2:00PM Water Cooler 9/4/2018

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Readers, this being Naked Capitalism’s holiday week, I’m posting a Water Cooler with a few conversation starters and nothing else. Normal posting will resume on September 10. I hope you enjoyed your Labor Day weekend. Talk amongst yourselves! –lambert

The FT’s Martin Wolf descends from Olympus (““Why so little has changed since the financial crash”) bearing this handy chart:

Everything’s going according to plan!

But we’ll always have the Internet of Sh*t:


I keep having this reaction a lot, lately: “What were they thinking?” But don’t worry. Nothing like this will happen with robot cars.

P.S. Readers, some of you sent me very kind thoughts about my Labor Day piece on working in the mills of Providence. Thank you!

* * *

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: (AM):

AM writes: “Seussian topiary at the garden at Levens Hall in the Lakes District, not far from Kendal, UK. Snapdragons in foreground.” A shrubbery!

* * *

Readers: Water Cooler is a standalone entity not covered by the annual NC fundraiser. So do feel free to make a contribution today or any day. Here is why: Regular positive feedback both makes me feel good and lets me know I’m on the right track with coverage. When I get no donations for five or ten days I get worried. More tangibly, a constant trickle of small donations helps me with expenses, and I factor that trickle in when setting fundraising goals. So if you see something you especially appreciate, do feel free to click the hat!

To give more, click on the arrow heads to the right of the amount.


If you hate PayPal — even though you can use a credit card or debit card on PayPal — you can email me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, and I will give you directions on how to send a check.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Guest Post, Water Cooler on by .

About Lambert Strether

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


    1. HotFlash

      from the article: “We should hope for the best and prepare for the worst,” said Hagai Levine, a lead author of the study. “And that is the possibility that we will become extinct.”

      The best *and* the worst possibility? Well, OK.

      1. John

        How about the intersex bass in the Potomac River watershed? Endocrine disruptors at their breeding sites. DC’s water supply.

        1. Wukchumni

          That’s a potential win-win for the politicians in Humordor, as they’ll want to claim both salaries if they morph into hermaphrodites.

  1. Mark Gisleson

    I had no idea our backgrounds were so similar (dropped out of college, factory work for a decade). I credit your work in the mills for that ‘loose screw’ quality you bring to your writing.

    Fighting Bobfest comes to La Crosse this weekend. I’m telling myself I have to go, but in truth I haven’t been for a while because the age of the crowds depressed me. I do not like being around other old people, especially at political rallies.

      1. Bugs Bunny

        Named for “Fighting Bob” La Follette, one of the founders of the 20th century Progressive movement.


        Back when Wisconsin was Wisconsin and not Kochlandia.

        I was in La Crosse recently and was astounded by the number of bars and taverns in the city. It must get crazy when school is in.

    1. JohnnySacks

      Had at least two uncles running plating and jewelry ‘findings’ businesses in Providence back in the 60s and 70s. (anyone who knows Providence should be able to guess the nationality) I still remember the molds Lambert referenced. Not the greatest of jobs, but jobs nonetheless, all gone now.

  2. Anon

    Re: Internet of Things

    Lambert, we haven’t even gotten to the best part yet, where the company inevitably stops giving software updates to the lightbulb/thermostat in the hopes of getting you to buy the new one, repeating the whole process forever and ever up until the heat death of the universe/grand extinction.

    Neoliberalism combined with bored SV money sure is grand, isn’t it?

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      Having dropped and cracked my phone I need a new one. Despite the crapification, Apple is the only manufacturer that supports its products for 4-5 years.

      I was thinking the most important thing to me is the camera, so looking at the Huawei-Leica collaboration. But over $1k for something that receives updates and security patches for maybe 18 mos?

      That dumb phone is looking better all the time. If a smart phone, definitely unlocked.

      1. Inode_buddha

        I’ve been looking at the old rotary dial phones. 20 bucks on ebay, will outlive me easily. No updates since the 1950’s, none needed. Still work and just keep on working, fabulously.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Great idea, where there still happens to be copper murelandline access. Not where I live, though for “only $29.95 a month,” Spectrum will give you a simulated copper wired connection as far as their network box. If the ac power goes out, it’s dead as your super fast internet connection.

          Too bad some of the Corp looters who ran Ma Bell got just that tiny bit too greedy with their “regulated monopoly power.” Makes one start to think there’s a substantive reason “we can’t have nice things…”

          1. Wukchumni

            Perhaps a couple of empty frozen orange juice concentrate cans and a length of string is the best fallback position?

  3. Hamford

    I have been building a list of “red flags”: terms, phrases, tropes, or conditions that would trigger a healthy dose of skepticism to an author or journalist. For example if I saw the phrase “The world is flat”, with Extremely High Confidence I would immediately assume I was about to read some Thomas Friedman echo chamber hail the merits of globalization. Some others:

    “Outside the box” – (Medium Confidence) Ironically this term is used so frequently that it is anything but. Often reached for by TED talk thought leaders trying to fake originality.

    “Bootstraps” – (High Confidence) When used in a non-sarcastic form, the “because bootstraps” argument claims that all systemic problems can be solved by enough individual effort.

    “Modernize” – (Low Confidence) Often used in a doom & gloom context to extract further funding or encourage privatization. E.g., “Our air fleet is ancient and decrepit, we must modernize and invest in the F-35.” Or. “The L.A. highway system is antiquated and burdened, we must modernize and dig modern tunnels.”

    “Innovation” – (Medium Confidence) The holy grail of neoliberal buzzwords. E.g., “We must innovate or die”. The neoliberal version of the Conservative – “All hail the Job Creators” trope. Often used in a “we must invest in innovators” argument, ignoring the fact that often “innovation” results in quicker use of resources or skirts protections. The use of the term often discounts tried and true or effective methods. For instance, the thermostat and light bulb app above were likely perceived as great innovations.

    Any others?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Excuse me, but “proactive” and “paradigm”? Aren’t these just buzzwords that dumb people use to sound important? There is a Simpsons quote for every occasion.

      “Reform” and “new” and variations tend to be red flags.

      Its not a buzzword, but anyone who suggests we can detach morality or emotion from policy such as turning decisions over to technocrats or who pray to the gods of process. Its more of a negative process, but people such as Pelosi will say that they “are open to looking at new ideas such as single payer.” What? Its not a new idea. Its been basically implemented in other countries including Canada for decades.

      “Civility” is a dangerous word. George W. Bush gave Michelle Obama a cough drop at the “when is McCain going to rise from the dead” Watch Party. Tom Cruise and the Scientologists did more for the 9/11 First Responders and their recovery than the Bush Administration. I guess George didn’t have any cough drops then.

      As far as “The World is Flat” goes, it was always a dumb metaphor publicized by a stupid, venal man.

    2. Carey

      Those are excellent; thank you.

      Another: “Streamline”: to eliminate regulations that formerly protected and benefited
      the many. Replaced by elite-benefitting and prole-killing “permissionless innovation”.

