2:00PM Water Cooler 3/20/2018

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Readers, I apologize for missing yesterday’s Water Cooler; I slipped a mental cog and got the day wrong. (I work not on calendar time, but on Naked Capitalism time, and when I mentally filed that I was “on for Links Monday” I thought “Oh, I’ll do Water Cooler after Links.” However, “Monday” is Monday evening for Tuesday morning…. So if today were Monday, I would be right on time.) In any case, I had a lovely vacation day, working on other projects. For those who were worried, I apologize. –Lambert


“[The Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS)] said all five major transportation modes– truck, rail, pipeline, vessel and air –moved more U.S. freight with Canada and Mexico by value in 2017 compared to 2016. And it added that total value of cross-border freight carried on all modes rose 6.6 percent from 2016 to $1.2 trillion in current dollars” [Logistics Management].



These things take time. If there had been no Occupy, the “1%” trope wouldn’t even exist:

For the vision thing, see above:

(Oh, my answer for “How do we reenergize the American people” is, of course, universal concrete material benefits, especially for the working class. Like #MedicareForAll. Or not another war).

“Bernie Sanders: Russia and Stormy Daniels distract us from real problem of inequality” [Guardian]. No. Michael Moore took point on that.

What a shame:


UPDATE “Democrats Notching Key Legislative Victories Ahead of Elections” [Roll Call]. “Moderate Senate Democrats on the ballot in 2018 are racking up a number of key legislative victories in advance of what is expected to be a bitter midterm election cycle. The successes, on bills ranging from veterans’ issues to bank regulation and tax credits for so-called clean coal technology, are the kind that can drive support among voters in the rural states that many of these members call home.” Holy moly. Bank deregulation isn’t just Democrat corruption, but their strategy?

UPDATE “‘You can only scare so many people to the polls’—Republicans rethink Pelosi tactics” [McClatchy]. Well, at least it won’t be “Pelosi! Pelosi! Pelosi!” vs. “Russia! Russia! Russia!” Which doesn’t imply it will be better than that.

UPDATE “How The DCCC Promotes The Republican Wing Of The Democratic Party While Kicking Progressives To The Curb” [Down with Tyranny]. “But the DCCC and Democratic Party’s open support for more candidates with NRA leanings suggests party leadership is favoring a trend further right, in opposition to progressives pushing the party to the left,” As I keep saying, the key policy goal for liberal Democrats this cycle is preventing #MedicareForAll. Electing Blue Dogs is key to achieving that, exactly as it was in 2009. Not that I’m bitter.

UPDATE “DCCC Raised $10.6 Million in February” [Roll Call]. “The DCCC raised $3.38 million from online donations in February, with an average online gift of $18. So far this cycle, the group has raised more than $50 million online, which includes 300,000 first-time online donors, and a total of $125 million this cycle. It ended February with $49 million in the bank. ‘It’s been clear all cycle long that the grassroots are energized and unified around the goal of taking back the House,’ DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján said in a statement. ‘The DCCC’s historic fundraising combined with incredible candidate fundraising will ensure that Democratic candidates have the resources to tell their powerful stories and connect with voters,’ he added.” That’s terrific. When I hear one of those “powerful stories” I’m gonna write it down on a piece of paper and use that for my next co-pay. Thanks, Democrats!

CA: “Despite pleas from the state and national party, only a handful of Democrats bowed out before the candidate filing deadline, setting up a potential nightmare scenario for the party” [Los Angeles Times (Kokuanani)]. “A crowded Democratic field means most candidates will get only a small portion of the vote. That, coupled with the entry of a handful of Republican challengers into already crowded races, means there is a legitimate possibility that no Democrat would make it into the top two in some of the June primary races. (In California, the top two vote-getters advance to the November general election regardless of party.) The volume of candidates from both parties is a particular problem for Democrats in their quest to flip three crucial Orange County-area districts that chose Clinton for president and have over 50 House candidates among them.”

NY: “Hell Yeah! It’s Miranda For Governor! Cynthia Nixon Sets Bar For Democrats On Supporting Public Schools. Why Should We Settle for Less?” [Lush Left]. With video of Nixon’s announcement. She’s tanned, rested, and ready….

Refreshing. Although I can’t find Nixon’s position on #MedicareForAll.

IL: “The biggest Republican megadonor you’ve never heard of” [Politico]. “After a fallout with the governor over abortion policy, [Republican squillionaire Richard Uihlein] gave $2.5 million to [Gov. Bruce Rauner’s GOP primary challenger, Jeanne Ives] in a single week this past January — essentially bankrolling her campaign to defeat Rauner in a Republican primary on Tuesday.”

PA: The New Pennsylvania Congressional Map, District by District” (map) [New York Times]. “Democrats couldn’t have asked for much more from the new map. It’s arguably even better for them than the maps they proposed themselves. Over all, a half-dozen competitive Republican-held congressional districts move to the left, endangering several incumbent Republicans, one of whom may now be all but doomed to defeat, and improving Democratic standing in two open races. Based on recent election results, the new congressional map comes very close to achieving partisan balance.”

Stats Watch

There were no official statistics of note yesterday (lucky me) or today.

Banks: “Policy Actions to Sustain Growth and Guard Against Risks” [Christine LaGarde, International Monetary Fund]. “When they meet again in Buenos Aires next week, their focus will be on the policies needed to protect this upswing against downside risks and bolster growth going forward. The good news is that the growth momentum has continued to strengthen, involving three- quarters of the world economy. But even though the sun still shines in the global economy, there are more clouds on the horizon. Think of the growing concerns over trade tensions, the recent spike in volatility in financial markets, and more uncertain geopolitics. Moreover, the pick-up expected for 2018 and 2019 will eventually slow, which implies a challenging medium-term outlook for many countries, especially in advanced economies. That is why countries need to implement policies to guard against downside risks, strengthen resilience, and foster medium-term growth that benefits everyone. Now is the time to take bold policy actions, and make the most of this period of global growth.” I read the whole thing and I’m not seeing any bold policy actions, but then I’m not an fluent speaker of Central Banker-ese. For example: “[N]ew IMF analysis shows that the gains from technological innovation can be widely shared by adjusting taxes and benefits and increasing public spending on education and training.” Wow, who knew? I mean, besides neoliberal professional, er, economists.

Energy: “The Appalachian Basin remains a very busy place. Nearly 2,300 drilling permits were issued in 2017 in the three-state basin, with 1,036 of those wells being spud*, said energy consultant Timothy Knobloch” [Kallanis Energy]. “That includes 1,377 Pennsylvania permits, 462 Ohio permits and 459 West Virginia permits, said Knobloch, president of James Knobloch Petroleum Consultants, of Marietta, Ohio. In comparison, there were 1,178 Pennsylvania permits, 267 Ohio permits and 246 West Virginia permits issued in 2016, and only 771 wells were spud, he said. The wells spud in 2017 jumped 34.3% from 2016, Kallanish Energy has learned.” NOTE * “A well is considered spud at the moment the drillbit hits the ground. The same goes for offshore drilling — passing through water on the way to the seabed doesn’t count” [Motley Fool].

Energy: “Bakken frack sand provider expands through $15M acquisition” [North American Shale]. “According to Smart Sand data on frack sand demand, since 2016 the amount of proppant demand per new horizontal well has been on a sharp increase. In 2016, the horizontal wells market was roughly 50 million ton of proppant. Today, the market for horizontal wells has created a proppant market that demands more than 140 million tons of sand. On a per well basis, wells in 2016 required just more than 8 million pounds of sand per well. But in Q1 2018, horizontal wells are using, on average, nearly 16 million tons of proppant per well.” Hmm. I wonder why?

Energy: “AG Healey pledges to fight Trump offshore drilling plan along Massachusetts coast” [MassLive]. “Healey filed formal comments with the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management on Friday. She argued that aside from the risk of oil spills, drilling would conflict with state and federal imperatives to reduce carbon emissions. She said the exploration and extraction is not needed to meet America’s energy needs. Healey said she would consider a legal challenge if necessary. Healey said the proposal threatens ‘Massachusetts’ $7.3 billion fishing industry, the 90,000 jobs that it supports and the state’s 1,500 miles of coastline that is marked by destination beaches.’

Commodities: “The rebound in commodity markets is getting nuttier. Just look at the Australian state of New South Wales, where Harvard University’s endowment fund is building a dam, ploughing up more than 1,400 acres of potato fields and planting trees that will take three years to yield their first crop of … almonds” [Wall Street Journal]. “[T]he nut is turning into a lucrative endeavor for institutions with long-term investment horizons as rising global demand and higher prices are leading to new production, new distribution channels and new competition. California ships around 80% of the world’s almonds, but volatile weather has led to weaker production forecasts and led to more interest from investors in farms in Australia that are suitable for the nut. Family-owned farms are giving way to industrial-scale agriculture operations that are looking to crack into increasingly global almond supply chains.”

Commodities: “The Rest of the Story: Global Demand or Lack Thereof” [Farm Journal]. For soybean geeks…

Shipping: “According to the ATA, the driver turnover rate for the fourth quarter of 2017 for large truckload fleets (those with more than $30 million in revenue) dropped seven points to 88%, signaling its first sub-90% reading going back to the first quarter of 2017″ [Logistics Management]. 88? Holy moly. For comparison: “There is no magic number for a healthy employee turnover rate, but comparing your rate to the average for your industry is a way to start when evaluating its healthiness. Turnover from employees leaving willingly averages 25 to 30 percent in the hospitality industry and runs about 9 percent in the banking and finance field, a rate that halved between 2013 and 2017” [Houston Chronicle]. I wonder crapifying the job has anything to do with this? Or whether Electronic Loggind had anything to do with the seven point drop?

