Links 11/4/18

Jesus Announces Plans To Return Once The Dow Clears 27,000 The Onion

Man shot by pet dog insists ‘he didn’t mean to do it’ Independent

Cockroaches deliver karate kicks to avoid being turned into “zombies” Ars Technica

Probiotics of the plant world: Why soil microbes are gaining worldwide interest Australian Broadcasting Corporation News

The New Canon Chronicle of Higher Education

SI gets a makeover Physics World. Kilogram redefined.

The most intellectual creature to ever walk Earth is destroying its only home’ Guardian

A new, eye-wateringly high estimate of the cost of obesity in the US Ars Technica

Wars over fish increasingly likely as countries use military force to protect ‘critical commodity’ Australian Broadcasting Corporation News (The Rev Kev)

Business is big in Germany, but not easy, World Bank says Handelsblatt


Revealed: Theresa May’s secret Brexit deal The Times. The front page claim….

Brexit: the pivoting May And a debunking.

Barclays and Lloyds among worst performers in EU stress tests FT

Waste Watch

Shipping industry cracks down on plastic waste TreeHugger


Cancer-linked Chemicals Manufactured by 3M Are Turning Up in Drinking Water Bloomberg (JohnnyGL)

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

Chinese-style ‘digital authoritarianism’ grows globally: study France 24

TSA gives green light to test new technology that can screen passengers from 25 feet away LA Times

Kill Me Now

Michelle Obama Should Go High—And Kick, Writes Kiese Laymon Vanity Fair

Realignment and Legitimacy

Obama rips hecklers: Why are the people who won the last election ‘so mad all the time?’ WaPo. That is the question. And the failure of Democrats to appreciate that legitimate anger is why we’re where we are, with Trump in the White House.

Democrats Say Republicans Are Stealing the Midterms. Are They Right? Politico

Criminal Justice on the Tuesday Ballot Marshall Project

Forget About The Candidates. What Else Is On The Ballot This Week? FiveThirtyEight

Here’s a look at the 11 propositions California voters will weigh on Nov. 6 LA Times. Note emphasis on affordable housing.

Protect public trust by auditing elections: It’s easier than you might think The Hill. Don’t like the Russia, Russia, Russia framing. And I have a far better idea: handmarked paper ballots, hand counted in public. What’s so difficult about that?

Can the Republic Strike Back? New York magazine. Reading Andrew Sullivan’s latest is usually a good way to calibrate the current state of pearl-clutching.

Class Warfare

The Palace and the Storm The Baffler

Mystery Goldman Exec at 1MDB Meeting Signals New Woes for Bank Bloomberg

N.J. Transit Commute Mess: ‘A Level of Incompetence I’ve Never Quite Seen Before’ NYT

Amazon is hiring fewer workers this holiday season, a sign that robots are replacing them Quartz

Two Workers Are Dead After Partial Building Collapse at Amazon’s Baltimore Warehouse Gizmodo (The Rev Kev) And see from earlier this year, Amazon And Tesla Facilities Named Among The Most Dangerous Workplaces In America Gizmodo

If Jeff Bezos Makes Washington the Second Headquarters of Amazon New Yorker. Show of hands: who believes this whole exercise wasn’t rigged for this result from the beginning?


Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei: Trump has disgraced US prestige Al Jazeera

How a Saudi royal crushed his rivals in a ‘shakedown’ at the Ritz-Carlton NBC Not news exactly— nice to see the US MSM finally taking a belated interest.

‘No Decision Yet’ From India on Russia’s Invitation for Talks With Afghanistan, Taliban The Wire

Is Peace at Hand in Afghanistan? Foreign Policy in Focus Not sure the deep ironic connotation of that headline was intended….


Taibbi: Russia’s Biggest Problem Will Soon Be Ours Rolling Stone. Matt Taibbi. Missed this earlier this week.


Where goats drink first: Women struggle as coastal India grows saltier Thomson Reuters Foundation

After US relief, India works to pay for Iran oil in rupees Times of India

How to power India: Modi tweaks the energy mix FT

Trump Transition

Trump Displays His Contempt for the Iranian People American Conservative

Trump and the Hart-less Presidency NYT MoDo

Wilfred Owen – A Poet Who Wrote the Great War’s Epitaph Even as It Was Writing His The Wire . One hundred years ago today, Wilfred Owen fell to German machine gun fire. His mother received the news one week later, as bells pealed to celebrate the war’s end.

Antidote du Jour:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. edmondo

      Your post could make it a little tense at the New York magazine Christmas Party when Yves asks Andrew to pass the egg nog.

  1. Isotope_C14

    Amazon is hiring fewer workers due to robots? Or is it that too few people have money to buy their stuff?

    1. Baby Gerald

      Excellent point, Isotope_C14. These ‘robots are coming for your jawbs’ articles should be compiled and time-referenced- they would make for a fun book. I bet we could find stories like this one in Quartz across the last six decades.

      Anyone who read the story in New Statesman linked here yesterday might wonder where all these amazing robots are, because the author mentions the only robotics she saw were ‘Roomba-style robots that move shelves of items around on their own’ and a machine that affixes the shipping labels to the box.

      But the robots do provide a good excuse for installing a chain-link fence in the warehouse, which is shown in one of the stories accompanying photos. No really, it’s to keep the people safe from the robots. Perhaps the most telling photo from the article, though, is that of the screening area by the entrance of the facility featuring a long line [I counted 11, in the photo] of metal detectors.

    1. Richard

      Thanks for the pain, Rev. Boy. Do people in the u.s. overidentify with their “leaders”? And spend way too much time thinking of new ways to describe how wonderful they are? Yes. Yes they do.
      Obsequiousness could be our number one national character trait if we all just tried a little harder. And if hypocrisy hadn’t started with such a big lead.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        It’s often been observed that Americans don’t have presidents, they have elected royalty. This seems a common issue with presidential systems, in parliamentary democracies it’s very rare for the public to see their prime ministers as anything but technocrats. Most people in parliamentary democracies would probably struggle to name their PM’s spouse.

        1. JW

          in parliamentary democracies it’s very rare for the public to see their prime ministers as anything but technocrats.

          Except when they see their super powerful executive/legislator as the Fuhrer or the Iron Lady.

          There is still some real world justification for separation of powers even if it only becomes clear in the very long run.

          1. disillusionized

            pretty sure the presidency would be better of with some cabinet style democratic influences.

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              Hmmmm . . . . one wonders whether the Consitituion should be changed around to make Cabinet Secretaries separately electable and elected in their own separate elections. Perhaps start with just one or two and see how it works.

        2. Bugs Bunny

          This goes double for France where the presidency links itself in language and law to both the Empire and the ancien régime. A change in that mindset also seems impossible.

          1. Procopius

            As I understand it, in France the President is not actually the head of the government but rather the Head of State, more a ceremonial post. I’m sorry to say I don’t know as much about it as I should, but I thought Charles DeGaulle made the office of Prime Minister more powerful, and more comparable to the presidency of the United States.

        3. John Wright

          To me, the USA leadership class has envied Old Europe and tried to be more like it (with home grown nouveau rich upper crust royalty and remote empire wars).

          Nixon strived for a European uniform look at the White House

          “Nixon, who thought his White House uniform guards looked “slovenly,” had them outfitted in new uniforms, based on the honor guards he had seen, and been impressed by, in Europe.”

          Maybe that is why I like the rather innocuous presidency of Warren G. Harding.

          As President, Harding pursued his own interests (booze, broads, poker and golf) and didn’t promote the imperial presidency and wars of intervention.

          Sure he had some corrupt individuals working for him that tried to take advantage of the USA taxpayer via government property grabs, but now that practice seems institutionalized now via lobbying/legislation and public resignation (as the public watched the rescue of the financial industry)

          “Do no harm” should guide doctors and US presidents.

          Harding seems universally disparaged as one of the worst presidents, but that may be yet more evidence that the measurement of Presidential “value” is flawed.

          1. Wukchumni

            Laura Bush was here in the higher climes last month, and required 16 secret service agents in her retinue to guard her presumably against squirrels and other 4 legs bad constituency.

            They’re our royalty, essentially.

            1. Kurt Sperry

              My British friends of a more conservative bent were having a chuckle about a photo published of Jeremy Corbyn making an illegal turn while riding his bicycle around Islington. When I mentioned that I was just happy to see a high-profile politician riding his bicycle around for transport, they reminded me that even BoJo, Osbourne and Cameron were known to use their push bikes for getting about on the public roads. Even got a personal anecdote about a friend who knocked Cameron off his bike in London while he was going the wrong way on a street with, fortunately, no injury. I know GWB liked to cycle, but not on public thouroughfares. I wonder how many American pols would have the courage to do so sans security escorts et al.

              My hat’s off to pols–even Tories– who cycle on the mean streets to get from point A to point B.

              1. norm de plume

                The first postwar Australian PM, former railwayman Ben Chifley, apparently used to stroll down the main street of Canberra on a Sunday with his family and buy the kids ice cream. People would stop and yarn with him.

                Nowadays all the pollies travel around in white limos with tinted windows and are anyway too busy on their phones to stop and talk to anyone.

          2. Sparkling

            The 1920s gets a lot of flak. It’s not all undeserved, but the biggest complaint is usually that “we were more focused on having fun than saving the world.” Focusing on domestic prosperity instead of foreign adventures! How horrifying!

            It also ignores how (if I recall correctly) we were the ones lending to Germany so they could pay France the exorbitant sums of money it demanded as reparations.

            1. Wukchumni

              Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World, by Liaquat Ahamed, is a great read on the last vestiges of the gold era, and the interwar period.

              One of the key problems with the Au standard, was the USA had most of all above ground all that glitters, by being paid by the victors on armament loans due.

              A good many other countries previously on the Au standard, simply couldn’t afford it after WW1, and never issued a gold coin again for circulation.

              1. Procopius

                I keep meaning to read that book. I read elsewhere, probably John Kenneth Galbraith, that one of the major causes of the Great Crash was a policy adopted by the French central bank if increasing their gold holdings to double or triple the minimum they needed. Advocates of the Gold Standard™ never mention problems like that.

        4. sleepy

          One problem is, our president is both the head of government and the head of state. If we had a prime minister and a king, the personal expectations for the PM would be lower than they are for the king. In the UK much attention is paid to the sexual escapades of the royalty, but no one would give a flying flip about Teresa May’s or Tony Blair’s sex life.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            This isn’t about the scandal side of things as much as the blind worship. Joe Biden’s lunch dates required shutting down a large community college in Northern Virginia. A guy who has two jobs, being ready to take the big job and casting a rare tie breaking vote he’ll have a heads up on if he even feels like it.

            Then we see the fascination with the first ladies, waiting on their pronouncements. It’s bizarre. Wow, Michelle encouraged kids to eat vegetables! Everything is going to change now!

            Hollywood for ugly people is an extension of the worship, but we then fuss over their kids scandal and non scandal. Chelsea is treated seriously for no reason other than being the spawn of a former President who didn’t even crack 50%. There was a story shared about a month ago of deranged security screenings, so Bill Clinton could go to a concert. The only reason people knew he was there was he was pointed out by the musician. I’m sure Bill’s people called ahead. He should have been booed out of there for causing such an inconvenience. He is paid after all. It’s not like he needs to pan handle.

            Trump’s cabinet’s behavior. These are all replaceable people. The President even has a full time replacement. In the case of royals, if there was a real problem the might be dealing with the situation in a hands on fashion. Keeping them safe was really important.

            1. Sparkling

              Chelsea is treated seriously because, unlike a good 90% of the ruling class, she is a rational adult. (The nasty gossip about her among her father’s minions was one of the most sickening things in those leaked emails. What a lovely group of people…)

                1. Sparkling


                  “As Ms. Clinton asserted herself at the Clinton Foundation, eager to embrace her role as a board member and de facto heir, she became concerned about what seemed to her to be a lack of professionalism, as well as a blurring of the lines between the foundation’s philanthropic activities and some of its leaders’ business interests.”

