all other political candidates, and not just Trump? Not that I’m foily.

“Sanders either didn’t know, or has chosen to ignore, the fact that Russiagate is not only about weakening and punishing Donald Trump, but also about weakening and punishing – and censoring – what still remains of the contemporary American Left. And that includes Bernie Sanders, still considered the dangerous front-runner for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination” [Sardonicky].

UPDATE Where does one begin:

I don’t imagine that this sentiment is widespread, but that it exists at all is remarkable:

Health Care

“Look for the Democrats to take control of the government by 2020 and seek to impose price controls through a British-style single-payer system or German-style insurance system” [Peter Morici, MarketWatch]. A fine example of the oft-overheated Republican imagination.


“Iowa grants gun permits to the blind” [USA Today]. What could go wrong?

“Texas police shoot man who disarmed possible church shooter” [Houston Chronicle]. “In the time between when police were dispatched and when officers arrived, a handful of churchgoers wrestled Jones to the ground. One of the congregants was able to grab Jones’ gun…. Officers entered the building and saw the churchgoer holding the gun and opened fire, according to the Amarillo Police Department. The churchgoer was hospitalized in stable condition.” Read all the way to the end.

UPDATE Holy moley:

“Fellowship organization.” Really?

UPDATE “Teen Confronts DCCC-Endorsed Candidate Over His 100 Percent NRA Rating” [The Intercept]. Nice going, DCCC. The hour has produced the Blue Dog.

UPDATE “Sorry, Democrats: Your NRA Is Spelled AIPAC” [HuffPo]. “Bought is bought.”

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Behind a Key Anti-Labor Case, a Web of Conservative Donors” [New York Times].

“Supreme Court Janus case is bigger than unions. Upward mobility is at stake.” [Neera Tanden, USA Today]. No doubt Tanden didn’t write the headline, which implies that upward mobility is significant; it’s been declining sharply (see here and here). Tanden concludes: “Our nation’s unions have played an indispensable role in providing millions of families with a road to the middle class. If the Supreme Court rules against unions in Janus, it will be ruling against America’s middle class.” Not the (vague and disempowering) “middle class”; the working class. The situtation would be even worse if Obama hadn’t given us card chedk. Oh, wait….

“Teamsters Local 25 backs Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker for re-election” [MassLive].

“Democrats Did Better Than on Hundreds of Simulated Pennsylvania Maps” [New York Times]. “In the view of the majority of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, “perhaps the most compelling evidence” that Republicans sacrificed traditional redistricting criteria for partisan gain was a political scientist’s simulation of 500 possible congressional maps…. But what about the remedial map recently adopted by the court? It is not an outlier to the same extent as the Republican-drawn map. But if you look at what 2016 statewide results would have been with the new map, the overall Democratic performance arguably would have been better than in all 500 of Mr. Chen’s simulations, according to an Upshot analysis.”

UPDATE Interesting thread on polling methodologies and differences between pollsters (“house effects,” “mode effects”):

“State lawmakers voted Tuesday to block any efforts by cities and counties to find out — and inform the public — who is funneling money into local elections through nonprofit groups” [Tucson.com].

Stats Watch

New Home Sales, January 2018: “Sales of new homes slowed but not all the data in January’s new home sales report are negative” [Econoday]. “The new home market surged into the end of last year but understandably slowed in January. Yet supply, that is the lack of it, is an overwhelming issue for the market and today’s details, including gains underway for permits and starts which are growing in the mid-to-high single digits, are positives for the outlook.” Then again: “New-home sales collapse in January as momentum wavers” [MarketWatch]. “Big picture: The government’s reports on new housing construction are based on small samples, so the data are subject to stark revisions. Construction and sales have ground steadily higher in the years since the recession, but remain well below long-time averages, even as the housing market remains starved for supply.”

Chicago Fed National Activity Index, January 2018: “Underpinned by employment, January was another solid month for the economy judging by the national activity index which held in moderately positive ground” [Econoday]. “This report helps highlight two of the most important features of the early 2018 economy: strength in employment and softness in consumer spending.” But: “While the Chicago Fed National Activity Index is rather inclusive of the broad economy, much of the data within the index is already known by the time the initial and revision reports are made. The index also rarely creates a major move in the markets” [247 Wall Street].

Dallas Fed Manufacturing Survey, February 2018: “The Dallas Fed is clearly surpassing the Philly Fed as the very hottest of the regional and private manufacturing surveys. Dallas’ general activity index jumped to 37.2 in February, easily above Econoday’s high estimate and the strongest reading of the post-2008 expansion” [Econoday]. “Respondents in small-sample reports, like this one from Dallas, continue to report far stronger conditions than those tracked in definitive factory data where growth has been uneven and, as yet, moderate.”

Commodities: “American mining companies are getting the lift they’ve long been waiting for, but it’s not coming from new U.S. demand. American companies are shipping far more coal to Europe and Asia, bulking up international supply lines and helping stop a yearslong decline in the number of U.S. mining jobs. Exports of U.S. thermal coal used by utilities more than doubled last year to 42 million tons…. more than offsetting a steep drop in coal used at U.S. power plants as U.S. energy business moves toward natural gas. The export opportunities come from a tightening of global supply, attractive pricing in Western Europe and greater coal use in developing countries like India” [Wall Street Journal].

Shipping: “UPS said today it is following the legal process in seeking compensation from the European Union (EU) for the losses suffered as a result of its planned 2013 acquisition of TNT Express NV being unfairly prohibited by the EU” [Logistics Management].

Supply Chain: “Pacific Basin conflict and its impact on high tech manufacturing” [Logistics Management]. “According to Resilinc – a global supply chain mapping intelligence organization with a key focus on the high tech – a military conflict of any magnitude could have catastrophic consequences for this sector. Indeed, even using traditional weaponry would not only bring global supply chains to a grinding halt, but the time to recover back to current levels could take several years. This prediction is based on an analysis of several tiers of the global high-tech electronics industry supply chain…. [O]ne fabrication facility’s capacity being taken off of the market could result in massive impacts on capacity, supply and pricing. This is particularly so given that almost 40% of worldwide wafer capacity is located in South Korea and Japan, the countries most threatened by North Korea.”

Supply Chain: “A dispute over a marine container terminal in East Africa highlights growing international commercial and geopolitical concerns in the region. The nation of Djibouti seized the port facility run by DP World, and … the action marks a dramatic step in the tiny country’s moves to take stronger control of a strategically important site where the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden meet” [Wall Street Journal]. “DP World, which owns a third of the Doraleh Container Terminal, is fighting the seizure, but some now expect Djibouti’s government, which owns the rest of the site, to strike a deal with Chinese investors.”

Tech: “Dropbox Gears Up for IPO” [247 Wall Street]. “Dropbox has filed an S-1 form with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regarding its initial public offering (IPO). The company did not mention any pricing details in the filing, but it values the entire offering up to $500 million. The company intends to list its shares on the Nasdaq under the symbol DBX.”

Tech: “Dropbox filed IPO documents last week, and our analysis of these documents reveals considerable risk that the company’s co-founders would hold lifetime control even if they would retain only a tiny minority of the company’s equity capital” [The Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation] (original).

Tech: “Y Combinator’s future as a Silicon Valley kingmaker is at a make-or-break moment” [Quartz]. “But even as Y Combinator spreads the global gospel of startups, it’s still got a backlog of unicorns—companies worth more than $1 billion—that have yet to go public. Now that Dropbox has taken the jump, other unicorns will be watching closely, including its siblings at Y Combinator. The success or failure of Dropbox will reflect on Y Combinator, too, and its status as a Silicon Valley kingmaker.”

Mr. Market: “Fed’s Bullard says the stock-market correction was ‘benign'” [MarketWatch]. “‘One thing about this sell-off in equity markets that just occurred, it did not seem to be associated with a re-think of global growth prospects or U.S. growth prospects, so in that sense, I think the sell-off was relatively benign compared with other ones that had been associated with some kind of market reassessment of risks globally,’ Bullard told reporters after a speech to the National Association of Business Economics in Washington. ‘That didn’t really happen this time around, so that is an encouraging sign,’ he added. Bullard noted that the St. Louis Fed’s financial stress index has moved higher in the wake of the market retrenchment but it is still ‘not at particularly high levels.’ Bullard was also nonplussed by the recent rise in the 10-year Treasury yield….”

Five Horsemen: “Amazon and Microsoft both reach intraday records, as the Seattle sluggers carry on trouncing their Silicon Valley counterparts” [Hat Tip, Jim Haygood].

Five Horsemen Feb 26 2018

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 18 Extreme Fear (previous close: 15, Extreme Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 18 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed. Last updated Feb 22 at 7:00pm. Now lagged by four days. What’s the point of a Fear and Greed indicator that craps out at the ends of the scale?

Health Care

“The Pros And Cons Of 'Medicare Extra For All' Health Care Plan” [ShadowProof]. “Both the premium/tax rate as well as the cost-sharing in the plan are simply too high. I could not call this plan “affordable,” and that is the biggest con of the entire plan… he Congressional Budget Office is likely to score a bill with small co-pays as significantly cheaper than one with free at-point-of-service care. Democratic members of Congress and the media put substantial weight on the CBO’s estimates. Any groups pushing for free at-point-of-service care should right now be developing a strategy to deal with this CBO issue. They can do research to convince the CBO it won’t be more expensive. They can push for Democrats to ignore the CBO… On the other hand, any group pushing for significant cost-sharing should be required to explain why they made this choice, which CAP has not done.” This is historically informed. CBO scoring was one club that “progressives” wielded against single payer in 2009-2010.

Sports Desk

Curling, which is having a moment, produces not one, but two, feel-good stories:

“How the ‘Garlic Girls’ Turned South Korea Into a Curling Country” [Wall Street Journal].

