Links 9/12/18

Deglacial mobilization of pre-aged terrestrial carbon from degrading permafrost Nature

Hurricane, Storm Surge Warnings Up for Carolinas; Florence May Stall Near Coast Weather Underground

SC officials won’t evacuate prison ahead of hurricane The State

‘This is not their first rodeo’: How Chincoteague’s ponies will ride out Hurricane Florence USA Today

More dead pigs? Hurricane threatens hog farms, sewage plants and people downstream McClatchy

The Catastrophe Bond Business Is Booming Bloomberg

A Top Goldman Banker Raised Ethics Concerns. Then He Was Gone. NYT. In 2014.

Apple Wants To Charge A Subscription Fee For Apps LifeHacker (KW).

Intel to outsource 14nm chipset production due to tight supply Digitimes. Delays in advancing to 10nm, originally slated for 2016.

Mark Carney to stay on at Bank of England until 2020 Financial News


U.K. and EU Plan Special Summit to Sign Brexit Deal Bloomberg. For November. Irish border still in question, however.

Brexit: “ultras” on the back foot EU Referendum

‘Poor quality’ preparations at key Brexit department risks billions of pounds in exports, warns watchdog Independent

NHS to be franchised around the globe under post-Brexit plans The Telegraph

NHS vacancies a ‘national emergency’ BBC

Letter from Britain: The Real Reason for the ‘Anti-Semite’ Campaign Against Jeremy Corbyn Consortium News

German domestic spy chief Maassen under pressure to resign Handelsblatt


Seventeen years after Sept. 11, Al Qaeda may be stronger than ever Los Angeles Times. Is the center ready to handle national security?

U.S. Again Cries ‘Chemical Warfare’ in Syria Scott Ritter, The American Conservative

Why the World Should Care About What Happens in Basra Counterpunch

Israel Secretly Armed and Funded 12 Syrian Rebel Groups, Report Says Haaretz


Trade wars: China fears an emerging united front FT

China’s trans-Himalayan tango with Nepal The Interpreter

Logistics is booming in China — but not where you think Supply Chain Dive

Hot water Mekong Review

California’s succulent smugglers: plant poachers seed Asia’s desire for dudleya South China Morning Post

New Cold War

Russia kicks off massive war games, hosts Putin-Xi meeting CNN

Is Putin Losing His Balance? Gordon Hahn

Brazil race begins in earnest with da Silva off party ticket AP

Latin America says U.S. has itself to blame for Chinese entry into region that it opposes McClatchy

Trump Transition

I Am Part of the Resistance Inside Nyarlathotep’s Death Cult McSweeney’s Internet Tendency

Google Cloud’s new AI chief is on a task force for AI military uses and believes we could monitor ‘pretty much the whole world’ with drones Insider

It’s Now Possible To Telepathically Communicate with a Drone Swarm Defense One

Health Care

Unwitting Patients, Copycat Comments Play Hidden Role In Federal Rule-Making Kaiser Health News

Thanks, Obama? Jacobin

Midwifery makes a comeback in Alabama Scalawag

The Myth That Crime Rises as Prisons Shrink Governing

The Worst Police Shooting Yet National Review

MGM offers $500 donation to charity for each shooting survivor who waives notice of lawsuit Chicago Tribune

Democrats in Disarray

Obama Urges Young Voters To Ignore How Many Lousy Candidates Democratic Party Runs The Onion

The Crash Ten Years After

Is the next financial crisis already brewing? Nouriel Roubini, FT

From Trump to Trade, the Financial Crisis Still Resonates 10 Years Later Dealb%k, NYT

Ten years after Lehman, spotting the next crisis: McGeever Reuters

Class Warfare

Missing wages, grueling shifts, and bottles of urine: The disturbing accounts of Amazon delivery drivers may reveal the true human cost of ‘free’ shipping Business Insider

The final insult for desperate job seekers: Employers doing credit checks MarketWatch

Humans Are Destroying Animals’ Ancestral Knowledge The Atlantic

Royal Botanic Garden seeks respect for world’s fungus ABC

The divide between mainstream macro and MMT is irreconcilable – Part 1 Bill Mitchell – Modern Monetary Theory. Parts two and three.

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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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. Whoa Molly!

      > Resistance as a Psy Op

      My first thought upon reading the anonymous op-ed in the times was, “this reads like a psy op”. It appears to be designed to harass and distract Trump. It says the exact things that will enrage him and sow paranoia.

