2:00PM Water Cooler 5/7/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Trade

“Donald Trump is a business ‘killer’ who ‘never plays by the rules’, say Chinese exporters after tariff threat” [South China Morning Post]. “US President Donald Trump is a business ‘killer’ who ‘never plays by the rules’, according to China’s manufacturers who have been left reeling by the news that tariffs will be increased from 10 per cent to 25 per cent on US$200 billion of Chinese imports into the United States. Trump issued the threat to increase the tariffs in a tweet on Sunday, changes which were confirmed US trade representative Robert Lighthizer some 24 hours later, with the new rates set to become effective at 12.01am on Friday morning US time.”

“China confirms Liu will join trade talks this week as US says tariffs will rise on Friday” [CNBC]. “Chinese Vice Premier Liu He is expected to join a delegation in the United States this week, a potentially positive sign for a trade agreement between the U.S. and China even as the Trump administration says it will hike tariffs on Chinese goods…. [T]he U.S. would reconsider the duties if talks get back on track, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also said.”

“US accuses China of backtracking on trade deal” [BBC]. “US trade representative Robert Lighthizer has accused China of backtracking on commitments in trade talks, but insisted a deal on tariffs is still possible. He said President Trump’s threat to impose new taxes on Chinese exports came after China reneged on promises.” • A translation problem?

“China vice premier going to U.S. for trade talks despite Trump threats” [Reuters]. “China’s Commerce Ministry confirmed that [Chinese Vice Premier Liu He], who leads the talks for Beijing, will visit the United States on Thursday and Friday. The ministry did not elaborate or give the expected topics of discussion. ‘Talks are by their nature a process of discussion. It’s normal for both sides to have differences. China won’t shun problems and is sincere about continuing talks,’ [Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang] said. ‘We hope the U.S. side can work hard with China, to meet each other halfway, and on the basis of mutual respect and equality, resolve each other’s reasonable concerns, and strive for a mutually beneficial, win-win agreement.'” • I wonder how to say “Please don’t feed the trolls” in Mandarin…

Politics

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

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

2020

“2020 Democratic Presidential Nomination” [RealClearPolitics] (RCP average of five polls). Biden up 20, everybody else down.

“*” = New candidate.

* * *

Festival of Biden:

Biden (D)(1): “Cable News Is Covering Biden As Much As Every Other Democratic Candidate Combined” [FiveThirtyEight]. “According to data from the TV News Archive, which chops up TV news into 15-second clips that we access using the GDELT Project’s Television API, Biden was mentioned in more clips that any other candidate across the three networks last week, and he was mentioned almost four times as often as Sen. Bernie Sanders, who had been getting the most coverage of any 2020 candidate before Biden joined the race. For the second consecutive week, Biden, who has also been well ahead in polling and endorsements, was mentioned in about as many clips as all the other candidates combined.” • Odd!

Biden (D)(2):

Sharpton doesn’t look happy at the end…..

Biden (D)(3): In 2.0.1.8.

Biden (D)(4): “Joe Biden pivots to courting black voters in South Carolina” [Morning Call]. They buried the lead. Here it is: “Biden also told donors that he’s heard from 14 heads of state from around the world who’ve voiced concerns to him about Trump. That list included Margaret Thatcher, he said, before correcting what he called a ‘Freudian slip,’ that he was actually referring to current British Prime Minister Theresa May. Thatcher died in 2013.” • Whatever that is, it’s not a Freudian slip. Can you imagine the hysteria if Sanders mixed up Thatcher and May?

Biden (D)(5): “Here’s How Deep Biden’s Busing Problem Runs” [Politico]. “Now that [Biden] has declared his candidacy for president, a number of commentators have suggested his record on busing would hurt him in the Democratic primary. But don’t count on it. School desegregation, as part of a broader suite of civil rights reforms, was once as a vital component of the Democratic Party platform. Yet since the 1970s, Democrats, in the face of concerted white backlash, have largely accommodated themselves to increasing segregation in public schools across the nation. Party leaders, even the most progressive among them, rarely propose serious solutions to this vexing problem. A sincere critique of Biden’s busing record would require a broader reckoning of the Democratic Party’s—and by extension the nation’s—abandonment of this central goal of the civil rights movement. And it’s hard to see that happening anytime soon.”

Biden (D)(6): “Critics lament Joe Biden’s support for a bill leading to Teamsters pension cuts, after he hosted his campaign kickoff at Pittsburgh Teamster hall” [Pittsburgh City Paper]. “On April 29, former vice president Joe Biden kicked off his 2020 presidential campaign with a rally at the Teamsters Temple in Lawrenceville…. ‘I make no apologies, I am a union man, period,’ said Biden. But the rank-and-file members of that Teamsters hall and others might not be reciprocating that admiration. International Brotherhood of Teamsters retirees eligible for pensions, including 17,000 in the Pittsburgh region, are feeling the pinch thanks to a law passed in 2014, which was supported by Biden. The Kline-Miller Pension Act allows multi-employer pension plans at risk of failure to reduce pensioner benefits to as little as $13,000 a year.” • Oy.

Biden (D)(7): “Joe Biden Wants To Make Donald Trump Deplorable Again” [CNN]. “‘I’ve had two people — and I think this is interesting — come up to me and say that for the first time since the election of the current president, they feel safe,’ [Teri Goodman, a Democratic activist and longtime Biden ally in Dubuque, Iowa] said. ‘They didn’t realize how stressful it’s been to witness him day after day spewing hatred … and encouraging people who would divide us as a country.’ Biden, she added, is ‘reassuring people that we’re still OK, that we can be OK again.'” • I guess brunch didn’t do it. However — and it’s very hard for me to take this seriously — there really are people out there who think this way. Perhaps this will help explain why–

I would bet Goodman’s two people are doing fine, just fine. Their feelings of being unsafe are just that. And they’re hardly representative of the voting population in the general; the whole primary system resembles a rotten borough.

Sanders (D)(1): Know your enemy:

Sanders (D)(2): “Democratic Candidates Are Preparing For A Contested Convention — By Courting Superdelegates” [Buzzfeed]. “[A]fter helping to strip superdelegates of a significant portion of their power after his first presidential campaign, Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign officials are planning to take ‘superdelegates strategy seriously,’ they say, with an outreach program designed to ‘prepare for multiple convention scenarios’ — even as the candidate continues to bemoan superdelegates at his rallies. Superdelegates — the elected officials, party officers, and activists who have been given a say in the Democratic nominating system since 1982 — were stripped of their vote in the first round of convention voting last year, a move to appeal to Sanders supporters who felt the system unfairly benefited Hillary Clinton in 2016. But across the field of 21 candidates, campaigns with the resources to do so are already courting superdelegate support to prepare for the possibility of a contested convention next summer — a scenario in which superdelegate votes could come back into play.”