“U.S. Curling Team, Once Called ‘Rejects,’ Beats Canada to Advance to Final” [New York Times].

It’s nice that the first thing the curling teams think of after winning isn’t cashing in, as in “Dancing with the Stars.”


“A KINGDOM FROM DUST” [California Sunday (ST)]. “The aquifer, a sea of water beneath the clay that dates back centuries, isn’t bottomless. It can be squeezed only so much. As the growers punch more holes into the ground looking for a vanishing resource, the earth is sinking. The choices for the Kern farmer now come down to two: He can reach deep into his pocket and buy high-priced water from an irrigation district with surplus supplies. Or he can devise a scheme to steal water from a neighbor up the road. I now hear whispers of water belonging to farmers two counties away being pumped out of the ground and hijacked in the dead of night to irrigate the nuts of Lost Hills.” ST: “It’s Chinatown, Jake.”


“Record low snowpack foretells troubling spring, summer” [New Mexico Political Report]. “The lack of snow in New Mexico’s mountains will have implications for farmers and cities in the spring and summer. And certain tree populations in many of the state’s mountain ranges, including the Sandias and Jemez Mountains, are already experiencing large-scale dieoffs. Drought and warming temperatures have weakened ponderosa pines and some conifers, which make them even more vulnerable to insect outbreaks. And communities should be preparing for wildfire season. ‘We are standing at the driest start to any water year on record in the observational period, which goes back to the late 1890s,’ [Kerry Jones says. ‘There is no one alive today that’s seen it drier for any start to a water year.'”

Neoliberal Epidemics

“Toxic 100 Air Polluters Index (2018 Report, Based on 2015 Data) [Political Economy Research Institute]. #1 is Zachry Group, a construction engineering firm. #2 is DowDuPont. #3 is Berkshire Hathaway. Interestingly, the table includes a column on “Environmental Justice,” that is, the percentage of toxicity borne by the poor: “: Poor Share and Minority Share: Shares of the total population health risk borne by people living below the poverty line or by people in minority racial/ethnic groups. In the U.S. population, 13 percent live below the poverty line and 39 percent are members of minority racial/ethnic groups. Sources: US EPA, US Census, and CTIP.”

Guillotine Watch

Why should I waste my beautiful mind….

Well, material things make me happy. Things like dental care. Being able to eat…

Class Warfare

The headline: “How poverty changes your mind-set” [Chicago Booth School]. The dedk: “Understanding psychology may be key to addressing the problem.” Not quite as bad as it mght be: “Contrary to the refrain that bad decisions lead to poverty, data indicate that it is the cognitive toll of being poor that leads to bad decisions. And actually, decisions that may seem counterproductive could be entirely rational, even shrewd. The findings suggest that to successfully reduce poverty, it would help to take this psychology into account. In a 2013 study published in Science, researchers from the University of Warwick, Harvard, Princeton, and the University of British Columbia find that for poor individuals, working through a difficult financial problem produces a cognitive strain that’s equivalent to a 13-point deficit in IQ or a full night’s sleep lost. Similar cognitive deficits were observed in people who were under real-life financial stress. Theirs is one of multiple studies suggesting that poverty can harm cognition. ” This sounds an awful lot like Yves’ “tax on time.” The article rapidly devolved into a discussion of typical neoiberal nudges and tweaks, however.

“The Student Loan Sweatbox” [Credit Slips]. “Defaulting student loan borrowers will remain in a sweatbox for most of their working lives. Proposals to cut back on income-driven repayment options will only aggravate the burden, further shifting responsibility for funding education from taxpayers to a generation of students…. The only way out of the sweatbox for borrowers are 1) bankruptcy discharges granted based on “undue hardship”, a very tough standard, 2) discharges based on death or permanent disability, and 3) write-offs of balances after 20 or 25 years of income-based repayment, or shorter periods for some public service loan forgiveness programs. These write-off amounts are modest now, but are growing as the bubble grows.”

“These Union-Seeking Coders Will Test Trump’s Job-Saving Promises” [Bloomberg]. “The [Lanetix] engineers say that about a week after a majority of them petitioned to unionize, higher-ups told them their positions were all being eliminated, effective immediately. The employees suspected this meant their jobs were headed to the new Eastern European engineering center announced weeks earlier, but the company wouldn’t answer their questions. Now the coders are bringing their case to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), testing the Trump administration’s repeated promises to stop U.S. companies from shifting jobs abroad.”

New of The Wired

“Lost Art Of Bending Over: How Other Cultures Spare Their Spines” [NPR]. “‘Table’ Bending Versus ‘C’ Bending.” Interesting.

“A gut feeling: Microbiome-brain-immune interactions modulate social and affective behaviors” [Science Direct]. “The expression of a wide range of social and affective behaviors, including aggression and investigation, as well as anxiety- and depressive-like behaviors, involves interactions among many different physiological systems, including the neuroendocrine and immune systems. Recent work suggests that the gut microbiome may also play a critical role in modulating behavior and likely functions as an important integrator across physiological systems. Microbes within the gut may communicate with the brain via both neural and humoral pathways, providing numerous avenues of research in the area of the gut-brain axis.”

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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 (Lee):

Lee: “Yellowstone: Life finds a way.”

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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. a different chris

    >There goes the theory that the gun-toting deplorables rejected Hillary only because she’s a woman.

    That isn’t the theory, the theory is that it was racism. You go ahead and try to figure it out, I am not going to even try.

    1. JP

      actually it doesn’t make sense. These three districts were all very liberal democrat. I don’t think that is what Hillary was implying by “deplorables”. Just because it is a rust belt doesn’t mean it is occupied by proud kruger-dunning troglodytes.

  2. fresno dan


    “I really believe I’d run in there even if I didn’t have a weapon, and I think most of the people in this room would have done that, too,” Trump told a group of state governors gathered at the White House for talks on multiple issues.
    What with Trump’s history of altruism and selflessness, sure, I believe he’d do that…..
    OUCH, I hurt myself laughing….

    1. foghorn longhorn

      The orange marshmallow has never had a physical confrontation in his lily gilded life.
      I seriously doubt he has ever had dirt under a single fingernail.
      This just laughable.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Nonsense man! I won’t hear of a bad word spoken about him! Of course he would waddle in. Him and his armed-to-the-hilt highly trained, Secret Security protection squad who are each duty-sworn to take a bullet for him if necessary. President Jack Ryan would do no less. Oh wait, he was fictional.

    2. temporal

      As my Dad, and apparently a few other fathers back in the day, used to say, “Don’t let your battleship mouth overload your rowboat butt”. Professor Orange clearly never got that clue.

      1. foghorn longhorn

        I like that
        Down south it was alligator mouth and tweety bird *ss.
        Also don’t let your mouth write checks your butt can’t cash.

    3. bob

      It’s complete nonsense. Any written police policy would say to call for, then wait for backup, when you know you’re outgunned.

      The hero response is never recommended.

      There are ALWAYS more cops.

      1. Tim

        I dunno Bob, I’m going to keep this polite.

        For most people, at least parents anyways, the calculus changes significantly when innocent children are the targets, as opposed to the typical police scenarios of having a firefight with the bad guys mono-y-mono.

        The first responders at newtown were police running into the building with reckless abandon per the skychopper videos. Far more appropriate under the circumstances, than huckering down and waiting for backup.

        If he thought the suspect was inside, he should have gone in. Lawyer is arguing he didn’t know the person was inside which is a little difficult to swallow. If he had such bad situational awareness he should have been running around trying to get a better sense of what is going on.

        Part of being a man is knowing your life isn’t worth anything compared to youth and women, and acting on that premise if the need arises. Some may call it being a hero, most men would call it doing the right thing

        1. bob

          “If he thought the suspect was inside, he should have gone in.”

          No. I dare you to find any police manual or training that says otherwise.

          Rifle vs hand gun is not a fair fight. Ever.

          “Part of being a man …”

          Give it up….

          1. Trout Creek

            The officer in question had professional training and probably carried a .40 cal semiauto handgun w/ 18 shot clip, plus at least 1 or 2 spare clips. He had the element of surprise, he could easily track the shots inside the building. His duty was to go in and stop the shooter.
            There were also 3 other officers present as well, now it’s 4 against 1.
            One more thing, the shooter dropped his weapon and walked out amoung the students, he was captured about 1 hour later about 1 mile away.

            1. bob

              Another opinion.

              “The officer in question had professional training”

              #1 in any training is to stay alive. You can’t do much, even with testicles, when you’re dead. As well as being dead, you could also be adding to the arming of the suspect–

              ” and probably carried a .40 cal semiauto handgun w/ 18 shot clip, plus at least 1 or 2 spare clips”

              For a school security detail? That’s all speculation anyway. Come back with more than an opinion.

          2. The Rev Kev

            Not true, man. When your number is called and it is up to you to take your part in a Birkenhead drill in order to protect children you owe it to yourself to do it – and to hell with what the police manuals say.
            Sure a rifle vs hand gun fight is not fair fight but a coupla 9mm rounds on target tends to put off their aiming just long enough to finish the job. Remember, surprise will likely be on your side if a shooter is not thinking police will disturb him at his work.

            1. bob

              “9mm rounds on target tends to put off their aiming just long enough to finish the job”

              Or they clip a kid.

              What’s a safe backdrop in a school?

              1. The Rev Kev

                Know what you’re saying. Like that time New York cops shot down nine civilians in the middle of a crowded pavement going after one guy. But nobody is talking about facing off a shooter in a hallway like in the wild west. Ambushing is a valid tactic. Personally I am a follower of the Uncle Fester school of thought-

                1. bob

                  The first step is always to get more cops on scene. Then set a perimeter.

                  After that, come up with a plan and relay that plan to everyone else on the scene.

