Links 5/8/18

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The legend of Bruno ends by the side of the road MPR (Chuck L) :-(

If Illinois legalizes marijuana, what happens to pot-sniffing dogs?

Mystery benefactor returns sacred pipe tied to U.S.-Dakota war Minnesota Public Radio News (Chuck L)

See 15 years of change in the Arctic EarthSky (Chuck L)

U.S. Wind Energy Demand Surges OilPrice

Record-breaking paper water purifier operates at near 100% efficiency Inhabitat

Lyme Disease Is On The Rise Again. Here’s How To Prevent It NPR (David L)

U.S. Cities Lose Tree Cover Just When They Need It Most Scientific American

New study finds climate change threatens Marine Protected Areas PhysOrg

A Restaurant in Birmingham, Alabama, Is Voted Best in America Bloomberg. I’ve been telling readers Birmingham is a foodie center with many good restaurants. I do better there with dining out than in San Francisco.


Beijing is going to have to start making a lot of life or death decisions about the Chinese economy Business Insider


In Blow to Monsanto, India’s Top Court Upholds Decision That Seeds Cannot Be Patented EcoWatch

As North India braces for thunderstorms, vague weather alerts are of little help The Scroll (J-LS)

Forgive the long quote from Politico’s daily European newsletter, but this is the best one-stop shopping I’ve seen on the state of play in Italy:

THE PRESIDENT’S PREROGATIVE: On Monday evening, Italian President Sergio Mattarella proposed a “non-political government” as the temporary solution to Italy’s post-election impasse. That move indicates he’s not going to give a mandate to someone who’ll run at the next election, whenever that may happen. Deciphering the president’s statement, there are now three options (and Mario Monti’s quite explicitly isn’t among them).

1. A presidential government that survives a vote of confidence, which stays in place while political parties sort out their differences and find an agreement for a new, political government.

2. A presidential government that gets parliament’s confidence and a built-in shelf life until December or so, which would be enough time to present a 2019 budget and possibly a new electoral law that Italian politics has been so obsessed with.

3. That presidential prime minister fails to get the votes in parliament, which would mean a very early election. Both the League and the 5Star Movement called for a vote as early as July, but Mattarella said a summer vote “has so far been possible to avoid” — indicating in presidential Italian that he prefers to keep things that way and not ruin Italians’ summer with tutti al mare. 

THE WINNER IS: While 5Stars leader Luigi Di Maio struggles for survival at the helm of his party, the real winner — who needn’t fear either new elections or internal uprising — is the League’s Matteo Salvini. POLITICO’s Jacopo Barigazzi lays out Italy’s new reality.


Brexit Britain’s satellite threat falls flat with Brussels Politico. NC readers had already seen this as an empty threat.

Theresa May facing renewed turmoil over Brexit options Guardian. This could be a default headline for half the Brexit stories for the past eight months.

Brexit: where the fudge goes to die Richard North. Debunking of the Guardian story above.

CABINET F-EU-D Boris Johnson ‘fed up with Theresa May’s dithering over Brexit and believes he is the only Leave champion left’The Sun. North effectively debunked this too.

Tens of thousands defy the Conservative government and bring Scotland’s largest city to a standstill The Canary (Chuck L)

New Cold War

US Navy resurrects Second Fleet in Atlantic to counter Russia BBC

Putin’s inauguration: Ex-German chancellor’s front row seat sparks criticism DW


Iranian president: We will ‘remain committed’ to nuclear deal if Trump pulls out Politico. UserFriendly: “Wowzers. Europe stepped up.​”

But the fact that Trump is announcing….something…is not promising:

Trump poised to ignore warnings and scrap Iran nuclear deal The Times

Who is Losing the Nile? orientXXI (J-LS)

Israel offended Japan’s prime minister by serving him dessert in a shoe, something ‘despised’ by Japanese people Business Insider

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Connected Cars Don’t Necessarily Disconnect Previous Owners When Resold The Drive

UK police say 92% false positive facial recognition is no big deal ars technica

Tariff Tantrum

US-China tech wars threaten ‘economic carnage’ Financial Times (Kevin W)

Democrats tread fine line on tariffs in Trump country Financial Times

Trump Transition

Trump calls on Congress to pull back $15 billion in spending, including on Children’s Health Insurance Program Washington Post

Twitter erupts after Senator McCain ‘disinvites’ Trump to his funeral RT. Kevin W: “Many Twitter images.”

Jeff Sessions Says Border Agents Will Separate Undocumented Kids from Their Families Alternet. Shades of Victorian poorhouses.

Trump Removes Giuliani from Legal Team by Naming Him New White House Doctor New Yorker

HUD Secretary Ben Carson to be sued for suspending Obama-era fair-housing rule MSN (Kevin C). Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy….

Norman Solomon: Putting the “Democratic” in the “Democratic Party” YouTube

Cenk and Young Turks Team: Your Deficit Hawkery is Unrealistic and Stands in the Way of Progressive Change New Economic Perspectives

The Pleasure and Pain of Being California, the World’s 5th-Largest Economy New York Times. JTM: “Gross oversimplification?”

Schneiderman Exits

Four Women Accuse New York’s Attorney General of Physical Abuse New Yorker. Article appears at ~ 7:00 PM. Schneiderman announced his resignation by 10:00 PM. That may be a speed record.

New York attorney general resigns after allegations of physical abuse The Hill

Four Women Accuse New York Attorney General of Physical Abuse Bloomberg (David L)

Long lending boom will be a test of ‘shadow’ finance Financial Times. Finally, some discussion of private equity credit funds.

A Private-Market Deal Gone Bad: Sketchy Brokers, Bilked Seniors and a Cosmetologist Wall Street Journal

Kill Me Now

Oliver North named president of the National Rifle Association Washington Post

Class Warfare

The Supreme Court is poised to make forced arbitration nearly inescapable Economic Policy Institute. I hate this country.

Uber vehicle reportedly saw but ignored woman it struck Techcrunch

Hundreds of flights between UK and Italy grounded by strikes Independent

How Colonies Can Liberate Themselves by Taxing Real Estate D&S Blog

Bernie Sanders’s job guarantee: Is it a boondoggle? Washington Post (UserFriendly)

Antidote du jour. From Eureka Springs:

Nine years ago I rescued Louiza Felina from the local shelter. For both of us it was love at first sight. She was so small, never topping seven pounds, even the shelter thought she was still a kitten. Last Saturday as I watched her catch what would be her last bird I knew something was amiss. By Monday morning she would not eat or drink so I rushed her to the vet. It took a couple of days and nights for them to be able to see the bobcat fever in her blood test. Wednesday was the last day she was able to purr in my arms. We put her down today, Saturday afternoon. She was a fantastic companion who never lost a sense of wonder. I’m ever so thankful for the years we had and she will be sorely missed.

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. jackiebass

    Sorry about the loss of a friend.She looks like our last cat. We have owned dozens of cats but our last one was our most cherished. He belonged to the neighbor and showed up at our door. After several attempts to take the cat home, the neighbor decided it would be best for us to keep it. We enjoyed his company for 12 years.

    1. Sid Finster

      My condolences.

      Louiza looks like a smaller version of my oldest cat, Angelica.

      1. allan

        x2. She looks like she could have been the twin of our last (although he was male).

    2. freedeomny

      Louiza Felina was beautiful! I am sorry for your loss. I am partial to orange cats – the first cat I had when I was a kid was an orange male named Carlos El Gato….

    3. Brian

      My condolences as well; Our animal friends live and die with us. I sometimes worry about leaving first and wondering what they are going to do. Onward Louiza

    4. DJG

      I hate to rain on the cat funeral, but “catch her last bird”? Are you kidding? After endless articles about decline in bird populations, about destruction of bird habitat, and about the diseases that outdoor cats pick up?

      But gosh golly, we’re the kind of people who are going to meliorate climate change…

        1. JerseyJeffersonian

          As I assume that hunting birds was not the only way in which this cat was able to eat, I am not in sympathy with the pride with which its bird killing was apparently cherished. Sorry that your cat has passed, but not sorry that the wanton, and needless, bird (and doubtless also small mammals such as chipmunks) carnage has come to an end. My wife and I feed the birds, but not as a bait station to make it easy for cats to kill them. We used to enjoy the presence of resident chipmunks, but now, thanks to the multiple cats let run loose by their owners, we almost never see them any longer. Think about this, cat owners.

      1. kareninca

        There aren’t a whole lot of birds where I live anymore (Silicon Valley). I am not happy to see cats out hunting. Where my parents live in CT there are more birds, but the problem there is that house cats are in no way a “native” predator.

    5. Lupemax

      deepest sympathy on the loss of your beautiful cat. They should really live longer. I’ve lost too many over the years and I remember them all very well. We have our memories of them at least. I’m convinced they’re in a better place and we will all join up eventually.

    6. Clive

      With deepest sympathy. Departed friends and even family members I struggle to bring back into memory a lot of the time, but I never have any trouble recalling long lost but still painfully missed animal companions. Louiza looked to be a special little soul (but aren’t they all special in their own ways!) and she’s always going to be there, somewhere.

  2. Henry Moon Pie

    For those of us who keep wanting some kind of realistic, viable strategy for bringing forth a new world to replace this disintegrating one, there’s a good article on building alternative institutions and structures, neighborhood by neighborhood:

    [M]ost people will never even consider retracting support for governing institutions if they don’t experience viable alternatives. As Antonio Gramsci explained a century ago, the ruling class’s cultural hegemony—society’s domination by ruling class ideas—can be only undermined by what he called a “war of position”.

    This means developing a material and cultural base within the working class to craft an oppositional narrative and to organise oppositional institutions. The organisation of unions, worker-owned firms, and housing cooperatives is what makes socialism a real, lived possibility around which greater movement-building can occur.

    Bookchin is referenced as well.

    How to Build a New World in the Shell of the Old

        1. Oregoncharles

          They’re welcome to the heavy load of manganese in our water. When the water is oxygenated, the manganese turns it brown and deposits.

          In all seriousness, water purification in certain areas might be a good source.