      In his memoir Reporter, Seymour Hersch makes a point of saying that he learned to never trust a single source.

      The op ed is apparently single source, unverified, and timed to arrive with release of Woodwards book.

      At the very least it comes across as to me as journalistic malpractice.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It reminds of how the Chinese Cultural Revolution got started. From Wikipedia, Cultural Revolution:


        In late 1959, historian and Beijing Deputy Mayor Wu Han published a historical drama entitled Hai Rui Dismissed from Office. In the play, an honest civil servant, Hai Rui, is dismissed by a corrupt emperor. While Mao initially praised the play, in February 1965 he secretly commissioned his wife Jiang Qing and Shanghai propagandist Yao Wenyuan to publish an article criticizing it.[11] Yao boldly alleged that Hai Rui was really an allegory attacking Mao; that is, Mao was the corrupt emperor and Peng Dehuai was the honest civil servant.[12]

        It started with a play, followed by a newspaper article criticizing it.

    2. Unna

      In the first article, gotta love that way too cute picture of Putin and Xi cooking Blini. I wonder what Putin’s recipe is? Here’s a YouTube of Putin trying to do Chinese dumplings with Xi starting at min 1.00. When these guys retire they ought to do a cooking show together.

      Now how about some video of our boy Trudeau showing Trump how to do some poutine?

      On a more serious note, Pepe Escobar seems to be the most “woke” journalist around on what’s going on in Eurasia.

  1. The Rev Kev

    “Israel Secretly Armed and Funded 12 Syrian Rebel Groups, Report Says”

    No real surprises here as Israel has been shipping in weapons and equipment, treating wounded Jihadists in Israeli hospitals, provided artillery support to Jihadist operations and even at least once jamming Syrian Army communications in a Jihadist attack for years now. The Syrians now have container loads of captured weapons and equipment with Hebrew writing on them which was sloppy work on Israel’s behalf. There are a number of photos too of Israeli troops and Jihadists on their mutual border getting real friendly with one another. So, no real surprises.
    There are also more and more stories coming out how NATO countries too have also done the same. Just this week the Netherlands government had to (mostly) stop support to 22 armed militant groups with gear like ‘satellite phones, uniforms, assorted equipment and even the ‘iconic’ Toyota Hilux pick-up trucks, widely used by various militant groups in Syria’ is it did not yield the “expected” results. One of these groups – Jabhat al-Shamiya – was even on the Dutch justice department’s own terrorist group list. This was a result of two Dutch newspapers – Nieuwsuur and Trouw – busting the $80 million operation in a journalistic investigation. But the White Helmets will be funded until December as they have work to do in Idlib faking footage to justify western attacks.
    Expect to see more and more countries admit to supporting the Jihadist in Syria as things wind down.

    1. Lee

      There are a number of photos too of Israeli troops and Jihadists on their mutual border getting real friendly with one another. So, no real surprises.

      Well, they all pray to the same erratic, authoritarian, jealous, vengeful, misogynistic supreme being. Why shouldn’t they get along? Any adjectival resemblance of the pathological Abrahamic notion of god to Donald Trump is purely coincidental. Or, upon further reflection, maybe not.

      1. Doug Hillman

        Add genocidal sadist? When it comes to infinite cruelty, not sure Allah or Trump hold a candle to Yaweh, tho maybe Jehovah has a comb-over.

        The Old Testament is a book of horrors; certainly explains Israel’s national psychosis.

        1. JTMcPhee

          And let’s recall, speaking of genocide and such things, “We tortured some folks,” and of course that classic, “It turns out I’m pretty good at killing people.”

    2. Plenue

      Well, the funding mechanisms to the White Helmets will exist until December. Somehow I don’t think the members themselves will last that long, once the SAA starts carving up the province.

  2. allan

    Goldman: Surely the independent directors will have something to say about this … oh, never mind.
    Also from 2014, just as this was happening:

    Goldman Sachs Adds Lloyd Blankfein’s Old Boss To Board

    Investment bank Goldman Sachs Group is expanding its board of directors to fourteen members after taking on Mark Flaherty, a former vice chairman of asset manager Wellington Management, and Mark Winkelman, a longtime director of Anheuser-Busch InBev and a former head of Goldman’s J. Aron commodities division, where he was the boss of current CEO Lloyd Blankfein.

    Flaherty and Winkelman will join as independent directors and become members of Goldman’s audit, risk and corporate governance, nominating and public responsibilities committees.