“Which Pollsters To Trust In 2018” [FiveThirtyEight]. • HarrisX, the latest in the “ZOMG!!!! Biden has a commanding lead!” genre, isn’t even on the list. I have a hard time getting excited about individual polls this far out, and I’m even less excited about digging into methodology. We’d expect Biden to have a core of support, from name recognition, from people who have Obama’s portrait on the wall and call him Barack, from the West Wing types who think a restoration of the Obama administration would be fine, and people who want to back a winner. And interestingly, Sanders is the second choice for a lot of Biden voters. So please, a little calmness. If anybody can do a detailed exegesis of the polling (with links) that woud be great, but otherwise, it’s just not that exciting. The very first furlong of a horse race never is.

2019

“The Democratic Party Just Ticked Off Its Youngest Organizers” [The Atlantic]. “Sixty-eight chapters of the College Democrats are urging voters not to donate to the party’s congressional-campaign arm after it instituted a new policy to protect incumbents from primary challenges. The protesting students say that the change will deter young candidates and people from historically marginalized communities from running for office. Their outrage isn’t just noteworthy because they represent younger voters in the electorate—these young people are also some of the party’s key organizers and activists. ‘As College Democrats, we did a lot of work to build the new Democratic majority,’ says Hank Sparks, the 20-year-old president of the Harvard College Democrats, which is spearheading the boycott. ‘This is a policy that’s going to silence a lot of voices like ours.’ They did do a lot of work: College Democrats help form the backbone of the party’s organizing infrastructure.” • That’s OK. They can always join the Sanders campaign. There’s plenty of space for them there.

“New York Machine Trying to Toss Kat Brezler, Organizer for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Off Local Ballot” [The Intercept]. “A textbook case is unfolding this week in White Plains, Westchester County, where New York’s Democratic machine is trying to force a progressive Common Council candidate off the ballot. Kat Brezler is a public school teacher, but the role that has her in the machine’s sights goes back to the 2018 midterms. She was a lead organizer for the primary campaign of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and if she can get a foothold in the council, she’s a potential threat to run for Congress herself. To get on the ballot on the Democratic Party line, Brezler had to turn in a minimum of 696 signatures. She submitted 1,175 signatures, 780 of which the Board of Elections found to be valid. Her opponent objected to the signatures, and Westchester County Supreme Court Judge Sam Walker threw out dozens of them after comparing the signatures collected from people on the street to the ones on their voter registrations cards, some of which are up to 40 years old. Walker also refused the campaign a handwriting expert.” • They’re gonna redistrict AOC out, sure as shootin’.

Stats Watch

The Bezzle: “Elon Musk owes $507 million to banks helping Tesla raise capital” [Reuters]. “Goldman Sachs Group Inc has $213 million in loans outstanding to Musk, while he owes Morgan Stanley $209 million, and another $85 million to Bank of America Corp . Goldman was not mentioned as a personal lender to Musk in the 2017 filing. Those loans are backed by Musk’s shares in Tesla, currently worth a total of around $8 billion. If Tesla’s stock declines, then Musk could be forced to sell some of those shares under terms of the loan, according to the Tesla filing.” • If you owe the bank $100 million….

The Bezzle: “Uber’s Big Problem: It’s a Zombie Corporation That Can’t Make Any Money” [MishTalk]. “Uber loses money at everything it does. It is also far behind Google (Waymo) in driverless technology…. As long as Uber has the confidence of investors, it can survive by raising money. But if that confidence wanes before Uber makes enough to pay interest on accumulated debt, Uber is toast. Right now, Uber is a zombie corporation, totally dependent on investors’ willingness to keep funding Uber’s cash needs.” • Capital is to important to be left to the capitalists….

Transportation: “How the Koch Brothers Are Killing Public Transit Projects Around the Country” [New York Times]. “At the heart of their effort is a network of activists who use a sophisticated data service built by the Kochs, called i360, that helps them identify and rally voters who are inclined to their worldview. It is a particularly powerful version of the technologies used by major political parties*. In places like Nashville, Koch-financed activists are finding tremendous success. Early polling here had suggested that the $5.4 billion transit plan would easily pass. It was backed by the city’s popular mayor and a coalition of businesses. Its supporters had outspent the opposition, and Nashville was choking on cars. But the outcome of the May 1 ballot stunned the city: a landslide victory for the anti-transit camp, which attacked the plan as a colossal waste of taxpayers’ money.” • NOTE * Like BERN, eh? Watch this space…

Transportation: “The Fight for the Right to Drive” [The New Yorker]. Interesting. This caught my eye: “Waymo, the driverless-car firm owned by Google’s parent company, Alphabet, has been test-driving its autonomous vehicles in Arizona since 2016. People there have attacked the cars in a variety of ways: throwing rocks; cutting tires; aiming guns; trying to run them off the road. Like the Luddites of the early nineteenth century, who brandished hatchets, hammers, and muskets and smashed the mechanical looms that were taking their jobs, these attackers seem to be expressing a visceral feeling of contempt for the promised disruptions of autonomous technology. Their distrust and resentment may be widespread. According to the Pew Research Center, a majority of Americans say that they would not want to ride in a driverless vehicle; seventy-two per cent of the skeptics said that they don’t trust the cars, have safety concerns, or simply worry about giving up control. And yet the same study shows that two-thirds of Americans expect cars to become driverless in the next fifty years. Who wouldn’t feel resentment, contemplating a future they don’t want but is going to happen anyway?” • Wish I had some numbers on Waymo in Arizona; I’ve never seen any.

Tech: “21 years in, the only way to get effective support from Google is to have friends who work there. Going in without personal connections is like trying to get a liquor license from the Ottoman Empire” [@Pinboard]. Thread:

Mr. Market: “Wall Street’s ‘fear gauge’ surges 30% — on track for biggest jump in 7 months as stocks slump” [MarketWatch]. “The Cboe Volatility Index VIX, commonly known as the VIX and often referred to as Wall Street’s fear gauge, was on track Tuesday for its sharpest daily jump in nearly seven months amid fears of increased tariff tensions between the U.S. and China. The VIX was recently up nearly 30%, with a daily surge at that level representing the biggest since Oct. 10, 2018 when the gauge surged by about 44%.”