                  It’s clear that back when her mother was Secretary of State she had been sheltered from the worst (if not all) of her parents’ criminal activities and was unaware of the Clinton Foundation’s true purpose. The minions– sorry, Bill Clinton’s “surrogate children” were whining and complaining about how she was actually trying to clean the place up.

                  She’s been corrupted since then. However, she isn’t attacking everyone who ever supported her mother’s opponents in any capacity on a daily basis. She isn’t screeching about Russian conspiracies at the top of her lungs. She definitely isn’t crying on camera (literally– look closely at Hillary’s eyes during that interview) about how the media treated her horribly unfairly during the campaign. Compared to the vast majority of “Bill Clinton, Inc.” she is a rational adult. (I am aware that’s a relative term with those people though!)

                  1. Richard

                    okay, thanks
                    I’ve stayed away from news about her
                    especially glad to hear that she isn’t mining russia

              1. drumlin woodchuckles

                Has she opposed the ruling class on Forced Free Trade or America Leadershipping the World or anything else her parents supported and engineered while in office?

                  1. Sparkling

                    Eh? Rush Limbaugh doesn’t have anything to do with this. I read those emails when Wikileaks released them along with millions of other people.

                    Chelsea’s statements in that article are much more respectful than anything neoconservatives were saying and continue to say about people like Jeremy Corbyn. On top of that, Bush had the highest presidential approval ratings in recent history right after 9/11 for a reason. The Afghanistan War was almost unanimously supported at the time. Are all the Americans who would have been totally infuriated by this protest immature brats? For that matter, are all Americans who like the Clintons immature brats?

                    1. tegnost

                      The Afghanistan War was almost unanimously supported at the time
                      really? By who?
                      The smart people maybe?

                    2. NotTimothyGeithner

                      Neoconservatives? What #resistantance leader do you mean? And I have standards and don’t consider being better than a neoconservative to be impressive at all. Its a low bar.

                      re all Americans who like the Clintons immature brats?

                      There are a few who are crooks, but at this point, yes. Americans who still like the Clintons are immature brats, too lazy to even do a bit of research on a candidate and tend to act out because their queen failed in her coronation attempt and most of her supporters did nothing but whine and grouse.

                      Again, Chelsea actually just protested a peace effort. It just screams classy, doesn’t it? Was she employed by MSNBC at the time? She certainly didn’t show up, so she had plenty of time to disrupt attempts at peace.

                    3. Sparkling

                      93% of the United States of America approved of Bush’s decision to invade Afghanistan when he made it.

                      “I’m going to be just as snobby towards people who don’t support my political movement as Clinton is, because that attitude totally didn’t lose her the election or anything!”

                      Good grief! You two can go pat yourselves on the back for being part of the enlightened 7% if you want. I’m going to continue treating the majority of the country with respect.

                    4. NotTimothyGeithner

                      93% of America was wrong. And that still leaves us with millions of American who weren’t wrong to choose from. So given the limited number of leadership spots, why should we waste time on Chelsea Clinton? She was wrong like the neoconservatives and protested a pro-peace protest of people who were correct about the course of action.

                      Millions of people smoke. Should you start smoking?

                      I should note you claim Chelsea is separate from 90% of the ruling class and then approve of her disgraceful actions because 93% of Americans approved of Shrub in the after math of 9/11. Its a nice symmetry.

                    5. Sparkling

                      Sanders and Corbyn have been wrong on stuff before, but I’d rather have them than whoever the Clintonites/Blairites have planned for us.

                      I think I may have misunderstood what you were talking about in the first place. Chelsea hasn’t expressed much interest in running over the years, so I’m not worried about her occupying a leadership slot. If she did she would probably be a clone of her mom policy-wise (which is another reason for the usual suspects to love her). Less shrill or not, I wouldn’t be very enthusiastic about Hillary #2.

                    6. drumlin woodchuckles

                      Are all Americans who still like the Clintons, now today in 2018, immature brats?


                      What they are is Jonestown Cultists.

            2. HotFlash

              no one would give a flying flip about Teresa May’s or Tony Blair’s sex life

              I have seen no indication that either of them have such a thing. What am I missing? Should I read more tabloids?

    2. HotFlash

      OK, I have read both articles and thought on them. Kiese Laymon seems like a right guy, but that his personal world has been populated, perhaps as a result of his penchant too revise and edit, by strong black women is not doing him any good here. I predict that transferring his Hope for Change to Michelle* will prove as disappointing as it was when he trusted her husband.

      Ms Obama got hers now. She wasn’t a Melania, but she was no Eleanor.

      * yes, as PuKun observes, we do crave royalty — our royals can be identified by the lack of surname; eg movie stars).

      1. marym

        There were moments during the Obama years when I gave M.O. some credit for retaining a sense of her and her daughters’ place in the flow of African American history, beyond “I put up with 8 years of racist venom,and I’ve got mine,” and despite neoliberal choices in her own career. Well, who knows what’s in another persons heart and why, but now, relieved of the public responsibility of supporting a presidency, she didn’t have to support the ruination of a beautiful lakefront public space and neighborhood (her own former neighborhood!) accessibility with a useless and ugly monument. Time will tell, but her post-WH career isn’t off to a promising start.

        1. Richard

          Hell, there were times during Bush II that I thought Laura was actually a relatively decent person. Our minds seem to have been conditioned to build imaginary values in/about our leadership class, and then I’m assuming we get some sort of chemical reward for investing hope in the lead monkey.
          Or maybe it just is more an u.s. propaganda thing, and the chemicals are all in my head, haha

          1. VietnamVet

            Democracy has two strengths that I know of; changing of the guard without palace intrigue or a civil war and course corrections. This picture of George Bush and Michelle Obama says it all. Since Ronald Reagan there has been one US administration with different administrators. Government was relegated to secondary status behind supranational global trade organizations. The belief in accumulating wealth by any means possible reigns supreme. Donald Trump broke this pattern and started a civil war between nationalist and globalist oligarchs. It is only a matter of time before the little people start shooting at each other. Only by redressing inequality can the looming chaos in the West be avoided.

            1. HotFlash

              Since Ronald Reagan there has been one US administration with different administrators.

              Yes. Indeed, we live interesting times.

        2. HotFlash

          Kiese Laymon specifially says that Michelle ‘now that she is free’ can effect these changes. I wonder, 1.) what was constraining Ms First Lady before, and 2.) what makes him think she would do anything different now?

          Over and out on this.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Its part of a narrative about the Obamas and before that Hillary, the secret liberal, and the Democrats in general with “keep the powder dry.” Instead of demanding accountability, they were given passes.

            From DADT episodes, we saw Obama could be pressed with citizen outrage, so if there isn’t a secret Michelle, the crumminess of Obama extends to his supporters who know better. Plenty don’t know better because of access, but people who choose to play the gold fish instead of using critical thinking skills and spent their time applauding are also morally culpable. When Obama went to bat for Joe Lieberman, there was no denying “more of the same” was the Obama way, but people pretended Lieberman had a constituency of more than Republicans.

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        It’s as if Laymon’s never heard of a former first lady ditching her ceremonial plus one role for peddling tickets to her very own concert tour.

        I hope he doesn’t swoon too deeply when the “charitable” foundation is announced. “Bills to pay” and all that.

  2. The Rev Kev

    “Man shot by pet dog insists ‘he didn’t mean to do it'”

    I think that Sonny Gilligan nearly picked himself up a Darwin Award ( here. Let’s see. He was going hunting so he loaded his shotgun with shells before even leaving – mistake one. He then did not bother to put the shotgun’s safety on – mistake two. He then put the shotgun in the back of his pickup with the barrel pointing towards the driver’s cabin – mistake three. Finally, he put mobile objects in the back i.e. his dogs, in with the shotgun – mistake four. Lucky he didn’t have his head blown off and I take it that he didn’t even have his shotgun in a soft shotgun case or bag to protect it from dirt and dust. Damn fool.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      Yeah. My boys knew not to do any of that by the time they were three.
      God’s little skimmer.
      I cringed when I read that because this is the first weekend of regular deer season out here…and the droves of city slicker redneck wannabes from their suburban warrens have descended upon us like locusts or an invading army….little campfires winking in the hills like so many misplaced stars(what the stars out here must be like to these people!!)…camouflage and flannel and shiny boots…chests pushed out, testosterone runs in the street…
      Traffic on my dead end dirt road increases by a factor of ten…looky-loos ambling by, staring…letting their dogs run loose in the front pasture…because perhaps to a city person, a house a half mile away may as well be in the next county…always surprised when I manifest out of the underbrush…
      “People live out here…”
      Scanner was uncharacteristically silent…usually this time of year, there’s multiple alarms for people stuck in the mud, caught in a fence, impaled upon a tree, fallen into the cacti, or…as in this case…having shot themselves or their best buddy’s wife, along for the quaint shopping opportunities.
      November is my least favorite month.

      1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

        I remember well deer hunting season, in Sussex County, NJ, when I was growing up during the ’70s. That was a bygone age of free range children. Even then, we were forbidden to roam much outside at that time of year – it was just too dangerous. Hunters plugged kids, fellow hunters, cows, all-too-often.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          It’s almost surreal. The local paper…which is really a brochure for the CoC and quaintness…does a big fall supplement…and everyone plays along with the city folks. Hunting Season is all that’s left, really, besides frac sand and the nascent wine industry(instead of testosterone, that includes much pretension and extended pinkies)…since Billary and the Gang killed the Peanut Program. The Wildflower Season in Spring doesn’t hold a candle to the economic infusion therapy of Deer, Quail, Dove and Turkey.

        2. Kurt Sperry

          It’s pheasant season here in rural Tuscany, which unlike bird seasons in the gun-lovin’ USA, goes on seemingly forever and it’s like a war zone. The booms start at dawn and go until dark. Guys in their trucks with their dogs in the bed of their pickups or a trailer clogging up the little one-lane strade bianche, hunters with shotguns and dogs coming right through the yard all day.

          I’m not really complaining, it just seems like it goes on too long. At least the wild boar hunters make wonderful sausages that you can buy. I’ve never seen pheasant in the markets or on the menus. That might make it easier for us wussie non-hunters.

          1. wilroncanada

            Kurt Sperry
            But you will occasionally see “PEASANTS” as a result of the careless accidents.

        3. Oregoncharles

          An acquaintance told us he took up bow hunting because in rifle season (they’re separate here) it was too much like the deer were shooting back. A little too sporting, you might say.

          OTOH, we know we’re in the Wild West because, a few years ago, a neighbor shot a deer out her kitchen window. It died in the property between, and she came and claimed it. I don’t mind having the hoofed vermin thinned out, but it sounded like she was shooting at me. There is no safe direction to shoot here.

          A few hikes have been aborted because we could hear gunfire – once we encountered an exiting hunter who warned us to stay on the trail. He seemed genuinely concerned. But some of our favorite hikes are at the nearby wildlife refuges, which exist largely to serve hunters.

      2. ambrit

        Hah! Feel your pain, we do.
        When we lived out in what passes for the “sticks” around here, we once had to call the Law on some genuine city slickers driving up and down our gravel paved cul de sac at twilight sitting in a bucket seat bolted in the back of a pickup bed, armed and ready.
        1) Hunting from a vehicle.
        2) Hunting within 100 yards of a road.
        3) Hunting within a quarter mile of an inhabited dwelling. (Actually, three trailers worth.)
        4) Hunting with more than three shells in a shotgun.
        5) Hunting while intoxicated. (Open beercans in cab of truck.)
        6) Hunting after dark. (The original ‘headlighting.’)
        7) No hunting license.
        These yahoos were lucky not to have lost the truck.

