2:00PM Water Cooler 5/28/2019

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

“2020 Democratic Presidential Nomination” [RealClearPolitics] (RCP average of five polls). Biden (38.3% 34.7%) and Sanders (18.8% 17.7%) both drop, Warren, Harris, Buttigieg up, as of May 23. Nothing new as of this writing.

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Biden (D)(1):

To be fair, I don’t think “the hardest working man in American politics” is something anybody ever said about Biden.

Biden (D)(2): “Joe Biden is the front-runner by every measure — except big crowds” [Politico]. “Crowd size, after all, is an imperfect metric to measure a campaign’s vitality. While it can be a revealing indicator, it still lacks the scientific underpinning of polling or the fixed-dollar figures associated with fundraising. Nor does it account for the judgment of elected and influential Democrats across the country. Just as critics doubted Biden’s popularity before he got in the race, his campaign is confident he’ll have the crowds when he needs them. It’s not just the size of Biden’s events that are modest, he’s also holding far fewer of them than his primary competitors. Since his launch, he’s visited Iowa only once. And while Democrats crisscrossed early presidential primary states during the long Memorial Day weekend, Biden took it off.” • Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord: “I divide my officers into four groups. There are clever, diligent, stupid, and lazy officers. Usually two characteristics are combined. Some are clever and diligent — their place is the General Staff. The next lot are stupid and lazy — they make up 90 percent of every army and are suited to routine duties. Anyone who is both clever and lazy is qualified for the highest leadership duties, because he possesses the intellectual clarity and the composure necessary for difficult decisions. One must beware of anyone who is stupid and diligent — he must not be entrusted with any responsibility because he will always cause only mischief.” So Biden is suited for routine duties? One could argue, of course, that that’s an improvement.

Buttigieg (D)(1): “Buttigieg campaign pushing wealthy supporters to keep up fundraising momentum: report” [The Hill]. “Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg’s campaign has reportedly rolled out a program to court wealthy supporters, with participants eligible to receive benefits including meetings with the South Bend, Ind., mayor. The program, reported by Politico on Monday, would encourage bundlers to pledge to raise between $25,000 and $250,000 in exchange for the perks.” • So what’s wrong with a little fan service?

Sanders (D)(1): “Millions of taxpayer dollars fueled Bernie Sanders to wealth success” [The Hill]. • Get this. When Sanders was a Mayor, Representative, and then a Senator, he was actually paid a salary! And he saved it!!!

Trump (R)(1):

“Anyone associated” would be that lovable goof, Joe Biden. And not only Biden.

Warren (D)(1): “Elizabeth Warren Gains Ground in 2020 Field, One Plan at a Time” [New York Times]. “After five months as a presidential candidate, Ms. Warren is showing signs of success at distinguishing herself in a packed field. She has inched higher in national polls and, at events within the last month, consistently overshot the campaign’s expected amount of attendees. She has been propelled in part by a number of disruptive choices, most notably the breakneck pace at which she introduces policy proposals. That has helped keep her in the news, put pressure on rivals and provided more opportunities to shore up her campaign’s once-lackluster fund-raising…. Still, interviews with more than two dozen attendees at Ms. Warren’s campaign events in Iowa over Memorial Day weekend suggested that her steady stream of policy proposals was getting voters’ attention. Her ‘I have a plan for that’ campaign slogan has become a rallying cry for supporters.” • A few responses on “I have a plan for that.” First, no plan survives contact with the enemy. Sanders knows who his enemies are: The billionaire class. Does Warren? Second, for the Warren plans I have looked at, there has been an impressively concise and pointed problem statement — followed by a plan that’s disproportionately cautious and weak. Finally, my favorite Warren plan is the Post Office bank, an idea that Sanders and AOC cheekily stole. Why isn’t she pushing it?

“2020’s Calm Before the Storm”[US News]. “[T]he broad contours of the primary campaign toward the end of May are remarkably close to what they were when the year began…. Joe Biden is not only the undisputed front-runner, he’s acting like one. A month into his third quest for the presidency, the former vice president spent the week holding a trio of closed fundraisers in Tennessee and Florida without a single public event, even as requests for his presence pile up. It’s a defiantly traditional way to run, and one that exudes his team’s confidence in his initial standing… ‘Idealism is giving way to, ‘We’ve got to get Trump out.’ If they don’t have five horns growing out of their head, it’s, ‘I think we can work with them,” says Minyon Moore, a former top adviser to Hillary Clinton. ‘People say about Joe Biden it’s all about name ID. It’s a little bit more than that. He’s got texture, he’s got value, he’s got grit. He’s got something more that people want to hold onto.'” • And other people have something he wants to hold onto: especially women and girls!


“Baseball team apologizes for video calling AOC ‘enemy of freedom’”[Roll Call]. “A minor league baseball team apologized Monday for playing a video showing an image of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez superimposed over audio of a speech given by President Ronald Reagan warning about the ‘enemies of freedom.’… For most of the three-and-a-half minute video, Reagan’s 1981 inaugural speech plays over soaring music and images representing the U.S. military: Arlington National Cemetery, a flag-draped casket and fighter jets taking off into the air. … But around the three minute mark, as Reagan begins to admonish the “the enemies of freedom” and “those who are potential adversaries,” the video shows a series of images of anti-fascist protests, Cuban leader Fidel Castro, Korean dictator Kim Jong Un and one member of Congress: New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.” • Baseball should not only apologize to AOC, it should stop playing this militaristic crap entirely. Who goes to the ballpark for that?

2018 Post Mortem

Obama speechwriter and pod-caster Jon Favreau on Trump’s tweet above:

Wait, what? Trump depressed Democrat turnout? And Trump hit Clinton “from the left”? Really? (Perhaps here we have a liberal Democrat talking point that “Sanders is really the same as Trump”; horse-shoe theory, I believe it’s called). Forgotten nothing, learned nothing.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Blue-state House members try to reclaim higher SALT deductions that were cut in Trump’s tax overhaul” [CNBC]. “[T]he new $10,000 limit on state and local tax deductions… disproportionately hit residents of high-tax blue states. But efforts to hike the deduction limit may not play as well politically nationwide. Democrats have spent a year and a half eviscerating the Republican tax law as a giveaway to the wealthy and corporations that blows a hole in the federal budget deficit. Not only do analyses show high earners would see the most benefits from raising the deduction cap, but doing so is expected to further reduce federal revenues…. Even if the bills stall in Congress, the state and local deduction issue is unlikely to go away soon. Blue-state governors such as New York’s Andrew Cuomo have repeatedly criticized the state and local deduction caps, and some set up workarounds to help ease the new limits. However, the Treasury Department put rules in place ahead of the last tax season to prevent states from circumventing the cap.”

The path rightward seems pretty well sign-posted. Thread:

Very sad.

“Contemporary America Described Through Summaries of Famous Poems” [Los Angeles Review of Books]. “Dylan Thomas, ‘Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night: Resist.” • I picked the most 2020-ish one, but they’re all good.

Stats Watch

Consumer Confidence, May 2018: “Consumer confidence is moving up, to a higher-than-expected [level] in May for the best showing since November last year and in line with the mid-month jump posted in the consumer sentiment report” [Econoday], “Consumer confidence is moving up, to a higher-than-expected 134.1 in May for the best showing since November last year and in line with the mid-month jump posted in the consumer sentiment report.” Accurate. More: “Consumer confidence is moving up, to a higher-than-expected 134.1 in May for the best showing since November last year and in line with the mid-month jump posted in the consumer sentiment report.”

Dallas Fed Manufacturing Survey, May 2019: “Texas manufacturing activity unexpectedly slowed in May, with the general business activity index falling into contraction” [Econoday]. “Despite the headline decline, factory activity continued to expand… The survey’s demand indicators likewise slipped but remained positive:… Contrasting with the weakness of the overall report were shipments, which rose…. Contrasting with the weakness of the overall report were shipments, which rose.”

S&P Corelogic Case-Shiller Home Price Index, March 2019: “Home prices flattened out more than expected in March” [Econoday]. “Case-Shiller data are 3-month averages which will slow the report’s response to the ongoing pivot higher in underlying sales. Yet indications from the FHFA house price index, up only 0.1 percent in March and also released this morning, are also pointing to very subdued conditions”

FHFA House Price Index, March 2019: “Below expectations” [Econoday]. “FHFA and Case-Shiller home price data are not yet showing improvement despite what has been a solid pivot higher for underlying home sales this year. In contrast, price data for April released in last week’s existing home sales and new home sales reports were very strong.”

