Links 7/27/18

Screenwriter Dies at Age 100, Of “Rashomon,” 1950, Greatest Film of Japan Ever. Angry Bear

World’s rarest kittens rescued in the Scottish Highlands Independent. From earlier this month, but so cute!

These six species are about to be sacrificed for the oil and gas industry Guardian

Roundworms Just Came Back to Life After 40,000 Years Frozen in Siberian Permafrost ScienceAlert (David L)

They are back! Worms live and eat unfrozen after 42,000 years Archyworld (Kevin W)

Mars making closest approach to Earth in 15 years PhysOrg (Chuck L)

Al Qaeda-Backed Terrorist Group Has a New Target: Plastic Bags New York Times. UserFriendly: “ROFL no one is totally evil.”

Mountaintop Mining Is Destroying More Land for Less Coal, Study Finds InsideClimate News (Chuck L)

Indiana cancellation of efficiency program took heavy toll, study says Energy News (Chuck L)

Massachusetts Senate Passes Resolution to Do In-Depth Study on Right-to-Repair Motherboard

NY threatens to kick Charter out of the state after broadband failures ars technica

Meet the Anarchists Making Their Own Medicine Motherboard (furzy). Important.

North Korea

North Koreans frustrated about delay to end-of-war declaration, says son of former South Korean president South China Morning Post

‘Not enough time to get out’: Laos village caught in burst dam deluge Reuters :-(

US sanctions loom over Hun Sen’s ‘illegitimate’ polls Asia Times

U.S. Secret Wars in Africa Rage On, Despite Talk of Downsizing Intercept


May’s Brexit Options Narrow After EU Tears Up Her Customs Plan Bloomberg. Key sentence: “The most important negotiations have virtually stalled and both sides have stepped up “no-deal” contingency planning.”

Brexit: an unbridgeable divide Richard North, Critical detail here in Barnier’s remarks on the customs union.

NHS pay deal row intensifies as nurses call for union leader to quit openDemocracy

New Cold War

Accused Russian Agent Maria Butina’s Story Reveals Pro-Putin Views In The U.S. NPR

The Elite Fixation With Russiagate Nation (UserFriendly)

Russian Hackers’ New Target: a Vulnerable Democratic Senator Daily Beast. UserFriendly: “Just fucking shoot me.”


Can Iran Circumvent U.S. Sanctions? OilPrice

Pakistan’s ‘Populist’ Wins The Election Moon of Alabama (Kevin W)

Election Victory in Hand, Imran Khan Offers to Hold Talks With India The Wire (J-LS)

Israel Intensifies Collective Punishment of Resistance in Gaza Truthout

Palestinian teen Ahed Tamimi to be released from Israeli prison Haaretz (Chuck L)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Amazon’s facial recognition matched 28 members of Congress to criminal mugshots The Verge John C was skeptical of the number, as was Kevin W: “Software still a failure as it only identified 28 members of Congress as being criminals which is a little over 5% – way too low a figure.”

The World Economy Runs on GPS. It Needs a Backup Plan Bloomberg

How IoT Is Spawning Better Business Models Forbes. JTM: “’Golly gee wow, Mr. Science Guy!’”

Trump Transition

Emoluments case alleging Trump violated Constitution can proceed: U.S. judge Reuters (EM)

Judge Clears Path for Lawsuits Challenging Citizenship Question on Census Wall Street Journal

US struggles with family reunification as court deadline hits DW

They thought this was Trump country. Hell no Guardian (UserFriendly)

Third Way’s centrism is dead: The left has already won the debate over the Democratic Party. Slate

In Off-The-Record Meeting, Jonathan Chait Says Part Of Him Is Glad Trump Won HuffPost (UserFriendly)

Black Socialists of America Meets Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Black Socialists (UserFriendly)

Scott Walker, other GOP candidates in key Midwest states trail Democratic rivals NBC (UserFriendly)

Spending on Housing Dropped 12% in Canada in June Wolf Street. EM:

Note Wolf’s careful wording of the headline – the drop in sales volume (in terms of # of properties) was just about equal to that in total spending, i.e. prices remain stickily high and have yet to begin their inevitable correction.

Top Trump official tells Republicans to expect blockbuster GDP number Friday The Hill

A popular website that reportedly sells inexpensive products so poorly made that disappointed shoppers often throw them in the trash is now worth over $20 billion after going public Business Insider. JTM: “Bezzle plus crapification— what’s not to like?”

Tesla’s cash crunch, explained ars technica (Kevin W)

The U.S. Housing Market Looks Headed for Its Worst Slowdown in Years Bloomberg

No Gaps In Understanding: Here’s Your Primer On Medigap Coverage Kaiser Health News

The Open Office Revolution Has Gone Too Far Harvard Business School (John C). I hated them and assumed the only points were facilitating boss spying and saving on real estate costs. I could not concentrate and my productivity sucked.

Class Warfare

Starbucks Has to Pay Employees for Off-the-Clock Work, California Court Says Splinter (Kevin W)

There’s an Amazon-like corporation trying to take over public libraries Medium (Glenn F)

Machine learning will be the engine of global growth Financial Times (David L)

U.S. “most dangerous” place to give birth in developed world, USA Today investigation finds CBS (Kevin W)

Antidote du jour. Elizabeth S:

Nigerian Dwarf Goats and Easter eager chickens love their daily homegrown kale treats. Look at the bliss on those faces! At least someone is willing to eat the kale.

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. lyman alpha blob

    My buddy in Seattle forwarded this link to me and I thought readers here might enjoy iy. It appears not everybody in the Emerald City is enamored with Amazon and Mr. Bezos. As an erstwhile denizen of the Capitol Hill neighborhood where some of the photos are from, it’s nice to see that the neighborhood’s soul hasn’t been completely crushed by development yet. The long neck on Bezos in the photo of the anarchist’s work was a particularly nice touch –

    1. perpetualWAR

      That is the Seattle I love.

      When the financial crisis hit, some anarchist was surrounding banks in crime scene tape. Wonder when “The Spheres” will be hit with that? Lol.

    2. Filiform Radical

      My impression is that this sentiment is widespread among Seattle natives. The Amazon boom has slowed traffic to a crawl and jacked housing prices through the roof, and the herds of techies are generally not accepted as true Seattleites, at least by the people I’ve interacted with.

      I was showing a friend of mine around downtown a while back, and our conversations with people would invariably get much colder once it became apparent that he was a tech immigrant.

  2. lyman alpha blob

    RE: The Open Office Revolution Has Gone Too Far

    On first reading I phonetically read the company name mentioned here –

    Ben co-founded (and is CEO of) Humanyze, a company that uses sociometric badges to help companies use people analytics to improve how people work.

    – as Human-zee rather than Human-yze. Somehow the former seems more apt. Let’s watch the trained monkeys jump! (And to the biologists out there, yes I do realize chimps are not monkeys)

    1. The Rev Kev

      The Open Office Revolution Has Gone Too Far

      Next thing you know, they’ll be saying that hot-desking is not a good idea!

