2:00PM Water Cooler 1/31/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51


Harris (1) January 30:

“Kamala Harris is open to multiple paths to ‘Medicare-for-all'” [CNN]. “As the furor grew, a Harris adviser on Tuesday signaled that the candidate would also be open to the more moderate health reform plans, which would preserve the industry, being floated by other congressional Democrats…. ‘Medicare-for-all is the plan that she believes will solve the problem and get all Americans covered. Period,’ [Harris national press secretary Ian Sams] told CNN. “She has co-sponsored other pieces of legislation that she sees as a path to getting us there, but this is the plan she is running on.'” • We’ll see what happens in the hearings, and Jayapal — who still has not released the text of her revision of what was HR676 — does.

Also (2) Harris January 30:

“Access.” So the advisor in the CNN story is wrong, then?

Harris (3):

That was fast.

Harris (4):

Like a vat-grown gene-splice of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton….

“Democratic Left Playing a Long Game to Get ‘Medicare for All'” [Bloomberg]. “[The] aim [of the idea’s most fervent backers] for now is to shift the health care debate. By making single-payer health care — a model under which all Americans would get their insurance from a single government plan — the progressive position, advocates argue that gives Democrats representing conservative areas of the country political cover to support more modest proposals to expand the government’s role in health insurance. ‘Everybody understands we’re not going to get Medicare for All enacted in January. But it’s a marker about where we want to land, which is to say we want everybody to have health care,’ Democratic Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii said in an interview. ‘This is about moving the so-called Overton window.'” • Trust me on this, #MedicareForAll backers aren’t in the business of giving centrist Democrats “cover” for some pissant “modest proposal” (and I’m sure the Swift reference was unintentional, but….).

“Black Culture Won’t Save Kamala Harris” [The Nation]. “In the past, the winks of wokeness worked well for national black candidates like Barack Obama. Through his command of popular African-American culture, Obama subtly appealed to black voters without having to directly address anti-racist public policy and alienate moderate white voters…. In spite of his cultural competency, Obama’s tenure oversaw an economic recovery that left many black families behind, and a proliferation of highly visible police brutality. Today, after both a long honeymoon and hangover with a charismatic black candidate, the code-switching playbook may be played out…. Moreover, the press has fueled the steady stream of social-media posts centered around the notion that ‘Kamala Harris is a cop.” • I started seeing “Kamala Harris is a cop” and my little corner of the Twitterverse is organic…

Sanders (1):

Courageous of Sanders to touch “the death tax,” which has been a third rail for some time.

Sanders (2):

Isn’t Bezos getting off easy?

“Michael Bloomberg’s Secret Plans to Take Down Trump” [The Atlantic]. “While no final decision has been made, his aides have been working on a fallback that only a man worth $40 billion can afford. Bloomberg is pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into a data-centric political operation designed to ensure one goal: crush Donald Trump….. Though a budget has not been set, this effort would almost certainly become the biggest and most powerful political organization in the country overnight…. The goal, as it’s been put at points in private meetings: ‘All the data.’ A group of about 10 political and tech consultants meets every Thursday, usually in the converted Upper East Side mansion that is the headquarters of Bloomberg’s foundation and private offices. Discussions are led by Bloomberg’s top political aides, Kevin Sheekey and Howard Wolfson, as well as Brynne Craig, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 deputy field director and, for the past two years, a senior adviser to Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety group. Patti Harris, who was Bloomberg’s No. 2 in City Hall and remains a trusted adviser, joins for some of the meetings.” • Sounds formidable, unless it’s a grift (besides Craig, Wolfson).


Good question:

Realignment and Legitimacy

Pelosis Democrats totally oppose Trump’s Wall:

But a “smart, effective security posture”? (There’s that word, smart.) “Cutting-edge technology along the border to improve situational awareness”? No problemo! Pelosi playing Lucy and the Football with the open border crowd, though mitigating with improvements to detention facilities…

“When Politicians Use Marginalized People as Human Shields” [Black Agenda Report]. “[I]f we are to be honest with ourselves, one party traffics in this most insidious paternalism more than the other. Where Republicans have honesty in advertisement when it comes to their institutional bigotry, Democrats have perfected identity politics in order to obscure their malicious actions. After working obsequiously on behalf of their corporate patrons, Democrats immediately trot out a diverse army of mannequins to blunt denunciations by pointing to their ‘progressive’ tokens as proof that they can’t possibly be racists….. Are we to give a pass to black overseers who whipped and lashed their own because they shared the same skin color as the people they were brutally mistreating? Are we to excuse the actions of Marie Antoinette for her indifference towards the poor because she was a woman?” • Or Gina Haspel….

“Mayor Rahm’s great TIF bamboozle” [Chicago Reader]. “For the last several weeks, the 13 or so mayoral candidates have been promising to defend Chicago’s already overburdened taxpayers from future hikes to our ever-rising property taxes. And then on January 11, the Joint Review Board gave Mayor Rahm the green light to raise property taxes by as much as $1.6 billion over the next 23 years. Yet not one mayoral candidate showed up to the meeting to protect us. In their defense, the candidates—like most people in Chicago—probably don’t know the board exists, much less when it meets…. [T]he Joint Review Board [is] a Potemkin-village facade intended to give you the illusion of oversight that doesn’t really exist To understand the board’s purpose, you must remember that TIF districts force Chicago Public Schools and the park district and the county and all the other taxing bodies to raise their property taxes to compensate for the money they’re not getting from the TIF districts.” • I think I see where this is going… Readers, do any of you have TIF districts?

Stats Watch

Personal Income and Outlays, December 2018: Delayed by the government shutdown [Econoday].

Jobless Claims, week of January 26, 2019: “Jobless claims jolted higher [to a] level that leaves the forecasters… scratching their heads” [Econoday]. “Furloughed Federal employees are some of the answer but not all of it…. Looking at the 4-week average shows much less volatility and strong labor market health.” And but: “This was much higher than the consensus forecast – and is probably related to the government shutdown” [Calculated Risk].

New Home Sales, November 2018: “The outlook for fourth-quarter residential investment just improved as new home sales” [Econoday]. “Volatility in this report is common but November marks an important gain for new home sales which had been breaking down. Nevertheless, the trouble in the once high flying West is notable, not only in this report but other housing reports as well.” But: “Because of weather and other factors, the rolling averages are the way to view this series. The rolling averages declined” [Econintersect]. And: “this report was for November (it was almost ready to release when the government shutdown began in December). The December report will probably be released soon, but no release date has been announced yet. Based on other data, I’d expect sales to be weak in December, but talking to builders, I expect a rebound in January” [Calculated Risk].