Commodities: “U.S. oil refiners are preparing for what they believe will be a business bonanza from impending shipping-industry emissions restrictions. PBF Energy Inc. is reviving and expanding a Delaware production site that’s been idle for nearly a decade” [Wall Street Journal]. “The project is among the billions of dollars’ worth of in investments that U.S. refiners have advanced to capitalize on the new international rules that require cleaner-burning fuels on the world’s oceangoing ships starting Jan. 1.”

Commodities: “Fake news infiltrates commodity markets: 10 ways you can fight back” [Materials Risk]. ” On that Sunday reports began to emerge of explosions from four crude oil tankers near the port of Fujairah in the UAE. Initially reported by websites with a reputation for spreading propaganda and then by other media networks in the region. Conflicting reports began to emerge… Brent crude prices jumped over a dollar to over $72 per barrel when markets opened on the Monday morning. Despite the uproar there was little or no evidence to support any of the claims. The most telling of all was satellite footage of the area which showed zero sign of any explosion.” • The truth finally got its boots on….

Shipping: “Shipping lines benefited in 2018 as customers looking to get ahead of tariffs ordered earlier and boosted inventories. New levies lined up for this summer take in a wider range of consumer goods, however, and some trade patterns already appear to be shifting. That’s casting uncertainty over carrier planning, however, and the higher costs from tariffs could end up dampening consumer demand” [Wall Street Journal].

Tech: “Zuckerberg and Sandberg ignore Canadian subpoena, face possible contempt vote” [CNN]. “Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg did not attend a hearing in Ottawa on Tuesday, despite receiving summonses from the Canadian parliament.” • Facebook acting like a sovereign, part 1.

Tech: “Facebook held talks with Winklevoss twins over new currency” [Financial Times]. “A secretive unit of the social media company has been working for more than a year to create a currency that its 2bn users can use to send money to each other, and to buy things not just on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp but across the internet and in the real world. A secretive unit of the social media company has been working for more than a year to create a currency that its 2bn users can use to send money to each other, and to buy things not just on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp but across the internet and in the real world…. Facebook’s cryptocurrency team, headed by David Marcus, the former head of PayPal, held meetings with other senior Facebook executives this week to discuss an imminent announcement, according to one person familiar with the situation.” • Facebook acting like a sovereign, part 2.

Tech: “All the Ways Google Tracks You—and How to Stop It” [Wired]. Saving the best for last: “There’s also the option of simply turning your phone off if you don’t want Google to know where you are.” • Of course, all these helpful tips assume that the settings aren’t like “close door” buttons in elevators: Placebos. Probably not for the simplest cased — since whether the phone is emitting data can, after all, be checked — but automatic upgrades could “accidentally” change settings, dark patterns/interactions between settings could mean users aren’t turning off what they think they’re turning off, etc. And that’s before we get to apps. Not that I’m foily, but Google has every incentive to suck down as much of your data as it can, and no incentive — other than “don’t be evil” [groan] — to avoid it.

Honey for the Bears: “Copper markets are showing signs of a downturn in global manufacturing demand. Copper prices have erased nearly all of their gains for the year and are on the brink of entering correction territory… a signal that some investors are wagering on a continued growth slowdown overseas” [Wall Street Journal]. “An industrial metal heavily used in construction and manufacturing, copper is closely tied to the health of the world economy because shifts in global growth tend to swing demand. Prices surged to start the year amid optimism the U.S. and China would soon resolve their trade fight but have slid recently on concerns that escalating tariffs will crimp economic activity. That would crimp a nascent rebound in an industrial shipping sector that depends on manufacturing growth. China accounts for about half of global copper demand.”

The Biosphere

“Big Oil Pushes Corporate-Friendly Carbon Tax in Attempt to Stem Green New Deal Wave” [LittleSis]. “With intensifying demands for bold climate action, the fossil fuel industry and its top allies are lining up behind a corporate-funded, market-centered carbon tax proposal, in an effort to stem the rising momentum around ideas like the Green New Deal and growing shareholder and investor concerns about the climate crisis. Oil and gas powerhouses BP and Shell recently announced that they were each contributing $1 million over the next two years to lobbying efforts for the Baker-Schultz Plan, which proposes an initial tax of $40-per-ton on carbon emissions…. Backed by top global corporate powerhouses, the plan is driven by an industry-friendly logic firmly within the bounds of the neoliberal imagination. For example, under the plan, revenue generated from the carbon tax would be returned back to “taxpayers,” rather than used by the government to oversee an accelerated transition to a system of renewable energy… Americans for Carbon Dividends (AFCD) is the U.S. lobbying arm for the Baker-Schultz Plan. AFCD appears to be entirely run by the lobbying firm Squire Patton Bogg and several of its top revolving door lobbyists. In addition to the fossil fuel industry ramping up its efforts to promote the Baker-Schultz plan, over a dozen major corporations and corporate-aligned environmental groups just announced a new group, the CEO Climate Dialogue, to promote ‘a market-based solution’ to the climate crisis.” • This is a very good piece, which “connects the dots” in a more evidenced and rigorous way (it’s database driven) than dots are usually connected.

“Fishing fleets have doubled since 1950—but they’re having a harder time catching fish” [Science]. “The number of ships more than doubled to 3.7 million between 1950 and 2015, the team reports this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences; in Asia, the number quadrupled. Another important trend is the spread of motors. In the 1950s, only about 20% of fishing vessels around the world had motors; by 2015, 68% did, most with power under 50 kilowatts—a small engine, or outboard motor, for example. Tabulating all these figures, [Yannick Rousseau—a graduate student in the lab of Reg Watson, a fisheries ecologist at the University of Tasmania in Hobart, Australia] and his co-authors found that the combined engine power of small vessels equals that of the industrial fleet. ‘It was a very counterintuitive result,’ Rousseau says, given the public and political attention attracted by large fishing vessels…. But compared with ships in the 1950s, today’s global fleet catches only 20% as much fish for the same amount of effort. This metric—called catch per unit effort, sometimes measured by days at sea—is a key indicator of fish population size and responsible management, which limits the number of fishing vessels or stops them from overfishing. These actions have stabilized fish stocks in the past 2 decades in North America, Western Europe, and Australia, where government regulators have tightened the rules and subsidies have made it more attractive to retire ships. Not so in Southeast Asia, the Mediterranean, and Latin America.”

“To Fight Climate Change, Convert One Greenhouse Gas Into Another” [Anthropocene]. “Most climate efforts focus on carbon dioxide, but methane is in some ways a worse offender. While it does not last as long as carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, it traps 84 times as much heat in the first two decades. Agriculture and livestock are the biggest source of methane emissions, followed by oil and gas production and use. Removing methane would kickstart the reduction of global warming, say the researchers. And that ‘would buy us considerable time to address the [larger] problem of carbon dioxide emissions,’ Rob Jackson, a professor of earth system science at Stanford University told Technology Review. Jackson and his colleagues propose removing methane from the atmosphere and oxidizing it to produce carbon dioxide. This would turn 3.2 billion metric tons of methane into 8.2 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide, which is just a few months’ worth of the 40 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions the world produces each year. The challenge of capturing methane from air is that its concentration is very low. But the researchers recommend using zeolite, a highly porous material made mainly of aluminum, silicon and oxygen, to soak up methane. They envision giant renewable-powered arrays of electric fans that push air into chambers full of the zeolite. Heating the catalyst in the presence of oxygen would then create carbon dioxide that can be released into the air.” • Are you a Giants fan? No, I’m a large air conditioner!

Poor tree:

“Slime Thinks Fast and Slow” [Scientific American]. “Dussutour and her colleagues were interested in studying how three strains of a particular slime mold species handle trade-offs between speed and accuracy when trying to find food. After presenting strains native to Japan, Australia and the U.S. with food sources of varying quality, the researchers observed which ones the organisms chose to engulf and consume. The Japanese strain acted quickest, randomly selecting whatever food it found. The Australian strain took longest but typically chose the best food. The American slime mold decided more slowly than the Japanese strain but faster than the Australian one and also opted for the highest-quality grub.”

