2:00PM Water Cooler 5/21/2018

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“The U.S.-China trade war is on hold but that doesn’t mean tensions between the countries are easing. Two days of trade deliberations in Washington ended with both sides arguing all night over what to say in a joint statement… but without Beijing acceding to a demand to cut the U.S. bilateral trade deficit by $200 billion. The standoff left Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin declaring the Trump administration is ‘putting the trade war on hold,’ and won’t apply tariffs on Chinese imports while the countries seek to hammer out a deal. They are at an impasse over how detailed to get on the trade of specific goods” [Wall Street Journal].




If venture capitalist J.D. Vance, author of Hillbilly Elegy, had run for the Senate in Ohio, he would have run as a Republican. So that’s two reasons he’s ideal for Booker.

“As Midterms Approach, Bernie Sanders on Safest Ground Among Senate Incumbents” [Morning Consult]. “Sixty-one percent of Vermont voters said the liberal [sic] firebrand has done a good enough job to earn another term in office, while 32 percent said it’s time to give someone else a chance. ”


“Can the wave of female House candidates lead to a ‘tsunami’ of wins?” [Guardian]. “Andrea Bozek, a spokeswoman for Winning for Women, a new organization that aims to be the conservative counterweight to Emily’s List…. noted that the top two Republican fundraisers last quarter were women: Marsha Blackburn, running for Senate in Tennessee, and Martha McSally, running for Senate in Arizona. The only two women elected to Congress since Donald Trump took office have been Republicans: Karen Handel in Georgia and Debbie Lesko in Arizona.”

“A Progressive Woman Just Beat The Establishment Candidate In Nebraska. Now It’s A Test For The Left.” [Buzzfeed]. “Kara Eastman, who runs a local nonprofit, won a nail-biting primary upset Tuesday over a longtime politician, Brad Ashford, in Nebraska’s 2nd District — in what some progressives say is their most significant victory so far in 2018. Eastman’s victory “validated the point of view that running on bold, inspiring populist ideas like Medicare for All is the way to motivate voters — both in the primary and the general,” said Adam Green, a cofounder of the Progressive Campaign Change Committee, one of the few national groups that had backed Eastman.” PCCC isn’t even all that left IMNSHO…. More: “Eastman is a vocal supporter of Medicare for All, a policy championed by the likes of Bernie Sanders to create a single-payer health care system, and opposes any restrictions on abortion. Voters in Omaha last week said they mostly liked Eastman because they saw her as a “fresh face” — particularly contrasted with Ashford, who had represented the district for a term in 2014.”

“Hillary and Bill Clinton Go Separate Ways for 2018 Midterm Elections” [New York Times]. “[I]n the 2018 election campaign, Hillary and Bill Clinton have veered in sharply different directions. Mrs. Clinton appears determined to play at least a limited role in the midterms, bolstering longtime allies and raising money for Democrats in safely liberal areas. Her husband has been all but invisible. And both have been far less conspicuous than in past election cycles, but for different reasons: Mrs. Clinton faces distrust on the left, where she is seen as an avatar of the Democratic establishment, and raw enmity on the right. Mr. Clinton has been largely sidelined amid new scrutiny of his past misconduct with women. Mrs. Clinton is expected to break her virtual hiatus from the campaign trail this week, when she will endorse Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York in a contested Democratic primary, her spokesman, Nick Merrill, confirmed.” Wait, wait. Last I checked, Cynthia Nixon is a woman. Isn’t there a special place in hell for women who don’t help out other women?

“Stacey Vs. Stacey: The Democratic Fight For Governor In Georgia” [NPR]. “Stacey Abrams [as opposed to Stacy Evans] launched her campaign in Albany, a city in southwest Georgia where nearly three-quarters of the residents are black. It was symbolic. She believes Democrats keep losing statewide elections because they’re too focused on winning over moderate white Republicans. ‘Political analysts keep looking at not only what the structure of Georgia is, but they’re also looking at the playbook that was used in Georgia, and that’s an old playbook,’ said Abrams. ‘It’s an old playbook that never invested in any of these communities of color in Georgia.’ Abrams is convinced the only way a Democrat can win is by engaging with untapped minority voters, particularly those in rural communities, who’ve often been overlooked. She says it’s not about excluding the Democratic base of white progressives, but broadening the coalition.”

UPDATE “DCCC Makes Initial TV Reservations for Fall Fight” [Roll Call]. The numbers:

Here are the markets and dollar amounts of the DCCC’s initial reservation:
Boston/Manchester, N.H. (WMUR) — $583,079
Cedar Rapids, Iowa/Waterloo, Iowa — $545,309
Detroit — $728,500
Lansing, Mich. — $219,300
Miami — $1,996,650
Minneapolis/ St. Paul — $6,170,045
Philadelphia — $1,698,891
Washington, D.C. — $717,039

2016 Post Mortem

“Clinton to be honored at Harvard for ‘transformative impact'” [The Hill]. Irony is not dead.

“From the Jaws of Victory” [Jacobin]. Some highlights from Amy Chozick’s Chasing Hillary, which really does sound like a fun read: “In the public’s mind, Clinton’s ‘deplorables’ quip is remembered as evidence of her disdain for much of Trump’s fan base. But there was one other group Clinton had a similar dislike of: Bernie Sanders supporters. As one person who had talked to Clinton about the difference between Trump and Sanders crowds recounted, her feeling was that ‘at least white supremacists shaved.'”

UPDATE “Why does Trump get away with corruption? Because Bill and Hillary Clinton normalized it” [Josh Barro, Business Insider].

New Cold War

“Stopping Robert Mueller to protect us all” [Mark Penn (!), The Hill]. “Rather than a fair, limited and impartial investigation, the Mueller investigation became a partisan, open-ended inquisition that, by its precedent, is a threat to all those who ever want to participate in a national campaign or an administration again. Its prosecutions have all been principally to pressure witnesses with unrelated charges and threats to family, or just for a public relations effect, like the indictment of Russian internet trolls. Unfortunately, just like the Doomsday Machine in ‘Dr. Strangelove; that was supposed to save the world but instead destroys it, the Mueller investigation comes with no ‘off’ switch: You can’t fire Mueller. He needs to be defeated, like Ken Starr, the independent counsel who investigated President Clinton. Finding the ‘off’ switch will not be easy. Step one here is for the Justice Department inspector general report to knock Comey out of the witness box. Next, the full origins of the investigation and its lack of any real intelligence needs to come out in the open.” (Penn was a chief strategist and pollster for the 2008 Clinton campaign.)