Chicago Purchasing Managers Index, January 2018: “Volatility isn’t that unusual for the Chicago PMI whose sample reports abrupt slowing in January” [Econoday]. “An interesting twist is that the report attributes the fall in orders, in part, to sellers unable to get their price. This may be an indication that cost pressures are pushing up selling prices perhaps too far. Respondents in the sample continue to report steady but elevated costs for raw materials and metals.” And but: “The Fed manufacturing surveys have been trending down – and Chicago ISM trends are now following suit” [Econintersect].

Employment Cost Index, Q4 2018: “Quarter-to-quarter cost pressure eased for employers in the fourth quarter but was still substantial ” [Econoday]. “This report is mixed showing both deceleration, at least on the quarterly side, but outright acceleration for both benefits and wages on the annual side. To justify a rate hike, Powell said indications of building inflation would be key but today’s report is mixed.”

The Bezzle: “OxyContin Maker Explored Expansion Into “Attractive” Anti-Addiction Market” [ProPublica (MR)]. “Not content with billions of dollars in profits from the potent painkiller OxyContin, its maker explored expanding into an “attractive market” fueled by the drug’s popularity — treatment of opioid addiction.” • It’s a classic self-licking ice cream cone!

The Bezzle: “Federal indictment details murky dealings amid Comcast’s 2015 franchise agreement” [Technically Philly]. “On Wednesday, federal authorities announced a sweeping indictment against Philly Councilman Bobby Henon and union boss John Dougherty, charging the duo with over a hundred counts of fraud, embezzlement and bribery… Per the court document, Henon had his chief of staff advise a Comcast negotiator that hiring a electrical work contracting firm called MJK Electric — a Local 98 member owned by George Peltz, who has separately pled guilty on an number of charges including tax evasion — would help advance the negotiations between the media titan and local government.”

Tech: “Something mysterious is blocking vehicle key fobs from working in a small Alberta town” [CBC]. “Key fobs that suddenly won’t unlock vehicles. Cars that won’t start. Alarms that go off for no reason and can’t be quieted. Something mysterious is thwarting drivers outside a grocery store in the small Alberta town of Carstairs — and it’s sparking all kinds of theories. The problems have been happening for weeks in the parking lot outside the Westview Co-op grocery store in Carstairs, a town of about 4,000 about 60 kilometres north of Calgary…. ‘People start getting on there and saying, ‘OK, I’ve been to the Co-op. Is anyone else having this problem?’ And all of a sudden we have 160 people commenting, ‘Yes, that happened to me last week,’ or ‘That happened to me today,” [Laura Strate, longtime employee at the dollar store right across the street from the Co-op] said.” • Probably vibrations from an alien escape pod that buried itself outside town.

Transportation: “Tesla Moves To Build the Model Y After a Gangbusters 2018” [Wired (GF)]. “‘The demand for Model 3 is insanely high,’ Musk said. ‘The inhibitor is affordability. It’s just that people literally don’t have the money to buy the car.'”

The Biosphere

“Dangerous Cold Snaps Feel Even Worse Because They’re Now So Rare” [Bloomberg]. “There are also far fewer cold snaps. Temperature data since 1970 suggest that sudden freezes used to be much more normal, and that the U.S. hasn’t had a good old-fashioned cold streak in more than two decades. ‘Nothing really since 1996 has been what I would call a really historic cold air outbreak,’ said Ken Kunkel, a researcher at North Carolina State University and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. ‘There were some real monsters in the late 1800s,’ he added.” • We had it tough….


“A Green New Deal must not sabotage climate goals” [Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists]. “But the letter’s stated primary goal is to meet the Paris climate targets, and we’ll fail if we tie our hands behind our backs by ruling out zero-carbon technologies and market-based policy tools. Phasing out nuclear, hydroelectric, and biomass energy should only be considered after fossil fuels have been eliminated. Pricing carbon pollution certainly shouldn’t be ruled out (and in fact should be pursued vigorously), and even carbon capture and sequestration should remain on the table. If we consider climate change an urgent existential threat that justifies the Paris climate targets, then at the very least phasing out fossil fuels and carbon pollution must be our top priority when crafting climate policy. Other concerns that undermine zero-carbon energy sources must be secondary, lest we sabotage our own climate-preserving efforts.”

“Smoked Out” [London Review of Books]. “I first heard about the smoke problem from a publisher of religious and philosophical books who had lived in Ashland for 24 years, raising his three children in a blue, three-bedroom house near the business district. Now they were grown up and publishing was dying and he found he had trouble breathing in the summer months because there were an increasing number of fires in the surrounding hills. The forests here are dense and dry. The valley is shaped like a trough. When wildfires burned, the smoke lingered in the valley for weeks, and he had to stay indoors. It had happened almost every summer for the previous six years: it was the ‘new normal’, people in Ashland said, an effect of climate change…. There were four books in the box. …[T]hey simply take for granted that temperatures will rise and that the world as we know it will soon be fundamentally altered. The migration scholar writes about migration and the seed scientist about seeds and the ecosocialist about urban capitalism, but climate change – the biggest, most pervasive ongoing event in the world – is always present in the background. This is by necessity. Climate change is and will be everywhere. It doesn’t stand apart from our daily existence, not any more.” • Yep. No more bug splats.

“‘This is shocking.’ An undersea plague is obliterating a key ocean species” [Science]. “An ‘underwater zombie apocalypse.’ That’s how wildlife veterinarian Joe Gaydos of the University of California (UC), Davis, describes ‘sea star wasting disease,’ a blight that has decimated more than 20 species of sea stars from Mexico to Alaska since 2013. Now, a new study by Gaydos and colleagues has more bad news: The disease has hit the sunflower star (Pycnopodia helianthoides)—a key predator within kelp forests—hardest of all. This once-common species has vanished from the majority of its range, sending shock waves through the ecosystems it once called home. The team also found a worrying association between warmer ocean temperatures and the severity of the outbreak, suggesting climate change could exacerbate future marine epidemics.”

Our Famously Free Press

“Media layoffs bring heat on Facebook, Google” [The Hill]. “Google and Facebook combined rake in about 58 cents of every dollar spent on online advertising in 2018, according to an analysis by eMarketer. Amazon and Microsoft were tied for third place, with each getting about 4 percent of the market. Another study by the market research firm Pivotal found that in 2017 Facebook and Google accounted for 73 percent of the online ad market. Digital publishers have been experimenting with ways to bring in enough of what’s left over to survive or to challenge the duopoly’s hold on advertisers.”