Guillotine Watch

Peak income inequality, visualized:

“How Mount Everest’s popularity turned fatal” [Washington Post]. One word: Money. Too much of it in too few hands. More: “Others saw the traffic as an indication of how climbing Everest has become a commodity, drawing inexperienced thrill-seekers and polluting the mountain with garbage. Seeing the ‘anxiety-inducing conga line in the death zone,’ it is ‘not only dread you sense, but hubris, too,’ Peter Beaumont wrote in the Guardian. Climbing the world’s tallest peak ‘has become a trophy experience.'” • Not merely garbage, but frozen fecal matter and corpses, now thawing from climate change. Once again, income inequality, visualized

“Confusion grips three tiers of government over division of royalties from natural resources” [Kathmandu Post]. “Mount Everest is not only the highest peak in the world but also one of the highest sources of revenue from tourism in Nepal. Every year, aspiring climbers pay thousands of dollars to scale the mountain, generating much income for the country. But Nepal’s new federal set-up has created confusion over how this income should be shared, leading to rifts between the local governments in Solukhumbu district, where the mountain is located.” • If Sagarmatha is indeed a goddess, I can’t imagine she’s pleased by any of this.

Class Warfare

“Inspiring photo shows college grad standing in the fruit fields where her immigrant parents work” [CNN], “Erica Alfaro says she never forgot the advice her mom gave her when the two worked long hours together in California’s Central Valley tomato fields. ‘One day, I was very tired and told my mom and she said to me, ‘This is how life is going to be from now on. The only people who don’t have to go through this get an education.’ Those words stuck with me,’ Alfaro, 29, told CNN on Saturday. Those wise words inspired Alfaro, who dropped out of high school when she got pregnant at 15, to dive back into education. On May 19, Alfaro graduated from San Diego State University with a master’s degree in education, with a concentration in counseling. She decided to honor her parents in her graduation photos, standing in her cap and gown with her parents, in work clothes, in the middle of the fruit fields where her mother still works.” • Good for Alfaro. But this is only one individual’s story; most are not so lucky. And is Alfaro in debt?

“Low-Wage Living” [Public Source]. • I’d like to like this project, and do give it a read, but it’s actively hostile to laptop users, not having scrollbars (drag with the mouse), and actively hostile to bloggers (because I can’t easily copy the text). The text is good, and the graphics are good, though.

News of the Wired

“J.R.R. Tolkien Expressed a “Heartfelt Loathing” for Walt Disney and Refused to Let Disney Studios Adapt His Work” [Open Culture]. Well done that man. I remember a Disney retelling of Winnie the Pooh, where Pooh answers a knock at his door carrying a pop-gun. A pop-gun, but still a gun. Very American!

“The neurobiology of conscience” [Nature]. “Churchland argues that [for] the evolutionary origins of human conscience. To build that case, she first focuses on the fundamental bond between mothers and children. This relationship, she argues, was eventually extended across evolutionary time to mates, more distant kin, and friends. Conscience is essential to our ability to sustain and benefit from such attachments. As Churchland writes, ‘attachment begets caring; caring begets conscience’. The capacity to formulate and act on moral norms therefore arises from the need to develop practical solutions to social problems. Our conscience is reinforced by social stimuli: for instance, we face disapproval for lying and approval for courteous behaviour. Thus, conscience, as Churchland sees it, involves ‘the internalization of community standards.”… .For most people, as she argues, ‘love for one’s family members is a colossal neurobiological and psychological fact that mere ideology cannot wish away’. She concludes that utilitarianism is irresolvably at odds with how our brains function, given that we evolved to care more deeply about people we know than about those whom we do not…. The limitations in Churchland’s account are mostly limitations in the state of the field. As she repeatedly notes, many aspects of how conscience comes to be embodied in the brain, and shaped by natural selection, are simply not yet known. But she nevertheless makes a mighty effort.” • I think it’s a good thing that we don’t know how conscience is embodied in the brain. If we did, there’d be a market for removing it surgically, instead of the less efficient cultural, ideological, and financial methods we use today.


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

MF writes: “These mustard plants were taken about 2 miles from the start of the Las Virgenes Trailhead, which is about 8 to 10 miles from the Victory Trailhead — this area was hit particularly had by the Woolsey fire. When I stood next to them I would guess that they stood at least twice as tall as I do, so they’re over 12 ft tall.” Los Angeles Times: “Mustard plants lay down thousands of seeds and are one of the first plants to spring up after a fire.”

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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. JacobiteInTraining

    ’70’s dinner party’

    Does anyone remember a late 60’s/early 70’s jello dish – lime jello, filled with things such as ground walnuts, candied orange rinds, celery, probably a few other things my memory refuses to acknowledge – and then topped with a sheen of mayo?

    Or maybe that was just something my Gramma did to torture her dinner guests. Other then that, she could cook like a master chef but that jello dish was a ….a…monstrosity.

    All the homemade cheescakes, freshly made warm bread loaves dripping with butter and preserves, the perfectly seasoned pot roasts….all of them, can hardly outweigh the pure concentrated evil that was that jello dish…

    EDIT: the lime jello salad listed on the link appears tasty in comparison…. ;)

    1. JBird4049

      One had to have something that possibly made The Fruitcake that was always being re-gifted every Christmas and every Birthday palatable.

      1. polecat

        Fruitcakes also double as door-stops …

        … good to know when Trouble comes knocking. “Here Mr. T .. have some of this. It’s delicious, old family recipe …” “WOMP!”

      2. marieann

        ” The Fruitcake that was always being re-gifted”

        I love fruitcake and strangely enough no one has ever given me any.

        The Jello salad was not a thing in my house in the 70’s….jello is for dessert with ice cream or made into popsicles.
        Salad goes with dinner…….these are “the rules”

        1. Oregoncharles

          I like fruitcake, too. Even the one with citron, which my mother didn’t like and didn’t serve.

          Even better, though: a local bakery made a holiday bread that was essentially dried fruits (not candied) loaded into a flavored, dark bread. I have no idea of the seasonings used, but I miss that fruit bread – the baker moved away. I suppose eventually I’ll have to try to figure out the recipe; we have plenty of dried fruit.

          And free associating: I’ve made a pie of mixed dried fruits soaked with cider, all homemade (except the flour and butter). Excellent, and not difficult.

      1. polecat

        The best (well, not really) had that cottage cheese quotient in the mix, coloquially known as “the Green Death!”.. which always reminded me of perlite for some reason .. which is why I made an immediate 180° turn when sighted !

    2. sleepy

      On occasion I still run into the lime jello dish here in Iowa. Thinking I might make some for the Kamala Harris potluck.

        1. Redlife2017

          Growing up in the sticks in Iowa, I mostly ran into ambrosia. I would look at that and wonder what the hell was going on in everyone’s heads. People ate it, though (shudder). I don’t recall the lime jello dish, but I did desperately try to avoid jello dishes in general.

    3. FreeMarketApologist

      There was a ‘Watergate Salad’, which was based on a pistachio pudding, and incorporated marshmallows, pecans (or walnuts), and some other crunchy things. Sort of disgusting looking, but actually rather tasty, in small amounts (another reason we should mourn the upsizing of meal portions).

      My searches did not turn up a link between the salad and the Watergate building (but did find mentions of a ’70s cookbook with things like “Nixon’s Perfectly Clear Consomme”).

    4. Hepativore

      I know that fondue was all the rage in the 1970’s; but being born in 1984, I did not personally witness the fondue craze.

      Come to think of it, I have never had fondue, period. I know it is making a comeback among the hipster crowd, but fondue restaurants are just as overpriced now as they were then. I know that you can easily get a used electric fondue pot out of a place like Goodwill or Savers but I have not gotten around to it.

      Foodwise, there were good and bad things about every decade. Look at the bizarre creations that came out of the 1950’s that were based on using over-salted canned, condensed soup as a base. However, the 1950’s was also the golden age of ice cream and desserts. There were numerous elaborate drinks that came out of soda fountains and malt shops that would be difficult to find today like a Cherry-Lime Ricky or a Black Cow. Few people have ever heard of these things now.

