2:00PM Water Cooler 4/12/2018

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Readers, I need help with a SQL JOIN. Five years ago, I could have written what I want easily, but I can’t take the time to re-acquire my chops. If you have SQL skills and wish to help, please contact me using the address below and I will show you what I want. One query will do it. Thanks! –lambert


“Donald Trump praises Xi Jinping’s ‘kind words’ in fresh sign of trade detente” [Hong Kong Free Press]. “President Donald Trump on Tuesday praised the ‘kind words’ from Chinese leader Xi Jinping and pledged ‘great progress’ in the looming trade dispute between the world’s largest economies. Still, the White House also admonished China to take concrete action on US complaints about unfair trade practices.”

“The Trump administration is hoping to minimize the domestic impact of its more-aggressive trade policies. Whether the proposed help to the farm belt will reach more broadly across agricultural supply chains remains an open question, as the White House considers an aid package that could climb into the billions of dollars. The WSJ’s Bob Davis, Siobhan Hughes and Jesse Newman write the plan could tap Depression-era programs like the Commodity Credit Corp., which was created in 1933 to stabilize farm incomes. Still, many farm groups say they aren’t looking for price supports and other help, and would prefer unimpeded trade with China” [Wall Street Journal].

“These California counties have the most to lose in a China trade war” [McClatchy]. “But an analysis by experts at the Brookings Institution, a non-partisan D.C. think tank, finds that California – and the West Coast, more broadly – have far and away the most jobs on the line in the tariff tit-for-tat between Washington and Beijing… Los Angeles has the highest number of jobs at risk of any county across the country, with about 40,000 people working in industries that could be affected by Chinese tariffs. King and Snohomish counties in Washington state are close behind, each with about 39,000 jobs that could be affected. Ventura, Fresno, San Diego, Kern, Alameda, Napa, Sonoma and Monterey counties in California and Yakima County in Washington also rank in the top 25.”


2018 Midterms

“How Retirements Like Paul Ryan’s Are Shrinking Republicans’ Built-In Advantage in the House” [New York Times]. “The retirements are so consequential because they deprive the party of the advantage of incumbency. Even in wave election years, incumbents generally win re-election in districts that tilt somewhat toward their party. Most Republican incumbents represent such districts, in part because of partisan gerrymandering and the tendency for Democrats to cluster in urban districts and ‘waste’ votes. It’s a different story without the advantage of incumbency. In a wave year, the president’s party struggles to retain open seats in competitive districts, even those that tilt toward their party. Often, a retirement is the difference in whether a race is competitive at all.”

“Fewer GOP members mean more power for House Freedom Caucus to pick Ryan successor” [McClatchy]. “Freedom Caucus members generally come from deeply conservative districts, which are unlikely to flip even if Democrats enjoy a strong election season as history and current polling suggests.”

“Five Americans explain the burst of enthusiasm for Democratic candidates and causes” [WaPo]. “[Kae Jae Johnson] got a job late last year with Black Leaders Organizing for Communities, a Wisconsin-based activist group. She and three other organizers have knocked on more than 8,000 doors in two Milwaukee Zip codes that have mostly black residents and some of the city’s highest poverty rates. They ask voters what issues matter most to them and encourage them to vote in every election. Her message: ‘These little races are important to win the big races.'” Oddly, the reporter doesn’t ask what those issues are.. .

“First-time, liberal candidates are flooding the Democratic primaries” [WaPo]. “According to an analysis of political donor networks, this year’s Democratic candidates are the most liberal in decades. Hundreds of newcomers registered to run, setting up primary scrums in competitive districts and eventual challenges to Republicans for rarely contested seats….” For some definition of “liberal”….

FL: “Nelson, 75, lacks flamboyance. But Pete Mitchell, the senator’s former chief of staff and longtime campaign manager, said the senator stacks up well against the workmanlike Scott. He said Nelson has used positions on the commerce and armed services committees to lobby for Florida’s 20 military bases, develop early 5G wireless networks in Florida, and push for the reauthorization of NASA funding, among other economic priorities” [McClatchy]. “‘Bill’s a workhorse, not a show horse,” said Mitchell, who believes Nelson’s economic work in the Senate offsets Scott’s successful jobs-themed approach to politics. ‘He’s accomplished a great deal.'” I dunno….

2016 Post Mortem

“Full transcript: Former communications director for the Hillary Clinton campaign Jennifer Palmieri on Recode Decode” [Recode].( Palmieri, you will recall, thought that Russians were going to hijack her limo, which shows you the level of elite hysteria we’re dealing with.) Interesting read from the technical perspective….

New Cold War

“Teacher Walkouts Threaten Republican Grip on Conservative States” [New York Times]. Great to see the liberal Democrats all-in for teachers in the Red States. Oh, wait…

“The Curious Case of The Andrew McCabe Legal Defense Fund” [Jonathon Turley]. “[T]he money was raised before donors could know the full account of the allegations against McCabe. Moreover, McCabe can use this money for any legal needs as he enters private life.”

“Wheeler: Russia may be meddling in Portland politics” [Portland Tribune]. Damn. What’s that high-pitched “woo woo” sound?

Realignment and Legitimacy

“The Centrist Demons Are at It Again” [Splinter News]. “[The Serve America Movement (SAM)], it turns out, is this year’s model of the ever-elusive Centrist Third Party.” It’s a cookbook….

Stats Watch

Chain Store Sales, March 2018: “Chain stores are reporting mostly higher sales results in March which is no surprise given this year’s early Easter which pulled April sales forward” [Econoday]. “Chain store sales correspond with roughly 10 percent of retail sales. Chain store sales are an indicator of retail sales and consumer spending trends. There is no official composite number for each month’s sales, merely sales figures for individual chains.”

Jobless Claims, week of April 7, 2018: “Jobless claims decreased 9,000 in the April 7 week to 233,000 but are still trending slightly higher in what may be, at least possibly, a negative signal for the labor market” [Econoday]. “One factor that will limit the effect on expectations is that April, because of Easter shifts, can be a difficult time for adjustments.”

Import and Export Prices, March 2018: “Import prices came in below expectations at no change in a March report where flat is really the only description” [Econoday]. “The dollar may be falling but the inflationary effect on import prices has been limited. The 3.6 percent year-on-year rate for import prices is the highest since April last year but increases underway have been marginal. The decline in the dollar, down about 10 percent last year and down several percentage points so far this year, has yet to dramatically raise import prices, the result perhaps of discounting among foreign sellers who are protecting their market share.” And but: “Because of backward revisions – the year-over-year import and export prices were little changed from where we thought we were last month” [Econintersect].

Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index, week of April 8, 2018: “The consumer comfort index jumped 8 tenths in the April 8 week to 58.0 and a new 17-year high” [Econoday].

Employment situation: “Still looking like it’s been going downhill for over two years” [Mosler Economics]. Handy chart:

Housing: “A change to California’s housing supply law could spur a big expansion in home building” [Los Angeles Times]. “The legislation, Senate Bill 828, from state Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), would require cities and counties to rezone land in their communities to permit many more homes than are currently in their plans. Under the bill, local governments could have to double the amount of land made available for condominium and apartment complexes, and zone even more parcels for residential development in an effort to address a shortage of homes in the state that Wiener has estimated stands at 4 million.”

Commodities: “Impact of electric cars in medium-term copper demand ‘overrated’, experts say” [Mining.com]. “Increasing disposable income in emerging economies, as well as the adoption of greener technologies, rather than a touted electric cars boom, will drive most of the expected increased demand in copper during the next five years, CRU analyst Robert Edwards said. ‘Electric vehicles (EVs) are a great long-term story, but demand is only expected to be around 1.5% of world refined copper consumption this year, and even five years out is unlikely to be anything more than 3%,’ he told investors and miners attending this week’s World’s Copper Conference in Santiago, Chile. While is true that electric cars use about four times more copper than gasoline-powered vehicles, their global adoption won’t be explosive, as some may think.”

