2:00PM Water Cooler 2/27/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Politics

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

“They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.” –Frank Herbert, Dune

2020

Sanders (1): “Bernie Sanders Is Making a National Issue of This Strike” [The Nation]. “hen 1,700 members of United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers of America Locals 506 and 618 struck at the sprawling Wabtec locomotive plant in Erie, Pennsylvania, Tuesday morning, they got an immediate show of solidarity from one of the most prominent political figures in the United States.” Thus–

Sure is odd there aren’t any other candidates in solidarity with Sanders on this. Did I not get the memo?

Sanders (2): “Did CNN Stack the Audience Against Bernie Sanders at His Town Hall?” [Paste Magazine]. A followup on the thread linked to yesterday (hilariously characterized as doxing by some Democrat loyalist): “If it was just this one questioner, we could chalk it up to a mistake, or an acknowledgement that CNN reasonably didn’t believe that an intern needed to disclose her workplace. But this wasn’t just one questioner. There were a bunch of audience members who are far more active in politics than CNN disclosed. Watching the town hall live made it seem as if these were just folks from all walks of life, when in reality many of these supposedly innocuous questioners were political operatives in one way or another, as this thread revealed. CNN called Tara Ebersole a “former biology professor” when her LinkedIn page lists her current job description as “Chair, Baltimore County Democratic Party” since 2016. Further, her husband was part of Hillary Clinton’s leadership council in Baltimore in 2016. Abena McAllister was labeled “an active Democrat,” which is far less descriptive than the Charles County Democratic Central Committee’s description of her as their Chair.” • To erase one party chair may be regarded as a misfortune; to erase two looks like carelessness!

Sanders (3), in the next CNN debate:

Oh dear, “softmore.” Rather like “his platform never actually involved stepping aside to let the people most affected by discriminatory policies take the reigns.”

Sanders (4): “Bernie Sanders staff shake-up: Top strategists leave his presidential campaign” [NBC]. “Tad Devine, Mark Longabaugh and Julian Mulvey, partners in a political consulting firm who all played leading roles in Sanders’ 2016 campaign for the White House, are parting ways with the senator, citing creative differences.” • And by “creative differences,” we mean the high fees charged by Democrat consultants for placing advertising, especially on TV. Interestingly, this replicates a controversy within the 2016 Sanders campaign that carried over into the founding of Our Revolution: Whether to emphasize the air war (TV) or the ground war (canvassing). It looks like Sanders has come down on the canvassing side (plus, he now has the strategic weapon of his own media operation, unlike 2016). Since conventional wisdom is that you can’t win California without the air war, 2020 should be not without interest.

Harris: “Kamala Harris supports decriminalizing sex work” [The Hill]. “Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) says that she supports the decriminalization of sex work nationwide, noting that ‘we can’t criminalize consensual behavior as long as no one is being harmed.'” • Courageous, and not especially hedged. Harris still supports SESTA, though.

Biden: “Biden says family is ready for a presidential bid if he decides to run” [NBC News]. “Joe Biden said Tuesday that he’s now “certain” his family is prepared for a grueling political fight, but cautioned that a final decision about 2020 will come down to whether he feels confident he can secure the Democratic nomination…. ‘There’s a consensus. They – the most important people in my life – want me to run,” he said.” • Oh, good.

New Cold War

“Livestream: Cohen Testimony Before House Oversight Committee” [LawFare]. • Readers, any fireworks?

2016 Post Mortem

Failing upward, or at least sideways:

Realignment and Legitimacy

“True Confessions of Texas Vote Harvesters” [RealClearPolitics]. “The most prevalent practice of harvesting begins with obtaining voter lists, which are public records. These lists help ballot harvesters identify the elderly and the sick in their communities. The ballot harvesters encourage these neighbors to request mail-in ballots — or may even request them on behalf of unaware voters. Often, a harvester shows up at a voter’s home with an offer of help around the time the ballot arrives in the mail. Sitting with the voter, the harvester might advise who would be the best candidate for a race that most voters are unfamiliar with. Sometimes the harvester will help fill out the ballot. She – since vote harvesters are usually female — might offer to mail the ballot for the voter.” • The numbers seem penny ante, but local elections are often low-turnout and decided by just a few votes.

Stats Watch

Factory Orders, December 2018: “Factory orders have significantly missed Econoday’s consensus for a second straight month, inching… higher:” [Econoday]. “A glaring weakness in December and November orders are sharp 1.0 percent and 1.1 percent declines for core capital goods orders (nondefense ex-aircraft). This is telling evidence that business investment is down which in turn may well betray a downturn in business confidence…. Manufacturing is disproportionately exposed to global demand and the sector’s slump is a convincing reflection of general slowing in foreign economies, something that the Federal Reserve underscored as a key reason for its January downshift to neutral monetary policy.”

MBA Mortgage Applications, week of February 22, 2019: “Lower mortgage rates this year are giving a lift to home buying” [Econoday]. “Based in part on rising mortgage demand, forecasters are looking for a strong 1.0 percent gain for the pending homes index later this morning that would end three straight declines.”

“Pending Home Sales Index, January 2019: “There is hope after all for the housing sector which, before today’s pending home sales report, had been suffering through a nearly uninterrupted series of below consensus results. But not the January pending home sales index which, likely reflecting rising demand tied to lower mortgage rates, surged” [Econoday]. “[T]oday’s report does point at better results ahead.”

International Trade in Goods, December 2018: “The effects of cross-border trade actions have been difficult to pinpoint in the national economic data but outlines may be appearing in goods trade” [Econoday]. “The nation’s goods deficit swelled to a much larger-than-expected [level].”

Retail Inventories [Advance], December 2018: Rose, “roughly match[ing] the profile of wholesale trade and points squarely at a sudden overhang for inventories” [Econoday]. “Rising inventories are a fixed plus in the GDP calculation but are a minus for future production and employment if they significantly exceed underlying sales.”

Wholesale Inventories [Advance], December 2018: “As far as inventories go, they look heavy especially relative to sales which fell” [Econoday].

State Street Investor Confidence Index, February 2019: “The global investor confidence index recovered only a fraction of its… plunge in January” [Econoday].

Tech: “AAP Reports E-Books Sales Fall, Audiobooks Rise” [Forbes]. “The Association of American Publishers released their recent report of 2018 stats on revenue for consumer book publishers…. The most noticeable increase was in audiobook sales, jumping by 37.1%, an additional $127.1 million since 2017. The AAP notes that downloaded audio (as opposed to physical audiobook formats) has been the format with the most growth since 2013. “This is the third consecutive year that audiobooks saw double-digit growth (+37.1%) and eBook revenue declined (-3.6%),” the AAP report says. The AAP says that in 2017, e-books sales totaled over 1 billion in sales, but the sales in 2018 still fell.” • Completely different mediums. I love listening to podcasts, especially since I can multitask; the ebook experience is completely different and a lot less pleasant than a real book. Also, I find it hard to imagine that audiobooks can track you, though doubtless somebody’s working on that.

The Bezzle: “Elon ‘Tusk’? Tesla CEO changes Twitter handle, says there will be news on Thursday” [MarketWatch]. “Musk’s handle is currently “Elon Tusk,” and next to it there’s an elephant emoji…. Musk is, of course, no stranger to Twitter controversies. On Monday, the [SEC] asked a judge to hold Musk in contempt over a tweet about the Silicon Valley car maker’s production goals. Musk has until March 11 to tell the court why he shouldn’t be held in contempt.” • “Of course, in Alabama the Tuscaloosa, but that is entirely ir-elephant to what I was talking about.”

The Biosphere

“Lake Erie Bill of Rights gets approval from Toledo voters” [Toledo Blade]. • Lake Erie now has personhood, like a corporation? A solid wall of nay-saying! This detail: “Mike Ferner, [Advocates for a Clean Lake Erie (ACLE)] founder, was not at the watch party because he underwent emergency surgery Tuesday night for a bleeding ulcer. … Hours before his medical procedure, Mr. Ferner told The Blade that efforts such as the Lake Erie Bill of Rights show ‘why people need to start relying on our democracy to hold polluters accountable.'” • I would bet that ulcer is what a friend of mine in the landfill fight called “the cost of citienship,” which is far too high.

“First lawsuit filed against Lake Erie Bill of Rights” [ABC 13]. “The Drewes Family Farm in Custar filed the suit Wednesday morning in US District court in Toledo…. The suit says the Lake Erie Bill of Rights puts the Drewes Family at risk of massive liability if any fertilizer runoff enters the Lake Erie watershed.”

* * *

“Grasslands More Reliable Carbon Sink Than Trees” [UC Davis]. “A study from the University of California, Davis, found that grasslands and rangelands are more resilient carbon sinks than forests in 21st century California. As such, the study indicates they should be given opportunities in the state’s cap-and-and trade market, which is designed to reduce California’s greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030…. Unlike forests, grasslands sequester most of their carbon underground, while forests store it mostly in woody biomass and leaves. When wildfires cause trees to go up in flames, the burned carbon they formerly stored is released back to the atmosphere. When fire burns grasslands, however, the carbon fixed underground tends to stay in the roots and soil, making them more adaptive to climate change.” • I recall some readers are grassland fans. And now I suppose I have to understand what California’s cap-and-trade market is actually doing, in detail MR SUBLIMINAL Everything is like CalPERS

“Think Locally, Act Globally” [Eschaton]. “The reverse of that was the slogan in some environmentalist circles for decades. Environmentalism is personal virtue. Buy the right products, recycle, minimize your carbon footprint in certain ways, etc…. Environmentalism-as-personal-virtue was a bad route. It isn’t a substitute for collective action. … And the virtues of many in the environmental movement are, well, wrong (#notallenvironmentalists). Dense cities are green.* The way to save nature is to stay the hell away from it…. The entire country doesn’t have to look like Manhattan, but people should get that we’d get a lot closer to saving the world if it did.”

“America landed a man on the moon. Climate change calls for the same bold, can-do spirit.” [Sean Patrick Maloney, USA Today]. “I have tried to pass along that same can-do Americanism to my kids. That’s why I am so disappointed by the melodrama surrounding the Green New Deal resolution. Meekness in the face of crisis isn’t what America is all about. My concern isn’t with the bad-faith arguments from Republican climate change deniers…. What worries me more are those who believe in climate change but offer no real solutions. From fretful hand-wringing to derisive sniggering to outright dismissal, folks who say climate change is an existential crisis have also cherry-picked or distorted elements of the Green New Deal to reduce the whole idea to pie-in-the-sky fantasy. This undermines the seriousness of the threat, downplays the scale of an adequate response, and sticks us with an untenable status quo.” • Maloney represents NY-18, which Trump won by two points, and his caucus memberships include the horrid No Labels “coalition,” so he wouldn’t be my first pick to write such an Op-Ed. I find this encouraging.

“Meet the 16-year-old who went viral after asking Dianne Feinstein to support a Green New Deal” [Grist]. Isha Clarke is the activist Feinstein offered an internship to. Clarke: “After the whole interaction, we were leaving and I wanted to bring it back to the purpose [of the meeting], and thank her for her time, because I recognize that she’s a busy lady. She said, ‘Thank you and I really want you to have an internship here so you can understand what it’s like and understand all of the nuance and things like that.’… The reason why I would take the internship is because I think it’s an incredible opportunity. To be blunt, you have to learn how to play the game to change it…. And I think that it’s also important to have my voice be in the room [like Elizabeth Warren –lambert]. But I wouldn’t take it for a couple of reasons. No. 1: I don’t know what the internship actually entails. Sometimes high school students just do paperwork, and that’s not what I’m interested in. But mostly it’s because I don’t want my having an internship with her to turn into a justification for the whole situation. It’s already kind of being used like that. People are saying, ‘There was a happy ending, and Senator Feinstein offered a girl an internship and whoopdeedoo.’ And I don’t want me having a position there to be a way to cover up everything that just happened.” • Since today is my day to kick puppies, let me say I’m sure elites are hoping this youth movement ends up just like the last one; we don’t hear much about the Parkland Kids now, do we? On the bright side, I thought Clarke was pretty level-headed.

