Links 3/23/18

Physical Therapist Gets Komodo Dragon With Arthritis Fired Up Again CBS4 (J-LS)

More than 150 whales stranded on Australian beach DW

In field tests, device harvests water from desert air PhysOrg (Robert M). Anticipated in Dune.

The Disappearance of Books Threatens to Erode Fine Arts Libraries Hyperallergic (J-LS)

Great Pacific Garbage Patch plastic pollution dwarfs previous estimates and is ‘growing exponentially (Kevin W)

Chevron’s lawyer, speaking for major oil companies, says climate change is real and it’s your fault The Verge

World’s Largest Animal Study On Cell Tower Radiation Confirms Cancer Link Slashdot

New Cold War

Russia may annul election results at two polling stations: officials Reuters (Kevin W)

Russian Scientists Explain ‘Novichok’ – High Time For Britain To Come Clean (Updated) Moon of Alabama

Anti-anti-communism Aeon (witters)


Israel Jails Ahed Tamimi’s Mother for Facebook Live Video of Palestinian Teen Slapping Soldier Intercept

How Many Millions of People Have Been Killed in America’s Post-9/11 Wars? – Part One: Iraq Consortium News

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Best Buy Drops Telecom Giant Over National Security Threat SafeHaven. Wowsers. Only spying by the US surveillance state permitted.

Trade Tantrum

China promises to hit US with tariffs as stocks plunge amid fear of trade war Guardian

World’s Wealthiest Lose $71 Billion in Market Selloff Bloomberg

From Politico’s daily European e-mail:

THE EU … ON TRUMP: In the end, EU leaders at the Council summit in Brussels on Thursday were fed up waiting for Donald Trump’s administration to produce implementation provisions, or any legal text at all, on the Union’s desperately-awaited exemption from steel tariffs. Instead, they had to go off a few not-particularly-detailed lines from the U.S. president, and they wrapped up their meeting to get a few hours of sleep. Formal conclusions on Trump and trade will land only today, assuming that Washington legalese eventuates at some point before the leaders head home.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel put it this way on her way out: “It’s not yet possible to say conclusively how exactly decisions [in the White House] actually have been taken.” In case increased “unjustified” tariffs were to kick in against EU exporters despite Trump’s (more so, his people’s) assurances, the EU would respond with adequate counter-measures. And while U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May was originally set to go home Thursday, to ensure the union is able to answer Trump’s tariffs as a unit, she will stick around today.

All things considered, talking the U.S. administration into exempting the EU from steep tariffs that would have otherwise kicked in today was a major coup for everyone involved; chief among them, EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström. Now comes the hard part: Trump will want something in return — the question is what.

These Are the Farm Commodities China May Target in Trade Dispute Bloomberg

Trump Transition

McMaster Is Out, an Even Bigger North Korea Hawk Is In Atlantic. Bolton is very full of himself. I don’t expect him to last long, but he doesn’t have to last long to do a lot of damage.

It’s Time to Panic Now: John Bolton’s appointment as national security adviser puts us on a path to war. Slate

How Trump finally pulled the trigger to oust McMaster Axios

House Republicans Demand Clinton, McCabe Documents From Justice Bloomberg

Winners and losers from the $1.3T omnibus The Hill

US House of Representatives approves record military budget WSWS

Deplorables II: The Dismal Dems in Stormy Times Counterpunch

The Clintons have ‘at least a one-way open marriage’, pollster says Daily Mail. J-LS:

Worth a look not for the headline claims about their open marriage, but for Mark Penn’s acknowledgment that it’s illogical to blame the Russians for HRC’s loss– but as he admits, try telling that to her elite supporters– and also for the Mail’s sidebar: EVERYONE AND EVERYTHING HILLARY CLINTON HAS BLAMED FOR LOSING THE ELECTION – 42 AND COUNTING.

Facebook Fracas

All the ways Trump’s campaign was aided by Facebook, ranked by importance Washington Post (TF)

Mark Zuckerberg says he’s ‘fundamentally uncomfortable’ making content decisions for Facebook Recode. His PR people need to prep him better.

Bannon dismisses data mining role in US election Financial Times

Under fire in US, Cambridge Analytica looks to Asia Asia Times (J-LS)

Police State Watch

Justine Damond shooting suspect given bail on condition of giving up passport Guardian. Kevin W: ” I thought that this story was over. Looks like it is just beginning.”

Sacramento police shoot and kill unarmed man in his backyard WSWS

Uber’s Killer Car

Uber crash shows ‘catastrophic failure’ of self-driving technology, experts say Guardian

It certainly looks bad for Uber Brad Ideas

Human Driver Could Have Avoided Fatal Uber Crash, Experts Say Bloomberg

Disgraceful Dashcam Video Proves Uber Is the Theranos of Self-Driving The Drive (bw). Follow the link below:

Two weeks ago, The Drive published “The Human Driving Manifesto,” in which I claimed there was absolutely no evidence self-driving cars were safer than humans—at least not yet—and that we have a moral obligation to improve human driving safety even regardless…

Oh, did I mentioned that the driver had a history of traffic violations dating back to 1998? And that Uber claimed she passed all background checks? Uber, you’ve got a minimum standard problem….

Did the Uber brake? It doesn’t appear that it did. If not, why not?

The Volvo XC90 has Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB), which — under optimal conditions — would be triggered by some combination of forward radar and camera. I’ve tested it, and it’s pretty good. It would appear to have been deactivated so as to allow for unimpeded testing of Uber’s self-driving suite. If not, why didn’t it work? If so, what measures did Uber take to ensure braking in the event the self-driving system being tested failed?

Toys R Us founder Charles Lazarus dies at 94 as his company folds BBC

Elon Musk Is the Henry Ford of His Age. That’s Bad. Bloomberg

Bernanke, Geithner & Paulson on the 2008 financial crisis Barry Ritholtz. If they believe what they say, the need to be a lot noisier.

What Are Zombie Retail Stores Really Worth: Answers Emerge Wolf Richter

THE BATTLE FOR PARADISE: Puerto Ricans and Ultrarich “Puertopians” Are Locked in a Pitched Struggle Over How to Remake the Island Intercept. Glenn F: ” Naomi Klein, for the first time since Hurricane Maria, puts the pieces together and synthesizes what is happening on the ground there in a very coherent manner.”

Class Warfare

What If Off-Duty Employees Unplugged?x Wall Street Journal

South Korea to shut off computers to stop people working late BBC

Gender pay gap is widest when women hit 50, reveals new research Independent

Scott Walker Is Making It Harder to Receive Welfare in Wisconsin. Will This Become a Nationwide Blueprint? Truthout

The Hudson Report: Ep 1 Michael Hudson (UserFriendly). “Left Out, a podcast produced by Michael Palmieri, Dante Dallavalle, and Paul Sliker, creates in-depth conversations with the most interesting political thinkers, heterodox economists, and organizers on the Left.”

Replaced by robots: 8 jobs that could be hit hard by the A.I. revolution Digital Trends (David L)

Antidote du jour. Crittermom: “In response to a request from a reader for more reptiles, I offer this Horned Lizard, most commonly called a ‘Horny Toad’. Its expression mirrors how I’ve felt these past couple weeks while sick in bed.”

And a sort of anti-antidote from Richard Smith. Click through to the comments on the tweet for a better idea of what is happening:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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  1. Steve H.

    > Bernanke, Geithner & Paulson on the 2008 financial crisis Barry Ritholtz.

    I made the mistake of listening to NPR before I realized it was these three talking. I heaved when one of them said something like ‘the best thing Obama did blah blah smooth transfer with Geithner” and I mean literally heaved.

    Janet and I agreed to remove NPR from the car radio presets. Too bad, only classical station in the area.

    1. DorothyT

      I also heard this on NPR. When they mentioned the ‘nationalizing’ of Freddie and Fannie Mae, I wonder how many listeners realized they were referring to transferring the tab to taxpayers. NPR and WNYC lost my donation going forward.