Shipping: “Ocean freight must tackle ‘the criminality of cargo misdeclaration'” [Lloyd’s Loading List]. “With serious fires reported on containerships roughly every 60 days, the ocean freight sector needs to tackle ‘the criminality of misdeclaration’ of the hazardous materials often associated with causing or exacerbating what can turn into fatal events, insurance specialist TT Club now argues.” Every 60 days seems like rather a lot. “[TT Club’s risk management director Peregrine Storrs-Fox] said a lack of knowledge about the hazardous nature of the commodities being packed into a container may be the case in a minority of circumstances, or poorly packed material not correctly treated given its dangerous characteristics. But he added: ‘Rather more sinisterly, there is too much evidence that dangerous cargoes are misdeclared due to a premeditated attempt to avoid the added costs and complexity that accrue from transporting such consignments by land or sea in compliance with regulations. ‘”

Shipping: “Anti-money laundering rules killing one in eight shipping deals, says M&M” [Llloyd’s List]. “Norwegian shipping boutique Maritime & Merchant Bank is canning up to 15% of loan applications under ‘know your customer’ stipulations, with attempts to set up deals via trust companies almost certain to be rejected.”

The Bezzle: “The Never-Ending Self-Driving Car Project” [Wired]. “Either way, people want to know when autonomous vehicles will get here, when they will be ready. Here’s the unsatisfying but correct answer: never.” There’s a good deal more, but the author — rather like an autonomous vehicle — just doesn’t know when to stop.

The Bezzle: “4 Ways Uber Wants to Expand Its Services” [Governing]. “‘We are starting a strategy where we are going to double down on Uber becoming more than just a ridesharing company. … Our view is we are going to be the predominant Point A to Point B transportation platform,’ said Jahan Khanna, Uber’s head of product for mobility, at an event in Washington, D.C. ‘In order to be successful in doing this, we can only do it in a spirit of true partnership with cities, a spirit of true partnership with transit agencies.'” “Predominant…”

The Bezzle: “Tesla Workers Claim Racial Bias and Abuse at Electric Car Factory” [Bloomberg]. “On a fall evening in 2015, Owen Diaz went to drop off food for his 20-year-old son Demetric, whom he’d helped find a job at the same Tesla Inc. factory where Owen operated elevators. As he turned the corner, the two African-American men allege in a lawsuit, Owen saw Demetric’s supervisor condemning his black subordinates with curses and slurs: ‘All you f-cking n-ggers,” they heard him say. “I can’t stand you motherf-ckers.’… [U]nlike other former Tesla workers’ allegations of race and sex discrimination, the electric car giant hasn’t been able to keep this one out of court. As contract workers, Owen and Demetric weren’t required, as many direct Tesla employees are, to settle any disputes through binding arbitration. Their case has entered discovery, with depositions scheduled to start later this month. A federal trial is scheduled to start in 2019.”

The Bezzle: “Tesla Was Kicked Off Fatal Crash Probe by NTSB” [Bloomberg]. “The National Transportation Safety Board told Tesla Inc. on Wednesday that the carmaker was being removed from the investigation of a fatal accident, prior to the company announcing it had withdrawn from it, according to a person familiar with the discussion… The unusual move followed public statements by the company blaming the driver of a Tesla Model X who died in a March collision, in apparent violation of agency protocols. The NTSB guards the integrity of its investigations closely, demanding that participants adhere to rules about what information they can release and their expected cooperation. These so-called parties to investigations must sign legal agreements laying out their responsibilities.”

Mr. Market: “Dow up 300 points as market perceives Trump tweet as Syria de-escalation” [MarketWatch]. “Geopolitical concerns continued to move markets after Trump on Wednesday signaled in a tweet that a missile attack on Syria wasn’t far off, saying, ‘Get ready, Russia.’ But early Thursday, a fresh tweet from Trump sounded less bellicose, as the president posted: ‘Never said when an attack on Syria would take place. Could be very soon or not so soon at all!'”

Fodder for the Bulls: “Update: Predicting the Next Recession” [Calculated Risk]. The bottom line: “[N]o recession in the immediate future (not in 2018).”

Five Horsemen: “All of the Five Horsemen but Facebook were on the upswing in late morning trading” [Hat Tip, Jim Haygood].

Five Horsemen Apr 12 2018

NakedCap Mania-Panic Index: “The mania-panic index remained unchanged at 39 (worry) after yesterday’s mild decline” [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 Apr 11 2018

Facebook Fracas

“When the business model *is* the privacy violation” [Freedom to Tinker]. “In such cases, laws and regulations should avoid loopholes that companies might exploit by building narrow technical measures and claiming to be in compliance [with privacy regulation]. [4]” And footnote [4]: “As an example of avoiding the hashing loophole, the 2012 FTC privacy report is well written: it says that for data to be considered de-identified, ‘the company must achieve a reasonable level of justified confidence that the data cannot reasonably be used to infer information about, or otherwise be linked to, a particular consumer, computer, or other device.’ It goes on to say that ‘reasonably’ includes reasonable assumptions about the use of external data sources that might be available.” So, an FTC matter…

Health Care

“How single-payer healthcare became the biggest policy flashpoint in California’s race for governor” [Los Angeles Times].

Health Care

“I am morally offended by the idea of self-censoring. I want to live in a world in which patents can share their stories, publicly, if they wish to. (Naturally, if one wants to keep things private, one should.) I think it’s healthy and normalizing. Nobody should feel they need to live in the shadows. Doing so feeds the erroneous notion that our experiences with poor health are ugly, shameful ones” [The Incidental Economist]. “Sometimes I know what the morally right thing to do is. It’s the thing that if I don’t do it, I could not live with myself. What I wrote to my friend is, I’d rather be dead than to feel I cannot speak my mind.”


“This Parkland teacher left his gun in a public bathroom. It was loaded, BSO says.” [Miami Herald]. “Not the most normal sight: a gun left in the bathroom stall. But that’s exactly what went down on Sunday in a men’s room at the Deerfield Beach Pier. The circumstances of how the Glock 9mm got there are unusual. According to the Broward Sheriff’s Office, the weapon was left by Sean Simpson. If his name sounds familiar, he’s the teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas who said he’d be willing to arm himself while on duty.” s

The 4120

“End the NYPD war on marijuana” [New York Daily News]. “[L]ocking up people for the mere possession of marijuana was a big deal in the department. Some of my colleagues would purposely lock residents up at the end of their shift so that they could generate guaranteed overtime for the next eight hours, without consequence.” The same happens in Chicago. “Supervisors would turn a blind eye to these low-level arrests in the name of increasing arrest numbers. I always frowned upon the practice of locking up people for low-level offenses that did not make a dent in serious crime in the community. Throughout my career, I tried to hold my officers to a higher standard and make sure that the arrests they made focused on bringing down violent crime. But the system is the system, and it can overwhelm even the best intentions.”

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“A History of Denial” [New York Review of Books]. Well worth a read:

The disaster that the unbridled slave trade inflicted on [the Kingdom of Kongo] is emblematic of slavery’s effects on the economic and political development of Africa as a whole. From the earliest times, the scarcest resource of African kingdoms had been people. Population growth in Africa was severely depressed compared to other parts of the world because of the many life-shortening diseases and parasites that were endemic to its tropical climate. Beyond Africa’s historic challenge of underpopulation, its vastness made it difficult for kingdoms to get people to settle in one place, especially against their will. Africans had always practiced slavery among themselves, but slaves were usually war captives and the victors typically sought to absorb them quickly, through marriage, military service, or the manumission of their children. Without such assimilation the risk of flight or rebellion was too great.

