2:00PM Water Cooler 9/5/2018

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. Talk amongst yourselves! –lambert

Word of the day:

Seems to be a “made-up word,” but then again….

For architecture fans and Frank Lloyd Wright stans:

I’m in a bit of a rush today; I’d welcome comments on yesterday’s election results.

* * *

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 (ChiGal):

ChiGal writes: “With its twisted, gnarly trunk the fairy-tale quality of this tree captured my imagination lo some 40 years ago when I first laid eyes on it.”

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!

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About Lambert Strether

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


            1. WheresOurTeddy

              Yreka Bakery (incidentally, hope the Delta Fire doesn’t burn what’s left of Northern California)

    1. HotFlash

      Fool a sissy as he passes; Sam amasses sap. Ha, says Sis, aloof.

      (credit to composer Sam Andreyev, who set this to a crab canon.)

    1. bruce wilder

      But he is scheduled to rise from the grave, I am given to understand, if only to be reburied less conspicuously.

  1. Samuel Conner

    This seems to be a Tolkienish day; first the Dwarvish architecture warehouse, and then the relative of Old Man Willow.


    Regarding the Mass. primary: I’m hearing conflicting things about whether or not it’s a good thing that Ayanna Pressley unseated Capuano. Some people saying it’s a progressive victory, others that she was more to the right of Capuano on some issues and was running mostly on idpol. Anyone in Mass. with a perspective on this?

    1. Scott

      Capuano is to the left of Pressley, no doubt about it. Capuano was the most liberal member of the Massachusetts delegation according to 538 and The Intercept, well it has a record of Pressley’s rather standard neoliberal positions. Notice her earlier attacks on Bernie Sanders and weasel words on foreign policy. Pressley did stake out more leftist positions on Black Lives Matter, but that points to what her campaign was about, identity. She is sure to be a disappointment to out-of-state progressives, who did not study her actual positions on the issues. She’s an opportunist, plain and simple



      Kamala Harris is sure to be happy with the results as it shows her path to Democratic nomination in two years.

      1. Carey

        The only possible good thing I can imagine coming out of Pressley’s win is that
        by 2020, the Dems will have shown that they will do nothing at all for the many.
        With the rise of their openly MILO candidates, though, it may be too late…

      2. Nick

        Strongly disagree with the “no doubt about it” and think it misrepresents what the linked columns say about Pressley’s stances.

        I do agree with the articles which basically find the two candidates in the same, relatively good place on most of the issues.

        Capuano has been in congress for almost 20 years. After working away so long the local base and connections can be stretched, wear, and erode. Pressley is an established poll in Boston and clearly had a stronger connection to her district as she won 60-40. I can’t see how any of that bears on Harris or anyone else in a 2020 presidential election.

        1. Semrpinius

          I think a major difference between the candidates is that Capuano took corporate PAC money and Pressley didn’t:
          So they may be similar ideologically but you need to ask yourself if you’d rather have a Rep. who is burdened by corporate donors or one who is not. I think we’ve seen how most democrats vote when beholden to corporate donors.

        2. Scott

          That depends if you think Pressley is being honest about her positions, which I do not. I think long-term she will a Pelosi/Schumer type, she will take some progressive votes, but when needed, she will act in corporate interests. I hope that she will be a reliable voice for progressive causes.

        3. Tom

          I voted for Pressley.

          First, I want the entire D old guard swept away. I guess I don’t need to explain why to NC readers.

          Second, the chance of change was very appealing. Capuano has been unopposed for 20 years. This was the first time I’ve had any choice on the ballot.

          I want to see parity for women in government and electing Pressley helps us move in that direction. And it’s a minority white district. Pressley has been on the city council for 8 years and I think she’s better connected to parts of the population than Capuano. (This, I suppose, is idpol.)

    2. Darthbobber

      “Progressive” victory for some value of “progressive”, no doubt. Which simply indicates that that contested buzzword means different things to different people.

      Her Saul on the Road to Damascus embrace of Medicare for All doesn’t predate her need for a congressional campaign platform this year. Had to be done if she was going to claim to be basically Capuano + more like you. Though the Intercept makes more of her Sanders criticism in 16 than I would, personally. She attacked it as not costed and lacking detail, not wrong on principle. Disingenuous, yes. But politics ain’t bean bag, and when you accept the role of local attack dog surrogate it isn’t your mission to take the high road. Is the one any more reflective of her views than the other?

      Suspect her ostentious rejection of Corp package money is a one-off for this year only, as she always collected from them in the council races. Most of her roughly miillion dollar haul for this primary was in large donations. And if you take the max contribution from each partner of a lobbying firm like Dewey Square, does it matter that you don’t also collect from their pac?

      But she has consistently rolled up the largest vote total among at-large council members for several elections, so somebody’s satisfied, and it’s mighty hard to argue that the level of whiteness in the Boston machine isn’t an anomaly.