      1. Wukchumni

        I sold my Fannie Mae stock for about $60 in 2007 just before the housing bubble went tilt, and now homes are worth more than they were at the peak of that bubble, so why is the stock worth a whole $1.50 a share now, or 97.5% less?

      2. chuck roast

        NPR’s umbrella is the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. What more do you need to know?!

      3. Expat

        These financial geniuses were creators and victims of two kinds of bubbles. First was the financial bubble. Admitting to it, popping it, or letting the participants suffer would have been anathema to their personal beliefs and their reputations. The bubble economy, the money-printing, and the bail-outs all served to sustain their delusions about the financial system.

        The second bubble was personal. None of these men rubbed shoulders with average Americans. Bernanke was too ivory tower and then sheltered in his Fed role complete with a Secret Service detail. Paulson was obviously a billionaire who probably thought cab drivers earned several hundred thousand a year. Geithner was a wannabe and simply an asshole.

        Hollywood loves to give us American Hero movies where the naive outsider gets mysteriously appointed king or chairman of the board, overcomes his ignorance and the Deep State, discovers simple solutions that no one ever considered and which work overnight, and wins the girl. I wonder if the Fed chair should be reserved for someone who has never worked in fnance or banking. How much worse could they do? And at least we could assume they don’t have vested interests.

        ps. While I have my view on the psychology driving Bernanke, Paulson and Geitner, I still think all three should be waterboarded (for fun) and then shot for treason.

      4. cm

        I heard it yesterday. What a fawning “interview” — not a single critical question from the “interviewer”

        1. Elizabeth Burton

          These days, those with the clout to do so refuse to accept an interview unless they’re provided with a list of the questions to be asked in advance. While I agree there’s a lack of willingness among the current crop of media “journalists” to ask the good questions, the likelihood is they have no choice but to stick to a pre-approved script or risk losing their jobs. And given the state of employment in journalism…

    2. perpetualWAR

      I hope you write to NPR and let them know why they lost you, both listening and donating.

      They need to know that we know better.

    3. JeffC

      In the car I often stream WDAV, a classical station in North Carolina, via the TuneIn app on my phone and specifically selecting that station’s 24 kpbs stream. This is the least data-gobbling classical stream I’ve been able to find. It corresponds to 90-ish hours of listening per Gigabyte of data.

      To choose the 24 kbps stream, start playing, use the “…” menu on the lower right, and pick “choose stream.” You may be able to make this stream the default: use “settings” on the “favorites” page to set “preferred stream quality to “lowest quality.” That defaulting behavior has not always worked as advertised, but after some discussion with the developers re that bug, it seems to be working now.

      WDAV is not the greatest classical station, as they play way too many “Sheep May Safely Graze” pieces seemingly from 1970’s greatest-hits albums, but giving you 50% more listening hours per Gigabyte of data than anyone else is worth a lot for those of us sharing limited-data plans.

    4. John

      As in the old Soviet Union, it can be useful to listen to the lies to attempt to ferret out what is going on. I must confess..I could only tolerate it for minutes. In this case, I think NPR was just offering magical, ritual incantations to protect against what they know is coming. Must be getting close.

    5. Kurtismayfield

      I also heard this while flipping channels. It was awful. They said at one point that the banks need to be regulated, and then blamed the politicians for trying to deregulate the banks again. Bernanke forgot that it’s the banks paying off the politicians that causes the deregulation. They all spoke as if they are outsiders when they know exactly what goes on, and not one of them will call anyone out.

    6. JEHR

      I quit listening after Ritholtz claimed that the three “perpetrators” he was talking to knew about the coming financial crisis for 18 or so months! Really?!!!! Then why didn’t they say something? Lying has become so normative that I cannot believe anything anymore.
      Bernanke and the financial crisis:

      “Bernanke kept insisting that the housing market was stable even while it was falling apart, he had absolutely no idea the financial crisis was coming, he declared that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were in no danger of failing just before they failed, his policies have created asset bubble after asset bubble and the world financial system is now inherently unstable.”

      We all need to have very, very long memories of what these guys really did.

        1. Expat

          I broke with Ritholz years ago when I had to audacity to suggest that Wall Street writ large was corrupt and evil. He maintained that it was “just a few bad apples.” I worked for investment banks; everybody knows everything, or at least knows there are evil things happening. That includes the secretaries.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Two days ago I read an Australian past Treasurer say on radio on how the government cheapened debt ( so as to get people out and buy property and get themselves indebted.Here is a quote-

        “”I get really amazed when I see all this hand-wringing of politicians saying ‘oh we are terribly indebted, Australian households are terribly indebted,'” he said.

        “Of course they are because we made money so cheap, we made money so cheap because we wanted them to borrow, that was the whole idea.

        “When a central bank reduces interest rates it’s encouraging people to borrow. We wanted them to borrow … so they could get the economy moving. We can’t sit back at the end of it all and then say ‘oh my goodness we made money cheap and they all borrowed, what a surprise’.””

    7. economicator

      Marketplace also had an interview with the same three… stooges? I listened for a minute and couldn’t take Kai Ryssdal’s obsequiousness any more.

  2. Alex V

    Regarding the cell phone tower = cancer link, I think the findings may require a little bit of skepticism due to the prior record of the source (Ramazzini Institute):

    An important point:

    “It is generally accepted,” wrote EFSA, “that life time studies until or close to natural death can lead to erroneous conclusions because of the following limitations. Older animals are more susceptible to illness and have increased background pathology, which includes spontaneous tumours and have a higher probability of autolysis than younger animals.”

    Also, the “NIH toxicologist” quoted is associated with a non-profit extremely focused on questioning the safety of RF technology.

    I am not stating that RF radiation has no health effects. The industry has not done itself any favors by concealing negative research findings in too many cases. This particular study however needs to be evaluated in a larger context.

      1. Alex V

        Interesting how you chose to not include the sentence immediately preceding the one you cite:

        “a) issues related to respiratory tract infections have complicated diagnoses at that site (i.e., lymphoma/leukemia), as well as for neoplasms of the inner ear and cranium”

        which supports my point of more context is required and that the findings of RI cannot be taken as ironclad and that single studies seldom are sufficient to establish causation, even if well designed. In addition the original quote on Slashdot itself was a citation from Digital Journal, so we have already have two layers of editorial filtering between us and the source material, in addition to a excessively declarative headline.

        Yes, Forbes tends to toe the capitalist line – I however chose to cite them as the piece I linked to makes little to no economic arguments and for the most part holds itself to scientific discussion based on evidence from a number of governmental organizations charged with assessing chemical safety. These of course are doubtlessly subject to corporate influence, but I doubt a conspiracy among them against RI is the case here.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      A side question: Has there been any definitive study on marijuana smoking and cancer?

      I think, according to the American Lung Association, marijuana smoke contains cancer causing chemicals. Is that definitive?

      1. Expat

        The government has funded dozens of studies, but the researchers seem to lose interest after a few days and wander off looking for a Taco Bell or a 7-11.

      2. David

        Cannabis Use and Risk of Lung Cancer: A Case Control Study

        A case-control study of lung cancer in adults ≤55 years of age was conducted in eight district health boards in New Zealand.

        Long term cannabis use increases the risk of lung cancer in young adults.

        In the details:

        Cannabis smoke is qualitatively similar to tobacco smoke, although it contains up to twice the concentration of the carcinogenic polyaromatic hydrocarbons.

        “Legalize it, and don’t criticize it” – Peter Tosh

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Legalize it and think critically about it.

          “Before you enter the Way, a mountain is just a mountain.
          When you first enter it, a mountain is more than just a mountain.
          After you have been there a while, a mountain is again just a mountain.”

          Being rebellious, skeptical or curious. when ‘they’ don’t want you to smoke, naturally, you have to try it.