    2. Mark Alexander

      Eight years ago a Google recruiter tried to entice me by sending me a video of their open office environment. It was horrifying. I knew I’d go crazy with the distractions and noise. The recruiter said it encouraged a “fiercely collaborative” work environment, but to me it would have been fiercely annoying.

      1. curlydan

        Another facet of the “open office” design might be its impacts on introverted people. I don’t think this gets enough attention. Why on earth would an introvert want to be in an open office? It sounds like 8 hours of torture per day. I know people leaving my work right now partly because they were moved from a decent cube near a window into a windowless room full of laptops and told to start collaborating. See ya!

        1. El Gordo

          A few years ago my department “renovated” a portion of our overall space, and part of that portion was converted to open-office style. Sure, it’s a sunnier space (there are windows adjacent), but whenever I walk by that area, the few handfuls of people who work there *always* look miserable, and tense. How could they not feel they are being watched constantly for whether they look busy? How do you not feel you are disturbing others if you talk out loud to another person? (They made very little “collaboration space” in the course of this renovation; and now the conference rooms — with actual walls and doors that you can shut — are booked solid, all the time….)

          1. Arizona Slim

            Writing this little missive from a coworking space in Tucson.

            Most of the square footage is that dreaded open office plan, but you know what? It works pretty well. We get along with each other, for the most part, and we’re a very productive bunch. That’s why most of us are here — the productivity.

            As for that looking busy thing, sure, we all do it! And, sometimes, we take it to ridiculous extremes.

            Take, for example, one of my coworking friends, who recently told me that he watches Netflix true crime documentaries when things get slow in his office. Oh, I should mention that his office is enclosed and has a door.

            Well, he had me at true crime documentaries. Guess what we’ve been doing for the better part of this week. So far, our favorite has been “The Keepers,” which is about murder and abuse of parochial school students in the Baltimore Catholic Diocese.

            Has our impromptu cinema caused resentment among our busier coworkers? Nope. Quite a few of them find it to be quite hilarious. One of them even brought us refreshments.

            Oh, my friend just came by my desk. One more hour of work, and then the cinema reopens. We’re a little more than halfway through “Making a Murderer,” and it’s getting GOOD.

        2. Carey

          You could almost think this (dehumanizing) stuff has a purpose other than the stated one. ;)

      2. HotFlash

        “fiercely collaborative”

        I believe that is Google-speak for “fiercely competitive”.

      3. Pespi

        The din of a high school cafeteria, but with even more hard surfaces and high ceilings to make it worse. 1000 people screaming into your ears. The stupidest possible backlash against ‘cubicles’ and ‘silos?’

  3. Livius Drusus

    Re: There’s an Amazon-like corporation trying to take over public libraries,

    I hope this never happens. Libraries are one of the few truly public spaces we have left. Besides the obvious benefits of getting free books I see my library as an oasis of social good in an otherwise hyper-competitive, individualistic neoliberal society. To me public libraries are like the monasteries of the Dark Ages burning a light in the midst of barbarian darkness.

    1. perpetualWAR

      The Forbes smack-down shows how much the public values its libraries. We shall fight to keep them. I know I will.

    2. abynormal

      Thank You. A library is my mosque, synagogue, church, temple…the walls of caves that scrawl the why’s with the how’s still flowing!

      1. adrena

        My small-town library in the Netherlands was recently renovated. It is super modern, has a bar and a patio. Great art work and gorgeous, oversized plants decorate the interior. I love bringing a coffee to the reading room.

    3. Zachary Smith

      …I see my library as an oasis of social good in an otherwise hyper-competitive, individualistic neoliberal society


      For most of my life I felt exactly the same way. The workers were professionals who had been employed there for years, and their assistance would quickly get a person on the right track in finding what he needed. Today they’ve been replaced with young folks who I suspect are part-time employees. They know about as much about finding something as would a random passing stranger.

      The bosses have changed other things as well. Again a suspicion, but a sudden surge of “Jesus” books and magazines caused me to believe they’re Fundamentalists. Once I needed some background on the history of abortion, and on the shelves were a couple of dozen “anti” books about the “sanctity” of life along with a solitary one (this a very badly written book) favoring allowing the practice.

      How about 7 different books on the life of Sarah Palin sitting side by side? How about the impossibly horrible Atlas Shrugged DVD trilogy? The video shelves are also filled with rah-rah hyperpatriotism flicks about our glorious wars and heroes in uniform.

      I suppose my point is that an outside for-profit outfit isn’t really necessary for library to go to hell in a handbasket.

      1. perpetualWAR

        At my library, I regularly turn the Hillary book backwards so the spine is facing the wall. There are subtle forms of library protest, if you so choose.

        1. abynormal

          Wish I had a Lambert remark for your admission…no one else has ever zinged me into THINK Gulag like Lambert.

          So here’s a true story. I go to the library to get on the list for ‘Bush on the couch ‘… librarian checks and tells me it’s overdue by a week. I confirm I’m next on the list and ask her to call me when it arrives. Two weeks go by and the same person hasn’t returned the book. Two librarian’s get on it and tell me they’ve been trying to get a few more copies. They we’re refined but it was obvious they were not happy. I told them to keep me on the list for kicks. I left the library and drove directly to barns n noble, grabbed a comfy oversized chair with the Only copy of bush on the couch. I read it in couple hours…with a few sitting around me sneering. Sad, but not as sad as getting in my car and crying so hard I thought I’d pass out. I knew enough of W to be afraid, but even with the obstacle of transference I never understood the magnitude of what a passive aggressive with a Dick backing, would feel like.

          *Please don’t continue THAT action.

        2. Lambert Strether

          In 2001, after Bush was selected, the entire Democrat apparatus, party and media, collapsed, and everything was wall-to-wall conservative propaganda (and this was before 9/11). Finally, two voices ventured forward: One was Al Franken, and the other, Paul Krugman.

          Anyhow, I was living in Philly at the time, having hung out my shingle as a consultant become unemployed after the crash, and I used to do exactly the same thing at the Barnes and Noble in Rittenhouse Square: I would go through the displays, and turn the especially egregious books front-jacket down. It was basically all I could do. But then I discovered blogging.

      2. Lord Koos

        This depends on your local county and city officials… where I live books that Evangelicals don’t like get borrowed and not returned, or are simply stolen, and I think this is common in many places. However the library staff here are not part of that problem, and they combat it.

        1. Wukchumni

          About 25 years ago Dianetics was forever on the NYT best seller list, that is until the grey lady figured out what was going on.

          Scientology had sussed out what book stores the NYT used to gauge sales, and members of the flock would dutifully go to a given Crown Books in Manhattan and buy a copy, only to return it a week later to a Crown Books somewhere else in the region for a refund.

          This went on for many years…

          1. ambrit

            The Scientologists also infiltrated the IRS to gain inside knowledge of IRS schemes to collect Scientology founder Hubbards taxes. A “Religion” with its own espionage department. Who would have guessed. Except, of course, unless any ‘Mainline’ Church had been queried about it.

            1. bronco

              Pretty sure he wrote a story detailing how to create a phony religion and then later did exactly that.

