Links 4/9/19

Why there’s a recovery ‘speed limit’ after mass extinction Futurity (David L)

From blizzards to tornadoes to extreme temperature drops, a wild weather week ahead USA Today (David L)

Powerful Storm Threatens More Misery in Flood-Hit Midwest New York Times (resilc)

Researchers Warn Arctic Has Entered ‘Unprecedented State’ That Threatens Global Climate Stability EcoWatch (David L)

Norway Is Walking Away From Billions of Barrels of Oil Bloomberg (UserFriendly)

Popular weed killer’s alleged link to cancer stirs widespread concern NBC (furzy)

Why the Plant-Based Impossible Whopper Has as Many Calories as a Beef Burger Inverse

Men Are Better At Maps Until Women Take This Course Nautilus (Dr. Kevin).

This article first ran in 2016 but is making the rounds now by virtue of being reposted on Medium. The regularly touting of the typical large difference between male and female spatial skills as somehow proving large native differences between men and women has long been an annoyance, in part because I score 99th percentile on spatial skills (and no, I don’t have high levels of testosterone, even though some might think that).

This article offers an environmental/cultural explanation: men explore, which requires navigation. We see that reinforced culturally, in couples, men usually drive the car. And it also suggests that women are less likely to get “spatial” toys like blocks and Legos.

So at least in my case, this all adds up. We moved a ton when I was growing up. I not only walked to school, but rode my bike avidly starting at age 6, so I learned new road layouts many times. I also got some toys that they deemed to be male (blocks, Tinker toys) including my favorite toddler toy…..a crash car! I loved running it into the wall, seeing it smash, and then putting it back together.

Scientists Test Whether Brain Stimulation Could Help Sharpen Aging Memory NPR (David L)

China?

China-EU Summit faces challenging times Asia Times (Kevin W)

China-South Sudan Oil Deal Raises Red Flags OilPrice

From Politico’s morning European newsletter:

FRESH NUMBERS: Key new employment figures, prepared for today’s Commission’s conference on the “Future of Work,” include 12.5 million jobs created in Europe since November 2014 (when Jean-Claude Juncker’s college came to town). Unemployment in the EU dropped to 6.5 percent last year, from 10.2 percent in 2014. The share of under-4-year-olds in formal child care — an indicator for women’s participation in the labor market — went up to 34 percent in 2017 from 28 percent in 2010. The gender employment gap closed a little — 79 percent of European men between 20 and 64 have a job, 11.5 percentage points ahead of women, down from a 15 percentage point gap 10 years ago.

So is all well in Europe? As of February 2019, 16 million Europeans are still unemployed, “including 3.3 million young people,” according to the Commission figures, seen by Playbook. The conference, which around 400 people including national ministers, employers and trade unionists are expected to attend, is meant to remind everyone “that a lot of things in the EU have changed for the better since 2014, and this is an opportunity to speak about it,” according to officials.

But the event also aims to convince skeptics in national capitals of three things: That Juncker and his team have been on the right path when insisting on a “social dimension” to the EU; that this part of their legacy shouldn’t be forgotten (actually, expect Juncker to bring it to the Sibiu summit’s attention in May again); and that improvement relies on active EU policymaking.

Macron faces tough choice over privatisation goal Financial Times

Brexit. In theory I should write something but it seems as if it would be far more speculative than usual, if nothing else because May is meeting with Merkel and Macron today. Sterling at 1.31 says Mr. Market expects an extension. And if nothing else, as PlutoniumKun pointed out yesterday, Merkel is a cautious, incrementalist politician, so it would be out of character for her to deny the UK an extension. Per the Financial Times story below, May has the Tories in knots by taking some steps…extremely late in the game…to have the UK participate in the European Parliament elections. But counter to that are two bits of information from Robert Peston, who as we have pointed out, is the best networked of all UK reporters on the Brexit beat. Peston says the EU is now moving towards a short extension, later than May 22 so as to avoid playing into the EU Parliament elections, but not as long as to June 30. Other stories suggest the EU is considering an extension to the end of 2019. As I said yesterday, I don’t see how this allows enough time for anything to change. IMHO, the UK needs a two year extension if it is to get itself sorted out.

However, if Peston’s source are right, the EU is moving away from Tusk’s plan of a one year extension. And if that is the case, it suggests Macron is making headway. Macron had insisted that the EU needed to get the UK to agree to all sorts of “play nicely” restrictions as a condition of getting a long extension, particularly in light of threats by Nigel Farage and Jacob Rees-Mogg that the UK would make lots of trouble for the EU if it stayed in. But any such agreement would likely be unenforceable since EU members have treaty-defined rights.

Second, Peston reports that there has been no ramp up of the Government’s “prepare for crash out” activities this week. Peston sees that as the Government being highly confident that there won’t be one. Given that it is solely up to the EU as to whether and what kind of extension it offers (and I haven’t seen a clear report as to whether the accidental crash-out bomb in the Cooper Bill has been removed, that of requiring Parliamentary approval of an extension if it is different than the one they authorized, which imposing conditions would achieve), this seems awfully optimistic. Peston argues this suggests May would revoke Article 50 if things fell apart.

Theresa May to Meet Merkel and Macron as Furious Tories Try to Oust Her Bloomberg

May enrages hardline Brexiters with plans for European elections

Is cancelling Brexit the Prime Minister’s new default? Robert Peston, ITV

Useful background:

Syraqistan

First the NIH Came for the Iranian Born Legal US Resident Scientists Roy Poses

Yemen provinces adrift after Houthis ousted Asia Times (Kevin W)

Why Is Trump Designating Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps As Foreign Terrorist Organization? Moon of Alabama (Kevin W)

IRGC Designation: More from the War-with-Iran Playbook LobeLog (resilc)

Who’s the Real Terrorists? Trump Intensifies Economic War Against Iran Real News

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

From Brexiteers to Communists And Everything Between: Protesters Unite For Julian Assange at Ecuadorian Embassy Gateway Pundit (martha r)

Can attackers inject malice into medical imagery? Fake growths here and there techxplore (Robert M)

Dubai: Daughter of Facebook ‘horse’ insult woman makes plea BBC

Imperial Collapse Watch

America: A Failing State Ian Welsh (UserFriendly)

Trump Transition

Trump Gives Hard-liners Whatever They Want American Conservative (resilc)

Trump Threatens New EU Tariffs on Helicopters, Motorcycles, Cheese and Wine Bloomberg

Why Is Trump Helping Egypt’s Dictator Entrench His Power? Politico

With Nielsen Out, Stephen Miller Is Poised to Remake D.H.S. in His Image Vanity Fair

2020

Mike Gravel Is Running for President in 2020 Rolling Stone (resilc)

Gravel Declares Presidential Bid to Highlight Anti-Interventionism and Direct Democracy Consortiumnews (UserFriendly)

California Rep. Eric Swalwell enters 2020 presidential race with focus on guns NBC (furzy)

Health Care

Chuck Todd’s interview with Mitt Romney: A massive failure that shows exactly why Americans uninformed on healthcare Alternet (furzy)

U.S. Can’t Afford ‘Good Employer-Provided Insurance For All’

Kill Me Now

Profiles In Ruling Class Chutzpah Sardonicky (UserFriendly)

Michigan Conservatives Don’t Want Kids to Learn ‘Democracy’ New York Magazine

There’s something about AOC RTE (PlutoniumKun). Distance provides perspective…

Michigan Dealing With Multiple Chemical Threats National Conference of State Legislatures (UserFriendly)

The Path To Liberating Humanity Is The Same As The Path To Liberating The Individual Caitlin Johnstone

EV Superchargers Face One Key Hurdle SafeHaven

IMF changes tune on industry policy – shamelessly – Part 2 Bill Mitchell (Chuck L, UserFriendly). Note that the research arm of the IMF has been to the left of its policy arm for years.

Goldman Considers `A World Without Buybacks’. It Looks Ominous. Bloomberg (martha r). Quelle surprise!