Mr. Market: “A business boom defies the forecasts” [The Week]. “The U.S. economy blew past expectations in the first months of 2019 in a burst of growth that feels like the 1990s, said Heather Long at The Washington Post. Last week, the government reported a 3.2 percent annualized GDP growth rate in the first quarter, energizing supporters of President Trump and his economic policies. Most of the growth ‘was driven by an unusually low trade deficit and a surge in inventories, with companies beefing up their supplies after depleting them last year.’ In addition, unemployment and inflation remain low, wages are rising, and the stock market ‘has been on a bullish ride’ that’s reminiscent of the dot-com boom 20 years ago. Tax cuts gave the economy what looked like a ‘sugar high,’ said Jon Hilsenrath at The Wall Street Journal, but now productivity and labor force gains suggest that faster growth might well be sustained.”

Mr. Market: “McKenna On Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway, and Kraft Heinz” [Re: The Auditors]. “Buffett has also chronically touted a type of non-GAAP metric he calls ‘intrinsic value.’ He defines it as the ‘discounted value of the cash that can be taken out of a business during its remaining life.’ Buffett and his partner Charlie Munger never disclose their estimates of Berkshire Hathaway’s intrinsic value, because, they say, it’s an estimate and very subjective. ‘What our annual reports do supply, though,’ Buffett wrote for the 2017 annual report, ‘are the facts that we ourselves use to calculate this value,'” • Oh.

The Biosphere

“How Carbon Farming Can Help Stop Climate Change in Its Tracks” [The Nation]. “‘How do we get greenhouse gases out of the air?’ Masters asks the people at this workshop. Our host, a rancher named Steve Charter, answers, ‘Photosynthesis.’ ‘Right,’ she says. Plants not only take in carbon dioxide but also create ground cover—and this gets carbon back in the soil… Soil microbes eat sugar. And feeding these soil microbes builds soil and sequesters atmospheric carbon in the ground ‘at a rate previously thought impossible.'” • This is a must read, and not only for soil fans.

“Start-Ups Hoping to Fight Climate Change Struggle as Other Tech Firms Cash In” [New York Times]. “Despite all the money sloshing around Silicon Valley, few venture capitalists have been willing to join him in backing companies trying to address climate change…. The start-ups face a fundamental challenge: Carbon dioxide is plentiful but lacks the chemical energy that makes fossil fuels and other materials useful for generating power. So far, no one has found an obvious way to turn capturing carbon dioxide into a profitable business.” • Once again, capital is too important to be left to the capitalists.

“Skip the insecticide this summer. Fight mosquitos with bat homes” [Fast Company]. “Summer draws nigh, which means it’s mosquito season. You have your usual arsenal of tiki torches, insect repellent oil, electric zapping lamps, and insecticide needed to fight them and the nasty viruses they carry. But there’s a more nature-friendly way to destroy these buzzing annoyances: bats, which can eat up to a 1,000 mosquito-size insects per hour. That’s what BatBnB wants you to know. The company first took shape in 2016, with some sketches and brainstorming by an Google employee and an architectural designer. Their mission: to turn bats into a pest-control weapon for homeowners by creating nice homes for them that look great in people’s yards.” • OK, OK, so you’re worried a bunch of bats from out of town will turn your bat house into a bat party house. Still, those bat houses look pretty neat! And they, along with bird houses, are something I’ve never gotten around to… I create habitat by creating a mess, because birds love a mess….

“Sand mining ‘mafias’ destroying environment, livelihoods: UN” [Reuters]. “Global demand for sand and gravel, used extensively in construction, is about 50 billion tonnes or an average of 18 kg (40 lb) per person per day, according to a report published by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP)… Current legal frameworks are not sufficient, and “sand mafias” comprising builders, businessmen and dealers in countries such as Cambodia, Vietnam, India, Kenya and Sierra Leone regularly flout existing laws, said the UNEP. The science to support responsible consumption and extraction is lagging, it said, adding that new technologies and materials that can substitute or limit the use of traditional concrete are growing in use, but still limited.”

“U.S. sinks Arctic accord due to climate change differences: diplomats [Reuters]. “Scientists believe the Arctic contains around 13 percent of the world’s undiscovered reserves of oil and 30 percent of its reserves of natural gas as well as huge deposits of minerals such as zinc, iron and rare earth metals. Harvesting them remains expensive, but melting ice is making that more feasible, as well as affecting the world’s weather, and the Arctic’s wildlife and indigenous residents. [S]ources with knowledge of the discussions said the United States balked at signing a final declaration as it disagreed with wording that climate change was a serious threat to the Arctic. It was the first time a declaration had been cancelled since the Arctic Council was formed in 1996.” • Weirdly, this Pompeo quote does not appear in the Reuters report: “[S]teady reductions in sea ice are opening new passageways and new opportunities for trade… Arctic sea lanes could become the 21st century Suez and Panama Canals.”

“Key State Certification Denied For SW Oregon Natural Gas Export Project” [Oregon Public Broadcasting]. “Oregon environmental regulators delivered a blow Monday to a controversial energy export proposal on Oregon’s south coast, saying the Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas pipeline and terminal project falls short of meeting clean water standards.” • Excellent! Hydrocarbon projects should be opposed where encountered. Leave it in the ground!

Game of Thrones

“‘Is the Coffee Cup in Game of Thrones Actually From Starbucks?” [New York Magazine] • Digital detectives discover that it’s not a cup of coffee. It’s a cup of herbal tea, with teabag, as available from a café near the set, in Ireland.

“HBO Edits ‘Game of Thrones’ Episode to Remove Errant Coffee Cup” [Variety]. • Each day, some time each hour, brings change. One might wonder what else has been edited out. Of everything.

Neoiberal Epidemics

“Can Economic Policies Reduce Deaths of Despair?” [NEBR]. “higher minimum wages and EITCs significantly reduce non-drug suicides. A 10 percent increase in the minimum wage reduces non-drug suicides among adults with high school or less by 3.6 percent; a 10 percent increase in the EITC reduces suicides among this group by 5.5 percent. Our estimated models do not find significant effects for a college-educated placebo sample. Event-study models confirm parallel pre-trends, further supporting the validity of our causal research design. Our estimates suggest that increasing both the minimum wage and the EITC by 10 percent would likely prevent a combined total of around 1230 suicides each year.” • Note the class distinction is real (taking college education as a proxt for membership in the 10%.)

Class Warfare

“A Functional Class Framework for Modern Western Leftists” [Nina Illingworth]. • Interestingly, supports the same 0.1%/10%/90% framework many of us have been using for some time but written with a good deal of verve and detail. Worth a read.