By some estimates, the Kongo kingdom and its immediate region lost a third of its population to the European slave trade. Between 1500 and the late 1800s, tropical Africa altogether lost roughly 18 million people to the slave trade, most of them in their prime reproductive years. This impact is better understood if one considers that the population of the continent remained stagnant at 50 million between 1700 and 1850 instead of doubling, as some demographers believe it might have without slavery’s heavy toll.

Guillotine Watch

“Koch Bodyguards Got Police Badges From Same Tiny Town as Mercer” [Bloomberg]. “Bodyguards for the family of billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch used police badges from a tiny New Mexico town that authorized them to carry concealed weapons in all 50 U.S. states, according to documents seen by Bloomberg News. The Lake Arthur police department that awarded the badges for volunteer service is the same one that for years provided a similar perk to Robert Mercer, the 71-year-old New York hedge fund manager and a key financial backer of President Donald Trump… The arrangement with Lake Arthur illustrates how a 2004 federal law, enacted to improve the safety of the nation’s police officers by allowing them to carry weapons off-duty, has come to be used by some of the nation’s wealthiest people to arm themselves or their private security forces.” Proverbs 28:1….

Class Warfare

“In Racine County, neatly maintained homes and dream houses are being designated ‘blighted’ to make way for Foxconn” [Belt Magazine]. “In the evening of March 20 a full room of Racine County residents assembled to make and hear public statements before the board of the Community Development Authority of Mt. Pleasant, Wisconsin. One item was on the agenda: the board’s first step in the designation of some 3,000 acres of agricultural land, farm houses and scattered, neatly maintained single-family homes as “blighted.” It would be the final step for the local authorities — vital cogs in the Foxconn-booster leadership chain that runs from local Tea Party officials, to Governor Scott Walker, and all the way up to President Donald Trump — to fulfill the promise to Taiwanese tech giant Foxconn to obtain and then turn over the land for their proposed industrial complex. Some of the homeowners who had received eminent domain notifications back in October held property that came under the well-established protocols for roadway easements as rural roads would be expanded into four-lane or more highways to accommodate Foxconn. But many were well off these grids…. Robby Jensen, his voice breaking with emotion, pointed at the board as he said, ‘The Village is telling us our land is worthless, while at the same time you’re telling Foxconn it’s the best property in the world. I don’t know how any of you guys can sit here and do this.'” Ka-ching.

“A Worker Shortage Is Forcing Restaurants to Get Creative” [New York Times]. Wait, let me think… “With low profit margins leaving little room to do what most businesses do in tight labor markets — increase wages — restaurant owners are having to find other ways to attract and hold onto workers….”

“As Teachers Plan More Protests, Kentucky Governor Signs Pension Bill” [Governing]. “With a controversial pension reform bill now signed into law and Gov. Matt Bevin’s veto of bills covering the state budget and tax overhaul, public educators are again gearing up to make their voices heard in the state Capitol. Fayette County’s public schools are joining the school districts of Garrard, Bullitt, Scott, Christian and Trimble counties in closing Friday, which is when state legislators return to Frankfort to begin the final two days of their 2018 session. Educators hope to implore them to override the Bevin vetos.

“Association of a Negative Wealth Shock With All-Cause Mortality in Middle-aged and Older Adults in the United States” [Journal of the American Medical Association]. ” In this prospective cohort study that included 8714 adults aged 51 to 61 years at study entry, participants who experienced a negative wealth shock during the 20-year follow-up compared with those with continuous positive wealth had a significantly increased risk of mortality (hazard ratio, 1.50).”

“Richard Meier Removed as Life Trustee from The Architectural League of New York” [Architectural Digest]. “Due to sexual harassment allegations that surfaced last month, Richard Meier has been removed from the Architectural League of New York, with the League's board having revoked his "life trustee" title, a statement released by the nonprofit stated today. Nine women have now come forward with sexual harassment allegations against the Pritzker Prize-winning architect, who is currently on a six-month leave of absence from his firm. Meier's firm, Richard Meier & Partners Architects, is a member of the League Circle, a group of prestigious firms who consistently support the league.” Nippersmom: “Richard Meier was a leader of the modern movement, and is one of the most celebrated architects of his generation. My generation studied his work in architecture school, as I am sure have the generations that followed.”

News of The Wired

“The Alice and Bob After Dinner Speech” [John Gordon, by invitation of Professor James Massey]. Fun with crypto….

“Tom Lehrer At 90” [Gödel’s Lost Letter and P=NP (blennylips)]. Lehrer: “Political satire became obsolete when Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.” But everything old is new again:

And how gorgeous and expressive black and white photography can be!

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Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant (TH):

TH writes: “Ceanothus (California Lilac) in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.”

* * *

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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. petal

    There is a survey up: “We’re(BestRide) working with Car Talk, MIT and the New England Motor Press Association to extend the research we’ve done in understanding how comfortable American drivers are with autonomous technology.”
    The survey link is in the article.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Wouldn’t it be fun if they came out with a self-driving car – and they called it the “Christine”. That would not be as tone deaf as the time when they named a car the “Nova” and tried to sell it in South America where that name can translate as No Go.

    1. Mr. Vandalay

      And happy to see it can be completed without having to provide specific personal information. If anyone sees results once study is completed, please link back to NC.

  2. Jim Haygood

    President Donald Trump on Tuesday praised the ‘kind words’ from Chinese leader Xi Jinping and pledged ‘great progress’ in the looming trade dispute.

    Trump is like a psycho girlfriend with borderline personality disorder. One day he’s slanging the sh*t out of you for no objective reason whatsoever; the next day he’s all lovey-dovey and perplexed as to why you’re upset.

    Relationships in which one of the parties suffers from this disorder are extremely likely to collapse. How that scales to relationships between global leaders is left for our expert commentariat to work out.

    *cough* “Amendment XXV” *cough*

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      We seem to have optimized our political economy such that sociopaths rise to the top. I wish I knew why that was (in detail) and what to do about it (ditto).

      1. Sid Finster

        Because [FAMILY BLOG] forces its way downhill, and sociopaths will do whatever they have to do to go uphill, to where the power is.

        This is just what sociopaths do, which is why the fundamental and overriding goal of every political system should be, must be to prevent sociopaths from getting in charge. Take the sociopaths away and humanity can be almost pleasant to be around.

      2. Kevin

        I’ve pondered that question ad nauseum.

        The best I can come up, a 20,000 feet perspective, is that “white males” see their days are numbered and while they are still in power, they are going to grab all they can and live out their remaining years in opulence, because dammit, they built this country!!!. Like a shark feeding frenzy, this attitude is contagious and soon anyone and everyone in the vicinity is gnashing away lest they be left out and there’ll be nothing left for them.

        What to do about it? try to keep from bleeding.

        1. Fiery Hunt

          “White males” seems a bit racist, don’t ya think?
          Imagine a similar statement about blacks, or Mexicans, or Jews or…

          Identity politics as divider. Perfect example of why we have President Trump.

          Not everything is about race.

          1. amburos

            Racism is institutional in the US, primarily benefits wealthy white men, and it’s not racist to point that out. True, not everything is about race, it’s also about class, but in America you can’t talk about power, race, and class separately. Identity is both chosen and imposed. Identity politics is not avoidable.

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              That sounds like an attempt to cover-up-for and divert-attention-away-from sociopathic money-grubbers of color like Obama, Holder, etc. And white female sociopathic money-grubbers like Hillary Clinton.

              1. amburos

                I hope not! Obama and Clinton both blamed poor blacks for their poverty, Obama didn’t do much against racist policing, and Holder pursued it. Blacks can gain power under white racism by participating in it – kissing up and kicking down. The original comment was about sociopathy. Racism is a path to power for sociopaths, even among the “money-grubbers of color”.