              I guess believing and fact checking don’t really go together though

              But thats the cool think about being a believer , unlike most things in life being stupid makes it go more smoothly , just climb in the passenger seat of life and hand over the keys .

      3. Amfortas the Hippie

        I can second that, Zach.
        Some years ago Rickperry and the gang tore up the Texas legislation regarding public libraries…gutting state funding and totally fracking the Interlibrary Loan System in Texas.
        Soon after, our long time librarian retired, and was replaced by a person who seems not all that up to speed regarding the purpose of a public library…and a new lady at the desk(“Bulldog Lady”), who is one of the most unfriendly persons I’ve ever met.
        The latter just makes the whole experience crappy…patrons are unwelcome intrusions to her glaring menacingly at the wall, apparently.
        The former…doesn’t know what an ISBN number is, questions why I might want some historical reference about the downsides of the christianisation of the late roman empire…”but that was a good thing, wasn’t it?”…or whatever…with non-veiled insinuations that I might have to be reported to the authorities.
        Then my library card gets cancelled over 25 cents,lol.
        (after many years of way overpaying my fines…because “It’s the Library…buy more books”)
        Even though I therefore haven’t been an “official member”, I’ve sent notifications of banned book week, and the like, by email…as well as much information on the historical Enlightenment Purpose of Public Libraries.
        Likely in spam, for all the difference it’s made.(by all accounts).
        Wife and boys all had their cards revoked, too…over 25 cent -$1.76 fines.
        Calls to our County Commissioner indicate that we are not alone in these complaints, but that the lady in charge is part of a local political family….and the more reasonable excuse that there’s not a bunch of folks lining up to take the job.(I don’t have the credentials, apparently: no degree…no matter my enthusiasm and autodidactic polymathy).
        It’s become a monument to unenlightenment, just sort of accidentally.

    4. marym

      So, it appears that the Forbes post we were discussing in 7/23’s Links was indeed a trial balloon.

      Can we expect to fight this one library at a time, any more than one school closing or post office sell-off at a time? Somehow we need a robust defense of the commons that ties things together as people choose the battles most urgent to them, but understand and show solidarity with other issues. I don’t know what I’m saying really :( but this is a very disturbing development.

      1. Elizabeth Burton

        Defending libraries requires what most people aren’t willing to take the time to do—attend local government meetings where library funding and preservation of libraries is undertaken. In large numbers.

        As for those violating freedom of speech and the press by sabotaging books they disapprove of, I don’t want to hear any complaints when they can’t get the books they do want.

      1. marym

        Librarians are great! Please keep us posted if there’s a way to support any effort, in addition to awareness of what’s happening in our own communities.

      2. Carla

        At a recent City Council meeting, our public library director described the library as “a facilitator of democracy.”

        Seems pretty right-on to me. And of course, something that the powers-that-be must absolutely stop!

      3. CenterOfGravity

        I am still waiting for a proper release of Emilio Estevez’s movie The Public

        The trailer looks incredible. All-star cast. Powerful humanizing message about American poverty and the importance of public libraries.

        An American movie about poverty? And the power of public libraries? By admitting and directly challenging the intense severity of impoverishment in America, the entire premise of this movie is consequently outside the present day Overton window of what is acceptable for general media consumption. Last I read the film was looking for a distributor in early 2018 but nothing seems to be announced since. Given the targeting of public libraries of late perhaps there is some touch of evil at work against this film getting to the public. There was a twitter account @ThePublicMovie doing some marketing for the film but it has mysteriously been suspended.

    5. Adam Eran

      Libraries may be one of the few resources for homeless outside the police state, too.

    6. HotFlash

      Besides the obvious benefits of getting free books I see my library as an oasis of social good in an otherwise hyper-competitive, individualistic neoliberal society.

      Replace ‘books’ with ‘medical care’ and ‘library’ with ‘OHIP’ and you will understand why we Ontarians are so happy with and proud of our socialist (yes! and no quotes!) health care. Don’t let them keep you from getting it. Of course, it’s not really ‘free’, but so much better a deal that no wonder Big Health, Big Pharma and most of all Big Insurance are fighting for dear life.

      Be such a pity to see them go. /s

  4. PlutoniumKun

    Screenwriter Dies at Age 100, Of “Rashomon,” 1950, Greatest Film of Japan Ever. Angry Bear

    Yippee! At last the chance to discuss my personal obsession with old Japanese films on NC.

    I really do think Rashomon should be on every school and university syllabus everywhere. No work of art that I know of has more beautifully expressed the slipperiness of objective truth. As Kurosawa said:

    “Human beings are unable to be honest with themselves about themselves. They cannot talk about themselves without embellishing. This script portrays such human beings — the kind who cannot survive without lies to make them feel they are better people than they really are . . . You say that you can’t understand this script at all, but that is because the human heart itself is impossible to understand. If you focus on the impossibility of truly understanding human psychology and read the script one more time, I think you will grasp the point of it.”

    Given that it was made in the immediate aftermath of WWII when everyone was busy rewriting history, both personal and political, Kurosawa knew exactly what he was talking about.

    Or as Homer Simpson says when Lisa summarised the plot:

    ‘Thats not how I remember it!’

    Hashimoto’s biography is actually a great read for anyone interested in the creative process. Kurosawa believed deeply in collaborative work. He had all his screenwriters write separately, then argue over who wrote any sequence best. Hashimoto was no walkover and not in awe of Kurosawa at all, he was very strongminded and witty and quite happy to diss Kurosawas later films.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I’ve often thought that Will would have loved the ending of Throne of Blood and admitted that it was better than his idea.

    1. voteforno6

      Even if Rashomon was the only thing he ever wrote, that would still be a significant accomplishment. That being said, he also wrote Ikiru, Seven Samurai, and The Hidden Fortress (all with Kurosawa), among other films. This man truly was a giant, working with giants.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Agreed. The scripts for Ikiru and Seven Samurai are masterpieces, both enormously influential in film and TV for the last half century. Most of the credit belongs to Kurosawa of course, but he was also very shrewed in his choice of writers.

        I’ve often felt the worst thing that ever happened in cinemal history was auteur theory. It encouraged too many talented film makers (Kurosawa included) that films should be personal visions, not collaborative art. Hashimoto is amusingly derisive about Kurosawas more personal later films (which I love, but I kind of see what he meant when he said his work went downhill when he stopped working so intensively with scriptwriters).

        1. voteforno6

          I agree, for the most part…there are a (very) few directors such as Hitchcock and Welles who I think could almost be called auteurs. Even with them, though, there are always others who made important contributions to the films. Then again, picking the right people to work with is a skill as well.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            Oh, I’m not denying there are auteurs. I just think that the cult of the ‘director as God’ has led to lots of unnecessarily bad films because someone decided that only the Director could decide on everything.