        1. Wukchumni

          Up in Mineral King now, and the road is closed with 2 locked gates to keep the chancey gardener types from Mexico from plying their trade around these parts…

          Cabin owners can come and go as they please though, so as a consequence there’s nobody here aside from a few people.

          Beautiful indian summer, temps in the 60’s @ day, 40ish @ night.

          About 10 years ago my wife and I were on a 70 mile backpack from MK to Crescent Meadow in the main part of the National Park, and we’d gotten about 3 miles the first day, when rain started coming down, so there was a flat spot not far from the trail and up the tent went and down the deluge came.

          I woke up early the next morning and spied a backpacker coming up the trail and he had a compression bow hanging from the back, and I knew he wasn’t hunting in Animal Switzerland, as that’s a gigantic no-no, his location being the Golden Trout Wilderness beyond Farewell Gap.

          He told me his pack weighed 35 pounds and he had to walk almost 10 miles to get to his quarry, and if successful, would have to clean and dress the dearly departed, with his pack weighing close to 100 pounds, with 3 miles of uphill and 7 miles of downhill to negotiate with a ridiculously heavy load.

          Me, I like to slink down the aislerderness past the bottled water, sidestepping the cosmetic aisle akimbo, sneaking up to the meat counter, and request a pound of pastrami, wafer-thin please.

          The way hunting works in the GTW, they allow bow hunters first, and then a month later, black-powder guns, and finally towards the end of the hunting season, rifles.

          1. Procopius

            Say, black-powder guns. I’d forgotten they were a thing, even back in the ’60s when I had friends who were into shooting. Now there’s a compromise I could get behind. All the civilians who want to bear arms can bear them as long as they are muzzle-loading single-shot weapons. Guncotton for military only. Cartridge loading weapons for military only. Every civilian-owned weapon has to be registered with the government and have a microchip installed. Maybe RFID. I don’t know how far those can be tracked, Actually, I’d be OK if civilian weapons were restricted to single-shot. Where’s the sport of using 30 rounds to bring down a deer?

          1. ambrit

            The other hunting related “Guys Being Dumb” event I remember from back then was when one of the locals was in with a bunch caught by Mississippi coppers when they tried to cross back into Louisiana in a truck with three dead does in the back. Out of season. No license. Lots of other stuff. That bunch did lose the truck.
            This wasn’t “Little House” quality living. No ma’am. More like “The Wild Bunch.”

          1. ambrit

            I don’t remember if the driver was cited for that or not. He might have been the only ‘straight’ one in the lot.
            By the way, our gravel road was crosswise to a well used deer migration ‘lane.’ Two weeks before season opened, the deer would amble from out of the paper mill pine tree plantation land, cross our place and continue on into the Pearl River bottomlands, which were a designated wildlife refuge. I’ve mentioned before how the girls woke us up several times early in the morning to see the deer grazing on the grass outside our trailer. Quite close in fact.
            Phyl suggests a charge #9. Hunting while stupid.

      3. HotFlash

        Lordy, was like that in MI, pro’ly still is. Didn’t see much of it in my tiny town, but visiting my in-laws in the sticks for Tksgiving terrified me. First day of hunting season was a school holiday. And every year, some high school kid would get shot, often dead. We had neighbours who’d set out salt licks and feeding stations to accustom the deer (illegal), then when hunting season came, blam! And that’s just the locals.

        The hunters up from Detroit were even worse. Hunting on posted property, shooting your cattle, your dogs, your lawn deer and even your lawn geese. Sometimes your kids. Bow hunters especially make me crazy. Every year we’d find at least one deer that had ‘gotten away’ and then died in our woods with an arrow in it.

        They’d shoot near houses (illegal). We’d hear shots all day and far into the night, the local paper would run stories about the ‘miraculous escapes’ of the guy and his wife watching TV in their home when a high-powered bullet came through, “Another foot over and it woulda hit Connie and the TV!” Occasionally there wouldn’t be a miraculous escape.

        They’d shoot near roads and highways (illegal), and we’d end up with road sighs full of holes, which had to be replaced at township expense, and downed power lines when the yahoos pegged away at the mourning doves sitting on the wires, which had to be fixed at Detroit Edison’s expense, which of course, got passed along in the electricity bill.

      4. Lord Koos

        We have a similar scene here in central WA, Seattle guys coming over to hunt, which often means coming over here to get drunk in the woods with his buddies. I don’t care to get into the wildnerness at this time of year unless it’s to find mushrooms, but I make sure I’m not in an area with hunters. When I was a kid I remember there was a hunter from Seattle that shot and killed a kid who was riding his dirt bike on a trail. Tell me how a noisy red Honda looks like a deer…???

    2. bob

      Not familiar with NM gun laws, but a loaded gun in a car/truck is illegal in most places. No word in the story about the man being brought up on charges.

      Imagine a black man in a car with a pit bull…

      1. Todde

        Loaded.guns are legal in many states, new mexico being one of them.

        You cant stand your ground with an unloaded gun.

        1. Todde

          Basically, were going to have to start arming other dogs.

          The .only thing that stops a bad dog with a gun….

    3. Lee

      Or it could be the dog was of a mind described by Billy Collins:


      by Billy Collins

      I am the dog you put to sleep,
      as you like to call the needle of oblivion,
      come back to tell you this simple thing:
      I never liked you.

      When I licked your face,
      I thought of biting off your nose.
      When I watched you toweling yourself dry,
      I wanted to leap and unman you with a snap.

      I resented the way you moved,
      your lack of animal grace,
      the way you would sit in a chair to eat,
      a napkin on your lap, knife in your hand.

      I would have run away,
      but I was too weak, a trick you taught me
      while I was learning to sit and heel,
      and–greatest of insults–shake hands without a hand.

      I admit the sight of the leash
      would excite me
      but only because it meant I was about
      to smell things you had never touched.

      You do not want to believe this,
      but I have no reason to lie.
      I hated the car, the rubber toys,
      disliked your friends and, worse, your relatives.

      The jingling of my tags drove me mad.
      You always scratched me in the wrong place.
      All I ever wanted from you
      was food and fresh water in my metal bowls.

      While you slept, I watched you breathe
      as the moon rose in the sky.
      It took all of my strength
      not to raise my head and howl.

      Now I am free of the collar,
      the yellow raincoat, monogrammed sweater,
      the absurdity of your lawn,
      and that is all you need to know about this place

      except what you already supposed
      and are glad it did not happen sooner–
      that everyone here can read and write,
      the dogs in poetry, the cats and all the others in prose.

      1. pretzelattack

        so the dog could have been planning this for years. (pictures far side comic with dogs, plotting)

    4. Summer

      The dog may have been practicing self-defense. Who knows how many close calls it had on previous hunting trips with that genius.
      “Not again,” the dog thought as they got into the truck.

    5. Jen

      While I was walking my dogs this morning (all of us decked out in blaze orange as deer season is upon us), one of my neighbors was driving by and stopped to say hello. He warned me to watch out for hunters and told me that he and his buddies and just come out of the woods about a half mile from my house when the saw someone take a shot from the road. They quickly approached the man, gave him what for and told him never to do it again.

      The offending party might not take the lesson completely to heart, but if he has one functioning brain cell, he will appreciate that the hunters in my neck of the woods police their own.

      On a positive note, said neighbor was very excited to report that he’d gotten a 232 pound doe. I heartily congratulated him on his success.

      1. HotFlash

        The offending party might not take the lesson completely to heart, but if he has one functioning brain cell, he will appreciate that the hunters in my neck of the woods police their own.

        Objection: Assumes facts not in evidence.

  3. cnchal

    > Capitalism = Competition = Fair Play.

    Scott Galloway is an i___t. Fill in the blank.

    > Two Workers Are Dead After Partial Building Collapse at Amazon’s Baltimore Warehouse

    This is the first I read of that tragedy and the MSM has maintained radio silence about it, which is a bit unusual. What is usual is that the MSM blares loudly and toots horns whenever Amazon adds a new color to the Alexa spy device, opens a satanic mill in the neighborhood, Jeff wanting to sell pills and creepily delivering your crapola into your home or anything that could in the slightest be spun as a fantastic victory for Amazon and Amazon shoppers. The MSM hands Amazon more free publicity than they do to Donald Trump.

    But, people are catching on to reality as practiced by Amazon. Here are some macabre comments from that Gizmodo article.

    Catie Keck
    11/03/18 6:19pm

    “The two workers were immediately fired for leaving work early.”

    11/03/18 8:17pm

    Don’t be silly, they are just checking the footage for when they died to clock them out at the right time. Their families will also be given a free 30 days of prime.

    Poodletime II: the Return of Poodletime
    11/03/18 8:45pm

    Oh, but according to Amazon, they weren’t “employees.” They were “contractors.” No Free Shipping for their families!

    :: Hums “Sold my soul to the company store,” under my breath.::

    Poodletime II: the Return of Poodletime
    11/03/18 10:22pm

    And it’s a good thing they died, because they weren’t getting health insurance either!

    1. Lambert Strether

      If an idiot, an idiot savant who made a correct call based on insight into CEO behavior (with corollary insight on how the localities got gamed). If this be idiocy, more like it, please. Nothing wrong with knowing your enemy!

    2. VietnamVet

      Amazon is suddenly way too interesting and is impacting even me.

      Jeff Bezos lost 54 billion dollars in October. Friday’s storm collapsed their Baltimore warehouse wall killing two contractors. Mohammed bin Salman’s full-page newspaper picture demanding justice has started a Saudi boycott of Amazon. His rag reports that Amazon’s new headquarters is rumored to be across the street from where I worked for 3 decades. Empty office space is available in Northern Virginia due to the downsizing of the federal civilian workforce. Amazon Logistics is now delivering their packages to my development with a sharp drop in service quality. Today I watched, the package was dropped off from a red Ford sedan. They’ve switched to the “Uber” gig delivery system. It sure seems to me that the handwriting is on the wall. Change is coming and it’s not good.

      1. cnchal

        > Change is coming and it’s not good

        I’m curious about your definition of “not good”.

        Ever put any thought into what the economic moonscape would look like were Amazon to grow into it’s current P/E ratio? Big craters where Wal Marts used to be spring to mind.

        Ever put any thought into what the economic moonscape would look like were Amazon’s stawk price to shrink to a P/E ratio of a recession bottom of 6? Big craters where Amazon’s satanic mills used to be spring to mind.

        > Jeff Bezos lost 54 billion dollars in October.

        No, he didn’t lose $54 billion. The decline of the price of Amazon stawk multiplied by the number of shares of Amazon stawk Jeff owns amounted to $54 billion. The numbers and explanations the financial press throws around is tailored to induce ignorance among the peasants.

        1. VietnamVet

          Amazon is on a knife’s edge. Innovation comes at a cost. It sells and ships global goods using fossil fuel. “Not good” to me is when ninety plus percent of Americans are left to their own devices with $15,000 of debt, no healthcare or retirement; living in rental housing, a RV or their parent’s home. That is if they are “fortunate” enough to have a gig job like a contractor at Amazon.

          1. skippy

            Wrapping market share comes with a cost to what is destroys in the short term and has no exit plan for the long term when equity reflects increasing friction.

    3. Procopius

      This is the first I read of that tragedy and the MSM has maintained radio silence about it, which is a bit unusual.

      If you read pariah media, like Al Jazeera, RT, Tass, or fringe blogs like Vineyard of the Saker, Moon of Alabama, or Sic Semper Tyrannis you come to realize such radio silence on important events is not at all unusual. What’s unusual is wall-to-wall coverage like we’ve had on Khashoggi. I suspect that’s a diversion to cover up something more important that’s happening, but I don’t (yet) know what that is.

  4. JohnM

    re: taibbi To the extent that climate change is ultimately a problem of human over-population, taibbi’s describing declining population as a ‘serious problem’ is myopic. does he not recognize that resource use is unsustainable at current population levels?