                “Eric Holder…made his political bones by imposing systemic racial profiling on the streets of Black Washington, DC” https://blackagendareport.com/sessions_holder_incarceration_revisited

            1. Fiery Hunt

              As a whole block, neither do white males. Compared to less empowered “identity groups”…I would put poor white Southerners (who are mocked as “ignorant Rednecks”) along any “group” in terms of disenfanchisement. Basically, no one under $40,000 a year has any power to speak of.

              IMNSHO The true damage to all of us, and our lands, is being done by psychopaths in the top 10%.. regardless of race.

          2. Darius

            Yeah. But Fox News grandpas still crap their pants over all the black and brown people and the feminists. Of course, capitalism screws even Fox News grandpas, but they’d rather blame the black and brown people and the feminists, the Jews and the liberals.

        2. a different chris

          The problem with that is that the “white males” that do that aren’t really doing it because they are “white males”, but because they are completely self-centered people.

          Vikram Pandit isn’t white. Sheryl Sandberg isn’t male. Maybe I’m defensive as a white male, but yes we have all grown up in the Centuryish of the White Male so it’s easy to blame white maleness, but it’s just human sociopathy, and the tip-top is going to be comprised of the group forming most of the upper level.

          Shorter me: “white males” going away isn’t going to change (family blog)

          1. J Bookly

            Yes, I keep getting emails, some accompanied by petitions, urging me to otherize some group of otherizers. If that catches on, will there be anybody other than the other??

        3. polecat

          Opulence ! …. “hurrump” ..

          well …. I can most assuredly say that this light male is living nothing of the sort-ed ! So please don’t put us all in one Escalade, ok ..

        4. ewmayer

          Uh, last time I checked, Hillary showed clear signs of sociopathy, too, as did other powerful – and not all white – DC elite women such as Madeleine Albright, Condi Rice and Vicky Nuland.

          1. ewmayer

            Aside: funny blog-software bug – as I typed the above comment I saw the date above my under-construction comment read as “April 12, 5556 at 3:20 pm” – year off by, well, a lot, and time 30-odd minutes fast (relative to my left coast zone time). As I type this, I see “April 12, 9648 at 3:24 pm”.

        5. Lee

          Like African, Arab, and Asian national leaders are such saints. Homicidal megalomania and other moral defects are a function of the brain, the nature of which shows equal variation across races, not melanin or other superficial traits.

          Indeed, the case has been made that Trump is the perfect African president:

        6. Ed Miller

          “White males” includes a lot of victims even though lots of them (us) are fooled into thinking this is “our country”. It’s not just brown people. The problem is the blood sucking aristocracy or whatever term you choose. Slamming poor people and even middle class working stiffs who have no power, had no power and never will have power is just wrong.

          1. Fiery Hunt

            As a sidenote:

            Naked Capitalism, as in our host and contributors and moderators, is an amazing thing. With, without a doubt, the best commentariat one could hope for. Hard subjects, complicated and emotional, and yet real, honest, intelligent and respectful discussion and thought.

            Well played all. Makes me proud to be part of it, this human-ness in however small a way.


        7. Hot Dog McKoy

          It is always the money. Greed is color blind. A leach does not care where it gets its blood from. If unchecked someone or group will always take advantage of other people and society. There are many reasons why people behave selfishly and short sighted, but it usually boils down to greed. Democracy and capitalism are supposed to be self balancing, but post Citizens United, the wolves are now fully in control of the flock. And things are deteriorating quickly for all of us normal people that are not of the rentier class.

      3. dcblogger

        Republican Representatives are sick of Trump, Erick Erickson interviews one in a DC grocery store:

        “If we’re going to lose because of him, we might as well impeach the motherf**ker,” said the congressman as we roamed the aisles of a Safeway grocery store together. I haven’t been in a Safeway since my family moved home from Dubai in 1990. The congressman did not want to be seen with me on Capitol Hill. He needed to get some stuff anyway and decided he’d let me walk with him through the cereal and dairy selections at the Safeway near my hotel. He is not happy with President Trump. He was never a die hard Trump supporter. He supported him in the general and never expected him to win. But he did. So the congressman, whose district Trump won, has been a regular supporter on Fox News and elsewhere defending the President. He is happy to be quoted, so long as I don’t name him. He says he just needs to vent. I suggest what we’re doing is one of the reason’s Trump won — a congressman says nice things in public and bad things in private.


        1. JohnnyGL

          If Repubs turn and go for impeachment, then I suspect we’re going to get one of lambert’s ‘overly dynamic situations’.

      4. Ed Miller

        Just last week I saw reference at NC to a book that exposes America in ways I had never before imagined. It makes sense to me. I just wish I had known many years ago. It’s not the only book with insight but it opened my old eyes.

        Why America Failed, by Morris Berman

        I suspect many here recognize that the title’s past tense is appropriate.

    2. Sid Finster

      BPD. That’s not a bad description.

      Except people with BPD are usually good in bed, and by all accounts Trump is crap in the sack.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Can Trump do, sorry, impersonate Hillary though?

          “I never called them Deplorables. That was not my voice.”

          1. ambrit

            To do, sorry, impersonate Hillary, he’d have to be a smooth tongued devil. (Says Anonymous.)

        2. DonCoyote

          Don’t think or, think and. BPD and schizophrenia, that’s the ticket. And don’t forget his alternate lickspittle identity, John Miller.

          And now for something completely different:

          Here’s an alternate take on things: Trump’s character is responsible for his outstanding performance in his first year as president. If you want to know who someone is, you look at what he does. What we have: a booming economy, growing jobs, more lawful governance, fewer regulations, more global security. What character traits this took: hard work, focus, commitment, courage, honesty, independence, incorruptibility, self-confidence, love of excellence. The list of Trump’s positive character traits goes on and on. You don’t get achievements independent of character.

          Shorter version: “I have the strength of ten, because my heart is pure.” But we still want to know “Pure what?”

      1. Lambert Strether

        I think the trope of Trump as crazypants is more than a little shopworn; I mean, there was an enormous effort by the liberal Democrat outrage machine to depict him as senile, until Trump did a live cabinet meeting that lasted, IIRC, for over an hour, at which point that outrage stopped, as if a switch had been flipped (and it probably was). If Trump “has a diagnosis,” as it were, he’s a high-functioning [fill-in-the-DSM-term] here; after all, he was the host of a very successful TV show for what, 14 years?

        Worse, the trope functions to misdirect attention to Trump as a crazypants individual, as opposed to focusing attention on the crazypants system of which he is a part. Remember:

        – In her first interview since her stunning presidential election defeat by Republican rival Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton on Thursday called for the United States to bomb Syrian air fields.

        Her first interview. That is, bombing Syria was her first priority, right after she wandered out of the woods. So who’s the crazypants one? How do we tell? Or how about the political class that’s been yammering that Trump is a senile fascist “Russian puppet” and at the same time gave him Section 702 authority, more money for the Pentagon than he asked for, and is demanding that he bomb Syria? Who’s crazy here?

        Now, you can say “they’re all crazy” and that’s pretty much where I come out, which is why I’m far more willing to entertain social, relational diagnoses like sociopathy (as opposed to individual diagnoses like senility, BPD, etc.) I also think a model of sociopaths interacting is far more likely to be useful than a model of a one or two senile/crazy people in a network of dull normals, the picture that is always implicit in snark about Trump as an individual (one reason snark can be crippling analytically, used without care).

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Perhaps William was right – all the world’s a stage, and Trump’s show is the one we are watching.

      As a critic, one might say, ‘too much drama.’

      First time directors tend to over-dramatize.

      But then, show bizness people would tell you that no publicity is bad publicity.