                  These very simple rules are meant to lessen the chance of someone else getting killed.

                  The hero response, so favored by the cowboy commenters, is a surefire (Pun intended) way to get more people killed by friendly fire, and create even more confusion for the cops, and everyone else.

                  Yes, it is hard to think logically in these situations. What they clearly needed was some sort of leadership. Maybe, perhaps, a chain of command type of thing.

                  1. The Rev Kev

                    Sorry but that shooter was done and gone from that Florida school in under ten minutes. He was picked up by a cop miles from the school an hour or more later. This is not John Wayne stuff but cold hard mathematics.
                    You have a narrow time window where the death and carnage is being committed and that is the only time an intervention is possible. Anything after that is just clearing the rooms of suspects/survivors to be followed up by forensics.
                    You know what worries me here? The thought that they would make school teachers arm themselves. That would mean that when cops go into a situation like that, they would have to sort out the shooter(s) from school teachers. Now that would be frightening.

                    1. bob

                      More bullets flying, in a school, is a bad thing.

                      “That would mean that when cops go into a situation like that, they would have to sort out the shooter(s) from school teachers.”

                      More bullets, even when fired by cops, in a school, is a bad thing.

                      Cops, running into a school, one by one, with no coordination, throwing bullets as they go is a very, very bad thing.

                      Simply setting a perimeter (#2), by the cops on scene, could have prevented the shooter from leaving the scene.

                      #1 Call for backup
                      #2 Secure the scene

                      do not pass go, do not start shooting until those 2 things are done.

                  2. Oregoncharles

                    I believe this is simply not true, since Columbine. The same thing happened there: an armed guard didn’t go into the school, and children died while he hesitated. According to reports then, the policy was changed: If you’re a cop and there’s an active shooter in a school, you go in. Maybe you make sure there’s help on the way, but you go in.

                    You’re misrepresenting current policy. We don’t know how that particular deputy was trained, but he was supposed to protect the school and the kids and he didn’t, That’s why he resigned.

                    We can also take the city cops’ judgment as indicative. Apparently they were horrified.

                    1. fresno dan

                      February 27, 2018 at 12:30 am

                      I agree that confronting active shooters has been policy for QUITE a while.


                      “In modern active shooter procedures, law enforcement officers are trained to go toward an active shooter, as research shows an officer’s presence can decrease the loss of life. All sworn personnel are trained in active shooter training, Broward’s procedures say. ”
                      HOWEVER, to be scrupiously fair, this is apparently what the policy actually says:
                      “If real-time intelligence exists the sole deputy or a team of deputies may enter the area and/or structure to preserve life,” the policy states. “A supervisor’s approval or on-site observation is not required for this decision.”
                      There is a plethora of links that address whether police are suppose to stay outside or go in – they all agree he should have gone in.
                      But my problem with the idea of the deputy being a coward is that:
                      A. deputy dies – we say how courageous he was. Students shot after first shots fired by Cruz remain dead.
                      B. deputy kills shooter…after how many students died??

                      Everybody says dozens/more COULD have been killed BUT for the brave actions of the deputy and ignore all those who WERE KILLED. Movie shoot outs are entertaining, but maybe not having the NEED for shoot outs should be the policy….

                  3. Trout Creek

                    Bob’s step #1 get more cops on scene

                    Step #2 Count the many, many dead bodies.
                    Step #3 Congratulate yourself on avoiding another messy shooting situation.
                    Step #4 Send Thoughts and Prayers to parents of the deceased.

        2. Charlie

          “Part of being a man is knowing your life isn’t worth anything compared to youth and women, and acting on that premise if the need arises. Some may call it being a hero, most men would call it doing the right thing.”

          This I agree with wholeheartedly. The rest as well, but some of us men still do live by the edict above, and eschew the hero moniker.

              1. bob

                There were probably other testicles closer to the shooter. Should they have volunteered for death?

                Where are the calls for the heads of male teachers and male students? Is anyone with testicles who walked out of that school now no longer a “Real Man”?

                1. Etherpuppet

                  Only a good guy with a gun can counter a bad guy with a gun. Or something.

                  Gun(any type) > No Gun. He should have made an effort. Plenty of ways to disengage if it’s too hot while you are in a building.

                  1. bob

                    Yes, and everyone agrees we need more guns in schools. More guns being fired in more schools is even better.

                    It should be expected that a cop in a school fires his gun often. We’ll use it as a new type of school bell.

                    The hard part of guns is knowing when not to use it. For instance, in any situation with lots of people crowed into a small space with limited entry and exits. A school is a good example of a place where guns should never be used, and if they are used, used with extreme caution.

                    Saying that he should have been expected to fire his gun., which is what everyone seems to be saying, is nuts.

                    If that’s the policy now we don’t need cops anymore. Call in an airstrike — an A-10 should have that school dead on the ground quick.

                2. Charlie

                  Something about propagation of the species applies here. One doesn’t need testicles to know that. Millions of sperm, not many eggs.

                  Losing a few million sperm, even mine, doesn’t matter much in the grand scheme of things.

            1. JTMcPhee

              (Non-PC alert) …and the “officers” on scene at that Florida school apparently were also unencumbered by testicles…

              Cops mostly appear to protect the property of rich folks, and enforce (selectively) a certain set of rules of conduct. And, of course, they protect their closed Blue society. They are mostly reactive, because of the way cops now conduct “policing,” from squad cars and helicopters and such. Not by “walking a beat” and being intimate with “the community.” So they show up mostly after the action, to investigate and make reports, except maybe when SWATting down some door to serve a warrant or do a drug bust. Which all too often turns out to be the wrong house, due to idiocy and sloth and “bad intelligence.” And all too often results in “collateral damage,” from hair-trigger shootists, to kids, dogs, and unfortunate mopes who happen to be in the house or the place next door, because “cops protect their own Blue lives and safety first.” Or they help themselves to people’s property (as in “asset seizures” or simple theft) or to loose money and drugs lying around. Or they use their authority to “abuse” women, and beat the crap out of “citizens” just because they can, or because they have a ‘roid problem, or a bunch of other issues discussed in NC and elsewhere. Reactive, if they show up at all.

              There are good cops and bad cops, I get that. I guess the bad ones (who usually experience no consequences for their bad acts, like the rest of the Wearers of the Cloak of Impunity in this “modern, advanced” political economy) are the ones we mopes encounter and read about and get horrified by the videos showing them shooting to kill, unarmed and unresisting other mopes. “Stop resisting! [“I’m not resisting!”] Stop resisting! {bang bangbang bang}…

              Yes, they are human. All too human, especially when that’s matched up against and compared with the virtuous claims made for them, the armed and armored people, with and without testicles, who per their various mottos, “Serve and Protect.” Note that one can parse that epigram a lot of ways, since there’s no specification of WHO or WHAT they “serve,” or WHO or WHAT they “protect.” Though in the large context, one can see pretty clearly the arch hypocrisy in the phrase…Red Squads, Serpico, Fusion, quota books, speed traps, debtors prisons and so forth.

              I also “get” that there is no fixing any of this. Guns everywhere, all the “social dysfunctions” that lead to “running amok,” power without accountability or restraint or regulation is everywhere, humans collide with each other ever more frequently (something about Boyle’s Law or Charles’ Law or Brownian motion or Maxwell’s Demon bubbles up from my high school chem classes here) and there’s no residuum of respect or constraint or community to speak of.

              But I guess it’s great that someone is speaking up for the cop who apparently showed that yellow streak. Along with the other “feet of clay” stuff that’s coming out about said “resource officer” and his compadres… Equal time, fairness doctrine, all that…

              1. bob

                I’m not defending anyone. I’m talking about procedure and policy.

                The big procedure and policy failure here was that they let the shooter escape afterward. What if he had had more ammo?

                Calling for his head seems to be redundant. I’d bet there is a good chance that the cop relieves himself of his head. I’m sure that will make everyone feel better.

                Maybe it will be a family member of a victim who helps his head off. Would he or she then be called a hero?

                The mistake happened way before not sending anyone into the school. It was at a very basic police procedure level. It seems the officer in question was not the only person to make that mistake.

                They let the shooter escape.

                It’s also common for the first cop on scene to coordinate the response, as he or she is most familiar with the scene. In this case, the cop was very familiar with the scene– he was stationed there. He should have known all of the exits, entrances, where people would be in the event of an emergency and what, if any evacuation plans were in effect.

                If he gets shot quickly, no one else knows any of those details. The cops then don’t have anyone familiar with the scene, and they can’t relay any response plans to anyone. There is also the problem of the rest of the blue wall charging in head first to save their brother in arms, not knowing if he’s dead or not when he isn’t heard from.

                He should have been outside, directing the other responding cops where to be, and what the other cops were doing.

                The shooter escaped. That’s the mistake that was made here. It was made because there weren’t enough cops outside the school, doing what they should have been doing.

        3. savedbyirony

          To keep this polite, the FIRST responders at Netwon were the Principal, school psychologist, a head teacher and a janitor (three females and one male) who ran into the hallway from a meeting as the shooter began firing outside an administrative office. In addition to other actions taking to protect staff and students, the Principal lost her life lunging at Adam Lanza trying to stop him.

          Part of being a human being. woman or man, is the risking and giving of your life for others; especially others entrusted into your care. Both women and men often consider this the right thing; and both sexes do it. Dawn Hochsprung certainly did.

          1. bob

            Part of being a cop is not letting your personal response, weather well meaning or not, override your professional duties.

            What would you be saying if the cop was shot, before calling for backup, then his service weapon was stolen off his dead body, and used to shoot a few more kids and/or cops?

            As a cop, you are responsible for more than your own well being. You cannot do anything for anyone else, right or wrong, when you are dead.