      I am sorry for going off on such a strange tangent, but there are few things as good as a well-made malt. There used to be a 1950’s style diner called Ruttles where I used to live in Mankato, MN that had excellent malts complete with the can of the extra material on the side and they did not skimp on the malt powder. Unfortunately, they closed their doors in 2006 after several decades and now few places even make actual malts instead of milkshakes anymore or even know what one is.

      Anyway, has anybody here had a phosphate, as in a cherry or orange phosphate? I have always wanted to try one, but I have never seen a place that makes them anymore, as they seem to have died out along with malt shops and soda fountain places.

      1. shinola

        Cherry phosphates were my favorite from the drugstore soda fountain/lunch counter down the block when I was 6 or 7. As far as I can remember it was simply cherry syrup & plain soda water. You could probably make a reasonable facsimile with (whatever) flavored syrup & club soda.

        The drugstore on the opposite corner did not have a soda fountain but did have an extensive penny candy counter where, for a quarter, you could buy enough stuff for an all day sugar high.

        Ah, nostalgia.

        1. Nat

          Guessing blindly, it sounds based on its name like it also had a bit of phosphoric acid in it. Many sodas do. Phosphoric acid is often what gives many of them their “tangy” flavor that you just can’t quite place in regard to any flavor found in natural food (not judging, I like that flavor personally).

          Its expensive especially to ship out of the UK, but for those adults nostalgic of good cherry soda I highly recommend this sour cheery beer. I have had many a cheery beer in my time some of which I have liked for completely different reasons, but that is the only one that actually tastes like a good refined adult appropriate cheery soda. Its so delicious you could evilly serve it at a children’s birthday-party and they would love it, but its adult enough to lay them out flat shortly thereafter. Fabulous fabulous stuff.

          1. Hepativore

            Yes, from what I understand, “phosphate” drinks had acid phosphate mixed in along with club soda and flavored syrup. I have heard that there is nothing like it as it adds a sort of neutral “sour/saltiness” that enhances the flavor of the beverage. I heard you can buy acid phosphate in a dropper bottle, but it is not cheap.

            1. Nat

              “acid phosphate” I can go look it up, but that just sounds like some mixture of phosphoric acid and its various salts, probably just the monobasic salt (generally if things become neutral like the dibasic they will probably loose “tangy”-like flavors that “acid phosphate” seems to have.) You can easily buy large quantities of phosphoric acid and the monobasic form for cheap – the quantities to the supplies I linked are enough to make some mind-boggling quantities of soda-like beverages for like $35 each (you only need a drop of them per glass, a full splash would kill a horse.)

      2. BobW

        Sonic Drive-ins quit offering malts, I think it was last year, or maybe the year before last. Malts are much harder to find now. I go to Braum’s for my fix these days. This is a chain limited to Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, Arkansas, and Missouri.

        1. Hepativore

          It might be a regional thing, then. The Sonic in Savage, MN still has them, but that is the only Sonic in my entire state that I know of and Burnsville is quite aways from where I am now in Rochester, MN.

      3. dearieme

        I warmly recommend fondue. I had my first looking at the Jet d’Eau in Lac Léman. They say everyone remembers the first time.

        1. Carla

          I concur. Last October at my cousin’s house, we had a cheese fondue dinner with chunks of apple, broccoli, and of course, crusty french bread to dip into the bubbling pot of cheese, and a refreshing green salad. It was delicious, and very convivial way of sharing a meal. Loved it!

      4. Janie

        When I was about seven to ten, I got a quarter a week allowance; a nickel went to Sunday School. We kids would walk to the movie theater on Saturday afternoon for the weekly cowboy movie, accompanied by a serial, cartoon, newsreel and a Joe Doakes short. It cost a dime. A five cent cherry phosphate followed. I could usually work my dad for another nickel so I could buy a comic book, unless I was saving for a birthday or Christmas gift. This was late forties.

      5. JBird4049

        Fondue is making a comeback?! Are they buying old fondue sets from the 70s at garage sales? That and 70s fashions especially men’s… Shudder

        I do miss ice cream parlors though although there are a few hidden around when I get a craving for a real milkshake.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Hey, fondue is great! I was lucky enough to have my first in Switzerland and never forgotten it. Can’t say that I would look forward to a return to bell-bottom trousers though.

      6. Redlife2017

        You have made my day – Ruttles. We had one not too far away and I loved it. I got to experience real vanilla cokes and they had amazing milkshakes. Also the first place I heard lots of 50s music.

      7. Oregoncharles

        We make malts at home, in a blender – not difficult, if you can find malt powder to put in it.

        There’s an excellent burger shop in Albany, Oregon (for those who might get the chance, it’s called First Burger) that make malts. Definitely a reason to go there once in a while.

      1. Eduardo

        A few of these establishments no longer make traditional plum kolache, but offer unorthodox versions, such as sausage-jalapeño-and-cheese (actually a klobasnek)

        Actually a klobasnek? Who knew? In Houston we just called them kolaches. Some were raised to an art form. I once lived near a kolache shop that made the best sausage-and-cheese kolache I had ever tasted. Truly divine. One of the most delicious / addictive food I have ever had. Maybe it was opiates?

        Alas, one day the shop was sold and the new owner made them differently. Probably for the best for my health. :-)

        Thanks for the story and link.

    5. grayslady

      Lime jello went out in the 1950s–which is probably why you associate it with a grandmother rather than a mother. In fact, most of the recipes published in that article, especially molded salads, were long gone by the 1970s. The French Chef, with Julia Child, was hugely popular in the 1960s, and women had already moved away from boxed and canned products for dinner by the 1970s.

      I was in my 20s back in the 1970s and still have the recipes I cut out of The Chicago Tribune (which had a superb food section) and some glossy women’s magazines of the time. Here’s a sample: Beef Stew, Beef Stroganoff, Chicken Chasseur, Cumberland Chicken with Orange Sauce, Veal Saltimbocca, Skillet Pork Chops. No lime anything. No jello. In terms of architecture, the 1970s was the decade of no taste; but in terms of food, everything was made from scratch and many of the recipes were well worth saving.

      1. curlydan

        Wish I was eating at your house in the 70s. I do remember Beef Stroganoff but with the requisite cans of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom and Cream of Chicken soup and generous mounds of sour cream mixed in.

    6. Svante

      We’d simply assumed Protestant Republicans, living in cul-de-sac landed or hatched from pods? Our grandmas made haluski with shredded red cabbage, crawfish boudin, kasha varnishkes, kibbeh or braised turkey breasts in pipian mole. Perhaps, it had something to do with the experimental nature of their medication?


      Is this why they encased their sofas in vinyl and exposed the kids to 3-gun color TVs, acetone, aluminum chlorhydrate and PTFEs?

    7. drumlin woodchuckles

      I remember the thing-filled jello mold, but I don’t remember any mayo on the ones I remember.

      Do you remember those slices of fried spam with a pineapple ring on each slice, and a candied maraschino cherry in the middle of each ring for truly special occasions?

        1. Kokuanani

          Currently in grocery stores in Hawaii there are probably 15 versions of Spam on the shelf.

          1. shtove

            Disappointingly, Anagram Solver finds 17 derivatives from the word “spam”. Damn you, English langwidge.

          2. ObjectiveFunction

            Same in Guam, the Philippines and Okinawa. In the wake of the WW2 Pacific Campaign, the Arsenal of Democracy left behind: cargo cults, jeeps and a local taste for Spam! (the Quonset huts have now rusted away)

            And if you haven’t tried Spam masubi, it will convert you.

      1. ambrit

        I remember the fried spam slices with pineapple rings, also fried, as a Saturday morning breakfast item. Dad was often hung over and Mom would make what she liked. I remember her saying that spam was a “treat” during the War (WW-2) in London.
        We still use spam as the “meat” and seasoning in ‘beans and rice’ dishes. In N’Awlins, “Beans and Rice,” usually red beans soaked overnight and then cooked with seasonings added was a Monday staple. Phyl’s family made the seasoning with cooked and fried sausage, an onion (often sauteed with the sausage,) fresh cut garlic, carrot, celery, pepper (white and black,) coriander. Mix the lot in a two and a half gallon pot and let cook on a medium low fire for a few hours. We would substitute spam for the sausage simply because we couldn’t afford ‘real’ sausage. It was a “poor man’s” dish. Serve over rice and add the hot sauce, (to taste, or lack thereof,) at the very last.
        Many of these recipes were the result of people trying to “make something out of nothing.” That will be a useful skill going forward.
        We were definitely poor, but it never bothered me.