    Winkelman, in many respects, was one of Blankfein’s most important champions at Goldman Sachs as he rose through the ranks of the storied investment bank. Winkelman headed commodity trader J. Aron, where Blankfein was hired in the early 198os. When the firm was later acquired by Goldman, Blankfein and Winkelman came along.

    Inside of Goldman, Winkelman was one of the first executives to recognize Blankfein’s talent. …

    Keep your friends close, your enemies closer and your mentor closest.

  3. Wukchumni

    MGM offers $500 donation to charity for each shooting survivor who waives notice of lawsuit Chicago Tribune
    In for a penny, out for a pound of flesh.

    1. Wukchumni

      The sheer nerve of the MGM suing 1,900 victims wasn’t enough, then they decided to try and guilt them into being charitable.

      Which law school teaches tactics such as these?

      1. JTMcPhee

        Which law schools teach these games? They all do.

        Where I happened to train, the class was called “Trial Tactics,” or colloquially “Trial Tricks…”

        As much as you have apparently seen of the world, that game, trying to get the mopes to waive service of the complaint on them (service, as in actual or imputed notice of the claims of a plaintiff, part of that whole “due process of law” thingy in the other thingy called the (haw haw) Constitution) should hardly be surprising.

        The big point, from MGM’s scum lawyers’ perspective, is that it COSTS MONEY to hire process servers to track down and lay the papers on the mope. And without obtaining service (and constructive service by publication — a notice in some obscure newspaper or web site, like what happened to a lot of people foreclosed on by the Banksters — is not apparently available, and without that “service,” an honest judge would note that he has no jurisdiction over the necessary parties.

        “Thank. You for your service” is the polite and correct thing to say to the sheriff’s deputy who slaps those “papers” on you, I am told…

        1. Wukchumni

          I’ve been fortunate to see the world in action as it functions, and lawyers tend to be really scarce compared to here, leaving such niceties as motels with swimming pools that have diving boards & slides, along with a trampoline.

          Lawyerdom got rid of that for us decades ago…

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      “The drug lobby is making an absolute fortune at the expense of American patients,” Trump said.

      Deplorable. As we all “know,” thanks, in part, to an anonymous nyt op-ed writer, this “amoral” president has turned washington into “crazytown” by disrespecting the conventions and “norms” so essential to the proper functioning of democracy in these united states.

      I fervently hope the patriots in the “steady state” can swipe any piece of paper pertaining to predatory drug pricing off this unhinged president’s desk before he has a chance to sign it.

      1. RUKidding

        Yes, he did say that in May. I’ll wait to see what he does.

        Not just talking about Trump, but about any politician. I only pay attention to what they do.

        Thanks for reminder.

    2. Pat

      Of course he did, when your only requirement is share price – aka value to the stockholders – that is the moral thing to do.

      We have two problems here (behind the crapification of business as dictated by the practice of businesses being run by people who have no clue what the business actually does)
      1.) that businesses have ever increasing rights but no responsibilities in America, between that ridiculous premise that they only have an obligation to the shareholders AND a corrupt court and political system that keeps giving them rights.
      2.) that we don’t recognize, or rather no longer recognize, that business have a place in the public good, whether they be public utilities or Hospitals and Pharmaceutical Companies.

      I don’t begin to know how to overthrow this particular neoliberal/Koch/Peterson blight in America. Even revolution might not reverse this because the propaganda campaign regarding business and markets seems to be very tenacious.

      1. JTMcPhee

        I’d cavil that because the only metric he recognizes, as the driver for his actions, is “increase shareholder value,” that is not in any way a rendition of a “moral judgment,” any more than breathing in response to messages from the oxygen sensors in your body is “moral.” Or defecating in response to messages from pressure sensors in one’s excretory end-of-pipe organs.

        1. Pat

          Fair enough, the failure is truly that of people like me who have not been able to change the Constitution to make it clear that:
          “Business has no Constitutional rights, but it does have Constitutional responsibilities to its customers, employees, and community equal to or greater than to its shareholders.”

          Because until that day, that is the only metric that matters because corrupt Politicians and Judges have made it so. And their owners repeat that big lie endlessly both in textbooks and in media.

      2. Elizabeth Burton

        the propaganda campaign regarding business and markets

        Tell me about it. When I posted to a discussion about the cost of insulin on a social media platform that generic versions of insulin were available from Walmart, as was mentioned here on Tuesday, at reasonable cost, not one but two people immediately took me to task for suggesting that information should be spread around as much as possible. The new versions are much, much better than the generic, which not everybody can use, they declaimed, and suggesting the Big Pharma is solely out for profit when one lacks a medical degree is unacceptable.

