Links 12/8/18

P-64, the mountain lion known for his successful freeway crossings, found dead after surviving Woolsey fire Los Angeles Times :-(

‘Make better choices’: Endangered Hawaiian monk seals keep getting eels stuck up their noses and scientists want them to stop Washington Post. NT: “A species even stupider than humans.”

Fraser River chinook critical to orcas are in steep decline, new research shows Seattle Times (furzy) :-(

World’s First Insect Vaccine Could Help Bees Fight Off Deadly Disease NPR (David L)

Listen to the soothing sounds of Martian wind collected by NASA’s InSight lander Techcrunch

We Asked 105 Experts What Scares and Inspires Them Most About the Future Motherboard (resilc)

MIT researchers create a robot houseplant that moves on its own engadget (Dawn M)

Should you pass on the meat and reach for the muffins instead? Psychology Today (Guardian “report” and original study). Martha r: “The funniest and clearest debunking of a crap diet study by elite “scientists” that i have yet to see.”

Researchers Decry “Misrepresented” Findings in Fuel Efficiency Rollback Plan Scientific American (Robert M)

Bitcoin falls 10% as bad news descends like ‘cockroaches coming out of a hole’ MarketWatch (EM)

California Gives Final OK To Require Solar Panels On New Houses NPR

UPS Tries Delivery Tricycles As Seattle’s Traffic Doom Looms Wired


Canadian Prosecutor Lays Out U.S. Allegations Against Huawei CFO Wall Street Journal. This story isn’t paywalled and has a detailed summary of the bail hearing. The points that struck me:

….the warrant for Ms. Meng’s arrest was issued by a court in New York on Aug. 22 of this year….

Mr. Martin, the attorney representing Ms. Meng, said she isn’t a flight risk, saying that she would never breach a court order.

“You can rely on her personal dignity,” he told the court, adding that she also would not flee because it would “humiliate and embarrass” her father, “who she loves.”

Huawei executive accused of hiding connection to firm violating U.S. sanctions, B.C. court told Globe and Mail (Marshall). Key section:

Final approval to extradite Ms. Meng will be up to Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould if the judge rules in favour of U.S. prosecutors. Ms. Meng, however, could appeal, which could delay a decision for years.

France: Macron scrapping fuel tax is ‘not enough,’ says man who inspired Yellow Vests DW


From guurst. Be sure to watch the clip. It has an even more deadly quote:

Theresa May told to quit by Cabinet ministers if her Brexit deal falls and she fails to get better terms from EU Telegraph

No-deal Brexit: Disruption at Dover ‘could last six months’ BBC. I have trouble understanding why six months. The UK’s customs IT system won’t be ready and there’s no reason to think it will be ready even then. I could see things getting less bad due to adaptations but “less bad” is not normal

The Great Brexit Breakdown Wall Street Journal. Some parts I quibble with, but generally good and includes useful historical detail.

British MP suggests threatening Ireland with food shortages over Brexit, Twitter outrage follows RT (kevin W)

It’s crunch time for Labour. Empty posturing on Brexit will no longer do Guardian. Shreds the Corbyn op-ed we criticized yesterday.

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Top U.S. general urges Google to work with military Reuters. EM: “Wow, this guy is clueless even by top-brass standards. For example: Google Is Helping the Pentagon Build AI for Drones.” Moi: I assume this is intended for the great unwashed masses, to give them the impression that Google and the surveillance state are not joined at the hip.

‘Conditions met’ for Assange to leave Ecuadorian embassy Agece France-Presse (furzy). If you believe the claims made, I have a bridge I’d like to sell you

Big Brother Australia cracks open encrypted messaging

Dear Tumblr: Banning “Adult Content” Won’t Make Your Site Better But It Will Harm Sex-Positive Communities Electronic Frontier Foundation (Chuck L)

Trump Transition

Mueller says Manafort lied about contacts with Trump officials The Hill

Tucker Carlson: «Trump is not capable» Weltwoche (Anita)

Cohen’s Leniency Bid Fails; U.S. Seeks Significant Jail Time Bloomberg

Dems Who Rejected Corporate PACs Took Money from Corporate-Funded NewDemPAC Sludge. Martha : “Packed with facts. Lists of candidates and donors quite detailed.”.

A Black Perspective on GHW Bush Bruce Dixon, Black Agenda Report (Glenn F)

L.A. County Sheriff’s Department suspends operations by unit that stopped thousands of innocent Latinos on 5 Freeway Los Angeles Times

Jennifer Siebel Newsom could be California’s ‘first partner’ Mercury News. EM:

This perfectly captures the kind of substance-free identity-political virtue signaling today’s corporate Big Dollar Dems specialize in. Note that ‘partner’ even sounds like a corporate term. One wonders whether the Newsoms had the minister who officiated their wedding replace the word ‘union’ with ‘merger’.

Fake News

Former diplomat challenges ‘fake’ Guardian claims about Julian Assange meeting Paul Manafort The Canary (furzy)

Facebook to buy back additional $9 billion of shares Reuters

Millions of Americans Could Face Surprise Emergency Room Bills in January Bloomberg. Gah.

Bitter end to dismal week on Wall Street Financial Times

From Nixon to Trump: Here’s how stocks performed under each U.S. president Yahoo (resilc)

Uber Lays Groundwork for IPO Wall Street Journal

Congress may have accidentally freed nearly all banks from the Volcker Rule Yahoo (furzy)

US Regulators Have Essentially Become Do-Nothing Institutions ProMarket (Asher)

Class Warfare

Send Noncompete Agreements Back To the Middle Ages Bloomberg

Airbnb rentals in London block sparks call for action Financial Times

Welcome to Our Modern Hospital Where If You Want to Know a Price You Can Go Fuck Yourself McSweeney’s (martha r). Not his best writing but OMG the examples..

Dollar Stores Are Targeting Struggling Urban Neighborhoods and Small Towns. One Community Is Showing How to Fight Back. Institute for Local Self-Reliance (martha r)

Antidote du jour (martha r):

Bonus video. Robert H: “Household tips and cats – antidote bonus.” Moi: “What chill cats.”

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. TheMog

      I’m guessing it’s a Maine Coon kitten. Maine Coons often have pronounced ear tufts and have this more pronounced face compared to other domestic cats.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Looking at Google Images, I think that you are right. They do look cute in a Star Trek sort of way. :)

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        They are handsome cats and are supposed to be smart, personable and mellow. I didn’t know they could look odd as kittens due to not having filled out yet, but that photo angle looks to exaggerate their head size.

        1. crittermom

          “,,, that photo angle looks to exaggerate their head size.”

          You are correct, no doubt. Depth of field.
          Note how the head is focused but the body is blurred.

          Beautiful cat!

          I’m still laughing at myself over the antidote video, as I’d gotten the impression before watching it the cats were going to clean those pans, yet I didn’t see how!
          I guess I need more sleep… Duh!

          1. cripes


            Not depth of field, but something called foreshortening, or parallax distortion.

            Same effect when you photograph close to a persons head which looks big and their feet look small, or a building from street level recedes unnaturally to a tiny top because the parallel vertical lines converge from the worms-eye view.

        2. Olga

          Maine coons are the best cats… this from a former dogs-only lover, who discovered how wonderful and smart MCs could be. And when I learned that the breed is the most dog-like, well, that sealed the deal.

          1. Swamp Yankee

            The other breed reputed to be the most dog-like of cats is the Norwegian Forest Cat, the Maine Coon’s close relative. I can attest from experience how sweet, intelligent, social, and genuinely funny and playful they are.

            Both breeds come from a similar northern European genetic stock, and both have adapted to cold, wet climates.

            Thank God for the animals!

            1. wilroncanada

              Maine Coon cats are reputed to have come from Europe with some of the first landings in North America, maybe as far back as the Vikings. They have the highest percentage of polydactyl individuals of any breed. As many as 28 toes–I’m not sure what the record is now. The Guinness record was 29, if I remember correctly, when I did a story on one in the Annapolis Valley NS many years ago.

            2. Lee

              Both breeds come from a similar northern European genetic stock, and both have adapted to cold, wet climates.

              Bergmann’s Rule:

              Bergmann’s rule is an ecogeographical rule that states that within a broadly distributed taxonomic clade, populations and species of larger size are found in colder environments, and species of smaller size are found in warmer regions

              1. ewmayer

                Applying the same rule to humans: OK, the vikings were reputed to be relatively large folks, but – the even-farther-north Inuit tend to be small and compact. And how would Bergmann explain the yuuugeness of e.g. the Samoans?

                Maybe we should also consider the relative sizes of the European and African swallow, and how that affects their respective coconut-carrying abilities…

                1. Lee

                  ADULT Eskimos are usually short in stature and slightly heavier for their height than whites.1,2 The small height of this population could be attributed to racial and genetic factors, which may or may not be influenced in an adaptive way to environment, or it might result from the depression of growth by environmental influences such as inadequate nutrition or prevalence of acute or chronic infection.

                  Height is but one element in determining size. You can be tall and slim or sqat and stout. Humans differ from other species in that they can use fire, and can clothe, and house themselves to prevent heat loss. The selective driver in non-human species is the ratio between body volume and surface area. This selects for larger body volumes in cold climates and smaller in warmer regions.

                  1. Tom Bradford

                    Oh, right. So that’s why elephants live in Siberia rather than the tropics. Always wondered.

                    1. Lee

                      Note the ears on the elephant, through which they lose heat. Note the furry ears and bodies of their now extinct northern cousins. They also achieve thermoregulation because their bodies direct blood to vessels running close to their skin for cooling or to more internal vessels in colder climates, as when Hannibal crossed the alps. They are also adept at using mud and water to cool themselves. Yes, they have remarkable adaptations but they are not an exception to the rule.

                2. drumlin woodchuckles

                  Humans can clothe or de-clothe themselves for different conditions. They don’t so much “have” to evolve larger rounder body size to retain heat better in colder places.

                  1. Yves Smith Post author

                    There was a story from the early European explorations where they found people living on a barren island off Tierra del Fuego. They subsisted by diving for crustaceans in the ice cold water. Oh, and they had no clothes either.