            1. Etherpuppet

              I would say at least he died trying to protect the kids at his assigned duty post. That he was a hero? That he did the best he could? That he tried to stop a mass murderer and the skalds should sing of him in Valhalla?

              Hector knew he was in deep when he had to go face to face with Achilles, but he did it anyway.

                1. Etherpuppet

                  You are deliberately missing the point. He should have tried something. When his 3 buddies showed up, they should have tried something. But inaction is OK, according to you, because Section 5 paragraph 3 of the Officer’s Handbook says they only have to respond if they feel like it when children are being killed 100 feet away.
                  Some jobs are hard. Some jobs may be violent. Some jobs might be deadly. Some are all three, like being a police officer. It’s not an easy job. I know this at one remove, because my wife is a 911 police/fire dispatcher, and is employed by a police department. She, and the officers she supports, are not happy at all at the inaction of those officers in Florida.
                  So you can keep it up, trolling the thread, playing the BLM card, leaning on procedure and process, but at the end of the day, you’re just wrong. That officer should have done something meaningful to help. He didn’t, and will likely experience some blowback from his inaction. Hopefully it’s not a self-induced lead injection, but hey, at least he’s safe, right.

                  1. Yves Smith

                    You are straw manning bob. That’s against our written site Policies. He did not say “do nothing”. He said, in effect, jumping in immediately might save fewer lives than calling for backup, or seeing if there was a way of approaching the shooter that offered better odds of taking him out, rather than rushing in frontally and being pretty sure of getting himself dead and not saving anyone.

                1. dontknowitall

                  NC is one of the few places on the net where commenters start discussing a police action, follow into definitions of hero and heroism and end with Homer’s Iliad, the Trojan war and the tragedy of Hector’s hopeless fight against Achilles. Well done everyone!

                  I feel in my heart the policeman failed those children. I don’t have a reasoned explanation why that is so. My guess is that the only reason society exists is to keep the next generation safe until they can make on their own and we are all failing to do that on many levels.

            2. JBird

              I will agree that facing the possibility of being murdered, and that this rampant Monday morning quarter backing is a problem (expecting someone going all Rambo is nuts.),but if the incident has been called in, meaning it’s widely known, why should he not go in? The more time before being confronted means more deaths. Inside a building his handgun would be just as effective as the shooter’s rifle, and the police like the military, are expected to risk their lives, or even flat out die. Nobody wants that but they choose to put on that uniform.

              1. bob

                “the police like the military, are expected to risk their lives”

                They’re expected to? Then how can anyone one of them ever be accused of being a hero? It’s expected. Not surprising when you die, facing death all the time, as part of your job.

                If you die, that’s normal.

                1. JBird

                  Risking one’s life doing one’s duty and in service of others is heroic. Shirking one’s duty and forsaking one’s oath, so that you are assured your life because others died for it, not so much.

                  Too many expect the police to be idolized when they are far too often completely unworthy.

        4. Lost on OR

          I can’t imagine it. Hiding outside while a psycho with a semi-auto has his way in a school. What if the shooting gallery had gone on for another ten minutes? How many more funerals then? All the while a (four?) trained officer, sworn to protect the public, assigned to protect those kids, hunkers down protecting his retirement. What a disgusting POS. How can he possibly live with himself? Better to be carried home on his shield. Happy fishing, officer.

          1. bob

            Don’t worry, there’s still time for that cop to off himself and save you and everyone else the trouble of thinking about him.

            How does adding that cop to the body count of this horrendous scene ‘help’ anything? Does he have a family?

            “MORE BLOOD!!!!!!”

            1. Lost in OR

              Sir, perhaps I misspoke, but I don’t think so. Nowhere did I s uggest that somebody take his life or that he take his own.

              His cowardice in the face of danger, his inability to to fulfill the duties of his office, his being AWOL when his charges needed him most, is unconscionable. Period. Now, that is his problem. That he hears those rapid fire shots through his retiring days is as mean-hearted as I will get.

              I am confident that I would have challenged the shooter. I could not have lived with myself otherwise.

              1. bob

                I am capable of reading, are you?

                “Nowhere did I s uggest that somebody take his life or that he take his own. ”

                “How can he possibly live with himself? Better to be carried home on his shield. “

                  1. bob

                    “What a disgusting POS. How can he possibly live with himself? Better to be carried home on his shield. Happy fishing, officer.”

                    PBS is the POS?

                    Or, reading it like a normal human who speaks english, you were saying that the cop was a POS, and then asking how he could live with himself. Further adding that it would have been better to have him carried out on his shield. You then wished the OFFICER luck while fishing.

                    Did I miss a pronoun somewhere? Or are you just confused about what you wrote? Embarrassed maybe?

              2. JBird


                I don’t respect what the officer did.


                Until one faces such a situation, how can one know how they will react? Saying that it is normal to charge into an active shooting is strange. If someone is not scared in such a situation, they are almost freakish. I am disappointed because he didn’t do his duty and not because he was scared out of his mind.

                Calling for something bad to happen to someone who is not bad and who already has had a terrible time is not cool.

        5. Darthbobber

          I pay attention to this sort of thing from people who have actually done what they presume to know all about. But those folks don’t generally yammer on in such fashion.

    4. RUKidding

      Oh sure. Like how “brave” Donald Trump was at the rally in Ohio where the Secret Service had tor rescue him as he cowered behind the podium.

      Yeah, like Cadet Bone Spurs would rush someone shooting off an AR-15… NOT.

    5. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s like the Dao in Dao De Jing – things like this, you can only do, but not talk.

      The Wordless Dao.

      He doesn’t know.

      We don’t know what someone will do in a certain situation.

      Better off not saying and no need to respond to him.

  3. fresno dan

    “Texas police shoot man who disarmed possible church shooter” [Houston Chronicle]. “In the time between when police were dispatched and when officers arrived, a handful of churchgoers wrestled Jones to the ground. One of the congregants was able to grab Jones’ gun…. Officers entered the building and saw the churchgoer holding the gun and opened fire, according to the Amarillo Police Department. The churchgoer was hospitalized in stable condition.” Read all the way to the end.
    Next, police join in firing at the people the person WITH the gun is firing at ….”Officers, I had to kill all these students cause they were coming at me”

    1. pretzelattack

      it takes good cops with guns to shoot good students with guns. we can just rewrite the history later.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I think this rather, or also, shows that police shouldn’t carry guns (with exceptions).

  4. cocomaan

    Supply Chain: “A dispute over a marine container terminal in East Africa highlights growing international commercial and geopolitical concerns in the region. The nation of Djibouti seized the port facility run by DP World, and … the action marks a dramatic step in the tiny country’s moves to take stronger control of a strategically important site where the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden meet” [Wall Street Journal]. “DP World, which owns a third of the Doraleh Container Terminal, is fighting the seizure, but some now expect Djibouti’s government, which owns the rest of the site, to strike a deal with Chinese investors.”

    Good for them. They have a geopolitical strong point and should use it.

    I’ve long thought that Africa needs to determine its own sovereignty and form an African Union. Same with the Middle East. Of course Gaddafi was all about an African Union and now is dead. And anyone who expresses support for Pan Arabism (like Nasser) usually ends up dead.

      1. cocomaan

        It’s all on paper. Look at how they were treated by the colonial powers during the Libya invasion for an example of how powerless they are.

        Where’s the single currency? Sovereignty could start there.

        1. Mark Gisleson

          The currency Ghaddafi was working on when Clinton got to high five everyone in the room over his assassination?

        2. David

          Not entirely on paper, though I’m certainly not an AU fan myself, having seen it in action. It has an HQ in Addis, and does a certain amount of quiet good work – the AU Force in Somalia, for example, and several mediation missions. But it was always an impossibly grandiose concept, and any kind of economic union, let alone a common currency, is decades if not generations away. It’s simply an assembly of states too large, (mostly) too poor, too divided and too lacking in capability to do very much. And yes, they were furious at western action over Libya, but western governments say, not unfairly, that the AU was taking forever to get its act together. Gaddafi had quite a lot of support among a number of AU nations because he was paying their membership fees, and the chances of any realistic compromise emerging among (then) 53 nations were not that great anyway

          1. JTMcPhee

            And of course those “African states,” mostly gerrymandered into internally inconsistent and unsustainable map lines by “colonial powers,” are often blessed with resource curses. And the political-economic “traditions,” such as they are, too often involve “strong men” who literally TAKE POWER and then sell, for pennies on the extractable dollar, the birthrights of the mopes born in the area, sell them to a bunch of neocolonial supranational scumbags and spooks and jackals who assisted them in “taking power”. Of course there is so much more to the stories there…

  5. Pavel

    Re dental care and being able to eat: John Eskow has a great (and nostalgic) piece at Counterpunch re the obsessive coverage of #Russiagate by Rachel Maddow and others versus what is not being covered so relentlessly and breathlessly:

    What if we had one single week of breathless, in-depth stories about—oh, just to be completely zany, since we’re only spitballing here—how about one single week on American Hunger? It’s really not that crazy; CBS used to do that kind of thing all the time. But let’s update it, MSNBC style. Let’s convene a panel-full of snazzy experts, including (at least) one guy who radiates that cheesy, second-level “James Clapper” kind of gravitas (am I aiming too high? How about third-rate “Malcolm Nance” gravitas?) And since we’re just spitballing, how about investing, let’s say, 1.5% of the Russiagate budget, and 1.5% of the Russiagate reporter man-hours, and channelling it all into the Breaking News bulletin that one of every five American kids will go to bed hungry tonight? This very fucking night! Let’s make sure that an earnest, attractive News Anchor presents that Breaking News Story to our viewers. Let’s have animated panel discussions with the usual motley crew—one of those interchangeable right-wing New York Times columnists, say, and a couple of (possibly) ex-CIA spooks, and what the hell, let’s invite Rob Reiner on, too, he’s passionate even if he doesn’t like, talk that good; and yes, what the hell, let’s invite Joy Behar, let’s invite anyone who can help illuminate the many dark corners of this heartbreaking story—anyone, really, who can help our weary, Mueller-battered minds absorb this one crucial fact: that for every five American kids named Brittany, the poor-white Brittanys in West Virginia and the cornrowed Brittanys of Gary, Indiana, at least one Brittany will lie in bed tonight desperate for food, but probably even more desperate for the world around her to make sense, for her parents to be able to nurture her—because failing that, nothing makes sense to a kid. And nothing ever will. Let’s talk about upcoming indictments for that crime—for that conspiracy.