      +Capuano had no idea how to counterpunch this, and I suspect his local organization of being somewhat dated.

      1. Darthbobber

        One other thing. Pressley did succeed in expanding the electorate. Normal turnout would have been a bit over 60,000, and with that number Capuano would have won comfortably. But actual turnout this time was 100,000+, mostly down to her effort, as it wasn’t up nearly as much in adjacent districts. Anybody who successfully does that can upset a lot of applecarts.

        1. Swamp Yankee

          I don’t think policy differences were key in this race, unlike Ocasio-Cortez vs. Crowley. Capuano and Pressley seem to mostly agree on the issues.

          Rather, I take this as an example of a shift in ethnic-neighborhood machines as had occurred many times in the history of Boston, e.g., when Menino’s Roslindale Machine took over from the old Irish pols under Ray Flynn in the early 1990s. Or, going way back, when Honey Fitz overthrew the Lomasney organization a hundred years prior to that. Or when James Michael Curley in turn defeated Honey Fitz.

          I take it as more of a sign of where political power is in Boston and adjacent Cambridge, Somerville, Chelsea, Milton, Randolph, etc. Because make no mistake: the MA Democratic Machine was all in for Capuano, especially Mayor Marty Walsh, and they just got thumped badly. I’d be nervous about squaring off again against Tito Jackson if I were Marty Walsh.

          In a one party polity, Madisonian style factions become very important.

    3. JohnnyGL

      I think when you combine Capuano’s loss with the fact that all the other incumbents seemed to win, it adds up to a bad day, overall.

      Not thrilled with Jay Gonzalez, former health insurance exec, taking on Governor Baker, himself a former health insurance exec. This is democracy in MA? Pick any health insurance exec you like to run your state!

    1. EricT

      Interesting thing, if you check out the MA Democratic Primary results for 2016, Bernie beat Hillary in almost every district, except for the one Presley represents, where Hillary beat Bernie by 17K votes.

      1. Fred1

        I have no opinion one way or the other about the genuineness of her progressive bona fides. I never heard of her until she won. The discussion upthread will cause me to pay close attention to her once she gets to congress.

        What I do find interesting is that her campaign can be considered a proof of concept about how to successfully primary an incumbent D. A genuine Universal Concrete Material Benefits candidate could find far more success running in a deep blue district against a long serving D incumbent rather that a swing or red district. Right now it’s a numbers game. As many genuine Universal Concrete Material Benefits candidates should be elected as possible, regardless of district.

  3. BoyDownTheLane

    PKMKII, a fellow who writes under his old moniker of HongPong (Minneapolis) but whom I know as Dan Feidt and who recently re-located to Somerville where he lives with his Turkish fiancee writes at (requires subscription):

    “Giant blow to the old boy network in the boston area as well as out west in Pittsfield area. Both counties got reformer DAs in the primary.
    Rachel Rollins for Suffolk District Attorney made it clear that she would decline to prosecute (and seek alternate resolutions) for a lot of charges that are enforced with racial bias in this area:
    including drug possession, shoplifting, squatting in vacant buildings during the cold etc.
    Also has called for supervised injection sites and duking it out with the US attorneys around here opposing this, and preventing ICE from grabbing people at the Suffolk courthouses which they have done a ton. https://rewire.news/article/2018/08/31/rachael-rollins-dont-ignore-the-need-for-progressive-district-attorneys/

    In MA CD7 Ayanna Pressley beat Mike Capuano, although their politics are similar. Pressley ran on an Abolish ICE message and won. Notably Capuano has been a Dem foreign policy progressive, against US troops in Syria and against the anti-Boycott Divestment Sanctions bill in the US House. Pressley has been more vague and non committal on these issues which is why Mass Peace Action endorsed Capuano.

    In the state house two of the top lieutenants of the conservative Dem Speaker DeLeo (maj ldr and house ways and means chair) both lost to progressive challengers. DeLeo has been working closely with Charlie Baker to fend off Senate legislation such as the Safe Communities Act and I think the millionaires tax ballot initiative (cannot have levels of income tax without a plebescite here).

    As Pressley has commented you can take the #1 MBTA bus from Cambridge to Roxbury and see how extremely segregated the CD7 district is. With a $50K fall in annual income and huge life expectancy cut”

  4. Randy

    The top layer of the gray frieze looks like cats’ heads. The bottom layer looks like cats’ feet. The layer second from the bottom brings to mind sailboats.

    Why would I take seriously anything I see on “social media”? Especially Facepalm and Tweeter. Maybe Wright decided to show he had a sense of humor?

    The tree demonstrates an act of self preservation. Nobody will be able to saw a straight board out of that and it would be really hard to split into firewood.