“The hosts of capitalism’s biggest party endorse the social safety net” [Quartz]. Charlie Munger: “Now if you get a place like Denmark or Sweden or something, a lot of these modern students would like it better, free education, free medical care and so forth. And if you have to bet, the United States will be way more like Canada pretty soon, in terms of more free education at the university level and more Medicare and some kind of medicine for all. And that we can afford without ruining the productivity of the civilization.” • That’s nice, and it would certainly help if the leadership of both major parties weren’t doing everything possible to prevent it.

“Seniors owe billions in student loan debt: ‘This will follow me to the grave'” [CBS]. “Americans age 60 and older owe more than $86 billion in unpaid college loans. Forty percent of them 65 and older are in default, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Many of them now have their Social Security benefits garnished to pay off their student debt.” • Seems that would be a good campaign issue for somebody. Joe Biden, say.

Our booming economy:

Readers, what are the radio ads like in your area?

It is good to see Chris Arnade tweeting again. Thread:

News of the Wired

“Artist Travels To Scenic Locations Only To Paint The Pattern of His Own Shirt” [Sad and Useless]. • This is pretty great. I like the one with Monet’s haystacks.

This reads to me like it’s good film criticism, but I’ve never seen Terminator 2:

Nothing, yet everything:

* * *

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EG writes: “Hyacinth in snow.” Winter is going.

* * *

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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.

94 comments

  1. NotTimothyGeithner

    but I’ve never seen Terminator 2

    Worth it. I’m not sure this is what Terminator 2 was about.

    Reply
    1. Deschain

      It’s definitely not what Avengers: Endgame was about. I don’t think anyone who watched that movie would say Robert Downey Jr. was superfluous.

      But yes, do see Terminator 2 (and the original, if you haven’t), they are both well-made and hugely entertaining movies. Skip the ones that followed, however.

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The whole thread is better, but he seems to miss T2 Arnie affects John Connor as much as John Connor, the messiah, affects the other characters including the T2.

        As far as the other movies, T2 is legit, but I’m not sure the ideas from T2 functionally lend themselves to world building or worthy sequels. Sarah Connor is a mother and the mother of the Messiah and saved by/through the Messiah, twice. She’s got a lot going on. Not that there is any kind of lineage between T2 and the Matrix, but the Matrix was more worthy as a follow-up than any of the Terminator movies since. Though I don’t believe they stuck the landing in the sequels. We get messiah junk all the time. Mary and Joseph, not so much, and they don’t really make choices when we get them. If you don’t follow the apostles to John Connor, there is no John Connor story worth telling.

        In regards to the Marvel movies, certain characters are just fun, and they don’t generally try to be anything more than goofy popcorn movies.

        Reply
      2. JohnnyGL

        A side note, but, not to be overlooked part of Terminator 2, are the Cold War overtones buried in the backstory.

        Skynet launches its bid for world domination by triggering nuclear war against the Russians in an attempt to kill all the humans so it can rule uncontested.

        In 1991, when the movie came out, there’s still the nagging fear of nuclear war that we thought we’d dispensed with, post-Cold War, but Terminator 2 reminds us that we’re still way too close to triggering an apocalypse to be comfortable. Even rogue software can kill us all in minutes! :)

        Later on in the decade, Tom Clancy novels come to the big screen having invented or exaggerated a whole new slew of enemies for us to be afraid of, some of which get a hold of nuclear weapons, some don’t.

        The nuclear weapons plot backstory thing fades by the end of the 90s when the Matrix comes out.

        Reply
        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I haven’t seen any post “The Sum of All Fears” Clancy media, but the wiki indicates belief the movie was delayed due to 9/11 to 2002. I couldn’t finish “The Bear and the Dragon.” I assume we won.

          But I wonder about Hollywood’s relationship to the U.S. military. To have tension, the MIC needs to not be invincible defenders as featured in the commercials. Its tinfoil hat territory, but perhaps, we’ve seen a decline in this post-9/11 because they are reminders of U.S. government failures. Could a film of this nature not get U.S. military advisors?

          Reply
          1. The Rev Kev

            Re “The Bear and the Dragon.”. Yeah, we “won” but the book was crap. His earlier works like “The Sum of All Fears” were far superior. His later books were all “Ra! Ra! Ra! We’re Number One!” Maybe that is why he sold his name back in 2008 – out of embarrassment.

            Reply
        2. ChrisPacific

          The Cold War was much more of a presence in the original Terminator, which was also a much bleaker movie. The fear of nuclear annihilation was diminished by 1991, which was reflected in the more upbeat story arc in number 2. Both are products of their time. I agree there is no real parallel in the Matrix.

          Terminator 2 is worth watching (but not the sequels) but watch the original first if you haven’t.

          Reply
  2. Carolinian

    Re the Thrones boo boo–if you look closely at one shot in Michael Mann’s The Last of the Mohicans you can see a Trailways bus in the background. The web is full of guides to these sorts of mistakes if one is interested. I’m not particularly, but Mann’s fine movie was shot not far away in North Carolina and I know the location.

    Some might say a bigger GOT mistake was a certain mid episode plot twist….

    Reply
      1. wilroncanada

        Or movies supposedly of prehistory with chem trails in sky shots.
        Lots of historical movies with actor/actress wearing a watch in a scene.

        Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          A long time ago Errol Flynn raised his sword high aboard a pirate ship which revealed a wristwatch.

          Reply
    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      That was a sort of sport for me watching after school western reruns for the umpteenth time. Spot all the contrails. Around the same age I realized quicksand probably wasn’t that big of a problem in adult life.

      Reply
  3. lyman alpha blob

    Reason# 8,345,543 to despise Trump that nobody in the “Resistance” will make a peep about – http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/trump-pardons-former-army-ranger-convicted-of-killing-iraqi/ar-AAB0tf3?li=BBnb7Kz&ocid=iehp

    Even if one is extremely sympathetic to the military I still don’t see how this could be viewed as a positive. Not only did this guy murder an Iraqi, he admittedly disobeyed a direct order from his superior, which I always thought was a big no-no:

    President Donald Trump has pardoned Michael Behenna, a former Army Ranger in the 101st Airborne Division convicted of murdering an Iraqi prisoner in 2009.

    Behenna, 35, was sentenced to 25 years in prison for “unpremeditated murder in a combat zone” after killing suspected al-Qaeda terrorist Ali Mansur. Behenna was paroled in 2014.

    While Behenna said he killed Mansur in self-defense, during the trial he admitted that he disobeyed orders to return Mansour to his village after he was released from military intelligence and questioned about his connection to an explosion that killed two U.S. soldiers.

