Links 11/5/18


West Point apologizes for falcon’s injuries; Air Force Academy mascot expected to fully recover Colorado Springs Gazette. I cannot in any way condone bird abuse.

Fashion labels up their eco vibe to keep millennials buying SCMP

FDA says it will consider approval of first dengue vaccine, despite controversy Stat

Collapsed Lao dam ‘was built on a sinkhole’ Asia Times

Childhood obesity linked to air pollution from vehicles Guardian

An Underground Sensation Arrives Chronicle of Higher Education. Announcing publication of A Common Wind.

Disgraced at Olympics Over Marijuana, Snowboarder Hopes to Ride to Cannabis Success NYT. Brings back memories of my ski bum days, during which I spent several winters In Whistler, BC, just before and for years after after Ross won his gold: I skied most days, and wrote at night. The town applauded his Olympic win, and named a run,“Ross’s gold” (pun intended). Didn’t realize he’d suffered so much from his cannabis connection. During my years in Whistler, the atmosphere at any local party was rather pungent – and I could fully accept his explanation that he’d absorbed minute traces of THC from secondhand smoke inhalation (although I have no idea whether such a claim is scientifically bogus). Posting this b/c it’s yet more evidence of the harms inflicted by the war on drugs – and its enabling attitudes. Canada and Uruguay have now seen the light, as has the Mexican Supreme Court.

Readers of the world unite TLS

The Rise of the Skeleton King, the ’80s Bone Dealer Who Changed Halloween Gizmodo. Missed this last week….

Qantas has no plans to follow Virgin’s announcement of US-style priority boarding for veterans Australian Broadcasting Corporation News

Realignment and Legitimacy

Trumponomics and the US Midterm Elections Project Syndicate

The Sad Death of “All Politics is Local” American Conservative

The Southernization of the Midwest Benjamin Studebaker

Trump’s Judges Imperil Our Rights for Decades TruthOut

Midterms poised to shake up US-Saudi defense ties The Hill

How Robocall Spam and Cheap Tech Are Screwing With Political Polls

The battle over early voting, explained Vox

States will vote on these energy and environment issues in midterm elections Ars Technica

Campaign Spending Isn’t The Problem – Where The Money Comes From Is International Business Times. Not just the source, but I think the overall magnitude of spending is also a problem. How about shorter campaign cycles, and public financing of elections. Readers?

The Sad Death of “All Politics is Local” American Conservative

Our Famously Free Press

What Empire Loyalists Are Really Saying When They Bash Julian Assange Caitlin Johnstone

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

Proposed data privacy law could send company execs to prison for 20 years Ars Technica

Waste Watch

5 recycling myths busted. National Geographic (J T McPhee). Panders to the mag’s middle class audience in touting recycling- although  I won’t deny there will be some benefits to that. Overall, the piece is panglossian in its failure to confront the scope of necessary changes to prevent drowning ourselves in plastic.

Class Warfare

1MDB is a nutty story. Here’s why FCPA Blog

An increasing number of public colleges are unaffordable for low-income students MarketWatch

Uber seeks permission to resume self-driving car testing on public roads The Verge

Despite thorough debunking, neoliberal housing politics prevail in the Bay Area Salon


Iranians celebrate anniversary of US embassy seizure as new sanctions loom SCMP

Europe prepares for US Iran sanctions hit FT. European workaround won’t be ready in time; US will impose sanctions on SWIFT if it processes payments, while Europeans say they’ll act if SWIFT doesn’t.

Saudi campaign to abduct and silence rivals abroad goes back decades WaPo

Saudis Call for Amazon Boycott Over Anger at Washington Post Bloomberg


How China’s ambitious plan to tax global income faces opposition in US, Hong Kong and even Beijing SCMP

Xi to face world tired of empty promises at big China trade fair Economic Times

Imran Khan’s trip to China gets Pakistan 16 deals and CPEC’s social expansion Times of India

Under the Pakistani volcano Asia Times. Pepe Escobar.


Birds suffer ‘collateral damage’ as horticulture booms in Kutch Mongabay. A sad story about the decline in bird populations in Kutch – a biodiversity hotspot – where I’ve spent many happy days birding over the last 10+ years.

Ola, Uber Strike in Mumbai May Have Ended, But Drivers’ Woes Everywhere Continue The Wire

US waiver on Iran oil gives government comfort till polls Times of India. Trump admin–or someone in the NSC or State– clearly understands that not granting India a waiver could otherwise have hurt Modi’s re-election prospects.

Imperial Collapse Watch

The U.S. Military’s Empire of Secrecy Truthdig Maj. Danny Sjursen

Democrats in Disarray

Michael Bloomberg to air $5 million in ads before midterm elections to tout Democrats — and himself WaPo. I could just as easily have chosen to file this under Kill Me Now….

New McCarthyism

Lee Camp: ‘We’re in a New Age of McCarthyism’ Truthdig

Trump Transition

Trump Administration Spares Corporate Wrongdoers Billions in Penalties NYT

U.S. militia groups head to border, stirred by Trump’s call to arms WaPo

Bicycles For The Mind: The Slide Rule Retool. I may have been one of the last US school kids taught to use a slide rule as a matter of course. I was a  precocious middle-schooler, and my maths teacher, Mrs. McKee, taught me separately –  giving me a short lesson each day, and expecting me to complete the remainder of my maths studies on my own. One thing I learned was how to use a slide rule. I remember her showing me the new calculator the school had just bought – which couldn’t perform the functions the slide rule did, even though it cost more than $150, which was a lot of money in the early ‘70s. Perhaps a metaphor for the limits of new technology?

Antidote du Jour:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Dan

    Re: Campaign Spending Isn’t The Problem – Where The Money Comes From Is

    We don’t need to have public financing, but might want to have public control of
    campaign financing expenditures. Put caps on timing and total expenditures. Could
    easily justify as a way to prevent outside ‘bogey-men’ from influencing the election.

    1. Loneprotester

      I like this approach. The problem, of course, is that oligarchs do not believe in “one person, one vote.” They do not see why they should have to let a bunch of poor schnooks decide elections when they clearly know better. I see no solution so long as their monetary advantage is a factor of 100,000 to 1.

      1. bstamerjon

        Methinks that this could be solved quite handily by a 90% tax bracket on income over 1 or 5 million.

    2. JTMcPhee

      Oh, goodie. Another capturable bureaucracy to institute. Not that any other approach will yield any other result than that the Golden Rule, as interpreted by Dimon and Blankfein and the CEOs of all those supranational corporations and of course our bought-and-paid-for “representative government, meaning of course that “them who have the gold (gelt in other languages) RULES.” Not a chance, in the US system for sure, that anything like this notion will be allowed to germinate, let alone bear fruit.

      Any argument with the proposition documented here at NC, repeatedly, that what the mopes, the ordinary people, actually want, let alone what they need to survive and be resilient and all that, has ZERO effect on “policy choices”?

      My guess is that before long, there will be no need to “tear it down and build it better.” There won’t be much of an “it” to “build better,” and the viruses of neoliberalism and neoconism and “Apres nous le deluge” have infected more than enough of us “cells” to ensure that the processes will just reassert and run to yet another lower-energy-level endpoint. “How I learned to stop worrying and love entropy.”

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        aye. similarly, the Truthout thing lamenting the wholesale capture of the Judiciary…if you don’t fight, you cannot win,lol.
        I blame the demparty for a whole lot of this.
        the common thread in a lot of the Right’s machinations—which is merely the executable file part of the bigger Aristocratic Counterrevolution…from “tort reform” to “deregulation” to hatred of the very idea of government, sharing or cooperation…..if you game all that out to it’s logical end, you get a lawless anti-civilisation(Hobbsean, even) where the Golden Rule you mention is truly the only law of the land: Ie: the only Rights you can claim are those you can defend, and all our laurels and revered parchments are mere kindling for the bonfires.
        Over the years, I have asked various “conservatives” about this….walked them through the gaming out of their project.
        Most argued that that’s not what they were after, at all…that God, or some analog thereof(Market) would direct events into a more or less civilised track.
        some…the more Randian Libertarians, as well as the Burn it All, let god sort it out-types…admitted to the nihilism, and relished in the potential for destruction.
        Think a marriage of Tim LaHaye and Mencius Moldbug.
        They all assume that they would necessarily be the lords of the manor.
        The Confusion of Tongues between these two kinds of “conservative” is essential to the whole project.
        a recurring leitmotif in the most recent Battlestar Galactica(one of my alltime faves, in spite of it’s flaws) is the question: “do we, as a species, deserve to survive?”
        Looking around, at how we’ve allowed all this to come to pass…almost blindly, and without consideration…that question weighs on me heavily.

        1. blennylips

          > walked them [“conservatives”] through the gaming out of their project.