    1. patrickD

      Reminds me of this from T. Merton’s very loose translation of Chuang Tzu (Zhuangzi – 莊子) :

      ~ The Useless Tree ~

      Hui Tzu said to Chuang, “I have a big tree, the kind they call a ‘stinktree.’ The trunk is so distorted, so full of knots, no one can get a straight plank out of it. The branches are so crooked you cannot cut them up in any way that makes sense.”

      “There it stands beside the road. No carpenter will even look at it. Such is your teaching – big and useless.”

      Chuang Tzu replied, “Have you ever watched the wildcat crouching, watching his prey. The prey leaps this way, and that way, high and low, and at last lands in the trap. And have you seen the Yak? Great as a thundercloud, he stands in his might. Big? Sure, but he can’t catch mice!”

      “So for your big tree, no use? Then plant it in the wasteland, in emptiness. Walk idly around it, rest under its shadow. No axe or bill prepares its end. No one will ever cut it down.”

      “Useless? You should worry!”

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I have always liked that one.

        Another one is about some wise person preferring rolling in dirt than to be clothed in the finest robe working for the king, in the latter’s gilded cage.

    2. Bugs Bunny

      This reminds me of Rivera’s Anahuacalli Museum in Mexico City but in an inverse way. Wright was young at this point in his career and hadn’t moved to the pure slabs. Sort of a prelude to the Oak Park home and eventually Falling Water. Sad about the comments but that’s Twitter. Numbskulls.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      That tree learns from its tuna fish friends.

      When a human says ‘I love tuna,’ unfortunately, that’s means more fish must die.

      “Please, don’t love them.”

  5. BoyDownTheLane

    In an interview on Meet the Press Sunday, Democratic congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez scolded American leaders for not setting the minimum wage as high as Venezuela, whose hyper-inflated currency is forcing minimum wage increases all year long.
    Ocasio-Cortez then pointed out that if we would just raise the minimum wage to somewhere in the millions like the socialist South American country did, everyone will be a millionaire.
    “Venezula’s minimum wage is, like, millions per month, and ours isn’t even close to that,” she said. “Our minimum wage is, like, seven bucks or something. We call ourselves a developed country, but we don’t even just like print nearly as much money as Venezuela and give it out for free, because of businesses and corporations and things like that.”

    She also called Venezuela’s leaders “really smart” for overloading the economy with more currency, and called on America’s leadership to do the same. “It just goes to show that socialism is better because you can inflate the currency to a lot more, and more is better than less, obviously.”
    “It’s just common sense, and you know, like, human rights and stuff,” she added.


      1. a different chris

        “The new face of the Democrats,” wrote one commentator who shared the video. “Oof, the stupidity is strong with this one.”

        They say really stupid people have no idea that they are stupid, and here is another data point.

        And this is funny too:

        But Stuckey joined a chorus of conservative commentators who responded defiantly to the backlash against the piece…“If you have to do research to figure out that a video that blatantly absurd is satirical, you shouldn’t be on the Internet,” Stuckey wrote.

        They are your audience, Allie. Your people. If you were smarter than a turnup yourself, you would realize what that means.

        AOC is kind of busy. being actually somebody important to the world, but after she wins in November I think we would all like to watch 2 minutes of AOC face to face with Stuckley. The evisceration would be epic.

        1. Wukchumni

          Didn’t realize it was all a put on, with her answers taken from a PBS Newshour show in regards to other subject matter.

          That said, it appears as if over a million people watched this fake news feed, and if you’re a conservative, you liked what you saw and heard, and that’s all that counts in these United States as of late.

    1. knowbuddhau

      Doesn’t sound remotely like her, sounds like a Valley Girl. Maybe a clue as to author’s age.

      What have we learned, class?

      +1 a different chris

  6. Adam Eran

    A note about the “starchitect” Frank Lloyd Wright:

    One might think the entire architectural profession would put livability or even functionality (“Form follows function” says Wright) first on its list of desiderata when designing a building…but one might be wrong.

    Many of Wright’s buildings are unbelievably impractical in many respects. A simple single-family home in Tulsa, OK is visually striking, but virtually impossible to heat (and Tulsa gets cold). The Phillips 66 building in Bartlesville, OK has a pentagonal elevator that has never worked well (it’s “heritage” innovation!). The “Falling Water” house Wright built over a waterfall is a moldy mess that is literally unlivable.

    The object of this school of starchitecture is novelty, and visually striking design. Wright is certainly not its only practitioner (cf. Le Corbusier, Frank Gehry, etc.) but the result is the destruction of neighborhoods, discounting of practical values in building, and ultimately the destruction of societies.

    Art and architecture students are essentially told to de-emphasize craft that might serve producing something livable in favor of novelty and visually surprise. Sprawl is the ultimate destination of this trend, and ultimately Wright’s “Form follows function” becomes “Form follows finance.” Sprawl starves the public realm and builds privatized important spaces (the Mall), while previously honorable public spaces like parks are in floodplains rather than important locations, and civic buildings are tilt-up warehouses with bad air.