                    Either that ship or the next one that stopped at the island left a bunch of clothes and blankets.

                    A year later, the population was in trouble. It had gotten used to the clothes and its members were having trouble diving. They had to be moved off.

                    1. drumlin woodchuckles

                      I remembered once reading something about the Spanish calling this land Tierra Del Fuego because of all the little fires all over everywhere. Supposedly those fires were lit by the Indian Nations people living there to warm up beside-of right after coming up from a cold water dive.

                      So I looked on the Net to see if anything had been written about any of this. And a cursory search turned up this website.

                      The first paragraph gives an explanation of “how they diddit” relative to diving in the icy cold water and staying basically lowest-possibly-clothed when back up out of the water.

                      “Like the Alacaluts, the Yaghan people were mobile canoe travelers living in the labyrinth-like channels and waterways of Tierra del Fuego. Hunting with heavy harpoons, their bounties included large marine animals, fish and shellfish. Even through the harshest of weather they wore only scant clothing and traveled the snowy region with bare feet. Charles Darwin, on his voyage up the Beagle Channel, was impressed to note “these people going about naked and barefoot on the snow.” Relying upon marine resources and living in such close proximity to the sea, it was only appropriate that they smoothed greasy fish or animal fat over their bodies to protect their skin from the wind and cold. The Yaghan people constantly had a fire stoked to keep themselves warm; they even chanced the demise of their transportation by starting fires within their bark canoes, providing warmth while they traveled the chilly waters. The very name of this region, Tierra del Fuego (meaning “Land of Fire”), was inspired by this group of indigenous peoples. Spanish explorers appointed this name as they journeyed in search of the Spice Isles, passing the Tierra del Fuego shorelines and seeing the land dotted with man-made fires.”

                      One wonders if the gift of clothes and blankets destroyed the whole culture of cold-mitigation technologies this paragraph describes them as having had, as well as destroying their physical used-to-it-ness regarding the cold water itself.

          2. Yves Smith Post author

            Abys are very dog-like. They care about what their owners think, seek affection, and can be taught to walk on a leash! I did that 2x. They don’t walk like dogs but they will accept the idea that walking is directional and they need to stay on the sidewalk. But they go at their own pace.

            1. Wukchumni

              Our Aby mixes are climbers that think nothing of going up 30-40 feet in an oak tree-and are very affectionate, but I don’t know about a leash on life, i’m not sure they’d be ok with that being middle aged cats now. Perhaps if I started them early.

              1. Yves Smith Post author

                Yes, you need to start with kittens. They won’t even tolerate harnesses unless you start young. I used ferret figure 8 ones.

                A problem I had with mine was street noise. The first one I trained I took out in my coat in the cold so he’d be used to that. Even with him having gotten to be very good on the leash, I neglected to take him out in my coat again when it got cold, and he wasn’t willing to walk the next spring. He’d lie down on the pavement. I don’t think he was being stubborn, I think he had gotten de-acclimated to the noise and now found it overwhelming.

                1. Wukchumni

                  Is your aby pretty much completely devoted to you, and gets scarce when your friends show up?

                  That’s the m/o for our crew…

                  1. Yves Smith Post author

                    No, they are pretty social, but the one I did not train to take outside (I got him at 5 months old, which was too old) would see certain people as threats. When I was overseas and lived in a dot-com office for a while, two guys he didn’t know came in via a side door not normally used looking for Ethernet cable. He chased them out. He also took a dislike to some of my cleaning women and attacked them. But they were all fine with everyone else, either would try to get petted or have a look and then decide they could ignore the visitors.

                2. drumlin woodchuckles

                  One wonders if someone could invent small kitty-earmuffs for comfortably muffling ambient sound to help out sound-sensitive cats.

        3. Jan

          Definitely a Maine Coon – ours were all ears when they were kittens. Definitely grow into their ears!! They are the best cats – lovable, loyal, smart – the closest a cat can be to a dog.

        4. Xihuitl

          My sister adopted a Maine Coon once. She thought it was fully grown. But it just kept growing and growing. Huge kitty. Not the nicest cat.

        5. Briny

          And they actually like water, or at least ours did. Tigger would climb in the shower with my mother and loved Johnson’s Baby Soap. The blow dry afterwards as well. From what I’ve read, they are a blend of Dutch ship’s cats and wild cat, which is why the ear tufts. They also get rather big. Mom’s was twenty-eight pounds and none of that was fat. Watching him jump eight feet up from a seated position was quite impressive.

          Whenever I’d visit my mother, after a half hour or so, the cat would go get his toys and drop them at my feet. It was time to play.

          1. ewmayer

            I’ve heard the semi-exotic Savannahs are like that, too, in loving water. Also oversized – though more lengthwise – and extremely athletic and striking-looking. Supposedly very dog-like in being leash-trainable. But the Maine Coons seem preferable in being non-exotic.

        1. Wukchumni

          The Wukchumni tribe called the cry of the ravens ‘Gaweah’* and we appropriated it for the name of the 4 rivers here. (we only claim 3 as our namesake, being modest)

          *spelled ‘Kaweah’ now

      1. Jean

        Octopuses, already far more clever then corvids, and they have eight appendages with multiple fingers-like tools and far more nerve endings in each than a bird beak.

        1. Lee

          But their short lifespans would probably limit their technological development through inter-generational cultural accretion. But that doesn’t mean they couldn’t achieve a kind of dominance that no one with a human mindset might notice. For there are indeed ” … more things in heaven and earth, … than are dreamt of in our philosophy.”

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Well, that’s what the genetic engineers should get to work on. Develop a line of octopuses with hundred-year lifespan. Social octopuses which could develop culture and so forth. See what kind of undersea civilization they eventually develop.

    1. Christopher Dale Rogers


      Nothing unusual there, Corbyn has been a target of The Guardian ire since August 2015, indeed, when I was posting on CIF we used to joke about the fact that The Guardian would run 4-7 negative stories about JC on a daily basis – sweepstakes were actually held over this issue by Posters well disposed to Corbyn, and were were many, hence why so many on the Left have abandoned the paper and its website – don’t mention Ms Viner as many foam at mention of her name.

    2. papabaz

      Well, not so much the Guardian as Jonathon Freedland throwing a fit of the wobblies (a) because “the stakes are too high” and he’s frit; (b) he hates and fears Mr Corbyn’s Labour Party for a multitude of reasons stated in column after column, much to the annoyance of many former and current Guardian readers; and (c) he is a petulant Remainer who doesn’t give a damn about the future unity of the country, a point disregarded in most of the Brexit analysis featured on Naked Capitalism. Mr Freedland’s hissy polemic fits firmly into the category sharply delineated by Mr Healey when he referred to “being savaged by a dead sheep”.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Both of these comments are ad hominem attacks, which means they are logically bogus and a violation of site rules . Freedland is correct on Corbyn’s plans being nonsense and that being irresponsible for the leader of the opposition at such a critical juncture for the UK. They fact that the Tories are mean and incompetent does not mean Labour deserves a free pass. You seriously think promising solutions that the EU will immediately reject is good for the “unity of the country”? All it would do is further discredit the UK’s leadership classes in the midst of a massive legitimacy crisis. And Corbyn would still have to come up with an answer when there is no answer that won’t heighten the divisions.

        This is tribalism. No different than knee jerk defenses of Hillary. Neither of you can rebut Freedland. You had opportunities on yesterday’s Brexit thread and didn’t even try. You are taking arguments that were debunked there over to this thread. That is an additional violation of house rules, broken record.

        1. Christopher Dale Rogers


          Having been a regular reader of The Guardian from the early 80’s, that is it was my daily paper of choice until about two year ago, many old readers, have noted its decline and change of political direction – the physical readership figures have collapsed to under 150K copies a day, this for a national daily newspaper that used to have a decent circulation, despite the rise of the Internet.

          As for rebutting Freedland, I actually posted a link to a website that has collated all negative news articles from The Guardian since Mr Corbyn’s ascent to the Labour leadership, mind you, the paper was not too favourably disposed to Gordon Brown. Whilst Freedland’s commentary may have some substance on Corbyn with regards the Labour party’s stance on Brexit, or lack thereof, does not make up for the fact of constant, highly partisan attacks going back to August 2015 – they have been relentless and are well documented – initially readers were allowed to challenge these views via CIF, not anymore. This is hardly ad hominem given the work conducted by media observers at the London School of Economics and other media departments in UK universities, which have been scathing of the MSMs coverage of the Labour party, and this includes The Guardian – for the record I’d have chosen a critique from the Financial Times or even The Daily Telegraph.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            This is yet more broken record. Or do you honestly not understand what “ad hominem attack” means? If you do, you are persistently and knowingly behaving in a bad faith manner, and if not, you are being presumptuous and rude in not educating yourself.

            What Freedland has generally said is irrelevant as to the merits of this piece. You need to address the arguments and you continue to fail to do so. That is because it has become obvious that you can’t. Freedland is correct here and your inability to muster a fact-based defense of Corbyn over a series of comments, most importantly this one by Clive yesterday (see here: is a tacit admission.

              1. Yves Smith Post author

                I’m not saying he’s wrong, I’m saying he’s persisting in making irrelevant arguments. But yes, too many papers are shadows of their former selves.

        2. Darthbobber

          The trouble with Freedland’s piece is that while he correctly sees Corbyn’s public posture as a non-starter, his only alternative is a second referendum and a uniform labor campaign for remain. Questionable within the existing time frame, to put it mildly, and almost entirely turnout dependent as to whether the result would differ from the last one.

          Another problem, for those who remember past pronouncements, is that
          Corbyn was actually more accurate about some of this 6 months or so ago, when he mentioned that the customs Union proposals weren’t doable because the cu was not a separate membership organization from the European itself. This outraged a number of Guardian pundits, including Freedland as I recall, who were enamored of the idea at the time.