    1. paulmeli

      Does migration mitigate population growth?

      Making the World unlivable may mitigate population growth but it’s not my preferred solution. Still, being humans, I expect we will do it the hard way.

    2. John k

      What can’t be sustained won’t be.
      But the greater the overshoot the less that can be sustained. If the real number is, say, one or two billion at present global temp, it is a smaller number at 5C higher.
      The us, with 350 mil, is shutting coal as we burn more Ng, better than nothing. But China, world leader in green, builds more coal plants, as does India.
      The remaining questions are, at what point does world pop decline, and at what rate.

    3. John Wright

      It is as if any member of the media, even Taibbi, must take and abide by a “never shrink the customer base” oath.

      The media talks about the “demographic time bomb” of Japan and how the USA population must always grow to provide new workers to support the old retirees.

      The media then ignores the long term problem of how those new workers will be sustained when they grow old.

      The response of the media when it becomes overwhelmingly obvious that there are too many CO2 and resource consuming humans to be sustainable will simply be “who could have known? We thought a technological miracle would have arrived in time.”

      1. georgieboy

        A question for Mr. Taibbi and pretty much the whole WSJ/NYT economics crowd:

        if population growth is so, er, vital, how has Japan managed to grow GDP per capita during all these years of slowing population growth — and now amid decline in this decade ?

        That’s quite some ‘malaise’ they are suffering.

  5. Jesper

    Re: “Business is big in Germany, but not easy, World Bank says “….

    This criterion:

    New Zealand, where it takes only half a day to get a new company approved, once again tops the ranking, followed by Singapore and Denmark. In Germany, it takes eight days to overcome all the bureaucratic hurdles to founding a company, putting the country in 114th place on that criterion.

    Sorry but if a business is expected to last years and do actual business (compared to the tax-avoidance kind) then the eight days is a very short time and only a once off investment in time. Starting a business should be a serious undertaking.

    One more important criterion is how easy/difficult it is to get paid after provided goods and/or services. Cashflow kills businesses.

    In my (not so humble) opinion the report from the World Bank is worse than meaningless. But then again it is produced by economists so why would there be an expectation that their research has anything to do with the real world….

      1. The Rev Kev

        Totally agree. The economists list New Zealand as being a great place to start a business rapidly but if you look in Topics on this page, you will see many entries under New Zealand. A lot are there because a banker-type Prime Minister turned New Zealand’s company register system into a cesspool of bogus companies and the like. It was putting the place on par with the Cayman Islands. I understand that if you want to buy a gun or get married in a lot of States, you have to wait a coupla days in case you realize that you were making a terrible mistake. The same should be true of starting a company and all the financial implications that that entails.

    1. Summer

      The banks would rather dish out crummy consumer credit (to make up for stagnating pay) and student loans than business loans to the majority of the population.

      How does that affect the BS rating?

  6. ChiGal in Carolina

    From a commenter on the Iran sanctions piece at TAC:

    Regular people don’t count for Trump. Regular Americans, regular Iranians, same difference to him.

    No regular American ever asked him to do any of this Iran stuff. He’s doing it instead of doing the job we elected him to do.

    To think that once upon a time it was much touted by commenters here that he would be less hawkish on Iran than Hillary! For people like me, that was to be one of the biggest consolation prizes for holding my nose and voting NOTA.

    1. Watt4Bob

      And from that perspective it’s clear that it’s true, there’s only one set of bosses, and it doesn’t matter who is in the White House, those bosses get their way.

      American presidents have come to resemble nothing so much as carnival barkers.

    2. John k

      Has yet to start any new wars. Met with Kim. Wanted good relations with Russia. Tried to withdraw from Syria. Hillary would have been worse on all fronts.
      Dems weakened his resistance to deep with Russia, Russia, because deep is their ally.
      He’s awful on domestic policies, but IMO way better than Hillary would be. Granted, adelson donation fuels his Iran policy, but hot war not likely.

    3. Massinissa

      Hillary would be doing the same sanctions. Would probably be even more aggressive in terms of geopolitical encirclement. Shes a hawk.

    4. drumlin woodchuckles

      To my credit, I never opined that Trump would be less hawkish than Hillary on Iran.

      I DID opine that Trump would be less hawkish on SYRia than Hillary was, and events have proven that opinion to be correct.

      1. UserFriendly

        I Seriously doubt anyone thought Hillary would have been a bigger hawk with Iran. There is no way she repudiates Obama and backs out of the nuclear deal no matter how much she would love to.

    5. Procopius

      Actually, from what I read in the newspapers media, Sheldon Adelson, a “regular American” if there ever was one, asked him to do it. Asked him to impose sanctions on Russia and denounce Palestinians, too. /sarc

  7. The Rev Kev

    “‘No Decision Yet’ From India on Russia’s Invitation for Talks With Afghanistan, Taliban”: ‘This is Moscow’s second effort to hold the regional forum with the Taliban in tow. The first attempt did not bear fruit as the Afghanistan government and the US refused to attend.’

    I can understand why the US does not want to attend. The Taliban’s main aim is to have the US – as a foreign invader – leave Afghanistan and that is precisely what the US refuses to do no matter how much it costs or how many troops die. It’s a geopolitical thing. Afghanistan was probably ordered by the US not to attend first time around but refusing to talk to the Taliban is not a luxury that they really have. If they wait too long the Taliban will not be so much negotiating with the Afghanistan President as with the Mayor of Kabul.
    What I find hard to fathom is former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s challenge to the Taliban mentioned in another article where he said: “You will not win a battlefield victory. We may not win one, but neither will you.” Readers here may remember how after the Vietnam war was over, US General Weyand told his Vietnamese counterpart in negotiations “You know you never defeated us on the battlefield” to which the North Vietnamese officer replied, “That may be so, but it is also irrelevant”. The Vietnamese General was actually being polite here as the Vietnamese had indeed won a few battles against US forces. Tillerson should have read more history.

    1. noonespecial

      – Afghanistan –

      U.S. Army Gen. Austin Miller – head of the empire’s forces is quoted in Military Times:

      “This is not going to be won militarily…This is going to a political solution…My assessment is the Taliban also realizes they cannot win militarily…So if you realize you can’t win militarily at some point …people start asking why. So you do not necessarily wait us out, but I think now is the time to start working through the political piece of this conflict.”

      So all that money spent for what exactly? Is the general unconsciously admitting that there are other reasons for the US presence?

      1. HotFlash

        Well, if neither party can win, perhaps both parties should just call it a draw and go home? Oh wait…

        1. Wukchumni

          If Erik Prince’s proposed less than 1,000 man mercenary army for the ‘stanbox was routed like say the English were in the 19th century, would anybody shed a tear?

          1. JBird4049

            The British usually won so some confidence was warranted but they always got arrogant and that and the Afghans would educate them. I never could understand why the British were mucking around there. I can understand not wanting the Russians getting too much influence, or about the locals raiding British territories, but that’s what bribes are for.

          2. JTMcPhee

            I believe Erik Prince likely has read, and may be using as a working text (substituting Xtian/Hebraic religiosity for the Muslim context) that work by Abu Bakr that I’ve mention several times — “The Management of Savagery,” which is counsel to what we call Daesh or ISIS on how to get to Bakr’s notion of hegemony. Read it here at

            Remember that ISIS got its start, from just a handful of people with an Idea, thanks to the US putting a very few nasty people in intimate contact in one of our obscure Gulag prisons,, and then not checking their underwear for the various contact points they wrote there so they could ‘meetup’ after their release. Prince is a vicious mercenary, and would not be the first with “larger ambitions.” Maybe he thinks his advantage is in not bothering with silly rules of engagement and using “extreme kinetic force” (what we mopes are taught to call “terrorism”) to “pacify” the Wogs.

            May whatever divine force there is in the Universe crap in his borscht. Or may one of his “trusted lieutenants” (if there can be such things in his kind of world) stick a K-bar or stiletto between his ribs.

            1. blennylips

              A hearty amen, JTMcPhee.

              Me thinks Erik Prince (may the fleas of a thousand camels infest his seester) pines for the old days of the filibuster…???

              For most modern Americans, the term “filibuster” evokes images of long-winded senators seeking to drown opponents’ legislation in a sea of words. In the 1840s and 1850s, however, filibuster had a different, darker and more exotic meaning. The term is derived from the Dutch word vrijbuiter, which translates as “freebooter.” The Spanish corrupted the term, and from their filibustero came the English version, which meant plunderer or pirate. In the words of a former filibuster, it came to mean “adventurers who, during the decade preceding the Civil War, were engaged in fitting out and conducting under private initiative armed expeditions from the United States against other nations with which this country was at peace.” Some of these adventurers meant to annex their new kingdoms to the United States, and as the Southern states particularly supported and encouraged the filibusters, the newly acquired lands would join the Union as slave states. Others merely sought the opportunity to carve out private fiefdoms by force.

              The would-be nation builder carved out private fiefdoms in Central America before falling to a Honduran firing squad. (Photo from Our First Century, by R.M. Devens, C.A. Nichols & Co., Springfield, Mass., 1876)


              ‘The spectacle of a man still in his 20s, with some two-score social misfits as his total support, solemnly explaining to 25 million people why he had seen fit to create a new nation on their borders, needs the pen of a Cervantes to do it full justice’

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        So all that money spent for what exactly? Is the general unconsciously admitting that there are other reasons for the US presence?

        I’m guessing the answer is in the geography. From the article:

        ….. other countries in the region, in particular those that share a border with Afghanistan: Iran, Russia, China, and Pakistan.

        Afghanistan is a country stuck smack in the middle of america’s Most Wanted List. Conveniently, it also happens to be an islamic theocracy which provides the holy grail of “human rights” abuse excuse for endless occupation without guilt.

        It’s the forward operating base made in heaven that every empire prays for.

        1. Oregoncharles

          Russia doesn’t share a border with Afghanistan. It just barely touches India (Kashmir) and China, via an odd, extremely narrow finger of territory that extends to the east.

          It is true that it’s in the middle, though, and therefore very strategic. And very rich in unexploited minerals.

          A shame it’s so unstable that neither the minerals nor the proposed pipeline can be exploited.

          1. JBird4049

            It is a mess so the Americans say that they cannot leave but it is a mess because of all the outside interference. Afghanistan is unstable because for about fifty years the Soviet Union, the United States, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and almost certainly some people I don’t remember have meddled with the country.

            Between the coup that ousted the king in 1973 to now there has been civil wars and invasions which have destroyed much of the country’s infrastructure, including its crucial agricultural water works, orchards, farms, add the severe damage of all the major cities and you have a country that has lost more than a century of development. Industry, farming, education, water, electricity, housing.

            The population has been crushed and lost most of its educated classes. Maybe if the United States could stop roaming the country bringing death, stop supporting the local warlords and corrupt officials and if Pakistan’s ISI also stopped mucking around with Afghanistan the locals can put their country back together somehow.

      3. Olga

        It was spent simply to be in the middle of a strategically important region (for US). Imagine being able to observe the area and maintain a level of chaos at the doorstep of Russia, India, Pakistan, China, and Iran. How great! The US is not there to win some imaginary war – it is there to be there. And it is not coming out anytime soon.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Are you sure it was General Weyand who had that exchange? I had thought it was Colonel Larry Summers.

      Here is a block of quoted material describing Summers’s conversation with General Giap to that effect.

      ” Perhaps the best illustration of this is a conversation between Colonel Harry Summers andColonel Tu of the North Vietnamese Army that took place on 25 April 1975. “You knowyou never defeated us on the battlefield,” said Colonel Summers. The North Vietnamese colonel pondered this remark for a moment. “That may be so,” he replied, “but it is also irrelevant.”

