2:00PM Water Cooler 12/31/2018

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Readers, since this is New Year’s Afternoon, I’m going to be lazy and make this an open thread. The fireworks have already begun Down Under:

I don’t much like holidays, particular those that involve revelry, so let me just say that I hope 2019 is better for you than 2018 was, as you define “better.” And especially for those who had a tough year. Talk amongst yourselves! –lambert

P.S. Water Cooler will take the day off tomorrow, and return Wednesday.

P.P.S. Feel free to make predictions!

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Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant (via):

Not much color, but plenty of form! That’s winter…

* * *

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Lee

    Plantidote (audio version)

    Dr. David Hosack was not only one of the foremost medical doctors, botanists, and founders of institutions of his time, but was also one of the most famous persons of the U.S. revolutionary era. Am I the only one here who never heard of him? Maybe it’s the product my western U.S. chauvinism.

    An extensive and for me fascinating interview with his biographer, Victoria Johnson, author of American Eden: David Hosack, Botany, and Medicine in the Garden of the Early Republic, is availble on Science Friday.


  2. katiebird

    In honor of Open Thread… I would appreciate advice about buying a new desktop computer. I have years and years of Microsoft experience. But recently have been using a Macbook Pro.

    If I go back to MS, should I try to get Win7? Are there certain things I should look for in the computer itself?

    I kind of don’t know where to start. It’s been so long since I have bought a non laptop.

    1. jo6pac

      I have mine built by the local computer store. It’s large because in server case it’s very fast and trouble free. It’s cheaper than buying name brand at lest for me. I have run ms7 for ever and will do so until I can’t do to my own death;-)

      1. katiebird

        I will probably get something on sale from MicroCenter. I haven’t checked yet that they have Win7 still.

        1. Briny

          Given the Wild West nature of the Internet these days, getting caught in the crossfire, only things connected to the ‘net are three tablets and one laptop. Everything major is living in a closed universe, especially after Meltdown and Spectre came along.

          Concur on choosing a higher end Chomebook. Google is actively working on bringing Android and it’s possible to have other operating systems running there, in parallel, virtualization, or wholesale replacement. And then there’s Fuscia hanging out there as well., It does, as you ask, depend on what the computer is going to be used for and the budget. As always.

            1. ChiGal in Carolina

              So agree. Check out Librem if you’re savvy enough to deal with Linux.

              I have Windows 7, having resisted the update to the crappy Windows 10 but it is my understanding that effective Jan 2020 they will no longer support it, i.e. send security upgrades. That scares me too…

              1. ambrit

                I’m presently using an old desktop running Windows XP. Not only is it not getting security updates, but business websites like our bank will not connect to it now. “Incompatible protocol” or some such garbage.
                I’m trying to get an old upgraded Dell laptop up and running in Linux. No fun for Geezer class Luddites.

                  1. ambrit

                    Hmmm… Swinging both ways. Sounds kinky.
                    This sort of thing is where YouTube shines. How to and D.I.Y. videos by the ton.
                    Now to learn how to format a new hard drive.

                    1. The Rev Kev

                      If you are going to use Linux from a disc, then there should be an option to format the drive first in the Linux file system. At least there was when I did it a coupla years back. Best way is to search on YouTube for one showing how to install that particular flavour of Linux on your computer which shows you what to expect to see when doing it yourself.

    2. Trick Shroade

      What do you use it for? If its just web browsing, email, etc. then a Chrome laptop or desktop could do the trick for a lot less than a Windows or Mac machine.

    3. Briny

      The problem with choosing Windows 7 is that all security updates will cease at its End Of Life in 2020. Then you’ll will just have to live with having a target on your back. Windows 10 is tolerable but here it’s after replacing the desktop with my preferred interface, OpenSTeP after getting hooked on it back in the early 90’s. But I’m weird being an old hand with the Amiga. The main annoying thing with everything Windows since Win7, is the telemetry (which was back-ported to Win7 and Win8). I went to some effort to gag that. And pretty much every time the a system update happens, Microsoft turns it back on. Very much Cat and Mouse.

      If you are comfortable with Apple, I’d definitely keep it near or at the front of the list. Hardware is more expensive but generally would cost as much if you got a system with high grade hardware, especially as they’ve updated their desktop systems just recently.

      I won’t even try to recommend hardware if you wish to stick with Windows or other OS. I design and build my own hardware and my machines tend to be extreme. Not in the gaming sense, I don’t game, just serious number crunching for modeling and engineering uses.