          The only thing that might be doable this close to the end of the runway
          would be parliamentary retraction of A50 notification, as well as the associated enabling legislation. “No brexit. ”
          But mps would have to nerve themselves up to doing this on their own responsibility, without the fig leaf of a second referendum. And I don’t see the requisite willingness to sacrifice political careers that would be needed from quite a few mps.

          1. Lambert Strether

            > The only thing that might be doable this close to the end of the runway
            would be parliamentary retraction of A50 notification, as well as the associated enabling legislation.

            That’s true, and that would also be a better deal than a crash-out. But Corbyn has painted himself into a corner with this “Labour can negotiate a better deal” foofrah, so now he can’t say that. Why was it never possible to say (a) revoke Article 50 AND (b) rebuild the Midlands? Labour is, or rather was, the only party that could make that point, except now they can’t.

        3. Harry

          its true that Corbyn is out of his depth on Brexit and probably conflicted. Then again he doesn’t have the entire resources of the British Civil Service to advise him. What’s May’s excuse

      2. disillusionized

        Since A, and B, are covered by Yves, i will stick to C:
        There is no option that preserves, or deliver unity for the UK, this is the Greeks all over again, there are no good options. There is one remain segment that will react badly to any economic down turn (which is inevitable) and there is a one Leave segment who will never be happy until the UK is towed over to the other side of the Atlantic, and then there is another leave segment that still hasn’t accepted that geopolitical position of the UK has fundamentally altered since the rise of the EU and the rise of globalism.
        Thus, no option will deliver national unity – that’s a pipe dream, prepare for the brexit argument to be there for at least a generation.

        Or to put it another way, there is no option that preserves UK influence, UK prosperity, and retains UK sovereignty. All options reduce UK influence, and UK prosperity, and the more sovereignty returned the more prosperity is lost, as well as influence.
        given the thresholds (leaving the EU removes most influence), the diminishing returns on soverignty (it costs more and more prosperity, with less and less of a return due to economic gravity) the conclusion is obvious, Brexit is a fundamentally bad idea.
        Lexiteers are even worse, as the EU isn’t a meaningful constraint on the sort of sovereignty they want, but is a meaningful constrain on the things their “partners” want, things that they do not want.

    3. lyman alpha blob

      In the spirit of the holiday season, I would like to offer this dramatic representation of the Brexit negotiations as told by the actors of everyone’s favorite foul-mouthed Xmas movie, Bad Santa, with Bernie Mac as the EU, Billy Bob Thornton as Jeremy Corbyn/Labor, and Tony Cox as Theresa May/Tories.

      It may be a loose interpretation, but hilarious nonetheless. Enjoy!

      1. shtove

        Hehe! Our government agreed 60% in the end, and the loser and the midget look like they’ll settle the internal dispute in a brawl.

    4. shtove

      On a related theme …

      This is what the government is saying about stockpiling medicines (PDF opens in browser, no download):

      About stockpiling food – unlike medicines, the contingency planning advice seems to be subject to a confidentiality agreement, so this is anonymous feedback from the big grocers:

      My own view: in the new year, we will suffer empty supermarket shelves through panic buying – “you know what, I’ll sweep all these bags of lettuce leaves into my trolley and freeze them”. And the streets will be filled with the sounds of sirens and F-35 overflights.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          At which point, those who have stockpiles of germination-viable grains and beans and seeds will be able to sprout those grains and beans and seeds for edible sprouts until they run out of water.

          And maybe they could turn huge amounts of lettuce into lettuce-kraut, using basic sauerkraut recipes. Lettuce-kraut might not be fun, but it might keep people alive.

  1. 30 year expat

    Idealist me is off to the Climate march in my small city in southern France. Will the gilets jaune play nice? They said they would, but this is France. It’s complicated.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      If you find yourself next to a group of protesters who play nasty, especially if they seem to be baiting the police in order to attract special police attention, you might want to separate yourself from them fast. You might be always watching for an escape route at any second. Situational awareness.

      1. Lambert Strether

        The black bloc in Oakland would get behind a crowd that was facing the cops, then lob projectiles over the crowd, so the cops would charge the crowd. So watch what’s behind you was well as what’s to the front.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          One hopes legitimate Yellow Jacketeers are reading this thread. And that they do indeed keep some “eyes facing backwards” to suppress any cop-baiting rock-throwers. And that they beat down any would-be cop-baiting rockthrowers as fast and savagely as possible.

          And if some of the “rock-throwers” turned out to be undercover cops, the Yellow Jacketeers could say in all injured innocence . . . ” Who knew? We were trying to protect our Fraternal Fellow French Citizens of-the-Police from Blac Block Rocks. Why did no one tell us that some of the false-flag Blac Bloccers were really false false-flag flag Police in Blac Bloc disguise?”

          But that tone of injured innocence will only work if the True Yellow Jacketeers can beat the Blac Bloc stonethrowers into horizontal unconsciousness so fast that the undercover cops are also beaten unconscious too fast to draw their guns and badges.

  2. Colonel Smithers

    I am in Le Touquet for what is called a “booze cruise” in the UK.

    There were no signs of action in and around Calais.

    Two dozen protesters, a third women, were at the peage (toll booth) near Le Touquet. They let me through / out for free. I klaxonned, but did not have the gilet jaune on the dash board. We chatted briefly in French.

    According to locals, there are more people than usual in the small town. It’s not just because of the Christmas market, but some second home owners have escaped the larger towns inland.

    Friends in Deauville say the same.

    1. David

      I’ve been following the day’s events on TV.
      There are 8,000 GJ in Paris, and about the same number of police and gendarmes. That may not sound a lot, but central Paris is completely locked down, shops and metro stations closed and access to many areas completely prohibited. Central Paris, where tourists and shoppers would normally be crowding on a Saturday before Christmas, is a ghost town. Police were stopping and searching buses and cars entering Paris since early this morning, and have arrested hundreds of people so far. They have frequently charged demonstrators and used water cannon and tear gas to disperse them. Armoured vehicles have been seen on the streets of Paris. The massive show of force has succeeded so far in keeping things under control. Extremist groups don’t seem to have been able to get into Paris – anyone found carrying something that could be a weapon or a mask on public transport has been arrested or turned back. In all probability, anyone seriously interested in violence has stayed at home, which doesn’t mean, of course, that they won’t choose another date or time. Which is the problem: you can’t keep up this kind of performance for too long, and you can’t repeat it very often.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I checked a map and found that France is just a bit smaller then Texas. And there are excellent lines of transport there. What if the GJ s decide to play whack-a-mole with the Government? The Gendarmes are concentrating their forces in Paris? Then the GJs can assemble in Toulouse. Toulouse is out? Then go to Marseilles. Plenty of cities to concentrate the protests in. Apparently these protest are starting to spread and I have read of riots in Brussells.
        (Have just found that Lee has mentioned this in his comment at 9:06 am.)

        1. David

          There have been gatherings of GJs across France today, but there has been little violence outside Paris. On the other hand there have been lots of blockades and demonstrations. The authorities seem to have made the right tactical choice in grouping large numbers of specialist public order police and gendarmes in Paris. In fact, the GJ are extremely de)centralised, and most of the demonstrators in Paris came from the provinces. But actually getting into cities by public transport has been problematic, and there have been controls in force since early morning. The situation in Paris seems to be getting slightly worse, and a number of “casseurs” have been active there.

          1. Bugs Bunny

            I’m up in Normandy. Drove from western Paris. Gilets Jaunes at every toll, every major intersection along the way. Massive support from drivers and locals. This is big.

      2. Christopher Dale Rogers


        Many thanks for your daily updates on events as they are transpiring in France. Whilst Macron’s show of force may be good for MSM coverage, the fact remains the demonstrators do seem to have a firm grasp of asymmetrical warfare, namely don’t engage with the enemy on the enemy’s terms, so I expect more protests popping up nation-wide once the Police presence is toned down.

        I’m actually reminded of the actions of Thatcher during the miners strike and increased police presence around the area I was raised in, in my neck of the woods the police’s main priority was to intercept South Wales pickets travelling to the Midland’s, as well as ensuring coal supplies to our one large steel works and coal powered power station, so Newport had strategic import – Thatcher ensured massive payments to police officers at the time who were dragged in from the South East, she may well have had a politically victory, but economically speaking her actions were a disaster.

        I don’t think the type of Policing Thatcher engaged in during the Miners Strike can be repeated long-term in France given the State forces have been on high alert for a long-time and many sympathise with the protestors, namely they too are financially stressed. Oh, and God help them if Macron visits upon them cuts similar to those in the UK, which have been truly reckless – do you think the forces of Law & Order are aware that they too may be in for a trimming, or is France’s ruling elite more nuanced that the UK’s?

        1. Colonel Smithers

          Thank you, CDR, and also well said about Freedland.

          His Murdoch counterpart, David Aaronovitch, was on the BBC earlier, saying, in effect, these protestors / their livelihoods should be consigned to the scrap heap. The scoundrel also blamed the protests on toxic masculinity. WTF? The protestors I came across this morning were nothing like the right wing thugs the likes of Freedland pretend.

          The Met were considered especially dangerous in the miners strike. One northern chief constable pleaded with the Home Office not to deploy them. Welsh police were considered more sensitive.

          At the time, my father was in the RAF. He recalls a conversation with an RAF driver about how when police were driven north, often by military drivers, videos of American action films were played to get them psyched up for a confrontation.

          1. Lambert Strether

            > His Murdoch counterpart, David Aaronovitch, was on the BBC earlier, saying, in effect, these protestors / their livelihoods should be consigned to the scrap heap. The scoundrel also blamed the protests on toxic masculinity

            “Toxic masculinity.” Lovely to see conservatives appropriate Grievance Studies terminology. And how easy it was, to be sure….