      1. Hamford

        Thank you as well! Streamline must be at the top of the list. Right now, I have “Overhaul”, which is streamline’s sibling perhaps. Whereas “streamline” is used to sugarcoat a de-regulatory or protection-shattering agenda, “overhaul” alarms that someone is about to advocate for cutting jobs or wages. Perhaps, both are child buzzwords in the “enabling growth” trope.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      “More education.”

      Bad guys love to teach good guys lessons.

      And good guys also love to teach bad guys.

    4. Summer

      “Free Market” – There is so much to be done, so much growth to be had, so much productivity to whip snap, but could most of you work for damn near free?

      “democracy” – small “d”….

      “bringing stability to…” – Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, you name it…stability of what again? And for whom?

      1. savedbyirony

        An example of the irritating and inappropriate uses of “free market” during this present U.S. Open fortnight: I am a big sports buff and long time fan of Women’s tennis. No news to me that Pam Shriver is well right of center, but could she please stop dropping in praises for the “free market” during the matches of once East Block countries’ players, especially since there is plenty in the work and payment of athletes that has little to do with a “free market”.

        I abhor the use of “food insecurity” for (dodging) talking about people who are hungry, malnourished, suffering from related diseases and/or quite possibly slowly starving to death.

        “gender” (the practice, forced and otherwise, of social norms and stereotypes based on one’s biological sex) being intentionally substituted to refer to one’s biological sex.

        1. Carey

          Big tennis fan here, too. Shriver’s just talking her book whenever she can, IMO. Never could stand her game, or her.
          Hana Mandlikova is my all-time fave. The female Federer!

          1. savedbyirony

            Since this is an open thread, from one long timer to another, if S. Williams and S. Graf (my personal fav- though nothing has yet to beat the Evert/Navratilova rivalry IMO- were able to play against each other, both in their prime and using the same equipment, odds on favorite should be…?

            Just curious because to my mind in the probably foolish discussion of “best of all time” Graf never seems to get the serious consideration she deserves.

            I never liked Shriver’s single game, either. Doubles play with Martina made her. I will give her this, though, she started her commentating career very, very rough. I use to cut the volume. She has come a long way when she sticks to the on court match analysis and often quirky audience interviews, though M.J. Fernandez consistently has more and better insight.

            1. Carey

              Ah, I liked Graf too. She was an incredible athlete, and I used to
              marvel at that so-late FH backswing, and the power she was able
              to generate with an essentially Continental grip.

              I have to regretfully say that I think S. Williams would be the winner in your scenario, primarily because of her massive
              serve; also, she would pound Graf’s BH, like Nadal has mostly
              successfully done to Fed-God, last year excepted.

              Have to admit that Shriver was a great doubles player, though
              her role was much like Peter Fleming’s with Mac, I think.

              Do you remember Bettina Bunge? Always liked her, even if
              she never won anything much. I miss all-court tennis!

              1. savedbyirony

                I can’t picture her playing, but i remember the name in connection with a very promising player whose career was dampened by a knee injury back in the days when that could end a career.

                I think you are right about Williams vs Graf. But i am curious what Graf’s serve would be like with today’s tech, and oh could she cover the court, plus shear mental toughness.

              2. savedbyirony

                I can’t picture her playing, but i remember the name in connection to a very promising player whose career was dampened by a knee injury back in the days when that could end a career.

                I think you are right about Williams vs Graf. But i am curious what Graf’s serve would be like with today’s tech, and oh could she cover the court, plus shear mental toughness.

                1. Carey

                  Yes, Graf was an incredible mover, wasn’t she?
                  Didn’t she enter and win some sprinting comp?
                  If only we could in fact have these hypothetical
                  matches- there are so many I’d like to see!

              1. Carey

                Nobody has ever struck the ball better than Seles, off either
                side, IMO. That sound she made was hard to take, though.

          2. Cynthia

            Speaking of tennis, I was watching a men’s match on TV today and a tennis official there stated that men should play 2 out of 3 sets like women do. He stated that viewership of men’s tennis would probably increase if men played 2 out of 3 sets, instead of the customary 3 out of 5 sets. My guess is that he’s assuming that tennis fans have shorter attention spans than they did in the past, making it more difficult for them to sit through a 3 out of 5 set match. Which may indeed be true. However, I have a few addition thoughts on this issue.

            First of all, why are women playing shorter matches than men? And how are women getting away with playing fewer sets than men, but are being paid the same as men? At least that’s true for so-called “Grand Slam” tournaments.

            Recall, that’s what Billie Jean King pushed for. She didn’t push for women to have equal amount of time on the court. She only pushed for women to receive equally amount of money to play and win matches. I’ve always thought that this is rather unfair for men. After all, this obviously goes against the concept of “equal pay for equal work.” No woman in the workplace can get away with making the same amount of money that her male counterpart makes for only working an 8 hour day, while he has to work a 12 hour day! That’s an example of “equal pay for unequal work,” which seems to be what is happening in professional tennis, at least for the “Grand Slam” tournaments.

            Therefore, as I see it, gender equality in professional tennis can’t be achieved until women play 3 out of 5 sets as men do, and perhaps more importantly, until women actually play against men. This will result in having only one list of best tennis players in the world, eliminating this ridiculous gender division between men and women in tennis. That’s true gender equality, IMO.

            1. savedbyirony

              Actually the customary is 2 out of 3 sets for men, too. The four Grand Slams, Davis Cup play and only the final of the men’s Olympic singles are 3 out of 5 for men. (Personally, i think the Olympics get it right. Whether-or-not attention spans have shortened in general -for serious fans, i doubt they have- i think 2 out of 3 for all players in the Slams up to the finals and then both sexes to play 3 of 5 in the finals would be an improvement. This would greatly help with the scheduling problems the Slams often run into.)

              First of all…sexism. Way back in the day, women originally played 3 out of 5, too. This was changed by, surprise surprise a committee all of men.

              The Women’s tennis association has always said they are ready and willing to play best of 5. (For a time in the 80’s they did play a some 3 of 5 to demonstrate the competitive and athletic quality of these matches.) Scheduling and sexism are why they do not. The women have a tough enough time getting good court scheduling and playing times as is. And if organizers could use this to pay them less, well all the better! Slam organizers are opposed to the women playing longer, not the players. Whether or not fans would prefer 3 of 5 for women in Slams or 2 of 3 for men in Slams, i think it is a mixed bag. It is not length of match that makes for quality; it is quality of play. Some men’s marathons can fell like death marches. Some 2 setters can be edge of your seat exciting on every point. Oh, and you neglected to mention that there have been male players advocating for 2 of 3 sets for the men in the Slams.

              King advocated for equality in the sport. If they were not going to give the women as much promotion and exposure on and off the courts, then she sure as hell has going to fight for the money equality. She played (and beat) Riggs in a best of 5.

              Sexism in professional tennis will be removed when the women’s game and the athlete’s that play it are not denigrated by false accusations that they do not have the strength, athleticism nor desire to play as long a match as men; that fans do not support and enjoy women playing the sport; when the athletes are not subjected to their bodies being sexualized and their appearances being stereotyped and judged; and definitely not by paying the athletes less.