    Personally I find the ‘getting away with murder’ part to be horrendous as it pretty much tells the world the US has zero respect for the lives of anyone. But I would think military people might find the ‘get out of jail free for disobeying direct orders’ part to be more than a little disquieting.

    Side note – in the ‘credit where credit is due’ department, at least MSN bothered to give the murdered Iraqi’s name.

    Reply
    1. Adam Eran

      Please remember: In contrast to *all* other California Democratic primaries, the presidential primary *requires* you to register as a Democrat to vote in it. Democrats! Gotta love ’em. (Looks like a way to keep Bernie’s independents, Greens, ‘no party preference’ people out to me)

      Reply
      1. MichaelSF

        https://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/frequently-asked-questions/

        How are presidential primary elections conducted in California?
        Qualified political parties in California may hold presidential primaries in one of two ways:

        Closed presidential primary – the party only allows voters indicating a preference for that party to vote for its presidential nominee.
        Modified-closed presidential primary – in addition to allowing voters indicating a preference for that party to vote for its presidential nominee, the party also allows voters who did not indicate a party preference to vote for its presidential nominee.
        If a qualified political party chooses to hold a modified-closed presidential primary, the party must notify the California Secretary of State no later than the 135th day before Election Day.

        I couldn’t find more info on the SOS site so I looked at the local SF elections and found:

        https://sfelections.sfgov.org/voting-presidential-primary-elections#q11

        I am a voter with no party preference. How can I request a party ballot?
        As soon as the California Secretary of State announces, no later than October 21, 2019, which political parties have opened their presidential primaries to voters with no party preference, you can request a party ballot in several ways:

        So it at this time it may be up in the air as to if non-affiliated CA voters will need to register as D to get a D presidential primary ballot.

        Reply
      2. Carey

        Why you keep making this comment, which is *not true*, across multiple sites,
        despite being repeatedly told it’s false?

        “No Party Peference” voters, like me, need only
        request a Dem Party ballot to vote in the CA
        Dem Primary. Being a registered Dem is *not
        required*.

        Please stop with this falsity.

        Reply
  4. Oregocharles

    ““The U.S. economy blew past expectations in the first months of 2019 in a burst of growth that feels like the 1990s, ”

    Bad news for the Dems. If it doesn’t crash, Trump will be a shoo-in.

    Reply
    1. jrs

      pity, people don’t ask themselves, if (and that’s probably when) there’s a recession who do you WANT to be in charge? I’m thinking: maybe someone who kind of gives a damn about people’s economic struggles! If so at the least they won’t contest expanding unemployment a great deal and in fact they’ll support it, and at best they’ll do much more.

      And that isn’t Trump, maybe if he’s having a good day, but he might be having a bad day which seems more common.

      But good times (such as they are) are gonna last forever in these voters minds I guess ..

      Reply
      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        If a Catfood Democrat is President when a recession happens, that Catfood Democrat will do everything possible to destroy the Golden New Deal Moment, just like Obama did.

        Whereas if Trump is President when a recession happens, he may turn it into a Hoover moment for himself and his Party. If that happens, Trump Term Two will be followed by a Democrat. If its a Catfood Democrat, that Catfood Democrat will work to destroy any New Deal potential just like Obama did. If the Real Democrats have been able to overpower the Catfood Democrats and get a Real Democrat nominated to succeed a self-Hooverised Trump, then that Real Democrat will at least try to realize some New Deal potential in the teeth of a bipartisan Catfood Coalition against it in the House and Senate.

        Reply
    2. Procopius

      Oh, wonderful. So, because Trump must be destroyed I have to hope/pray for millions of people to be out of work and unable to make their mortgage payments?

      Reply
  5. Polar Donkey

    Two signs of the restaurant apocalypse. Here in Memphis a large regional bank has spent the last few years cranking out loans to restaurants, especially franchises. That is starting to dry up and becoming a drag on the bank because more and more of these loans are not performing. I heard this last week. Today, a food sales rep for a major food distributor said business is down everywhere in his region. Many down 60 to 70% from 6 months ago. It is hitting these distributors because many of these restaurants have 30 day lines of credit. 4 weeks of purchases can add up before the distributor even knows the place is out of business. Additionally, pork market shot up 20% yesterday and expected to not stop till 40%. Agriculture economy from Arkansas to Canada is a mess because of weather, plagues, and tariffs. This will hurt everything from cars to tourism. It maybe a long, hot summer.

    Reply
  6. jo6pac

    “The Democratic Party Just Ticked Off Its Youngest Organizers

    I’m sure their names have been added to the magical dnc/dncc list and future good jobs will be withheld from them. It’s just the way they do business, nothing personal.

    Reply
  7. Grant

    I know it is early, and I know that the polls are horribly flawed, but regardless, Biden being up by that much is just shocking. He has an absolutely horrible record, and it reflects the gap in regards to knowledge about his actual record among the type of people that read and post here and the general public. Many here might be paying attention, most of the public is not paying attention. The fact that Bernie is the second choice to him is perplexing, because Biden is in no way preferable on any level and secondly, they are miles apart on policy. If people were policy focused, you would expect the second choice to be in the same rough ideological area. The political system is obviously thoroughly corrupt and the media in this country owned and dominated by corporations and the rich. Those at the top spend most of their time lying to and gaslighting people, and everything is set to fall apart. People have the chance to spend a few minutes looking into his record and simply don’t, or don’t care.

    Imagine Biden in office, working with “moderates” in the Democratic Party and Republicans and all the damage that would be done. Then, imagine the huge blowback from the negative impact of those policies. Maybe, not likely, they can beat Trump with someone as horrible as Biden, but Trumpism will not only be going nowhere, things will continue to get worse, which means the blowback in the coming years will be even more intense.

    Looking at the environmental crisis, we need radical changes, and if we aren’t well along the way very shortly, there is going to be chaos. So, if things don’t change pretty soon, we are locking ourselves into a half decade more of either Trump or Trump and Biden? We are collectively stupid and ignorant, and we don’t seem to learn lessons either. I’m not freaking out, I had assumed that we had progressed a little bit and had reflected on the crash and everything after. I was wrong. Things can change, likely will, but Biden leading does say a lot about us, and it isn’t good.

    Reply
    1. lyman alpha blob

      We don’t have to imagine your 2nd paragraph. It already happened when Biden was VP.

      I’d like to think we’d learn our lessons too. We’ll see I guess. The one thing I find hopeful is remembering that Joe Lieberman was leading the pack back in 2004 at a similar stage in the campaign because people don’t really start paying attention until closer to the election (which is reason #1 to limit campaign season to 90 days or so). Of course Lieberman rapidly fading didn’t exactly lead to a great outcome either…

      The radical change we need isn’t going to come from the voting booth anyway. As the radical Emma Goldman put it a century or so ago, if voting changed anything they’d make it illegal.