          I would pay good money to see that, Amfortas! Not a common skill.

          I think that we apes – optimized for running and throwing and snap decisions – are waaaay out over our cultural skis. While pollution is drawing a Dunning–Kruger veil over what intellect remains.

          Don’t forget your towel…

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            giving such ad hoc classes, as it were, works better in a pasture, or under a tree…and with a few beers and maybe a splif. Set and setting.
            I have found that most people only think they’re republicans/right wingers/libertarians/whatever…usually due to family and church…but they’ve never really thought through these things. Get them away from the noise and the haste…and away from their usual tribe, especially…and apply the Socratic Method.
            I simply begin with whatever nonsensical ejaculation they start with(which is in itself usually a “feeler” for tribal identity), and start asking them questions.
            Took 20 years with my favorite cousin(he went back to college to study philosophy, no less)…but I’ve seen great strides sooner with many others.
            This method is not scalable, I don’t think…it won’t counter the Mass Mindf^ck that’s been conditioning this entire, broad cohort so thoroughly for forty plus years…but it’s the only cure I’ve found.

            1. socrates

              And if it does “scale” – as it seems to have with Socrates, hence the blasphemy/corruption of the youth trial – then the reaction is… well, you know that.

            2. NotTimothyGeithner

              Took 20 years with my favorite cousin

              Its better to focus on non-voters and sometimes voters. After all, 69 million people voted for Barack Hussein Obama. Fussing about Republican views is just a waste. Smile and nod, and move on.

              Mostly, I feel its a distraction to avoid assigning blame due to incompetence on the Democratic side (I learned Donna Brazille was the deputy field director of the Dukakis campaign at one point) and a general lack of candidates who share the values or same concerns as their potential voters.

              1. Amfortas the hippie

                it’s a lifelong hobby.
                I got through being a weirdo child genius by pretending I was an anthropologist in the field, embedded with a hostile tribe.
                I sometimes think it would be cool to be embedded in the team blue tribe(also quite hostile) for a while, but I don’t really know about them in real life…at least not since I’ve been way out here(25 years).
                the virtual fieldwork I’ve done with this latter group doesn’t seem promising of late.
                and any way, the former group are my neighbors…so I have a more immediate interest in countering the effects of the mindf^ck there.
                after observing the giant freakout after 9-11…and then the weird secondary infection of the teabilly years…i got pretty serious about these efforts.
                none of them voted before; some of them do, now…and yes, it would be neat to have someone to vote for. It remains a rear-guard action, but the prophylactic part–immunizing myself from pitchforks and torches when the balloon goes up–is important to me, personally.

            3. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

              The last such discussion I had was in October, with my dental hygienist, when we spent 50 minutes of our allotted hour discussing politics, and she spent 10 minutes cleaning my teeth. Rather than hectoring her about how she could possibly support Trump, I listened to her, and guided the conversation to discuss other, non-Trumpian solutions to her concerns. Even got a plug in for MMT – in the context of debunking the hidden agenda behind the how are we gonna pay for it meme.

              She thanked me, profusely, for listening to her – and promised to check out this site. I told her she was far from alone in her worries.

              So, yes, I endorse Amfortas’s application of the Socratic Method – while realising it takes time, and patience, to achieve any results.

        2. Eclair

          Amfortas, your comment opened the possibility of a rebranding of the concept of ‘deregulation’ as a ‘return to corporate lawlessness.’

          1. John

            Deregulation carried out to the full means no regulation and that equals lawlessness. Think of it as the merger of the corporation with organized crime, except that ‘organized crime’ implies some rules and regulations. So that does not work. Without regulation there is only the conscience of the average corporate weenie, the existence of which conscience is unproven, to slow the descent into barbarism.

            All kidding aside without regulation there is only fear of retribution to restrain the takers from taking everything. Regulation can be civil, governmental, or an ethically informed conscience, or economic, a recognition of the need for restraint lest the cow be killed and eaten thus being unavailable to be milked.

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              I think Amfortas has a better construct: Aristocratic CounterRevolution. Think class struggle: they get lawlessness, we get more laws and police enforcement than ever. So it’s not really a merger of the corporation with organized crime since 1% crime has been abolished.

              Here in Australia we are awaiting the outcome of the Royal Commission into Banking. Rupert Murdoch’s play toy The Australian government fought the establishment of the Commission tooth and nail but it went ahead, and it uncovered and detailed pervasive law-breaking: banks billing dead people for 10 years, widespread money laundering, ubiquitous liar loans, and endemic “investment advice” that maximized bank commissions.

              There was some considerable sound and fury in the press and even hints at executive perp walks, but now it’s out of the headlines. I think we’ll eventually just get confirmation: stealing is simply no longer illegal in Australia if you’re in the 1%.

    3. jefemt

      The headline lost me at Campaign Spending isn’t the Problem. Horsepucky!
      Our state has 1 million residents, last count the lone senate seat contest was at 35 Million. Will be at $40 million by tomorrow. Would fund our Medicaid shortfall for a year. And, I honestly can’t fathom how it changed one person’s mind— it is an exhausting series of hyperbolic distractive lies on non-issues.

      Our lone at-large congress seat will be at nearly 20 million, much of it self-funding the campaign of the sitting congress-pugilist Greg Gianforte, the media puncher/wrestler — richest guy in Congress…

      We need solely public financing, a 12 week election cycle, with media access only through our publicly financed media- NPR/ PBS, through weekly debates and in-depth ‘free’ position PSA’s. Then, progressing-elimination run-off elections.

      Coupled with term-expansions and limits— lest say three years in house, two term limit, four years in senate, two term limit, with retirement and health care benefits limited to that available to a median income American.

      I keep coming back to the initial democratic Presidential candidate pool back in 1992, when Jerry Brown was throwing out so many ‘radical’ ideas- campaign finance reform, term limits, and the questionable moral fiber of candidate Clinton. Wouldashouldacoulda— a Jesuit-trained anti-war environmentalist Buddhist lawyer for President of the US?

      So, check out Chris Hedges Bob 1 or Bob 2 from Truthdig: Vote??

      Hang in there, folks— long dark winter

      1. Summer

        And one can say “who” finances elections is the problem, but that assumes one really “knows” that who throughout their lives and people are super informed about the details of their intentions throughout their lives.

        Just more of the alleged wonder and magic of all the theories that rest on assumptions of informed knowledge in a global eCONomy (with its emphasis on freedom of the conman) with hyper-propagandized polulations.

      2. Oregoncharles

        Not sure what you mean by “progressing-elimination run-off elections,” but runoff elections merely shift the spoiler effect to the first round. France has run into this, where too many leftish candidates put the far-right candidate into the runoff. California is also finding it has strange results.

        The solution is available: Ranked Choice, aka Instant Runoff voting. In use in other countries, including Australia, some US cities and counties, plus Maine! Which beat Oregon to it, congratulations.

        RCV not only eliminates the spoiler effect; it can also drastically shorten the campaign season by eliminating the primary. Both “rounds” are compressed into one vote.

        (Hope this isn’t a duplicate – ran into an error notice when I tried to post it.)

    4. Carla

      Since “democracy” is a public project, and voting is a public act, and the whole infrastructure of elections is publicly funded, and those elected to serve in the public sector are called public servants, why would we not need to have public financing of political campaigns?

          1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

            I endorse Carla’s elegant formulation completely. I understand why the current system is as it is – but it doesn’t have to be this way.

      1. nihil obstet

        And since the airways are public, licensed to private corporations, why would we not require that the licensees provide air time to political campaigns? The cost of campaigning would be significantly reduced if TV ads were free.

        1. Procopius

          I notice that happens when somebody produces an ad that for some reason is supposed to induce outrage among some group. All the media start writing stories about the ad and include the ad in their stories, so the ad is essentially being played for free. Trump got a bunch of free publicity that way. Some people estimated it was worth billions.

      2. juliania

        Excellent point, Carla. And while we are about it, how public is letting the two main parties (both oligarchical) determine who gets to run and who gets to vote. Apparently in my state you can be swiped off the rolls if you aren’t registered for one of the teams they think are legitimate due to the percentages thing. So, at least the big D guy who came to my door this round told me. He might have been lying, but for me the fix is in. I tried to find out online – the subject is not being discussed. Not on the ‘politics isn’t local any more’ link either. This is a civil rights issue and nobody’s discussing it, not publicly anyway.

        It’s time for the League of Women Voters to take it back, along with hand counted paper ballots. Take it ALL back.

        1. Brian

          If your state allows the people to create law by voter resolution, create a simple law regarding elections. Find out what other people in other states are considering and combine to make it the same in each state. The political masters won’t like it and try to ignore it. But much like cannabis becoming legal in the face of complete federal opposition, the people will win out and bypass the bribees and bribesters.
          for those of you in states that don’t allow you to petition your government, you need some new representatives that care about your vote more than the bribe.