“Toward A Grand Unified Theory Of Social-Media Sociopathy” [Jesse Singal]. Quoting philosopher Brian Earp: “I have a hypothesis about what might contribute to *moral outrage* being such a big thing on social media. Imagine I’m sitting in a room of 30 people and I make a dramatic statement about how outraged I am about X. And, say, five people cheer in response (analogous to liking or retweeting). But suppose the other 25 people kind of stare at the table, or give me a weird look or roll their eyes, or in some other way (relatively) passively express that they think I’m kind of overdoing it or maybe not being as nuanced or charitable or whatever as I should be. In real life we get this kind of ‘passive negative’ feedback when we act morally outraged about certain things, at least sometimes. Now, a few people in the room might clear their throat and actively say, ‘Hey, maybe it’s more complicated than that,’ and on Twitter there is a mechanism for that: replies. But it’s pretty costly to leave a reply pushing back against someone’s seemingly excessive or inadequately grounded moral outrage, and so most people probably just read the tweet and silently move on with their day. And there is no icon on Twitter that registers passive disapproval.” • And if there were a thumbs-down icon, people would game it, so I don’t know what the answer is. Maybe more interaction in RL?

“Why won’t The New Yorker keep you logged in? Mystery: Solved (kind of)” [Nieman Labs]. “The New Yorker now receives about two-thirds of its revenue from subscribers and, like most news outlets, wants to grow digital subscriptions — so it is a huge priority that the subscriptions function correctly and that the experience is a good one…. The New Yorker is both saddled with/blessed by its relationship with Condé Nast’s web infrastructure. During my call with [editor Michael Luo], I had the experience — similar to the simultaneously satisfying and alarming feeling of going to the doctor for a weird rash and hearing the doctor say ‘Well that’s weird’ — of introducing him to a subscription page on The New Yorker’s site that he said he had never seen before. ‘I don’t exactly know how this thing works,’ he said. It was, specifically, the ‘customer care’ page of The New Yorker’s site. It’s separate from the ‘View your profile’ page and also must be logged into separately, with a 4-digit code. It’s where you go if you want to change your mailing address or report a missing issue; it’s also, as far as I can tell, run by some strange and possibly forgotten corner of Condé Nast rather than by The New Yorker itself. Every Condé Nast publication has a similar page, and — of course! — they’re all completely separate from each other.” • A fine example of Conway’s Law!

The 420

“The trucker’s dilemma: Should I transport equipment to marijuana facilities?” [Freight Waves]. “As legal marijuana penetrates the supply chain — from manufacture to distribution to delivery — carriers are starting to ask questions about the risks of delivering not just marijuana, but so called “ancillary” shipments that facilitate the industry. The concern has to do with pot’s double classification: it’s legal in many states but illegal at the federal level. And federal law trumps state law.”

Class Warfare

“Davos crowd and Foxconn crew on the same page when it comes to robots vs humans” [Jake Has a Blog]. While Davos attendees and Foxconn both look to eliminate as many workers as possible, Wisconsin is left holding the bag: “Yet Wisconsinites and especially people in Racine County are building infrastructure for Foxconn that’s supposed to handle thousand of jobs, and gambling that the added employment will lead to other economic growth in the area. That seems increasingly like a losing bet by the day.”

“A.I. Could Worsen Health Disparities” [New York Times]. “[B]ecause A.I. is trained on real-world data, it risks incorporating, entrenching and perpetuating the economic and social biases that contribute to health disparities in the first place.” • That’s not a bug. It’s a feature.

“Amazon boss tells City Council the company will oppose unionization bids in New York City” [New York Daily News (MR)]. “‘Would you agree to neutrality if workers at Amazon wanted to unionize?’ Council Speaker Corey Johnson asked during an at-times heated Council hearing on the finances of the Amazon deal. ‘No, sir,’ Amazon Vice President Brian Huseman said.” • Should be interesting…

“A Bold New Theory Proposes That Humans Tamed Themselves” [The Atlantic]. “Richard Wrangham, who teaches biological anthropology at Harvard, was mentored by both Goodall and DeVore. … Central to his argument is the idea that cooperative killing of incurably violent individuals played a central role in our self-domestication. Much as the Russian scientists eliminated the fierce fox pups from the breeding pool, our ancestors killed men who were guilty of repeated acts of violence. Certainly all-male raiding parties have operated in some groups of humans, seeking out and killing victims in neighboring villages (which recalls the patrolling chimps that Wrangham reported on earlier in his career). The twist in his current theory is that such ambushes are turned inward, to protect the group from one of its own: They serve as a form of capital punishment. Wrangham cites a number of examples of anthropologists witnessing a group of men collaborating to kill a violent man in their midst.” • This is one theme of Richard Morgan’s science fiction novel, Thirteen. Of course, men remove themselves from the gene pool all by themselves, too; “virilicide,” Morgan calls it.

News of the Wired

“The lost art of memorization” [The Week]. “In fact, literary memorization is not yet a relic. It still exists all around us; we just tend to classify it differently. ‘Rap culture,’ Robson corrected me as one example when I proposed that recitation was fading from everyday life. ‘Whenever we say people speaking aloud or rhythmic language isn’t a part of our world — of course it is.’ She added, ‘Any one of us, if you poke us, huge swaths of song lyrics will come out — we don’t necessarily need to sing them.’ • And memes rely on a collective body of memorized popular culture….

“Why isn’t the internet more fun and weird?” [Jarred]. “MySpace showed the world that if you make powerful and complicated tools (like coding) accessible to anyone, people are smart enough to figure out how to use them…. We — the programmers, designers, product people — collectively decided that users don’t deserve the right to code in everyday products. Users are too stupid. They’d break stuff. Coding is too complicated for ordinary people. Besides, we can just do the coding…so why does it matter?… The everyday consumer products are converging. They ran out of good ideas for helping people express themselves, so all that’s left is to monopolize.” • WordPress’s Gutenberg editor is exactly the same. A lot of coders working hard to put layers between content creators and content.

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

Diptherio writes: “It’s a winter wonderland here in NW Montana. Like living inside a snow-globe.” Stay warm out there!

* * *

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About Lambert Strether

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


      1. upstater

        I don’t believe there is any unifying ideology of the yellow vests, other than disgust of the ruling elites and existing parties and resentment of shifting the taxation from the 1% to the 99%. From what I have read and has been reported here, there is a very wide political spectrum of protesters.

