2:00PM Water Cooler 6/8/2018

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“Trump lashes out at Canada, France over trade — and will bail on G-7 summit early” [MarketWatch]. “Speaking in Washington Friday, Trump called for the group to reinstate Russia. The country’s membership of the then G-8 group was suspended after the annexation of Crimea in 2014. His comments were backed by Italy’s new prime minister, who is making his debut in the group at the meeting. ‘I agree with President Donald Trump; Russia should return to the G-8,’ Conte said, according to a report in Italian newspaper Repubblica.”

“Donald Trump’s trade policy violates every rule of strategy” [Larry Summers]. “A first rule of strategy is to have well defined objectives so that success can be judged and your negotiating partners are not confused about what you want…. From tweet to tweet, and senior official to senior official, it is impossible for anyone to know what this administration’s priorities are. … A second rule of strategy is to unite your friends and divide your potential adversaries….. Yet, after alienating its Asian allies by pulling the plug on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the US enraged all of its G7 allies with the imposition of tariffs on steel and aluminium as well as making further threats that have caused them to doubt the US commitment to the rule of law in global trade…. A third rule of strategy is to use as leverage threats that are credible in the sense that they do more damage to those you are negotiating with than they do to you…. By raising the price of steel the US hurts much more of its economy than it helps. Why does the White House think this counts as leverage against the nations it competes with? Especially when in all likelihood they will retaliate in highly strategic ways, with international legal support, by limiting imports from key US industries.”

“A deal between the U.S. and China will revive connections between telecommunication giant ZTE Corp. and American suppliers. ZTE will pay $1 billion to settle charges the company violated sanctions in sales to North Korea and Iran, ending restrictions that crippled the business” [Wall Street Journal]. “[T]he ban on American shipments to the Chinese manufacturer has buffeted telecom supply chains, paralyzing ZTE’s operations as parts deliveries to its factories were suspended and leaving customers around the world without access to network construction maintenance. About 60% of the electronics in ZTE’s flagship smartphone come from suppliers in the U.S. The agreement won’t end the controversy around ZTE, however. Lawmakers of both parties are critical of the deal and question why the Trump administration is throwing a lifeline to a Chinese firm that violated U.S. sanctions.”

“Airbus Seals Bombardier C Series Deal in Challenge to Boeing” [Industry Week]. “Bombardier struck the deal with Airbus in October in the midst of a bitter trade dispute in the U.S. with Boeing, which complained the Canadian plane had received illegal government aid that helped it undercut competitors in a sale to Delta Air Lines Inc. Bombardier won relief in January when the U.S. International Trade Commission ruled that American industry wasn’t being harmed by the C Series.”



“How unpopular is Donald Trump?” [FiveThirtyEight]. Lots of handy charts….

“Bernie Sanders says Starbucks’ Howard Schultz ‘dead wrong’ on health care” [CNN]. “‘I think his comment is dead wrong,’ said Sanders, responding to remarks the businessman made this week in which he signaled an openness to running for office and argued the Democratic Party ought to more concerned about national fiscal responsibility.”

“Shelburne political newcomer challenges Sen. Bernie Sanders” [Shelburne News]. “Adelola, 55, describes herself and her stances on policy as a ‘Clinton Democrat.’ ‘I will push (Sanders) on issues,’ Adelola said. She does not agree with Sanders running as a Democrat. ‘Like we don’t have anyone else?’ A political newcomer, Adelola said she is interested in getting younger people engaged with politics, especially given the activism in the past several months by youth in the state and across the country. Born in Nigeria, Adelola moved to the United States after she finished high school in the early 1980s. She became a naturalized U.S. citizen in the mid-1990s.” It will be interesting to see how much cash rolls in, and where it comes from. No mention of any of Adelola’s concrete views on policy. Of course.


CA-10: “The Central Valley Surprise: Why Democrats Came Close to a Shutout” [Roll Call]. “Democrats laser-focused on three races in Southern California, but not on the 10th District in the Central Valley [which is Tilt-R], held by Republican Rep. Jeff Denham. The incumbent did draw a Republican challenger, veterinarian Ted Howze, while six Democrats were also on the ballot. And to the surprise of Republicans and Democrats, Howze is currently in third place in a race that The Associated Press has not yet called… Combining Denham and Howze’s vote totals shows that a majority of the primary votes counted so far — 52 percent — were for Republican candidates. Democrats won a combined 48 percent of the primary vote” in a district Clinton won.

Health Care

“The 2 words you can’t say in a Democratic ad” [Politico]. “To avoid divisive intraparty fights that drive candidates left — only to be attacked by Republicans for favoring socialized medicine — the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee warned aspirants last year about the political liabilities of endorsing ‘single payer,’ according to sources familiar with the advice. An influential progressive [sic] group even urged candidates to discard the often-misunderstood phrase and embrace ‘Medicare for all’ to draw strong connections with the popular seniors’ health program.” This advice actually mirrors a permathread in the #MedicareForAll activist community, with some saying “single payer” sounds technical and wonky — however accurate it may be — and others saying “Medicare for All” has better branding (though the phrase also erases the requirement to eliminate neoliberal infestations within the program). Since it would be ludicrous to assume that either the DCCC or the unnamed “influential progressive group” (Center for American Progress?) are making this argument in good faith, their assumption is probably that “Medicare for All” enables brand confusion with “Medicare Extra” and “Choose Medicare’ in a way “single payer” does not, reproducing the bait-and-switch tactics liberal Democrats used against single payer in 2009.

Our Famously Free Press

“Shocked by Trump aggression against reporters and sources? The blueprint was drawn by Obama.” [Margaret Sullivan, WaPo]. “But Trump’s anti-press bluster aside, there’s a clear blueprint to follow — courtesy of Barack Obama, who once claimed that he would be the most transparent president ever but proved to be no friend to press rights…. Under Obama, the Justice Department subpoenaed the telephone records of AP journalists as investigators pursued a leak. It also went after Fox News reporter James Rosen and named him as a “co-conspirator” in a leak about North Korea’s nuclear program. And James Risen, then a New York Times reporter, struggled for years to avoid testifying about his confidential source during the leak investigation of Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA officer.”

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Why Are So Many Executives Running for Office These Days?” [Pro-Market]. “[T]he share of federal office holders (i.e., US congressmen, senators, and presidents/vice-presidents) who had executive experience prior to being elected remained relatively flat at around 13 to 14 percent between 1980 and 2000 but then increased rather sharply to more than 21 percent in 2014…. What motivates corporate executives to run for political office? Our evidence suggests that the increase in the number of executives serving in federal elective office is largely supply-driven, i.e., this increase is due to a higher propensity of businessman candidates to put their names on the ballot rather than a higher likelihood of their winning political office. Further, we show that the increase in the number of businessman politicians is at least partly driven by intensifying global competition, suggesting that firms may have attempted to capture the political process to improve their deteriorating competitive position… Turning to more systematic firm-level evidence, we show that the expected benefits to firms from having their executives in elected office are indeed substantial and that some of these benefits accrue directly to executives. Firms whose executives win federal elections experience significant positive abnormal stock returns around such elections. For example, our estimates suggest that the average firm adds more than $320 million in market value over the three-day period around elections won by its former executives.” Will Howard Schultz please pick up the white courtesy phone?

“Breaking Away From the Democrats” [Counterpunch]. “We on the North Star editorial board were open in our advocating that DSA fully break from the Democratic Party and for DSA, along with others, such as the militant wings of labour, help to form a new political party completely independent from the Democrats.” Interesting compare and contrast with the Greens, both strong (New York) and weak (South Carolina). Although I’m not as up on left wing factions and groupuscles as I should be…

“New warnings about cuts to Social Security and Medicare are a reason to worry” [MarketWatch]. “That one brighter spot aside, there’s no doubt that these massive programs—some 61.5 million people receive retirement or disability benefits from Social Security and 58.4 million receive Medicare—are in increasingly perilous shape, and there’s little desire among politicians—from either party—to do much of anything about it. They simply lack the guts to tell citizens—i.e. voters—that sacrifices will likely have to be made. What politician wants to do that?” That’s unfair to Nancy Pelosi, who by endorsing “Pay Go” yet again endorses austerity and sets up a Grand Bargain, no doubt pleasing the donor class, if nobody else.

“With Bundy story, the national media slowly learns how to cover the American West” [Columbia Journalism Review]. Interesting wrapup of coverage. “The Bundys represent a fringe movement, something that got lost in the initial round of media coverage. When it comes to Western ranchers, the Bundys are outliers. Most ranchers in the West pay their grazing fees to the federal government, with no intention of stopping, says Tay Wiles, associate editor at High Country News.”

Stats Watch

Wholesale Trade, April 2018: “Inventories need to be built up in the wholesale sector in what may be soft news for GDP, where low inventory numbers are a negative, but very good news for production and employment” [Econoday]. “The nation’s businesses, wholesalers included, have been very conservative in their inventory manage, reflected not only in hard data like today’s report but also anecdotal reports like ISM manufacturing where more and more of the respondents say inventories of finished goods are too low.” And: “The improvement this month in the headline data was mostly farm products. Overall, I believe the rolling averages tell the real story – and they improved this month. The short term trends are showing a slowing in the rate of growth – with the long term trends showing an improving cycle beginning in 2016” [Econintersect].

