2:00PM Water Cooler 8/7/2018

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Readers, my optometrist’s appointment went fine. Apparently, I am less short-sighted than last year, a blessing literally and metaphorically. This is a first cut, since I thought I’d just knock out a few more queries on today’s worksheet and you know that goes, so I’ll have a final cut later. Also, the heat and humidity seem not only to have gummed up my “n” key, but the Internet itself! Molasses is quick by comparison! –lambert UPDATE 4:25PM All done!

Trade

“Tariffs Prompt US Manufacturers to Review Plans: Fed Survey” [Industry Week]. “America’s escalating trade dispute with China and other trading partners has prompted almost a fifth of U.S. businesses including about 30% of manufacturers to review their capital spending plans, according to a study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta…. ‘These findings suggest that tariff worries have had only a small negative effect on U.S. business investment to date,’ Atlanta Fed Research Director David Altig wrote on a blog posted Tuesday on the bank’s website. ‘Still, there are sound reasons for concern.’ The survey, which drew 330 responses, was conducted July 9-20. Over 200 responses were from service-providing companies, which are typically less engaged in international commerce than manufacturing firms.”

“EU TAKES ON TRUMP’S ‘ILLEGAL’ SANCTIONS ON IRAN: Senior European officials on Monday were quick to criticize President Donald Trump’s renewed sanctions on Iran as ‘illegal,’ and vowed to intensify efforts to thwart the U.S. measures” [Politico]. “Trump promised tough enforcement of new sanctions and warned violators of ‘severe consequences.’ But the EU and the three European architects of the Iran nuclear accord — France, Germany and the U.K. — are pushing back in an effort to preserve the nuclear deal. That puts the United States in direct crossfire with its largest and strongest NATO allies.”

Politics

2018

“What the 2016 Elections Taught Us About Uncertainty” [Charles Cook, Cook Political Report]. “The point of rehashing all of this is that public polling on the state level is considerably more problematic than on the national level, even in presidential years with higher voter turnout. In midterm elections, with a third fewer people voting, state and local polls are even less dependable—hence caution should be exercised in putting too much confidence in them. Some are conducted by reputable organizations with usually strong records, others by fly-by-night outfits releasing polls just for their PR value. That means even the poll averages should be approached with some degree of skepticism.” • Yep. And this, off-point but in its way delicious: “It should be pointed out, though, that 2016 was a pretty atypical election. I often call it the ‘Turducken election,’ after the delicacy made by stuffing a deboned chicken inside a deboned duck and then into a deboned turkey. I don’t care for it myself; as a friend put it, ‘there was way too much going on there.'” • Well, that’s a legitimacy crisis for you!

A good list (more later):

KS-03, KS-04: “Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez Rally Kansas for a Working-Class Politics That Stands Up to the Kochs” [The Nation]. “When Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez stumped for congressional candidates James Thompson, a civil-rights lawyer from Wichita, and Brent Welder, a labor lawyer from Bonner Springs, they were not talking about outflanking ideological rivals or moving pieces on a political chessboard. They were talking about issues that matter to working Americans. What sort of issues? The sort that Thompson and Welder have made central to their campaigns: support for Medicare for All health-care reform, for an expansive commitment to civil rights, for women’s rights, for humane immigration policies, and for an economic-justice vision that is rooted in a commitment to worker-class empowerment.” • Sounds Russian. Let’s not do it.

MI-06: “Four Democrats compete for 6th District Congress seat in Aug. 7 primary” [MLive]. A candidate round-up: “[DAVID BENAC:] 1. Healthcare — I support the creation of a single-payer universal system of health care, along the lines of the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act, HR 676.” • Give that candidate an “M”! (Especially compared to Eichholz’s squishy “Establish universal healthcare by adding a subsidized public option to the Healthcare Exchanges,” which would earn an “fM” (“f” for “fake”). The other two are even worse.

MO-01: “Insurgent Candidate Cori Bush Wants to End the Dynastic Rule of a Missouri Congressional District” [The Intercept]. “[Cori] Bush, who is also an ordained pastor, single mom, and nurse, emerged as a community leader in the aftermath of the fatal police shooting of [Mike] Brown, leading some of the protests. After the shooting, she ran unsuccessfully for Senate in 2016 — but still managed to win more than 42,000 votes in the primary, despite spending little money. She points to her own experiences, including a period of homelessness during which she lived out of her car, as a reason she would be representative of the struggling district. [Nine-term incumbent William Lacy Clay] is backed by the black Democratic establishment in the St. Louis area, and his political machine stretches back a generation, to when his father served the district.” • Given what I learned about Ferguson, I’d say that Clay is an excellent candidate for membership in the Black Misleadership Class.

OH-12: “What Ohio’s special election will tell us about midterms” [Politico]. “Trump campaigned alongside Balderson last weekend, aiming to juice support for the state senator in a race that’s tightened into single digits, according to public and private polling. But the president’s rally — along with a negative tweet about Ohio’s favorite son and NBA star, LeBron James — also risks alienating well-educated Columbus suburbanites who prefer Gov. John Kasich to the president and could swing the special election. But Republicans believe that ‘Trump stoked the base. He energized them this weekend, so that will help balance out the intensity on the Democratic side,” said Mark Weaver, a Republican strategist based in Ohio. ‘The race is closer than it ought to be, but this is still a Republican district. And the fundamentals are on Troy’s side.; Republicans also tried to tie O’Connor to Pelosi in TV ads, a strategy the GOP has used in special elections throughout the past year and is prepared to replicate in the fall. O’Connor tried to cut into the anti-Trump-Republican voting bloc by signaling his independence from his national party, pledging not to support Pelosi in his first and last TV ads. But in the middle, O’Connor flubbed his answer on Pelosi in an MSNBC interview, which Republicans have deployed against him in their own ads.” • Oy. Will voters pick the real Republican? Also: “O’Connor and Balderson will face off again in the general election, and the winner of the special will certainly have a leg up in the race for a full term.”

OH-12: “Ohio Congress race pits Trump backers against Democrats” [Associated Press]. “Several voters casting ballots in suburban Westerville Tuesday, both Democrat and Republican, said they saw little difference between the two candidates [Balderson and O’Connor…. It’s unclear how much Trump’s support helped or hurt Balderson. Described by campaign operatives as a “Whole Foods” district, the largely suburban region features a more affluent and educated voter base than the typical Trump stronghold.”

WA-03: “Five 3rd District candidates face off at forum” [The Columbian]. A candidate round-up: “[DOROTHY GASQUE]: “I would forgive student loans, that’s the beginning. There’s a massive burden on a single generation, they don’t deserve that. And let’s make college tuition free.'” And: “Infrastructure has a positive return on investment. When we spend money on infrastructure, it increases revenue across the country. How about we stop blowing up infrastructure around the world and rebuilding it? And instead invest in building infrastructure here.” • Nice framing on infrastructure. Nothing on health care, sadly.