“Overcoming the Ideology of Climate Inaction” [Project Syndicate]. “Climate wonks regularly warn that ‘business as usual’ cannot avert climate change. But, while that is true, the phrase itself betrays a neoliberal obsession with making “business” fit for purpose – a tweak here, a nudge there – as if citizens were merely passive subjects of larger economic forces. We all have an active role to play in shaping the economy. But to do so requires that we first shake off the constraints that neoliberal thinking has placed on the public imagination…. The policies that have resulted from this mindset – defunding or otherwise curtailing public investment, deregulating the economy, and decentralizing democracy – have prevented the US from weaning itself off fossil fuels.” • See, e.g. “Obama takes credit for U.S. oil-and-gas boom: ‘That was me, people'” [Washington Times].

“The ‘Green New Deal’ Out West” [Power]. “California’s cap-and-trade program (a cornerstone of the California carbon reduction program) was extended last year through 2030, with deepened regulatory targets reducing emissions 40% below 1990 levels by 2030…. Based on 2016 GHG reporting, California has already met its 2020 GHG reduction target. From 2001 to 2016, the carbon intensity of California’s economy decreased by 38 percent, while the state gross domestic product grew 41 percent…. More than a decade ago, California initiated the nation’s market-based efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Oregon and Washington are poised to expand that effort, linking carbon credits and offset programs into California and Canada.” • It sounds good (but let’s remember that biosphere collapse is not driven by greenhouse gas alone; the best explanation so far for insect population collapse is habitat destruction). Let’s also remember, as Yves points out today, that cap-and-trade is a trade, i.e., has traders, therefore speculation, therefore volatility.

“State cap-and-trade systems offer evidence that carbon pricing can work” [The Conversation]. “I led a Fletcher School Climate Policy Lab team that reviewed carbon pricing policies in 15 jurisdictions to see how they work in the real world, not just in theory. We found that in all cases carbon pricing seems to be a cost-effective method to cut carbon pollution.” • “Cost effective” makes my spidey sense — my priors, in fact — twitch. “We certainly don’t want preventing the ocean from boiling to be expensive MR SUBLIMINAL Here, have another F-35.

“Want a Green New Deal? Here’s a better one.” [Washington Post]. The conventional wisdom: “If the market can redirect spending most efficiently, money should not be misallocated on vast new government spending or mandates… Want a Green New Deal? Here’s a better one.” • I ran this link on the 25th, but here it is again, just as a discussion starter. One obvious objection is that since the State structures the market, the state-level cap-and-trade programs we above would not have to account for, say, the Defense Department, an enormous greenhouse gas producer. (Is there a short, pithy word for “greenhouse gas producer”? Other than “cow”? And hopefully pejorative?) One can well imagine a DoD examption being carved out in any Federal cap-and-trade program (which would, presumably, over-ride state programs). The same objection applies to Federal policy decisions driven (presumably) by geopolitical concerns, like Obama’s insane boost to fracking. Price or not price, we should have left it in the ground, surely?

Health Care

UPDATE “House Democrats unveil a sweeping ‘Medicare-for-all’ bill — here’s what’s in it” [CNBC]. “Jayapal highlighted support from various labor unions and public interest groups on Wednesday. She also disputed the notion that House members from ideologically balanced districts would not support the plan. One congressman who won a swing district last year — Rep. Josh Harder of California — appeared with Jayapal to back her plan Wednesday.” • Good for Harder: “Josh Harder [DCCC; e][M]” (from my pre-election worksheet). “e” is for education, so it looks like he’s not a CIA Democrat, at least.

UPDATE “Medicare-for-all: Rep. Pramila Jayapal’s new bill, explained” [Sarah Kliff, Vox]. “Eventually, though, everyone would all end up in the same plan, which includes an especially robust set of benefits…. The plan is also significantly more generous than the single-payer plans run by America’s peer countries. The Canadian health care system, for example, does not cover vision or dental care, prescription drugs, rehabilitative services, or home health services…. What’s more, the Jayapal plan does not require consumers pay any out-of-pocket spending on health aside from prescription drugs. This means there would be no charge when you go to the doctor, no copayments when you visit the emergency room. All those services would be covered fully by the universal Medicare plan. This too is not in line with international single-payer systems, which often require some payment for seeking most services.” • I like Kliff, but wow, liberals really love those co-pays, don’t they? Free at the point of care is essential; complex eligibility systems will always serve as vectors for neoliberal infestations.

Class Warfare

“U.S. Wage Growth Is ‘Higher Than We Think,’ Fed Researchers Say” [Industry Week]. “U.S. workers are experiencing larger wage growth than you’ve been reading in the news. That’s according to a new study by a group of researchers at the Federal Reserve Banks of Dallas and Cleveland. The researchers conclude that average hourly earnings — or AHE —reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics understates real wage growth by ‘a notable amount.'” • “Notable” being, as I read it, between 2.1% and 2.5%. I’ve been waiting for an explanation of why auto loan defaults are increasing; this looks like it.

“Group of New York Lawmakers Calls for Legalization of Prostitution” [NBC News]. “Senators Jessica Ramos, Julia Salazar and Brad Hoylman, as well as Assemblyman Richard Gottfried are working with Decrim NY to introduce a bill to rewrite the state’s penal code to decriminalize sex trades in the state of New York. Decrim NY is a coalition to “decriminalize, decarcerate and destigmatize the sex trade in New York City and state.” In a Daily News op-ed, Ramos and Salazar urged for the end of criminalization of sex work while Gottfried and Hoylman spoke out about the Decrim NY in a series of tweets where they expressed their support.” • Courageous! Does this mean Eliot Spitzer can return to public life? He was certainly a better Attorney General than the flaccid Schneiderman!

News of the Wired

“Postage Stamps from Bhutan That Double as Playable Vinyl Records” [Open Culture]. From 2015, but wow: “[In Bhutan, some] postage stamps… double[d] as playable vinyl records. Created by an American entrepreneur Burt Todd in the early 70s, at the request of the Bhutanese royal family, the “talking stamps” shown above could be stuck on a letter and then later played on a turntable. According to Todd’s 2006 obituary in The New York Times, one stamp “played the Bhutanese national anthem,” and another delivered “a very concise history of Bhutan.” Thanks to WFMU, our favorite independent free form radio station, you can hear clips of talking stamps above and below. Don’t you feel happier already?” • “Happier” becaue Bhutan has made it a goal to increase the Gross National Happiness of its citizens. We could use more little fun things like this.

“Want to Know If Someone Is Manipulating Data?” [MedPage Today]. “Deception of the audience in presenting a clinical trial is based on the same strategy of misdirection that magicians use to make their performances work. Believe it or not, there are dozens of possible forms of misdirection that are possible when presenting the results of a clinical trial…. First and most important is the trick of missingness. The best way to make data look better is to take out data that you do not like or not bother to collect it at all. If the presentation does not account for missing data, all sorts of mischief are possible. Let us say that you have randomized 600 patients in a trial. According to the intention-to-treat principle that governs the integrity of clinical trials, you need to show data on 600 patients. But often, investigators will show you data on 550 patients, having taken 50 patients out of the analysis. Clinical investigators can provide all sorts of reasons why the 50 patients are missing…. The truth: Missingness is never random, and if it is large enough, it is always a source of bias…. When is missingness important? When the amount of missing data is a meaningful proportion of the size of the treatment effect. Example: if the treatment group had 25 fewer deaths than the control group, missing data in 15 patients is meaningful. If the treatment group had 200 fewer deaths than the control group, missing data in five patients is very unlikely to be relevant.” • The data is quicker than the eye…..

“Cross-cultural evidence does not support universal acceleration of puberty in father-absent households” [The Royal Society]. “Father absence in early life has been shown to be associated with accelerated reproductive development in girls. Evolutionary social scientists have proposed several adaptive hypotheses for this finding…. Empirical evidence to support these hypotheses, however, has been derived from WEIRD (Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich and Democratic) populations…. We find that relationships between father absence and age at puberty are more varied in contexts beyond WEIRD societies, and when relationships beyond the father–daughter dyad are considered. This has implications for our understanding of how early-life environment is linked to life-history strategies, and for our understanding of pathways to adult health outcomes, given that early reproductive development may be linked to negative health outcomes in later life.” • The section on “4. WEIRD populations are weird” is also well worth a read; reminds me of Piltdown Man, “the earliest Englishman.”

UI/UX:

I think these people do a lot of work with smart phones.

* * *

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 (KS):

KS writes: “From Golden Gate Park.” I love borage and I’ve got a lot of it. It’s pretty, self-seeding, takes no work, and pollinators love it, especially bees. Borage is also, apparently, edible.

Thank you for all new plants, readers, especially people who sent in photos in for the first time!

* * *

Readers: Water Cooler is a standalone entity not covered by the annual NC fundraiser. So do feel free to make a contribution today or any day. Here is why: Regular positive feedback both makes me feel good and lets me know I’m on the right track with coverage. When I get no donations for five or ten days I get worried. More tangibly, a constant trickle of small donations helps me with expenses, and I factor that trickle in when setting fundraising goals. So if you see something you especially appreciate, do feel free to click below! (The hat is temporarily defunct, so I slapped in some old code.)

Or Subscribe to make a monthly payment!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Guest Post, Water Cooler on by .

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.

200 comments

  1. Wukchumni

    “Grasslands More Reliable Carbon Sink Than Trees” [UC Davis]
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    My ‘lawn’ is now a foot tall on its way to 3-4 feet, as most of the trees are in their dormant period, which is a nice symbiotic relationship to have underfoot, and a couple months after the oaks wake up and leaf out, the grass dies off and goes into dry slumber in the summer, leaving us anxious during the fire season.

    Reply
    1. Lee

      Is replacing Eurasian annuals, so abundant here in CA, with native perennial bunch grasses feasible? They are quite remarkable in various ways, including holding water through the summer and anchoring the soil with their very deep root systems. Plus, all that work will keep you out of trouble. Did you get the pet cougar to keep the deer away yet?

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        Did you get the pet cougar to keep the deer away yet?

        I’m not sure how my wife would take the news, and really of what use would a 2 legged quadragenarian hawtie be up against uncooked venison determined to undermine anything I do underfoot?

        Reply
    2. clarky90

      Grass-fed ruminants (like cattle and bison) are helping to build soil and sequester carbon. Removing them from our human diet would be an environmental mistake.

      The push for the “Plant Based Diet” is a marketing ploy of Big International Junk Food. Exactly the same rationale as research (funded by Coke, Kellogs et al.) recommending “move more and eat a balanced diet”. (Obesity is caused by laziness, not junk food)

      Now that the climate is changing, we can heal Mother Earth by eating plant-based junk food; flown in from distant, former jungles, of the world. This make perfect sense. And, providentially, the profit margins on soy/potato/wheat snacks is very high.

      Reply
      1. Synoia

        Obesity is caused by laziness, not junk food

        Not supported by the science. There was a good article about this on NC in the last week.

        Got studies to prove you point about Grass Fed Truman? A link perhaps?

        Reply
        1. clarky90

          “Obesity is caused by laziness, not junk food” is a trope used by the Snack Food Industry to avoid blame for bad health. I was being ironic.

          This 5 minute video brings was an eye opener for me

          The Wolves That Changed Rivers
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Iddy0CVILg

          “In Yellowstone’s over 150 years ago, large carnivores were abundant and wolves kept elk on the run. Travelers recorded that rivers were jumping with beavers and aquatic life, and surrounded by lush forests. By the 1990’s the parks landscape had tragically shifted. River erosion and habitat loss alarmed researchers, but perhaps most perplexing of all, were the missing trees….”

          Reply
          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Text on the Internet is a very bad place to try doing irony. I wish most people mostly wouldn’t try doing irony on the net. Or sarcasm either.

            Reply
            1. richard

              Not that I’m trying to mix it up, but I didn’t think Clarky90’s first post was unclear at all.
              Text has been used to express irony for a long time; I don’t see what its being on the internet has to do with anything.
              Read closer. Ask questions if you don’t understand. Forgive my errors. But please let me be ironic! (I’m not being ironic)

              Reply
              1. drumlin woodchuckles

                Well, I have had an irony defficiency for some years now, and my mind sometimes works in a very ponderously literal way.

                So it could just be my own private handicap.

                Reply
          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Well, given that ” The Vegans” are aGAINST “animal slavery”, I have assumed that they include beast-of-burden powered agriculture, such as the Amish and their horses. If I am correct, then they would want to force the Amish to use oil-powered tractors. And that is what makes me suspicious that ” The Vegans” ( at least the PETA kind) are really a secret Coal, Gas,and Oil Industrial-Complex front.

            Reply
    3. Linden S.

      This study and others like it make me nervous. I think it tilts people into thinking we can engineer the landscape to maximize carbon, when we should be learning to coexist with the biodiversity that is adapted for that place and which will, on its own, bring carbon drawdown and other benefits.