        2. David

          Though I think Kurosawa himself acknowledged the influence of John Ford among others (not in Rashomon perhaps, but in Seven Samurai and elsewhere). I’m also fascinated by old Japanese films, but of course directors like Ozu and Mizoguchi are very different from Kurosawa. There’s a bit of a natural tendency to give prominence to directors whose output is closer to our cinematic norms – Mishima is the obvious counterpart in literature. But if anyone hasn’t seen these films, preferably several times – they should do so immediately.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            Yes, there is enormous richness in the Japanese films of the period. I love Ozu and Mizoguchi and Naruse too. They’ve all been very influential, often in not very good ways (I blame Ozu for all those boring low budget art movies where the camera spends a few minutes lingering on the lead character cutting their toenails in artfully seedy living rooms).

            My personal theory is that all great Japanese art can be divided into the ‘self-consciously Japanese aesthetic’ camp and the ‘rip off anything and everything you see and make it uniquely Japanese’ camp. For me, Ozu and Mizoguchi was in the first, Kurosawa the second. Kurosawa devoured everything from Russian propoganda epics to Japanese folklore to Shakespeare to Ed McBain detective stories and mashed it all together to make great cinema.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Not mentioned enough was Imamura.

              He looked at the defeated Japan more directly and closely, it seems to me.

              I particularly enjoyed his ‘Pigs and Battleship’ and all these (from IMDB):

              Karayuki-san, the Making of a Prostitute (Documentary)
              1973 Muhomatsu Returns Home (TV Movie documentary)
              1972 The Pirates of Buban (TV Movie documentary)
              1971 In Search of the Unreturned Soldiers in Thailand (Documentary)
              1970 In Search of the Unreturned Soldiers in Malaysia (TV Movie documentary)
              1970 History of Postwar Japan as Told by a Bar Hostess (Documentary)
              1968 Profound Desires of the Gods

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I find Ozu’s films more interesting.

            One gets a sense of life’s impermanence and mono no aware watching them.

        3. Carolinian

          You and Pauline Kael agree. She made great sport of the auteurists and their worship of bemused Hollywood icons who thought they were just turning out entertainment. However sometimes she went too far as when she tried to downgrade Orson Welles’ contribution to Citizen Kane.

          Unfortunately with the doyenne of critics long gone the auteur theory is making a comeback. Were Tom Wolfe still around he could pen a sequel to The Painted Word–The Filmed Word. But I don’t think people pay too much attention to critics any more.

          And even some of us who aren’t quite the Kurosawa fans you are agree that Rashomon is a great film–probably his best.

      2. ambrit

        Could it be an artifact of the differences in social norms between the Orient and the Occident? From what I’ve seen, heard and read, the Japanese set great store by social cooperation versus Western Individualism. So, stories I’ve read about Kurosawa’s binge script writing sessions with a group of collaborators fit the Oriental system much more than the Western one. Before one brings up the Western practice of ‘rewriting’ film scripts, consider that Western rewrites often consist of another individual script writers interpretation of a prior work. the Japanese model as demonstrated in Kurosawa’s works suggests a fully so-operative methodology. The thesis, antithesis, synthesis process evolves the ‘product’ in a continuous and almost evolutionary fashion when the principles are directly in contact in real time. I would imagine that the real ‘hard work’ involved in such a process would be that of managing the clash of strong egos involved.
        Just having helped write “The Hidden Fortress” is good enough when one considers the effect that film has had on Western film through the efforts of one George Lucas.

        1. ambrit

          Does Vice use algorythms to write its headlines? Or is someone having fun?
          Take the first half of the headline and remove the comma.
          “Screenwriter Dies at Age 100 of “Rashomon.””
          The second half of the headline isn’t too bad either.
          “1950 Greatest Film of Japan Ever.”

          Oh humble comma, thou’rt a stumbling block of sense.

        2. voteforno6

          That’s certainly possible, though Kurosawa (with whom Hashimoto worked quite a bit) was famously influenced by John Ford westerns. Ozu was considered to be much more “Japanese” – even too much so, for a time. So, there was certainly a lot of cross-cultural pollination going on there. Western script-writing could be very cooperative as well – I think the idea that the credited screenwriters are the only ones that actually developed the script is a bit of a misnomer. Any number of persons could’ve had input – the director, producer, maybe even the actors. Making films by its very nature is a very collaborative process, no matter where it actually takes place.

        3. PlutoniumKun

          I think this is quite true, but I also you can pick lots of counter examples for any theory like that. Certainly the studio system in Japan at the time encouraged collaborative work as most of the people were salaried permanent staff (its fun sometimes seeing major stars at the time in walk on parts in other movies, this is simply because they were around and told to fill in, they had no real choice).

          But likewise, there were Directors at the time who were highly dictatorial. Naruse was one who made very beautiful contemporary dramas – he was notorious for not giving actors or crew any instructions, he simply gave them the script and made them do the lines and shots over and over until he decided he’d seen what he wanted. This drove his entire crew nuts. Ozu once told an actress who asked him what her characters motivation was: ‘your fee for this movie’.

          The great strength of Kurosawas approach during this period is that there isn’t an ounce of flab or self indulgence in any of his films. Every scene, every shot, every characters gesture, has meaning. From Rashomon to Yojimbo I don’t think there’s a single frame of a Kurosawa movie that should be cut or changed. I think this can only happen when you have lots of creative people willing to argue hard for everything, but also a very strong leader who knew who to listen to.

          1. ambrit

            This is a good argument for a return, in Hollywood and Shepperton at least, to a version of the Studio System.
            I’ve read that Kurosawa did his own storyboards. Hitchcock is also famous for planning out every shot beforehand. This is the director taking the project seriously. Too much today in the cinema looks as if it was come up with the morning of shooting. But then, the old days had their ‘B’ movies and programmers.
            The more things change….the more they stay the same.

            1. PlutoniumKun

              I think that there is a good argument that long form TV has taken on that role. A series like Better Call Saul needs a team of scriptwriters and staff working for years on refining and improving a long running story.

              1. NotTimothyGeithner

                Gilligan has said he doesn’t know where the show is going either. Walt was going to die at some point whether by cancer or other reasons. Gilligan was always upfront about that. He said early on he didn’t know how or how long the show would continue dealing with the potential fallout.

                The scene where Jane (spoilers) was done by the director of that episode while Gilligan was writing a different episode. Gilligan ran with the changes from one improvised scene to create lasting conflict in the show. The framing of Better Call Saul is from random throw away lines.

                At the same time, its a fairly close knit team which descended from the X-Files and the mysteriously canceled “The Lone Gunmen” (the last episode was about hijackers crashing a plane into Times Square aired in June of 2001.) and they have both stability and freedom. Rian Johnson, the director of the last Star Wars, directed two episodes of Breaking Bad, the bottle episode with the Fly and the episode that takes places away from the Southwest. They could bring in an outsider to handle narratives that were outside the usual voice of the show.

    2. petal

      PK, Rashomon was shown to my required 1st year writing/western civ-style class at uni by the older professor who had been drafted to teach the class section. That was 20 years ago. I had never heard of it before then, being from a small rural town in western NY. It opened things up for me. I agree with you that it should be shown at school or uni.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The thing interesting about Rashomon is that it points out how people tell story according to what suits them.

        In post-war Japan, history was being written by the Western victors (of course), and ironically, many of Kurosawa’s films had more western influences or sources of inspiration than say Ozu’s.