WA-09: “Sarah Smith wants to build on the Ocasio-Cortez wave in Washington” [KIRO]. “Smith is the progressive challenger to democratic incumbent Rep. Adam Smith’s long-held seat in Washington’s 9th Congressional District. It compasses an area from Tacoma in the south to Bellevue in the north…. [L]ike her counterparts across the country, Smith sees no reason to run from any association with Socialists. ‘If by ‘Socialist’ you mean that everyone has the right to a dignified life, everyone has a right to healthcare, to be educated, to have a roof over their head, to be paid fair wages for their labor,’ Smith said. ‘If that’s the word we want to use, then I’ll take that.’ Smith says she is for a federal jobs guarantee, a massive infrastructure overhaul, single-payer healthcare, and debt-free education. But how would such goals be paid for? ‘We’ve managed to find trillions of dollars to keep trapped in this endless cycle of war, and no one blinks an eye,’ Smith said.” • 

* * *

MI: “Michigan’s Primary Has Been Heralded As The Next Test For The “Blue Wave,” But What Does It Mean For Muslims In Michigan?” [Belt Magazine]. “Tuesday’s primary election in Michigan could see the most significant political breakthrough for American Muslims in U.S. history. The Wolverine State, with its huge and robust Muslim communities in the Detroit suburbs, has 13 Muslims running for offices at the county, state and federal levels this year. This, many activists say, is the result of years of increased Muslim political organizing that has seen Muslims elected for lower offices; in 2015, for example, the suburb of Hamtramck became the first in the U.S. to have a Muslim majority on its city council.”

MN Governor: “Minnesota Attorney General — Now Democratic Frontrunner for Governor — Relied on Government Employees for Campaign Work, They Say” [The Intercept] (August 14). “Lori Swanson, Minnesota’s three-term attorney general and current candidate for governor, has presided over an office culture in which professional success is linked to the willingness of employees to participate in Swanson’s campaign work, eight former and current employees of the attorney general’s office told The Intercept…. Former staff and legal observers are also calling attention to other elements of Swanson’s record. These include what was widely considered an aggressive union busting effort she conducted early in her first term. Also of note, they say, is a history of touting high-profile lawsuits against corporate defendants and the Trump administration — and then settling or exiting them quietly after the press had moved on.” • She’s a real Democrat, isn’t she?

TX Senate: “Win or lose, Beto O’Rourke’s campaign against Ted Cruz could shape Texas politics for years” [Texas Tribune]. “Despite the high enthusiasm the El Paso congressman’s campaign has drawn among Democrats, Texas has not elected a Democrat statewide in over 20 years. An informal round of interviews with well over a dozen political players involved in Texas and national politics suggests that Cruz is expected to extend that streak with a re-election victory in the high single digits. While such a margin would amount to significant progress for Democrats from past statewide performances, a loss is a loss, and Cruz’s win would likely ensure GOP control of the U.S. Senate for another two years. Even so, O’Rourke’s 18-month statewide tour could still help significantly rebuild a flagging state party apparatus. The term being thrown around quietly among Democrats is ‘losing forward.'” Losing forward…, Certainly the hiil I want to die on…..

TX: “Texas Democrats Are Actually Optimistic for a Change” [Bloomberg]. “‘My party is no longer welcoming to many women, minorities or gays and lesbians,’ said Jenifer Sarver. She’s an anti-abortion, small-government conservative who worked for George W. Bush and ran unsuccessfully as a Republican for Congress — and says she voted for Hillary Clinton for president in 2016.” • See, she’s the kind of real Democrat we need!

* * *

“West Virginia’s Voatz blockchain voting pilot … is another single-user blockchain as a database” [David Gerard]. “[L]et’s just run an ordinary vote, and shove “blockchains” in there somewhere!” • How about let’s not innovate, and use hand-marked paper ballots, hand-counted in public? Also too, the company, Voatz (“it rhymes with stoats”), is pretty dodgy:

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Charles and David Koch: billionaire donors in the line of fire” [Financial Times]. “On Monday, the Koch network announced it would not be endorsing Kevin Cramer, the Trump-backed candidate in a crucial North Dakota Senate race. The reaction from the president was swift. In a flurry of tweets, Mr Trump condemned the ‘globalist’ brothers as a “total joke”. He wrote: ‘I never sought their support because I don’t need their money or bad ideas.’ While the brothers have never publicly endorsed Mr Trump — in 2016 Charles equated picking between Mr Trump and Hillary Clinton to choosing between ‘cancer and a heart attack’ — the feud appears to draw a dividing line between the most powerful Republican family in the US and the new brand of the Grand Old Party, represented by the president and his base. It is unclear which side holds the upper hand.” • I don’t know the Republican Party well enough to assess this. Perhaps the Kochs “have no place to go,” despite the best efforts of liberal Democrats to entice them ito #TheResistance?

“A Democratic Socialist Could Beat Trump” [The Weekly Standard]. “Netroots Nation—a relic of the Deaniac left—took place in New Orleans this past weekend, and the good little Democratic socialists there have done their autopsy on 2016 and concluded that the answer for 2020 is for the Democratic party to counter Donald Trump’s wins in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan by . . . going further to the left.” • Quite correct, if your strategy is to flip Obama voters back to the Democrats with a policy-based appeal. Of course, that’s not the Democrat strategy: They want to flip wealthy suburbanite Trump voters their way.

“Who’s Afraid of Judith Shklar?” [Foreign Policy]. “Shklar’s was a liberalism motivated not by a summum bonum, an ultimate good, but by a summum malum, an ultimate evil, something to be avoidedShklar’s was a liberalism motivated not by a summum bonum, an ultimate good, but by a summum malum, an ultimate evil, something to be avoided: namely, cruelty and the fear it inspires. Liberalism’s emphasis on restraint, she argued, should be motivated by the distinctive political evil of living in fear of state violence and cruelty. This was how liberalism could ensure it remained anti-statist in the right way: focused on the most dangerous branches and uses of state power, without giving up on state authority to restrain private cruelty as well.” • Interesting, given… well, the past 40 years since the neoliberal turn.