        The same can be said for people in Canada protesting the guy with nice socks…

    1. bun


      except that he has disavowed deficit spending, and has poured money into developing the country’s infrastructure.

      except that he has dramatically increased funding for national child care and the like (one of the first programs that Harper’s conservatives cut years ago)

      except that he has poured money into indigenous communities at every level, unlike Harper’s conservatives, who first act was to cancel the Kelowna accord

      he instituted a nation-wide carbon tax

      they have and are changing the labour laws away from what Harper implemented to be much more labour friendly.


      granted, he does have two dyed-in-the-wool neoliberals in Freeland and Morneau, who IMNSO opinion have got to go, but then he has McKenna and others who are nothing like that.

      neoliberal aspects to his cabinet to be sure, but ‘every bit a neoliberal as Macaroon”? get off it, making stuff up is against site policy, n’est ce pas?

      nowhere near perfect, or even very good, but much much better than the alternatives.

      p.s. before you say it, yes, he approved and bought one existing pipeline targeted for expansion that one of his provinces said they desperately need, but cancelled two other new ones that the same province said they desperately need. a solomonian dilemma that. but then and at the same time poured money into coastal safety, etc

      p.p.s. anyone care to guess (without googling) how tall he is?

      1. Unna

        Stooge for Trump’s right wing neocon regime change operation in Venezuela oil grab, otherwise known as war of aggression for natural resources, otherwise known as Nuremberg international crime against humanity. So how many Venezuelans will have to die because le dauphin boy has no morals?

        Adopts Trump style infrastructure bank privatization tax money give away scheme for deserving oligarch corporate Bay Street types but assumes no moral responsibility for it because, after all, it’s his finance minister whom he appointed that wants it and not him of the beautiful hair.

        Does regressive tax on working people carbon tax just like le Macaroon while food and housing inflation run wild. Can’t afford gas? So let them buy EVs.

        Loves his Freeland minister who just loves those right wing nazi militia boys in Ukraine, but assumes no responsibility for her even though he appointed her because after all, she makes Canada’s foreign policy and not the drama sub. After all he’s only the PM and just does personal appearances as the government front man where he condescends to the the powerless who forget to say “peoplekind.”

        Disliked now by lots of first nation people. And where’s that clean water for the Northern reserves?

        Virtue signals global warming to the left, and builds pipelines and favours tar sands extraction to the right. Got’em all covered, smile, life is good.

        I could go on but life is too short. Trudeau’s so bad I’m even starting to warm up to Jagmeet after he got his mind right on Venezuela. Mr. Singh’s finally showing some promise. Whatever else you might say about Tom Mulchair, he had it right when he said, Trudeau, Harper with a smile.

      2. Milton

        “Disavowed deficit spending”. Nuff said. BTW. His infrastructure projects are of the PPP type.

        1. bun

          met him a few months ago. Me and some others with me were expecting an average-to-below height, slightly built man consistent with the ‘metrosexual’ image he portrays. Instead, he’s 6’2″ (at least) and very athletically built. Crushed my hand (and I’m a 6′ soccer goalie) . We were not expecting that at all, and most people I’ve told this story too (who have yet to meet him) were very surprised to hear that.

          just wondering what the commentariat thought. Curious choice of image management, IMO

    2. bun

      oh, and BTW, if you read the Reuters article, the people at the town halls across the country (how many other neoliberals put themselves int he line of fire like that) who are screaming at him are accusing him of not being neoliberal enough! He lied about the deficit! He let too many immigrants in! They don’t care about the gender equity, diversity, and climate change issues! (that he’s been heavily advancing).

      if anyone is as nooliberal as Macaroon et al, its those screamers.

      let’s not the perfect be the enemy of the better.

      1. integer

        The Tears of Justin Trudeau CounterPunch

        In addition to their tremendous greenhouse gas emissions the Tar Sands also use gargantuan amounts of fresh water creating massive lakes of poisonous effluent while belching out tons of sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere. Great swaths of forest and wetlands have been decimated creating a new cancer alley mainly afflicting First Nations in the region. In short, it is a lethal, festering and human inflicted wound on the skin of the earth, so big that it can be seen from space. And Trudeau has fashioned himself to be the charming, boyish face that hides all its hideousness.

        Trudeau, like Macron or Merkel, possesses an enormous capacity for doublespeak. He is well known for shedding tears for Canada’s crimes of the past on more than one occasion. Sometimes he genuinely appears to care for people and the environment. Barrack Obama had this gift too. And when comparing actions and policies to words it is easily demonstrated as a trick of optics and branding.

        1. Unna

          Thanks, Integer. And more from that article:

          “Neoliberal politicians ultimately strip people of their agency by supporting or enacting policies that break down the commons and privatize everything, all while drowning them in sugary bromides and platitudes of meaninglessness. They pay lip service to the plight of the poor, the oppressed, indigenous communities, people of colour, and the living earth itself while they laugh it up at galas done in their honour by the 1%. And in doing so they have paved the way for the rising global fascism we see today.”

          1. Carey

            Unna, thank you for that quote.

            The “this is the best we can do, and it’s pretty groovy, besides” crowd
            need to go away.

        2. bun

          reality check: tar sand development started decades before Trudeau became prime minister, and moreover, he does not have the power to stop it. Read up on the Canadian federation: natural resources are owned and developed by the provinces, and in case you haven’t heard, the province of Alberta is rather fond of its tar sands. The government of Alberta happens to be the NDP, the most left-wing, progressive government the province has ever seen (practically communist by US standards) and they are having a hell of time trying to curb the tar sands. They are scaling back coal, investing big time in wind, and agreed to a carbon tax (which they are sadly suspending until the Trans Mountain pipeline goes ahead). And for this, the other oil-drunk parties are leading chants of “Lock her up”. they will almost certainly lose the next election, and then watch out. and no federal government will be able to stop it.

          it is very frustrating to suffer through all this breathlessly naive commentary deriding that Trudeau didn’t yet just fling his curly locks to make all your troubles go away, so therefore he is a big neoliberal meany. Forget the fact that large swaths of the country actually like many of the things held up in these comments as awful. Canada is a big federation with wildly disparate cultures and viewpoints to balance, and the PM can only do so much. A little grounding in reality would go a long way here.

          With the carbon tax and general climate action push, public infrastructure investment (many billions in Vancouver eg.), child care, push for gender equity, attempted pivot away from the US on trade, more labour-friendly laws, et etc, I see a government doing a hell of a lot more than any other one we’ve had recently. I don’t expect perfection, only improvement. If you happen to disagree with me, good for you.

    3. Gareth

      The groups in Canada who have been wearing yellow vests since December are the worst of the Canadian far-right. 1488’s and other neo-nazi symbols have been common at those rallies.

  1. zagonostra

    >“The lost art of memorization”

    I was hoping to see some reference to Frances Yate’s book on Giordano Bruno, but alas, nothing.