          1. SimonGirty

            Heck, AIR filters from my youth in Pittsburgh? I remember wondering why professor Tolkien chose our Monongahela Valley as model for Mordor. Of course, all the electric blue flame, billowing sulfur dioxide plumes, chrome snow and airbourne arsenic brought out the garish horror of the place. Hell with the lid off, an’at.

  3. hemeantwell

    Last Saturday as I watched her catch what would be her last bird I knew something was amiss.

    Sheesh. We have a cat, also a yellow tabby. He stays indoors. Struggling bird populations already have enough to deal with from humans without turning our homes into protected predator camps.

      1. DJG

        Bugs: There are endless articles about the effect of pet cats and feral cats on the bird population in the U S of A. hemeantwell isn’t exactly reporting the news.

    1. nippersmom

      We keep our cats indoors too, but is this really the time to chastise a grieving person?

      1. JerseyJeffersonian

        Well, maybe it is as good a time as any to admonish the other cat owners to think about their responsibilities toward the wild creatures at peril from them letting their cats run rampant. It is not a pleasure to watch some well-fed domestic cat needlessly killing a ground-feeding bird that came to partake of some bird seed put out to help it survive the end of winter/early spring. I have seen this right outside my window. Whoo hoo! For these cats, who do not need to kill to survive, this seems rather the equivalent to trophy hunting, a blood sport I rather suspect that most hereabouts don’t hold in high regard. Would you train up your children in trophy hunting? Maybe the bird that the cat kills is one of the parents of young nestlings, and the survival of the nestlings is then thrown into peril, too? Score!

        As I said above in a prior comment, sorry that the loved pet has passed, but not sorry that this human-enabled – and needless – killing spree is over.

        And I, too, “meant well” for the sake of the dead birds, and for the sake of the harmless chipmunks slaughtered by these well-fed domestic cats running loose. Not such a witty comment there, perpetualWar, when the comment was motivated by an expanded compassion to include the blameless victims.

    2. Clive

      Please do not keep disseminating this incorrect notion. Avian numbers are primarily limited by available food supply. Thereafter, it’s habitat stability and environmental influences. Predation by felines — either domestic or feral — is a minor factor. It is always a good idea to research a subject before opinionating on it, there’s are several academic studies such as this to choose from.

      1. witters

        “It is always a good idea to research a subject before opinionating on it” – for then you can discover it is “a minor matter.” Like methane compared to CO2.

      2. JerseyJeffersonian

        This is nice in the abstract, but I recently was told by some good friends of ours who had been feeding, and thereby encouraging the ubiquity of, a number of feral cats, in response to my questions about the presence of other wildlife in the wooded habitat of their neighborhood, that they never saw the previously observed chipmunks any longer. Now, of course, a whole community of feral cats would certainly present a heightened risk to these small mammals, but in our own neighborhood there is a not inconsiderable number of non-feral cats running about, and we have seen only one lone chipmunk in the last year on a property where they previously were resident, and a well nigh constant presence. Otherwise the habitat is unchanged…except for the increased number of domestic cats on the loose. Not saying that these cats killed them all, but if not, the chipmunks certainly took a powder due to the insupportable risk these cats presented.

        So I’ll put my own apparently baseless, anecdotal report side by side with these academic studies any day. As a reasonably acute observer, I reference what I see in my own environment: drastically reduced chipmunk population; domestic cats scuttling away from our bird feeding area with birds in their jaws; a markedly increased population of domestic cats on the prowl, and that increase not seen to be in conjunction with any other notable alteration of the habitat.

        And after all, isn’t this a site where people gather to point and laugh at the frequent inadequacy of academic studies? If I value my own observational powers within my own surroundings, dealing with the granularity of the particulars of the local circumstances in preference to acceptance of somebody else’s received wisdom, I guess I’ll just have to wear my failure to accord proper respect to My Betters through having the temerity to develop my own, observationally developed, opinion.

        1. ArcadiaMommy

          I hear what you are saying. I’m sad to hear of the loss of anyone’s beloved pet but I can see that there is a bit of a double standard for smaller animals. If my big mutts ran loose in the neighborhood killing critters someone would call the police or animal control (rightfully so). Luckily they are well trained and very gentle (not to mention lazy). Anyway I’m very sorry to hear about this sweet kitty.

        1. Clive

          That study was specifically about ferals on islands where in that eco system they become effectively non-native species. It is the same as happened when hedgehogs were introduced into Scottish islands

          In environments where felines are native, feral numbers are limited by the food supply too as they participate in the same food chain. If bird (and other prey) numbers fall, this limits the number of apex or near-apex predator numbers such as feral cats. A domestic cat will have its nutritional needs largely met by the owners feeding them and this limits their predation (a cat which isn’t hungry won’t hunt or hunt significantly less than one which is).

          This applies to responsible cat owners only. A cat hoarder or an owner which doesn’t neuter their pet and lets that animal roam freely is creating a problem of introducing an imbalance into their neighbourhood of feline predation vs. a limited food supply. But I wasn’t citing irresponsible domestic cat owners. Blurring an argument to bring irresponsible cat owners into the scope of the discussion, a discussion centred on responsible or presumed responsible owners, is making an appeal to emotion or including extraneous data. Both of which are relying on logical fallacies (I appreciate you didn’t do that Chris, but others in this thread and elsewhere did).

          1. Amfortas the Hippie

            We have an inside/outside cat.
            Indoors at night, lazing about on the porch all day.
            he watches the numerous birds at the bird feeders, but I’ve never seen him with anything other than a grasshopper.
            He keeps our part of the place relatively free of the 50 or so feral cats next door that my mom can’t be talked out of feeding.
            remarkably, she has mice…and I don’t,lol.(I tolerate nonpoisonous snakes, she doesn’t)
            when she’s gone, I sometimes take upon myself the unenviable task of thinning the herd…but more are always waiting in the woods to replace them.
            I also have abundant birds, and she doesn’t…which leads me to infer that her cats are rather lazy, as well…and don’t roam about hunting sparrows outside of her yard.Never see her cats with a bird, so it could be that the presence of all those cats lounging around deters the birds from visiting over there(there’s about 200 feet between our “yard” and hers).
            The woods and fields hereabouts are also replete with birdlife, and numerous wandering cats.(IDK where they come from, but I assume it’s offspring of farmcats, and/or city people dropping them off on the highway(we get dogs that way))
            I worried about this for a time, too…having seen the studies…but after closely observing my exceptionally lazy cat,and mom’s, and the differences between here and there, I suppose that what the studies lack, maybe, is nuance, or considering other non-obvious variables.
            Like feeding them and cat population.
            Only times I see any activity from any of these cats, is feeding time, and when a new tom wanders in from the wilds.
            Those wild ones are eating something,fer sure, but I wonder if they have merely stepped into a niche left by the ongoing war on “varmints” that’s been waged out here for a hundred years.

            BTW,If you are after snake control(never ever witnessed a cat providing this), I suggest geese for yardmen, or guinneas.

          2. rd

            I think more critical than non-native is whether or not cats, snakes or other predators are introduced into areas that did not have similar predators before. In North America, cats are similar predators to many other species, including weasels, mink, lynx, mountain lions, foxes, coyotes, wolves etc. never mind hawks, eagles, and owls.

            So cats are efficient predators but they are in a population of small mammals and birds that have evolved to survive both daytime and nocturnal predators of a similar nature. Many of those predators have declined in large numbers.

            This is very different from islands that didn’t have such predators before and so the introduction of cats or snakes can wipe out entire species that have no defenses.

            It turns out that the white-footed mouse is a key host for ticks which spread Lyme disease. The surge in mice due to good habitat for them and fewer predators is one reason why ticks and Lyme disease is more prevalent. So cats may actually be one of our key defenses against Lyme disease. Our cats are lining up dead mice and moles on our door step almost daily – far more mice than birds, chipmunks, squirrels or rabbits.

    3. Eureka Springs

      Since my mac mini threw a hissy fit last night and is in the shop today, I ll let Lou’s photos do the talking, just peck out a warm thanks to all on this phone.

      Yes the birds are chirping a sweeter tune in her absence. Nature of the beast. My chastising line is with friends who have bird feeders on the same porch thier cats live on. I would never do that.

      1. Edward E

        We have a cool new neighbor from, of all places, New York City. His cat died of bobcat fever recently too. There used to be a bobcat that hanged around here, haven’t seen it in years.

  4. divadab

    Re: Pot-sniffing dogs – are very useful in identifying fellow tokers – if these dogs are adopted out, they will be in high demand!

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      Useful sniffing reminded me of a strange old movie starring Don Johnson and Jason Robards. The real star was a dog capable of telepathy with Johnson’s character:

      A Boy and his Dog

      1. a different chris

        The story itself was, um, one of the most famous sci-fi shorts of all time by one of the most celebrated sci-fi writers of all time.

        I *think* I am actually complimenting you on not knowing that. :) I never thought I would see A Boy and His Dog referred to as a “Strange old movie” but times do change.

        PS: I’m not sure I even knew they made a movie out of it. Probably I just forgot.

        1. windsock

          David Bowie mashed that story with “1984” to come up with “Diamond Dogs”.

        2. ambrit

          Throw in “They Live!” and “H— Comes to Frogtown” and we have a tridysfecta.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Those sniffing dogs will probably find work with Wall-Street funded, neoliberal, monopolistic, giant Marijuana corporations, to keep out-of-business small growers away.

      2. Henry Moon Pie

        They use dogs for that in Istria since they’re not interested in eating the truffles. If you walk the walls of Motovun, overlooking the Mirna Valley, you’ll see where some of these dogs are kept. We have a female dog we brought back from there. She has the cutest little behavior: sniffing the ground, gently pawing the dirt, sniffing some more, pawing some more.

    2. Gary

      The only drug sniffing dogs I know of also trigger on meth and cocaine. They will probably only suffer and 1/3 loss of salary.

      I did not read the article so they may have already covered it. The link did not work for me.

  5. Phillip Allen

    Hail the traveler, Louiza Felina! Praise her name! What is remembered, lives.