      The biggest part of this paper is the *California,* which of course is ravaged by bad wildfires that will only get worse. Wildfires + increasing drought mean that trees may not be long for California except in the most welcoming microclimates. This result does *not* apply to all locations and ecosystems, though it will apply to many since as global drought increases the amount of land area amenable to the former native forests will shrink. So practically we should be starting to plant and manage grasslands, but we should be doing it because trees will no longer grow in a certain place, not because of imagined benefits of ‘carbon banking.’

      I have heard people say that “more carbon is stored in prairie soil than in trees” (I assume on a per unit area basis) which I have never seen backed up.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        The dust bowl was created largely by getting rid of prairie grasses that kept the soil intact, in order to plant wheat in what was somewhat of a food bubble after WW1, so it isn’t just California.

        Reply
      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        I wonder if those people really mean to say that ” more carbon is stored in grassland soil than is stored in forest land soil”.

        If they really DO meant that “more carbon is stored in the soil under grassland than is stored in all the trees themselves of treeland” , then I guess that would have to be tested and measured. And of course every time the treeland burned down, the combusted parts would go back into the air they came from. Any accidental biochar would remain behind on the ground of course.

        Perhaps a grassland with shrub strips and/or tree strips would be the most carbon-storing of all.
        The grassland part would be packing in the carbon underground beneath the reach of fire, and the shrub and/or tree strips could be coppiced every so often for hypoxic pyrolitic charring, and the bio-char ground up powder fine and fed back to the soil around the woody-plant strips, and maybe fed to the grassland wide-strips between the woody plant narrow strips. For even more carbon retention.

        Reply
        1. Linden S.

          I think that is what they are trying to say, and even then I would guess it is highly variable based on grassland and forest. Tree roots + mycorrhizae + dead and rotting stuff seem like they’d hold a lot!

          Reply
  2. Pat

    Cynical first thought about Biden’s family real reason for encouraging him to run for President — They are tired of him hanging around the house since he ‘retired’ and want him to leave and are looking forward to him being on the campaign trail for weeks on end. I know I sure would if I were them.

    Reply
    1. nippersdad

      Virtually every time I have heard about Biden it has been some variation of “I’m thinking about it.” Years and years of dilatory vacillation, in addition to his actual record, has done little to impress me. The guy isn’t merely creepy and bought, he is tedious as well. I’m not sure which is worse.

      Somewhere about the forty fifth time I head about him “thinking about” something I lost whatever interest I may once have had in whatever it was he was thinking about. I, too, can easily see his family wanting to either just get him out of the house or move to Ukraine and join a gas company to get away from him.

      Reply
    2. Geo

      Considering his tragic family history I wouldn’t bring his family into any discussion of the guy. I’m sure he cherishes the family he does have more than I can imagine considering the ones he’s lost.

      His silence on the Railway Union stikes is another matter though. That’s his turf and Bernie is the one standing in solidarity with them. Not very “man of the people” of him especially considering his bragging about riding the train all the time.

      Reply
      1. Roger Smith

        He brought his family into it. If he runs he’ll likely do it again. I could care less what his family thinks. They should have called it like it was and told him to sit down and read some books.

        Reply
    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      If Biden could become President, he would be able to give the Hotsie-Totsie Banderazi coup regime in Kiev all the aid it wants to attempt a reconquest of Russophone Eastern Ukraine. If the coup regime succeeded, they could crush all opposition in East Ukraine to mass fracking. Supposedly Biden’s living son is some kind of lawyer who is invested in wannabe frackers looking to frack all over East Ukraine.

      Reply
    1. Kurt Sperry

      I can remember once driving across Lazio through fields and farms north of Rome one Spring day, and realizing that all the ditches beside the road had a strange blueness about them. I pulled over and, much to my delight and surprise, realized that those ditches were filled with blooming borage growing wild in them. And then I heard the sound of millions upon millions of bees working those ditches. I’ll probably never forget the magic of that day. I like how if you plant it, volunteers will spring up in the most random places all around the yard the next year. I’m not sure how they do that trick.

      Reply
      1. DJG

        Nor will I forget the ravioli with borage at a certain trattoria in Turin.

        The estimable Patience Gray discusses borage as a salad herb in her cookery book, Honey from a Weed.

        Not only edible, borage, with its cucumber-y fragance, is delectable.

        Reply
        1. amfortas the hippie

          when i had my cafe, i taught my dishmonster how to candy the borage flowers for dessert garnish(lots of other flowers are edible… nasturtiums in salads r my fave)

          Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            In about 2 months in the low country and 4 months from now in the higher climes, miner’s lettuce will be ripe and tasty, and there’s no shortage of it to be gleaned around these parts, hmmmm good.

            Reply
  3. Shonde

    Regarding the striking workers, Bernie also sent out an email yesterday to all his supporters asking them to show solidarity with the workers.

    Reply
    1. Geo

      Biden on his personal train travel: “they actually calculated it, the conductors — 8,200 round trips, over 2 million miles on Amtrak. Two hundred and fifty nine miles round trip a day, not everyday, but on average 217 days a year.“

      But not a word for the stiking workers?

      Reply
      1. dcblogger

        Cold. I would guestimate 200 poeple, good for 11 AM on a week day. Judging by the T shirts, mostly nurses and transit workers. I saw an old friend and had a chance to catch up on Virginia politics. Jayapal is clearly determined to pass this, she began by saying “this is not a message rally.” There is probably video of the rally on YouTube, I have not checked.

        Reply
      1. marym

        Presuming the bill is built on the original HR 676, people in those programs and SCHIP will be transitioned to the new M4A.

        Reply
  4. JohnnyGL

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JIKth_lJeZs

    I’ve been beating up on Harris quite a bit recently, partially because I find the pushback from black activists and critics to be intriguing, and almost as intriguing has been the ham-fisted response from the clintonites re-org’ed into the Harris camp.

    Today, I’m going to drop one on my Senator, Liz Warren. She’s not quite swearing off corporate donations as much as you might be led to believe. In fact, she comes clean and says, “all options are on the table” and “no unilateral disarmament” for the general election.

    TYT doesn’t beat her up, but they do, helpfully, press her to clarify her stance. Jamarl Thomas does a nice job drilling down on the highlights and cutting through her long-winded responses.

    I’m not sure if this is going to be a big deal, probably not, but I think it’s noteworthy.

    Reply
  5. Carolinian

    Sharp tongued Caitlin on Feinstein

    Feinstein is 85 and looks like she’s held together by nothing but formaldehyde, contempt for the working class, and a wig. She is also worth an estimated 94 million dollars and married to a billionaire[…]

    The word gerontocracy is defined as “a state, society, or group governed by old people.” I get accused of ageism whenever I point out that the legislative branch of the US government most certainly fits this description, but if anything this obvious bias towards people who continue working long after an age when most Americans are forced to retire from far less consequential jobs is ageist in the other direction, by which I mean rigged against young people. And that disdain for the young was displayed openly in Feinstein’s viral reaction to demands from a classroom of children that action be taken to preserve the ecosystem which they and they alone will eventually be left with.

    More:

    https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2019/02/27/mummified-gerontocrat-says-she-didnt-know-about-mobile-phones-or-the-internet/

    Johnstone lays it on a little thick but clearly Lambert has only to say “withered gerontocracy” and a meme is launched.

    Reply
    1. Pavel

      I am perpetually bemused by the likes of Pelosi and Feinstein in their 70s or 80s and with their dyed hair and (it seems) Botoxed features. Is this what “feminism” is these days, instead of ageing gracefully and without artifice?

      I don’t think they set a good example for their gender. And they should both bloody retire and let others take their seats! And this goes for elderly male politicians as well.

      Bah bloody humbug. At the very least I want politicians who don’t look like they belong in Madame Tussaud’s…

      Reply
      1. Carolinian

        You don’t want to come down too hard on people who are insecure about their appearance (isn’t everyone?), but for politicians an obvious and failed vanity is a bad look. Plus if they are going to go the cosmetic surgery route at least get a good one. Jane Fonda for example looks great these days.

        Reply
        1. Carey

          “Our” politicians are in the business of harming the great majority of the citizenry. They are fair game for Johnstone et al’s words, IMO.

          Reply
          1. jrs

            but it’s never just them it attacks, attacks on age or with Trump attacks on him that make fun of his obese body, actually attack a lot of people that have nothing to do with them.

            Attacks on policy OTOH …

            Reply
            1. Cal2

              Policy, that’s what Tulsi Gabbard is for. I’m surprised that mine is, I believe, the first mention of her here today.

              Her interview with Joe Rogan is the stuff potential presidents are made of. And, she’s only 38, take that Feinstein.

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jPNGfAUWQ5o

              To get in the Democratic debates, she needs at least 65,000 different donors. If everybody sent her what they spend on coffee for one day, she’ll be there, shaming and reshaping policy in the debate.

              Reply
              1. Rhondda

                It was a fantastic interview. Rogan’s swallowing of the Russia!Russia!Russia! is annoying (could learn a thing or two from Dore) but this is a great interview. She really spoke to me and I found her truthful and credible. I found myself in tears — I can’t quite describe it — It’s been so long since any politician said anything that gave me hope that they aren’t a damn psychopathic liar, I guess… I fear to trust…

                Reply
                1. JBird4049

                  I guess… I fear to trust…

                  Who could blame you for this? Politicians seducing us with their sweet, honeyed, mass marketed lies with their masters, minions, and sycophants blogs, think tanks, and nonprofits all helping them do it while supported with endless cash.

                  And when they are elected and then betray us, the people who they are supposed to serve, it is somehow the lied to, the betrayed, not the betrayers, who are at fault.

                  Reply
              2. richard

                I need to hear tulsi in those debates; our country desperately needs to hear her, x10.
                We are not allowed to mourn our dead IA Rania yet. We have already told our students about Chrys, our ex-beloved assistant principal, who took her own life last weekend. But the school district is not “confirming” for us that Rania, who had traveled to Libya to take care of her widowed mother, had been killed, as was reported to staff. So now we are in a position where staff know that someone is gone, and some students are beginning to know, and families are beginning to know, but we are not allowed to mourn her as a community. I want to know how our friend died, and what is being done about it. And I want to share the news with my students who all knew and played and read with Rania this year.

                Reply
      2. Lee

        And then there’s Agatha Christie’s solution:

        At a party, a curiosity bitten guest inquired if it were right for such an imaginative person to be married to a student of antiquities.

        “An archeologist,” Agatha Christie said with conviction, “is the best husband any woman can get. Just consider: The older she gets, the more he is interested in her.”
        https://quoteinvestigator.com/2016/07/12/husband/

        Are there any female archaeologists in the group?

        Reply
      3. drumlin woodchuckles

        Well, it depends on the politician in question. Sanders is old but I am happy he hasn’t retired.

        And Pelosi and Feinstein were already their nasty selves even when they were still young and middle aged I suspect.

        Reply
    2. Eclair

      I think it is the spectacle of old age still grasping for power that is so depressing. And, frankly, revolting.

      While working alongside the Lakota, I learned a lot about how to gracefully accept aging. I was placed first in line, along with the tribal elders, when gathering for meals. Or, had my plate brought to me. The deference was not a condescending one, but a recognition of having lived a long time. And survived. (The children were also fed first, BTW.)

      Tribal elders were always consulted before any decisions were made. They had the right to speak at length and without interruption. They were listened to carefully. And, often, the decision was, ‘this is what the elders want.’ But, not always.

      The point being, the elders had a place and a role. They had finished their active lives and were assigned an important and vital advisory role. They were honored and heeded. But the young members of the tribe moved into the active decision-making roles.

      Reply
      1. DJG

        Eclair: I have been doing some reading about the Anishinaabeg, who were here before Chicago was here. They observe the same customs. One of the writers is married to someone who isn’t Native American, and she mentions that her husband is sometimes slightly uncomfortable at the attention. Yet part of aging is learning to be gracious (gracious, heck, who even uses the word anymore).

        At least one of the Anishinaabeg writers mentions the Indian boarding schools and children being taken away–usually forever. So feeding the children first is bittersweet, too, even now.

        Reply
        1. Eclair

          Yes, DJG, ripping the children away from their parents and culture was part of the genocide. It is still going on; my Lakota friends talk about the foster care system in South Dakota, where Native children are placed with white ‘settler’ families.

          And, when I see news articles about the thousand plus children that were separated from their immigrant parents …. and we just can’t seem to locate their families now.