    Starchitecture is CalPERS in concrete. It doesn’t have to be like this, either. After all the innovative public policy emanating from Curitiba Brazil came from another, less famous architect, Jaime Lerner.

    1. Wukchumni

      We have a favorite campsite that’s hidden away off-trail in Sequoia NP that we call Fallingwater-as per FLW’s effort.

      This version has a creek that runs by it, with 2 waterfalls below, a 100 foot long pond full of fish behind, and a series of 7 waterfalls upstream that you can access by a bit of bouldering, and there are 7 corresponding ponds below said waterfalls, all large enough to dive into.

      And unlike a FLW dwelling, it’s quite livable with an open air canopy in between the trees providing shade, with views up the wazoo.

    2. Lunker Walleye

      Interesting observations, Adam, and I have heard many similar stories about Wright’s architecture. Having lived in Oak Park, IL and visited several of his buildings I find the interior spaces inviting and beautiful. The particular building shown in the photo above seems like a combination of something Mussolini-esque and Mayan. Though I do not find it aesthetically pleasing, it is quite interesting to study and employs innovative ideas that purport to be functional “the building rests on a pad of cork for stability and shock-absorption”.(http://wrightinwisconsin.org/ad-german-warehouse)
      Time for a road trip.

      1. Wukchumni

        We went to the Martin House in Buffalo, and it had the feel of a mid 1970’s California home we thought.

        The docent showed us a Buffalo newspaper article from 1904 with the title “Martin Abomination Almost Done” or something along those lines. Mavericks weren’t all that, apparently.

        There’s a house across the street built the same year as the Martin House, and it practically screams 1905!


      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I think the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo that Wright designed also had ‘base-isolation,’ to better withstand earthquakes.

      3. danpaco

        The Larkin Soap Company admin office in Buffalo, sadly demolished in the 50’s. The Martin summer house “Greycliff” south of buffalo is great and currently being restored.

      4. Wyoming

        I had a girlfriend 45 or more years ago who’s family had lived in 2 different FLW designed houses.

        They ended up disliking both of them. She said the way they were designed there was only one decent arrangement of furniture which worked. Any other arrangement was awkward. So you were stuck.

        1. RUKidding

          That’s been my impression of the four FLW designed buildings – 2 houses & 2 centers for other purposes – that I’ve visited.

          Falling Water & Kentuck Knob (both outside of the Pittsburgh PA) are quite lovely and interesting, but both are pretty much designed to have the furniture that FLW designed & had built for them and nothing else. I wouldn’t want to live in either place, even though both are quite lovely in their own ways.

          I have also visited Taliesin West in Scottsdale, and the Joshua Tree Retreat Center outside of Joshua Tree, CA (near the JT Nat’l Park). Both have different buildings on their campuses with larger spaces in them, where different types of furniture could fit, but both have unusual geometric designs. More useful facilities, though, then the 2 houses I visited. I attended a retreat at the JT Retreat Center, and it worked rather nicely for our purposes. It was more flexible. I think FLW’s son had more involvement in that design.

          The houses, though, appear to be rather inflexible in terms of the use of the interior space, which wouldn’t appeal to me.

          Nice to visit, though.

          1. a different chris

            >That’s been my impression

            It’s a fact. he designed the house, the furniture, and everything was supposed to be in one place and one place forever.

            Although there is one case where some super rich guy (somewhere in the midwest when Midwestern Industrialists were the top of the $$ pack.) called FLW and said “Frank your roof is leaking on my desk!” and Wright told him to move the desk and hung up. So I guess a little personalization was permitted, in the right circumstances. :)

            I’m actually not a fan, it’s like a rock band that you like some songs, or only some parts of some songs, or you always change the station(!) but you appreciate their contributions. That FLW. He had influence, some of it was good. And nobody nowadays would allow Peter Thiel’s roof to leak so it’s all good.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Curious about the moldy mess that is Falling Water.

      In Southeastern Asia, and in Liangzhu cultural areas (the Yangtze Delta), and at Must Farm, English, about 3,000 years ago, and also by lakes in the Alps (Hallstatt, for example), houses were or still are built on stilts over water. Do or did they have that problem?

      1. RUKidding

        My impression from traveling around parts of Asia where there’s stilt houses over water is that they tend to be pretty damp. It’s probably “ok” in very hot climates, but probably not so great if it gets cold.

        I wouldn’t say Falling Water is a “moldy mess.” They have had to work hard on climate control, though, to keep it from becoming that way. I believe one of the bigger issues with FW is that it’s a cold climate. The house is built into the side of a rock cliff with some of the floors in the natural rock. It expands and contracts as the weather gets colder and hotter. This has caused numerous problems for obvious reasons.

        Nice to visit; wouldn’t want to live there.

    4. Lee

      Once worked in a woodworking shop that occasionally built chairs and such designed by architects from UC Berkeley. They didn’t seem to understand the limitations and strengths of joinery or human comfort. Nice to look at though.