Uber’s long list of legal woes ahead of its IPO Financial Times

Lyft Is Angry About Lockups Matt Levine, Bloomberg (furzy)

Class Warfare

TVA contract workers say they’re being exposed to toxic coal ash USA Today (martha r). From last week, still germane.

An example to all’: the Mongolian herders who took on a corporate behemoth – and won Guardian

The booming business for smuggling people to the US: ‘Everyone wins’ Guardian

Antidote du jour. Al A: “Rufus the Arizona basset hound seeks refuge under the slip cover when the temperature falls below 80 degrees.”

And a bonus:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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156 comments

    1. JohnnyGL

      Once you open that pandora’s box, the oligarchs can easily lose control. The elites aren’t ready for a circular firing squad…..after all, Obama just said so!

      If you want to know how things can unfold, lose at Brazil. The original coup plotters have found themselves either thrown out of office, or under arrest and awaiting trial.

      Reply
        1. Off The Street

          She can also try to live out the following saying:

          It is never too late to have a happy childhood.

          The corollary is that someone else has to pay for it.

          Reply
    1. Chris

      An oldie but goodie! If bridezillas did not exist, surely we would have to invent them for the entertainment value :)

      Reply
    2. CanCyn

      I call BS! Cancelling a big wedding a few days beforehand would incur all kinds of costs and they would have already had to have paid for many things. Doesn’t make sense.
      I can’t imagine why someone would make this up, but folks do all kinds of things for fun & entertainment. Everyone wants their 15 mins of fame.

      Reply
  1. Bottom Gun

    Re: men usually driving the car, that was true with me and my wife. But if anything that should reinforce spatial skill development in women. The corollary of “man drives” is “woman reads map, looks around for landmarks, fixes position, and directs man, who is preoccupied with immediate-vicinity traffic and road signs.”

    At least that’s how it was in the old days. Now Android Auto tells me what to do and my wife says “wow, look at that hawk!” Which I can’t, because I am preoccupied with immediate-vicinity traffic and road signs.

    Reply
    1. Amfortas the hippie

      aye. the assumption is that “man drives…because woman is regarded as incapable”.
      this is as silly and counterproductive as the now perennial dem-bot nonsense lumping all men, all white folks, even all republican leaning into the worst possible baskets of generality.
      Wife allows me to do most of the driving—because i am nervous with anyone else at the wheel…no matter their plumbing.
      she gets to ride and soak up the great beauty we usually drive through(and sleep,lol)
      that “some people” automatically assume that this simply must be sexist says more about them, than us.

      Reply
      1. a different chris

        My wife, too.

        And, this is back in the pre-GPS days, she would thus take the wheel and I would be in charge of directions, because “she couldn’t read a map”. This went on for literally years, and then we went on a trip long enough that we had to switch drivers.

        I’m driving along, and at some point it dawns on me that she is avidly perusing the map. Yes, she simply lied about it because she just preferred to drive and stick me with map-reading.

        Can’t believe I fell for that.

        Reply
      2. MJ

        Mine, too.

        For many years she would drive whenever we went somewhere together. Then a couple years ago she decided we should share driving duties.

        I would like to go back to the way it used to be. She is the classic “backseat driver.”

        Reply
        1. Wyoming

          I used to get complaints about my backseat driving.

          It took some time but I came up with a solution. I joined the local police as a retired volunteer. Now I tell her if she misbehaves I will just hand her a ticket :)

          The jury is still out on the effectiveness of this strategy.

          Reply
          1. WobblyTelomeres

            I started driving everywhere after her third ticket for 19mph over whilst listening to Led Zeppelin. The last one was really for 95 in a 50 on some 2 lane blacktop somewhere northeast of Columbus, Miss, but the cop was in a good mood and it was Mother’s Day.

            Me: “But didn’t that your radar detector start beeping?”
            She: “I couldn’t hear it.”

            Reply
    2. Svante Arrhenius

      Preceding (German) partner drove, generally as fast as the car would go, double clutching in heels, to punk bands, tapping ashes while touching up her garish nails. Current partner was oblivious why the trucks were flying backwards at us, passing everything on the Taconic at 120 (her last car was a 55 Roadmonster, she’d bought primarily for the back seat). Both despised all female voiced GPS apps? “re-calculating… Turn right in 300 yards! Turn NOW! Re-calculating…”

      https://theintercept.com/2019/04/08/black-protesters-terrorism-threat-isis

      Reply
      1. ewmayer

        So you’ve gone from the Teutonic to the Taconic … or in reverse, from the Tachometer to the Teutometer. Both unsafe at any speed, from the sound of it! (And you probably wouldn’t have it any other way. :)

        I’m reminded of a line in the Sean Connery Bond, Thunderball:

        [Evil Flaming-redheaded Italian Spectre Hottie, driving very fast with Bond as passenger, a.k.a. Fiona]: You look pale, Mr. Bond. I hope I didn’t frighten you.

        Bond: Well you see, I’ve always been a nervous passenger.

        Fiona: Some men just don’t like to be driven.

        Bond: No, some men just don’t like to be taken for a ride.

        Reply
        1. Svante Arrhenius

          I’d tried to find a sexy sounding Latino or Black guy’s voice for the GPS app. But, I’m guessing the issue was as much SPEEDING, as their believing ANYTHING based upon consensus reality? Now, if we’d been able to find Dicky and Perry, Ed Gein or Jeffrey Daughmer to sneer invitingly, spitty bloody ‘bacci, to get in and show us where to turn onto a logging road? https://www.citylab.com/newsletter-editions/2019/04/citylab-daily-welcome-radical-suburbs/586765/

          Reply
    3. remmer

      When I was a kid, my mother did the driving. Dad stopped driving because he lost his temper at other drivers too easily, and Mom was more easy going. So Dad read the maps and did the navigation. I have no idea whether that arrangement improved spatial skills for either one of them. I did all the driving when I was married, though, because my wife was especially good at getting lost. Still, I had to admit, reluctantly, that my own spatial skills did not reach the level of excellence that is supposed to be normal for a male. But I still rely on them because a GPS navigation device once sent me more off course than I could ever have done on my own.

      Reply
    4. BillK

      Isn’t map-reading just one more human ability that is being destroyed by satnavs / smartphones?
      No need to hold a mental map now – the computer he say turn right – into river. :)

      Reply
    5. Peter VE

      “my favorite toddler toy…..a crash car! I loved running it into the wall, seeing it smash, and then putting it back together.”
      Excellent training for your current position watching the ruling class….

      Reply
    6. fajensen

      Naff the old days! Driving 120 km off in the wrong direction, then 120 km back to fix it, on a French toll road, paying 15 EUR per 120 km pass and this happening more than once during the same 2 weeks vacation … that’s the old days!!

      During that trip, Wife and I decided that owning a GPS would be good for our relationship and at only 470 EUR (this was back in the ‘nougties) *so* much cheaper than the divorce.

      Reply
    7. petal

      When I was a kid, atlases were always available to us kids whether in the house or in the car. I loved looking at the maps of the US, other countries, and our state(NY), and I’d check out a map ahead of time if we were going somewhere. If I asked where something was, my mother would say “look it up!” and so I would. Fast forward to ~6-7 years ago, bf and I drove(I drove the car, I’m a chick) down to Cambridge to see Greenwald speak, and bf was blown away I could navigate the Boston area and city without a map-he laughed and said I must be using The Force.
      These days I usually will check out about where something is on a map and I’m good. Only rarely will I need to print one out. And I love driving-I have a Volvo S70 T5 and it’s one of the few fun things in my life. I enjoy going to car shows and checking out vintage cars, or spotting rare ones around here. There are also very few people(maybe only 3 or 4) in this world I feel comfortable being a passenger for.

      And to Rufus’s owner: please give him a good scritchin’ for me! What a cutie!