  6. Kevin

    Antidote du jour; Good on you, you took a chance and it sounds like you were richly rewarded. Sorry for your loss.

  7. Kevin

    Insurers Changing the Game in Medical Tourism

    “One major factor contributing to this paradigm shift is the increasing number of South East Asian and European healthcare facilities that meet the healthcare standards of developed countries such as the United States and Canada.”

    but….I thought we were #1…?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      We were and are still number 1 in ob/gyn.

      There are many women coming to the US to give birth.

      Not too many American women going to North Korea, Cuba, China etc, for that sole purpose.

      1. Arizona Slim

        Yup. At least one of our local hospitals has done promos to pregnant women who, shall we say, are not Americans.

      2. ChiGal in Carolina

        and yet of all the OECD countries have the worst maternal death and infant mortality rate, especially for people of color

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Money is the key here.

          It explains why our hospitals devote their resources and welcome so many rich, non-white foreign women who come to number one maternity destination to give birth.

      3. Oregoncharles

        Isn’t that really so the babies will have a claim to citizenship? As ChiGal reminds us, our medical record isn’t really that good.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          You’re both right. I was being facetious, though perhaps something like this is in the mind of the visiting woman, ‘America is number one, that’s why I am going there for my kid to be an American.’

          We can be number one in that sense.

        2. Lil'D

          Quality of care in the US is not uniformly distributed.
          Care for the affluent is exceptionally good.
          For the not-so-affluent, not so good…

          1. ambrit

            For the rest of us, well, my store of invective and profanity is unequal to the task.

  8. Summer

    Re: Oliver North / NRA
    “He ran for Senate in 1994 as a Republican in a bitter race against Democrat Charles S. Robb in Virginia.”

    Check out the documentary about North’s campaign during this race: “A Perfect Candidate.” You’ll see how fitting the NRA/North pairing is…as well as preludes to 2016.

    1. sd

      Placing Oliver North at any position of prominence is pretty much a public admission of scraping the barrel. Obsequious writ large.

      1. ambrit

        Be afraid, Be very afraid. Ollie North was Ronald Reagans’ “fixer” for nefarious purposes. (North was central to the Iran-Contra end run around the authority of the Congress.) This is an explicit attack upon the rule of law by the far right. As with any organization, discern between the rank and file and the central manipulators.
        This isn’t “scraping the barrel.” This is a declaration of war on the barrel.
        The Cheney Doctrine writ large.

    2. gepay1

      Oliver North was a candidate for the 1994 Senate in VA. The Republican party in VA is made up mainly of two groups – country club Republicans and Walmart Republicans. Oliver North didn’t take the fall and keep quiet like he was supposed to (be another G. Gordon Liddy). So the Bush establishment sabotaged his Senate race by getting a member of the country club Republicans to run as an independent but who had no chance of winning. John Warner endorsed Marshall Coleman who received 11% of normal Republican votes to enable Chuck Robb (who had married Lyndon Johnson’s daughter to get ahead in life) to win with less than 50% of the vote.

  9. C. Hattersley

    The Village Voice, I believe, once headlined a story about Ollie “Full Metal Jerk-off.”

    1. FluffytheObeseCat

      There is a great Readers’ Digest expose on North. It dates back about 35 years. They took him apart. A bit surprising given their baseline warmongering, but they were “Eisenhower Republicans” in many ways. North was one of the first prominent post-Reagan right wing grand-standers, and they didn’t like the sort of upfront thievery he indulged in.

      1. Lambert Strether

        Yeah, I wonder if Ollie still does the brown-eyed, sincere look with the catch in his voice?

        [family-blogging] weasel. In a lot of ways, Iran-Contra was worse than Watergate, but the Democrats were already going soft and rottten, and Reagan skated.

  10. Alex

    Regarding the 92-percent false positive rate, it’s a headline that doesn’t say much about the system the police were using.

    The system is characterised by false positive rate (how often it flags someone wrong) and a false negative rate (how often it doesn’t flag someone even though it should have done it). It’s usually trivial to adjust the system in a way that one error goes up and another goes down (the system makes fewer false positive errors but misses more real bad guys)

    So the question is whether the inconvenience that the 92% suffered was commensurate with the benefit of identifying the 8%. The article doesn’t provide this information

    1. SimonGirty

      Wasn’t this topic adequately presented in RoboCop’s hilarious ED-309 sequence, decades back?

        1. SimonGirty

          “Or there will be, TROUBLE.” Most was shot in TX, but they needed the old mill in Wheeling, so… bought up Pittsburgh’s previously enjoyed Ford cop cars. Our corrupt politicians replaced them with Olds & Pontiacs, so you could pretty much outrun these with a mountain bicycle, through hilly back yards, deer trails & abandoned homes.

          1. Arizona Slim

            If a bicyclist can outrun a cop car in Pittsburgh, that is one heckuva rider. Because the Burgh is hilly!

            Or the pols are a lot more corrupt than the ones I remember.

            1. SimonGirty

              Ah, er… that was DOWNHILL, basically through folks’ yards. How those tiny Daimler SUVs & Subarus got to be so popular with the type of po’ folks mentioned in “Goodfellas” (though, as freebasing hit white trash rust belt slums, the cops were likely as not, to be camped out in the distributors’ kitchen. This was when 130K Pagan mules just lost “good union jobs” and were hunting woodchucks along those ridges.

        2. ambrit

          You had me going there!
          I tried to look it up but, the ‘Memory Hole’ apparatchiks had got to it first and made it ‘disappear.’
          I’m going to have to take my ‘Snark-O-Meter’ in for recalibration.

    2. marym

      Well, sure, maybe in the UK the universal recording and investigation of people going about their normal lives, confusion and fear of being wrongly accused, having to account for one’s actions and locations that may be no one’s business, and embarrassment with neighbors or bystanders wondering what’s going on is “no big deal” to the police.

      In the US if the subject also happened to be holding a cell phone, or attempting to provide requested ID, there’s the risk of the additional “inconvenience” of getting shot.

      In either case the “inconvenience” of the loss of civil liberties, privacy, and personal safety; and cops who think they can’t do their jobs without inflicting these losses, should be a “big deal” to the rest of us.

  11. Jim A.

    Re Uber fatality That was pretty much my assumption. Teaching Uber the difference between, say a pedestrian that is on the corner looking at you and waiting for you to pass before crossing and somebody with their head in their phone crossing without looking is going to be VERY difficult. This is why I think that it will be at least a decade before self driving cars are ready for city streets. They are pretty close to being able to drive on interstates and probably do it cheaper than drivers. That’s why I think that the use case for them is long distance trucking, driving from truck stop to truck stop while human drivers pick up the trailers for the last few miles.

        1. ArcadiaMommy

          Yes and it just gets crazier as the temp goes up. Countdown for the beach is on.

        2. Arizona Slim

          Exactly. And Yours Truly recently got into it with one of our local bicycle advocates, who said that Elaine’s non-usage of a crosswalk made her fate, well, her fault.

          Let’s just say that I rode off after calling him a [family blog].

          Elaine Herzberg didn’t have to die.

          1. Carolinian

            Will you at least concede that she had some role in what happened? When the police prematurely said that the Uber car was not at fault what they likely really meant that a human driver–not found under the influence–would not have been charged under the same circumstances. Predictability is the key to safety for both drivers and pedestrians. The victim in this case was not where she was supposed to be.

            There’s no question that Uber and their “safety driver” were at fault to a degree that they have settled with the woman’s family. But then Uber, as frequently documented around here, is a company with dubious standards. I think it’s safe to say that even for them running over people will not be allowed to become part of their business model.

            1. Arizona Slim

              No, I won’t concede that. Because there are countries — Canada comes to mind — where if a pedestrian steps into the street, automotive traffic must stop.

            2. ArcadiaMommy

              How about stopping/avoiding hitting pedestrians is the right thing to do? For gods sake between the car sensors and an actual driver, this should have never happened.
              I realize that you probably have no clue how convoluted the traffic patterns are in that area but I can’t believe you think it’s ok to smush a human being because they weren’t in a cross walk.

              1. Carolinian

                I can’t believe you think it’s ok to smush a human being because they weren’t in a cross walk

                I think you know perfectly well that’s not what I said. However as a hypothetical what if the woman had stepped out in front of a car that then swerved to avoid her and hit a lamp post, killing a small child? What I do believe is that pedestrians have a responsibility to think about the safety of others just as car drivers do.

                And I’ve spent quite a lot of time in Phoenix and if I did try to dash across the street and beat an oncoming car I certainly wouldn’t consider it the car’s fault–particularly at night. It’s a city where cars rule and pedestrians need to look to their own safety. Actually that applies to where I live as well.

                1. ArcadiaMommy

                  There was plenty of time to stop/slow the vehicle or swerve. The car sensors didn’t kick in to either slow or stop the vehicle and the “driver” was not paying attention. The car did not sound an alarm for the driver to kick in. The point is there was a gross failure of the whole concept. I live here and I get that I have to be alert for pedestrians, bicyclists and other drivers to do things that are really stupid and frankly unpredictable. And this is all at high speeds. I walk, run and bike so I know very well how things work here. My neighborhood had these test vehicles and I can tell you from personal experience that the cars do not do a good job of dealing with pedestrians crossing streets. As in the car lurches forward and brakes having to be slammed on. No idea if it was the driver or the car sensors.

                  1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                    I’m told the self-driving techno-maniacs are working on an “ethics” switch. All the way to the left means the car will aim for the tree, all the way to the right means it heads for the baby carriage. “Drive to survive”, or else “I’m a Jain, whatever you do don’t harm that squirrel”

          2. BobW

            In Phoenix in the ’80s I was crossing a street WITH a walk signal, was nearly clipped by a left-turner – who then began to cuss me out.

            1. ArcadiaMommy

              Happens to me all the time. I will say that the other drivers honk and try to signal their disapproval to the other driver. Being a daily pedestrian has made me a more considerate driver.

        3. Mike Mc

          Driving in the Phoenix Metro has been life-threatening for decades. It’s large, so to get from one end to the other – or anywhere in between – requires driving long distances over various metro streets.