Shipping: “A shipping industry recovery is starting to reach shipyards. Orders at Chinese shipyards soared in January and February…, with dry bulk leading the ordering spree, followed by tankers and container ships. The renewed buying is welcome news for big shipbuilders in China—and likely those in South Korea and Japan—that are still reeling from the downturn that sent demand for new ships plummeting over the past three years” [Wall Street Journal]. “Container shipping lines are looking at pulling back capacity by operating ships at slower speeds and cutting some port calls. Prices there are weak and research group SeaIntel is forecasting a big surge of capacity steaming into the market this year.”

Housing: “[A] large cohort had been moving into the 20 to 29 year old age group (a key age group for renters). Going forward, a large cohort will be moving into the 30 to 39 age group (a key for ownership)” [Calculated Risk]. “This demographics is now positive for home buying, and this is a key reason I expect single family housing starts to continue to increase.”

The Bezzle: “Will $80 Billion Investment in Self-Driving Cars Be a Waste?” [247 Wall Street]. Not if you got yours. More: “Whatever concerns Americans have about these vehicles will grow exponentially among many after the Uber incident. The worried won’t be consumers,” Well, that’s why we have marketing. I’m sure some peopel were worried about cigarettes, for example.

The Bezzle: “Facebook’s future depends on how it manages its user-data crisis: Goldman” [MarketWatch]. “”Google had something very similar in its early days with click-fraud and it was how the company managed through it that ultimately cemented the company as the kind of powerful platform that it is,” [Heath Terry, Goldman Sachs’s lead internet analyst] told CNBC… ‘That’s going to be the same here for Facebook. It’s going to be how they manage through this that will ultimately determine their long-term future,’ he said…. ‘A dark way to look at this is the fact that Facebook advertising was used this way because it works,’ he said.”

The Bezzle: “Facebook: The Case for Not Getting Ahead of the Story” [Barron’s]. “[O\n Monday, with the shares flagging, JP Morgan wrote that ‘We…do not believe advertisers are moving spend away from FB currently. The platform remains extremely important in terms of scale and ROI.…We recognize the potential for ongoing negative news flow, but…we would be adding on the pullback.’… [SunTrust Robinson Humphrey analysts wrote that ‘We do not see a material impact on advertiser demand given how well this channel performs for marketers.'”

The Bezzle: Tesla Model 3 Tracker” [Bloomberg]. 832 per week. By comparison, Patek Phillippe makes 50,000 of its watches a year, or 961 a week. The comparison is apt, since Model 3’s are hand-made, too.

Five Horsemen: “Facebook underperforms the S&P 500 on controversy over its use of personal data” [Hat Tip, Jim Haygood].

Five Horsemen Mar 20 2018

NakedCap Mania-Panic Index: “Mania-panic index slides to 40 (worry) in response to yesterday’s sharp move down” [Hat Tip, Jim Haygood]. (The NakedCap mania-panic index is an equally-weighted average of seven technical indicators derived from stock indexes, volatility (VIX), Treasuries, junk bonds, equity options, and internal measures of new highs vs new lows and up volume vs down volume … each converted to a scale of 0 to 100 before averaging, using thirty years of history for five of the seven series.)

Mania panic index Mar 19 2018

Rapture Index: Closes down one on Earthquakes. “There has been no major quakes in recent days” [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 184.

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

“Yasha Levine on Surveillance Valley” (podcast) [KPFA]. Not quite the origin story for the Internet that we’re used to.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“FBI Tracked an Activist Involved With Black Lives Matter as They Travelled Across the U.S., Documents Show” [The Intercept], Just in case anybody’s falling for this line that FBI officials are Heroes Of The Republic.

Dear Old Blighty

A good question:

Our Famously Free Press

“The Google News Initiative: Building a stronger future for news” [Philipp Schindler, Google]. “[W]e’re also working directly with news organizations to combat misinformation. We’re launching the Disinfo Lab alongside the First Draft to combat mis- and disinformation during elections and breaking news moments. Finally, to help consumers distinguish fact from fiction online, we’re teaming up with the Poynter Institute, Stanford University, and the Local Media Association to launch MediaWise, a U.S. project designed to improve digital information literacy for young consumers.” What could go wrong?

Neoliberal Epidemics

“U.S. Supreme Court allows Flint water contamination lawsuits” [Reuters]. Obama in Flint, May 5, 2016: “I will not rest, and I’m going to make sure that the leaders, at every level of government, don’t rest until every drop of water that flows to your homes is safe to drink and safe to cook with, and safe to bathe in — because that’s part of the basic responsibilities of a government in the United States of America.”

Class Warfare

“Degrees of Poverty: The Relationship between Family Income Background and the Returns to Education” [The Upjohn Institute for Employment Research]. The abstract:

Drawing on the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, we document a startling empirical pattern: the career earnings premium from a four-year college degree (relative to a high school diploma) for persons from low-income backgrounds is considerably less than it is for those from higher-income backgrounds. For individuals whose family income in high school was above 1.85 times the poverty level, we estimate that career earnings for bachelor’s graduates are 136 percent higher than earnings for those whose education stopped at high school. However, for individuals whose family income during high school was below 1.85 times the poverty level, the career earnings of bachelor’s graduates are only 71 percent higher than those of high school graduates. This lower premium amounts to $300,000 less in career earnings in present discounted value. We establish the prevalence and robustness of these differential returns to education across race and gender, finding that they are driven by whites and men and by differential access to the right tail of the earnings distribution.

“The death of retirement is looming – and the fallout will be disastrous” [Guardian]. “Workers on defined contributions pensions also found themselves at the mercy of the market. If they happened to have the back luck of retiring during a recession, their income was going to be far lower than it might have been.” Market timing for your retirement. What could go wrong?

News from the Precariat:

News of The Wired

I just want to put in a plug for Rich and Tracy’s Civil War podcast. There weren’t any new podcasts for a month — the new one is Episode #228 (!!!!), “The Battle of Fredericksburg,” in 1862, so you can see they have a ways to go — and I was worried that they had found the load of a weekly podcast was just too much. However, Rich had the flu, which was apparently unusually bad this year, and took almost a month to recover. Yikes!

“For the first time in history, hamburger sales in France have soared higher than the classic baguette jambon-beurre sandwich as French diners surrender to the American fast-food favourite” [Agence France Presse]. The hambourgeoisie cannot exist without constantly revolutionising the instruments of consumption….

“How hard is it to fake an accent?” [BBC] (PM). Professor Henry Higgins, courtesy phone!

“6 Emotions You Had No Clue Actually Had Names” [Cracked]. “When holding a baby or playing with an adorable puppy, have you ever had the sudden compulsion to squish them? And not even because they bit you (damn babies), but because they are just too darn cute and you want to hug them so tight they explode? No, you’re not a psychopath (well, maybe). Everyone gets this feeling from time to time. In Tagalog, they call it gigil, but in English it’s known as ‘cute aggression.'”

“In written Japanese, it’s punctuation, but not as we know it” [Japan Times]. For example, “・・・”: “[A] common function of these dots is to indicate a notable silence when you might expect a response.”

I. Hate. Both. Locutions:

* * *

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 (MGL):

MGL writes: “From winter garden @ Auckland domain… which we attended in summer due to torrential rains outside.”

Ha ha! “Winter”!

* * *

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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. diptherio

    File under: PE Predation

    True Value found a private equity firm to take a majority stake in the company on Thursday in a shift away from the hardware company’s cooperative structure.

    Acon Investments now owns a 70 percent stake in the Chicago-based retailer. The remaining 30 percent will remain with member retailers who own the cooperative. About $229 million of Acon’s funds will be used to return 70 percent of retailers’ capital, promissory notes and dividends.


    The Acon deal must earn the support of half of True Value’s member retailers in a vote at an upcoming special shareholder meeting on April 13. If it goes through, the deal is expected to close near April 18.


    Let’s hope the owners resist.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I think Jane is on board. I don’t think Bernie is ready….

      What I would like from Bernie is a solid anti-war “Enough is enough” Town Hall. In a rural area (since combat deaths correlated to Trump votes).

        1. Indrid Cold

          He also endorsed Hillary, and strongly supports Israels fascistic occupation of Palestine and I a. Sure, the overthrow of Syrias lawful government. So Bernie can get bent.he is a safety valve for public anger about the regime.

          1. JBird

            He did endorse Clinton after she stole the nomination; he had lost and Mr. Grab Them by the @@@@@ was the opposition. I can easily see why he would campaign for her.

            Don’t know much about he knowledge of foreign policy although I suspect I have better knowledge than he does, and that it is the Washington Establishment’s default positions. That’s bad, that’s true. But then his focus and fight has been on the awful political economy of this country since the 1970s. The struggle against the “billionaire class” as he likes to label it.

            Since the current conservative Israeli government and its supporters has virtually the entire Congress as their minions, along with such BS as Russia! Russia!, but only a few honest reformers like Sanders, I will take what I can get. Or I’ll not let the available good be stopped by the unobtainable perfect.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              Sanders took a bullet for the rest of us on Clinton.

              Can you imagine the yammering and Naderizing that would have happened if he didn’t? It’s bad enough as it is.

              Twenty years after Gore lost Florida on Democrats votes, and we’re still hearing “Nader, Nader.” That’s harder now.