    5. cgregory

      What would do the trick is this system, which:

      Vendor-Based Oversight (VBO) Campaign Finance Reform

      –resolves the corruption of present-day campaign financing.
      –focuses on the highly visible chokepoint of the money cycle, where violations are easily detected and provable in court
      — rewards citizens for detecting violations and prosecuting violators
      — and thus raises the public’s interest in campaigns.
      — makes it easy for lawmakers to vote for it, because it exempts all candidates from its purview
      — eradicates the unspoken but well-known obligation every elected official has to his or her major contributors.
      — frees the incumbent from spending inordinate amounts of time finding contributions.
      — allows candidates to run and vote on their principles and the needs of all their constituents
      — eliminates the myth which drives all candidates—that “there is no such thing as too much money raised for the campaign.”
      — involves almost no public spending and therefore does not depend on state finances for its existence.
      — reduces the public’s cynicism about the electoral process.

    6. Anthony K Wikrent

      The theory of republican government recognized the two major threats to a republic are a permanent military establishment, and concentrated economic power. Our polity has established, over time, political traditions and norms of behavior that circumscribe and limit the political involvement, and even the free speech, of military officers. We need to develop similar political traditions and norms of behavior regarding the rich. Only a cultural renaissance of republican thinking can accomplish placing acceptable limits on the political activity and speech rights of the rich without destroying the rights of all.

    7. drumlin woodchuckles

      Force FCC-licensed radio and TV stations to give free airtime to political ads during campaign season as a condition of keeping their licenses. This would lower the amount of money needed by political campaigns to buy airtime because they would no longer have to be buying airtime.

      Perhaps find a way to extend that forcible forcing of giving free airtime to political ads to the Internet sector . . . forcing them to give free bandwidth to all political adsters.

  2. Alfred

    On the southernization of the midwest, I comment as a southerner who lived for substantial periods of time in two of the states discussed. For two decades since then I have been traveling regularly throughout much of the region. Southern Ohio, southern Indiana, and southern Illinois have always struck me as culturally southern, through and through. In eastern Ohio I’ve seen rural poverty that I believe would be hard to match even in Alabama or Mississippi. On two recent drives through much of southern and central Michigan I was struck by how many vehicles and homes I saw flying Confederate flags. Half of Kansas has always sympathized with the South. So the race to a southern-style bottom, chronicled in the article, doubtless finds welcome in those swathes. The midwestern interstates (Indiana and Iowa especially) feature as many pro-life billboards as one can see along any highway in Georgia or Florida. Recently I’ve had occasion twice to visit Cairo, Illinois, which I take to be the southernmost outpost of Yankeeland. I urgently recommend Cairo for a look-see at the grim future that lies ahead for (I’d say) most of the midwest’s towns and smaller cities. Meanwhile, the culture of other American regions is being southernized, too: Alaska, western Pennsylvania, parts of central New York, and areas of Colorado, from what I’ve personal observed, among them. Either southenized or neo-liberalized — they may be synonymous.

    1. Chromex

      I was Born in Southern Indiana and had family connections there for many years. My father used to say of his town on the Ohio River that it was the “only town north of the Mason-Dixon line that was south of the MAson Dixon line.” When I was a “Hippie” back in the day and had to visit, I was sometimes stalked by people with short haircuts as I walked past the Impeach Earl Warren billboards. I concur!

        1. todde

          Charlie Birger and the Shelton Gang went to war with them in the 1920s.

          Used ‘tanks’and bombed houses with bi-planes.

            1. georgieboy

              Regarding the southernization of Michigan, much of that was demographic. As the car industry got cranking after WW II all sorts of jobs opened up in small town machine shops in southern Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio. Hillbillies moved north to get those jobs, and like their black brethren who went to Detroit and Chicago and Cleveland, they stayed.

              As far back as the 1970s, similarly, the joke about Pennsylvania was that it was “Philadelphia and Pittsburgh with Alabama in the middle.”

              The southernization became more than demographic when neo-liberalism won the Democratic party under the Clintons.

    2. Polar Donkey

      Ten years ago, I read Kevin Phillips book the emerging Republican majority. The book was almost 40 years old, but I remember all the maps of religious denominations, especially non-mainline protestants. The spread of non-mainline protestant denominations happened mostly from southerners migrating around the country. Phillips tracked that nation wide in the 1960’s.
      As a person who has lived in the south, you can make reasonable arguments about any range of policies, but religion just throws up a brick wall. You wouldn’t believe all the public school teachers in Mississippi that vote Republican and it is because of church. The ray of hope is declining church attendance, but that downside is atomized people in a harsh neoliberal environment of shallow safety nets.

      1. JohnnyGL

        Religion can cut a lot of different ways, not all of them bad.

        In political terms, churches are arguably just a mechanism to organize people around a given set of issues, often chosen by the leadership. They provide community and a network.

        If the left doesn’t provide either, 1) better churches with better agendas or 2) other organizations like, say, unions, to counter the effects of churches then the left is going to lose.

        It’s only since the 1960s that churches have become dominated by the right wing in this country. That didn’t happen by accident. Previously, they spearheaded a lot of progressive activities.

      2. FluffytheObeseCat

        In the recent teacher strikes and walk outs in places like Kansas, many of the women interviewed by MSM types voiced protestations about how fervently Republican they were….. before answering questions about the wildcats strikes they were instrumental in leading.

        The reason is church. Specifically the large “nondenominational” warehouse churches that dominate the social fabric in those states. Especially for pink collar white women. It’s been 40 years since the aircraft hangar sized “Grace” or “Four Square” churches took over in that stratum of the heartland. They never did have everyones’ hearts in their grip, but the elite of those institutions still control the narrative in the respectable middle class.

        It’s getting hard for younger people to ignore the moral terpitude of their ultimate leader however. Trump is everything congregants of the Four Square Bible Churches are supposed to abhor….. yet their reverend leaders are all up in his pants, loving him to bits.

    3. sleepy

      I grew up and lived in the South–TN, MS, and LA–for 47 years. I now live in a small town in northern Iowa which is culturally a different universe. I don’t see or hear much Christian fundamentalism just mostly mainstream Lutheranism and Catholicism, most people keep to themselves (unlike southerners who will tell a stranger their life story at the drop of a hat, lol), and gay marriage didn’t seem to rile people up. One distinct difference is that my 98% white county of 43,000 voted dem for president every election since 1984 except for . . . . . . 2016.

      Few if any all white areas of the South have had that sort of dem voting record since at least the 70s. There are also very rural and very white counties of 18,000 or so in northeastern Iowa which also are traditionally democratic. Again, unheard of in the South nowadays.

  3. mistah charley, ph.d.

    I could fully accept his explanation that he’d absorbed minute traces of THC from secondhand smoke inhalation (although I have no idea whether such a claim is scientifically bogus).

    If second tobacco smoke has deleterious health effects – and it does – the idea that someone could absorb THC at a party where others were smoking, without personally taking a puff, seems very probable.

    1. Tinky

      I don’t think that there is any dispute about this at all.

      Many people have heard of a “contact” high, and plenty have witnessed changes in behavior of their pets as a result of it!

    2. Summer

      You can test this yourself. I volunteer to smoke you out in a car with the windows rolled up. We’ll both be fine. Won’t take more than five minutes and you won’t have to take a puff.

    3. JerryDenim

      I’m no scienctist or doctor, but claims of failing drug tests due to second hand THC exposure are bogus based on my knowledge of drug testing. The threshold for a positive test is set quite high deliberately to avoid those second-hand contact scenarios. The US Army conducted a study which found most of their subjects were able to smoke an entire marijuana cigarette with a controlled amount of THC, which was intended to be what the study deemed “average”, and still pass a drug test two hours later. All of the subjects who smoked and tested negative, were lean, fit and not regular users. Conversely, and owing to the fat soluble nature of THC, heavy, habitual, long-time marijuana users who are also overweight can still test positive for THC months after they cease using the drug.

      So no, second hand smoke alone will not cause you to test positive. If you’re skinny and totally clean – a non-smoker, you could even take a few tokes of a joint at a party and be just fine if you were tested the next day, although I would never chance it myself if my career depended on it.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        If true, that would also strongly suggest that, as suggested above, claims of second-hand smoke from tobacco being harmful are also overblown and probably false as well. Can’t have it both ways.

        1. False Solace

          > laims of second-hand smoke from tobacco being harmful are also overblown

          I don’t see how that follows. The previous comment was about being able to pass a drug test, not whether you’d come down with cancer after 20 years of second hand exposure, or whatever. My understanding is that the danger of smoking is a reason why edibles are so popular.