          Reply
      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        In Asia, old people are treated respectfully as well, but I think, perhaps (is it completely fictionally – see below) , it’s not just one way (toward them, vs. from them).

        Take, for example, deeds from the aged, in the film, the Ballad of Narayama, where old people go to a remote mountain to die (known as, according to Wikipedia, ubasute).

        Similarly, we ask (or I ask) if the story is true of older Native Americans doing the same when times were hard centuries ago.

        Reply
      3. ChrisPacific

        It’s the same in Maori culture. I suspect it may have something to do with not having written language as part of the culture. Histories, traditions, practices, laws etc. were all passed down orally. In that kind of system elders are, in a real sense, the repository of everything that makes your civilization a civilization. You could think of them as a kind of human embodiment of the Library of Alexandria and Supreme Court rolled into one.

        Reply
      4. drumlin woodchuckles

        On reflection it occurs to me that Feinstein was probably just this nasty in her youth and middle age as well. It isn’t aging which has made her this way.

        The “withered gerontocracy” meme could just as well be used against Sanders. And it will be, too.

        Reply
    3. Roger Smith

      The kids showed up with posters, what they needed were pitchforks and duct tape. Nothing, read NOTHING, will ever change these criminal’s minds. Unless you have mounds of money, but I doubt they’d even take that over established connections. Congress is a rat infested pit.

      Reply
  6. Wukchumni

    ‘Februburied:’ Up to 25 feet of snow has fallen in mountains on the West Coast this February

    In California’s Sierra Nevada, Squaw Valley has notched its snowiest month on record, Mammoth Mountain has seen in its snowiest February, and Homewood Mountain has surpassed 500 inches for the season. Sierra-at-Tahoe has dubbed the onslaught of snow “Februburied.”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2019/02/27/februburied-up-feet-snow-has-fallen-mountains-west-coast-this-february/?utm_term=.7ee7ff43cc02

    They’re good with the nicknames in Tahoe, last January was warm and largely snowless, so the wags @ the lake came up with ‘Juneuary’, ha!

    Reply
    1. Cal2

      “Drought, this is the new normal,” Gov. Jerry Brown declared during an April 1 press conference announcing mandatory urban water restrictions statewide, the first in state history. The news media amplified the pithy quote and several other elected officials have repeated the claim as their own.

      Good opportunity to force conservation on homeowners, but not on his Big Ag donor base, nor on industry, nor stop building high density housing.

      Jerry has retired to his ranch where he’s become a gentleman rancher, his hundreds of cattle producing tons of methane.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        Oh, there was plenty of conservation in Ag here, with 0% water allotments from the state in the last couple years of the drought, but all it did was force a race to the bottom, as everybody had to keep their 300 million mature fruit & nut trees alive (it takes around 7-10 years for a new tree to produce) and they lowered the aquifer in a hurry, plumbing new depths a thousand feet down under in quest of.

        More than likely any summer fruit you ate grown in California in 2014-15 was all made with this ancient water. I thought the fruit tasted better those years than any other years I can remember, for what it’s worth.

        Reply
  7. Tom Stone

    Good lord, they are going to drum Bernie out of the Democratic Party for supporting a UNION!
    You don’t get many college educated suburban women hanging out with the kind of riffraff that build things…

    Reply
    1. RUKidding

      Ah yes, I still fondly recall Obama putting on his “comfortable shoes” to support striking workers in WI.

      Oh wait….

      Reply
      1. Pat

        You just couldn’t take the community organizer out of the President, always there ready to support labor and working class… whether it was keeping their jobs or keeping their houses.

        That’s why we need a tri racial multi gender bisexual candidate, to continue his legacy of service.

        Oh, wait….

        Reply
        1. Arizona Slim

          Speaking of comfortable shoes, I am in the market for an American-made pair of that variety. Last December, I spent some serious money for a pair of New Balance (made in Vietnam, I think), and they’re already shot.

          Yes, I get it. I do a lot of walking and that wears out the shoes. But in only three months?

          NC wearers of practical footwear, your suggestions, please.

          Reply
          1. Fiery Hunt

            Can’t speak for American brands (Redwing and Gorilla make great boots, or at least they used to..) but I’ve been wearing Adidas Sambas for close to 35 years. Still a damn good shoe…
            Breaking in my first pair of Dr. Martens right now….loving ’em but they’re pricey for the real deal.

            Reply
          2. ChiGal in Carolina

            Very happy with my waterproof Anu hiking shoes. Apparently they are made by Teva but doesn’t say so in the box. I did a lot of research before buying, including New Balance, and they rock!

            Reply
          3. Huey Long

            Thorogood boots

            Union, employee owned, and a good amount of their products are American made.

            I wear’em every day.

            Reply
          4. Inode_buddha

            Here: https://whitesboots.com/#/page/home
            (make in Spokane WA)

            and personally I use Redwing. Union made in Milwaukee, the demands of my job pretty much requires it. But I’m proud to know I gave a guy a job.

            Here: http://www.redwingshoes.com/red-wing-shoe-finder

            BTW, either of these will last for *years* with minimal care, and they are repairable if the need should arise. Of course quality with first-world labor is reflected in the price, but I can personally vouch for the long term value after using them in heavy industry for years.
            Believe it or not they’re almost as comfortable as mocassins after a lengthy break-in.

            Reply
            1. amfortas the hippie

              i have no arches. so footwear aquisition is nightmarish. i get the walmart leather moccasins. 5 pair at a time, once per year.
              i have sort of backup shelf in my closet. when they blow out, the do so suddenly.
              i have a good pair of boots for mud/cactus, but cant wear them often.
              i loathe supporting shoemaking slavery in bangladesh in this manner, but ive found no other affordable solution to my particular foot issues

              Reply
                1. amfortas the hippie

                  i cannot abide them.
                  im essentially barefoot with a flat rubber sole.
                  of course, ive never been to a podiatrist( sans insurance/medicaid didnt cover).
                  when i tried the online things, i ended up ripping remnant arches out anyway.
                  a big part of this is my location: wilderness.
                  my solution works well enough, but i must procure the years worth in winter—wallywhirled has an algorithm that sez nobody needs these in spring/summer/fall.
                  just yet another Job-like feature of my crazy life,lol
                  (see:amfortas’ wound)

                  Reply
            2. BrianC

              White Smoke Jumpers… Lugged sole with 8 inch uppers. Purchased new in the late 70s. Put me through University working in the woods. Resoled them twice and still have them.

              Best foot wear I have ever owned.

              Reply
          5. fajensen

            If you happened to buy “road running shoes” or “fitness shoes”, then these won’t last at all on rocky or gravelly trails and uneven ground.

            The “Trail”- or “GTX”-type shoes for running/trekking will last *a lot* longer but trekking boots which covers and supports the ankles, even the lighter and softer fabric type boots, are often a lot better in rough and rocky terrain (I had such a pair for 5 years until the upper literally fell apart).

            I prefer to use trekking boots with a permeable membrane installed so they are dry, always at the right temperature, because the sweat gets out, and watertight enough for normal rain and wet grass. If one get into actual water a lot and it is in warmish weather, it is better to use the trail-running or GTX-type footwear because these dry out much faster. In the cold, with standing water, it’s the rubber boots with felt inserts.

            I use a pair of German “Hanwag Tatra II” boots for walking and “Saucony Peregrine ISO” for trail running. The Hanwag’s can be resoled at the factory. This is sadly becoming somewhat unusual for a lighter trekking boot these days, unless of course one is willing to spend about 400 EUR and up on the double-stitched hiking boots, which are heavier and stiffer.

            Since I have the means, I make an effort to always buy high quality repairable footwear. This isn’t possible for the running shoes, some running shops will responsibly recycle the old ones. So I buy mine there.

            Anyways, this all is just my opinions. I guess its off to the “outdoors-shop” and have them sell you something that fits your needs :)

            Reply
            1. Arizona Slim

              Good point. I don’t just use my shoes on even ground. Thanks for weighing in, fajensen. A trip to the outdoor store is in this slender Arizonan’s near future.

              Reply
          6. Yves Smith

            I normally wear running shoes as my everyday shoes because I need a lot of cushioning for the heel strike + anti pronation (even with arch supports I insert)

            Running shoes have completely gone to hell across the board supposedly due to a fad for “lightweight shoes.”. It’s just a cover for more crapification. Asics, which I used to buy religiously, have become hard and unwearable.

            Reply
        2. Massinissa

          No, the candidate has to be pansexual, not bisexual. Being bisexual is sexist against genders that are not gender binary

          /mostly sarcasm

          Reply
    2. Another Scott

      Living in Massachusetts, I didn’t see them supporting the National Grid workers when they were locked out last summer and fall. I also have a premonition that they won’t be supporting the Stop & Shop workers either. If played right, Sanders could get good press out of the latter action as Boston TV extends into New Hampshire.

      Reply
      1. chuck roast

        The National Grid workers had barely gone back to work when a natural gas “valve malfunction” occurred around Fall River somewhere that sent Aquidneck Island into the deep freeze for a couple of weeks.

        It would be irresponsible not to speculate (as we like to say around here) that the scabs did it on the way out. Bernie could have had lots of nice press on that one.

        Reply
  8. Lee

    “Lake Erie Bill of Rights gets approval from Toledo voters” [Toledo Blade]. • Lake Erie now has personhood, like a corporation?

    Animism as a political movement. I like it!

    Reply
      1. DJG

        Indeed, Lambert, Theologian:

        If there isn’t divinity in the burr oak in front of my building (and all oak trees are prophetic, too), and if the Great Lakes have no divinity, and if the cranes that follow the edge of these big lakes on their migrations have no divinity, then there truly isn’t divinity.

        Reply
      2. Donna

        In fourth grade history in the 1950s, we learned that the Indians believed God was in everything. For a 10 year old in a Catholic school, for some reason that just spoke to me and I never forgot it. Amazing that in a Catholic school, I had a history book with that little nugget that was in no expressed negatively. It was just presented as fact.

        Reply
    1. Eclair

      ” The suit says the Lake Erie Bill of Rights puts the Drewes Family at risk of massive liability if any fertilizer runoff enters the Lake Erie watershed.”

      One of the Drewes family raises corn, soybeans, wheat and alfalfa. Three of those four crops go to feed livestock, probably in huge feedlot situations. It is this kind of agriculture, mono-cropping with extensive use of artificial fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides, that is resulting in massive erosion of topsoil, killing off of pollinators and other insects, as well as the pollution of the watersheds with carcinogens and endocrine-disruptors.

      Sorry to pick on a ‘family farm,’ (I rather suspect they verge on the ‘big agribusiness’ model, but I could be wrong) but, really, the handwriting has been on the wall for years. They need to change. Our agricultural system needs to change. And if we have to vote for personhood for every gosh darned pond, lake and stream in the nation and fill a maximum security prison with blatant ecociders, then, we should do it.

      Reply
      1. RMO

        And the environmental regulations here in Canada put my parent’s paint business at risk of massive liability if they let the Methyl Ethyl Ketone or Toluene or Methylene Chloride or the many other chemical we dealt with enter the storm drains. And damn right that they should! The regulations weren’t the main reason they took great care to handle everything properly, they did that because they weren’t sociopaths. Complaining about having to take care not to poison the world around you sure seems sociopathic to me.

        Reply
        1. mle detroit

          The regulations weren’t the main reason they took great care to handle everything properly, they did that because they weren’t sociopaths

          What a wonderful comment. Conducting a business “mindfully” — is that Zen, or animism (for some definition of “socio”)?

          Reply
  9. Jerry B

    ===I’ve been waiting for an explanation of why auto loan defaults are increasing; this looks like it.===

    Also both new and used car/truck prices are astronomical. People also fall for the car manufacturers propaganda and buy cars and trucks they cannot afford. $1500 cash back on a $40K car??? Give me a break. Also the American way of “trying” to keep up with the Jones influences people to buy vehicles they cannot afford. Most importantly, other than the major cities that have mass transit, in the suburbs and in rural america people need a car to get to work and live their lives, so they have no choice and dive in.

    But even used cars, and especially used SUV’s and Pick Up Trucks, are in the teens to twenty’s in price. But people need a car so they walk to the Guillotine (car dealers). (Credit to Lambert for the inspiring the Guillotine reference!)

    Many of the car/truck manufacturers are no longer going to offer cars/sedans and will only offer SUV’s and Trucks. The upside to cars is they depreciate quicker so a more people can afford a used car.