            2. Procopius

              I agree with you. Especially the last sentence, “I’ll not let the available good be stopped by the unobtainable perfect.” We also need to adopt the Righties’ motto, Ni Shagu Nazad! “Not one step backward.” (hat-tip to Charlie Pierce).

          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            Apparently, one is only allowed to be antiwar, and never to become anti-war. Hard to see how much can be accomplished under those circumstances, and indeed the anti-war movement has accomplished little, as we can see by results.

            Personally, I always regard it as a good sign when pragmatists get on board.

      1. diptherio

        Oh, I see. The site includes pictures of Bernie prominently, so I figured he was more directly involved.

        I agree about wanting to hear an anti-war message from him. I know a couple of the dreaded Trump voters for whom his “bring ’em home” rhetoric was a big factor. He could be making easy political hay right now by contrasting the Don’s campaign rhetoric with his actions now, and peeling away some of his base.

        1. Sid Finster

          Honestly speaking, if Bernie were installed as President this afternoon, nothing would change, as the Deep State would still be in charge.

          1. Darthbobber

            And yet change does indeed take place.

            Though Real change can always be defined in accordance with the “no true Scotsman” method to make that not so.

          2. WheresOurTeddy

            Installed, yes.

            Elected in November 2020 in a landslide repudiation of the status quo? Then you have an opportunity for a 1932 or 2008 moment.

            Here’s hoping for the 1932 version.

            1. John k

              And Bernie, unlike agent orange, is smart enough to avoid challenging deep before taking office and appointing new blood on top of the apparatus. And would make better picks, too. And maybe even smart enough to never make challenging statements even then.
              Bad enough to have banks and msm against you, at least they don’t have guns.

          3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            If he is half as irritating to the Swamp as Trump, he will be harassed half as much.

            And if he is twice as much, then, the he will be hounded twice as much.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              He would be an order of magnitude more irritating to the Swamp than Trump. Sanders as President had better get a food taster and not go up in any small planes. Sanders as a 2020 candidate, for that matter.

          4. Mo's Bike Shop

            Wheels would be squeaking in an entirely different direction. That would be plenty for me.

          5. Lambert Strether Post author

            That’s an awfully static view of political power! (A view necessarily produced by the uncritical use of analytically sloppy phrases like “deep state.”)

    2. JohnnyGL

      Stephanie Kelton sees right through the ‘basic income’ idea from a political standpoint. Says it exacerbates inequality because lots of other programs get junked….then congress will go after the people who are ‘getting money for nothing’.

      Has she been reading nakedcap?

      1. Bugs Bunny

        UBI is a one way ticket to a new kind of ghetto. Job guarantee with varying salaries based on experience and skills is the only rational solution.

        1. JohnnyGL

          There is power in PRODUCTION, not so much in CONSUMPTION.

          The win-loss record on strikes is far superior to that of boycotts.

      2. John k

        My thought is that GI would be the hardest of all progressive policies to pass, much harder than 15/hr or med for all, both of which have widespread support.
        Politics is the art of the possible…
        Popular makes possible. After the first two talk about massive infra and fewer wars.

      3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Would she be fore Basic Income, in addition to the lots of other programs (so that they are not junked), because money is no problem?

      4. drumlin woodchuckles

        So don’t junk the other programs then. It is a political choice to keep or junk the other programs in the presence of a UBI.

        Also, the same political order which can take away the UBI after giving it can just as easily take away the FJG ( Federal Job Guarantee) after giving that. The FJG is no inherently safer than the UBI.

        The same congress which could go after UBI recipients for getting “money for nothing” could just as easily go after FJG recipients for getting “boodoggle workfare”.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            If that is so, then the FJG would be the better thing to try for. It would have to be at some high minimum wage, like $15/hr or higher. Low-standards states would have to be forbidden from being able to insist that it be lower within their state borders. ( Low-standards states could be free to refuse to pemit the FJG to exist within their state borders at all. What they canNOT be allowed to do is to “permit” it to exist within their borders, but with degraded and attrited features)

  2. nowhere

    The Bezzle: Here is a source that is more current than 5 months old for current Model 3 production numbers.

    Tesla Model 3 production is significantly accelerating based on new VINs

    “It results in over 4,500 new Model 3 VINs registered by Tesla in the first 3 weeks of March.

    The Model 3 production ramp has obviously been extremely difficult compared to Tesla’s own original guidance, but if you compare it to Tesla’s previous Model S and Model X production ramps, it’s undoubtedly going a lot faster.

    It took Tesla over 4 years to reach a production rate of 2,000 units per week for Model S and Model X, but it looks like the automaker could achieve the same production level for the Model 3 in less than a year.

    Tesla is expected to confirm the production rate of the Model 3 during the first week of April.

    In my opinion, Tesla should get pretty close to 2,500 units per week, but it will likely miss the goal.”

    This does point to the fact that retooling a factory for an all new product line is, in fact, a difficult task.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      First, if you read the link, you’ll see it’s “Updated at: March 20, 2018” and uses the VIN methodology.

      Second, I’ll replace Patek Phillippe statistics with Rolex, if I have to. Either way, it’s still a ridiculously low number.

      1. nowhere

        I was responding to the handmade link (10/06/17 5:08pm). Also, looking at a mean number doesn’t tell you very much about production when the production is ramping – which is much more obvious in the production rate. As a reference, Volkswagen doesn’t sell as many cars in the US as Rolex either.

        As I said, retooling a factory for a new product line to produce a complex machine isn’t easy. Well established car makers often fail to meet production goals and suffer quality problems.

        It seems the bigger challenge is this:

        If Tesla can’t figure out how to make more cars soon, it could open a lane for rivals from Detroit and overseas to establish the high-volume market for a $35,000 electric car—one that Tesla has had in its sights from its very beginning. Musk’s ambitions are big, and they all ride on meeting the unprecedented demand for the Model 3.

        A demand that other car makers are not yet able to fill either.

        Why a plant that employs thousands of (domestic) people, gets batteries from a plant that employees thousands of (domestic) people, and is a product that helps to combat global warming is a Bezzle is confusing.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          I regard businesses that are based on a combination of hype, worker abuse and union-busting, and government subsidy as Bezzle candidates, especially when the “aspirational” compensation structure is optimized for the personal enrichment of the CEO. Your mileage may vary, and apparently does.*

          Yes, manufacturing cars is hard. It’s hard to make mechanical watches, too. What’s your point?

          * For example, apparently a business that employs thousands of people can’t be engaged in a Bezzle. Er, Wells Fargo?

          1. nowhere

            In regards to hype:

            “Tesla has done something that is so important to me,” says Wozniak. “I mean transitioning from gas driven cars to electric cars for a future, it is part of our cleanliness formula.”

            The rest of the article is basically talking about current challenges in autonomous driving that all companies are struggling to overcome.

            After actually working in union plants and manufacturing facilities (across many different trades), they aren’t always the best means of reaching worker goals. I have talked to many, many union workers and they often have misgivings about their union and how the leadership represents their best interest. Of course, if Tesla is doing anything illegal to prohibit union formation (this is an implication without any actual evidence – much like Russian hacking claims), then nail them for that illegal action.

            I don’t consider companies that use government subsidies (particularly in green technologies) as being a negative. The subsidies give small companies the chance to develop technology to change the current paradigms. It’s pretty hard to fight the entrenched powers of multinational oil companies, coal companies, fracking companies, etc. without some incentives/cash. I thought it was a long established line of reasoning that in order to turn the tide in carbon emissions, government spending would be a key component.

            If Musk gets that award, it will mean that solar, battery, and car technology will be moving away from harvesting the remains of long dead dinosaurs. That is a major net positive. YMMV.

            My point is that any NEW product line of complex machines of a new design with new tooling will experience problems when starting-up. I know this because I have actually worked in plants around the world doing commissioning and start-up work. Also, as I pointed out, well established manufacturing companies still suffer from these problems.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              We agree, automobile manufacturing is hard. Perhaps Musk shouldn’t have gone into that business, since he consistently over-promises and under-delivers. Then we could stop investing time making excuses for him.

              * * *

              On hype: You write “The rest of the article is basically talking about current challenges in autonomous driving that all companies are struggling to overcome.” I think “basically” is doing a lot of work in that sentence. From the article:

              There is “way too much hype” around Tesla, says Wozniak, speaking to CNBC’s Deirdre Bosa at the Money20/20 conference in Las Vegas on Sunday. “And if [Tesla says] something is going to happen, don’t quite count on it,” says Wozniak.

              Wozniak says Tesla’s promotions about its cars’ self-driving capabilities are overblown and lead people to trust the “autopilot” feature more than they should.

              “Tesla has in people’s mind that they have cars that will just drive themselves totally, and it is so far from the truth, so they have deceived us,” says Wozniak.

              You’re saying that all robot car companies are “struggling to overcome” “deceiv[ing] us,” then?

              On unions: You point out that workers sometimes have misgivings about their unions. That’s quite sensible; all those represented by an institutions should be wary of that institution. Of course, that’s no excuse for union busting, legal or no. I also pointed to worker abuse, which you do not address. I’m very skeptical that worker abuse has stopped, too. After actually working in manufacturing, and many other institutions, once a pattern of abuse is embedded in an institution, it’s difficult to eradicate.* And there is also retaliation and NDAs to consider.

              On subsidies: Musk is a billionaire already. Let him spend his own money, and government money can be used for actual small companies in the field.

              On new and complex machines: Yes, automobile manufacturing is hard (see here on build quality). As I said, perhaps it’s a business Musk shouldn’t be in. Perhaps tunnels and rocketry are more appropriate for him (especially the latter, since Musk is essentially harvesting the technology the public created for him at NASA).