      Reply
      1. Grant

        The thing is, Biden is very right wing. In fact, it seems that he was one of those in the Obama administration that was pushing for cuts to the big three and more austerity. He is very hawkish, blatantly corrupt and it is clear that he has not evolved at all. Obama, after leaving office of course, at least has given rhetorical support for single payer. Biden has no interest even in that and, again, the damage he would do would be even worse. He not only opposes single payer, he wants to cut Medicare. And I think the writers here would probably develop major health issues after listening to his ignorant drivel on deficits, public debt, spending, etc. So, things have continued to get progressively worse, and he like Trump would speed up the societal collapse. My concern isn’t over his polling right now, it is over how little people have learned, how little aware they are of the records of these people and how easily people are mislead. I see little reason to have faith in the Democrats. They settled on a horrible candidate in 2016, largely could not be reasoned with, and most of them are paralyzed by fear of four more years of Trump. What they aren’t thinking about is what four to eight years of Biden would do. I would hope, after the decades long stagnation, systematic corruption and what happened in 2016 that those horribly flawed and biased polls.would show Bernie in the lead, cause what we are facing is obvious. But, I probably was giving older Democrats too much credit. They largely intend, it seems, to vote us into the abyss. Again, I know it is early, but these polls at least give us a glimpse into how some segments in that party are thinking, and it is depressing.

        Reply
        1. richard

          I know that some of the polls that have showed Biden far ahead of Bernie have had a very flawed methodology. They egregiously under sample younger voters, who are far less likely to support Biden. The CNN poll fell into this category and at least one other poll that only sampled people with landlines! I’m not sure why pollsters would think this is kosher. It is clearly tendential and leading. Maybe they would say that because the electorate has skewed older for some time now, this is a reasonable adjustment. Of course, that would be horses&*%.
          I’d be interested in knowing how things were in the 30s or 60s (and other eras) in terms of age and voter turnout.

          Reply
        2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          It feels like we can fast forward past a lot of sound and fury and arrive at the ballot box with the choices being Biden and Trump. Thinking man’s question: hold your nose and pull a lever, or just go home and take a powder?

          Reply
          1. tegnost

            I would see it as a replay of the last election and take the same course of not voting for either one, again

            Reply
        3. drumlin woodchuckles

          Evidence of Biden wanting to means-test Social Security and Medicare should be weaponized and disseminated to every middle-age person and upper-middle-age person so that can know what a threat and a menace he is to their survival.

          Reply
      2. Synoia

        If Biden is the D choice, I’m voting for Trump.

        As I live in CA, it is a protest.

        AS an aside, why did Trump move the US embassy to Jerusalem and Recognize Israels’s hold on the Golan Heights?

        IMHO, It’s about the Benjamins in his reelection fund.

        Reply
    2. cm

      The polls are complete garbage. Low sample size, very dodgy biased demographics (50+ at the expense of 30 & under). They are a waste of time designed to suck the air out of the room and prevent coverage of Sanders.

      Reply
      1. JohnnyGL

        What you say is true, but let’s not over exaggerate.

        The CNN poll with Biden up by 30+ points is junk. MorningConsult’s weekly poll has him +20, he has been bouncing around +10 to +15 or so for the last few months.

        Biden got a boost, for now. But remember, easy come, easy go at this stage.

        Reply
    3. Ranger Rick

      All the Democratic base is going to hear is “he’s going to put a stop to Trump and make us feel safe again.” Safe from what is never explained (and as an act of politics, deliberately left for the listener to fill in the blanks in order to avoid committing to anything), nor is the plan of action described. Apparently merely existing is enough.

      Reply
      1. jrs

        safe from Russians! Influencing our politics!
        (as if there was anything left to influence after the corporate money had bought up the politicians)

        Reply
        1. Svante

          That’s so very true! Without all that nasty old ice, permafrost and polar bears blocking our view of jools, rare earths, gold, caviar, 6′ Uzbek nymphs, methane geysers and clathrate mines Rooski communism’s too inebriate to develop, we’d best protect ourselves, by spreading the benefits of Democracy before Putin gets all paranoid and spreads more derision or corrupts our elections?

          https://theintercept.com/2019/05/04/climate-change-book-end-of-ice

          Reply
    4. JohnnyGL

      Grant, I had some frustration with the higher-than-expected spike in the polls for Biden, but I paused for a minute or two and thought about it…

      https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2019/05/links-5-7-19.html#comment-3148466

      To comfort yourself, have a look at what Sanders did when he plugged away for a year from Feb 2015 to Feb 2016. Give the man time to do his thing.

      https://elections.huffingtonpost.com/pollster/2016-national-democratic-primary

      It’s a long, long campaign season.

      Reply
    5. ChristopherJ

      Agree Biden is a horrid human being. The fact that he gets any air time, any support, is beyond me.

      Regardless, you are right. We are discussing an election which is less than 2 years away. Yet, we might only have 2 years before cities and countries face real environmental disasters. Think Katrina x 10 – It will be our inability to feed our populations which will trigger massive, global, social unrest. I don’t expect to live more than 2 years based on what I see happening in the world.

      The military and police will only hold order for so long.

      Reply
    6. dcblogger

      Of course I thought that Trump would implode a long time ago, so what do I know, but somehow, I don’t see Biden’s support continuing. I think that Biden will take down Biden.

      Reply
  8. Summer

    Re: The Fight For the Right To Drive
    “Like the Luddites of the early nineteenth century, who brandished hatchets, hammers, and muskets and smashed the mechanical looms that were taking their jobs, these attackers seem to be expressing a visceral feeling of contempt for the promised disruptions of autonomous technology.”

    No, it’s not like “Luddites.” It’s like people that have been the victims of unaccountable and crapified automation for the last 30 years.

    “Please hold, the next available operator will be with you shortly.”
    “I’m sorry. I can’t recognize that selection. This call will be disconnected.”

    People’s “adaptablility” is not to blame. At some point sh – – is sh – -, not progress.

    Reply
    1. dearieme

      A favourite old joke:

      I want to die peacefully in my sleep like my father, not screaming with fear like his passengers.

      Reply
      1. jrs

        Ha, reminds me most people age out of being able to drive anyway.

        I mean if you live long enough into a nice old age, there is a good chance you really won’t be safe to drive, something American society has no real answer for. How the heck are old people to get around without endangering others? Autonomous vehicles would be better. As would other solutions.