      Reply
    8. Wyoming

      I don’t actually believe that map reading is a spatial skill in any real sense. If you want to learn how to get somewhere reliably you have to be the one driving the vehicle. It forces you to focus/concentrate on the roads and terrain. A map reader says turn here and stay on this road for the next 50 miles, etc. Then the map reader goes back to their daydreaming. My wife has always expressed amazement that once I have done a route (even one clear across the country) years later I can get in the car and drive the entire route again without the need for a map. But if she drives the car there I have no idea how to get there because I was not paying attention. And I can read a map 100 times better than her.

      Real spatial skills are like designing a house or building a house. You must understand all 3 dimensions. Driving somewhere or reading a map is a 2 dimensional problem and not really a spatial skill.

      Reply
      1. Copeland

        Unless you’re hyper-miling like I often do, and planning your rout based on elevation to avoid sustained hill climbs, unless the rout allows for the payback of coasting without stop signs, traffic signals etc.

        I drive in Seattle.

        Reply
    9. Leftcoastindie

      For some reason I could always find our way to someplace but never find my way back. My wife has the opposite problem – she couldn’t get you there but she always knew the way back. Comes in handy.

      Reply
    10. Oregoncharles

      You get to drive? I don’t, if my wife is in the car. (I drive all day, in my work truck, and sometimes to the store. But not if she’s aboard.)

      But here spatial orientation still isn’t usually as good as mine. Individual variation is always greater than group differences, barring defining ones.

      Reply
    11. philnc

      My wife thinks her doing all the driving is by choice, but it is actually clever manipulation on my part. After a decade of commuting via the infamous LIE, complete with weekly full stops due to multiple collisions, car fires and the highway landings by police choppers, my post road warrior driving style led her to take over the role of family car pilot. Now she gets to grit her teeth and curse at the idiots around us, while I relax and listen to another Mike Duncan podcast episode.

      Reply
    1. Jason Boxman

      Any time something is bipartisan in Washington, watch your wallet: You’re about to get robbed.

      Reply
    2. Another Scott

      But Richard Neal’s a progressive. After all he’s the one who requested Trump’s tax returns.

      There’s also a lot of deliberate misinformation about who can use the “free” filing services. It’s significantly less than the number that they quote do to other requirements. I tried using one a few years ago, but couldn’t because I had too many of the boxes in 15B. I think I had 5, covering pretty basic benefits for large employers. Also, I think if you have an HSA, which is the only plan offered by many employers, you can’t use it.

      Reply
    3. GF

      Here in AZ the state offers free tax filing online through tax filing companies, among others, Turbo Tax. One can file both federal and state returns if you meet the income and/or other requirements. It has worked well for us for several years. Will this law affect this state sponsored free tax filing?

      Reply
      1. curlydan

        No, it won’t. What you’re referring to is the Free File Alliance (FFA), but that program as you noted has income caps that can limit participation.

        Reply
      2. dearieme

        My British tax affairs are simple enough for me to deal with using just a calculator. But a letter from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs cautions me that “To send a partnership or trust and estate return, or if you’re a minister of religion …, you’ll have to purchase commercial software”.

        Why the poor old God-botherers are picked on like this I have no idea. Maybe they count as being employed by the Big Fellow himself. In which case why can’t he complete their forms just by performing a miracle?

        Reply
  2. Henry Moon Pie`

    Johnstone on liberating humanity–

    I love where Caitlin is going with this. Another recent article from her along the same lines is also good:

    If enough of us can awaken from this narrative matrix in which the plutocrats have imprisoned us, this abusive dynamic will be unable to find any purchase. When your mental processes become enlightened (made conscious), belief in/identification with mental narrative falls away. This radically changes your perception of reality, since it turns out that concepts as fundamental as self, other, world and separateness are all made entirely of mental narrative. A deep and abiding peace comes to the forefront of experience, because almost all human suffering is caused by believed mental narrative. You gain the ability to decide what thought (if any) is useful to you in a given moment, and then let it go without attachment in the next instant. Obviously, thoughts which harm our species and benefit only the powerful are not useful to keep around, so the official authorized narratives of the elite class are swiftly dispensed with. As you become more conscious of your inner processes, you can move more and more gracefully in the world, in graceful alignment with what is in the world’s highest interest.

    I have another easily accessible resource to recommend. YouTube is full of audio recordings of Alan Watt, the British philosopher and expert in Eastern mysticism who helped popularize Zen Buddhism and Hinduism in the 1960s. Watt’s often humorous little lectures aim at providing exactly the kind of examination of the concepts of consciousness and self that Johnstone is recommending.

    Reply
    1. Amfortas the hippie

      “short, sharp, shock…”
      or the Diamond Cutter Sutra.
      the shocking statement that short circuits the habitual pavlovian channels.
      Since i learned how to do that more effectively in my interactions with others, i find that i’ve had more purchase in sociopolitical hearts and minds work.
      first, i had to learn their language, tho…which entailed—shudder—listening to them.
      then, I could quietly interject a Jesus quote…or “there but for the grace of god go I”…and watch them stop in bewilderment, and see in their eyes the wheels start to turn.
      now, in the Texas Hill Country, there’s a bunch of former teabilly frothers who like the idea of a new deal and universal healthcare, legalised weed and a decidedly peacenik foreign policy stance.
      I am as shocked at this success as anyone. nothing even approaching electoral significance(save maybe marginally at the county level), but I’m only one guy.

      Reply
      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        Yeah but ur technically lying to them. Im assuming ur an atheist. I could say ‘Bless you’ or ‘ill be praying for you.’

        Idk seems wrong.

        Reply
        1. diptherio

          Assuming a hippie is an atheist is not a very sound assumption to make, in my extensive experience with hippies. Not sure about Amfortas, of course, but most hippies I know do believe in something resembling the divine, though it’s usually called something like “Spirit” or “Cosmos”.

          At any rate, you have to speak to people in the language they know, in a framework of concepts they understand. Trying to make headway with someone who doesn’t share your “language” by putting an argument to them that’s framed in your preferred method of understanding rather than theirs is a recipe for futility.

          Reply
          1. amfortas the hippie

            yes. diptherios second paragraph. im not a theist(mystic agnostic w druidy vibes)… but i dig jesus the radical….and thats tha part that the righty xtians have left out for 49 years.
            i just remind them of that forgotten tradition. i would never represent myself as christian. if they assume without asking, thats on them

            Reply
    2. WJ

      Johnstone is consistently superb. She is a master of the high colloquial style and she is smart as a whip. Here is another piece of hers worth reading, which develops the argument put forward by some commentators here (including moi) that the number of Dem candidates is intended to ensure superdelegate control of convention.

      https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2019/04/09/packed-primary-may-let-superdelegates-screw-progressives-again/

      Nota bene: “The natural people to decide are the leadership of the party….”

      “Elaine Kamarck, a DNC member who Ward describes as “one of the party’s foremost rules experts,” told Yahoo News that she does think we could see superdelegates picking the 2020 nominee, but that she believes voters will welcome it.
      “There’s a source of legitimacy to say, look, the voters didn’t decide. And if the voters didn’t decide, you can’t rerun 50 elections,” Kamarck said. “The natural people to decide are the leadership of the party, and that would be the superdelegates. I think there’s a legitimacy that people would be willing to accord it.”

      Reply
      1. a different chris

        There’s a source of legitimacy to say, look, the voters didn’t decide.

        Do these people even listen to themselves? Lordy.

        Reply
        1. newcatty

          Unfortunately, I think they do listen to themselves as they expound their own narratives. It isn’t so much that they are arrogant or even true believers in their narratives. The DNC is no more less about power and control than the Republicans. The two parties that control the elections in the country, especially federal elections. Karmack can say what is an absolutely undemocratic and authoritarian narrative that says voters not deciding who to run as a Democrat in 2020 is “legitimate ” and even “welcomed”. It’s a mistake for people to keep trying to fit the DNC matrix of control into an enlightened awareness of reality that is conscious of the fact that we are all in this world together and it is right to care about us, other beings and the planet. Cognitive dissonance of the most deeply felt comes believing that PTB in the DNC will be enlightened leaders. More and more, they are hiding in plain sight. Until enough people figure that out, who do care about others and the planet, then they hold the narrative.