“How Liberalism Self-Destructed” [Umair Haque, Medium]. “Liberalism, once a great and noble philosophy, split into three factions — neoliberalism, libertarianism, and “classical liberalism” (I’ll come back to that one). These factions, like stone age tribesmen gleefully performing a lobotomy, hacked and chopped away at liberalism, blow by crushing blow, until all that was left was a drooling, snarling, spitting, twitching zombie: predatory capitalism… [P]redatory capitalism created a class of oligarchs richer than the kings of yore — and in many ways, more powerful, too. Untouchable, above the law, beyond reproach. The wealthier this class of ultra-rich got, the more that the middle and working class collapsed. Inequality spiraled out of control. People lost faith in all the great liberal institutions — law, rights, constitutions, knowledge, democracy itself — because it seemed that the only real purpose of those institutions was to allow the ultra-rich to prey on the poor, exacting crippling tribute for the most basic of things. Not paid in wheat or silver, but cold, hard, cash. Insulin that costs $1000? Childbirth that costs $30K? These three factions… made liberalism self-destruct — by turning it into a mechanism for the one exact thing, a millennium or so ago, it was created to destroy: feudal, dynastic, untouchable, predatory elites skimming off an economy’s surplus, amassing all a society’s wealth for themselves.” • Not the sort of thing one expects from the one-time most popular author at the Harvard Business Review. The waters must have risen higher than I thought.

“The Democratic Party Has Entered Its No Bullsh*t Phase” [Sam Stein, The Daily Beast]. • Big if true.

Stats Watch

Only one stat:

JOLTS, June 2018: “Job openings were little changed while remaining abundant” [Econoday]. And: “for the third consecutive month, there were more job openings than people unemployed. Also note that the number of job openings has exceeded the number of hires since January 2015” [Calculated Risk]. “Job openings are at a high level, and quits are increasing year-over-year. This was a strong report.”

Shipping: “Said to Contain clause – should it be allowed or not..??” [Shipping & Freight Resource]. “[I]t is VERY IMPORTANT that the shipping line shows the SAID TO CONTAIN clause on the bill of lading….. The shipper collects the empty from the shipping line, packs it, seals it and delivers the full container to the port.. The line may not even get to sniff the container.” • A candidate for disruption indeed, but possibly in a very bad way.

Banks: “11 Reasons Wells Fargo Is the Most Evil Bank in America” [GritPost]. • It’s a crowded fields, but Wells Fargo comes away the winner!

The Bezzle: “As Amazon Enters Government Purchasing Market, Signs of a Bad Deal Emerge” [Governing]. “[Amazon] is moving into local government procurement…. While Amazon and U.S. Communities have touted their partnership as a cost-saver for public agencies and a boon for suppliers, a new report finds that Amazon Business does not always deliver the savings it promises. The report by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, a frequent critic of Amazon, also argues that Amazon is increasingly cornering the supply market by forcing vendors to sell their products through Amazon.” • It’s almost like Amazon is using its monopoly power…

The Bezzle: “Tesla’s Elon Musk tweets he is ‘considering’ taking company private” [MarketWatch]. “Tesla Inc. shares jumped as much as 8% midday Tuesday after Chief Executive Elon Musk tweeted that he was “considering” taking the Silicon Valley car maker private at $420 a share. Shares were halted about one hour later for pending news.” • 420, eh?

Tech: “Diving Deep into Emerging Tech Reveals Scary Truths” [Industry Week]. “Each emerging technological wonder promises the same type of dramatic fat-trimming reductions and productivity growth as the products plastering late night weight loss or hair-gaining infomercials. Lose 20% downtime in no time! Boost your business confidence in a big way with Big Data analytics!” • A useful survey of manufacturing decision makers on IoT, AI, Robotics and 3D printing.

Transportation: “Producing better batteries means transforming manufacturing” [Automotive IQ]. • Via the Internet of Things? Really?

Rapture Index: Closes up 1 on earthquakes. “Fourteen people have died after a 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck Indonesia .” [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 181.

Health Care

“How Medicare Was Won” [The Nation]. “The more crucial variable distinguishing Medicare from the NHI battles that fizzled before and since was a mass movement of people demanding it, having coalesced at a moment when powerful liberatory struggles against white supremacy and poverty had transformed what could be deemed politically possible. Organized labor went all-in for Medicare, which took substantial pressure off unions for their retirees’ mounting health-care costs.” • This article has lots of useful background, but since when are “struggles against white supremacy and poverty” “powerful liberatory struggles,” and Organized labor” is just…. organized labor? Sloppy!

Our Famously Free Press

“The Utility of White-Bashing” [The Atlantic]. More on Sarah Jeong. “The people I’ve heard archly denounce whites have for the most part been upwardly-mobile people who’ve proven pretty adept at navigating elite, predominantly white spaces. A lot of them have been whites who pride themselves on their diverse social circles and their enlightened views, and who indulge in their own half-ironic white-bashing to underscore that it is their achieved identity as intelligent, worldly people that counts most, not their ascribed identity as being of recognizably European descent.” • Also “Asian American professional,” although when you think about it, “Asia American” is a pretty problematic ascribed identity.

Class Warfare

If you don’t have dental:

“California soon may be first state to require public universities to offer abortion pills” [CalMatters]. “The legislation, which has passed the Senate and is advancing in the Assembly, would mandate that all California State University and University of California campuses make the prescription abortion drug RU 486 available at their on-campus student health centers by Jan. 1, 2022. Funding, at least for the first year, would be provided not by taxpayers but by donations from a private foundation.” • BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!!!! It’s a public-private partnership! Idea: Maybe the Legislature could focus on rolling back tuition fees to pre-Reagan days — $600 in 1975. Individual students could then buy RU 486 in bulk if they wanted to. Win-win!

“The Dispossessions of Appalachia: A Review of Ramp Hollow” [Southern Spaces]. “[Steven Stoll’s Ramp Hollow recasts] the nature of agriculture and the meaning of land ownership among the European colonialists and their descendants who settled the Appalachian frontier. Stoll likens Appalachia’s early settlers to peasants all over the world, who depend on access to a common “ecological base.” In the Appalachian instance, this ‘base’ is the forest: “This is a vast renewable fund of resources that provides spaces for fields, food for gathering, fodder for cattle, and habitat for wild game. The base gives everything but costs nothing”. Through the practice of swidden, sometimes pejoratively called slash-and-burn agriculture, settlers cleared portions of the forest and cultivated crops, but their clearings were limited; more importantly, they utilized the forest as a source of wild plants, game, and mast for their free-ranging livestock. Although their economy was ‘makeshift,’ without extensive surplus or accumulation, these early settlers rarely starved, Stoll asserts, and they should not be considered poor…. As the western edge of European settlement, the mountainous backcountry of eighteenth-century Appalachia briefly represented a space of relative freedom from state enforcement of property rights. Although elites gained formal title to millions of mountainous acres through grant or purchase, they tended to view the land as ‘wilderness’ and unworthy of investment or even much attention, according to Stoll. A chaos of competing land claims emerged, as well as, in effect, the practice of ‘land to the tiller.’ Use-rights prevailed. Squatters and small landholders utilized the vast forest without regard to absentee elites and their abstract legal instruments, which went unenforced, thereby irrelevant, and they engaged in a vigorous barter economy with one another.” • A glimpse of a possible post-Jackpot future? Assuming the rivers and the land are remediable?