        2. Oregoncharles

          Nicotine is a lot more poisonous than THC.

          That said, the “contact high” (which I haven’t experienced) may be mostly social.

    4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Through air ducts in an apartment complex, as well, perhaps.

      Those no-tobacco smoking multi-unit dwelling with shared ventilation would have to consider no-weed smoking as well.

      “No smoking weed in public, and not in your apartment either…at least not this complex….there are CHILDREN here.”

  4. whine country

    Yesterday, I was asked by Procopius if I had ever actually been spat upon after my return from Viet Nam. I thought I would respond here. In 1968, after two months in Letterman Hospital in SF, I met a friend in a bar near where we grew up. My friend had been wounded, had recovered and was assigned to the Protocol Bureau Motor Pool at the Presidio of San Francisco to finish out his draft committment. Most called where he worked the VIP Motor Pool since it catered to officers from Colonel and above. My friend pulled some strings and got me a job there. Our job was to drive the VIPs to wherever and whatever they chose in Army sedans. On one of my assignments, at night, my passenger requested that I take him to the Haight Ashbury District so that he could see the legendary area first hand. While I never frequented the area, I did go there a few times to see for myself what exactly was going on. Typically traffic moved very slowly on Haight Street which was where we typically cruised when we went to check it out. In the vicinity of Haight and Ashbury Streets, while moving very slowly, my vehicle was surrounded by a mob of people my age with long hair who created a scene like you see when unwelcome vehicles are in the wrong place in some Middle Eastern city. There was no alternative but for me to continue to drive very, very slowly so as to not seriously injure one of the mob members, but as I did, they screamed, cursed us, threw things, rocked the car and, yes, they, spat upon the vehicle I was driving. As a result of this event, orders were given that our staff vehicles were no longer allowed to go anywhere near the Haight Ashbury area unless an unmarked vehicle were obtained from the main motor pool and the driver and passengers were in plain clothes. Typical of Army “Intelligence”, that alternative proved to be of only minor benefit because the young people who frequented the Haight were not stupid and could easily tell that a 1968 Chevy 4 door sedan driven by a young man with a white sidewall haircut and an older passenger in the back seat was most likely a military vehicle. Those were interesting times for sure. If you think there is anger, rage and hatred today on an unprecedented scale – you missed the late ’60s.

    1. Darius

      There seems qualitative differences between revulsion to the military and contempt for anyone that served. It is not surprising that an Army car driven and ridden by men in uniform, especially an officer, would be greeted with hostility in the Haight in that era.

    2. JTMcPhee

      So that Haight crowd did not spit on you, personally, but on the vehicle of an obviously high ranking Brass Ass. An altogether different proposition, of course.

      When I was in Vietnam, 67-68, fragging of officers and NCOs had started, and one place I was assigned, where a lot of “stupid action” was going on, the mandatory snappy RIGHT-salute to officers by enlisted men and those lower in the “chain of command” got revised to a lackadaisical salute with the LEFT hand, accompanied by the muttered “Garry Owen, motherf@cker!” And knowing they were outnumbered and very much in the wrong, they took it, though all who did that could be Article 15’d (nonjudicial miltary punishment) or court-martialed. The officers in my aviation unit and senior NCOs too, looted our good enlisted men’s rations to trade with the Air Force for cases of frozen steaks and chicken flown in daily by that steady stream of C-130s and othe rlarge transports. So they would have barbecues every night, and bring in girls from the Ville which was off limits to the troops, and they stole our generators to power their air conditioners and the sheets of 3/4” plywood that we used to make floors for the ratty tents we lived in, stuff like that, the stuff that ALWAYS happens in armies. So one night, half a dozen riot gas grenades got lobbed into the middle of their party, scattering the brass. And the message was received, and for a time the looting was reduced. “Look on the bright side, Sir! Could have been fragmentation grenades, Sir!”

      There were good cultural reasons why a lot of Americans had (and have) zero respect for military brass and their drivers and staff. See, e.g., “Petraeus scandal puts 4-star lifestyle under scrutiny,”, and even in conservative spaces people are noticing,fecklessly of course, that generals and the purchasing and fraud department known as the “Pentagram” can’t be bothered to actually “win” wars (whatever that means in today’s world) as they feathers their nests and polish their careers and post-military gigs, “The Pentagon has too many generals,” And of course if one searches on “US military corruption,” one encounters a host of well documented reasons to hate the whole system (unless one is a beneficiary), up to and including stuff that ought to be prosecuted as treason under the existing law.

      My military experience included time in Headquarters Company at Ft. Eustis, where the commanding general had his own personal Beechcraft King Air propjet, to ferry him to among other things, PGA golfing events all over the country, and trips to his “summer place” and hunting lodge. His crew chief was one of my buddies, complete with white sidewall haircut and razor creases in his fatigues and boots with a perfect spit shine at all times. (Now, the generals and colonels also have their actual full business-jet play toys, among other benefits and emoluments.) And what is the last estimate? The Pentagram has “disappeared” some $11 trillion, and even in MMT dollars, that’s some real money…

      Sorry for your distress at the reactions of people who were opposed, to no avail, to the whole Vietnam thing. Glad you put it in honest context.

    3. Eclair

      Thank you for sharing your personal experience with us, whine country. Rather breathtaking on so many levels. I lived through that era, protesting the war with Quaker groups. And, I admit to feeling a lot of animosity towards the military.

      As for your officer’s decision to drive through H-A in an obvious military vehicle, he must not have been a fan of the novels of John Buchan. When one of Buchan’s heroes wanted to find out what the natives were thinking, he would slip into a disguise and hang out in the bazaar, picking up local gossip. There is an awesome amount of hubris associated with your officer’s unshakeable confidence that his rank and position would protect him.

      In the 1960’s and early 70’s, the rage and anger were directed, I believe, by the young and the anti-war, against the ‘man,’ the rulers and capitalist system who were perceived as corrupt, racist and imperialist. Fortunately, the ‘man’ was able to squelch this revolution and has succeeded in getting us to turn our rage on each other.

      1. Eclair

        I was in my late 40’s when I finally realized that the animosity I had felt towards all the military was misdirected.

        I became friends with a Viet Nam vet, still indelibly marked by his experience there. He was a recovering alcoholic. One evening he showed me his album of photos; picture after picture of the guys in his platoon. I looked at all those unlined faces, those skinny arms and hairless chests as they lounged about camp, waiting to be sent out to be killed, and I realized: they were a bunch of children, just kids, that our war leaders were using as cannon fodder.

    4. Wukchumni

      I was just a little kid in the Summer of Love, and looking up at adult sized people was always awkward, because you got this jutting out chin look from the angle of attack of your eyes, so they were all a little sinister, but hippies even more so to a 5 year old.

      Our surfburban high school hippies in the near hinterlands in SoCal were more like playing dress-up, my mom told me one of the acts of civil disobedience they pulled off, was to comb the surrounding 200 or so homes, looking for “Home For Sale” signs (they used to be a sign about 3 feet wide x 2 feet high, with a small metal post and it would go on your lawn) and then littering one lawn with 28 of them.

      Wanna be hoodlums…

    5. Lee Robertson

      Came back air-evac, 1967, discharged out of hospital. Never encountered hostility or even curiosity.

      1. Lord Koos

        I turned 18 in 1969 and avoided the draft for a couple of years by failing to communicate with my draft board, until finally the FBI caught up with me in 1971 and I was forced to register. My lottery number was low so I had to report for induction but was classed 4-F and didn’t have to serve, I’m still not sure why.

        I did a lot of hitchhiking around the country in the early 70s and sometimes I’d get a ride with a Vietnam vet. Many of these guys were messed up from their experience, drinking and/or taking a lot of drugs, and although I was a committed anti-war person I became empathetic with them. Most were around my age and had gone to ‘nam because they thought it was the right thing to do, but so many came back broken if they came back at all. Whenever I hear millenials talking about how my generation had it so much easier, I think, yeah probably, but at least they didn’t have 60,000 of their peers killed in a useless war.

    6. Oregoncharles

      Of course, that was also the reaction of people who were being treated as a tourist spectacle. If you had long hair yourself, you were warmly welcomed (speaking from experience).

      And I, too, note that they were spitting on the car, not you.

    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      Yes, somehow I inadvertently embedded a formatting glitch–fixed it.


        1. Wukchumni

          Neil Armstrong’s mementos fetched $7 million in auction the other day…

          Apollo 11 & Neil Armstrong in particular, are the ne plus ultra of space collectibles.

          Any other of similar goods that the 5 commanders of Apollo missions that also walked and/or rode on the moon, might hammer down @ half a million dollars each, if that.