          Reply
    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I wonder what Watt would say about attachment to meat, when one substitutes imitation beef for the real thing.

      “It tastes just like a real burger. So yummy. Can I have another one?”

      I read that we like crispy chips (say, potato chips), because they crunch like bones do, and that is related to when humans used to eat bone marrow, and other parts.

      So, perhaps quitting chips is another step towards liberation, by losing one more (unconscious) attachment.

      Reply
    4. Dirk77

      It is a common theme that humanity, in evolving to the brain they have now, are without training essentially mentally ill. Thus all the violence and inflicting misery the species is known for. Caitlin then is merely postulating about the effects of actually training people to use their mind properly. Enlightenment then is merely that, and the degree you train yourself is the degree you are at peace.

      Reply
  3. allan

    Inflated Credit Scores Leave Investors in the Dark on Real Risks [Bloomberg]

    Consumer credit scores have been artificially inflated over the past decade and are masking the real danger the riskiest borrowers pose to hundreds of billions of dollars of debt.

    That’s the alarm bell being rung by analysts and economists at both Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Moody’s Analytics, and supported by Federal Reserve research, who say the steady rise of credit scores as the economy expanded over the past decade has led to “grade inflation.” …

    There are around 15 million more consumers with credit scores above 740 today than there were in 2006, and about 15 million fewer consumers with scores below 660, according to Moody’s. …

    Car loans, retail credit cards and personal loans handed out online are the most exposed to the inflated scores, according to deRitis. This kind of debt totals around $400 billion, with nearly $100 billion bundled into securities that’s been sold to investors …

    The good news is that financial engineers – some of the smartest people on the planet, some even with Ph.D.s in particle physics – have come up with sophisticated ways to eliminate the risk.

    Reply
    1. fajensen

      It’s funny how smart people can cook the numbers that moves the needle on their KPI’s, then totally forget they cooked the numbers and then behave as if the numbers were real. Some kind of split brain syndrome, surely!?

      Reply
  4. Roger Smith

    Does anyone in the MI area have a more balanced story on Colbeck et al. education reforms? I know Colbeck, I used to be in his district, and he’s a religious zealot. That said, this article is obviously biased in favor of the color flag both this page and where it links to likes to fly. I would like to see an actual comprehensive, objective look at these suggested changes. For example, when won’t kids be learning about LGBTQ movements where they were before?

    Reply
    1. crittermom

      Yes, they do!
      Rufus looks like a sweetie.

      I loved the parrot talk, too.
      First thing to make me truly smile this morning, as I awoke too early and began digesting the news here without the Antidote initially.
      Oh, boy, did I need that!

      Reply
  5. Norb

    -There’s something about AOC

    Thanks for this link. For a long time I have been trying to find the time to familiarize myself with the writings of Cicero. I know, in the end, Cicero lost both his head and his hands to his political rivals. It helps to remember this fact when viewing contemporary political struggles and the need to support politicians of principle and courage. Just the fact that AOC is taking so much heat from the establishment means she is on the right track.

    Courage is contagious- and in the political sphere, that is why it must be snuffed out in your enemies.

    More political courage is what is needed at the present time.

    Reply
  6. crittermom

    >”Scientist Test Whether Brain Stimulation Could Help Sharpen Aging Memory” (NPR)

    I’m surprised that they didn’t test the subjects again, perhaps days or a week later. Why not?
    Now further testing will need to be done (again) to see how long the results last beyond the 50 minutes they tested?
    That causes an avoidable redundancy, it would seem.

    I wasn’t impressed by the small number of increase revealed in the study. In reading the article that made it sound so promising, I’d expected it to be larger.

    For me, I get my brain stimulation by reading NC each morning, which only seems to enhance my memory of what this country was like decades ago, while still being able to remember the atrocities bestowed upon us by more recent administrations. I’m feeling quite ‘in sync’, thank you.

    (But for those whose eyes haven’t been opened, perhaps a little electronic stimulation just before voting would be a good thing, to stimulate their memories in the hope they would then vote progressive?)

    Reply
    1. Svante Arrhenius

      We’d a gig, some years back, where the ECT was self administered, albeit unintentional… mostly. A train load of epoxy coated 4′ diameter steel pipe derailed in icy Chicago. Our testing probe applied 2,100V at low amps, via what looks like a Slinky to see where the coating was damaged. While astried the pipe… well, you get the picture? Trains roared by, we were wet, tired, frozen and miserable. And every few minutes shocked (though, again, not involving the cerebral cortex). True, we’ve retained remarkably accurate memories of commuters staring at us, as they sped by. They all appeared to be mightily confused as to the nature of our activity?

      Reply
          1. The Rev Kev

            Uhhh, actually I would never have guessed that that is what GTA stood for. From where I am sitting, the Greater Toronto Area is about 15,000 kilometers thataway.

            Reply
            1. WobblyTelomeres

              Cool. Thought you might have clicked the link (Anderson teaches at Univ. Of Toronto) and were just messing with me. Apologies.

              Reply
              1. The Rev Kev

                No worries. I saw Toronto mentioned but did not know that there was such a thing as the Greater Toronto Area. Google was only bringing back Grand Theft Auto as to what GTA stood for. Stupid Flanders Google.

                Reply
                1. ambrit

                  I thought it was Grand Theft Auto myself, it being firmly in the middle of the ‘Greater Northeast Criminogenic Zone.’

                  Reply
    2. Oregoncharles

      “I’m surprised that they didn’t test the subjects again, perhaps days or a week later. Why not?”

      They just forgot to.

      (Sorry, couldn’t help myself.)

      Reply
  7. Summer

    Re: A World Without Stock Buybacks

    How could that entire article be written without mentioning any connection to stock price and executive compensation???

    Reply
    1. todde

      and lower stock prices mean the have-nots trying to scrimp and save will pay less for stocks.

      that’s a win for them

      Reply
        1. ambrit

          What? Good old fashioned “Poppers” aren’t good enough for you?
          Expect stock buybacks to soon be in everyone’s “Bucket Shop List.”

          Reply
  8. jfleni

    Researchers Warn Arctic Has Entered ‘Unprecedented State’ That Threatens Global Climate Stability.

    AOC, speak up NOW! The grease monkeys will not, so it’s up to you!

    Reply
    1. Isotope_C14

      There’s not a thing that can be done at this late in the game, as far as we know. Likely, any possible geo-engineering solutions will be catastrophic failures.

      There is 3000X the weight of all humans in bacteria on the planet – when you warm it up for them, they don’t care what you do, they are still going to produce CO2 and CH4, and perhaps even NOx. They are eating permafrost and they will continue until we are all gone.

      AOC speaking up now will do nothing. We needed people to listen to Erlich and Hansen in the 70’s and 80’s, but most everyone thought greed was good.

      Why there’s a recovery ‘speed limit’ after mass extinction Futurity (David L)

      I think with these titles it’s starting to become clear. We have very limited time left. Seems to be an awakening for it. Extinction Rebellion is getting quite large in the UK/EU. Hope the governments do tell the truth soon.

      Would be a real waste of our last 2 years on the planet generating meaningless pieces of paper.

      Reply
      1. Svante Arrhenius

        I remember us listening to Carter’s speech. At least, if we’d begun back then; we’d all be retiring with portfolios full of US PV, Wind, EV, Battery, Regenerative Agriculture, Nuclear, Smart Grid, Geothermal, Biomass… equities. But, yeah… what a clever idea to unleash bin Laden’s pals on Russia! Heeoin, oil, gas, hegemony, USA, USA! We’d been taught about clathrates percolating out from out of where the permafrost used to be, while paying for white flight suburbanite malls, interstates and wars. .

        Reply
        1. Anon

          . . .but then the US elected Ronald Reagan, who dismantled the WH solar panels, dismantled health care for the mentally ill, dismantled the air traffic union, and eventually created the conditions that grew into the FU culture that you see today.