News of The Wired

Braintwisters:

• Here’s the orginal article, “The Anatomy of a Comparative Illusion,” which makes me wish I’d majored in semantics, back in the day. Love the test sentences: “Can a man marry his widow’s sister?”, “More girls have been to Russia than that boy has,” “Mary ran a marathon more than John did.” Party games!

“I’m addicted to @NYCTSubway” [The Week]. • Good!

Kids these days:

• The backstory. And “finsta.” Who among us has not wanted multiple identities? And why should adults deny this to teens?

* * *

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 (CR):

A nice tangle of plants!

And not to overload you with cat pictures, but you see how the heat is getting to all of us:

* * *

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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.

128 comments

      1. Hana M

        The cat is a total love. Just harvest the dandelion for tonight’s salad or stir fry. Problem solved.

        Glad your eyes checked out well, Lambert!

        Reply
  1. fresno dan

    https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-coming-worm-apocalypse-should-terrify-you

    Still, it’s safe to say that most of us missed the recent study in the journal Soil Systems that lays out the case for the worldwide decimation of earthworms. Yet this new report offers a stark assessment of the health of Earth’s agricultural soils. And that should concern us all.
    ==============
    I not gonna tell ya I told ya so…uh, that’s a LIE, I TOLD YA SO!!!

    fresno dan
    July 31, 2018 at 4:46 pm
    “The rise and fall of bees” [The Economist]. “Bees are wasps that went vegetarian.
    …..
    ===============================================
    …..
    So I dig up some soil just to see how it is holding moisture. And than I notice….no worms! When I was a kid, putting a trowel in the ground and taking out some soil, and there would have been 6 or 7 worms. I dug and dug…not one.

    Reply
    1. Jason Boxman

      I’ve noticed this too in Orlando. Growing up, there’d be Earth worms in the morning, crawling out into the street to bake to death. I guess they all died. I never see this now.

      Reply
        1. todde

          Central Illinois reporting in

          we still get bug splatter, but not like we used too.

          baked worms, we got rain today – I will see if I can get a pick of one.

          Reply
        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          And bees are rare too.

          Can’t be just oil or coal companies, nor just under capitalism.

          It seems to be an excess population coupled with (bio, chemical and others) technologies problem.

          Reply
          1. polecat

            “And bees are rare too”

            I have some 8 ft scrophularia and catmint in full bloom now, and there are bees/ wasps, and other assorted Hymenoptera buzzing and crawling all over them !!
            I love it !

            Reply
        3. ambrit

          We still can find earthworms here Down south, but mainly in ‘feral’ garden plots, the compost heap, of course, and larger seedling pots. (Those ten gallon baby tree black plastic pots. We have found some on the side of the road over the past few years and brought them back home to serve as garlic nurseries and such.) The number of earthworms seen in the suburbs though is noticeably lower. After a good rain, we’d see tons of them wriggling up out of the ground. Now, not to many. Is this a prelude to desertification?
          Bees are still sparse. Bumble bees and wasps seem to be trying to take up the slack.

          Reply
          1. Mo's Bike Shop

            Haven’t been gardening for a while, but I still rescue worms from the sidewalk.

            Toads are what I’ve noticed missing in NoFla. I have a small pond and haven’t had to clear excess eggs in years. Used to have to watch stepping on them like the anoles. Frogs never showed up except one hand-sized guy.

            Come to think of it, anoles are down this year. But r vs k is weird.

            Reply
    2. Aleric

      Northern MN has the opposite problem. Earthworms are spreading to places that never had them and are negatively affecting forest floor ecosystems.

      Reply
      1. sleepy

        In northern Iowa, I’ve got tons of earthworms in my garden too.

        Most of my yard front and back is flower and vegetable gardens, yet I have not seen a honeybee in years.

        Reply
        1. Lee

          You could introduce them if you can grow enough of the types of plants they require. They are an introduced species, which some Native Americans referred to as English flies. Fortunately, most staple crops, such as grow in Iowa, don’t require the European honey bee for pollination.

          Do you see any native bees? We get them here along with honey bees. We have some urban beekeepers a few doors down and a lot of people plant bee friendly gardens and don’t use pesticides.

          Reply
    3. Samuel Conner

      I had better check on my compost worms; haven’t fed them in a while.

      I wonder whether it may be that in a few generations we (whoever remains) will all be composting in one mode or another to recycle organics, and deep digging to aerate the soil, making up for ecosystem services no longer provided gratis by a diminished and impaired biosphere. That will be expensive food.

      Reply
      1. polecat

        The worms in your compost pile will likely be of a different species from the ones that glide around in your garden soil ..

        Reply
    4. Carla

      Hhhmm, here on my rust belt property, lots of worms. Also plenty of bees, some Monarchs, and a family of Cardinals…

      Reply
    5. Medbh

      I still find worms, but most of them are now the creepy invasive jumping worms. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jrGnUFDXuyQ I do a lot of gardening and don’t mind bugs or “normal” worms. The jumping ones are nasty. It flails around and tries to wiggle out of your hands. I’ve taken to throwing them into a bucket so I don’t have to touch them.

      They almost seem to be at a disadvantage with all the flailing, as the movement tends to draw the attention of the chickens. Maybe some birds are put off by the flailing too. Seems like it would be hard to keep them down when they’re actively trying to climb back out of the gullet.

      Reply
    6. Jen

      I was chatting with my neighbor a while ago and saw a worm the size of a snake moseying across her lawn. My boss has also reported huge worms and lots of ’em at his house.

      I still see lots of them on the road after it rains, as well. I’m not in the middle of an agricultural hub, though.

      Reply
    7. polecat

      So yesterday I was planting moar perennials, after roguing out a prior one that was overtaking this particular raised bed … and just as I was firming the rootball of said plants, a nightcrawler pokes out of the soil nearby, obviously disturbed that I disturbed its’ territory infirma ..
      I set it under the shade of some adjacent sages, out of harms way ..

      One of many.

      Reply
      1. fresno dan

        polecat
        August 7, 2018 at 4:38 pm

        So when I first started working at FDA I was at the NIH campus. this is in the east, so big thunderstorms and a ton of water comes down. Lots of lawn, and I guess the water will drown the worms. So a young woman is walking along after it finished raining and is putting the worms that crawled onto the sidewalk back in the grass….
        Well, I put plenty of manure in my garden, so if God is an earthworm I’m in good stead. Also, if God is a hummingbird or songbird, I will do well. But other than that, I am doomed….