“End Robert Mueller’s investigation: Michael Mukasey” [USA Today]. “Recall that the investigation was begun to learn whether the Trump campaign had gotten help unlawfully from Russia…. Because Attorney General Jeff Sessions had worked on the Trump campaign, he recused himself from the matter, and so the deputy — Rod Rosenstein — took the decision to appoint a special counsel. The regulations require that such an appointment recite the facts justifying the conclusion that a federal crime was committed, and specify the crime. However, the initial appointment of Robert Mueller did neither, referring instead to a national security investigation that a special counsel has no authority to pursue. Although Rosenstein apparently tried to correct his mistake in a new appointment memo, he has thus far refused to disclose, even to a federal judge, a complete copy of it. In other investigations supposedly implicating a president — Watergate and Whitewater come to mind — we were told what the crime was and what facts justified the investigation. Not here. Nor have any of the charges filed in the Mueller investigation disclosed the Trump campaign’s criminal acceptance or solicitation of help from the Russians.” I missed that detail about the lettre de cachet aspect of the appointment memo…

“The FBI Informant Who Wasn’t Spying” [Editorial Board, Wall Street Journal]. “Could a Trump FBI task agents to look into the foreign ties of advisers to the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign in 2020?”

“Hayden: The Intel Community and Presidents — Facts vs. Vision” [RealClearPolitics]. Hayden on Presidential transitions and the intelligence community: “HAYDEN : We knew that if it were to be a President Trump this [transition] would be a big speed bump because these attributes I described over here, I think the creator gave him an extra measure. He is inherently instinctive, spontaneous, not very reflective, prone to action, has an almost preternatural view of his own preternatural confidence in his own a priori narrative of how things work. So we well, this one’s gonna be tough. To your point, it is a national tragedy and a perfect storm that the first time we had to do that with the new president, we knew it’s always tough but it was gonna be especially tough with this one, through no one’s fault, it was on an issue as you described. An issue that other Americans, not the intel guys, other Americans were using to challenge his legitimacy of President of the United States.” “Not the intel guys.” Really?

Realignment and Legitimacy

I like the idea of “non-reformist reforms:”

The Jobs Guarantee might be such a reform, but the devil will be in the details. #MedicareForAll, too?

“The Surprising Popularity of ‘Far Left’ Policies” [Common Dreams]. “”The Far Left Is Winning the Democratic Civil War” was the headline over a Washington Post report (5/16/18) on the results of recent primary elections. So what counts as “far left” to the Washington Post, the newspaper owned by the world’s richest human?… One starts to get the suspicion that these candidates are not really “far left” at all, and Jeff Bezos’ Post is just telling you that they are in order to scare you away from voting for them.”

“Making Unelected Power Legitimate” [Money and Banking]. “Increasingly, however, governments have chosen to implement policy through agencies with varying degrees of independence from both the legislature and the executive. This approach leads to a deep and important question: Under what circumstances does it make sense in a democracy to delegate powers to the unelected officials of independent agencies (IA) who are shielded from political influence? How should those powers be allocated to ensure both legitimacy and sustainability?…. . A key premise—that we share with Tucker—is that better governance can help substitute where simple policy rules are insufficient for optimal decisions.”

“An audience with Ian Bremmer: ‘Populism is going to get worse” [Financial News]. Bremer: “Humanity has given us absolutely no reason to believe that if we are heading into an environment where large numbers of people are economically expendable, we will do anything but treat them that way.”

“Young People Keep Marching After Parkland, This Time to Register to Vote” [New York Times]. Of course, if expanding the base were a core Democrat Party function this would be a non-story. And speaking of voter registration–

UPDATE “‘ACORN and the Firestorm’: Uprooted” [People’s World]. Sure is odd the liberal Democrats didn’t spin up a new organization to replace ACORN’s voter registration function.

UPDATE “Progress! States are finally replacing touchscreen voting machines — which provide no means for voters to know if their votes were recorded correctly — with new touchscreen ballot markers, which also provide no means for voters to know if their votes were recorded correctly … Wait what?” [Medium]. Nice Daily Mail-style headline!

“The U.S. Was Just Downgraded from a ‘Full’ to ‘Flawed Democracy'” [Fortune]. “That’s according to the Economist Intelligence Unit, which downgraded the U.S. in their 2016 Democracy Index published Wednesday. The move puts the U.S. in the same category as Poland, Mongolia, and Italy. To arrive at this conclusion, the paper analyzed over 200 countries and considered factors like political culture and political participation. ‘Popular trust in government, elected representatives and political parties has fallen to extremely low levels in the U.S.,’ the paper’s authors wrote. ‘This has been a long-term trend and one that preceded the election of [Donald] Trump as U.S. president in November 2016.'”

Stats Watch

Chicago Fed National Activity Index, April 2018: “After slowing at the outset of the year, the national activity index — led by manufacturing and employment — is back at its expansion best” [Econoday]. “This index still has a way to go before it begins signaling inflation risk…. Note that revisions, given lagging data, can be extreme in this report with only 51 of 85 indicators included so far [!!] for April’s initial reading.” And: “This suggests economic activity was above the historical trend in April (using the three-month average)” [Calculated Risk].

Household Income: “April 2018 Median Household Income Remains At Highest Level Since January 2000” [Econintersect]. “New data from the monthly Current Population Survey (CPS) indicate that median annual household income was $61,483 in April 2018. Median household income in April of this year was higher than for any other month since January 2000, yet only 2.0 percent above the January 2000 estimate of $60,257 after adjusting for price changes…. Median annual household income has displayed a somewhat erratic pattern over the past several years. More broadly, there has been a general upward trend in median household income since the post-recession low point reached in June 2011. This upward trend was initially marked by monthly movements, both up and down. Many monthly changes were not statistically significant. By the summer of 2014 however, that uneven trend became dominated by a series of significant monthly increases.”

Energy: “Oil Prices Up almost 50% Year-over-year” [Calculated Risk]. “Prices collapsed in 2008 due to the financial crisis, and then increased as the economy recovered. Oil prices collapsed again in 2014 and 2015, mostly due to oversupply. Now oil prices are rising sharply again.”

Retail: “J.C. Penney Co. Inc. is finding out how tough it’s become to manage inventory while big forces are buffeting retail sales. The company is stepping up efforts to cut back stocks after seeing inventories grow 2.6% on a same-store basis in the last quarter” [Wall Street Journal]. “Michael Unger of The Hackett Group says managing inventory has grown more complicated, with seasonality becoming a bigger force even as stores try to keep more goods in stock to compete with online retailers.”