        Reply
    2. Milton

      It is like Luddites because that was entirely their justification for their actions-the point you stated about social crapification etal. Luddites have been misrepresented as being fearful of technology for technology’s sake. What they were fearful of, and with good reason, was the use of technology in the hands of the capital class and how it’s implementation would undoubtedly be used to further marginalize already marginalized laborers. There’s books about this out there. I think I found a reference of it in The Invention of Capialism.

      Reply
      1. dearieme

        One striking consequence of the Industrial Revolution was the increase in income of labourers compared to skilled workmen. I dare say that was exactly the problem that worried the Luddites.

        Reply
  9. WheresOurTeddy

    Mike Pompeo asked about 3 million Muslims in concentration camps in China, calls them “re-education camps” and lowers number to 1 million (3 million and “concentration camps” were used in *a Pentagon report* on the issue) as he lies right to your face:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_CsFF6FmQk

    Kudos to the interviewer. I’m guessing she’s not long for CBS with that attitude towards the powerful.

    Reply
  10. flora

    re: Biden(2), (3),and (4)

    Watching Biden (3) after watching watching Biden(2) it seems clear Biden has more than lost a step. Almost like watching Reagan in his second term. Biden(4) fits this idea. imo.

    Reply
  11. mraymondtorres

    Re mosquitoes/bats

    Bats eat insects.

    A bat could eat 6000 mosquitoes in a night if it a) ate only mosquitoes, and b) ate all night. Neither behavior is found among bats in the wild.

    They eat what they come across until they’re full and then return to their colonies to minimize predation.

    In fact, because mosquitoes tend to stay close to the ground and bats tend to fly up rooftop level & higher, mosquitoes likely make up a very small portion of a bat’s nightly take.

    Reply
    1. FreeMarketApologist

      The ‘I want it now’ generation may be disappointed in their bat houses — it can take several years for bats to find and colonize a bat house, even if it is correctly installed (and that’s a whole other challenge). From the online looks of them though, they appear to have been built using the current best knowledge about what makes a bat house desirable to a bat.

      I’ve had 2 large bat houses on the side of my barn for 4 years, ideally located, and they remain empty – though there’s lots of competition from more natural living space (as the realtors say, “Location! Location! Location!) (this is upstate NY, where there has been a huge dropoff in the bat population).

      Reply
      1. barefoot charley

        I built lovely bat quarters before trying (in the dark of night) to banish them from my barn’s woodwork and plug their gaps. 15 years later my barn loft is littered with steel wool the bats laughed at and dropped out of the way when they went back to bed. They’re not flying rodents, they’re flying hogs.

        Reply
      2. Carolinian

        We seem to have had a bat decline as well. I wonder if it could be related to a decline in nocturnal insects–something that occasionally gets talked about around here.

        Unfortunately there’s been no decline in mosquitoes. My back yard always has swarms of them in the summer. I refuse to use insecticide even as neighbors call in the eradicators..

        Reply
  12. Summer

    RE: “Goldman Sachs Group Inc has $213 million in loans outstanding to Musk, while he owes Morgan Stanley $209 million, and another $85 million to Bank of America Corp .”

    II’d bet Musk has mulled over whether or not to run for President.

    Reply
  13. Samuel Conner

    re: “New York Machine Trying to Toss Kat Brezler, Organizer for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Off Local Ballot”

    the revenge of Crow Jowley

    I do look forward to further humiliations of the establishment.

    Reply
  14. dcrane

    Biden (D)(7): “Joe Biden Wants To Make Donald Trump Deplorable Again” [CNN]. “‘I’ve had two people — and I think this is interesting — come up to me and say that for the first time since the election of the current president, they feel safe,’

    Safe from Bernie’s unkempt hordes of tax-hiking socialists, they mean.

    Reply
    1. JohnnyGL

      Joe Biden is as comfortable as Trump is sending aircraft carriers to the Persian Gulf. That’s not making ANYONE safe.

      Reply
  15. Chris Cosmos

    I think we need to stop worrying about Biden and other conservatives–no they are not “centrists” because centrist try to resolve the differences between left and right, i.e., they moderate left-wing demands for more egalitarian policies with the needs of the ruling class. The Democratic Party is, largely, a right-wing party because it demands no change and represents almost totally the interests of the ruling class and their managers.

    Sanders and others are trying to wrest complete control of the DP from the conservatives which may happen in the primaries and failing that we will surely be waiting for the end of the world.

    Reply
  16. Nat

    “Skip the insecticide this summer. Fight mosquitos with bat homes”

    Along these lines I have been contemplating planting a large amount of carnivorous plants especially as the area I live in has swampy soil (thin layer of soil above clay which keeps the water on-top of the ground in a lot of areas) and most carnivorous plants like swampy soil. Even putting aside the better environmental impact of it all I find a lot of the carnivorous plants are actually quite beautiful like the Sundews some of which also have pretty flowers, and I have always been partial to the beauty of pitcher plants.

    Sadly while these will get rid of a lot of things, mosquitos just aren’t interested in their bait and lures so they don’t really help with that. If I were to do another start-up I might try to genetic engineer some carnivorous plants with some proper mosquito luring capabilities – but I am pretty sure the social backlash to “GMO + carnivorous plant” will have people with pitchforks at my door in record time – so maybe not.

    As an aside, for indoor use I have been interested in those XL pitcher plants that at least occasionally eat rodents. Sadly no one will send me any as they are critically endangered. But if they could be demonstrated to work for good pest control indoors as house plants their endangered status would probably turn around really quickly.

    Reply
  17. Summer

    Re: “Police detained a young man holding a blank poster in central square in Uralsk, Western Kazakhstan today. They released him shortly after as they couldn’t figure out what he would be charged with pic.twitter.com/nLtIneIsr6”

    But they had to have been given the orders that anyone even thinking about protesting anything needed to be “put in their place.”
    That’s “just following orders” and all the brain deadness it entails.

    Reply
    1. wilroncanada

      Unless you could read Kazak, you missed the tiny heading at the top:
      “Lost–Imaginary friend”

      Reply
  18. Alfred

    You asked about radio ads. My area is the southeast, but I drive often and extensively through there and parts of the midwest and mid-Atlantic. I don’t remember hearing any ads about selling blood plasma, or a lot about car loans (independent of touting cars themselves, of which I do hear quite a few); but the ones about “house-flipping training,” “help in dealing w/ IRS,” and “med malpractice” (by which I understand lawyers looking for clients) unquestionably predominate. I hear a fair number of radio ads for the lower-end chain restaurants, too; also some for walk-in medical services (indicating failure of the ‘mainstream’ health-insurance system?).