International Trade (Wednesday): “The trade deficit narrowed but due to a drop in consumer spending on imported cell phones, which doesn’t bode well for retail sales, which are under pressure from the reduced growth of real disposable personal income” [Mosler Economics]. A cursory search yields no explainers for dropping spending on imported cell phones. Seems like useful anecdotal data, if we could figure out what it meant. Maybe this whole cell phone thing is just a fad?

ECRI’s Weekly Leading Index: “Even with the general downward trend in this index over the last 6 months, the forecast is for modest growth six months from today” [Econintersect].

Retail: “Vaping essays: E-cigarette sellers offering scholarships” [Associated Press]. “The tactic is taken from a method that was once believed to improve a site’s ranking in search results, and it has successfully landed vaping brands on the sites of some of the nation’s best-known universities, including Harvard. It also has drawn criticism that the scholarships are a thinly disguised ploy to attract young customers. The scholarships, ranging from $250 to $5,000, mostly involve essay contests that ask students to write about the dangers of tobacco or whether vaping could be a safer alternative. At least one company asks applicants to write about different types of e-cigarettes and which one they recommend. Some seek papers in support of medical marijuana.”

Retail: “McDonald’s Plans Corporate Job Cuts, ‘Eliminating Layers'” [Wall Street Journal]. “McDonald’s Corp., battered by price wars and struggling to revive its U.S. burger business, said it will cut layers of managers as part of a half-billion-dollar plan to shrink administrative expenses by the end of next year… . Several franchisees interviewed by The Wall Street Journal applauded the move, saying too much bureaucracy has impeded decision making. More than 90% of McDonald’s U.S. restaurants are operated by franchisees who pay McDonald’s a percentage of their sales for the right to use the brand. ‘I’m not sure what all of those management layers even do,’ said one franchisee. ‘The mood in the field is very positive because it will put a focus on things we hoped would be a focus for a long time.’ The franchisee said that beyond just reducing management layers, the restructuring will enable the chain’s field consultants to spend more time helping operators figure out ways to boost restaurant profitability rather than just grading restaurants on such things as cleanliness, customer service and order accuracy. McDonald’s had spent about a decade chasing health-minded consumers who favored fast-casual chains by adding salads, snack wraps and oatmeal to its menu. After a major study in 2016 revealed that McDonald’s had lost about 500 million orders in the U.S. to rival fast-food chains in the previous five years, it decided to go back to basics and figure out how to make a better burger. McDonald’s assembled a panel of sensory experts consisting of suppliers, chefs and employees to compare rivals’ burgers against theirs. They discovered that McDonald’s burgers just weren’t hot and fresh enough.” Cliches like “stick to your knitting” hang around because they express certain truths….

Retail: “KFC is right — people are gobbling up ‘meat replacements'” [MarketWatch]. “The chicken chain is responding to growing demand. Sales of ‘meat replacement’ products, including versions of commonly-eaten meats made of wheat-based seitan, the chicken substitute ‘chik’n,’ tofu-based deli meats and soy burgers and sausages have risen sharply in both the U.S. and the U.K. Goldman Sachs called ‘meatless meats’ one of the hottest emerging trends in December 2017.”

Shipping: “UPS expands its LCL service by adding sailings in 130 lanes” [DC Velocity]. “UPS Inc. said today it has expanded its ocean less-than-containerload (LCL) service by adding direct sailings in 130 lanes. The origin and destination countries cover most of the globe, including ports in Asia, Latin America, Africa, Europe, U.S., the Caribbean, and the Middle East, Atlanta-based UPS said. LCL services are designed to provide economical ocean freight sailings for companies that don’t have enough cargo to fill an entire sea container.”

Supply Chain: “Labor Crisis: A proactive approach to filling Logistics Jobs” [Logistics Management]. “The dearth of quality logistics and supply chain talent is one factor that’s boosting salaries for the field’s most valued employees… However, as logistics salaries have risen, so too have the number of functions that these professionals are being asked to do. Seventy-seven percent of readers say that the number of functions they’re performing has increased over the last year… And it’s not always low salaries that prompt employees to seek out new positions. When asked what factors affect their job satisfaction, for example, readers listed “feeling of accomplishment” and “relationships with colleagues” as their two top factors, followed by salary and the relationship they have with their bosses. Company politics, high stress levels, salary and a lack of room for advancement top the list of grievances with their current jobs.”

Supply Chain: “Today’s pickup: the signs of supply chain inflation are popping up all over the place” [Freight Waves]. “The anecdotal evidence of creeping inflation keeps coming through in news story after news story. It’s freight; it’s tariffs; it’s labor costs. In the past 24 hours, these stories all popped up. In Arkansas, three companies that make tire cords–Bekaert Corp., Kiswire America and Tokusen USA–are seeking exclusion from the tariffs on the steel wire rod that is the intermediate product used to make tire cords. Specifically, they say they can’t get grade 1078 wire rod that they say is needed to make the tire cords. A coalition of U.S.-based manufacturers of wire rod is pushing back. Next up, the biggest maker of recreational vehicles is blaming steel tariffs as the reason for higher costs and weaker earnings. Bob Martin, the company’s CEO, said in a statement Wednesday that while labor costs during the fiscal third quarter moderated, “we are experiencing inflationary price increases in certain raw material and commodity based components due in large part to the headwinds created by the announcement and implementation of the steel and aluminum tariffs and other regulatory actions, as well as higher warranty costs.” Finally, that peanut butter and jelly sandwich you like to have at lunch may be getting more expensive because of transportation costs. Smucker’s cited higher transport costs–but not solely that–in saying it would need to raise consumer prices.”

Bonds: “Banks show largest drop in muni holdings in 30 years” [Bond Buyer]. “Bank holdings of municipal securities fell to $555.7 billion in the first quarter of 2018 from $571.5 billion in the final quarter of 2017, a 2.8% decline that is the first in nearly a decade and the largest in more than 30 years. The drop is directly attributable to tax reform, according to experts… Bank holdings of munis had been growing steadily for many years, with the exception of a brief dip immediately following the financial crisis. But new federal tax law slashing the corporate tax rate to 21% from 35% has made munis less appetizing for banks and could have implications for competitive sales.”

Honey for the Bears: “Bernanke Says U.S. Economy Faces a ‘Wile E. Coyote’ Moment in 2020” [Bloomberg]. “Bernanke said the $1.5 trillion in personal and corporate tax cuts and a $300 billion increase in federal spending signed by President Donald Trump ‘makes the Fed’s job more difficult all around’ because it’s coming at a time of very low U.S. unemployment. ‘What you are getting is a stimulus at the very wrong moment,’ Bernanke said Thursday during a policy discussion at the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington think tank. ‘The economy is already at full employment.’ The stimulus ‘is going to hit the economy in a big way this year and next year, and then in 2020 Wile E. Coyote is going to go off the cliff,’ Bernanke said, referring to the hapless character in the Road Runner cartoon series.” Chronicle of a Crash Foretold, an extremely long book with rather a lot of eccentric characters….

The Fed: “The Fed Will Soon Switch Off the Autopilot” [Bloomberg]. “Quiescent inflation, though, prevents the Fed from overplaying its hand with a rapid pace of rate hikes. Policy makers do not want to choke off the recovery without reason, and that reason cannot be found in inflation. Moreover, as the minutes of the May 2018 Federal Open Market Committee meeting make clear, the Fed would view some overshooting of the inflation target as consistent with its policy goals. In other words, officials will not overreact to stronger inflation numbers in coming months. Consequently, the stage is set for the Fed to continue with its policy of gradual tightening as it marches rates up to neutral.”

Five Horsemen: “The Fab Five are luckluster in late morning trade, as beginning-of-month seasonality wanes” [Hat Tip, Jim Haygood].

NakedCap Mania-Panic Index: “The mania-panic index eased to 67 (complacency) in yesterday’s dull market” [Hat Tip, Jim Haygood]. (The NakedCap mania-panic index is an equally-weighted average of seven technical indicators derived from stock indexes, volatility (VIX), Treasuries, junk bonds, equity options, and internal measures of new highs vs new lows and up volume vs down volume … each converted to a scale of 0 to 100 before averaging, using thirty years of history for five of the seven series.)

Facebook Fracas

“A Small Window into the Soul’s Corruption” [Power of Narrative]. From May, still germane. On the Bosworth Memo (“The ugly truth is that we believe in connecting people so deeply that anything that allows us to connect more people more often is *de facto* good”) and the subsequent media fracas: “I don’t think these people ever left junior high school. I also don’t know whether to laugh or cry. These are the people running the world, or a significant part of it. Ponder that. Then maybe laugh and cry. And break a few dishes. A friend of mine used to strongly advise keeping some old, cheap dishes around, just so they might be smashed during tough times. This story might deserve three or four dishes. Maybe five. Well, it couldn’t hurt.” Not a bad idea, on the dishes. That the Beltway is High School (“Kool Kidz”) is a well-known trope. My question, “Is everything like CalPERS?” is a variant of this, I supppose.