          I fled in the 1970s while still in my 20s after averaging 500 miles a week just going to work and back. My mother returned to the land of tornados and blizzards in her 70s after living there for 25+ years because driving was too scary.

          Yes, yes – millions of people drive millions of miles every year in urban hellholes and live to tell the tale. To what end? I have had some great rides over the years, but never wanted to spend four or five hours a day driving around with other poor slobs… even a high-end luxury car becomes a cage after a while.

        4. Lambert Strether

          And I don’t think the Phoenix streets are pedestrian-friendly, either (very broad).

          I always figured that was one reason the robot car companies picked Phoenix; controlling inputs with wide streets and a strong grid pattern — and a high pedestrian death rate means any fatalities would get get lost in the noise…

      1. kareninca

        “Elaine Herzberg didn’t have to die.”

        I’ve stopped reading Mish Shedlock since he agreed with one of his readers that maybe Ms. Herzberg had done this intentionally – that is, that she was trying to get herself killed. This was before much came out about her. I called him out on this in his comment section, and said that it was a disgusting insinuation and that the poor woman could not defend her reputation because she was DEAD. That the “pro driverless car” fans had the nerve to insinuate this shows you what they think of their fellow human beings – that they are to be trashed without defense when they can’t mount one. A death??? Nothing to them; must be someone trying to be annoying and to keep them from getting their lovely new techno toys.

    1. tegnost

      sure, just wait until one of those semi’s plows into something it didn’t (not couldn’t) see. The synthesis of information is what is missing and that won’t change soon. If I had a dime for every time I heard we’re ten years away I wouldn’t need to go to work today. You seem to have accepted it but the last thing I want to do is share the highway with a driverless semi when weaving my way over snoqualmie pass. How comfortable should road workers be with those things on the road, who’s to say that the construction info was properly programmed. There is a good chance that level 5 self driving will never happen. It’s also likely that we’re going to need to add a new trauma to the physicians/psychologists list, that of being run over by a machine for no reason whatsoever. Driving is a lot harder than these tech guys think. Case in point, I’ll relate what to this day was the worst thing that ever didn’t happen to me. Many years ago when the kid was twelve we’d ride around georgetown on our bikes on sundays. This is before g town became the trendy place it is now, back then it was all industrial and so sundays the place was empty. We’re out riding, doing jumps, whatever, riding through dirt parking lots etc… and I turn around and watch him ride between two cars out into the road while a car driven by a young male (hey they get a lot of grief, might as well point it out when he did the right thing, no?). I was speechlessly terrified, couldn’t have uttered a sound if I was able to, we’re talking one or to car lengths at most reaction time, but the guy saw the look on my face and slammed on the brakes. Self driving car would have killed him. Humans are bristling with sensors connected to even the most deplorable brain, and it will take a lot of computer to actually match that. I’ll just add that the motivation for self driving tech may be stated as saving lives, the true motivation, as with all software, is the patent, and the resulting cash flow.

      1. cnchal

        > . . . the true motivation, as with all software, is the patent, and the resulting cash flow

        From the professor at MIT here is the true motivation.

        Joseph Coughlin, director of the AgeLab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, predicts that companies will have a powerful incentive to do so. “The most valuable thing coming from AV technology is trapped attention,” he says. “If I’m Amazon and I have your undivided attention for an hour, I will figure out a way to eliminate motion sickness and remove all the other obstacles to enjoying the ride so that I can sell you things.”

        Saving lives is a sideshow.

        1. Lemmy Caution

          >Saving lives is a sideshow.

          It’s the robot car advocates’ version of “humanitarian intervention”.

        2. Mo's Bike Shop

          re: trapped attention

          Light rail and trains would be even better for that, but nevermind.

          1. Lambert Strether

            Yeah, but who wants to share public transport with icky proles?

            Also, I’m not sure you’re right about that: (1) advertising could be targeted to the one person in the robot car, not an entire bus or train, and (2) the advertising could be immersive

        3. Partyless Poster

          Self driving cars also make it so the NSA can track and assassinate anybody with impunity, would Julian Assange feel comfortable taking a
          self driving car?
          Maybe MLK would have had “a tragic accident” instead of being shot.
          Just sayin

          1. SimonGirty

            Oh my GOD, Aubrey McClendon killed Julian Assange! The bastard! BESIY, NVDA, MBLY, VLVLY…

        4. Tim

          Does that mean cars will be free as long as we sign up to accepting ads playing during our driving? Oh, and they get to keep all our data on where when and how we go from place to place.

          1. rd

            Based on the number of people that I see driving while looking at their cell phones, I would say it is already happening.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Maybe a merger between a self-driving car company and a mind reading AI company.

      “That one is waiting for you to pass.”

      “The other is crossing, looking at his phone.”

    3. Goyo Marquez

      The inside the libertarian box thinking/let’s get a monopoly thinking, of the self driving car companies is keeping them from seeing the necessity of not just smart cars but smart highways, i.e., highways that tell the car where it is, the conditions of the road, the speed limit (able to be varied by highway authorities) the speed and direction of other cars, so that so much computing power doesn’t have to go to determining relatively fixed parameters and can be used for identifying unusual conditions.

      Humans are going to have to be taught to be as cautious crossing roadways as they are crossing railroads or taking subways.

      The benefits of self driving cars are just enormous. Think of all the old people and kids stuck at home, or stuck someplace else because they can’t drive, can’t afford a car. Think of the fuel savings from having cars that are lighter because they don’t have to be fortified against collisions with other vehicles. Think of the economies to families from only having to own one car that can move around during the day as needed. Think of the savings from not needing to own a car because you can call for one whenever you need one and not have to wait for it. Think of the public transportation possibilities instead of having on huge behemoth that seats fifty, stuck to a fixed route, you have smaller buses that go to where and when the riders are.

      1. Carolinian

        highways that tell the car where it is, the conditions of the road, the speed limit (able to be varied by highway authorities) the speed and direction of other cars, so that so much computing power doesn’t have to go to determining relatively fixed parameters and can be used for identifying unusual conditions.

        I believe you are right and given the enormous amount of money we already plow into building and maintaining our freeways it might not even be that much added expense.

        As for the whole notion of robot vehicles, I believe these are inevitable–especially on freeways–and therefore people should be thinking about how to make them work rather than hoping the idea will just go away. Yes, human beings have an array of sensors that machines will find hard to match. On the other hand machines will not be subject to the psychological wackiness that afflicts human drivers (example: you put on your turn signal to change lanes and the adjacent driver speeds up to block you from doing so and therefore getting in front of him/her). The American love affair with the car can also be a kind of madness and social microcosm that has little to with transportation. It’s no mere coincidence that airlines–which leave their driving to professionals–have a far better safety record.

        1. Goyo Marquez

          Exactly. Highways roadways even parking lots are super expensive. Making them smart, geo tagging them, rfid, or some such, tagging won’t add that much. Creating a transportation monitoring authority probably will add some expense, but on the other hand those are jobs.

        2. lyman alpha blob

          If they are inevitable it certainly won’t be because they are necessary. Right now they are a solution in search of a problem. If they do become widespread, it will be because the Silicon Valley squillionaires want them for their own bezzle, not the rest of us.

          You point out how they would do better on freeways, in other words these things will operate well only on long, relatively straight roads with all vehicles traveling in the same direction without many turns.

          I agree that we can make that work. It’s called a train.

      2. JTMcPhee

        Yah, more vehicles using energy on the roads, so that “old folks and kids stuck at home” for all those so-sad reasons, can get out on the roads and highways, that’s the ticket! Encourage sprawl. Spend how much, to build those “smart highways?” My doctors and groceries and such are in strip malls, obscure buildings or complex parking lots. Gonna make them “smart,” too, so when in the not too distant future I can’t drive myself (burning gasoline) to those places, some vehicle owned by some Smart Corporation can dun me A Lot Of Money from its likely monopoly position to make those little voyages of necessity?

        Yah, “the benefits of self driving cars are just enormous.” For some definition of “enormous:” Definition of enormous

        1 a archaic : abnormal, inordinate
        b : exceedingly wicked : shocking; an enormous sin
        2 : marked by extraordinarily great size, number, or degree; especially : exceeding usual bounds or accepted notions.

        But that’s just fuddy-duddy old Merriam Webster’s take on the word…

        1. Goyo Marquez

          re: urban sprawl.
          The guys who own urban real estate also oppose urban sprawl.

          Yeah who cares about old people stuck at home, or little kids stuck watching TV all day, we’ve got much more important priorities.

          Re definitions: Please substitute the second in my sentence if that will make it clearer for you.

          1. False Solace

            > Yeah who cares about old people stuck at home, or little kids stuck watching TV all day, we’ve got much more important priorities.

            My heart bleeds. There’s already a solution for people who can’t drive, it’s called a taxi.

      3. CaptainPoptart

        Think of all the old people and kids stuck at home, or stuck someplace else because they can’t drive, can’t afford a car.

        Once the Uber/Lyfts of the world have achieved the monopoly status required by their business models and have free reign on pricing, kindly explain how the outcome will be any different.

      4. Altandmain

        The safest solution may be to have “self driving only” highways that run parallel to the regular highways. This would be for cargo mostly and in case something happened (ex: flammable cargo on a truck that had an accident), this would isolate the passenger traffic from the cargo.

      5. Lambert Strether

        > The benefits of self driving cars are just enormous. Think of all the old people and kids stuck at home, or stuck someplace else because they can’t drive, can’t afford a car. Think of the fuel savings from having cars that are lighter because they don’t have to be fortified against collisions with other vehicles. Think of the economies to families from only having to own one car that can move around during the day as needed. Think of the savings from not needing to own a car because you can call for one whenever you need one and not have to wait for it. Think of the public transportation possibilities instead of having on huge behemoth that seats fifty, stuck to a fixed route, you have smaller buses that go to where and when the riders are.