        In One Wonderful Sunday, for example, the great wish of the two young lovers was to attend a performance of Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony, and not something more non-western.

      2. ambrit

        Likewise, I know for a fact that Wertmullers “Triumph of the Will” was shown to first year advertising students as an example of how ‘good’ propaganda, which advertising is a sub-set of, is done.
        The Masters and Mistresses shine through, no matter their political correctness, or lack thereof.

            1. Olga

              This would be very funny – if I only did not lose some relies in the war (sorry to spoil the party!).

              1. ambrit

                I am conflicted here. Both my parents went through the Blitz in London. My Dad was in their house when incendiaries came through the roof. He was also strafed while walking to school. (Not hit luckily.) I met and somewhat got to know a woman who survived Auschwitz Camp.
                Sometimes all you have left is humour. Elsewise, you end up bitter and stunted.

                1. flora

                  I apologize for any offense felt. It was not my intent. There is a line from Thomas Moore:
                  “The devil…the prowde spirite…cannot endure to be mocked.”

                  And so, mock the devil and laugh him out. That was the intent. It had nothing to do with minimizing what happened.

                  1. ambrit

                    I have no issue with you or your intent. Moore is right.
                    I do not presume to speak for Olga.

          1. ambrit

            Blast! You are correct. I guess I was “Swept Away by an Unusual Destiny in the Blue Wave of November.” Starring Bernie Sanders and Hillz Clinton. Far superior to the reboot coming this November starring Alex O’Cortez and Joe Crowley.

  5. DakotabornKansan

    I read the news today, oh boy!

    The internet and social media are labyrinths of deception.

    One’s mind goes numb….

    “I felt a Funeral in my Brain,
    And Mourners, to and fro,
    Kept treading — treading — till it seemed
    That Sense was breaking through –

    …. And then a Plank in Reason, broke,
    And I dropped down, and down —
    And hit a World, at every plunge,
    And Finished knowing — then – “ Emily Dickinson

    Buster Benson’s Cognitive bias cheat sheet (2016) @

    1. djrichard

      The cartoon at the top of the article is hilarious. In reference to one today’s other links, a modern day Rashomon? :-)

  6. Chris

    Have we reached peak “Russia!Russia!Russia!” yet? Might these people actually have something approaching evidence that the public will care about?

    Link to the New Republic blurb here.

    1. Bill Smith

      I am hoping that as Mars moves away from the Earth the Russiagate stuff will recede with it.

      1. crittermom

        But wait! We shouldn’t miss our chance…
        While Mars is currently ‘close’, can’t we take advantage of that to send a ship full of our worst politicians on that first exploratory flight? (Okay. That may require several spaceships but I’d be happy to see any military budget increases going toward that venture instead of more wars).

        Perhaps if they’re told that newly discovered lake on Mars is actually champagne, the shores are lined in gold, & are offered a mirrored chamber so they may admire themselves during the long flight, they’d be happy to jump on board?
        One can always dream…

  7. nippersmom

    From “Third Way Centrism Is Dead”: Even if one believes that moderation is a safer path to victory for the party than a drive leftward, centrist policy ideas are very obviously inadequate to the task of actually solving many of the largest challenges facing American society and the world this century.

    Of course, this presupposes Centrists have any real interest in solving those challenges. I don’t believe they do; after all, “America is already great.”

  8. Olga

    Accused Russian Agent Maria Butina’s Story Reveals Pro-Putin Views In The U.S. NPR
    Unfortunately, I listened to some of the interview last night in the car (I know, too lazy to switch stations), and thought to myself: “So, this is how it must have been here during the McCarthy time.”
    Conspiracy and innuendo, upon more conspiracy and innuendo (Davies even at one point said “if one were to be conspiratorial…”). Since when is serious journalism given to conspiratorial analysis? Or has NPR finally given up all pretense?

    1. John k

      A long time ago. And,
      Yes, a long time ago.
      Really, doesn’t take much effort to change a station. But, why did you stop there in the first place?

      1. Olga

        I hate stations with ads, and have had the radio on the public station since I bought the car (2005). Talk about lazy…

    2. JTMcPhee

      I became aware as a nascent citizen of the McCarthy stuff, right along with learning to “duck and cover” from the same teachers who to protect their jobs had to espouse the Party line. Even sign “loyalty oaths,” in my nominally “enlightened” Chicago North Shore bedroom community. Aware, and fearful, as a six year old kid watching the “hearings” on black-and-white TV. Everything was black and white, those days, at least whatever was not red white and blue. We humans are such interesting people, aren’t we? How shallow is the collective intellect and spirit… Sex and death at the heart of everything…

    3. Zachary Smith

      …has NPR finally given up all pretense?

      Simple answer: yes.

      I was on the road yesterday and the day before. Turned on the radio and both times ran into an NPR broadcast which was 100% neocon BS.

      I suppose I need to wise up and start packing a few music CDs instead.

      1. tegnost

        I turned them off in 2009 during the GFC because reading nc with my coffee then hearing npr when driving (or watching pbs with the family at night) provided too much cognitive dissonance for me to bear, and that has not changed for the better since then. Now I only get news by reading, the manipulations of of all that passive consumption are also distracting, you can’t turn off your ears, but if you’re reading bs it’s easy to just stop.

      2. Jeff W

        I’ve been playing K-pop tunes on my MP3 player in the car for years, for just that very reason.

    4. Carolinian

      Yes if one “were to be conspiratorial” you could just as easily reframe the broadcast to show Russian oligarch/opposition influence within the Democratic party starting with Bill Browder, originally an American, then a Russian oligarch, now a British citizen. Of course that wouldn’t make Browder a spy for Russia but for the CIA or MI6?–irresponsible not to speculate as Noonan or NPR might say.

      The point being that our political scene is rife with foreign influence so the underlying premise of the Fresh Air segment is that Russia and Putin and perhaps even the socially conservative Russian Orthodox church are evil and any association is a taint. Take away that unproven and unthinking assumption and there’s nothing there.

      I used to listen to Fresh Air but got tired of Terry Gross and her endless process questions that sub for depth on the subject. All she really seems to know much about is pop music. In her defense she’s been on the air forever so perhaps one just tuckers out. The fill-in Davies is usually better but has clearly drunk the Kool-Aid on this subject at least.

    5. RUKidding

      I did listen to that Fresh Air interview re Maria Butina – of course taking it with pallets of salt. But I wanted to get some sort of perspective on it.

      It seemed sketchy at best – utterly specious at worst – that Butina and/or her allelged “handlers” had that much influence over conservatives of various ilks. Sounded more like Butina saw an opportunity to make money via a Gung-Ho Gunz thing, and so she went for it.

      The interview revealed, I assume somewhat accurately (but who knows?), that apparently conservatives have been “drawn” to Russia in more recent times due to how Putin has re-instituted religion there (very pro Russian Orthodox church) and is anti-gay. Allegedly there’s contingent of conservative “Christians” who are Russia-friendly because of these policies, which is quite believable. I mean, it’s well known that “The Family” has spent serious time in Uganda pushing “kill the gays” legislation.