Health Care

“Private-equity firms are buying doctor’s offices across the U.S. — and critics say profits are coming before patients” [MarketWatch]. “In a growing and powerful trend, private-equity and venture-capital groups have been swooping in with ever larger offers for all kinds of doctor’s practices. They offer to handle practices’ business affairs and their complex regulatory requirements, leaving doctors to practice medicine. They also say they can introduce efficiencies and leverage economies of scale in the process, a proposition that, backed by deals offering EBITDA multiples as high as 15 times, many doctors have found enticing. Critics, though, say that financial firms’ involvement has gone far beyond the back office, harming patient care and driving up health-care costs. Doctors report pressure to upcharge when billing health insurers and to sell products and procedures, while financial firms skimp on medical supplies and employees.” Hmm. I wonder if the Besoz/Dimon/Buffet health care effort, or whatever it is, will accelerate this tendency, or retard it. I’m guessing accelerate.

“Justice Department won’t defend Obamacare in GOP states’ lawsuit” [Modern Healthcare]. “The U.S. Justice Department on Thursday refused to defend the Affordable Care Act against 20 states’ lawsuit looking to strike down the healthcare law, calling the individual mandate unconstitutional. Although the DOJ stopped short of asking a federal judge in Texas to overturn the entire ACA, the agency echoed the core arguments of the Republican state attorneys general: that the ACA can’t stand without the individual mandate’s tax penalty.”

“Texas Fold ‘Em” [Incidental Economist]. “I am at a loss for words to explain how big of a deal this is. The laws that Congress passes and the Presidents signs are the laws of the land. They aren’t negotiable; they’re not up for further debate. If the Justice Department can just throw in the towel whenever a law is challenged in court, it can effectively pick and choose which laws should remain on the books. That’s as flagrant a violation of the President’s constitutional duty to take care that the laws are faithfully executed as you can imagine. But don’t take my word for it. For Justice Department lawyers—I count myself among them (2007-10)—the duty to defend congressional statutes is at the core of what it means to be a government attorney. Yet, hours before the federal government filed its brief, three line attorneys from the Justice Department withdrew from the case. That’s almost unheard of. These are lawyers who have made arguments they personally disagreed with countless times. They’re civil servants. They’re good soldiers. Yet they could not sign it. That’s how far out the administration’s position is. Do you want to live in a country where the Justice Department can embrace the craziest of arguments and decline to defend laws—or even enforce them!— on that basis?” Sounds like I should be filing this up under Realignment and Legitimacy…

Neoliberal Epidemics

Lambert here: I hate to cover this topic, but with Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain it rather does force itself upon us. We don’t want copycats! In the United States: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Internationally: International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP).

“Suicide rates rising across the U.S.” [Center for Disease Control]. “Researchers found that more than half of people who died by suicide did not have a known diagnosed mental health condition at the time of death. Relationship problems or loss, substance misuse; physical health problems; and job, money, legal or housing stress often contributed to risk for suicide. Firearms were the most common method of suicide used by those with and without a known diagnosed mental health condition…. The most recent overall suicide rates (2014-2016) varied four-fold; from 6.9 per 100,000 residents per year in Washington, D.C. to 29.2 per 100,000 residents in Montana. Across the study period, rates increased in nearly all states. Percentage increases in suicide rates ranged from just under 6 percent in Delaware to over 57 percent in North Dakota. Twenty-five states had suicide rate increases of more than 30 percent.”

“Suicide Rate Highest in Decades But Worst in Rural America” [Governing]. “A review of the federal data, however, shows that it’s rural America that is sustaining the largest increases. The aggregate suicide rate for counties outside of metropolitan areas climbed about 14 percent over the five-year period ending in 2016. By comparison, the rate within metro areas also increased — but only by 8 percent. The largest metro areas, in particular, experienced relatively small increases compared to everywhere else.” So in the places that are “optimistic, diverse, dynamic, moving forward,” people aren’t killing themselves. Good to know. Let’s go to brunch!

Anthony Bourdain (1):

Anthony Bourdain (2):

Anthony Bourdain (3):

Deaths of despair climbing up the food chain?

* * *

“Together with the de Beaumont Foundation, [the Kaiser Foundation] examined the 40 largest cities to see how well they’re helping residents live their healthiest lives. They looked at things like paid sick leave policies and whether people can bike or walk to work. ‘Your mayor, city council and city manager has just as much of an impact on your health as your doctor,’ [Loel Solomon, vice president of community health at Kaiser Permanente] says” [Governing]. “On Friday, during the opening night of the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ annual meeting in Boston, 24 cities will be awarded for their work in population health. The gold medalists are Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and San Jose, Calif. Nine cities earned a silver medal, and 11 earned a bronze. The cities were each judged on nine policy areas: affordable housing, alcohol regulations, walkability, paid sick leave, food safety, healthy food options, universal pre-K, smoke-free places and the smoking age…. While some of the policies seem obvious as influential on health, others — like universal pre-K and affordable housing — are less explicitly so. But according to Solomon, access to both is foundational to a healthy community. ‘These policies aren’t just nice things to do. They are powerful and necessary prevention,’ he says.”

Class Warfare

“Rank-and-File Union Members Are Leading Another Massive Strike. This Time It’s AT&T Workers.” [In These Times]. “Thousands of AT&T employees across the Midwest are entering the sixth day of a rare, rank-and-file-led work stoppage over alleged unfair labor practices. The union representing them, Communications Workers of America (CWA) District 4, has been in contract negotiations with AT&T since March. While members voted overwhelmingly in April to authorize a strike if necessary, the decision to walk off the job last week was not coordinated by union leadership or subject to an official vote.”

“Dockworkers, East and Gulf Coast Ports Reach Tentative Labor Agreement” [Wall Street Journal]. “Dockworkers at U.S. East and Gulf Coast seaports reached a tentative six-year contract agreement with the port operators, the two sides said Wednesday, beating the September expiration of the current pact and setting the stage for several years of labor peace at the country’s trade gateways…. A ratified agreement, along with an existing contract between the separate West Coast dockworkers’ union and port employers there, would leave all ports across the U.S. covered under labor deals through at least the middle of 2022, easing concerns by retailers and manufacturers over a sector marked by labor strife in recent years.”

“How We Marched on Our Boss” [Labor Notes]. “As they talked, I encouraged their anger by asking questions: “How does that make you feel?” “Oh my goodness, did they really do that?” “Are you just going to let them get away with that!?” That last question sent them over the edge. “No!” said one. “What can you do about this?” I’ve had occasion to run this Thomas Nast cartoon before:

Caption: UNDER THE THUMB. The boss: “Well, what are you going to do about it?” This is not new. But it’s new to them.

News of The Wired

“Ethical Implications and Accountability of Algorithms” [Journal of Business Ethics]. “I conceptualize algorithms as value-laden, rather than neutral, in that algorithms create moral consequences, reinforce or undercut ethical principles, and enable or diminish stakeholder rights and dignity. In addition, algorithms are an important actor in ethical decisions and influence the delegation of roles and responsibilities within these decisions. As such, firms should be responsible not only for the value-laden-ness of an algorithm but also for designing who-does-what within the algorithmic decision. As such, firms developing algorithms are accountable for designing how large a role individual will be permitted to take in the subsequent algorithmic decision. Counter to current arguments, I find that if an algorithm is designed to preclude individuals from taking responsibility within a decision, then the designer of the algorithm should be held accountable for the ethical implications of the algorithm in use.”

“French MPs back ban on mobile phones in schools” [Agence France Presse]. “But the law does not set out any specific punishment for their use, and lawyers have noted that teachers do not have the right to confiscate non-dangerous belongings from students.”

“Wisdom doesn’t always come with age, according to science” [MarketWatch]. “A recent paper for the Journals of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences began with the following sentence: ‘It is often assumed colloquially that wisdom comes with age and experience, yet empirically and anecdotally this is not necessarily the case.’ The paper continues, ‘wisdom seems to be rare among any age group.'”

“Lost John Coltrane Album Discovered” [Pitchfork]. “Out June 29 as Both Directions at Once: the Lost Album, the record had long been thought lost and likely destroyed in the early 1970s. But Coltrane had given a reference tape to his wife Naima. Coltrane made the recording at Van Gelder Studios with his Classic Quartet: McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison, and Elvin Jones. He plays soprano sax on the pair of unheard recordings. ‘This is like finding a new room in the Great Pyramid,’ wrote Sonny Rollins in a press release.”

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

Grantham Ecologist writes: “I love the way this tree limb has fallen within the bluebells, it feels like some tree spirit guarding its young on the woodland floor.”

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Altandmain

    Here in Ontario, it looks like our Conservative party has a majority of seats in our Parliament, despite having about 40 percent of the popular vote. The leader, Doug Ford, is a Canadian style Trump leader.

    The old centrist party was awful, the Liberals, but it looks like they got about just under 20 percent of the vote.

    Our left wing party, the NDP, is the biggest disappointment. They got about 34% of the vote, but about half as many seats. The problem IMO is that they are too much into identity politics.

    They pushed a sanctuary city platform. It is crazy because everyone knows that this will lead to more illegal immigration into Canada. The high cost of rent in Toronto is likely to have played a role in feeling like Canada is overpopulated as well.

    I think that spooked a lot of voters. The big issue here is that for families who immigrated the legally, it felt like a slap in the face. Getting into Canada is not easy, nor should it be. The other is the affordability of social services due to supporting the refugees. A lot of folks, myself included, are spooked by what we see in Germany and Sweden.