              Finally, your comment seems to have conflated the goodness of electric cars with the goodness of Tesla, and its electric cars. That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. (I’m agnostic on the general question of electric cars, because I haven’t researched on how they net out; for example, will we now be fighting wars for lithium and cobalt, instead of oil?)

              * From March 12: “Tesla targeted by new UAW complaint with U.S. labor board” [Automative News]. ” Tesla Inc. is facing another complaint from the UAW over allegations that it retaliated against workers involved in unionizing efforts at its factory in Fremont, Calif.” That’s “evidence” — as was the original reporting (“Building Teslas for Elon Musk is Hell”) — incidentally.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          First you write:

          > Here is a source that is more current than 5 months old for current Model 3 production numbers.

          I show my source is current. Then you write:

          > I was responding to the handmade link (10/06/17 5:08pm).

          No, you weren’t.

      2. Wukchumni

        Rolexes of modern vintage are considered oh so gauche compared to Patek Philippes of any era, by those for whom time is money.

      3. Craig H.

        Talk about a great analogy that is going to go over most of the readers heads. Wow.

        Dude we all carry cell phones now. Only gangsta rappers wear wristwatches. And the trickster of liberty of course.

        1. Wukchumni

          One of the few ways for men of great importance to flaunt their wealth is by wearing the ‘right’ very complicated Swiss wristwatch with as many ‘apps’ as humanly possible while hopefully being wafer thin, and never, ever, ever do you want to be seen with one featuring a quartz movement, or gawd forbid, pulling out your pedestrian smartphone, to tell somebody the time, ye gads, no!

          1. a different chris

            >with as many ‘apps’ as humanly possible

            Are you sure? I think the pecking order goes:
            1) sleeps under the bridge
            2) hassled liberal arts degree holder, sharing rent or living at home. Cricket customer.
            3) lower part of what used to be the middle class, fancyish Android phones
            4) upper part of what used to be the middle class, iPhones
            5) the first layer of the ruling class, these guys do have “as many apps as humanly possible”
            6) the people that really run things, they wear expensive clothes and a watch that accurately tells the time, and only the time, but is completely free of gauche “apps”, and costs more than the three best cars the people in #4 ever bought.

            The Tech Bros can be an exception to #6 as apps are their appalling life.

            1. Wukchumni

              Perhaps ‘apps’ was a poor choice of words, what i’m talking about is a moon phase indicator, 2nd, 3rd and perhaps a 4th stopwatch, timer, and a repeating chime incorporated into the watch, etc.

              As complicated as can possibly be, capiche?

              Otherwise, your pecking order is dead on~

              1. Skip Intro

                I believe the real jargon term for those extra ‘apps’ on watches is actually ‘complications’.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          Both Model 3s and Patek Phillippe watches are expensive mechanical objects that are handcrafted — on purpose for the watches, from incompetence for the cars — for high net worth individuals who are very conscious of their status.

          The comparison is exact.

      4. John k

        Not clear when they reach 2500/wk. maybe June? But that’s 130k/yr, not insignificant compared with many models, and equal to Volt total us production from first year thru 2917. And Chevy would be happy to make many more, if only people wanted them.

        Musk might have unhappy employees, but many employees are not happy in today’s economy. My view is that he’s moving the needle away from fossil fuels, no matter that solar still needs storage… it’s coming soon. Isn’t that what we want? Would we be as far along as we are without him?
        If the concern is he’s got a high stock price and no profits, isn’t the subsidy coming from those that a)can afford to buy expensive cars, and b) can afford to buy expensive stocks?
        Granted gov subsidizes too, but don’t we want subsidies to help move us away from fossil?

        So in this case everybody benefits from the advance, but most of the subsidy comes from the rich.

      5. Kurt Sperry

        Model 3s are showing up like the spring daffodils here, I barely even notice them any more. if I were buying a new car (never, ever happen even if I won the lottery), it’d be a Chevy Bolt.

    2. pebird

      nowhere: you forgot to add this from the link:

      “As we previously discussed on several occasions, looking at the total of vehicle identification numbers (VINs) is not a great way to track a production ramp-up at Tesla because previous production programs showed that the automaker skips numbers.”

      Skip numbers – hey look I’m running 2,500 a week – it’s disruptive !!

      1. nowhere

        We’ll see if this comment gets swallowed in the ether.
        I had a much longer and well referenced response that didn’t make it.

        This quoted line comes from upstream from the rest of the analysis, so it’s accounted for in the article. Seems they are upwards of 2500 vehicles per week and ramping.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > This quoted line comes from upstream from the rest of the analysis, so it’s accounted for in the article. Seems they are upwards of 2500 vehicles per week and ramping.

          Nonsense. You’ve either got reading comprehension problems or you’re misrepresenting the Bloomberg article. First, the Bloomberg article addresses the VIN issue in his methodology:

          To those who think our model may be underestimating production: Consider the registered VINs data. Tesla has only registered 13,828 VINs to date with U.S. safety regulators. VINs must be reported in large batches prior to the start of a vehicle’s production, and car companies keep a significant buffer of VINs on hand at any given time.

          Right now Tesla’s buffer of VINs is relatively small, according to our model—equal to less than a month of production at our estimated rate. So there simply aren’t enough VINs to support the idea that Tesla’s weekly production rate and total numbers are significantly higher than our estimates.

          Second, there are two mentions of 2,500 in the article. Here they are:

          Reminder: Musk’s goals for the quarter are to reach a production rate of 2,500/week and install a new line of robots from Germany to fix the problems at the battery factory. Our model suggests he still has a long way to go in the next few weeks.


          It’s a milestone of sorts, but make no mistake: Tesla has failed to hit virtually all of its production forecasts to date, and its Q1 goal of reaching a weekly production rate of 2,500 per week is looking increasingly out of reach.

          You keep saying stuff and getting shot down. First, it was that the numbers were old. They aren’t. Now it’s the 2,500 number. That’s wrong too. Do better.

          1. nowhere

            I didn’t say the numbers that Bloomberg uses are old. I clarified that the handmade claim is old – from when production was first ramping.

            I then went on to say that “Tesla Model 3 Tracker” [Bloomberg]. 832 per week.” is not using sound numeracy – a monthly mean production value for a new production line is a worthless statistic. It helps in framing a perspective, but it lacks insight into actually analyzing how Model 3 production has been ramping.

            It took Tesla over 4 years to reach a production rate of 2,000 units per week for Model S and Model X, but it looks like the automaker could achieve the same production level for the Model 3 in less than a year.

            Tesla is expected to confirm the production rate of the Model 3 during the first week of April.

            In my opinion, Tesla should get pretty close to 2,500 units per week, but it will likely miss the goal.

            What will be interesting is if Tesla ends up delaying its goal of 5,000 units per week by the end of the second quarter.

            That goal is especially important for reservation holders in the US. If Tesla achieves it on time, the company would be able to work through its backlog while keeping access to the full federal tax credit to the buyers.

            It is very possible that they will miss the goal again. Building complex machines is difficult work. Comparing a new company building a new product to a very well established company building derivative products doesn’t seem the best logical approach.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              “Sound numeracy” is an irrelevant diversion. The issue is what Musk says he’s going to deliver versus what he actually delivers. Ultimately, he needs to deliver like GM, and now he’s delivering like a Swiss watchmaker. His numbers are absurdly small, especially when set beside the expectation he himself inflated. It’s his job, as a CEO, to manage the “ramping” process and give proper guidance about it. He isn’t. He never has.

              I don’t believe for a minute that the hand-made aspect has gone away. (The stories are going away, but that’s not the same thing.) First, the build quality is horrid:

              The build quality of the early Model 3 we tested in late February was, in a word, appalling…. The build quality was the worst we have seen on any new car from any maker over the last 10 years.

              And cars that need to be checked and repaired are piling up at the plant. Musk promised to “build a machine that builds the machine,” and obviously hasn’t delivered. Now, I know that manually inspecting cars that roll off the end of the line, fixing them one at a time, or just letting them slide through to the dealer isn’t the same as a Swiss watch-maker bending over a bench with his loupe. But a manual and individualized process it is, and to ram home the connected issues of Musk over-promising delivery of a complex high-status mechanism — as well as to raise the issue of human labor done by hand — I’m sticking with “hand-made.”

              1. nowhere

                As a logistical aside, is there a particular reason my posts take 4 hours to pass moderation? I don’t think I have violated any of the terms of the site. I’m not attacking you personally and I try to provide sources for my line of thinking (which, obviously, is contra your line of thinking) but is still supported.

                It is not an irrelevant diversion when you frame your editorial comment in numbers which lack context. Your link is missing, but I found the Forbes article you quoted. Here is another quote:

                New car makers fail by default. The[sic] shows the impossibility of the task. I think the harshest, most chronic Tesla critics — some with good intentions — pretty much disregard this very relevant fact. The truth is, Tesla is not going to become a mass producer (on the scale of General Motors or Toyota) of very-high-quality cars overnight. Not going to happen. But it has to start mass producing sometime. It really has no choice at this point. Let’s just hope it achieves consistent build quality sooner rather than later.

                –Tesla critic diehards (who actually are quite numerous in the media) also overlook the impact of the wow factor on the average Model 3 buyer (one of the principal reasons for the numerous positive owner reviews). The Model 3 comes closer to a computer on wheels than any other car today. That, and the car’s ride and performance, is enough to satisfy a lot of owners, as this positive review from an owner (March 8) points out. And Consumer Reports said (March 1) that “it’s really fun to drive” and CR’s “Tesla Model 3 First Impressions” were generally positive.