    Giordano Bruno (/dʒɔːrˈdɑːnoʊ ˈbruːnoʊ/; Italian: [dʒorˈdaːno ˈbruːno]; Latin: Iordanus Brunus Nolanus; born Filippo Bruno, 1548 – 17 February 1600) was an Italian Dominican friar, philosopher, mathematician, poet, and cosmological theorist.[3] He is known for his cosmological theories, which conceptually extended the then-novel Copernican model. He proposed that the stars were distant suns surrounded by their own planets, and he raised the possibility that these planets might foster life of their own, a philosophical position known as cosmic pluralism. He also insisted that the universe is infinite and could have no “center”.

    Starting in 1593, Bruno was tried for heresy by the Roman Inquisition on charges of denial of several core Catholic doctrines, including eternal damnation, the Trinity, the divinity of Christ, the virginity of Mary, and transubstantiation. Bruno’s pantheism was also a matter of grave concern,[4] as was his teaching of the transmigration of the soul. The Inquisition found him guilty, and he was burned at the stake in Rome’s Campo de’ Fiori in 1600. After his death, he gained considerable fame, being particularly celebrated by 19th- and early 20th-century commentators who regarded him as a martyr for science,[5] although historians have debated the extent to which his heresy trial was a response to his astronomical views or to other aspects of his philosophy and theology.[6][7][8][9][10] Bruno’s case is still considered a landmark in the history of free thought and the emerging sciences.[11][12][13]

    In addition to cosmology, Bruno also wrote extensively on the art of memory, a loosely organized group of mnemonic techniques and principles. Historian Frances Yates argues that Bruno was deeply influenced by Arab astrology (particularly the philosophy of Averroes[14]), Neoplatonism, Renaissance Hermeticism, and Genesis-like legends surrounding the Egyptian god Thoth.[15] Other studies of Bruno have focused on his qualitative approach to mathematics and his application of the spatial concepts of geometry to language.[16]


    1. diptherio

      Edit: this comment does not belong here…oops.

      I had the same thought about rap after participating in several poetry slams, where I was immensely impressed by the sheer amount of words in the hip-hop poems, as well as the lack of a regular meter (lots of rhythmic riffing). The longest poems I have memorized take me about 6 minutes to get through…and I think they’ve probably got about half as many total words as a typical 3 minute rap piece…and they’ve got standardized meter and rhyme scheme, which is key for my own memorization skills. Impressive, to say the least.

    2. Amfortas the Hippie

      feb17th is a holiday around here(Bruno Day, with fire(if not too dry) and beer)
      we also do May the 4th(be with you) and Pi Day(3-14)
      and a bunch of others in a more or less ad hoc calendar
      …all in an effort to pass on the nerdhood.

      as for memory…the mind is a terrible thing,lol.
      i’ve known a number of people who had memorized great swaths of the bible…name a verse, and away they go.
      pretty amazing…especially since, other than this, they weren’t really the sharpest of tools.
      same with my stepdad with phone numbers, addresses, dates and all things football…granularity down to the play(with x min to go, first down, fourth quarter, quarterfinals, 1974(or whatever)
      mine is apparently an unorganised eidetic kind of memory…, i retain a great deal of what I read, and can recite a bunch of randomness when cued by a phrase or a street corner, or a bird…and i’ve been known to whistle a song i heard once, 35 years ago(in these cases, i can “hear” them, which is sometimes unsettling. there’s usually music playing in my head).
      of course, there’s a perhaps corresponding hole in my mind where dates and times go…so i reckon it all balances out.

    3. Catman

      I love Naked Capitalism so much. I was just going to comment on the lack of reference to Yates’ work. I don’t suspect I’d see a comment like yours anywhere else.
      The practice of building a memory palace (method of loci) has been of big help to me over the years.
      And what some people can do is just amazing.

  2. hunkerdown

    Is Carstairs, Alberta plagued by poorly constructed FM pirate radio transmitters spewing harmonics all over the frequencies commonly used for automotive electronics, as in Hollywood, Florida in 2012? Of course not. We already know it’s Cuban radio crickets.

    1. Unna

      It’s the work of the evil BC government. A high tech BC strike in the middle of no where north of Calgary. Part of it’s provincial pipeline war on Alberta. Just ask Rachel Notley. NDP on NDP violence. John Horgan knows the Albertans can’t defend everywhere. And their jacked up imitation Texas cowboy style pickup trucks dead on the side of the road is a humiliating touch of psychological warfare. So what’s not to like? And who’s gonna save them anyway? Mr Trudeau?

  3. Tomonthebeach

    Humans Tamed Themselves One quibble. This notion makes some sense but calling socially-sanctioned homicide “capital punishment” seems as big a misnomer for ancient man as it does today for modern man. Capital punishment or its synonym “death penalty” are euphemisms for extermination. Like ancient man, society is exterminating its conspecies who pose a significant threat to the rest of us.

    Just imagine if a judge were to sentence a guilty murderer to “extermination.” Perhaps a judge using that technically-correct term might acknowledge that our human criminal justice system is rather incompetent at taming antisocial fellow humans.

    1. Darius

      I would argue that human survival depended on cooperation. Violent or wild tendencies were evolutionarily unfit and bred out spontaneously. Complex social organization required a degree of docility. The development of agriculture required more bodies and a high degree of coercion that allowed militarism and violence to flourish. As well as what we know as civilization.

      1. jax

        “A Bold New Theory Proposes That Humans Tamed Themselves”. This will come as a big surprise to the children, women, and men being violently assaulted every day. And to the 43 Americans murdered every day. (Ninety-five percent of murdered women are murdered by males who say they love them.)

        Yeah, tell me about how male hyper-violence was bred out.

        There are so many assumptions in this piece that I wouldn’t know where to start.

        “Every 98 seconds another American is sexually assaulted.1 [1. ​
        Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, National Crime Victimization Survey, 2012-2016 (2017).] Extrapolate this world wide.

        1. ewmayer

          You are “lying with statistics” – here, let’s flip your math around: Even in the homicide capital of the world the USA, one has a less than in 20,000 chance of being murdered in a given year. I am reasonably certain that to a member of one of the hyperviolence-afflicted human societies of yore, those would be outrageously good survival odds.

        2. bronco

          Lol thats funny

          How about without the extermination those numbers would be much higher?

          humans are animals, nature red in tooth and claw is the deal.

      2. Procopius

        Considering how common headhunting seems to have been, as shown in surviving hunter-gatherer societies in New Guinea and the Amazon, I’m pretty skeptical. For every peaceful, gentle people we find, like the Bushmen of the Kalihiri, we seem to find three where killing your rival for a lady’s affection seem common.

    2. Craig H.

      > Central to his argument is the idea that cooperative killing of incurably violent individuals played a central role in our self-domestication.