          But, now that you’re allowed to (in California), you’re free to say to yourself, “I don’t have to,” without feeling oppressed by ‘them.’

          It’s like when you know you can easily beat a guy up, it’s easier to yield to the bully. Inside, you feel peace and contentment.

          In any case, back to marijuana. Now that you know you can, maybe the thrill is gone. And you’re finally free to move on to other challenges.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            That’s a dilemma – if you smoke marijuana now, should you smoke tobacco too, to get the protective effect?

        2. Lord Koos

          The study would then seem to show that all things being equal, pot is safer than tobacco, since few people can smoke 20 joints a day, the equivalent of a pack of cigarettes. You’d have to smoke an awful lot of weed to get anywhere near the kind of consumption most tobacco addicts take in on a daily basis.

      3. ppp

        This is just anecdotal, but when I smoked MJ I would get hot flashes throughout the day and night sweats while I slept, to the point that my sheets were drenched by the time I woke up. I switched to taking it in edible form, eating it in brownies, etc. I did not get night sweats when I took it that way, and I only had hot flashes when I stopped using, from the withdrawals. I think MJ smoke has carcinogens, so just take edibles, smoking anything is terrible for your health, in my opinion.

      4. pcraig

        All smoke is carcinogenic. Cannabis smoke has mitigating ingredients that make comparing it to tobacco smoke nearly absurd. There are dozens of youtub vids on this subject from patients to lay persons to University researchers. Search cannabis + cancer, lungs, seizures, anxiety, copd, parkinsons, MS, asthma, tumors, etc. The dude in this vid has an interesting story about his emphysema: You can also do similar searches at PubMed. The only threat this plant poses is to many a bottom line of big Pharma. No joke MLTPB!

    2. JohnnySacks

      There’s plenty of criticism of that study in the SlashDot threads that confirms your skepticism. I live in an area where each family has a least one cell phone for every person in their household yet goes ballistic NIMBY at the first mention of another tower required to fill out dead areas. That questionable study would provide a lot of fodder for their argument.

  3. RabidGandhi

    SalaryList cites Tesla’s starting wage at $47,590 p.a. Most sites (eg nomad) estimate Palo Alto’s Cost of Living to be ballpark $5,500 per month for singles w/o dependants (66k p.a.). The cheapest Tesla (Model 3) starts at $35,000.

    My abacus doesn’t do enough negative numbers to calculate how many months a Tesla employee has to work to buy one of the cars she makes, but therein lies the most material difference between Messrs Musk and Ford.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Why would a Tesla employee ever buy one of the cars that she was making. She would know herself what would be going on with the Tesla vehicles on the assembly line. Be pretty ironic if this hypothetical Tesla employee was also a great grand-daughter of William Edwards Deming.

    2. Wukchumni

      Ford paid his workers $5 a day (no taxes back then) and a Model T was $850 initially, so it took 170 work days to be able to buy one, whereas a Tesla employee would need to work a whole year (after taxes) in order to have the wherewithal to make it happen.

        1. Wukchumni

          6x workdays a week = 312 and we’ll take off 12 days for holidays

          300 work days a year back then…

      1. RabidGandhi

        You’re not calculating for cost of living. After paying living expenses, each year the Tesla employee has -$18,000 less in savings toward a new Tesla. What was CoL in Dearborn in 1908?

    3. JTMcPhee

      Even Forbes contributors and editors know that the “$5 a day” myth is just that — pure myth, promulgated by the disingenuous or deluded:

      So, if creating that blue collar middle class that could afford the cars wasn’t why Ford brought in his $5 a day wages, what was the reason?

      Actually, it was the turnover of his staff.

      At the time, workers could count on about $2.25 per day, for which they worked nine-hour shifts. It was pretty good money in those days, but the toll was too much for many to bear. Ford’s turnover rate was very high. In 1913, Ford hired more than 52,000 men to keep a workforce of only 14,000. New workers required a costly break-in period, making matters worse for the company. Also, some men simply walked away from the line to quit and look for a job elsewhere. Then the line stopped and production of cars halted. The increased cost and delayed production kept Ford from selling his cars at the low price he wanted. Drastic measures were necessary if he was to keep up this production….

      While that’s talking about the living wage argument it applies here as well. The point is not so as to be paying a “decent wage” or anything of that sort: it is to be paying a higher wage than other employers. That gets your workforce thinking they’ve got a good deal (for the clear reason that they have got a good deal) and if the workers think they’ve got a good deal then they’re more likely to turn up on time, sober, and work diligently. They’re more likely to turn up at all which was one of the problems Ford was trying to solve.

      It’s also not true that the offer was of $5 a day in wages. It was all rather more complicated than that:

      The $5-a-day rate was about half pay and half bonus. The bonus came with character requirements and was enforced by the Socialization Organization. This was a committee that would visit the employees’ homes to ensure that they were doing things the “American way.” They were supposed to avoid social ills such as gambling and drinking. They were to learn English, and many (primarily the recent immigrants) had to attend classes to become “Americanized.” Women were not eligible for the bonus unless they were single and supporting the family. Also, men were not eligible if their wives worked outside the home.

      Outside of the military it’s difficult to think of an American workforce that would be willing to accept such paternalism even if wages were doubled today…. (Includes gratuitous Krugmanism observation that increased minimum wage for everyone does not help one corporation outbid another —. It’s all in the “comparative wage…”)

      Henry Ford and his thugs were hardly benefactors of Labor, quite the contrary as any labor historian will tell you in great detail. Like in this bit: Which all sounds so very familiar, in the context of the present…

    4. Carolinian

      Right. Ford’s goal was to make cars his own employees could afford (call it the Walmart “good enough” philosophy). Tesla owners probably don’t care if their cars break down because they have two or three other cars in the garage. Surely it’s only Wall St that thinks Musk is angling to be the next Henry Ford.

      1. David

        Ford didn’t give a damn about his workers. From This Day in History:

        The elder Ford, who despised labor unions, instead put his trust in Harry Bennett, head of Ford’s Service Department, who promised to keep the unions at bay. In the much-publicized “Battle of the Overpass” on May 26, 1937, Ford henchmen brutally beat several UAW organizers… attempting to hand out leaflets at Ford’s River Rouge plant. In the aftermath of this incident, Ford Motor Company was found guilty of violating the Wagner Act, and in early 1941 the National Labor Relations Board ordered the company to stop interfering with the union’s attempts to organize.

        Back when the government enforced the laws.

        On April 1, 1941, a walkout by Ford workers protesting the firing of several union members closed down the River Rouge plant. The strike inflamed racial tensions, as many African-American Ford employees returned to work before their white colleagues, breaking the strike. Though Henry Ford had initially threatened to shut down his plants rather than sign with the UAW-CIO, he changed his position and signed a contract with the union that June 20. Ford’s change of heart was reportedly due to the urging of his wife, Clara, who feared that more riots and bloodshed would result from her husband’s refusal to work with the unions and threatened to leave him if he did not sign the contract.

        He did give a damn about his wife, though. Unfortunately, Elon doesn’t have that problem.

        1. Carolinian

          I was talking about the Model T era Ford who rather famously said he wanted to pay his workers enough to afford the cars they were making. There’s even a term for it: Fordism.

          I’m not sure that his becoming much more of a plutocrat decades later is relevant to my point.

          1. David

            Except that the “pay the workers enough to afford the car” is also a myth. From The Ford Five Dollar Day

            …Ford had to deal with costly problems of high turnover and absenteeism. Dissatisfied workers were less efficient, so in his quest for efficiency, Ford tried something new and, among fellow businessmen, controversial.

            …he offered his workers $5 a day (which was an exorbitant amount at the time) but they could only get the full $5 if they met certain conditions
            – regular wage (earned for working) – $2.34 was earned for working
            – profit sharing amount – and $2.66 more could be earned if Ford determined that the worker was living right. It was a conditional gift.