      Here is the article from which I extracted that quote.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I got my story from here-

        I am beginning to suspect that this is a story that a lot of generals wanted to claim credit for where they were telling off the Vietnamese who had recently defeated them. For some reason, I am kinda reminded of those 18th century paintings which showed the death of some general in battle and all his staff would be crowded around the ‘hero’. There was one such painting where one of the high-ranking officers shown in the painting wasn’t even on the same continent when that general died.

  8. Samuel Conner

    Re: “handmarked paper ballots, counted in public. What’s so difficult about that?”

    Well, it’s completely transparent, public and kind of community-building, since large numbers of volunteers are needed to count and observe.

    Also, it is very low-tech; paper ballots and pencils are cheap commodities and there is no room there for rent extraction.

    So what is there in this proposal for the elites to like?

      1. Olga

        There are additional problems. I had an interesting conversation with a local (elected) County Clerk, who has been trying to secure voting machines with some paper trail (not easy, she said). She argued – and I am not agreeing or disagreeing, just raising a different view – that only-paper-ballots have their own set of issues that must be taken into account.
        The main set of issues arises from the sheer number of elected offices – think about it: school boards, community colleges, justices of the peace, constables, sheriffs, mayors, city council members, judges (at various levels), county commissioners, state legislators, state officials, and federal legislators. Add to it local initiatives (on bond issuance or – for example – banning plastic bags) and state referenda – and I’m sure I left something out.
        In most places, voting is done by a precinct, and each likely has its own set of candidate names. So different ballots have to be printed for each precinct. And CC’s office has to get as close to the exact number of needed ballots for each voting location as possible. This – according to the CC – is very difficult to estimate/predict. If the prediction is wrong, there may be ballots left over (waste) – or g. forbid – a precinct could run out on the election day.
        Additionally, the CC has to account for every single ballot (filled or unfilled), so there are certain security and transportation concerns.
        It seems that electronic machines provide a degree of flexibility that is just hard to replicate with paper ballots (in spite of obvious problems they introduce). Therefore, it may be that some sort of a middle ground is needed.

        1. JW

          Olga, they’re blowing smoke. I can’t believe anyone would believe that. Don’t believe it. The entire state of Massachusetts uses paper ballots counted by air-gapped scanning machines. Long lines are rare, confidence in voting is high.

          So what if you have a 3-page or 4-page ballot? The ballot is presumably produced by some kind of desktop publishing software that takes questions in and spit ballot designs out. So what if the ballot can’t be modified after a month before the election–is that a bad thing??

          1. Olga

            I don’t really know what to think – and you’re not actually addressing the main concern about the need for an exact number of ballots at each voting location. But if you’re correct about the software – is the solution then to have a large printer at each location that would spit out the requisite number of ballots? (Plus, that may also allow to continue early voting at various locations.)

            1. Lord Koos

              So what’s the big deal if there are extra ballots left over? As long as they are kept track of to avoid fraud and immediately shredded and recycled after the election closes, I don’t see the problem? And if people are voting by mail, then there wouldn’t be a lot extras in the first place and the ballots would not need to be stored at polling places.

            2. The Rev Kev

              We use hand-counted paper ballots in Oz and one question that absolutely never, ever comes up is whether your vote was switched to some other candidate through digital magic. I have also worked many times in elections here and the system is quick, easy and secure as can be. On the other hand, the stories of the number of elections stolen in the US through computers is almost legendary and the first time I heard about this was way back in 2000.

              1. Oregoncharles

                Again: a poll worker in Oregon did figure out a way to cheat on paper ballots: she was filling out unvoted positions – for Republicans, as it happens. That’s why you have observers; in fact, she was caught.

                The solution would be a “not voting this position” option on the ballot.

                A caveat: there was plenty of election chicanery long before electronics – dead people voting, that sort of thing. So it isn’t a guarantee.

            3. Lynne

              I’m not buying the claim they can’t figure out how many ballot to print. They know how many people are registered to vote and how many people live in the precinct, and then they adjust from there. Of course, there are security and transportation concerns but those are nothing new. Just ask voting officials in Minneapolis, who had 133 ballots go missing for a while during the Franken-Coleman recount mess. (

        2. Oregoncharles

          Oregon manages it (paper ballots), and we have a lot of elected offices. I’m not impressed.

    1. Lambert Strether

      > handmarked paper ballots, counted in public

      hand counted in public. Digital needs to be removed from every stage of the process, ruthlessly and effectively. “Counted in public” allows “look, we ran them through the scanners! What more do you want?” Or the sort of thing CalPERS does, where they count on laptops with screens nobody can see behind a glass wall.

      1. Lynne

        My county uses hand marked ballots run through scanners. The results are posted online at the secretary of states office within 2 hours of the polls closing. We had a recount once when I was on the recount board and it took over an hour for just one small precinct for us to do it by hand and agree on the tally (incidentally the same result as the scanner reached, although we had to agree on two sloppy ballots),

        It’s hard to picture the news media patiently waiting for days while the ballots are all counted by hand.

        1. JW

          The entire state of Mass. uses paper+scanned ballots (in scanners that are not connected to the internet but still potentially hackable) and I agree with Lynne.

          What are needed, at minimum, are truly random spot-check hand recounts of individual precincts. But I don’t know how to get people behind the idea because the idea of random sampling is something the vast majority of human beings are incapable of grasping.

        2. JBird4049

          Oh the heck with the news media. I rather think honest elections are more important then their desire to make a quick buck.

        3. disillusionized

          They could do it with machines, and then have a mandatory hand recount the day after.
          Or have the scanners literally scan them, so that anyone could inspect every ballot in a PDF file.

        4. Chris

          Not that hard to picture, really. Just visit Australia (or any number of “less advanced” democracies) next time there’s an election on.

      2. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

        Yes, thanks for the correction– I won’t omit that vital second “hand” again. And in fact, I will even fix it in the text above, for the benefit of readers who may only look at Links, and not read through these comments.

      3. Trustee

        In the CalPERS elections the ballots are scanned not to be counted but to create images. The images are then sent over the internet so that the images can be counted.

        The actual ballots are never counted.

      4. Elizabeth Burton

        And who is going to do the counting? And are they going to be less likely to make errors after they’ve gone through a few thousand ballots? Will those doing the counting be volunteers, or will they be paid? If paid, how much, and by whom? (Hint: given the amount of time and effort involved, the likelihood of having sufficient volunteers year after year is going to be small, based on my own experience.) And the more tired they get, the more chance they’ll make mistakes.

        Paper ballots hand-counted is fine for areas of low population density. They are simply not efficient in areas of high population density when people aren’t willing to wait a week or more to find out who won.

        Yes, machines can be tampered with, but so can people. Witness the head of the election board in Florida who destroyed all the ballots two years ago before Tim Canova could lay hands on them, in complete violation of federal and state law. The simple fact is that if those in power want to screw over the voters, they’ll do it, one way or another. If the voters don’t want that to happen, then it’s our responsibility to be sufficiently vigilant to prevent it.

      1. Procopius

        As Iosep Jugashvili put it, “It doesn’t matter who votes, it matters who counts the votes.” Which is why those states where the Secretary of State is running for public office (all Republicans, by the way) are abominations.

  9. voteforno6

    Re: Amazon HQ2

    That it’s apparently going to the DMV is not too much of a shock; putting it in Crystal City is a bit surprising, if that is actually the case. I guess the benefit is that it pretty much puts them right next to the Pentagon, and depending on where it is, people could actually walk to National Airport from there. On the other hand, Crystal City is already undergoing quite a bit of redevelopment, so I’m not share where exactly they would put it. That being said, if this actually goes through, we might be treated with the spectacle of Amazon competing with the Pentagon and other government agencies for office space.

    1. Octopii

      Crystal City has been emptying out of defense workers and much of the existing office space is either empty or being converted to residential units. It would be a great place for Amazon, as it will keep the A/E/C community busy for years with renovations. There are also undeveloped areas of Potomac Yard left, and the north end is expected to be redeveloped within the next 25 years anyway with higher density once the infill Metro station is built. It would be as good a place as any. It should raise residential property values even more around here, will will improve my family’s chances of getting the F out of here with a bit of cushion in the bank account.

      1. Bullwinkle

        will improve my family’s chances of getting the F out of here with a bit of cushion in the bank account

        I had to laugh as I’m of the same mindset. Shooting for next spring.

    2. Lord Koos

      Detroit would have been a good choice, the land is super cheap and the city could sure use the help.

  10. Pat

    I suppose I’ll go read the article later, but I fully admit my first thought on reading the headline was that it should read:
    Michelle Obama should go high, admit she has hers and just go away. Subtitle: But greed won’t let her.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “TSA gives green light to test new technology that can screen passengers from 25 feet away”
    So when are we going to be seeing this in our airports?

    Speaking of airports. Our idiotic vote-desperate Prime Minister is backing calls to have veterans board first on aircraft and salute them before take off just like in the US. Jeezus jumping christ! It was a foreign airline, Virgin, that jumped into this but this is really something strange to even read about for here in Oz. I am guessing that most vets would be too embarrassed to be identified like this in public. More on this at-

    1. whine country

      As a Viet Nam era vet, I can suck it up and hide my embarrassment in exchange for any kindness thrown my way. For example, my cumulative Home Depot discounts to date total much more than the total Army compensation paid during my entire conscripted service (including combat pay). Airlines in the states that I am aware of offer boarding benefits to service personnel but it is limited to active duty and they generally must be in uniform. For me, the only airline that this minor detail really impacts is Southwest where there are no assigned seats. Here’s hoping they, like Virgin and Qantas, get on the bandwagon and start letting all of us veterans jump the line like the rest crowd that either pay extra or find a loophole to get one of the better seats. Having been welcomed home to California in 1968 with epithets, treats and occasionally being spat upon, embarrassment for my service is way down on the list of my emotions.

      1. JTMcPhee

        I’m a Vietnam vet, 1st Cav 1967-68. We vets do get some nice discounts. I like presenting the little card I got from the DoD that shows my status, and getting 10% or more off purchases at places like Home Depot. I even get discounts for having lived to be over 70 years old. Emphasize old. Here’s a fairly current list of bennies for vets: My dad, a combat veteran of WW II (Navy, South Pacific), used to refer to all the discounts that the middle class and upwards get, like cash back on credit cards and such, as “white man’s welfare.” At least the category of “veteran” includes the range of ethnicity that was represented and still obtains in the Imperial military.

        It’s a kind of comparative advantage for those of us who advanced the Imperial goals and interests, over the bodies of our fellow troops and those Wogs and Dinks and towelheads that were in the way. Not exactly “protecting our freedoms and consumer way of life.”

        And the principal source of the dishonor I felt when I was discharged was the men over at the American Legion Hall. People whose kids I went to school with, to whom I delivered newspapers for years, who were sponsors of the Boy Scout troop I was active in for many years. I went there hoping to find a little fellowship, and it was like a scene from an old Western, where the stranger comes in through the swinging doors, people turn around, conversation stops, and then they all turn away and start speaking low to each other. Not welcome here, booy…

        I got a little crap from the smug children of Elites who avoided the draft by attending the college I went to (women of the same set too) but that was about it. And I was sickened by the great “welcome home, mopes!” parade staged in Chicago in June 1986. Kids in camouflage outfits, holding little plastic M-16s, on the shoulders of parents lining the parade route, all the maudlin ‘tributes,” and of course Westmoreland up on the reviewing stand in his dress uniform with all the self-awarded medals and braid. I still kick myself for chickening out on the impulse I had, with all the TV cameras looking on, to stop right in front of him, give him a right hand salute and the middle finger.

        We’re an empire all right. On the way into the dustbin of history, Taking a lot of people down with us.

      2. Wukchumni

        Was @ Lowe’s last week, and the ‘veteran only’ parking spots are right next to the handicapped spots, a weird symmetry.