        Reply
        1. marieann

          Your story reminds me of when I was little. My sisters and I were out in the flooded field plucking Ladybugs off the strands of grass so they wouldn’t drown….who knew Ladybugs could fly!

          Reply
    8. clarky90

      I think about the soil on my rented property a lot!

      The concept; Huge herds of ruminants (bison, cattle, goats, sheep…) processed grass, in their rumins. The dung and urine, trampled into the grass remnants, created the deep black soils of the great grasslands of Europe, Asia and the Americas. Wolves, (ultimately joined by humans) kept those herds moving, and I image, creating Earthworm Heaven?

      Allan Savory TED talk

      “…. if we do what I am showing you here, we can take enough carbon out of the atmosphere and safely store it in the grassland soils for thousands of years, and if we just do that on about half the world’s grasslands that I’ve shown you, we can take us back to pre-industrial levels, while feeding people. I can think of almost nothing that offers more hope for our planet, for your children, and their children, and all of humanity.”

      https://www.ted.com/talks/allan_savory_how_to_green_the_world_s_deserts_and_reverse_climate_change/transcript?language=en

      Aurochs

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aurochs

      “The aurochs also known as urus or ure, is an extinct species of large wild cattle that inhabited Europe, Asia, and North Africa. It is the ancestor of domestic cattle and has been suggested to be a genetic component of the modern European bison, crossbred with steppe bison. The species survived in Europe until the last recorded aurochs died in the Jaktorów Forest, Poland, in 1627.”

      Our ancestors created beautiful paintings of Aurochs in the caves of Lascaux, France.

      This narrative is the opposite of “The Official Line”.

      Reply
      1. Mo's Bike Shop

        Funny how there aren’t any Billionaires looking at how to terraform the Sahara.

        I’m going to cavalierly estimate that even a one percent success rate on the project would do a lot of good. Extracting and conserving may not match up.

        Reply
    9. nippersdad

      I have literally been seeing earthworms being driven out of the ground by hammerhead planarians in my yard, lately. In the morning I see all kinds of earthworms who tried to escape them, and failed. The planarians don’t even eat the whole worm, just cut off parts of it. Those planarians are just disgusting little creatures, and they appear to be decimating the earthworm population around here. Judging from the comments on Dave’s Garden, they appear to have spread out widely.

      https://davesgarden.com/guides/bf/go/1839/

      If anyone knows of a fix, I would love to hear it.

      Reply
    10. JBird

      All these comments on the ongoing slow motion collapse of not just our economy but of our ecology as well. Just what I wanted. More nightmare fuel.

      To it I will add that the number of birds, bees, butterflies, and the annual frog chorus where I live in the Bay Area seem to have been steadily decreasing for some years. At least twenty, although not enough to really notice at first.

      Reply
  2. fresno dan

    Here’s the orginal article, “The Anatomy of a Comparative Illusion,” which makes me wish I’d majored in semantics, back in the day. Love the test sentences: “Can a man marry his widow’s sister?”, “More girls have been to Russia than that boy has,” “Mary ran a marathon more than John did.” Party games!
    ================================
    I saw that picture of Putin riding a horse without a shirt….and Putin wasn’t wearing a shirt either….

    Reply
        1. Synoia

          We all know Trump’s body intellect wallet sets hearts aflutter!

          Absolutely no gold diggers there, none presently, and certainly none in the past.

          A naked Trump should adorn a large denomination US bill!!!

          Reply
            1. hunkerdown

              I was just thinking the other day that Trump surely couldn’t resist the opportunity to have his own face on The Coin. Maybe this is something we could use.

              Reply
        2. Mo's Bike Shop

          I remember in high school seeing a photo of Kennedy in a suit, handshaking with other poo-bahs. Nice happy bellies all around. My though was that it was probably easier before TV.

          The shirtless Putin thing has a lot of latitude chauvinism to it. If you live past 45 degrees north, exposing skin to actually warm sun is like getting free ice cream.

          Reply
      1. Barmitt O'Bamney

        There are at least thirteen ways of looking at seven types of ambiguity. I know several apposite methods for cooking with an opossum. You may add wine to all of them.

        Reply
    1. Arizona Slim

      Me again. The above link has been added to the worksheet post, but not by Yours Truly. (Thanks for beating me to it, DonCoyote!)

      Reply
    1. curlydan

      There’s a $71B fool out there? Maybe Masayoshi Son. He seems to specialize in dumping billions into failing enterprises.

      Musk is increasingly unhinged.

      Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        He may be unhinged, but he gives you something new to chase every day.

        “What about what you said yesterday.”

        “Forget it. Can you see the future is so wonderful?”

        Reply
          1. Mo's Bike Shop

            I assume as much. There’s also the ‘and we elected him’ part to give a wan smile at as well. If you give the people a choice to vote between a potted TV Personality and an actual Gameshow Host…

            I still think the Draft Shatner ploy would have worked. The simple fact that he’s definitely Canadian could have been used to gain a billion or so dollars of free air time. After which our short memories would have made the issue passe.

            Reply
    2. bob

      It’s blatant insider trading. He crushed the shorts.

      I’m sure the SEC will be after him.

      Just like the DOL is chasing after him for threatening to take away stock options if the workers at his plant went union.

      Different rules for different classes.

      Reply
        1. CalypsoFacto

          yeah, originally I typed out a rhetorical question to the effect of ‘how is this legal’ then deleted because I know that the US is a post-law society for sh!t like this, for a person with this much money.

          Reply
          1. bob

            He doesn’t have close to the estimated 72 billion he would need to do it. Yeah, yeah, take away his 20% and its still not even close. Estimates put his net worth in *just* the 20 billion range.

            We’ll see him in leg irons when Trump gets beat by Biden. Never.

            Reply
          2. Todde

            If he doesnt have an investor, as he publicly said he did, he has put himself in legal jeopardy.

            The Market is Sovereign.

            Reply
        2. bob

          Insider trading = fraud by another name

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Insider_trading

          U.S. insider trading prohibitions are based on English and American common law prohibitions against fraud. In 1909, well before the Securities Exchange Act was passed, the United States Supreme Court ruled that a corporate director who bought that company’s stock when he knew the stock’s price was about to increase committed fraud by buying but not disclosing his inside information.

          Section 16(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 prohibits short-swing profits (from any purchases and sales within any six-month period) made by corporate directors, officers, or stockholders owning more than 10% of a firm’s shares. Under Section 10(b) of the 1934 Act, SEC Rule 10b-5, prohibits fraud related to securities trading.

          Reply
  3. Tertium Squid

    They tried to silence lobster queen:

    To make amends, Hamlin was allowed to keep the $2,000 scholarship prize money. “They were telling me, stay quiet. We’re giving you the $2,000,’ ” Hamlin says. “And my mom said, ‘No, we’re not staying quiet. We’re going to take the $2,000 and we’re going to be loud about this.’ ”

    Reply
  4. Lee

    Readers, my optometrist’s appointment went fine. Apparently, I am less short-sighted than last year, a blessing literally and metaphorically.