                It might be time for him to move on to other ventures. Maybe he isn’t the best person to run a maturing car company, I think the next 6 months will go a long way to determining that.

                Tesla has forced the major car companies to begin to actually offer practical electric vehicles. Again, I take this as a huge positive development in turning the tide in emissions. The fact that they are struggling to ramp production is something I think they can overcome, with or without Musk.

                Side-note: we have vastly different circles of social Venn diagrams when a $35k dollar car is considered high-status. This isn’t much more than a stock Ford F-150.

                1. Yves Smith

                  You have made multiple violations of our written site Policies, which your opening sentence makes clear you haven’t bother to read. This entire comment is in bad faith. You’ve failed to acknowledge that you’ve lost the argument on the points you first raised with Lambert. You falsely depicted Lambert as presenting dated information. Then you tried saying you replying to a different comment, when Lambert showed that was bollocks too (see here). That is a form of straw manning, yet another violation of our Policies. You were also caught out by cherry picking Steve Wozniak and Lambert demonstrates that Wozniak in fact made statements far more consistent with his position than yours.

                  You now shift the argument to new grounds. This appears to be a determination to have the last word, and we are not willing to wast site resources dealing with people like that.

                  Further comments by you on this thread will not be approved. Our Policies state that commenting here is a privilege, not a right, and you’ve abused it. Get your own blog.

  3. jsn

    Am I the only one who got the shakes yesterday because Water Cooler never posted?!? My heart rate is almost back to normal.

    Badly missed! Glad its back!

      1. nycTerrierist

        mercury retrograde?

        glad to see you’re back

        (thought you were taking a much-deserved break – which is ok too!)

      2. JohnnyGL

        I dropped a substantial bankroll on plants yesterday for the upcoming spring at my new house….

        ….in lieu of yesterday’s plantidote!!!

    1. Big River Bandido

      I assumed that connectivity issues were to blame, so I went on with the rest of my day. But I felt less informed than usual.

  4. allan

    Karma comes hunting for Cy Vance:

    DA’s handling of Harvey Weinstein case to get AG review, Andrew Cuomo says [Rochester D&C]

    New York’s attorney general will review Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance’s handling of an investigation into a sexual-abuse allegation against disgraced film mogul Harvey Weinstein, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

    Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s review will focus on Vance’s investigation of allegations in 2015 against Weinstein by model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, which did not result in charges at the time. …

    This is in the wake of a long, negative piece in New York magazine.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I like it as a litmus test, but I’m not hung up on it for state candidates or for a state created single payer structure. On a practical level, it might not be appropriate for Nixon (can she change her name?) to address single payer in too much detail as its a federal issue. Addressing the kind of Democrat that Cuomo is and the effects of single payer efforts are probably more important than anything else.

      1. Fred1

        I think every state or local candidate who supports genuine single-payer and understands it well enough to persuasively explain it and defend it from the BS that will be thrown at it should explicitly run on it.

        In the candidate’s stump speech, the candidate acknowledges upfront that the office he is running for does not have the authority to enact a genuine single-payer program. But the candidate then states that the office he is running for employs (a large scary number) of people that are provided health insurance by the political subdivision that costs annually (a very large scary number) of taxpayer dollars. And with the enactment by the USG of a genuine single-payer program, the political subdivision can save (a very large scary number) of taxpayer dollars, with the savings being used to lower taxes, or increase wages and other benefits, or improve services or infrastructure, or some combination thereof.

      2. Jen

        Depends on what they’re running for. In my state, we are currently represented, if that is the word for it, by two former governors. If the governorship is a spring board to future, higher office, I want to know where they stand on single payer. They don’t have to necessarily be in favor of a state model, but they damn well better be supportive of a national model.

        1. Fred1

          A state or local candidate who explicitly advocates the details of a genuine single-payer plan and then accurately and vigorously defends it is a better litmus test than a candidate who makes a generic endorsement accompanied by some platitudes.

          Establishment Ds don’t even want to talk about it. If they got their way, single-payer would vanish from the public’s consciousness and be forgotten. Then if the Ds ever get the control they had in 2009, a vast segment of the public would not even know what genuine single-payer is. This would permit establish Ds to obfuscate by cynically advocating fake single-payer programs, like the public option. This also permits the Rs to make BS arguments, such as death panels, which have to be defended.

          If genuine single-payer is consistently, persistently, and persuasively advocated on the federal, state, and local levels, the number of people who will be deceived by the Ds’ fake single-payer programs and the Rs’ BS will be much smaller. Also it will shorten the wait until the Ds get the control they had in 2009, notwithstanding the wishes of the establishment Ds.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Even if she can’t be proven to support Single Payer, if she supports the destruction of Cuomo’s political career isn’t that worth something?

        1. Wukchumni

          In 1968, Tuck utilized Republican nominee Nixon’s own campaign slogan against him; he hired a very pregnant African-American woman to wander around a Nixon rally in a predominantly white area, wearing a T-shirt that said, “Nixon’s the One!”


    1. Scott

      It was really funny to see Cuomo say that a candidate needed more than name recognition to get elected (or something to that effect).

      I’m also assuming that Hillary Clinton will be aggressively campaigning on behalf of Nixon, unless she wants to go to that special place in hell described by Madeleine Albright

      1. Kurtismayfield

        It’s ok if it’s political name recognition

        “Normally name recognition is relevant when it has some connection to the endeavor,” Cuomo told reporters on a March 7 conference call before Nixon entered the race.

        “But if it’s just about name recognition, then I’m hoping that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie and Billy Joel don’t get into the race because if it’s just about name recognition, that would really be a problem.”

        So since his name is “political”, it’s okay. The backflips in his mind must be tiring for his medulla.

  5. Tomk

    I don’t get the meaning of the bathroom sink tweet and Lambert’s punctuated remark. If anyone cares to help…

    1. PKMKII

      “Let that sink in” can be interpreted both as an instruction to ponder the situation, and as an order to allow the sink to come inside.

      1. Synoia

        Never the second because a sink does not move by itself. “Bring that sink in” would be the more probable phrasing.

  6. Carolinian

    Re accents–I’ve always assumed there must be a special class in American accents at RADA since most–not all–English actors are so good at it. By contrast when American actors try to put on an English accent it usually sounds impossibly fake. But then perhaps the British feel the same way when they hear one of their own talking “American.”

    Meanwhile half of H’wood seems to be from Australia. Some Oscar watchers were probably surprised to hear Nicole Kidman lapse into her native Australian twang.

    1. Synoia

      Which “British” accent? There are many.

      If you listen carefully, the Queen has a different accent than William & Harry.

      1. Carolinian

        No (H)enry (H)iggins I so I’ll have to take your word for it. On some DVDs with Scottish or north of England accents I have to turn on the subtitles. Apparently it’s not just me as I saw a recent film where they make jokes about Londoners trying to understand Manchester-ese.

        1. perpetualWAR

          I spent almost an entire Tube-ride trying to understand three blokes from Liverpool. Until I said, “Unbelievable that we both speak ‘English’ yet I can’t understand a word you guys are saying.” They slowed down and we had a proper and lively conversation.

          1. AbateMagicThinking but Not Money

            Dear perpetualWar

            You were talking to scousers and they were speaking a version of english which is to my Coventry ears is strongly influenced by the irish language.

            Check out classic comedy: The Royale Family for a version of scouse with the edges knocked off.


            PS Please consider changing you handle to ‘perpetualSECRET_WAR’

      2. bassmule

        Tim Curry once spoke about making his character in the Rocky Horror Picture Show speak like the Queen: “Do you have a hice in the country and a hice in the city?”

        John LeCarre described a villainous British arms dealer as “the kind of person who pronounces “yes” as “ears.”

    2. Darthbobber

      I think it’s in the Age of Extremes that Eric Hobsbawm mentions the rises and falls of the popularity of the Oxbridge upper class accent among the rulers.

      Apparently in the post-1945 period he noticed that the young of the traditional upper classes were actually shedding that affectation, as opposed to earlier periods in which the wannabe climbers were striving to acquire it.

    3. bwilli123

      Twang? As a child growing up in Australia, it gladdened me that everyone else but Australians had an accent.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It is said that American English is closer to early forms of Early Modern English than others.

          Which American dialect is closest to British English?

          And which English accent sounds closest to the general American accent?

          1. The Rev Kev

            Some English accents were deliberately self-imposed. In at least one fashionable British Cavalry Regiment in Victorian times, the officers would transpose “w” for “r” so an officer could say that he was: “Captain Wupert Wenolds, of her Majesty’s Household Cavalry Wegiment” and no, this actually happened.
            British soldiers actually took to calling their officers “wuperts” I heard. I suppose that Biggus Dickus from “Life of Brian” would find himself at home here-

          2. Amfortas the Hippie

            i would assume that New England has the closest relations with the mother country, but I don’t know.
            Such things have always interested me.
            I prefer the old fashioned phonetics to the IPA…I can’t get the latter to function on the computer…so there’s a technical handicap in my investigations into the matter.
            as a child, my babysitter was my great grandma…from deep east Texas piny woods…and I noticed at 12 or so that I used a lot of her strange pronunciations:”koner” for “corner”,”warsh” for “wash”, “crick” for “creek”, etc.
            Then much later, finding scholarship on this, I learned that she had influences from the midwest, and Appalachia, and other places…turned out that tracked with her ancestry.