      3. Procopius

        Were you actually spat upon? A few years ago (well, maybe more like twenty) somebody offered quite a substantial sum of money to any former serviceman who could plausibly claim that when he returned from Vietnam he/she was spat upon. I’d have to do some research to recall the details, but nobody tried to claim the reward. Nobody spat on me when I came back, and I used to travel in uniform to get the standby rate.

  12. tegnost

    I remember this from some earlier nc post, but now here it is in the sunday morning seattle times, foaming the runway as the market starts to fade…

    FTA…“This is all about giving banks a bigger pond to fish in for customers,” Matt Schulz, chief industry analyst at, said in a statement on the scoring option.

    nothing screams “the top is in!” more than sub prime borrowers getting a second chance to be fleeced

    1. ambrit

      Oh boy! It’s ‘Show Time!’
      We’re sort of glad that we don’t have very much left to lose. Now we can sit off on the sidelines and enjoy the carnage.
      My Saint for the coming tribulations. St. Rosalie:
      The films poster tag line: “When you owe $100,000 it’s your problem. When you owe $1,000,000 it’s the banks.”

      1. ambrit

        I should add the new version.
        “If you owe $100,000 it’s your problem. If you owe $1,000,000 it’s the bank’s problem. If you owe $1,000,000,000 it’s the government’s problem.”

  13. The Rev Kev

    “Taibbi: Russia’s Biggest Problem Will Soon Be Ours”

    Looks like Matt Taibbi has swallowed the Russiaphobia kool-aid whole. I was reading his description of how scary a Russian border is but I am here to say that the border I had the most difficulty ever crossing was the one for the UK and in that I am including the one for communist East Germany! Maybe Matt should have taken off some time earlier this year to go visit Russia during the FIFA World Cup. He might have seen the country in a different light. Since he can’t, I could recommend a YouTube channel for him. It is for a kid named Theo who loves soccer and he and his dad went to Russia for the Cup. If you go to and scroll down the page a bit, you will see the videos that he and his dad made while there. Interesting stuff there.

    1. Bugs Bunny

      Taibbi lived and helped run a publication in Russia for a more than 6 years immediately after the dissolution of the USSR, attended university in St. Petersburg, speaks the language fluently, etc. so I would be inclined to take his views on such subjects seriously. Moreover, he’s taken a lot of flac on Twitter and in article comments for saying that there’s no real evidence for Russian interference in the 2016 election.

      1. Olga

        Taibbi is always worth reading, but I’d have to agree with Mr. Rev – this piece reflects the past. He returned to the US in 2002… so was there mostly during the Yeltsin era, when the country almost fell apart yet again. Thanks to VVP and people around him, Russia is very different now. Why, there are news reports now that Russians are ditching their beloved vodka for wine and beer. Imagine that!
        But really, reading today’s link about NJ transport woes and comparing that to the incredible (and beautiful) Moscow metro only underscores the creeping internal US decay. To remain accurate, Taibbi ought to visit Russia again.
        And I’ve not seen this covered much, but Russia has now created an alternative to SWIFT:

      2. John

        There is no real evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 election. Having heard the assertions and the howls of outrage, I looked assiduously for the evidence. All I ever found were assertions and howls of outrage. Who asserted and howled? I looked to see and lo and behold it was those who could not accept the election result. Now I could not bring myself to vote for either candidate and living where I do and knowing that the result in my state was fore ordained, I was expedient in not voting for president; it was certainly not moral courage or principal.

        Isn’t flack on Twitter rather like road dust blown in one’s eyes?

        1. JW

          They’ve just defined “interference” in such a broad way that it could mean anything. Classic innuendo.

          1. JTMcPhee

            I prefer the Spoonerized version of the word, coined by Mayr Richard J. Daley of Chicaguh back in the ‘60s when people were noticing that he steered hundreds of millions of dollars of City insurance coverage to the tiny little insurance office of his Number One Son, and dared to point that out.

            Daley claimed these reports were all just “insinuendo.”

            And, speaking to his Base, offered that “If a man can’t help his son out along the way, what good is he?” I don’t know, Mayr, maybe you could ask the dispossessed blacks and other ethnics crushed and cleared out by your pre-Obamaness under the “urban renewal” headline…

            And for a little after-dinner Stilton and brandy, here’s a bit on how another Mayr, Harold Washington, also black, got elected —bearing in mind this is political consultants talking their book:

    2. Alex

      It’s not the same thing to cross the border in an airport when you are a fan going to the World Cup and completely different to cross it in some sh-thole on the border with Kazakhstan when you are a Tajik or Uzbek going to Russia to try your luck as a construction worker.

      What I didn’t like about the article was the assumption that declining population is so bad that you need to let in millions of migrants immediately. I mean that yes, it’s something that should be considered and that has pros and cons. In the article on the other hand it’s presented as something so self-evident that no reasonable person can argue with.

      1. JW

        Short of enormous advances in robotics, how are we as a society going to handle all the 90-something and deeply unhealthy Baby Boomers in the 2030s? I suppose the answer is for all of us younger than them to sacrifice our middle age much as we’ve missed out on our youths to debt, crappy jobs and outrageous costs of living.

        When Uncle Red Hat presses his buzzer in the old age home and no one comes, there will be a tiny drop of justice in the world.

        1. ambrit

          Think outside the box comrade.
          Take everything above a certain level away from the mega wealthy and redistribute it. MMT coupled with redistributionism can get the whole game back on an even keel.

        2. Alex

          That’s precisely what I meant by pros and cons. The people who will be in their 90s in the 2030s and the ones who will be in their 40s should decide (btw both of them can vote now) whether to accept lower (probably) living standards with lower immigration or (probably) higher living standards with higher immigration

          1. ambrit

            It’s not the aggregate living standard but how it all is distributed. I can easily see lower living standards, for, and this is the point, for the 90%ers, because of increased immigration. The apex of the predation hierarchy will always do better than the ‘average.’
            Recognizing this as a new “third rail” in American politics is Trumps insight. Even if he is betraying the performance of the concept, he is associating himself with the spirit of it. America seems to have become all smoke and mirrors, policy wise.

          2. drumlin woodchuckles

            Higher immigration will grow the American population long enough high enough so as to increase American carbon skydumping to the point of destroying the ecology of the whole world. When the world ecology is all the way destroyed, there will be no more higher living standards anyway. In fact, there will be no more living standards at all. Thanks to the higher immigration which is mistakenly thought to lead to higher living standards.

          3. Elizabeth Burton

            Actually, given the level of respect most of the current crop of immigrants have for their elders, and their willingness to take care of same, I’m perfectly happy to have them come. Especially if they’ll let me move into a tiny house in the back yard.

            For many of us, the standard of living is about as low as it can go short of living on the streets, so perhaps that “threat” isn’t as glaring for us as it is for those of the upper classes.

        3. HotFlash

          Short of enormous advances in robotics, how are we as a society going to handle all the 90-something and deeply unhealthy Baby Boomers in the 2030s?

          Perhaps you should just kill us all and render us for, I dunno, amino acids or something? If your ‘society’ cannot look after *all* of its constituents, it is not a society. An any ‘society’ that can find trillions for ‘defense’ and trillions for bank bail-outs, already understands MMT.

  14. Craig H.

    > Amazon And Tesla Facilities Named Among The Most Dangerous Workplaces In America

    Workplace safety ain’t rocket science. It does have to be a priority.

    Dupont STOP

  15. JohnnyGL

    “How do they counter that? They’ll think of something like …. Russia. Let’s blame Russia,” Trump said as the crowd cheered.” He was referring to Moscow’s 2016 election meddling, which the Justice Department and Senate Intelligence Committee are still investigating; the president again called the DOJ probe a “hoax” on Saturday.

    I can hear Lambert complaining, “I hate it when Trump’s right.” :)

      1. KB

        Thanks. That’s what I meant…..I am getting sloppy on the internet with my spelling…..seems to be a common problem! esp. on Facebook!

  16. Synoia

    Climate Change – Making it personal

    Superyacht News

    Earlier this week, heavy rain and strong winds battered parts of the Mediterranean over several days, causing serious damage to yachts and infrastructure in yachting hotspots across France, Italy and Spain. Amongst the hubs worst hit by the storm were Genoa, La Spezia, Antibes, Monaco, and Barcelona.

    One of the areas most visibly hit by the storm was the port town of Rapallo. Located on Italy’s Ligurian coast, the relentless weather caused the marina’s breakwater to collapse.

    I wonder when a well directed Hurricane (Directed by the Iranians, Russians, Norks, or some other enemy of the month), will flatten Trump’s Palace, Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach.

    At that point will it be a act of god, or man made climate change? Will Trump be able to file, and get paid, for his insurance claim?

    I hope for his sake that the socialist mechanism, The National Flood Insurance Program managed by FEMA, is well enough funded.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      I hope, for OUR sake, that it has been totally reconfigured by that time. It should be abolished for any structure existing within a “known global warming zone of flood-or-storm inundation”.

      If I could be sure that Trump’s property would receive ZERO coverage from any Federal Flood Insurance Program when it gets justly and rightfully destroyed by a Category 6 or Category 7 Hurricane, then I would be okay with abolishing the Federal Flood Insurance Program altogether if that would be the only way to assure that Trump, and other Scum of Privilege LIKE Trump, get ZERO coverage from that Federal Program.

  17. Amfortas the hippie

    on The New Canon, in the chronicle of higher education.
    2 things
    1. I really wish I had a more robust book budget…as well as the time(and placidity) to peruse such weighty things.
    2.when I enter a book store, my mind goes blank for some damned reason(Vulcan in my mind hold up a pencil and scrap of paper with exasperation)…so there’s usually no rhyme or reason to my book purchasing.
    A few years ago, in the Brazos Bookstore in Sugarland, Texas, this leapt off the shelf…literally!…
    I read it twice in a row…an uncharacteristic endorsement..and the scales fell from my eyes. This is before I had heard of NC, David Harvey, or Mirowski…when i had no workable framework to understand(or try to) what had been happening…why grandad’s adages(work hard, pride in work, etc) didn’t really apply any more.
    Just about everyone else on neoliberalism is an easier read…I’m undecided if this is due to bad translation from esoteric French, or a product of the French nous, itself.

  18. DJG

    What’s the most influential book of the past twenty years? I find many of the choices to be academic and limited. Bowling Alone became an instant classic, as did the New Jim Crow. But their reaches are much broader than many of the others given. Typically, the academics think that academics quoting academics is somehow influence. I suppose, though, that is why economists consider whatever it is that they do a science.

    Any list that leaves off Naomi Klein’s books is dubious indeed. The Shock Doctrine came out in 2007.

    I’d argue that Tony Kushner’s Angels in America, while not strictly a book, is even more influential. It is also remarkably easy to read–so get a copy of it in book form.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Twenty years is a bit arbitrary for one I don’t think there has been a book on the post 9/11 crisis that would include the embrace of the War on “Terrer” or a more eloquent Obamaism for the War on Terror. I would suggest the terror has doubled down on the crisis described Putnam as we create monsters around every corner and provide work in foreign locales. Any work would have to take this into account as it would have affected domestic politics outside the U.S. with the arrival of a Cold War Style coordination without a Cold War conflict. From the place of domestic economies, the war on terror has given politicians a convenient pivot point. They can become foreign policy leaders and demand silence.

      I would look to something like “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.” Its from 1989, but one crisis which we see with the Democratic Party dismissing poor whites as losers in society stems from the idea success is predicated on a few habits instead success providing time for healthy behavior. Then of course, there are the other self help books and imitators such as James Frey’s fraudulent piece pushed by Oprah. Perhaps, its an inspirational garbage book. The spill over to stories about how Steve Jobs lived every day with his cool all fruit diet.

      A book doesn’t have to have a positive impact.