      And then there’s Linux/BSD. I’ll leave recommendations to people that live in the real world, not maths.

      1. katiebird

        Use is actually the question. I have tablets for web browsing and such.

        I am thinking about working on a couple of app ideas with one of my sisters and that could involve some number crunching. Probably needs Micrsoft to do some things with Visual Basic for Applications. We aren’t working on this stuff now but I want to be prepared if my life clears up and I can think about fun stuff again.

        Should have been in response to Trick, above

        1. Briny

          Searching on “vba ide” and “vscode vba” turned up several ways to go ranging from plugins for VBE as well as plugins for VSCode and some other editors. I haven’t messed with that since 1998. So, I would be looking at what sort of recommended requirements, doubled since we’re talking about Microsoft, for VSCode or same except for recommended requirements for VBE. They shouldn’t be too far apart. The look at budget but you knew that already.

          Sidebar: Someone take me out back of the garage and shoot me. I cracked open StackOverflow persuing this topic. Eek!

        2. carycat

          You have left the discussion wide open as to whether you are looking for ideals about hardware or software. I assume you are not interested in the closed world of Apple. Then it becomes a choice between Intel/AMD based machines or ARM based. You mention “app” and that usually means being in the mobile space, but you can do cross platform development and build your app on a windows/linux/iOS box and test it on your mobile device. Visual Basic for Applications raises some red flags though. Microsoft has been trying for years to get people to move from VBA to dotNet, so anything new in that space will be like building new COBOL stuff for IBM mainframes (still a viable niche for some, not a growth market :-))
          The truth is that consumer PC tech can deliver way more power that most people need (except for hard core gamers). For a no hassle experience, I’d normally recommend giving the Chromebooks a look, but if you are concerned about the all seeing eye of Google, I fully understand you reluctance. Fortunately, going Intel/AMD does not have to much more expensive.
          The least hassle is to buy a ready build machine which pretty much means Windows 10. You can put Linux on it (and all major Linux flavors will have a pretty much “one click” option to replace the Windows 10 completely or set things up so that you pick which flavor to boot into).
          If you have access to a local (non-big chain) screw driver computer shop, they can put together a custom box with more of the features you need (sans those not essential to you) at a particular price point.
          Speaking as a software geek and non-gamer, I would not pay up for fancy graphics. Even the most basic GPU build into the CPU is enough to drive a 1080p monitor or TV and plays YouTube videos just fine.
          I would look for a motherboard that has 4 memory slots (with 2 of them populated. adding in an extra 2 sticks of memory a few years down the road is a great mid life kicker). Factory build PCs tend to be engineered to a price point and allowing the consumer a DIY option to add memory hurts their bottom line.
          The 1st disk storage device should be an SSD. The current sweet spot is between 256GB and 512GB. Bigger will run a little faster and last longer. If you have lots of files (I have videos of my kid’s competitions), then you will want a 2nd disk of the old fashion kind. they are slower but cost much less per GB of storage capacity.
          you may want to check out some PC hardware enthusiast site (eg. tomshardware ). they usually have articles for their recommendations for different categories of machines.
          happy hunting

      2. Procopius

        Well, the U.S. Navy is still using Windows XP on its ships, so they don’t seem to fear “having a target on their back.” I’ve got a couple of game programs that won’t run on Linux or Windows 10, so I’m staying with Win 7 at least until next year.

    4. Louis Fyne

      it all depends on (in no order):

      how picky you are to your desired set-up;
      what you’ll use your computer for;
      familiarity-comfort-desire to learn about the innards computers and/or access to your own IT specialist (aka a teenager).

      If you have basic needs/intermediate-novice computer knowledge and are in the Windows camp….try an off corporate lease computer at www dot dellrefurbished dot com ( includes an OS license)

      i believe HP and Lenovo have similar programs, buried somewhere in their websites

      Good luck!

      1. katiebird

        I USED to be very comfortable with the innards but it has been 10years or more since I have done anything more complicated than replacing memory, batteries and ram on my macbook pro.

        One reason for getting back to the Microsoft world is that my husband has kept up with things and I can lean on him.

    5. Mark Alexander

      I can’t speak to the problem of deciding on hardware, because I’m a big fan of old ThinkPads (circa 2010 or earlier).

      But I would recommend trying to avoid the whole Windows vs. Mac OS issue by going with a modern Linux distribution. I think Linux Mint is a good choice; it looks vaguely like Win XP, comes with a huge amount of software (ranging from browsers to office suites), doesn’t spy on you, and is updated regularly (latest version will receive updates until 2023). I figure if my mom (86 years old) and my spouse (a non-techie) can use it, anybody can.

