2:00PM Water Cooler 4/5/2018

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“U.S. aluminum users are breathing a sigh of relief. Prices of the metal have fallen 6% from a peak in February…, despite a tariff aimed at holding back imports to boost domestic production. Manufacturers of products such as beer cans and car hoods now are paying 3% less for aluminum than they were before the Trump administration announced the tariff on March 1” [Wall Street Journal]. “That’s a sign of the fast-changing impact of the trade maneuvers as buyers and suppliers adjust to changes in the markets and the administration rolls out exemptions for many top aluminum-making countries.”

“Soybean and corn prices were trading lower in the wake of China’s announcement that it would impose retaliatory tariffs on various agricultural products, adding to the pain on farms already weighed down by diminished income from crops and livestock. China is by far the largest foreign buyer of U.S. soybeans, and bought 32 million metric tons of the crop from U.S. exporters last year—more than half of all foreign sales. Analysts say the mere threat of tariffs should prompt buyers in China to cancel some unshipped orders and shop for Brazilian-grown commodities instead” [Wall Street Journal].

“Trump’s being cunning — not dumb — over China, says trade expert” [MarketWatch]. “”Does President Trump really not understand that a trade war is a lose-lose situation or is he playing a smart strategic game? There are indications the latter is the case,” writes ING’s Raoul Leering in a blog post. Other countries depend much more on American demand for their products than the other way around, Leering notes. ‘It is likely that China will, in the end, cut its losses and be willing to give Trump something,’ he says…. ‘If Trump succeeds in getting more favorable terms of trade from his trading partners … he will emerge as the winner in the noisiest trade quarrel the world has seen in the last couple of decades. This would get him in the voters’ good books in the run-up to the midterm elections in the U.S. in November,’ the ING expert says.”

“Trump’s predictably ruinous strategy in the trade war” [The Week]. “China’s leadership, composed as it is by intelligent people with a decent grasp on policy, are aiming their tariffs directly at so-called Trump Country — rural, conservative places that export a lot of food, as well as manufacturing regions. The objective, pretty clearly, is to be to put pressure on Republican congressmen from Trump’s base regions, who can then press the president to roll back his tariffs. A straightforward, logical strategy at the least. [However,] Intelligent people often struggle to understand incredibly stupid or ignorant ones…. [These voters] are disproportionally employed, married men with children at home. They are also mainly college educated and are the likeliest group to call themselves ‘upper class.’ These are upscale suburban dads, not suburban moms.”



Sanders asks for votes in Jackson: Thread:

More from Jackson:

More from Jackson:

Sanders asks for votes:

Good to see liberal Democrats all over the teacher strikes. Oh, wait…

2018 Midterms

“The Left’s Year of Magical Thinking” [Jeff Greenberg, Politico]. “My anecdotal sense is that countless liberals are drawn to the never-ending, numbing procession of TV panel after TV panel, all focused on the Mueller investigations and what they might yield. (Stormy Daniels has now become the second obsessive subject.) Whenever I click on CNN during prime time, it feels like Groundhog Day. Each hour seems to promise that any minute now, federal marshals will parade down Pennsylvania Avenue with warrants and cuffs. And for many Democrats, the promise of a House takeover in 2019 is that impeachment hearings will begin roughly 30 minutes after Paul Ryan hands the gavel over to Nancy Pelosi (or her successor)… But if Democrats should have learned anything from 2016, it is that the low regard in which most Americans hold Donald Trump does not necessarily translate into votes for Democrats.” Strange article that berates fringe elements for anti-gun and pro-abortion sentiments that hand isssue to Republicans, while simultaneously arguing that the central tendency of the liberal Democrats who run the Party — Russia, Russia, Russia! and Daniels Davis! — will be the cause of a 2018 debacle.

“Can ‘Reluctant Trump’ Voters Rescue the G.O.P.?” [Henry Olsen, New York Times]. “[I]t looks like a blue wave is swelling for the midterm elections. There’s still time for Republicans to change that, but first they must figure out how to mount an effective defense. To do that, they need to focus on a largely overlooked group of voters: Donald Trump voters who did not like him. According to the 2016 exit polls, 18 percent of Americans did not like either Mr. Trump or Hillary Clinton. Mr. Trump owes his victory to the fact that he beat her among this group by a 17-point margin.”

“How Women Could Lose Senate Seats in the Latest Year of the Woman” [Inside Elections]. “[T]here are more opportunities for women to lose their Senate seats than for women to gain seats. Of the 13 women incumbents on the ballot this year, four are Democrats running in Trump states, and at least three of those will face off against GOP men in November…. In the 2018 House elections, there’s a wave of women with no experience in politics running, including Democrats Chrissy Houlahan in Pennsylvania and Gina Ortiz Jones in Texas. But in the Senate, the candidates most likely to add to women’s ranks have spent years laying the groundwork for major statewide races. Current House members seeking Senate seats this year, including Sinema, Blackburn and McSally, have been “waiting and working and laying groundwork and [staying] connected in party politics in the ways the men are in those states,” said Debbie Walsh, director of Rutgers Center for American Women and Politics.”

WI: “On Tuesday, in Wisconsin’s Supreme Court election, a liberal challenger who nationalized the race prevailed. In a shocking outcome, Milwaukee County Judge Rebecca Dallet beat Sauk County Judge Michael Screnock, who was supported by conservatives, with 56 percent of the vote. Her decisive victory marked the first time liberals prevailed in an open seat state Supreme Court race in 23 years” [RealClearPolitics]. “[L]iberals saw the Wisconsin judiciary seat as territory to be reclaimed – a blow to be struck in support of the national “#Resistance” movement. They nationalized the election, focused on President Trump and issues such as gun control. They brought in big dogs Democrats like Eric Holder and Joe Biden to drive the message home and rally their base. It worked. What’s troubling for conservatives is that the left’s playbook, which failed in the past, seems to be working now.” Liberals and the left are not the same, of course.

NY: “Nixon-Cuomo Primary Spotlights Role of State Democratic Party” [Gotham Gazette]. “[Geoff Berman, the executive director of the New York State Democratic Party] drew a line between the party at large — composed of every registered Democratic voter who can vote in the primary for the candidate of their choice — and the State Democratic Party Committee, which is made up of elected district leaders and is not necessarily a neutral entity.” He did?!?!?

FL-27: “Donna Shalala Won’t Discuss Working for Lennar During Housing Bust, Profiting Off Health-Care Work” [Miami New Times]. I’m shocked.

FL-27: “Shalala raises big bucks in first three weeks of Congressional campaign” [Miami Herald]. “[A]lready she’s raised more than $1 million, her campaign announced Thursday. Her first-quarter total — an eye-popping number even for the woman who helped raised billions for the University of Miami — immediately gives her one of the fattest war chests in a crowded Democratic primary… It’s unclear how much of the haul, if any of it, is self-loans, although the campaign’s release says the $1.17 million she’s reporting was in the form of contributions. Shalala, 77, began advertising last month, rolling out a television commercial just two weeks into her campaign.”