    — Counterpunch: Me, Bill Moyers and Rachel Maddow

    [My emphasis]

    My one hope is that in 20 years someone like George Clooney will make a film like his “Goodnight and Good Luck” dealing with the neo-McCarthyism we are now witnessing and Maddow, Olbermann, NY Times, WaPo and the others engaging in this dangerous and delusional nonsense will be portrayed as the villains they are.

  6. lyman alpha blob

    I don’t get this feel-good curling story. These ‘rejects’ were on the Olympic team in previous years too, they just did better this time. The claim that they’re just ‘regular guys’ seems to state the obvious – curlers aren’t generally drawn from the top fraction of a percent of accomplished athletes and my guess is the Canadian or Swedish curlers probably weren’t star slalom skiers who just decided they liked curling better.

    I guess when Norway wins a ton of medals without putting nearly the $$$ into it that Uncle Sugar does, the media has got to make it look like the US was good at something.

    1. Avalon Sparks

      I read an article in Slate about those guys last week. Here’s the link – it’s a pretty funny article:


      Instantly became a fan after I read it, and stayed up late Friday night to watch the match. I route for certain athletes and not so much by country. Those 4 guys on the US Team really appeared to work their butts off to finally win a Gold Medal in the US for Curling. It made me very happy to see the joy on their faces when they won and on the podium getting their medals. They seemed down to earth and like they were having a lot of fun. Truthfully, their win was one of the few things I’ve been proud about my country lately, most everything else we do makes me cringe these days.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Don’t get me wrong – they seem like a decent bunch and they definitely worked hard at it. It’s just that all the hype doesn’t seem to match the reality – they had been there before and they didn’t necessarily beat out a bunch of better athletes to make the team this year because they were already among the best the US had.

        Bill Johnson is the US Olympian I think of as coming out of nowhere to win a gold medal against world class athletes. That thought prompted me to look him up to see if my memory was correct and holy crap – I hope these guys have a much better post-Olympic time of it than Johnson did. I’ll snap a cap of Pabst for them!

  7. Arizona Slim

    I’m having major amounts of fun with the hair-on-fire crowd in my Faceborg feed. Y’know, the ones who get all stirred up about the latest Trumpian outrage.

    Latest object of their ire: Ivana. And why is she getting SO much publicity?

    My reply: Because she’s the child of a president. Goes with the territory.

    Cue up the burning coiffures in 3,2,1 …

    Well, you know me. One of my favoritest things in the whole world is American history. Which is why I dropped this factoid into the mix:

    “I seem to recall that Billy Carter was a huge embarrassment to his brother, President Jimmy Carter. Likewise, Alice Roosevelt. An outspoken young lady who caused no end of troubles for her father, Theodore Roosevelt.

    “And then there were Abe Lincoln’s kids. Little hellions, and Dad seemed unable to do anything to stop their hijinks. In fact, people close to Lincoln thought he secretly enjoyed them.

    “In short, what’s old is new again.”

    1. cocomaan

      Right on. Alice Roosevelt was a darling of the media and they followed her around nonstop, covering her fashion, her dating life, and so on. Hell, they did it until her death a few decades ago.

      Ivana is not only daughter of the president, but a confidante and a trusted advisor.

      1. Jason Boxman

        Read Imperial Voyage for a take on how Roosevelt used her fame as a shield for his diplomatic voyage in the Pacific. Interesting read.

        1. Elizabeth

          Yes, that was a great read. It opened my eyes to the fact that the U.S. has for decades been double-crossing other countries (e.g., the Philippines, Hawaii, to name a couple). The U.S. has had lots of practice spreading democracy around the world./s

      2. Procopius

        Also, she’s very pretty, too, and seems to not be a complete airhead, just a little protected from the real world. Alice Roosevelt was a lot smarter and more downto earth. I believe she enjoyed embarrassing her cousin Franklin, too.

      1. Arizona Slim

        Those Michael and Maureen vs. Patti and Ron wars were something to behold. Talk about a dysfunctional family!

    2. integer

      Don’t forget Bill Clinton’s brother Roger:

      During his brother’s presidential campaign and subsequent administration, Clinton was given the codename “Headache” by the Secret Service due to his controversial behavior. In January 2001, before his brother left office, Clinton was granted a controversial presidential pardon for a 1985 cocaine possession and drug-trafficking conviction. Roger Clinton Jr. had served time in federal prison after being convicted of conspiracy to distribute cocaine in a sting operation authorized by then Governor of Arkansas Bill Clinton. The pardon allowed for the conviction to be expunged from his criminal record

      1. integer

        Hillary’s brother Tony has been involved in his fair share of scandals too:

        By then, Tony Rodham had left his position at the Democratic National Committee and described himself as “a consultant … [in] all kinds of businesses. I’m a general consultant. I just bring different peoples together. I help them negotiate deals. I solve problems for people.” In 1997, Rodham tried to arrange meetings between Paraguayan President Juan Carlos Wasmosy and President Clinton, and also powerful Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov and the President. In 1998, he paid a visit to dictatorial Prime Minister Hun Sen of Cambodia. In each of these cases, there was criticism that he was giving an unauthorized impression of White House approval to these foreign figures, or was seeking financial gain for himself.

        Interestingly, Tony Rodham was once married to Barbar Boxer’s daughter.

  8. Matthew G. Saroff

    For the life of me, I cannot tell if the @chmayer tweet is snark or serious.

    Could someone please help?

    1. lyman alpha blob

      That one puzzled me too. Their slogan says “Trying to follow Jesus’ example & teachings” which they accomplish by supporting the warmongering Feinstein?!?? It’s either snark or this person nodded off during the “blessed are the peacemakers” part of the sermon…

      1. foghorn longhorn

        And totally blew off the ‘thou shalt not kill’ part.
        It was just one of ten anyway, suppose there is some clause that if the potus says it’s aok tho, go for it.
        What an effed up world we have built.

  9. Jim Haygood

    Today technology became the first S&P 500 sector to reach a fresh record high intraday. Chart:


    The Nasdaq 100 index (NDX), in which tech occupies a 61% weighting, is hot on its heels. NDX holds a 22% weighting in consumer discretionary stocks, Amazon being the largest in that sector.

    As for laggard sectors, Consumer Staples (including Walmart) is barely off the lows. Real Estate Investment Trusts, hurt by rising interest rates, aren’t doing so hot either.

    1. Arizona Slim

      One of my friends is a real estate agent specializing in foreclosures. Business is brisk, but oh, you should see the houses. The word “dumps” is too kind for some of them.

      1. Jim Haygood

        According to the industry association NAREIT these are YTD returns for different sectors:

        Timberland REITs ……. +5.86%
        Lodging REITs ……….. +3.23%
        Infrastructure REITs …. +3.00%
        Industrial REITs ………. -0.70%
        Data center REITs …… -1.16%
        Office REITs ………….. -3.82%
        Residential REITs ……. -4.39%
        Self storage REITs …… -5.77%
        Health care REITs ……. -6.11%
        Retail REITs …………… -6.35%
        Diversified REITs ……… -7.84%

        Not as easy for dumb money to get rich quick in property as in the wide-tie & muttonchops era. :-(

  10. grayslady

    Many thanks for the NPR article on spine bending. I had major lower back problems beginning about a year ago until I stopped bending over at the waist–for anything. Once I started bending my knees–something I did routinely for heavy objects, but not otherwise–rather than just bending at the waist, the pain went away. I’m looking forward to trying the “table” formation, since I’d rather have the pressure on my healthy hamstrings rather than my arthritic knees.

    1. ChrisPacific

      Waist-bending for loaded exercise like standing or lifting is good, but needs to be supplemented with stretches and C-bend exercises for flexibility. I am currently recovering from a back injury that probably resulted from my lower and middle back muscles becoming overly rigid and engaged even in neutral position, tiring them out and making them prone to harmful behavior like spasming when subjected to certain types of stimulus (in my case the bouncing from running was a trigger). I now have a series of stretches and exercises aimed at relaxing them, including spine bends, which I do along with waist-bend loaded exercises like squats.

    2. Yves Smith

      I have always hinged from my hips. I don’t even bend my knees when I bend over.

      The plus is I have no back problems.

      The negative is that this article isn’t correct about hips. The reason I have been somewhat off the grid is I just had a pretty painful treatment done for one hip. Even though the proximate cause was a bad fall, I had underlying arthritis which had been asymptomatic.

      If you do that kind of hinge bending AND squat, you’ll have great hips. In Asian cultures, where people squat (due if nothing else to the prevalence of squat toilets), the incidence of hip problems is very low compared to the West and experts attribute it specifically to regularly getting in a squat position, which preserves hip mobility as well as some mobility in the lumbar vertebrae.

      1. Conrad

        Rugby coaches have been preaching this since at least the 80s. Take a look at how a scrum is formed and you’ll see the frontrows with straight backs and hinged hips.

        My poor form was identified by a coach at 12 and I was banished from the front row thereafter.

  11. Jeremy Grimm

    RE: “Pacific Basin Conflict …”
    Complex devices require large sets of complex components. The existing single supplier long chains of logistics for components multiply the impacts of small problems in the chain. These are supply chains designed for fragility and failure. I am surprised no wooden shoes have found their way into cogs here or there.