  5. Livius Drusus

    Re: The Sad Death of “All Politics is Local”

    I recommend Morris Fiorina’s work on polarization for insights on how this happened, particularly his book Disconnect: The Breakdown of Representation in American Politics. His more recent work Unstable Majorities: Polarization, Party Sorting, and Political Stalemate is also good.

    There are a number of factors at play but they include the decline of civic organizations and their replacement by “checkbook” organizations that mostly involve donating money and not face to face participation, the decline of political machines and their replacement by ideological activists who tend to focus on big national issues (think of the pro-choice and pro-life groups for example) as opposed to local issues and the opening up of primaries that have helped ideologues dominate both parties.

    The old parties were more like confederations of state and local parties as opposed to the more monolithic parties of today so local and state differences played a big role in what kind of politicians you had. You could have liberal Republicans from the Northeast and conservative Democrats from the South. Now the Democrats and Republicans look similar across the country, although the Democrats seem to be more ideologically diverse than the Republicans.

    Fiorina thinks we are seeing party sorting (almost all conservatives are Republicans and almost all liberals are Democrats) more than polarization since he argues that ordinary Americans are less likely to be ideologically consistent compared to party activists, donors, journalists and other members of the political class. However, in most cases you only have two viable choices so a lot of people hold their nose and vote “lesser of two evils” for either the Republicans or the Democrats and this looks like popular polarization.

    Fiorina tackles the nationalization of Congressional elections in this essay from October 19, 2016 :

    1. Summer

      “However, in most cases you only have two viable choices so a lot of people hold their nose and vote “lesser of two evils” for either the Republicans or the Democrats and this looks like popular polarization.”

      I’d say the design polarizes the fragments.

    2. Adam Eran

      Other recommended reading: Rick Perlstein’s histories (e.g. Nixonland), and Robert Caro’s account of how LBJ stole his Senate seat (Means of Ascent). The U.S. has been at this divide-and-rule disenfranchisement game for some time now.

      1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

        Also look up work by Walter Dean Burnham, who was one supervisor of my MIT polisci master’s thesis. He’s written about the increase in disenfranchisement measures, starting with the system of ’96, e.g., 1896. These performed as intended and suppressed turnout among eligible voters (and that’s excluding what was done in the Jim Crow south). A very long game indeed.

    3. Darthbobber

      “All politics is local” has died a few times before. Reading the Lincoln-Douglas debates one can see the nationalization of that race, and 1860 was definitely a nationalized race. As were the 1932, 34 and 36 races. O’Neil was partly mistaken even in his era, as the moral majority among others turned a lot of down-ballot races in 84 into referenda on Reaganism generally.

      More to the point is the centralization of media and the ever-increasing interlock between the media itself and the major players (also consolidated.)

  6. s.n.

    “Flash strike” against Amazon affiliate by some of the world’s leading antiquarian booksellers

    Booksellers Protest Amazon Site’s Move to Drop Stores From Certain Countries

    The flash strike against the site, AbeBooks, which is due to begin Monday, is a rare concerted action by vendors against any part of Amazon, which depends on third-party sellers for much of its merchandise and revenue. The protest arrives as increasing attention is being paid to the extensive power that Amazon wields as a retailer — a power that is greatest in books.

    1. RMO

      Great link! An electrical engineer friend of mine who is just old enough that he used slide rules in school recently started building a modest collection of them. I told him my wife (born around 1980 so not old enough to have used them in school) is fascinated by them and he gave her a basic one as a gift. It delighted her no end to work out how to use it. I got her a cylindrical slide rule for her birthday a while back just for variety. Well, and because I think they look cool and have wanted one ever since seeing an encyclopedia article on them as a kid.

    2. Mark Alexander

      Thanks! I see they have a picture of my slide rule from my college days in the mid 70s: a Pickett N902-ES. It looks as good as new, and I still use it on occasion. It’s great for comparing prices of bulk foods: you set up one ratio of cost/weight for one product, and then you can instantly see where other products fall relative to that first one.

    3. Frank

      Thanks for this link. It made me recall having seen a post here
      titled “ Theaster Gates, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Statistical Graphics.“ It is very impressive when you stop to realize that the data collection, calculations, lettering and coloring was all hand done! Not to mention the imaginative ways of presenting data.
      I believe that DuBois was doing his work at the same time the most cited scientist, R.A Fisher was on the scene.

    4. polecat

      John Michael Greer prefers to use the moniker “steampuck calculator” for the slide rule … in part, as a way to encourage folk, young or old … via the ‘coooool !’ factor … to take up the challenge of learning their practicle use sans electronics, which could become less viable in a chaotic future.

    5. Angie Neer

      I was in high school in the late 70s, when calculators had become cheap enough that slide rules were mostly relics, yet Woolworth’s still sold them (for about the same price as a calculator). I was such a geek I bought a slide rule just to distinguish myself from my peers. I distinguished myself alright, by screwing up on a test because I hadn’t practiced enough and used the wrong scale for calculating square roots. They are beautifully ingenious devices, though, in the hands of a skilled user.

    6. Craig H.

      Looking for a slide rule on google is a trip. The genius page rank algorithm does not know that a slide rule and calipers are two distinct things for one. This page is fascinating:

      The only currently manufactured slide rule AND Currently unavailable

      There are dozens of pilot’s wristwatches that have circle slide rule bezels but I would be very interested in knowing of one modern professional pilot who routinely uses a wristwatch sliderule as he is flying along up there deciding whether to detour fifty miles offline to pick up a tailwind.

      I was pleasantly surprised to see you could still buy one of these:

      HP 35s Scientific Calculator

      The one I have and still use is great but it has a lot of miles on it and it can’t last forever and I wonder how long that hp35 is going to be there considering I am surprised to find it today. Hmmm.

  7. Wukchumni

    Disgraced at Olympics Over Marijuana, Snowboarder Hopes to Ride to Cannabis Success NYT. Brings back memories of my ski bum days, during which I spent several winters In Whistler, BC, just before and for years after after Ross won his gold: I skied most days, and wrote at night.
    I was a gambler with a skiing addiction one winter in Lake Tahoe in the mid 80’s, a practicing ski-bum in the days before parabolic skis saved me, as my thighs would get weary after an hour or 2 attired in straight planks on the slopes and i’d call it quits. I think the most days I skied on a season pass in a row was 27. Most any outing on the slopes @ a California resort then or now, you’d smell the remnants of somebody’s reefer the next chair lift up wafting your way, at some point in the day.

    It was an interesting era, the birth of the snowboard.

    We derisively called them squeegee men, as all most of them could do was cut switchbacks back and forth, wrecking the snow for us, and many didn’t look as if they were having a lot of fun, but that was then and this is now, and wow, sometimes we’ll stop to watch a boarder doing aerials and marvel @ their technique.

    The snowboard may well have saved skiing, as it brought youth back, and the maxim pretty much holds even now, most under 30 are boarders and most over 30 are skiers.

  8. Wukchumni

    U.S. militia groups head to border, stirred by Trump’s call to arms WaPo
    Our departed militia was a bunch of out there wingnuts, wow.

    We hadn’t been living in town yet, but were told by a friend that the flock from the evangelical church (with it’s own target range in the back) were out on North Fork road with guns at the ready from a few hours before sundown until around noon the next day on January 1st, 2000, in case Y2K reared it’s ugly head.

    Complete nutters, spoiling for a fight…

    How would our country react to a militia killing say 50 migrants, in cold blood, with photo and video evidence of the crime?

    1. Ford Prefect

      If they shot them as they tried to cross so they were still in Mexico, would the US extradite them if Mexico wanted to press murder charges?

    2. ambrit

      “our” country?
      Which ‘country’ do you speak of “consumer?” /s
      Right now I would not be surprised if half the populace cheered the massacres on while the other half wailed against them. Of interest is the percentage of either half that is armed and knows how to use what they have.

    3. human

      The same way they reacted, in general, to the murders of 4 protesting, unarmed college students by state militia in 1970.

      1. LifelongLib

        After the Boston Massacre (1770) all the soldiers involved were arrested and put on trial. They were acquitted (the crowd had been throwing rocks at them) but at least they had to answer for their actions. Strange that Britain gave its colonials more justice than the U.S. gave its citizens…

        1. Oregoncharles

          IIRC, some of the Guardsmen were in fact tried, perhaps belatedly, and, of course, acquitted. So, similar.

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          but at least they had to answer for their actions.

          I had a professor who was convinced Sam Adams rigged the trial. After all, Sam got what he wanted, made the British look bad, didn’t enflame UK sentiment against the colonists (the Sons of Liberty don’t strike me as being far removed from the average Southie), and delayed the point of crisis. Sam didn’t get John to provide a credible defense but to distract from the acquittal.