              1. pretzelattack

                well the riggs match may have been rigged, so to speak. he was said to owe some money to mafia types. speculative, of course.

                1. savedbyirony

                  It is to laugh. It has no bearing on the outcome of the “battle of the sexes” tennis match they played if Riggs may or may not have intentionally lost. Even if he did, it does not mean that had he played to win, he would have. Plus, a huge part of being a great competitive athlete is mental and a driving will to win. To choose to lose in an athlete is to be a loser – both on the score board and as an athlete.

                  Personally i do not think Riggs intentionally threw the match. King played a smart, wear him down match. It is all too convenient nowerdays to pull out the “he threw it” trope. But even if he did, it makes no difference either competitively or athletically. As an athlete, his physical and mental play on the court lost Riggs that match, and king’s won it.

                  1. pretzelattack

                    unless it didn’t; he was a lifelong hustler (maybe he had to be to make it as a tennis pro back when they didn’t make much money), and it would be far from the first scam he had pulled. remember, he beat margaret court, who had the edge on king at the time, fairly easily, which hyped up the match, and feminism was very much a hot issue at the time. i wasn’t asserting any generalities about 50 plus year old male ex tennis stars beating top women pros, i was just commenting on this specific match at the specific time it took place. and if he intentionally lost it, of course it made a difference. he might not have won it but it would have been closer. it’s like mayweather, in a way, in the mcgregor fight–instead of outright tanking he just carried mcgregor for 10 rounds, (he said he thought he had bet on a 10th round finish). tanking isn’t unknown in tennis–some much lower ranked male pro was disciplined for it. fwiw, i think the comment above about where serena would rate if the rankings were gender blind is probably accurate; i would be happy to bet on her vs mcenroe or borg or connors at even money.

                    1. savedbyirony

                      And i would actually be happy to see some mixed sex tournaments, not to replace men’s and women’s singles competitions but in addition to. Well, the tennis season is already long and grueling, so they could try swapping out say a few existing divided for mixed as an experiment. But the logistics of it would be a nightmare to start, not to mention the howls from the status quo crowd, so actually what they could try might be a small tournament between a few major players working outside the system similar to what Tiger and Mickelson are organizing.

                      Athletes grow by playing tougher competition and elite women already train against men in numerous sports including tennis. Early on, perhaps the matches would not even be close, it takes time to develop in athletic competitions to new situations. i suppose the stereotypical question would be what would be in it for the men, accept the money. If they win – well, ok; but if any lose, NC has discussed numerous times the strike that is to most male egos. But who knows for sure unless they play. That’s why they play, not just listen to what the pundits say, the games.

                      However, that being said, i do not think it detracts one bit from the athletic quality, competitive nature nor entertainment value of women as athletes that in general they do not compete against men ( in some sports they do) any more than it does say a light weight not fighting a heavy weight or a man not competing against women.

                    2. Carey

                      ” i would be happy to bet on her vs mcenroe or borg or connors at even money.”

                      Really? With all due respect, no chance.

              2. ArcadiaMommy

                YAY tennis people! I think the 3/5 sets for men is crazy. Matches ending at 2am (Nadal/Thiem)? Not good. My husband plays very high level amateur tennis (former teaching pro and D1 player) and their tournaments are 2/3 sets, same as the women. Personally, I feel like the third set is full of goofy errors and players losing their focus (although I am not a high level player). Plus most of us don’t have the luxury of endless court time. Baseball viewership is dropping off IMO because of the length of each game as an example.
                I am not sure how players would be ranked if there was a unisex ranking system. Most men at my equivalent ranking would beat me, I can usually only hang in there because my fitness level is higher and I don’t get tired. It would be an interesting experiment. I think mixed doubles are really fun.

                1. savedbyirony

                  Yes, late night but fantastic tennis. Thank goodness the US Open has a fifth set tie breaker, though. I shudder at some of the men’s matches at Wimbledon that have been an endurance sport for the spectators.

                  Also a plus for the men playing 2/3 sets would be less wear and tear on their bodies over the course of their careers, though traditions in sports are difficult to break and i think the Slams want to keep 3/5 for both tradition and because it separates them in a concrete physically demanding way from the rest of tournament play.

                  Ah baseball and its lengthening games…take a lesson from NCAA softball and put a hard clock on those twitchy hitters and prima donna pitchers.

                  1. Wukchumni

                    One aspect of tennis I find highly amusing is how often pro players are spokespersons for Rolex watches, even though nobody keeps time in the game, ha!

                  2. Irrational

                    I agree with you on the 5th set tie-breaker. There were some fab 5-setters in Wimbledon this year, but not because of what happened in the 5th set, which invariably dragged on and was less about tennis than stamina.

            2. ChiGal in Carolina

              No, men and women probably shouldn’t play together. Being of equal value does not equal being the same.


              “For a better idea of how Serena matches up against male players, you can look at the Universal Tennis Rating. It uses actual competitive results and data to make its assessments… Top male players such as Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, and Roger Federer are rated as level 16 (they use decimal places to provide further comparison as needed)… Most of the men ranked on the computer below 1000 (down to 2200 or so where the rankings stop), are either 14 or 15. Serena Williams, the best women’s player in the world, is rated as 13.”

              1. Carey

                Martina Navratilova said, at the time when she was dominating women’s tennis, that she thought she
                could beat a men’s player ranked around 100,
                “if it was the right #100” guy.

              2. ArcadiaMommy

                Agree with Chi Gal. Both styles of game are fun and worthwhile. I think mixed doubles is underrated as far as being entertaining to play and watch.

            3. Wukchumni

              Speaking of tennis, a friend was an instructor for about 30 years, and I asked her why the sport was hardly played by the hoi polloi anymore?

              I regularly see a dozen public courts here in the Central Valley that are empty, or maybe one is being utilized, if that. When i’m down in L.A. it’s the same story, there’s nobody playing anymore.

              She told me it was on account of a few things:

              1) Repetitive injuries from all that abrupt stopping. (she told me she had 8 surgeries on her left knee, and finally got a full knee replacement to match the one on her right leg)

              2) People embraced going to the gym instead.

              1. ArcadiaMommy

                The learning curve for tennis is tough unless you play from a young age. It’s also hard to play if you are overweight and out of shape (see: America). The language and scorekeeping are confusing (I play three times a week and every match we have to revisit what the score and game count are multiple times). Public courts are usually in lousy shape, full of cracks and fading lines. Club memberships can be expensive. Having said that, it is a wonderful sport that you can play as you age. Your game will change but that is what is so fun. My grandfather played until he was 88 (both knees and hips replaced at that point). There is a lovely social component to the game.