      1. Lambert Strether


        Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
        Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
        To the last syllable of recorded time;
        And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
        The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
        Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
        That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
        And then is heard no more. It is a tale
        Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
        Signifying nothing.

        Of course, Macbeth has a thoroughly bad person. You quoted Jacques in As You Like It:

        All the world’s a stage,
        And all the men and women merely players;
        They have their exits and their entrances,
        And one man in his time plays many parts,
        His acts being seven ages.

        I’m leaving out the rest, because I have the feeling Jacques, a sour and melancholic person, has delivered the speech before. To be clear, I don’t agree with either Macbeth or Jacques (though maybe the sociopaths, like Macbeth, who run our political economy, do).

        * * *

        I think it’s fine to watch the show; the issue with kayfabe is what happens when the audience becomes part of the show, in a bad way. Real blood in the seats, not fake blood in the ring.

        1. DonCoyote

          Don’t get me going on Macbeth…too late :-)

          “Oh, from this time forth, my thoughts be bloody, or be nothing worth!”
          –Act 4, Scene 4

          Her speech is nothing,
          Yet the unshaped use of it doth move
          The hearers to collection. They aim at it,
          And botch the words up fit to their own thoughts,
          Which, as her winks and nods and gestures yield them,
          Indeed would make one think there might be thought…
          ‘Twere good she were spoken with, for she may strew
          Dangerous conjectures in ill-breeding minds.

          –Act 4, Scene 5

          Hmm, sounds like someone’s tweets to me…

    4. cnchal

      Any child where the head of household is a narcissist has experienced this all their lives. The solution to get a narcissist out of your life, is to ignore them and become emotionally flat. Become uninteresting.

      Tough to ignore Trump though. One day you wonder if the world is gonna blow, the next he’s blowing kisses at the guy he was gonna blow up the world because of. From his point of view, it’s perfect.

      The Presidency is an object in his possession.

    5. back pain

      The entire West is now acting like a BPD psycho girlfriend:
      — the Western Mainstream Media
      [need for constant drama; sabotaging peace; spreading vicious lies, accusations and slanders against people they have decided are “bad”]
      — Western Intelligence Agencies
      [never-ending power struggles with the executive branch; “splitting” the world into 2 different sides which are “all-good” or “all-evil”; manipulating the government into no-win situations]
      — both the Republicans & the Democrats
      [distortion campaigns aimed at those they have devalued as “all-bad” people (“The Russians! The Russians!” or “The Terrorists! Assad!”); blaming your election failures on everyone else, instead of taking responsibility; unstable relationships]

      What happens with a psycho BPD girlfriend?
      The relationship eventually falls apart, but it usually leaves behind a trail of destruction.
      So who gets destroyed? And how badly?

  3. allan

    Trump’s impending reversal on TPP will make the New Yorker‘s Adam Davidson very happy.
    What happens to the #Resistance when the immovable will to #Resist meets an irresistible trade deal?

    1. edmondo

      TPP and a war with Russia in Syria. Thank God we kept that woman out of the White House. What’s next?

      “Trump names Jennifer Palmieri White House Communications Director?”

      1. Lambert Strether

        > “Trump names Jennifer Palmieri White House Communications Director?”

        Please kill me now.

    2. RUKidding

      Oh thank goodness Hillary didn’t win cuz Trump won’t start WW III or sign the TPP.

      Famous last words.

      Not a Clinton supporter but really?

  4. Altandmain

    Americans will pay extra if AT&T buys Time Warner:


    This is getting out of hand. Soon there will be a single monopoly telecommunications company. Already firms like Comcast have local monopolies and are rent seeking. Anti trust is long overdue.

    Re: Tesla getting the boot by the NTSB

    I am wondering what really happened. I wonder if Tesla is indeed to blame or if Musk’s big ego was the biggest problem. Perhaps both.

    Also, remember that wave of firings by Tesla in November of 2017? I recently heard from a former Tesla employee online that they were really a cost cutting measure. He says that he personally knew a few of the people who got laid off and some of them had top performance scores (Tesla does its reviews in September).

    Apparently the replacements who were hired got paid a lot less. They fired a disproportionate number of the top paid employees. Also, Tesla has a benefit that if you stay on for 1 year, you get stock options. I think that it is 15 percent off. A lot of the fired people were fired shortly before the one year mark.

    All I could find online is this:


    It is a matter of who do you believe? Tesla public relations or the fired employees? I bet the employees are telling the truth.

    1. Summer

      None of this is a problem, when only 20% of the population is counted as those that matter. And that may be globally. Everything is rosy, as long as your concern is with only 20% of the population.

      Is the 80/20 rule being applied to what is called the “global order”?

      1. Altandmain

        It’s the 20%ers that are going to be killed when the Autopilot fails, as this incident shows. That said, I fear for the safety of pedestrians as the recent Uber crash shows. Drivers need to still pay attention – they need to know when to take over because Autopilot has failed them and if they don’t, they will crash.

        In other words, they may actually need more attention than before.

        The way that Tesla has marketed this product is dangerous. It is highly flawed, but marketed in a way that makes it sound like you can trust the Autopilot and don’t really need to intervene.

        Interesting fact: In aircraft, the reason why they have trained pilots is because there are situations where there needs to be a human on the flight deck. Humans can think creatively and unconventionally, which can resolve an emergency. A software’s logical errors can get you killed.

        The other problem is that apart from professional drivers, many may not understand what corrective action to do. In a disaster waiting to happen, split second actions count and could be life or death.

        Perhaps it will take the death of a celebrity by Autopilot for people to understand this.

        1. tegnost

          It’s worth taking time for the survey, you are allowed space to clarify your feelings about self driving technology. The only part I didn’t like was they made me answer the “new tech” question and I didn’t agree with any of the choices, seemed to be trying to pigeonhole the luddites so I ended up choosing “I like the variety new products provide” which I suppose might be sort of true…

        2. JTMcPhee

          Of course Murphy rides in every car and jumbo jet, like that Air France jet where the pilots could not figure out that the pitot and angle of attack sensors had gotten iced, and for all their training and experience, acted to assist the autopilot fly by wire gadgetry to send the aircraft and the 20 percenters on board straight into “unplanned contact with hard water” at what was it,500 knots… And that is only one tiny bit of all the stuff that happens when humans and their technology intersect with the rest of the world, and each other. Like “war” and all that…

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Extra $500-$600 million – that’s like $2 per person per year.

      I don’t subscribe to cable TV, so I am not aware of the various options, but it’s cheaper to opt out of say, CNN, WaPo, or all the other war/propaganda channels? Maybe that will make that extra $2 per person per year more affordable.

    3. Arizona Slim

      Fired just short of one year? Happened to one of my former bosses.

      She left the Place Where We Worked Together because another locally-based organization offered her more money. Didn’t take very long for her to start talking about how the place was mismanaged, was nothing more than a cult of personality, et cetera, and so forth.

      In her 11th month, she was canned. So much for being vested in those benefits that had been dangled before her.

      The name of this outfit? The Muscular Dystrophy Association.

      The cult of personality? Well, that related to how dependent the place was on Jerry Lewis for fundraising. And, while my former boss was there, the top management was advised NOT to be so dependent on Jerry. They didn’t listen.

      Guess who has never given one dime to MDA. And I never will.

    4. JBird

      So let’s save money by firing the most experienced, (I presume) trained, and productive employees because they are a little more expensive while trying to get a still fairly new, incompletely organized manufacturer selling cars that are still somewhat experimental; I suppose that the mass shiving to the back, the accompanying drop in morale, productivity, and loyalty along with the new reputation as ethics and conscious free weasels ain’t important. Only the saving of a relative pittance in stocks and pay.