    8. NotReallyHere

      Fun U,K, food series in which two presenters eat nothing but food from a given period for a number of days. The presenters begin with a visit to the doctor for a physical and return for a follow-up at the end to show that the period diet was bad for your health.

      In the 1970’s episode the London based couple smoke, drink loads of alcohol and ate little else but manufactured food laced with colorings and preservatives. When the male presenter returns to the doctor it turns out his health metrics had improved.

      The conclusion was that he was being preserved from the inside.


    9. Edward

      I think this jello monstrosity showed up in school lunches. Did Fizzles date from the 70’s?

  2. Wukchumni

    …that’s Bush league!

    “Baseball team apologizes for video calling AOC ‘enemy of freedom’”[Roll Call]. “A minor league baseball team apologized Monday for playing a video showing an image of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez superimposed over audio of a speech given by President Ronald Reagan warning about the ‘enemies of freedom.’…

    1. WheresOurTeddy

      Fresno Grizzlies Contact Info
      Office Hours
      Monday through Friday: 9am to 5pm
      Common Contacts
      Administrative Office (559) 320 – HITS 4487
      Ticket Office (559) 320 – TIXS 8497
      Team Store (559) 320 – 2544
      Media Inquiries (559) 320 – 2526
      Fax (559) 264 – 0795

      1. Wukchumni

        There is no joy in slinging mud-ville, in the old red bastion ballgame.

        I keep threatening to go to my first minor league baseball game, and i’d prefer keeping my consecutive games missed streak going.

        1. ambrit

          Tickets to the local college baseball games (USM), general admission, are going for $10 per seat.
          Ole Miss is a grudge match and costs more, $15 per seat, general admission.
          A fairly nice dedicated baseball field, with stands, broadcast box, high overhead, bleachers, night lights, the lot.

    2. Cal2


      You think AOC would be at our border defending against Nicaraguan troops pouring into Texas to take over the strip malls that Old Drooler warned us about? ;

      Still have my Reagan for Shah! bumper sticker on my car, somewhere under the
      I voted for Bernie, how about you?
      and newer Bernie/Tulsi ones.

      1. Wukchumni

        AOC* looks good when pledging although she opens herself up to hazing a lot. I can’t get used to calling her an ad hoc sorority though.

        *Alpha Omega Censurean

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I thought it was “AOC” because (one, I feel like there is a growing trend towards text based news, so Ocasio isn’t really heard aloud) its FDR, JFK, LBJ. There is a story about LBJ firing a press person over a slip up where he wrote Lyndon Johnson not LBJ.

          William Jefferson Clinton went by “Bill Clinton” for a similar reason. Albert Arnold Gore. AAG! I wish we kept this one, but Gore went by “Al” for a reason.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I’ve heard that football epitomizes the two worse aspects of modern American life – violence and committee meetings.

  3. dearieme

    a “Heartfelt Loathing” for Walt Disney: I’ll second that. As a primary school pupil I was dragged off to watch a Disney film as a Xmas treat. Bloody awful, it was, as I wouldn’t have said then.

    With one exception: I think the Jungle Book was great fun. Miraculously it seems to have escaped the accusation of racism.

    1. Carolinian

      Bambi, Dumbo…great films. The later stuff not so much. It was decided in the 50s that much money could be saved by going with a cheaper animation process. The cartoon shorts, which can be seen on DVD, are often very funny and sophisticated. Richard Schickel long ago wrote a book called The Disney Version which claimed that Walt had an anal fixation, what with all the butt wagging in the films he supervised. So you could say he gets it from all sides, so to speak.

      1. RMO

        Disney has made a LOT of media over the decades, some awful, much so-so, some great – my favorite being The Boy Who Flew With Condors (a television production from the late 60’s) – but I can’t see any era of Disney being suited to turning Tolkien’s stories into movies.

        To illustrate just how much Disney changes over time I like to compare what the childhood Disney experiences of friend’s children are to mine. They remember The Little Mermaid, I (child of the 70’s that I am) remember Anthony Perkins getting disemboweled by a scary red robot with spinning blades on the ends of its arms.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          It would have to have been made under Touchstone. Roger Rabbit is obviously a different animal, but the 13th Warrior was both small and epic which is what LOTR is (I don’t like to be hip and knock Jackson; I’ve dealt with the cutting of Tom Bombadil. We can collectively get over it). This is the movie that the Hobbit should have been, obviously more light hearted, but all the elements are there.

          1. ObjectiveFunction

            As a Seventies kid growing up with gas lines, stagflation and white afros, I found Ralph Bakshi’s animated films to be a raw, hard-hitting counterpoint to the abysmal Walt Disney pap of the post-Walt / pre-Eisner interregnum.

            Bakshi brought an underground comics soul to the animated feature film scene; it’s amazing his stuff even got screened other than in p&rn0 theaters. Like “Doctor Who”, he made up in imaginative imagery what he lacked in budget. And he didn’t talk down to kids. Heck, our parents would never have let us go had they known what kind of ‘cartoons’ we were watching.

            I used to go to midnight viewings of ‘Wizards’, and ‘American Pop’ is still a great film on the topic. Even his largely awful Lord of the Rings part I had some brilliant moments, and I notice WETA drew on not a few of them.

    2. ambrit

      I’d add the original animated “Alice in Wonderland” to the “Good Disney” canon.
      Funny that we are talking about “Good” Disney and “Bad” Disney. I’ve read that the differences in quality could often be attributed to the in house producer. Now, with “Design by Committee” often the default production style, all bets are off.
      Now Pixar….

    3. shtove

      Try Saving Mr Banks, flick from 2013 with Emma Thompson as the author of Mary Poppins resisting the commercial prods of Tom Hanks as Walt Disney.

  4. Wukchumni

    Tech: “Facebook held talks with Winklevoss twins over new currency” [Financial Times]. “A secretive unit of the social media company has been working for more than a year to create a currency that its 2bn users can use to send money to each other, and to buy things not just on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp but across the internet and in the real world.


    For the benefit of money hiding
    There will be a bubbly time on financial trampoline

    The Winklevoss will all be there
    Late of being an olympic rowing pair-what a scene!

    Over reason and value, hype and doubters
    Lastly through in lieu of real F.I.R.E.!
    In this way cryptocurrency will challenge the real world!

    The celebrated money charade.
    Performs the feat online at this date

    The investors will dance and sing
    As 0’s & 1’s fly through the cloud don’t be late

    Cryptocaves assure the public
    Their mining production is second to none
    And of course the daily market value dances the waltz!

    The price began at a few bucks-5 or 6
    When Mr. Nakomoto. performed his tricks without a sound

    And then the market will demonstrate
    Ten martingales it’ll undertake to confound & astound!

    Having been some years in preparation
    A bubble time is guaranteed for all
    And for now Facebook is footing the bill


    1. ObjectiveFunction

      (Ok Wuk, maybe you are finally growing on me)

      If you play the LP backward at 45 rpm, does a ghostly voice say: “Iiiiii diluuuuted Saavvvarrrin!”

  5. diptherio

    On May 19, Alfaro graduated from San Diego State University with a master’s degree in education, with a concentration in counseling.

    On a related note, the Kalispell school district has recently had to layoff its counselors due to the failure of the recent Mill Levy. I’m guessing we may be part of one of those trends you hear so much about. At any rate, going into education is a sure ticket to poverty, and focusing on counseling probably won’t improve that outcome…unless she can score a job in one of them fancy private schools. Sadly, we seem to reward people in our economy inversely to how important their jobs are…

    1. Robert Valiant

      A couple of 1st year certificated public school teachers with Master’s degrees will bring in a household income of $128K here in Washington State. At 10 years experience each, it would be over $160K.

      1. martell

        Good. If they live in the I5 corridor they might be able to own a house, or at least pay the rent, eat, see a doctor when necessary, and not have to worry about ending up in one of the many homeless encampments due to some relatively minor mishap. Wish the same were true for college professors. Adjuncts, working full time by cobbling together part time jobs here and there, will make about $24,000 a year if they’re lucky, with no benefits and no guarantee of future employment. That’s the majority of the college and university teaching workforce at this point: so-called “adjuncts.” Many if not most have terminal degrees, in more than one sense of the word.