  12. Jim Haygood

    From the California Sunday article on the Resnicks’ giant nut farm in Central Valley:

    Wonderful has grown too big to hassle with precision. Let the smaller grower walk among his trees and farm by the row. Fussing with one input or another, he can produce 3,500 pounds of nuts an acre. Wonderful, by contrast, shoots for the middle.

    The scale of production — and the ability to process, market, and sell its own crops — allows Wonderful to be mostly mediocre in the fields and remain highly profitable. No one’s going to get fired for bringing home 2,500 pounds of nuts an acre.

    “These trees are pruned by a machine that hedges one side and then the other,” he says. “But the smaller farmer still uses pruning shears to make his most important cuts. If he knows what he’s doing, the shears can make a thousand more pounds an acre.”

    Imagine if Toyota took this brute-force approach — “Five percent lemons is okay; we can still make a ton of money.”

    That’s a very short-term, plunder-oriented outlook, especially when you’re sucking up scarce water to do it. Others quoted in the article (people who care about yields) hint that Resnick got himself into trouble overexpanding.

    Not so Wonderful.

      1. polecat

        Lets not forget the general lack of repect for the health of the Honey Bee …. or any other insect pollinators for that matter.

        To a honey bee … nut orchards are food deserts !

      2. lyman alpha blob

        If you think that’s bad, take a look at the new modern way to make maple syrup

        They lopped off the top of the small trees, put caps on them with a tube inserted, sealed the cap and put them under vacuum. The young trees produced impressive quantities of sap, even without the benefit of a crown.
        They realized that their discovery meant sugarmakers could use saplings, densely planted in open fields, to harvest sap. In other words, it is possible that maple syrup could now be produced as a row crop like every other commercial crop in North America.

        In a natural forest, which varies in maple density, an average 60 to 100 taps per acre will yield 40 to 50 gallons of syrup. According to the researchers’ calculations, an acre of what is now called “the plantation method” could sustain 5,800 saplings with taps yielding 400 gallons of syrup per acre. If the method is realized, producing maple syrup on a commercial scale may no longer be restricted to those with forest land; it could require just 50 acres of arable land instead of 500 acres of forest. Furthermore, any region with the right climate for growing maples would be able to start up maple “farms”. The natural forest would become redundant.

        That’s not producing syrup, that’s rape. Have at it and produce so much damn syrup that you price yourselves right out of business.

        I’ll be looking forward to going to VT in a few weeks to help my family make syrup the normal old fashioned way. They have several hundred taps and use all buckets, do not overtap the trees (3 taps maximum and then on only the very largest trees), no vacuum tubing, no reverse osmosis. And they make the best quality syrup you have ever tasted – very light fancy grade which you simply do not get from the more industrial modern methods.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          If the natural-tree maple syrup tastes better than the new plantation-sapling syrup, then the forest will stay just as non-redundant as there are people willing to pay more for the better tasting syrup.

          What, though, is wrong with reverse osmosis? If it gets a lot of water out of the sap while putting precisely zero osmembrane chemicals into the dewatered sap . . . . which can then be fire-finished to its hand-boiled syrup endpoint . . . . then what is the problem? If reverse osmosis takes more energy to dewater syrup to a certain point than burning wood takes to get it to that same point, then that is a problem. But if it takes less energy, while not affecting the quality, then that is an energy-conservation benefit, surely.

          By the way, I wonder if anyone has ever thought of pasteurizing maple sap and holding it aseptically till the height of bee season and then feeding it to bees to make honey out of it. Maple honey, with bees investing all the energy needed to concentrate the sap down to honey.

          1. lyman alpha blob

            There’s nothing really wrong with reverse osmosis as it doesn’t affect the quality of the syrup – just being a traditionalist. Using pipeline does affect the quality though. Like most things, there really is an art to making syrup well and I take pride that my family takes the time to do it.

            IMNSHO the modern methods result in a crapified product but luckily for the producers most consumers will never be able tell the difference.

      3. drumlin woodchuckles

        No? If organic food stores still get their organic almonds from smaller more handicraft producers, then there is the respect right there. If one is ready to pay more, one can still get better, from the growing methods to the almond itself.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Levine’s point about the benefit from US sanctions on Iran is echoed by California Sunday:

        [Resnick] launches into a CFO’s riff on the pistachio market. Domestic sales are up 42 percent over the past eight years, but foreign sales have stalled. He blames Iran.

        Since international sanctions were lifted five years earlier, Iran has been crowding [foreign] markets with its more buttery-tasting pistachios. The Iranians don’t irrigate their trees. They rely only on rain, which concentrates the flavorful oils.

        China, for one, prefers the Iranian pistachio. So do Israelis, who go to the trouble of repackaging the nuts so it doesn’t appear that they’re consuming the product of an enemy. Iranian pistachios show up in Tel Aviv as nuts from Turkey.

        How come we can’t import some of them “turkish” nuts from our NATO ally? Huh, huh?

    1. Procopius

      Five percent lemons is OK, we can still make a ton of money

      As I remember it, that was Detroit’s attitude, which is why Toyota is where it is today.

  13. Higgs Boson

    Re the HuffPo article “Sorry, Democrats: Your NRA Is Spelled AIPAC”.

    Anybody who points that out is just engaging in whataboutism.



      1. Jim Haygood

        The AIPAC Policy Conference is the pro-Israel community’s preeminent annual gathering. The event attracts … more than half of the Senate, a third of the House of Representatives and countless Israeli and American policymakers and thought leaders.


        It’s next week … listen to the kongress kritters sing hymns of eternal devotion to the choir.

  14. Craig H.

    Lost Art Of Bending Over: How Other Cultures Spare Their Spines

    In one of the “how to deadlift” videos Rippetoe tells the student first “throw your ass back” just like the person who is picking the tennis ball up off the floor. The only other thing from those videos I remember as clearly is they were supposed to drink a gallon of milk a day.

  15. JTMcPhee

    So UPS is invoking something like ISDS to get “compensation” from the EU for prospective looting gains losses the corp feels it sustained by not being allowed by regulators to agglomerate even bigger?

    1. Craig Welch

      Not really like ISDS. This is going to a court, ISDS disputes are arbitrated by a tribunal.

      This case is looking at anti-trust policy and actions, ISDS tribunals look at breaches of an investment agreement.

  16. Jean

    Kamala Harris?

    Here’s how to get someone in the white house more mediocre than Trump but in this case with a proven track record of mediocrity:

    What has she actually done? Lots of words, few accomplishments.
    Why doesn’t she list her accomplishments on her website?
    O.K., she did pick her parents and her gender, gee what an accomplishment.

    Look at her donors, the typical Wall Street billionaires and corporate interests. Do not trust her or them.

    The OneWest case provides just one example, and this time, the failure to prosecute helped Trump’s treasury secretary get confirmed.To give you a sense of the full extent of OneWest’s, and possible Mnuchin’s, crimes, consider this:
    Though state investigators could not subpoena OneWest and were obstructed from obtaining more documents, they extrapolated that a full and unencumbered inquiry would yield at least 5,600 violations of foreclosure sale auctions, and turn up instances of backdating in nearly all of the 35,000 foreclosures OneWest had completed in California from 2009 to 2012.

    Among the investors in OneWest Bank was major Democratic donor George Soros, who maxed out to Harris’ campaign in 2015.

    If the Mocha Diva is the best the Democrats can nominate, it’s time to walk away from this charade of a political party and form a real progressive and Democratic Party.

    1. Enquiring Mind

      Kamala Harris did some of her best work under (former) Speaker Willie Brown. His guiding hand was evident in her rise.

  17. Rob P

    >Collusion or not, Russia probe is worst political scandal in decades

    This is true, although not in the sense the article means. Either Trump colluded with Russia to rig the election, or intelligence/law enforcement agencies and the media colluded to create a giant conspiracy theory out of nothing, starting Cold War 2.0 with Russia and driving half the country crazy, to attack a political candidate they don’t like. Either way, it’s probably the worst political scandal in American history.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Some of the posters and commenters at Sic Semper Tyrannis have been discussing in minute detail exactly how the Democrats, the Clintonites, and the Intelligence Community, probably with Obama Administration collusion; have used various governmental powers and institutions to meddle in the 2016 election for Clinton and against Trump.

  18. Adam1

    RE NYS 22nd Congressional District… While it is traditionally a very solid republican districts it’s mostly because everyone has been raised Republican since Lincoln was president. I grew up in this part of Upstate (just outside of the 22nd) and when push comes to shove most residence want politicians who will work for them and crossing party lines for this is just plain smart. For example, from 1985 to 2002 Nancy Lorrain Hoffman (Democrat) consistently won the NYS Senate 48th district which makes up much of the middle of the 22nd Congressional District.

    1. bob

      The national dems have no idea what they are doing in upstate NY.

      The area of the 21st was formerly the 23rd. A dem won it, until he abdicated and allowed Elise Koch to move in.

      Tenney is a nut. Last week she said that many of the school shooters are dems-


      She’s had plenty of opportunity to take that back. Nothing.

      Both the 22nd and 21st are ripe for the taking if the national dems want to put any amount of effort into it. The early signs are not promising.

      Unfortunately, the narrative is so screwed up I’m not sure it can be changed. In the 21st, for example, the narrative is already emerging that the south east is the best chance of getting a dem into the 21st.

      The south east was where long time bully and convicted felon Joe Bruno came out of. Rep to the core. He ran the Republican State Senate for years before he was arrested, tried and convicted. He still hasn’t spent a day in jail. NY pols don’t go to jail.

      The part of the district is not dem. Not at all.