        2. David

          In practice, because the GJ were basically a movement in the “peripheral France” they were dispersed to begin with, and their tactics, almost instinctively, were those of harassment and guerrilla warfare rather than the mass mobilisation which is characteristic of movements based in the cities. I remember the 1984 strike, and there are some similarities, although here there is a substantial difference between the situation in the towns, and that outside. Much of the excitement has been in Paris, and outside the major cities things have been largely peaceful.
          In fact, the police in France have had their numbers reduced quite a bit over the years, mainly under Sarkozy, when he was Interior Minister and then President after 2005. This has meant essentially abandoning large parts of the poorer suburbs of cities to criminal and religious gangs, with the consequences which are well known; The police have been demanding and end to cuts, and recruitment of extra members for years. They are pretty fed up with things, and a police trade union leader was saying acidly on TV today that his members weren’t normally on the Champs Elysées because they couldn’t afford to go there. In fact, their personal situations are not that different from those of the gilets jaunes, which is something to think about. They can’t make this effort many times anyway; policemen have been taken out of office jobs and put in cars to have enough people in the streets.

          1. ambrit

            That last point about ‘desk jockeys’ being dragooned into the Dragoons is a bad sign. I met someone who had been personally involved in the Branch Davidian massacre at Waco Texas, and he said something similar. A lot of the agents actually attacking the building were desk jockeys from the New Orleans office. One agent got killed, as well as a lot of little kids inside. It is not that the ‘ineptness’ of the mispurposed agents caused the tragedy, but that this dynamic could have been set up to fail in that manner.
            A big tell will be, were the desk jockeys issued firearms and ammunition? If so, then someone in the ‘official’ hierarchy wants trouble to break out.

      3. flora

        Thank you for these reports. MSM often leaves out key information, or doesn’t report at all.
        From what I’ve read, the GJ is a non-violent protest and doesn’t want violence. If the center of Paris is ‘locked down’ at the height of the Christmas shopping season then the protests could be having a strong economic effect without violence.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          There could well be vandalistic arsonistic Blac Bloccers in disguise as ” Yellow Vesters” and blending in with them to get violence started and to attract police responses.

          ( if there are any false-flag Blac Bloccers in Yellow Vester disguise, and if they are mainly from big cities and have accents that real Yellow Vesters can recognize as being not from any of the geographic parts and/or social class strata that the Yellow Vesters are from; then the Yellow Vesters who spot Blac Bloccers in their midst can beat the Blac Bloccers down fast, hard and furious
          to stop them from hijacking the protests.)

      4. Oregoncharles

        Thanks for the on-the-spot update. You’re describing a severe economic impact. A “massive show of force” may keep things under control, but it’s also an admission of failure. And someone, below, depicts the GJ’s as in control of many transport routes. That’s serious, especially if they have anything like popular support (if they’re basically the working and lower-middle classes, they’re a majority all by themselves).

        Should be interesting. I take it there’s no constitutional way to cut Macron’s term short? This could easily come to serious violence; we can hope the French show more sense than that. But like Brexit or the government in Italy, this is a direct response to austerity.

    2. s.n.

      Guardian has a live blog running on the unfolding events in France. at :1451 there is a link to ex-Independent reporter John Lichfield’s tweet stream, worth a scan for those interested

  3. Livius Drusus

    Re: Top U.S. general urges Google to work with military

    I will be more interested when the employees of a tech company revolt over the development of technology used to monitor workers or put them out of work. It is easier to oppose military projects because they smack of something out of The Terminator films while developments like Neo-Taylorism are not as obviously evil but are perhaps just as inhuman and socially destructive.

    1. Molly

      I’m involved with the Tech Workers Coalition, although I only speak for myself as a member. Some of my fellow members were involved in the Google organizing against project Maven, and also Dragonfly. In the last few months there have also been organized actions at Amazon and Salesforce in opposition to working with ICE. Various TWC members are also involved in partnering with food service and janitorial staff around worker organizing and improving working conditions. One of the efforts I’m starting to get involved with is a more organized network for mutual aid and disaster relief in the Bay Area, in the wake of this year’s fire season.

      Just to say, many people in tech understand the issues go way beyond building smart bombs. Worker surveillance and gamification of work are inhuman disasters, I agree. The anti-military actions have simply been the most visible, and they are good catalysts for organizing because they are so obviously evil. Lots of people feel uncomfortable about building things that kill people.

      Tech culture, especially in Silicon Valley, teaches workers to identify with the company completely. At Google you are a Googler. At Pivotal you are a Pivot. We refer to each other this way, inside and outside of work. We are working against that conditioning when we organize, so starting with “Let’s not build things that blow humans into burning bits” is helpful.

      1. Octopii

        What’s your group’s take on the Agile Workspace movement? We in the A/E/C industry are in the midst of analyzing it, selling it, building it, and experiencing it for ourselves as our companies try to fit more people into the same office space.

      1. kees_popinga

        Carlson is saying Trump’s not “capable” of sustained focus on the sausage-making of right-wing policy. The clickbait (out of context) headline makes it sound like a more general diss. I’m not supporting Trump here [standard disclaimer], but these gotcha headlines are tiresome.

        1. shinola

          Perhaps it’s already been said or written and I missed it but I keep hoping for an article or commentary from someone more eloquent than I explaining that Mr. Trump is *temperamentally* unfit to serve as prez.

          1. rubydog

            I’m wondering if there are others like me who had our preconceived attitude toward Tucker Carlson (ie, “he’s a douchebag”) challenged by this interview. Like Lynne said, it’s almost like he hangs out on NC. I’ve never watched him, so where does this image of him as a right wing Trump supporting troll come from?

                1. drumlin woodchuckles

                  But actually seeing the show would overmake the case. I have seen a few episodes on you tube, and he is not anti-Trump.

              1. Lynne

                Oh, please. One of the linked articles is a ThinkProgress piece that attributes to Carlson the views of a guest and includes the following: “The irony of Steyn’s racist commentary on what it means to be an American is that Steyn is not an American. He is Canadian.” Because we all know only residents of the US are Americans.

                Then a Salon article that straw mans like it’s going out of style and leans on the Southern Poverty Law Center, a group that exists to make money from fear, and Madia matters, which bolsters the claims in their link by the same tactics, reinforcing each other.

                They are getting really desperate going after anyone who challenges the idea that maybe their funders in the 1% are the problem.

    1. voteforno6

      I grew up around a lot of people of Norwegian descent, so her manner is quite familiar. Still, it’s something else to see it in its pure, unadulterated form. These are people who consider lutefisk to be a delicacy, after all.

      1. berit

        Lutefisk is food conserved in a lye solution to eat months later. Eat and survive. But Lutefisk today is a quite luxurious dish usually served with mandelpoteter (small, tasty almondpotatoes) puree of peas, bacon bits and fat, with the baked lutefish first watered out for up to 3 days and nights. Traditional fare during christmas seasons, beer and aqua vita too. Delicious! Yes, Heidi Nordby Lunde would probably be a better choice for POTUS than the present White House occupant, if she had US citizenship, but she’s Norwegian, Høyre, ie conservative, pro-EU, which a majority of Norwegians are not, steadily more now than when we twice voted no against the political establishment of conservatives and social democrats.

            1. berit

              Today most of us prefer cod fresh or forzen – I suppose. But the traditional lutefisk is actually very good and pleasing to the eye when served with tasty green pureed peas, small, slow-growing (more taste) almond potatoes and a good heaping of bacon pieces and fat and the good beverages. Lutefisk would not have survived if it did not taste and look good. It depends on the cook! I have not tasted Scottish haggis, but the recipe tells a similar tale of preservation and making use of everything edible in the daily struggle for life – made as nourishing and tasty as possible with the means available. Lungemos is a Norwegian variant of haggis. Hacked lungs, liver, heart, tongue, guts, oats, onions, spices etc cooked as pudding, do have a rather unappetizing appearance. But the taste is good, dependent of the cook. It’s highly nutritious, cheap too, which lutefisk is not, labour intensive, expensive. Sult er den beste kokk (hunger is the best cook). We’d better catch up fast, I think, or learn the hard way – as stubborn, deaf (?) irresponsible politicians of many stripes in several countries. Grownups? A friend from Asia calls these powerhungry critters Ungrownups.

        1. ewmayer

          Aside: I am a bit surprised to see ‘poteter’ as a Norwegian term for potato, because the word ‘potato’ is derived from the Spanish ‘patata’. By way of contrast, the German word for potato is Erdapfel, literally “earth apple”. (“Kartoffel” is the other common German term for same.) Mandel for almond is the same in Norwegian and German, though.

          1. Lee

            Presumably derived from Incan word for potato: batata

            Sailors returning from the Andes to Spain with silver presumably brought maize and potatoes for their own food on the trip.[10] Historians speculate that leftover tubers (and maize) were carried ashore and planted: “We think that the potato arrived some years before the end of the 16th century, by two different ports of entry: the first, logically, in Spain around 1570, and the second via the British Isles between 1588 and 1593 … we find traces of the transport of potatoes travelling from the Canaries to Antwerp in 1567 … we can say that the potato was introduced there [the Canary islands] from South America around 1562 … the first written mention of the potato [is] … a receipt for delivery dated 28 November 1567 between Las Palmas in the Grand Canaries and Antwerp.”[11

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              About the corn, there is a way to check that. If the descendants of the early corns to reach Europe are more Mexiform, then they came from Mexico.

              If they are more Andeaform, they came from the Andes.

              The two groups of corns are tellably different.

          2. berit

            Many similarities within the large group of Indoeuropean languages. English, German and the three Scandinavian languages are but a few. Finnish and Hungarian are a separate group of only two (?), difficult to learn, I’ve been told.

      2. ChrisPacific

        In a nutshell, her argument seems to be that EFTA is for grown-ups who understand that you need to give something in order to get something, and is therefore a poor fit for the UK.

        Hard to argue, really.

      3. drumlin woodchuckles

        The True Cookology Master can make good food out of unpromising ingredients. So the true Master Cook can make lutefisk delicious.

        An interesting challenge for the true Cookology Master would be to make something delicious with lutefisk and acorn meal in the same dish at the same time.

    1. Wukchumni

      First thought: Groupon still exists?

      When I first encountered the word, I thought it was an online orgy site, my bad.