    4. JBird

      Well American English tends to be flat, I think and is more varied than most realize. Often someone trying to sound American can’t decide on which accent. It often sounds like some weird amalgamation of Hollywood SoCal, upper class NYC, working class Chicago, and Flatness all put into a verbal blender.

  7. Kim Kaufman

    UPDATE “Democrats Notching Key Legislative Victories Ahead of Elections” [Roll Call]… Holy moly. Bank deregulation isn’t just Democrat corruption, but their strategy?

    Yes, I’ve seen it said the Senate Dems up for re-election think “bipartisan” is what voters want.

    1. Pat

      Some pundits are pushing Americans want a calm reassuring father figure, think Father Knows Best, and would rather have someone who works with both sides than any particular policies.
      Yeah I’ve encountered that a few places.

      Nostalgic Retro Bipartisan Spin Aka BS.

        1. John k

          The finest generation had some racial issues.
          Course, today they can’t be so easily ignored because smart phones.

          1. Darthbobber

            As opposed to all those generations that had nothing problematic about them. Whichever ones that might be.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        They just need cover for corruption. I’ve found the more useless but prominent local Democrats just need one thing to hold onto and they will defend a regular “Putin” against charge. Ignorance abounds too. The “bipartisanship” explanation gives those local Dems a way to avoid exposing their own ignorance. Politicians are cheap whores, and their blind supporters will never ask why everyone died after drinking the kool aid because “hey free kool aid.” They still need the paper cup of bug juice before they will buy in.

  8. Carla

    Lambert, isn’t nice how much we miss you when you’re gone? AND how much we appreciate it when you re-appear? (A token of my gratitude is in the Tip Jar.)

  9. Synoia

    That’s terrific. When I hear one of those “powerful stories” I’m gonna write it down on a piece of paper and use that for my next co-pay. Thanks, Democrats!

    It would be put to better use to be written on toilet paper and used for the purpose intended.

    1. Summer

      People have to learn to vote for the broke candidate….should be a slogan.
      And stay away from the duopoly.

    2. Fiery Hunt

      Us Californians have long taken umbrage at politicians trying to buy office.

      Prime examples; see:
      Whitman, Meg. Run for Governor, 2010 (She spent more of her own money on this effort than any other self-funded political candidate in U.S. history and ultimately lost to Jerry Brown.)

      Huffington, Michael. Run for Senate 1994 (At the time, Huffington’s was the most expensive campaign in a non-presidential election in American history)

      They never learn.

      1. Summer

        “Us Californians have long taken umbrage at politicians trying to buy office.”

        If only there was more umbrage at the people buying politicians…

      2. JBird

        Meg Whitman was interesting. Yes, she was. Also Carly Fiorina and her weird ads including the Attack of the Demon Sheep . The only reason they could sorta articulate for voting for was being a woman, former CEOs and not Democrats. It reminds me of Jeb Bush’s last campaign for the national Republican nomination.

        I don’t think l will ever vote Republican but California is effectively a one party state, which is not good. The Republicans going into Bircher territory, and the Democrats are becoming corrupt caricatures I think; it would be nice to have at least two real choices of real functioning honest and sane Parties

    3. Wukchumni

      The only place the GOP has a chance in the state is right here, in the heart of Nunes-McCarthy-ville, in the CVBB.

      Otherwise, it’s a pipe dream that they’d make any inroads politically.

    4. Elizabeth Burton

      Self-funding candidates, many if not most of them “converted” Republicans according to Howie Klein at Down With Tyranny, are a favorite of the DCCC/DSCC. They apparently aren’t too fussy about whether said candidates actually live in the districts they’re running to represent.

      I suppose we could give them credit for wanting to spend their money wisely by having candidates who won’t need much help so they can make their millions go further.


  10. John


    So there’s a new study out that shows that aerosols are actually cancelling out the effects of climate change much more than we realize. They don’t stay in the air very long, so if we were to completely stop all air pollution (from smokestacks, car tailpipes, etc.) from one day to another, the temperature would immediately rise .5-1.1 degree Celsius.

    I hate the idea of geoengineering but more and more I wonder if it’s our only choice. Political will notwithstanding, the amount of energy required to convert us into a green economy full of renewable energy, electric cars, and extreme energy efficiency would warm the planet significantly, and all of the old fossil fuel infrastructure and machinery would still be operational for decades. Read The Limits to Green Growth for more information. The only other alternative, drastically reducing consumption, would effectively paralyze the economy. The only way to save the planet would be for all the biggest emitters to immediately transition into command economies with sustainability being the primary goal, and for all of the citizens of these countries to forego many of their material comforts.

    I don’t even want to know what the planet will be like in 50 years.

    1. Summer

      The USA will be in its post war reconstruction period by then…
      Another “origin” story in the making.

    2. polecat

      geo-engineering ..

      HeyZeus on a Stick ! If I wanted to live on a geoengineered planet, I would of boarded a Heighliner for Gedi Prime …
      At the very least, the Guildsmen know how to drive their ride .. and won’t smack into a homeless asteroid, or fly headlong into a gaseous nebula ! Why can’t they engineer something useful … like glowglobes or suspensors ? Jeesh !
      What is it with Terran scientists and engineers anyway ?

      ‘deep-spaced sigh !’

  11. Jim Haygood

    Changing of the guard:

    Amazon has passed Alphabet and now trails just Apple among the list of the world’s most valuable companies.

    The e-commerce giant rose 2.4 percent on Tuesday lifting its stock market value to $766.3 billion. Alphabet, the parent of Google, fell 0.5 percent and is now valued at $762.7 billion.

    Facebook, now the seventh most valuable company, [leaves] Microsoft the fourth biggest company by market cap, followed by China’s Tencent.


    When the Five Horsemen of the Techpocalypse were formed last April, they were the five largest companies by market cap.

    These rankings don’t endure forever. Facebook is the first dropout, but there will be others. We’ll stick with the founding Fab Five till Bubble III is dead and gone, while noting that Tencent is also an internet bubbler headed by Pony Ma. ‘Ma’ means ‘horse’ in Chinese — another horseman, as it were!

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Empress Wu (of Tang dynasty) bestowed many Chinese names to Central Asians.

      For example, the surname An (from Wikipedia)

      The surname An (Chinese: 安; pinyin: Ān) literally means “peace” or “tranquility”. It also serves as an abbreviation of Anxi (安息), meaning “Arsacid” in Chinese and can be romanized as On. Visitors to China who came from Arsacid-held territories often took the name An. In 2008, it was the 110th most common surname in the People’s Republic of China, shared by over 1.7 million citizens.[1] The surname is most common in Northern China.

      During the Song Dynasty, another An (俺) was a Jewish Chinese surname.[2][3]

      The infamous rebel, An Lushan, though (from Wikipedia), was not Arsacid or Persian, but Sogdian:

      An Lushan (c. 703[2] – 29 January 757[3]) was a general in the Tang dynasty and is primarily known for instigating the An Lushan Rebellion.

      An Lushan was of Sogdian and Göktürk origin,[4][5][6][7][8][9] at least by adoption.[10]

      The surname Shi 石, (for ‘stone’ or ‘rock’) was given for people from Samarkand, I believe.

      As for Ma:

      Ma (simplified Chinese: 马; traditional Chinese: 馬; pinyin: Mǎ) is a Chinese family name. The surname literally means “horse”. It is one of the most common family names in China. As of 2006, it ranks as the 14th most common Chinese surname in Mainland China and the most common surname within the Chinese community, specifically the Hui people, Dongxiang people, and Salar people.[1]

      The offspring of Zhao She adopted “Ma” (馬), the first word of the district Ma Fu, as their surname. Other romanizations include Mah, Beh and Mar.

      Hui Muslims, Salars, Bonan and Dongxiang people commonly adopted Ma as the translation for their surname Muhammad. for e.g. Ma Jian, Ma Benzhai, Ma clique.[2][3][4][5]

      During the Ming dynasty, the Zhengde Emperor had an Uyghur concubine with the surname Ma.[6][7]

      Thus, Ma for Muhammad, or Muslim (I had thought).

  12. Summer

    RE: Black Injustice Tipping Point
    “FBI Tracked an Activist Involved With Black Lives Matter as They Travelled Across the U.S., Documents Show” [The Intercept], Just in case anybody’s falling for this line that FBI officials are Heroes Of The Republic.

    This is related to:

    “Bernard E. Harcourt, Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law, had just finished writing a book on digital surveillance when he found himself researching his next. “I was trying to understand how digital surveillance relates to drone warfare and Guantanamo Bay and to the kind of militarized policing we have today,” said Harcourt. “And, I started to realize that digital surveillance is just one piece of a new way of governing.” The result is a new book, The Counterrevolution: How Our Government Went to War Against Its Own Citizens, published on February 27 by Basic Books.

    In the book, Harcourt argues that the United States has turned the techniques of counterinsurgency on its citizens. Strategies initially developed to combat colonial rebellions—bulk intelligence collection, targeting of minority groups, propaganda to pacify the masses—have become a new paradigm of domestic governance, he writes. In an interview, he explains how tactics developed for colonial populations abroad are being deployed, often ruthlessly, against Americans at home.”
    (link includes video interview/discussion)
    My take is that it is par for the course that this is being accepted in the USA as the demographics of the country change.

    All related to:
    “Yasha Levine on Surveillance Valley” (podcast) [KPFA]. Not quite the origin story for the Internet that we’re used to.

    And speaking of origin stories, the USA has three. 1) the American Revolution 2) The Civil War & 3) post WWII establishment of the national security state

      1. Summer

        That all depends on definition od “working well” and who benefits.
        Above all you have to hold the belief that any of this is for your benefit.
        It’s for somebody’s benefit.