            How did Ford determine if a worker was living right and should get the full $5? He set up the sociological department which sent investigators into all of the workers homes to observe how they were living and ask a lot of questions, particularly about alcohol use, marital relations, and spending habits.

            The investigators were looking for evidence of the following: thrift, cleanliness, sobriety, family values, and good morals in general.

            What if a worker didn’t cooperate with the sociological department or didn’t meet the standards? He would only receive the regular wage ($2.34), and he was given six months to comply with the department’s standards for living. If he did not meet the standards after six months, then he was fired.

            Elon would never do something like that, would he? /sarc

            Most workers permitted the intrusions in their lives so they could get the extra $. Some would say that they traded their pride and privacy for money, but we must understand the economic insecurity of working class life…Also, the $5 day program didn’t change the fact that the work, well, sucked. One worker reacted, “There is a limit to human endurance. Any man who is keyed up to the last notch [referring to the speed up] will eventually break down, it matters not whether they get $1 or $10 a day.”

            The $5 day ended after just a few years because it cost Ford too much. It was an expensive program, and it became more expensive as the Ford workforce grew. Also, a decline in the labor supply in Detroit forced Ford to raise the basic wage rate, so he couldn’t afford to give such a high profit-sharing amount. And last, the automobile industry became much more competitive in the 1920s, so Ford had to look for ways to cut costs — and he ended up cutting the sociological department.

            He found a new way to control his labor force that was cheaper and more sinister. He began to rely on espionage (factory spies and informants) to report on workers who were doing objectionable things, and Ford was especially worried about workers trying to start a union. He hired thugs who would enforce order and loyalty.

            Comparing Musk to Ford is not complementary.

            1. RabidGandhi

              I am more than willing to entertain the possibility that “pay the workers enough to afford the car” is a myth, but the link you provide– in addition to having no author, no citations, no references– does not even address whether Ford did or did not have a policy of “paying the workers enough to afford the car”.

              Adding: Ford was also an outspoken supporter of the Nazi party, so let’s be clear this is not about arguing what a swell bloke he was.

              1. David

                Okay, how about the Henry Ford Museum? Is that kosher enough?

                Ford reasoned that a bigger paycheck might make the factory’s tedium more tolerable…It’s no small detail that, as Henry Ford slyly observed, in the course of improving his employees’ standard of living, Ford also created a new pool of customers for his Model T.

                Ford’s $5 wasn’t earned. It was a gift, from the boss.

                1. RabidGandhi

                  OK you’ve just moved the goalposts. Your original contention was

                  the “pay the workers enough to afford the car” is also a myth

                  I asked for proof that it was a myth, and you now cite the Henry Ford Museum saying it was not a myth.

                  1. David

                    The article shows that improving his worker’s standard of living was an afterthought. Ford’s cared about his business, first and last. Even his museum can’t sugar coat that.

            2. Carolinian

              I get that you don’t like Ford, who in his old age was no doubt taken up with his own legend and unwilling to knuckle under to mere workers. But what a legend it was: The Soviets revered Ford who sold them tractors and in Brave New World they worship Ford, the father of mass production and therefore of Huxley’s satirical brave new world.

              So it surely doesn’t matter whether Ford really paid that wage but that he said it and people believe he did and it is once again being talked about as a way to revive demand and our industrial economy.

              BTW the Bloomberg story that kicked this off isn’t even about industrial relations but rather an argument that the Ford/Detroit/Musk attitude of crank ’em out and fix later should be ditched in favor of the quality first Toyota system. They are saying Musk being like Ford in this respect is a bad thing. However Rabid Gandhi may well be right that insufficient wages have a lot to do with the glitches.

              1. David

                So it surely doesn’t matter whether Ford really paid that wage but that he said it and people believe he did and it is once again being talked about as a way to revive demand and our industrial economy.

                Do you support fake news, when appropriate to your cause?

                My opinion, FWIW, is that knowingly distorting the past does a great disservice to those who fought for the rights that we have let slip away. As the poster said, “Unionism not Fordism”.

                The blood that those workers shed will have to be shed again.

                I apologize if your feeling ambushed, but to see what causes people outrage today (not directed at you), and then the way people casually brush off past struggles for rights we take for granted…..

                1. Carolinian

                  Your assertion that it is fake news seems a bit shaky. See above.

                  And what’s getting brushed off is the original Bloomberg story which is not about wages at all but rather about how to run a production line. RG is actually agreeing with you–workers need better wages–but you seem to want to argue.

                  As for Ford’s character and accomplishments, his cheap cars changed America and brought concrete material benefits to farmers and many others. His more unsavory views were shared by many at that time. Nobody is just one thing.

            3. WheresOurTeddy

              Comparing Musk to Ford is not complementary.

              Even before you get into having “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” at his dealerships in the 1920s and significant support for Hitler

              Fordwerke, anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

        2. RabidGandhi

          Yes, further to Carolinian’s point: I have no illusions that plutocrats will give a damn about us workers. But I do think some can be made to see that it is in their own interest to pay us a living wage– as Henry Ford did, out of his own selfishness.

          The stats above show that Musk, on the other hand, is either too dull to understand this basic precept from Ford, or he is too much of a class warrior to not cut off his own nose to spite his face– both distinct possibilities.

          1. Duck1

            On another note, the building that Musk took over in Fremont was something called the NUMMI plant, joint venture between GM and Toyota starting in 1984. They produced Corollas.

            1. Randy

              My 1992 Corolla produced in Fremont didn’t live up to Toyota’s reputation for quality. My wife’s 1990 Corolla produced in Japan did.

    5. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


      How many years do they have to work to buy a (round trip) ticket to Mars?

      1. polecat

        The Folks at RECALL might be able to answer your inquiry …
        Douglas Quaid : “No .. I don’t want to go to Saturn … I want to go to Maaars !!” ..

    6. Procopius

      I really should not comment on this, but Old Henry was a fucking monster, and in the last couple of years I’ve seen the “$5 a day” myth used to praise him quite a lot. See if you can find out how much the median daily wage was at Ford in the 1920s, before they built the River Rouge plant. See if you can find out the cost of living in Detroit at the time. Try to figure out how many months your median Ford worker had to work to be able to buy a Lizzie.

      Most people who talk about Ford’s $5 a day don’t know about the strings Old Henry put on that reward. You didn’t get it if you didn’t go to church on Sunday (Ford had spies all over town reporting on his employees). If you lived in a house and the lawn was not mowed you didn’t get it. You didn’t get it if you went to a saloon for a beer with the boys. You didn’t get it if your spoken English didn’t meet his standard. There were lots more requirements you had to meet to get the $5. He hated Jews and despised immigrants and feared unions. See what you can find out about his Service Department. Even worse than the General Motors Black Legion.

  4. SubjectivObject

    the bees
    not friend, but family, i believe
    it is interesting that after eons of evolution, that the predatory technique of the hornet does not evince a
    grab-and-go method versus the apparent grab-and-gorge
    probably helps to keep the hornet population down
    i’ve killed over 30 hornets so far this season [zero bees]
    relax; i use a flyswatter; permits a bit of primal excitement for the physiology

    1. polecat

      When I cut off all the spent Serracenia pitchers from last season, I most often found them filled with dead wasps, but hardly any honey bees. ‘:]
      It’s mostly the weak honeybee colonies that succumb to wasp predation, and, well … wasps have their place in Gaia’s world .. as do the bees !

    2. Lee

      Nature is Scary
      A group of bees avenge their friend who got killed by a hornet

      A case of sweet revenge?

      1. John D.

        Not to be waspish, but it wasn’t very bee-coming of that hornet to make such a pest of himself. He should have buzzed off bee-fore his foes pulled off their honey of an ambush!