      When we consider the works of Marx and Ingles especially Ingles, it boils down to “there is nothing new under the sun.” Our present calamities and crises don’t need to be described. They already have been just the names of the actors have changed.

      Its over twenty years old (I’ve never read “Bowling Alone”), but I’m inclined to think “Making Democracy Work: Civics Traditions in Modern Italy” by Robert Putnam might last longer than “Bowling Alone.” When I started to look for what was described in Italy over a very long stretch.

      I suppose the internet. Without addressing the internet, anything is probably worthless.

  19. John

    Taibbi on Russia’s declining population and ever popular xenophobia.

    I am white, over 80 , both sides of my family reached these shores in the 17th century, and some few went back to England after giving it a try. In other words I could be any immigrant … except for those who were dragged here in chains and sold upon arrival … and from what I read I am supposed to be fearfully anti-immigrant. I am neither.
    There would be no United States were it not for immigrants. There are now about the same percentage of foreign born residents as there were in 1920. In the early 1920s Congress passed restrictive laws and established quotas. The Great Depression and World War II pretty much stopped immigration until about 1950. People either welcomed or complained about the “Displaced Persons” after the war. The laws did not change until the 1960s. Since then there has been increasing migration from the global south toward the global north for political, economic, and geopolitical reasons. Who migrates? Overwhelmingly younger people who want to better their own lives and support their families. Deadbeats lack the energy. The successful lack the motivation.

    Since the President has said he would welcome immigrants from Norway, can we assume that he and those who support his position are less concerned with how many and more with from where and perhaps what color their skin and thus we have ICE … a friendly acronym … ranging about sowing fear, turmoil, bureaucratic snafus, and cruelty in its wake. If you really want to control immigration, spend money intelligently to do so and not by building a wall; walls can be climbed over, dug under, passed around, flown over, or easiest of all pass through the gates.

    A sane and workable immigration policy is quite possible, but not so long as shouting about it seems good politics.

    Answer this question for yourself: Would the population of the United States be growing, static, or shrinking were it possible to stop immigration? In any case would it be to our benefit?

    1. Oregoncharles

      Last I heard, native-born USians aren’t quite reproducing themselves, so the population would be static or shrinking without immigration.

      Eventually, that leads to economic challenges, as Japan is discovering, but they’re challenges we need to have.

  20. Jason Boxman

    I’ve been reading these transit horror stories from NYC and NJ for years now. I’m certainly reconsidering ever relocating to the area for work. It sounds nightmarish. I imagine I’m not the only one.

  21. Jason Boxman

    Andrew Sullivan: “I don’t care, in this instance, what their policies are. I am going to vote for them. I can’t stand most of their leaders and fear their radical fringe. I am going to vote for them anyway. Because it is the only responsible thing there is to do.”

    More of “just look how bad the other guys are, eh?” And you aren’t a responsible adult if you don’t follow suit and vote for Democrats. Bizarre.

    1. Pat

      Saw a guy on the street with a large sandwich board filled with prose about voting for the Democrats. He was requesting everyone take a picture and post it. His response when I said I’m about voting for Greens, Libertarians, third parties was we need to stop the Republicans first. I had to leave, otherwise I would have spent time explaining to him how our glorious Democratic Senate minority leader could have blocked judicial confirmations rather than greenlighting them AND how he could have used the same method to pretty much make sure that every Republican Senator had to remain in DC to get anything passed, but chose not to. IOW, while Sullivan should know better (and probably does), it is long past time to point out that all the things that Republicans do to stop the supposed Democratic agenda when the Democrats have the majority are also tools the Democrats could have been using the past few years. Nothing was stopping them except well they didn’t really want to stop what was going on. (Or pass that supposed Democratic agenda, but that is a whole other discussion).

      I am beyond tired about the Lucy and the Football game that leading Democrats play with their voters – and the people who fall for it. Especially in a year when the leadership is being pretty upfront that they aren’t really going to do anything out of the ordinary to ‘stop’ the Bete Orange even though that is all they are running on.

      1. petal

        Was chastised roundly the other day when I said I wasn’t sure if I’d vote Tuesday-because IdPol, they said! They begged, then got angry and offended. Nothing else mattered to them except IdPol. After spending a few ticks trying to explain, I gave up. So many of the people around me have fallen hook, line, and sinker for the Lucy and the football game. I feel like I’m stuck in the twilight zone sometimes, like “how can people not see through this?”

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          People are weird. My neighbor who is as “anti-gun as anyone” managed in the same breath to extol Mark Warner while saying he didn’t vote for Sanders over guns. He didn’t seem to be aware of Warner’s long term B+ rating from the NRA. I questioned Warner’s sincerity after Sandy Hook because Warner, not Governor at the time, didn’t seem to come around on guns after Virginia Tech. Mark does know where Virginia Tech is having interceded to get them to the ACC as Governor. His own girls weren’t terribly far removed from school age during Columbine. My neighbor also did not appreciate when I asked him about his efforts upon the behalf of anti-gun positions such as lobbying Warner prior to Sandy Hook.

          I think the narrative that Democrats are super smart has created the idea one can become super smart by attaching themselves to the Democrats, ignoring politics is a value based process. Pointing out issues with the ilk of (pretty much of all of Team Blue) which aren’t minor issues and the previous round of similar arguments and elections is an attack on the identity of super SMRT Democrats. As most voters are gross ignoramuses, they lack the ability to counter much of the lefty criticism because they simply don’t know enough.

        1. Elizabeth Burton

          There was not a single Green Party candidate on my ballot. There were a bunch of Libertarians, but saying I should vote for one of them is proof the individual isn’t really interested in change but only making some kind of personal statement. If the Green Party is so great, where are their candidates? Where is their fundraising?

          I’m really tired of being told I’m an idiot to vote for a Democrat and should vote for anyone else because as far as I’m concerned it’s just another kind of virtue-signaling from people who only want to protest instead of getting up and working on making changes. Voting for third-party candidates is fine if it’s done to support that party, but doing it as a sneer at the Democrats is cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face. Because you’re not doing anything for “the rest of the 90 plus percent” either.

          1. HotFlash

            Mme B, you are most correct. As they/we used to say on FDL, “|If God had wanted us to vote, He would have given us candidates.”

  22. JBird4049


    Because of the reserve army of the unemployed.

    Nasir Mansoor, the deputy general secretary of Pakistan’s National Trade Union Federation (NTUF), reveals the terrifying daily grind for Gadani workers – 60 per cent have fled war-torn Afghanistan border towns, desperate for work that no others will do, even if wages are slightly higher than the average sweatshop job.

  23. Jean

    Re California ballot propositions.
    A No vote on all of them, except repealing the new gas tax.

    The construction and loan industry wants more building, more carbon emissions, more debt, more traffic, all in the name of “equity”, uh huh.
    Also, we are obliged to reelect the same tired machine Democrats who want more debt, more traffic, more people and more civil division. No thanks.

    1. JBird4049

      Being a bit dismissive on housing here? What about the near homeless, and the many, many, many who are either in poverty because of the extremely high rents, or living on the streets or in their vehicles? Many of them have full time jobs but simply cannot pay the rent. It is quite easy to find them. All too easy.

      I’m a fricking native Californian who has seen the costs of living inching ever upward each year for decades. It has been an increasing struggle for me to live here and it has gotten to the point where one has to earn six figures to not be considered housing poor. Building places for all of us to live in is not an unreasonable demand. They are building plenty of luxury apartments but not much else, and I am sorry, but I think paying 5k per month instead of “just” 2k for a one bedroom apartment is absolutely insane. Somebody is sure making a profit here.

      1. How is it legal

        What to say, I feel your pain, it’s been horrifying realizing the dismissiveness – and sometimes even contempt – of fellow Californians about people who’ve become homeless, or at threat of homelessness, despite having lived and worked here for decades.

        1. JBird4049

          Which is something I don’t understand for how could they think tens of thousands of often working Americans decide to live in their car, a shelter, or worse the streets is beyond me. Perhaps they are too terrified that they are next and so denigrate the unfortunates.

    2. KB

      Jean, great comment.
      I’m from a suburb of Minneapolis…we are seeing gentrification/development like not seen before…squishing in homes and apartments every where…
      Can I use at least your construct?…..I have neighbors trying to get through the thick skulls of our entirely Democrat council/mayor and can’t..All about equity here, like you said, Yah, right!…for 20 yrs not seen anything but increasing property taxes when they say “but but, your property taxes will go down”….for 20 yrs now.

  24. Carolinian

    Interesting Maureen Dowd on Gary Hart and an upcoming movie about him. Some of us do indeed remember how Hart told the press to follow him around if they believed he was having an affair and then the MIami Herald–shamefully–took him up on it. Robert Altman did a riff on the secret lover scandal in Tanner ’88.

    But the article doesn’t challenge Hart’s broad assumption that a) he would have won the presidency and b) that everything in the US subsequently would have been different. For the election, South Carolina boy Lee Atwater (I met him once) probably had more tricks up his sleeves. And as for different, Hart was a new Dem like Clinton. Promises before taking office inspire one to crank up Carole King’s Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?.Quite likely he may have avoided Papa Bush’s war in the Gulf. For the rest we’ll never know.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      What was the relationship between the Bush family and the Al Sabah family? I can find stuff from 1993 on, so I’m not certain what confidence the Kuwaitis had dealing with the Iraqis as it wasn’t recorded and the Kuwaitis are definitely liars.

      One over riding problem was the expectation Hussein had that U.S. ambassadors speak to the President or represent more than just a list of political donations in exchange for a title. Would Hart have dispatched a better person than April Glaspie to Iraq? I would guess no especially with the Iran/Iraq War over.

      I do think the post-Kuwait invasion was a bit untenable even though Hussein wasn’t going to be able to ride roughshod across the region regardless of cronyism between political families, but I see Iraq in a similar position regardless of the identity of the U.S. President in 1990. Its sort of like the report of Al Qaeda plans to attack the U.S. with planes that Condi read to W. Do you really believe Gore or anyone for that mattered would have reacted when the problem is a decrepit bureaucracy which isn’t receiving sufficient oversight? Richard Clarke has made his own accusations about the CIA running an illegal operation to flip the future hijackers instead of alerting the FBI.

      As for the election, would Gary Hart have had a campaign that was forced to fire Donna Brazille? Its amazing how she always turns up when Democrats lose. She’s probably Putin’s fraternal twin.

    2. Big Tap

      Gary Hart. He was the DLC’s original choice. He was Bill Clinton before there was a Bill Clinton. Probably would of won in 1988 If not for the Donna Rice incident. If today’s looser political standards applied in 1988 Hart would of kept his campaign going and not dropped out. Instead the Dems got Dukakis who almost won in spite of riding in a tank looking stupid and the Willie Horton ad. The liberal tag would of stung less on Hart than it did on Dukakis.

    3. Lynne

      I was not the only one in my crowd who said Gary Hart took himself out of the race, not for immorality, but for stupidity. I didn’t care if he was having an affair, but honestly, what kind of idiot dares the press to catch him and immediately makes it ridiculously easy for them to do so?

  25. Pespi

    Re: soil probiotics

    I’ve been active in a few probiotic and prebiotic communities and I have a warning.! Stay away from everything but the scientifically studied and determined safe mainstream probiotics. There are companies selling “full spectrum” soil bacteria pills, and they have given people lifetime health problems due to infections from dumping these mystery meat bacteria in the guts. It might be safe for a dog or a baby, but a grown adult is not made for that kind of exposure.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Timely warning against cynical misuse of the “soil probiotic” concept . . for which many thanks.

      I think the article itself was about the use of soil probiotics for plants growing in soil.

  26. BondsOfSteel

    Whatever city Amazon chooses for H2, they will destroy it and rebuild it in their image.

    The changes we’ve seen in Seattle are breathtaking… housing prices and rents are ridiculous. Most of the long time residents of downtown and all the surrounding neighborhoods have been pushed out. Far flung neighborhoods have seen massive teardowns / McMansions. We have a homeless emergency.