    I have the opposite problem, my distance vision has increased to significantly better than normal while I must wear glasses for reading and for the computer. At this rate and should I live so long, I expect I’ll be able to see back into deep time and well into the future. Unless the end is near, of course.

    Reply
  5. derechos

    Always good to be told that you are less myopic than you have been in the past! Even if that comment comes from your ophthalmologist.

    Reply
      1. derechos

        Meant to be a play on the definition of the word. If only everyone would become less myopic with age and experience. Not in the sense of the ophthalmic definition, but in reference to the alternative definition “Lack of discernment or long-range perspective in thinking or planning”.

        Reply
  6. fresno dan

    http://buchanan.org/blog/are-globalists-plotting-a-counter-revolution-129848

    On meeting with the EU’s Jean-Claude Juncker last month, Donald Trump tweeted: “Both the U.S. and the E.U. drop all Tariffs, Barriers and Subsidies! That would finally be Free Market and Fair Trade.”
    Did Larry Kudlow somehow get access to Trump’s phone?
    …………..
    To read the Times op-ed is to appreciate that what we are dealing with here is an ideology, a political religion, a creed, a cult. (I would say what we are dealing with is government by money)

    For consider the fruits of free trade policy during the last 25 years: the frozen wages of U.S. workers, $12 trillion in U.S. trade deficits, 55,000 factories lost, 6 million manufacturing jobs gone, China surpassing the U.S in manufacturing, all causing a backlash that pushed a political novice to the Republican nomination and into the presidency.
    ………
    But what happens after Trump? Who and what comes next?
    Republican recidivism — a return to the rejected open borders, free trade agenda of the Bush Republicans — would ignite a firestorm of protest that would tear the party of Trump apart.

    Yet, while these ideas have lost Middle America, they are alive and well among the establishment elites of both parties, who have also not given up on a foreign policy of using America’s economic and military power to attempt to convert mankind to democracy neoliberalism.
    =======================================
    And yet, the dems will nominate a middle of the road republican to run against him (c’ mon, you don’t think the dems are gonna nominate a dem from the left side of the party do ya?)

    Reply
    1. Summer

      https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/08/02/trumpism-the-real-danger-of-donald-trump/

      No, instead they’ll be looking for their next leader, the next demagogue who, unlike Trump, will be a slick, photogenic, well-tailored and well-spoken ideologue. Not just a fascist, but a true believer. He’s out there right now somewhere, watching the political evolution of this nascent movement, thinking just how much he could accomplish with the right talking points and a clean, wholesome family image.

      And he’s there. Biding his time. Waiting for his turn which he feels, with much justification, , is inevitable…

      ———-
      Then I hear comments from peopke excited that a tv personality can be Pres, because it opens the way for someone like Oprah. (Said to me with a straight face…)

      Fun times!!!

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        Let’s spin this out! First it’s a movie actor, (Ronald Reagan,) and then a television show host, (Donald Trump,) so next is an internet infomercial presenter! Who do we know that fits that description?

        Reply
          1. Mo's Bike Shop

            “And it cuts a cow if half, and that’s no bull”

            And we’re back to the Escher sentences.

            Also obviously he has a prodigious theater of loci.

            My parents actually got me the RonCo bottle cutter for xmas when I was like 10.

            Reply
        1. Mo's Bike Shop

          Isn’t he dead?

          Actually I’m frozen by whether TED Talks fit your riddle, in which case: Algore?

          If the comment muncher is kind, I’m already on record upthread for Draft Shatner.

          Reply
  7. Hameloose Cannon

    Charles and David Koch have feelings, too, and they’ll be hurt if somebody in Trump camp’s not careful.
    –Psych! The Koch money hoses are still at full blast at the Republican Bikini Car Wash. After putting down his meatball sub in the “Great Oregano-ing”, Steve Bannon’s marinara-crusted fingerprints are all over this flim-flam. I saw the “Jonny Quest” episodes from which [Race] Bannon steals his ideas. [Bannon is Gaelic (O’Banain) for “white”. A bit too on the nose if you ask me. Then again when has a counselor at Camp Trump ever been accused of subtly?]

    Reply
  8. DonCoyote

    Maybe the Kochs are fine with Heidi Heitkamp.

    She voted for Gorsuch, for Haspel, for Pruitt, for Pompeo, for fast-track TPP (TPA) authority, for banking deregulation. RealClearPolitics says she has compiled a moderately liberal record in the Senate; I’m not sure that computes.

    One of the Koch tentacles, Americans for Prosperity, was lauding Heitkamp for co-sponsoring the banking deregulation bill. (Of course, even Trump liked her then for that one).

    Reply
    1. clarky90

      “Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez Rally Kansas for a Working-Class Politics That Stands Up to the Kochs”

      AND

      Mr Trump condemned the ‘globalist’ brothers (The Kochs) as a “total joke”. He wrote: ‘I never sought their support because I don’t need their money or bad ideas.’

      It has been obvious to me, from BEFORE the 2016 election, that the Bernie Bros/Gals should/could form a grand coalition with the Trumpian Deplorables. I believe that both groups are coming from the same place. (their hearts).

      We have a common enemy!

      Of course there are points of difference. Why not co-operate and make the most of the precious time that we have left in this stunning World…..?

      Reply
  9. Adrienne

    Re: “The Utility of White-Bashing” link.

    I prefer to turn off JavaScript when browsing, both to remove tracking scripts and to speed up pages (it really works… pages load lighting-fast without JS. Some sites don’t load at all, but eff them…). When I try to visit the Atlantic piece URL above I am blocked, but removing the AMP link in the url allows one to read the article anonymously.

    AMP link: //www.theatlantic.com/amp/article/566846/

    Manually removing /amp/ bit resolves to the clean link: https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/08/the-utility-of-white-bashing/566846/

    FYI, Google’s AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) system is bent on killing the open web. Google is coercing websites to run everything thru their servers by promoting AMP pages above non-AMP pages. Avoid AMP pages at all cost, for your own privacy if nothing else…

    Reply
    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      AMP is evil. I’ve revised the link.

      Adding, The Atlantic is evil too. The right link:

      https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/08/the-utility-of-white-bashing/566846/

      The amp link:

      https://www.theatlantic.com/amp/article/566846

      Besides Google’s internet-wrecking AMP technology, the Atlantic just uses the article ID, “566846,” and removes the part of the URL derived from the headline: “the-utility-of-white-bashing.”