        2. ewmayer

          Re. tennis’ Pam Shriver, I was never a great fan of her game, but I am a fan of her husband. James Bond one-off in da house! IMO he rarely gets the credit he deserves for a very fine entry in the Bond series, a refreshingly different one where JB falls in love and get married, albeit alas rather briefly. :(

            1. ewmayer

              IMDB has Pam and George Lazenby married since 2002, 3 kids, nothing about a divorce. Maybe a separation? Got a link?

                1. ewmayer

                  Thanks – yeesh, sounds ugly. Not exactly recent news, either – sounds like IMDB is in need of editors!

      2. Hamford

        Ahh, “bringing stability to…”, nice. Also “Empowering the people of … ” or “sustainable governance.” Ick.

    5. Wukchumni

      I’d pay good money to watch somebody pull themselves up by their bootstraps, because i’ve never seen anybody levitate, and that’s what you’d be doing, as in impossible.

      1. Summer

        Hey, how about that “Tale of Two Eulogies”?

        John McCain was elevated to mythical status. Who were they even talking about?
        Aretha Franklin couldn’t even get props at a music awards show (apparently Maddonna had her own agenda) or her own funeral (the family is angry with the preacher who came with his own agenda).

      2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        Ive ripped many a Boot Strap.

        Maybe if we like interweave a bunch of boot straps we can lift one at a time?

    6. Phacops

      I can use the term “bootstrapping” with a straight face since there are statistical resampling procedures in order to obtain the limit of dispersion for small and moderate sample sizes. But, I usually just have been using jackknife permutations as the simplest estimate.

    7. lyman alpha blob

      How about “synergy” although that one seems to be falling out of favor a bit.

      And my personal finger-on-the-chalkboard word, “leverage”, especially when used incorrectly as is most often the case. It is too often substituted for the much simpler, more concise and correct word “use” by people who want to sound smart in staff meetings. I pretty much want to punch anyone who throws out that word except in the rare cases when it is used correctly in the context of taking on debt.

      1. Grebo

        Yuck. “Leverage” is a noun. When I hear someone say “leveraged” or “leveraging” it makes me want to “burglarize” their house.

        “Levered” or “levering” would be grammatically correct at least. In the UK we used to talk about “gearing” which works a bit better when combined with “up”.

    8. JerryDenim

      “Smart” “Disrupt” or any form of the word, such as “disruption” or the worst- “disruptor”. “Leaning-in” really gets my hackles up although I’m not even sure exactly what it means. I think it’s some sort of call for an obsequious, total surrender of of your personal life and character to the wishes of upper management. Didn’t get that promotion you were hoping for? More positivity! Lean-in and wash my kid’s BMW this Sunday after you finish up with the company sponsored charity PR event.

  4. Synoia

    AM writes: “Seussian topiary at the garden at Levens Hall in The Lakes District, not far from Kendal, UK. Snapdragons in foreground.” A shrubbery!

    For reasons beyond my ken it is The lake District.

    I’ve never been fully convinced that English English has grammar, and not just class based usage.

    1. AbateMagicThinking But Not Money

      Lakesssssssss district. That S pushes my buttons too for some bizarre reason*. Have I no sense of proportion? No! And anyone who says otherwise better watch out.


      * I can listen to non-english speakers mangle the language to their heart’s delight (and often to my amusement) but….

  5. NotTimothyGeithner

    “What were they thinking?”

    Its throwing spaghetti at the wall of mass consumerism. The technological consumer goods as demonstrated by Star Trek and earlier science fiction have been invented or were simply stupid, like not going to the bath room (thanks Gene!”). The rest is magic for all intents and purposes at this point or dependent on massive government intervention such as establishing a system for asteroid mining.

    For many goods, all that is left is adding gadgets.

  6. dcblogger

    Anyone from Massachusetts or any other state with a primary today? What are you seeing on the ground?

    1. johnnygl

      Jay gonzalez is the fav, as i understand. Former health ins exec. Probably sets up a race of a dem former health ins exec vs charlie baker, the gov, who is also a former health ins exec. Gonzalez had a ridiculous ad i saw where it was him playing soccer and how he learned teamwork, camradarie. Not a word about policy…just trying to convince me he was a likable guy and that he could communicate with immigrants because soccer…

      So that’s what democracy has come to in the great state of MA! You get to choose which health ins exec you like better!!!

      I voted massie for team dem for gov and against all incumbents, except senator warren. Most were unopposed.

    2. Scott

      It looks like Ayanna Pressley will unseat Michael Capuano. This is very, very bad news for the left. She has offered no substantive criticisms of his political positions and has been to his right on foreign policy, healthcare and education. From an article at The Intercept, earlier this month:

      ‘Pressley, on the other hand, criticized Sanders’s policy ideas and vision for the country while campaigning for Clinton. As Sanders stumped for universal health care and tuition-free college, Pressley declared at a Clinton campaign press conference in Boston that “plans without price tags are simply pandering.” In a debate hosted by WCVB, Pressley said she only recently began supporting “Medicare for All” because “the world has changed.”’


      This issue was very much about her identity as a black woman and if one of the strongest progressives in one of the safest Democratic districts in the county can lose to someone on his right, it can and will happen elsewhere.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > This issue was very much about her identity as a black woman and if one of the strongest progressives in one of the safest Democratic districts in the county can lose to someone on his right, it can and will happen elsewhere.

        Well, at least she’s an unprincipled opportunist. So there’s that.

  7. Enquiring Mind

    loved your mills memories. I was reminded of former jobs where I could look back and see that something of value and meaning was accomplished, prior to a subsequent BS Jobs phase. An added benefit of many former jobs was the lack of mental stress after leaving for the day, and an honest kind of tiredness and satisfaction. I am reminded of a phrase from lit class: affective plenitude :)

      1. Carey

        Cool. I bought and used a lot of Samson Yacht Braid and Intrepid Plait back in
        the 70s when I was a rigger.

    1. ChrisPacific

      I enjoyed it as well, not least because I lived in Providence for a while. I hadn’t realized how widespread the mills were – I’d always imagined them in Pawtucket, not right by Federal Hill (and it sounds like there were quite a few).

      The description of casting sounded a lot like chocolate making, which has its own variables even though the temperature ranges are much narrower and there are fewer safety concerns. Chocolate is one of those things for which people will pay extra in order to get a premium and/or handmade product, so there are still chocolate shops around. I’m not sure whether that’s true of the kind of work Lambert was doing, or whether the question has even been seriously examined (thinking of the examples of outsourcing decisions being based on bad economics).

  8. a different chris

    Well serendipity – munching away at lunch I was looking at some stupid “MSN” retirement destination countries thing. And each destination mentioned, since it was a list for old folks, health care.

    I was a bit surprised by Italy being second — so I googled the WHO listing. What I found was interesting:

    1) France
    2) Italy
    7) Spain
    11) Norway
    14) Greece
    18) UK


    25) Germany

    Guess they still are the “sick man of Europe”. Sometimes I get the crazy idea that maybe we don’t look at things with the right tools.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Retiring abroad.

      Is that something for the 1% or the 10% only? How do people make it overseas with only $400 saved up?