      What the Hades is wrong with these people? I saw some of this in a department store I worked at. Cut and/or can all the experienced, trained, and loyal (often decades of loyalty) just to save a few dollars an hour. Gee, where’s that loyalty, the company spirit, the hard work and productivity you use to give us?

      I have both experienced and read about this growing abomination of a practice for over twenty years across multiple industries; it always goes badly for both company and workers in the not so long run the except for whatever MBAs, CEOs, or consultants get their promotions, bonuses, or pay raise. Not to mention whoever gets to sell the stock after the temporary boost in price.

      1. Altandmain

        That’s how business in the US and Canada have been since the neoliberal types have taken over.

        It’s all about the short-term profits and maximizing executive compensation these days. In the long run, there are reasons why the East Asians and the European nations (although they themselves are infected with this neoliberal insanity) are doing better. Whatever their other flaws (and they have many), the East Asians for example are a lot more long term thinking than the Anglo world.

        In the case of Tesla, it also explains why they are unable to ramp up. They probably lost some of their best people either through firings or in the case of the person I interacted with, quit in disgust of what really happened.

      2. Jen

        A friend of mine used to own a local fuel company that was subsequently bought out by a large conglomerate. One of the first things they did was fire the experienced drivers. My friend was talking to the tow company who had the service contract for said large conglomerate. The following winter, he was pulling a lot of trucks out of ditches. Low and behold, they started hiring back the experienced drivers.

    1. JacobiteInTraining

      They will certainly be well prepared when it comes time to put down a struggling trout, catfish, or pike, or whatever fish they catch in that neck of the woods. SO those little clubbers aren’t *completely* without good uses….

      1. crittermom

        I think rocks would be better if used with a slingshot. They can be very accurate & ammo is free.

        1. Lambert Strether

          Not a bad idea. Biblically-based, too, so you’d think somebody would have thought of it already…

  5. Summer

    Re: In Racine County, neatly maintained homes and dream houses are being designated ‘blighted’ to make way for Foxconn” [Belt Magazine].

    Racine County, meet Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico, meet Racine.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      More realistically, those dream houses are ‘unsafe.’

      No protective netting outside any window….thus, not safe.

      So, yes, they have to go.

      1. Summer

        Both places suffer from vultures that descend after disasters;
        Hurricane Maria and Hurricane Scott

    2. Craig H.

      1. That is a sad story.

      2. If I was a media proprietor in WI those poor folks getting the shaft would be everywhere 24/7 the sadder the better. The abstract theory about what the state is doing to its citizens is hard to process but displaced children and pets should draw viewers and clicks to bust the barn.

      1. crittermom

        Good idea. Bring in the media & expose the hurtful truth in a matter that stabs at the heart.
        What is happening to them is pure BS & horrifying. And just think: If it can happen to them it can happen to anyone. They need to protest LOUDLY, supported by folks everywhere (see previous sentence).

          1. Ed Miller

            In a sense Trump is a genius because people, especially MSM hacks, are so upset with what they see that they don’t even look at (or report) what he does behind the scenes to strip government down to bare bones. Classic distraction strategies.

  6. allan

    Senate Republicans aim to confirm EPA deputy administrator [CBS, autolaunch vid.]

    Senate Republicans are moving to confirm a former coal industry lobbyist as the second-highest official at the Environmental Protection Agency, putting him next in line to run the agency if embattled administrator Scott Pruitt is forced out or resigns.

    The Senate voted 53-45 Thursday to limit debate on Andrew Wheeler’s nomination as deputy administrator, clearing the way for a final vote as soon as Thursday afternoon. Three Democrats — Sens. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Joe Manchin of West Virginia — joined with Republicans to move the nomination forward. …

    Fresh off their votes for the bank deform bill, our 3 centrist heroes once again prove their problem-solving,
    hands across the aisle, bipartisan street cred. Next up: Medicare and Medicaid:

    … Senator Heitkamp believes that while we need to make reforms to these programs to keep the systems sustainable for the long term and make sure they can continue to provide seniors and some of the most vulnerable with access to quality health care, …

    Sure we’ll starve granny, but we’ll do it in a smart way that’s sustainable in the long term.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      In Japan, grannies have figured out the way to avoid that is by shoplifting, inducing the government into sheltering them.

    2. sleepy

      make sure they can continue to provide seniors and some of the most vulnerable with access to quality health care

      Who on earth would make such a statement with the qualifier “some”, with the implicit message that “some” is being generous?

    3. Lambert Strether

      > Three Democrats — Sens. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Joe Manchin of West Virginia

      Exactly why the wave will be squandered. These are the Blue Dogs that the Democrat leadership is maneuvering to elect, exactly because they vote this way; after all, the #1 liberal Democrat goal is to prevent #MedicareForAll, and the Blue Dogs will help them do that. Better yet, the rest of the liberal Democrats will all get to be heroes and virtue signal! Just watch.

    1. ambrit

      I love that box. Net weight” 12 Lids. I bet it says in the ingreedients list, “No seeds, No stems.”
      And the daily values chart???? “Average daily dose: 2 grams.”
      The real determinant of ‘value’ would be the “Percentage of Daily Recommended Dosage Vitamin T.”

    2. Ed Miller

      Should be under The 420. I thought the change to 410 was because the article was about NYPD being anti-420, hence downgraded to 410.

  7. pete

    Restaurants have high profit margins. I really hate this argument of oh I mismanage my business and make no effort to do anything right so clearly i have low profit margins.

    1. Big River Bandido

      Not sure I buy the idea about restaurants really having high profit margins. But even if that’s true…if you “can’t afford” to increase wages when the labor market is tight, you really don’t have any business running a restaurant in the first place.

      The fatuous, tortured reasoning and the freefall in writing skills at the New York Times is really hard to stomach these days.

  8. JBird

    Nice quoting of Proverbs 28, but aside from not actually reading, let alone following and understanding, the Bible, I think most of the people the quote is aimed at would call Jesus, communist and moocher.

  9. Jim Haygood

    Totally objective, disinterested advice from Wall Street’s largest asset manager:

    ‘I’ve been consistent on this [CNBC] show saying that you should be 100% in equities, you should always be invested in the marketplace.’

    —Larry Fink, CEO BlackRock Inc


    “That’s the big difference between institutional and retail — institutions stay invested in the market all the time,” Fink says at the end of the video.

    Yes they do … but typically in a diversified portfolio of bonds, stocks, real estate, alternatives and cash. Urging individual investors to stay 100% invested in equities by falsely claiming that it’s what institutions do is flat-out malpractice.

    Wall Street, comrades — same sleazy boiler-room scam as it ever was, all the way to the top.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      No one is really 100% in equities…,not even professionals, unless they rent, don’t own any Picasso’s, have no jewelry, not even one single yacht, not one single private jet, no collection of classic cars, no pocket change, etc.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Except fo rthe cash, all of those are “equities” – non-interest bearing ownership, with potential capital returns.

        My father was an investment manager; but he said his client’s wife did far better investing in paintings (Monet) than he ever did. That’s an “equity.”

    2. Jim Haygood

      Just filed a complaint with the SEC about Fink’s deliberate deception, with a copy to invrel@blackrock.com.

      SEC will do nothing. But firms in the securities biz don’t like having complaints filed, since they stay in the record and look bad.

    3. ebbflows

      Larry Fink, CEO BlackRock Inc

      You should take a moment to watch Adam Curtis last doco, the part about Larry Finks personal Mayberry R.F.D. might splain some things.

        1. ebbflows

          What you mean all that data, constantly up dated, and incorporated with the rational agent model might just be another abbreviated trading model implosion. You would have thought they would have learned the first time that a 4 letter time travel machine went inverse…. and almost took everyone with it.

          Anywho at those rates of loss I hope their on top of the energy bill or maybe they can do a swap for some more psychotropics from the pharma sector.

          BTW good on you for going to the meet up.