    The other big part of the problem is that the NDP ran a very uncharismatic candidate. The lesson is to run candidates that build excitement and that the left must dump identity politics.

    1. g

      I’m not convinced that “too much identity politics” is the lesson to take from the NDP’s failure to form a government. The NDP ran primarily an anti-Doug Ford campaign to convince Liberal voters to jump ship in an election where their party had no shot. That strategy worked in a lot of ridings, but there were just too many ridings the conservatives had locked down already.

      The theory that rental costs in Toronto pushed away voters doesn’t hold up, since the NDP carried all the ridings in the downtown core where this effect is felt the most. [1]

      I think the Canadian left just doesn’t understand why candidates like Ford appeal to suburban and rural voters, and until we can figure that out we’re never going to form provincial or federal governments. Thinking hard about why Jack Layton was our most widely popular leader in decades is a good start to that.

      [1] https://globalnews.ca/news/4257183/ontario-election-results-2018/

      1. Altandmain

        The real battleground is in the suburbs.

        The rural areas generally are tougher to get to, although there have been victories and the NDP should still try.

        The reason why I say give up identity politics is because I knew quite a few people who were unhappy with the excess of culture issues. It may be that my MPP and local area campaigned differently.

        But I think that as a whole, the NDP spent too much effort on negative attacks on Ford and too little on what they could do as a party.

        The identity politics was used as a talking pint by conservatives. I don’t think that it would have done anything but harm for the NDP. Many people I know are also unhappy with Trudeau’s virtue signalling, which they feel is excessive.

    2. Dr Mike

      I have to disagree with you here about identity politics being a problem for the NDP. I wasn’t even aware they ran on sanctuary cities – it was certainly not a major part of their platform/campaign and did not get a particular amount of media attention. I don’t think this played a role in Toronto particularly (you mention the high cost of living as being an issue for immigration/refugee policy) – they won all the central urban ridings.

      I thought they did pretty well to run on concrete issues – free childcare/dental care/tuition/pharmacare (although this was very limited). Compared to the last provincial election when they ran a bland, centrist, balanced budget platform, this was a significant improvement – and they had much higher vote share. I can’t think of an Ontario or federal NDP campaign in my adult life (I’m early 30s) that was as solidly left (not that it was perfect, of course, they’re still a mainstream party).

    3. Matt Alfalfafield

      I also don’t think identity politics was what sank them. I’ll agree that their leader isn’t the most charismatic, and moreover, it was hard to buy her turn to the left after the last election’s centrist debacle. She certainly doesn’t strike me as the most principled candidate.

      I think what really hurt them was (a) their inability to motivate younger voters to turn out in much larger numbers than usual and (b) their inability to overcome the idea that their last go-around in power was a catastrophe. That strongly ingrained opinion is repeated so often and from so many different places that it’s taken on a strong aura of truthiness, and I think it left a lot of people who would otherwise have been willing to vote for them a little too apprehensive. There were so many ridings where the Liberals and NDP split a huge number of votes and let the Cons come up the middle, even after it was clear that the Libs didn’t stand a chance. If the NDP want to win next time, they need to work hard at exorcizing the ghost of Bob Rae from the popular imagination.

      1. Altandmain

        We’ll have to agree to disagree on the identity politics part.

        I agree though that Bob Rae still haunts the party (for NCers who don’t know, Rae was a former Premier of Ontario whose reputation still haunts the NDP to this very day because he is not popular).

        As far as getting the young vote and preventing a split, that is going to be a big challenge in the future.

    4. Oregoncharles

      40%? That’s like Clinton. You need Ranked Choice/IRV voting. Or proportional representation, in which case you’d be watching the coalition sausage get made.

  2. Knifecatcher

    Re: Sanders’ challenge, methinks Ms. Adelola is going to be quite gently eviscerated by the incumbent. Not only is Bernie a formidable politician but hearing a self-described Clinton Democrat claim she’s going to challenge him on the “issues” is pretty hilarious. If the Clinton Democrats had any issues to talk about we wouldn’t be here today.

      1. Mark Gisleson

        So how do we get them back? From my perspective, they’re all standing on a ledge that just keeps getting narrower with each new revelation. Do we let them fall off or is there some way the rational Left can deprogram the Hillbots?

        I am completely at a loss. Like the ultra hard right, proof and facts only enrage the Clinton4ever folks. They are driven by media lies and crudely deployed social media. How DO we get them back? And if nothing else, how do we purge feminist theory of their noxious neoliberal edits?

        1. dcblogger

          65 million people voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 general election. We can’t win single payer without at least some of them. So maybe losing the expression Hillbot would be a good start. For example, Briannu Wu, who supported Clinton in 2016 is running for congress in Massachusetts on a platform of HR 676 Medicare for All.

          1. ArcadiaMommy

            If she sincerely believes in Medicare for all it perplexed me that she would support HRC.
            Will HRC support her in return?

          2. RiverboatGrambler

            Plenty of people “held their nose” for Clinton because they felt it was the only way to cast a vote against Trump. I certainly did, as did most of my friends. Purely anecdotal, of course, but it’s worth noting that a significant portion of Clinton votes weren’t necessarily tied to support for Clinton herself. She did, after all, get the majority of Sanders-supporters votes in the general.

            I do agree that terms like “Hillbot” and “Bernie-Bro” are generally unproductive.

            1. witters

              “I do agree that terms like “Hillbot” and “Bernie-Bro” are generally unproductive.”

              What can you expect from deplorables?

          3. Swamp Yankee

            Brianna Wu is a carpetbagger who only moved into the district because it seemed like an easier shot than the one she originally lived in. She is not from this region originally, and has explicitly stated she wants to further turn greater Boston into Silicon Valley East. No thanks!

            If she actually believed in Medicare for All, she’d have been with Sanders. As it is, it is going to be very hard for people in Quincy and East Bridgewater to believe she is out for anyone other than herself.

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          A lot of Clinton-voters are not Jonestown Clinton cultists. They were just voting the most realistic hope of keeping Trump out of office. Had the Republicans nominated one of their normal and usual hideous gargoyles, I might have voted for Clinton as well.

          The nose-holding Clinton voters and the Jonestown Clinties are two different groups of people. The Jonestown Clinties are irredeemable. They cannot be de-programmed. They should be cut loose, if that is possible, and allowed to jump off their ledge.

          Go read Riverdaughter’s The Confluence. Pay special attention to the comments. Go read Digby. These people will never come back to reason. They have become pure cultists in service to the Fake Democrat Party ( the DLC Clinties and Obies). They have to be detached, if possible, from the Real Democrats ( Sanders, Ellison, people like that) . . . so that when they go over the ledge, they don’t take redeemable remnants of the Democratic Party over the ledge with them.

    1. Sid Finster

      Every politician *says* that they are going to run on the “issues”.

      Whether they actually do anything of the sort is another matter. My SWAG is that Ms. Adelola will avoid the issues to the maximum extent humanly possible. In fact, her campaign will consist of nothing more other than “you hijacked the coronation Bad Bernie ZOMG Russia ZOMG!”, if you want to call that an “issue”.

      But donors, pissed off and looking for someone to blame after vaporizing over a billion dollars fronting The Most Inevitable Candidate Evah in 2016 will make it a challenge. It will definitely send a message – any challenge to the DNC will be mercilessly punished.

      Next up – some Clinton loyalist will primary Tulsi Gabbard. as I said – Team D wants to send a message.

    2. Pat

      Two comments on the article, both cheering her on. One talks about needing a Democrat in the seat.

      Friends maybe.

      Although apparently so many years of life to full on Republican governance by elected Democratic officials could confuse people into thinking Clintonian Democrat is a real Democrat rather than the Independent who is the closest thing to an old school traditional FDR Democrat in the Senate (and in the last Presidential election).

      1. Eureka Springs

        There is no such thing as a “real Democrat”. Isn’t the term itself about as lacking in agency as could be? One can’t be a member, for there is no membership. Even Bernie only registers as one long enough to jerk their chain and then he’s back to Independent.

        If one insists upon using the term “real Democrat” then look at the highest office holders in recent times to identify one – Obama, Biden, Clinton, Reid, Shumer, Pelosi, Hoyer. And their chosen party leader, Perez. All protected by squillionare owners and the electoral college.

        The term “real Democrat” is at best akin to a kitten chasing its tail.

        We need parties with binding, democratically established platform, policy. Allowing each and every candidate to decide on an issue or to be issue free is pure folly. Worse than identity politics

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > We need parties with binding, democratically established platform, policy

          And a commitment to the Sanders-style $27 contribution system (which sounds like a reasonable figure for membership, a la UK Labour).

          1. clarky90

            Yes. And actually be, “Democratic”, Greek: δημοκρατία dēmokratía, which literally means “the rule of people”

            The terms “I give my word”, or “on my word” are the basis of healthy relationships/civilizations (micro to macro).

            Re. USAian healthcare; The “lawyerly” misuse/twisting of language is murderous and vile lying. Broken words…..broken promises

            Yesterday, Cody, the technician told me; “Bring your crippled cell phone in to the shop at 10 am. I will fix it for $40!”