VA-7: “At the height of the Tea Party movement, Dave Brat stunned the political world by knocking off House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a Republican primary, then winning his seat that November. Now, just four years later, Brat may again be in for the race of his life, but this time as the incumbent facing a wave of energized Democrats determined to knock him out of Congress and turn the district blue” [ReaClearPolitics]. I remember that race; the Democrat’s did squat for Brat’s opponent in the general, Jack Trammell (also a professor at Brat’s school, Randolph-Macon), so given a chance for a referendum on the Tea Party, they whiffed.

MN: “Trump Is ‘Saving Us’: Minnesota Mining Country Warms to Tariffs and G.O.P.” [New York Times]. “In the union halls and restaurants of northern Minnesota, the enthusiasm for the tariffs is tempered by decades of ups and downs, hiring sprees and layoffs. People often use phrases like ‘guarded optimism’ and ‘stabilization.'”

IL-12: Over the transom: “IL-12 came up a few days ago (“Conor Lamb Clone”), and that’s the district I grew up in. It’s pretty funny that “union, guns, and weed” is now being workshopped as a campaign slogan in Southern Illinois. . . sign of the times I guess. Kelly’s quote feels like a formulation to me, meant to talk to the very different types of people and economic situations that exist in the district (en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Illinois%27s_12th_congressional_district): “Unions” – Granite City residents who work/worked at US Steel. “Guns” – well, probably works with a lot of residents in the cities more than 30 miles from downtpwm St. Louis MO. “Weed” – the kids at SIU in Carbondale, but maybe a wink towards decriminalization. The cities in that district also have very different situations at the moment – cities like O’Fallon and Shiloh are booming – housing, air force base nearby, hospitals relocating there, and new big box retailers opening monthly. Belleville – de-population with residents moving to places like O’Fallon, Shiloh, and more rural cities further away from the St. Louis MSA. All that said, not sure I see a Democrat taking this one outside of a wave. It’s still socially conservative, and evangelical churches ‘open’ just as often as the big box retailers I mentioned above. And things are going well enough in the well-off cities that they’ll probably vote for Bost in support of the status quo. Thanks again for the great work! – Jon

Registration deadlines:

New Cold War

Onward together:

Realignment and Legitimacy

“The Preeminent Fundraising Group For Democratic Women Is Stuck In The Middle Of The Party’s Wars” [Buzzfeed]. “”EMILY’s List is in the business of electing pro-choice Democratic women who will be champions for women and hardworking families. That just isn’t possible without defending a woman’s right to choose, full stop,” said [Christina Reynolds, vice president of communications for EMILY’s List], when asked whether the group feels compelled to engage with divisions animating Democratic politics at the moment.” Ugh, “champions” (Clinton) and “hardworking families” (as opposed to the working class, which includes single people without “families”). Anyhow, it’s not clear to me how anybody can “champion” “hardworking famlies” without making #MedicareForAll a litmus test, which Emily’s List does not do (as I show here).

“Redefining Civic Engagement: Why City Bureau’s Documenters Do This Work” [Medium]. “These aren’t journalists by trade. They’re citizens who understand the value of reclaiming journalism and citizenship for the public… .The results were similar when we asked our Documenters what doing Documenters work (i.e. live-tweeting public meetings, note-taking and producing audio/video at public meetings) has taught them… The Documenters program creates a new space and a new dynamic for civic engagement — unlike volunteering or donating to charities, the work in which Documenters engage is, by its nature, a two-way exchange where they derive concrete benefits (skill-building, knowledge about the city, self expression) while contributing to their communities in meaningful ways. In short, they can give and get at the same time. Getting paid for their work also is a crucial part of this exchange, not necessarily because of the dollar amount, but because it acknowledges the value of their time and allows them to prioritize the assignments among competing interests.” This is really, really good and important work. If any readers are doing this, I’d love to hear about it.


Stats Watch

Coincident Indicators: “January 2018 Philly Fed Coincident Index Year-over-Year Rate of Growth Again Marginally Improve” [Econintersect]. “The reality is that most of the economic indicators have moderate to significant backward revision – and this month they are generally more positive. Out of this group of coincident indicators discussed in this post, only ECRI and the Aruoba-Diebold-Scotti business conditions index have no backward revision – and both have a good track record of seeing the economy accurately in almost real time…. ECRi’s Coincident Index’s rate of growth is relatively unchanged…. The Aruoba-Diebold-Scotti business conditions shows above average business conditions.”

International Trade, February 2018: “The nation’s trade deficit keeps deepening, to $57.6 billion in February for the fourth straight showing over $50 billion in a curve that continues to accelerate” [Econoday]. “The goods gap reflects a 1.6 percent rise in imports to $214.2 billion that offsets and masks a solid 2.3 percent rise in exports to $137.2 billion. Leading the import side is a jump in food and industrials supplies and especially capital goods, the latter a positive indication for domestic business investment. Leading the export side are industrial supplies as well as a rare jump for vehicles and also a solid gain for capital goods which points to international business investment.” And: “The data in this series wobbles and the 3 month rolling averages are the best way to look at this series. The 3 month averages are slowing for exports and accelerating for imports. Thus the trade balance worsened” [Econintersect].

Jobless Claims, week of March 31, 2018: “After holding steady near record lows since the middle of January, initial jobless claims popped 24,000 higher to 242,000 and well beyond Econoday’s high estimate” [Econoday]. “Despite the headline rise for initial claims, unemployment claims remain solidly consistent with strong demand for labor.”

Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index, week of April 1, 2018: Rose to a new 17-year high [Econoday]. “This year’s confidence is tied to the tax cut and strength in the jobs market.”

Banks: “Wall Street’s Big Banks Are Waging an All-Out Technological Arms Race” [Bloomberg]. “Investment banks are starting to unleash a new generation of learning machines on the markets to customize, hedge, and execute trades. It’s a step toward the post-human vision of markets that Pandit had at Morgan Stanley in the 1990s. Across the equities and fixed-income world, apart from a dwindling pool of human traders working on bespoke deals and the human minders of the machines, algorithms will be connecting sellers and buyers….And yet, for all the ways in which finance is becoming a place where machines transact with other machines, the race for trading riches will ultimately be won or lost by people such as Blankfein, Gorman, and Dimon, men driven to keep the throne—or claim it at last.” So, the future of work is a few hundred rich dudes who own the Big Iron?

Shipping: “Drivers need to get paid twice as much, says [Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA)] president Todd Spencer” [Freight Waves]. “[ATA senior vice president Bob Costello] refuted the claim of the Department of Labor that lists the number of trucking-centric drivers to be 864,000 but rather estimated it to be around 500,000. And since the industry ran with an estimated 50,000 drivers short last year, Costello believes the situation is more ominous than it looks. Todd Spencer, the president of OOIDA, mirrored the views of Costello and extended his reasons for the shortage while talking on a Fox Business segment yesterday. “Pay for truck drivers has been falling for three decades, while the demand and the responsibility to the job are going exactly the opposite,” he said. “It will always be difficult to find people to do jobs that are hard, that doesn’t really pay much.”…. The average trucker wage was $38,618 annually in 1980 and if it is adjusted to the present, would be over $111,000 a year. But as Spencer points out, the average wage today as estimated by the Department of Labor is a paltry $41,000, which is nearly a third of what a trucker needs to draw, considering the inflation over the years. The buck does not stop here. Drivers in the trucking industry are among the hardest toiling working class, with weeks that range between 70 to 80 hours on the road. Spencer believes that ‘the trend hasn’t really changed,’ and for a job that pays less while demanding incredibly long work weeks, it does not come as a surprise that drivers are hard to come by.”