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Huh? I am a Dune fan and I see Star Wars as having absolutely nothing to do with Dune. No worms, no intergalactic economy dependent on spice, no ecological message, no genetic program, no female mystery cult as political moving force, no Mentats, no Salusa Secundus, and no Harkonnens, There was a pretty lousy Dune movie…save Sting as a terrific Feyd-Rautha

    1. Eureka Springs

      When I lived in New Mexico back in the stoned ages (early ’80’s), we just called them swamp coolers, but let the water drain away.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Swamp coolers are an example of the effects of climate. Coming from Indiana, humidity 100%, I was dumbfounded to learn that they worked at all – because the humidity is more like 20%. In Indiana, the water barely evaporates, even when it’s very hot.

        They actually work in western Oregon, too, in the summer, as there is little or no rain and the humidity is almost desert-like.

        Of course, that makes it much harder to harvest water from the air.

        Uhhh- further thought: swamp coolers don’t “harvest” water; they put it into the air. The evaporation is what cools the air, with the added humidity as a bonus. They use water, not collect it. That would be a dehumidifier, which does collect water, but usually in very wet conditions – like the Midwest.

  5. JTMcPhee

    How easy it is for the “legislature” in remote capitals like Tallahassee to “take action” in response to stuff like the Douglas school killings, another unfunded mandate for the battleground locus (schools and local communities) of the dumbing down and oppression of the mopery to bear — “Concerns mounting over SRO [school resource officer] funding — City scrambling after bill that requires LPD [Largo Police Department] to add 9 school resource officers [like the ones that ducked and ran in Miami?] will cost at least $352,000” — (editorial errors in original):

    Quick course in local politics and funding. How to apply a Band-Aid ™ to a bleeding artery, severed this time by another bunch of gunfire…

      1. Procopius

        I seem to recall reading Sam Walton bought his clothes from his own stores. He was reputed to have worn the same pair of shoes for 25 years. I suppose he must have had a second pair to wear while the other pair was being repaired, but that’s what my parents did. That’s what I did when I reached the point where my feet were not getting bigger. I don’t think you can do that in the states any more.

  6. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Replaced by robots: 8 jobs that could be hit hard by the A.I. revolution Digital Trends (David L)

    There are more men than women in China, or there were. And many foreign men marry Chinese women, or are very good friends with them.

    What if, one day, there are more humans than there are jobs? Like today, maybe, already. Or maybe not, but one day soon. Should they be just given some made-up work (picking up trash along the beach already done by robots…road/bridge/infrastructure done by robots, too…) like self-healing through meditation. That’s work, and not just some made up work. Or Into-existence-money-spending? That would be work too.

    Babysitting one’s own children is also work. Work people are doing already, but are not given income for it.

    That is, we already have work guarantee…living, staying alive, being a full time job.

    We just need to be given money for doing it…basically.

    1. Randy

      I offer this Horned Lizard, most commonly called a ‘Horny Toad, otherwise known as a frustrated Chinese male.

  7. synoia

    I offer this Horned Lizard, most commonly called a ‘Horny Toad…

    Please, enough of the Trump pictures.

  8. allan

    Good news from the IOT (Internet of Teeth):

    A tiny sensor on your tooth could help keep you healthy [ScienceMag]

    Wireless sensors are ubiquitous, providing a steady stream of information on anything from our physical activity to changes occurring in the world’s oceans. Now, scientists have developed a tiny form of the data-gathering tool, designed for an area that has so far escaped its reach: our teeth.

    The 2-millimeter-by-2-millimeter devices (pictured) are made up of a film of polymers that detects chemicals in its environment. Sandwiched between two square-shaped gold rings that act as antennas, the sensor can transmit information on what’s going on—or what’s being chewed on—in our mouth to a digital device, such as a smartphone. …

    The researchers tested their invention on people drinking alcohol, gargling mouthwash, or eating soup. In each case, the sensor was able to detect what the person was consuming by picking up on nutrients, the researchers will report next week in Advanced Materials. …

    Tracking your diet and alcohol consumption. What could possibly go wrong?
    How long before this is required for health insurance, or at least reduced premiums? TINA.

    1. Alex morfesis

      id-IOT…the once and future path for the residents of the tall stick town…let me know where I can buy that cellphone or computer that does not need a reboot to fix that bug and/or feature…

      Batteries not required… Humanity somehow survived without batteries…a hundred years of batteries has been helpful… But watching the video of magic futurist Kaku from CCNY foolishly make a joke about drinking while babbling at the do buy bye 2018 world guvmints event in February pretty much seals it…

      there is no hope for the klowns that bee…

      The comfort of opinion vs the discomfort of thought

      Onto the future.

  9. Lemmy Caution

    RE Uber’s absolutely abysmal Disengagment rate for its autonomous cars.

    Autonomous car testers are required by some states to file Disengagement Reports — a record of all the times an attendant driver had to retake control from the computer directing the autonomous vehicle.

    While the testers have some wiggle room when it comes to interpreting just what types of interventions they feel are worth reporting to the DMV, reports such as the California 2017 Disengagement Report provide some idea of where the industry stands.

    For example, Mercedes is ranked the worst with the driver needing to intervene every 1.29 miles. At the other end of the Spectrum is Google/Waymo, with driver intervention needed every 5,500 miles. Uber isn’t on the California list because they prefer to operate in states that don’t require Disengagement Reports, such as Arizona.

    But a leaked internal Uber Disengagement Report reveals that it is worse even than Mercedes at times. In Arizona, along a 24-mile stretch of Scottsdale Road (which runs a mile east of North Mill Avenue where Elaine Herzberg was struck and killed), Uber’s internal tracking revealed a dismal record of a driver intervention needed every 0.67 miles. Its average in a wider area of Arizona was a little better at 1.49 miles.

    Using the 0.67 number, I did the math and realized that meant that at 40 mph (the approximate speed of the Uber vehicle that killed Ms Herzberg) an Uber driver must be prepared to retake control every 60 seconds. At 60 mph, a driver intervention might be needed every 40 seconds. That’s terrifying and if I’m a resident of one of Uber’s test cities, I’m pissed.

    It’s no wonder that Uber prefers to keep information like this hidden from the public, since a little simple math reveals that an Uber autonomous vehicle is always seconds away from potential disaster.

    1. Jen

      If the driver has to take control every 40 to 60 seconds, it isn’t even really autonomous, is it? You have to be engaged full time.

      1. Lemmy Caution

        Exactly. I could approximate being in a Uber autonomous car while driving in my regular car. All I need to do is raise my hands off the steering wheel for a few seconds and yell, Look Ma, my car is driving itself!

      2. JohnnySacks

        Of course you have to be engaged all the time. The autonomous car ‘attendant driver’ assumption is a laughable farce. By the time this person shakes out of a daydream, assesses the situation, then attempts to take corrective action, it’s too late. You’s need to be some sort of attention superhuman to stay alert for any drive over 15 minutes long. But I’ve got this nice bridge to sell folks …

        1. Lemmy Caution

          The problem for attendant drivers might not be daydreaming — it might be exhaustion. A 15-minute drive for an Uber driver on Scottsdale Road in Arizona might involve about 22 interventions. An hour’s drive, about 88 interventions. That’s starting to sound like that old Ed Sullivan act where the guy darts back and forth between a set of spinning plates on sticks, trying to keep them from crashing down.

    2. cnchal

      For example, Mercedes is ranked the worst with the driver needing to intervene every 1.29 miles. At the other end of the Spectrum is Google/Waymo, with driver intervention needed every 5,500 miles. . .

      The definition of “intervention” seems to be elastic. Either Google or Mercedes is lying, and I bet it isn’t Mercedes.

      1. Lemmy Caution

        It is elastic, which is part of the problem. You can’t compare apples to apples (or should it be Apples). From what I’ve read there are no standard, universal definitions of what qualifies as an intervention. There are a lot of articles about these Disengagement Reports out there however, so maybe there is coverage of exactly how the different autonomous vehicle testers report their data.

      2. Kurtismayfield

        Google also never leaves Mountain view. They must have those roads mapped out to the millimeter. That would have a large effect on the numbers.