      It’s fun watching the Clintons crumble, in an ‘own goal’ very public fashion. You can hide the empty seats somewhat, but when you’re so desperate to fill them, oh it shows.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The promise of the unsinkable SS Titanic was as important as any other attribute. What if the Clinton promise of sacrificing policy positions to win elections doesn’t work?

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          It worked for the Clintons. It worked long enough to get them elected twice and get rich thereafter.

          And it worked for Obama. It worked long enough to get him elected twice and to begin making him rich thereafter.

          If it doesn’t work anymore, that’s good.

      2. Summer

        “First thought: Groupon still exists?

        When I first encountered the word, I thought it was an online orgy site, my bad.”

        Ha! I know, right?

  4. nyc transplant to south carolina

    Stock market return have little to no impact on the average mope. Most have “investments” thru 401Ks and perhaps pension funds and thus benefit . However the better measure is wages and for the last 40 years, mopes have fallen farther and farther behind.

    I it wasn’t for Medicare and Social Security Jane/Joe 6 Pak would be living in cardboard boxes and begging for pennies. Some already do. Homelessness in a wealthy country is an abomination,

    1. ChristopherJ

      agreed nyc. It is a measure of country’s incohesion. Sadly, there are more homeless in Australia too and shows how our safety nets are becoming not only inadequate, but difficult if not impossible for some people to access (id for example)

  5. Wukchumni

    Motivated in part by increased development pressure from dollar stores, Mendocino County, Calif., passed a formula business policy in 2016. The measure, which covers unincorporated areas of the county that are outside municipal boundaries, requires chain stores to seek a special permit in order to open. The permit application involves a public hearing, and county staff then review the application based on whether the proposed formula business would fit the community’s character. The idea is not to stop all development, but to establish a process for weighing the merits of particular projects.

    This is a critical thing to do, as Dollar General modus operandi is to open stores on the outskirts of town, just outside the city limits.

    Not only is the land cheaper, but often it’s the first new bright & shiny retail store opened up from scratch in a decade or 2, and kind of in the same vein as that new car smell, there’s an attraction to our senses.

    3 years ago here a sign appeared all of the sudden proclaiming “Another Dollar General Coming Soon” and was almost immediately defaced with: “NOT IN MY TOWN!” and then disappeared a few weeks later. When I was doing trash pick up a few weeks ago, I noticed the 2 small metal posts that were used to hoist the sign on it’s petard, were amazingly still there, so away they went.

    We’re still DG free, as there’s a paucity of possibilities luckily.

    A friend works for the county planning commission and was telling me some of the rationale in DG store placement, and one of salient factors being, is there an existing store/s to purchase milk & bread in a proposed location?

    1. Carolinian

      My town has quite a few dollar stores. Nobody seemed to object until Dollar General proposed building one on “Country Club Road” (it was built). I’m, no fan of the DG format and never shop there, but if they are giving some small towns–smaller than mine–a place to buy “bread and milk” is that necessarily a bad thing? If our society is going to make poor people a fact of life then it may have to accept the stores that cater to them. One hopes that some communities aren’t denying their poor citizens that opportunity because it might bring down the “tone.”

      1. Wukchumni

        You can buy bread and milk @ 3 locations here, so it’s just redundancy were DG to set up shop.

        Now, if they were to open up in Yettem, Ca. (my favorite goofy named city locally) with a population of 211, they’d probably be ecstatic about the idea.

      2. barefoot charley

        The campaign against DG in Mendocino stressed that Redwood Valley already had a small family grocery at the town crossroads, which would likely be driven out of business. That’s the usual argument against DG in rural towns, that they’ll be more cheaply replicating existing services that are ruined. Then the prices rise, and the profits all leave town. They’re miniature WalMarts.

      3. griffen

        I moved to the area in mid 2016. Broadly speaking the area. Hwy 9 is closer.

        Yes those DG stores are quite literally as prevalent as a QT location ( minus the gas ). Beer is a little cheaper, but not much.

  6. Juneau

    “millions of americans could face surprise emergency room bills”
    Of course they are blaming the doctors who are on salary (possibly with a bonus system). It is Envision who will get paid by United, then they will pay the doctors. The docs have little control over the contract negotiation they are salaried.
    typical effort to divide the doctors and the patients while the corporate health guys and the insurance company divvy up the monies.

    1. ChristopherJ

      Yes, Juneau. Americans have been sold the biggest con job, and all NC readers know it. Affordable care act, just a huge joke, except it’s not, eh? Those hospital charges are simply shocking

  7. The Rev Kev

    “Dear Tumblr: Banning “Adult Content” Won’t Make Your Site Better But It Will Harm Sex-Positive Communities”

    That is one reason why I refuse to use social media. It starts off all trendy and bold but sooner or later it ends up getting run by 16th century Puritans. Just saw an article on RT tonight talking about similar changes to Facebook-

    What is most unbelievable is the Facebook statement “We recognize the importance of Facebook and want to allow for this discussion. We draw the line, however, when content facilitates, encourages or coordinates sexual encounters between adults.”
    I really don’t know how to comment on this. This is not just a prudish ban on nudity like Tumblr but Facebook saying they are uncomfortable about adults mixing together online. How insipid.

    1. Keith

      This is just a new version of the Satanic Panic of the 1980’s. For anyone who doesn’t remember that, you can look up the story of the McMartin Preschool prosecutions. Similar things happened elsewhere in the US at that time.

      In the 80’s the target was child sexual abuse by Satan worshipers. Now it’s child sexual abuse and sex trafficking over the internet. The prosecution/persecution is now enhanced by poorly written laws designed to police something the writers of those laws either poorly understand or are willfully ignorant of.

      I predict that eventually the resulting effect of these laws (Sesta and Fosta) will be found to be almost zero in the areas of child pornography and sex trafficking. Exactly the same effect that the prosecutions and uproar over the 1980s Satanic panic did.

      The older I get the more I think the statement that: “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes.” is absolutely true.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Then too, as Mark Twain once said . . .

          History doesn’t repeat itself. But it does rhyme.

    2. Geo

      Is this the insipid rise of Sharia Law the far-right has been warming us about? Oh, it’s our own puritanical phobias and partisan paranoia purging “the devil” by restricting basic human expression?

      “Society consists of a mass of weak individuals trying to protect themselves, out of fear, from every possible imaginary evil, and, of course, by their very fear, bringing the evil into being.” – D.H. Lawrence

      1. JBird4049

        Left and right is not the problem. It is the desire to control messy, inconvenient existence and the people in it that is the problem. If one wants to be paranoid about Apple, Tumblr and Facebook’s anti-porn jihad, note that the war on pornography can becomes a war on unsanctioned ideas including the media, which includes the arts as well as the written word, used to spread those ideas. I think that this effort to protect the public from the horrors of naughty pictures can ultimately be seen as an effort to control our thoughts, our feelings and therefore our actions.

    3. Olivier

      “It starts off all trendy and bold but sooner or later it ends up getting run by 16th century Puritans.” Exactly. I was reminded as I read this of the messageries roses of the French Minitel. They were tolerated as long as they were essential to Minitel’s bottom line but once Minitel was finally mainstream and financially healthy it was off with them!

    1. Geo

      Yes. But apparently a few dollars on a boosted Facebook meme can swing an election so you could try that. ;)

    2. berit

      Mr Rudd. You’d have to have resided in Norway for three years in order to vote in the municipal elections next year. About 350.000 to half a million foreigners living here may vote in 2019. Voting in parliamentary elections are for citizens by birth or application. All voting is by paper ballots. You can apply for asylum and citizenship and vote for Heidi Nordby Lunde in 2025, as she’ll probably be around for some time. But the super-conservative coalition government Ms Lunde supports is negative to immigration, constantly harping on problematic integration, so on and so forth…

  8. Wukchumni

    Our sister city of sorts on the Tule River: Springville, Ca.

    (…the location of the post comet impact survivors in the 1977 sci-fi novel “Lucifer’s Hammer” by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle…)

    Has been fighting off a Dollar General for a few years now. Here’s a Tulare County Environmental Impact Report from this summer, to give you an idea of what’s entailed…

  9. The Rev Kev

    “Big Brother Australia cracks open encrypted messaging”

    This was really bizarre in how it got passed. The opposition party said that they would back it only if the government would pass a bill to let refugee children come into Australia from the off-shore detention center at Nauru. The government refused and so Parliament came to a close for the summer break. Game over. The opposition mocked the government saying that the encryption bill was really vital but then “Five o’clock, time to go home.” I thought good, they can sort it out when they come back next year. Lo and behold, an hour or so later I hear that the opposition turned around and backed this bill without amendments just like that. Sounds like somebody gave them their marching orders.

      1. ChristopherJ

        What they all spend it on then, Wuk? ‘spect only a few at the top of the pyramid made the money.

        Rev, I think Shorten was told if you don’t pass this legislation, we may not be able to intercept the new ways modern terrorists communicate – or something like that. So, told he would be shamed if something happened. Sounds like blackmail to me, but not quite, eh?

  10. Lee

    Bonus video

    Yes the cats are admirably chill. But I was made to feel pot shamed at the much used, mottled state of the exteriors of my own. I mean who besides the likes of Martha Stewart really cares about such things?

    1. Olga

      Dunno – I certainly enjoyed the cat-pot cleaning video. Having burned stuff before, now at least I’ll know how to clean up. I’ve saved on VPN payments thanks to a tip from Lambert; today, I learned how to clean pots, never mind keeping track of gilets jeunes… what’s next NC? Is certainly money well spent (:)))

      1. Lee

        Insides of pots should certainly be well cleaned and then re-seasoned. But shiny outsides? That’s just showing off.

        1. human

          Clean pots and pans, inside and out, are more energy efficient and food safe. Something to certainly consider in our present climates.

        2. ChristopherJ

          Lee, how do you season a new stainless frypan? Wasn’t cheap, but everything sticks…. My cast iron pot is way better…

          Agree with others, don’t normally do cat vids, but learned something valuable today. I’ll let lovey know next time she does it

            1. Fiery Hunt

              No “seasoning” required. See comment below.