        I’m generally not persuaded by the “think of the children” trope, and whether all these thought of things are good or not, they are clearly not the the motivators for the interests pushing the technology. And when robot cars are built — and the infrastructural improvements needed to make them work are built — they won’t be optimized for all those thought-of things, but for business goals like rental extraction, big data, advertising, in addition to various forms of social control (like turning off driving “privileges” for classes of persons, or to given locations like that big protest). You should “think of” every dystopian thing that’s ever been done with cellphones, applied not to communications, but to the physical ability to move from point A to point B.

        Addressing the last point, you write:

        Think of the public transportation possibilities instead of having on huge behemoth that seats fifty, stuck to a fixed route, you have smaller buses that go to where and when the riders are.

        This is an age-old dream of public transportation haters — the individual pod that replaces the train or the bus. The economics have never been shown to work. Atrios is very sound on robot cars; see here and here and here (“mass transit” with the “mass” left out).

    4. Lee

      Every day when driving or walking, eye contact and hand signals between drivers and pedestrians comes into play. You’d think the AI geniuses would know about the vital function of such obvious and oft used social cues. Oh, wait….

      1. Arizona Slim

        I’ve met more than a few people who work in AI. Let’s just say that they aren’t very adept at recognizing social cues.

    5. Knifecatcher

      I think the algorithm might have gone something like this:

      IF (PedestrianDetected == TRUE) THEN
      IF (HasMobilePhone == TRUE) and (UberAppInstalled == TRUE) THEN

      Poor Elaine never stood a chance.

      1. Arizona Slim


        And, as for the crosswalk argument, where was the nearest crosswalk? A few feet away from where Elaine was crossing Scottsdale Road? Or was it a half mile away?

        The place where she crossed, er, jaywalked, may have been the closest to her destination.

    6. cnchal

      . . . Specifically, it was that the system was set up to ignore objects that it should have attended to; Herzberg seems to have been detected but considered a false positive.

      This is Ayeye’s blind spot. No matter how much training it gets, when you get to multiple hidden layers within the chip we are left in the dark. There is no way to examine the self developed neural network within the chip. As far as I know, there is no way to tell if each individual chip that get’s precisely the same training is internally identical, and as soon as those chips run around and get on the jawb training they change internally.

      That is only my opinion on what little I know about them, but I am suspicious that we are being sold a thing that will come back to haunt and eventually destroy us.

    7. JTMcPhee

      Not that I will have any choice, given the economo-dynamics at work and in play, but I do not care to be on the road with 250,000-pound “autonomous mini-trains” and their sensors and algorithms. For all the reasons that have been covered in the many postings on the subject of “autonomous vehicles” right here in NC-space.

      There’s a reason why movies like “Christine,” , and “Duel,” have such hideous fascination for us mopes… And to all you lovers of Tech and apologists for promoters of autonomous ANYTHING, who just can’t wait until you are relieved of the onerous task of driving your own vehicle, and happy to see all those Big Rig drivers “displaced” into the U-6 fold, may you experience to the fullest the horror that your enthusiasm for “progress” brings.

      1. Carey

        I agree, and will add that even if autonomous vehicles worked ‘perfectly’, the centralization of control
        necessary- as if the surveillance society we have now isn’t too much already!- makes it a very bad idea,
        in my opinion.

    8. Anonymous

      How are they going to teach automated vehicles not to drive into lava flows, floods, sinkholes, and other rare but obvious dangers that human drivers will avoid without a second thought?

    9. Mo's Bike Shop

      What kind of person is going to want to sit at the deadman switch in the cab of the rocking chair of a dozen-truck self-driving convoy slipstreaming at 75 mph?

      ‘When the red light comes on, do something.’

    10. Procopius

      Norbert Weiner wrote back in 1946 or so about the problem they had during World War II trying to predict the near future path of an aircraft which was trying to evade anti-aircraft fire. They developed a reasonably workable solution. It seems they should have solved that problem by now. At least for something as slow moving as a person. IF the object is moving at five miles an hour or less AND the straight line path of the object is going to intersect the projected location of self THEN stop (maybe emergency stop). You don’t even have to identify it as a human person. Should not collide with ANYTHING. What does the person having his/her head buried in their phone have to do with anything? If this is the best they can do, then my confidence in anti-ballistic missile defense dropped even more.

  12. The Rev Kev

    That was a great looking cat that. Sometimes it is the ginger meggs that make the best cats. RIP.

    “Brexit Britain’s satellite threat falls flat with Brussels”

    Gee, do you think that it would be too late for the UK to sign up with GLONASS – Russia’s Global Orbiting Navigation Satellite System?

  13. David

    On Brexit, Richard North provides a link to the Commission document prepared for Monday’s General Affairs Council. It’s fair to say that in tone, it reads like a document for a forthcoming parent-teacher association. A sense of drama, or even the importance of the issue, is completely lacking. But this is not really a criticism.
    One of the cultural problems the UK has always had with the EU is the clash of government styles. The UK system (when it’s working properly) allows officials a great deal of latitude and initiative, provided only that they stay within the broad limits set by Ministers. The continental system, which is what the EU is founded on, essentially reserves initiative to the Minister, and to the plethora of special advisers and the Cabinet, who have many of the powers of decision and initiative. This means that continental bureaucracies are often highly competent, but unable to act or make proposals, because the Cabinet is sitting on a decision.
    Why this is important now is that the Commission, whilst powerful, is circumscribed in what it can do. No doubt Barnier has been trying his best to motivate European leaders, but, as we discussed yesterday, there’s no sign that they or European elites in general have any real idea of the seriousness of the situation. Given the way the system works, until major European governments actually grapple with this subject and give instructions, nothing is going to get done. But the Italians, Spanish and Germans have other distractions, and Macron, well, he’s been in New Zealand for some reason. So the June EC at 27 could well be a shambles. Ironically, the UK could actually be helpful here. Its officials have a tradition of proposing ingenious solutions to problems, but of course that requires a clear idea of what the government wants, which we don’t have.
    As a friend of mine at the State Department was find of saying “If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, you probably haven’t understood the gravity of the situation.”

    1. The Rev Kev

      Macron was actually in the south Pacific to visit New Caledonia and shore up French support to defeat the New Caledonian independence referendum that is being held in early November this year. The place is the linchpin for French power and prestige in this region, hence his need to visit and lend his support to those to want to stay with France.

      1. visitor

        It also a place that contributes massively to France having the largest exclusive economic maritime zone of all countries in the world (yes, larger than Australia’s, larger than the USA, larger than Russia’s…)

        1. Colonel Smithers

          Thank you.

          There’s a fair bit of mineral wealth on shore, too. A Caldoche family who operate some of the mineral concessions bought Chateau Prieure Lichine in the Bordelais a while ago.

      2. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, Kev.

        I followed on TV5 and was staggered to hear the Mac say that France would not be the same if Kanaky left the French Republic. What are the metropolitains worried about? Many can’t point out where Kanaky is on a map and certainly don’t want Kanaks on the mainland. The only time they are wanted is to fight for France, like one of Gerald Darmanin’s grandfathers at Monte Cassino. Oh, yes, une certaine idee de la France and all that BS!

        It appears the “expensive little dancers”, to quote Giscard when talking about colonials, were wheeled out to entertain the maitre.

        1. vlade

          I visited NC what, ten years ago. It was a fascinating experience – both the people and nature.
          Nature – some of it great undisturbed tracts, only to be broken up by huge open-sky mining pits that look like Martian landscape.

          People – extremely friendly Kanaks, even though we communicated mostly by gestures, through young who wanted nothing more than to leave the place, to rural French communities who acknowledged only existence of white, faultlessly French conversant people.

          I like Pacific countries a lot, but not sure whether NC would be a place I’d go back and visit if I was going back..

          1. Colonel Smithers

            Thank you, Vlade.

            It’s interesting to observe / compare how current and former colonies of France and the UK have evolved. One does notice who the mother country is or was.

            You should visit us in the Indian Ocean.

      3. David

        Apologies if I have slighted the southern hemisphere, but you’re right, of course, New Caledonia is a huge recurrent problem for the French as well as being the basis for the contention that France is a “world power” with territories in every ocean. But it’s interesting that Macron is spending three days there, at a time when France is wracked by industrial disputes (Air France may go bankrupt according to some reports) and there is this little matter of Brexit. It tells you something about priorities.
        Interestingly, I see that the French media is repeating Macron’s remarks about constructing a “Paris-New Delhi-Canberra axis.” Is that how it’s seen in Oz?

        1. The Rev Kev

          I think that the Paris-New Delhi-Canberra axis is seen as something that politicians come up with but most people put it in the WTF department. Probably this is more about another group of nations “containing” China – whatever the hell that means. Turnbull may go on about French-Australian links going back to WW1 but it was not that long ago that the French were letting off nukes in the South Pacific with the radioactivity being blow this way nor have people forgotten the Rainbow warrior incident. There simply is not that much intersection between France and Australia these days – except with the footy occasionally.
          Interesting article talking about his aims though at-

    2. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, David.

      One wonders what the UK could propose in June? This is not to say that UK officials don’t have ideas, but this week’s “war cabinet” (sic), due to discuss a no deal / crash out Brexit, including port / border infrastructure and food supplies, has been hijacked by Boris Johnson, who fears being outflanked not just by Jacob Rees-Mogg, but by Sajid Javid, for whom money is coming in at the bookies.

      UK officials are in regular contact with the EFTA/EEA members, especially Norway, and have some suggestions, but the political masters have other ideas.

      It may astound readers, but the war cabinet (for the war against the EU27, not Iran) has discussed such an outcome only twice before, 2016 and 2017. It’s just too divisive and enables grandstanding by Ultras.

  14. Wukchumni

    The worst part of it getting warmer, is the crew @ the all cats and no cattle ranch, have scant interest in being sleeping accoutrements, whereas a month ago they would have had me pinned down as a pint sized Gulliver, on top of the bedspread-the feliniputians.

    Sorry for your loss of Louiza Felina…

    1. Lee

      My pitbull Staffordshire Terrier hates cold or even just moderately cool weather. She gets under the covers at the foot of the bed and makes a great foot warmer.