    1. Amfortas the Hippie

      Read, then weep(I have the 80’s version on the shelf, and it’s a more harrowing read, but still…):

      Apply this thinking more broadly, and you start seeing it everywhere…like walmart(psyops, bigtime),or the design of apartment complexes(channels and funnels for subtle control of flow).

    1. Odysseus

      Yes, I live in the south suburbs of Chicago.

      But I voted by mail, so I can’t comment on crowd size.

      1. grayslady


        I went to vote at 1:00. The check-in person told me there had been a steady stream of voters all day.

        Biss had a volunteer specifically come to my door to make sure I had voted–about 5:00 this afternoon. Interesting that his staff is targeting anyone who donated to Dems in the past, because my donation was back in about 2004.

        1. Charlie

          Last month, I received a text from Our Revolution to run for my local Democratic Central Committee. But the first thing that popped into my head was DCCC, so I didn’t pay attention. And I haven’t voted since 2010. Why?

  13. Wukchumni

    Never got my name called on a ‘grand theft pistachios’ case here in the Big Smoke, that was set to last 3-4 days. Sounded interesting and it’s gonna rain for the next 3 days, so it would have been the perfect case to be a juror on, oh well.

  14. cocomaan

    Chalk another hash mark in the proof of “Hillary 2020” column:


    Alex Mohajer

    ‏Verified account @AlexMohajer

    When asked whether Ivanka Trump will make good on her desire to become the 1st female President of the United States, Hillary Clinton did not miss a beat in this brilliant dead-pan. HRC has emerged post-election as the voice of the Resistance IMHO. Whether people admit it or not.

    1. JohnnyGL

      I don’t know why, but I watched the clip and followed the thread….

      Clinton still believes and her core group of diehards believe just as much. She looks like she’s steaming mad during that clip.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Having watched these last couple of bitter clips from Hillary, and having read the mohajer thread, I can only restate my former and standing position:


  15. Summer

    Re: “Drawing on the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, we document a startling empirical pattern: the career earnings premium from a four-year college degree (relative to a high school diploma) for persons from low-income backgrounds is considerably less than it is for those from higher-income backgrounds.”

    Yeah, but does the study include a geographical element?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Is that career earnings premium in absolute dollar amounts, or relative to income-backgrounds?

      And are the results still the same, absolutely and relatively?

  16. dcrane

    I just want to put in a plug for Rich and Tracy’s Civil War podcast. There weren’t any new podcasts for a month — the new one is Episode #228 (!!!!), “The Battle of Fredericksburg,” in 1862, so you can see they have a ways to go — and I was worried that they had found the load of a weekly podcast was just too much. However, Rich had the flu, which was apparently unusually bad this year, and took almost a month to recover. Yikes!

    I’m not a war history buff, but I began listening to these two when you first mentioned their podcast as few months ago, and I’m up to episode 101. Their straightforward, largely unadorned productions (recorded in their kitchen I think, at least at the beginning) are well-written, well-researched, detailed and engaging. They spent at least 30 episodes just tracing the origins of the war through the events of the preceding half-century. Their tone gets a bit folksy now and then but it’s not much of a distraction. When listening to episodes about the battles, it helps to have a map, and there are good ones at the civil war trust website (www.civilwar.org).

    1. Andrew Watts

      How do they handle the personage of General George McClellan in the podcast?

      McClellan is one of the fascinating enigmas of American history. Most historians in the US don’t think very highly of him, but Robert E. Lee thought differently. He also had his foreign admirers like B.H. Liddel Hart. Whether through his own military genius or mere happenstance when McClellan ordered the Army of the Potamac southward to the James River he bloodlessly maneuvered his army into a position of great advantage that they wouldn’t occupy until after the horrific meatgrinder that was the Battle of the Wilderness / Cold Harbor years later.

      If you look at a map you realize that McClellan cut the Confederate lines of communication to the south of Richmond and would’ve gone a long way towards isolating it if Halleck hadn’t ordered him out.

      Needless to say, I’m a fan.

      1. dcrane

        I’m still in early 1862…Although they have spent some time discussing McClellan’s development of the Army of the Potomac and foreshadowed his alleged tendency to march and display his troops rather than send them into battle (plus the famous Lincoln quote about borrowing the army), we haven’t yet reached even the Peninsula campaign. Overall the tone has been critical of McClellan, but I will pay more attention now that you have asked.

  17. allan

    Statement on the Passing of Peter G. Peterson
    [Center for a Responsible Federal Attack on Social Security, Medicare and the Safety Net Budget]

    The following is a statement from Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, on the passing of Peter G. Peterson:

    Pete Peterson saw the dangers of a mounting national debt and took on a seemingly impossible cause that no one wanted to face. His leadership and wisdom made our nation stronger. He was simply the adult in the room – the conscience of our nation’s budget. When politicians went on dangerous debt binges and spending sprees, he fought them; when name calling erupted, he stepped into the fire; when partisanship reigned, he defended bipartisan solutions. Although this is a great loss for his family and for our nation, Pete’s work will live on. He laid a foundation of fiscal studies and resources that lawmakers will call on for years, and as the debt crisis he warned us all against looms large, so will his legacy and memory.

    Peterson’s tombstone: He was the adult in the room turning Econ 101 cliches into wrecked lives.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Yes, his work is not done yet…government spending on military is still way, way, way, way too much, relative to domestic programs, and relative to other countries in the world.

  18. Synapsid

    Lambert Strether,

    I doubt you really wonder why the demand for frack sand has doubled but I’ll spell it out just the same:

    Longer laterals. Longer horizontal drilling in order to encounter more of the rock that contains the oil or natural gas, in order to increase production from each well, because CEO bonuses are based on increased production in the shale patch, not on increased profitability.

    One result, beside the bonuses, is that the rate of depletion of reservoirs of shale gas and shale oil increases, and the wells become stripper wells sooner; reservoir lifetime is likely to decrease, too.

  19. marym

    Sanders resolution to end US involvement in Yemen defeated 55-44

    Roll call

    (“Yes” to “table the motion” is a vote against)

    10 Dems voted yes: Coons, Cortez Masto, Donnelly, Heitkamp, Jones, Manchin, Menendez, Nelson, Reed, Whitehouse

    5 Reps voted no: Collins, Daines, Lee, Moran, Paul.

      1. marym

        It has to do with the supposed legal basis, that Congress has not authorized it. The 2001 AUMF has been stretched by proponents to include Syria, and there’s currently no armed conflict with NK.

  20. PlutoniumKun

    On a per well basis, wells in 2016 required just more than 8 million pounds of sand per well. But in Q1 2018, horizontal wells are using, on average, nearly 16 million tons of proppant per well.” Hmm. I wonder why?

    I assume that should be ‘pounds’ for ‘tons’.

    Essentially, they are using more sand because they can. The sand acts as tiny pit props to keep the cracks open, so the oil or gas flows better. The more sand you can shove in, the more likely you are to get a good flow. More is used because (presumably), they are getting better at getting a higher proportion of sand into the cracks, and they are opening larger cracks per well now. What would be interesting to know is the ratio of fuel extracted per pound of frack sand – that would indicate whether there is a decline in the quality of wells now being fracked, which some suggest may be the situation.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Not really – the aim of a frack is to extend the fractures as deep as possible into the geological body – a longer horizontal can do this (assuming there are more valves along the horizontal drill), but equally a more powerful pulse/better location/angle of drill can do the same. The point is to get the greatest volume of rock fractured and the maximum number of fractures ‘open’ for flow. This is, as a driller once told me, as much an art as a science.

        I’ve heard it argued that the increase in the use of frac sand is a sign of depletion, but I doubt it – it is more likely I think that it is the result of more refined techniques for fracking and a focus on reducing costs – i.e. they are doing their best to get the maximum flow from each individual well to reduce costs. Its the drilling that costs serious money, not the actual frac.

    1. Pat

      Gillibrand told of special place in hell in 5…4…3…never.

      Kristen just got herself the place on my version of the no fly list, she has been shooting for with every cynical and useless move to line up a run for President.

  21. Wukchumni

    “The rebound in commodity markets is getting nuttier. Just look at the Australian state of New South Wales, where Harvard University’s endowment fund is building a dam, ploughing up more than 1,400 acres of potato fields and planting trees that will take three years to yield their first crop of … almonds”

    I read that there’s something like 200 million almond trees in California, and by the time I get done writing this, it might be 201 million, as every farmer is cognizant of the price almonds fetch compared to most every other tree crop, but there’s a price to pay in that unlike bareroot trees that go dormant for many months, almond trees need water 24/7.

    I was soaking in the hot tub @ our rental condo in Mammoth with a gent whose brother has extensive almond orchards around Delano, and he told me his brother is considering selling out, on account of so many farmers growing almonds, combined with pending groundwater legislation coming in a couple of years to the state, the details of which nobody knows.

    We are in essence exporting 1-time-use fossil water never to be replenished, to Asia for profits now.

    And about that 3 year time period to yield a commercial crop of almonds…

    …more like 7-10 years

  22. GF

    Shipping: “According to the ATA, the driver turnover rate for the fourth quarter of 2017 for large truckload fleets (those with more than $30 million in revenue) dropped seven points to 88%, signaling its first sub-90% reading going back to the first quarter of 2017.”

    For a good read on why the turnover is so high, read ” The Big Rig: Trucking and the Decline of the American Dream” by Steve Viscelli. Here’s a review:

  23. KB

    I just got the following message when trying to log into jimmy dore show, consortium news, and counterpunch…..all 3
    Our systems have detected unusual traffic from your computer network. This page checks to see if it’s really you sending the requests, and not a robot. Why did this happen?