    4. bob

      Have a look at the daily chart for TSLA, looks like a firm ceiling of sales above 300.

      Bagholders lining up for the waiting list.

      Commodity currencies may also be showing a return to the carry trade.

    5. Arizona Slim

      And, Jim, this is why I enjoyed the pleasure of your company at last Friday’s Tucson meetup.

  10. PhilK

    “A Florida Keys activist known for fighting off the release of genetically modified mosquitoes near her home died Tuesday in Washington, D.C.

    “Mila de Mier, 45, was found face down in a swimming pool at a hotel at the Washington D.C. Convention Center at 9:35 a.m. Tuesday, according to WJLA.”

    Anti-GMO mosquito activist dies in a swimming pool

  11. PKMKII

    Re: the NYPD war on pot. There’s two big changes that have happened in the last few decades as far as how NYPD officers are trained and evaluated. In ye olden days, a new recruit out of academy would be paired with a wise, grizzled veteran of the force, as to learn the on-the-ground ropes. Now what they do, is pair up two new recruits, and dump them in one of the city’s higher-crime-rate precincts to let them sink or swim, metaphorically speaking. Second, is the advent of Compstat and the metric-izing of all things police related that started under Giuliani and went into overdrive under Bloomie. So you’ve got a force that doesn’t have the practical wisdom getting passed down, plus this stats-driven evaluation of their job with the quotas that management denies but everyone knows exists, and the force gravitates towards the kind of actions and arrests that are easy to rack up and generate the almighty data. Which tends to me stop and frisk, and low-level drug arrests.

  12. Tomonthebeach

    The more options in the primary races; the better. I live in Bill Nelson’s Florida, and he is no liberal. He opposed debate on Yemen recently – I stopped my monthly checks to his reelection campaign on that one. I’ll let the military contractors fill in the gap. Nelson’s recent interrogation of Zuckerberg (ridiculed on late-night TV) demonstrated complete ignorance of the internet and social media in an era where internet savvy is essential to preserving democracy. Worse, it reflects that Nelson’s staff are incompetent too for letting the boss make an ass of himself – not a workhorse.

    With an Executive branch flooded with incompetence, supporting competent legislators seems to be a prudent course.

    1. Eureka Springs

      Nelson was one of those few with a D by their name who, like Lieberman, always in the name of bipartisainship helped Bush/Cheney have everything they wanted.

      1. Big River Bandido

        Nelson was one of those few with a D by their name who, like Lieberman, always in the name of bipartisainship helped Bush/Cheney have everything they wanted.


        It has long been more than just a “few”. Add up all the “rotating villains” on the different issues and you’ve got most of the Democrat caucus of the Senate. The Democrats always come up with just enough to give the Republicans just what they want.

        1. JTMcPhee

          I do not, repeat not, want that sorry piece of tripe Rick Scott to buy yet another step on the way up to really big thievery. Nelson is a nebbish, straight loser FLADEM, but in this case, he definitely is the least worst. Folks here do not follow FL politics much, but he is a real total probably not even human monster. And our Rulers here have had him teflon-coated. And. There is very little in the way of “journalism” here, to track his evils and report them…

  13. Oregoncharles

    “Wheeler: Russia may be meddling in Portland politics” [Portland Tribune]

    And I thought Ted Wheeler, ex-State Treasurer, was halfway rational. Actually, of course, he’s just trying to ride the “Russians are Coming!!!!!” bandwagon the Dems have constructed. It’s a high-tech city with contentious, radical politics; of COURSE there’s a lot of “suspicious” activity on social media. And he probably jus tmeans people who think he’s a reactionary idiot.

    I’ve got to find out who’s running against him; this might be an opportunity. Portland politics are unusual, because all the offices are non-partisan, and the city is well beyond “blue.” And those are important offices, major stepping stones to a political career in Oregon. That’s why Wheeler is doing the woo-woo stuff. He must be worried.

    1. sleepy

      That cleared it up for me. Skimming the links and knowing nothing about Oregon politicians, I erroneously assumed that the Wheeler mentioned was in fact Marcy Wheeler. Since she has apparently gone all in on Russiagate, I didn’t bother reading the article. Now I know.

    2. GERMO

      Worried about a high-profile activist* who’s going to run for mayor, that’s a pretty good guess all right. To the liberal elite, and definitely that includes aristos like Wheeler, All Extremisms Matter.

      *You’ll know her when you see her.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Yes, I think I just heard about her from a Green Party activist there. Don’t remember her name offhand, though. I’m not in Portland, so wouldn’t recognize her name without a scorecard. Wheeler is a state-wide figure, though.

      2. Andrew Watts

        That particular reasoning is problematic. You don’t get elected in Portland without being a bit of a activist-politician. He also won the mayoral election in the primaries with over 50% which meant he didn’t have face off against anybody in the general election. One of the reasons the business crowd supported his candidacy was his strong performance as State Treasurer. They wanted a good candidate to manage the city’s debt load and public finances.

        Wheeler doesn’t deserve all the blame for this at any rate as there are other issues at hand. The Willamette Weekly deserves a large part of the blame for unnecessarily stirring the pot.

  14. Synoia

    “Wheeler: Russia may be meddling in Portland politics” [Portland Tribune]. Damn. What’s that high-pitched “woo woo” sound?

    High pitch woo woo sound = Spin!

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Of course, Russia used to have or tried to have a claim on some parts of Northern California.

      (See Fort Ross, Wikipedia, for example).

      So, maybe, people there are suspect…perhaps. Fortunately, everyone is innocent until proven otherwise.

      What is no doubt is that we are lucky in that we are spared of having to buy the best Sonoma wines from Russia.

  15. Andrew Watts

    RE: “Wheeler: Russia may be meddling in Portland politics” [Portland Tribune]. Damn. What’s that high-pitched “woo woo” sound?

    That’s the sound of liberal authoritarianism baby! ‘Ole Ted is openly inviting the Feds to ramp up their counter-intelligence efforts that involve spying on local activists. The letter to Rosenstein and the FBI Special Agent in Charge Cannon cited the Mueller indictment of the alleged Russian troll factory Internet Research Agency. My favorite citation from Wheeler’s letter involved the following passage for obvious reasons.

    Used the online accounts to “write about topics germane to the United States such as U.S, foreign policy and U.S. economic issues… to create “political intensity through supporting radical groups, users dissatified with [the] social and economic situation and oppositional social movements.”

    Of course, none of those activities are actually illegal in an indictment that’ll never have an opportunity to end in a conviction. That’s just a good example of the impotence of liberal authortarianism at work.

    To be fair, there are several important people of a honest disposition who are genuinely concerned. The recent stabbings on the MAX by a white supremacist and the constant tension between ANTIFA / Patriot Prayer being the primary cause of that anxiety. The squeaky clean image of a city that was known as Little Beirut and/or Skinhead City before an expensive marketing campaign re-labeled it as the Rose City is being tarnished by them.

    I am not one of those concerned citizens. If anything that trend will lower real estate prices and scare away the bobos, trustafarians, and Californians who only add to the insane amount of traffic.

  16. Jim Haygood

    Trouble in tax-cut land:

    Republicans are pushing back plans to vote on a bill to make permanent the temporary provisions in the new tax law, CNBC has learned.

    Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., who introduced legislation to extend individual tax cuts, said he had hoped for a vote around Tax Day next week. Now the timeline is unclear.

    Republicans are worried about the optics of voting for potentially costly new tax cuts shortly after the Congressional Budget Office projected that the national debt will nearly equal the nation’s entire economic output by 2028.


    Repubs are learning to their horror that their base instinctively recoils at putting the US ever deeper in debt. In theory, tax cuts could’ve been offset with spending cuts. But practically, that’s not an option when Ds and Rs “compromise” by funding both parties’ priorities.