              Happy Cooking!*

              (in my best Jacques Pepin voice)

          1. Fiery Hunt

            The secret to stainless is to heat the pan FIRST. A little oil and make sure the pan is hot and nothing will stick. Once you get that, you’ll love your stainless. At least I do. And I love my cast irons too!

    1. Summer

      Walking behind a banner reading “social winter is coming,” the protesters chanted “(French President Emmanuel) Macron, Michel resign.”

      “Our children are hard-working people but they have to pay taxes everywhere. You can’t get housing anymore. It is not going well in Dutch society,” Ieneke said. “The social welfare net we grew up with is gone,” she said.


      Was all of this clearly stated original EU and/or EZ deals (depending in the country) as the outcomes and goals?

    2. Summer

      So now Belgium, Netherlands added to the discontent:

      1) Greece (’nuff said)
      2) Italy – O Budget Wherefore Art Thou
      3)France – vests don’t jest
      4) Germany – getting kinda crowded and a slower squeeze on living standards, but that is the slow tightening of screws I hear
      5) U.K. – Ms. Brexit if ya nasty
      6) Eastern Europe – lean any more to the right and it will tup over
      7) Russia – the unwanted step-child of Europe, always been too close to Asia geographically for the other Eurooeans to feel comfortable

      1. Lee

        U.S. Employer Forbids Wearing Yellow Safety Vest

        Just had a conversation with a road and public transport surveyor. His boss recently ordered him not to wear his vest while working on the loading platform of our local light rail. Can’t have all those commuters getting ideas, I suppose. Alas, the young working class fellow did not understand the significance of the order and knows nothing of Les Gilets Jaunes.

        1. Summer

          He’d rather a worker risk his safety tham look like a protester. Sounds like the USA to me.

          I was just thinking that women that want better family leave have a similar symbol they could use: the car seat.
          Would have to get creative…..

        2. Wukchumni

          I was attired in a yellow vest a couple weeks ago when doing trash pick up on Hwy 198 here, and as usual got a few polite toots of the horn from a few drivers in appreciation, but now I wonder if they were French tourists?

        3. sd

          If there is an accident, his employer will be liable. He should get the demand in writing and give it to a family member for safe keeping. The jury award for an injury will be in the millions.

        1. ChristopherJ

          Yes, Summer. The European experiment is a forced Union these days. Bit like Hotel California…

          1. The Rev Kev

            Apparently Trump is trolling Macron with tweets like “Maybe it’s time to end the ridiculous and extremely expensive Paris Agreement and return money back to the people in the form of lower taxes?”-


            Even Erdogan is getting in on the act and saying that when the Turks use force against protesters they cop a flogging so what about the French using force against the yellow jackets? Pretty bad when you get trolled by such opposite characters as Trump and Erdogan.

  11. Watt4Bob

    “I think you would mess it all up for us, the way you have messed it all up for yourselves.”

    If only the target audience for this message was as adept with the English language as the speaker.

    And as honest.

    1. flora

      I wonder if what has kept the long peace in Western Europe since the end of WWII is the social safety nets ; if the welfare systems built up kept people out of the sort of misery that leads to economic protests and actions. The sort of protests that lead some elites to think ‘a little war is just the thing to distract, unite, and take the fight out of the people.’

      (Read Barbara Tuchman’s excellent book ‘The Proud Tower’ about The Belle Époque (the beautiful age), the 25 years of Eurpean globalism preceding WWI. )

      1. flora

        This reply was meant for Lee’s comment about ‘yellow-vested protests spread’ above. Sorry for misplacing the reply.

        1. Colonel Smithers

          Thank and well said, Flora.

          Also, the return of service men, determined to avoid a repeat of what happened after WW1, the Soviet presence in the heart of Europe and somewhat enlightened right wingers, e.g. de Gaulle and Harold MacMillan, helped.

          De Gaulle made a speech in 1946 / 7 to his party,,drawing on his Catholic faith and essentially saying we are the keepers of our brothers and sisters.

          His daughter Anne had Down’s Syndrome. A charity founded in her name draws an income from the father’s memoirs and still supports good causes.

          1. Cal

            Nothing like tens of millions of veterans tested in combat, many with souvenir weapons brought back or hunting rifles and target pistols at home to keep the U.S. government honest and accommodating for a generation or so.

      2. Wukchumni

        The Proud Tower is just another masterpiece by Tuchman, and is bristling with assassinations of leaders, I can’t think of another era with so many.

        Joseph Stilwell and the American Experience in China, 1911-45, is another keeper, and what I liked most about it, is Stilwell was an old China hand and what set him apart was he was a keen observer and liked to walk long distances, and you see oh so much more when being biped, as time slows down.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Yes, the language skills of Scandinavians are generally high. Maybe it’s changed, but when I was young, most learned English, German, and French and would be pretty to very fluent.

      Plus we Americans are so dumb about this. We don’t teach foreign languages until the 7th or 9th grades when toddlers and primary school kids can pick them up readily and (I think if they start learning before 5) be able to pronounce all the sounds correctly.

      1. JohnnyGL

        This is actually changing quite a bit.

        There’s a lot of public schools in certain areas of the US, often those with more immigrants, that are not just doing ESL to bring the immigrant kids up to speed in English, but also improving their native languages.

        In my city, they’re even broadening that to include American kids and attempting to ramp up dual language education through and including high school. So, for most of their school years, that means around 1/2 the classes taught in the foreign language.

        I’m annoyed that my oldest daughter is a year too old for the program (she’d be an excellent candidate as she’s already conversational in Portuguese). But I’m optimistic about getting my youngest daughter into the program.

        1. anon in so cal

          This gave me a scary flashback to a previous life as a bilingual public elementary school teacher. Native Spanish-speaking (immigrant) students (typically from Mexico) were taught Spanish reading, starting in Kindergarten. **They could not commence English reading until they tested out of the Spanish reading program, which typically occurred in 3rd grade***

          The thing is, the district used Spanish reading texts published for kids in Spain. It was an emotionally-scarring experience to witness the students being forced to learn numerous Spanish synonyms for bedroom slippers before they could start to learn English reading.


      2. Lee

        It is times like these that I regret that what I learned in my high school French classes is but a fond and distant memory.

      3. Carolinian

        One of those toddlers here. And while I did acquire an excellent French accent, motivation was lacking in this 7 year old to gain much fluency. In that WASPier time Americans weren’t driven by the multilingual needs of citizens from small Scandinavian countries. And while the rest of the world held out as long as possible, we knew that sooner or later they would all come around to speaking English (and so it turned out).

        It was better before. If the world’s elite all speak English it makes it easier for Washington to give them orders.

        1. Lee

          The contemporary equivalent of Latin, I suppose.

          For two years I attended, here on the left coast, I Catholic high school founded by Benedictine monks who were refugees from the 1956 Russian put-down of the Hungarian revolt. Not that they were particularly anti-authoritarian so far as I could tell.

          This was the early sixties. Latin was obligatory and of the European languages they offered they strongly encouraged scientifically minded students to study German. It was the “language of science”, as they put it. To this day I don’t know if that was at the time objectively true.

          1. berit

            Lee. Some early Russiagate? The 1956 revolt in Hungary was crushed by forces from the then Soviet Union. After the death of Stalin, born in Georgia, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics had a succession of leaders struggling for power, until Ukrainian-born Nikita Krushchev won and denounced Stalin in the secret speech in 1956 that may have led to the revolts in Poland and Hungary, struck down by the USSR. And this Ukrainian, as Soviet leader, “gave” longtime Russian Crimea to Ukraine…

            1. berit

              Sorry, Nikita K’s birth may have been in Russia. The family soon moved to Ukraine where he diligently worked his way aside Stalin, to the very top of the USSR a few years after Stalin’s death (1953).

        2. Yves Smith Post author

          Yes, but you still have that accent and could probably pick French back up quickly. It’s very close to English anyhow, many words in common (as in very closely resemble each other, like table and gouvernement).

          1. Octopii

            But beware of les faux amies!

            School French student here, forgot it for a decade then began making a habit to spend time in France every few years. Now parents in law live there, so it comes in handy. I do wish the US public schools had started languages earlier than 7th grade.

      4. polecat

        Deliberately instituted by the ‘State’ (no foreign languages taught until 7th or 9th grades) for it’s beneficial ignorance factor .. ??

      5. berit

        Right you are, Yves. Still so. All children are offered English. German is on the rise again. French, Italian, Spanish elective, taught in secondary schools, Russian, Chinese, Portuguese were there are teachers and demand…

      6. berit

        Sorry, Nikita K’s birth may have been in Russia. The family soon moved to Ukraine where he diligently worked his way under and aside Stalin, to the very top of the USSR a few years after Stalin’s death (1953).

    3. Eclair

      I rather like her comment that bringing in the Brits would be like inviting an abusive relative to the Christmas party, knowing they would spike the punch, but hoping everything would turn out ok.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I can’t see it working out either. If they came in, they would start off with a long list of demands like members ceasing all trade with Russia and giving special dispensation to the laws concerning London’s financial district. Personally I like the Brits but their governments and elites are something else.

  12. Jason Boxman

    At work I hear a lot about the importance of our channel partners. So, yes, it literally is corporate speak.

  13. Jason Boxman

    Also, recently a coworker bought a condo here in Boston. The only place he could really afford was South Boston, and given his profession (software engineer with decades of experience) I assume he does pretty well.

    He was competing with cash buyers, though, from outside the US, buying houses near the universities for their children. That’s come up here in the links at least once in the past few years. His condo association just passed a rule that forbids any short term rentals (no AirBnbs) and disallows rentals for the first year. He wasn’t sure they could force occupancy, though, so someone just looking to park money can still buy a unit and keep it off the market and vacant.

    There should be a hefty surcharge for buyers outside the US. This isn’t right.

    He wondered where our teachers, firefighters, and other critical workers will live; so do I. Not anywhere near Boston or Cambridge, that’s for sure.

    1. Fraibert

      I think a required occupancy rule is probably legally enforceable. The difficulty with a forced occupancy rule is what to do if it is disregarded. I doubt you could get the remedy of compelling occupancy but you could try some kind of liquidated damages–the problem there being that anyone paying cash probably can afford to pay that additional cost.