      So you have no idea what you’re clicking on. You have to click through to find out. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

      Reply
    2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Just pondering how we are at the doorstep of technological dystopia, where machines run the show and those of us in meatspace are just wasting, vestigial organs, like global appendixes. No longer needed.
      At the doorstep however we must deal with password resets; Word doc templates; email spam; Adobe; Excel charts; and spying eyes everywhere. I personally think Google AMP is very cool for mobile sites, hadn’t thought about what it means for thought (and content) gatekeeping and control.

      Sometimes I just want to take all my clothes off, climb a tree, hang out in the sun, and play the flute. A quiet, mournful song about the demise of humanity.

      Reply
      1. Adrienne

        Here’s what John Gruber (aka Daring Fireball) has to say about AMP:

        “I’m on the record as being strongly opposed to AMP simply on the grounds of publication independence. I’d stand by that even if the implementation were great. But the implementation is not great — it’s terrible. Yes, AMP pages load fast, but you don’t need AMP for fast-loading web pages. If you are a publisher and your web pages don’t load fast, the sane solution is to fix your [family blog] website so that pages load fast, not to throw your hands up in the air and implement AMP.

        “But other than loading fast, AMP sucks. It implements its own scrolling behavior on iOS, which feels unnatural, and even worse, it breaks the decade-old system-wide iOS behavior of being able to tap the status bar to scroll to the top of any scrollable view. AMP also completely breaks Safari’s ability to search for text on a page (via the “Find on Page” action in the sharing sheet). Google has no respect for the platform. If I had my way, Mobile Safari would refuse to render AMP pages. It’s a deliberate effort by Google to break the open web.”

        We don’t need AMP for mobile sites. Just leave out the 15MB of of invasive tracking scripts, auto-playing videos, and dozens of poorly-optimized ads. Use HTML and CSS for pages (with mobile-first stylesheets) instead of crap JavaScript rendering. Basically, make websites like well-coded sites were made about five years ago, before the “online marketing mangers” and “social media content mangers” took over.

        Reply
      2. Mo's Bike Shop

        Not over this stuff. Eventually I’ll be able to floor everyone with an html/css versions of their themes. The bloat in frameworks is ridiculous.

        Now the internet. Which one? I’d be fine with Archie Space or the like. Something that works well with shortwave connections, low voltage, and boringly reliable memory. And hopefully some really steampunk viewing screens.

        “climb a tree”

        Leaving the oceans may not have been the best idea.

        Reply
      3. Lambert Strether Post author

        > take all my clothes off, climb a tree, hang out in the sun, and play the flute.

        I believe that’s “I’m going to cut the soles off my shoes, sit in a tree and learn to play the flute!”

        Reply
    3. vidimi

      Google is coercing websites to run everything thru their servers by promoting AMP pages above non-AMP pages.

      sounds like another future EU antitrust lawsuit against Google

      Reply
  10. Carey

    “The Democratic Party Has Entered Its No Bullsh*t Phase” [Sam Stein, The Daily Beast].

    “Developing communities of cognitive resilience.” Yeah, that’ll do it. /s

    Reply
    1. fresno dan

      Carey
      August 7, 2018 at 5:09 pm

      “cognitive resilience” – does that have anything to do with thinking?
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0oQgsYaDV_g

      substitute “material benefits” for “chocolate donuts with sprinkles”, and you would have a winning campaign issue. Hell, if the dems would just give people “chocolate donuts with sprinkles” they could win. But that would mean giving something tangible to people other than squillionaires…

      Reply
    1. fresno dan

      David Carl Grimes
      August 7, 2018 at 5:49 pm

      considering the trillions given away, its amazing how cheaply he was bought…

      Reply
      1. John Wright

        Ah, but remember Nixon’s VP Spiro Agnew, who was known as the “only politician you could bribe with a bag of groceries”.

        Obama has expensive threshold standards relative to Agnew.

        But Agnew’s bribe price did make him a man of the people.

        Reply
        1. Mo's Bike Shop

          An obvious implication of Dave Graeber’s bullshit jobs thesis is to look for an inversion of pay to actual contribution to our societies’ functioning.

          I’m at a little below median but comfortable, so I worry that I’m possibly more of a boat anchor than contributor.

          Reply
    2. Arizona Slim

      Because Obama doesn’t know the first thing about construction.

      OTOH, Carter was a born and raised farm boy who had to know how to do all kinds of things. It’s the nature of farming — you have to be versatile with your hand skills and your mental skills.

      As an adult, Carter became a successful businessman, and that helped fuel his entry into politics. Having a politically savvy wife was another plus.

      Reply
  11. Lee

    “How Liberalism Self-Destructed” [Umair Haque, Medium]. “Liberalism, once a great and noble philosophy, split into three factions — neoliberalism, libertarianism, and “classical liberalism” (I’ll come back to that one). These factions, like stone age tribesmen gleefully performing a lobotomy, hacked and chopped away at liberalism, blow by crushing blow, until all that was left was a drooling, snarling, spitting, twitching zombie: predatory capitalism…

    Perhaps this explains the popularity of and my own recent out-of-character fascination with the Walking Dead series. An allegory for our time combined with survival tips for the future. What’s not to like? Well, there is that squelching sound.

    Reply
      1. Lee

        The author of the piece cites liberalism’s founding ideals that include revolutionary anti-feudalism, science based material progress, and the notion of universally shared individual rights. Not that any of these ideals have been as yet perfectly realized. Works in progress that may or may not be finished before we finish off each other.

        Reply
        1. Plenue

          Rights based in the act of owning stuff. Yes, it’s good that feudalism was done away with, but it was replaced by privatizing the commons and forcing people to move to cities to become wage slaves.

          Reply
  12. fresno dan

    https://baselinescenario.com/2018/02/02/hey-democrats-the-problem-isnt-jobs-and-growth/#more-16765

    When it comes to the economy, the centrist Democratic message is that ordinary people are struggling and we want to create better jobs for them—which is exactly what Donald Trump says. Wait, we say, we’re better at creating jobs! But Trump and the Republicans have a clear story about how they will create jobs: cut taxes on job creators, increase incentives to work and invest, eliminate “job-killing” regulations, deport immigrants who “take away jobs,” and rewrite trade deals that hurt American workers…..
    The facts and the economics may be on our side, but that and $3 6$ (where the hell are these 3$ starbuck coffees at) will buy you a coffee at Starbucks. As Sweeney points out, Bustos stands for the exact same thing Trump does (on economic issues).
    …..
    Growth and jobs are not the problem.