    5. nippersmom

      “Form follows function” was coined by Louis Sullivan, not FLW.

      In regard to “Starchitecture” following finance, I also have an abhorrence of architects who design for each other rather than their clients/end users. However, since architects typically are not in a position to develop and fund their own work, they by default have to “follow finance”.

      I’d also like to note that Wright’s clients sought him out specifically because they wanted something in his style, a style that evolved over the years. You conveniently ignore all the innovations he made in radiant floor heat and his design for a “mile high city” (hardly urban sprawl), among other things. As for Falling Water, it’s 83 years old. What percentage of houses built in 1935 are still standing, much less in pristine condition unless they’ve had major work done to them over the years?

      1. John

        I’ve live a couple hours from Falling Water and have visited a number of times over the years. Never saw any sign of moldy mess. But the cantilevered terraces and the windows have had to be replaced and restored at great co$t. His work is more interesting than any of the sad architectural excesses of our gilded age plutocrats. The Betsy deVos summer palace in Holland, Michigan has been deservedmy mocked. And of course there is any building tiny goldfingers Trump touches.

        1. Carolinian

          Yes the moldy mess must come as a shock to the tourists who file through Falling Water every day. I think Adam Eran is a bit out over his skis.

          Without a doubt Wright’s engineering could be seat of the pants and many of his innovations were in fact impractical. But as readers of Tom Wolfe know many of his modern architecture contemporaries produced buildings that were not only impractical but also ugly. Wright’s art endures. The owners of Falling Water are probably not too upset about having one of the world’s most famous houses.

          1. The Rev Kev

            I have to admit that as a kid when I saw a photo of Falling Water (https://www.fallingwater.org/) I was gob-stopped. Even then I came to realize that you could not only have a house that you could live in but that it could be beautiful as well. Does Falling Water have problems? Of course it does. Just remember that it was a piece of pioneering work back then and as they say, it is the pioneers that get the arrows in their backs.
            Look at present trends. Look at http://mcmansionhell.com/ to see where taste has gone. Personally I like cities but I hate the concrete mess that they have become. Carolinian is right when she brings up Tom Wolfe’s book “From Bauhaus to Our House” and his criticism of what modern architecture has become. Those architects deliberately built their buildings to be torn down in only a half century or less. Call it crapification but in large scale.

        1. RMO

          Hundreds of thousands percent?

          (I live in the Vancouver area where A: there weren’t really a lot of houses back in 1936 relative to the numbers today) and B: We seem to enthusiastically tear down everything that’s older than a couple of decades and replace it with poorly built generic-citytecture or McMansions so no matter how well built a depression era building was it’s likely been ripped apart already. Even compared to as recently as 1990 it’s striking just how emblandened the city and suburbs have become.

          Probably the easiest way to get a living space that is beautiful, well built, functional and integrated with it’s environment is to live on a good sailboat… Not for everyone though. It’s still (one of) my dream(s).

          1. perpetualWAR

            I guess you miss my point in your glee to correct my post.

            The original poster claimed homes built in 1936 are mostly decrepit, which is untrue. If you look at many city neighborhoods, the bungalow still reigns. As it should. Built soundly. Built with real wood. Built with craftsmanship.

    6. Kevin

      “Form Follows Function” was actually a mantra from architect Louis Sullivan. Frankie was an assistant to him in his early days.

    7. cg

      I visited Taliesin East 20 years ago. The tour guide opened with “It’s not important that his buildings leak.” Really the only thing she said that stuck with me.

    8. vidimi

      i am a fan of gehry’s architecture. the guggenheim in bilbao and the latest fondation louis vuitton in paris are both stunning inside and out and provide a perfect setting for the exhibition of artwork.

    9. nippersmom

      I also take exception to this portion of your comment:
      Art and architecture students are essentially told to de-emphasize craft that might serve producing something livable in favor of novelty and visually surprise.

      When did you take your comprehensive survey of design and architecture school curricula to support this statement? I can assure you I was “told” nothing of the kind as an architecture student, and based on thousands of conversations I’ve had with colleagues of all ages, neither were any of them.

      You also seem to conflate architecture with urban planning.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      One question.

      We read that there are retired people (on Social Security, presumably) working at Amazon warehouses while living in their RVs. Would they be covered under that?

      Another question. Are there people who work a few hours a week who are on food stamps and how many? Would they be let go after this act?

      Another act that I like – Break Up Giant Corporations Act.

      1. Elizabeth Burton

        There are very few fulltime employees working for the retail monopsonies like Walmart and Amazon. They’ve taken the standard rule of using as many part-timers as possible to avoid having to pay benefits to new levels, such that most of their people are not only part-time but may be forced to be available on-call. The rest are supplied by temp agencies.

        Social Security isn’t a program like SNAP and Medicaid, so no, it wouldn’t be covered by a bill intending to make huge employers cover the real costs of their refusal to pay living wages.