Shipping: “Trucking companies are ordering big rigs at a record pace and it’s still not fast enough to meet shipping demand. U.S. fleet owners in the first quarter nearly doubled their orders from a year ago, … a stark sign of the strong expansion in the American economy” [Wall Street Journal]. “Relief from truck manufacturers may not arrive soon: ACT Research reports factory backlogs are near a three-month high.”

The Bezzle: “A Handy Guide To Tesla’s Guidance” [Bloomberg]. “So how have Tesla’s targets fared in general? I went back through the past three year-end shareholder letters and counted up 36 objectives in their outlook sections, falling into three buckets: Financial, Operations and Sales. Judging fulfillment is naturally a bit subjective, but seven were met unambiguously. On another six, I surmise Tesla kinda got there. The single biggest group is the 12 misses (including those Model 3 targets). The jury’s still out on another 11.”

The Bezzle: This is interesting; an aggregation of bills of lading for Tesla. Thead:

But I’m not sure how good that data is, since big shippers can conceal what they ship. Still, at the worst a good try.

Mr. Market: “Opinion: Here’s why you should ignore quarterly GDP numbers” [MarketWatch]. “The wisest course of action is to just ignore the quarterly GDP reports. Over longer periods (a year or more), GDP does an adequate job of summarizing economic growth. But it’s a mess in the shorter term. In an attempt to get a fast read on the economy, the government statisticians at the Bureau of Economic Analysis have to rely on data that are incomplete or preliminary. Some of the data is just an educated guess. Sometimes the GDP numbers are revised going back several decades! Swings in inventories and trade flows — which don’t have much bearing on how the economy feels for workers, businesses, savers, and consumers — can have a big impact on the bottom-line GDP number. In addition to those long-standing problems, the BEA has also been having a lot of trouble lately quantifying the seasonal quirks in the economy. All the GDP figures are reported on a seasonally adjusted basis so that the usual rhythms in the economy don’t fool us into thinking the economy is going into recession every January. But seasonal adjustments are tricky. Lately, for whatever reason, the first-quarter GDP has been much weaker than the other three quarters, even after applying the proscribed seasonal adjustment.”

Five Horsemen: “Facebook remains a below-market performer as Mr Zuck goes to Washington” [Hat Tip, Jim Haygood].

Five Horsemen Apr 5 2018

NakedCap Mania-Panic Index: “The mania-panic index improved to 26 (worry) on yesterday’s bounce, while new lows exceeded new highs for the 15th day running” [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 4 2018

Facebook Fracas

“How to invest in water: A long-term bet on an essential commodity with limited supply” [MarketWatch]. “There are different ways to invest in water, starting with simply buying the shares of those companies that make everything from pipes, pumps, meters, filters and other equipment and infrastructure, to investments in the water utilities and environmental-services companies that clean, purify and distribute it…. Investors can also invest in exchange-traded funds that group baskets of stocks with exposure to the commodity…. The list includes utilities, infrastructure companies and the makers of equipment, instruments and materials….” Michael Burry, courtest phone…

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Handy map:

And an excellent thread from Tressie McMillan Cottom with anecdotes reacting to the map. Cottom: “As I’ve said before I do a version of this in almost all my undergrad classes. Hands down, virtually all students think the US pop. is almost half black. My joke is, black people are in ten places. I’m only half joking.”

The 420

“Please stop smoking weed in the drive-through, Gulfport restaurant asks” [Sun-Herald]. “‘ATTENTION,’ a laminated sign reads in the window of the Sonic on 17th Street. ‘If you are smoking weed in the drive thru you will not be served! Please show some common courtesy and smoke and air out before pulling up to order.'”

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

“Your Alexa and Fitbit can testify against you in court” [CNET]. Of course they can.

Class Warfare

“What does she think she looks like?” [London Review of Books]. “If human character did, as [Virginia Woolf] famously suggested, change in or about 1910[*], women’s clothes changed very soon afterwards. Another product of 1925 was the woman’s ‘pullover’. Not today the most exciting item in anyone’s wardrobe, it was in its way revolutionary. A pullover is pulled over the head both on and off and the person who does the pulling is the wearer. Yes, I know, but until then it had been, for more than a century, virtually impossible for a woman to get dressed – or undressed – by herself. The rich had ladies’ maids, the poor had one another, but the laces and hooks and eyes, the fastening behind, required assistance. This was not true for men. In the persisting convention that women’s clothes have buttons on the left, for the convenience of the average right-handed dresser, while men’s have them on the right, to suit themselves, there remains an archaeological trace, a fossil record, of the different history of women and men in their relation to their clothes.” NOTE * That’s “in or about December 1910,” ffs. In the London Review of Books!

“Tariffs Aren’t the Best Way To Protect U.S. Steelworkers. Global Solidarity Is.” [In These Times]. “Tariffs will do nothing to improve labor rights or working conditions for workers in China, and may perversely result in a greater squeeze on labor as exporters look to cut costs. And if foreign workers were to be laid off or squeezed as a result of the tariffs, how likely will they be to stand in solidarity with us in the future?”

“Burying The White Working Class” [ARC]. “It’s not an accident that the single largest egalitarian transfer of capital in the United States was the (vacillatingly but still explicitly) anti-racist project of freeing enslaved people. Racism and capitalism in the United States cannot be untangled from one another. Focusing on the oppression of the white working class as a somehow purer socialist fight just means that you’re not willing to tackle the actual difficult work of confronting capitalism in the United States.”

News of The Wired

“What Americans Think Is A Fair ‘Hourly Rate’ For Advertising” [MediaPost]. “To find out what consumers think the fair value exchange is for paying attention to advertising, Research Intelligencer surveyed two samples of American adults about what they feel is a reasonable hourly rate…. The average of the multiple-choice respondents was $3.40, which is close to the actual amount that U.S. advertisers currently spend, in aggregate, to reach the average American per hour of pure advertising time… On an open-ended basis, the average was $8.40 — just over minimum wage. But that average was skewed by some very high-end results — as much as $100 per hour of advertising attention. (Interestingly, none of the respondents entered an amount higher than $100).”

Setting flags:

Has anybody else ever seen this?

A facade of crapification:

And that brick seemed so solid!

* * *

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: “This may be too landscape-ish and not enough plant-ish but I love this tree. ‘The Links’ Golf Course at Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.” I love the colors. If I were a real WASP, I’d have a boat, and I’d wear pants the color that green grass, and a polo shirt the color of that blue sea. Maybe with a whale belt.

* * *

Readers: Water Cooler is a standalone entity not covered by the NC fundraiser. So do feel free to use the dropdown and click the hat to make a contribution today or any day. Here is why: Regular positive feedback both makes me feel good and lets me know I’m on the right track with coverage. When I get no donations for five or ten days I get worried. More tangibly, a constant trickle of small donations helps me with expenses, and I factor that trickle in when setting fundraising goals. So if you see something you especially appreciate, do feel free to click the hat!