        One of them twice threw in a “Is my life worth less than yours?” whine, as if it had any relevance to the discussion, when I asked in all seriousness if they were saying people who need insulin and can’t afford it shouldn’t be provided the above information because “not everyone can use the generic.”

        I don’t know if there is any cure for that kind of mind-controlled narcissism wherein people feel they have the right to complain about how much they have to pay for their medications but also to decide what other people should use.

        Oh, and I was very, very tempted to tell the “Is my life worth less” drama queen “It depends on what you’re doing with it.” I opted to go another route, but I suspect her reaction was just as self-absorbed if I’d asked the former. I haven’t bothered to check.

    3. DonCoyote

      “Apple Wants To Charge A Subscription Fee For Apps”–because (presumably) it would be immoral not to do so.

    4. Procopius

      He explained what he meant. I thought he was very clear. “I’m in this business to make money.” What don’t you understand?

  4. Wukchumni

    Yet in recent years, computers have become so good at playing chess that their human collaborators have lost their value and might soon become entirely irrelevant. On December 6, 2017, another crucial milestone was reached when Google’s AlphaZero program defeated the Stockfish 8 program. Stockfish 8 had won a world computer chess championship in 2016. It had access to centuries of accumulated human experience in chess, as well as decades of computer experience. By contrast, AlphaZero had not been taught any chess strategies by its human creators—not even standard openings. Rather, it used the latest machine-learning principles to teach itself chess by playing against itself. Nevertheless, out of 100 games that the novice AlphaZero played against Stockfish 8, AlphaZero won 28 and tied 72—it didn’t lose once. Since AlphaZero had learned nothing from any human, many of its winning moves and strategies seemed unconventional to the human eye. They could be described as creative, if not downright genius.

    Can you guess how long AlphaZero spent learning chess from scratch, preparing for the match against Stockfish 8, and developing its genius instincts? Four hours. For centuries, chess was considered one of the crowning glories of human intelligence. AlphaZero went from utter ignorance to creative mastery in four hours, without the help of any human guide.

    AlphaZero is not the only imaginative software out there. One of the ways to catch cheaters in chess tournaments today is to monitor the level of originality that players exhibit. If they play an exceptionally creative move, the judges will often suspect that it could not possibly be a human move—it must be a computer move. At least in chess, creativity is already considered to be the trademark of computers rather than humans! So if chess is our canary in the coal mine, we have been duly warned that the canary is dying. What is happening today to human-AI teams in chess might happen down the road to human-AI teams in policing, medicine, banking, and many other fields.

    1. babap

      There are a few important points that Google minimizes. The first is that they have access to so much supercomputer computation that the four hours of training is equivalent to training using about 44 million games played. Compare this to humans, who can learn much more efficiently how to play chess after tens to hundreds to thousands of games. The second is that chess is an easy game in the sense that all information is available to every player. The hardest problems are those of partial information, and humans regularly operate in this kind of environment where not all the information is available for decision-making. None of these algorithms being developed really work well in this partial information setting.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        When AI is able to beat a table full of champion poker players, then I’ll worry–and wear a ski mask in public.

        1. pretzelattack

          it’s getting pretty close; i read that limit holdem had been solved, and that some program did indeed beat some pro’s but head’s up.

      2. Lee

        Plus, chess operates on a two dimensional, inorganic plane. If that’s all I had to do all day, I’d be a phking genius too. Bored out of my mind, though. When AI can mine, make and pound a nail or farm, concoct and cook a decent soup, I’ll be truly impressed.

      3. Carolinian

        Yes, thank you. Chess is a very poor example of AI since it’s a highly defined problem. Real life is full of a vastly greater set of variables.

        So our reaction to these chess whiz computers should really be: so what?

      4. JTMcPhee

        “Partial information problems,” like elections, “markets,” and of course that perennial favorite of our species, armed violent conflict/the racket known collectively as “war.” And of course our greatest military minds are now all-in on turning AI loose on that most human of all activities — On the usual and generally unanswered ground that “Vlad and Xi are and Netanyahoo are doing it” (because we, of course, are doing it) — that most compendious of self-licking ice cream cones.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Here is another problem (from above):

          It’s Now Possible To Telepathically Communicate with a Drone Swarm Defense One

          Can remote mind reading be far behind?