    On the Democracy at Work podcasts, Richard D. Wolff has mentioned how the car industry has broken into class segments. The first level is people who can buy brand new cars/trucks. The next level is leasing a new vehicle. The next level is buying a used car. The next level is leasing a used car, and so on.

    Wolff closes by stating (and it’s been awhile so I am paraphrasing) that Toyota and others are developing self driving cars because at some point many people will not be able to afford any vehicle. new or used, and we will be using self driving cars the same way we use buses (i.e. 4 different passengers).

    So low wage growth and obscenely expensive vehicles that only certain income/wealth classes can afford. And outside of the US major cities, minimal or non existent mass transit in the US so people have no choice but sign their life away on a car loan. Massive consumer debt that makes the working class indentured servants. Feudal society. Got it.

    Reply
    1. Summer

      A reason the auto manufacturing companies may be excited about robot cars:

      No more having to wait for someone to be influenced bu the Jones’ to take on more debt for appearances sake. They can just program those suckers to expire every two years and need to be replaced. You think that “right to repair” issue is all taken care of now? Or like anything else we believe has been regulated in favor of people, the issue raises its head again after enough money has been exchanged to the right people?

      Reply
      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        One wonders if the smart cars will be programmed to run over bicycles in order to discourage bicycle use.

        One wonders if bicyclists will strike back by inventing smart bicycles armed with explode-upon-collision bombs in order to destroy those smart cars.

        Reply
        1. scoff

          One wonders if bicyclists will strike back by inventing smart bicycles armed with explode-upon-collision bombs in order to destroy those smart cars.

          Or maybe they’ll learn to work together in a form similar to this:

          Screecher electric pedal car

          This is (at least closer to) the direction we should have taken decades ago. Instead we got 4 ton behemoths sporting 500 HP motors. It’s gonna be a long haul to try to get back to where we took that wrong fork in the road… if we can ever get turned around.

          Reply
    2. SerenityNow

      The problem in most of the US might be less that there is a scarcity of mass transit as that we continue to reproduce a built environment designed to make driving as convenient as possible (and thus walking very difficult). Allow things to develop more densely naturally and you provide a huge opportunity for walkability.

      Reply
    3. notabanker

      I watched a lot of sports overseas on internet subscriptions. They are generally ad free. In some cases, there is just a blank screen or the same highlight reels being shown over and over.
      When I moved back to the states, I was completely blown away but the nonstop ads for cars during baseball games. It was a mental bombardment, buy a car, buy a car, buy a car.
      My personal favorite is the 65 year old white Irish-American guy reciting the pledge of allegiance with the greenscreen flag blowing in the background. That is the entire commercial, with 5 seconds of his dealership emblazed on the fade out. Subtle.

      Reply
    4. Kurt Sperry

      “But even used cars, and especially used SUV’s and Pick Up Trucks, are in the teens to twenty’s in price.”

      You can easily get a perfectly wonderful used car for three or four thousand dollars. I bought a 2004 Jetta Wagon a year ago with a new timing belt, head gasket and new Michelin snow tires for $2500. It has ABS, six air bags, ESC, and can carry five people or two and a big load in the back. And on the remote chance the back isn’t big enough for a particular job, I can rent a full size PU for $30/day. It also looks nearly new to my eyes. I see no reason why any remotely normal person would require anything more.

      I have no idea why people buy new or expensive vehicles. Or take out a loan to buy one. Crazypants if you ask me.

      Reply
      1. amfortas the hippie

        ya. me too.
        we drive ours til they can drive no more. then we ask around and find a granma or granpa who’s movibg to assisted living. my truck cost me 4500, and ive driven all over texas for 12 years in it…w distance decreasing with time( now mostly 20 mile radius).
        and the age, dents and abundant dirt are a theft deterrent

        Reply
      2. Joe Well

        Here in the northeast there is a common belief that the really good used cars are in the sunny parts of the country because no weather or salt damage. Any truth to that? I certainly saw many more “classic” cars in California. I cant imagine buying a 2004 car unless it was extraordinarily low mileage. My mom has a 2006 Toyota Corolla and it’s a workhorse but the body is full of dents and some rust.

        Reply
        1. RMO

          It is true – even though cars have become vastly more corrosion resistant – a big part of the reason the average age of a car on North American roads keeps getting older, rust truly doesn’t sleep. If you’ve ever delved into restoring older vehicles and had the chance to compare on that lived in say, Southern California to one of the same age that comes from Seattle and one from Minneapolis you can see the difference the climate makes. To see the difference the improvements in corrosion resistance you need to rely on memory (if you’re old enough!) or perhaps old pictures, movies and television shows. I can distinctly remember shopping for my first car (an old, used one as we were not rich and I was expected to pay for it myself out of my after school job) in the mid 80s. The number of cars less than ten years old which had perforation rust around the wheelarches, in the floor and other places was vast. Nowadays, in the same area, I only see such things rarely, and then its on a vehicle which has been heavily abused or on the rare model which had a manufacturing flaw such as the older Mazda 3.

          Reply
  10. barefoot charley

    Chicago’s Daley dynasty may be no more. In a historically low primary turnout of 9 percent, Obama’s Commerce Secretary and Chief of Staff Bill Daley failed to follow his brother and father into the family trough, losing to progressive-turned-machinist Toni Preckwinkle and federal prosecutor-turned-cop-critic Lori Lightfoot (who, more importantly, is a lesbian). Both women are black.
    https://abc7chicago.com/politics/chicago-election-results-lori-lightfoot-toni-preckwinkle-set-for-mayoral-runoff/5159111/

    Reply
    1. DJG

      With Rahm gone, and with Bill Daley down, the irony here is that a big loser in the election was Obama. Preckwinkle has never been part of his circle, and Lightfoot has arisen in the post-Obama era.

      And the Obama Foundation has been down on the South Side making so many friends…

      On the day before the election, I got an SMS from the Jerry Joyce campaign, appealing to Faith & Family. So in the array of candidates, there was even one who was courting the Francisco Franco vote.

      The aldermanic races are all over the place. It is going to take a few days for the results to settle down. And yet we still have the excecrable Ed Burke in office: He’s just one of those folkloric corrupt politicians looting the city, now isn’t he?

      Reply
    2. ChiGal in Carolina

      Thanks, very good news, not that Preckwinkle doesn’t know how to make nice with the machine (to DJG’s point below, Obama was never really a part of it). But the thought of another Daley was excruciating.

      Reply
  11. Big River Bandido

    I’d say Bernie sees a path to victory that runs right through Pennsylvania. I’d also say he’s absolutely right.

    Are other candidates jumping on him for this? Good. He’ll pick up votes in PA while the others founder.

    Reply
    1. neo-realist

      Does he need New York State, or can he win much of the rest of the country like a republican general election candidate?

      If he needs NYS, I believe an air war (TV), if money is available, would potentially be very beneficial.

      Reply
      1. Inode_buddha

        He’s probably not gonna get NY at least not the city. Way too much establishment influence. Upstate and WNY leans to the Right (and away from NYC as far as possible) although the state as a whole is very Bleu.

        Reply
        1. Big River Bandido

          Horsefeathers.

          Democrats haven’t lost a Presidential race in New York State In 35 years. Even Jimmy Carter and Mike Dukakis pulled in 52% of the vote. More recent candidates average around 60%. Democrats could win in New York even if they ran a ham sandwich.

          Reply
      2. Big River Bandido

        In New York State, a candidate’s relationship with organized labor is probably way more important than television ads, especially in an age of declining television viewership. I’m pretty sure that union members have not forgiven Barack Obama for his unhonored promise to don a “soft pair of shoes”. Sanders doesn’t make such promises — he just constantly makes the struggles of working people, his own. I’m quite sure union members will remember that, too.

        When a candidate makes the call that the millions in commissions paid to teevee consultants could be better spent elsewhere…I’m all for that and I’m inclined to believe that’s a sound decision. Some small-dollar donors might be pleased to see their contributions won’t go toward lining the pockets of already-wealthy consultants.

        Reply
        1. neo-realist

          Sanders may want some people on the ground in NY to insure a close to accurate vote count since the NY democratic establishment likes to pull electoral stunts to ensure that the establishment anointed candidate beats the progressive one, e.g., broken machines in targeted precincts, uncounted ballots, etc.

          Hopefully the union membership takes heed of his support for the strikers in Erie, PA for the leadership tends to follow the lead of the establishment as was the case for the teachers union leadership supporting Clinton when the rank and file liked Sanders.

          Reply
          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            If Sanders is indeed able to spark a massive movement (“canvassion operation”) this functionality would seem to be a natural consequence.

            (This is very different from the typical liberal Democrat approach of setting up a silo and then getting a donor to fund it, as with Obama’s voter registration thing or whatever it is.)

            Reply
  12. notabanker

    Thanks for the Isha Clarke post.
    “Our feeling about the whole interaction was really bad. At the end of the day, it’s not about her, it’s not about her tone or her reaction, it’s about her vote. We’re focusing on the fact that we went there to ask her to vote yes on the Green New Deal because that is the most important thing. We’re not really concerned with all the other stuff. It’s sort of becoming a distraction, you know?”

    I’m going to keep saying it, these kids are switched on.

    Reply
      1. notabanker

        Thanks for that! Fantastic piece.
        “….has just slipped me a piece of paper with the words “you don’t need to pay attention to me” scrawled on it in red. Thank you for the note, I genuinely appreciate it! Knowing what we do and don’t need to pay attention to these days is absolutely a gift.”

        I can definitely relate.

        Reply
  13. Summer

    RE:“America landed a man on the moon. Climate change calls for the same bold, can-do spirit.” [Sean Patrick Maloney, USA Today].

    “Maloney represents NY-18, which Trump won by two points, and his caucus memberships include the horrid No Labels “coalition,” so he wouldn’t be my first pick to write such an Op-Ed. I find this encouraging.”

    Yes, but it still shows how far, far is left to go. This is a global problem. The “can-do spirit” produced a lot of environmental decay and there were warnings, but by no one the establishment felt they had to respect.
    A lot of the spirit “Indespensible Nation” needs to develop in equal parts is the “can-get-out-of-the-way-spirit” when people in other lands warn them about the devestation they are creating.

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      Besides the Moon landing was that Nazi can-do spirit. Von Braun had already worked out all the rocketry problems back in the Fatherland. Dealing with climate change is way bigger than landing on the Moon.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        Ultimately, a dozen men walked on the moon, and yes there were an awful lot of support people that made it so, but we’re talking about participation of nearly 8 billion that would have to be in concert with one another, to deal with climate change.

        Reply
        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          For the moment, America still has just big enough of a “market” that other country bussinesses still want to sell stuff into it.

          If America could adopt Deep Greenism and Hard Decarbonization, our trading enemies would certainly practice “carbon-dumping” their higher-emission goods here.

          But if America at the same time were to withdraw from all the Free Trade Agreements and Treaties, then America would be legally free to exclude goods from any other country which did not practice the same Deep Greenism and Deep Decarbonization which America was adopting, if America were to adopt it.

          In a militant belligerent Protectionism context, America WOULD be able to go Deep Green and Deeply Defossilizing. With Protectionism, we could ban economic contact with any country which doesn’t do likewise. It would be a kind of incentive for other countries to do likewise. It would be a Forced March To The Top instead of a Race To The Bottom.

          Reply
      2. Synoia

        Von Braun had already worked out all the rocketry problems back in the Fatherland.

        No true. He had not worked out the control systems.

        Reply
        1. Carolinian

          OK not all the problems. However the Redstone was a direct descendant of the V2

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PGM-11_Redstone

          Redstone was a direct descendant of the German V-2 rocket, developed by a team of predominantly German rocket engineers brought to the United States after World War II as part of Operation Paperclip. The design used an upgraded engine from Rocketdyne that allowed the missile to carry the W39 warhead which weighed 6,900 pounds (3,100 kg) with its reentry vehicle to a range of about 175 miles (282 km).

          The first manned US flight was on top of a modified Redstone.

          Reply
          1. Kurt Sperry

            My father worked at Aerojet near Saramento in the late fifties-early sixties as an engineer and he said they still had German supervisors in perfectly bleached spotless lab coats speaking heavily accented English and running the floor even then. Who were also the biggest assholes in the world.

            Reply
        2. fajensen

          No true. He had not worked out the control systems.

          They had at least a pretty good handle on it for the V2. They could hit London within a 5 km radius using inertial navigation and analogue computing.