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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. Jim Haygood

    Sodbusters prepare to punch back:

    The economic impact of Chinese tariffs on farmers may play out at the ballot box in November. “The farm community is a pretty powerful voting bloc,” said Jennifer Duffy of the Cook Political Report. “If they are unhappy, they turn out in big numbers and can really change things in a hurry.”

    That’s a potential boon for Democratic candidates. Three of the four most vulnerable Democratic Senate incumbents hail from Indiana, Missouri, and North Dakota—states that stand to be hit hardest by Chinese soybean tariffs.

    And it’s bad news for Republicans. In Illinois, whose 10.6 million acres of soybeans are more than any other state’s, the incumbent governor Bruce Rauner already trails his Democratic challenger J.B. Pritzker according to recent polls. Republicans are also defending statehouses in what are expected to be close races in Wisconsin and Ohio.


    Check out this highly detailed map of US soybean farms:


    Don’t see no blue dots in New York City, do ya? Queens used to have an agricultural extension agent when Donnie was a lad. But his farmer died. :-(

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Have you ever tried soy bread?

      For those who don’t like tofu, that’s an option.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          The Chinese trade war army’s slogan: “Let them Americans eat tofu!!!”

          And why not? They claim it’s over and they won.

      1. Luke

        What is the appeal of estrogen analogs (good for causing premature puberty in young girls, accelerating menopause in them when older, and encouraging impotence and infertility in men), and nutrient blockers, which soy products are notorious for containing? Soy oil is also low in antioxidants that retard it going rancid, unlike, say, olive oil. A devil’s bargain of hydrogenating the soy oil is often resorted to, trading its useful essential fatty acids in for saturated fats that don’t exist in nature and act as superglue in arteries. I don’t understand why anyone (aside from starving Asian peasants) who understands soy’s nature would touch it beyond lecithin or soy sauce. TVP, soy protein isolate, tofu, miso, soy nuts, soy oil — not for me, even if free.

        1. Yves Smith

          First, no one mentioned soy oil.

          Second, you are off base. Making stuff up is against our written site Policies.

          Populations that eat soy products are generally healthier than Americans, and a lot depends on how it is processed. It’s not a miracle food but it isn’t bad for you either.

          I don’t know why they don’t advocate fermenting. See the third link for that.



    2. HotFlash

      That’s a potential boon for Democratic candidates. Three of the four most vulnerable Democratic Senate incumbents hail from Indiana, Missouri, and North Dakota—states that stand to be hit hardest by Chinese soybean tariffs.

      My bet is that Dem candidates, coached by top consultants (of course they are top, look how much they cost!)vfrom the DNC and DCCC, will campaign on RussiaRussiaRussia! and other substantive issues that directly affect their constituents.

      1. Jim Haygood

        If they had a lick of sense, Dems would blame the R party for this:


        But one tends not to notice when one’s driver attends to the messy business of topping up.

        *ruffles his FT in annoyance at the delay*

    3. Procopius

      I’m trying to figure out what the real status of the tariffs and retaliatory tariffs is. The tariffs Trump tweeted about, justified by “national security,” will actually go into effect … when? Against whose products? What countries are going to be exempt? The EU retaliatory tariffs on bourbon and Harley-Davisons go into effect… when? The Chinese retaliatory tariffs, said to affect $100 Billion of trade, go into effect… when? Are any of these putative tariffs actually in effect? Are moneys being collected on top of the sales? Or is all this just hot air? The top-down for-profit corporate propaganda disseminators (aka MSM) are so difficult to parse now I really can’t make it out.

  2. Lee

    2018 Midterms

    “The Left’s Year of Magical Thinking” [Jeff Greenberg, Politico]. “My anecdotal sense is that countless liberals are drawn to the never-ending, numbing procession of TV panel after TV panel, all focused on the Mueller investigations and what they might yield. (Stormy Daniels has now become the second obsessive subject.)

    Stormy who?

    1. Carolinian

      The magical thinking is not that the Dems may take the House but that Trump will be impeached. Here’s betting the Dem promises to do so will quickly fade if they ever get the power to do it.

      They are just going to have to recapture the White House in 2020 the old fashioned way: by not nominating Hillary Clinton.

      1. dcblogger

        Pelosi has already taken Trump impeachment off the table, and for once I think she is right. As for retaking the House, that is a given. Democrats have been dominating almost all the special elections since Nov 2016, and even where they lose, they have been beating their 2016 performance by 10 points or better. No matter how incompetent the national leadership, locals on the ground have taken matters into their own hands. it is going to be a blue tsunami.

        1. lyman alpha blob

          Of course the Democrat party is putting up all kinds of right wing candidates, ex-spooks, etc.

          Some of us want to see something actually change for the better so what good does it do to elect of bunch of Doug Joneses who will vote with the worst of the Republicans?

          Clinton beating Trump was a given too. Wake me up when the Democrat party starts promoting concrete material benefits for everyone rather than just putting up a bunch of pussy hats to shout “Trump bad”.

    2. clarky90

      Will Trump whip the USAian Oligarchs into line? Forced to seek refugee status in Saudi Arabia, imprisoned, or perhaps meekly behaving themselves?

  3. diptherio

    In Nepal, a lot of buildings have brick walls…only they’re smart enough to also include structural support pillars every 6 feet or so…

    1. Lee

      Looks like the big bad wolf got bigger and badder or maybe the third little piggy got greedier.

      We don’t put up a lot of vertical brick here in the sf bay area for some odd reason.

      1. diptherio

        When I visited Nepal after their last big earthquake, I was quite surprised to see how well the brick/concrete/rebar structures had held up. Apparently, if you do it right it can actually be pretty sturdy.

        1. John k

          Gotta have lotsa steel, which can take bending. Wood not so bad. Ceramics don’t like that at all.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            The seismic load on a building is proportional to its weight.

            The equation is

            (Mass x acceleration) + (friction coefficient x velocity) + (stiffness ratio x displacement) = (Mass x ground acceleration)

            The load on the structure = mass x ground acceleration.

            A wooden structure, reinforced with plywood panels, attracts a smaller force than a similarly sized steel-reinforced concrete structure (but weighing more). Depending on the construction, it can be just as enduring, quake-resisting wise, or more.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                No, I haven’t, so thanks for linking that. I will try to watch it when I go home later today.

                The wood in the forbidden palace is Nanmu. From Wikipedia:

                Nanmu (Chinese: 楠木) is a type of wood that was frequently used for boat building, architectural woodworking and wood art in China. Ming Dynasty era writings indicate this wood as superior durable softwood. A recent excavation of a tomb in Lija village in Jing’an County, Jiangxi Province found 47 coffins made of nanmu wood that are reported to be about 2500 years old dating back to the Eastern Zhou Dynasty period and belongs to the Dongyi State of Xu.

      2. polecat

        That’s a fine example of, and a reason for not utilizing … ’tilt-up brick’ construction !

    2. Lemmy Caution

      Looks like there were insufficient (or no) brick ties — thin wires or sheet metal strips that are nailed to the wall studs and achored on the other end in between rows of bricks. Depending where you are in the U.S., there should be one for every 2-3 square feet of brick.

      1. nippersmom

        I agree. That was the first thing that came to mind when I saw the picture- where are the brick ties? Someone got cheap and/or lazy and this is the result. Typical wood frame construction is adequate to support masonry veneer in most situations, but it has to be attached. It doesn’t matter what kind of structural backup you have if the masonry is not connected to it.