            And I did, and he did. My word, his word……

    3. Altandmain

      They have issues – how to sell neoliberalism to a public that is increasingly aware of their dishonesty.

      They desperately want to bring down Sanders because they see him as a threat because Sanders exposes the Democratic Establishment for what it is, another Wall Street party.

      1. Sid Finster

        Have the masses (revolutionary, working) not clued in to the fact that the real goal of Team D is not to win elections but to keep the Team D elites in power, even if that means losing elections?

        Just as the real goal of the Blairites in the British Labour Party is to keep Jezza Corbyn and his kind out of office.

  3. Jim Haygood

    Conveniently, FRED serves up the data needed to kick off the Haygood wager, which asserts that an equally-weighted average of ten-year GDP growth rates for triple-digit-indebted Japan, Italy and the US will be less than two percent at the end of 2028. Current chart:


    In the halcyon Bubble II years of 2004-2005, average 10-year growth (black line) hugged the two percent level, with the US above it, and Japan and Italy below. But the wheels came off in 2008, sending average growth to a sub-one percent level in 2009 from which it has never recovered.

    But the Great Financial Crisis will fade from the 10-year lookback in mid-2019. By extrapolating current GDP levels at an assumed 2 percent, a more favorable base period causes average ten-year growth to bounce back to about 1.35% by 2020.

    Two worldviews collide: anti-austerians say we need heroic spending to bring back the good times. Whereas we mossbacked Reinhart-Rogoff tub thumpers claim heroic spending is what screwed the pooch over the past decade, making future growth nigh on impossible.

    Anyhow, one or the other of these mistaken claimants is going to end up footing the drinks tab at an NC meetup in 2029. Meanwhile, stay tuned for the next exciting episode of Groaf Or Loaf: Big-Time Borrowers Strain at Their Shackles.

      1. Jim Haygood

        The proposed wager does not require the parties to agree on the definition of debt.

        It is simply a mathematical assertion that the average of three real GDP series posted at the FRED site, calculated as a trailing 10-year annually compounded return, will be less than 2 percent at the end of 2028.

        The last time they averaged 2 percent was in the 4th quarter of 2005. Good luck!

    1. False Solace

      Reinhart-Rogoff? Meh. Can’t austerians find some other discredited research to “tub thump”?

  4. Wukchumni

    I was driving through the food forest en route to the Big Smoke yesterday, leaving valencia oranges, mandarins, olives, almonds, pistachios, strawberries (one of the few non tree crops you’ll see) pomelos, plums, navel oranges, cherries, cara cara oranges, walnuts, pecans, kiwi fruit, nectarines, peaches-but not herb, in my wake~

    And it’s been this way for some time, but as I glimpsed the various candidates’s signs along the road running for office, now like so much used cardboard that the Chinese aren’t all that keen on, not one of them dared give their party affiliation.

    That’s how poisoned politics has become by brand name association.

    1. ambrit

      Imagine how it must be among the “great unwashed” if among the group of people who actually care enough to put signs out, ‘branding’ is anathema.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      Would the branding matter all that much? Democrat or Republican? What is the difference. I liken Republicans to the Carpenter in Lewis Carol’s “Walrus and the Carpenter” and the Democrats to the Walrus. The Carpenter openly ate as many oysters as he could while the Walrus tried to hide his gluttony under the handkerchief he cried into and probably ate more oysters.

      1. freedomny

        I never felt like Bernie Sanders was “branded” – it felt very organic to me. Like the “brand” naturally came out of/was an extension of the person. What we see now is people “branding” or creating a story that they think will sell – and then trying to become that brand/person. I guess we come back to that thing called authenticity…..

  5. Synoia

    Donald Trump’s trade policy violates every rule of strategy” [Larry Summers]

    Larry, you are assuming The Donald does not have a goal. He might, and it (or they) are deliberately unstated to cause the most uncertainty.

    Or, as Scott Adams believe, The Donald is a systems thinker, and opportunistically seizes goals as they become possible.

    Larry, given your track record or correct predictions, it’s almost reflexive to disagree with what you state. Note: “Almost” might be redundant.

    I personally do not quite know what I’m observing, I cannot see the forest for the trees. It is, however, an amusing change from mendacity of the previous holder of the Presidency.

    1. a different chris

      Summers’ description of “negotiation” is a perfect regugitation of what’s in useless textbooks… people like Summers *need* the Ivys and all the connections and (special Ivy only) upward paths because in the outside, real world, people like Trump would have them for dinner.

      Same reason Obama and his ilk got nowhere with NK. Same reason they are so confused about Trump going there first, doing the meet and greet before any actual negotiations begin. It’s so backwards, they cry!

      Well you didn’t accomplish anything doing it your “Ivy League” way. But somehow it doesn’t occur to you that your way is wrong, did you skip the “self-reflection” class? Oh, they don’t do that at Yale? Never mind.

      Trump’s got a lot of problems, he seems on the verge of senility methinks (and I hate his Presidency), but he could walk over all these morons with 1/10 of whatever brain cells he had 10 years ago.

      And they keep producing reams of “evidence” that Trump is a “terrible negotiator” and he always, always I tell you, gets “taken”. But although not to my taste, I see the Trump Tower, I see the White House, and I think who got taken?

      1. Darthbobber

        Maybe somebody could tell him, and all the other normies, that what they like to refer to as Norms are actually rules of thumb and expectations that develop from semi-stable balances of power if they last for awhile. When the relationships of power change, when the environment within which the varying contests and negotiations take place change, old norms inevitably erode, and a newish set doesn’t gel until a new semi-stable balance and environment develop.

  6. Synoia

    Retail: “McDonald’s Plans Corporate Job Cuts, ‘Eliminating Layers’” [Wall Street Journal]. “McDonald’s Corp., battered by price wars and struggling to revive its U.S. burger business, said it will cut layers of managers as part of a half-billion-dollar plan to shrink administrative expenses by the end of next year

    cut layers of managers – aka cutting fat. Great Idea. When will that star with the foodt?

    1. ambrit

      The next question is, what layers of management? The outlets now almost run themselves. If the ‘fat’ being cut is from the working management layer, the in store organizers, then something is amiss. Cut some of the Headquarters staff and you’ll get somewhere. But if your strategy is to pile more tasks on the backs of the hourly workers, you’re headed for a fall. Most of the hourly workers in the burger chains that I ‘interast’ with only want to make their pay and go home. No big rah rah team players there any more. Most outlet workers today have seen through the “we’re all one big family” b— s—. For labour, putting out the extra effort is mentally coupled with the management putting out some extra pay.

    2. False Solace

      I went to the local McDonald’s for an ice cream cone. Less than a dollar and a delicious summer treat. Turns out they sell them anymore! I noticed a lot of $5 mocha lattes on the menu. Wonder who they think their target consumer is and how long those people will be able to afford all those expensive smoothies.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      According to Ray Lewis of the Ravens, Baltimore didn’t sign Kaepernick because of a tweet by his girl friend.

      There are a lot of articles from around September 6 and 7, 2017.

      I don’t know if there have been any new reports of that. Based on that, I would think she should also be subpoenaed.

      1. Wukchumni

        It’s so sedate over in the MLB, that you’d half expect tumult to come in the guise of the aftermath of the 7th inning stretch somewhere, when a kid listens to the words:

        “buy me some peanuts & cracker jack…”

        …and keels over on account of being highly allergic

        1. Bugs Bunny

          They don’t play that anymore. Now it’s God Bless America and you’re expected to stand up and sing, not just stretch.

    2. JamesG

      Collusion is not needed if everyone already believes his potential value as a QB is less than the perceived negative value of his “activism.”

    1. a different chris

      I’m just mad about Saffron
      A-Saffron’s mad about me
      I’m-a just mad about saffron
      She’s just mad about me

    2. False Solace

      At $500/oz I can think of some other things I could add to my cooking that would improve my mood. Legal in several states.

      1. Oregoncharles

        I tried grinding tea and putting it in a stew I made, back in college. Not much of a spice, but it did keep me awake.

      2. polecat

        Just GROW them then ..
        Very easy to do, and harvest the stigmas when the flowers open in the fall. After a few years, divide the bulbs during summer dormancy, replant …. and enjoy even MOAR Saffron. Last year, after digging up what I had, I gave away lots of bulbs, as there was not enough space in the polecat refugia to plant them all.
        I did however, manage to find a bare spot to plant 50 more.

  7. Anon

    “Private-equity firms are buying doctor’s offices across the U.S. — and critics say profits are coming before patients” [MarketWatch]

    One person cannot serve two masters.

    In the legal field, this is the reason for ABA Model Rule 5.4, which prohibits non-lawyers (who would not be subject to bar oversight or rules) from owning or directing a law firm. According to the article, this is also supposed to be the case in the medical field in many states, but they’ve found a loophole:

    Technically, when financial firms invest in medical practices, they are actually backing practice management or support companies affiliated with the practices.

    That’s because a company running a doctor’s office, or what’s called the “corporate practice of medicine,” is illegal in about 40 states, though how that’s defined and enforced varies considerably, Ropes & Gray partners Deborah Gersh and Neill Jakobe told MarketWatch.

    1. Tom_Doak

      I’m curious if anyone knows which are the states that allow the “corporate practice of medicine” ? Are they red states or blue states?