    IP address:
    Time: 2018-03-20T23:25:50Z
    URL: https://www.google.com/search?q=jimmydoreshow&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b-1-ab

    What does this mean? anyone….

    1. Zzzz Andrew

      I went to duckduckgo.com (not google!) and searched on the message you received, between quotes:

      “Our systems have detected unusual traffic from your computer network. This page checks to see if it’s really you sending the requests, and not a robot.”

      and got a lot of results, with pages explaining that it’s the response to an actual technical problem (as opposed to censorship), and including an actual solution. The top-ranked link is below; it explains that the cause lies either with a virus on your machine, a plugin in your browser, or your ISP. There are a number of things that you can do about it — hopefully the advice provided at the link will be sufficient:


    2. pricklyone

      Using a VPN? You can be sharing an addy with almost anyone. Some of whom could be considered unusual.

  24. Lee

    Uber “incident”

    I couldn’t believe my ears this morning when on NPR a Tempe cop was said to have claimed it wasn’t the car’s fault because the pedestrian was not within a cross walk. Hope I heard wrong.

    Jay-walking is now a capital crime with no right to due process? A kid running into the street after a ball will be crushed with impunity. What about deer, moose, cattle et al? Because of collisions with cars, deer are the most dangerous wildlife species in the U.S. Being a robot means you never have to say you’re sorry.

    1. jo6pac

      The women was homeless so everything is OK. Sad, and as others pointed out here it’s the new and improved health care system in Make Great Again. It’s not any different then potus plans of the past:-(

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        What happens to the homeless when they die?

        It depends on the local government, from I have found online.

        Sometimes, the body is automatically given to the state anatomical board for use by medical students.

        Sometimes, they are given a burial by the state, even if they were not allowed to use government toilets when alive.

  25. HopeLB

    My Uncle Bill hugged 5 Easter chicks to death when he was five. When they asked him what happened he said, “I squeezed em. I love them”.

      1. HopeLB

        Well, in his defense, he went on to become Fordham’s Class President, father of five children, 28 grandchildren and an amazing assistant HS basketball coach (his daughter is the PA Hall of Fame, Head Coach).

  26. Conrad

    If Corbyn is such a Russian stooge, how come the Russian oligarchs give all their money to the Conservatives?

    Because the oligarchs are anti-Putin?

  27. rjs

    this can’t be right:
    “But in Q1 2018, horizontal wells are using, on average, nearly 16 million tons of proppant per well.”

    it’s probably 16 million pounds, quite a bit on its own…imagine the force it takes to drive that much sand into a shale formation along a 5000 foot long lateral…that’s an explosive power that would put a bunker buster bomb to shame..

    1. JohnnyGL

      Not enough questions being asked about the amount of energy invested vs. energy obtained as a result of fracking.

  28. cgeye

    I know, it’s a distraction, but the Austin bombings worry me.

    Not just because they targeted people whose deaths, at first, would be under-investigated, but because, now, they seem to hit a target the Deep State cares about: The supply chain.

    Ever since package-stealing became a Thing, I waited for the other shoe to drop. It takes a lot of trust to assume the package you ordered is the package you get, especially with so many parties involved in its shipment. The only surprise is how this is not occurring during the holiday season, or during back-to-school.

    The only thing that would make this worse is exposing the weaknesses in air or sea transport security — but the only thing that forces businesses to ramp up their procedures and screenings, is grief. That, or lawsuits.

    1. Lee

      But then there’s the trip-wire bomb. What’s that about? Is there method with intent beyond the killings themselves? Perhaps not, in which case one has a truly random serial killer without particular idiosyncratic victim predilections. Beyond a preference as to means, there would be not much to go on. In this the perpetrator is similar to the Las Vegas shooter. A very scary type.

      1. Wukchumni

        If memory serves, I think the Unabomber caused the USPS to shut down for a day or 2 back in 1994 or thereabouts. This episode is eerily similar, but there doesn’t appear to be any rhyme or reason as to whom the packages are sent to.

  29. Charlie

    Degrees of poverty:

    Yep, I’m screwed, even if I get my masters degree, but I gave it the good fight.

    1. jrs

      Well no they still actually earn more than people without degrees, just not as much more as people from wealthier backgrounds. So it’s not a question of being screwed, but life being unfair, but we knew that. Also of course the degrees those already privileged get are probably often perceived as better than the degrees underprivileged people do and not just at the level of Ivy Leagues versus cheap state college, but even due to the fact that many disadvantaged people go to for-profit colleges etc, which is often not seen as favorably. So degrees are not all seen as equal.

      Of course there are probably a lot of individual factors, it likely is more favorable to get a degree at 23 than 53 and so on, so if there are a lot of other factors beyond poverty …

      1. Charlie

        Even not for profit universities, with the cuts in funding, are tilted to parental donors. I’ve seen some pretty crazy stuff, most of it on the master’s level. Definitely class warfare stuff.

        And the comparison is with a high school education. For those in poverty, that 71% added amounts to a little more than $30k per year. Then there’s paying the loans off. Thanks Biden.

  30. ewmayer

    Random field notes from the eCONomy: So I figure a lot of folks suffering through the dismal rentier economy are helping to make ends meet by selling stuff on eBay, and in theat regard happened to do a little digging into the history of eBay auction fees. Here is the 2009 Final Value Fee schedule:

    Not Sold                  No Fee
    $0.01 – $25.00        8.75% of final price
    $25.01 – $1,000      8.75% of the initial $25 ($2.19) + 3.50% of remaining value
    $1,000.01 or more  8.75% of the initial $25 ($2.19) + 3.50% of $25.01 – $1,000 ($34.12) + 1.5% of value over $1,000

    Now fast-forward to the dismal present: Currently, the FVF is a flat (and hefty) 10%, up to a maximum fee of $750 (i.e. item price over $7500 incurs no added fee aside from Paypal’s added 2-3% cut on top of that.) So for a $7500 item, back in 2009 the seller would get charged a fee of a quite-modest $133.81, now it’s a whopping $750 (plus a Paypal charge of $200 or so). Inflation expectations, anyone?

    1. Wukchumni

      A friend has been selling on eBay since 1998, and he tells me that sales have dropped considerably since then, with very little in the way of bidding battles, as was common once upon a time.

      Crapification happens…

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        I remember ebay used to permit copies of enough parts and pages of books being auctioned that you could tell something about the book and decide if you were interested. Then suddenly all that disappeared and only a picture of the closed book was permitted. At least at the times when I still was looking at ebay.

        Also, ebay decided to try forbidding buyers and sellers to do bussiness in any medium other than paypal.

        It seems the ebay owners of that time made deliberate changes to ebay which degraded it as a place and an experience. I have spent years hardly ever looking at it any more.

  31. Summer

    More: “Whatever concerns Americans have about these vehicles will grow exponentially among many after the Uber incident. The worried won’t be consumers,” Well, that’s why we have marketing. I’m sure some peopel were worried about cigarettes, for example.

    Expect to see the vehicles featured more in movies and tv shows.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Now that you mention it, I’m surprised we haven’t seen such movies already.

      We need a “Thomas the Tank Engine”-equivalent for robot cars. I’m surprised Disney hasn’t done it already.

  32. Oregoncharles

    ” the career earnings premium from a four-year college degree (relative to a high school diploma) for persons from low-income backgrounds is considerably less than it is for those from higher-income backgrounds.”
    Not a statistically sound comparison. For starters, the percentages of people going to college, or not, would be sharply skewed, so not all that comparable. For another thing, among well-off people going to college is the norm, so those who don’t probably aren’t qualified, either in IQ or personality. Those traits would explain the bigger difference all by itself.

    There might be a big difference in the colleges they go to, as well, and how long they go. In short, I think this is a matter of common causes, rather than causation.

  33. Big River Bandido

    on the LA Times article:

    Despite pleas from the state and national party, only a handful of Democrats bowed out before the candidate filing deadline, setting up a potential nightmare scenario for the party. A crowded Democratic field means most candidates will get only a small portion of the vote. That, coupled with the entry of a handful of Republican challengers into already crowded races, means there is a legitimate possibility that no Democrat would make it into the top two in some of the June primary races…

    No doubt that is the establishment view. To see the reason for their heartburn, after “no Democrat” insert the words “that the DCCC likes”. Candidates who embrace issues like single payer and Fight for 15 usually find their campaigns smothered in the crib by the very organizations supposedly tasked with “victory”. Now, with a smaller vote threshold, there’s a chance that an insurgent might slip through to the runoff, in which case all bets are off. Political wild cards don’t always change the game like that, but when they do it’s never in favor of an entrenched establishment.

    To an outsider, California appears to have a true, joined battle for control of the party between the establishment and an insurgent (Sanders-inspired) left. A sitting U.S. Senator of 25 years’ standing couldn’t get the automatic nomination of the state convention. Now we see the institutional party unable to squelch several wild, free-for-alls in Congressional primaries. These are signs that a corrupt establishment is losing its hold. If true, this would be a healthy development, with nationwide repercussions.

  34. Darthbobber

    What historian do you get this take from? I can’t seem to locate one who shares that view of the peninsula campaign.

    And Halleck wasn’t brought east until after the seven days battles. When this campaign was being waged he was still the western theatre commander. Between Scott’s resignation and Halleck’s arrival McClellab answered to nobody except Lincoln and the cabinet.

Comments are closed.