          And that leads us to the question: Are there too many smart people in the world?

          Also this: Are we spending too much money in too many wrong places, like the way some people look for love?

    2. JTMcPhee

      Blow it up, burn it with fire, and bury the ashes in the desert…

      Can hardly wait to see the apps that the apps generate, when the apps are turned loose to generate what they self-teach, without any human input, over the whole broad spectrum of the universe as we think we know it.

      “Here, AlphaZero, is a freshly honed razor. Please cut my throat for me?”

    3. curlydan

      “AlphaZero went from utter ignorance to creative mastery in four hours”… how long did it take to program AlphaZero? I’d say there was a long line of human guides in there. Chess is a nice way to train, though. Only killing/capturing theoretical pieces. It’s a little different in medicine or driving. Deaths due improve the algorithm and decision making, but it’s a bit more costly.

    4. Synoia

      Three points

      1. Feed the US Code into AlphaZero and let’s see how it makes decisions
      2. Feed in the Climate change data and look at solutions
      3. What happens when it analyzes the human affect on the planet.

    5. Shane Mage

      Chess is, for a computer, totally trivial. On the other hand, no computer, however powerful, has ever been able to compete with humans in Contract Bridge (at the expert level), nor will that be possible in the foreseeable future because algorithmic inflexibility (the most fundamental rule of Bridge requires full disclosure of the system in use) causes total vulnerability to calculated deception.

      1. Filiform Radical

        Chess is, for a computer, totally trivial.

        This is inaccurate. Although we do have artificial agents that can achieve feats like AlphaZero’s, they took decades upon decades of research to develop and are still considered cutting edge. Designing a program to play semi-decent chess at even the level of a casual player is very difficult without the sophisticated techniques of modern AI, and even with them it is far from trivial.

    6. pretzelattack

      i remember reading that stockfish had to operate under certain handicaps, something about not being allowed to use its opening book for one thing.

    1. Jessica

      Probably not. The folks in the cities, who are the ones with the much larger carbon footprints, probably won’t have any extra children. They may even follow the Koreans and Japanese in having birth rates well below replacement level.

    1. diptherio

      I believe you’re correct. My parents visited the Galapagos islands a few years ago and mother brought me back a tee-shirt bearing an image of two of these birds and the caption “I Love Boobies!” Thanks mom, real classy.

    2. Craig H.

      blue footed booby mating dance

      On an unrelated to the antidote note,

      > Obama Urges Young Voters To Ignore How Many Lousy Candidates Democratic Party Runs

      Did nobody else watch Tulsi Gabbard on Joe Rogan?

      She is a politician but he asked her questions for an hour and a half and she sure sounded like she was answering pretty straight to me.

      1. John k

        Google Bernie tulsi 2020.
        Fills all the gaps… age, gender, ethnicity, anti war vet, geographical, looks…
        They campaign together… and remember she nominated him at the 2016 convention.
        And supers no longer vote on first ballot. Biden Harris don’t have a chance.

  5. Wukchumni

    But which one is the Judean People’s Front?
    Israel Secretly Armed and Funded 12 Syrian Rebel Groups, Report Says Haaretz

  6. apberusdisvet

    The McClatchey article on Hurricane Florence, while adequately providing info on the dangers to the environment and populace of the potential overflowing coal ash pits and hog manure lagoons, neglected to mention a more significant threat; the 12 decrepit nuke reactors, many low lying, directly in the path of the tidal surge expected from Florence. All of these are the same GE model found at Fukushima. We all know how that turned out.

  7. Wukchumni

    After patting himself on the back for handling Puerto Rico so well in the aftermath of a hurricane, should the Carolinas be concerned?

      1. Wukchumni

        What if we knew a 7.4 earthquake was coming although we couldn’t be sure of the exact location it would be centered at, say 3 days out?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          That sounds like a man-made earthquake, and perhaps we check with our counter-intelligence people.

      1. Procopius

        You made me snort coffee out my nose. I think people who believe Biden would be a good President really would think Brennan would be an excellent person to be one heart attack away from the Presidency.

    1. Wukchumni

      HYPOCRITE, n. One who, profession virtues that he does not respect secures the advantage of seeming to be what he depises.

      Ambrose Bierce

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      He speaks of being smarter.

      Whether he in fact is, or is not, is trivial, thought it seems to matter a lot to him, and presumably not a few of his readers.