    2. chuck roast

      They buy all kinds of stuff.
      The parasites bought Brewer’s Marinas in New England. There must be 40 of them. They bought the venerable Hinckley in Maine. Now there are a bunch of Prime Marinas around. I can only guess who these charm-boys are.
      And so it goes…

    1. mitzimuffin

      That was a terrific documentary. Thank you for posting. NCers. It’s very worth carving out 25 min. of your time. I promise.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      It is entertaining, and on the side of the angels at least not on the side of the devils, but I think Yves would have something to say about accuracy.

  8. pcraig

    When I think of Howard Schultz I think of the guy who tried to steal some ‘green belt’ property from Seattle’s citizens because he fancied a better location for his very expensive homes new driveway in the Denny-Blaine/Leschi neighborhood. An alert citizen(s) busted his greedy ass and long story short, a successful movement began that created mini-parks called ‘Shoreline Street Ends’ along Lake Washington and Puget Sound that had previously been appropriated by adjacent wealthy property owners. I also primarily blame him for Seattle losing its NBA team -the Supersonics- when he and his co-owners panicked and sold the team to some Oklahoma business men who broke a so called promise to keep the team in Seattle. He has now contributed to trying to repeal Seattle’s new head tax along with his predatory capitalist peer Jeff Bezos that would only affect highly profitable businesses. BTW, most people in Seattle would not miss Jeff one bit if he sold all his Seattle properties and got the heck out of here. I would find THAT convenient lol. PS- if Schultz didn’t deal in my favorite addictive drug (caffeine) no one would have ever heard of him.

    1. Lee

      If you have Peet’s coffee shops in Seattle give them a try. I used to go to the original Peet’s in Berkeley when it was a sole proprietor operation back in the day. With their expansion, they seem to have maintained the quality of their high quality, kick-ass strong coffee.

      1. allan

        Sadly, Peet’s is now just one small cog in the German corporate food empire known as JAB,
        which also owns Mighty Leaf Tea, Caribou Coffee, Einstein Bros. Bagels,
        Keurig Green Mountain (which has a majority stake in Dr Pepper Snapple Group),
        Krispy Kreme, Panera Bread, Bruegger’s and Pret A Manger.
        Years ago I liked Peet’s Sumatra, but (to me) it now is indistinguishable from
        all the other over-roasted beans out there.

        Also, Intelligentsia Coffee is now a subsidiary of Peet’s. TINA.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          You did not make my day with this ‘happy ‘ news — but I’d rather know than not.

          1. JohnnyGL

            I felt like I nearly broke a friend’s heart recently when I inadvertently broke the news that the “Shock Top” brand of Belgian-style wheat beer was actually a brand under Anheuser-Busch.

            I tried to make good on it by finding some local brands down the street to help him recover. Luckily, there’s a lot of brewers around….unfortunately, I don’t think the coffee market is quite so variegated these days.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I fear I’m alone on this, but I just drink instant coffee of no particular flavor or aroma, except I sprinkle cinnamon powder on it, because I read that it’s good for the heart. Maybe saffron if it weren’t so precious.

          And I drink it in a reusable ceramic cup…never paper.

  9. Vikas Saini

    How sweet the news about Coltrane! Like finding another few dozen sonnets by Will Shakespeare.

    1. JBird

      Yesssss. Honestly, I am not the greatest jazz fan, but a “new” Coltrane album? I will be blowing a large hole in my small pathetic budget this month.

    2. Adam Eran

      Musician story (who knows if it’s true?)

      ‘Trane asks Miles: “How do I end this solo?” (remember he would have looong solos)
      Miles says: “Take the horn out of your mouth.”

  10. Oregoncharles

    “calling the individual mandate unconstitutional. Although the DOJ stopped short of asking a federal judge in Texas to overturn the entire ACA, the agency echoed the core arguments of the Republican state attorneys general: that the ACA can’t stand without the individual mandate’s tax penalty.””

    I agree that the Mandate is unconstitutional, despite the SCOTUS’ hedging. I don’t agree that the ACA depends on it; the arguments for that are quite convoluted. The Mandate has been gone for a year, and Obamacare still stands. It’s the steady increase in premiums that will bring it down, and that’s only remotely connected with the lack of mandate – in fact dates from the beginning.

    1. dcblogger

      I am sure Obama thought he was so clever going with Romenycare, it was a Republican plan, so the Republicans would have to support it right? how they could have failed to understand Republican contraryness, when it was so advertised I will never know. Except of course, it was the donor class who put him up to it.

      1. JohnnyGL

        No doubt the Repubs were thrilled to let Obama own that garbage-barge plan of theirs that they never had the audacity to actually try to pass, lest they all get thrown out of office in the next round of mid-terms.

        But there was Obama…pining for bi-partisanship for 8 years while handing over truck loads of congressional seats to the Repubs…such kayfabe, all of it.

        1. John Wright

          Yes, Obama’s “bi-partisanship” was simply one tool in his public relations toolbox.

          I know of Obama supporters who still talk about the things he could have done if the evil Republicans had not opposed him.

          The Republicans did not prevent Obama from going after Wall Street, did not keep Obama from prosecuting torturers, did not force Obama to kill foreigners by drones and did not force Obama to go after whistleblowers.

          Obama and his team might have out slicked “Slick Willie”.

          Obama was smooth and protected his brand, while Bill Clinton ended up viewed as opportunistic and sleazy..

          I was initially hopeful that Obama would do something, but stopped listening to him about 2 years in.

          But Obama pining for bi-partnership? Not likely in my view, but true believers probably still view that as true.

          1. JohnnyGL

            “But Obama pining for bi-partnership? Not likely in my view, but true believers probably still view that as true.” — Sure, he’d have loved to get a Grand Bargain and pass TPP, but that would have required….wait for it…bi-partisanship!

  11. Wukchumni

    Bought some fancy pre-rolled beauties yesterday from the only place allowed to sell 420 from say Bakersfield to Modesto in the pretty draconian Central Valley, they told me.

    The storefront itself is tastefully done, with no evidence of what goes on inside being evident to passers by, and judging by how busy their business is (I was waiting in the foyer to go in with a couple of 70’ish year old women, I guess this is how you figure out who indulges?) the city of Woodlake is making a pretty penny from them being there on taxes-they must be in fact slaying them, smack dab on what is kind of a going nowhere fast and stuck in another era thoroughfare.

    I know I would have never stopped in the coffee shop next door heretofore, for instance.

    The contact highs may well revitalize what was a moribund main street.

  12. Lee

    The Bezzle

    ‘Bad Blood’ Traces Theranos’ Fall from Silicon Valley Grace

    Interview with author, John Carreyrou, who wrote the book on Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes. Has some interesting thoughts on the failure of Silicon Valley thinking to have an adequate grasp of physical realities such as one encounters in medicine. Ethical failures and psychological proclivities are discussed as well. She fooled a lot of supposedly very smart people.

  13. Bean Counter

    Very sorry about all of those italics, haste and all that … Hopefully this coding is fixed:

    On Friday, during the opening night of the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ annual meeting in Boston, 24 cities will be awarded for their work in population health. The gold medalists are Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and San Jose, Calif. Nine cities earned a silver medal, and 11 earned a bronze.

    The cities were each judged on nine policy areas: affordable housing, alcohol regulations, walkability, paid sick leave, food safety, healthy food options, universal pre-K, smoke-free places and the smoking age.

    Oh my, a Gold Medal to San Jose, CA?????? It’s a Silicon Valley epicenter of affordable housing protests; and that will very likely get far worse as the vast new Google Campus™ matures. Food Availability (which is sickeningly not noted as a measure of health) and Affordable Housing being the most economically important steps to having a stable and healthy life. See, for one: http://siliconvalleyrising.org/ for some back drop. From their main page:

    Although the region’s top tech firms made a record $103 billion in profits in 2013, one in three Silicon Valley households do not make enough money to meet their most basic needs.


    Something reeks, which I very much suspect has everything to due with the outrageously betraying Democratic Party in California. California has the highest poverty rate in the country as measured by the US Census Bureau. The homelessness rate is particularly acute in the historically Blue Los Angeles Area, And the Bay Area, which includes Silicon Valley, where San Jose is located. That’s right, the Democrats own the vast misery in those areas. No matter how ghastly Trump is, he had nothing to do with it, and California Demorats pretending to heart immigrants for votes and National/Global Appeal value can’t change that fact.

    Would like to note more, but desperately have things I must do.

    1. Kurtismayfield

      Boston’s nomination reeks as well, the housing policy has been open gentrification. Look at the North end, Southie, and the South end over the last 30 years.

    2. Jen

      New York? New York? NEW YORK????

      Guess it depends on which population one belongs to.

      1. Yves Smith

        By American standards, New York is a good place to be poor (as well as rich). We have excellent public transportation, lots of free entertainment in Central Park in the summer, some subsidized medical services (if you have HIV, the clinics here are very good), and in Bronx (and to some degree in Queens and Staten Island) you can get cheap rents by local standards. A friend is renting a 2 BR in Forest Hills for $2200 a month. Remember if you are working, pay levels are higher to reflect high cost of everything, even for low end jobs.