    3. Wukchumni

      When I was in Perth about 35 years ago, I thought I was in California, albeit with brick beach houses.

  4. allan

    Plan to dismantle Puerto Rico’s statistics agency gets green light [Nature]

    Puerto Rico’s senators this week approved a plan to overhaul an independent statistics agency tasked with coordinating the collection and analysis of crucial data — including the impact of hurricanes — on the island. The reorganization will wreck the US territory’s ability to produce credible data about itself, including updated estimates of the death toll from Hurricane Maria, critics of the plan say.

    The 2 April decision paves the way towards restructuring several government agencies, including the Puerto Rico Institute of Statistics (PRIS). Lawmakers must now approve legislation dismantling the laws that established PRIS in order to make the reorganization official. Under Governor Ricardo Rosselló’s plan to reduce the size and cost of government agencies, first introduced in January, PRIS would become an office in the Department of Economic Development and Commerce, which would outsource the institute’s duties to private companies. …

    Like Uber Palantir for statistical analysis.
    There’s no shock doctrine going on if the numbers aren’t there to support the charge.

    Coming soon to a national capital near you.

  5. ambrit

    Re. the underlining. The only consistent underlining I’ve encountered recently has been of lines in textbooks I’ve purchased in Thrift Shops. Mainly the artifacts of high school or the cheaper university tomes.
    As to numbers, well, I can remember having six or nine underlined to define the orientation of the squiggle.
    This leads us to Hendrix and “If 6 Was 9.”
    Experience: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZuFq4CfRR8

    1. bibliophile

      Methinks the wee old woman is herself the primary suspect, perhaps evincing a need to get caught.

      1. ambrit

        I see what you mean.
        People using keys of various sorts to store information individually. No ‘cloud’ to steal your information, nor gatekeepers to charge rents for access to your own ‘stuff.’ People thinking for themselves! What a novel idea! Heretically, I wonder if the same thing happens at the Bodleian, or the Bibliotheque National, etc.?
        Did you see the young womans CV? All that to work in a library. I would suspect her of writing an in depth book on Shakespeares’ jests at Lord Bacons’ expense. I hope she does.

        1. marym

          Bodlean hopes not.

          Bodlean Libraries Verified account @bodleianlibs
          A brilliant story. Please don’t reenact it at @bodleianlibs.

          Not a totally novel idea though – the non-anonymous version of this data structure used to be a little card in a little envelope pasted inside the book!

          1. marym

            apologies on the spelling: auto-correct changed Bodleian to Boolean; marym-uncorrect changed to Bodlean (which autocorrect also tried to change to Boolean)

            1. ambrit

              Auto correct is a tool of the Devil! I know. I do battle with it every day.
              Stay strong and flights of angels sing you to your vocabulary.

  6. Mark Gisleson

    Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel is crediting Dane County with the victory. The state’s most liberal county went massively for Dallet, overwhelming the vote from the rest of the state although D’s did do better at getting votes in red areas. https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/blogs/wisconsin-voter/2018/04/04/liberal-supreme-court-victory-boosted-fired-up-democratic-base-and-dane-county-landslide/486950002/

    When I was working WI 01 in 2016, the word was that Clinton wouldn’t go to Dane County because she feared being heckeled. This election proves what WI Dems already knew: Madison, not Milwaukee, is the heart of the Democratic party in Wisconsin. But the national party only recognizes Milwaukee, pouring money into their races while ignoring the rest of the state.

    1. John k

      And why risk it? The state and election was in the bag. Better to go back to ca and pick up more checks from the adoring rich.

    2. Stillfeelinthebern

      It was much more than just the record vote in Dane county, which went 80% for Dallet. Brown county (Green Bay) flipped to Dallet and by almost a 10 spread. This was a strong Trump area in 2016. Many western counties that went for Trump flipped back as well.

      The other interesting tidbit was that the WOW counties (the 3 deeply red counties bordering Mke county, Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington) did not give their normal margins to counter the swing in Madison. Saw a bit of that in my own red county as well, the win margin wasn’t as big as usual. I read that in Waukesha County, there was a Walker endorsed local judge who LOST.

      Madison is becoming more important because that is one of the few places that people moving into Wisconsin find attractive. The population growth there is very strong. That’s why the Guv is using it in the ads running in Illinois encouraging people to move to Wisconsin.

      No one is mentioning this, but in my town, after the 2016 election, we had young people who were born here and raised here in Republican families come and join progressive efforts. Basically, they are seeing what is happening and abandoning following blindly. They are WOKE.

      Another interesting note. If the vote was parted out by congressional district, one of the 8 swung back to the Democrats. This is the 8th, much of which is in the Green Bay area. In the 6th CD, there was only a 4 pt spread. In the 2016 race it was 17 pts. The Dem challenger, Dan Kohl, is the nephew of former Senator Herb Kohl.

      1. Brady

        As a WOKE young Eau Claire resident raised by Republicans I’m glad to see another NCer from my neck of the woods! I did vote for Shaughnessy Murphy because I know him and his family personally, but the amount of money being poured into this local court race did give me pause. The City Council also had quite the turnover, with a few new progressive voices upsetting incumbents.

  7. Darius

    The Democrats since Obama have championed “hard-working strivers.” I would prefer they look out for struggling survivors.

    1. The Rev Kev

      True. But using the term “hard-working strivers” sounds like that you are backing “winners” whereas backing “struggling survivors” can be flipped to sound like you are backing “losers”. That’s Social Darwinism for you.

  8. Jim Haygood

    As Gazans prepare to burn tires in self-defense tomorrow at the de facto Israeli border, their overlords have developed a sudden virtuous concern for ecology:

    In an Arabic post on his Facebook page, Maj.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai, the coordinator of government activities in the territories, warned that the plan to blind IDF soldiers with smoke will backfire.

    “It’s the people in Gaza who will be strangled by black smoke – and green onions will not help them,” Mordechai wrote.

    He warned that the smoke is carcinogenic and is harmful to the respiratory and immune systems.

    Mordechai also wrote a letter asking the World Health Organization to intervene. Aside from the health issue, he wrote that he feared the burning tires could cause an ecological disaster, by poisoning plants and animals.


    Poisoned plants and animals — OH MY! Shame about the 17 humans who got offed last Friday in the IDF’s clear-air turkey shoot.

    And what of the Israeli-throttled electric supply to Gaza which prevents the Strip’s sewage treatment plants from operating, forcing untreated sewage to be released directly into the sea?

    The treatment facility requires sufficient power to operate, which is not consistently available due to the Gaza electricity crisis. In fact, the crisis of the entire Gaza sewage was aggravated by the lack of sufficient power. — World Bank


    1. WheresOurTeddy

      Makes complete sense if you read it in the context that Israelis view Palestinians as animals.

      Got into a tiff with a friend from a previous time in my life on facebook who is an ardent Zionist from the US. Confirmation of the above.