          Reply
          1. Svante Arrhenius

            We’d basically stopped watching “TV news” after Jan 1981, if lucky enough to still have a home, electricity or mental facilities consistent with climbing out of dumpsters with foraged food. Both of us had degrees in journalism, so had precious little interest in US broadcast or print journalism. We were kinda ground zero for Reagan’s Miracle? Where were you?

            Reply
      2. Monty

        I am curious about your 2 year prognosis. Shocking! Can you share more information about how you reached that conclusion.

        Reply
        1. Isotope_C14

          Hi Monty,

          It’s not a conclusion. It’s just my estimate from how awful things are. With the feedback loops collapsing it is only going to get worse.

          It may take one zero-arctic ice event to cause a massive famine due to heat-waves in the northern hemisphere. A week of 40C temps could easily eliminate a corn harvest. Same with drought and flooding, neither are conducive to soybeans or corn.

          Here’s a bunch of scientists that are ignored:

          https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/extinction.html

          Bulletin of the atomic scientists: 2 minutes til midnight. Best to ignore the scientists.

          https://thebulletin.org/doomsday-clock/current-time/

          We’re lucky to have made it this far, but don’t expect too many years past this summer.

          Reply
          1. Monty

            Thanks for the links. It all sounds plausible, but the sciencey stuff always does to my untrained eye.

            Carpe Diem!

            Reply
            1. Isotope_C14

              No worries Monty,

              It’s a tough topic. I’d suggest Paul Beckwith, Zach Labe

              https://sites.uci.edu/zlabe/

              https://www.youtube.com/user/PaulHBeckwith/videos

              Kevin Pluck has some good graphs on twitter.

              https://twitter.com/kevpluck

              The real “end of species” stuff is largely Guy McPherson’s discussion. His real message about love and enjoy the time you have, I find, insightful. His site is nature bats last, and he discusses the worst case scenario sort of things.

              Even if Bolton doesn’t manage to nuke the planet, and/or the oil companies don’t manage to turn this planet into Venus, an asteroid could still hit us tomorrow and we’d have no ability to plan for it. So live well now, and kindly.

              Be well and healthy for whatever time we have left!

              Reply
          2. ChristopherJ

            Isotope, I tell my dearest not to expect more than 2 years.

            The weather is just getting too far from comfortable. It will be our inability to grow food at scale that will kill us.

            When the trucks stop coming and the power is turned off, your tap no longer works and you run out of….

            Just how long will your house hold last?

            Reply
            1. Isotope_C14

              I have a tiny studio in Berlin.

              When the fish hits the shan, I have 20 ways from tuesday to go out gracefully in the lab.

              All apparently painless, the rats get a little crazy with the gas, but I’ll pound a bottle of something hard prior.

              Your dearest is lucky to have someone honest around, that is something I don’t have the luxury of. I prefer though, not to lie to folks, and if they want to ignore me that is fine. I just at this age, don’t want anything complicated due to our expiration date that is coming quite quickly.

              Reply
              1. ambrit

                I’m sort of anticipating a “Warriors of the Waste Management Land” scenario.
                This ‘bottleneck’ will show the true worth of literal “tribalism.”

                Reply
      3. Amfortas the hippie

        re: geoengineering.
        i spend a lot of time outside.
        always have.
        and i pay attention to things….like the sky.
        i have observed a change in the appearance/behaviour of condensation trails behind aircraft since at least the late 90’s.
        now, it’s as if we’re not allowed a perfectly clear blue sky,lol.
        every day that begins that way soon is marred by aircraft contrails that linger for hours and end up overspreading the sky with what looks like cirrus clouds, but are not.
        I understand that this entire area of inquiry has long ago been relegated to tinfoil…but direct observation today…accounting for current weather conditions aloft…reveals a different sky than when i was a kid.
        I suppose it could be due to some change in fuel for these jets…in which case, that change should be revisited….but, given that i only see this on the clearest days, indicates that it’s something else.
        another weird feature of those days is that they are the only days when the air traffic controllers apparently lose their minds. a giant tic tac toe board, stretching to the horizon…and ignoring the well known skyways usually adhered to.
        a simple glance at a map readily explains the trajectory(and altitude) of aircraft on partly cloudy days, or at night.
        on clear days, i can’t fathom where all these planes are going…..or coming from. There’s nothing over there that makes sense.
        just something that has been bothering me for 20 years that no one wants to talk about since alex jones shoved it so far into crazyland.
        tin foil off.

        Reply
        1. zagonostra

          I live in rural central PA and some days you wake up to a crisp blue sky and watch as the planes crisscross the sky creating a milky gauzy haze by noon -glad someone else here at NC is observing same phenomena.

          Dane Wingington is the authority on the subject and he deserves a lot of credit to bring credibility to this subject.

          Reply
          1. Svante Arrhenius

            Seems like lots of cognoscenti moved up by State College: no fracking, lots of water, friendly locals, kinda Tennessee weather? Guess, having lived in crazy Zion Grove for nearly a decade… do you feel LUCKY? I really liked the Poconos (of course, we could never really SEE the sky: trees & air traffic consisted of A-10s and Apache’s skimming the ridgelines at night). I’ve taken crews of Alabama, Mississippi, Florida and Mexican national hands up there and they’re terrified of all the “inbred crankhead churls” What’s your experience?

            Reply
            1. zagonostra

              Great place to live, I’m saddened by looking up at the sky and watching it get raked by whatever forces are work.

              The folks that live there have typically not traveled much and have lived in the area their whole life, with exceptions. I’m not from the area, lived in many different States and currently work in the DC area. When I meet folks there they range from the nicest people you’d ever meet to what I think you mean by “churls.”

              Weather was wetter than anytime I can recall in the last 15 years I’ve lived in the area, looking forward to Spring.

              Reply
              1. Svante Arrhenius

                Churls, not me baby! That was three guys from my crew. And the speaker was a YOOJ peckerwood biker (though all returned from a gun show, much farther east, babbling about Deliverance?) I’d been up Hazleton, when the Mexican guy got killed in Shenandoah, that crazy sheriff threatened Obama, the Mayor… well, it went on and on? But, personally, I thought most people were LOTS less parochial, obdurate and oblivious, than here on Manhattan Island? Of course guanciale, scamourza, artichoke pizza, lobster tails and sfogiotelles were FAR better, up there.

                Reply
        2. Svante Arrhenius

          Wasn’t that how Vonnegut’s brother got him up to NY… all the late 40’s “cloud-seeding” experiments, ice 9, nuclear winter? Anyway… I remember how “experts” used to joke about cloudless skies in George Miller’s Mad Max films. Spooky how things work out?

          https://www.quantamagazine.org/cloud-loss-could-add-8-degrees-to-global-warming-20190225/

          https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change-clouds-higher-sky-towards-poles-greenhouse-gases-global-warming-volcanoes-a7131216.html

          Reply
        3. Shonde

          Cloudless skies were the norm in San Diego County unless it was what then was called the rainy season. I always knew if there was a fire somewhere on the horizon because that smoke rising would be the only thing in the sky. Then a few years ago that started to change and I really had to look hard to make sure that puffy thing on the horizon was a cloud or a fire indicator. Left CA last year so can’t speak for current conditions. My thought always was the clouds were an indication of climate change. Maybe not?

          Reply
            1. Leftcoastindie

              Especially along the coast where I live. The marine layer also acts as our “natural air conditioner” keeping temps in the 70’s for the most part. When I wake up and it is cloudy you can pretty much count on temps in the mid 70’s as the marine layer will burn off by 10 A.M. and return around 4 P.M.. Otherwise, temps will be in the 80’s (and more frequently 90’s) when it is clear when I get up in the morning.

              Reply
            1. Monty

              I’ve met a few people, including my late father, that punished themselves by filling their heads with this kind of ‘sciencey’ information from the internet. It is like a religious belief with many. Holding such beliefs can be a lot more damaging to your (mental) health than any toxic chemicals they are supposed to be spraying us with.

              The anxiety, stress and depression, from fixating on all manner of these scary tales, caused my dad’s high blood pressure. That ultimately led to a fatal heart attack (which robbed him of about 25 years of life).