      1. Arizona Slim

        I have a laptop that runs Ubuntu Linux. Made in the USA by System76. Thr company also has a line of desktop computers.

        1. Briny

          And… they have a distribution of their own: Pop!OS. It’s up for testing here although not on System76 hardware.

      2. human

        Buy a good, used, well-appointed box and put a flavor of GNU/Linux on it. Hundreds to choose from. Play around.
        Try a few. Minimize your footprint.

      3. liam

        Put Linux Mint on my wifes laptop. She hasn’t looked back. The great thing about Linux is that as you get comfortable with it, you start seeing it as less an OS as an adventure. The range of options you have can lead one to conclude you’re in a warren along with a whole pile of bunnies all borrowing away on their own forks and branches.

        Unlike myself, my wife is a pure computer user. Just like the average Windows user. She doesn’t miss Windows, but now has a machine that runs on 1/8th of the resources of Windows 10, doesn’t force feed updates, is not constantly trying to remove viruses, has everything she might need in a single repository making software simplicity itself to install, and safe also, and generally all round just works. And the switch over for her was seamless.

        Me, I use Void Linux, with Stumpwm, a Common Lisp tiling Window Manager. The joys of open source…

      4. Tom Bradford

        Having been a Windows user since ’95, Windows 10 at last persuaded me to give it up. I’ve been running Windows 7 on an old machine while easing myself into Linux Mint 19 on a new one largely because my email app, Pegasus, doesn’t have a Linux version so I’ve been building up a new address book and inbox in Thunderbird while retaining access to all my old mail archives.

        Mint does work much like Windows 7 and the transition was relatively easy for this tyro while I kept to the mainstream uses of a PC – emails, browsing, office-type stuff via LibreOffice – but if you do want to get into some back-streets and more esoteric corners you’ll eventually have to start using the console which can be something of a steep learning curve, which is when it’s useful to have a machine with Windows 7 on it to fall back on temporarily.

        I’m about six-months down the track now and have transitioned to Mint to the point now of using it pretty much exclusively, but I’m not sure it would have been so easy with some of the other Linux Distros which demand more geekyness. I’ve certainly had few problems with the transition, it’s certainly nice not to have to worry about bi-daily updates to one’s anti-virus and very satisfying to be able to raise two fingers to the Microsoft money-making monolith.

        1. Procopius

          I guess I’m an outlier, but I started on DOS 2.2, so the Linux command line was not too difficult. In fact, I was on a TRS Model III with a weird DOS, maybe Logidos? Very much like the Unix Bash shell, and DOS was modeled to behave somewhat like a Unix shell anyway. It’s scary at first, but the user forums for Ubuntu Linux are very welcoming and helpful. As long as you’re polite and don’t act as if the people there have to help you, you’ll find that nobody regards any question as dumb. Most of them had the same problems when they first came to Linux.

    6. Whoamolly

      Test the systems.
      Narrow choices to 2 or 3
      Work for an hour on each possible choice.
      Then decide.

      PS: Mrs Whoamolly recently used the Apple “genius bar” for tech help. It was fast, painless and cheap. Nothing like that exists in windows world as far as i know

    7. Adam Eran

      My recommendation: Lenovo 2-in-1. A laptop that changes into a tablet… I’ve had years of trouble-free Lenovo experience… (not so with Dell, and home-made computers).

    8. John

      Windows seems to be messy these days. If you are happy using macOS why not get a new iMac? You can dual boot windows if you need it and the hardware quality is very high. After years of using MacBooks and PowerBooks I’ll switch to an iMac next year as I travel less now. An iPad Pro fills in when I need mobility.

    9. c_heale

      My recommendation is something with Win7 or 8 (can be made to look/work much like win7 and can save space since it can remove more of the giant SxS folder with inbuilt software). Win10 is the worst OS I have ever used (I go back to the windows 3 days). Kept reinstalling crappy software (inc. games like Candy Crush) after deletion. Hard to use, too. If you go for Win7 you can upgrade later if you are worried about updates. I just use Tiny Firewall and Avast Free Antivirus, and have had no problems. Or Linux Mint. The problem with linux is a lot of Adobe Software only works on Windows/Mac, so if you need that you need Windows/OSX. I think a lot of your decision depends if you use Windows/Mac only software or not. If not, dual boot with Linux Mint. Install Windows first then add the Linux Mint partition. Then you can see if Win7/8 is enough or Linux Mint is okay.