        1. Lemmy Caution

          Your remark got me thinking so I Googled Google (ha!) and found that they are not above playing fast and loose with their disengagement reports.

          In 2014 they reported 341disengagements: 272 of which occured when the vehicle bascially said to the driver, Hey, I’m having trouble with something, you take it. The other 69 times occured when the driver took control becuase they thought the car was doing something (or about to do something) stupid.

          Not bad, right? Well there’s more to the story as reported in a Guardian article:

          However, Google admits that its drivers actually took over from their vehicles “many thousands of times” during the period. The company is reporting only 69 incidents because Google thinks California’s regulations require it only to report disengagements where drivers were justified in taking over, and not those where the car would have coped on its own.

          So that’s one way to clean up the old Disengagement Report.

        2. cnchal

          Interesting. A testing area confined to their own neighborhood would give them incentive to not run each other over, and the people of Mountain View to be alert to the possibility of an autonomous AI guided car bearing down on them were they to step off the curb without the “right of way”. Who or what is being trained? The AI car that never sees a rouge move by pedestrian or bicyclists would never think it could happen, or the pedestrians and bicyclists never doing a rouge move knowing the AI car might run them over.

          The fact is, the technology used by Uber failed to discern that a human was crossing it’s path in Tempe for whatever reason. Why, is the most important question and it may extend to Uber’s IP and how the sensors are integrated. This stuff can’t be secret and brushed under the “she shouldn’t have been there” rug.

          1. Lemmy Caution

            Right. What makes anyone think that the Uber vehicle would have seen her if she was in the crosswalk?
            Remember that autonomous Uber vehicle that blew a red light in San Fransico as a pedestrian entered the crosswalk? It was this event that caused California to yank the Uber vehicles’ registrations and ultimately contributed to Uber leaving Cali for — you guessed it — Arizona.

    3. Craig H.

      This story might reveal more about uber’s engineering management competence than it does about self-driving tech. Google seems to be rolling out with a bit more in the doing due diligence department.

  10. fresno dan

    Human Driver Could Have Avoided Fatal Uber Crash, Experts Say Bloomberg

    Replaced by robots: 8 jobs that could be hit hard by the A.I. revolution Digital Trends (David L)

    DRIVERS Why they’re screwed: In a chapter from their 2004 book, The New Division of Labor, MIT and Harvard economists Frank Levy and Richard Murnane argued that a computer would never be able to drive a car, due to the enormous complexity of information involved with this task.

    Today, we know that is categorically false, due to the thousands of miles successfully driven by self-driving cars.
    Well, I fully acknowledge, as was pointed out time and again in yesterdays commentariat, that pedestrians are technology’s expendables.
    (YOU KNOW, WE ASSUME hitting the pedestrian was an error…..”Successfully driven” – did the driving algorithm include a command to eliminate the homeless with extreme prejudice?)
    I have a feeling that people hiring lawyers will not be so sanguine about AI not seeing something that costs them money….

    1. fresno dan

      fresno dan
      March 23, 2018 at 10:05 am

      “This is similar to the average reaction time for a driver. That means that, if the video correctly reflects visible conditions, an alert driver may have at least attempted to swerve or brake,” Smith said.

      The comments contrast with those made by the Tempe police chief, who told multiple media outlets that the pedestrian moved suddenly in front of the car and the crash didn’t seem preventable after reviewing footage of the collision.

      “It’s very clear it would have been difficult to avoid this collision in any kind of mode,” Sylvia Moir, the police chief in Tempe, Arizona, told the San Francisco Chronicle.

      Moore, the forensic engineer at Wexco, said dashcam videos tend to understate what humans drivers can see. While the pedestrian appears from the shadows in the video, a human driver may have had a better view if they’d been watching, he said.
      Another police chief, sticking up for THE MAN…..
      of course, after the outrage, the toady will issue a statement about a thorough police investigation…..American police investigations – synonymous with somehow always managing to exonerate whoever has the most money and excoriating whoever doesn’t….

    2. ewmayer

      “Today, we know that is categorically false, due to the thousands of miles successfully driven by self-driving cars.”

      Don’t you just love the lawyerly parsing in this kind of PR? It’s not the ‘successfully driven’ miles which are the problem, it’s the ‘unsuccessfully driven’ ones.

      Basically what the self-driving TechBro pushers are insisting on is a debug cycle based not on beta-tester bug reports but on actual human deaths. Killed a person? That’s a bug … or wait, is it a feature request? Oh hey, why bother with either when we can just get a buddies in the Corporate Media complex to blame the victim?

      This kind of automation has in fact been used for deacdes in the airline industry and has already been proven to massively degrade pilot skills, but in that case the setup – planes flying in wide air corridors kept free of any other traffic, with trickier bits only at the takeoff and landing ends of the flight, and in-flight occurrences requiring split-second reaction time exceedingly rare – is radically different than for driving on real-world roads, so the manual-flying skills degradation of the human pilot-attendants has not been as glaringly obvious.

      “Ma’am, you say you were killed by one of our autonomous cars – have you filed a bug report with our Technical Support system? No? Well, you see, I’m afraid we need you to do that before we can investigate your case.”

      1. Lemmy Caution

        A Rand Corporation research report titled “Driving to Safety: How Many Miles of Driving Would It Take to Demonstrate Autonomous Vehicle Reliability?” concluded that the answer to the question was, in laymen’s terms, “a lot.”

        Specifically, the report said:

        Given that current traffic fatalities and injuries are rare events compared with vehicle miles traveled, we show that fully autonomous vehicles would have to be driven hundreds of millions of miles and sometimes hundreds of billions of miles to demonstrate their safety in terms of fatalities and injuries. Under even aggressive testing assumptions, existing fleets would take tens and sometimes hundreds of years to drive these miles — an impossible proposition if the aim is to demonstrate performance prior to releasing them for consumer use.

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    South Korea to shut off computers to stop people working late BBC

    There are two ways (voluntary or involuntary) to get ahead at work or in life:

    1. Work for less than others (even below the minimum). And the rich know how to exploit that.

    2. Work longer hours (unpaid)…or study longer hours. And those at the top take advantage of this too.

    South Korean seems to be aiming the latter here.

    “Go play. Why study Das Kaspital when you’re not getting paid for it? Have fun. Go party with your friends.”

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Uber crash shows ‘catastrophic failure’ of self-driving technology, experts say”

    I have thought it strange that Tempe’s police chief, Sylvia Moir, was so insistent that Uber was not at fault and claimed that the film backed up her assertion when in fact it showed the opposite. Moir said that Herzberg “came from the shadows right into the roadway” and the YouTube video seems to back that up. That is, until you see views of this road taken by locals at which is an eye-opener.
    As per doctrine, I went into the background of Moir and found that she is a 27-year law enforcement veteran from California and only took up her post in Tempe two years ago. Previously Moir had served in the Sacramento Police Department and the Menlo Park (CA) Police Department so she is not a local but was recruited from interstate. A police chief that was local may have felt different but it is hard to see her thinking here about this accident.

    1. cnchal

      And even if it’s true that the road were poorly lit, it’s not clear if that would exonerate Uber. Uber’s cars have lidar and radar sensors in addition to cameras, and those sensors don’t require ambient light to function. So the vehicle should have spotted Herzberg even if the road was pitch black.

      They finally get to the point right at the end. This would have happened in broad daylight. The “tech” doesn’t work, period.

      . . . Herzberg “came from the shadows right into the roadway,” Tempe police chief Sylvia Moir told the San Francisco Chronicle on Monday. “The driver said it was like a flash.”

      Apparently the “driver” wasn’t even looking out the windshield for several continuous seconds before the collision, so “like a flash” is a bald faced lie.

      Before more people become sacrificial offerings to the tech gods, get this stuff off the streets and into a controlled test environment. The authorities always blather on about public safety being the most important consideration, and admonishing and fining drivers for minute driving infractions, then invite “live” testing onto the streets.