    “Whoops, we cut the brake lines,” Repubs are realizing, as bus driver Paul Ryan leaps out the window to save himself from the approaching plunge off the cliff.

    *sets up camera to film the burning wreckage*

  17. Oregoncharles

    ““In Racine County, neatly maintained homes and dream houses are being designated ‘blighted’ to make way for Foxconn” [Belt Magazine].”

    Wisconsin, one of the Progressive states, doesn’t have the recall (a way to remove officeholders by vote)? In Oregon, there would already be petitions circulating. We might be able to remove those guys before they can do more damage. For one thing, obviously crooked.

    1. grayslady

      Actually, WI does have recall provisions. They tried to recall Walker several years ago. Didn’t work, because the Dems tried to make it about blue v. red instead of focusing on what a piece of (family blog) Scott Walker is for the state.

      1. RiverBoatGrambler

        Yeah, and the Dems big idea to beat Walker was to put up Tom Barrett, the guy who had already lost to Walker in the last election. When Barrett lost (again), WI Dems turned down pro-labor candidates to put up milquetoast Mary Burke in 2014, largely because she was a millionaire and could “self-finance” her own campaign. What could possibly be more important than that?

        She lost, of course.

        Maybe this year we’ll get him. Local races have not been boding well for Republicans in this state, and Scotty’s been yelping about it on Twitter. Perhaps the Dems will pull their heads out of their asses long enough to put up someone who can actually win. Fat chance, but here’s hoping.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Yeah, and the Dems big idea to beat Walker was to put up Tom Barrett, the guy who had already lost to Walker in the last election.

          Still, it was good to see all the help they got from Obama and the national Democrats. Oh, wait….

  18. Oregoncharles

    “California Lilac” is called “blueblossom” around here, for obvious reasons. It’s a nitrogen fixer and will get very big – although it occasionally freezes out in Oregon. There are native versions.

    I made an odd discovery when pruning it: the drying foliage has a wonderful scent, well worth binging inside. Ceanothus in general are smelly plants – there’s a large-leafed, hardy one in the mountains here that I call “Shoe Polish Bush.”

  19. clarky90

    re “Health Care”

    The corruption of evidence-based medicine
    by Dr. Jason Fung, M.D.

    “Richard Horton, editor in chief of The Lancet said this in 2015:

    “The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue”

    Dr. Marcia Angell, former editor in chief of NEJM (New England Journal of Medicine) wrote in 2009 that,

    “It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor”

    This has huge implications. Evidence based medicine is completely worthless if the evidence base is false or corrupted….”


    It is soooo difficult to know what is true these days. I am grateful that I am retired and have the time to research and research and question question. What about the extremely busy people, who do not have the time or inclination to question the “orthodoxy”?

    This is the Anti-Logos of our times.

    1. ambrit

      15% THC is at the upper end of the range for smokeable leaf and bud. 20% would be at the upper end for hashish, a processed form of cannabis. So, yes, 15% would be good, if an intense effect were your goal. Do consider starting out slowly, at lower concentrations of THC. Some people use the herb for pain amelioration, not recreational purposes. It is good for combating nausea. As usual, the biolerplate ‘get out of Guantanamo card’ is “consult your medical professional.” I have met some people who have had cannabis use make them physically sick, so do be aware of that.
      Yes, cannabis was prescribed by doctors for asthma patients a century ago. One such patient was Queen Victoria. She had some special ‘herb’ grown for her in India.
      YMMMMV. (Your Metaphysical Medicinal Mileage May Vary.)

      1. ambrit

        I have to follow up my previous post because the link I appended contradicts my assertion about Queen Victorias’ use of cannabis. Interestingly, the cause of the ‘use’ mentioned is menstrual pain. In my experience, it was purported to be asthma. Anyway, the usage for combating menstrual pain is supposedly debunked. I am left with one of those ‘Rashomon’ moments where a ‘fact’ is clouded and obscured.
        As the woman writing the blog I linked to says, it may not be good scholarship, but it is a good story. So, what kind of ‘bias’ does THC lend itself to?
        Mea culpa.

    2. crittermom

      Medicinal weed is legal where I currently live, but 15% is at the lower end, with low to mid 20% range being ‘better’ & common.

      1. ambrit

        I am behind the times, obviously.
        Here, paraphenalia is illegal. Up to six months and a $500 fine for possession of paraphenalia is the law. Curiously, this is more draconian than the penalty for simple possession. First time possession of 30 grams is a fine of $100 to $250. Yet, trafficking penalties are very harsh. Ten pounds and up will get you life without parole. Who says that Jim Crow laws aren’t alive and well?
        I have not seen any decent work on medicinal effectiveness of various THC concentrations. Indeed, the cynic in me thinks that real research on medicinal cannabis will not happen until Big Pharma gets a stranglehold on the cannabis market.

        1. Oregoncharles

          I’m told one reason for smoking it (which I won’t do) is that the effect is immediate, so it’s easy to gauge the dose: just stop when you’ve had enough. Makes the concentration mainly a price point, as with alcohol.

          If you’re ingesting it, it takes longer, so you have to calculate the dose, at least approximately.

  20. marym

    White House Abruptly Orders EPA To Loosen Clean Air Rules In Polluter Giveaway

    With little notice, President Donald Trump ordered the Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday to dramatically overhaul national clean air standards and make it easier for industry to pollute in areas where it’s already dangerous to breathe.

    The executive order ― titled “Promoting Domestic Manufacturing and Job Creation ― Policies and Procedures Relating to Implementation of Air Quality Standards” ― reverses an Obama-era decision. The 2015 decision allowed the EPA to intervene in states that fail to meet National Ambient Air Quality Standards, forcing them to adopt federal regulatory plans to reduce ozone emissions that generally come from power plants, refineries and cement factories.

    It opens the door to drastic changes in how science is used to set clean air rules, disqualifying huge amounts of peer-reviewed public health research in favor of industry-backed studies in a move that builds on steps EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has already taken.

  21. JTMcPhee

    Anyone not convinced about the badness of our species and how we will eat up everything on the planet until, well, you know… Well, here’s one more piece of evidence: https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/rare-earth-metals-japan-semi-infinite-ocean-mobile-phones-electric-cars-a8301966.html I mentioned , the other day, in connection with the post about the wonderful new exploration of the ocean bottome to see all the wonders to be found (and of course exploited and extracted and reduced to ownership. Here’s how it’s already working…

    But of course there are 10-bagggers to be dredged up, and so…

  22. JTMcPhee

    And my last bit for today, after reading the bits in the States about unemployment and the burgeoning health of the GDP economy, is, “What exactly do all those millions on the upper bounds of the beyond-U-6ers, do with their days — other than ingesting opioids, and other such ‘just die’ options — how big and what shape and substance are the elements of the ‘invisible economy,’ and are there reportings and metrics that give a scale and granularity and context to all those myriad exchanges that must be going on?” Not applicable to the “dark money” economy, of course…

  23. Kokuanani

    Re health care: was this misquoted?

    I want to live in a world in which patents can share their stories,

    Should, perhaps, have been patients?

  24. Darius

    Serve America, on a platter? Nice Twilight Zone-EC Comics reference, Lambert. To Serve Man. It’s a cookbook!

  25. allan

    Australia’s ‘punk turtle’ risks being last of the Mohicans [Reuters]

    Antidote shot:

    Australia’s Mary River Turtle – with its green Mohican-style hair and ability to breathe through its genitals – is one of the world’s most distinctive reptiles.

    Anti-antidote chaser:

    The “punk turtle” was this week ranked 29th on the Zoological Society of London’s Evolutionary Distinct and Globally Endangered list, triggering calls for better protection of the reptile found in a remote part of Australia’s east coast.

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