Shipping: “Amazon pushes dedicated truck operation; will it suck oxygen out of the driver room?” [DC Velocity]. “Is Amazon.com Inc. draining the commercial truck driver pool? Yes, according to a top motor carrier executive, who told one of its best shippers—a customer prepared to tender abundant and predictable traffic at highly compensatory rates—that it would only agree to a 90-day contract extension once it comes up for renewal June 15. According to a person familiar with the matter, the carrier executive said drivers who would normally be available for recruitment were instead migrating to Amazon. The executive added that equipment and drivers would be diverted to the spot, or non-contract, market, which remains sizzling hot and appears to be a better deal for the carrier than signing static contracts while pricing remains so dynamic, the person said. Neither the executive, the carrier, nor the shipper were identified. At first blush, the executive’s rationale appears absurd. Amazon has, by one estimate, a paltry 300 power units, a fleet size that would hardly move the needle… But as with everything at Amazon, there is more going on than meets the eye. For example, in March the company was at the huge Mid-America Truck Show in Louisville, Ky., to recruit fleets to join its dedicated trucking operation. The business, which goes by the name of Amazon.com.dedc.LLC, wants fleets that have at least three trucks, their own operating authorities, and drivers who can operate twin-trailers to haul goods in the company’s distribution center network….”

Shipping: “Report: mobile robot revenue to reach $7 billion by 2022” [DC Velocity]. “One category of expected strong demand is mobile robots with mounted arms, a sector which has seen very few shipments to date, but “could be used to revolutionize warehouse picking and material handling” with fast growth from 2020 onwards, the firm said.”

The Bezzle: “How One Company Scammed Silicon Valley. And How It Got Caught” [New York Times]. Theranos.”Even for a private company like Theranos, disclosure is the bedrock of American capitalism — the ‘disinfectant’ that allows investors to gauge a company’s prospects. Based on [Bad Blood author John Carreyrou’s] dogged reporting, not even Enron lied so freely.”

Five Horsemen: “Microsoft is just below a record high in late morning trade” [Hat Tip, Jim Haygood].

Five Horsemen May 21 2018

NakedCap Mania-Panic Index: “The mania-panic index receded to 60 (complacency) as the put-call ratio bounced to 1.03 in Friday’s market 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 May 18 2018

Rapture Index: Closes down on wild weather. “The lack of activity has downgraded this category” [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 182.


“Meeting resistance” [Science]. Introduction to a special issue. “Today, we find ourselves at the nexus of an alarming acceleration of resistance to antibiotics, insecticides, and herbicides. Through chemical misuse, resistance also brings widespread collateral damage to natural, social, and economic systems. Resistance to antifungal agents poses a particular challenge because a limited suite of chemicals is used in both agricultural and clinical settings. Evolution will always circumvent head-on attack by new biocides, and we may not be able to invent all the new products that we need. We must therefore harness evolutionary approaches to find smarter ways to minimize the erosion of chemical susceptibility. We now have it in our means to integrate a variety of approaches to pest and pathogen management, including rigorous regulation of prescription behavior, consistent use of clinical hygiene measures, physical barriers to crop pests, and alternative cropping regimes. We urgently need to revisit our reliance on chemicals to ensure our future medical and food security.”

News of The Wired

“My Own Personal Nothingness” [Nautilus]. “The Buddhists have understood this notion for centuries. It is part of the Buddhist concepts of emptiness and impermanence. The transcendent, nonmaterial, long-lasting qualities that we impart to other human beings and to human institutions are an illusion, like the computer-generated world in The Matrix. It is certainly true that we human beings have achieved what, to our minds, is extraordinary accomplishment. We have scientific theories that can make accurate predictions about the world. We have created paintings and music and literature that we consider beautiful and meaningful. We have entire systems of laws and social codes. But these things have no intrinsic value outside of our minds. And our minds are a collection of atoms, fated to disassemble and dissolve. And in that sense, we and our institutions are always approaching Nothingness.”

“America’s Boulevards of Death” [Governing]. “There is a public-health crisis unfolding before our eyes in the United States, where the simple act of walking has become a life-threatening proposition. Recently, a pedestrian killed by an automated vehicle in Arizona made national headlines, but that was just the tip of the iceberg: The same week, 10 other people were killed while walking — just in Arizona. Across the country, the number of people who died while walking increased by nearly 50 percent from 2009 to 2016, from just over 4,000 to almost 6,000, at a time when traffic fatalities declined in many of our peer countries, including Britain and Canada. What can be done? It turns out that the culprit is quite clear. According to a recent report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, almost the entire increase in pedestrian fatalities in the U.S. occurred on the 4 percent of streets in cities and suburbs that are wide and designed to carry heavy traffic, technically known as arterials. These are places designed for cars to run at expressway speeds, yet they are also where an increasing number of people live, work, go to school and shop. In many places, these high-speed roads are the local ‘main street.'”

“Spend analysis of 6 years 686 rides and $12,041 spent on Uber” [Neal Mueller]. The author bio caught my attention: “Hi, I’m Neal. I’m a product lead at Google and a serial adventurer. I’ve climbed the Mount Everest unguided to the summit, swum the English Channel as part of a two-man relay, and rowed 1000-miles across the Arctic Ocean while collecting plankton samples to predict future whale migrations – we were inducted into the Guinness Book of World Records for the ‘farthest row across the Arctic Ocean’ in history.”

“Do People Really Downsize?” [Oregon Office of Economic Analysis]. “Moving rates and downsizing among households in their early retirement years is not very common. In fact it is less common today than in decades past. However, among those that do move in their 60s and 70s, they downsize. Given the large Baby Boomer generation continues to age into their retirement years, the absolute number of such moves is expected to rise, even if it remains a relatively small share of the housing market overall.”

“In 2015, Niamh Geaney, a 28-year-old Irish woman, was approached by a TV production company to participate in an unusual competition: a race to find her twin stranger, a stranger who looks exactly like her. Within two weeks of scouring social networks and every other available outlet, she’d found a dead ringer, Karen Branigan, from Dublin. Then she found another match, Luisa Guizzardi, from Genoa. And then another, Irene Adams, from Sligo. Identical quadruplets by appearance, in reality they were unrelated” [Aeon].

* * *

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 (pq):

pq writes: “Finally, it LOOKS LIKE SPRING! Cold showers notwithstanding, it has been a joy to see something new popping up everyday on my afternoon walks. The bulbs have been peeking out from under the covers for weeks, but with daytime highs in the mid-30s and snow storms into the third week of April, they didn’t show their faces. Three days of sunshine early in the week coaxed them out, and now they’re making up for lost time.”

* * *

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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. Synoia

    One category of expected strong demand is mobile robots with mounted arms, a sector which has seen very few shipments to date, but “could be used to revolutionize warehouse picking and material handling

    That’s it. The end of ‘armless robots. Robots from now on will form a army of ‘armfull robots.

    The new three laws of Robotics:
    ‘arm ’em in the pocket
    ‘arm ’em at the workplace
    ‘amr ’em in the streets

    1. Tim

      Yeah, but I’ve always had concerns with the “right to bear arms.”