    Most of my friends now talk about living in the south side or the north side; traveling through the center of the city is hell. (The city council is talking about a London style congestion tax.)

    There’s now a gender imbalance in neighborhoods around amazon. (

    As Amazon takes more and more and more office space, more and more other business have been pushed out. (Biotech… gone or going.)

    If Amazon moves to N VA, I can’t imagine how federal workers are not going to be heavily impacted. Where are they going to live? Travel? Date? (a mostly female fed bureaucracy?)

  27. Wukchumni

    We were driving up the road and what looked like a puffing away 10 foot wide pillar of smoke from a train full of hot coal-but not going anywhere last week, now has streamers of smoke from individual trees spaced apart aways, and the effect is striking for it went to about 5x the size it was heretofore.

    This from our vantage point 3 miles across a deep river canyon and up the other side where the conflagration simmers.

    We were looking at a topo of how to get to the Eden Grove of Giant Sequoias, and it’s a straightforward dozen mile backpack to Hockett Meadow, and then a day or 2 of mostly off-trail to get to it.

    The bible on bigguns, is Wendell Flint’s: To Find The Biggest Tree, and he lists the Eden Grove as having 273 brobdingnagians of size, meaning they are 10-15 wide @ eye level when looking from the viewpoint of a pesky human at it’s base.

    To add intrigue, the grove is in 3 separate parts, much of which is on 40-45 degree angled slopes.

    You really have to want to go there…

    This will be the equivalent of a prescribed burn, and the giants need fire to be able to germinate new life, so it’ll burn till it rains.

  28. drumlin woodchuckles

    It is good to see Dr. Christine Jones and her work beginning to get recognition in parts of the MSM. Awareness spreads. Much of her work involves how these interacting plant-probiotic microbial suites interactions can be used to foster air carbon suckdown and soil carbon buildup . . . . which if done over millions of square miles of agricultural land would amount to billions of tons of air carbon suckdown. She puts some of her papers online at a site called Amazing Carbon.

  29. drumlin woodchuckles

    About Chinese aggression against all the fish in the world . . . . countries selected and targeted to be “designated victim” countries will have to use stealthy methods to protect their fish. Overt visible confrontation won’t work.

    Weak fishing-grounds countries will have to work on stealth aqua-drone technologies. They will have to invent near-silent little aqua drones which contain a powerful bomb or mine and which can sneak up to the underside of the Chinese strip fish-mining ship and attack themselves to it . . . and then blow a hole into the underside of the Chinese Fish Assault Ship allowing the seawater to enter through the hole, thereby sinking the Chinese Fish Assault Ship.

    The drones will have to be so “generic” and so “identity-free” as to be untraceable when recovered, thereby rendering the attack un-attributable.

    1. polecat

      Manufacture them to resemble Man-o-War .. complete with tentacles that attach via magnets that reel that sucker in tight like ..

      I guess we both missed-out earning those big $elf-licking-icecream cone$ .. working in concept design for DARPA.

      damn !

    2. HotFlash

      How about making the drones look like tuna or some other fish They want to catch? Set for some number of minutes above sea level (or whatever) then BLAM!

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Hmmm. . . . good idea. Fishbombs. Bombfish.

        Don’t want bombfish in not-your-waters? Don’t catch the fishfish in not-your-waters.

  30. ChrisPacific

    Re: Amazon in Washington DC

    I’m embarrassed to admit that I didn’t think of this and I now feel like an idiot. Of course this must have been the plan all along.

    “The only thing in between Amazon and one trillion and two trillion in market cap is regulation,” Scott Galloway, a professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business, said at Recode’s Code Commerce conference, in September.

    Aaand the US legislature is famously for sale to the highest bidder susceptible to influence by lobbyists, and Bezos/Amazon have a gigantic cash hoard which Bezos has been publicly wondering what to do with. (Trick question – what does any good capitalist do with a big cash hoard? Make it bigger).

    Watch for other big tech companies to follow suit soon. If Bezos is going to be writing policy in DC then they need to be in there as well.

  31. drumlin woodchuckles

    About Taibbi’s article about America soon being where Russia recently was and now is again . . . if the American population could go down through kinder gentler methods than self-killing from drug-dosing, then America would be solving the overpopulation problem it now has and is. At 350 million people, the American land cannot support the American people in any sustainable way. Between medium standard-of-living reductions and medium population reductions, America could achieve a sustainable balance between land and people.

    If we had 200 million people living at a combination of Japanese and Finnish standards of matter-and-energy use and efficiency, we would go a long way towards solving our part of the Carbon Skydumping problem. Combined with an Abolition on Free Trade and a reduction of overall trade down to carbon-sustainable levels, America might even start making a contribution to de-warming the global.

    So although Taibbi means his article to be a sour satire and a gloomy warning to us Americans, it is really a message of hope for America if we can foster the population reduction down to a pre-calculated and pre-chosen acceptable-sustainability level. And IF we can achieve that withOUT any more drug-deaths of despair but strictly by voluntary birthrate reduction smoothly spread out over the whole population. And then we could preSERVE those ecological sustainability gains by rigidly preventing any more immigration unless and until we choose to do different.

  32. ewmayer

    Re. “SI Gets a Makeover | Physics World” — I’ve bolded a rather unfortunate choice of metaphor in an article which is all about the problematic nature of defining one’s units of measurement in terms of physical objects:

    Named after Max Planck, who developed the idea that energy comes in small packets called quanta, the Planck constant, h, relates the energy of one quantum of electromagnetic radiation to its frequency by the famous formula E = hν. The Planck constant is in turn linked to mass via Einstein’s E = mc2. Currently, h has a measured value of approximately 6.62607 × 10–34 m2 kg s–1, but metrologists now want to fix its value in stone, with the kilogram defined in terms of this value.

    Also, if you read the details about the 2 independent methods currently used to measure Planck’s constant (which technique will be flipped on its head by fixing h and instead letting it define the kg), there are plenty of physical objects involved – a moving coil of wire in one and “a uniform crystal of silicon-28 atoms that has been machined into almost a perfectly round 1 kg sphere” in the other – it’s clear that the kg is really just being redefined in terms of physical objects in a way less fraught with error and changes-over-time than before. Which is fine so far as it goes, but I wonder if e.g. counting electrons or atoms of a single isotope of a given element lending itself to such monoisotopic purification might not have provided an alternate route to an unchanging kg which better fulfils Maxwell’s quote cited in the piece:

    “If…we wish to obtain standards of length, time and mass which shall be absolutely permanent, we must seek them not in the dimensions, or the motion, or the mass of our planet, but in the wavelength, the period of vibration, and the absolute mass of these imperishable and unalterable and perfectly similar molecules.”

    As part of the proposed slate of changes, the mole is similarly being redefined in terms of “exactly 6.022,140,76 × 10^23 elementary entities”, so if one can practically obtain a supply of exactly identical “elementary entities” and a suitable counting technique for same, there’s your unvarying mass measure right there.

    Perhaps the issue lies not in a lack of technical ability to do such atom or electron counting but rather in a practical means of converting that micro-capability into a means to compare against real-world macro objects?

  33. How is it legal

    Re Here’s a look at the 11 propositions California voters will weigh on Nov. 6

    Speaking of California Propositions, I notice the Khanna camp has silently notified an Endorsement[1] of Proposition 10, at the very last minute (likely due to Bernie Sander’s October 28th endorsement of it, which clearly made Khanna look lame in his own home state); highly reminiscent of Khanna’s dual, Crowley, then Ocasio endorsements.

    Whenever Khanna Endorsed it,™ he’s never visibly/vocally SUPPORTED it. A current search of his two active twitter feeds (@ RepRoKhanna and @ RoKhanna) still show no reference to Proposition 10 whatsoever (unlike Bernie Sanders twitter feed), neither does Khanna’s official House website. The only positive reference I can find that he (or one of his aides) has made, is the October 23rd, Capital & Main/Guardian piece, where there’s one supportive quote by him, but no clarification about the context of that quote – a phone call? some obscure article/interview– and why there’s no other evidence of his support for Proposition 10.

    No surprise though, Khanna wants to ‘represent’ as all things to all people, while ultimately representing the Elite in Silicon Valley/California who’ve funded him (vultures don’t fund those they don’t bet on receiving something from). As of 10/26/18 ( NOTE: All the numbers on this page are for the 2017 – 2018 election cycle and based on Federal Election Commission data released electronicallyon 10/26/18 for Top Contributors), Khanna’s third largest Top Contributor was the vehemently anti Proposition 10, Blackstone Group, after the equally notorious [Google’s] Alphabet, and Wilson Sonsini et al; which were Top Contributors one and two (No PAC Money™ Though!).

    May Proposition 10 win, despite the horrid lack of actual support by Khanna and countless other California Democratic Politicians and Landlords.

    [1] When I checked, (and then commented on it) on October 29th, Khanna’s name was not on the Housing Now sites endorsement list (it still isn’t, as I write this comment) and Housing Now’s endorsement list was an exact duplicate of Yes on Prop. 10’s endorsement list on that date, as I recollect from comparing them.

  34. tegnost

    honestly I have no idea what you re talking about. Smaller bites with more context please. (reply to howisitlegai 5:28 pm)

  35. The Rev Kev

    “Wilfred Owen – A Poet Who Wrote the Great War’s Epitaph Even as It Was Writing His”

    A great loss that with his death. His poems as well as those of Siegfried Sassoon should really be taught in schools but I doubt they would be seen as sufficiently ‘patriotic’. For those interested, his poems can be found at Project Gutenburg-

    1. ewmayer

      My grad degrees are in STEM, but I always liked to throw in an occasional liberal arts course to break up the numbers racket. One semester my MWF class schedule consisted of the trio of 1. Quantum Mechanics, 2. Modern Poetry, 3. Advanced Topics in Partial Differential Equations (that semester was differential geometry and the maths of General Relativity). My midterm paper in [2] was on three poets of the Great War: Sassoon, Owen and the lesser-known-because-died-very-early Isaac Rosenberg. Whenever I see a reference to that appalling warmongers’ chestnut In Flanders Fields I instinctively reach for my Owen by way of an antidote.

      Lot of great talent snuffed out by the Great War … the German side lost the likes of Karl Schwarzschild, he of the famous black-hole solution of Einstein’s equations of General Relativity.

      1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

        Glad to see some reader interest in the Wilfred Owen link. And a bit surprised there wasn’t more actually.

        As a member of the Newton High School Marching Band– at a time that overlapped with the Bicentennial celebrations– I attended many parades and drum-beating events, and heard too-many recitations of In Flanders Fields. Discovered Owen, Sassoon, and Rupert Brooke on my own, although I did have an English teacher who encouraged me to read Remarque’s novel.

        1. The Rev Kev

          You had a good teacher there. Remarque is a great author and I still have some of his novels in German from when I was traveling through Germany. It was in one of his books that I learned the concept that you can love your country but that does not mean that you have to love its institutions as well. I think that he would have found a lot in common with Samuel Fuller who wrote “The Big Red One”.

    2. windsock

      I had to study the poems of Wilfred Owen for my English “A” Level (University entrance level exams) in England in 1976.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Can’t have that. I would suggest a two prong ‘solution’ to Mercer county. First, have the World Bank offer them a loan – or else. Second, have the International Monetary Fund send in a team of economists to put the economy on the right track. Mercer should just be like Monroe county within six months – tops.
      I have just finished John Michael Greer’s “Retrotopia”and damned if Mercer’s approach did not remind me of how things were done in the Lakeland Republic depicted in that book.

  36. RudyM

    And I have a far better idea: handmarked paper ballots, hand counted in public. What’s so difficult about that?

    But we have all this technology, so we just have to use it (appropriate or not)!

Comments are closed.