  9. ambrit

    As for that brick curtain wall. Hah! Structural brick died a slow but sure death with the introduction of cheap and easy structural concrete for larger structures and the concept of ‘Cheap!’ for smaller ones. I’ve had to do repairs in residential structural brick masonry. Two or even three layers tied together with “dead soldiers,” bricks laid on their sides with the smaller ends showing, add up to a jigsaw like interleaving effect. The problem with that in earthquake prone regions is that such a wall is brittle and will crack apart. Reinforced concrete will flex quite a bit, more than one would suppose, and, if it cracks, the internal rod and bar will hold the pieces together. Similarly, concrete roadways will crack and stay roughly in the original relationships with its’ surrounding parts. Proper roads and sidewalks incorporate spacer lines to ‘channel’ cracking, if done right.
    On most modern buildings, brick walls are almost purely ornamental and also somewhat insulating. Do notice the ‘blackboard’ exposed behind the collapsed brick wall in the video. That stuff is basically super thick, chemical impregnated cardboard. It is made of shredded paper product, sometimes from ‘bagasse,’ a by product of sugar cane processing in sugar mills, compressed and glued together. It falls apart quite quickly after being wet for awhile.
    For bagasse and its cousins: https://inspectapedia.com/structure/Fiberboard_Sheathing.php
    The whole inspectapedia site is fascinating and useful.

    1. Darius

      Traditional masonry may not work in seismically active zones, but in the east, Midwest, and great white north, it lasts centuries. Lots of brick structures persist long after their roofs and internal walls disappear. The disappearance of traditional masonry and the people who did it were huge steps on the ongoing crapification of everything.

      1. ambrit

        Agreed. I remember being taught by my Dad how to mix up proper concrete. The proportions of the ingredient mix were very important. Sand, lime and cement with aggregate consisting of pebbles and clinker. Mix enough water, but not too much water! Keep mixing it while it sits. The heat it gives off will surprise. Hoover Dam had to have a cooling system built inside of the concrete mass to carry away that heat so as to prevent internal heat stress from ruining the integrity of the monolith. I understand that the system is still working since the concrete is still generating some heat eighty years down the calendar.
        We can do wonderful things when the political will is present.

        1. bob

          Long ago, I worked on a job where a culvert was damaged, and rather than replace the box culvert, we slipped a large metal pipe inside. The area between the pipe and the box culvert was filled with grout.

          The heat coming out of that pipe was intense. Well over 150 F inside the pipe while the grout was curing. The grout had to be done in batches.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Makes those still-standing 2,000 year old Roman concrete/brick masonry structures in seismically active Italy even more impressive.

          1. The Rev Kev

            You got that right. Roman cement is actually more technologically superior to the cement that we use nowadays. In fact, they have taken to examining it to see how it was made as Roman cement structures are stronger now that when they were first laid down 2,000 years ago, even underwater. Modern cement in sea water, by contrast, crumbles after only a coupla decades-

      3. Clive

        And here in the U.K. where masonry construction was the norm for around three hundred years or more, most of the structures built using that method are, likewise, still standing quite happily. If they’re no longer there, it’s because they’ve been intentionally demolished.

        The modern scourge that is fast framing —- a horrid import from US building practices —- well, I’ll be amazed if it lasts the life of the second mortgage which unsuspecting lenders are starting to take on c. 20-30 year old properties. Unlucky owners frequently report “damp” and “condensation” issues which are difficult, if not impossible, to satisfactorily fix. While the reasons aren’t dwelt on by the builders who are sent back to try to resolve the issue, I suspect the vapour barrier membrane has become compromised in some unidentifiable and not easily accessible spot. Which is a structural disaster here in soggy England.

        As you say though, this isn’t a seismic event area nor do we get hurricanes. So brick-block builds are viable as they wouldn’t be in all areas of the US. And reinforced concrete construction — the other viable alternative to framing in such areas — is hugely expensive, probably prohibitively so for single family modest sized homes.

        1. ambrit

          We have been seeing steel ‘c’ strut frame members replace the wood studs in many places here. This is most common in commercial buildings, but I have seen residential single family and multi-family structures using steel ‘c’ studs. The vapour barriers are the problem. Even on commercial jobs where quality controls are a dedicated task, I have seen slack work in fire barrier work! Residential construction, from my limited experience could best be described as ‘Wild West Construction Methodology’ at work.
          Pre-stressed concrete house modular construction has been proposed.
          My Dad had a job when we first moved to the States with a company named ‘Panel Fab.’ While not concrete based, this company manufactured modular buildings for erection and assembly for use in out of the way places. They seem not to be extant now.
          The other bane of American cheap housing existence is the lowly ‘trailer.’ Which was, for public relations reasons I suspect, re-named the ‘mobile home.’ Which yet again got a makeover of sorts under the name ‘manufactured housing.’ No matter what name you use, Jimmy Buffet was right in one of his songs where he declared that trailers “looked better as beer cans.” And, I might add, about as strong.

          1. Jim Haygood

            Which yet again got a makeover of sorts under the name ‘manufactured housing.’

            Except for ‘park models’ which being under 400 sq ft are regulated differently, as RVs (recreational vehicles, or caravans in Brit-speak) rather than manufactured homes.

            Of course, once sited, nearly every park model gets an “add-on” room or two. ;-)

            Play the tape machine
            Make the toast and tea
            When I’m mobile

            — The Who

            1. ambrit

              I can remember helping an acquaintance take the axles off of his single wide trailer after he had put it up on blocks. This was for tax purposes. Without axles, it was a dwelling. With axles it was a vehicle, for tax purposes. The Homestead exemption came into play somehow.
              You can still find properties for sale out in the country, or occasionally in lager (larger?) trailer parks, with a stand alone ‘porch’ marking the dwelling site.
              The ultimate trailers we encountered, and lived in for awhile, were the Katrina Cottages. Those were well built, well designed, and not too expensive to build. We tried to buy ours but the State and the Feds demurred.

              1. Oregoncharles

                Just observing the price structure of rural real estate around here (Willamette Valley), a mobile home, with or without axles, adds little to the value of the property it’s on, even though it renders it immediately habitable. A site-built house, on the other hand, adds quite a lot, even when it’s made from a kit and therefore quite a bit like a “manufactured” home.

                In principle, you should be able to buy the property, then sell the mobile home for whatever it’s worth and pocket the proceeds while clearing the property. Of course, the utilities (well, septic, electric connection) remain behind. In practice, I believe the cost of MOVING the “mobile” home largely cancels out its resale value, bu tthat would depend quite a lot on how old it is. The smaller, mor emobile ones are actually more practical; you can buy one as temporary housing during construction, then resell it for about what you paid, assuming you haven’t wrecked it. But that’s because they’re cheaper to move.

        2. bob

          My understanding is that lime ‘cement’ is used a lot more in the UK because of the damp.

          Lime ‘cement’ breathes. Portland cement doesn’t.

          Lime ‘cement’ is not as strong or hard, but it does work well. The “self healing” cement people talk about as being ‘new tech’ is all based on the properties of lime that have been around since before the Romans.

          Repairing lime mortar with portland cement based mortar is a big problem. The portland cement ends up acting as a ‘vapor barrier’. Moisture can travel through the lime, but then gets stuck at the Portland barrier. The moisture condenses as water. The liquid water then is able to dissolve the lime, and carry it away, over time. There are also the strength differences between them, that lead to other problems.