        1. Copeland

          “If they live in the I5 corridor they might be able to own a house”

          I assume these teaching jobs come with fairly good health insurance. Without that benefit, forget about it.

          And forget about summer vacation in the Hawaiian Islands…maybe Whidbey Island.

          1. ambrit

            At the asylum?
            A former, now ‘gone’ commenter mentioned residing on Whidbey Island several times.

  6. Environmental Conditioning

    Japanese slime: I guess that they are used to great Japanese food. Everything is great there so you can easily whatever you see first. Whereas in US and Australia you have to wade through acres of junk food before finding something proper to eat.

  7. TonyinSoCAL

    These econoday guys are really smoking the good ganja, they are completely divorced from reality:

    “‘Given the broader economic picture, housing should be doing better,’ said David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, which compiles and distributes the Case-Shiller index. ‘Mortgage rates are at 4% for a 30-year fixed-rate loan, unemployment is close to a 50-year low, low inflation and moderate increases in real incomes would be expected to support a strong housing market. Measures of household debt service do not reveal any problems and consumer sentiment surveys are upbeat. The difficulty facing housing may be too-high price increases.'”

    What could it be Dave? The housing market “should be” better…but the prices are just too high! What usually happens when prices are too high, Dave?

    Low rates! Booming economy! But nobody’s buying!

    “Home-price growth sputtered in March, the latest sign that lower mortgage rates and a booming economy are doing little to boost prices during the critical spring selling season.”

    Price growth collapse:

    “‘House prices have risen consistently over the last 31 quarters,’ Dr. William Doerner, supervisory economist at FHFA said in a statement. ‘Although price growth is still positive, the upward pace is softening across the country, especially among states with the largest supplies of housing.'”

    You don’t say, doc!

    Down payment help is going away.

    “A federal crackdown on certain no-money-down home loan programs may hurt thousands of cash-strapped home buyers.

    Concerned about risky mortgages reminiscent of the housing bust, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development recently called for national groups to stop lending down payments to home buyers seeking Federal Housing Administration loans.

    [. . .]

    Down-payment assistance is key for many would-be home buyers who can handle a monthly mortgage payment, but have difficulty scraping up a lump sum for the down payment. Escalating home prices make that even more challenging. In April, home list prices reached a record median $310,000 nationally, according to realtor.com® data. That’s led about 30% of buyers today to tap into some sort of down-payment assistance program, according to the Urban Institute policy research group.”

    What happens when prices are too high and 30% of buyers, who are down-payment poor, dry up?

    1. Robert Valiant

      Precisely! Whenever someone says, “The economy is doing great!” the very immediate first question should be, “For who?”

      The eCONomy is a confidence game.

    2. ewmayer

      LOL, loved the bit about “low inflation” — not in housing, Mr. Shill! For instance, pulling up Wolf Richter’s most-recent The Most Splendid Housing Bubbles in America post, we see that e.g. in the SF Bay Area housing prices doubled from 2012-2018. In what world is 10% annual inflation “low”? Ah yes, in the world where the government statisticians, in order to help out their pals in the RE industry, have replaced price metrics based on, you know, actual *prices*, with phony Pollyannaized stats such as “owner’s equivalent rent”.

      1. Discouraged in WI

        I was part of the census bureau (?) gathering of data for inflation over the course of the year last year. Lots of questions I could answer accurately, such as electric bill, but the one for owner’s equivalent rent threw me. I do not rent my house, nor spend time on the internet looking for what an equivalent house might rent for. Judging by my experience, I think the number reported is probably low, which may be just what they want, since it keeps the reported inflation figure lower. I think it would be extremely easy for the compilers of this data to go online and find accurate numbers if they really wanted them, rather than rely on uninformed respondents.

    3. Summer

      They can’t say “the economy isn’t doing that great after all.”
      This BS is floated on belief and manipulated by rumor.
      All they can do is ride the lies for as long as they can and give people enough plausible deniability to the fact they are knee deep in the worst BS ever – that won’t be fixed, but replaced with some more BS.

    4. Summer

      And don’t forget. This “I wonder what it could be” fool doesn’t even consider the rising rents – stats everywhere on this – would affect people being able to come up with a down payment.

    5. Lepton1

      I’m getting the idea that the “economy” was a proxy for an overall sense of how well things were going. But now the economy doing well, as in the GDP is up n%, is becoming less useful an indicator, kind of like saying the DJI is up n%. For most people it makes no difference. Big business has gotten really good at keeping all of the productivity gains so that changes in the economy have less effect on the lives of most people.

  8. WheresOurTeddy

    Anyone know how to break it to young Nolan Brewer and his child bride that their gateway to anti-Semitism, Ben Shapiro, is an unapologetic Zionist?

  9. Wukchumni

    To go on expedition in the High Sierra in Sequoia NP for as long as you like, it’ll run you well into the double figures for all the red tape which takes 5 minutes to fill out and you’re done.

    $15, and $5 more per additional person on the same wilderness permit.

    I’m kind of sick of people going to extremes-such as Everest, and in no way could I compare my modest altitude peaks here whose height is less than half that of the Himalaya, it’s a different world, but my mountains are clean and those that visit tend to keep it that way. You don’t need to walk 3,000 miles on the PCT either, a 30 mile trip is more fun, and you can bring in one-way weight, such as 3 liter boxes of wine, groovy weighty food, or something bulky like a guitar, that you’d never take on a long walk.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I’ve said it here before, but it bears repeating – the model to follow (for Nepal at least) is Bhutan. They banned all high mountain climbing, but replaced it with focused trekking tourism, designed specifically to bring the economic benefits to the most remote areas.

      Whats often forgotten about Himalayan trekking is that the money goes mostly either to non Nepalese/Chinese companies, and the Sherpa guides tend to be a small ‘elite’, meaning little money goes to local communities. There is also enormous economic pressure on those guides to keep their clients happy, as large extended families are often dependent on one person. Its highly inequitable and gives an incentive for Sherpas to take very high risks. The Bhutanese model is far better at ensuring tourist money goes to local people who need it.

      There is no good reason to allow anyone to climb Everest. its a sacred mountain, and anyone who wants to experience can hike the amazing areas around it.

    2. Carolinian

      Supposedly the Sherpas go up there from time to time and clean up all the oxygen bottles if not the bodies. Climbing Everest takes a lot more kit.

      One would think Nepal bears a lot of the blame for issuing too many climbing permits.

      1. Steve H.

        “11 people have died in the past 10 days on Mt. Everest due to overcrowding. People at the top cannot move around those climbing up, making them stuck in a “death zone“.”

        Looks like intra-elite competition to me.

        Perhaps ‘blame’ is too strong a word.

        1. polecat

          And here I thought they were just colorful montaine lemmings who were attacted to really high cliffs.

          Idiots !

        2. wilroncanada

          Who ever designed this hazing ritual for entry into the Fi Bucket Listus fraternity can take credit for 11outs so far plus probably a few more in the daze to come.

      2. Wombat

        * One would think Nepal deserves a lot of CREDIT for creating a free market environment for the elite to experience… kind of like the overpriced, flooded education environment the rest of us endure.

        I just don’t understand why these executive class climbers don’t innovate themselves out of those long lines and onto the summit. Can’t they streamline the hiking operations, or create a win-win scenario for all climbers? If only these pre-packaged, adventurers had a pair of bootstraps in all their hiking gear.

        1. Bugs Bunny

          They seem to be in a burning platform situation here. What’s needed is a transformation plan including resource reallocation to make sure that leadership no longer needs to face a similar crisis at the summit.

          Sign here.

    3. Lee

      Those willing to pay big bucks to hike into thin air and death zones should be encouraged to keep doing so. They are doing us a favor by removing themselves from the rest of us at least for the duration of their silly, narcissistic project or, in and increasing number of cases, forever. See Lambert’s post above:

      One must beware of anyone who is stupid and diligent — he must not be entrusted with any responsibility because he will always cause only mischief.”