      2. Procopius

        I still feel ambivalent about that. The National Guardsmen, after all, were about the same age as the students. Some (many?) of the students were throwing rocks. Ever heard the phrase “stoned to death?” A well-thrown rock can kill a grizzly bear. The National Guard should have had more senior officers on the scene to keep the poorly trained Guardsmen under control. I was in Vietnam at the time and sympathized with the student protesters, but I couldn’t help understanding the Guardsmen’s point of view. Man, getting hit by a moderate sized rock hurts.

        ETA This is why I really, really hate the Orange One talking about how if the refugees in the “caravan” throw rocks our soldiers will shoot. The soldiers had damned well better not be within rock-throwing range of the asylum seekers at any time. Using the 101st Airborne to integrate Selma was enough violation of Posse Comitatus.

        1. The Rev Kev

          There is a good book about that day called “Kent State: What Happened and Why” by James A. Michener and he found that those Guardsmen just lost it and panicked when there was no real threat. Remember that one of the four students was a OCS student that was walking between classes and a bullet found him when he dived for cover. Afterwards there was a concerted effort to blame the four killed (“The Kent State Four should have studied more!”). Check out the section below which mentions a recording found. Gotta love the bit where the FBI stated that the recorded shots may have been ‘slamming doors’-

    4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      There are instant, highly visible ways.

      There are also slow, ‘but you got yourself in willingly,’ suffering alone ways.

      The latter can be deployed on more victims, judging by past results.

      “Go ahead, eat (drink, smoke or take) this. You will likely it.”

    5. noonespecial

      Re – U.S. militia groups head to border

      Armed brigands could of course be invited onto private land and claim some sort of stand-your-ground defense on behalf of the ranch owner. However, in public spaces, it strikes me as arrogant that these wanna-be warriors assume the right to deputize themselves.

      But we live in a time where (1) Oath Keepers = patriots; and (2) water protectors = rioters.

      (1) Stewart Rhodes of Oath Keepers writes,”we believe it is necessary for President Trump to…call up We the People, as the ‘unorganized’ militia, into national service and organize us into effective units from each state, and deploy us on the border.” – October 29, 2018 –

      (2) In the case of Chase Iron Eyes, a Native American who protested against the Dakota Access oil pipeline, he faced a felony conviction for inciting a riot and a potential jail sentence of 5 years. Instead, the punishment is one year of probation and payment of fines.

      A final thought – If the people in the Bayou who are protesting against Energy Transfer act in good faith to prevent another cancer cluster in their region, should they not have the right to use weapons to prevent such a thing from happening? Imagine if anarchists showed up in Louisiana, armed and willing, and decided to ruffle a few feathers. I very much doubt the Oath Keepers would accept them standing their ground.

      1. ambrit

        I’ll make the case that, post Katrina, a depopulated and resegregated New Orleans, as opposed to the suburbs thereof, has large areas that are essentially lawless and anarchic; the gangs now being the main power brokers in many neighborhoods. I don’t read of many Oath Keepers showing up to do a little pro bono policing in New Orleans.
        Essentially, the entire system of metropolitan water services that use the lower Mississippi River for their water supply are fighting a losing battle against a truly demonic mix of chemicals. Remember that New Orleans has had the reputation of having one of the best public water filtration systems in the world for years. The ‘cancer clusters’ of the lower Mississippi River are usually situated close to heavy industrial sites like oil refineries and chemical plants. Fixing the problem at the source, rather than remediation should be the most logical solution. But when has logic ever had much to do with public policy?

  9. sbarrkum

    Childhood obesity linked to air pollution from vehicles

    Dont growth hormones added to poultry and beef play a major role.

    A factory farm chicken takes just 45 days to hit the table

    1. Jeotsu

      That speed of growth is due to breed selection, not (just) hormone treatments.

      Those meat birds grow at the same rate (~48 days to maturity) here in NZ, without hormones. In the US I would not be at all surprised if they pump in more drugs to edge out another day or two, which over the course of the year can turn into another whole production cycle.

      The plight of chicken farmers in southern US is pretty bleak, with them working as locked in suppliers (share-croppers) for a tiny number of large chicken companies. Such a US chicken farmer might grow 750,000 birds in a year and only see about $25K of net income.

      There are some animal welfare implications to those overbred “broilers”, in that by the time they are all collected and sent for slaughter/processing they are starting to break down because their bone systems can’t support their rapidly increasing muscle weight. This has led to some discussions on the welfare side if its was better in the 48-hours pre-slaughter to scour the chicken houses for failing bird in distress (so they could be humanely culled) or to not. As moving through the chicken house every 12 hours or so to look for those birds could badly stress the rest.

      I’m glad I work in the pastoral agriculture side of things. A bit less grim at times.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        ^^^”The plight of chicken farmers in southern US is pretty bleak, with them working as locked in suppliers (share-croppers) for a tiny number of large chicken companies.”^^^
        it’s that way for everything from wheat to soybeans to tomatoes to eggs.
        Monopsony is just as bad as monopoly.
        Big Ag is a recipe for famine.
        and as far as antibiotics…they(all the CAFO style operations) have to pump them full of antibiotics, because the conditions are so terrible.
        If they didn’t, too many animals would die of disease to even see those meager profits.
        So Big Ag is a recipe for antibiotic resistance, too.
        But, you know…Efficiency!!!

        1. pricklyone

          Fed law prohibits use of hormones on poultry. All the ads for “hormone free” chicken are merely capitalizing on that.

  10. Mark Gisleson

    I’m 65 now and rural poverty has gotten progressively worse in my lifetime, all spent in the states of Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. In each case, Republican governors drove the downward spiral, enabling the corporate takeover of agriculture which only allows big players to win.

    But this is not the generational poverty of the South or Appalachians. This is what happens when you stop paying a living wage coupled with a consumer society that no longer allows low-income sports fans to follow their games without a $100/mo tithe to the cable companies. Same folks who set the thermostat at 60° every winter and who now think fast food is ‘eating out.’

    Cairo, btw, has always been like that.

    1. John

      My mom in Southern Michigan once asked me why good jobs were going away. I told her it was because she had been voting Republican all her life. She didn’t get it. She watches Fox. Republicans are pro economy, pro religion. It’s the gays and pornography coming from Los Angeles that cause trouble. I used to argue online in my aunt’s email group who said that Democrats were trying to take away Social Security. Unbelievable.

      If critical thinking were a natural gift we wouldn’t have to teach it in school.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Would you have had your mom vote for Democrats instead? If so, what kind of Democrats? Clinton-for-NAFTA Democrats?

        Would you have had your aunt and her email group vote for Democrats? Even the Catfood Democrats of recent years? The Catfood Clintonites who do indeed want to take away my Social Security? The Catfood Clintonite Democrats whom McConnell was reaching out to with his statement that “reforming” Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid would have to be a bi-partisan affair?

    2. BobW

      Agree about Cairo (pronounced KAY-ro). I’m 66, as a kid I used to pass through on family trips to Tennessee from Detroit, and it was always the dirtiest, poorest, grimmest town on the route.

  11. Matthew G. Saroff

    I was taught how to use a slide rule by my physics teacher in my Junior year in high school in 1979.

    I found it fun, but never thought that I would find an application, but when in college I took calculus, and they started discussing slide rule functions, I caught on in 1/1o the time of my fellow classmates.

    I want to get one of those giant teaching slide rules.

  12. Jason Boxman

    On The Sad Death of “All Politics is Local”, I’d say given these local races are potentially training grounds for future state-wide and national candidates, someone I vote for better support Medicare for All, or I’m not interested. If a candidate doesn’t believe healthcare is a universal right, doesn’t support the working class, what good can and will that person do at the local level?

  13. JohnnyGL

    Dems: The Party that stands for nothing in particular, other than not liking Trump, personally. Here’s Exhibit #2543:

    Here’s Dem candidate in IN, Joe Donnelly — “Donnelly has tried to tie himself to Trump, including becoming the first Democratic senator to open the door to considering Trump’s controversial effort to change who qualifies for birthright citizenship.”

    Surely, that kind of anti-immigrant sentiment doesn’t receive support at the highest levels of the party, right? Oh wait….Obama’s campaigning for him.

    1. John k

      Why not? He is, and always has been, a republican.
      My evidence? Bush is a right wing rep, yes? And the fifferences between bush and big o are what, exactly?
      Dems support right wing policies. They oppose trump because offensive.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Actually, I think they oppose Trump mainly because he competes with them for funding. Personal offense is just an extra. Oh, and the humiliation of losing to a buffoon.

        This goes back at least to “Why did the Republicans hate W. Clinton so much, considering that he was a Republican?” Because he stole their policies and their funders.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Its generational too. For the Bush clan and the Clinton/New Democrats, their time in the sun is up, and with that goes, the positions for people who are selling access.