    2. Swamp Yankee

      Teachers and firefighters are living a) ever farther away from Boston proper — recall one of the workers at the Marriott in the recent strike commuted from New Bedford!; b) often with their parents or other relatives if Millennials; c) homeless. The amount of homelessness in MA is astounding, and much of it is outside the Rt. 128 Belt — people living on couches, in shelters, in the woods, by the railroad tracks — it really is at Great Depression levels here.

      Meanwhile, the Real Estate-Developer Industrial Complex, which has captured all levels of government but especially local government here in the Bay Commonwealth (e.g., Town Planners are essentially arms of the development interest), builds nearly exclusively luxury housing while using a fig-leaf of “affordable housing” or the latest neoliberal phrase, “workforce housing”, to disguise it. They’ll build 100 units of luxury condo apartments on former textile factory’s grounds; make 25 of them ‘affordable’, but define affordablility using misleading statistical averages, such that the Back Bay and Cambridge is included in the calculation of affordability for impoverished former milltowns at the edge of The Internal Colonies and The Blue Metropoles. Thus, these ‘affordable’ apartments will require an annual income of $60,000 per year! Hardly affordable for the working class and poor here.

      I have to get active as soon as work lets up, as the developers, though connected, are widely hated. As are the yuppie retirees and arrivistes who occupy the luxury housing. There is power lying in the streets — or the pine barrens, rather! — waiting to be picked up.

      1. Oregoncharles

        The level of homelessness means that the Great Recession never really went away, just morphed. It’s an important social indicator.

        1. Wukchumni

          The level of homelessness means that the Great Recession never really went away, just morphed. It’s an important social indicator.


          They are the other 1%, the flip-side.

    3. Kurtismayfield

      Cash buyers in Southie for their college bound kids? These parents know that these aren’t walking distance to BU right?

      Anything inside of 495 is never going to be affordable.. they don’t want to build new small units because that would mean more small families, which means more school age children and more taxes. Zoning boards do not want to affect the prices of their current housing stock.

      1. SerenityNow

        Yes–it is zoning boards which generally hold the low-density regime in place, or only allow luxury apartments: this keeps home (asset) values preemptively insured.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “‘Conditions met’ for Assange to leave Ecuadorian embassy”

    Well that doesn’t mean much. The UK would say that he has to leave the country within 24 hours but go where? Remember when France, Spain and Portugal denied airspace to Bolivian President Evo Morales’s plane because they thought that Edward Snowden was aboard and forcing his plane to land in Austria back in 2013? And how they ransacked the Presidential plane looking for him? Can you imagine Assange trying to get away without the same happening to him? Australia has proven itself not safe for him and I have serious doubts about any western country. Maybe Snowden has a spare bed at his flat?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Did you read the piece??? That isn’t what it said.

      He’s supposed to face trial in the UK and maximum sentence is six months. The obvious BS is the claim that there is no extradition request for him when we know that there’s a sealed indictment in the US, the fact of which was leaked by mistake.

      This means, just as happened when Huawei’s Meng was indicted on Aug 22, Interpol would be sent a “red notice” about him, which means they are to alert local police with the hopes they will arrest the party and having local prosecutors start the extradition process:

      Among other things, Interpol was in the business of doing pretty close to real time tracking of international travel before the Internet. They are good at it.

      So the only way that it is credible that no extradition request has been sent (as in the the Ecuadorean statement is correct) because there is zero point in issuing an extradition notice when Assange can’t be extradited by virtue of him being at the embassy.

    2. Oregoncharles

      Iceland. With a Green PM, mind you.

      But that’s only if the Brits don’t arrest him at the front door.

  15. Wukchumni

    Oh dear, our dear leader’s tweets are almost in all caps now. There’s an air of desperation wafting about in Humordor.

    He’s obviously not going to go away easily, how do you think he fights off the inevitable?

    Bomb an aspirin factory in Sudan, something like that?

    1. kareninca

      I think he has been collecting a lot of dirt on a lot of people for many, many years. I don’t think he’ll have trouble fighting off the inevitable. One of his many antisocial skills is his penchant for saving his ammo for when he needs it. I think you are underestimating him; it is a fun thing to do when you have no skin in the game, and you don’t, so that’s fine.

  16. Wukchumni

    P-64, the mountain lion known for his successful freeway crossings, found dead after surviving Woolsey fire Los Angeles Times
    That’s too bad…

    We had a surfeit of sightings in 2017 up in Mineral King, must’ve been 15-20 if not more over the summer. All lone encounters except for a duo spotted near White Chief Canyon. The weird thing about the sightings is they were almost all in the daytime, a friend ran into one just laying on the trail in the afternoon.

    This year-only one sighting, and as many if not more deer than in 2017-which doesn’t jive, as they are the mountain lion’s main meal.

    1. Lee

      I have traveled a lot of miles and spent a lot of time and money in order to watch predators and other critters in the wild but I have yet to set eyes on a mountain lion, even though they are known to inhabit nearby hill country.

      I recall an issue from around your neck of the woods regarding mountain lions and Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep. That is, one protected species preying on another. I recall that there was the possibility that mountain lion hunting or culling by government hunters would be employed within the sheep’s range. This was some years ago and I haven’t kept up with developments.

      1. Wukchumni

        The Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep almost went extinct (scabies from gigantic herds of domestic sheep in the late 19th century being the culprit) and was down to around 100, but has rebounded nicely up to around 600 of them, and the majority of the herd is around Mt Williamson on the east side of the Sierra, and they’ve started to relocate some of the herd elsewhere, around a dozen are on the Chagoopa Plateau now.

        Haven’t heard anything about mountain lions being an issue around their range, as of late.

        The best mountain lion sighting i’ve heard of was about 5 years ago. They were doing road resurfacing on the Generals Hwy in Sequoia NP, and a local lady was working on the project, and she came driving around a turn at about 7 in the morning, and 100 feet in front of her was a mountain lion and a 4 point buck both on their hind legs-locked in mortal battle, which lasted about 30 seconds, and then the stag went limp, and the lion dragged the body down the embankment, and that was that.

          1. Wukchumni

            I saw a juvenile mountain lion in Topanga State Park down in L.A. about 20 years ago (could’ve been P-64) and it had a silver coat and was about the girth of a medium sized dog-but haven’t seen one one in the Sierra Nevada, which is quite normal. A friend working on trail crew deep in the backcountry for 4+ months a year in the summer, had to wait until his 21st year on the job, to get his first glimpse of one.

            I’ve heard (pretty family blog’n eerie) them in the distance, seen their tracks & scat many times, but they’re more of a nocturnal animal.

            1. Christy

              Sorry, but the lion you saw 20 yrs ago couldn’t have been P-64.
              Please read the article again. He was only 4 yrs old.

              1. Wukchumni

                Ok, perhaps father of P-64, or mother, or uncle, or aunt.

                All of those L.A. mountain lions are inbred pretty much, so it’s a possibility.

    2. MichaelSF

      A year or two ago my aunt’s son and daughter-in-law were walking in a rural park near Redding with their small dog trailing behind them on a leash. A mountain lion swooped in and grabbed the dog and went into the bushes on the side of the trail where it watched them for a moment before moving off.

      That’s a lot closer encounter than I’d care to have.

  17. Summer

    Re: 105 Experts / Fears Hopes

    They are worried about political “extremism”?
    That’s ripe. Neoliberalism is extremism and violent, but that doesn’t seem to bother them.
    And then they put the vague “hope” into the future.
    Lots of magical thinking going on.

      1. Wukchumni

        I too was underwhelmed (if I liked the comments would I have been whelmed?) after being excited at the prospect of so many different fields being represented.

  18. allan

    In Bel-Air, a propeller-shaped mansion aims for $56 million [LA Times]

    A winged spec home composed of three propeller-like blades has flown onto the market in Bel-Air for $56 million.

    Developed … over the course of four years, the 18,850-square-foot mansion sits on a promontory lot behind two sets of gates. …

    Three types of glass — clear, translucent and mirrored ­— encase the exterior while bringing in panoramic views of the city and ocean.

    In addition to nine bedrooms and 15 bathrooms, the home holds a movie theater, a gym, a cedar sauna, a steam room, two elevators and a 1,000-bottle wine cellar. At the center of the home, there’s a floating staircase in the shape of a triangle.

    Pocketing walls of glass lead outside, where a spacious patio holds an outdoor kitchen, a pair of fireplaces and an infinity-edge pool and spa. Other outdoor spaces include rear-facing decks hanging off the second story and a sun deck that extends from one of the wings.

    Two garages offer parking for seven cars. …

    No mention of maid’s quarters, so they’re probably expected to sleep under the 405.

    File under Guillotine Watch or Glass Warfare.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Especially after a good earthquake! I was going through Greece back in ’80 not long after some earthquakes had hit the area and you could see agricultural glass-houses where the frames were still standing but all the glass was on the ground broken.

        1. Wukchumni

          I was in Santa Monica shortly after the 1994 quake, and i’d guess every other plate glass window in town was shattered, as far as storefront buildings were concerned…

          My favorite broken glass story from the City of Angles is a beaut…

          Fort MacArthur had 14 inch guns and they test fired them in August 1941, and every window in San Pedro from 22nd Street to 6th Street was broken. The commanding officer of the Fort was presented with a $50,000 glass bill for services rendered, by the community, and said guns were never fired again, ha!

  19. Ignacio

    California Gives Final OK To Require Solar Panels On New Houses NPR:

    Solar panels will be a required feature on new houses in California, after the state’s Building Standards Commission gave final approval to a housing rule that’s the first of its kind in the United States. From a report:

    This is good news. Some buyers complain that this will increase already high prices. Let’s say it is true but being more sustainable from the point of view of energy usage is a GOOD reason for houses being more expensive. Other reasons like “markets” or financialization are the BAD reasons that explain high prices.

    1. David(1)

      Yeah, good times are ahead (/s).