  15. fresno dan

    HICAP adventures. minor event in the scheme of things – I actually had occasion to use my Medicare decoder code number for SHIP (state health insurance assistance) for the FIRST time. Whoo Hoo!
    So I whip out…the number, and than I realized I Had to go get the special 1-800 number to get the special treatment.
    Oh, and it was for finding out if a retired teacher was going to have to pay for her Part A medicare. Good news for her she is getting it free.

  16. Ignacio

    Excellent update on Italy, thank you! It is becoming too common to have polarized and fragmented parliaments these days. It seems now polls favor “fresh” rejuvenated conservatives like Macron in France or Ciudadanos in Spain (almost certainly next winners here). I don’t know if Liga Nord plays the same role and migth be the next winner in Italy. Podemos, 5 stars populisms are failing although they migth keep or gain power in some large municipalities. The left hasn’t yet found their “Corbyns” in too many countries.

    Regarding electoral reform I think it has come time to settle a fixed number of votes per representative in all electoral regions (except for the senate methinks). Current systems have always resulted in conservative bias in parliaments.

    1. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, Ignacio.

      Readers will be delighted or dismayed to hear that Macron’s movement hopes to organise on an EU basis for the next elections to the European Parliament and how little contact exists between Corbyn and (so called) left of centre parties overseas.

    1. perpetualWAR

      I wouldn’t put it past the corrupt court to uphold corporate rights over worker rights.
      He who hast the most moola, wins. Esp in our corrupt judiciary.

      1. JTMcPhee

        How did that judiciary become corrupt? What can be done to bring about a different constitution of the judiciary, and at least a shrinking of the inevitable quantum of corruption (this being, after all, just another human institution, whose incumbents are infilled by other also corrupt and corrupting institutions)? The people who have brought the rest of us this House of Ill Repute/Court of Last Resort have been busy doing the gathering of clout and wealth and power to choose, while the rest of us just kind of mope along, day to day. Maybe it’s some kind of biological imperative? Something built into the whole “system”? Part of the inevitable political economy and ecology? Some thoughts on the subject from people smarter than me:

        “Why Does Corruption Persist in Democracies?”

        For the Grecians among us (now that Greece’s problems are no longer au courant): “Greece’s Greasy Palm Syndrome: 10 Reasons Why Bribery and Corruption Persist,”

        And then there’s this, from the economists, a nice article with a massive bibliography and guilt matrix:

        “Corruption in Developing Countries


        “Taken together, the existing and ongoing research on corruption in developing countries suggests a large and promising research agenda. Researchers have identified several innovative ways of measuring corruption and economic theory offers us significant guidance on how to design anti-corruption policies. At the same time, the ability of individuals to outguess those who seek to regulate them suggests an important need to collect data on both the short- and long-run impacts of many different anti-corruption policies in many different contexts.” ” Read as: job security, maybe even tenure!– The Yasser Arafat-Bibi Netanyahoo Chair of Political-Economic Corruption!

        It’s Just The Way Things Are, after all…

        1. David

          I find this kind of academic research rather pointless. Corruption exists because it benefits the individual. It is simply the logical extension of the liberal economic agenda of personal enrichment, which is why anti-corruption initiatives (and I have participated in some) make no headway when they simply lecture people about being honest. Honesty is irrational at the individual level, and, far from condemning it, in corrupt societies like Pakistan, people simply see it as an added incentive to get a government job.
          It follows that you will only have an honest society if there are principles which are more powerful than personal enrichment. This can be done when you have a strong collective social ethos (parts of Asia) or a middle class with high moral seriousness (Britain and Germany in the 19th century). But powerful political or religious convictions can help also. Communist parties in France and Italy ran municipalities much more honestly than other parties and were rewarded electorally for doing so. Hezbollah increased its vote in the Lebanese elections a few days ago because it’s the only party in that poor country that’s generally thought to be honest, even by its opponents. You’ll notivce that this has nothing to do with democracy.

          1. JTMcPhee

            Thank you for the diagonal lecture response. Maybe it’s not clear that I and all those sources I linked agree corruption is endemic, from both the pointless academic research and personal observation. And that bit about the strong collective social ethos is right on point, of course. There ain’t no such thing in the Empire, except maybe on a very small and local level. The question might be how one can act to reduce the scope and scale of corruption to something that is tenable, since it seems to be inevitable. And I kind of doubt that there is such an answer. Speaking as a person who grew up in the Chicago area when the first Mayor Daley ran the place, and corruption was just part of the show, and buying politicians was relatively cheap and, in the noted formulation, “when they were bought they at least stayed bought.” So the corruption benefits not only the take or bribes and mordidas, but to a much lesser extent, the giver of those little but ever growing benefices

  17. Craig H.

    > Twitter erupts after Senator McCain ‘disinvites’ Trump to his funeral

    We need Miss Manners or Emily Post for this one. What are the exact mechanics of disinviting a person to a funeral? I have never heard of it happening one time in real life. I know I am naive but I have always heard that the only thing that matters is attendance; any funeral with 100 mourners is better than any funeral with 50 mourners and a funeral with 5 or 6 mourners (I once went to one of those) is like the most pathetic thing ever.

    I have never heard of anybody disinviting somebody from a funeral or disinviting somebody from their own funeral. Not that I would want Trump to be at mine. But then how could I possibly care?

    John McCain seems demented.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Do people hire professional mourners, when the number is important?

      In this country, or perhaps, some other countries?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          From Wikipedia:

          Professional mourning or paid mourning is an occupation that originates from Egyptian, Chinese, Mediterranean and Near Eastern cultures.

          “How many? 100? 200? The last billionaire hired the whole nation. He was a dictator as well.”

          1. JacobiteInTraining

            Can’t wait until the first squillionaire hires a few matched pairs of gladiators – or uses some captured prisoners – to fight to the death at their funeral. Then we can finally have a true evolution of our society to the manliness and virility that was the Roman gladiatorial arena.

            i mean, we’re an Empire now, we need to be getting better at ‘Empiring’.

            Any shrinking violets who would have the temerity to try to bring charges of conspiracy to commit premeditated murder in such a scenario can be dealt with by private security quite quickly, and (once beaten within an inch of their lives by the squillionaires private security force, and subsequently placed within the squillionaires private prison) …can be trained up as gladiators themselves.

            Win-Win. Think outside the box!

            (just don’t get put IN the box…)

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Those games will be legal in the wild, wild west territory of Mars, or even on the voyage over there.

            2. visitor

              and subsequently placed within the squillionaires private prison

              Bring back the ergastula in squillionaires’ mansions!

            3. Craig H.

              If you want spectacle Ayatollah Khomeni’s has never and will never be surpassed. You cannot top flagellants whipping themselves bloody unconscious.

    2. nippersmom

      John McCain has seemed demented for years.

      Have to admit, that is one funeral I’d be relieved to be “disinvited” from, if I were in a position where my attendance would otherwise be expected. I have no respect for the man living; I would certainly have no desire to pay “respects” to him after he died.

          1. Carolinian

            Just to be clear I don’t think Caitlin’s views are controversial at all. BTW I tried to Google that first Caitlin column on McCain–the one discussed on The View–and it didn’t come up–at least on the first Google response page (it is linked inside my link above). Clearly saying mean but truthful things about McCain is considered bad behavior by the new Google thought police.

    3. Montanamaven

      Watch the Oscar winner for “Best Foreign Film”. “A Fantastic Woman”. This transgender woman is not invited and in fact, told not to come to a funeral. Great movie.

    4. John D.

      Dementia doesn’t seem to fit the bill in this specific instance. (Not that I’m saying he isn’t demented.) McCain’s a mean, rotten bastard who’s well known for holding grudges, and I don’t doubt that he hates Trump after the latter worthy’s antics during the last election. So there’s that.

      But even more, we should take into account the man’s truly titantic ego; McStain’s been one of the most tenacious, greedy attention whores of American politics over the past 50 years – which is saying something, given some of the competition – and if this really is the end for him (and it looks like it is), then this is literally his last chance at grabbing the spotlight. I honestly think this is motivating him at least in part here.

    5. ArcadiaMommy

      Here is the problem… and I’m not at all a supporter of John McCain…
      Trump has made gross personal attacks against John McCain. A person with basic good manners would realize they were not welcome at a time when friends and family need comfort, not reminders of unpleasant conflicts. Clearly Trump is a person who has no manners at all. When you add the fact that trump will use any occasion to self-aggrandize himself, I can understand why they told him to steer clear. God only knows what trump would say or do.

  18. Wukchumni

    The Pleasure and Pain of Being California, the World’s 5th-Largest Economy New York Times.
    There’s Bubblefornia built on real estate & tech, not necessarily in that order, but it must include the former. Thrives in major metropolitan areas.

    Agfornia-now more than ever in the Central Valley, as former near suburban orchards in the Big Smokes got freshly squeezed out in favor of living quarters.

    Sierrafornia-the key to the state. No First National Snowbank of the High Sierra, and maybe there’s enough water to support a population of 20 million, instead of double that now.

    Coastalfornia-Oh so desired, soon to be cursed. Your awesome beach house will be a breakers house, but you’ll be that much closer to the waves, dude.

    Desertfornia-Probably more solar panels than human beans now, on a population basis.

    Northfornia-Starts about 100 miles north of the central coast, er SF.

    Vacationfornia-English can be a 2nd language @ times, in such Euro road trip spots as Yosemite NP, Sequoia/Kings Canyon NP or Lone Pine. In the middle of summer in our little grocery store with 4 aisles, it’s not uncommon to hear German in one, French in another, Italian in the next, and Dutch in another.

    1. Jean

      Or, Northern California starts at the geographical divider of the Golden Gate, the bay, the delta and the Sacramento River which flows more or less north-south. This places the rest of northern California to the east of the river in league with Central and Southern California, and, like them is Trump Country. Picture the “face” of Portugal on the helmet of the Iberian peninsula as analogous to Northern California on the overall state.

      1. Jean


        Imported transnational poverty leaking across a porous border.

        Poorest counties are those with highest number of “migrants.” i.e. Madera

        To see the “real” domestic poverty level, look to counties in the far northwest of the state like Mendocino County.