      So that part of the interview I found interesting, as I wasn’t aware of this, and it seems very plausible. It also does shed some light on why – in a reality-based way – some conservative factions have become more pro-Russian than previously. I see this as neither good nor bad. Just a neutral observation, but I was curious about that.

      So taken with pallets of salt, I found the the interview of some value. Of course, when I do happen to listen to NPR (other the music parts), I know it’s all neolib/neocon propaganda. But one can sometimes glean useful info from it. I really knew next to nothing about the whole Maria Butina situatio. Now at least I feel I have some sort of perspective on it, at least more than what I knew previously (which was nothing).

      Just saying…

      1. Carolinian

        Is gay liberation a US foreign policy goal? Should it be? Or are we only concerned about the rights of minorities when they are at issue under governments we want to overthrow?

        These are other unasked questions by those who support Russia phobia (not saying that’s you).

        However I’m not sure NPR has politics. They adopt a cultural framework that they think their pledge drive contributors and corporate sponsors want to hear. The Fresh Air segment’s unthinking view that Russia = bad is par for the course.

  9. Ignim Brites

    “The Elite Fixation With Russiagate” The refusal of The Nation to sign on to the Russoquiddick mania indicates the extent to which this mania is perceived by progressives as a neocon attempt to takeover the Democratic party.

    1. Carolinian

      Attempt? I’d say they accomplished that some time back. It was the reason some of us said “anyone but Hillary.”

    2. jonhoops

      Actually, it probably just reflects the fact that the publisher’s husband is a renowned expert on Russia who has been pushing back against this Russophobia from day one.

  10. Darius

    I recommend the movie Sorry to Bother You. It’s got it all. Worker exploitation, a psychopathic and worshipped billionaire, fully enlisted media, junk popular culture, mass incarceration with a delightful neoliberal twist, casual racism.

    You might call it Capitalism: the Movie. Because of its unjaded take on Teh Suck, you could also call it Naked Capitalism: The Movie.

    1. perpetualWAR

      Can’t wait to see it. I fell in love with The Coup when I found their guillotine song. Bought the album and as an old person, that is the only CD I blast in my car.

      I am very much looking forward to his movie!

      1. voteforno6

        It’s a good movie. If you haven’t, check out some of their other music – Party Music might still be my favorite.

    2. SimonGirty

      We were sorely disappointed (not just because all the uniformly rave reviews on the lefty blogs), but because there was such a great potential in the subject matter, which we were hoping he’d explore… A half hour in, we were both hoping this doesn’t stop someotherbody from filming the hilarious classic this might’ve, could’ve, should have been? Guess we’ve been spoiled by all the brilliant young talent (movies and TV) enabling us all to laugh at how obvious this all is to we, the peons.

    3. Wukchumni

      I think my hopes had been placed too high based on reviews, and thought the movie was a bit of a mess, with pieces that had some irony and satire going for them, but it was still slapdash cinema.

      4 out of 5 of us that went to see it, couldn’t wait for it to finish.

      1. Wukchumni


        Want to see a really interesting film about a black man in America?

        The Brother From Another Planet-from 1984, is a vastly superior film, than the aforementioned pile was.

      2. SimonGirty

        Tried to post something about Ocasio Cortez being labeled as a Putin/ Trump mole… let’s see where this reply ends up? Yes, we WANTED it to be the gig economy/ share cropping blockbuster comedy of the decade. But it seemed more like an peh “Black Mirror” episode… with all the outtakes left in. I liked the whole Oakland at dusk sensibility; but just maybe, 30% THC sinsemilla does get in the way of creativity: milking our unremitting, ever worsening nightmare for all the laughs we need to share with others, in the dark… where nobody sees the tears.

      3. CenterOfGravity

        Saw it yesterday and was overall impressed. It’s certainly theater of the absurd but so too are the times we are living in. Thinking about the younger internet audiences this was primarily made for, it strikes me that an entire generation of young Americans are coming of age with no personal memory of what it was to live in a world that us older malcontents can remember as being somewhat normal.

        Filmmaking lacked polish in places but kept up a rebellious momentum throughout. The vibe reminded me of Alex Cox’s irrepressible Repo Man (1984). For me it was refreshing to see something on screen again that felt sufficiently surreal to contend with all that’s happening outside the theater.

  11. JTMcPhee

    One entry in the day’s reports of contracts “worth” billions of dollars of MMT money being transferred to the MIC to “buy security” or whatever for us mopes who have no control over the big stuff (because we don’t have an organizing principle and the ability to focus, like the management of Boeing and Lockheed “We never forget who we are working for” Martin):

    Boeing is being awarded a change order by the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center. The change order external link is valued at $15.5 million and provides for the development, qualification and delivery of a Flight Termination Receiver 2.0 (FTR 2.0). For 50 years, land-based Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) have been part of the US primary strategic deterrence capability, the nuclear-armed triad that also includes submarine-launched ballistic missiles and long-range heavy bombers. Nuclear weapons have a devastating effect and a nuclear war has the potential to wipe out all life on earth. The FTR external link is an essential piece that allows for the missiles destruction after it has already been launched. The Flight Termination System can take a number of commands via Radio Frequency that range from safing and arming devices to terminating the missiles flight. Work will be performed in Layton, Utah, and is expected to be completed by July 31, 2021.

    Another proof of the Wisdom of Saint Reagan, who had some interesting notions about whether ballistic missiles, whether land-based or submarine-launched, could be recalled. They can be, apparently, destroyed mid-flight. IF the Boeing product works, in a near-earth environment blasted by electromagnetic pulses and electronic countermeasures and attacks from satellites. And assuming there is someone to give, and someone to execute, the order to “recall” the in-flight “delivery packages.” And of course one wonders at the provenance of the chips that would populate the circuit boards of the Boeing device… other failure modes (including the fundamental failure mode of human stupidity in creating and deploying these weapons “because we have to because they are and don’t whine at me that they did it because we did it and planned to blow up the Soviet Union so it’s our fault, and we will not let the Godless Commies survive to Take Over The World if Our Great Nation is Devastated!!!!)

  12. Craig H.

    The goats are gorgeous. Kale is hideous. Goats will blissfully eat anything including the pants off your body, the shirts off your clothesline, &c.

      1. Zachary Smith

        Fascinating. Then goats could be a solution to one of the more minor “nasties” from the coming climate issues.

        Scientists say that climate change and all its related effects, including increased temperatures and rising CO2 levels, cause poison ivy and poison oak plants to grow larger and stronger, CBS News reports.

        “It tells the plants to grow bigger leaves. And the oil itself, that causes poison ivy rash, is more powerful and supercharged,” Dr. Clifford Bassett, an allergist and assistant clinical professor at NYU School of Medicine, told CBS.

        1. witters

          In a (perhaps deservedly) little known book, The History of Animals, Aristotle has the following remarks on the goat:

          “If you catch hold of a goat’s beard at the extremity-the beard is of a substance resembling hair-all the companion goats will stand stock still, staring at this particular goat in a kind of dumbfounderment.