      Hasn’t Zapolsky been saying almost exactly this elaborating on his baboon work for years?

        1. Carla

          To help, go to movetoamend.org — see if there’s a local affiliate near you. If not, you might consider a donation to the national group. They operate on a shoestring. Or you can start organizing a Move to Amend group in your area. We are truly grassroots.

      1. Procopius

        Not going to happen. Even after the headnote in the case of Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad was shown to be fiction inserted by a corrupt Clerk of the Court, and in no way related to any argument in the case itself, the Supremes continued to use it as if it were legitimate precedent. They like it. They consider it essential to their vision of society. You can’t get rid of it through legislation. You need a constitutional amendment, and you can imagine how the rich would fight against that. You might as well try to restore the 70% marginal top tax rate.

    1. Lee

      Why do we have to wait for these people to die? Don’t many of them plan to live forever or at least way too long?

    2. jhallc

      Without an overhaul of the Tax status of Foundations, Bernie’s estate tax will not functionally do much.

    3. WobblyTelomeres

      Never gonna happen. $5,000,000,000 split among 269 off-shore accounts should do it. Me thinks the nation’s 2200+ billionaires can scrounge that up…

      269 = 100+1 senators / 2
      + 435+1 representatives / 2

      I doubt, really doubt, that it would be difficult to find 269 corrupt congress critters.

  4. Judith

    The Clinton Family is at it again. Maybe the people of Puerto Rico should get some advice from the people of Haiti before it is too late:


    “Former U.S. President Bill Clinton announced dozens of projects Tuesday aimed at helping Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands recover from a deadly 2017 hurricane season as part of a two-day conference in the U.S. territory organized by his foundation.

    The announcement comes as the region struggles to rebuild more than a year after hurricanes Irma and Maria caused billions of dollars in damage in Puerto Rico, Dominica, Antigua, the U.S. Virgin Islands and other spots.

    “Our work is far from over,” Clinton said. “The work is not for those with short attention spans.”

    More than 550 people representing over 400 organizations attended the conference of the Clinton Global Initiative, which Clinton created to help raise attention and money for causes worldwide.”

    1. Another Scott

      Is it a coincidence that I’m ready this during a week which had another set of articles about whether or not Hilary will run for President?

    2. a different chris

      “Our work is far from over,” Clinton said. “The work is not for those with short attention spans.”

      You can’t expect to master the grift unless you are really willing to work long and hard at it.

  5. KB

    Lambert, it seems that all larger developments have TIF districts in my suburb of Minneapolis…They all do here…Cities compete against each other to “attract” the developer…..It’s a race to the bottom for homeowners and been going on for decades here. Some residents rail against them, but to me it seems it’s been going on for so long, that maybe some don’t realize how it affects them. As a suburb that has recently been called the best inner ring suburb for developers I have suggested whenever I can they aren’t needed anymore…but, status quo persists..Slowly with property taxes having more than doubled in the last 20 years for a blue-collar middle class neighborhood, slowly people may be waking up a bit…

    1. Carla

      Yes, I’m in an older, racially integrated, inner suburb that developers won’t even touch without TIFs and usually tax abatements as well. Our property taxes are the second-highest in Ohio. It’s disgusting. The latest project? A 30-YEAR TIF !!!

    2. ChiGal in Carolina

      Ah yes, TIFS!

      In my neighborhood the TIF money was given to the impoverished Pritzkers to build a shiny new Hyatt where once there was a collection of local shops and restaurants arranged around a brick courtyard with benches with chess boards painted on them–imagine, you could hang out and play for FREE!

      Just part of the corporatization of Hyde Park thanks to the overweening ambition of the University of Chicago.


    3. chuck roast

      My boy, TIF’s are as common in urban areas as stop lights.
      The developer’s sub rosa best friend.

    4. Phillip Allen

      I serve on my small town’s Economic Development Commission*. TIFs seem to be unusual at our level. We are often asked by developers to consider TIFs as a way to fund specific developments, but haven’t seen a compelling reason yet to expand on what we already have in place in the way of development-related tax abatements. (The subject has been on my list to study for some while. My gut is to distrust the premise, but if I’m going to be able to argue a position on it I must do the groundwork.)

      * Winchester, CT. See https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/cerc-pdfs/2018/winchester-2018.pdf

  6. allan

    Opportunity, R.I.P.:

    Windy season fails to revive fading Mars rover [Science]

    The Opportunity mission is coming to its end. The 15-year-old Mars rover has sat silently for 6 months, and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, is running out of tricks to revive it. Agency officials will soon decide whether to end the mission.

    In June 2018, a planet-wide dust storm blotted out the sun over Opportunity for several months, strangling it of solar power and draining its batteries. Since then, JPL has sent the golf cart–size rover more than 600 commands to revive it. Engineers hoped seasonal winds, running high between November 2018 and the end of January, would clear the solar panels of dust. But the rover hasn’t recovered. …

    Opportunity will leave a trail of superlatives. Although JPL only promised it would last 90 days on Mars, it ended up enduring at least 5000. It traversed a path 45 kilometers long, often driving backward because of an overheating steering control. …

    The mission explored whether Mars could have hosted life in the deep past. Soon after landing in Meridiani Planum in 2004, it revealed the first signs of past habitability when it drove across sulfate-rich sandstones. The stones likely formed as shallow muds in lagoons, says Raymond Arvidson, the rover’s deputy principal investigator at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. “There was an ephemeral lake system, going dry, going wet. That’s a huge discovery.”

    The rover later found more evidence for long periods of past habitability. Near crater rims, it spotted veins of gypsum, which forms as water evaporates. And, in 2013, it provided the first surface observations of 4-billion-year-old clays, a sign of truly abundant water. …

    Few expected when they signed up for the mission that they’d still be working 15 years later. In the end, though, Bell adds, “Mars always wins.”

    Sob. Despite its neoliberal name.

  7. Polar Donkey

    Ah TIF’s. Back in my days in local government, I drew TIF boundaries. Paying off public infrastructure bonds for private developers. I remember once meeting the police union president (not a good guy), and explaining to him why TIF’s were not his friend. He had no idea what they were or how the starved the budget of city. Of course, the police union wants to suck as much out of city budget as possible too.

  8. Alex morfesis

    Would Jackie be happy ? 100 years ago, Mr Robinson was born into a world of indignities… And danger if one confronted those indignities… He would have been one of general Patton’s secret weapons.