          1. Wukchumni

            You do realize that Wal*Mart allows you to sleep overnight in their parking lot, which is a perfect fit for not just seniors, but anybody with an RV?

    2. cnchal

      Bernie is looking at where Bezos and the Waltons crapped yesterday, not even aware of what’s next.

      Let’s look at that $10 billion military cookoo cloud contract with Amazon. Apparently, a core competency, running your own computers, is going to be handed to Bezos so the military doesn’t have to figure it out for itself. Hmmm. A contract designed by Bezos and his minions to make Bezos richer. Where does that leave the “””engineers””” tasked with solving this clusterfuck? What’s the word? Monopsony, should ring a bell, with the end result being the effing engineers living in parking lots getting food stamps, in a couple of years.

      Abuse runs uphill at Amazon.

      Wouldn’t it be grand if “””engineers””” had another employer to go to? Some entity with deep pockets that could pay a wage with descent benefits and provide labor competition to the likes of Amazon and save billions by doing it themselves.

      By the way, has anybody even though about how crapified the system would be were Amazon to “grow it’s earning” into it’s current stawk market price?

    3. Roger Smith

      Thanks for the Link to your report on this Lambert. Totally missed that when it was fresh. Going to take a look.

  7. anon y'mousess

    woke up to find this recommendation on my home page:


    if they want to stop being attacked, maybe the press should stop being the mouthpiece for the government (any branch or party), business and all of the other people who have reason to conspire against the public knowing the truth. instead, they have been willing handmaidens and many are agents of the intelligence services themselves.

    1. bassmule

      Wow. “Access isn’t journalism’s holy grail—facts are.” So you say, Chuck. So how do you get all those wonderfully interesting people to sit down for Meet The Press?

      1. JBird

        Too often access is gotten by ignoring those facts. The interviewer’s accessible interviewees often give all those interesting interviews only if facts inconvenient to interviewee are ignored, twisted, or just lied about.

    2. anon

      Yep, my local Silicon Valley Newspaper is a prime offender. It’s always horrifying to read the twitter feeds of some of its young – youngish journalists, predominantly born in another state, too many of whom appear to have a blinded love affair with cops on their twitter pages, and magically own homes/or can afford rent.

      It’s bad enough that all of the well fed, home owner, white elder male Blue State Editorialists™ don’t admit to the brutality in Silicon Valley; which has been perpetrated by decades upon decades of Democrat Politicians betraying the populace, who have therefore outdone the Republicans who made no claims as to caring about the populace.

  8. anon

    Though I wish the word “old” had not been used in the title (55, is not old, and there are even those, well under 55, who are being discriminated against age wise), a subject with an obscene lack of coverage and Policy Discussions on punishing such discrimination: The Old Need Not Apply

    With older workers, unemployment is no mere chimera. The Center on Aging and Work at Boston College cites research from Kosanovich and Theodossio in “Trends in long-term unemployment” (2015): “The incidence of long-term unemployment increases with age.” Those 55 years old and older looking for work for 27 weeks and longer had a 44.6 percent unemployment rate. Talk about age discrimination!

    The populace has repeatedly voted for political candidates well past Social Security Retirement age, yet I’ve not witnessed any incumbent — or new — candidate for political office, address this issue. It’s an issue which I’m very sure is highly connected to the ever increasing suicide rate (which includes the alcohol and opioid epidemic, and an astronomical amount of failed suicide attempts — which are never highlighted in the increasingly damning suicide reports— due to: the lack of a gun; garage; 30 story building; or a reliable place to hang oneself from) of middle aged citizens, who can apparently no longer afford to live in any non debased, psychologically and physically overwhelming, economically broken manner.

    That’s Capitalism.

      1. RUKidding

        I think 35 is rapidly becoming over the hill for many jobs, sadly.

        I know that the TV show Silicon Valley has had at least one episode about how anyone over 25 is over the hill… highlighting high school teenagers as the up and comers (usually taking Ritalin and other drugs of that nature) knocking out the over 20s for the really high paying jobs. Yes, satire but probably not all that inaccurate.

        In many cases, if one is over 50, your best bet may be applying for a govt job. There tends to be a bit less age discrimination there. But it depends on your skill set and training as to what you’re qualified for.

        1. perpetualWAR

          I just worked for a month and a half at a firm where many of the salespeople are Millenials. They don’t know how to cold call to find clients….”that’s scary!” They don’t know how to dress business casual….”isn’t jeans, tshirt & tennies a business outfit?” They don’t know how to work…..”I got to check my iPhone.” Personally, the worst group of “workers” I had ever worked with. Backstabbing, lazy and entitled.

          1. Wukchumni

            If I was an employer, i’m not sure how one would go about making sure you weren’t paying for roaming time in terms of employees and their electric tethers, but it’s a huge problem.