          Trump doesn’t belong, but his candidacy and the Sanders candidacy demonstrated the lack of appeal these people (Hillary! and Jeb, please clap) have going forward.

          43 shouldn’t have been President, and the New Democrats made it big in mid-80’s and of course rose to the top spot in 1992. Even then Bill was a 42% popular President. After a time, they simply don’t belong unless they are particularly dynamic. 1992 to 2016 is 24 years, a long time. The absence of an alternative within the structures of the GOP (due to their coalition structure; libertarians, evangelicals, small business organizations, gun nuts, etc) and Obama’s dismantling of a political base operation and refusal to nurse new structures and candidates they are still clinging to positions of power. “Run to the extreme in the primary and the middle in the general” is really powerful political advice (snark), and this is what is offered by the sycophants of the Bushes and Clintons.

  14. Jean

    How Robocalls are affecting polls,

    The death of polling can be seen as a positive thing as well. Instead of learning what voters are concerned about and tailoring their messages pre-election, politicians might instead be selected based on their actual voting records in congress more than their lip service to future ideals.

    There is commercial value in a person’s phone number. This data is probably for sale by the pollers. For example, a person called who responds that they are for example *wealthy*white*Millennial*Democrat*, their number, correlated with home address, is worth a lot to advertisers. That is why I always answer polls and tell them that I am a “poor black teenager for Trump” to help screw up databases. It seems that the phone isn’t ringing as much as it used to around election time.

    As to push calls and ‘surveys’;
    “Is my opinion valuable to you?”
    “Oh yes it is”
    “Good, then send me a check for twenty bucks to my address which you undoubtedly have in your database. After it clears, call me back and I will be glad to share my valuable opinions with you.”
    As to the bottom feeders, the call centers from India flogging home improvements, sometimes it’s fun to talk to them and tell them you need some service they are offering. Schedule a visit at the worse possible commute time and most remote location out of your area. “We moved, but kept our old number.”
    When the installer calls and says he can’t find your house tell them; “We’re on the do not call list. That lead you paid for is spam. You should drop them or get your money back.”

  15. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Qantas has no plans to follow Virgin’s announcement of US-style priority boarding for veterans Australian Broadcasting Corporation News

    Priority should be given to those who have consumed the least amount of air mileage.

    “You go last…madam…sir. You have flown around the world too many times.”

    1. Wukchumni

      Back in the day of smoking airlines, er, when one was allowed to light up…

      I could care less when I was boarded on the plane, the later the better really, as my m/o was a few minutes before they closed the door for the duration- and in lieu of being in my assigned seat, i’d stake out hopefully a full empty row of seats in the fumar section, and then after getting a few snappy cocktails and din-din, stretch out to sleep.

      This was in the 80’s, when smoking was dying, but the airlines felt duty bound to offer the seats to their clientele.

      I don’t remember ever not getting a row, sometimes only a side row.

      1. Tomonthebeach

        Of course, that was before deregulation and cheapie air carriers. Boarding last? Sorry, no room in the overhead for your bag – that will be $40 sir; or oh gee, would you mind sitting in this middle seat so that nice couple sitting in your seat can stay there? Some airlines you get whatever seat you can grab – last on? Toilet row!

        I do mourn the days when riff-raff were not a problem. Everyone dressed in coats and ties, and was polite. You never sat next to a smelly 300lb guy in a tanktop and fliplops. You actually got a hot meal with plates and flatware. Of course, you still may enjoy that luxury if you upgrade to a ticket costing more than double the coach price.

    2. The Rev Kev

      The more I think about it the more strange the whole business seems. The whole Virgin airline thing was so un-Australian in nature that I thought that it must have come from corporate headquarters in London but I don’t think that they have veterans first on aircraft there either like in the US. The vets themselves said that they would rather a further discount on the fares rather than this exhibition of ‘patriotism’ which I would agree with. Vets in Oz get it pretty good on the whole in any case.
      I have noticed in recent years cultural ‘encouragements’ in Oz to be more worshipful of the military as well as the British royalty and I can only surmise that our betters want it to be this way. Somebody goosed up Virgin to go with this (I am guessing) as a way to bring in a cultural change but it fizzled out in short order as seen in this article. Americans may be used to it so the only way that I can compare it with is to imagine what would happen in the US if American Airlines announced that they were having Presbyterians board aircraft first with a free blessing to each of them. It would be that strange an announcement.

  16. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Fashion labels up their eco vibe to keep millennials buying SCMP


    Keep buying – that’s the problem.

    (We will skip over the part about implying millennials are easily guilty of this, or can be persuaded by ‘eco vibe.’)

    “One Mao suit, good for at least 10 years…or more.”

  17. JBird4049

    Dems: The Party that stands for nothing in particular, other than not liking Trump, personally.

    They stand for goodthink and are against Trump’s thoughtcrimes and the fact that they believe that the are still truly liberals, forget about leftist, is an example of blackwhite. The fact that you think they stand for nothing is crimethink; you should beware of it and purge yourself of such ungood before they find out.


    Of course, I could make almost the exact same statement for the Republican Party. Interesting, isn’t?

    1. tegnost

      election observers in san mateo? That’s pretty ridiculous but most of those folks are are surfing the blue wave so it makes sense from that perspective, I guess…don’t most wealthy people mail it in? Or maybe they’re sending observers where they know they won’t find anything who knows

  18. Samuel Conner

    Re: “US waiver on Iran oil gives government comfort till polls Times of India. Trump admin–or someone in the NSC or State– clearly understands that not granting India a waiver could otherwise have hurt Modi’s re-election prospects.”

    Wait … does this mean that US is revising its foreign policy in order to influence the outcome of another nation’s elections?

    I think it does.

  19. Wukchumni

    Variations of this were tried in 2010 and 2012 and both didn’t make it, and this one is more spendy, and comes @ an interesting juncture in that our school attendance is down on account of so many homes being bought up to utilize as vacation rentals, and locals are quite pissed off at this, and here’s a chance to make em’ pay! (along with us, that is)

    Our K-8 school dates from the 50’s with some bits more modern in the 90’s, and that rarity of rarity these days, no fence around it, free range kids!

    Three Rivers voters will consider Measure E, a $4 million bond measure to renovate and repair the school’s aging facilities that house about 130 students as well as 20 teachers and staff. Property owners will be assessed $30 per $100,000 of assessed value per year, generating about $239,000 annually. None of the money can be used for salaries and the measure will also create a citizens oversight committee to ensure that the money is being spent on facilities.

  20. Chauncey Gardiner

    Thanks for the links to the articles from the Times of India and Asia Times regarding the efforts of Pakistan’s new prime minister, Imran Khan, to negotiate financial and development support for his country against a very challenging backdrop, both domestically and geopolitically. Noteworthy that his administration is trying to do so outside the IMF framework. Difficult balancing act given the adversarial relationships with and between neighboring countries, Pakistan’s key sources of financial support historically, and an additional layer of complexity presented by their respective relationships with his negotiating partners in this endeavor. Game theory?…

  21. Darthbobber

    Johnstone’s piece on the ongoing attacks on Assange for committing journalism nicely fleshes out the new McCarthyism take of the Lee Camp interview. All part and parcel of the same thing, and all happily driven along by the same folks who give us “Democracy dies in darkness”, and the like.

    The same people and institutions who never tire of portraying themselves as somehow heroically “speaking truth to power”. (When not preoccupied with their more common task of speaking power to truth.)

  22. George Phillies

    Imperial Collapse

    The most useful bit of the Special Inspector General report on Afghanistan, the part that is not yet classified, is the fraction of the country under government or Taliban control or influence. In the past three years, our local puppets have lost control of about a sixth of the country. They are now in control of modestly over half the districts. That number includes a series of districts under virtual control, in which teh government officials have fled the area but still exert control electronically.

  23. SerenityNow

    Regarding the neoliberal YIMBY policy—

    It’s true that the whole idea of YIMBY ultimately benefits whoever is engaged in profiting off of the commodification of housing. But at least it gets things moving so there is more housing? I am absolutely for a system where homes are not commodities but at this point I feel that land speculation is fundamental to American values and the American way of life. “YIMBYism” also might eventually lead to more critiques of existing zoning, which could hopefully open peoples’ eyes to the oppressiveness around us as well. And at least in a less restrictive environment at least some people will be able to build smaller homes, less decadent homes, use less land, or build in ways that work better for them than for their neighbors’ property values.

      1. How is it legal

        I like the characterization of the YIMBYs as the The Growth Machine’s Shock Troops

        I believe that characterization fits also.

  24. Elizabeth Burton

    Do any of these booksellers have plans to offer those third-party sellers an online alternative to ABEbooks?

    These episodic “booksellers plan X to protest Amazon” are, I think, intended to keep alive the elite view that Amazon is the only thing driving them out of business. They all tend to ignore a few important facts.