          Thermionic valves would not reliably survive a rocket launch and semiconductors were not invented yet so they instead used a mechanical computer for the computing part, a brass strip with punched holes for programming the missile trajectory, pneumatic controls for the liquids and gasses and transductors, controllable saturable inductors, for driving the electrical servo actuators for vanes placed in the exhaust stream. The “electronics” was using a 500 Hz 3-phase power supply.

          Very German Engineering: Every discipline must get involved and contribute a system :)

          Today, we use transductors once again. Often as the output regulator for switch mode power supplies because the magnetic materials are so much better than “back then”, the much higher switching frequencies used today make the devices physically very small and these being “just copper and ferrite”, they very robust devices. The controls are simple too, just a small-ish DC-current with an analogue PID controller.

          Doing it this way separates the control of the output voltages from the controls of the switching devices, which are complexified by other concerns such as power factor correction, so that life in engineering becomes a bit simpler again.

          Reply
    2. Democrita

      Isn’t Sean Patrick Maloney the guy Cuomo recruited to humiliate Zephyr Teachout in the last election? To siphon away votes and guarantee victory for Tish James as AG? IIRC…

      He is a family blogging family blogger.

      Reply
  14. Catman

    The famed and global algae bloom in toledo in 2014 has now become the “algal bloom season” – this from October of 2018 –
    “Toledo officials on Thursday announced the end of 2018’s harmful algal bloom season after raw water tests at the intake crib in Lake Erie found no toxic microcystin for three consecutive weeks.”
    It still scares the entire area – my mom in her 70s worries about the water constantly. I guess the season runs from August to October? Around there
    https://www.toledoblade.com/local/2018/10/04/toledo-officials-declare-harmful-algal-bloom-season-is-over-sje/stories/20181004116

    Reply
    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      People had better start calling it ” slime” and referring to ” slime season” before some clever Luntzian word-hackers get it named with the lovely happy word “bloom”.

      ” Hey kids! Its Bloom Season!”

      Reply
  15. BoulderMike

    So, I am not naive and I know that the corporate sponsors of our politicians would never allow this, but it seems as though the smartest move the Republicans in the Senate (i.e.: Mitch McConnell) could make would be to call the Democrats bluff. Assuming, and it is of course a big assumption, that the House passes the M4A bill, if I were Mitch I would pass it. This would take away probably the biggest selling point the Democrats have for change in 2020. IMHO, it is all about the Senate first, then the Courts, then the President, and finally the House. If Mitch passed the M4A bill one of two things would happen: (1) Trump might veto it which I guess still leaves the Presidency in play in 2020 but retains Republican control of the Senate, or (2) Trump signs it and basically the Republicans retain the Senate and the WH, and by default the Courts. But, again, not being naive, I imagine the corporate sponsors might balk at what they would have to give up in terms of the Medical Business profits. One would have to drill down into the economics to get a better understanding of the pros and cons in terms of money for the richest .01%.

    Reply
  16. Geof

    Environmentalism-as-personal-virtue was a bad route. It isn’t a substitute for collective action. . . . Dense cities are green. The way to save nature is to stay the hell away from it.

    Hear, hear.

    But virtue is being pushed harder and harder. Take plastic straw bans. With the clock on the climate crisis ticking down, air is being sucked up by a feel-good move with inifinessimal impact.

    I almost wonder whether this was the intention. (Didn’t May’s Conservatives propose the first ban?) The plastic straw isn’t the problem: the throw-away culture of consumption around it is. It’s not just the straw: it’s the cup, the the whole tray of junk food trash, the food itself, the subsidized fossil fuel-based fertilizers and pesticides used to grow it in sterile soil, the road trip or flight on which it is eaten, the culture that turns meals with family and friends into quick stops while shopping.

    So what’s the message? As casinos hereabouts love to say, “Know your limit, play within it.” Because the real message is to play. That’s straw virtue (to give it an appropriate name): Drink pop – without a straw, but do drink pop! (And eat fast food, and all the rest.) While you’re at it, give yourself a pat on the back for saving the planet.

    With straw virtue, everyone’s a winner. Corporations get to greenwash. Governments get to legislate. People get to feel good about themselves. And activists get to campaign. They say it’s a good “first step” – if this is a step, how long will it be before we actually make a dent on plastic pollution? A millennium?

    The largest source of ocean plastic is fishing gear; one of the biggest problems of plastic in our food supply is synthetic clothing. Has anyone even mentioned phasing out fleece? (The preferred uniform of people who aim to save nature by trekking into it.) Making washing machines not designed to end up in land fill after ten years because a tiny circuit board failed but cost too much to replace? Taxing advertising to redirect consumption from junk that we don’t need to infrastructure (transit!) that we do?

    Don’t get me started on plastic bags.

    The article is exactly right. Environmental virtue isn’t just worthless; it’s a barrier to real action.

    Reply
    1. Sanxi

      Really? Stay out of it? You get this info from where? First as to human psychology if you want people to act, one way to enable that is by appeal to virtue or channeling it. Seems in New England, where they have more trees then prior to 1603, that, was achieved by being in ‘it’ all the time. Using simple energy equations it is easy to prove large cities, or being urban if you will uses completely non-sustainable amounts of energy. When put to a model, here is what you get in you want to survive climate chaos → people who grow food and people in towns that support those that do. Period. You seemed uninformed as to where carbon is actually captured in natural systems, the extent to how serious 3° of warming is, and all the hidden costs to maintain large urban environments. There is no new ‘normal’.

      Reply
      1. Jeremy Grimm

        “People want to act, one way to enable that is by appeal to virtue or channeling it.” Appeal to virtue or channeling it is also a nice way to divert and constrain a person’s actions into meaningless and trivial causes like banning plastic straws. Trees in New England may be the result of an appeal to virtue, although there are other possible explanations. Effective action to mitigate Climate Chaos requires much more than an aggregate of individual virtuous acts. If you like virtue, then the appeal must be to national virtue and the actions required are the actions of the nation — something more meaningful than a national ban on plastic straws. [Disclaimer — I do not drink through a straw plastic or otherwise, although I do sometimes stir a purchased coffee with two plastic swizzles on those rare occasions I buy coffee at other than a sitdown coffee shop.]

        Reply
    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Dense cities are green. The way to save nature is to stay the hell away from it.

      Hear, hear.

      —-

      All humans to be enclosed in those ‘zoos?’

      Animals (non-human) from Nature can take their children on educational tours to see us.

      Reply
      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Dense cities are ashy-death gray. Their every activity is carbon emissive and they contribute precisely nothing to carbon recapture.

        “Stay the hell away from nature” is meant to apply to the forcibly Manhattanized proles who are to be slumified in the densified cities. The upper classes and the Overclasses expect to get to play in All Nature as their own Class-Private playground.

        Trying to Manhattanise the non-densified people will bring out the tens of millions of loaded guns just as surely as trying to Hong Kongify them.

        Reply
  17. Geof

    Environmentalism-as-personal-virtue was a bad route. It isn’t a substitute for collective action. . . . Dense cities are green. The way to save nature is to stay the hell away from it.

    Hear, hear.

    But virtue is being pushed harder and harder. Take plastic straw bans. With the clock on the climate crisis ticking down, air is being sucked up by a feel-good move with inifinessimal impact.

    I almost wonder whether this was the intention. (Didn’t May’s Conservatives propose the first ban?) The plastic straw isn’t the problem: the throw-away culture of consumption around it is. It’s not just the straw: it’s the cup, the the whole tray of junk food trash, the food itself, the subsidized fossil fuel-based fertilizers and pesticides used to grow it in sterile soil, the road trip or flight on which it is eaten, the culture that turns meals with family and friends into quick stops while shopping.

    So what’s the message? As casinos hereabouts love to say, “Know your limit, play within it.” Because the real message is to play. That’s straw virtue (to give it an appropriate name): Drink pop – without a straw, but do drink pop! (And eat fast food, and all the rest.) While you’re at it, give yourself a pat on the back for saving the planet.

    With straw virtue, everyone’s a winner. Corporations get to greenwash. Governments get to legislate. People get to feel good about themselves. And activists get to campaign. They say it’s a good “first step” – if this is a step, how long will it be before we actually make a dent on plastic pollution? A millennium?

    The largest source of ocean plastic is fishing gear; one of the biggest problems of plastic in our food supply is synthetic clothing. Has anyone even mentioned phasing out fleece? (The preferred uniform of people who aim to save nature by trekking into it.) Making washing machines not designed to end up in land fill after ten years because a tiny circuit board failed but cost too much to replace? Taxing advertising to redirect consumption from junk that we don’t need to infrastructure (transit!) that we do?

    Don’t get me started on plastic bags.

    The article is exactly right. Environmental virtue isn’t just worthless; it’s a barrier to real action.

    Reply
    1. Eclair

      Nice ‘everything is connected’ essay, Geof.

      I say we work on eliminating bottled/canned soft drinks. They are totally useless; worse, they are major supporters of obesity and obesity-related diseases. And, for some reason, people think they need a straw to drink them.

      Reply
    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It seems to me that plastic coat hangers work better than metal wire ones.

      The latter can be bent out of shape.

      As for plastic tooth brushes, what alternatives do we have?

      Reply
      1. AndrewJ

        If you haven’t used a boar bristle toothbrush – and they’re priced reasonably for the longer lifetime you get out of ‘em – you’re missing out on one of life’s smaller pleasures. The random distribution of bristle sizes gets in a lot of little crannies.

        Reply
      2. AndrewJ

        If you haven’t used a boar bristle toothbrush – and they’re priced reasonably for the longer lifetime you get out of ‘em – you’re missing out on one of life’s smaller pleasures. The random distribution of bristle sizes gets in a lot of little crannies.

        Reply
    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      Environmentalism as private virtue may come from the same rancid Puritan legacy culture-code as White Privilege comes from. ( “White Privilege” being a secular recasting of “Original Sin”. European Americans are born in a state of Original White-Privilege Sin, but they can find Personal Salvation from Original White-Privilege Sin by undergoing the proper self-abasement rituals under the guidance and tutelage of trained Person-of-Color Confessors.)

      But personal conservation lifestyling can be a way for millions of personal conservers to find eachother, recognize eachother, and organize into political movement strike forces to force de-polluting controls upon the pollutionogenic society. And in our own day, that would include re-engineering technology and society for skycarbon rebalancing and global de-warming. The visibility of the personal conservingness of the millions of strike-force organized personal conservers would give them credibility to force the discussion on the way to forcing the re-engineering.

      Reply
  18. DJG

    The various naysayers and beancounters and “realists” among those who are trying to jettison the Green New Deal. Now why am I reminded of Martin Luther King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail? And his problems with “moderates” in the church? And his declaration that he was an extremist for love? And an outside agitator?

    [And I won’t even mention the Methodist church and its current sex panic and its curiously constant surety that Methodists know the gospel. Back to Letter from Birmingham Jail, I suppose….]

    Reply
    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I am less than enthusiastic about the Green New Deal, but I’m not a beancounter or “realist” as you use that word. I have several problems with the Green New Deal. What is it exactly? To me it looks like a resolution favoring Motherhood and Apple Pie. A resolution doesn’t provide prenatal care or assure that everyone gets a piece of the pie before they die. The Green New Deal bundles too many things into one resolution package. To me that bodes ill for whatever the Green New Deal will look like as a bill. I imagine there might follow a giant omnibus Green New Deal bill that bundles a package of goodies all too much like a ‘Defense’ bill. It seems very strange to me that we should need a broad and vague resolution of intent before attempting actions to mitigate Climate Chaos, or address the vulnerability of our way of life to the declining availability of fossil fuels, or make some effort to regain control over our economy and political system.

      I am concerned that the Green New Deal seems to suggest actions I believe are ill-conceived and poorly thought through — although I admit reading much into the little I’ve read about the resolution. I focus on the solar/wind portions of the Green New Deal and their implications for how changes to the Grid may be mandated. The Grid is a very complex piece of technology vital to our lives and increasingly fragile. I’m not comfortable with hand-waved notions suggesting to me that somehow mandates can make the Grid ‘smart’ enough to pull in the intermittent and highly variable solar and wind power sources to supply our power needs. A lot of Neoliberal damage has been done to our Grid that must be undone. We need to nationalize the Grid, utility companies, and electricity suppliers to refashion the provisioning of our electric energy. The Green New Deal seems ready to jump in to with government spending setting people to work rebuilding our electric energy system while leaving the haphazard ownership and mixed incentives in place. I am afraid the Grid would become even more fragile if its reshaping were left to government expenditures feeding into a Market driven ‘solution’.