      We have no business possessing bear arms, regardless of regulation.

      1. DonCoyote

        But do we have the right to arm bears?

        The only way to stop a bad bear (with or without a gun) is with a good bear with a gun.

  2. Scott

    Re: Clinton endorsing Cuomo over a woman. I just figured that’s because the special place is better than the part of hell she’d go to otherwise.

    1. Pavel

      Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) commented on this on Twitter and has been getting lots of wickedly sarcastic comments re HRC, Madeleine Albright’s comment, and that special circle of hell. Not sure Cuomo is going to benefit from this endorsement. Cynthia is probably smart enough to turn Albright’s earlier comment into a TV advert.

      1. Big River Bandido

        Honestly, I would love to see Cynthia Nixon go there. But as she herself was a Clinton supporter in 2016, I don’t think we’ll see the likes of it. She will probably reason that she needs those voters in the general. And much as it pains me to say it, that would be right. She can ill afford to make Clinton’s biggest mistake: alienating her primary opponent’s supporters.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Maybe her animus finds something in Cuomo’s anima worthy of endorsing.

  3. Anon

    Re: Jacobin

    For far, far, more quotes and highlights from “Chasing Hillary” a Twitter user by the name of katereadsbks is doing a “live read” of it, located here: Chasing Hillary Thread

    It’s pretty long, so get some coffee and settle in.

  4. Sid Finster

    Re: “Stopping Mueller to Save Us All” – using legal process, special prosecutors, etc. to prevent any anti-establishment candidate from running (and if they win, to make sure that they do not leave their box) is entirely intentional.

    1. Wukchumni

      What I want to know most of all about Mueller, is why does the ‘e’ remain silent, what’s he trying to hide?

  5. Carolinian

    “Clinton to be honored at Harvard for ‘transformative impact’”

    Hey if Hillary hadn’t run would Trump be president? Very transformative. She’s the queen of Krazytown.

    Meanwhile the self-described feminist leader is married to someone keeping a low profile because of his reputation for sexual misbehavior. Irony indeed not dead.

      1. Carolinian

        Except Nobels for literature are not being given out right now because of corruption scandal at Swedish Academy (including still more sexual misbehavior).

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I think she’s going to write about that, and win one for that effort.

      2. ambrit

        Maybe. She does make everything up as she goes along. Truth is flexible to her. She can live for extended periods within dreamworlds. Pretty good skills for a writer of fiction to have.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      “Hey if Hillary hadn’t run would Trump be president?”

      Would there have been a potential for Sanders? Or would the lack of a celebrity such as HRC, who is basically a sitting President in profile, have delayed awareness of a primary to the last minute with doofuses such as Tim Kaine, Hillary’s hand picked successor, and Corey Booker running?

      How bad is the rot in the Democratic Party? Or the perception of the Democratic Party? The narrative of a secret liberal Hillary has existed, but would Timmy have been a beneficiary of said narrative or would he just be the co-chair of Lieberman 2004?

      On the GOP side, did the sense of Hillary inevitability drive Trump as the original none of the above candidate? The doofus nature of Jeb and the long standing issues with the 41/Romney wing of the party versus the Evangelical and movement conservatives probably shaped the desire for an outsider, but I imagine there was a sense of throwing votes at the most likely to throw rocks.

      1. Carolinian

        I know you disagree but I think a lack of Hillary may have prompted Biden to run, and win, against Trump. Call it personality counter programming. Plus the male chauvinist factor is not to be underestimated even if Hillary is always whining about it.

        Not that we wouldn’t still be in Krazytown with this result. The Blob is forever. But perhaps only Hillary and her minions could cook up a Russiagate (with plenty of Obama minion help).

  6. ambrit

    Where does pq live? We’ve been having eighties and nineties, even a few hundreds in the urban heat sink centre of town this last few weeks. We being domiciled in southern Mississippi. The locals are saying that we skipped spring and went straight from winter to summer this year. The weather pattern the last weeks is summer like here.
    Has the jet stream dropped to the south for the foreseeable future?
    Our daffodils came out in late February to early March this year.
    Yet another indication of how large America is.

    1. BillC

      Re. jet stream: flew Munich->Charlotte last Wednesday, like I’ve been doing about twice a year since 2011. Always make landfall at least by New England, if not Newfoundland, then down to NC just inside the east coast. This time, made landfall at the NC-VA border, heading due west. What great circle route ;>) ? Don’t know if it was the jet stream, but must have been somehow weather related.

      1. ambrit

        That’s possible. Avoiding jet stream headwinds when going East and ‘hitching’ a ride with jet stream winds when going West would seem to be logical for an aircraft to do.

        1. ambrit

          I got the directions above reversed. In the Northern Hemisphere, the jet streams generally run from West to East. So, to avoid headwinds means you’re going West. ‘Hitching a ride’ on a jet stream means you’re going East.

          1. BillC

            Not to worry. I made the same mistake; originally wrote “made landfall … heading due east” but the edit link is my friend … when it works!

            1. blennylips

              It’s very quaint to hear talk of east, west, etc in describing the jet stream. Last five years have been very different.

              Take a look at realtime data on a spinnable, zoomable globe at nullschool.net. This view is centered over the atlantic and displays jet stream velocities: https://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/isobaric/250hPa/orthographic=-40.80,20.06,402/loc=1.916,-53.267

              Just noticed weirdness in the outermost wind layer: Huge circular stream around the south pole and _nothing_ around the north pole: https://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/isobaric/10hPa/orthographic

  7. Elizabeth Burton

    All those Uber drivers Neil Mueller has been using these last six years should send him a thank-you note for shoving his automobile ownership expenses off on them.

    1. ambrit

      Snark aside, how about a class action suite against Uber for profit sharing based upon individual drivers’ “investment” in the scheme?

    2. Patrick

      The benefits that this analysis arrives at only work when you treat two variables as fixed (cost of car ownership and cost of Uber).

      Uber’s pricing is dynamic—price goes up when demand exceeds supply, and this is outside the control of the rider. Annual cost of car depends on the actual car bought, as well as local factors (cost of parking, fuel, maintenance, etc.), so car costs won’t be the same across all rider segments.

      Just because using Uber is cheaper than owning a car for the author doesn’t mean it will be true for every driver (or “actual mileage may vary”).

      1. curlydan

        And what about this quote: ” car ownership cost $11,783 per year”…maybe for Neal it does. I spent $22K to buy a car in 2006 that I’m still driving today. No way have I spent $144K on that car in the past 12 years…even including the sale price or with inflation adjustments. I’d say the cost of my car has been about half of Neal’s estimate.

        Too bad Neal can’t analyze how many of his drivers have gone bankrupt, are on food stamps, or are dying under the terms of an onerous Uber lease, etc

        I don’t want to deny Neal his happiness, and I’m no car lover either, but that article was just icky.