    3. RUKidding

      Jamie Presidential Cufflinks Dimon probably thinks he’s smarter than Trump at cheating, grifting, stealing, plundering and pillaging.

      Could be true. Dimon certainly showed all of us how much of a haul he made after the 2008 crash. Dimon and his pals made out like the bandits that they are, while hapless US citizens got the royal shaft. Maybe it does surpass all of the grifting, cheating, graft and corruption of Trump’s prior and current situations.

      Of course, it takes one cheating thief to know another one.

    4. John k

      A laffer that a corrupt banker could beat the donald. He forgets D beat 17 professional well funded reps and went on th beat the most prepared pol Evah, one that Jamie enthusiastically funded.
      Course, no reason why he shouldn’t set another billion or so on fire, spread his wealth to the pro consultants… trickle down at work…
      Hope he runs, splits support from Biden Harris.
      I would enjoy him debating Bernie…

  8. Carolinian

    EU passes copyright law that will require all “commercial” sites to employ expensive and highly inaccurate content filters on offered material. Youtube now does this and the algo robots are supposed to determine if a musical background by say Beethoven is from a particular recording. False positives are rampant.

    An analysis from Cory Doctorow.

    1. RMO

      Someone has received guilty-until-proven-innocent copyright strikes on Youtube for uploading hours of white noise he generated with his own computer. People have received strikes after posting their own performances of public domain musical pieces too. Extending this to pretty much all of the internet makes me want to bang my head against the wall. Actually, banging the heads of those responsible for the law would make more sense I guess…

  9. zagonostra

    Refer: Serena Williams/Media

    I am curious as to what NC readers think on Serena Williams outburst at the US open. It seems to me that there is a clear break in the cognitive/emotional make-up of people on this topic that clearly marks a dividing line that goes well beyond the incident.

    1. voteforno6

      It might be a little more nuanced than that. I think, in this case, context is important. From what I’ve seen written by people who have extensively covered tennis, there definitely is an issue there, as men have often behaved in far worse ways, and not been disciplined as severely as she has. On the other hand, her behavior did seem to be out of line, in the context of how people should act in normal settings. I think you can excuse some of it, as athletes in competition can run a little hot at times. But, acting like a jerk seems to be accepted as part of the culture of tennis (whereas in baseball, a player would’ve been tossed for acting like that). So, maybe the answer is that all tennis players should maybe act a little better.

    2. RUKidding

      I’m totally not a tennis expert, and mostly, I don’t really care about it. I did read what Martina Navratalova wrote, which made sense to me in terms of how the Rules of tennis work:

      Apparently male tennis players get away with worse behavior without being penalized in the way that Serena was. If there’s a double standard, then it should definitely be addressed.

      However, according to Navratalova, Serena definitely, uh, “broke” some rather bright line rules. Ergo, it appears that the penalties were fair under the circumstances. In which case, it seems that Serena’s outbursts were unprofessional, at least. I understand that Serena did go on to heartily congratulate the winner of the match.

      The male tennis players should be held to the same standard. Will they? Possibly not. Is this then unfair to female players? Sort of. But shouldn’t we all aspire to play by the rules as written?

      A bit of a gray area, but seems like Serena was treated fairly according to the rules.

      1. ewmayer

        “I understand that Serena did go on to heartily congratulate the winner of the match.” — After her tantrum and the partisan crowd reaction deprived said winner of any semblance of the joy she rightfully deserved to experience in her success. (Note Osaka was outplaying and out-composure-ing her all through the match). Classy! As was threatening the referee.

        As I noted in sending a BBC link to the story to Yves, “There actually is a kind of class-warfare element here, with Williams representing the entitled tennis oligarchy.” The rules don’t apply to me! Also the lame sexism-based excuses … so men haven’t routinely been warned for obvious coaching (Serena’s coach afterward admitted that’s he was doing, then lame-excused himself with everybody-does-it and but-I-don’t-think-she-saw-me-coaching-her) and docked a point for smashing their rackets to bits? Please provide some stats to back up this claim.

        1. CanCyn

          The coach actually said that he was coaching but most news reports don’t include that he added that all coaches do it all the time and that Serena didn’t see his signal which is she was so upset about the one call. Sorry, I read this the other day and can’t find the link.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      If’ she hadn’t broken her racket, she wouldn’t have been disqualified.

      That said, her post-match centering of Asoka was utterly admirable (as indeed I would expect to be; both the Williams sisters are class acts).