      Under the lease option, the builder will typically work with a solar company to install the project, and have the solar firm own and maintain the system for 20 to 30 years. Leading residential solar installer Sunrun underscored on its latest earnings call that the company is well positioned to serve the budding new home market…

      “I think this [solar mandate] is a real opportunity for solar-as-a-service business model to be the dominant way solar is the deployed,” said CEO Lynn Jurich, in an interview. Last year was the first year since 2011 that residential solar customers purchased more systems with cash and loans than with leases and power-purchase agreements. (Source)

      Solar as a service. What happens when one decides they don’t want to pay for their solar power anymore?

      1. a different chris

        Um, really bad things if you are poor, a lot of certified letters going back and forth if you are middle class, and as usual hardly anything if you are rich. The usual, in other words. Google missed mortgage payments.

        Are you new to this country?

    2. heresy101

      I ran a CA solar rebate program for a small municipal utility on and off for the last 10 years to give away $4.2 million dollars in solar rebates. At the start it was very high ($10/watt installed) owned solar but transitioned to a majority of leased systems until about 2-3 years ago. The program is closed because the 2.17 MW of rebates has been met, and most solar PV systems are now owned systems because the cost is about $2-3/watt installed. SolarCity (aka Tesla) is focusing on adding battery storage to the PV and they are selling as well as leasing systems. As long as the 30% tax credit is in place, it make more sense to buy/own a system versus leasing one.

      One of the reasons leasing is dropping is net energy metering (NEM) requirements are being met by utilities and leasing isn’t as lucrative to wall street entities.

      Another change that is occurring is the move to 100% electrification and getting rid of natural gas. SMUD has introduced a program to encourage the switch by giving a $5,000 rebate for an all electric new home and $13,750 rebate to convert your house to all electric. They have one new home builder that will build 400 all electric homes.

    1. newcatty

      Awesome kitty, yeah. Just brought to mind though about how giving attention to a specific breed of cat may encourage the “how cool is my breed cat people” to buy a cat for reasons other than having a companion, or for some, another member of their family. We have two beautiful, intelligent and loving cats in our family. Both are from humane shelters. The personable attributes of the Maine Coon cats sound remarkably like my cats. One of my cats is a large female. Turns out she is mostly a French breed…may even be a full blood, but was given to shelter because, horror, she has gold in what is “supposed to be” a silver coat. She is sweet, and quiet. The younger one is smaller and quite the playful and talkative kitty. She is a striking, slender black and white cat. We have had people who have really offered to take her into their homes, if we ever would want that. Often got, where did you get her?

  20. Wukchumni

    A push to make fracking waste water usable in agriculture — and even for drinking

    Fracking requires a huge amount of water, a major concern in dry Western states that otherwise welcome the practice. But New Mexico thinks it can mitigate that problem by pushing oil companies to treat and recycle fracking waste water for use in agriculture — or even as drinking water.

    State officials, with the help of the Environmental Protection Agency, are still working out the details. If they move forward with the strategy for fracking, also called hydraulic fracturing, other arid states may follow New Mexico’s lead.–and-even-for-drinking/2018/12/07/9a22e496-f803-11e8-8d64-4e79db33382f_story.html?utm_term=.7a44178ce082

    Remind me to not eat any produce from NM or ask for a glass of water in the future, ye gads!

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Might be nice to find a way to put the fracking water into the water pipes feeding the homes of the frackers and the state officials in their pockets … perhaps find a way to inject it into their bottled water. What’s good for the goose …

      1. Wukchumni

        What if we were to grow corn using waste water, in order to produce gas ethanol and then we could come full circle in this madness?

        1. newcatty

          Madness, indeed. Remember when fresh water was called a “precious resource “, “lifeblood of the planet “? Department of water resources mandates and civic responsibilities should be to manage water resources for the good of the local and state usages. This push to “recycle ” fracking wastewater is unconscionable and absolutely greed at its most basic level. As far as I am aware no amount of “treatment” of fracking wastewater can remove most of the toxic chemicals from that water that would ensure it is safe for use in agriculture, much less as potable, drinking water. Another potent example of the short sightedness and sell out of people’s basic needs and welfare.

          1. Carey

            In case you don’t already know this, fracking wastewater is being used
            for “organic” ag irrigation in California, right now.

            Should be fine, just ask Brown/ airheadNewsom

  21. RMO

    I seem to have hit my breaking point on Brexit news. I just can’t bring myself to care anymore. Whatever happens, happens.

  22. ewmayer

    Re. the monk seals, I see one Twitterer was moved to song – note that the full first few lines are “If you see a big eel / up the nose of a seal / that’s a moray…”

  23. kareninca

    re the diet article: food is a mystery to me. I was a vegan for 19 years (for ethical reasons), then nearly so for a couple more years. Then my blood sugar tested pre diabetic. So I cut carbs; I tried being a very low carb vegetarian for extended periods; it didn’t help at all, in fact my blood sugar got steadily worse (I am not overweight and I get enough exercise).
    Then I had to be with a relative in the hospital several times over the past few months for a week or more at a time; I shared time 24/7 there with another relative. I was stuck eating my sick relative’s uneaten hospital food (ordering in was not an option at night, or really much at all in that area), and I had no time or energy to shop. So what I ate was total slop and heavily meat and potatoes. My blood sugar – under stress, sleep deprived, exercise deprived, eating slop hospital food full of mystery meat – was way better (I’ve been using a meter for years; I have data). Now that I’m back home and eating low carb vegetarian it is getting much worse again. Go figure.

  24. Wukchumni

    Only just noticed today that not ONE acorn is on the ground from perhaps 200 oak trees on the all cats and no cattle ranch, and the backup food-buckeyes are only 15-20% as numerous as usual.

    This would’ve been a real hardship to the native people, as acorns were about 2/3rds of their diet…

    As it is now, probably only a few people in town have seen the nut rapture, and not one human will miss a meal on account of the lack of.

    Mother Nature’s other clients no doubt noticed them missing, though.

  25. Oregoncharles

    ” Note that ‘partner’ even sounds like a corporate term. One wonders whether the Newsoms had the minister who officiated their wedding replace the word ‘union’ with ‘merger’.”

    Not quite fair: “partner” is now standard for wife/husband/lover. it’s unfortunately ambiguous – I now have to specify “business partner” when talking about the guy I work with. But it is standard. Virtue-signaling Dems are not responsible for it; rather, it’s a somewhat lame response to our diversity of, umm, partnerships. If you have a better suggestion, this might be a good time to offer it.

    Not that I want to defend Newsom; I’m not a Democrat, let alone Californian.

    1. Wukchumni

      The word ‘partner’ is what you call your better half in NZ, and they’ve been using that wordage for a long time. Took me awhile to get used to the lingo.

  26. petal

    Cory Booker visits Nashua, NH.

    “The senator began his day in Nashua, where me met with Mayor Jim Donchess and state Sen. Cindy Rosenwald for coffee at the Riverwalk Café.

    Booker says his diverse NJ roots form the basis for his calling as a ‘unifier’
    Booker’s visit comes amid speculation that he may run for president in 2020.

    Booker was accompanied by two staff members and his most prominent local supporter, Jim Demers, the senior campaign adviser who guided then-Sen. Barack Obama through the first-in-the-nation primary process in 2007 and 2008.

    Booker was expected to attend a house party in Nashua later Saturday morning at the home of former state Sen. Bette Lasky. He is then set to attend a larger gathering in Manchester organized by the New Hampshire Democratic Party.”

  27. Oregoncharles

    That’s a useful tip in the antidote bonus. I use essentially the same technique to clean teapots: put in a tablespoon of baking soda, add boiling water, let sit. Removes the tea stain. I think it turns into sodium hydroxide – lye – which is caustic, so a little caution in handling it. And never forget that you’ve done that and trying to drink the tea-colored liquid: tastes really horrid.

    But I hadn’t tried it on burned pots. Thanks.

  28. Wukchumni

    Wow, time flies…

    I was on a red-eye from LAX to JFK the day the music died 38 years ago today~

    The next day I found out, when on the bottom fold of the NYT,
    it informed me that John Lennon was dead by a Christian evangelical assassin’s bullets, and I was born pretty much the same time as when the Beatles got together, and the fervent hope was that they would get back together, which was never going to happen…

    I made a pilgrimage to the Dakota, where there were about 200 people sobbing and singing Beatles songs, and it was the most melancholy moment of my life, and I joined in and had a good cry, but couldn’t take it for too long-perhaps half an hour, and I had to leave the scene of the crime.

  29. dk

    Here’s E. Warren following on AOC’s live-video messaging from literally inside the Capitol (AOC is already at the next level with captioning for the hearing disabled).

    I saw firsthand how @DHSgov separated mothers from their babies in detention. The world watched as they tear gassed migrant children seeking asylum. None of it has made our country any safer – and neither will spending billions of taxypayer dollars on a border wall.

    Compare to K. Harris’s wooden delivery here (from

    Every American deserves to have a roof over their head and keep the lights on if they work a full-time job.

    One of the characteristics of these posts is the broadcasters are speaking extemporaneously, and the immediacy is palpable, at least in these early instances of the form. One feels on is getting a sense of the person, not just their message. And in this situation dissonances between the intended message and the demeanor of delivery (body language, vocal cadence/tone, etc) tend to be not only pronounced, but also memorable.

    Also the absence of elaborate production, putting the presenter as direct source of message. Political tech consultants have been trying to hone this medium for several cycles, but with more elaborate packaging to convince their clients that this is actually going to work (on anybody besides those notoriously non-voting millennials, does anybody else even watch this stuff)?

    This medium could introduce a new way for candidates to distinguish themselves, by the force of their own personalities and capacities to express denser messages. It can seem easy to fake intelligence and emotion (“actors do it all the time!”) but only until one has to opportunity to compare with the real thing.

    1. Lambert Strether

      > AOC is already at the next level with captioning for the hearing disabled)

      The next level would be getting her videos, which are great, out of Instagram’s walled garden. I suppose I could record them by point a camera at the screen, but that’s going to degrade quality, besides being a hassle

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