    2. Jim Haygood

      Looks like the brick veneer wall was inadequately tied. Also what appears to be a very large air gap between the siding and the brick didn’t help the performance of the ties (if any).

      In the US, to withstand 100 mph wind gusts, ties are recommended to be spaced at 16 inches horizontally (at each stud) and 18 inches vertically (page 3):


      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Many times, not saying for sure is the case here, it’s about construction quality, or so say the design professionals.

        1. Darius

          Ties rust over time, necessitating repacement of the wall. Another problem with Portland mortar is the it’s harder than bricks. This causes it to destroy the bricks over time as temperatures fluctuate.

          1. nippersmom

            If the wall is properly flashed, the ties should last far longer than the apparent age of that building. There should also still be at least fragments or other evidence of the ties existence, which do not appear in that photo.

  10. Darius

    Gun ownership doesn’t necessarily mean traditional values. I know gun owners who smoke lots of weed and have non-traditional relationships.

    1. Summer

      I think that’s more of a subconscious slip in so many contexts – that the gun owners that deserve rights are the ones that have “traditional values.”

      Kind of like “white working class,” which implies non-whites don’t work or are simply invisible.

      Or like who the NY Times is usually talking about when they write about “millennials” even though the breadth and diversity of the the age group is wide.

      1. WheresOurTeddy

        my favorite is “working families”, which implies if you’re poor but don’t have a spouse or kids, to hell with you

    2. Arizona Slim

      Shades of my boss back at the bike shop. A red-hot flamin’ liberal who was a strong supporter of the Second Amendment. If he really, really, REALLY liked you, he’d allow you to dry fire his Glock 19.

      Of course, we were only allowed to aim it toward the back of the repair area, which was in the back of the building. And we had to make sure that the sales floor was devoid of customers, what with dry firing target practice being a turnoff to many members of the public.

      1. AbateMagicThinking but Not Money

        Re. Supporter of the 2nd Amendment:

        What did he have to say about the regulation of the militia?

        The dry firing I’ve heard about is certainly not dry; I’m talking ‘J. Arthur Rank’ here.


  11. ambrit

    The very first thing that surfaced into my conscious thought processes when I first spied the word ‘aluminium’ at the beginning of the water cooler today was; “Oh my g-d! Not that old aluminium tube gag again! Someone really, really wants a war.”

      1. ambrit

        This reinforces my comment on another thread about ‘messaging’ surrounding the Skripal “poisoning” case. I asked; “How stupid do they think we are?” My answer was; “Very stupid.”
        Even I cannot be too cynical on some days.

      2. Lunker Walleye

        Looks like the end-roll of newsprint from our local newspaper. Could easily give the diagonal joint on the cardboard tube a little fill line and then spray it with the right combination of silver, et voila!

  12. John k

    I imagine sitting on the bench in the plant pic, in the morning with an off shore breeze and the sun on my back, while admiring the far off sailboats at play.

  13. Summer


    One set of Facebook alternatives might be provided by firms that are credibly privacy-protective, for which users would pay a small fee (perhaps 99 cents a month). In an age of “free” social media, paying might sound implausible — but keep in mind that payment better aligns the incentives of the platform with those of its users. The payment and social network might be bundled with other products such as the iPhone or the Mozilla or Brave browser.

    Another “alt-Facebook” could be a nonprofit that uses that status to signal its dedication to better practices, much as nonprofit hospitals and universities do. Wikipedia is a nonprofit, and it manages nearly as much traffic as Facebook, on a much smaller budget. An “alt-Facebook” could be started by Wikimedia, or by former Facebook employees, many of whom have congregated at the Center for Humane Technology, a nonprofit for those looking to change Silicon Valley’s culture. It could even be funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which was created in reaction to the failures of commercial television and whose mission includes ensuring access to “telecommunications services that are commercial free and free of charge.”

    The subscriber idea had legs until he added: “The payment and social network might be bundled with other products such as the iPhone or the Mozilla or Brave browser.”

    That’s where the trouble would restart. Bundles.

    1. ewmayer

      FYI, everything to the right of the ‘html’ in your link is NYT tracking spam. As a matter of course I make it a habit to scrub such stuff from links I post here and forward to Yves and Lambert.

        1. ewmayer

          Ah yes – don’t use a smartphone myself, and thus frequently forget how difficult (if not outright impossible) certainly things I take for granted in the context of using a browser on my laptop are on a smartphone. Editing links and other text is one example; another is the ‘hover over suspect link and see if resulting hovertext url matches the textual one’ trick I use in my mail client to identify phish-mails which slip through the spam filters with nearly 100% accuracy.

          But if your smartphone does allow you to edit links before posting/e-mailing them, yes, thanks for your cooperation in fighting the trackers.

          Oh, and thanks for the link. :) Not sure how feasible such a scheme is in practice, but we certainly need alternatives of some kind to the present dismal state of things.

  14. Alex morfesis

    There is hope for Germany… Probably realizing the irony of having to decide… The German courts decided not to be remembered for helping start a second Spanish civil war by refusing to extradite puigdemont unless the insurrection charges are dropped…

    They didn’t rule on the misuse of govt funds charges but basically have closed the door on being forced by the francoish central govt attempt at extradition to becoming a catalyst for reigniting the 1930’s…

    Maybe…just maybe…there is hope for Germany…

    Now if they would just disclose what exactly Jens Weidmann was doing in rwanda during the 100 days for the French in the middle of his studies…

    he could have just been hiding under a desk or crying…he didn’t have to be a hero…but inquiring minds want to know

  15. Wukchumni

    I invested in water, as in a river runs through the all cats and no cattle ranch. Truth be said, we never use 99.999999999999997% of it, but all you could ever want flows by us each and every day, most of it on it’s way to becoming oranges or pistachio nuts down on the fruited plain.

    1. Daryl

      I also have some water in the form of a dry creek. No regular supply, but it is good for some shallow whitewater rafting once or twice a year…

    1. Richard

      Yes, especially clearheaded after his (short) touring break. I’m always afraid we’ll lose him to touring, since that appears to be where happiness lies for him.

    2. freedeomny

      I enjoy watching/listening to Jimmy Dore – although lately I’ve noticed he seems to do his show wearing a hat every once in a while. Why? Hats are great for keeping the sun off of you – or for keeping your head dry/warm. I don’t get why people wear hats while they are inside (unless they are having a bad hair day). So now I can’t watch Dore if he is wearing a hat….because I’m too busy wondering why he is wearing the hat to pay attention to what he is saying. Had this conversation with one of my nieces who I introduced Dore to. In her words – “not many people can pull off a hat”….

      1. DonCoyote

        I’m pretty sure he has a bald spot/is balding. In some of his earlier videos I think I remember his talking about taking Rogaine/minoxidil until he found out it could cause infertility. If I get a chance I’ll try to dig the link to this out.

        But yes, Jimmy is usually on point and entertaining.

  16. Altandmain

    Re – the image. I live in the area. Wind speeds had periods of gust that were about 90 km/h or 55 mph where I was. It was also snowing.

    The big issue is that I see is that housing construction has faced crapification. Poor quality material and construction is the bane of Canadian housing.

    Ironically the best grade lumber, known as J Grade lumber is often exported to Japan.

    Personally I think that the best way to do it might be a monolithic dome.