    But if you look at recent history, we’ve had enough growth. The problem, as is well known to anyone (except centrist Democrats, apparently) is how that growth has been shared. Since 1980, real per capita gross domestic product — total economic output per person — has grown by 82% (1.7% per year), while real median household income has increased by only 16% (less than 0.5% per year)…. In other words, if wealth inequality had not increased, ordinary American families would have 44% more stuff—more housing, more education, more health care, more retirement security—than they actually do today. That’s a lot of stuff.
    ================================================
    Its like somebody is drowning, and the democrats keep yelling “that man is on fire” and keep throwing buckets of water on him…..
    while republicans continue to believe that their policy of global warming will evaporate all the water….in the long run, so at least his children won’t drown….

    Reply
  13. Summer

    Re: California soon may be first state to require public universities to offer abortion pills” [CalMatters].

    Or if that failed experiment with Viagra and pregnant women is any indication, Viagra may have an unforseen use.

    Reply
  14. Steely Glint

    Lanbert, you were once again mentioned on the Thom Hartmann radio program with a mention to your post on the NHS system being assaulted by neoliberals. He then went on a rant on the damage done by neoliberals not only to health care, but also the postal system, then took a call from a nice republican (rare) complaining about democratic support for open borders which he rebutted, then on to a scheduled report. Unfortunately I had to stop listening at the top of the hour, 1:00 (CDT) to go vote NO on Right To Work in MO, & primaries. Suspicious (or not) how such an important matter was put on a primary voting ballot. I have to report that this was the biggest turn-out I have seen for a primary vote. I’ve had two door knockers for vote No on Prop A. As one writer to another, congratulations (technical writers get no credit, sigh).

    Reply
  15. Charles Calley

    Re: Ramp Hollow. Down over the knoll is an old farm with its house down below a very steep pasture. I’ve been keeping it open mainly because I’m in awe that families made a living there up until about 1960. If only the hippies and the back to the landers had come about 10 years earlier everything around here might have been different. The ramps are very nice there in the spring.

    Reply
  16. Matt

    Some comments at the end of this article caught my eye. A brawl in an Asian-owned nail salon in a black neighborhood led to protests and social media anger. Take a look at what some residents are saying.

    ‘According to the New York Post, one protester screamed, “Where is ICE?” in an apparent reference to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

    Similar comments appeared on a live stream of the protests taking place outside the salon.

    “Imigration needs 2 b called that’s it,” a woman named Erica Moss wrote.

    “Where is ICE check for INS status!” Marison Goico Moya posted, referring to the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service.’

    There are deplorables in Brooklyn too?! This reminded me of another article in WaPo about a month ago about the frustration of black residents in DC’s Southeast with Mayor Muriel Bowser’s tenure. Bowser has touted the multiple new housing construction projects in the area, but residents are concerned about the lack of development and, most importantly, jobs. Another interesting quote:

    “When the jobs start, you don’t see black people,” said Peterson, who is African American, echoing a common complaint among civic leaders and residents. “They present the jobs to everyone but they don’t choose us.”

    I can’t know for sure, but I’m guessing if WaPo had pressed Mr. Peterson a little more, he would have said who is working the jobs rather than local African-Americans.

    The plural of anecdote is not data, but I’ve wondered, if Trump’s anti-immigration agenda wasn’t so obviously driven by racist contempt for poor, non-white people and if he talked about the effects of undocumented immigrants on wages rather than about building border walls to stop criminals, if he wouldn’t make headway in traditional Democratic strongholds. I think black voters are tired of being taken for granted by the Democratic Party and I’m not sure concern about immigration is exclusive to whites.

    Reply
    1. Huey Long

      There are a TON of deplorables in the NY metro area building trades, some of whom live in Brooklyn.

      They’re sick of their living and working conditions being eroded by cheap labor imported from overseas. Many of these individuals are rabid Trumpanzees and they all hate Bill De Blasio.

      Reply
  17. Richard

    Go Gasque and Smith! Oh my god, another election has turned me into a cheerleader for dems. Every time I think I’m out blah, blah that line from the godfather.

    Reply
  18. Clark

    Re: “Why Wells Fargo Is the Most Evil Bank in America”:

    As NC has pointed out many times, Wells Fargo is a criminal enterprise that should have been shut down long ago. I have personal experience with #8 in the article’s list: force-placed insurance. Even though Wells never hit me with it, when I had an auto loan through Wells Fargo Dealer Services, I got threatening notices demanding proof of insurance at seemingly random times. I had to contact my agent, who was very familiar with this dance. “Oh, yeah, we have to deal with them all the time.”

    Reply
  19. Kael

    Before Reagan was Governor, UC tuition was a lot lower than $600. He did plenty of damage to California in the 60s.

    Reply
  20. curlydan

    early returns make it look like KS-03 is going to be Emily’s List (Sharice Davids) around 30% vs Bernie (Brent Welder) around 40%. As Norah Jones sang, “Here we go again…”

    Reply
      1. CalypsoFacto

        yay for Thompson and the Justice Dems!

        (Thompson is the local who was joined by Bernie and AOC at their stump in Wichita KS a few weeks ago)

        Reply
        1. integer

          It’s an increase of 64%, or, put another way, 164% of the 2014 total.

          Anyway, speaking of the so-called blue wave, it looks like Balderson has won in Ohio’s 12th district. He currently has 50.2% of the vote (101574 votes) compared to O’Connor’s 49.3% (99820 votes). There are 3,367 provisional ballots yet to be counted, so O’Connor would need 2561, or just over 76%, of those votes to win, which seems unlikely.

          Reply
  21. Richard

    Sarah Smith in WA-09 is running 3rd, well behind the corporate-funded Adam Smith, and about 3000 votes behind the repub who she needs to beat to advance to the general. Not looking good. WA is vote by mail; I’m not sure how that gets reported/updated. Didn’t see a % of votes counted/precincts reporting, if they even do that sort of thing anymore.

    Reply
  22. JBird

    Idea: Maybe the Legislature could focus on rolling back tuition fees to pre-Reagan days — $600 in 1975

    Even with inflation, that’s $2,700. Now if they could do the same with textbooks, which rise faster than inflation, and remove the state law saying editions cannot be older than several (three?) years.

    Reply
      1. JBird

        What? Trying to find ways to go pay for tuition, fees, books, gas, food, books, food, insurance, and oh yes, that fabulous low cost California rent is soooo easy. When not digging through seat cushions, and pockets for gas money, I would almost think that the great “liberal” paradise that is California does want me to graduate! I even appreciate paying more than my older Boomer relatives. What with their stories of summer jobs and grants paying for tuition, food, rent, and everything. What bums.

        (Sarcasm)

        Reply
      2. JBird

        Re-reading all this… I would love, love, love to pay only 2,700 per a semester for tuition and fees especially as even an “affordable” junior college runs over 2,000 with tuition, fees, and books. Roughly thirty years ago there was no tuition, some small fees, and with books it was maybe 150, or less than 350 with inflation, if your full load had some expensive textbooks.

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