        2. Wukchumni

          One of the things somebody over 50 possesses is more than likely a decent memory, which is worth precisely bupkis in the marketplace currently.

          1. Carey

            Not just worth bupkis, but actively not desired by the owning class.

            I wonder how many of the young have read and internalized Orwell
            and Huxley.

        3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Perhaps it can be explained with money.

          For the wealthy, 55 is the new 35 (“Thanks to my blood transfusionist. She is great.”

          If you have no money, not enough to migrate to Australia or Europe, 35 is the new 55.

      2. anon

        yep, WobblyTelomeres.

        Which is, more than likely, directly tied to the reason that Silicon Valley’s teens have a ghastly and evil rate of suicide, and suicide attempts [1]. From March 2018: In Silicon Valley, getting to the bottom of gaps in mental health care for teens

        On an anecdotal level, local mental health counselors say the problem is manifold: academic pressure and anxiety is through the roof, substance abuse is a growing concern and emotional support from parents is often stretched thin by the high cost of living and workaholic nature of Silicon Valley. Many parents relocated here for work, and admit they have no idea what it’s like to grow up in the Bay Area. [a sly hint that for some ‘bewildering’ reason, tech employees have been imported into Silicon Valley from: Ivy League colleges; elite families; or Asia, Israel, etcetera; despite thousands of young, and older actual residents qualified for the positions who are being disemboweled, or spun off into homelessness, from the area – anon]

        Despite widespread acknowledgment of the problem, youth mental health care services are sparse in the region, often starting and ending with designated counselors on campus. These therapists work on behalf of nonprofits, which provide heavily subsidized services through piecemeal contracts with school districts that could vanish at a moment’s notice.

        In an area flush with cash, why is Santa Clara County struggling to do right for its troubled teens, and provide the counseling and psychiatric services needed to prevent youth depression and suicide? In recent years, county supervisors have acknowledged that one of the gaping holes in mental health care — zero inpatient psychiatric beds for adolescents — is unacceptable in a county with more than 1.8 million residents. It’s likely that the service gaps don’t end there.

        While of course there is a criminal lack of teen mental health services in Silicon valley (just like there’s a criminal lack of affordable care, assistance, and housing for older people, etcetera, etcetera), I take large issue with the above linked and quoted article for sickeningly not calling out the obvious. These teens aren’t mentally ill for the most part, the — highly DOD subsidized, and transnational elite invested in — Silicon Valley mentality is brutal, criminal, and mentally ill. Correct that evil, and most teens won’t be needing that mental health care™, and certainly won’t be trying to kill themselves at such an evil rate.

        [1] To my mind, it’s criminal that health organizations are not acknowledging that successful suicide rates would be far, far higher if people had realized their chosen method would likely fail them and they would also likely end up crippled for life — in even worse misery and economic ruin than they were before —with no opportunities left to complete the suicide, while the truly mentally illHealthcare Industry™, fake charitable organizations, and horrid skilled rehab/nursing homes obscenely profit off of their misery.

        It’s also criminal that the Fourth Estate™ refuses to acknowledge the fact that exponentially increasing rates of suicide are a consequence of people unable to afford the basics in life.

  9. DonCoyote

    Bye bye Rahm, if only we could have hardly known you:

    With Emanuel out, others could get in race for Chicago mayor. A few quotes:

    His announcement came the day before the start of jury selection for one of the biggest police-shooting trials in Chicago history, a case that seemed sure to renew questions about the city’s long effort to prevent the release of video showing white officer Jason Van Dyke shooting black teenager Laquan McDonald 16 times in 2014.

    Emanuel has been a profile writer’s dream, from his time as a ballet dancer, to the loss of part of a finger while operating a meat-slicing machine at a deli where he once worked. Obama enjoyed linking the incident with Emanuel’s fondness for profanity by joking that the loss of his middle finger “rendered him mute for a while.”

  10. Robert Hahl

    Freddie King – Let The Good Times Roll

    Freddie King – My Credit Didn’t Go Through

    Solomon Burke – None Of Us Are Free
    Denzel Washington on drums.

    Robben Ford – I Just Want To Make Love To You

    Robben Ford & The Blue Line – When I Leave Here

    Doyle Bramhall II – Mama Can’t Help You

    Indonesian gamelan medley from Java, Sunda and Bali

  11. Arizona Slim

    No, Billy Kovacs didn’t come anywhere near the AZ CD2 House primary victory. Instead, Ann (yawn) Kirkpatrick did. But Billy is the future of the D party, regardless of what the party leadership thinks. Link


    Come for the article, stay for the comments. They’re fun. For example, here’s a snippet from Billy Kovacs:

    “The true problem is that we don’t have a bench of candidates ready to run for office. There is no pipeline for training, leadership development, and candidate prep to take on any level of elected office in Pima County. This is a fact, but we should learn from this mistake and start building the system up now and not sit here pointing fingers at each other.”