          You will have a warmer bed in amongst the goats than among the sheep, because the goats will be quieter and will creep up towards you; for the goat is more impatient of cold than the sheep.”

          For those with perhaps more time on their hands than they need, the whole thing is here:

      2. blennylips

        Watch this utterly charming docu from WyomingPBS to find out!


        Goats Eat Weeds
        Season 4 Episode 2 | 27m 37s

        In Wyoming battles between sheepherders and cattlemen are legendary and harrowing. With that turbulent history it is a little surprising that the daughter of an old Wyoming ranching family is a leading force behind weed management with goats today. We’ll learn about the clever niche Lonie Malmberg and her son Donny have carved for goats in the heart of Cheyenne city limits.

        Aired: 11/01/17 Rating: NR

  13. Summer

    Re: Open Office Space Revolution Gone To Far

    Quick survey, here in war culture America, how many have heard open office spaces or meeting places referred to as “The War Room” ? Past or present jobs…

    1. Aleric

      In an open office right now and hating it. The war room (no fighting) is just down the hall. Ironically a small and decent meeting space, though it tends to overheat.

    2. JacobiteInTraining

      Ugh, yeah – ~7 years ago at an old employer the eBusiness mgmt/dev/test teams enthusiastically went open-office, and I recall hearing about ‘The War Room’. I hated it all, but my small team of rogue sysadmins maintained our old-fashioned cubes in protest to the annoyingly ‘middle-school-cafeteria’ style implemented everywhere else on the floor.

      Whenever I heard someone say ‘War Room’, I would sarcastically say “but, theres no fighting in the war room!” in homage to Peter Sellers, and Dr Strangelove. I doubt anyone else ever got the joke.

      In the end, war rooms and open office was a clearly a success — the eBiz teams had the worst record of bugs introduced into Prod of anyone, frequently took down the site upon which millions of members depended. But, no big deal…because “fail forward” and Devs get perms to push/update/tinker in prod to fix those bugs. And also – proudly – they the highest ratio of “…OMG lets get a 2am conf call going to wake up everyone/anyone who could possibly help us fix this new bug we didn’t find in test, cus we didn’t test in preprod — lolz…” …and all that.

      I dont work there anymore… :)

    3. RUKidding

      Many law firms refer to spaces assigned to gathering/sorting/organizing documents for big litigation cases as “War Rooms.” So there’s that.

      1. Partyless Poster

        Where I work they are known as Obeya rooms, which is just the same thing in Japanese.
        I think its just because the company is a defense contractor and “War Room” would seem inappropriate.
        But then they call empty cubes “greenfield” which is just a ridiculous euphemism.

  14. JCC

    On McCaskill getting hacked by Russians:

    We are getting inundated with BS.

    I hadn’t heard this one so I hit the ever-trusty Google and every article I saw referred to this Daily Beast article as the source of this “news”. And this “news” says nothing other than McCaskill is accusing the Russians of an unsuccessful “attack” with no proof that an attack even happened at all!

    My immediate thoughts were that A) no great loss, another Blue Dog bites the dust, and B) if her staff is so stupid in falling for one of the oldest email tricks on the books, i.e., “You better change your password now!”, then she is obviously a failed administrator and they all deserve to lose.

    Of course, both these thoughts depend on her so-called facts that any of this is true in the first place and not just some stupid ploy to gain sympathy from Missouri Voters and rally them around her flag to fight off the evil Rooskies.

    The crux of the story is this:

    There’s no evidence to suggest that this attempt to lure McCaskill staffers was successful. The precise purpose of the approach was also unclear. Asked about the hack attempt by Russia’s GRU intelligence agency, McCaskill told The Daily Beast on Thursday that she wasn’t yet prepared to discuss it.

    “I’m not going to speak of it right now,” she said. “I think we’ll have something on it next week. I’m not going to speak about it right now. I can’t confirm or do anything about it right now.”

    The most unfortunate part is that many people are probably thick enough to believe it is true based on this zero content statement.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      I’d expect to see plenty more of this in the event that the “blue wave” doesn’t materialize.

      In her last election, mccaskill was “lucky” enough to run against crazy todd aiken. At the time, rumor had it that she used some of her own campaign funds to bolster his nomination, since victory over a certified nut job was still a victory. Shades of hillary’s preference for Donald Trump as an opponent. Oops.

      Now it appears mccaskill is appropriating her beloved hillary’s excuses preemptively. Still early, but she appears to be in some electoral trouble.

      1. Zachary Smith

        I looked at your link story and wasn’t surprised to see the awful Donnelly from my state of Indiana. The man has been a consistent and reliable Republican vote on all important issues. This is a case where I’m going to vote for an actual Republican instead of the turncoat Joe D. That’s because if I’m going to be represented by a right-wing corporate jack***, I want a real Republican instead of a fraud who calls himself a “Democrat”.

    2. Big River Bandido

      I would love it if there were such a thing as Russian hacking — as long as they sent Senator-Forgot-To-Pay-Taxes-On-Her-Private-Plane packing back to Missouri. What a worthless pile of steaming mess.

      1. JCC

        Shades of Harry Truman:

        Given the choice between a Republican and someone who acts like a Republican, people will vote for the real Republican all the time

        He also said this:

        “Republicans approve of the American farmer, but they are willing to help him go broke. They stand four-square for the American home — but not for housing. They are strong for labor — but they are stronger for restricting labor’s rights. They favor minimum wage — the smaller the minimum wage the better. They endorse educational opportunity for all — but they won’t spend money for teachers or for schools. They think modern medical care and hospitals are fine — for people who can afford them. They consider electrical power a great blessing — but only when the private power companies get their rake-off. They think American standard of living is a fine thing — so long as it doesn’t spread to all the people. And they admire of Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it.”

        It’s pretty obvious to me that the Clinton faction, the Third Way Dems, and the Blue Dogs like McCaskill (and Obama), are squarely in the Republican Camp.

    3. Ted

      Ah … another day in Versailles on the Potomac. At least this time, they don’t have to wear poofy dusted wigs. Silver lining that …

    4. Carey

      To your last sentence: My take is that it need not be true, it just needs to be out there.
      Part of the drumbeat, if you will.

  15. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: No Gaps In Understanding: Here’s Your Primer On Medigap Coverage Kaiser Health News

    Important but unmentioned is that, when using “traditional” Medicare with a Medigap plan, you must also purchase a separate “credible” drug plan which can currently cost as much as $200 extra per month, depending on what drugs you need covered. The doughnut hole applies to these plans, although you are not permitted to stop making premium payments during the time that you are also paying for the drugs yourself.

    Both Medigap and drug plan premiums increase annually, as does the basic Medicare premium. When I asked about this 6 months ago, I was told to expect an “approximate” 5% increase the next year, which I took to be a marketing low ball. The salesperson refused to speculate beyond one year. Age is a determining medical underwriting criterion.

    With regard to the patient in this article, the fact that he and his wife divide their time between CO and FL and she receives treatment in FL should have been determinant in, at least, her choice of traditional Medicare, since one of the main benefits is getting treatment anywhere that accepts Medicare. Medicare Advantage is geared more toward receiving treatment locally.