      1. ambrit

        Perhaps the best course is for the “rest of us” is to form our own Statelets within the decaying Corpse of America. “Of These I Sing.”

        1. Elizabeth Burton

          If the number of co-op businesses continue to increase, I foresee this is immensely possible. If you own part of the place where you work, you’ll want to be within reasonable distance of it, which will result in communities also likely to be run in a more “town hall” style. If those needs of the community are then met by creating other local co-op businesses, the road to being self-sustaining is there.

      2. Wukchumni

        Is that something for the 1% or the 10% only? How do people make it overseas with only $400 saved up?

        I was reading Duncan Hunter’s indictment, and not only are he and his wife flat broke (had $15.02 in their account) but they’ve overdrawn their account over 1,000x, accruing nearly $40k worth of fees in the process. If you haven’t read it yet, the multitude of lies he & his wife told, rival anything the reign of error might have uttered.

        Now, that didn’t stop them from blowing $14k+ of campaign contributions they absconded with when taking the family on vacay to Italy, so it is doable.

        And the kicker is, more than likely his SD constituents will vote him back into office, only to have him be sentenced to jail @ some point afterwards.

        1. RUKidding

          But… but… but… Jeff Sessions is a terrible AG who should be fired because Jeff Sessions brought charges against poor, widdle, nice Duncan Hunter “right before” the election, and that’s just not FAIR. humph!

          Duncan Hunter is not as sleazy has his Dad, the “real” Duncan Hunter. Duncan, Sr, (actually “Junior” changed his name to get that name recognition) was huge crook and grifter who helped that other San Diego crook, Randy “The Duke” Cunningham do a bunch of grifting that led to Cunningham going into the slammer for about 8 years.

          San Diego Republicans reliably whined and cried about poor, widdle Duke having to pay the piper. UNFAIR. boo hoo….

          I was in SD this weekend. No one I talked to had anything good to say about Duncan Hunter, except that they are GLAD he got busted … FINALLY. However, no one I talked to is from Hunter’s district which is reliably red. So… yeah, he could get re-elected, but the Ds are running a pretty serious contender, so we’ll see what happens.

          1. Wukchumni

            SD is a garrison town that ‘looks after their own’, but who knows, it could be semper fini for quite the sleazeball.

            A few months time before an election is like an eternity when you’re as dirty as he is.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Not a few brave members of the garrison town have, unfortunately, but perhaps proudly, over many decades, retired…permanently…abroad.

              1. Wukchumni

                A friend that volunteers for the Sierra Service Project, told me that there are quite a few deported veterans down under in Tijuana, their citizenship stripped from them for some offense they committed after serving their tour of duty and had become Americans by virtue of.

                  1. Wukchumni

                    I have no way of knowing, but Tijuana would be one of the cheapest options of deporting them on the west coast.

            2. kareninca

              Well, his military service looks to be for real. It doesn’t excuse his fraud, but I can see it making some voters think he has some valuable qualities.

              “The day after the September 11 attacks, Hunter quit his job and joined the United States Marine Corps.[8] He attended Officer Candidates School at Marine Corps Base Quantico; when he graduated in March 2002, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant. He subsequently served as a field artillery officer in the 1st Marine Division after the 2003 invasion of Iraq and completed a second tour in Fallujah, Iraq, in 2004, serving in Battery A, 1st Battalion, 11th Marines. During his second tour, he participated in Operation Vigilant Resolve, where he fought in battles in Fallujah.[9]

              In September 2005, Hunter was honorably discharged from active duty; he remained in the Marine Corps Reserve until 2017.[10] After his 2005 discharge he started a residential development company. In 2007, he was recalled to active duty and deployed to Afghanistan in support of the War in Afghanistan; this was his third tour of duty during the War on Terrorism.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duncan_D._Hunter)

              1. Wukchumni

                “How must those mighty Warrior-spirits gaze,
                Manius, Fabricius-what be your amaze,
                Shades of the Scipios, what, Camillus, thine,
                How must they feel, boast of the Fabian line,
                The holy band of Cremera; and they
                Who fell at Canae in their proud array,
                The Hero-souls so many wars purveyed,
                How gaze abhorrent, when a modern shade
                Of our degenerate times is wafted o’er,
                Definiling with its touch the Stygian shore.”


      3. Grebo

        How do people make it overseas with only $400 saved up?

        Beach bum?
        $400 is a stretch, but if you have a skill (such as speaking English) or a pension lots of cheap third world places will be happy to take you.

        I once had a middle-aged American waiter here.

        Or join the Peace Corps, it’s not just for kids.

    1. Clive

      I tackled my topiary last weekend. I’d left it a little late and had to tidy and shape it up when it’d been raining the night before.

      Big mistake. I got eaten alive by chiggers / berry bugs / whatever you call the them (I hope you guys across the pond know which little devils I’m referring to) and itched for a week. Next time I’ll wear a hazmat suit like the people from Porton Down doing decontamination from the “Russian” “Novichok” “poisoning”.

      1. ambrit

        We most certainly do know about the “tiny things that bite.” We also have mosquitoes, including the newly introduced Asian Tiger Mosquito. Tiny fliers with white stripes on the thorax. They bite! (There have been several cases of West Nile a two miles south of where we live this year. Mosquito spread from birds to humans.)
        Next year, do as the Church Fathers do and bring a thurible filled with fragrant herbs, smoking to the greater glory of the Topiary Gods. (We have a common and popular product here which is a wax candle infused with essence of the Citronella plant. Many grow citronella plants in pots on the porch. We do.)

        1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          Ive been getting eaten alive, but recently i got rid a pool of water. I hope thats all.

          To Add- these mosquitos are stealthy and sneaky af.
          Got me right on the cheek. Little fr.

          I wonder if these are the Tiger variety?

        2. Kokuanani

          This spring & summer I followed the saga of the pair of eagles that occupy the nest they built on the grounds of the National Arboretum. They had two eggs which hatched, and their progress was broadcast via two cameras trained at the nest.

          Unfortunately the younger of the two babies fell out of the nest but was recovered on the ground. [This “baby” was a few months old and had already achieved full eagle size.] He was taken to a “wildlife recovery center,” first here in DC and then in Delaware. It was determined that he had West Nile Virus, which was responsible for his weakness & poor health. He was ultimately euthanized.

          So, carriers of West Nile Virus are here in DC.

  9. In the Land of Farmers

    It’s funny to me that most people do not see that these devices make it seem like they are increasing people’s agency when in fact they are taking it away.

    I guess if we have no agency at our jobs you need to get it somewhere.

    I refuse all automation, even automatic bill pay.

    1. skippy

      For some it seems Human agency is the ev’bal that must be fought, hence Markets over Government or thwarting the Creators will – in some cases. In this scenario the IoS is his will manifesting itself through the chosen.

    2. Oregoncharles

      You must be better at paying bills on time than I am. It does mean that you have to maintain the account properly, though. That could be a problem for some people.