      1. John k

        She wasn’t disqualified. The third penalty was a game, specifically her opponents game. Osaka had previously held I think ten out of eleven service games, so on that basis it is likely the loss of that game did not cost Serena’s anything… if Serena’s next service game had been taken away, the match was over.
        Granted, players sometimes get nervous at the end of matches, but, when Osaka did serve for the match, she did so quite convincingly. In fact she never showed any signs of nerves, even during Serena’s histrionics.
        Serena was sweet to Osaka after the match, showing her good side. But as at least one female commentator said during the match, she is sometimes bullying when angry.

    4. Anon

      Didn’t watch the match live. But it seems to me the chair umpire was more officious than astute. Serena Williams is the center of womens’ tennis. At the US Open Final, you do not apply a rule that is often broken (coaching) without some kind of preamble and a very humble demeanor. (The spectators are not there to see you.) From what I understand, Serena felt she was being accused of cheating; the umpire should have had a better sense of the situation and weathered the rather mild verbal storm and then let the players play.

      I doubt the outcome would have been different. Osaka was quicker and nearly as powerful on the court as Serena. (I know Serena would like to break Margaret Court’s slam title record, but, to me it’s irrelevent–M.Court wasn’t near the commanding tennis player that is Serena.

      1. ewmayer

        “Serena Williams is the center of womens’ tennis. At the US Open Final, you do not apply a rule that is often broken (coaching) without some kind of preamble and a very humble demeanor.” — So the umpire was supposed to grovel to Her Royal Highness rather than try to do his job fairly and impartially? See my note about “entitled oligarchy” above.

        So you would have expected something along the following lines, perhaps?

        “I’m so sorry, your majesty, but would please shower the cringing worthless worm that is me with your infinite grace and ask your coach to please make it a little less obvious that he is coaching you from the stands. I am so sorry to trouble your royal magnificence with such an annoying request…”

        1. allan

          Amen. Imagine what the comments here would be like if the president of Harvard chewed out
          a line cook at the faculty club for burning his Beef Wellington. I know nothing about tennis,
          but looked at through the lens of class, this was ugly.
          What a horrible way for Osaka, who should have been the center of attention, to collect her prize.

        2. Anon

          You may have expected that, but not me.

          As I stated, the US Open Final (with Serena a major star) should not be about the chair umpire but the players. Let them decide the outcome, not some officious dude with a lack of awareness of his own demeanor while calling Serena out for something that occurs quite often in tennis (although technically a ‘rule’: no coaching).

          While Serena, I think, was in full tirade-like mode her language was not profane. Actually, she was accurate using the term ‘thief’. An astute chair umpire would have recognized the moment better and allowed the diatribe and then said, “Let’s play on.”

          You may want to take the Tennis Tirade Test that is online at the GuardianUS and see if you can answer ANY of the questions correctly. The history of on-court tantrums in tennis is long. Most handled better than this US Open Final.

      2. John k

        The coaching penalty was a first infraction and was just a warning. This has happened many times in tennis. The issue was not her cheating, as she said, but whether her coach tried to cheat. And subsequently she followed her coach’s illegal suggestion, as noted by the female commentator.
        The second infraction was for breaking her racket during her first temper tantrum. This resulted in the loss of a point, which has also happened before in men’s and women’s tennis.
        The third incident was her ongoing rage against the umpire. It is true that men have said things they should not have during the heat of the match. But tennis is trying to clean up the game, eg curse words are routinely penalized even when not directed at anyone. Plus, just this year a shot clock has been added, which affects Nadal an Djokovic more than anybody else but eliminates rage at a perceived wrong line call. Note that financial penalties are meaningless… she was fined 17k, less than 1% of the. 2mil she received for coming in second. I strongly support the efforts to continue civilizing the game.
        She accused the umpire of sexism, a nasty charge these days. And note the umpire is not allowed to comment after the match while she can go on talk shows and continue to say whatever she wants.
        Serena is a great champion, hugely popular, doubtless best female player ever. But she sometimes behaves like a spoiled child.

    5. The Rev Kev

      It was intolerable and I don’t care how many people reckon it was about race or about womanhood or whatever. Her coach admitted to trying to coach her from the audience as did the coach for the Japanese player. Throw them both out to pass the word. What Serena Williams said to that coach was verging, no, was libel in public. Doing a dummy spit and breaking a racket is insane not matter which player does it.
      They could penalize these prima donas more but don’t. And she was trying to justify her behaviour by saying she had a daughter? What if that umpire had two daughters? Does that negate hers? Cannot stand watching tennis and that feeling was reinforced by watching once the aftermath of a Jimmy Connors match a long time ago. Too much ‘entitlement’ is allowed in that game.