    10. katiebird

      Thanks so much for the advice, insight and help — I really really appreciate it. I was reminded that way back when I worked in DOS 2.x and dBase III — There is nothing that scary about command lines. It can actually be fun….

      I think what I will do is put a virtual Machine on my Mac to practice Linux Mint.

      Thanks again!

      1. human

        Command line requirements are waaaaay in the past. Everything is point and click these days. In an hour you will not even realize what operating system you are using.

    11. swangeese

      There is a reddit subreddit called /r/buildapc that is very helpful if you want to build your own. Other websites to check out are pcpartpicker and jonnyguru (power supply reviews). There is also a Youtuber named Carey Holzman who has step by step PC building videos.

      Often times prebuilts will skimp on the power supply and that is the most important part of your build. A cheapo power supply is liable to fry the other components of your computer (ask me how I know). Fortunately decent power supplies are reasonably priced.

      Anyhow building your own desktop is quite easy and I’ve built two so far. I’ve used the resources above and one of the advantages other than customization is that I’m comfortable with dealing with the hardware.

      As for operating systems, I use Kubuntu on my main rig and Win 7 on my media rig. When Win 7 security updates stop, I’ll probably put Win 10 on there. A helpful free imaging utility called Clonezilla will help if Win 10 updates screw up my computer.

      Really what OS fits depends on what you will use it for.

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      I guess it’s the residual Calvinist in him that labels it lazy to only work a half day on a holiday?

      Lazy is the last thing I would call him and my guess is most of the commentariat would agree.

      Anyway, best wishes for as little revelry as possible in the New Year, Lambert ;-)

    2. polecat

      Lets all hope he doesn’t re-materialize as Rip Van Lambert, white beard and all, after going down for the ‘long nap’ …. he might of missed a lot .. and we’d all be long for this world !

  3. BoyDownTheLane

    I am not one to use the date as a reason to go get schnockered. I never had much use for getting schnockered in the first place. It is, still, in some corners, an opportunity to remember those who have passed, in my case, two physicians who were instrumental in the professional lives of both me and my wife.

    but here’s some links:


    The book The Heart of the Declaration: The Founders’ Case for an Activist Government by Steve Pincus, a Yale historian, documents the original political definition of the term “Patriot” as having come out of the British ‘Glorious Revolution’, reflected in the naming of Mt. Vernon after a British naval hero, as a supporter of the idea that a proper state would improve, through the economic interplay of production and consumption, the well-being and happiness of the full range of its subjects.

    Warren takes big step toward 2020 run, announcing exploratory committee – Fox News https://www.foxnews.com/politics/elizabeth-warren-launches-exploratory-committee-in-step-toward-2020-presidential-run

    Eggs Benedict and a mimosa to all….

  4. DJG

    Lambert: It depends how you define “revelry.” For Christmas Day, my sister who cooks Christmas dinner also makes, ohhh, a thousand cookies, so there are large platters of cookie-revelry as dessert. Also, her rum balls reputedly are immortal. And my niece who is the sponsor of Christmas Eve observes the tradition among Italian-Americans of The Seven Fishes, highlighted by her recipe for cod in “salsa scarsa,” a very thin tomato sauce. I make bread.

    Sometimes, the revels are making the sourdough “mother,” because bread, in its many forms, like olive oil, is a constant–a gift of (whatever they may be) gods. So a glass of wine, another divine gift, is a revel. Who requires more?

    The problem with NYE is that it is commercial, amateurish, maudlin, and misplaced. New Year’s Day is the celebration: Our chance to emerge from one period of time into a new reckoning. As an exceedingly bad Catholic and bad Buddist, I’m headed to a Buddhist temple for some meditation. (And to avoid the bumper-cars fandango in the streets.)

    Prediction? I am seeing off in the offing an impending Great Deflation. Our culture consists of stagnation and picking at sores. Our psychology seems to consist also of stagnation and picking at sores (James Hillman wondered publicly about this twenty years ago). Business is stagnation and slogans. And poor Hillary and Beto don’t seem to realize that they embody the stagnation. So I am hoping that there will be a Deflation of the M.B.A. culture of business as well as Deflation of the M.F.A. stagnation of the culture. I am ready for this neo-baroque to end.

    Best wishes to all for an un-baroque 2019.

    1. John k

      Hill and Beto are likely smart enough to know their neoliberals policies screw the under classes out of wages and jobs, but advocate more of the same because neither is a deplorable plus they’re well paid to push more of the same.
      What is odd to me is that both are very rich and have no need of more. Maybe they see it as the route to more power?