    3. Charlie

      Especially automatic bill pay. Because with banks holding deposits versus withdrawals, along with multiple attempts when the account runs on the low side, those fees can add up really quick.

      Better to eschew all automation. Call me a Luddite, but they had a point.

    1. Summer

      They may as well just start using “Pusherman” as music for their ads.

      I’m yo mama
      I’m yo daddy
      I’m that doctor in the alley….

      1. Wukchumni

        Just imagine, out of seemingly nowhere, opioids kill more people in a year, than all gun deaths & car crash deaths in our country combined.

        And unlike guns & cars, we could get rid of this menace quite easily.

  10. skippy


    And to make matters worse….


    Seven years ago, Yuval Noah Harari was a humble historian at an Israeli university writing a little book about a big subject.

    Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, argues our species, Homo sapiens, came to dominate the world because it is the only animal that can cooperate flexibly in large numbers.

    It went on to sell more than a million copies worldwide and turned Yuval into a superstar intellectual.

    He’s now a kind of modern-day prophet of the 21st century, who is able to tell us where we have come from (in his first book), where we are going (in his second book, Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow), and how to live in these strange times (his third, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century).

    He’s received multiple celebrity endorsements, including from Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Barack Obama, and, now, Tom Tilley. – snip

    A PhD in Bio actually gave me a copy last year, her father is an accomplished maths PhD. Seems too me like a road map too “Jackpot”. Then some wonder about my condition wrt creative class writers the elites tend to gravitate towards.

    1. Wukchumni

      I rather enjoyed Sapiens, and would heartily recommend it to anyone interested in us.

      Much of what Yuval Noah Harari wrote about is fairly simple reasoning that is hardly a leap of faith, but nobody ever leaped heretofore in making salient points as he has.

      1. skippy

        “He’s now a kind of modern-day prophet of the 21st century, who is able to tell us where we have come from (in his first book), where we are going (in his second book, Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow), and how to live in these strange times (his third, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century).”

        I did say creative class writer that elites have a bad propensity to lift up. This kinda grand theory of very thing tied with a bow on top is not really top shelf intellectual work. Seems to resemble Red, Green, Blue Mars trilogy and then people get faith [tm], I mean in modernity we have had Rand and Heavens gate et al, not to mention elites in the near past and currant that seek some sort of information from outside this level of existence and roll with it. That would be fine except the propensity to take – all – of us with them.

        If it works out in the short term they proclaim vindication and if it goes boom find some means to externalize the failure.

        “was a humble historian at an Israeli university writing a little book about a big subject.”

        Now where have I heard that before – ????

    2. The Rev Kev

      If you are going with philosophers, I think that another author that should be considered is Oolon Colluphid. Oolon Colluphid is the author of the “trilogy of philosophical blockbusters” entitled “Where God Went Wrong”, “Some More of God’s Greatest Mistakes” and “Who is this God Person Anyway?”.
      He later used the Babel Fish argument as the basis for a fourth book, entitled “Well, That About Wraps It Up For God”.
      Colluphid is also said to have written two additional books entitled “Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Guilt But Were Too Ashamed To Ask” and “Everything You Never Wanted to Know About Sex But Have Been Forced to Find Out”.

      1. JCC

        Personally I believe in Astrology. For example, my Horoscope today said “It’s a great day to be JCC”, and it was.

        On the other hand, it was probably not as good a day for Crystal Gayle who was born on the same day.

  11. Summer

    “I keep having this reaction a lot, lately: “What were they thinking?” But don’t worry. Nothing like this will happen with robot cars….”

    You ever see a movie called “Donnie Darko?”

    There is a classroom scene the kids have to come up with inventions. Donnie and his partner for class have a really “cool” that is a type of viewfinder you could stap onto a baby’s face and apparently weed out negative images and re-inforce positive ones (something to that general effect). The teacher compliments them for their effort then gently talks them into questioning what exactly they could be harming in a baby’s development with such a contraption.

    Now take that scene and extrapolate it to the “disruptive” economy, but remove all the adults from the room.

    That’s where we are. In this world, Donnie and his classmate get to strap their contraption on the heads of babies and you are the problem for questioning it.

  12. Wukchumni

    Had a nice summer walking my usual 250 miles or so in the High Sierra, punctuated by blowing out my left knee on a dayhike when all of the sudden my meniscus must’ve torn, but luckily i’m covered on my 6,000 miles walked/or under 60 years old, warranty.

    Hiking poles really came in handy, I would’ve struggled walking back 6 miles downhill w/o them, as the pain is most acute on the descent.

    I need an MRI, but they make you take an x-ray first, which will divulge bupkis in regards to my injury, but thems the rules.

      1. Wukchumni

        It came late in the summer, so i’m not too bummed. If it’d happened over say Memorial Day, that would’ve harshed my mellow.

        I’ve lived a charmed life as far as my lower extremities go, never had an injury down there previously.

        Hope it doesn’t require surgery and I can go the physical therapy route…

        1. ambrit

          Look into stem cell therapy. This is ‘big’ in the sports medicine field. Pro athletes are using it, so there might be some utility to it.

  13. Carey

    Anyone watch Terry Gilliam’s ‘Brazil’ recently? I’ve been meaning to rewatch it, though it will probably hit home way too much, which is what’s been stopping me.

    1. RUKidding

      Good reminder to check it out of the Library. Thanks.

      Yes, probably depressing. It was kind of depressing the first time, but now… yikes.

    2. Angie Neer

      I shudder just thinking about that movie. The scene where children play by imitating secret police kidnappings… When I first saw the film, I was a clueless adolescent, and it just looked like cartoonish satire. Now, having raised a couple of kids to the age I was back then, and pondering their future, I find it viscerally terrifying.

  14. Wukchumni

    Wal*Mart had Sharp 55″ Class 4K Ultra HD (2160p) HDR Smart LED TV’s on sale, for $299 today.

    It’s an odd race to the bottom, from a price standpoint.

    Unfortunately what’s on the channels has been deeply discounted as well…

  15. kareninca

    Oh, I just read the Providence article. It was wonderful. I am going to send it to my parents. Providence was always in the back of my mind when I was growing up, even though I only went there a few times.

    I grew up in eastern CT, and my dad taught at a Catholic college in Providence. He didn’t want us to live in Providence; it was really pretty dangerous in the 70s, at least in his view, and at least compared to the small town CT that he and my mom were used to. So Providence was where he commuted to. He said that the Italian mob ran the city. He got students who after class would describe birthday parties with their families that included Frankie. Anyway, he was kind of amazed that he had an academic job; it was such a big socioeconomic jump up for him from his childhood as a poor immigrant kid. We usually shopped in Westerly, RI; we were told that that was where the Providence mob raised their families and so only crime that they found acceptable was allowed there.

    When I started college at UConn (I then later transferred away), a woman I got to know fairly well worked (along with her female relatives) in a jewelry factory in Providence before she started college. That would have been around 1981. She was of Italian American descent; a very earnest person. She loved Shakespeare, and in the old fashioned way – not in the modern criticism way. Anyway, our mutual English professor scooped her up as someone who should go on in academics. I don’t remember her name so I can’t check to see where she ended up, but he had a lot of connections and knew what he was doing. He was so happy that someone was reading what he loved in a way he thought was valuable.