    2. bob


      Dems trail far behind Stefanik in cash

      ” The bulk of Stefanik’s campaign money — $671,417, or 58 percent — comes from PAC contributions; 28 percent from large individual contributions; and 5 percent, or $64,350, from small individual donors.

      One top large individual donor this year is the Clearpath Foundation, promoting energy resources such as “clean coal,” nuclear energy and fracking.

      Eye of the Tiger PAC, which receives funding from Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, David H. Koch Charitable Foundation and Koch Industries, owned by David and Charles Koch, was among the top “ideological leadership” PACs donating to Stefanik’s campaign to date.”


  19. Synoia

    Sales of new homes slowed but not all the data in January’s new home sales report are negative

    Was the weather ok for looking at homes?

    1. perpetualWAR

      I noticed that in January, the days on the market in some areas of Washington rose, which I thought was interesting. Especially because we are supposed to be in a “hot” real estate market out here. Makes you go “hmmmm.”

  20. allan

    Anti-GMO articles tied to Russian sites, ISU research shows [Des Moines Register]

    Politics isn’t the only issue where Russia seeks to sway U.S. opinion.

    The former communist country is trying to influence American’s attitudes about genetically engineered crops and biotechnology, according to new Iowa State University research.

    Russia is funding articles shared online that question the safety of GMOs in an effort hurt U.S. agriculture interests and bolster its position as the “ecologically clean alternative” to genetically engineered food, said Shawn Dorius, an ISU assistant sociology professor.

    Dorius led the research with Carolyn Lawrence-Dill, an associate professor in ISU’s departments of agronomy and genetics, development and cell biology. …

    ISU professors said they started the research because they wanted to better understand the controversy around genetically engineered food. …

    “Stirring the anti-GMO pot would serve a great many of Russia’s political, economic and military objectives,” he said.

    Dorius and Lawrence-Dill said Russia is attacking the U.S. in areas in which America is strong and Russia weak.

    “The idea in an asymmetrical war, you look at where you’re weak and your opponent is strong, and you’re really trying to undermine their strength,” Dorius said. “This is an area where U.S. science is strong worldwide — especially so, relative to Russia.” …

    The professors recently presented the research at Iowa State University Crop Bioengineering Center’s annual meeting.

    No link to an actual paper, so it makes sense to look at what appears to be a very well-funded
    ISU Crop Bioengineering Center. No funding disclosures in sight.

    Old McCarthy had a farm, ei ei, ei ei oh …

    1. Jean

      Des Moines register? Straight from the heart of Pesticide Central?

      Russia does not allow GMO products to be grown, imported or sold.

      Monsanto, the most evil corporation in the world is financially threatened. End of story.
      They lie, they sue, they kill people and damage feti and the earth with their products.
      It is in their shareholders interest to create disinformation to protect their markets.

      “The campaign for organic food is a deceitful, expensive scam,” according to a Jan. 19 Newsweek article authored by Dr. Henry I. Miller of the Hoover Institution.

      If that name sounds familiar – Henry I. Miller – it may be because the New York Times recently revealed a scandal involving Miller: that he had been caught publishing an article ghostwritten by Monsanto under his own name in Forbes. The article, which largely mirrored a draft provided to him by Monsanto, attacked the scientists of the World Health Organization’s cancer panel (IARC) for their decision to list Monsanto’s top-selling chemical, glyphosate, as a probable human carcinogen.

      Desperate to Disparage Organic

      The ghostwriting scandal has hardly slowed Miller down; he has continued to spin promotional content for the agrichemical industry from outlets such as Newsweek and The Wall Street Journal, without disclosing to readers his relationship with Monsanto.

      Yet the corporate collaboration seems clear; Miller’s Newsweek hit on organic food has Monsanto’s fingerprints in plain sight all over it.

      For starters, Miller uses pesticide industry sources to make unsubstantiated (and ludicrous) claims about organic agriculture – for example, that organic farming is “actually more harmful to the environment” than conventional agriculture, or that organic allies spent $2.5 billion in a year campaigning against genetically engineered foods in North America.

      The source on the latter inaccurate claim is Jay Byrne, a former director of corporate communications for Monsanto (not identified as such in the Newsweek article), who now directs a PR firm called v-Fluence Interactive.”


    2. Bugs Bunny

      How absolutely insane. Europe (of which Russia is a part, still) is vastly opposed to any GMO food in its markets and even testing except in closed labs. Of course Russian news sources would have that bent. It’s like the Liberals are 2 steps ahead of any parody you could make up of blaming stuff on Russia. I can’t even imagine what’s next…to get caught in the hype. I just give up.

    3. Paul Cardan

      Thanks. That was fun. Also worth noting:

      The research doesn’t address Russia’s success at swaying opinions about genetically engineered crops.

      Par for the course, then.

      My favorite part, though, was the bit about asymmetrical warfare. Yes, this is an apt description of articles posted to RT. What then must we do? What would Clausewitz say, or Sun Tzu?

    4. a different chris

      > led the research with Carolyn Lawrence-Dill, an associate professor in ISU’s departments of agronomy and genetics, development and cell biology

      WTF? WTF-ingF? Aren’t college professors always going on about “their expertise” being so important and you don’t know what you need to know in a given subject unless you are credentialed via papers and conferences and whatnot?

      Yet suddenly this professor (associate, hah) in agronomy, genetics, etc. thinks she can co-author a paper on “political, economic and military objectives”???

      The other author is just an idiot, but he would have been OK to publish in his field if he hadn’t drug somebody essentially off-the-street into co-authorship position.

      1. Paul Cardan

        ‘Associate professor’ means this person was tenured, applied for promotion, and was promoted. She’s got a job for life, so she’s bullet proof, because, of course, such people need that kind of protection if they’re going to do thought provoking, challenging, possibly unpopular work, which is clearly what she’s doing. I mean, who wants to hear that Russians are attempting to corrupt our precious bodily fluids by tricking us into eating organic produce? Surely not the people who’d be interested in her research, most of which is on corn. Purely a coincidence, I’m sure, that much of Monsanto’s research is also on corn.

    5. drumlin woodchuckles

      An obvious reply which might be tried to see how it does in combat with this Russia Diddit narrative about counter-GMO opposition would be that taking American agriculture GMO-free/ No GMO would take away Russian agriculture’s advantage in that regard.

      Every frankenfree grower could point out that he or she has neutralized the Russian frankenfree advantage over his/her own clean-genes production.

  21. Buttinsky

    May I just point out how utterly disorienting it is to live in a country so schizophrenic now (obsessed as it is with voices alarmingly split from reality) that I have to turn to the National Review’s Andrew McCarthy — right-wing former federal prosecutor and torture apologist — to get a complete and cogent legal analysis of the Congressional Democrats’ counter-memo on the FBI’s investigation of Russiagate. Nevertheless, thank you for posting the link.

    Meanwhile, liberal constitutional scholar Laurence “Off His Meds” Tribe rants about Russians under every bed like the chief kook at the John Birch Society circa 1959. Oy.

  22. Summer

    Re: The Lost Art of Bending

    Reminds me of my trip to Ghana a couple of summers ago. The posture of the people is absolutely regal.

  23. Summer

    Re: The Lost Art of Bending

    Reminds me of a trip to Ghana a couple of summers ago.
    The posture of the people was absolutely regal.

  24. perpetualWAR

    Arizona’s legislature votes to block transparency has a familiar ring, as this is similar to what Washington legislators just did on Friday:


    Washington legislators voted to block themselves in a vote-count that will make a veto impossible. They did this after a judge opined that the legislature is not exempt from the Public Records Act. They just voted to change that. In a sneaky, self-serving manner: without public comment, without debate and without the ability for amendments to the bill.


    1. LifelongLib

      Dunno. It seems like most of the efforts over the last century to make legislating more transparent have instead just opened doors for special interests to manipulate the process. Smoke-filled rooms gave us social security and medicare. Transparency not so much. In a weird way it’s like (in the absence of strong public scrutiny) halfway democracy is worse than none…

  25. Adam

    I’m pretty sure that the NRA saying they aren’t a lobbyist organization is propoganda that they trick their members into believing. My ex’s mom said almost the exact same thing when she thought that fighting over the NRA around a group of leftist was a good idea.

    She also said that if we took away guns, that people would just kill with spoons instead (she was holding a spoon at the time), so logic is not her strength.

    1. Summer

      “She also said that if we took away guns, that people would just kill with spoons instead (she was holding a spoon at the time), so logic is not her strength.”

      Or she saw “The Matrix” and was very confused by the spoon scene.

  26. funemployed

    While I’m all for gun control, I don’t actually think blindness is a valid reason to deny the right to own a gun that sighted people can purchase.

  27. Stephen Gardner

    What a curious world we live in. Democrats marching around with Soviet Era flags emblazoned with Republican faces. Where does one even acquire a Soviet Flag? There hasn’t been a Soviet Union since 1991. It hasn’t flown over Russia in 26 years but it flies in Washington. I feel like Rip Van Winkle. ;-)

      1. Procopius

        I’ll bet you can buy them on Amazon, too. I know you can buy Civil War Confeďerate Officers’ uniforms at amazon.

  28. Summer

    https://www.marketwatch.com/story/republicans-will-lead-us-unwittingly-to-single-payer-health-care-2018-02-26/A fine example of the oft-overheated Republican imagination.

    The first two comments on Market W. are a good comback to the article’s hysteria:

    Actually the speed and reliability of our post office is pretty good….. and we have universal access to free mail delivery, and mailing costs that aren’t unreasonable.
    Joe Miller
    2 hours ago

    @Charles Henry Agree that the Post Office is maligned by idiots like the ones who wrote and reviewed this article. Nothing at all wrong with the Post Office that hands off from the government Senators and Congress wouldn’t make even better.

    Anybody else want to take a guess why the Post Office is a favorite attack point? Outside of the value of the land the offices are on?