        1. RW

          Yes exactly- uber is a ‘saving’ vs owing a car that devalues by 50k!

          And the same jerk thinks making ‘2x minimum wage’ for reading hacker news in the front seat of an uber pool is an act of genius.

        2. Altandmain

          Judging by his blog, Neal owns expensive cars.

          He mentioned in his blog that he owned a BMW M3. That is a very expensive vehicle to maintain. It’s a high performance car that can easily cost thousands each year out of warranty. They are expensive and depreciate like mad.

          Between the very high maintenance costs, insurance, fuel, and the high depreciation, I could easily see it being ~$12000 a year.

          1. cnchal

            . . . The joys of Uber and Turo are many (any ride you want when you need it). The toils of car ownership are many (parking, keeping it clean, you have to drive).

            With an M3, that should have been a joy.

            1. Octopii

              E30 or E36 maybe, later ones probably not. They have become ponderous and rather soulless to drive. Fast, but the car’s limits are so high that on the street one never comes close enough to the edge to have fun. And the self-destructing engines are such an absurdity. I don’t know what BMW means anymore, they’ve gotten so far from their roots.

              1. cnchal

                > And the self-destructing engines are such an absurdity. I don’t know what BMW means anymore, they’ve gotten so far from their roots.

                BMW = Beat My Wallet

                Neal Mueller was either smart or lucky to get rid of it when he did. He had the 2008 M3 with the V8 (E90, E92 or E93) They are not lasting very long.

                From the September 2016 Roundel and the great Mike Miller’s “Tech Talk”.

                . . . the M3 forum has recently indicated that the V8 M3 is experiencing main-bearing failure at 80,000-120,000 miles . . .

                Here is the word from Mike

                . . . the bearing question is not new. It’s been going on for years and only in the M cars. There are two theories among technicians. (Neither is universal) The first theory says that it’s the result of a combination of poor maintenance in the form of overextended engine oil and filter exchange intervals changes, using the wrong oil, failure to wait for the oil to reach operating temperature before calling for high engine speeds, race track service demands, and a general hot-shoe driver profile.

                The second theory, which really started with the E90 era, is that the modern M cars have power outputs and technology that surpasses full-blown race cars that are barely ten years older, and therefore owners should consider connecting-rod-bearing replacement as routine maintenance The second theory also notes reduced connecting-rod-bearing surfaces and the deletion of certain metals from the bearings because supposedly they are bad for the environment

                The title of the letter and response was “This Is Going To Sting a Bit”.

                The “Bit” part is a humorous understatement.

                BMW has lost their way. They now cater to people who consider driving a toil.

  8. Wukchumni

    What’s the next level beyond a ‘Flawed Democracy” for U.S.?

    And can we expect Mongolian exchange students to show up en masse, now that we are aligned with them in terms of equivalence?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I would definitely enjoy studying eagle hunting as an exchange student to Mongolia.

          1. ambrit

            I’ll have to hunt up that PBS program about Feynmans quest for Tannu Tuva to find out.
            Throat singing it is. Both Tuvan and Mongolian. With music videos no less!
            Hear: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qx8hrhBZJ98
            With sounds like this, I’m surprised some of the more adventurous hip hops haven’t picked up on this. It would really add some ‘funk’ to modern ‘urban’ music. H—, music in general.

  9. diptherio

    On the Uber spend analysis: his math only works if you count depreciation as an expense, which no one I know does…then again, I don’t know anybody who has spent $80K for a car. Repairs, maintenance, gas, and insurance are what your car actually costs to drive around. So, he spent about $3,500 on actual expenses for his two cars and now is spending $12,000+ to use Ubers…and he claims that he’s saving money. You have to be really, really smart to write something so utterly dumb…imo

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      his math only works if you count depreciation as an expense

      I think he is correct in his usage (of depreciation as an expense). Using the depreciation on an $80,000 BMW sorta stacks the deck, though.

    2. a different chris

      Not sure why depreciation isn’t effectively an expense for this discussion, despite all the undoubtedly bright people you know?

      Otherwise, I agree with you. He (30 something single) had two cars, one was overkill (M3) and the other (Jeep) was either a toy for his beach safaris (Wrangler) or his commuter (Grand Cherokee?) and the M3 was the toy. Anyway, he can’t count that stable as “normal auto expenses”.

      I would like to see many, many more cars removed from the road, but Uber is a scam way to do it.

      1. Huey Long

        Thanks for the LaborNotes link ‘slim!

        I’m a full-time troublemaker and shop steward and absolutely LOVE LaborNotes. I’m not sure my local union feels the same way, but the only way to change that is to hit the bricks and keep organizing.

  10. Plenue

    The last of the ISIS fighters were bussed out of Yarmouk today. Damascus is now officially jihadi free. Next up will probably be the big blob around Daraa.

  11. ambrit

    A question for the crowd.
    Bernie Sanders just sent out an e-mail saying that he is running for re-election to the U. S. Senate from Vermont. Embedded is an appeal for contributions, something like his crowdsourced Presidential run in ’16. Now that I’m getting some Social Security, I can afford a few coppers for worthy causes. However, this funding mechanism is being run by ActBlue. I remember there being some questions about the “truth, justice and the American Way” as ActBlue does it.
    ActBlue is reliable, or not? They are asking for all my basic information: name, address, e-mail address, telephone number. I hate being on databases if I can avoid it.
    Thoughts anyone?

      1. ambrit

        Thank you for the guidance. I was worried about all the personal information the site was requiring from me to allow a donation. (I’m in that ‘deplorables’ subset of donors.)
        Maybe I’ll just finesse the issue and send a tenner to Lambert.

        1. Arizona Slim

          That’s what I did. I sent a check-y-poo to Lambert.

          Just ask him for his address. He’ll be happy to accept your check.

        2. Big River Bandido

          Some of that personal info is necessary because it’s a campaign contribution and FEC filings must list contributors by name, address, occupation, and amount.

          That said, I share the distrust and disgust with ActBlue.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            How did the Sanders campaign raise and co-ordinate all those $27 doses of money? Did they save that money-raising structure? Can they revive it? Or were they using ActBlue or such things because that’s all there is anyway?

    1. Elizabeth Burton

      Most if not all of the candidates are using ActBlue, so I’ve been making donations with them for the last two years with no problem. You don’t have to let them save your card info.

    2. nippersmom

      I would send a check in the mail. I made the mistake of contributing to Sanders’ presidential campaign through Act Blue, and now get funding requests from all kids of “blue” candidates I have no desire to support, even though I closed my “account”. It is clear that they got my information from Act Blue and not the actual Sanders campaign, too.

      1. Elizabeth Burton

        Not necessarily. If one of the candidates you donated to is a card-carrying DNC/DCCC pick, they’re more likely to have sold off your info than ActBlue.

        I’ve made numerous donations via ActBlue, and the only email I get is from the campaigns of the candidates I supported. The DCCC and DSCC, on the other hand, I finally had to list as spam in Gmail in one instance before I could get unsubscribed. The other hand (yes, they found me somehow) I literally had to threaten them with legal action after numerous attempts to unsubscribe were ignored.

    3. chuck roast

      Go to the post office.
      It costs a-buck-and-a-half for a small money order. Put a bogus name, address, etc. on the info. Trust me, he will cash the check, and you will never be annoyed by Act Blue or anybody else.

      1. Wukchumni

        And on the receiving end of a postal money order, the recipient can go to any post office and get cash for it, no questions asked.

      2. dcblogger

        that is so illegal
        Bernie will be watched and I hope/assume his people know that.

        1. Swamp Yankee

          Agreed, dcblogger. Violating campaign finance law is not the way to help Sanders!

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          Excellent point.

          All you have to do to see why is move the decimal point:

          “We got a $10 million money order in the mail from John Doe, 123 Any Street, Happytown USA, so of course we cashed it.”

  12. Adam Eran

    Deaths from walking has been a persistent problem ever since sprawl became the dominant pattern of development. Pedestrian-friendly mixed-use (stores / offices among the residences) cuts vehicle miles traveled roughly in half. … and it’s healthier if walking is part of daily life. With mixed-income neighborhoods (apartments among the mansions), this can even alleviate affordable housing problems, without diminishing marketability.

    Meanwhile, the good news: California State law now mandates roads built for new development be “Complete Streets” (i.e. accommodate something other than just cars).

    One organization to thank: the Planning & Conservation League.

    1. Duke of Prunes

      I thought we learned last week that it was SUVs that were responsible for the rising death toll.

      I think I agree with today’s theory more…

      1. Wukchumni

        Isn’t the answer as simple as people constantly looking @ their ball & chain in the guise of an electric tether and not paying attention to anything else, as to the reason for the uptick in pedestrian deaths?

  13. ambrit

    I suspect that I’ve been racking up “Troll Points” like mad recently, but, a big thank you to all who responded to my ‘Toothache’ query yesterday.
    Not only did I get a ton and a half of needed moral support, but some good practical advice as well.
    Yes, it still hurts, but only when I laugh, as the saying goes.
    Thanks yet again.
    ambrit crackedtooth austro-boreal-Americanus

      1. ambrit

        Trust you to get to the ‘root’ of the problem.
        High quality punsmanship too. None of this ‘pulp’ humour.

  14. Scott

    The U.S. is the world’s top producer of both petroleum and natural gas. Oil production has almost doubled over the past decade and natural gas has had major increases as well.


    It’s a good thing that we’ve encouraged the exports of this stuff or else all we’d have for the damage to the environment is cheap gasoline.

    I would have hoped that one positive of the increased production in the US would be a lesser need to favor Middle Eastern dictatorships, but that hasn’t happened.

    1. Elizabeth Burton

      The Obama excuse that we needed to increase natural-gas production for “energy independence” was one of his earliest scams. The NG for which people are being poisoned and experiencing increased levels of earthquake activity in places that hadn’t seen earthquakes for centuries, if ever, was always intended for export. Why else plans for all those pipelines to the coasts and processing plants for them to service?

      But, hey, if people near those fracking wells run out of heating fuel, maybe they can just turn on their faucets and light them up.

      And isn’t it convenient that NG was in the first round of sanctions against Russia, followed quickly by negotiations to replace it with gas imported from the US to Europe?

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Will we see the day when rare earths are priced and traded in Chinese Yuan?

    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      Once all the American oil and NatGas is gone gone gone, the foreign deposits of “easy” oil and NatGas will become more important than ever.

  15. derechos

    Texas Gov. Greg Abbott promised “swift” action following last week’s school shooting and he’s already taking strong measures. He has scrapped plans to give away a “Texas-made shotgun“ after a gunman used a shotgun in a Friday rampage that left 10 dead in a high school near Houston. Instead he will give a $250 gift certificate.
    “The webpage for the contest has been changed from one featuring the governor holding a shotgun to one without any pictures, now advertising the gift card.”

    So bleeding hearts (and lungs and livers and extremities and ….) can’t say he hasn’t done anything to reduce gun violence; that’s one less shotgun in Texas.

    1. Wukchumni

      The only thing that stops a bad governor with a shotgun, is a good giveaway with a gift certificate?

  16. DonCoyote

    “Progress! States are finally replacing touchscreen voting machines — which provide no means for voters to know if their votes were recorded correctly — with new touchscreen ballot markers, which also provide no means for voters to know if their votes were recorded correctly … Wait what?”

    Great headline. Reminded me of this quote from Jake Tapper a little over a year ago:

    “Hillary Clinton today accepting full responsibility for the election loss, except for the part where she blamed Comey, Putin, Wikileaks, misogyny, and the media.” No ellipsis, and barely a pause at the first comma. So even CNN gets it right twice a…year?

    But seriously…that article has a lot of praise for “hand-marked” ballots that are not hand-counted (OCR, Optical Character Recognition machines, do the counting). 1) Do we accept the premise of this article, that this is significantly better than the “no paper trail” screen systems? 2) How much worse is this system than manual counting in terms of election integrity?

    I can certainly accept that a human-readable paper trail is better than not, as this always permits manual recounts (if the paper trail is kept–Florida destroyed the paper ballots after a public records request for them in a 2016 election. But if the machines do the counting, then they either have to have some way to communicate these results to a central repository (e.g. modem or wireless connection which is subject to “hacking”), or some person or persons has to do it manually, from multiple machines at multiple sites.

    So hand-vote/hand-counted > hand-vote/machine-counted > electronic jiggery-pokery? Or is this just bait-and-switch, like pretending to be for #MedicareForAll while actually being for “eventually, maybe, for most, and never ever single payer #ProfitsforAllInsuranceCompanies”?

    And what about electronic ballot images? Some people see them as a solution (with a nice Stalin quote “Those who cast the votes decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything.”), but they still seem hackable, at least to me. Without the actual paper ballots for comparison, and a regular comparison mechanism, how can you verify that the electronic images have not been modified?

    1. Huey Long

      I’ll never get the logic behind NOT counting hand marked paper ballots by hand in public.

      Is it really that important to have the count completed within an hour or two of the polls closing? Are their any real labor cost savings with all of these expensive high tech voting machines that require maintenance and periodic replacement? How much can a couple of extra poll workers really cost?

      1. Jim Haygood

        Is it really that important to have the count completed within an hour or two of the polls closing?