    3. anonymous

      “On Friday, during the opening night of the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ annual meeting in Boston, 24 cities will be awarded for their work in population health. The gold medalists are Boston, Chicago,
      *Los Angeles*, New York and San Jose, Calif.”

      Los Angeles!?

      Is this a joke?

      criteria include:

      “walk to work”

      Is this b/c Eric Garcetti has presidential delusions (became LA mayor after turning his own neighborhood over to developers and McMansionization)

  14. Wukchumni

    I wonder how many homeless in California are from the area, and those that beat a path from Omaha or Oswego or what have you?

    Camping in a tent in really cold places gets old after awhile…

    It’s totally doable year round here aside from occasional rain~

  15. flora

    re: “Suicide Rate Highest in Decades But Worst in Rural America” [Governing].

    From Newsweek, 2014: Death on the Farm.


    Midway thru the article there’s this:

    “For over three decades, despairing farmers have been able to turn to Michael Rosmann. Now 67, Rosmann grew up on a grain and livestock farm near Harlan, Iowa. He attended a Catholic seminary, intending to become a priest, but switched to psychology. He eventually took a job teaching psychology at the University of Virginia, but after four years he again started having doubts. “I felt restless the whole time there,” he says. In 1979, he decided to return to farming, but planned to use his psychology skills to help farmers. When he told his UVA colleagues his reason for leaving, they snickered. “Why take care of farmers?” they asked, to which Rosmann replied, “Because somebody has to.”

    “Rosmann helped guide farmers through the bleak 1980s. Then, in 1999, he used funding from the federal Office of Rural Health Policy to establish Sowing the Seeds of Hope, a network of agricultural phone hotlines. It connected farmers in Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin with counseling specialists. Between 2003 and 2006, around 700 callers said they were suicidal. During its entire time in operation, the hotline received 75,000 calls and trained over 4,400 professionals.

    “In 2010, Sowing the Seeds of Hope had to shut down due to lack of financing. “There has been a great cutback in funds with anything that has to do with agricultural safety and health. It’s on the chopping block just like the food stamps program,” Rosmann says. “Everything’s a mess.” “

    1. Craig H.

      From above: Twenty-five states had suicide rate increases of more than 30 percent.

      aye aye aye aye aye aye aye

      I saw Kay Redfield Jamison give a talk on suicide a few years ago when she was on a book tour.

      Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide

      The two things I remember were she had a graphic chart of the number of American men who killed themselves and the number of American men who died in Vietnam and she said there would be a huge outrage if the cause of the deaths were anything else. But people do not like to talk about suicide even though everybody knows at least one. Most people have family members who have suicided. You may not know this if you avoid talking about it.

      Avoiding talking about it won’t improve anything. That is the other thing I remember.

  16. Fool

    Re: “Breaking Away From the Democrats” [Counterpunch]

    We were lucky to have Jabari Brisport on our panel, a candidate for NYC City Council who garnered 29% of the vote running against a Democrat. Think of the potential if we had the above model of starting out by running 3 to 4 candidates across the country and all Greens and other supporters were encouraged to send money to Brisport and only 2-3 other candidates. Think about how much more successful his campaign could have been. He could have possibly won. If efforts in a new political party were spent wisely and on few campaigns, there could be wins and successes.

    Very untrue. One, he did have the national resources of both DSA and Our Revolution. Two, and more importantly, he never had any chance of winning as a Green. Most of his district was the majority-black Crown Heights — that district will always go Democrat.

    1. Elizabeth Burton

      Being of a paranoid set of mind, I’ve been suspicious for a long time about all the hammering to “dump the Democrats” with regard to replacing the corporate shills with people who will represent the people who elected them. I can excuse some of it on the grounds people are appallingly ignorant of both history and how the election system works, but there are just too many times when the same wording appears in comment threads and occasional articles purporting to represent “independent voters.”

    2. Darthbobber

      Of course, you’d also have to think of numerous other candidates who have already won races with DSA backing who would have been starved of financial and other support if they weren’t on the favored shortlist.

      This would also mean that in the great bulk of the country your “party” would be running no candidates at all. For anything. As base-building exercises go, I see a downside or two to that strategy.

      By dropping Brisport’s name, you might be tempted to think that he endorsed Northstar’s preferred centralist strategy. But I believe that was not precisely the case.

  17. JohnnyGL

    For all you fans of collusion….Jeremy Scahill makes the case that the instances cited of Trump’s Russian collusion is actually staring us in the face. It’s collusion with Israel, UAE, and Saudi Arabia to form a coalition against Iran. Trump was trying to get the Russians on board.

    Apparently, there’s a role for everyone’s favorite mercenary murderer….Erik Prince!


  18. GF

    Bundy article: “Most ranchers in the West pay their grazing fees to the federal government, with no intention of stopping, says Tay Wiles, associate editor at High Country News.”

    Why would they not pay the fee when it is practically non-existent: $1.41 per animal unit month (AUM) for public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management and $1.41 per head month (HM) for lands managed by the USDA Forest Service. The 2017 public land grazing fee was $1.87. (https://www.blm.gov/press-release/blm-and-forest-service-announce-2018-grazing-fees). Cheaper than hiring a lawyer.

  19. The Rev Kev

    Trump says Russia should be invited back into the G-7

    The Russians have already said thanks, but no thanks. Kremlin spokesman Dmitriy Peskov responded by saying “Russia is focused on other formats, apart from the G7”. I would take this to mean formats like the G20, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and BRICS and others as well. Maybe the G7 is not that relevant any more. Anyway, story at-


  20. MayM

    Re: Shelburne Political Newcomer

    Adeluola was a resident of Indiana when she first announced her intention to run for Sanders’ seat last July.


    According to Seven Days, Adeluola listed a Shelburne Motel as her address on her filing papers.

    Even if Bernie wasn’t overwhelmingly popular, Vermonters would reject an out-of-stater moving to Vermont simply to run for office. When Jack McMullen tried it in 1998, he was soundly defeated by a retired dairy farmer who promptly endorsed Leahy. I would be very surprised if she even got a few thousand votes.

  21. Petter

    Lambert on fear of copycats:
    Regarding the fear of copycats; I don’t think there’s grounds for concern. One of the most noted copycats spikes in suicides followed the suicide of Marilyn Monroe in 1962. What followed opened discussions of causality, from brimstone sermons to learned journals. Sarah Perry argues in her book Every Cradle is a Grave, that a key cause, (quoting sources which I can’t be bothered looking up right now,) is that the Monroe suicide described a sure of way of succeeding . Monroe took an overdose of barbiturates, a powerful hypnotic (a variant is used in executions by injection) readily available and prescribable back then. Lesson for those who don’t know a fool sure method to succeed at suicide, down the whole bottle of pills.
    Now I know nothing about Anthony Bourdain, I’d never even heard of him, but from the comments here and everywhere else, he must have been a very special human being. But from a copycat risk point of view, there is nothing in his method of suicide which suggests a new sure fire successful method of suicide, so that factor may be discounted.

    1. Yves Smith

      No, there is very strong evidence of copycat suicides. I read a well done study years back. Press stories about suicides in local papers lead to an increase in suicides and accidents that look a lot like suicides (running car into abutment at high speeds on empty roads; recall if you have life insurance, it will pay out on an accident but not a suicide) in the same/similar demographic, IIRC over the next 3 weeks, peaking at about 10 days out.

      Kate Spade reportedly thought a lot (as in even more) about suicide after Robin Williams’ suicide.:

      A long-depressed Kate Spade was fixated on Robin Williams’ suicide, sister claims

      It is not clear Marilyn Monroe committed suicide. The police and the coroner at the time refused to call it one:

      After an autopsy the Los Angeles coroner reported that Miss Monroe’s “was not a natural death.” He attributed it to a drug. He added that a toxicological study, to be completed within forty-eight hours, should yield more detailed information. He refused, until then, to list the death as a suicide.

      Pending a more positive verdict by Dr. Theodore J. Curphey, the coroner, the Los Angeles police refused to call the death a suicide. They said they had no idea how many pills the actress might have taken, or whether any overdose might have been accidental. Miss Monroe left no notes, according to the police.


      See also this:

      Marilyn was an acquaintance to Judy Garland. After her death, Judy expressed her opinion that Marilyn had very likely woken up in a stupor after taking the first dose of sedatives and unwittingly took more, not realizing she was ingesting a now lethal amount. Judy expressed her fears that she too might make the same mistake again someday. Eventually, she did.


      1. John Wright

        Re: “it will pay out on an accident but not a suicide”

        I remember hearing about a local former tech company employee who tried to make a living as a financial planner for a number of years after he was laid off.

        He committed suicide, with a gun, on a local golf course.

        From all accounts, a very decent man, in good health, but I did not know him.

        I was told that HIS insurance policy did pay, even for suicide, but have no desire to attempt to verify.