    1. The main reason why bookstores close is an increase in their rent. Usually a large increase in their rent. They invest nothing in stocking their shelves unless they want to, thanks to an 80-year-old form of corporate welfare known as “returns.” That is, they can order stock, and if it fails to sell before the next round of bestsellers rolls off the presses they can return any unsold books for a full refund, which can then be applied to their next order.

    2. Bookstores are dealing in what is in today’s economy a luxury item, purchased by those with sufficient disposable income to feed their reading addiction. Especially given the cover prices charged by the Big Five for the hardcovers they insist have to be their main source of revenue. Well, to the press, anyway. Those booksellers who recognized this fact and added other sources of revenue are the ones doing reasonably well, but their operating margins for books are low for the stated reason.

    3. When on-demand printing arrived, and small presses sprang up to take advantage of the opportunity to publish books without having to spend huge amounts on printing and warehousing, booksellers refused to even consider them for shelving. They were dismissed as no better than vanity-published books, despite most of them having received the same careful attention to editing and design as any product out of New York. The only place those books could be made available was Amazon.

    4. Many of those authors were local to the bookstores that rejected them, which could have provided a decent marketing hook and an additional revenue stream. In more than a few cases, the bookstores refused to even special-order those books, deliberately lying to the people requesting them that they were “unavailable”. In many cases, those books were listed in the Ingram database right along with every book from the Big Five. Why, you ask, would they do that?

    Because the books weren’t returnable. I can’t speak for other publishers, but I find the whole concept of returns appalling when looked at in environmental terms. Shipping books to a store, then shipping them back (if they’re hardcovers or trade paperbacks). Worse, with mass market paperbacks all that needed to be sent back were the torn-off covers; the books went into the landfill because the Big Five refused to allow them to be remaindered. If I agreed to returns, the distributor would destroy the book sent back and print a new replacement copy, dumping the returned copy.

    They’ve gotten better—at least now they’ll take books on consignment. I prefer that, as they’re less likely to order twice as many copies as they’ll need. That’s the usual procedure.

    So, now, we have these booksellers “striking against Amazon” for providing a way for people to resell used books and collector’s editions. Is Amazon a monster? Of course it is. Right now, they’re in the process of crapifying further their on-demand printing subsidiary so they can make money persuading Kindle self-publishers to let them create a paperback for them. Given the majority of those writers don’t have a clue how publishing works, it’s a given their plan will work. The only consolation is there won’t be piles of printed books to be tossed into the garbage when they don’t sell.

    Okay, rant over. This kind of protest theater with regard to Amazon tends to push my buttons. Apologies to all who now know more than they ever wanted to about Amazon and publishing.

  25. How is it legal

    Re: Despite thorough debunking, neoliberal housing politics prevail in the Bay Area [Why do so many California politicians count themselves as adherents of YIMBY, a pure form of neoliberal sophistry?]

    Thanks much for that link.

    A ‘quibble’ as to:

    That there is a housing crisis in the Bay Area, particularly in the more expensive and dense cities like Oakland and San Francisco, is indisputable. Hence, on the surface, there is something enticing about the more, more, more logic of YIMBY.

    It’s highly unfortunate the author omitted the South Bay Yimby Movement™ as to the ever growing homelessness crisis in the Silicon Valley/Santa Clara County area – where the last Point In Time homeless count pdf report, titled: SANTA CLARA COUNTY HOMELESS CENSUS & SURVEY 2017 comprehensive report (see this site, at the bottom of the ‘page’ for the pdf report link), tallied 7,394 homeless, with 5,448 (73.68%) unsheltered homeless – particularly when Santa Clara County, overall, is still cheaper to rent in than San Francisco, since at least the Seventies (I know that from firsthand Seventies experience), yet still, working people can no longer afford the rent.

    And looking at that pdf Report, I believe that 2017 Santa Clara County Homeless Count doesn’t even include the vehicle attached Campers, and the RVs which families have fled to, no matter how many are living and working from them (which makes the term Recreational Vehicles™ an insult to humanity at this point).

    Many of those Campers and RVs, line major throughways paralleling Silicon Valley’s Caltrain™commuter tracks (infamous for suicide attempts and ‘successes’ to the point where they’re now heavily guarded), within a few yards’ distance. From that above referenced 2017 Santa Clara County Homelessness Count Report, camper and RV ‘permanent residents’ with no permanent and secure address to park at, or register to vote at, appear to be exempted from the homeless count:


    In this study, the HUD definition of homelessness for the Point-in-Time Count is used. This
    definition includes individuals and families:

    ● Living in a supervised publicly or privately operated shelter designated to provide temporary living arrangement; or

    ●With a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings, including a car, park, abandoned building, bus or train station, airport, or camping ground.

    This definition does not include people living in unstable housing situations such as “couch
    surfing” or staying in motels or hotels.

    And, what to say about South Bay Yimby™, which was excluded from the article though it represents™ the gut of Historic Silicon Valley, with the mind boggling, utterly unaffordable to most, thousands of Apartment Homes and Condo units which have been slapped up in Silicon Valley/Santa Clara County for well over five years now.

    South Bay Yimby™ does not even note Proposition 10 Rent Control as even existing on it’s current South Bay Yimby 2018 Election Endorsements page

    1. JBird4049

      Reading the comments of Salon’s article was depressing as it it devolved immediately into red/blue liberal/conservative insults and diatribes; it looks like the commenters, regardless of their apparent politics, as a whole did not actually read the whole article.

      I will say that not enough housing is being built.

      Most of the housing seems to be above market or even luxury units.

      The wealth and income divide in the Bay Area has been increasing for decades which has push housing up as well.

      All the well off from around the Earth is looking for investments and hiddy holes and the Golden State is prime territory.

      Lucky us.


      1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

        What caught my eye about that piece was Salon’s use of neoliberal in the headline. Didn’t think Salon was aware of that concept – although I confess it’s not a site I read regularly (even though some past articles I co-wrote ended up being cross-posted there, from AlterNet).

        Lack of affordable housing is obviously a huge problem and I keep my eye out when compiling Links for articles that provide an opportunity for the commentariat to discuss the manifold relevant issues.

        1. How is it legal

          Thanks again for the link, Jerri-Lynn, and others you’ve provided regarding Affordable Housing!

      2. How is it legal

        Sorry for the late response JBird4049, I was too overwhelmingly depressed to respond further on the Affordable Housing subject last night, after once again reviewing an excel file I prepared earlier this year, regarding the Point in Time Homeless Count Reports, while writing my above comment.

        In some Silicon Valley areas the housing built in just last five years and currently being built would have been enough if the tech campuses had not been allowed to occupy an enormous portion of the commercial real estate and then predominantly hire from Ivy League Schools, along with predominantly male H-1B and “Opt Program” (Optional Practical Training) workers; with no forceful impetus from the State, or the respective cities, to hire and train locally when Big Tech wants to build a Campus Company Town™.

        Sunnyvale is a perfect example of that. I know people just under retirement age who work in skilled non-tech occupations, and rent there. Their lives have been filled with fear for quite some time now, as there are zero local rent, or eviction, controls there. Worse, they generally don’t income qualify to get on the waiting lists (with generally a 4-5 year wait – after the wait for the waiting list to even open) for Affordable Senior Housing (for those 62 or older) while working a full time skilled job.

        The shameful local news media rarely report in any transparent,‘Headlined’ manner (unlike with San Jose and Google), just how much property that Apple, Google, Facebook, and Amazon occupy, and/or own in Sunnyvale; much of it at the expense of small businesses (and their employees) which have been torn down, or their leases have doubled, forcing them to close shop. Many of those quiet commercial real estate dealings were brokered by Dick Blum (Senator Dianne Feinstein’s husband) connected, CBRE. Also, some of the current unaffordable housing being built in Sunnyvale was at the heartbreaking expense of the decades long residents of the Blue Bonnet Mobile Home Park.

        Unfortunately, if Proposition 10 Rent Control passes (which I pray happens), it would likely take years, and an entire gutting of the city council for Sunnyvale to institute any of its protections. Sunnyvale’s generally a large, highly conservative city which went from Orchards to Lockheed Company Town (I believe there’s still a Lockheed Bus Line) to Big Tech Campus Town, from what I’ve read and witnessed over the decades.

        The Sunnyvale example aside, generally there is going to be a devastating shortage of affordable housing for anyone who was unable to afford, or lost, a home over the years and is just under, or over, retirement age in Silicon Valley, the San Francisco and Oakland Areas, the Los Angeles area and many other California locales unless something drastic is done. The lack of mainstream local coverage of the oncoming disaster is criminal, as is the pitting of generations against each other which they’ve increasingly engaged in.

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