        1. polecat

          That foundation has too many flaws …. it won’t hold up the weight of the HillBillies for much longer !

    2. ChiGal in Carolina

      Agree on all counts and when I return to Chicago, can I be an honorary member of your family please?

      1. polecat

        Rememeber back in the 00’s, during the Oil Drum daze … when crack spreads were all the rage !

  5. John k

    Predictions… they’re tricky, especially those about the future.
    Guessing Bernie wins nom in 2020. Picks female running mate from small state, HI, for geo, gender and age diversification. Then wins general.
    Wonder what the odds are in Vegas…
    and wonder when he gets ss protection.

    1. Hamford

      Prediction… Bernie wins a plurality out of the sea of candidates, but not more than 50%. The oligardelegates move in for the second vote, and saying “See, we tried your way you whining [millenials, leftists, unrealistic progressives]; there is now no other way, WE must UNITE OUR democracy behind [Harris, Orourke, Booker].” No opportunity for Bernie to pick a running mate. Perhaps I am wrong.

    2. Hamford

      Secondary Prediction… Biden is one of first to drop out, hopefully after a pitiful showing a la Jeb! “Please Clap” Bush. Biden declares he is dropping out to give “the youth” a chance, “It’s their turn”, while pledging his support to O’Rourke.

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      There was a time I was addicted to Tetris, installed on the Mac desktops circa late 80s we used at work. Periodically I have had a hankering to play but there is nothing like the original available at all it seems.

      Wowsers, was it good!

  6. dltdhyotwo

    did anyone read the NYT story about Ghosn and Nissan?
    Loved the part where the daughter insists that the company purchase of multiple multimillion dollar mansions for her dads use was to ensure his productivity while traveling..

    Hoping that pitchfork manufacturers have a good 2019

  7. Craig H.

    The biggest stories for the year:

    1. chartreuse vests. The corporate media does not like this story at all because these guys want that globalist ass kiss Macron’s head on a pike.

    2. the government sponsored UFO disclosure fell like a lead balloon from the heavens. Most of us do not trust the CIA as an information source.

    3. Boris Becker is bankrupt. How? How can you make a hundred mil and blow it all?


    It’s still the year of the dog because every year is the year of the dog but officially it is the year of the pig.

    year of

    1. polecat

      Could be an unlucky year .. if it morphs into the Year of the Pig-Bird-Bat virus .. or some such.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Wow, this reads like an Onion article.

      “In my opinion, Democrats would be making a big mistake if they run a base election. We have to find common ground.”
      It was what this audience wanted to hear. He wrapped up, and the speakers crackled back to life. “Fight Song.” Hillary Clinton’s anthem.

      In all fairness to the writers at The Onion, their efforts since they’ve unionized can’t live up to this.

      Yet at the core of their pitch is a fundamental belief that one of the party’s central debates is whether to tack toward swing voters, or to run a base-first national election. There was little room for doubt here that Clinton did too much of the latter,

      Who are these people?

      No one mentioned Tim Kaine.

      At least, they aren’t completely insane.

      1. kurtismayfield

        Every statent quoted is correct.

        #1. The Third way thinks the Dem’s base is the professional class.

        #2. Hillary went after the professional class, and lost.

      2. Carey

        “Yet at the core of their pitch is a fundamental belief that one of the party’s central debates is whether to tack toward swing voters, or to run a base-first national election.”

        Worth repeating, here in late-stage USA:

        “fundamental belief” “central debates” “tack toward”

        should be fine

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Suppose Trump and Sanders both ran under whatever labels they end up running under.

      And Mister Mitch ran on the Demist Centrocrat ticket, or some such thing.

      And Trump and Sanders each got 33% of the votes and Mister Mitch got 34%? I imagine Mister Mitch would brag with a straight face about winning with a landslide majority.

    3. Craig H.

      Mitch Landrieu removed the statue of P. T. Beauregard the greatest war hero in the history of the state of Louisiana who was a Louisianian. If he runs for president he might really soon really wish he had not.

      Lee and Davis were not that big a deal but P. T. B. was so not not a big deal. Half the state passionately hates this man.

      1. ambrit

        He took down the statue of P.G.T.Beauregard? The man who fired the first shots of the late lamented War, and then ended up running the original Louisiana Lottery. This Political Correctness has a pernicious influence on the weak minded, like Louisiana politicos.