    My best friend in high school, who despite being far smarter than me never went to college (she’s from a family of exceedingly smart rural locals), worked in factories after high school. First in an American flag factory where the giant vats of chemicals gave her constant respiratory infections. That factory then moved to the South; otherwise she’d still be there (or dead). Then she worked in an odometer factory where she had to rapidly shift metal plates; she was constantly burning her fingers. Then that factory moved overseas. So she qualified for retraining – and she got it! She went to the local tech college and learned CAD. For decades now she’s done CAD work. Her husband is a machine tool operator at Electric Boat.

  16. The Rev Kev

    So I was thinking how the IoS would effect car design when I realized that some thought has already been given to this topic many years ago in an evolving joke that went like this-

    At a computer expo, Bill Gates reportedly compared the computer industry with the auto industry and stated: “If GM had kept up with the technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving $25.00 cars that got 1,000 miles to the gallon.”

    In response to Bill’s comments, General Motors issued a press release stating:

    If GM had developed technology like Microsoft, we would all be driving cars with the following characteristics:

    1. For no reason at all, your car would crash twice a day.

    2. Every time they repainted the lines on the road, you would have to buy a new car.

    3. Occasionally, executing a manoeuver such as a left-turn would cause your car to shut down and refuse to restart, and you would have to reinstall the engine.

    4. When your car died on the freeway for no reason, you would just accept this, restart and drive on.

    5. Only one person at a time could use the car, unless you bought ‘Car95’ or ‘CarNT’, and then added more seats.

    6. Apple would make a car powered by the sun, reliable, five times as fast, and twice as easy to drive, but would run on only five per cent of the roads.

    7. Oil, water temperature and alternator warning lights would be replaced by a single ‘general car default’ warning light.

    8. New seats would force every-one to have the same size butt.

    9. The airbag would say ‘Are you sure?’ before going off.

    10. Occasionally, for no reason, your car would lock you out and refuse to let you in until you simultaneously lifted the door handle, turned the key, and grabbed the radio antenna.

    11. GM would require all car buyers to also purchase a deluxe set of road maps from Rand-McNally (a subsidiary of GM), even though they neither need them nor want them. Trying to delete this option would immediately cause the car’s performance to diminish by 50 per cent or more. Moreover, GM would become a target for investigation by the Justice Department.

    12. Every time GM introduced a new model, car buyers would have to learn how to drive all over again because none of the controls would operate in the same manner as the old car.

    13. You would press the ‘start’ button to shut off the engine.

  17. Whoa Molly!

    Retiring in the US—A thought experiment.

    Move to a county with a very high percentage of over-65 residents.


    1. Social security payments mean a stable ‘base’ income for the area despite economic downturns.
    2. Likely to be better senior services available.
    3. Likely to be lower housing costs, otherwise retirees would not have settled there.

    Here is a list of such counties:

  18. Wukchumni

    RIYADH (AFP) –
    Saudi Arabia will punish online satire that “disrupts public order” with up to five years in prison, the public prosecutor said Tuesday, as the kingdom cracks down on dissent.

    “Producing and distributing content that ridicules, mocks, provokes and disrupts public order, religious values and public morals through social media … will be considered a cybercrime punishable by a maximum of five years in prison and a fine of three million riyals ($800,000),” the public prosecution tweeted late Monday.


    “It is difficult not to write satire.”


  19. Wukchumni

    JP Morgan’s top quant warns next crisis to have flash crashes and social unrest not seen in 50 years

    Suddenly, every pension fund in the U.S. is severely underfunded, retail investors panic and sell, while individuals stop spending,” Kolanovic said. “If you have this type of severe crisis, how do you break the vicious cycle, the negative feedback loop? Maybe you stimulate the economy by cutting taxes further, perhaps even into negative territory. I think most likely is direct central bank intervention in asset prices, maybe bonds, maybe credit, and perhaps equities if that’s the eye of the storm.””


    Looks as if JP Morgan is hep to CalPERS et al…

  20. UserFriendly

    Sen Ben Sasse responded to Trump’s tweet about Sessions DOJ indicting two GOP reps: “The United States is not some banana republic with a two-tiered system of justice…”

    How many bankers went to jail for causing the Great Recession?
    What about the CEO of wells fargo with 4 or 5 huge scandals in the last year
    Harvey Weinstein?
    Just name the last time someone from the 1% got a speeding ticket.

    Vs. poor people for drugs?

  21. UserFriendly

    From nyt:

    The Syrian regime and its allies justify their coming attack on Idlib by saying that they want to root out jihadists. Hay’at Tahrir Al Sham, which is led by the Qaeda-linked Nusra Front, dominates some 60 percent of the province and has an estimated 10,000 fighters, according to the United Nations special envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura.

    But then the Op-ed continues by claiming that the actual Syrians in Idlib have been resisting and fighting them too (BS) and that the US shouldn’t let Assad take them back over…. She doesn’t have anything else to say about what to do with the terrorists besides stop talking about them because it’s how Assad justifies going in there.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I am fairly sure that there is a United Nations Resolution that specifies attacking Al-Quada and its kin wherever they are. The Syrian can legally claim that they are fulfilling this UN resolution to root out these mobs. You have some real bad boy groups in this province who cannot be allowed to keep control of the fate of one or two million people and need to be dealt with.
      Can you imagine if the UK and France back in 1865 had demanded, under military threat, of allowing one of the Confederate States to stay in existence and off limits to Union forces while it housed groups such as Quantrill’s Raiders? Maybe Mississippi or Louisiana and thus blocking all river traffic along the Mississippi River with any approaching Union ships being automatically attacked and sunk?

  22. ewmayer

    “P.S. Readers, some of you sent me very kind thoughts about my Labor Day piece on working in the mills of Providence. Thank you!” — Lambert, if there was one piece you could’ve exempted from the comments holiday, that one should’ve been it, IMHO. I’m sure I’m not the only reader who feels that way. Thanks for posting it, in any event!

    1. The Rev Kev

      I’ll second that comment. I bet a lot of people could have added their own experiences to Lamberts which I found very interesting to read.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      It didn’t seem to make sense to turn on comments immediately after turning them off! There was a lot of stuff I didn’t have time to get to, so I’m sure there will be another post on the same topic.

  23. Roger Smith

    Brief comment for any legal expert residents here: Regarding the recent Vet whose Go Fund Me ended up NOT funding [him], there have been several articles I have seen regarding judges ordering the campaign managers (the couple who started the funding page) to turn over the money. Is there any legal basis for this? Since when are internet campaigns legally bound to actually do what they say they will? I ask this because since crowd funding’s inception, the joke and risk is that you have no idea anything will actually come of your investment. The outrage over this seems odd as I would have, by default, assumed this guy was never getting his cash anyways. Is it simply that these sites don’t want to also be legal mediators, so any cases and the money for them must be brought privately?