      Reply
    1. EGrise

      …unless they knew they were likely to be shot down and didn’t want to risk the newer stuff?

      (From what I understand, Pakistan has pretty decent AA defenses and they were very much on alert.)

      Reply
  19. Geo

    What worries me more are those who believe in climate change but offer no real solutions.

    It always bugs me when people claim to be religious yet don’t follow the rules in their religious books. Fundamentalists might be scary but at least they act on their professed belief. How can one believe in eternal judgement and not base every moment of their lives on the potential consequences of their actions?

    Feel the same way about climate change. If you believe in it and understand the consequences then how can they not be willing to commit to profound actions? Are they cool with committing their children to a literal hell? Or, do they think a last minute miracle will save them because they’re special?

    Reply
    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Fundamentalists might be scary but at least they act on their professed belief.

      So you’ve never met many fundamentalists…picking and choosing is the only law fundies follow. They usually hate women too.

      Reply
  20. Hameloose Cannon

    Should someone running for President consider taking on General Electric head-on, rather than Wabtec? GE obviously dictated the unfavorable labor terms to Wabtec as a condition for purchasing a 24% ownership stake in Wabtec, a company already under duress. Is Sen Sanders trying to avoid the ire of the NBCUniversal Gorgon, to whom Sanders owes a portion of his success? The letter did not come out of nowhere, and this particular union is associated with “Trains”, the deus ex machina of American politics, in the hoary underworld of democracy, known as “Ohio”. Does this have anything to do with the exit of Sander’s campaign mandarins? Call me cynical, but this affair feels like a failure to do background, rather than a bold gambit from the left flanks.

    Reply
  21. Swamp Yankee

    Re: Atrios and density.

    Agreed on the lifestyle enviro virtue signalling — very Victorian.

    As to cities and emissions, I’m going to go the whole nuanced route and say: well, yes and no. Yes, on the whole, living in Manhattan is better than living in McMansion cul-de-sac exurbia hell-scape for emissions. But there have always struck me as being several problems with this line of reasoning, that NYC or London are the most “green” possible forms of human spatial organization. In no particular order, these points have always occurred to me and are rarely brought up:

    1) This line of reasoning tends to assume that there are two options, Philly or Manhattan on the one hand, and then on the other suburban SUV dystopia; thus, if we’re not in a super dense central city, we’re in super sprawling cul-de-dac land. But that leaves out a very great deal of how people actually live outside the major metropolises. You have small cities, like Bangor or Pittsfield, Mass, that are often quite dense.; you also have parts of the countryside where people (I know them, some of you probably are them here at NC) drive relatively infrequently — a trip to town for shopping every week or two, and often that’s car-pooling. So it’s not all either the Lower East Side or Levittown. There are other spatial organizations available.*

    *I do think the kind of binarism here that is common in this discussion stems from the roots of many commentators in the field of economics, including Atrios. As an historian by training, we’re more in the “as through a glass, darkly” perspective — things are mixed and complicated, generally.

    2) This brings me to a second point that I think is often neglected, which I will call the ecological opportunity cost. When we calculate things like emissions per capita, we never or rarely figure in — what was lost as a result of this density? How many salt-marshes, huge carbon sinks, were destroyed so Manhattan or Philadelphia or Boston could exist in their current dense forms? Likewise, rural places ought to be credited in this calculation for preserving forests, grasslands, marshes, etc., that form carbon sinks and serve to counteract some of their higher emissions activities. Indeed, many of these higher emission activities, say mining, exist to supply precisely these dense metropoles; which brings me to —

    3) Cities, in order to be dense like Manhattan or Boston, must exist in a metropole-colony relationship with the countryside. You don’t get Boston without the Quabbin Reservoir that supplies its drinking water. And the Quabbin Reservoir was created by quite literally expropriating, expelling, and destroying towns in Western Massachusetts that were flooded to create the water source. Similar stories could be told about NYC or San Francisco.

    Likewise, Boston doesn’t get to have a ready supply of electricity so that it can keep those pretty office buildings lit up all night (and why the hell do we do that, anyway? Seriously, it’s insane!) without colonial domination of the countryside near and far. So you have the Pilgrim Nuclear Plant down here in Plymouth, 50 miles away, but you also have the vast destruction and expropriation of First Nations lands and waters in northern Quebec that provide hydroelectricity to New England. You have landfills surrounding most major cities in rural places, as Lambert is well aware. San Francisco’s desire to have almond milk for its lattes requires enormously wasteful almond monoculture in the Central Valley, and so on.

    4) Something that I think is really neglected is the fact that, in world-historical terms, urbanization, especially since 1750, is one of the leading drivers of climate change. Urbanization and industrialization have gone hand and hand, historically. You don’t get Manchester or Detroit without the need to concentrate labor in factories. This is a significant problem, especially when we factor in the shift, as we see today in the Global South, to a more consumerist lifestyle in cities. Looking at food supply alone, we have enormous emissions coming simply from keeping cities fed.

    5) Part of this relationship between urbanization — we became, for the first time in human history, a majority city-dwelling world in about 2008** — and climate change has to do with the fact that cities themselves can create unforeseen feedback loops, things that are greater than the sum of their parts. The best example of this is the urban heat island. So yes, having more people in Chicago than living in cul de sac dystopia is preferable overall; but it also raises the ambient temperature of those cities by 10 or 20 degrees Fahrenheit, and is in and of itself a driver of warming.

    Even things like sanitation are historically very difficult for increasingly dense conurbations to handle.Recall The Economist complaining in the mid 19th century that building a sewer system for London was the first step on the road to Communism, or third world metropolises like Jakarta today. Boston Harbor was filthy because for a hundred years, increasingly dense and industrial Boston put its waste in there, and it wasn’t until the 1980s they stopped in a serious way. It’s now lovely, one of the unsung successes of the otherwise unimpressive Dukakis Administration, but that’s because waste is specially treated and released 12 miles out in Massachusetts Bay.

    **Note that continents that are mostly urbanized, like North America and Europe, produce proportionately far more emissions than those that remain largely un-urbanized, like Africa. This is because industrial economies are overwhelmingly urban societies.

    All of this is to say that it is quite a bit more complicated than to say “Cities Good, Everywhere Else Bad”, especially when cities are themselves (along with post-Columbian Exchange population growth — potatoes and corn/maize are not thought of vis-a-vis climate change, but really are important as well) a key historical driver of increased emissions.

    This of course is not the viewpoint I see expressed here at NC, because NC and its commentariat are thoughtful and self-aware, but it certainly is over at places like Vox et al. To my mind, that is more the Yglesiases of the world talking their virtue book, as it were, about how great and virtuous the inhabitants of the wealthiest ZIP codes of blue metropolises are versus the benighted Deplorables off in the hinterland.

    As I see it, post-WWII suburbia is the biggest problem, not small towns in Kentucky or Vermont or farmland in Iowa. We absolutely should be heeding E.O. Wilson’s advice to keep half the planet wild, and that means increasing density of settlement in cities, suburbs, and rural areas alike. But doing so will still require people to look after and preserve those wilds, and our food and the raw materials we rely upon are going to come from the countryside for the foreseeable future.

    One very simple ameliorative measure would be public transportation, whether city, suburb, or countryside. There is a bus that goes from my home to my work four miles away, but it runs so irregularly, and so inefficiently (it would take me something like 1.5 hours and a switch between buses to get there) that it becomes effectively non-usable for most people. I would bike that 4 miles, except that doing so is prohibitively dangerous given road and traffic conditions (and this is simply a two-lane, very old state route — I cannot imagine trying to bike in a place like Atlanta or L.A. with 8 lane roads everywhere). An actual bus line that worked would be a huge improvement. There used to be electric trolley cars that ran these routes, but these were destroyed, as they were nationwide, by the auto industry in the early and middle 20th century.*** Restoring them is technically feasible and would be politically popular here in Plymouth County, Mass.

    *** A great read on this subject is Kenneth T. Jackson’s Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States.

    All that said, as Yves frequently points out, absent truly radical conservation measures, we can do all of this and it won’t make a difference except at the margins. I think we are going to have to drastically re-envision what exactly is permissible in this emergency. It may be that we can no longer travel, whether by plane or train or automobile, outside our home towns or counties or regions. It may be that we need to put real limits on reproduction — there are two many of us as there are, approaching 8 billion; it was something like 4 billion when I was born in the early 1980s; and the carrying capacity of the biosphere is estimated to be somewhere around 10 billion people.

    I’ve heard Jeff Bezos thinks that going to the stars will solve this problem, and that the human population could grow to something like 100 trillion(!), but this is plainly delusional, clinically so to my mind.

    This new age of limits doesn’t have to be nightmarish — knowing our communities, our neighbors, taking part in meaningful activity together — these are central to human flourishing. Four hour commutes certainly are not.

    Thanks to all of the NC community and to all those who read what ended up being a much longer comment than I’d intended.

    Reply
    1. Carey

      Thanks for this fine, comprehensive comment, particularly your point #3. My take is that
      whoever is left will primarily be living in *lower-density* arrangements, and close to the land.

      Reply
    2. ambrit

      Good look at the problems.
      Down here, with conurbations of the 50 to 100 thousand size, infrastructure is visibly decaying. Thus, one of the other changes required will be a tempering of the ‘profit driven’ economy. Some things will have to be socially subsidized, profit be d—ed.
      I remember when the “Green Revolution” of the fifties and sixties was going to adequately feed the world for the ‘foreseeable future.’ That presupposed a political willingness to devote a significant portion of the ‘economy’ to socially progressive goals. In other words, Socialism, writ large.
      As it stands now, I can envision all those urban ringing landfills doubling as mass graves for the die off. It has happened before. It can happen again.
      I’m not too sanguine about our future.

      Reply
      1. Swamp Yankee

        Thanks, ambrit. Much appreciated. The decay of the smaller cities is all too real. Brockton, Mass., Saginaw, Michigan — places like these have really suffered.

        As for the future — things are happening this decade I only expected in the late 2020s-early 2030s. It’s really on.

        Reply
  22. Big River Bandido

    Alixandria Lapp on Pelosi’s hiring of Robby Mook: “Some exciting news…the wonderful @RobbyMook is taking over as President of House Majority PAC! House Democrats and Speaker Pelosi couldn’t have a better ally heading into 2020.”

    The first and second replies are Lapp and Mook extolling each others limitless virtues (just like Thomas Frank described the script from the so-called “No Ceilings Conference”). The remaining comments, starting with the third, are just glorious smackdowns. A sampling of the gold:


    your all encompassing belief in data analytics lost a 2008 campaign and a 2016 election.

    forget nothing, learned nothing (accompanied by a WaPo chart from November 2016 showing “the decimation” of the Democrats) (hmm…this comment sadly now seems deleted)

    ew

    this is unbelievably horrible news for anyone who actually cares about winning

    Seriously, is there no consequence for incompetence in the Democratic Party establishment?

    In the series about the House Democrat primaries last year, Lambert frequently mentioned the difference between the Democrats and these Democrats. These Democrats deliberately made promises they knew their own ideology would not allow them to honor. Because of that, I’ve felt since last summer that these Democrats wouldn’t be able to hold on to the majority for long. But I didn’t think they’d do something this stupid, this fast.

    Reply
    1. Carey

      My impression, very much from the outside, is that these Dems believe they can keep
      the party going quite awhile longer.

      We’ll see.

      Reply
    2. Big Tap

      Robbie Mook is one of the main reasons other than Clinton herself for losing to a total amateur crude buffoon in Trump. People like him should have been drummed out of political campaigning for wasting over a billion dollars not finding new jobs. Still he’s smart enough to still get a paycheck no matter the performance.

      Reply
  23. Summer

    Funny thing about the Cohen hearings…as much as it was supposed to reveal the dangers of Russia, it should have revealed once and for all that Russia is the least of the USAs worries with the Swamp Gone Wild.
    Any pundits come to that conclusion?

    Reply
    1. djrichard

      At this point it’s religious warfare. “Us against the infidels”. So in my mind, more similar to the Iraq war than bankers-gone-wild. Though to be fair, the Iraq war can be justly described as “swamp gone wild” too.

      Anyways, just need to get your ducks in a row so you can present your marketing (cum war) campaign as something inevitable. So no one will stand in the way when you depose the leadership of the opposing church. And bring democracy or freedom or what have you (just desserts) to the infidels of that church.