    The ghost shwatza the Nazis were terrified of…

    the original “black panthers” (come out fighting) tank group, except when some kraker bus driver insisted the wife of a black fellow officer sit somewhere else on a military transport…

    Well…Jackie was not exactly the calm peacefully smiling black man the world was eventually sold…

    Augusta Georgia… Golf and all that…but…even though it is now a black majority city, the kamala Harris ( I got mine ) types have never asked why the white klowns that be had that history museum built exactly on that spot by the river and why those white folks up there smile so hard when they look across that river…

    On the 100th anniversary of the declaration of Independence, what has been forgotten and purposefully buried by the party that fights Bernie…

    the “red shirt Democrats” came to life…

    that which the party insists can become if the maga hat wearing public is not antifad, they “in fact” were…

    the assassinations in Hamburg on July 4, 1876 is something the Democratic party does not want anyone to remember and something they have never apologized for…

    oh…the white klowns that be of Augusta…

    when they smile it is because the museum was built exactly across the river from that massacre and assassination of American soldiers by the Democratic party…

    a spot that has no marker…

    a former military installation in America with no marker…imagine that…

    Gotta help put those darkeez back in their place (c.1876)…

    those who do not take the time to know real history..

    1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Where is Fort Gordon in relation to the Spot in Augusta, GA?

      I spent about 10 months there while getting ATC electronic maintenance AIT training.

      Alpha Company ‘Titans’ 73rd Ordinance Battalion REPRESENT

      1. Alex Morfesis

        well…if you take rt 78 east into south carolina about 12 to 14 miles…and you throw a baseball west out a window as soon as you cross the river, you will probably hit the spot where the fort was…technically Hamburg is now called…North Augusta, South Carolina…I don’t think the highway is built over the fort…the description of the events describes the rail road crossing…the old base of it is just west of the bridge on route 78 as it crosses from Augusta into South Carolina…

    2. Bugs Bunny

      Maybe I’m an idiot, doc, but perhaps not backing Harris because we want much better is like being more royalist than the King? I’m wondering if her conversion to the faith might just be enforceable, with pressure applied.

        1. ambrit

          We’re getting to the point where “Peoples’ Tribunals” will be the only effective brake on public corruption.

  9. Musicismath

    “Toward A Grand Unified Theory Of Social-Media Sociopathy

    This is great; I’ve had similar thoughts lately based on 8-9 years watching Twitter implode from an increasingly safe distance.

    I think of it as the “empty room at the party” effect. Apparently, Sterling Morrison (ex Velvet Underground) had a reputation for this while in grad school at UT Austin in the ‘70s. He would show up to a party, get embroiled in an argument, and things would spiral from there. Someone who knew him at the time said he could “clear a room in 30 seconds.” It wasn’t meant as a compliment.

    In physical space, of course, it’s pretty obvious when everyone else has cleared out and left you and your interlocutor alone arguing in the kitchen. But on Twitter, you don’t get to see people leave. And because you don’t get the cue, you can continue to assume everyone is agreeing with you. This, I think, explains a lot of the online radicalisation we’ve seen over the last 5-10 years. Online outrage merchants massively overestimate the buy in people have for their ideas because they never get to see the empty room, only the likes and retweets of their closest allies.

    1. Geo

      Well said. The importance of free speech is not just the right to speak freely but to hear what others are saying too. With online echo chambers and lack of conversational back and forth (instead of “flame wars” and trolling) one can come to believe they are entirely correct and all disagreement is frothing lunacy. Not much nuance sneaks through in online discussion. Just look at the policy discussions around Beto and Harris.

  10. gardenbreads

    Taming humans – how can this be a surprise. Culling the uncivil has been part of every traditional human culture.

    Deuteronomy 21:18–21

    If any man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey his father or his mother, and when they chastise him, he will not even listen to them, then his father and mother shall seize him, and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gateway of his home town. And they shall say to the elders of his city, “This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey us, he is a glutton and a drunkard.” Then all the men of his city shall stone him to death; so you shall remove the evil from your midst, and all Israel shall hear of it and fear.

    1. Ranger Rick

      I prefer the Robert E. Howard quote: “Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing.”

    2. kareninca

      That doesn’t sound practicable. I don’t know a parent pair that could seize and drag a drunken lout son from their home to a city gate. Drunken, gluttonous lout sons tend to be big and aggressive. Even if they’re passed out it would be a real task. It’s interesting that there is no help for them in getting the son to the stoning location; I wonder if getting assistance would invalidate the procedure. That, plus parental affection, makes me wonder how often this happened.

    3. ChiGal in Carolina

      That lovely authoritarian model of child rearing again. What isn’t mentioned is that the kid isn’t a drunkard or a glutton, just got big enough to say NO to abusive parental attempts to break his spirit.

      cf Alice Miller, The Gifted Child

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    “Michael Bloomberg’s Secret Plans to Take Down Trump” [The Atlantic]. “While no final decision has been made, his aides have been working on a fallback that only a man worth $40 billion can afford. Bloomberg is pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into a data-centric political operation designed to ensure one goal: crush Donald Trump


    3% wealth tax on $40 billion is $1.2 billion…a year.

    And $4.8 billion in 4 years.

    Spending that much to get into the WH in order to stop that 3% wealth tax would be the break-even point.

    That’s just one multi-billionaire. If they band together…

    Is it time for NYxit, or secession to preserve a way of life?

    1. James

      The rest if us can only hope! Please take CT and MA with you on the way out. RI optional. We’ll deal with DC on our own terms afterward.

  12. a different chris

    I assume it’s a typo in the Stein tweet otherwise what happened to the 10->49.9999 billion tax bracket?

  13. Harold

    I think the article on memorization in The Week at a certain point conflates oral culture and literacy (knowing hundreds of song lyrics, for example) which is essentially involuntary, or arises with the practice of a profession, say of musician, with the deliberate memorization of long texts practiced in ritual and and high artistic culture (can’t think of better term), which is a cultivated faculty. Anyway, oral culture is far from dead, as it correctly points out, and thank goodness for that. And I think the article is correct about the magic of the spoken, recited word performed in front of an audience. IIRC they do say that people’s hearts and brainwaves can sync in such moments — for better or for worse. Let’s hope for better.

  14. Geo

    “Michael Bloomberg’s Secret Plans to Take Down Trump”

    I wonder how quickly the operation will switch gears to take down Sanders or Warren should they threaten to win?

  15. Summer

    “A Bold New Theory Proposes That Humans Tamed Themselves” [The Atlantic].

    How is it bold or new? Isn’t that behind concepts like the Panopticon?

    “The Panopticon is a type of institutional building and a system of control designed by the English philosopher and social theorist Jeremy Bentham in the late 18th century. The scheme of the design is to allow all (pan-) inmates of an institution to be observed (-opticon) by a single watchman without the inmates being able to tell whether or not they are being watched. Although it is physically impossible for the single watchman to observe all the inmates’ cells at once, the fact that the inmates cannot know when they are being watched means that they are motivated to act as though they are being watched at all times. Thus, they are effectively compelled to regulate their own behaviour.”