  24. pretzelattack

    britain has named 2 russians working in military intelligence as suspects in the skripal poisonings. i eagerly await the evidence.

    1. Roger Smith

      These two should adopt some sort of contemporary, socially sympathetic identity token as quickly as possible. Convert to Islam, come out as trans, something to protect them from the trial without evidence they are about to face.

  25. allan

    Richard “Dream Hoarders” Reeves at Brookings releases with great fanfare a new definition of middle class:
    the middle 60% of the income distribution.
    Which guarantees that “the middle class” never shrank, is not shrinking and will never shrink,
    because the middle 60% will always be 60% of the population.
    Mission accomplished. If you’re working at a neoliberal think tank.

  26. Edward E

    Global Tree Cover Has Expanded More Than 7 Percent Since 1982
    Satellite data finds that gains temperate and boreal forests offset reductions in tropical forests.


    The greatest increase in tree canopy occurred in Europe, including European Russia, where it exploded by 35%. A close second was found in China, where tree canopy gained 34%. In the U.S., tree canopy increased by 15%.

    1. Wukchumni

      I’m looking up @ a ridge @ 5,000 feet that’s smack dab in the middle of the dead zone of the Sierra Nevada that goes from around 3,500 to 7,500 feet, where say around 35% of the trees have been expired for a few years now.

      We’ve taken to calling it “Cemetery Ridge” as 90% of the trees are toes up and still upright members of the community, anxiously awaiting a wildfire to put them out of their misery.

      The claim is 130 million trees are dead in the Sierra, and there’s not much canopy as they’ve long since shed their foliage and are rather skeletal.

      Local righty-tight-gawdalmighty politicians are joyous over this, as they derisively refer to live trees as “Straws” for they have first rights to any water that falls in the guise of precipitation or snow, denying the largess to farmers down in the Central Valley.

      1. Edward E

        Our forests are healthy wherever man has overlooked messing around with it. The USDA-NFS asked for public comments on the proposed prescribed burns and projects in the Ozark-St Francis National Forests so I sent them this email. Maybe they listened because we haven’t noticed the thick smoke this year around critters junction. The Buffalo River pools are super low, that’s about to change bigly as a couple inches of tropical rain expected and the straws let go as we move into fall.

        “Dear Sir,

        My thoughts and concerns are about the practice of prescribed burning. When burns are done during dry summers an amazing number of trees are lost to drought. Because you have burned off the protective forest floor leaves and compost cover leaving the ground extremely vulnerable to drying out. The leaves help protect the soil from being dried out by the wind and sunshine. Once this barrier has been burned away it takes years to be replaced. This is a killer for stressed trees when dry weather hits.

        The prescribed burns should only be done in years of above average rainfalls. Thanks”

        1. Wukchumni

          99.9% of the Sierra Nevada hasn’t been ‘messed’ with, well aside from enduring a long drought and the assault of the bark beetles.

          We typically have 4-5 prescribed burns in Sequoia NP every year, and i’ve never heard anything about the soil being compromised by the burns, and I was walking through a prescribed fire from a few years ago last week, and i’ll assure you that if anything, it was much more vibrant than previously.

          1. Wukchumni


            Here’s an excellent 1973 article on how wrongheaded the approach was in 1926, to fight every possible fire in Sequoia NP, and here we are 45 years later and the forest for the trees is anxiously awaiting a lightning bolt from Thor’s Hammer causing a massive conflagration, that would more than likely sterilize the ground and not allow for trees, but low lying cover such as whitethorn and other not really desired species, that become thick and choke off anything else from growing.


          2. Edward E

            You have mostly deep rooted evergreen trees over there whereas our forests are mostly broad leaf hardwoods and the leaf litter builds up rather thick. Fire is not so good for shallower rooted trees from what I’ve seen. We were losing a lot of oaks to beetles around say 2000-2008 and drought made it much harder for the trees. The NFS thought the burns would hamper the spread of beetle larvae. The burn areas and ridgetops lost a lot more trees than unburned areas and lowlands. Higher elevations lost more trees to beetles than lowlands trees before they started the burns. The 2012-2014 drought hit especially hard. Lack of moisture and the beetles have it easy, the tree has less ability to produce sap to upset the beetles abilities to reproduce and bore deeply. Many relatives and friends noticed the same, they worked in the woods as fire fighters and loggers. Take a dry spell in wet years and doing a burn does some good, do burns when drought persists multiple months or even years does a lot of damage over here.

            1. Wukchumni

              We have a variety of forests here, oak savannas in the foothills, mixed conifer in the mid-range altitudes and largely pine trees up to around 10,000 feet. The only prescribed burns are in the National Park, or in the case of a lightning strike, they might let it burn if conditions are right. (or not, a lightning strike fire in Mineral King earlier in the summer was deemed a risk to spread, and much effort (and $) was spent on batting it down, and it only scorched 34 acres)

              Very seldom do the oak trees burn in the lower altitudes, although a good many died during the drought, trees that were a few hundred years old, and never watered by the hand of man. I lost perhaps 65 out of 400 trees on our property to give you an idea.

              I cut down the newlydeads, and still have a bunch to buck up, and they’re all in the form of rounds now, 40x 5 foot tall 4×4 wood pallets worth of them.

  27. Wukchumni

    There’s been a quite loud lone F-35 from Naval Air Station Lemoore overhead @ about 10,000 feet for about 15 minutes now, doing barrel rolls and the like, and why it’s over our home will have to remain a mystery.

    1. Wukchumni


      For a “Stealth” jet, it sure is a loudmouth…

      In 2008, the Air Force revealed that the F-35 would be about twice as loud as the McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle at takeoff and up to four times as loud during landing. Residents near Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, and Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, possible F-35 bases, requested environmental impact studies be conducted regarding the F-35’s noise levels.


    2. blennylips

      Thank your lucky stars you were not around Naval Air Station Oceana, dodging engine shrapnel:

      The engine of an F-35C from Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 125 was damaged while receiving fuel from an F/A-18F Super Hornet from VFA-103 on Aug. 22, Navy officials confirmed to USNI News. Debris from an aerial refueling basket was ingested into the F-35C’s engine intake, resulting in the damage, Naval Air Forces Atlantic spokesman Cmdr. Dave Hecht said on Tuesday

      From the “Kick’em while they’re down” department:


      “Officials in the F-35 Joint Program Office are making paper reclassifications of potentially life-threatening design flaws to make them appear less serious, likely in an attempt to prevent the $1.5 trillion program from blowing through another schedule deadline and budget cap,” POGO said in an investigation released on Wednesday.

      1. Wukchumni

        It’s quite fitting that our latest military plane is so complex that it’s myriad of problems can’t be solved, lest we reclassify design flaws in order to make the issues a moot point.

        It’s a corollary akin to how we went about the financial crisis a decade ago, as we fixed those flaws by overpowering them with more money.

        Instant Gratisfication!

Comments are closed.