      Reply
  24. Bob Haugen

    > (Is there a short, pithy word for “greenhouse gas producer”? Other than “cow”? And hopefully pejorative?)

    Must include “fart”. Fart producers? Fart passers? Farters?

    Reply
  25. a different chris

    The problem with your post is that I’m not sure you made an argument against cities. For example:

    .>You don’t get Boston without the Quabbin Reservoir

    But Greater Boston is “home to 4,732,161 people”. You spread them out, how does that solve your “Quabbin Reservoir” issue? Sure that solves the “sanitation” problem? It probably makes them both worse.

    The European city/farmland model seems the best as far as I can tell (but I acknowledge I’m hardly a worldly person) but too many people just simply breaks any model.

    Reply
    1. Swamp Yankee

      a different chris,

      I’m not trying to make an argument against cities, per se; in fact, I agree very much with your last point — 8 billion people is going to stress any method of spatial organization. What I am trying to say is that it’s more complicated than spread out vs. dense, that the ways in which we are spread out vs. dense are important.

      As for greater Boston, in important ways it does actually resemble the European city-farmland model in more ways than Sunbelt metropolises because it is such an old region that was a re-creation in North America of a European (English) style spatial organization. European geographers have a term, peri-urban, that describes rural farming/extractive communities w/in about 50-75 miles of a metropolis. These, incidentally, are among the places strongest for the Yellow Vests. We certainly have that here in greater Boston (which itself is a term that is amorphous and with conflicting definitions), with communities based around things like cranberry bogs, apple orchards, shellfishing, etc., quite close to the city center in a way that you simply don’t have in even a city like metro Detroit, where I have spent a good amount of time.

      Thus, the Quabbin Reservoir actually serves not only the City of Boston itself, but dozens of neighboring communities (Boston proper only has about 600,000 citizens, Cambridge, Somerville, Quincy, Revere, all are their own municipalities. Likewise the sewage system serves more than just the City of Boston (Boston Harbor is bordered, by my count, at least 7 different municipalities, but my count may be off.)

      I would add that in environmental science, the phrase “dilution is the solution” is applied to any kind of problem effluent, from heavy chemicals to human waste. You can’t get people to the density of Cambridge, MA or Manhattan without effluents being a significant problem, so I don’t agree with the notion that dispersing the population would necessarily be worse in terms of sanitation.

      Now, that also assumes a fairly robust and micro-scaled sanitation infrastructure; Lowndes County, Alabama is certainly less dense than Boston, but has, as we’ve seen, sewage running in the streets. But I view that less as a function of density and more with the aftermath of Alabama being a slave society, which has deeply lasting effects.

      As far as drinking water and the effects of density, I think, again, I would reject the relatively binary presumption inherent in the idea that it’s either spread out or dense. So, what the historian in me would say is that it really depends where and when we’re talking about. Jamaica Pond, the colonial source of water, is definitely in better shape post-Quabbin than before. The Swift River Valley towns are not, they are gone. Destroyed.

      Likewise, down here, we have the Plymouth-Carver aquifer, the largest sole-source aquifer in the state. Increasing density has been posing greater and greater threats to the aquifer, even dense so called ‘smart growth’ developments, both in terms of drawing it down and exposing it to contamination (including by nuclear waste by Pilgrim Nuclear Plant).

      So I think that while density has to be part of the future, we also must recognize that, as the economists say, it has negative externalities, as well. These have to be carefully considered, especially given the fact that market forces will always attempt to use, well, anything really, but particularly things like density, to expropriate and destroy the Commons.

      Ultimately, I think I agree with you, or what I take you to be saying, that growth/development/population increase is itself one of the root problems, and that is going to skew things either in Wyoming or downtown Los Angeles.

      Reply
      1. Swamp Yankee

        *I meant to clarify that by increasing rural density, in the third to last paragraph, I mean things like the so-called smart growth developments that are placed in the middle of Atlantic coastal pine barrens; yes, these are denser than their counterparts from the late 90s, but they are still a stress on the aquifer.

        You could also add cranberry farming, as well as the mining of sand and gravel here, which is just terrible for the land and waters.

        Reply
  26. Wukchumni

    In the far north of the state, the Eel River is running @ 350,000 CFS and will flood later today…

    The Eel is interesting in that a fellow named Ronald Reagan put the kibosh to a 730 foot tall dam being built on it in 1969. You don’t think of the Gipper as being an environmentalist, but there you have it.

    Reply
    1. Earl Erland

      According to one source it is even stranger than you think. The reservoir would have flooded the Round Valley Indian Reservation. Reagan stated his opposition by noting that “Enough treaties had already been broken with the Indians”.

      https://web.archive.org/web/20100615221008/http://water.washington.edu/Outreach/Publications/WatershedReview/watershedreviewv3n2.pdf

      Also from the Review:

      “In the midst of new versions of the CWP, Ronald Reagan was elected Governor of California in
      1966, and California water planners thought they
      had gained a new life. The Bureau of Reclamation
      (irrigation), Corps of Engineers (flooding) and the
      California Department of Water Resources (DWR)
      had joined forces in an interagency effort to tame the
      North Coast rivers after the massive floods of 1964.
      Within one month of the floods, DWR issued a bulletin documenting the damage and extolling the virtues
      of flood control dams. With an old movie cowboy in
      office, almost anything was possible for the State of
      California. But then the Indians had that old cowboy
      ride to the rescue.”

      Reply
  27. Synoia

    Harris: “Kamala Harris supports decriminalizing sex work”

    Would that be retroactive to an affair with a certain Willie Brown, where the lovely Kamila got two well paying state board gigs?

    Reply
  28. lyman alpha blob

    Good to see Bernie having the UE’s back. They supported him in 2016. That, and a nice history of the UE can be found in this Garret Keizer Harper’s piece from last year – Labor’s Last Stand.

    Long read, and the part of about the UE starts in the 2nd half of the piece. They’ve been pretty hard core from the beginning. A sample in case the link hits a paywall-

    When [Joe] McCarthy went after rank-and-file union members at General Electric, which summarily fired those deemed “uncooperative” in their testimonies, the UE’s national officers insisted on being subpoenaed as well. Only when they threatened to go public with the senator’s refusal did McCarthy relent. Union organizing director James J. Matles stood before the great American bully of his generation, called him a liar to his face, and asked the senator if he was a spy. “The question is as good coming from me to you as coming from you to me.”

    Reply
    1. Pat

      Taking lessons in flim flam, is he?

      I can’t wait for the takedown from some of those young voters who know Joe’s part in creating a generation of people enchained by student loans forever.

      Reply
      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Hopefully the younger people who know about Biden’s student permadebt law will make sure all the younger people know about it.

        Perhaps artful demonstrators could make “ball and chains” out of plastic chain and styrofoam balls painted an iron gray. And a ball-sized image of Biden’s smiling face could be printed onto every ball.
        And the demonstrators could stumble-walk around with these things attached to their ankles and whenever someone asked them about it, they could say: ” that’s my Bidenball-and-chain of student debt.”

        Reply
  29. Greg

    “greenhouse gas producer”? Other than “cow”? And hopefully pejorative?)

    Skyfogger?(fog was not my first thought but is more widely acceptable, and as descriptive, if differently so.

    Reply
  30. WJ

    The inimitable C.J. Hopkins has a piece up on Off-Guardian that many Sanders supporters will not like, but very much need to read. The “sheep-dog” hypothesis forwarded by Black Agenda Report in 2016 has, if anything, become more plausible in my opinion given Sanders’ inability to articulate a coherent position on Venezuela.

    https://off-guardian.org/2019/02/26/the-magic-socialist/

    P.S. Full disclosure: I have donated to Sanders’ and Gabbard’s 2020 presidential campaigns.

    Reply
    1. djrichard

      Yes, there’s bits of sheep-dogging conspiracy thinking in there. But I think he’s trying to get at a bigger issue. He’s a big fan of the Yellow Vest movement in France and populism in general – collective expressions of individual engagement in messy democracy. He doesn’t actually refer to this in this particular article, but I’m assuming that’s where he’d like to see civic engagement in the US go given how much he tweets about the movement(s).

      Instead, we pin our hopes and pledge our selves to authoratative top-down systems. If we don’t like where the ship is going, we seek another campaign to take over the ship of state. And then presumably all will be well. [And if it’s not, well get on board or get out of the way, or find another campaign to hitch your wagon too presumably.] Of course, this presumes the existing ship of state won’t resist the change, and he spends a lot of the article speaking to that. But the more challenging undercurrent seems to be how we simply don’t take matters more into our own hands. Again, like the Yellow Vest movement in France.

      Of course, it’s an open question of what the end-game is for the Yellow Vest movement. Which is crucial. In the mean time, we’re hoping we can perfect a ship of state. So it’s equally fair to ask, what’s the end game for that?

      Anyways, that’s my take. And for the record, I’ve donated to Tulsi and Bernie’s campaigns too.

      Reply
      1. WJ

        Thanks for this. The Yellow Vest Movement is difficult to figure out from the outside. I know only that (1) they are not being covered regularly by corporate media and (2) when they are covered it is only to smear the movement as anti-Semitic. This makes me think they are a legitimate expression of democratic collective consciousness, an Occupy movement on steroids and enabled by a much better educated and civically active French populace.

        It’s impossible to imagine that kind of movement taking off in America today. Occupy and BLM were neutered relatively easily. There is no real sense of how to act politically outside of the predetermined parameters of the electoral process. Teachers’ strikes are perhaps an exception, but note that they have not in general served to stimulate a broader series of democratically minded strikes and marches etc. Solidarity is very much missing from the US polity and you see it in the failure of such movements to spark the kindling of the broader populace. Perhaps that’s too pessimistic but it’s how I see things currently.

        Reply
        1. djrichard

          I agree. To a fault, US populace identifies with their relationship to their masters. So they’re obedient. And anybody who protests any authority is viewed as being disobedient at best, at worse a usurper (of authority). Either way, somebody who should be cast out. Saw this in particular with how the OWS protesters were viewed.

          I’m guessing this is significantly less true of teachers. If school systems were on their game they would pit the teachers against each other more and allow them less opportunity to kibitz in the break room. It would make for less disobedience in the ranks. /snark.

          Interesting that the wild-cat strikes by the teachers aren’t viewed as negatively as the OWS protests. Maybe it’s because the teachers more effectively portray themselves as fighting on behalf of the children.

          Reply
      2. djrichard

        Regarding “In the mean time, we’re hoping we can perfect a ship of state. So it’s equally fair to ask, what’s the end game for that?”

        Now that I think about it, this is what his book “Zone 23” is getting at. It’s what a perfected ship of state can look like.

        Somebody else who was sort of getting at this same theme, from the view of the plebs, was the sci fi write Thomas Disch. E.g. see his book 334. Of course, this is a rich subject, mined by Huxley, Terry Gilliam, etc.

        Reply
        1. djrichard

          And giving this a bit more thought, this is what the “Metoo” movement and similar can be seen as. Perfecting the ship of state.

          Indeed, regime changing Trump at its core is about perfecting the ship of state:
          – Trump himself is seen as unworthy of being president
          – The electoral process was also seen as needing a redo, given it was supposedly “sullied” by Russia.

          It reminds me of what Baudrillard was getting at in Simulacra and Simulation in his statement about Watergate, that the scandal of Watergate was that it wasn’t a scandal. Rather, it was meant to divert attention from the real scandal that was what capitalism and war were doing to our people and other people. So to deflect, the powers that be determined that the ship of state needed to be perfected: by casting out Nixon.

          Reply
  31. Oregoncharles

    Re Kamala on sexwork: “• Courageous, and not especially hedged. Harris still supports SESTA, though.”
    Which means she’s either clueless – and as a lawyer, she’s supposed to understand things like the impact of laws – or utterly hypocritical.

    OTOH, it’s still good news; If someone like Harris supports it publicly, decriminalization is making real headway.

    Reply
  32. vidimi

    re the WEIRD puberty study, my hypothesis is that fatherless families in the US, where presumably the study was based, are poorer that families with fathers (1 income vs 2) and the mothers are busier (single mothers do the work of both parents and often work a second job to make up for the income) and therefore buy more fast food containing endocrine disruptors and other ills for their families. it’s the diet that leads to earlier puberty.

    Reply
    1. eg

      Did they control for the weight of the subjects? Fairly certain there is at least a correlation between adiposity and early puberty.

      And there is nothing like the SAD for promoting obesity …

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *