2:00PM Water Cooler 4/4/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“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


Biden (D) (1): “Abrams on Biden: ‘We cannot have perfection as a litmus test'” [The Hill]. • “I’m Neera Tanden, and I approved this message.”

Biden (D) (2): “Three more women come forward with allegations against Biden after pledge to change behavior” [The Hill].Biden’s statement: “‘Social norms have begun to change, they’ve shifted, and the boundaries of protecting personal space have been reset, and I get it,’ Biden said in the video. ‘I hear what they’re saying. I understand it. I’ll be much more mindful. That’s my responsibility, and I’ll meet it.’ A spokesperson for Biden declined to comment on the allegations and referred the Post to Biden’s video. The Hill has reached out to Biden for comment. Biden is widely expected to announce a bid for the presidency soon and has been seen as the front-runner in a large Democratic field.”

Buttigieg: “‘Mayor Pete’ Buttigieg is sweeping the media off their feet. Time for a few deep breaths.” [Margaret Sullivan, WaPo]. “before we breathlessly agree that Mayor Pete is the next Barack Obama — and sure to be the first millennial president — it might be wise to recall that he hasn’t even officially declared his candidacy. Deep breaths, everyone.” • Although he is, I believe, teasing an announcement in South Bend.

Gravel (D): “A Pair Of Leftist Teens Are Tired Of The Democratic Party’s “Bullshit.” They’re Launching A Presidential Campaign To Fix It.” [Buzzfeed]. “David Oks, 17, and Henry Wiliams, 18, met in high school and previously ran a mayoral campaign in suburban Ardsley, New York… Gravel gave Oks and Williams his blessing, and they filed paperwork with the Federal Elections Commission on his behalf to start working toward accepting donations to get Gravel on the debate stage. They know the Democratic National Committee’s rules to get onstage — you need to either hit a polling threshold or get 65,000 donations from people in 20 different states…. Gravel gave them access to his once-defunct Twitter account after Politico first reported that they had filed the campaign paperwork. Since then, they’ve been roasting other presidential candidates for their policy records, posting memes, and providing takes on the moral clarity needed in the Democratic Party in a Very Online voice that’s grown the account from under 4,000 to nearly 34,000 followers in a week; 200 people have signed up to volunteer for the nascent campaign.”

Ryan (D): “Rep. Tim Ryan announces presidential run” [The Hill]. “In jumping into the Democratic nominating contest, [Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio)] is betting that his credentials as a moderate from Ohio will help him appeal to centrist, working-class voters in the Midwestern states that Democrats are eager to win back in 2020.”

Sanders (D) (1): “UIC graduate workers get boost from Bernie Sanders on sixth day of strike” [Chicago Tribune]. • Sanders makes such statements regularly. How come we don’t see this from other candidates?

Sanders (D) (2):

Sanders (D) (3): “Show Us the Money” [Jacobin]. “It’s not that others in the crowded primary field can’t raise big money. Glitzy fundraisers and corporate schmoozing are second nature to Democrats. But the senator from Vermont has thrown them a curveball. By refusing to cozy up with titans of industry and relying instead on ordinary working people to fund both of his presidential campaigns, he’s turned Democrats’ most reliable fundraising strategies into a political liability. Presidential hopefuls who lack Bernie’s sizable small-donor base are awkwardly contorting themselves to both meet their fundraising goals and win the favor of an increasingly progressive constituency.”

Sanders (D) (4): “Bernie Sanders Is the Frontrunner. Obviously.” [The New Republic]. “certain someone is missing from this picture: the candidate who consistently polls first among declared candidates, and who, in the first quarter, raised $18 million from an astounding 900,000 donors. He is the frontrunner for the nomination until someone proves otherwise. And yet, Bernie Sanders is being treated as something of an afterthought, as the national press and Beltway pundits hop from one shiny object to the next.” • Odd!


“‘Unspoken Sexism’ Dampens Fundraising For Women Running In 2020” [HuffPo (RH)]. “[Brianna Wu, a software engineer, who ran for Congress in Massachusetts last year and plans to give it another shot in 2020,] said she was frustrated to see some of the male candidates pull ahead in online fundraising. ‘It was frustrating to me to see people like Bernie and Beto with a shallow command of the issues pulling in so much money,” she said. I think it speaks to the unspoken sexism in the Democratic party with fundraising.'” • Lol. Meanwhile, an article on women running in 2020 that doesn’t give one single mention to Tulsi Gabbard?

“Latino outreach or Google Translate? 2020 Dems bungle Spanish websites” [Politico]. Using Google to translate English text into Spanish is a trick used by high school students to avoid doing their Spanish homework — not something you’d expect to see from candidates for the highest office in the land. Yet several Democratic White House hopefuls appear to be doing precisely that. They’re posting passages in Spanish on their websites that bear striking similarities to the output from Google’s translation service, appearing to perform only minor cleanup before publishing the copy on their sites. While Google Translate can serve as a workable starting point, more often than not it needs a human hand to produce Spanish that would pass muster with a native speaker.” • It’s mu abuela all over again!


“Paul Ryan Says AOC Wasn’t Interested in His Advice: Didn’t Listen ‘To a Thing I Said'” [Mediate]. • And she’d listen, based on what?

Realignment and Legitimacy

“As it Works to Stifle Primary Challengers, DCCC Takes More Money from Corporate Lobbyists” [Sludge]. “The DCCC raised nearly $19 million in the first two months of this year, more money than it had raised by this point last election cycle, and the committee is relying more heavily on corporate lobbyists to collect checks. Lobbyists whose clients include health care, oil, gas, and coal interests, raised almost $440,000 for the DCCC in January and February, Federal Election Commission records show. Many of their clients oppose progressive priorities like a “Medicare for All” health-care system or a Green New Deal to mitigate climate change… This year, led by centrist Democratic Rep. Cheri Bustos of Illinois, the DCCC has already received almost as much money via donations bundled by corporate lobbyists than in all of 2017.” • It’s all about the benjamins ?!

“Cheri Bustos takes on the new left” [Politico]. “‘We don’t have time for games, we don’t have time for hugs and kisses,’ Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.), former chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, said in an interview, praising Bustos for taking a hard line to protect the party’s incumbents ahead of a difficult 2020 campaign.” • Jayapal comments: “It is not playing games for the Democratic party to be inclusive of all its members perspectives. I have refrained from commenting publicly on this issue until now, but I am extremely disappointed that there is no movement on this issue.”

“Interstate Crosscheck on the Verge of Collapse” [Greg Palast]. “Ten states in total have now withdrawn from the Interstate Crosscheck system, including in the past few weeks, Arizona, Colorado, Pennsylvania and in alliance with my co-litigant, Rev. Jesse Jackson, the state of Illinois. And Kansas, after Kobach lost his race for Governor, has stopped creating the purge list for Crosscheck states. Unfortunately, nearly a score of states still use Crosscheck. Worse, even those states which left Crosscheck continue to purge hundreds of thousands of voters who found themselves on Kobach’s lists in 2013 through 2017.” • Good news, though.

“America’s socialist surge is going strong in Chicago” [Micah Uetricht, Guardian]. “Add them up and you’ve got at least five, maybe six democratic socialists who will be on the 50-member Chicago city council. Few major American cities have seen even a single socialist councilor in generations; the third-largest city in the US could soon have half a dozen. It’s the largest socialist electoral victory in modern American history. The socialists won by strong, straightforward campaigning on working-class issues. Rosa, for example, made his race a referendum on affordable housing in a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood, painting big real estate developers as the enemy and demanding rent control in the city.” • But see Benjamin Studebaker’s cautionary tale of what happened in Pittsburgh if you want to know how fast a DSA chapter can be captured and go bad.

Stats Watch

Jobless Claims, week of March 30, 2019: “There have been cracks in the labor numbers the last several months and one of those cracks — initial jobless claims — is beginning to close” [Econoday]. “Initial claims came in much lower than expected for a second straight week.”

Challenger Job-Cut Report, March 2019: In what has yet to lead to a comparable rise in actual jobless claims, the number of lay-off announcements has clearly shifted higher over the last half year” [Econoday]. “Challenger’s data point squarely at a comparable shift higher in jobless claims which did begin to move up from historic lows late last year and early this year but have since moved back lower. There’s always an unknown time lag between announcements and layoffs but the risk for a rise in claims is clear. The results are also likely signaling a slowing in payroll growth ahead yet are not likely to affect expectations for tomorrow’s employment report where a substantial bounce-back from a weak February is the universal call.”

Housing: “Average Americans can’t afford a home in 70 percent of the country” [CBS]. “Out of 473 U.S. counties analyzed in a report, 335 listed median home prices more than what average wage earners could afford, according to a report from ATTOM Data Solutions. Among them are the counties that include Los Angeles and San Diego in California, as well as Miami-Dade County in Florida and Maricopa County in Arizona. New York City claimed the largest share of a person’s income to purchase a home, according to the report. While average earners nationwide need to spend only about one-third of their income on a home, residents in Brooklyn and Manhattan must shell out more than 115 percent of their income. In San Francisco, residents must spend 103 percent, and in Hawaii’s Maui County, it takes 101 percent. Homes were found to be affordable in Chicago, Cleveland, Houston, Detroit and Philadelphia.” • And Philly is a great town…

Housing: “Heaven or High Water” [Popula]. “Amazingly, in the face of these incontrovertible facts about the climate the business of [Miami] [uxury real estate is chugging along just fine, and I wanted to see the cognitive dissonance up close.” • Running gag: “It’s been fixed.”

The Bezzle: “Tesla Plunges 11% as Delivery Drop Deepens Demand Concerns” [Bloomberg]. “The electric-car maker delivered 63,000 vehicles in the three months that ended in March, down from 90,966 in the fourth quarter… Bloomberg’s experimental Model 3 tracker also missed the dip in Tesla’s production numbers. While the tool has outperformed the average estimate of Wall Street analysts in four out of five quarters, its prediction of 79,130 for the first three months of the year was much too high.” • Hmm.

The Bezzle: “Power drain” [Reuters]. “Elon Musk is driving Tesla into the mire. The electric-car maker suffered a big drop in both production and delivery in the first three months of the year, right as the company was supposed to be powering up to churn out up to 500,000 vehicles a year. Tweeting that goal landed Musk in hot water with the Securities and Exchange Commission; now it looks nigh on impossible…. The slump will send Tesla careening into the red for the quarter, though it has ‘sufficient cash on hand.’ That won’t last, though, if Musk cannot boost sales of its expensive, high-margin cars and the Model 3. Having enough capital on hand to power through problems would be the smart path to take. Musk’s constant refusal to consider doing so for most of the past two years now looks ever more dicey.”

The Bezzle: Tesla “autopilot” driving on the wrong side of the road (DK). Thread (videos):

Also, of course: “Moreover, there’s no way to report an autopilot bug from a customer car at all. Your best bet is capturing some dashcam footage and contacting them by email, but even that seems to be often futile.”

The Bezzle: Creepy indeed:

The Bezzle: “Uber CEO hopes to have self-driving cars in service in 18 months” [TechCrunch]. Note the date: 1/23/2018. Looks like the Clinton campaign isn’t the only institution that lights money on fire and throws it up in the air.

Tech: “Grindr Not Liable for Man Who Sent 1,000+ Sex-Seeking Men to His Ex-Boyfriend’s Home: Court” [Towlerroad]. • Platforms totally unproblematic…

Manufacturing: “First lawsuit filed in Ethiopian Airlines crash by the family of consumer advocate Ralph Nader’s niece” [ABC]. “The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago names Chicago-based Boeing, the manufacturer of the aircraft and Ethiopian Airlines as defendants. The suit also names Rosemount Aerospace Inc., the Delaware company that made the airplane’s flight control system known as MCAS, which is now under scrutiny by investigators.” • Oh, a new player: Rosemount.

Manufacturing: “Boeing’s 737 Max Isn’t Going to Fly Anywhere Soon” [Bloomberg]. “Today, Boeing continues to produce the 737 Max at full tilt, which will rapidly create billions of dollars of immobile plane inventory. This suggests the manufacturer is confident in the fixes that it has proposed, and that customers will be able to take delivery and fly the plane again before too long. But will they?” • Too big to fail?

Transportation: “Your First Look At The MTA’s New Subway Turnstile Tap Card Readers In the Wild” [Gothamist]. “Given the new electronic system’s reliance on smartphones, it also raises questions about privacy and data collection. New York City Transit President Andy Byford and Chrissy Ditmore, the director of strategy for Cubic Transportation System, addressed this during a UK International trade fair panel Wednesday. Regarding the potential to collect vast amounts of data from riders, Ditmore said, it’s happening already. ‘Anyone that owns a cell phone is sending your personal information, data movements, shopping your everything to someone already anyway,’ she said. ‘The reality is that ship has sailed, in the U.S.'” • Yes, you’ll be able to purchase a card with cash. By 2021. So far.

Transportation: “Freight railroads are overhauling their networks to run more like commercial airlines, and they’re looking for shippers to get on board. Norfolk Southern Corp. is the latest operator to embrace ‘precision-scheduled railroading,’ a tactic pioneered by the late rail executive Hunter Harrison. The operating plan boosted profits at rival CSX Corp. but… left some shippers grumbling over congestion and missed deliveries” [Wall Street Journal]. “Norfolk Southern is trying to avoid those problems as it works to speed the flow of goods by unclogging freight yards and running fewer trains. The rail operator is dismantling and reassembling schedules one yard at a time and says it’s bringing customers in during the planning process to reduce friction. Still, some shippers with their own freight cars are resisting efforts to prune their fleets.”

The Biosphere

“Global CO2 Emissions Hit an All-Time High in 2018; is a Hothouse Earth in our Future?” [Jeff Masters, Weather Underground]. “Global energy-related emissions of carbon dioxide jumped by 1.7% in 2018, reaching the highest levels ever recorded, 33.1 metric gigatons, announced the International Energy Agency (IEA) last week. The United States’ CO2 emissions grew by 3.1% in 2018, reversing a decline a year earlier, while China’s emissions rose by 2.5% and India’s by 4%. The global CO2 growth rate was the highest since 2013. Global energy consumption rose 2.3% in 2018, nearly twice the average rate of growth since 2010, and was driven by a robust global economy as well as higher heating and cooling needs in some parts of the world…. The authors of the Hothouse Earth paper have given us a convincing argument that even strong action to control greenhouse gas emissions and limit global warming to 2°C may not be enough to prevent the destruction of a livable climate for humans. They applaud the significant progress that has been made in driving the renewable energy revolution and in slowing down population growth, but emphasize that ‘widespread, rapid, and fundamental transformations will likely be required to reduce the risk of crossing the threshold and locking in the Hothouse Earth pathway.'” • And the 1% wants to save the 1%; the 10% wants to save the 10%; only the left wants to save the 90% — I would urge.

“Democratic Green New Deal Defectors Chart Their Own Climate Path” [Bloomberg]. “Casten is a Democratic Green New Deal defector, one of a group of moderates who are rejecting the progressive package that has become a lightning rod for critics and are instead crafting their own climate-change policies. Among the ideas some defectors are considering are measures that would impose a national mandate for the use of cleaner power sources or implementing a carbon tax. Many, such as Virginia freshman Democratic Representative Elaine Luria, defeated Republican incumbents in moderate-to-conservative districts and helped their party win back the House. ‘The Green New Deal is aspirational,’ Luria said. ‘What we plan to do is offer tangible, achievable things.'” • What could go wrong?

“Highly compatible: pollinator-friendly solar projects and farming” [Minnesota Post (Michael)]. “Last fall, our team of graduate students at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies conducted a cost-benefit analysis of solar development on farmland in Minnesota, and the results were illuminating. By developing projects as pollinator-friendly — the practice of planting deep-rooted grasses and wildflowers throughout a project site — solar developers have the potential to provide habitat for threatened pollinator species, restore important prairie ecosystems, and boost the crop yields of nearby fields. That’s right: Our model suggests a net gain in food production is possible when highly pollinator-dependent crops are grown near pollinator-friendly solar projects — even when accounting for the land taken out of production by the solar project. While unexpected, this result has sound basis in research and practice. Iowa State University research extending over 10 years has shown that prairie strips in agricultural areas increase the abundance of native pollinators while also decreasing runoff and increasing soil and nutrient retention; crop pollination scientists in New Jersey and Michigan have published peer-reviewed research showing that an increased abundance of wild pollinators boosts yields for specialty crops. Now we have the potential to add solar to the mix.” • Lovely!

“Filming 30 feet down: underwater movie studio opens in Belgium” [Reuters]. “[A] brand-new underwater studio… = has opened in Belgium — a 9-metre (30-foot) deep pool specially built as a movie lot. The studio includes a moveable floor that means sets constructed on dry land can be lowered into the water. Poolside cranes lift in boats or other props, and staff are on hand to train actors.” • That will certainly be useful when the Antarctic ice sheet melts.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“Historians expose early scientists’ debt to the slave trade” [Science]. “Although he rarely left London, [an apothecary and naturalist named James Petiver] ran a global network of dozens of ship surgeons and captains who collected animal and plant specimens for him in far-flung colonies. Petiver set up a museum and research center with those specimens, and he and visiting scientists wrote papers that other naturalists (including Carl Linnaeus, the father of taxonomy) drew on. Between one-quarter and one-third of Petiver’s collectors worked in the slave trade, largely because he had no other options: Few ships outside the slave trade traveled to key points in Africa and Latin America. Petiver eventually amassed the largest natural history collection in the world, and it never would have happened without slavery. Petiver wasn’t unique. By examining scientific papers, correspondence between naturalists, and the records of slaving companies, historians are now seeing new connections between science and slavery and piecing together just how deeply intertwined they were.” • Obvious when you think about it!

“Reparations bill wins new momentum in Congress” [The Hill]. “Rep. James Clyburn (S.C.), a CBC member and the third-ranking House Democrat, has long fought to eliminate racial disparities on jobs, wages, housing and wealth. But he’s repeatedly argued against reparations in the form of cash payments, saying it would simply be too difficult to implement. ‘You’ve got to satisfy two problems, one of which is the legality of it and the other is the practicality of it,’ Clyburn said in an interview last month. Clyburn highlighted just one of the thorny questions a reparations panel would have to resolve, noting that mixed-raced people, following the Civil War, had access to certain schooling that black former slaves did not. ‘Are mulattoes descendants of slaves? Yes, they are. But they got a leg up,’ he said. ‘So I don’t know how you can fairly deal with that. That’s the practicality part.’ Clyburn is instead pushing for direct investments in the nation’s poorest regions. Known as the 10-20-30 plan, Clyburn’s model operates under the simple premise that federal development dollars are best spent in the areas of greatest need.'” • This bill is, I think, HR40 (another plan to have a plan, which isn’t a bad thing). I think that Clyburn’s objection on mulattoes, which is typical, is answered by the two tests Darity proposes: (1) proof of ancestry, (2) proof of a claim of identity. (The 1870 Census was the first to include ex-slaves, and also included names (!). That, plus insurance records and records of sale should provide a good start on the proof of ancestry issue.)

Class Warfare

“Community, Democracy, and Mutual Aid” (PDF) [John Michael Colón, Mason Herson-Hord, Katie S. Horvath, Dayton Martindale, & Matthew Porges, The Next System Project]. “This next system we imagine is a libertarian ecosocialism grounded in the direct participation of citizens rather than the unaccountable authority of elites; in the social ownership of the economy rather than exploitation; in the equality of human beings rather than the social hierarchies of race, gender, nationality, and class; in the defense of our common home and its nonhuman inhabitants rather than unfettered environmental destruction; and in the restoration of community rather than isolation. Above all else, our aim is to lay out a framework for crafting such a society from the ground up—to, as the Wobblies declared, build the new world in the shell of the old.” • Hmm.

News of the Wired

“Cats know their names — whether they care is another matter” [Nature]. “‘Cats are just as good as dogs at learning — they’re just not as keen to show their owners what they’ve learnt,’ says John Bradshaw, a biologist at the University of Bristol, UK, who specializes in human–animal interactions…. [Jennifer Vonk, a cognitive psychologist at Oakland University], who owns several cats, often debates with her husband whether their pets know their own names. Turner says that both of his two cats seem as likely to respond to the other’s name as their own — particularly at feeding time.” •

“Decoding Dictatorial Statues untangles the agency of sculpted bodies” (photos) [It’s Nice That]. • “Relational objects.” Hmm….

Fun with machine tools (Bob):

* * *

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 (MGL):

MGL writes: “White mountain ash berries after a big snow, January 2017, Anchorage, AK. Bohemian waxwings love ‘em!”

Readers, I’m running short on plants. Maybe time for some shots of spring? Or at least mud?

* * *

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. bob

    The Congressman from Credit Suisse wasn’t listened to!

    Mr. Ryan and the corporate dems are on the same page. Who says bi-partisanship is dead?

    1. John k

      I never said that. Every trump nom except supreme received multiple dem votes… and no interest from dccc in primarying any of them. Banks, pharma, insurance, wars, it’s all bipartisan.
      But very happy to hear AOC didn’t listen to any garbage from Paul Ryan.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The treatment of Paul Ryan compared to Sarah Palin is a great example of how women are treated so much more harshly than men or are held to higher standards. Paul Ryan is a dumb, nasty disgrace for a human being with the primary qualification of making Mitt Romney appear more human and vaguely intelligent by comparison. Palin on the other hand was a random, dopey local Republican elected who was trumped up during that oil scandal among the Alaskan GOP which cut down their numbers.

        1. Pat

          Or how men are not treated harshly enough?

          Not saying there is not a double standard, just that no one should be given the pass that Ryan was given for what feels like forever.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            In the case of Palin, there was a bunch of outright awful stuff. Don’t get me wrong, she’s a doofus and probably mean to a certain extent, but her rise in politics was due to scandal culling the GOP herd in Alaska. Palin became a national joke because McCain thought he was going to hook up with her. McCain was beautified a few months ago. Its reminiscent of the HRC stuff from the 90’s.

            I don’t mean Tina Fey. That’s just SNL. They have a week. There was a constant barrage of cruelty. Whereas Joe Biden and Paul Ryan, men who have never said anything remotely intelligent on their own accord and are at best capable of parroting a few talking points provided to them are treated as serious.

            1. Pat

              I was not denying your point that Palin was treated roughly. Although I thought most of what I saw was appropriate, and I am getting the impression you don’t. Or maybe you saw some outside of what I did. But nevermind My point is that Ryan and Biden and McCain and Graham and…deserve equally rough treatment not because it would be fairer but because of their statements, actions, policies. All of which deserve strong, uncompromising critical examination. All our politicians do. Most never get it.

    2. WheresOurTeddy

      I heard Trotsky was not interested in what Edward Mandell House had to say either.

    1. Krystyn Walentka

      Thanks for that link. My hobby is investigating how all types of EMF radiation, from household Low Frequency EMFs to these Millimeter Radio waves, effect biological Ion Channels, specifically Voltage Gated Calcium Ion Channels and how genetic changes (CACNA1C for the nerds) might put certain people at more risk by increasing intracellular calcium and increasing oxidative stress.

      There is enough evidence that more tests should be done before rolling this out. But it won’t happen in the U.S.

      In Wired today:

      And not that it will help with climate change any either…

      1. Hopelb

        Dear Krystyn Walentka,
        What equipment would I need to investigate EMF’s? We have a community lab here inPittsburgh,Pa and this would be a great community project.
        Thank You,

        1. Krystyn Walentka

          I have the Gigahertz Solutions ME3840B for Low Frequency (household wiring) EMFs and access to an Acoustimeter AM-10 for the Radio Frequency ranges up to 8 Ghz.

          They are both near or over $300 but you get what you pay for.

          I think Low Frequency EMFs are tragically over looked and have seen houses with very bad wiring have reading well above even conservative safety thresholds.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > My hobby is investigating how all types of EMF radiation, from household Low Frequency EMFs to these Millimeter Radio waves, effect biological Ion Channels

        Quite a hobby. Do we have any other readers doing similar work?

  2. Cat Maniac

    My current cat not only knows her name (e.g. she’ll turn her head even if people other than me say it) but comes running to me when I call for her. This is in direct contrast though to every other cat I’ve had who had more cat-like reactions (see: uncaring ambivalence) to their names.

    1. Peter VE

      My cats seem to know, but not care about, the sounds I use to identify them. Luigi, our indoor/outdoor cat, knows that a two note (high/low) whistle means it’s time to come inside (and get fed 9 times out of 10).

      1. Charlie

        I use the two note whistle as well, and she comes almost every time. And I was adopted by a feral.

    2. Conal Tuohy

      When I was a child, our family pet, Pippin, had a litter of three kittens which she herself named: “Mao”, “Brrrrr-Ang”, and “Rrrrrrang-Gang”

      She would call them by name to suckle, and to learn to climb the willow tree in the back yard. Of the three, we kept only Mao, who had the shortest and easiest name to pronounce.

      1. human

        This is precious. Leave it to a child to notice the nuances of a mother cat. We can learn so much from children if we would only listen

    3. Procopius

      My niece and great-niece are providing food and lodging to an orange tabby kitten. Based on her size I would guess she’s nine or ten months old. She normally stays in my great-niece’s room, but if the door is left open she may walk around to survey the rest of her domain. She’s named Tong (gold, because of her color), and recognizes her name, but when called will deliberate over whether to respond or not. I was quite surprised to find that she also understands the hand gesture for “come here.” She seems to be willing to humor me, because she did.

  3. Brindle


    His issues with women and girls have been out there for awhile—-this Time article is over four years old. You would think his staff would have been ready for all of this.

    This is not anything a stranger (or anyone) should say to a teenage girl:

    —Biden was “multi-tasking” when he had his arm wrapped around a teenager while swearing in her mother, Senator Joni Ernst. Biden also told the teen “I hope mom has a big fence around your house.”


      1. Hepativore

        I expect privately-run debtor’s prisons and labor camps for indebted students and other people to crop up any day now.

      2. Brindle

        Yea, what’s really bad about Biden are the neoliberal policies he supports not his inappropriate behavior.

        1. Pat

          I don’t know about that. Considering the lack of respect for women his inappropriate behavior shows probably extends to his choice of policy I think it is pretty bad as well.

        2. nippersmom

          What’s really bad about Biden is all of the above.

          If the Dems rig the process again to give him the nomination, they will once again lose to Trump. I wonder if they’ll try to blame Russia again, or opt for a new scapegoat.

          1. Chris

            I think it’s pretty obvious who will be blamed. Operation Jewish Scapegoat was started early by random anonymice Biden aids saying Sanders’s people were behind the recent allegations.

            They’ll roast Bernie alive until he cries uncle and then they’ll ask him to campaign for whatever corpse they push over the nomination threshold. It will be Bernie’s fault if they lose the primaries and also Bernie’s fault if they don’t win the general. There is no desire for agency on the part of the DNC. They can’t fail, they can only be failed. And so it goes…

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              If perhaps Sanders receives and KNOWS he receives support from enough millions of people who understand the deep evil of the Clinton-Biden-Obama DemParty, perhaps Sanders will feel that he NEVER has to cry uncle.

        3. drumlin woodchuckles

          The inappropriate behavior is more easily weaponised. Perhaps is enough people become informed of the inappropriate behavior and get disgusted by it; some of them will hang around to learn about the various evil policies he’s done.

    1. Roger Smith

      I can’t even stand the reporting of “allegations”. He does these things. There are countless examples on video, even several from the same events. We had to hear for months about how Kavanaugh was Satan because of a story of assault. But video evidence… meh whatever. Maybe it happened, maybe Sanders made it up.

  4. NotTimothyGeithner

    ‘We cannot have perfection as a litmus test’”

    Ah so the bar for perfection is quite low. Perhaps, we could just start mailing dictionaries. Clearly, Team Blue elites are in desperate need of vocabulary work. Their misuse of “pragmatism” for example is egregious.

    1. whoamolly

      ‘We cannot have perfection as a litmus test’”

      What else can the corporate Ds say when someone tells them, “the dogs don’t like the dog food…”

      I personally think Mr Biden is delusional if he thinks he has a realistic chance after the Creepy Uncle Joe meme.

      1. Kurtismayfield

        His presidential runs were disasterous. Did he ever get more than 5% in any of his Presidential runs? Besides as a Senator, he has been horrid as a politician. He has zero national appeal.

    2. zagonostra

      “Let not perfection be the enemy of the good” was spouted by O’Rourke on a stump speech recently as justification for why he thinks a piecemeal approach to addressing the horrible immoral healthcare system in the U.S.

      Wiki gives me the origins of this phrase below, but I faintly recall reading it in a Supreme Court case in my college days that now has long faded in my memory…hate to keep seeing it, like the “litmus test” phrase, used for not doing what needs to be done and done yestderday.

      Perfect is the enemy of good, or more literally the best is the enemy of the good, is an aphorism which is commonly attributed to Voltaire, who quoted an Italian proverb in his Dictionnaire philosophique in 1770: “Le meglio è l’inimico del bene”.[2] It subsequently appeared in his moral poem, La Bégueule, which starts[3]

      1. Phacops

        Awwwww . . . hell. The message of “perfect is the enemy of the good” was spouted innumerable times by the Obama apologists over at Daily Kos against reality-based critics in an attempt to enforce thought purity at that site.

      2. Allegorio

        This was also Barry Obama’s mantra during the jettisoning of the Public Option during the Health Care “Reform” debate leading up to the “Affordable” Care Act. It should be the motto of the DNC. We are going to hear a lot more of it during the coming election season. The real motto of the corporate Democrats is “Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate.”

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Even if the perfect is the enemy of the good, that doesn’t mean we should make “as imperfect as possible” our north star on policy.

          Single payer was chosen by activists many years ago as a pragmatic, centrist solution, as opposed to a truly “government run” health care system like the UK’s NHS or the VA.

    3. Pat

      Reminds me of all the times I heard some Democratic consultant talk about how important bipartisanship was to voters. Clearly an excuse for the unappealing dogs’ dinner that is their chosen candidate/elected official

    1. Lee

      She’ll have to scrape by on a measly $37 billion. I’m sure she’ll be just fine. No doubt there is more to their settlement than will be disclosed in the press. My comment is in no way meant to imply that I think Bezos is anything but a complete dickhead. ; )

      1. jo6pac

        We might want to wait to see what else she’ll receive in the future. Homes, allowance, children allowances, jet, and who knows what. I believe she deserves it all and hopefully she cash’s out the stock and enjoys the rest of her life away from amazon swamp.

        1. WheresOurTeddy

          neither of them deserve even 1% of all they’ve hoarded thusfar

          being a billionaire is a character flaw

      2. allan

        Maybe he had every divorce lawyer in the US on retainer.

        A commenter at the Seattle Times raises an interesting question:

        If he gets 75% of community property in a state where he should only get 50% does he have to pay federal income tax on the 25% bonus he gets?

        Debt forgiveness or cancellation can be taxable.
        What about an unnecessarily generous divorce settlement?
        Surely the IRS will be right on the case … just as soon as they’re finished auditing
        every EITC recipient in Mississippi.

  5. Grant

    “Abrams on Biden: ‘We cannot have perfection as a litmus test’”

    I am expecting “perfection” if I don’t want someone to be president that worked on behalf of credit card companies his whole career, got involved in politics by opposing bussing, voted for the Iraq War, horrible crime bills he pushed for, his bankruptcy bill, his support of horrible trade policies, his performance in the Anita Hill hearings, his creepy behavior and his mountain of stupid and tone deaf comments? I, in having a problem with his record and past actions, am expecting “perfection”? So, I take it that if Brian Kemp were to switch over to the Democratic Party and ran for president, that I couldn’t object to him on policy, his record?

    Please, Tanden’s lunch pal, tell me when it is okay to not like and oppose someone’s record. If someone is “pro-life” and against the LGBTQ community, would it be “ideological purity” to oppose them? I am so tired of these empty people. It was telling when she accepted a position at the CAP.

    1. Grant

      She seems to be talking about perfection more in regards to his behavior with women in that article, although the phrase is often used to mean something else.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Even if this what Abrams is referring to, its even more dishonest than saying “don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”

        Joe Biden doesn’t know how to behave in public. If he was anything other than a United States Senator all these years, it would have been addressed given the regularity of his shortcomings.

    2. freedomny

      This whole Biden touchy thing has really got me riled up – as well as the Abrams remark. To me, whether or not you think Biden acted in a creepy uncle somewhat sexual way, it’s also about respect, privilege and white supremacy.

      A couple of months ago I was walking my dog with a friend of mine. She’s a black woman who is definitely not as progressive as I – would describe her as a centrist Democrat. We ran into a mutual “acquaintance” who is a middle age white woman who happens to be a BIG Trump supporter and who I believe (as does my friend) is a closet racist. Anyway, the WOC was fighting a cold and upon hearing this, the Trump supporter started to really invade the WOC’s personal space. I’m talking fussing with her hat, wrapping her scarf more tightly around her neck – all in the show of great concern. But it was “extreme” – it lasted a good 30-40 secs. I was watching, fascinated, waiting for my friend to clock her….I certainly would have….but she didn’t. When I asked her later if she was bothered by the Trump supporter’s behavior she admitted she was, but felt too sick to make an issue of it. What bothered her were the same things that bothered me: a lack of space respect – as if this person had a “right” to manhandle her i.e. a white person can do this to a person of color….it is their right and privilege. This is how I feel about Biden’s behavior towards women and girls….he thinks it is his right as a white older male and he doesn’t actually “respect” them….

      So I would say to Stacy Abrams – No, perfection isn’t a litmus test. Respect, however, IS.

      1. Fiery Hunt

        Wow…that is the best illustration/explanation of the core issue I’ve seen yet.

      2. Stillfeelinthebern

        Thanks for your story.

        I’m waiting to see the video of Uncle Joe smelling the hair and kissing the head of a young male politician. Or rubbing the shoulders of a man. Any of these behaviors with men. Find that video for me Ms Tanden.

        It’s all about power to just do what YOU want. Where was staff? Telling him to knock it off. Where was the “what is appropriate” for workplace training?

        Why did Uncle J take so long to get it? Jeeze, #metoo started when? 18 months ago?

  6. Lemmy Caution

    Biden’s statement reveals what a squalid weasel he is:

    ‘Social norms have begun to change, they’ve shifted, and the boundaries of protecting personal space have been reset, and I get it,’ Biden said in the video. ‘I hear what they’re saying. I understand it. I’ll be much more mindful. That’s my responsibility, and I’ll meet it.’

    Translation: It used to be normal to grab a woman or girl I don’t know by the shoulders, smell her hair, rub noses with her and kiss her head. Today that’s frowned on though for some reason and I finally get it. No harm no foul, right?

    1. WJ

      Team Biden must be *very* confident indeed that no new allegations will emerge the gravity of which will overwhelm this (intentionally avuncular) “new social norms” schtick being played by Joe.

      But experience has shown that if somebody (usually some man) really does have–let us call it–an *issue* in this area of life, it is likely to be recurrent, habitual, and more grave than initial appearances suggest….time will tell I suppose…

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        If you thought Team Clinton was bad, imagine the people who gravitated towards Joe Biden.

        1. John k

          If they’re not as warlike, they’re not as bad.
          Mild groping is bad, starting wars is worse.

    2. Sol

      I know. I thought that was precious.

      “Assuming I’ve done nothing wrong here, I’m left to conclude its become a sensitive ol’ world. But that’s okay, I’m a sensitive kind of guy, and moving forward in these modern, thoughtful times – can I just take a moment to tell everyone here today what being sensitive means, for my life? Lets get real for a moment…”

      1. Lemmy Caution

        I think Jennifer Palmieri says it best regarding old Joe’s frequent displays of “physical affection” while on the job:

        “It was unusual behavior for a work setting, yes, but he is someone who has endured a lot of personal loss in his life and wears his emotions on his sleeve. In my experience, his overly affectionate behavior was his way of putting more love and support in the world.”

        I see now. It’s like when the job interviewer asks the applicant to name their biggest weakness and the killer response is, “Sometimes I work too hard.” Old Joe isn’t creepy; he just cares too much.

        1. Sol

          Truth. Perhaps we should encourage the simple apology framing of “I’m sorry; I have learned something by this”. The current apology-by-way-of-minimizing/virtue signals feels shop-worn and lacking substance. Any Facebook exec can do it, it isn’t special.

          OT and yet inspired by your post:
          I have been lectured for working too hard. Of all the many conspiracy theories floating around, the one that says CERN flipping that collider on broke our reality and pushed us into an alternate is the most personally believable. At some point, we seem to have hit peak reality and everything since has been an algorithmic parody of the 90’s.

  7. Lee

    If Teslas can’t tell left from right it’s a good thing that, unlike Boeing, they don’t have to contend with up and down.

    What, the new BMWs won’t have vampire recognition capability? How disappointing. If all you have to do is step into the roadway to stop one of these vehicles it should prove a boon to hijackers and highwaymen. So many things to look forward to.

  8. none

    I gather that this 5G thing is supposed to speed up mobile data by 1000x or more. So instead of sending my phone a megabyte of javascript bloatware with every 140 character tweet, they’ll be able to send a gigabyte of it! Let’s hear it for progress!!!

    1. Lee

      But will my phone still function as a phone? Unless an upgrade will make me breakfast in bed, I’m just not that interested.

    2. KevinD

      As with most tech innovations, the hype on 5G is out of control. There is a lot of work to be done and money to be spent. Interestingly, I just read where Brussels has put a halt on it’s rollout over radiation concerns.

      1. Lepton1

        You sell stuff by talking up every possible good side and ignoring the downsides.

        I read someplace that the original telephone was supposed to deliver live opera to distant towns in the western territories. Actually we got robo-calls and telemarketers.

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      My smart phone [which isn’t very smart] is too smart for me. My daughter’s friend ripped the antenna off my dumb flip-phone and I haven’t been able to find a replacement antenna. I procrastinate getting a replacement flip-phone [too cheap — but I should talk to my local Verizon store to see if a dumb phone might reduce my phone charges … that definitely goes onto my todo list].

      As someone who misses pay-phones and old-fashioned landline phones [Verizon has thoroughly mucked up local landline service — used to have one] I can’t understand why anyone would want 5G or 4G or anything more than simple phone service. I’d rather have more widespread municipal wi-fi if I need Internet outside my home of the local library — which is very very rarely. [Yes, I am a grumpy old-guy.]

      1. The Rev Kev

        ‘Yes, I am a grumpy old-guy.’

        What, you mean that you miss simple stuff that just worked?

  9. Big River Bandido

    Bravo to Sanders for pointing out the background behind MLK’s death — the Martin Luther King holiday should be on April 4, as a reminder of his sacrifice.

    It’s richly ironic that Biden’s career is ending with such an awkward chord progression. He didn’t need to run this year. And he shouldn’t have — videos of his speaking clearly show that his mind and body are in decline; he could have just stayed home, played the role of elder statesman, and basked in the glory of his life’s service to the debt industry. He seems oblivious to all the skeletons that would take him down, and to the way a modern presidential campaign is run. (His campaign organization reminds me more of Humphrey than Obama.) I’ve always believed Biden was just testing the waters for some reason, that he wasn’t going to actually formally declare, that he would ultimately decide against it for financial reasons. Now, he’s left with no graceful way out of the race. Or into it. Schadenfreude.

    As for Bernie Sanders and Tulsi Gabbard, if they’re being alternately ignored and dumped on, that’s a good thing. Trump was very shrewd to appeal to Americans’ distrust of the corporate media. Until the first reliable polls of the early contests start to come in late this fall, the media — which *must* have a story to sell tell — invents one. Part of their well-worn routine is to go from one candidate to another: sampling them, dissecting them in front of the public, then when their poll numbers dive they suck the life out of them and throw away the core before moving on to the next. Sanders already went through this in 2016 (minus the decline in poll numbers), but one by one all the other candidates are now being subjected to this — and taken a dive. They have no reason to run — austerity has no constituency, by and large the voters are now wise to shallow smooth-talkers with no reason for running other than ego, and there’s no longer a Democrat coalition that can put a neoliberal in the White House.

    Having all these stalking horses lined up so early in the race is turning out to be a very convenient development for Bernie Sanders. Having the only truly potent political organization — complete with donors, volunteers, canvassing, media, a reason to run, and a vision for the country — means a lot more than a fawning, fanboy media.

    1. Expat2uruguay

      A very astute observation. I think what you’re saying is that Bernie benefits from the media over-focus on the field of candidates in order to sell eyeballs. As the pundits tear down the rest of the field, Bernie will be left standing because of the campaign-developed-assets that Lambert talks about. Cool! I want to see that!

      1. Cal2

        How can anyone compare the mayor of a backwater city, to
        Tulsi Gabbard, a fifteen year U.S. Army Major with combat experience, an athlete, serving over 6 years in Congress, and as a member of the Armed Services, Homeland Security, and Foreign Affairs Committees, Tulsi has been a leading voice fighting to end regime change wars.


        The more corporate and the phoney safe alternate media plays someone like Buttgig up, the less of a threat they are to them.


        1. Chris

          I’ll be charitable and assume the “Buttgig” reference was a misspelling and not a slur. I’m not sure what you were specifically talking about though. Bernie has a lot more in his past than being a mayor of a backwater New England town. Or was that another reference to South Bend?

          Regardless, neither Sanders nor Gabbard is interested in promoting their messages by trashing other people. So I’m not sure why you think your comment advances the discussion or helps encourage others to take an interest in the candidate you’re supporting.

      2. Big River Bandido

        That’s the basic idea. The “stalking horse” is a tried-and-true political tactic in which a more likely candidate waits in the wings and lets the candidates who declare early take all the slings and arrows from the media and the voters. It’s used not only to shoot down the early candidates but to test issues and themes for the campaign, and keep the favorite out of the hot sunlight for too long. Richard Nixon used George Romney to perfection as a stalking horse in 1968. Romney’s campaign tanked early, and Nixon was prepared to step in at the right moment.

        The difference in the dynamic this year is that the candidate is being kept in the shade by the media rather than by his own volition. But this works to his advantage. He’s already been “vetted”. And the voters by and large don’t trust those doing the “vetting” anyway.

    2. WJ

      I think the key to understanding the Biden nomination–and the DNC hypocrisy surrounding his established behavior with women–is that he’s not running to win the Presidency.

      He’s running to keep Bernie Sanders from winning the Democratic nomination.

      Most of the “moderate” Democratic candidates, I suspect, are running for exactly the same purpose.

      This plan might easily backfire, as several commentators have pointed out. What if Bernie wins early and often enough to establish a clear lead, and the “moderates” eat away at each other?

      But I suspect that this contingency has already been taken into consideration by the powers that be–Perez, Podesta, Tanden, etc. are not stupid people after all–and that a plan has already been worked out to address it.

      Things could get very, very ugly before all is said and done.

      1. Pat

        What of the last decade or two has given you the impression that Perez, Podesta, Tanden, etc are not stupid people? The huge losses? The most qualified candidate ever!? Failure to campaign in rust belt states? Using a form of password as their password? Thinking no one would ever vote for Trump? Democrats can appeal to moderate Republicans?

        Just curious.

        1. WJ

          I don’t think that the primary aim of Perez, Podesta, and Tanden has been to put the Democratic Party in the best position to win as many elections as possible. I think the primary aim of these people has been to increase their own private wealth and power (and the wealth and power of their friends) while maintaining a stranglehold on the Democratic Party. They’ve been pretty good at that.

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          Perez, Podesta, Tanden etc. are not stupid people. They are smart people. If one thinks they are stupid because “where are the DemParty electoral victories?” under their watch; one is mistaken as to what their real agenda is.

          Their real agenda is to prevent any New Deal Revivalism from reaching any policy influence within the DemParty. And until the Berniecrats can purge , burn and exterminate the Perezes, the Podestas, the Tandens, etc. out of the DemParty, we can’t say that they are stupid people.

      2. Watt4Bob

        Ding, ding, ding!

        Yes, exactly!

        The whole intent of the DNC gang is to remain the DNC gang.

        Their gang is capable of digesting* a $Billion for a presidential campaign, and they’re not about to let loose of the trickle-down wealth and power that entails.

        * this implies how I would characterize the transubstantiation they achieved, turning money into merde.

      3. Big River Bandido

        But I suspect that this contingency has already been taken into consideration by the powers that be–Perez, Podesta, Tanden, etc. are not stupid people after all–and that a plan has already been worked out to address it.

        I agree that nearly all the candidates are in the race to deny the nomination to Sanders. It just doesn’t seem to be working.

        As for the bit about Perez, Podesta and Tanden: they are “smart” in the Thomas Frank sort of way, which is only to say that they went to the “right” schools and ingratiated themselves with the “right” people. In terms of actual achievement and real intelligence, they’re nothing but pikers and frauds. Podesta’s computer password was “p@ssword”, and the campaign marked all the passwords on a dry-erase board in his office, to which even low-level staffers were allowed access. Neera Tanden’s excratory tweets show her to be not only politically stupid, but tone deaf. And then there’s Perez… . If these people have a plan already worked out, I’m sure it will be entertaining to watch.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          I would imagine part of their plan involves keeping enough “credible” nomination seekers in the race all the way to the convention to get enough votes and hence delegates so as to keep Sanders from getting a First Ballot Victory number of delegates at the convention. That is all they have to do to gain victory over Sanders. And they only have to do it once.

          That is why the idea of pre-agreed-to delegate-pooling between Sanders and Gabbard comes up now and then. If , let us say, Gabbard comes to the convention with one more delegate than Sanders and all the Dynamic Duo’s delegates added together would be a first-ballot-winning number of delegates, would the Sanders supporters and therefor the Sanders delegates be able to bear the thought of all unanimously voting for Gabbard on the First Ballot? Because that would be a way to use the combined numbers of delegates to beat down the Mainstream DemParty plan.

  10. Pat

    Had two unsettling conversations over the last couple of days. One was to be expected. The other not so much. Suffice it to say I don’t think the Gods are going to let us lose Uncle Joe and Mayor Pete as quickly as we should.

    The one was with someone I know is an anti socialist who probably had a moment where they liked Trump when he started the regime change meme for Venezuela, and is torn between her feminist ideas and the Floridian Baptista loving Cubans who never met a right wing Republican they didn’t love. She still thinks Biden has the best chance to win, bases it on polls and a clear confusion as to what Trump’s appeal was. Her only goal, as stated, is to beat Trump. And she is not uneducated, considers herself a supporter of independent media. The second was a confirmed leftist who is impressed with Butteigeig;s fundraising and openly gay military background. Not getting into the real questions of the military background, I merely pointed out a few of Butteigeig’s more questionable statements. Still telling me to just wait. I personally think any Democrat who wants to beat Trump had better recognize that job losses to trade are a huge issue with his voters and pooh-poohing them as not recognizing the evils of automation is…well…a sure loser. (The fact that he is this year’s Obama, as in unknown but making the right noises with no commitment, should have anyone who knows what a disaster that was breaking out the crosses and garlic without considering his abilities in the horse race.)

    1. Expat2uruguay

      I like that mayor Pete is in the race. I liked that he will be able to join the televised debates. That’s worthwhile to me and I think it’s worthwhile to other voters as well. It opens the conversation. I think the election of a president is about a lot more than who actually wins the title. Now is not the time to narrow the field, now is the time to allow for a wide range of discussion of ideas.

      1. WJ

        “I think the election of a president is about a lot more than who actually wins the title. Now is not the time to narrow the field, now is the time to allow for a wide range of discussion of ideas.”

        I am sorry, but these two sentences caused my BS detection meter to sound an alarm.

        First, the election of a president *is* about who actually wins the title. Second, just because you have lots of candidates doesn’t mean you have a “wide range of discussion of ideas.” Most of the Democratic candidates–including Butteigig–have more or less the same idea, marketed in different ways, and it’s not a good one. Only Gabbard, Sanders, and Warren (in that order, I think) could be said to have different ideas than these other candidates. Which is why (in that same order) they are continually attacked, discounted, and ignored.

        1. jrs

          There are two benefits 1) winning the title 2) opening up debate.

          Winning the title is almost certainly LESS than it seems, as if R’s still control the Senate not a darn thing is likely to get done. The only thing that could change this is 1) coattails large enough to flip the Senate, hard as it’s the least democratic body of government where a tiny percentage of the population controls it 2) events, another great recession for instance could change everything.

          Opening up the debate may or may not be more than it seems. Remember so far that’s mostly what Sanders has done. That’s all AOC and her talk of a GND has done. We have no policy from that as of now, nor are we likely to (with R’s the Senate, yea you got it, and centrist Dems don’t always help either). But an opened up debate and events, or a real change in congress and then it starts to matter.

          1. Allegorio

            Trust me, Senator Sanders is going to have coat tails not seen since 1964. Progressives know that he needs a Congress to get anything done and those million volunteers will be out there supporting a progressive Congress. Why do you think the DCCC is already threatening to blacklist consultants who primary corporate Democrats. They can see the writing on the wall and they are scared. The gravy train is about to run out of steam. This has been a long time coming. Support for a Progressive alternative is irrepressible. This is an historic moment. You are either on the right side of history, or prepare to be crushed.

        2. Shonde

          As of April 3rd, Gabbard has 61,029 unique donors per her Twitter page. Getting close to the debate stage.

      2. Pat

        What wonderful ideas and positions has he supported that need to be in the debate?

        The more I think about UBI the more I think it is a hideous idea, but I want Yang in so it will be discuss. I would love to see Gravel in, also to present ideas. And I’m giving to Gabbard so the most anti-war candidate we have can be in there. If I’ve missed some policy or position that Buttigeig has presented I’d love to hear about it.

        Just know that I want anyone who doesn’t fully support Medicare for All/single payer as laid out by Jaypal, Sanders et al out ASAP. And considering his comments, I’m pretty damn sure he is smartly letting current Medicare confuse what is on the table for Medicare for All on purpose not from ignorance. As in trying to be for it without really being for it.

        1. Expat2uruguay

          The more I think about UBI the more I think it is a hideous idea, but I want Yang in so it will be discuss.

          I guess I feel similarly about Mayor Pete. Even though his ideas involve incrementalism on Healthcare, I like the sensibilities that he brings to the discussion. I realize that he’s short on details, using more of a moral argument , but I like hearing things framed in moral terms and I think that’s been missing from the Democratic Party. That’s why I like him, and I don’t understand the need for a purity test right now.
          My vote still belongs to Bernie, but I’ve contributed to the campaigns of Tulsi and Pete, because I want to hear more about what they have to say. I guess when it comes to Pete, it has more to do with style then substance. Does that make me one who spews BS as WS says above? That seems unnecessarily harsh.

          1. Fiery Hunt

            “I guess when it comes to Pete, it has more to do with style then substance.”

            And that’s a MAJOR problem. We already did substanceless Obama…we don’t need another articulate and polite over-entitled neoliberal huckster.

        2. Expat2uruguay

          I would love to see Gravel in, also to present ideas.

          I’m a little confused about Gravel. My understanding is that the interest in him is generated by the Twitter account that’s being manipulated by his students. Don’t get me wrong, I think there’s a value to what the students have to say but it’s not clear to me how’s that is related to what the candidate would say in a debate. Can anyone recommend an interview with the candidate that I can review? TIA

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Its less confusing than the candidacy of a mayor of a medium sized city within a county structure (the South Bend city council has one non-Republican on city council and hasn’t had a non Democrat since the 1970’s) running for President because he’s similar to other people running with more experience.

            With a record like this, why is he running for President? He’s not offering a moral vision.

            1. Chris

              As has been said previously in this forum, Buttigieg is running to take votes from Gabbard/Sanders/Warren in the upper midwest. Beto is running to take votes from Gabbard/Sanders/Warren in the gulf and Texas. Abrams will no doubt run to take votes from Gabbard/Sanders/Warren in the south.

              Once no one has a plurality, the DNC and the super delegates get their shot at fixing things. And then the preferred neoliberal vessel of the moment will rise, phoenix-like, out of the ashes of the contested convention to Save The Day(TM) and lose the general election. All the consultants will be paid. All the bundlers and dark money changers will rejoice. Everyone on team blue will see that if you work with people the DNC says are bad, you can’t win contracts, and the rightful order will be restored.

              Congress will become increasingly D, leading to more gridlock and better opportunities for fund raising. The presidency will stay with team R, who will continue to support a thorough going corporate vision of life in the USA. There will be no real change. We will not get Medicare for All, an end to the endless wars, a beneficial industrial policy, etc. Thise will be wistful socialist dreams that people burdened by student debt will be too tired to even remember after 3 shifts to pay for living expenses and loans.

              This is the plan. It has always been the plan. It will always be the plan. And so it goes…

              1. Allegorio

                Don’t leave out Harris in California, Gillibrand in NY, Klobuchar in Minnesota, Cory Booker in NJ. This the DNC’s fifty state strategy to throw the nomination into the second ballot and have it decided by the super delegates for a corporate Democrat. None of these corporates has a real chance at the nomination, their purpose is shut out the Progressives by attrition. It will not work. The American people are fed up and will not be fooled again. Trump was a warning shot. If the nomination is rigged again, all hell will breakout.

                1. drumlin woodchuckles

                  I’m not sure if any “hell” would break out, but if the CorpoDems nominarrange someone bad enough, Trump could win by a Nixon-in-72 landslide.

        3. Carla

          I like the idea of Gravel getting in because at 88, he makes Bernie look young by comparison!

      3. jrs

        Yes I’ve heard this argument, it’s why I support Inslee in the debates just to be a one note on climate change (more than the trendy candidates du jour). And no it’s not because I think Sanders would be bad, not at all, he likely has my vote. (none are really left enough at all for me, but we have to pick the candidates we actually have here …) Warren is ok with me in the debates too, she has points to make.

        And I’ve heard we should get Pete in the debates for reasons … but I’m not sure what those reasons are, in terms of policy positions.

        Make the case, I don’t hate the guy, but he’s just so inexperienced and unproven .. not young, young is not the problem, inexperienced is. And I’m not sure what policy he will hit hard on that people want him to go to bat for in the debates.

      4. jrs

        I can also certainly see the point if the objective is just to beat Trump. That is not nearly enough of an objective IMO but … then you go with the candidate that wins the most votes in a fair contest (ahem yes a fair contest) and if that’s Pete, I guess it’s Pete.

        But again just beating Trump is a woefully inadequate outcome as far as I’m concerned, so I can’t just side with that.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Beating Trump is a perfectly admirable goal. I would point out the track record of Third Way style politics. Its not very good. Besides the Congressional and state and local losses incurred under the guidance of the Third Way, Bill was only elected with less than a quarter of the voting age population. His VP and wife both failed to become President, and they didn’t even run against credible candidates. They lost to clowns.

          1. Oregoncharles

            ” Bill was only elected with less than a quarter of the voting age population” – and 42% of the actual vote. His “political genius” consisted entirely of getting Ross Perot to run.

    2. WJ

      Lots of older liberal professional types will be disposed to Butteigeig because they, like he, are at bottom inclusive authoritarians. Sinclair Lewis once said, “When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.” Maybe he meant a rainbow one.

          1. Sol

            “Virtue gatekeeping” is an amazing turn of phrase. I want that to catch on. Please let’s make this a thing.

  11. Expat2uruguay

    Have you ever wondered what it’s like to donate to a political campaign when you live outside of the US? I have donated to three presidential campaigns and today I received my first form for “certification of address outside of the US” from The Bernie campaign.
    There are no instructions for where I’m supposed to mail it, or even that I am supposed to mail it, and it’s created in Gmail in such a way that I can’t zoom in on it and had to use a magnifying glass to read it on my phone.
    So it’s just the certification document that has a box to check that I am a US citizen, with blank lines for my signature and then my name spelled out. it also asks for a copy of my passport, but graciously allows that I can redact the passport number. But anyway, there are no instructions. I assume I’m supposed to print it, out fill it out and then mail it somewhere. But again I don’t know where. So that’s not a good look from The Bernie campaign, they obviously forgot to include the introductory email and the form as an attachment.

    But whenever the Bernie campaign get this straightened out, it’s honestly a pain in the butt for me. (The form also notes that if they don’t receive the document within 30 days they may have to return my donation.)

    So this is the kind of protection we have of our campaign finance system. Unuseful hassle for the proles,

    LOL on today’s date line, just a few days shy of April fools!

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I am very turned off by the Bernie campaign’s limited ability to accommodate old-style contributions by check and U.S. Mail, and a I am really really turned off by the endless email campaign that spammed my email after I contributed. I don’t fault Bernie as much as I fault whoever is running his funding machine. The last campaign seemed very much over-amoured with every possible new and fancy way to do everything. I like to hope, and very much believe, this is not a reflection on a similar blindness in Bernie — but he needs to pay closer attention to his organization. Foreign contributions have their own U.S. government annoyances but I believe some of your annoyance may have resulted from the Bernie machine’s blindnesses.

      1. Carla

        I support Bernie. And I have marked emails from his campaign to go to SPAM, after receiving daily beg-a-thons for a couple of weeks. Hope some volunteer with the campaign reads this and lets them know: it’s really STUPID to piss off your donor base at this point in the campaign. And I expect Bernie to run an intelligent campaign.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        Its impossible for us to know what Sanders is really thinking. Perhaps he thinks he is too old to understand the cyber-fundraising campaigns needed for today’s cyber-fundraising times of today. If so, he may feel unqualified to second guess what his bright young cyber-fundraisers are doing. Who can say?

        1. PlutoniumKun

          A friend of mine who worked as a charity fundraiser once told me that the dirty little secret of fundraising is that the more aggressive and obnoxious the campaign is, the more money it raises.

          The trick for any organisation, she said, is to balance aggressive fundraising with the overall aims of the organisation – clearly if the fundraising side of things is allowed too much leeway then it can damage the reputation of the overall organisation.

          So if the fundraising side of Sanders campaign is overstepping the mark and annoying genuine supporters, then its up to someone in a senior position to reign them in and say to them ‘Even if it means falling 10% short, better to do that than have thousands of supporters muttering about being overwhelmed with requests’.

          So I’d strongly suggest to Bernie supporters who feel the fundraising arm is going to far to write nice polite emails to the campaign HQ telling them straight out that they need to pull back on the emails and calls. If people aren’t saying this to them, in the heat of a campaign they may not be aware of the damage done until its too late.

  12. Tim

    “The suit also names Rosemount Aerospace Inc., the Delaware company that made the airplane’s flight control system known as MCAS”

    SO it get’s better! They outsourced software design authority to a subcontractor. All the discussions that had to have happen about software requirements between Boeing and the subcontract and nobody had a clue that what they were doing had the potential to be unsafe, and question the lack of redundancy?

    I think that is what will show in the subpoenas, emails from engineers asking, shouldn’t there be redundancy in the design, shouldn’t we be concerned about “x” and it falling on deaf ears of the supposed decision makers who were too busy in meetings on their cost accounts and labor planning to pay attention.

    It reminds me of a saying, when something is everybody’s responsibility it’s nobodies responsibility.

    The Safety of the software ended up being nobodies responsibility because all the tasking was so watered down

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      And Boeing also self-certified Rosemount’s software, let us remember. I’d say pass the popcorn, were it not for the fact that the 747 and the 777 were great machines — the 777 is like the MacBook Pro of commercial aircraft, before they removed the MagSafe connector…

    2. Synoia

      Responsibility and Authority:

      1. There was a specification as a part of the contract. Who wrote the spec?
      2. There was a design. Signed off by whom?
      2. There was acceptance testing, Who performed that testing?

      Hint: In no case should it be a subcontractor. If it was the topic of “negligence” become uppermost.

      Show us the Contract between Boeing & Rosemount Aerospace, the spec, the design and test results.

      1. John k

        Oh, really?
        And they decided to use this not reliable hardware in the face of existing suits?
        Neolib philosophy of today’s profits more important than long term Corp health flunks Darwin’s iq test.
        Seems everything is crapified… certainly all the major corps…

  13. Swamp Yankee

    Re: slavery and science — I just happened to read Dr. Murphy’s article on Petiver in the William and Mary Quarterly recently, and it’s excellent; highly recommended. The entire volume it appears in is devoted to science and imperialism in the early Atlantic world: https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5309/willmaryquar.70.4.0637

    In terms of Brianna Wu, she is one of those candidates whom I think confirms the worst about liberal Democrat techie apparatchiks. She moves to Boston, states her desire to turn us into another San Francisco (!) — after all, that worked out so well for the working people of the SF Bay region — and expects to be elected to Congress on that and her background as a game developer.

    Moreover, Wu left the district she’d moved into, north of Boston, for one that stretches from Southie down through the Upper South Shore and into the Swamp Yankee towns like the Bridgewaters, currently represented by Steven Lynch, because it looked, at least by her calculations, more do-able. Lynch is not great, some of Wu’s — some — of her positions were better than his, but he is actually from here, and people really don’t love arrogant carpetbaggers coming in and promising to destroy their way of life.

    Maybe she didn’t get elected because know-it-all arrivistes who can’t tell East Bridgewater from Quincy aren’t particularly popular.

    Just sayin’….

    1. Plenue

      ‘Game developer’. Ah-hah, no. Wu is the very definition of a hack. Revolution 60 is probably one of the worst, not to mention most visually repulsive, games you can buy on Steam (and that’s saying a lot; there’s a lot of trash on Steam). She’s also almost certainly literally mentally unstable. It’s hard to find a summary of her that isn’t from a right wing source, but she is a thoroughly dishonest actor.

    2. Judith

      Regarding slavery and science, you might be interested in the book “Science and Colonial Expansion the Role of the British Royal Botanic Gardens” by Lucile Brockway. Ethnobotany in the service of British Imperialism.

    3. Joe Well

      I’m so grateful to Lambert for pointing me to the truth about Brianna Wu.

      She got wholeheartedly endorsed by Corey Doctorow who is the most perfect personal embodiment of the professional class I can think of, except he is a Sanders supporter and has actual deep knowledge of a few things. So now I don’t know what to think about him, either.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Well, lets all be nice and respectful to Corey Doctorow as long as he stays a Sanders supporter. Fully serious and no snarkasm. One doesn’t need to make enemies one doesn’t already have.

  14. Oregoncharles

    “That, plus insurance records and records of sale should provide a good start on the proof of ancestry issue.”

    Really? I think of attempts to trace my own last name – white and English. There’s a total barrier a few generations back: an orphanage, long since closed down. There is no way of knowing who that kid was descended from.

    Nor, as it turns out, is that name entirely white. A friend recently told me some of her family have the same last name – but they’re African-American. And yet another complication: you wouldn’t know that to look at her. We speculated for a while about how that happened; her theory was more flattering than mine. We may well be related, a long way back.

    So how consistently will you be able to trace people’s ancestry, over a hundred years back? Many of those people will be very poor, which makes for little record left. As he said, practical problems, even if you think distant descendants should get reparations.

    I actually think focusing on present disadvantage is the only practical approach, besides avoiding the obvious racial baggage. But it would benefit a lot of white people.

    1. Chigal in Carolina

      Anyway, proof of ancestry wasn’t the problem Clybourn brought up; he stipulated that mulattos were descendants of slaves, but they nevertheless had advantages others did not.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      A lot of people consider “But it would benefit a lot of white people.” to be their reason for opposing it right there.

  15. Goyo Marquez

    Re: as Trump might nickname him Dirty old Joe Biden…

    People have forgotten that one of the first progressives to be thrown under the Liberal Democrats sexual harassment bus, was Bob Filner, Freedom Rider, and longtime congressman, who had just been elected Mayor of San Diego.

    In my only conversation ever with a congressman, he complained to me that the California Democratic Party had tried to redistrict him out of office but he’d managed to beat the man they had hand picked to take his job. It was about four years later after resigning from Congress, when he had Just won the San Diego Mayor’s race that he was forced to resign that office after a series of quite similar allegations was blown up.

    Nice guys these Democrats.

  16. Cal2

    “Google Translate can serve as a workable starting point, more often than not it needs a human hand to produce Spanish that would pass muster with a native speaker.”

    Veto O’Rourke said he was muy embarazado when they caught him doing that.

    1. Jimmie Q

      When is he due? “embarazado” means pregnant in Spanish.
      Try “avergonzazo” instead.

        1. Cal2

          ““embarazado” means pregnant in Spanish.”

          “Embarazado” is a physical impossibility Jimmie… :-)

  17. Carey

    ‘Nine Reasons Why You Should Support Joe Biden For President’:

    “#8: Just vote for him, you insolent little shits. Who the fuck do you think you are, anyway? You think you’re entitled to a bunch of ponies and unicorns like healthcare and drinkable water? You only think that because you’re a bunch of racist, sexist homophobes. You will vote for who we tell you to or we’ll spend the next four years calling you all Russian agents and screaming about Susan Sarandon.”


    1. Cal2

      Besides, you’re just Biden your time
      waiting to die, because thanks to Joe,
      The Senator from MBNA, your student loans from that
      fraudulent technical university are not dischargeable in bankruptcy and will follow you to your grave.

  18. mle detroit

    research extending over 10 years has shown that prairie strips in agricultural areas increase the abundance of native pollinators while also decreasing runoff and increasing soil and nutrient retention

    Decreasing runoff? You mean, fewer algae blooms off Toledo? Somebody tell our BFF, Lake Erie. A necklace of solar panel jewels on a chain of prairie would look great around the lake.

  19. marku52

    “libertarian ecosocialism ”

    What the FamilyBlog is that supposed to mean?
    Eco-anything and libertarianism go together like fish and burning hot lava….

    1. Oregoncharles

      You’re confusing capital “L” Libertarianism, a right wing ideology and party, with lower-case libertarianism, personal freedom as a leading value. There can perfectly well be left-wing libertarians – Noam Chomsky is actually an example. IOW, anti-authoritarianism. As usual, political language is pretty confusing.

      As described, it sounds like the Green Party, but I haven’t had time to read the article and find out what the differences are.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        Murray Bookchin always called those Randians “Propertarians” while reserving the “L” word for anarchism. After all, the Randians don’t give a damn about human liberty, it’s only property rights that they care about.

      2. marku52

        Yeah but my “personal freedom” to dump my cyanide laced plating chemicals into the nearest body of water is kind of anti-any-kind-of eco.

        Even here in OR people are kind of stunned to learn that, even if they buy acreage out in the Middle of Nowhere, they still won’t be allowed to sh*it in a hole in the ground. Perc and septic are required

        I can’t see how to square this circle. If you are really free, you are really free to pollute.

      3. jrs

        anarchist ecosocialism is definitely a thing, I’m not convinced it is the answer (I can’t exactly see how.
        In a world less messed up yes, but …) but it’s a real thing. And that’s left and sometimes radical to the extreme, one can’t say it’s right-wing.

        Even right-libertarianism had Rothbard going about pollution as a rights violation once (maybe in his left period) to the point I think he near made it illegal. Not that that idea caught on with many right-libertarians mind you, but those who do “libertarianism” for a living are likely mostly paid off anyway.

        1. Oregoncharles

          The Libertarian Party is largely captured by its funders – sound familiar? I’ve heard this complaint from local Libertarians – they show up at Green Party meetings looking for an alternative. There is a surprising amount in common, like opposition to war and to the drug war.

          Of course, the differences tend to be deal breakers.

    2. Judith

      Maybe this helps or maybe it just muddies the waters.

      Nathan Robinson (of the journal Current Affairs) self-identifies as a libertarian socialist. I think he means this as a bit like a anarchist. He is much more articulate than I will ever be, so perhaps you can read more about what he has to say….

      1. Oregoncharles

        I once had occasion to think about this a lot. In principle, the difference between libertarians and anarchists is quite small: both are opposed to any kind of coercion, but libertarians are willing to admit that a certain amount is unavoidable. Small government, rather than none.

        The real difference, and hte reason Chomsky self-identifies as an anarchist, is in the values – the kind of society they want to see.

        Ecosocialists are going to call for fairly expansive government, to keep one person’s activities from harming another. They nevertheless might be emphatic about keeping the government out of other private business – like, for instance, recreational drugs. I just sketched the Green Party’s position, at least in the US. Of course, the details are endless. I understand that East European Greens are much more socially conservative, for instance.

        1. Sol

          the difference between libertarians and anarchists is quite small: both are opposed to any kind of coercion, but libertarians are willing to admit that a certain amount is unavoidable.

          I’ve seen and heard very similar. It could be said with some accuracy that libertarians are minarchists who believe in the NAP, and anarchists once they work out the (il)logic of the NAP.

  20. Summer

    Re: Heaven or High Water

    “She said…there were just too many millionaires and billionaires here for a disaster on a great scale to be allowed to take place.”

    I hurt myself laughing.

  21. kareninca

    Hugging. This can be very confusing for women, too. I don’t remember ever being hugged by anyone other than a relative or guys I’ve dated, and no guy has ever laid a hand on me uninvited. I would say it is because it is I’ve radiated “go away”, but that can’t be it, since other women feel they do that and it doesn’t work for them. I guess it’s been good luck. I feel as if I have to say I’m not repulsive looking, haha. Maybe I’m just too short to hug without logistical problems.

    Another poster wrote that it was about power; that more powerful people hug less powerful people. But the only people I’ve ever hugged have been of higher power than me. One was a gay neighbor decades ago; he was in his 60s (I was much younger) and he had said something sweet and I thought “Oh, I guess I ought to hug him” so I gave him a quick hug. He got a look of absolute horror on his face. I found out later that he’d been adopted and had real human contact issues. That was a bummer. Then recently, I gave a guy at church (Quaker meeting, actually) I’ve started to attend a quick hug; he is in his 70s (I’m 55). He had really given me every reason to think he’d like a hug. But he still kind of stiffened in terror. Also a bummer. Other than that I’ve only hugged much older ladies after they have told me about awful ailments they were enduring, and that has always seemed to be okay.

    One exception to the “I’ve never been hugged” – a different guy at church, hugged me a few weeks ago. It was actually cheering. Then I guessed he had hugger’s remorse and was worried, which was part of the reason I hugged the other guy; to show the first one it was okay.

    I went to an academic dinner last month for the first time in years. No-one hugged (they had in years gone by). Handshakes were cupped hands, haha. I told my brother about this (he is an academic) and he said “thank god”. A lot of people despise being hugged. Someone who posted here thought that people objected to hugs because they felt wrongly that there was typically at least an undercurrent of sexuality. No, lots of people just don’t want to be hugged; even if they had absolute proof that there was no sexual anything to it, they still would not want to be hugged or touched.