      1. Summer

        The aversion to “diligence” could also be an aversion to errors and mistakes being called out because you’re only clever until someone comes along to sgow how clever you are not. It’s not just an aversion to too much detail.
        Kind of hard to be lazy and fail up if there is someone right there who could take your place.

    4. Tomonthebeach

      Why does WAPO think anybody cares about the hardships experienced by millionaires who want bragging rights – if – they survive the Everest Climb? Imagine, CEOs freezing their asses off waiting in line to take a selfie at the summit, stepping in some dead dudes thawing poop enroute, and then staying at a crappy hotel in Khatmandu after you descend – the horror.

  10. BoyDownTheLane

    “Examining baseball not just as a game but as a social, historical, and political force, this collection of sixteen essays looks at the sport from the perspectives of race, sexual orientation, economic power, social class, imperialism, nationalism, and international diplomacy. Together, the essays underscore the point that baseball is not just a form of entertainment but a major part of the culture and power struggles of American life as well as the nation’s international footprint.”


    Major League baseball has been controllled for a long time by wealthy oligarchs. The Commissioner [Bart Giamatti] at one time was a Yale secret society member; his replacement [Fay Vincent, Hotchkiss, Williams, Yale Law, SEC] built his retirement home on the grounds of the former estate used only in the month of June by Alta Rockefeller Prentice.

  11. JohnnyGL

    I’ve been calling for a Biden fade, not a Biden crash. If the media’s turning on him, already, then I may have to revise that prediction.

    Biden should know that media thrives on access, if you don’t give them any, they get itchy and start mocking you for hiding from them. They’ll phrase it carefully and say you’re hiding from voters, of course, or that voters aren’t finding you very charming.

    Today’s media built their careers on access, not actual journalism. Don’t be surprised if they try to punish Biden for hiding from them.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      And the medias also hate candidates for giving out bad food at candidate events. I remember reading that one of the things the medias hated Gore for was having cheap food at his media events. Whereas Bush gave out good food at his media events, and the medias loved him for it.

      Sometimes success in politics comes down to something as crass, silly and vulgar as that. Not every time, but sometimes.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Its neat Sanders sent me a sticker, but I’m not in it for the sticker.

        Buttigieg is offering membership benefits like he’s on a PBS fund drive. I remember perusing an old article about Obama’s fundraising and bundlers. One guy 2008 era donor dreamt of a Mark Warner candidacy but was shopping for a candidate. His reason for choosing Obama was Obama always took his calls unlike Hillary Clinton who was just too busy.

        Its astonishing how many people are involved in politics for little more than a pat on the head. Local committee people seem great when the GOP runs everything, but Benito Mussolini could get a Yellow Lab and a straw hat and pat them on the head and they would attack anyone who suggested Benito might not be the best standard bearer for Team Blue.

        The idea these people (politicians) are friends not staff is part of the problem. “Can I speak to your manager” types are mocked in this part of the internet, but politicians should be treated the same way a particular egregious type (Tucker Carlson?) treats the staff at a restaurant until they do good enough job to not be treated that way.

        The press was sickening in 2000, really anytime 43 was around. The guy was a bumbling, nasty oaf who was always so damn proud when Condi had just explained something to him. My all time favorite W moment was during a rare press conference he held at the “ranch”. He kept repeating the “EU 3. That’s Great Britain, France, and Germany” over and over again. You could see Rice’s head nodding as he name each country correctly. Shrub was so proud of himself. It must have taken him all week.

    2. Summer

      Since the Pike Committee, you should know Joe is going to get his access to the media.

    3. Big River Bandido

      I *resisted* (sorry) the urge to read the Politico article on Biden because Politico always gets it wrong and I always feel dumber after reading their articles. But I finally had to read it just to see how stupid they could get. The article did not disappoint in that regard. Here’s what we have according to Politico…a candidate who:

      •holds very few events
      •campaigns little
      •does not try to inspire audiences
      •can’t fill a high school gym
      •depends on mechanics (the party machine) for
      •skips critical states
      •works a very lazy schedule
      •expects party regulars to manufacture his appeal
      •has no clue how badly all that went down in 2016

      All this the article acknowledges. And then…defends! None other than Brian Fallon, from Clinton’s inner circle, is called on to defend the *smartness* of Clinton’s Biden’s “strategy”.

      Head meet desk. It boggles the mind that there are mainstream Democrat voters dumb enough to buy this load of horsefeathers. Almost as boggling as the idea that an idiot like Fallon has a job.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Looks like that donkey has some body parts missing. Did the donkey lose them during an attack of Trump Derangement Syndrome?

    2. Big River Bandido

      To the Democrat establishment, “unity” is fine as long as it isn’t behind Sanders.

  12. Stillfeelinthebern

    “Big Oil Pushes Corporate-Friendly Carbon Tax in Attempt to Stem Green New Deal Wave”.

    Anyone have experience with Citizens Climate Lobby? I’ve attended local meetings and they are laser focused on lobbying only federal electeds and being “bipartisan.” I was told that a carbon tax was the major focus.

    When I started researching, I came across the Baker-Schultz plan and Schultz is on the advisory panel of CCL. The local leader does exactly what the national asks. This year they are all a twitter about the carbon tax bill HR 763. I’m thinking this is an astroturfing organization. They never ask for money. You don’t become a dues paying member like most other grassroots organizations I participate in. Thoughts?

    https://citizensclimatelobby.org/about-ccl/advisory-board/ this is the main website.

    Then there is the one just for the bill. Energyinnovationact.org. Howard Dean, George Schultz, Steven Chu, James Hansen are endorsers.

    1. jrs

      All I know is a climate scientist I know (as an acquaintance) is involved with them locally. It does earn them some cred in my mind. I can vouch for that person, but the organization hmm, well they might be pushing the wrong lever because we’re ALL, we who care, trying to push SOME lever that might work.

      To be a leftist sometimes seems to be forever paranoid that everything is compromised or astroturfed. Someone recently was making that point that the GND and Sunrise was astroturfed. They could be right, I didn’t investigate further.

      Skepticism of political movements and politicians may be a virtue, but at a certain point it paralyzes any activism is the end result, everyone just sits around accusing each other of being “on the payroll”.

      1. Summer

        If it’s got “freedom” or “free” in its title, you would definately give the organization a sideways glance and back away slowly. A co-opted word….

      2. Summer

        Come to think of it…take a hard look at any organization with the word “citizen” in it.
        I know going by words in a title is strange, but titles can be “dog whistles.”

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      James Hansen had/has the hardest most unforgiving version of this FeeTax and Dividend Plan. Hansen’s ultimate goal is to feetax fossil carbon into extinction as a fuel source. He would keep raising the feetax until that happened.

      The point of the Hansen FeeTax is that the First Seller of the very first stage of fossil fuel would have to pay a FeeTax to the FeeTax and Dividend Authority to be permitted to sell the fuel. That “First Seller” would of COURSE be expected to pass the entire cost of the FeeTax along to the First Buyer. That First Buyer would then of COURSE be expected to pass that passed along cost of the FeeTax to the First User or Second Buyer or whatever. That FeeTax is suPPOSED to be passed along in the price every step of the way, till it lands on the final very last end buyer-end user.

      That is supposed to make “fossil” derived things cost “more” while fossil-free things cost “less”. That way, the dividend people receive from dividing up the collected FeeTaxes would get more spent on those fossil-low or fossil-free things which will cost less or least depending on how little fossil they use and therefor how little FeeTax cost they pass along.

      I doubt that Dean-Baker-Schultz would like to go Full Metal Hansen on this Plan. Full Metal Hansen means raising the FeeTax until almost NO ONE can afford fossil fuel at all. The point of Full Metal Hansen is to FeeTax the fossil fuel bussiness into extinction and to exterminate it from the face of the earth. I doubt that Dean-Baker-Schultz would want to take it that far.

      But I would. I would support the Full Metal Hansen Plan as long as the overtly stated end goal is to exterminate the fossil fuel industry from existence and to wipe it off the face of the earth.

    1. dearieme

      Kamala Harlot? I hadn’t realised she’s still alive. How old is she? Or am I thinking of the Nancy Paluka?

      1. jrs

        You are. She’s in her 50s. So very much not dead yet (doesn’t mean I want her elected, I think I might rather vote for the dead).