        Absolutely. What would happen to the credibility of the MSM if they couldn’t “call” elections the very same evening, often within a minute of the polls closing?

        If elections didn’t exist, the MSM would have to invent them.

      2. Chris

        Is it really that important to have the count completed within an hour or two of the polls closing?

        Huey, you seem to have forgotten about W’s adventures with chad in (IIRC) Florida. Took weeks to get a (the right) result.

        1. Huey Long

          Chris, that’s an outlier case that’s nearly two decades old, not to mention those ballot errors were caused by voting machines.

      3. Richard

        Keep it super simple and don’t let them pile the @#*^ too high to obfuscate matters. Paper ballots, counted in public.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          When the election is a big complex multi-office and multi-question election, people would have to accept that hand-counting would take a long time.

          1. Richard

            I think that greatly depends on how many people you employ to do it, or not? It seems to me that the more workers, the quicker we get through each item on the ballot, the quicker we get through ballots period, regardless of how complex they are. There’s no real reason it couldn’t be done fairly quickly. Or am I missing something? How do other countries do it?

            1. wilroncanada

              In Canada’s federal elections we still fill in and hand count in public (scrutineers) paper ballots. Have plenty of polling places, plenty of poll workers, training beforehand for all temporary employees, and prompt payment of workers.
              fair elections, employment at a decent wage, and not huge time lags because of the number of workers.
              Elections Canada prefers to pay workers than to allow billion-dollar campaigns.
              Stephen Harper tried hard to mess up the system but largely failed.

            2. J Sterling

              Other countries do it by having fewer offices and fewer questions, and keeping the offices and questions on separate pieces of colored paper. Keeping the paper separate allows parallel counting if you hire enough counters,

              The big complex multi-office multi-question election almost looks like a clever scheme to geld real democracy, by giving the people their right to vote, and giving it to them good and hard.

      4. J Sterling

        If it’s important to democracy for the count to be completed the night of the election (and it might be, I don’t know), then the sheer size of ballots is a problem for democracy.

        Make the paper ballots one issue each per piece of paper, inserted into one box per issue, to be counted in parallel by as many tables of people in a hall as you feel like hiring on the night. If you don’t think you can afford the tables or the hall space, hold off the less important counts for a day and count in series, using the halls, tables (and counters) you hired for the important counts for another day.

        If democracy can’t afford that, maybe quit electing so many offices, and make more of them appointments by the oficers we do elect. Nobody elects the Secretary of State, they elect the President, and let the President appoint the Secretary of State.

    2. ChrisPacific

      You can’t. As soon as bits get involved then there is the possibility for the bits to be modified if any of the systems concerned are compromised. You can encrypt, which offers security once it’s done, but something still has to do the encryption and something else has to decrypt at the other end, and either of those could potentially be compromised. Plus encryption typically relies on either a key exchange or a reliable certifying third party, both of which open up other attack vectors.

      There are security risks even with hand counting (one or more of the counters could be corrupt or acting in bad faith) but it’s extremely difficult to scale any attack, and recounts can generally catch any wrongdoing in any scenario short of large scale corruption. Neither is true of electronic attack vectors (in cases where there is no paper ballot, it’s not clear what a recount even means).

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > You can’t. As soon as bits get involved then there is the possibility for the bits to be modified if any of the systems concerned are compromised.


    3. Oregoncharles

      Oregon, at least my county, uses hand-vote/electronically counted ballots, audited and then kept for 5 years (IIRC). The mail-in system means that all ballots go to the county elections office; from there someone sends the count to the Sec. of State office – probably on paper, for the official count.

      There is an error rate in the electronic counting, but I don’t know what it is. My county, relatively affluent, goes to considerable lengths to count all possible ballots – they’ll call you if your ballot has a problem. I’m pretty confident in the Oregon vote, but this isn’t Florida, or even California. We did have one case of cheating at the elections office, a county near Portland: a Republican elections official was filling in unvoted positions – for the Republican, of course. She got caught, went to jail. The way to prevent this would be to have a “not voting this position” bubble for each slot.

      My chief concern with our system is that it would be possible, in small counties where everyone knows everyone else’s business, for an official to discard ballots from people they disapprove of, since the names and signatures are on the outside – separated from the ballot before any counting. So that could be another glitch.

      There’s no such thing as a foolproof system. There was plenty of cheating when all ballots were hand marked and hand counted; dead people used to vote then. Much depends on administration and enforcement.

      We love the mail ballot system. Allows voting at leisure, if you don’t leave it till the last minute, like we just did. There’s an odd camaraderie among those dropping off their ballots at the last minute. And Oregon provides the Voters Pamphlet, which is loaded with information.

  17. Musicismath

    Netflix say the former US President and First Lady have “entered into a multi-year agreement” with the service.

    It says the “films and series” will “potentially” include “scripted series, unscripted series, docu-series, documentaries and features.”

    “Barack and I have always believed in the power of storytelling to inspire us,” said Michelle Obama.

    Exact details of programming have yet to be announced.

    Obamas to make TV and films for Netflix, Radio NZ (22 May 2018).

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Fooled them once in getting the votes.

      Fool them again by getting them to watch that.

    2. ambrit

      It being Netflix, I vote for their first project being a modern retelling of “The Emperors New Clothes.” Guess who gets to parade down Constitution Avenue in their birthday suits? The venue for the ‘new clothes’ will be the Second Inauguration. By then, the more perceptive amongst the electorate knew that they were empty suits. Since empty suits cannot perambulate about unsupported, the squishy suit fillings will have to do the job. (I’ll bow to community standards and leave the daughters out of it.)

      1. Richard

        I love reading and discussing that story every year with second graders. It advances my cause of turning them into skeptics, and sows tiny seeds of anarchy.
        Which sprout just in time for third grade!

  18. Oregoncharles

    ” these high-speed roads are the local ‘main street.’””

    As in my part of my town, where said arterial is the one and only through route – except the railroad, a couple of blocks away. Which might be one reason so many people walk on the railroad.

    The solution to protecting pedestrians here is a series of crossings with dividers and blinking yellow lights controlled by a button. People use those a lot. Proviso: the town mostly has good drivers and good traffic enforcement. People do respect those yellow lights. Don’t know about cities with more scofflaw cultures.

  19. NotTimothyGeithner

    Mark Penn!

    Wow! Whats that about stuff floating? You know the phrase. Penn is definitely a floater. Given the various Monday Morning QB takes on the 2016 election, I would have thought this doofus’s loss to Obama in 2008 would get more play at least when explaining how HRC had already blown a lay up election and not by very much, mostly not knowing how the rules.

  20. Oregoncharles

    ” Identical quadruplets by appearance, in reality they were unrelated” [Aeon].”
    But 3 were Irish, greatly increasing the odds. It’s the Italian that’s surprising.