    1. Oregoncharles

      Social and cultural context matters. I wrote about that yesterday: hugging is de rigueur in most of my social circles. However, that’s all among people who know each other. As you discovered, it’s different with strangers.

    2. a different chris

      That was a funny retrospective on hugging, thanks! I never thought about it, I don’t come from a “hugging” family and I don’t seem to radiate any sort of huggableness so off my radar.

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      My suspicion is the “hugged” are targeted because they are more “mousy” or shy. Biden’s behavior at the swearing in ceremony. Its obviously an important day to a parent, so the kids probably had a certain amount of etiquette drilled into them.

      1. WJ

        I think this is right. And while it might seem like predatory behavior, doubtless it is due to Uncle Joe wanting to spread some “love and support” to those mousy shy ones who need it most.

    4. Sanxi

      In my particular Italian family hugging is like breathing, as a kid with about 900 aunts I hated it, but then I hated spilt pea soup, now that I’m older, I find that I don’t care, it seems to make everybody, happy, so why not. Outside the family, I know the problem with n=sizes, but in the Midwest white people like to the point sentences and touching to a minimum even when your married to one.

    5. marieann

      I am a hugger….if I think you need a hug….you get one. I didn’t come form a hugging family, I learned it from a friend who did come from huggy family….my own family don’t hug except with me.

      More recently I do try to monitor myself…..what a world we live in. I am aware some people don’t like to be touched…..and you know what, it really is easy to tell when someone wants you to back off…unless you don’t really want to be aware, or don’t care….and if you don’t care about their feeling why on earth would you be hugging them in the first place…..hugging is a form of support.

      From what I have seen, Joe Biden goes way past the hugginess of a normal person, smelling hair,kissing… that is not about support or condolence that is weird and creepy.

  22. marym


    A two-year investigation by USA TODAY, The Arizona Republic  and the Center for Public Integrity reveals for the first time the extent to which special interests have infiltrated state legislatures using model legislation.

    USA TODAY and the Republic found at least 10,000 bills almost entirely copied from model legislation were introduced nationwide in the past eight years, and more than 2,100 of those bills were signed into law.

    Summary :

    Rob O’Dell @robodellaz
    More than a year ago, I was asked to do the impossible. Help build an algorithm that could tease out what statehouse bills were created from model legislation (ie copy-paste legislation). Along with a terrific team @USATODAY and @azcentral. We did it. Here’s how. (THREAD)
    11:20 AM – 4 Apr 2019

    1. flora

      Thanks for the link. Good examination and reporting on the reach of the American Legislative Executive Counsel’s (ALEC) reach into statehouses. This is a big story that doesn’t get enough attention, imo.

  23. Summer

    Re: Democrats \ Green New Deal

    “Among the ideas some defectors are considering are measures that would impose a national mandate for the use of cleaner power sources or implementing a carbon tax. Many, such as Virginia freshman Democratic Representative Elaine Luria, defeated Republican incumbents in moderate-to-conservative districts and helped their party win back the House. ‘The Green New Deal is aspirational,’ Luria said. ‘What we plan to do is offer tangible, achievable things.’”

    Let’s see….that means tax the least wealthy, hide it in the tax code as much as possible so our big donors and corps can skate using their highly paid tax attorneys. Tangible and achievable!

  24. LawnDart

    Off topic(s): does anyone know what happened to informationclearinghouse? They’ve been knocked offline.

      1. human

        Adjusting my tinfoil hat here, but, I thought to myself that there were an unusual number of posts critical of Israel, though justified by recent events.

        1. Oregoncharles

          My wife really likes the site, but says there are definitely anti-semitic comments (“please don’t SAY that” sort of things). Apparently it isn’t as tightly moderated as NC; really a shoestring operation.

          Whether that’s the reason, or even how they were “suspended,” I don’t know. It isn’t on a platform, to my knowledge.

  25. upstater

    Precision Scheduled Railroading (PSR)… when they compare it to airlines it is largely invalid, except for the “crapification” angle. PSR is not hub-and-spoke. In fact, PSR eliminates Hubs (which are large freight classification yards). In addition to shutting yards, there are massive layoffs, storing of locomotives and cars, shutting down repair facilities, etc.

    PSR is basically asset-stripping. The idea is a railroad is a conveyor belt and it is loaded to maximum capacity and everything else to provide resilience is gone. When there are bumper harvests or winter weather, everything gets tied in knots. All the railroads that have gone this route have had serious service quality meltdowns and have been required to report to the federal government.

    PSR is the baby of Hunter Harrison — he’s they guy that hedge funds encouraged CSX to recruit for $84 million in March 2017 and the guy was dead 9 months later (he towed around an oxygen bottle and ran the railroad from his horse farm). He had a very anti-worker, anti-union attitude. He trashed 4 railroads in this manner.

    Companies that implement PSR are darlings of Wall Street — costs go down, share buy-backs far exceed capital investment for all of them.

    Most importantly, they intentionally drive away entire classes of customers and only cherry-pick. Matt Rose, the CEO of BNSF (owned by Berkshire Hathaway) stated:

    “What the [Surface Transportation Board] allows us to do is what we call price differentiate,” he said, illustrating with an example of airline passengers in adjacent seats who may have paid significantly different fares depending on when they bought the ticket. “We get that same right, but we have to carry you from Point A down here to Florida. “… When you start redefining markets, I think then the federal policy makers will look at this, and quite frankly, they will not be happy with us.”

    Railroads are common carriers and oligopolies or outright monopolies. Light-touch regulation has allowed this. The public ultimately pays with higher rates and prices, congested highways chocked with trucks and more pollution.

    Needless to say, Railroads could be a major solution to lower CO2 emissions. But they are “investor owned” and only the next quarter matters. While China and Russia invest heavily in freight railroads, the US railroads are like all other types of infrastructure. Creaky and decrepit and not up to the job.

    1. marku52

      Several years ago in AZ we were down near the border S of Tucson and saw about 5 miles, (and I am not kidding) of locomotives sitting in a row on the line. Just sitting there.

      What a massive bunch of capital equipment sitting doing nothing. I couldn’t figure out the point of it.

      Maybe you can.

    2. eg

      Well, that’s your financialization at work, eh?

      And natural monopolies should be nationalized, full stop.

  26. Still Above Water

    Here’s a great interview with a Disney heir for tomorrow’s links. The money quote: “Having a jet is a really big deal. If I were queen of the world, I would pass a law against private jets, because they enable you to get around a certain reality. You don’t have to go through an airport terminal, you don’t have to interact, you don’t have to be patient, you don’t have to be uncomfortable. These are the things that remind us we’re human.”

  27. Cal2

    Those hedge fund guys that tried to bribe their kids into schools, they now have competition from the Obama girls’ school:

    “Dear parents of the class of 2019,” began the December email from Patrick Gallagher, director of college counseling at Sidwell Friends School, one of the country’s most prestigious private schools…

    “The College Counseling Office will not answer phone calls from blocked numbers.”

    “The College Counseling Office will not open any mail without a recognizable return address.”

    “If a parent ever feels the need to inform me or my colleagues regarding the actions of a child that is not their own – I will ask you to leave my office or end the phone conversation.”

    The message seemed to confirm the vague rumors that had circulated for weeks – murmurs about parents behaving badly, even going so far as to disparage other students, presumably to give their own teens a leg up in the high-stakes college admissions competition.”

    Quaker Values!


  28. cnchal

    > 113 year old machine shop

    Did anyone else see a broom and shovel? It is a safety hazard just walking around and no self respecting machinist would enjoy working with the clunkers in the video.

    When it comes to machine shop history, anyone remember “toolmaker buttons”? Didn’t think so. They went away about a hundred years ago, replaced by the “jig borer”. That machine eliminated a lot of jawbs in it’s day.

    Anyone know how metal stamping dies and molds were made in the days before wire and sink EDMs? Those two machines eliminated a whole lot of jawbs, and it expanded the possibilities of what could be manufactured.

    Anyone remember the Cincinnati Hydrotel. A big duplicating milling machine where a stylus ran over a model and a few feet away a cutter, usually a ball nosed endmill the same size as the stylus would cut the block. That was 3D machining in the old days. That one in the link has three spindles so three blocks could be set up and cut at the same time. The stylus ran over the model on the raised section to the right, and the spindles would follow the up and down motion of the stylus as the table went back and forth.

    Ah, the good old days. Chips on the floor, coolant in the face and if you tried running a shop with that old stuff today, you would be out of business in short order.

  29. allan

    More of the University of Illinois-Chicago TA strike:

    UIC forced to cancel hundreds of classes amid teaching assistants’ strike
    [Chicago Tribune]

    … Records obtained by the Tribune through the Freedom of Information Act show that at least 550 classes taught by teaching assistants were canceled from March 19 to March 22 when members of the Graduate Employees Organization first walked off the job. …

    A primary sticking point has been student fees.

    Graduate and undergraduate students currently pay $431 per semester in fees. That will increase to $481 in the fall. International students pay an additional $130 per semester. …

    Michael Ginsburg, associate vice chancellor for human resources, said that the general fee is increasing in the fall to help pay for the expansion and remodeling of the student centers. …

    Those climbing walls and sustainably sourced food courts don’t build themselves.

  30. Carla

    Re: early scientists’ debt to the slave trade — I’m currently reading “The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism” by Edward E. Baptist.

    WELL. Reparations, baby. It’s gotta be figured out.

  31. anon in so cal

    New York City’s MTA and Privacy:

    From 1999:

    “THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE officer of Sun Microsystems said Monday that consumer privacy issues are a “red herring.”

    “You have zero privacy anyway,” Scott McNealy told a group of reporters and analysts Monday night at an event to launch his company’s new Jini technology.

    “Get over it.”

    McNealy’s comments came only hours after competitor Intel (INTC) reversed course under pressure and disabled identification features in its forthcoming Pentium III chip.

    Jodie Bernstein, director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection at the Federal Trade Commission, said that McNealy’s remarks were out of line.”


  32. anon in so cal

    Julian Assange

    “Caitlin Johnstone ⏳


    More Caitlin Johnstone ⏳ Retweeted Michele Cochrane

    Australians ring your MPs and urgently but politely tell them they need to #ProtectJulian. He’s an Australian citizen and he must be protected from the clutches of the US war machine at all costs. #auspol


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