    1. Steve H.

      I’ve been trained to build them, they are the best option.

      Unless you’ve trained to build them just before the runways need foaming.

      The only real problem is that they are not cookie-cutter flippable, so neighbors may object and financing is difficult.

      1. Altandmain

        It actually makes a lot of sense for a nation like Canada. This area gets its share of strong wind and the occasional tornado. Every few years, there is a minor earthquake and I suspect that a big earthquake is always a danger, even if this is not the most seismically active place in the world.

        On a more mundane level, heating is a big savings for the winter season and blizzards happen each year.

        The only issue I see is that they will need dehumidifiers for summer. Adapting to circle architecture may be another.

    1. blennylips

      That link got truncated, try this:

      >Bay Area going to shit

      No worries, you got this heading for Baghdad by the Bay:

      One of the Greatest West Coast Atmospheric Rivers on Record

      The more I look at the strong atmospheric river that will strike California tomorrow, the more amazing it becomes. In some, but not all, respects it is one of the more extreme atmospheric rivers on record.

      That’ll flush a ☢load!

  17. The Rev Kev

    “What does she think she looks like?”

    Thought that I would suggest some interesting videos on the subject of women’s clothing here from YouTube. A lot more complicated back in the day.

    Getting dressed in the 18th century – working woman at

    and Getting dressed in the 18th century (for a lady) at

    Probably most of us have female ancestors who would have been well familiar with these routines. Lots of other videos on those pages on similar topics like Victorian and Edwardian women as well.

  18. Jim Haygood

    Flake-o-nomics goes nuclear:

    President Donald Trump on Thursday said he has instructed the United States Trade Representative to consider $100 billion in additional tariffs against China.

    “In light of China’s unfair retaliation, I have instructed the USTR to consider whether $100 billion of additional tariffs would be appropriate under section 301 and, if so, to identify the products upon which to impose such tariffs,” Trump said in a statement.

    Dow Jones futures tanked on the news, with the implied open down more than 400 points.


    “Unfair retaliation” — measured and proportional retaliation is generally considered reasonable until WTO adjudication can be completed.

    What the hell did Trump expect from China — groveling pleas for mercy to the great gweilo [Cantonese for ‘caucasian’] emperor?

    This is flat-out deranged. Wave goodbye to Bubble III — it’s over, and Larry Kudlow’s rainbow-bridled dancing white unicorns can’t fix it.

    Let me out of this nuthouse regime.

    1. ewmayer

      Just to be clear – you think the longer and bigger Bubble 3.0 goes on, the better? Because that’s what it sounds like you’re saying.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Jim is against tariffs in general.

        Maybe expelling some Chinese diplomats for intellectual property theft is more palatable.

    2. John k

      We import 388b from them, and export 115b to them (2016), Imagine both sides slap 25% tariff on the lot. Who wins? Or loses the least exports?
      Flyover is happy. Soybeans exports just benefits big ag, not little people. He’s doing something! And I bet flyover is more worried about Chinese imports in Walmart than Russian invasion.

      Who gets hurt? Blue states more than red. Boeing is in Seattle.
      This is anyway not a repeat of the 30’s for us, this time China is big exporter, has most to lose. And dominoes… eu will not allow China to divert trade from us to them. They’re gonna deal.
      We’ve allowed big Corp to keep us from using our trade clout wrt China, presumably great game logic, plus of course gotta push down wages. Trump, for all his awfulness, is the first bite from pendulum’s new direction.

      If he gets us out of Syria, and keeps Nato out of Ukraine, only Bernie could beat him in 2020 unless recession.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Watching Trump the last few years, my guess is that he will up it to trillions and negotiate backwards from there.

        I believe Kudlow said they were talking.

        “What did Trump expect from China?” Well, there is a saying in China, “When you’re in China, do as the Chinese do.”

        That means, you demand an annual tribute from Beijing. In exchange, we send an imperial princess. Both sides are honored.

        This did in fact happen between Tang China and Tibet.

        Princess Wencheng was betrothed to Songtsan Gambo and brought, the Chinese are still proud to say (because that implies Tibet is China) that she brought Han culture to Tibet (sort of like King Henry III marrying his daughter to the King of Scotland, and soon, the two kingdoms were united).

        1. Oregoncharles

          So a possibly legendary marriage back in Roman times creates a legitimate claim to the place.

          Now, THAT’S Imperial. Compared to that, we’re mere pikers and Johnny-come-lately’s.

          That’s exactly like Italy claiming to rule everything the Romans conquered.

          I’m a little sensitive about Tibet – formative experience.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Yesterday, it was US borrowing simultaneously with Fed tightening.

      Today, it’s goodbye to Bubble III (I blame you, Trump) but I wish I could stay in (vs. letting me out) of this nuthouse regime (because, in the previous sentence, Bubble III is adios).

      Where to though – Venezuela?

      My suggestion: have some tofu and soy yogurt. I am having some myself tonight.

    4. Third Time Lucky

      Nuts? Think about how much money any market player could make from such manipulation of market sentiment, and you’ve got an idea of how his team just loves Trump.

  19. ChrisPacific

    Zuckerberg on Facebook:

    “It’s not enough to have rules requiring they protect information, it’s not enough to believe them when they tell us they’re protecting information – we actually have to ensure that everyone in our ecosystem protects people’s information,” he said.

    Pretend he is a banker, and change the words around a bit:

    “It’s not enough to have rules requiring they protect your money, it’s not enough to believe them when they tell us they’re protecting your money – we actually have to ensure that everyone in our ecosystem protects people’s money,” he said.

    Feel reassured?

  20. Chris

    Why does page 7 in all the books I take out have the 7 underlined in pen?

    The most likely reason is that another borrower, with similar reading tastes to the “wee lady” had trouble remembering which books she had read. She underlined the page number in each book she read, and checked page 7 in potential borrowings to see whether it was a new find.

    Other variants include a circle around the page number, or a mark inside the cover, or in the margin on a particular page.

  21. drumlin woodchuckles

    Here’s something true-life funny. Its an article about how the gerrymandered Republican Majority Michigan Legislature is so scared that the “legalize marijuana” measure on the November ballot might bring out too many anti-Republican voters . . . that they are considering legislatively legalizing recreational marijuana NOW in order to “moot” it off the ballot and avoid getting all that unwanted voter turnout. Here is the link.

  22. DonCoyote

    Donna Shalala–I still haven’t had time to put together a comprehensive takedown of her, but I remembered Amy Sterling Casil had a pretty good one of her Clinton Foundation activities, so let me link to that for now and pull out a few of the juicier quotes):

    You know that your group doesn’t pay young interns or even help them to find housing. You just exploit their youth, idealism and enthusiasm.

    You know that the majority of these programs your Foundation takes credit for are in fact squeezing every penny out of groups in Africa, Asia and South America — and taking credit for small sums of money that may have been provided as much as a decade ago.

    You know that Haitians protest your patrons, the Clintons, everywhere they can, because billions were given, including by average Americans, and few, if any, benefits were ever provided to that island nation. Instead, their natural resources and arable land continue to be exploited, while the Haitians remain in poverty.

    And it’s not their fault, lady. It is the fault of you, and people like the Clintons and their other minions.

    Thank you Amy, and thank you, NC, for speaking truth to power.

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