        Per the “Google”

        “A life insurance company won’t pay death benefits if the policyholder commits suicide within a specific period of time after their policy takes effect. In most states, that period is two years. However, after those two years are up, the suicide clause no longer applies.Jun 23, 2015”

      2. Petter

        Yes, you’re right and I’m wrong about the copycat effect (I was relying on my memory about the Monroe suicide and one can’t get away with anything here at NC). The point I was trying to make was what Perry refers to as the informational effect of successful suicides, and more specifically celebrity, people in the news suicides, otherwise referred to as mass contagion. Death by barbiturates had been rising in the late fifties but spiked after Monroe’s death and specifically women.. I just Googled the Robin Williams suicide and there was a similar effect, a 10% percent increase over expected statistical models, and a 32% increase in suicide by suffocation, Williams’ method and only a 3% increase by other methods. The increase in suicides was much higher than expected in men ages 30-44.
        The title of the piece is Suicides Increased in the Months After Robin Williams’s Suicide and subtitled – Irresponsible news coverage about the method of suicide probably didn’t help.
        The informational effect.
        So given this, there may an increase in copycat suicides by hanging following Anthony Bourdain’s suicide, since I just learned that is how he committed suicide. We’ll see but no question that I idiotically assumed that there would be no copycat-contagion effect since there was no new information about successful suicide methods.

        When it comes to Monroe’s death this Wikipedia article covers it pretty well, including the rule out of an accidental overdose and the murder conspiracies.
        From the Wikipedia piece:
        The possibility of an accidental overdose was ruled out because the dosages found in her body were several times over the lethal limit and had been taken “in one gulp or in a few gulps over a minute or so.”

        As for Judy Garland – tragic story, starting with her mother feeding her pills as a child and the studio doing the same:

        “They had us working days and nights on end,” Judy said of those early days. “They’d give us pills to keep us on our feet long after we were exhausted. Then they’d take us to the studio hospital and knock us out with sleeping pills – Mickey (Rooney) sprawled out on one bed and me on another. Then after four hours they’d wake us up and give us the pep pills again so we could work 72 hours in a row. Half of the time we were hanging from the ceiling but it was a way of life for us,” she recalled.

      3. Petter

        Yes, you’re right and I’m wrong about the copycat effect (I was relying on my memory about the Monroe suicide and one can’t get away with anything here at NC). The point I was trying to make was what Perry refers to as the informational effect of successful suicides, and more specifically celebrity, people in the news suicides, otherwise referred to as mass contagion. Death by barbiturates had been rising in the late fifties but spiked after Monroe’s death and specifically women.. I just Googled the Robin Williams suicide and there was a similar effect, a 10% percent increase over expected statistical models, and a 32% increase in suicide by suffocation, Williams’ method and only a 3% increase by other methods. The increase in suicides was much higher than expected in men ages 30-44.
        The title of the piece is Suicides Increased in the Months After Robin Williams’s Suicide and subtitled – Irresponsible news coverage about the method of suicide probably didn’t help.
        The informational effect.
        So given this, there may an increase in copycat suicides by hanging following Anthony Bourdain’s suicide, since I just learned that is how he committed suicide. We’ll see but no question that i idiotically assumed that there would be no copycat-contagion effect since there was no new information about successful suicide methods.

        When it comes to Monroe’s death this Wikipedia article covers it pretty well, including the rule out of an accidental overdose and the murder conspiracies.
        From the Wikipedia piece:
        The possibility of an accidental overdose was ruled out because the dosages found in her body were several times over the lethal limit and had been taken “in one gulp or in a few gulps over a minute or so.”

        As for Judy Garland – tragic story, starting with her mother feeding her pills and the studio doing the same:

        “They had us working days and nights on end,” Judy said of those early days. “They’d give us pills to keep us on our feet long after we were exhausted. Then they’d take us to the studio hospital and knock us out with sleeping pills – Mickey (Rooney) sprawled out on one bed and me on another. Then after four hours they’d wake us up and give us the pep pills again so we could work 72 hours in a row. Half of the time we were hanging from the ceiling but it was a way of life for us,” she recalled.

  22. Darthbobber

    Medicare for All and Single Payer. I carry no water for the execrable folk at dccc and dscc, but if my dim memories of the 2016 campaign are accurate, Sanders introduced “Medicare for All” into the mainstream discourse as his own preferred branding for his single payer plan. This was a part of barnburning stump speech after stump speech.

    I think if people want to produce ambiguity, they are certainly up to using the term single payer in a way that means not single payer. Much like saying health care when meaning only some level of health insurance.

  23. Darthbobber

    The Northstar piece on DSA.
    I think they put the cart before the horse in their analysis of state green parties. They can’t go so far as to label the NY Greens as actually “strong”, since no Green Party in this country qualifies for such an adjective. So they settle for “arguably” one of the best. South Carolina’s is indeed probably one of the weakest, but does this have anything to do with fusionism or the lack thereof. or is the cause-effect relationship actually the reverse. (the SCC party feels it has no better option because the entire state organization could probably meet at a member’s house?)

    Or is it all just related to the fact that the New York party is in frigging New York, and the South Carolina one is in South Carolina?

    Then there’s the centralist screed. Local initiative and candidate selection squanders recources. And there are “too many” candidates. They propose 3 or 4 at the most nationwide, with all resources directed to these flagship campaigns. This of course implies something very like a central committee structure, beloved of the Vanguardists forever, to make these decisions, and some mechanism to ensure that the locals comply. If implemented, such a structure should be almost immediately successful in reducing the membership to a nicely manageable thousand to fifteen hundred within a single election cycle. Maybe they could then start hawking something like The Militant to generate additional resources.

    There’s really been no shortage of organizations setup along lines Northstar would approve of over the past decades, its just that none of them have produced the allegedly expected results. Which never leads these folks to question the viability of the model. It remains true today that anybody joining DSA could have joined any of several existing organizations based on this model. Why didn’t they? Oh…

  24. drumlin woodchuckles

    There is a blog I have followed for years called Ran Prieur, written by . . . Ran Prieur. In the 1960s, Ran Prieur would have been a hippie. I suppose one could think of him as a leaner tougher meaner hippie for today’s leaner tougher meaner times of today.

    Anyway, he offered a link and posted some comments about the ongoing slow death in America of highly obscure high-skilled trades . . . the social mycorrhyzae which feed the visible Great Trees of Science and Industry. I will copy-paste a bit of that post and the article it links to.

    for the article itself.

    The Hacker News comment thread about that article.

    And Ran Prieur’s own short post on the subject:

    June 7. The dying breed of craftsmen behind the tools that make scientific research possible. It’s about one retiring glassblower, but this problem goes deeper and wider. From the Hacker News comment thread:

    “We see this scarcity in other industries that require traditional master/journeyman/apprentice systems, like master machinists, masons, or plasterers. That there are no baseline jobs, like light bulb manufacturing in glassblowing, that allow a sufficient pool of talent to acrue so that the very best, the “10x” artisans, can be found. That pool also gives a fallback so that people who are trained but do not possess the talent or dedication to become masters can still be gainfully employed.”

    This goes back to mechanization. Supposedly, mechanized manufacturing allows tedious labor to be done by machines. But making stuff by hand is not unrewarding — it was made unrewarding by an economic system designed top-down for profit, not bottom-up for people to continue enjoying what they do all day. I’m not sure how hard the system has to crash to get from here to there, or how many generations it’s going to take. But at the very least, as a culture, we have to stop measuring success in terms of economic growth.
    * * * * * * * * *

    And here is the link to Ran Prieur’s blog its own self. http://www.ranprieur.com/

    1. JBird

      There are plenty of people who want to do all the many, many various, often unusual, and occasionally even weird, jobs that are needed to make, not only our countries, but our civilization going; this is made often impossible because they cannot get training, or be hired, or get a living wage if they actually are hired.

      One of the articles mentions that universities do not want to hire a full time glass blower even when they really could use one. They rather hire part-time, and then order mass produced glass, that often is not exactly what is needed.

      Stupid, stupid, stupid, and stupid.

      1. blennylips

        universities do not want to hire a full time glass blower

        How it used to be:

        Glass Flowers: The Ware Collection of Blaschka Glass Models of Plants
        One of the Harvard’s most famous treasures is the internationally acclaimed Ware Collection of Blaschka Glass Models of Plants, the “Glass Flowers.” This unique collection of over 4,000 models, representing more than 830 plant species, was created by glass artisans Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka, a father and son team of Czech glass artists.

        Why did they do this?

        Harvard Professor George Lincoln Goodale, founder of the Botanical Museum, wanted life-like representatives of the plant kingdom for teaching botany. At the time only crude papier-mâché or wax models were available.

        The life-size models include 847 species, with remarkably accurate anatomical sections and enlarged flower parts. Since the Glass Flowers are always in bloom, tropical and temperate species may be studied year-round.

        It is stunning in person. There are glass models of diseases of plants too. I did not see and plantidotes however;(

  25. Kantiousness

    Regarding ethics of algorithms etc, I think it is relevant that the one organization specifically dedicated to computer ethics died of atrophy in 2013. What an interesting time for the sole computer ethics organization to die… Their website is still up, frozen in time. Yes, there are user and policy advocacy groups like EPIC and EFF, but those react to things already done by companies. CPSR worked on organic “prior restraint” – awareness of and willingness to resist unethical practices of businesses by professionals – labor.


    Wikipedia entry

  26. Adam Eran

    Why the kerfuffle about federal attorneys not defending federal law? Remember how Obama treated Wall St? How many laws did we have to ignore there?

    Meanwhile, my favorite Boss Tweed aphorism: “I don’t care who people vote for as long as I can pick the candidates…”

    I’d say his spirit lives on.

Comments are closed.