    2. Louis Fyne

      If you think a police chief is saying something ‘strange’ look to the civilian leadership. follow the money-cui bono.

      Police chief’s gotta protect her pension vesting after all.

  13. Lemmy Caution

    Wow, that image of the roadway taken by locals is much more in line with what I would expect. Despite all the comments from police about Elaine Herzberg appearing from the shadows, I could see from Google maps satellite view that she crossed about 30-40 feet from the bases of the two streetlights that flank the road. Experience would tell you that probably put her under or near the cones of light from the streelights.
    As to Moir’s instant analysis that Uber wasn’t to blame, she should be ashamed of herself. Politics is at play, I’m sure, since the Arizona Governor made a big deal about welcoming Uber and other robot car testers into the state, free from the shackles of regulations. Voters may not be so keen on the idea after realizing that they are nothing more than crash test dummies.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      For me, I am more curious about the car’s lidar and radar.

      They failed to detect the victim.

      Is there a black box on board the car, to review the lidar tape?

      1. Lemmy Caution

        Absolutely. The National Transportation Safety Board is on the case. This NTSB press release says the investigative team will consist of Investigator-in-Charge Jennifer Morrison and three investigators who will examine vehicle factors, human performance and electronic recorders. (BF added)
        An updated press release mentions looking at data on the vehicle’s electronic recorders or that was transmitted to Uber.

  14. Mark Gisleson

    There is a phony meme being peddled that Noor only faces charges because he’s a ‘black’ cop.

    The delay in the charges is due 100% to police stonewalling around Noor (the prosecutor got in trouble for saying as much).

    The police are fighting for Noor same as if he was a white cop. They don’t call it a “blue wall” for nothing.

    1. The Rev Kev

      They better hope that Noor hasn’t got his service-pistol on him when the judge starts banging his gavel!

  15. Jef

    In the Hudson interview is he implying that unsecured debt is considered “financial services” and is tallied on the plus side of GDP or just fees, fines, and penalties?

    That could mean trillions.

  16. Jim Haygood

    Has someone hacked the president’s twitter?

    I am considering a VETO of the Omnibus Spending Bill based on the fact that the 800,000 plus DACA recipients have been totally abandoned by the Democrats (not even mentioned in Bill) and the BORDER WALL, which is desperately needed for our National Defense, is not fully funded.

    5:55 AM – 23 Mar 2018

    Maybe he’s channeling his inner Obama …

    1. Bill Smith

      He is just making a point that he can later bring up.

      In Washington they keep score by how many headlines they can land. He got some headlines with that tweet.

  17. Matt

    The Bolton appointment is very depressing. The only note of optimism I can inject is that even Bush was able to resist Bolton’s push for war with Iran. Maybe he’s just not that persuasive.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Is it beneficial to prove that Trump is mad?

      Well, yes, if that leads to some prevention. If not, we can only hope.

      That is, we hope, or at least I hope, this is just more bluffing…bluffing that he means business – we got Bolton now – and you (the other side) better back down.

      1. Wukchumni

        When you bluff on a busted straight flush that now looks more like 1 of a kind 7 times-jack high, and then accidentally expose your hand…

        …it doesn’t take much for the other players to call you on it

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Raises the question: who is the more effective UAINWS (Unecessary And Illegal New War Starter), Bolton, or Schumer?

        Bolton can only rail and cheerlead, whereas Schumer can actually get the job done with funding and votes.

        Oops, I forgot, they don’t need votes or the consent of the so-called “people” any more to start fresh new wars, how 1980 of me. Nevertheless, Schumer can be sure we divert enough money from basic health care and infrastructure to let the bombs start to fly, he can also explain that a Persian really IS alot like an Arab, and so is instantly justified as a candidate for ADFA (American Death From Above).

    2. David

      IIRC, when Cohen and Mnuchin came on board, many thought it was the end of Trump’s promise to overturn the global trade cart.
      I doubt that Pompeo and Bolten will fare much better. Personnel may be policy, but in Trumpland, Trump is policy.

      1. barrisj

        Altogether now –
        “Sitting on a cornflake
        waiting for the van to come
        Corporation tee-shirt,
        stupid bloody Tuesday
        Man, you been a naughty boy,
        you let your face grow long
        I am the eggman
        They are the eggmen
        I am the walrus
        Goo goo g’joob”

  18. Olga

    Anti-anti-communism Aeon (witters) – In the last few years, I have spoken with many people from at least four formerly socialist countries (plus one Bulgarian). Most of them agree that life under socialism was better (they just did not know it back then because they had nothing to compare it to – except relentless propaganda). A few think now is better (baffling, since some cannot find good jobs). It would take volumes to delve into this topic – I just hope someone will…

    1. visitor

      Back then, we knew that everything communists told us about communism was a lie. Now we unfortunately know that everything communists told us about capitalism is true.

      1. Wukchumni

        “Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it’s just the opposite.”

        John Kenneth Galbraith

    2. Bill Smith

      By socialist you mean communist? East Germany, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Albania?

      Better now?

      Likely as accurate that that poll about who had what percentage of responsibility for defeating the Nazis that was linked to the other day.

  19. fresno dan

    PFLUGERVILLE, Texas (AP) — The mother of a man who lived with suspected serial bomber Mark Conditt in a home north of Austin says her son was kept in police custody until after Conditt died in a fatal confrontation with officers.

    Jennifer Withers told The Associated Press that her 26-year-old son, Collin Thomas, was walking from work Tuesday night in Pflugerville to the house he and another man shared with Conditt when a group of officers “flew at him.” Withers, who spoke during an interview Thursday, said Thomas, who is black, was handcuffed, taken into custody by SWAT officers and questioned about the bombings.

    She said he was held overnight but that none of his family was notified about where he was.

    Conditt died early Wednesday after detonating a bomb as police were about to arrest him. Thomas was eventually released.
    White guy killing people….arrest a black man. seems logical…..

    1. marym

      Police Treated First Austin Bombing Victim as a Suspect Before Two New Explosions Proved Them Wrong

      Although any kind of bombing is unheard of in this low-crime city, police did not initially treat the March 2 incident as a homicide. Instead, they cast suspicion on the victim, a 39-year-old African-American man…

      The NYT then published a family acquaintance’s description of the now-identified actual non-African American/Muslim/immigrant suspect as a quiet, “nerdy” young man who came from a “tight-knit, godly family”

  20. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    World’s Wealthiest Lose $71 Billion in Market Selloff Bloomberg

    Let’s not be too obsessed with the wealthiest.

    Those in the middle lose, relatively speaking (because stock ownership concentration), when stocks go up. They lose again, when stocks go down.

    Those in the bottom, they get nothing when stocks go up. In contrast with the wealthiest losing $71 billion, they are unscathed.

    Perhaps the headline should be: “The poor undamaged (directly*) by market selloff.”

    *Indirectly, the wealthiest will likely take it out on the poorest.

  21. JimTan

    “World’s Wealthiest Lose $71 Billion in Market Selloff”

    I just had a thought that recent market swings could be partially related to a large tax liability hedge funds might owe this year. Last year there was a lot of reporting about the closing of a tax loophole which allowed hedge funds to defer hundreds of billions in tax payments for decades. If this loophole is officially closed, then hedge funds collectively owe hundreds of billions in deferred taxes which are due this year. This means liquidating hedge fund holdings to raise the cash to pay this tax bill. There have been indications that some hedge funds are reducing positions, like the statement earlier this month from the hedge fund Third Point that “As far as positioning the portfolio, we’ve been in the process of reducing both gross and net, to be more nimble in what we think will be more of a range bound market this year,”.

    In this context, It’s plausible hedge fund trading programs which are trained to maximize liquidation prices over the run up to tax day might get jumpy in response to specific types of bad news. I’d watch the market carefully between now and April 15th.

  22. Jean

    While Best Buy drops Chinaphones for the security threat they pose, you should drop Best Buy’s Geek Squad from your life for the security threat they pose to your privacy and our Bill of Rights.


  23. Craig H.

    > The Disappearance of Books Threatens to Erode Fine Arts Libraries

    Like UT-Austin, UW-Madison is planning to slash the overall number of books available on campus, in this case to 15% of the total collection.

    This article is great. The main library in my city (built by the WPA in the 1930’s) is doing a major renovation. If there was a local government maintained maker space I would be in hog heaven although I am way too slack to lobby for it. The hacker-space in my last city I went to exactly once; OSHA would have shut it down forthwith if I had made a phone call. I left as fast as I could do so without alarming my friend who invited me but I was paranoid about being infested with bedbugs for about a month. If a people oriented government genie would grant me one wish it would be for a safe clean public maker- or hacker-space.

    It is a surreal experience to peruse library stacks and pull down a great book and see that it has never once been checked out. I have pulled one down and it might never have been opened. The purchase invoice was nestled there between about pages 100 & 101 and may have been sitting there untouched for 25 years. My copy of the complete poetry and prose of William Blake is a library cull. It was printed in 1982 and had never once been checked out from the private high school library in Florida that bought it, held it for twenty years, and sold it to the dealer who sold it to me.

    (Amazon tells me I paid $26 for it in in 2014)

    1. Jim Haygood

      Dean Dempster offered a glimpse of the vision for this new design school in a talk at the 2018 SXSW Interactive Conference, suggesting that “fine” arts is an anachronism and should yield primacy to more entrepreneurial, STEM-oriented creative arts such as video game design.

      “Fine” arts with scare quotes … muh wa hah hah!

      Ol’ Lenny da Vinci coulda been a killah video game developer if he hadn’t wasted his time on the Mona Lisa ‘n sh*t. :-(

      1. Mo's Bike Shop

        I was there for technical help on our Big U’s electronic theses projects. Numerous times telling our interdisciplinary ‘Digital Worlds’ Fine Arts* grad students, “You’ll need to add some compression, we can’t house the RAW media.” Next submission is at lower resolution. Still RAW.

        I’m an English Major, I can diagram a sentence in English syntax, and therefor all the current major programs running in the world are an open book, if I care to learn the dialect.

        *Not dissing Fine Arts even, as such. Know of a local guy with a Ph.D. in orchestration who does a lovely job of programming chips.

  24. audrey jr

    Reading the article on the purging of books from university libraries was no surprise to me but it is a sad state of affairs. Having a large personal library of my own I cannot imagine life without books.
    As I was reading the article I kept thinking of Philip Roth’s “Goodbye, Columbus” main character who works in a branch of the N.Y. Public Library and lets a young black boy go up into the stacks to roam. The boy is fascinated by the books and reminds me of myself at the Phoenix Public Library when I was a kid. My parents let me go the 3 blocks to the library on my own from the age of 9 and better times I have never had. Seems a real shame to throw away such proven tools of inspiration.
    These STEM folks just don’t seem to get it. Guess they’re in too much hurry to slow down and read.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Several public libraries in the NYC area used to have volumes of the Daily Stock Price Record going back to 1962, which took up probably 20 feet of shelf space.

      A few years ago they disappeared. Upon expressing my dismay to the reference librarian, she breezily replied, “Oh, that’s all available on Yahoo Finance now.”

      But it’s not. When firms are delisted (often due to merger) their records get wiped from free online finance sites, whose data is also badly contaminated with errors.

      For those with academic affiliations, Wharton Research Data Services is a portal to the U of Chicago’s Center for Research in Security Prices. Almost no public libraries have WRDS access because it’s costly, and WRDS offers no noblesse oblige public access.

      Paywalling history produces a populace with no cultural memory beyond what can be called up on an iPhone. Cool, as our overlords exult whilst lounging on their yachts.

      1. barefoot charley

        Comrade, you’ll be pleased to know that libraries built even in part with public funds (such as the University of Chicago’s Regenstein Library, named after the genius who invented cellophane windows on envelopes) are required to provide avenues for public access, speaking of noblesse oblige. Except they don’t, oblige isn’t for deplorables. Open-shelf libraries are a marvel as boggling, and as threatened, as horned toads.

        1. Carolinian

          Some of us can even remember card catalogs with their little finger sized drawer pulls. Those were the days.

          My town’s main library recently got rid of most of their microfilm and the “artist in residence” created a temporary art work by draping the thousands of feet of discarded 35mm film from the ceiling. This was pretty impressive.

          Plus the savings on bound volumes allows them to do things like hire an artist in residence and buy lots of dvds and blu ray and even set up a “makerspace” with 3-d printers. Books, though, are still popular and the library itself is greatly beloved by all citizens.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Oh man, I remember using them when I was young. Browsing books was always a pleasure as you would come across a book from time to time about a subject that you knew nothing about that sounded intriguing. There was no such thing as reading in a bubble as it was all open and on the shelves. Nothing was hidden or put to the side as some algorithm decided that you probably wouldn’t be interested in that – or someone decided that you shouldn’t look at it. And reading a hundred year old book you would smell the distinct odour coming of the pages that would forcibly remind you that this was a whole different era that this book came from.
            That article on the Disappearance of Books was horrifying. It’s like, this is the new trend – STEM – where us new librarians want to make our career so books are out. Let’s turn our quiet reflective libraries into public amusement parks that you can also spin deals out of. More and more research these days seems to only happen if they can deliver on some company’s financial quarter so I wonder if we are in for a future where the retention of books will be decided on whether an economic or financial case can be made for keeping them available. Talk about your barbarians at the gates.

  25. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Russia may annul election results at two polling stations: officials Reuters (Kevin W)

    Setting a good example.

    Russia interfered in the 2016 US election, as we all know. America did not interfere back.

    Trump imposes tariffs on China.

    Will China, following the good example, not impose tariffs back?

  26. BenX

    Bernanke, Geithner & Paulson – utterly clueless as to the social impact of their policies. If not for these three stooges, we wouldn’t be debating whether or not Nazis are bad people. Oh well, at least we saved the banks! Sieg heil banken!

  27. ewmayer

    “Toys R Us founder Charles Lazarus dies at 94 as his company folds | BBC” — Reportedly, Lazarus’ last words were “I’ll be back!”

  28. Chauncey Gardiner

    The nature of the current Israeli regime is self evident from the article under “Syraqistan” about the lengthy incarceration without trial and subsequent eight month prison sentences given both the 16-year old Palestinian girl and to the girl’s mother for videotaping her slapping of the Israeli soldier in the back yard of their residence, an incident which reportedly resulted in no injury to the soldier.

    1. JBird

      The same article gave examples of Israelis who received a lesser sentence for a vicious beating and roughly the same sentence for an execution style murder. The victims were Palestinians of course.

  29. JBird

    Sacramento police shoot and kill unarmed man in his backyard

    The Sacramento police have always been a little quick on the old ultra-violence, but good grief, this is absurd.

    Reminds me of how they somehow sent a mentally ill man to the burn unit last year.

    According to the article as of its publication date only 278 Americans have been killed so far by police this year. So we are on track for the yearly total of 1100-1200 dead, and if the averages hold, about 250 will be completely unarmed. No rocks, knives, holstered pistols, or golf clubs, just bare hands, wallets, and cellphones in hand. Of course if you add those rocks, holstered pistols, and golf clubs, the totals would be a bit higher.

    I must sound like a broken record, but really, who should I be afraid of? The “good” people who kill, maim, or injury thousands of often unarmed and/or innocent people a year usually without repercussions, or the “bad” people.

  30. Chauncey Gardiner

    Thank you for the post by Nicolas Davies on the estimated total loss of life from the Iraq War of 2.4 million people. This staggering number does not include those whose lives have been physically and psychologically damaged by this war of choice. I am left speechless, sick at heart, and questioning why these ongoing wars in the Middle East and North Africa have occurred and are seemingly endless.

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