    Ethnicity does matter when it comes to genetics. We were exposed to this when our son had a bone marrow transplant. He happened to have a family donor (me – quite unusual); but those who didn’t were in trouble if they came from an unusual background. One mother was starting a Latin American registry, since they were drastically underrepresented on the existing ones. And we heard of a family friend who, IIRC, was out of luck because he came from such an unusual cross.

    If you’re inclined to see resemblances, they’re everywhere. But sometimes they disappear abruptly when you see the people together, as happened yesterday at the store.

    1. Oregoncharles

      Very impressive resemblance, but they show only one of the matches.

      She’s “black Irish,” improving the odds on the Italian.

  21. tricia

    re Kali Akuno (under “Realignment and Legitimacy”), some good interviews with him at Black Agenda Radio, below for example. Also, he’ll be one of the speakers at Left Forum in NYC first weekend in June, which I’m going to for the first time…has anyone ever attended past forums?

    1. mle detroit

      Tricia, please let us know what you think of the conference (never heard of it) and particularly of Akuno. He edited and wrote most of “Jackson Rising: The Struggle for Economic Democracy,” about building cooperative economy in Jackson, MS. I’m impressed with the quality of his thinking, and that project is something to keep an eye on.

      1. Richard

        I loved this idea, “waging struggle for demands and reforms that improve conditions in people’s immediate lives, but which don’t strengthen the capitalist system, but rather subvert its logic, upend its social relations, and dilute its strength.”
        Well put, and directing the gaze toward the social conditions we’d like to try, and away from a morbid overfocus on the system that is decaying all around us. Okay, that is just how I am reading it, possibly not at all what Akuno meant. I also don’t like the phrase “morbid overfocus” but not sure how else to describe our inability to escape the context of markets.

  22. ewmayer

    “The author bio caught my attention: “Hi, I’m Neal. I’m a product lead at Google and a serial adventurer…” — I suppose spoiling all the ensuing autohagiographical information-dumping, a kind of adult Type A version of the laundry list of “fabulous extracurriculars” which is now de riguer among college applicants, with “…and I work for one of the most profoundly evil entities in all of human history” would be kind of a downer, eh?

    1. Kurtismayfield

      I wouldn’t count “Spying on billions of people’s boring online lives” an adventure. Maybe a serial if you count it as being repetitive.

  23. clarky90

    I watched the entire “Harry and Meghan” Royal Marriage, having only intended to watch a bit of it. Two Billion people joined with me. I had loved the People’s Princess, Diana. Now, the creepy English Monarchy is being re-formed by her two boys, William and Harry. Diana would be so proud.

    This wedding was a celebration of simple, unsullied Christianity- the Big Tent that calls EVERYBODY in.

    In just one week, Kanye West and Candace Owens changed the USA political map. The Wedding of Harry and Meghan will also. What a powerful narrative!

    In our innocence, we are drawn to Prince and Princes Fairy Stories. They light-up timeless, archetypal pathways forward, during these uncertain times. Ordinary human beings (like Meghan and Harry) make unbreakable vows, before God.

    I refuse to watch TV. Nearly every show is about murder, money, prestige, revenge, Satan, depravity, power, betrayal……

    How can we not talk about this wedding?

    1. ambrit

      A lot of us lurking here are closet Marxists, and some not so “in the closet” about “that ‘faith’ that dare not speak its’ name.”
      The Royals are figureheads for a class of people who we from the cheap seats feel ourselves to be in existential conflict with. That said, we can sympathize with the individuals, but not with the class. To the extent that a public private event, such as this wedding, is a display of wealth, ostentation, and general class privilege, it stands as an example of the unnecessary divisions within the society. It highlights the inequality.
      We too refuse to watch much television. Not only because of the depraved nature of so much therein, but also because of the low standards exhibeted in the scripting and production values. Good drama teaches the viewer something, or at least tries to do so. When the reason for a program is excess, then we descend into Grand Guignol and burlesque.
      I’ve ‘shot myself in the foot’ here too many times to count, but, with this d—-d tooth teaching me a new appreciation for pain, I’m in no mood to be happy about anyone elses’ wedding today.

    2. Chris

      I refuse to watch TV. Nearly every show is about murder, money, prestige, revenge, Satan, depravity, power, betrayal……

      Maybe you should stop watching historical dramas about British royalty…

    3. clarky90

      Royal Wedding’s Bishop Curry Says ‘Love is the Way’ Theory Really Works


      “Bishop Michael Curry’s got proof his powerful words at Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s Royal Wedding were more than just trite sayings … and, in fact, his “love is the way” sermon is kinda what Kanye West was talking about when he visited our offices.”

  24. Carolinian

    Here’s some “bah, humbug” on the Royal Wedding.


    Interest in the wedding seems harmless enough–a kind of reality TV show–but then I didn’t watch it. I do disagree that there’s nothing good on television these days and will just cite shows like Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul or Game of Thrones. PBS plays some good stuff. Can’t speak to US network television as even I rarely watch that.

    1. Wukchumni

      We hesitated watching Breaking Bad when it was in prime-time, as it was full of meth-odd actors, and anything methy is usually a downer, man.

      And then we found religion and binge watched it, eager for the next stanza in the lives of sedulous meth makers, and circumstances ensued.

      The best tv series ever.

  25. Craig H.

    > As one person who had talked to Clinton about the difference between Trump and Sanders crowds recounted, her feeling was that ‘at least white supremacists shaved.’”

    This may be ignorance, not prejudice. I had to buy some dress shirts from a bourgeois retailer because my arm / neck combo isn’t close enough to three-sizes-fits-all and they keep sending me catalogs. In 2018 the men fashion models are all unshaven. I haven’t been counting but my estimate is N = ~ 50 and every single one has 3 – 5 days of stubble on their faces.

    Clean-shaven is now close to if not downright deplorable.

    (even the guys with gray hair have gray stubble which completely blows my mind)

    1. ambrit

      Being a greybeard, who shaves irregularly, I’ll say that it blows our minds too. Why, just last month I had a head full of auburn locks. I swear it!

    1. Wukchumni

      That was the coolest thing in a feline-y video i’ve ever seen.

      Of all the various types of varieties @ Cat Haven in Dunlap, Ca., I was smitten with the Canadian Lynx, as seen in the amazing wailing and approach of the duo of film fame, who didn’t seem to care that humans weren’t that far away.

      Do check out their website and all of the different felines on site, really an amazing place worthy of a visit if you’re headed to Grant Grove or Cedar Grove on Hwy 180.

      When the Rough Fire was raging on it’s way to consuming 151,000 acres in 2015, a good many of the cats had to be evacuated, as fuego loomed large nearby. What an undertaking that would have been, I mean where do you put a Barbary Lion?


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