  16. Summer

    It was probably a better idea to leave Trump to Bloomberg rather than the FBI.

    If you exclude any runs for public office to achieve it, could’ve spared us all.

    Too bad they can’t take it to the ring.

  17. Lee

    “A Bold New Theory Proposes That Humans Tamed Themselves” [The Atlantic]. “Richard Wrangham, who teaches biological anthropology at Harvard, was mentored by both Goodall and DeVore. … Central to his argument is the idea that cooperative killing of incurably violent individuals played a central role in our self-domestication.

    This behavior is not limited to humans or to males. A bully that pushed even her own close relatives too far.

    Number 40F, Druid Alpha Female, killed by her pack members.


      1. ambrit

        Oh man. Hillbots can’t even give away “Why Mommie is a Democrat” while a popular pro Bernie propagit tome is suppressed. How corrupt can it get? Watch this space over the next two years and find out.

  18. Enquiring Mind

    Conway’s Law, dating myself by visualizing Tim Conway from roles in the McHale’s Navy or Carol Burnett TV shows. Humor helps in these times.

  19. mitzimuffin

    With regard to memorizing: My BFF (for 55 years) memorized Lewis Carroll’s “The Jaberwocky” when we were in high school. I still greatly admire her for that. I mean, there are few (if any) foot holds in that magical poem to rest on, at least that I’ve ever been able to see.

    1. Wukchumni

      A friend who has sadly drifted off to be a meth-odd actor, also memorized the Jaberwocky, including perfect intonation. I never tired of hearing it recited in the great outdoors…

      Twas brillig!

    1. pjay

      I think we are in the “throw as much (corporatist) s*** as possible at the wall and see what sticks” phase. This is going to be interesting. Depressing, I think, but interesting.

  20. ewmayer

    o “Black Culture Won’t Save Kamala Harris” [The Nation]. “In the past, the winks of wokeness worked well for national black candidates like Barack Obama.” — I believe that should read ‘notional’, not ‘national’.

    o “Michael Bloomberg’s Secret Plans to Take Down Trump” [The Atlantic] — Sounds like Blofeld, erm, I mean Bloomberg, is aiming to break Hillary’s record for number of campaign dollars lit on fire in an election. These people still refuse to get that the key to “crushing Trump” lies not in outspending him, but rather in nominating an actual populist non-elitist-douchenozzle candidate, which would’ve happened in 2016 except for the massive corruption of the same Dem elites now trying foist ‘centrist’ neolibcons like Biden, Harris and O’Rourke on the public. LOL, Bloomberg surrounding himself with bubble-dwelling advisers like “Brynne Craig, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 deputy field director” — hey, with a proven track record of success like Ms. Craig’s, Bloomberg is sure to win by, like 50% or something, right?

  21. Acacia

    > Howard Schulz blames AOC…

    And now the Democrats want to say (again) that an independent will “steal” their votes allowing Trump to win.

    Something about that argument has always bothered me. Isn’t it more that the Democrats keep pushing hopium and exasperated voters went elsewhere?

  22. Richard

    Oi, Kamala
    First of all, point of order? Who decided that Katie, Nannette and Ted get Super Big Votes (yay!!!), and the rest of us are lucky to even get counted? Has anyone ever “accidentally” erased a super delegate ballot?
    Hey, that might be a funny Yes Man type project. Get going on that, someone.
    Second, Kamala on violent crime: she’s really, really against it. I just want to tell her that her radar is excellent! Run on violent crime Kamala, and see the votes come in! for bernie sanders

    1. Anonylisa

      My friends are dedicated Maddow watchers. This explains why they are constantly trying to convince me that Russia is “our enemy!” I should be very afraid!

      I cant seem to penetrate through their fear…I am not naive. Russia is indeed a world power with nuclear weapons. They are also not interested in advancing our interests. But to me there is a line between this, and their desire/ability to destroy the USA. I just don’t see evidence that they want that. I mean, there has to be a reason that they have never attempted to bomb us. They know that it is really MAD. So they encourage our own self-destruction and encourage discontent here. But that hardly qualifies them as our evil enemies!

      UGH…what do i say to them????

      1. The Rev Kev

        Tell them that you think that Rachel Maddow is a secret Kremlin agent meant to sew panic over Russian abilities and go on about how she should be tried for treason.

  23. Stillfeelinthebern

    “Alarms that go off for no reason and can’t be quieted.”

    This is happening with a family member’s vehicle! The dealer cannot seem to figure out the cause or fix it.

    I was there visiting and it went off around 1am and 4 am, waking him and he is not at all amused. At one point he was just running the vehicle. Could it be hackers getting into the computer system? Brilliant way to disrupt.

    1. Acacia

      Key fobs are hackable, and a number of makes (e.g. Chrysler) now include a built-in cellular transceiver that connects the car to a network; this exposes the car to hacking if there are vulns in the onboard software (and hackers are diligently working to find them). Google “Miller and Valasek car hacking” for more on this.

    2. Roberto

      It’s plain to see that this grocery store is the geographical center of the polar vortex. The locks are freezing.

  24. allan

    New York Insurers Can Evaluate Your Social Media Use—If They Can Prove Why It’s Needed [WSJ]

    … Under guidance released earlier this month, life insurers will have to use statistical and actuarial analysis to determine that any algorithms and data are free of bias against racial minorities and other groups protected by law. Insurers can’t accept an outside vendor’s claim that its process is fair, the department said. …

    New York’s guidance follows an 18-month investigation in which regulators queried 160 life insurers about their practices. The department’s regulators found a range of data in use: homeownership records, credit information, educational attainment, civil judgments, licensures and other public filings.

    Only one insurer out of the 160 said it was using social media, retail purchases or internet activities in underwriting, according to a person familiar with the department’s findings. …

    Does NC count as “social media”? Asking for a friend.

  25. McWatt

    Chicago TIF Districts. Living in a small town to the west of Chicago we have several TIF Districts ourselves.
    These are completely opaque “public” entities that collect property taxes and never have to tell the public where when and how the money is being spent. They have once a year public meetings where they do not divulge where the money went. Also they have created the local Planned Unit Development Ordinance that on the whim of the trustees, transfers millions in public funds, public land and transfers the zoning rights of neighbors
    to developers. Since 1996 in our community it has been legal in our community to do all those things that once public officials went to jail for. This is also the modus operandi for Chicago and any other municipality that is stupid enough or “smart enough” to adopt these laws.

    Let the Grifting commence!

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