    While there is no doubt that Medicare, in any iteration, is a better deal than is available to many younger americans, it is not a slam dunk by any means. Most notably, “young and invincible” is no longer a viable option. As one Medigap sales person put it to me when I asked why I should spend all that money every month without any current health “problems” to speak of, “It’s just a matter of time. You’re not getting any younger. Are you really willing to gamble that the Mayo Clinic will not be there for you when you need it?”


    1. ambrit

      Just for clarification. Did that salesperson pitch the product with; “Are you really willing to gamble that the Mayo Clinic will be there for YOU when you need it?”
      The other problem with Medigap policies is exclusions. If a treatment is not “standard practice” it is often denied. Thus, conditions like cancer, the treatments for which are evolving quickly, are stuck in the Paleo Medical Age.
      Given all the problems built in to Medicare, I’m beginning to suspect that Medicare is becoming a Trojan Horse to be deployed against true single payer medicine. Watch ‘Medicare For All’ be passed and then Medicare itself be degraded and privatized to death, indeed, a lot of deaths.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        I’m inclined to regard “Medicare for All” as more of a rallying cry for a system of national “healthcare” than an actual workable policy proposal. Medicare is, after all, just another scheme to apportion payment responsibility for an increasingly expensive, exceptionally profitable product of dubious quality, if national rankings on population “health” are to be believed.

        Changing who pays will not improve the quality of care one iota, or give americans what they really need–bona fide “heathcare.” The system requires an organizational overhaul that “Medicare for All” does not begin to address. In fact, giving every american a chunk of money to spend on worthless tests and ineffective drugs might very well make the situation worse. And, as currently constructed, Medicare maintains the gratuitous, parasitic involvement of insurance companies, preventing any true forward motion.

        Keeping the “conversation” confined to the overwhelmingly unsustainable issue of price and who will pay it, diverts attention from the issue of quality, a focus, I’m certain, the “healthcare establishment” is desperate to avoid.

        1. Lambert Strether

          It’s true that Medicare has a bad neoliberal infestation that will have to be addressed. As I’ve said, “free at the point of care” guts the eligibility apparatus, so it’s important to watch for liberals and centrists and compromisers generally trying to sneak fees in…

  16. noonespecial

    Re: ScienceAlert article on worms

    Maybe a savvy Silicon Valley disruptist could sponsor a niche seminar at Kurzweil’s Singularity University and name the course “Achieving Deep Sleep – You Too Can Escape Modernity”.

  17. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: U.S. “most dangerous” place to give birth in developed world, USA Today investigation finds CBS (Kevin W)

    Young said the two leading causes of childbirths deaths and injuries are hemorrhage and severe hypertension – which requires hospitals to pay close attention to a patient’s blood pressure and blood loss levels. USA Today’s investigation found that medical professionals are often “eye-balling” how much blood a woman loses during childbirth instead of measuring it for warning signs that something’s not right. The answer? More training.

    Seems like a big ask when you or your insurance company is only spending a couple hundred thousand dollars to get your baby born.

    Luckily, there’s a handy guide for how you can assist the “healthcare” professionals in preventing your own death or disability during this, apparently not well understood, procedure–“Insist that nurses take your blood pressure correctly.”

    Skin in the game. Literally.

  18. Brindle

    Third Way Centrism Is Not Dead….

    Alexandria Ocasio Cortez perhaps got hoodwinked into headlining a Dem party fundraiser in California that features this candidate–Clinton CA campaign chair Buffy Wicks:

    .—“Buffy Wicks, who has never held any elected office, managed Hilary Clinton’s 2016 California Primary campaign against Bernie Sanders and also worked in Barack Obama’s campaigns and in the Obama White House. She has only been registered to vote in the 15th Assembly since 2016 and between 2008 and 2016 lived out of state or in Los Angeles.

    She has no track record working on local issues in the district and, for that reason, it may not be surprising that only 14% of those who have contributed money to her campaign so far live in the district.

    48% of contributors to Wicks’ campaign committee live out of state. 20% are residents of Washington D.C. and its suburbs. She has more contributors not only in DC and its suburbs, but in Chicago and its suburbs, and in New York City and its suburbs, than she does in either Berkeley or Oakland.

    There has never been a such an expensive local Assembly race or a candidate who has relied so heavily on outside money. It’s not unusual for candidates to receive some contributions from family members and friends in other parts of the country, but it is unusual for a local East Bay candidate to rely so heavily on out of state money”—.

  19. SimonGirty

    We were sorely disappointed (not just because all the uniformly rave reviews on the lefty blogs), but because there was such a great potential in the subject matter, which we were hoping he’d explore… A half hour in, we were both hoping this doesn’t stop someotherbody from filming the hilarious classic this might’ve, could’ve, should have been? Guess we’ve been spoiled by all the brilliant young talent (movies and TV) enabling us all to laugh at how obvious this all is to we, the peons.

      1. SimonGirty

        Frankly, I’m guessing part of the issue is: the film IS pretty forgettable? A self indulgent, puerile patische of derivative black-outs, flung haphazardly at what could’ve been simultaneously hilarious and painfully evocative of what ALL workers are going through. As Beavis & Butthead would’ve summarized, ever so succinctly, “ah, they didn’t try very hard?” It’s like a bunch of guys (and I do mean guys) got way too high and reminisced about this and that movie and slapped the walk-throughs together without consulting anybody who’d seen the pilfered films? I wrote the original mess at work, in a HOT pipe mill in Alabama; sorry that I didn’t try very hard. There are four pretty funny lines and the little kids in one sequence, were adorable. Believe me, lots of us were really eager to see this.

  20. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The U.S. Housing Market Looks Headed for Its Worst Slowdown in Years Bloomberg


    If it didn’t, that would be unusual, notwithstanding the mantra ‘real estate always goes up.’

  21. crittermom

    While I admit the past couple days have been difficult for me (see my late, long comment after yesterdays links) when I read the article today about the six species about to be sacrificed for the oil & gas industry more money for the wealthy I broke out in tears. I had to grab my camera & venture outside before my heart shattered & my head exploded.

    To those who support such atrocities from our current POTUS & his ilk, may they choke on their Cheeto(s).
    Extinction is forever. :-(

    1. Massinissa

      I had never seen a Sage Grouse before. Such a magnificent creature, and from the article seems like the one I am most worried about. This is beyond unconscionable, what these politicians are doing.

    2. Oregoncharles

      It’s an unconscionable price to pay for having such dysfunctional politics. I wish I could be more optimistic, though Nature does often find a way.

      And, my sympathy for your problems yesterday. I had no idea, though I’ve had the same sort of issue with our phone company’s call center…in the Philippines. Boy, am I glad to be shut of them. Putting government services over there is just inexcusable.

      That said, you should be congratulated for your self-control.

  22. Wukchumni

    Will soon be homeless in the higher climes, hanging out near tent cities of other fortunates, en route in the Sierra Nirvana.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      One June, after school was over, I drove to my summer job in BIshop, CA via Tioga Pass.

      There was still snow there.

      Today, I just checked, it’s 86 degrees F.

Comments are closed.