        Those folks cannot and are not going back anywhere, therefore they are our problem, rather than someone else’s migrating to the promised land.

        Charity begins at home.

        1. Lee

          Charity begins at home.

          I concur. “Pity the poor immigrant”, is a constant theme in the liberal MSM these days to the point I’ve got pity the poor immigrant burnout. Meanwhile, the millions of our fellow citizens suffering from malign neglect get little coverage and when they do it is often condescending and insulting.

          While U.S. policy is no doubt responsible for population displacement/annihilation in many countries, it is never our elites who determine these policies that pay the price. Indeed, they generally benefit from them. We have a good ways to go before we realize Camus’ characterization of democracy as “when we are all guilty”.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            The elites go out and buy out the world.

            Like, for example, the purchase of 300,000 acres of Guarani Aquifer. That’s just one family. Giant corporations funded by their own cash or low interest loans from Wall Street can buy up a lot more.

            People are then subsequently displaced. That’s the source of the problem.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Water from snowpack for only 1/2 of the current CA population?

      And maybe a war for Colorado River water?

      And more people are coming here, from other US states, and from places with abundant water, closer to the equator. It would seem we have a duty to confront past deeds and strive to make other. less dry. places whole and desirable to stay and to visit again.

      1. Anon

        Well, there is H20 and then there is WATER. Only ~11% of the H20 that is stored in the snowpack (and reservoirs) becomes potable water and used for human consumption. The majority (75%) is used for agriculture and the rest is used in industrial process.

        Of course, many of those 40 million people need food and jobs, too. So the solution is providing a reasonable mix of uses. The highways will become impassable before there isn’t enough water to go around.

  19. Montanamaven

    i missed yesterday. Was this story in the links? TheNational Review article is about one of the Russian companies that Mueller indicted that is actually going to court and demanding the documents. Well played.
    Tough week for Mueller

    1. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, MM.

      I hope you, and Ambrit, enjoyed the races from Louisville.

      1. ambrit

        Most gracious of you Colonel.
        Yes, I did like the races, at one electronic remove of course.
        As a bit of a ‘Zeitgeist Watch’ sighting, consider the much ‘Yahooed’ “news” item about the lucky woman who did a devilish parlay to fortune at the races. (Suddenly, that item isn’t anywhere on the Yahoo “News” site. Oh how fickle are the hearts, er, bottom lines, of the ‘Nets.)
        Such a promotion of a ‘feel good’ story at the expense of more serious subjects tells us something about our glorious ‘Thought Leaders’ and the ever open spigots of Soma.
        I see that you are headed towards a ‘reckoning’ of sorts when the ‘crash out’ happens, employment wise. How about this idea, from the cheap seats of course. Set up an ‘interfacing’ company to connect all the bookmaking sites in the UK with the Continentals? An endeavour, since the transfer of funds will be involved, requiring much ‘connectedness’ in the way of financial institution to financial institution. Your CV seems to be quite in order in that regard. Call yourself, oh, “Mr. .5%.” No murky dealings needed to live long and prosper.

        1. Colonel Smithers

          Thank you, Ambrit.

          I was at Newmarket for the week-end. It was glorious on the Heath.

          Keep an eye on Saxon Warrior and Billesdon Brook for Epsom and La Ti Dah for the autumn.

          It’s the French Guineas from the renovated Longchamp this Sunday.

          For a parachute from Brexitannia, I am thinking of joining a cousin as assistant trainer and ops manager in Mauritius.

          1. ambrit

            The famous admonition about social status, I believe, was: “Living well is the best revenge.”
            Oh fortunate man. Newmarket one weekend and Longchamp the next. We here in America have no conception…
            No matter what, live well.
            Best wishes from the “export varieties.”

            1. Colonel Smithers

              Thank you, Ambrit.

              I am not going to Longchamp, but you have given me an idea.

              It’s easy by train from Buckinghamshire.

              I drove cross country to Suffolk.

              Please let me know when you return to Blighty.

      2. montanamaven

        My husband hit the Trifecta. I made a small amount on “Justify” and also lost it on the longshot “Holburg”.

          1. montanamaven

            I will try and worm it out of my husband tonight. He religiously studies the racing forms. I bet by Jockey primarily and what I can worm out of Husband. Will be going to Saratoga in August! Meetup anybody?

  20. Sid Finster

    Re: B. Johnson. BoJo’s only interest is in getting himself made PM by any means necessary.

    If he personally had to burn the entire United Kingdom of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales to the ground, he’d gladly do so, just as as long as he got to be Prime Minister over the cinders and ashes.

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, Sid.

        Not just that, but BoJo fears being outflanked by Jacob Rees-Mogg and Sajid Javid. The Mogg and latest British Obama are wealthier than BoJo and can afford to wine and dine hacks and opinion formers more often.

        Javid’s odds to become PM tumbled from 40-1 to 16-1 last week. This may have spooked BoJo.

        1. Colonel Smithers

          A bit of Mogg gossip from the late 1990s. The Mogg was at Lloyd George investment management and invited to a Japanese automaker’s investor road how.

          The chairman of the automaker had made some noises, indicating support for the UK to join the Euro. The Japanese bank shepherding the automaker was ready for questions about that.

          Who should speak on such matters? Well, none other than Lord Fauntleroy. He upset the hosts with his line, as if how dare orientals and the lower orders (from Blighty) presume to think or know what’s best for HM’s (sic) government. When he sat down, there was some backslapping from this entourage, who were cut from the same cloth, and a hint of smarminess as if he had just given an uppity colonial or native or peasant a damn good thrashing. The British bankers accompanying their Japanese colleagues and clients were disgusted and, to this day, marvel how the Mogg has got so far.

          The Mogg’s attitude of “we’re British, so give us what we want” is prevalent in the cabinet and Tory party / support at large.

  21. nechaev

    worth a read:

    The remarkable disappearing act of Israel’s car-bombing campaign in Lebanon or: What we (do not) talk about when we talk about ‘terrorism’

    a quote from a quote:

    The story says in passing that “hundred of people were killed” by [Israel’s “Front for the Liberation of Lebanon From Foreigners”]. But this is what they don’t tell you: this front specialized in car bombs in crowded neighborhoods. They would plant car bombs in West Beirut for purposes of sheer terror. I would estimate that the number of innocent victims killed by this group was in the thousands and not the hundreds. This is the record of Israel which many Lebanese and non-Lebanese Arabs won’t forget. These are part of the war crimes for which Arabs hold Israel responsible, in addition to the illegal occupation of Palestine – all of Palestine.

  22. Bulfinch

    That’s such a unique and difficult grief, losing a dear old pal like that. I have felt tidal waves of almost embarrassing and possibly outsized grief. My thoughts are with you.

  23. Summer

    Re: Connected cars after selling them

    Data brokers need subscribers. So if the seller disconnects and the new owner never signs up, that’s a loss for the data brokers. Car Net and the auto companies have a deal and it takes priority over your privacy, to hell with all the PR messaging over privacy.

  24. rjs

    re: U.S. Wind Energy Demand Surges

    yesterday the EIA published projections for new generating capacity for 2018:
    led by natural gas and solar…

    most of the new wind capcity is being built in west Texas, where they need the extra generating to run the drilling & fracking equipment and pipeline compressor stations in the Permian basin…by 2022, the power demand from drilling in the area is projected to climb to 1,000 megawatts, up from just 22 megawatts in 2010:

    1. rjs

      in the same vein, Oilsands thirst for natural gas hits record, environmentalists decry it as ‘waste’ – Nearly one-third of the natural gas burned in Canada last year was used to produce crude from the oilsands, the country’s energy regulator said Wednesday, something environmentalists called a “waste” of a cleaner-burning resource.

      i see a lot of this kind of thing…i’m convinced that if we took everything into account, the fossil fuel industries would end up being the largest consumers of fossil fuels..

        1. blennylips

          I think that this declining energy return on energy invested (EROEI) explains a lot about our civilizations descent into catabolic collapse.

          So it puzzles me: why no references at all to Dr. Tim Morgan’s Surplus Energy Economics at NC?

          goog(“surplus energy economics”
          goog(“tim morgan”

          To this simple minded physicist trained mope, it makes a lot of sense. What am I missing? Grateful for any elucidation.

          For those unfamiliar with the project, the ambition for SEEDS was to recalibrate economic measurement – and interpretation and forecasting, too – on the understanding that the real economy of goods and services is an energy system, and not, primarily, a financial one.

          For practical purposes, achieving this means that we can use prosperity, instead of GDP, as the denominator for calibrating risk.

          Aside from purely methodological issues, GDP has two grave handicaps where economic interpretation and prediction are concerned.

          First, it fails to discriminate between organic growth, on the one hand, and, on the other, the simple spending of borrowed money.

  25. Pat

    Eureka Springs, my condolences on the loss of your lovely marmalade delight, Louiza Felina. I am so glad you had each other for as long as you did, even though It is never long enough.

    All hail Louiza!

  26. Jean

    re Schneiderman’s exit…

    Only Republicans, sexists and troglodykes invoke morals and standards of behavior. :-)

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      The things he is reported to have said and done during sex are standard BDSM stuff. Myself, I wonder if someone got to these women to have them come forward so he would be professionally derailed.

      Sorry if that’s not PC.

      1. Jean

        You mean just as he was about to prosecute a big bank?
        Nah, that’s a conspiracy theory…

      2. Pat

        Considering I believe that Spitzer was targeted in some ways I have to accept that this is a possibility, even remotely. However I do have to ask who might consider Schneiderman enough of a threat to do this.

        Like Cuomo, he was a reliable ally to the rich and powerful in NY. And while I’m sure Vance was not happy with Schneiderman’s grandstanding in regard to Weinstein, I don’t see him as being in a position to pull this off currently. Until there is a plausible enemy, I think the more logical assumption is that Schneiderman didn’t get off on consensual BDSM with its faux subservience, but on actually beating the crap out of unwilling women he was making take their ‘natural’ subservient state.

        1. ChiGal in Carolina

          I had a guy who was in the BDSM world for many years tell me he once ended things with a woman because the stuff she wanted done to her got to be more than he could take dishing out.