              Reply
              1. amfortas the hippie

                just dispassionate observation over almost half a century. when i obtained internet, i looked it up and found no reliable info…. just “it aint happening” from on high, and morgollons and gray aliens from below.
                similar to my experence of weather pain(consitent, 30 years now).
                mainstream says it aint happening… mybody says it is, and my long term experiments discount pressure and humidty.
                we dont know everything… and us down here arent privy to even more.

                geoengineering looks like occams razor to me, untill someone gets me a better explanation.
                what i do know is that clear as a bell days are rare these days, and airtraffic is why. thats as far as i can go towards causation

                Reply
              2. zagonostra

                I’m not sure Wikipedia is the arbiter of truth here, so can you give other references?

                It is more of a red/blue pill scenario. I was a total skeptic and on your side of reality for the longest time. I would just respectfully ask that you keep an open mind, trust your eyes, and do a little research.

                If you can provide convincing counter arguments to folks like Dane Wingington, no quack there, I’m more than willing change my belief, gladly so…enough stress to go around, don’t need more.

                Reply
          1. zagonostra

            NC comments tend to be of a higher caliber than just about any other web site, but on this topic, and especially 9/11, one should just be resigned to be lampooned.

            Reply
            1. Amfortas the hippie

              lol.
              i had zero illusions when i mentioned it in the first place.
              and! with a roar of laughter, Universe has provided me with a pristine blue sky, today,lol.
              must be refueling the planes.

              Reply
              1. WobblyTelomeres

                The over-the-horizon radar clears the skies right up, yessir. I hear they’ve been fine-tuning it at an abandoned air field down in Hondo.

                Reply
                1. Amfortas the hippie

                  the difference between my kid-hood in the 80’s and now could be attributed to just plain more air travel, i suppose…altho that doesn’t account for the changes in trajectory/airlanes, day to day.
                  I don’t know
                  it’s the feeling of attempted gaslighting that bothers me.
                  here’s an observable phenomenon, and the response is either ‘it ain’t there” or “oogabooga!”,lol.
                  turns out it’s a thing:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_radiation_management
                  …and I might even be all for it, so long as it’s not an excuse to continue burning hydrocarbons(world without end…)…and that it’s acknowledged.
                  but air travel—even without any nefariousness—is one of the worst carbon polluters, so cost/benefit might be a problem….( and while rummaging around today, it appears that aviation fuel is untaxed( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aviation_fuel#Tax )—which is kind of nuts, in a strangelovian way.)
                  too, in my 25 years out here, i’ve seen all manner of aircraft weirdness, and haven’t run away screaming, yet.
                  (including a “persistent contrail” emitting airliner do a U- turn overhead,lol)

                  Reply
                2. ambrit

                  Oh yeah about the radar effect. I still cannot get a rational explanation for those suspiciously circular rain patterns on the regional radar. Said circular patterns are always centred on major regional radar installations.
                  Any radar geeks lurking?

                  Reply
    1. Charger01

      Hilarious. I hope Lambert or Jules can repost his interview with Jay from the Real News again talking about the 2008 Democratic primary. He’s an icon of the past with the Pentagon Papers. Ironically He’s running against another icon, Bernie. I hope they can pull the Overton Window far to the left.

      Reply
  9. Deschain

    I think the focus on buybacks is really misplaced. It’s focusing on the fever and not the disease. Let’s say we ban buybacks. What do corporations do with all that cash then? Think they are going to raise wages and/or invest in the business? LOLOLOLOL. They will just find some other way to funnel capital back to management/investors – at best they just take all that buyback cash and turn it into a dividend. At worst they’ll double down on job-destroying M&A.

    Let’s fix the power imbalance between labor and capital. Do that and the buyback issue goes away on its own.

    Reply
    1. Charger01

      Let’s fix the power imbalance between labor and capital. Do that and the buyback issue goes away on its own.

      That’s a project that will take decades.to achieve.
      “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” – Fredrick Douglass

      Reply
    2. Chauncey Gardiner

      Agree not only with the need to fix the power balance, but also the need to enforce antitrust laws.

      Regarding the linked article from Bloomberg on Goldman Sachs’ view of the policy necessity of corporate stock buybacks, it appears to me something and/or someone else is behind the rebound in the U.S. stock indexes year-to-date 2019 besides corporate stock buybacks. The stock market declined 20 percent from peak to trough between late September 2018 and Christmas Day despite reported S&P 500 share repurchases in the fourth quarter 2018 of $223 billion, a record and a 63% increase from a year earlier. So, it appears that the massive volume of corporate share buybacks alone were insufficient to prevent a material drop in the stock market during that time period.

      What has changed in 2019?… Well, for one thing, the Treasury General Account at the Fed declined from $402 billion at 12/31/18 to $264 billion on 4/5/19 as the Treasury paid down Treasury debt and/or reduced borrowing, presumably to in part offset a reduction in systemic liquidity stemming from the Federal Reserve’s decision not to repurchase a portion of the maturing bond portfolio that it acquired under its various Quantitative Easing programs.

      The stock market does appear to require massive ongoing cash subsidies in order for current valuations to be maintained. Setting aside the important question of whether a rising stock market is the highest and best use of public monies as a policy objective, or even a prudent policy objective, it appears to me that corporate stock buybacks alone are insufficient to propel markets ever higher at this point, and will in any event eventually need to be curtailed if U.S. corporations are to remain viable business entities. Whether they should be allowed at all should be part of a broader public conversation about the proper role of financial markets IMO.

      Reply
  10. Lunker Walleye

    Men Are Better At Maps Until Women Take This Course

    I was required to take Freshman Engineering 101 for my interior design degree. Orthographic projection was the enemy until my boyfriend patiently walked me through it after I was bawling over not being able to do it. In the end, I gained confidence that it was possible to master the class including three-point perspective. By the way, this was when students were still drafting at tables with pencil and paper.

    Reply
  11. The Rev Kev

    “IRGC Designation: More from the War-with-Iran Playbook”

    Looks like Netanyahu is yet in more strife. There has been accusations of meddling going on in the Israeli elections and the Israelis are not happy! In fact, there has been accusations that Netanyahu has been colluding with a foreign leader in order to win the 2019 Israeli elections. The Israeli prosecutors have been assembling a case over the course of the last few months and now they have final proof. It has been found that Netanyahu has been colluding with Donald Trump to help him win yet another term in office. Trump has given Netanyahu a series of victories to help his election chances such as moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem, saying that the Golan Heights belong to Israel and now, just before voting starts, has listed the IRGC as a terrorist organization. A prosecutor said that the final proof was Netanyahu boasting in a tweet in Hebrew that he asked Trump to do so and Trump obliged. As corruption is so rife in Israel, an international investigator is being flown in to find out the truth of the matter. His identity has been concealed but the international investigator has promised to leave no stone unturned to find those responsible. Mr. Meullerstein has stated that he has lots of experience in the US Presidents workings and promises results – no matter how many years it takes.

    Reply
  12. Brindle

    2020….Class Warfare

    Who knows Biden’s motivation….what is important is the power differential on display in almost all of Biden’s episodes. He is/was one of the most powerful politicians in the country and he used that position to physically impose himself on unsuspecting women and girls. Biden is not a sexual predator but he does engage in the same unequal power relationships that many predators also use.

    —“While reading Lucy Flores’ and Sofie Karasek’s accounts last week of their interactions with Biden, a knot gathered in my stomach. I experienced, in a very small dose, the kind of doubt, the queasy sense of having been duped that I once felt so strongly as a survivor. I believe Flores and Karasek, and I believe they felt humiliated and distressed by Biden’s physical contact. It was me who I doubted. The feeling of questioning my own experience was a familiar one. Why hadn’t I been more aware of Biden’s contact with me? Why didn’t it occur to me to be perturbed? Why had I so quickly discredited my annoyance at having to hold hands with him like I was a little girl?”—

    https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/04/joe-biden-lilly-jay-touch-essay.html

    Reply
  13. Carolinian

    Profiles in Ruling Class Chutzpah is an excellent rant that isn’t a rant. I’ve bookmarked that site. Here’s a bit from another one of her posts.