    1. Jessica

      Also, the post office provided the African-American working class good jobs long before the industrial factories did.

        1. Procopius

          Errrmmmm… Woodrow Wilson segregated the Civil Service after he was elected as a conservative Democrat from Virginia. I don’t know which President allowed them to hire negroes again. My guess would be Truman.

    2. Ed Miller

      It is said that requiring the Post Office to pay into the workers’ retirement fund 75 years in advance (I know those aren’t the proper words, I’m not an actuary, and I don’t want to look it up), but I think something else is involved. Privatization of the Post Office will provide the acquiring entity with access to those retirement funds.

      Ultimate Ka-Ching bonanza !!!! Taken from South Park during the GFC: “…. And it’s gone!”

      Patience is the word for the oligarchy when so much is at stake. Of course I just made this up, and who am I do speak such heresy.

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      The U.S. Post Office certified that Kris Kringle was Santa Claus in the original Miracle on 34th Street.

  29. geo

    “Whether or not Mueller ever finds a smoking gun that Trump and his campaign colluded with Russia, this is already the biggest political scandal in decades.” Er.

    Bigger than that other “smoking gun” the NBC cheerleaded is into war over?

  30. Jim Haygood

    New frontiers in twitter rudeness to anonymous strangers:

    Barry Ritholtz‏

    Lots of new reviews out on @nntaleb new book — it looks interesting
    Would love to have you on MIB to discuss the ideas in this and all of your books


    Nassim Nicholas Taleb
    ‏@nntaleb 12h

    Replying to @ritholtz
    Didn’t I tell you to fuck off?


    Taleb’s book Fooled by Randomness (2001) shows that he groks options math inside and out. It’s his forte. But the condescending arrogance bleeding through every line is tough to take.

    Taleb’s strategy is to cash in on (rare) crashes with far out-of-the-money puts. Failure of the 10 percent dip in early February to metastasize into an apocalypse evidently has left young Nicholas very very angry.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      My first experience with him was The Black Swan which I liked enough to pick up Fooled by Randomness which was absolutely insufferable. Thought he might be mellowing but apparently not.

    2. Harold

      I don’t think he grasps, as a non-native speaker, the basic registers of the English language. It is too bad that such a brilliant person with so much of substance to contribute chooses to express himself using the gutter level English of uneducated street thugs, under the mistaken impression, probably, that he is being outspoken and hard hitting, rather than semi-literate. Too many movies, probably.

  31. The Rev Kev

    “How poverty changes your mind-set”

    It does a lot more than that. It can affect your actual DNA. Now that is damage on an epic level. A quote from one newspaper article on this: “Being poor can change your genes and increase your chances of depression. Living in poverty can cause changes to people’s DNA that make them more likely to become depressed, anxious and possibly take drugs” Here are two links to papers on this subject, one British and one American-


  32. marym

    Unregulated militia
    Oath Keepers Plan To Station Volunteer Armed Guards Outside Schools

    [Oath Keepers founder Stewart] Rhodes wants the military and police veterans who make up Oath Keepers’ membership to volunteer for unpaid, rotating shifts at schools of all levels, and colleges, throughout the country. He and two other representatives of the fringe militia community will hold a webinar Monday night where they plan to encourage Oath Keepers to station themselves at schools “to protect the children against mass murder, and to help train the teachers and staff.”

    Army vet with AR-15 stands guard outside North Side HS

    An armed Oath Keeper began watch outside North Side High School Friday.

    [Fort Wayne Community Schools] Spokesperson Krista Stockman shared a statement.

    ” We take the security of our schools very seriously,” the statement reads. “We understand he has a right to be out there, but we do not believe it adds to the safety of our students. At North Side, as at all of our schools, we have security procedures in place. In addition, at North Side, we have armed police officers in the building every day.”

    1. John k

      So having vets stand around with auto weapons makes the kids safer.
      Something here sounds a little scary.

  33. The Rev Kev

    Iowa grants gun permits to the blind

    Does Iowa also have shooting ranges for the blind as well? Might give them a bit of a miss.

  34. allan

    Labor Board’s Do-Over Leaves an Obama-Era Rule Intact [NYT]

    First, it reversed an Obama-era rule helping workers challenge the labor practices of big chains. On Monday, the National Labor Relations Board reversed its reversal.

    The move will make it easier to hold companies responsible for labor law violations committed by franchisees and contractors.

    Labor advocates and business groups alike were surprised by the turnabout, but it did not reflect any ideological shift. Rather, it followed a determination that a member of the board’s Republican majority had a conflict of interest in the earlier vote.

    A report released in early February by the agency’s inspector general found that the member, William J. Emanuel, should have recused himself when the case came before the board in December, shortly after the Republicans gained control. That would have left it split at two votes apiece and preserved the status quo.

    On Monday, three other board members, including its Republican chairman, Marvin E. Kaplan, voted to vacate the December decision, citing a determination that Mr. Emanuel “is, and should have been, disqualified from participating in this proceeding” because his former law firm had handled a related case.

    That opens the door for the more expansive, Obama-era standard to remain in place for several more months, perhaps even years. …

    For their part, business groups frustrated with the frequently shifting joint-employer definition argued that it was yet another reason for Congress to settle the issue with legislation.

    “This throws the whole situation back into question for a potentially extended period,” said Matthew Haller, a senior vice president at the International Franchise Association. “Our focus has been — and remains — on the need for Congress to provide legislative certainty.” …

    Sad. Legislative certainty is something business lobbyists couldn’t give a [family blog] about
    when it comes to funding the safety net.

    File under Sunlight is the Best Disinfectant.

    1. Anon

      Obama’s NLRB was the bright spot of his administration.

      The Browning-Ferris decision (which is now law again, at least until the Republicans can properly overrule it) allows workers hired through temp agencies (often perpetually, AKA permatemps) to bargain with their actual employer, not only the temp agency that is contractually prevented from improving wages and working conditions.

      It also allows the actual employer to be held legally liable for unfair labor practices committed by either company, closing the old loophole where the first-level employer could terminate the contract with the temp agency as retaliation for the temp workers unionizing. (Retaliating against workers for concerted/union activity is an unfair labor practice under the NLRA. The temp agency, as the official employer, is prohibited from doing so, but if the first-level employer isn’t considered a joint employer, the first-level employer can legally terminate the contract with the temp agency and the temp agency can lay off the workers for lack of available work.)

  35. lyman alpha blob

    Admittedly his own suggestions for taking on the NRA could use a little work, but this was better than the usual logorrhea from Trump –

    “You guys, half of you are so afraid of the NRA,” the president said Monday at a meeting with the nation’s governors. “There’s nothing to be afraid of. And you know what? If they’re not with you, we have to fight them every once in a while. That’s OK.”

  36. RWood

    As the author of the American Carnage piece says: “We have stepped in death so deep we’ve made a virtue of it.”
    Unknown provenance,
    But this linked:

    Umair Haque:
    We have built a death economy. It counts life-destroying harms — guns, loneliness, mistrust, anxiety, pressure, despair  [WAR, WAR, WAR]— as benefits, while counting life-affirming gains — education, healthcare, longevity, compassion, generosity, trust — as costs. To put it another way, very real, often life-destroying, human, social, environmental, and cultural costs are counted as benefits — but predation, like people dying for a lack of insulin that costs pennies elsewhere, but hundreds of dollars in America, or the taxes save and guns and bulletproof sold as a result of kids massacring one another at school, medical bankruptcies, or student debt, is counted as a benefit. So because the economy counts their lives exactly backwards, Americans struggle to live well.

    my brackets

    1. Octopii

      Umair Haque has nothing useful to say about anything. It’s all complain, complain, complain. He does a great job of pointing out all the things that are wrong, but that’s it. He is useless and I’ve had enough of his b!tching.

  37. JTMcPhee

    Lots of facts and stuff on “trade” in the opening links. Particularly the one that ledes another post today, about “dire consequences of ignoring trade in confronting environmental collapse.” So many cheerleaders for “trade,” even among progressives — “nations that trade together don’t war with each other,” and other patent falsehoods, see “history.” And of course “nations” don’t trade very much — the corporate persons who mostly rule and own them do, and all the incentives and vectors involved in that are pointed straight at calamity, though the rate of calam might be slow enough that the drivers and actors and participants will get to die comfortably after lives of vast pleasure, before the SHTF.) All this stuff about the status and progress (sic) of the many ‘trade deals” that will supplant even the fig leafs of local law and custom, in the name of agile innovative profit…

    But thanks for reporting on as much as we mopes are allowed to see of what these “trade representatives” (I parse it to mean “scumbags who represent trade interests,” not “delegates of democratic polities pursuing decent arrangements in the general interest”) are up to…

  38. Expat2uruguay

    The student loan sweatbox proposes a few Solutions:
    “The only way out of the sweatbox for borrowers are 1) bankruptcy discharges granted based on “undue hardship”, a very tough standard, 2) discharges based on death or permanent disability, and 3) write-offs of balances after 20 or 25 years of income-based repayment, or shorter periods for some public service loan forgiveness programs.”
    To which I would like to add, or
    the borrower could leave the country.

    What a terrible thing for an advanced country to do to itself, drive out the young people it just finished educating. Only in the US!

  39. JTFaraday

    “Similar cognitive deficits were observed in people who were under real-life financial stress. Theirs is one of multiple studies suggesting that poverty can harm cognition. ” This sounds an awful lot like Yves’ “tax on time.” The article rapidly devolved into a discussion of typical neoiberal nudges and tweaks, however. ”

    Well, I don’t know. There is the tax on time that is being forced to shop on bewildering Amazon that renders one bleary eyed and incapable of thinking straight for the rest of the day, and then there is the mental equivalent of being kicked in the head with steel toed boots.

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