          Consensual doesn’t necessarily mean the dominance/submission and sadism/masochism is faux.

          I know I sure wouldn’t go for it, but remember Freud’s infinite plasticity of the sexual drive.

          This is absolutely within the realm of BDSM, except that she’s saying it wasn’t.

        1. Sid Finster

          From the same New Yorker article: “After the incident, Manning Barish left the apartment, telling him that she would never come back. ‘I want to make it absolutely clear,’ she says. ‘This was under no circumstances a sex game gone wrong. This did not happen while we were having sex. I was fully dressed and remained that way. It was completely unexpected and shocking. I did not consent to physical assault.’ [emphasis mine]

      3. Carolinian

        Standard stuff? From The New Yorker:

        When Schneiderman was violent, he often made sexual demands. “He was obsessed with having a threesome, and said it was my job to find a woman,” she says. “He said he’d have nothing to look forward to if I didn’t, and would hit me until I agreed.” (She had no intention of having a threesome.) She recalls, “Sometimes, he’d tell me to call him Master, and he’d slap me until I did.” Selvaratnam, who was born in Sri Lanka, has dark skin, and she recalls that “he started calling me his ‘brown slave’ and demanding that I repeat that I was ‘his property.’ ”

        1. montanamaven

          He was watching to much “Billions”. Life imitating art or the other way around? Did you see Trump’s tweet from 2013 saying that Schneiderman was much worse than Spitzer or Weiner?

          1. Carolinian

            Yes but in the Billions show the Paul Giamatti character has his wife slap him around.

            1. ewmayer

              DAVID: It’s a rather lurid cover, I mean…ah, it’s, it’s like naked women, and, uh….

              NIGEL: He’s tied down to this table,

              IAN: Uh-huh.

              NIGEL: And he’s got these whips and they’re all…semi-nude.

              DAVID: Knockin’ on ‘im and it’s like much worse…

              IAN: What’s the point?

              DAVID: Well the point is it’s much worse than ‘Smell the Glove’…he releases that he’s number three.

              IAN: Because he’s the victim. Their objections were that she was the victim. You see?

              DEREK: I see….

              NIGEL: Oh…

              DAVID: Ah….

              IAN: That’s alright, if the singer’s the victim, it’s different. It’s not sexist.

              NIGEL: He did a twist on it. A twist and it s-

              DEREK: He did, he did. He turned it around.

              IAN: We shoulda thought of that….

              DAVID: We were so close….

              IAN: I mean if we had all you guys tied up, that probably woulda been fine.

              All: Ah….

              IAN: But it’s…it’s still a stupid cover.

              DAVID: It’s such a fine line between stupid an’…

              DEREK: …and clever.

              DAVID: Yeah, and clever.

        2. Oregoncharles

          And how many times did this happen? They’re using verb forms implying a continuing process.

          What does this remind me of?

          I’m not defending Schneiderman’s behavior – I don’t think there’s any excuse for it, barring prior arrangement; but it sounds like this was even more family blogged than the first account suggests.

  27. freedeomny

    OK – this has nothing to do with the links…but I had to just ask: Intellectual Dark Web????

    1. montanamaven

      I was surprised that Joe Scarborough actually went after Eddie Glaude, Jr for attacking Bari Weiss for her trying to explain the “Intellectual Dark Web” article she wrote for the NY Times. Joe said he was shutting her down just like she said Identity Politics warriors shut these people down. Eddie disagreed that he had done that. But you be the judge. Intellectual Dark Web discussion on Morning Joe
      From the NY Times article “The Intellectual Dark Web”:

      The core members have little in common politically. Bret and Eric Weinstein and Ms. Heying were Bernie Sanders supporters. Mr. Harris was an outspoken Hillary voter. Ben Shapiro is an anti-Trump conservative.

      But they all share three distinct qualities. First, they are willing to disagree ferociously, but talk civilly, about nearly every meaningful subject: religion, abortion, immigration, the nature of consciousness. Second, in an age in which popular feelings about the way things ought to be often override facts about the way things actually are, each is determined to resist parroting what’s politically convenient. And third, some have paid for this commitment by being purged from institutions that have become increasingly hostile to unorthodox thought — and have found receptive audiences elsewhere.

      I guess the author hasn’t read NC.

      1. ambrit

        If the author uses the NYT ‘house’ IT service to peruse the web, then NC might be blocked as ‘non-compliant’ or ‘heretical’ thought. Then again, anyone working for an MSM infotainment purveyor might self censor his or her reading habits. Sort of like a priest viewing ‘straight’ p0rn.

      2. Oregoncharles

        I was bothered by the repeated attempts to use the NYT article about these people as proof that they aren’t excluded from mainstream media. To start with, it’s an article ABOUT them, not BY them. More important, that deliberately confuses the time frames. The point is that the author is bringing people previously EXCLUDED from media like the NYT, into the light. It’s a highly dishonest argument.

        I seem to remember some severe criticism of Bari Weiss here on NC, so I’m not endorsing her, but it sounds like an interesting article.

    2. Lambert Strether

      The latest iteration of the “conservatives are the true hipsters” trope, much beloved by liberals.

      “Help, help, I”m being oppressed!” So much so that the NYT is writing you up….

  28. Lupemax

    I agree with you. I hate this country. Not just for forced arbitration but for so much – too much to list it all but primarily for the neglect of too many people (here and all over the world) who deserve so much better – instead they get cruelty, death and destruction so the rich can be even richer.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Could it be the powers that be want thinking people, frustrated people, hating-this-country people to leave, so they can replace with other people in other countries around the world, who think ‘hey, that country is not so bad, I want to go there, and leave my home country?’

      Admittedly that tin foil hat stuff, but I just cant’ stop wonder from time to time.

      “Go ahead, hate and leave. We have more who will be so grateful to be able to come here.”

      1. Lambert Strether

        > Could it be the powers that be want thinking people, frustrated people, hating-this-country people to leave,

        It’s worse. They want to make the thinking people want to leave, and then, with stuff like FATCA, they make it very difficult. It would also be nice of Medicare were global, but of course not…

  29. Ed

    May all who insist on cats being kept indoors be reincarnated as some form of gelded inmate.

    1. marieann

      My two little kitties are terrified of the outside. They came from a hoarder house and were probably kept confined. They are also terrified of boxes.

      I take them as I find them and let them lay around the house all they want…..and besides they are safer. After having kitties killed by cars, damaged by other cats or poisoned I’m rather glad these two prefer the safe spaces.

      Eureka Springs, I am saddened by your loss……they give us such joy and heartache.

      May the Goddess guard her
      May she find her way to the Summerlands.
      May her companions know peace.

      1. Eureka Springs

        Thank you marieann. I had one cat, Miss Penny and her brother J.C., born in my best friends closet/shoe in San Francisco. She never wanted an outside life. She’s resting peacefully over on my Aunts property in Butler Hollow next to mark Twain National Forrest. I’ll bury Lou next to her and plant some more lily bulbs this weekend.
        Funny how your poem descibes the incarnation she just finished so well.

    2. witters

      “I love all animals! They all have rights!”
      – What about the dead birds?
      “I love my cat! My cat has rights!”
      – I love humanity! Humanity has rights!

    3. Annieb

      Here in Colorado outdoor cats end up as dinner for coyotes or mountain lions. In the foothills a large cottonwood was cut down and out tumbled a pile of little pet collars. The branch had been a feeding perch for a mountain lion. And more than once I have heard reports of people coming across similar piles of pet collars in coyote areas. Believe me, it’s horrible hearing some poor cat being attacked by a coyote. Those cats suffer terribly. Still, people here adopt cats and let their well fed pet roam around outside,catching birds and now in spring baby bunnies.

      1. ambrit

        Around here we shoot coyotes. Outside of city limits of course. General rule is, know where you are shooting towards. In a pinch, don’t shoot of you can see a house in the sights.

      2. kareninca

        Years ago, here in Silicon Valley, I helped collect signatures for a no-trapping petition (yes, I was a volunteer, not paid; people asked). I was standing in front of Safeway with my clipboards and two old guys ambled up to me, grinning. One pointed to the other and said to me “he traps cats and kills them.” I was sort of stunned. I didn’t really have anything that I could come up with to say right away, other than “that’s horrible”, which is what I said. They ambled off, and disappeared, and I was still too stunned to do anything, not that I can even now think of what I could have done. So it’s not just coyotes. I did tell a friend who lived nearby about this and she stopped letting her cats be outdoor cats.

  30. Oregoncharles

    “How Colonies Can Liberate Themselves by Taxing Real Estate”
    Illuminating. I hadn’t thought of property taxes in that way.

    The problem is that, once local ownership is established, they tend to force people with little income out of their homes or off their land. Back when it was more prosperous (?), Oregon established a state-level property tax rebate. Since the state is funded primarily by income taxes, that helped correct the impact on low-income people. Didn’t last very long, though it was popular. Somehow, deficits caught up with it.

  31. The Rev Kev

    “Putin’s inauguration: Ex-German chancellor’s front row seat sparks criticism”

    And it is stuff like this that leads Germans to calling their media the “Lügenpresse” (lying press). If Putin had 5,000 people there, would it not be strange if the Chairman of Russia’s state oil company Rosneft was not up front? In fact, one of the guests of honour? In normal times the Germans would take pride in the fact that one of their own was in such a position but of course we lived in screwed up times where it is always Russia! Russia! Russia! all the time.

  32. Plenue

    >US Navy resurrects Second Fleet in Atlantic to counter Russia

    Oh for the love of…the entire Russian navy combined has at best as much firepower as a single US supercarrier strike group, of which we have nearly a dozen. In contrast the Russians have a grand total of one carriers, which isn’t actually a carrier (it’s a missile cruiser with a flight deck and token air wing), and which isn’t nuclear powered. They might as well not have a navy at all, in terms of how much of a threat they are to us.

    Watching Cold War 2.0 develop, and seeing how utterly ludicrous and contrived it’s been, I’m seriously wondering just how much of a cynical, artificial construct the first Cold War was.

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