    Biden is a combination of sociopathies. He is the typical powerful ruler who plots and passes neoliberal legislation to punish and harm people. Then he further adds to the horror by touching the bodies of women in order to convey his power to them. Manipulative ministrations of this type make many women feel that if they hadn’t been sending out those invisible signals of neediness and vulnerability, they would never have attracted the magical male touch in the first place. It’s all their fault if they take Biden-style handsiness the wrong way. Failure to accept it in the loving aggressive spirit with which it was intended will only prove their needy ingratitude and chronic hangups.

    Some sharp writing that.

    https://kmgarcia2000.blogspot.com/2019/04/manos-hands-of-joe-bidens-fate.html

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      I am thinking that democrats will give a pass to anything on a nihilistic path to power. We had the #MeToo movement but when Biden paws women and children in public and in front of their husbands and parents, he gets a pass. It has taken decades to stop homosexuality being listed as a criminal act and a source of general hatred but when cartoon images and films depict Trump and Putin as having a homosexual love affair, they give a pass on that. If Sanders wasn’t Jewish, he would have been labelled as anti-Semitic – and in all likelihood the democrats would have given his accusers a pass on that as well.

      Reply
  14. rd

    Sanity may be coming slowly to floodplains in flooding states:
    https://www.stltoday.com/news/local/metro/as-missouri-s-rivers-rise-lawmakers-may-stop-subsidizing-risky/article_f1ac5c6f-a908-5d69-9d50-5ee6c05cbbd5.html

    but voters still don’t really understand that they can play a role: https://www.stltoday.com/business/local/voters-sent-msd-s-plan-for-flooding-and-erosion-down/article_d4d4d4ed-ef09-5dd0-8bee-fe3fd4e8f3f9.html#tncms-source=block-contextual-fallback

    Reply
  15. hemeantwell

    Re the “There’s something about AOC” article, which is certainly good enough, there’s this quote:

    Walzer, currently co-editor of Dissent magazine, argues that in a functioning democracy different goods belong to different distributive spheres. For example, there is the sphere of “money”, “education”, “health” and “politics”. Each is a separate sphere, with its own criterion of distribution. Injustice occurs not simply, or necessarily, when there is inequality within a sphere, but more specifically when one sphere takes over another sphere.

    I think NC regulars can spot how Walzer is reworking Polanyi’s line of analysis, which emphasizes the threat posed by an economic order that becomes corrosively dominant vis-a-vis other areas of life. But there’s a kind of equal-handedness to Walzer that’s a clinker. I suppose that we could come up with criteria for the distribution of healthcare that would be so absolute as to endanger the functioning of education, as in a paranoid locking down of a city’s schools if a child sneezes. But that’s not how things tend to go these days and Walzer’s take, which is likely derived from Weber’s thoughts on institutional differentiation, tends to ease us away from the core problem of our time, which is “Money” that has taken the form of capital and seeks to convert all other spheres into profit platforms.

    Reply
    1. a different chris

      >NC regulars can spot how Walzer is reworking Polanyi’s line of analysis

      Haha you give some of us way too much credit. I’m an over-educated techie. But I appreciate your post.

      Reply
  16. Oregoncharles

    “From blizzards to tornadoes to extreme temperature drops, a wild weather week ahead ”
    So FWIW, the upper Willamette Valley just got hit with one of those sky rivers. Nothing compared to the Midwest, but there’s local flooding and our river is out of its banks – up at least 10 feet in a couple of days. It’s a short river that rises in the mountains, so it jumps up and down pretty fast.

    It’s worse on the east side, because of snow melt and releases from the Cascade dams, so be careful driving if you’re anywhere around here.

    Water over our lower ground is nothing new, but I don’t remember it ever happening in April. It did not flood our driveway this time; that’s considered serious flooding. At this point, the sun is out; of course, the highest water often occurs at that stage. The Willamette is at flood stage, so we may see our tributary stop. That would be nice – I’m more concerned about bank erosion than flooding. It’s all just silt down there, and the river is working on cutting off the point.

    Reply
    1. Shonde

      We are told we may have 10-15 inches of heavy wet snow starting on Wednesday night here in what is currently balmy southern Minnesota. My first year after moving from California to Minnesota has been a doozer with a 27 below polar vortex, a record February snowfall and now this. I raked and overseeded the front lawn last week thinking spring was here. My neighbors must have been thinking “stupid Californian”.

      Reply
      1. Randy

        Just be glad you weren’t here for the 2013-2014 winter. That was worse. The last time we had it so bad was January 1982.

        Don’t feel bad everybody likes to push the envelope in “spring”. BTW grass likes warm soil so seed grass in fall, clover in spring.

        Reply
      2. Copeland

        Just curious about your move from CA to southern MN.

        I worked in Rochester (of Mayo Clinic fame) for 14 years, and there seemed to always be a flow of people in that direction. They could buy three houses in Rochester with the cash they had on hand from selling a house in CA.

        Reply
  17. Mike

    re: https://www.alternet.org/2019/04/chuck-todds-interview-with-mitt-romney-a-massive-failure-that-shows-exactly-why-americans-uninformed-on-healthcare/

    Some day, we will all realize that reason, logic, and responsibility have nothing to do with empire. Power to drive a narrative by backing it with argument from authority, coupling it to power of obfuscatory high-ground, repetitive propaganda.

    Our question must become: How do you deal with a spoiled rich brat? If only Mongolia would approve, the Gobi Desert might be a choice location for tantrum resolution. Any other might do as well.

    Reply
    1. WobblyTelomeres

      I thought we all agreed that they should go to Mars (I think they know about Venus). Did I miss a meeting?

      Reply
  18. Oregoncharles

    “Peston argues this suggests May would revoke Article 50 if things fell apart. ”
    She was a Remainer, and her political career is over. OTOH, that would wreck the party, probably both of them; assuming there’s anything left at this point. Since I oppose 2-party systems, I would see that as a good thing, but I don’t thing May would.
    Unless she feels abused. She was given a thankless task.

    Reply
    1. c_heale

      May had a difficult job with the referendum result, but firstly, she quite happily accepted the position of prime minister, and secondly, due to her TINA way of doing things she made what would have a been a difficult negotiation impossible. There’s no need to feel any sympathy for her.

      Reply
  19. barrisj

    Re: Norway leaving its oil beneath the Arctic…there was a wonderful television series produced in Norway a few years ago called “Occupied”. Its major premise was that an ecologically-minded PM declared that Norway was done with oil production, and will invest in “alternate sources” of energy generation. Which then resulted in a collaborative effort of the EU with Russia to essentially promote a coup d’état to install a government “friendly” to continued oil exploration and production. Fascinating series, and one wonders if the decision by the current government in Oslo isn’t a case of Life Imitating Art.
    https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4192998/?ref_=nv_sr_1?ref_=nv_sr_1

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      That premise doesn’t sound very believable since Russia has its own oil to sell. But any excuse to bash Ivan? I believe the Norwegians are among the Russia paranoiacs.

      Of course the EU is capable of anything (kidding?).

      Reply
      1. barrisj

        Should have mentioned that the “alternate source of energy generation was a technology analogous to nuclear fusion, which would effectively replace ALL petroleum power generation, and sink fossil-fuel production.

        Reply
  20. Cal2

    “The proposed curriculum update in Michigan also falls in line with another type of push by conservative education advocates: cutting references to America’s status as a democracy….”

    Where in The Constitution is the word “Democracy” used? It’s not.

    State standards are constantly being toyed with. Now things that are a few years old are sacrosanct and long term tradition?

    Worse, is Common Core, which in the opinion of every teacher we know, is civically corrosive bullshit that weakens and waters down education, removes local control and the refinement of standards tailored to the communities in which the schools are located.