  10. Doug Hillman

    Thanks, Obama? —Jacobin

    O: “Democrats aren’t just running on good old ideas like a higher minimum wage,” he said, “they’re running on good new ideas like Medicare for All.”.

    Good new ideas? The man who deliberately buried Medicare-for-all for his Insurance racket cronies now says it’s a new idea. If this con gets anywhere near health-racket “reform” it’s doomed.

    Barack Obama has a brass pair of cojones. This is the attempted rehabilitation of Lucifer, earning his 300-ft monument in Jackson Park. Gag me

  11. georgieboy

    And even more reason for faithfully Blue residents of Soviet Chicago to say “Thanks Obama!”

    This guy is the gift-receiver who just keeps taking. A few months ago the whisper number was for only a $175 mm gift from Chicago taxpayers to the Pharoah, now it’s $225mm plus plus.

    Projects relevant to the forthcoming Obama Presidential Center in Chicago’s Jackson Park will cost taxpayers $224 million, according to the Washington Examiner.

    This includes $174 million for roadwork in and around Jackson Park and $50 million for renovations to the Garfield Green Line station, two miles from the presidential center. Illinois taxpayers will be on the hook for $199 million of the total cost, with $25 million of the Garfield station renovations funded through a federal grant, according to the Washington Examiner.

    Unfortunately, Illinois taxpayers would have no way of knowing this money was flowing to the presidential project from looking at the state’s 1,245-page budget, which makes no mention of the Obama Presidential Center. That spending is hidden, but has been confirmed by political figures such as Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

    Illinois’ state budget might not be the only source of taxpayer money for the center. Chicago residents may face a property tax add-on, as the General Assembly amended the state’s Museum Act in 2016 to permit such a tax to help finance the center. Alterations to the Museum Act also allowed lawmakers to grant the parkland transfer to the Obama Foundation. That transfer is the subject of a federal lawsuit filed by the nonprofit Protect Our Parks. Protect Our Parks claims the city and the Chicago Park District broke state law through their transfer of the parkland, and also argues using tax money for the center’s construction is compelled political speech and a violation of the First Amendment.

    Hidden money for the Obama Presidential Center is a consequence of the state spending plan’s opaqueness. The negotiating process in drafting of the budget took place outside of public view and state senators were given five hours to read the massive document before taking a vote.

  12. Roland

    The LA Times piece is wrong on one thing: the Syrian gov’t did not “give free passage to jihadis.”

    Fighters were able to transit from Syria to Iraq for the same reason fighters were able to go to Iraq from Jordan or Saudi Arabia: geography. Just look at the map: long borders in sparsely inhabited regions.

    If the mighty invaders with all their satellites and drones and unlimited airpower couldn’t control the Iraqi border regions, then how was Syria, a developing country with a second-rate military, supposed to be able to do it?

    In 2004/05 the Syrian gov’t offered to coordinate border patrols with US occupation forces, but was rebuffed.

    The Syrian gov’t was no less cooperative than the Jordanians when it came to investigating Al Qaeda (probably too cooperative, as shown in the joint US/Canadian/Syrian treatment of a Maher Arar). The American gov’t actually admitted that on several occasions the Syrians had provided useful intelligence on Al Qaeda.

  13. Oregoncharles

    About the title: no, it won’t, not unless you’re Jimmy Dore. It hasn’t even done that Thomas Frank; to this day, he has not forsworn the Democratic Party, even while proving how worse than useless and incorrigible it is. Jimmy Dore and Lee Camp have; maybe it’s something about comedians. Maybe Mr. Frank is too nice to take his own works entirely seriously.

    And maybe, just maybe, he’ll prove me wrong. I would enjoy that.

  14. Rohan Saharia

    Yves, Lambert, JL
    Just wanted to drop you a note letting you know how much I admire your analysis, classification, and curation.
    As a person of Indian origin, I would very much appreciate your including interesting news and analysis you may come across on the subcontinent.
    Again, thanks for all you do.

  15. direction

    Yay for the dudleya story. We have been keeping an eye out here for the bad guys. I should go down to the beach and get a photo: has this species gotten to be the centerfold for your water cooler yet Lambert?

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