    1. c_heale

      You did. There is a comments holiday at the moment – I believe until the 8th or 9th September, so Yves, Lambert, and all the other hardworking people who run this wonderful site, can have a break.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        They are on only for selected posts. The default is off. This is an open thread to eliminate the possibility that people will drag their urgent, but random, comments into Outis’s fine series of posts, for which comments are also open.

  12. allan

    Brett Kavanaugh’s mentor checks in:

    Starr memoir recounts Lewinsky role in Clinton investigation [AP]

    Ken Starr, the former independent counsel whose investigation led to President Bill Clinton’s impeachment, writes in his upcoming book that if Monica Lewinsky had cooperated with his probe from the beginning, “the country would not have been dragged through an eight-month ordeal.” …

    Maybe somebody could ask Kavanaugh about this tomorrow.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Still favoring men over women…in this case, Clinton over Monica.

      “If Bill Clinton had cooperated…if he had controlled himself in that White House room…”

  13. The Rev Kev

    Came across something this morning I thought bizarre. Remember Theranos? There has been a few stories featured here on this con. Just as a reminder-
    ‘Theranos, a company that said it had invented a novel way of testing a very small amount of blood that would revolutionize the diagnostic industry, is officially dead. Stanford drop-out Elizabeth Holmes founded the company when she was 19 years old in 2004. The company raised hundreds of millions of dollars over the next decade from venture capital firms and private investors, resulting in optimistic valuations of $9 billion dollars.’
    Turns out a past supporter was no less than Jim ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis who sat on the company’s board and advocated the use of the company’s blood testing products at the Pentagon. That is a lot of high level support that. Story at-

  14. Wukchumni

    California-based Verity Health System filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy late last week. The nonprofit operator blamed ongoing losses and debt, along with aging infrastructure and an inability to renegotiate contracts, for its tenuous operating position. The system secured debtor financing of up to $185 million, and plans to keep its six hospitals open during the bankruptcy proceedings.

    Last year, billionaire investor and entrepreneur Patrick Soon-Shiong purchased Integrity Healthcare, the company that manages Verity, with the intent to revitalize the system and upgrade its technology while continuing to serve lower-income populations. Yet, “after years of investment to assist in improving cash flow and operations, Verity’s losses continue to amount to approximately $175 million annually on a cash flow basis,” and more than $1 billion overall, Verity CEO Richard Adcock said in the company’s bankruptcy announcement.


    Soon-Shiong is the new owner of the L.A. Times, for those scoring @ home.

      1. fajensen

        Generally, *any* company, protocol, device, system, tool, et cetera, using an adjective in it’s name will have the opposite properties of that adjective.!

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          General Electric or General Motors is still pretty general, thought some of their products can be special, I assume.

          There is a eatery place in Beverly Hills called the Stinking Rose. I have never tried it…wonder if it is an exceptional as well.

  15. kj1313

    I think Michael Avenatti is a grifter but Holy Heck I am more open to him running if he starts pressuring other candidates about this. This is what he tweeted about the Supreme Court.

    “In light of the Garland seat that was stolen, together with the events of today and the hiding of docs, etc., the court must be expanded to 11 seats after 2020. The Dem nominee must commit to this or not receive the nomination IMO. There is far too much at stake. #Basta”


        1. allan

          Charlie Savage @ NYT:

          As a White House lawyer in the Bush administration, Judge Brett Kavanaugh challenged the accuracy of deeming the Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade abortion rights decision to be “settled law of the land,” according to a secret email obtained by The New York Times. …

          Susan Collins to the white courtesy phone.

  16. allan

    Courtesy of The Biden Foundation (which apparently is a thing):

    Future of work: Don’t blame the tools, fix the rules

    The piece ends with this:

    Vice President Biden recently argued that we must “choose a future that puts work first.” We need not ignore the complexities underneath his problem statement to admit that it is a choice. Where should we start? Stop blaming the tools, and start fixing the rules.

    which is unobjectionable [other than: He’s running], but this earlier bit stuck out:

    … Workers in search of a middle-class career have to navigate the rules of …
    collective bargaining, non-compete agreements, and employer concentration [which] hold wages down …

    Which one of these three things is not like the other two? Oh, that lovable goofball.

  17. Wukchumni

    Wonder how the snitch hunt is faring, and wouldn’t you want to put Donny Jr. in charge, as shooting things is his strong suit?

  18. tegnost

    my favorite made up word, other than friddenencakes, of course, which has no meaning because it lacks context, is pachycraniitis

  19. Wukchumni

    Every picture tells a story, don’t it?

    A government photographer edited official pictures of Donald Trump’s inauguration to make the crowd appear bigger following a personal intervention from the president, according to newly released documents.

    The photographer cropped out empty space “where the crowd ended” for a new set of pictures requested by Trump on the first morning of his presidency, after he was angered by images showing his audience was smaller than Barack Obama’s in 2009.


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