    4. Alex morfesis

      Hey Mitch…have you stopped stuttering yet ?? He was paid to show up in St Pete for one of these insider organizations where everyone you see on TV arguing are laughing at all the little people eating up the show…a judge who had been part of the mutiny against robo-judgments was finally “Re-retiring” as a retired senior judge…longest sitting judge…who had given words of encouragement during the early days of fighting foreclosures (2009-2010)…he was getting some big dust collector to put on a mantle he has no intention of sitting and watching…

      There were some soft questions at “mitch” and then a black senator from St Pete and he got into some words as the senator had swung thru GNU orlyns back in the day when Mitch’s daddy was duh mayore…moi didn’t like how he talked to the senator… In fact calling him mister instead of senator…

      So…I got the last question…it wasn’t planned that way, but…since “Mitch” had not actually responded to the senators question… Moi rephrased it…good ole mitch tried to throw me off mid sentence by commenting on my hair (which has now grown back to lead singer in a rock band mode)

      yeah…I was gonna be respectful…

      But he showed his weakness by throwing that compliment as I had preambled my intention of coming back to the senators unanswered question

      And well…

      Mitch kept talking in a circle until the end of the program… About ten minutes of gibberish… Never did answer that question…

      Moi might be good…but if he fumbled with little olde me throwing him back the hot potato…

      Keep your money in your pocket oh great ones…

      Middle of the road sounds like roadkill…

  8. Wukchumni


    I predict the end of the world for about 150,000 every day, tempered by the beginning of the world for 340,000 on the same schedule.

    The MIC tires of being an advertising agency for pro sports teams, and buys up most of the teams with pocket money. Rules of engagement are changed in the NFL which no longer has a coin flip to start the game, but a tug of war duel over a muddy pit on the sidelines where the cheerleaders used to prowl, and has been delegated to Navy Seal training mid-game now.

    I’ll still remain mystified by computer lingo in threads like this, which seems like Ancient Greek to me, written by a Valley Girl.

    Jesus is making a living as a construction worker when ICE shows up to the worksite, and when he can’t claim legal status, gets deported to Mexico, and then comes back in April.

    587,568 words will die in honor of haranguing on Hillary on NC. Almost all of them completely innocent. It’d be like moaning about Mitt in 2015, why bother?

    CalPERS is legally changed to CalPERPS

    1. Carey

      “…As I say, the story I get from Jesus himself is a whole lot different from the one we might
      call the ‘mainstream’ version. Different how should become obvious as this account unfolds, but right away, it might be a good idea to getting used to seeing Jesus a little more the way he usually appears these days. A lot of the time, that’s in riding shorts
      and shoes, gloves and helmet, the standard get-up. Jesus does ride clipless pedals
      (his faith is greater than mine..), but we don’t talk about gear that much, y’know.

      When I’ve seen him in everyday threads it’s usually cargo shorts and Red Wing work boots, with some headbanger group’s t-shirt (“Hey, we all have out guilty pleasures,
      don’t we? I guess mine is dinosaur metal, these days..”) It shouldn’t surprise anyone
      that Jesus works- when he can anymore- in construction. Framing. Nail guns, ladders,
      and Led Zep, just as you would expect…”

  9. John

    Effects from global warming will continue to worsen. There will be a growing sense of unease as this slowly enters the popular opinion.

    Trump will go completely unhinged once the Democrats start holding actual investigations into his grifting. Jared and Don jr and maybe Ivanka will be indicted. Recession will arise toward the end of the year.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      SanderSocial Democrats will become deeply upset as the DemHouse spends all its oversight time and oversight energy investigating TrumpCo’s grifting in order to spend precisely zero time and energy oversighting the TrumpAdmin’s aggression and attrition against the various agencies and departments.

    2. flora

      Effects from global warming will continue to worsen.

      As these effects hit locally, local organizations and resources will become more important. D.C. or other remote authorities can’t ‘hold back the tides.’ They are important ‘after the fact’, but dealing with the immediate event is entirely a local issue, imo. I think the understanding of the importance of local strength is working into people’s awareness. e.g. Occupy Sandy.

      1. flora

        adding, in a broad segue:

        My local MainStreet and mom&pop shops saw an increase in holiday sales compared to the past few years, even thought the local economy hasn’t improve, and even though online and bigbox are somewhat cheaper. There’s a growing awareness, imo, of the importance of local. my 2¢.

        1. Carey

          I’m seeing it similarly here in central Cal, along with the glimmer of sticking
          it to the online gatekeeper/overlords. Safe to assume they’ll turn up the propaganda to eleven, but organic resistance is forming.