    I take it to mean “Democracy” is a common set of rights and civic standards that assimilation provides and guarantees. You cannot have “democracy” in a babel of languages and cultures.

    One reason that it’s hard to attract teachers, besides not paying them enough,
    is the constant tinkering with standards, new books required, for teachers and students, the, extra tests teachers are required to take, huge distractions of bilingualism to an absurd degree–yes, San Francisco public schools do teach in Tagalog, Spanish, Creole, Hebrew, Cantonese, Mandarin etc.*

    If all the recent tinkering with education standards and curricula has been so great for the self-esteem of students in this country, not an original goal of public education, then why, besides parasites like the Sacklers, do we have large numbers of deaths from opioids to heroin addiction to hundreds of shootings a year in Chicago and Saint Louis?

    * “The district currently offers world-language pathways in three languages in elementary school: Tagalog, Italian and Japanese. Courses are also available at the middle and high school levels in Spanish, French, Mandarin, Cantonese, Hebrew and Russian.Per the resolution, Arabic- and Vietnamese-language classes would potentially be taught in kindergarten through 12th grades.”

    Reply
  21. barrisj

    eLeMondeDiplo keeps us up to date on the struggle in Algeria to purge itself of the sclerotic Bouteflika regime, and its back-room powers behind the throne:

    The shadowy power behind Algeria’s regime
    The country wants its stricken president Abdelaziz Bouteflika to relinquish power, and his secretive, divided entourage has been forced to listen. But will the army agree to get out of politics?

    Algerians have been holding massive demonstrations against their government since late February. The movement is unprecedented. Not since independence, in July 1962, has Algeria seen protests like these, peaceful and spread across the whole country, including the southern cities.

    Every Friday, the start of the weekend, hundreds of thousands march through the streets, shouting ‘Silmiya’ (peaceful). The protests bring together people of all ages, especially the young, who until now have shown little interest in politics. On other days, the momentum is maintained with sit-ins and marches by lawyers, researchers, academics, journalists and retired civil servants.

    The protesters are united in their refusal to countenance the continued presidency of Abdelaziz Bouteflika, 82, whose fourth term ends on 28 April. They also criticise his entourage, especially his brothers, Said and Nacer Bouteflika. They demand an end to the Bouteflika regime, and the establishment of a second republic. Some call for a constituent assembly. So far, the forces of law and order have responded in a conciliatory manner, police and gendarmes even fraternising with the crowds.

    Abdelaziz Bouteflika has stayed silent. Unable to move or speak, he has remained inside the medically equipped presidential residence at Zeralda, and has not spoken in public since 2014; some senior government figures privately confirm rumours that he is unable to govern. Yet on returning from Switzerland, where he went in February for a ‘routine health check’, he addressed letters to the Algerian people promising not to stand for a fifth term of office — and cancelling the presidential election scheduled for 18 April.
    […]

    https://mondediplo.com/2019/04/02algeria

    In the ‘90s, after months of mass protests against the existing government, Algeria voted in an Islamicist party, the FIS, in a democratically-elected repudiation of the military, the intelligence services, and corrupt politicians of the mainstream parties. Civil war followed, as the military violently prevented the FIS from assuming power, and this led to years of bloody conflict. Once again it appears that the military may well play a rôle in “guiding” the transition from the Bouteflika regime to a more popular-based government, as Algeria has had – almost since Liberation – a true “deep state” that sits atop the structures of power, and to whom elected governments must pay obeisance.

    Reply
  22. grizziz

    Apropos of the article Can attackers inject malice into medical imagery? Fake growths here and there, an article published in the March 22 issue of Science Mag. Adversarial attacks on medical machine learning demonstrates how subtle shifts in input data can alter results. One of the implications among others is that the alteration could be used to upcode diagnosis for higher billing rates.
    Unfortunately, the article is paywalled. However, the link will take you to the summary.
    https://science.sciencemag.org/content/363/6433/1287

    Reply
  23. richard

    Here is the recent debate between Cenk Uygur and M. Tracey about the barr thing on the mueller thing pertaining to the russian thing.
    Is cenk able to reflect that his journalistic behavior actually helped trump? Or that he should stop gaslighting and punching left?
    Spoiler alert: no, no he won’t reflect on that
    I do want to commend him for debating with Tracey
    and not pearl clutching, staying calm,
    because Tracey did come after him pretty hard.
    That’s about all I want to commend him for
    because he just won’t give up
    and now collusion means this narrower thing
    that doesn’t have anything to do with the ‘16 election
    because there is no evidence of that
    yet somehow it still permeates everything
    “it’s like “collusion” you know!
    You saw the meeting with Putin!
    Are you trying to tell me you don’t see that?”
    This is literally uygur’s argument at one point
    gaslighting away
    then tracey counterpunches, and cenk claims he never made the argument he made 4 minutes before
    My takeaway: Cenk is not the most honest debater around; but it does speak well of him that he even has the debate. Part of me wanted to say “allows” the debate. I think uygur sort of represents the mainstream left edge of the left-punching machine that is msm. He seems to me the farthest left of the “lefty punchers”, those liberals who police the borders of “acceptable discourse.”
    There is no way to do this without being a scumbag and a bully. Believe me, cenk, thousands have tried. So how about you just stop it. Stop being the interface between the people and tptb, and just come on over and join us.

    Reply
    1. barrisj

      Ugyar…yet another parishioner worshipping at the Church of the Collusionist Redeemer. I must say that it has proven difficult to shake the canonical beliefs of the faithful, despite Mueller’s failure to hand down the Collusion Tablets.

      Reply
  24. Oregoncharles

    “America, a Failing State”:
    ““And so far, no one is willing or able to make the elites pay:”
    Torches and pitchforks. Welsh is increasingly radical. Personally, I hope we can reverse course electorally before we reach that stage, but I’m less and less optimistic.

    Reply
  25. ewmayer

    “Men Are Better At Maps Until Women Take This Course | Nautilus (Dr. Kevin)” — Note that there is a linguistic analog of the “large native differences” meme, which has it that women have greater innate linguistic abilities, as evidenced by their using some larger number of distinct words per day, on average, than men. This particular meme gets regularly re-debunked (“rebunked”?) over on Language Log as it gets refreshed by one credulous MSM stenographer after another.

    Reply
  26. ChrisPacific

    SST is pointing out that designation of the IRGC as terrorists brings them within the scope of the AUMF for the ‘war on terror’ and is thus effectively a declaration of war. Obvious, but I hadn’t joined the dots until I read it there. Since Iran retaliated by designating CENTCOM as a terrorist organization, presumably the reverse also applies.

    Let’s hope it stays a cold war.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      So, through traffic analysis the US Navy in the Persian Gulf identifies a ship as a IRGC ship whereupon they attack it as they are authorized & required by US law to do it. Not international law but US law – on the other side of the planet. The Iranians lob a missile into the attacking US Navy ship in retaliation and in self-defense. Pompeo then goes ballistic and says that the US must now go to war with Iran because of the American casualties. The USS Reuben James comes to mind here. Because there are American dead and wounded, the general public agree as they do not care who started it. Bolton and Pompeo finally get their war. Mission accomplished.

      Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          That was only due to the efforts of the crew. The ship was so badly shot up that it had to be scrapped afterwards. Notice since then that there has never been another ship name Liberty at all? As in ever? When the crew saw the Israeli boats machine gunning the life rafts lowered into the water, they knew that the Israelis were determined that there were going to be no survivors. If President Johnstone had not stopped two rescue attempts, then every Israeli plane would have been splashed and every Israeli boat been sunk.

          Reply
  27. JBird4049

    California Rep. Eric Swalwell enters 2020 presidential race with focus on guns

    This fellow Bay Arean would respect him more if he would have a focus on the plight of the homeless, which is a major problem in the Bay Area. But that might somehow depress the insane housing costs which is bad for some of the wealthy and the upper middle class. Instead focus on the distant threat of the gunz instead of the daily and immediate threat of the housing hellscape. The former will get the donations and the votes. The latter not much.

    Reply

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