      2. WheresOurTeddy

        Plenty of policy reasons to dislike Kamala without dipping down to this level.

      3. Massinissa

        I have to agree with Teddy. I hate to be ‘tone police’, but this kind of name calling is juvenile at best. Heck, its even vaguely sexist.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      I imagine that when Harris says “preclearance” for any abortion law, she means “preclearance” for any ANTI-abortion law. Did she say it that clearly?

      1. JBird4049

        I get being unhappy with some state’s law, but this is political theater. What is wrong with taking a state to court after legislation has been passed especially as a judge could stop its implementation until a decision has been made?

        1. Big River Bandido

          Because if the court ruled in favor of abortion rights, NARAL and Emily’s List would lose fundraising.

    3. Summer

      It’s redundant. The Democrats already pre-clear everything the Republicans want.

  13. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Sanders (D)(1): “Millions of taxpayer dollars fueled Bernie Sanders to wealth success” [The Hill]. • Get this. When Sanders was a Mayor, Representative, and then a Senator, he was actually paid a salary! And he saved it!!!

    How much does one need to save?

    From time to time, I run across articles asking that on Marketwatch…$2 million? $3 million?

    For a senator, I believe Sanders has defined benifits pension, plus Medicare. Not sure if he has long term care covered. From Wukchumni, I read his mother is paying, today, about $7,000 or $8,000, a month on that alone. (That’s like $1 million for 10 years, or so). I read that insurers are not wrting too many long term care policies these days. So, how much to budget in another 2 or 3 decades?

    I wonder if Sanders has saved enough.

    1. JBird4049

      Since reading the article, I am even more bewildered. Compared to many in Congress he is not that wealthy and I have read studies showing the statistically implausible success of a majority perhaps of Congresscritters investments while in office. What is Sanders being attacked for? Advocating the similar policies and reforms of TR, FDR, Truman, LBJ, and Nixon while being moderately “wealthy”?

      And the repeated use of the label communist as a slur in the comments over an article written by a libertarian on a social democrat is amusing to this socialist.

      But again, just what the heck was the point of the article?

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        But again, just what the heck was the point of the article?

        This is a creation of the people who “missed brunch” because Trump was elected. Based on my experience, Clinton people never organized and they certainly never missed brunch to help their candidates get elected. They just wanted to browbeat the left enough to avoid a challenger and create a message to appease White Flight Republicans while they went golfing.

        Their views on politics are shallow, and they come out of economic conditions which are so removed they have a very hard time existing in the real world or communicating anymore. Naturally, you get this. Without “Republicans Bad,” what is the Team Blue message?

        The reason Democratic voters like Sanders is the reason Team Blue elites hate Sanders. When opposing the Iraq and Vietnam wars didn’t destroy Sanders, Team Blue elites are out of ideas. They can’t attack Sanders support for the F-35 waste because they love that stuff.

        Its a Two Americas within the Democratic Party. Rahm the other day whined about Obama not allowing the American people to achieve catharsis by allowing Wall Street off scot free, but not only was there a lack of justice for bad actors, Obama’s policies didn’t simply let them off, he enriched and entrenched Wall Street. Rahm is a cynical operator so he probably understands this, but I’m not sure all of Team Blue elite understand the state of Team Blue and its perception at large. On one hand, there are Democratic voters who can feel free enough in their personal security and prosperity to mark something off the bucket list. Many of these people care so little about the world around them they can’t communicate anymore with the real world.

        1. David B Harrison

          My sister is a Obama/Clinton robot (she lives just outside of Chicago).She suffers from TDS and swallows everything the MSM feeds her.She is a very intelligent person and it breaks my heart to see her swallow the kool-aid.She is as intractable and close minded as any alt-right kook.Those of us that are open minded and believe in critical thinking should band together at least for our own sanity.

  14. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    “How Mount Everest’s popularity turned fatal” [Washington Post]. One word: Money. Too much of it in too few hands. More: “Others saw the traffic as an indication of how climbing Everest has become a commodity, drawing inexperienced thrill-seekers and polluting the mountain with garbage. Seeing the ‘anxiety-inducing conga line in the death zone,’ it is ‘not only dread you sense, but hubris, too,’ Peter Beaumont wrote in the Guardian. Climbing the world’s tallest peak ‘has become a trophy experience.’” • Not merely garbage, but frozen fecal matter and corpses, now thawing from climate change. Once again, income inequality, visualized

    The whole endeavor is more than just about ‘I am wealthy.’

    There are some kinds of inequality involved here.

    “I am braver.”

    “I am more adventurous.”

    “I am more fit.”

    “I am more athletic.”

    Perhaps “I am smarter” because I am using the latest technology, not yet avaiable at North Face, Patagonia, to conquer Chomulungma.

    1. marieann

      I don’t know about the “I am smarter”
      I was just thinking that the fella should get one of Darwin awards

  15. Sharkleberry Fin

    “[L]ike Saturn, the Revolution devours its children,” Jacques Mallet du Pan. – Napoleon was oblivious to the concepts of finance, purse strings, and markets underlying statecraft and military campaigns. Thus, Napoleon relied on looting conquered territory to finance his army, beginning with France herself. The Bourbon restoration [about which Talleyrand spoke “forgotten nothing, learned nothing”, adapting a phrase from Royalist political correspondence] was predicated on the literal restoration of markets, withdrawing troops from foreign territory, establishing industry, and, well, jobs. The House of Bourbon was successful in unwinding the disasters of the revolution.

    It was only when the King started to dabble in press censorship and using something called… “Electoral Colleges” to mess with elections [legitimacy being a personal obsession of the King], that the Chambers [legislatures] said “Assez!” Acknowledging every King and every Emperor is a dingus, the legislature must be able to kneecap the boss when necessary. Sounds familiar, don’t it?

  16. John Beech

    Tech: “Zuckerberg and Sandberg ignore Canadian subpoena, face possible contempt vote” [CNN]. “Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg did not attend a hearing in Ottawa on Tuesday, despite receiving summonses from the Canadian parliament.” • Facebook acting like a sovereign, part 1.

    1. Where is it written Americans have to appear before Canadian politicians?
    2. Don’t like it? Fine. Shut off Facebook in Canada and see how long the pols keep their jobs!

    Me? Where’s the popcorn because this is shaping up into a good one.

    1. SlayTheSmaugs

      Corporations are fictional ‘people’ created by law. That is, created by countries, by sovereigns. Corporations have the right to own property, to sue/be sued, to employ workers and more, because of law, countries, sovereigns. Whether the sovereign is ‘We the People’ or a tyrant. I believe the natural order of things is for corporations to be subservient to sovereigns, to be subject to sovereigns’ control. For companies to grow so large and powerful that they conceive of themselves as sovereigns and behave as such should be intolerable; having that kind of power is an inherent justification for breaking a company up/reducing its power, until it is subject, again, to sovereign control. Whether you respect the example or not, Lambert is right to frame this as he has.

  17. John Beech

    “How Mount Everest’s popularity turned fatal” [Washington Post]. One word: Money.

    I too saw this photo and in my case, I laughed my ass off. Bunch of stupid lemmings came to mind. The fact they have too much money never crossed my mind but it’s a valid viewpoint, too.

    Anyway, the more of these guys stay, the better. I can’t summon even one crocodile tear for them!

  18. TonyinSoCAL

    Just curious if we all agree with Jill that a 95% YoY increase in Vegas real estate inventory is a good indication of “strong seller’s market” ??

    Realty One Group agent Jillian Batchelor said Las Vegas is still a “strong seller’s market,” but homes aren’t trading hands as fast as they used to, and sellers are cutting their prices.

    She estimated that probably 30 percent of her clients have slashed their asking price in the past five to six months, up from maybe 10 percent of her clients a year ago.

    The biggest difference between now and then, Batchelor said, is that Las Vegas’ inventory of available houses has nearly doubled, while demand “has stayed similar.”

    A total of 7,435 single-family homes were on the market without offers at the end of April, up almost 95 percent from a year earlier, according to the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors.

    “You can’t double inventory and keep your demand the same and expect the same level” of price growth, Batchelor said.

  19. MichaelSF

    images representing the U.S. military: Arlington National Cemetery, a flag-draped casket

    That sounds like something that will really motivate people to enlist.

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