          1. Late Introvert

            Yesterday I sourced a Tripp-Lite HDMI 3×1 switch made in the USA and had it shipped to my local Staples. It took way more time, and I gladly paid more for a product that wasn’t even for sale on the Borg-zos site. That should be a sign of vendor honor moving forward.

  10. Richard

    Well, Liz Warren has just announced, or pre-announced, that she will run for prez. I’d like to make a prediction around that, but I really have no idea. I like Bernie a lot more for the job, but wish her well. I watched her ad, which had its moments, but she just won’t shut up about families, and presenting everything in terms of “working families”.
    I really dislike and resent that. Maybe it’s petty, but I do. For one thing, the term is the weasely equivalent of “access” to health care. Whenever I hear it, I tense up and prepare for bs.
    And secondly, I’m not a family; I’m just me. I do have living family members, who I love, but I don’t live with them and that’s not who or what my life is about. Do I count? Do I matter? For millions of single people, it’s hard not to take that relentless “family” focus as an insult, intended or not.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Republicans and Conservatives have saturation-megaphoned the social headspace with infinite looptapes about Family and Family Values so long and loud that Family and Family Values are now the Pavlov’s Bells at the core base of public headspace society. Whenever anyone hears Family and Family Values, they salivate Conservatives and Republicans.

      So Warren or anyone else has to function within that social braingrid matrix and has to use words and phrases with “Family” somewhere in there to even be heard at all. Perhaps once she and others start getting heard, they can upgrade the terminology to “working people” and maybe even to “working class people”. Maybe Sanders can speed that terminology-upgrade along.

      In the meantime, it is possible that policy which improves life situations for “working families” might also improve life situations for “working single people”, even if only indirectly or by accident. So perhaps it is worth containing one’s resentment for now to see if one can attain tangible improvements later.

      1. Richard

        Thanks drumlin; it’s only the language I resent, not any social democratic policy ideas that Warren or others may champion. Not that she mentioned any policy in her ad. None at all, which is a big red flag for me, with or without the “working families”.
        Changes in language is one place where I can live with such an incrementalist approach:) I’ve done a pretty good job containing my resentment so far, because believe it or not, this is the first time I’ve mentioned my feelings about the phrase. I thought if I did so here, I’d get a thoughtful response. And of course I was right.

  11. noonespecial

    Robert E. Peary’s Celebration –

    If able to cross over the paywall, Harper’s reprints Peary’s essay re. journey to the North Pole.

    I wonder if this is required reading for captains of modern-day ice-breakers as they plot their way in and and around the Arctic.

    Peary writes,
    “The next three weeks was a period of constant anxiety, the ice pack surging back and forth along the shore on each tide, and liable to crash in upon us at any time. Everyone slept in his clothes, all lanterns and portable lights were kept filled and trimmed, ready for immediate use, and provision was made for the instant extinguishment of all fires.”

    Here’s hoping everyone has their needed provisions and good health for ’19.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I wonder if they will also use Arizona to test autonomous airplanes when the time comes for them? It’s not like Silicon Valley will let itself be the testing ground for them.

    2. Mo's Bike Shop

      Has DARPA been pushing any initiatives in autonomous vehicle protection systems? Seems like a logical synergy for self driving vehicles. The only place they would be more good than harm is on a battlefield.

      Although our thoroughfares are pretty much a no-mans-land now if you approach them with a small vehicle.

      And why is car sharing going nowhere? Our campus town has ZipCar, but why aren’t I seeing these honeycombing across cities at the neighborhood level? Is affluent America that unwalkable? Is Silicon Valley that scared of grownups and regulations?

  12. Carey

    ‘..The centrist crew is convinced that its message is a winning one in both a Democratic primary electorate and nationwide — “An opportunity narrative resonates broadly and deeply with the very voters Democrats need to win in 2018 and 2020,” said Erickson Hatalsky — and that by seeding it in the minds of so many party activists now, they can get a handful of serious 2020 contenders onto their half of the primary bracket early. Strategists at the session said this task would likely prove easier after the midterms, especially when (if) Democrats win a House majority that will likely be built by rookie moderates from purple suburban areas and some red enclaves, rather than Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez–style progressives from already deep-blue districts..”

    “Opportunity narrative.” so cool

    1. ambrit

      Sez who?
      Great Grandad’s Jacquard loom slash difference engine powered by Mr. Trevithicks improved steam engine is working just fine in the basement. I still have a sufficiency of unused punch cards for it.

        1. Wukchumni

          I’m not casting blame, but it looks as if you’ve embezzled our water, based on reports of same falling there into your hands.

          Not calling it a drought year here yet by any means, but aside from one storm, nothing.

          1. ambrit

            Our Mississippian ‘Rain Dancers’ are better than your Pacific Coast ‘Rain Dancers.’ (And yes, some of these storms are originating in the Central Mexican Pacific Coast and travelling across the continent to debouche into the Gulf of Mexico and then up to us.

      1. skippy

        Firstly water wheels would negate the requirement for burning stuff to power equipment, other than that, the M.2 platform is as good as it gets right now wrt lag latency e.g. all the features and programs on my comp are accessible almost instantaneously on start up and the code mass these days is no dramas. Not to mention all this stuff reduces energy consumption and as such heat [the grim reaper of electronics] – it’s installed right on the mother board.

        I can run my comp at ambient temps – humidity in summer with only a 3 fan radiator CPU sealed fluid cooler and no room aircon on. All the hardware is programmable for air flow dynamics and case is specifically designed to enable all those features, not to mention warnings and fail safes.

        So in ending it its a bit of a dilemma when some are OS or software acute but don’t have the knowlage about the hardware that enables the functionality of it all. I don’t care what a person runs but if they don’t have the correct hardware to support all its capacity its a frustrating exercise.

        Happy incoming new year … mate.

        PS … been working the whole time during the holidays save Xmas day and today, so a few days ago the wife sent me a pic from Noosa whilst she is lounging on the back wake deck of a 100K boat on the river. Ahhh …. the trials and tribulations of being a capitalist ….

        1. ambrit

          I do get the point. I’m upgrading the relics of computational platforms past as I get money in pocket. Already added stronger fans to the main desktop unit. Added ‘slave’ hard drives to the two functioning desktop units. Swapped the hard drive of the laptop for a much larger capacity one. Alas, cannot find the faster processing speed microprocessor for it anymore.
          Still working on that “primitive accumulation” thingy, eh?
          Felicitations from the Southern Gothic crew.

          1. skippy

            Its a tool, just like my festool gear, getting the job done well whilst lessening the need to replace cheap stuff when it karks it sooner than later, not to mention the health aspect of all involved.

            Understand the issues with upgrades on electronics after a bit of time, was considering it myself after my 2010 high end build was struggling. The hardware all overlaps in terms of function and whacking a new bit on an old platform will never be able to operate as its intended or worse. Hence why I needed to build a new comp from ground up, so all the components could deliver the performance they were designed for.

            I get with some stuff old can bang on for ever if looked after, such as some of my antiquarian hand tools, the house I live in, my trade ute [2006], but comps are high end electronics. Its really no different to motors built 50 years ago and what we use today, there’s just no way to swap parts between the two.

            Oh and its not a status symbol, does not leave the house and I don’t show it off to house guests. Not that I have much time for such things with the amount of work in front of me not to mention the look of me at the end of the day … chortle …

    2. skippy

      I would also note the lack of response to Warren having a go and the policy platform she advocates.

  13. ChrisPacific

    Follow-up to September: with Russia-phobia having reached a fever pitch, members of both parties start to talk openly of war. The public have been so conditioned to Russia-related absurdities at this point that hardly anyone blinks at this, even though Russia is now supplying 100% of all military hardware for the USA.

  14. wilroncanada

    Way to go Kev!
    May you be one of the 15% of Aussies who does not live in a leaky abode.
    Happy New Year

  15. Chris

    I predict that I will visit NC everyday in 2019, just like I did in 2018 :)

    I also predict that the US government will continue to frustrate me in 2019, with having the opportunity to do so much to help my fellow citizens, and yet decide to do so little :(

    Lastly, I predict that too many people with 401(k)’s who are retiring this year will blame themselves for not investing wisely instead of realizing the impossible problem they were asked to solve with so many variables beyond their control and no safety net if they guessed wrong…

  16. juliania

    Thank you, Rev Kev! Must be my antipodal heritage – I want one of those coffee cups! Here’s my prediction for the entire year. I will have a vegetable garden that is better than any I have had before* (and yes, I do believe in global warming – even so.)

    * Problem is, I always make this prediction.

    Thank you, Lambert, for enabling Rev Kev’s comment, and Happy New Year to all! May all your gardens flourish!

  17. John

    I would predict a Black Swan event were it not that a Black Swan event is by definition unpredictable. …nevertheless …

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