    Reply
    1. Cal2

      Radio is for the rich…The true poorman’s advertising medium is power poles, as all you need is paper and a stapler. Around Tuscon the ad one sees all the time is

      “We buy diabetic strips”. Very short expiration date, unused expired ones are bought cheap and resold in Mexico.

      Another people’s medium is the good old fashioned bulletin board along with Craigslist.

      Reply
  19. Sharkleberry Fin

    [T]he top 10% now own 70% of the wealth […]. That does not sound that far off from a Gaussian distribution. Think a pile of sand at the bottom of hour-glass where 68% of the sand [$] falls within one standard deviation from the center spout, where the Platonic Big Kahuna wants it all to pile up. Now imagine the sand represented desire and its impoverishment. This is a pyramid of need, where most people end up wanting for at least one necessity. Cold, yes, but not a dysfunctional system. This is a system performing at optimum efficiency consumerism. This is a democracy of customers, a machine, where rational choice governs a collective debt load stretched to the limits of a cog / mark’s ability to perform. Similar to the Church deciding how much original sin could lay on a typical parishioner’s conscience. [Answer: lots.]

    This reality is the result, not of the interests of the many being ignored, but the result of a system that indulges the democratic will of the many to purchase at any cost. A place where the masses really have captured the levers of power with their unconscious desire to submit, to be useful. Only we as components of a system, from within a system, find the results strange and alien. –From the WaPo editorial, “[W]e still don’t fully understand the surge in economic inequality of the past three decades. The populist temptation is to blame greed, but this is not a satisfactory explanation because greed is hardly new.” –My fear is that distribute and re-distribute, the capital still flows from coffers at top of the hierarchy, down the mountain, bifurcating until it is gone. We don’t organize Capital, it organizes us around it. Much in the same way, office cubicles are designed for the PC’s and files, the drones are an afterthought bolted to the screen. Which is the reason Capital has been such a formidable opponent, defying smarter men with better intentions who wield higher concentrations of power in all types of cultures.

    Reply
  20. Wukchumni

    A Mongolian couple died from the bubonic plague after eating raw marmot meat, sparking a quarantine that trapped tourists for days, officials said Monday.

    According to AFP, the couple died May 1 in a remote area of the country’s Bayan-Ölgii province, which borders China and Russia.

    A six-day quarantine of 118 people who had come in contact with the couple, including locals and a number of foreign tourists, had been lifted as of Tuesday, Ariuntuya Ochirpurev, a World Health Organization official, told the BBC.

    https://www.visaliatimesdelta.com/story/news/world/2019/05/07/bubonic-plague-deaths-marmot-meat-mongolia-spark-quarantine/1126785001/
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    There really isn’t much to eat in the Sierra Nevada, and marmots tend to be the slowest 4 legged creature and relatively easy to catch/kill compared to any other denizen, but no, even if I was starving, wouldn’t go there, no thanks.

    Reply
  21. NotReallyHere

    “here is the video where Joe Biden says”I spent last summer going through the black sections of my town trying to get black men to understand it’s not unmanly to wear a condom”

    and

    “Sharpton doesn’t look happy at the end….. ”

    that is hilarious!!

    Hard to believe but on that performance, it could be that this upcoming primary will be even more entertaining than Trump’s annihilation of the establishment Repug’s in 2015/2016.

    Remember li’l Marco… low energy Jeb … little Hands

    Reply
    1. Cal2

      Where the rubber meets the campaign trail…

      Hillary almost jumped in to add something, but she stopped herself short, and did her usual bobbing German Sheppard head on dashboard act.

      Reply
    2. Kurtismayfield

      I want to see video of Biden mansplaining to young African Americans about condoms.. if it did happen it would be pure comedy! There is no way that he did this, someone needs to call him out on this tall tale.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        Is there such a thing as reverse-blacksplaining? Or would that be called whitesplaining?

        Reply
    3. NotReallyHere

      Ha ha on Clinton … And the Obama head drop …. Biden totally clueless …. pure gold.

      @kirstymayfield … a billion hits on YouTube …

      Reply
  22. Acacia

    Superdelegates — the elected officials, party officers, and activists who have been given a say in the Democratic nominating system since 1982

    Lobbyists are now “activists”… okay.

    Reply
  23. Summer

    Just for some fun:

    Hey, Game of Thrones fans. Did you like the “just don’t call it product placement” product placement in your period piece?

    Reply
    1. Milton

      Just employing the use of anachronism, ala Shakespeare. Think Cleopatra desiring a game of billiards or Caesar and clocks. I’m sure the fine quality timepieces on stage had makersmarks viewable to the front row theatre-goers. :)

      Reply
  24. WJ

    Biden (D)(5): “Here’s How Deep Biden’s Busing Problem Runs” [Politico].

    This article is classic misdirection and is paradigmatic of how Biden’s record will be “contextualized” by the press.

    Biden’s horrible policies will be depicted as having been more or less inescapable at the time, hence not something for which voters can or should hold Biden himself accountable.

    The press will omit that in the case of nearly every policy it is simply not true that it was inescapable, as there were at least some Democrats opposed to it. (Like Bernie Sanders, for instance.)

    Biden’s flaws will be made the flaws of a generation of Democrats and therefore not truly his own. At the same time, Biden will be described as having outgrown his entire record and as coming to embrace the new, “diverse” and more “inclusive” Democratic Party.

    This is the play. Watch for it.

    Reply
    1. Lemmy Caution

      That’s bascially the play they used, successfully, with Biden’s groping and hair-sniffing problem: “The times have changed and personal boundaries are different — I need to respect that.”

      Reply
  25. Jason Boxman

    I remember they redistricted out Alan Grayson (formerly D-FL); I don’t think Florida Republicans liked his “Don’t get sick and if you do, die quickly” appraisal of the Republican non-plan for healthcare (still their plan). Not that Establishment Democrats liked him, either.

    Reply
  26. marym

    Union Plans Picket Of Joe Biden Fundraiser Hosted By Kaiser Board Member

    The National Union of Healthcare Workers plans to hold an informational picket line outside a Biden fundraiser slated for Wednesday in Los Angeles, according to Sal Rosselli, the union’s president. The fundraiser is to be held at the home of a director of the Kaiser Foundation, which operates hospitals as a subsidiary of Kaiser Permanente.

    The NUHW represents 3,500 psychologists and other workers at Kaiser facilities. The union has long alleged that Kaiser understaffs its mental health clinics, leading to long waits for vulnerable patients. The union has demanded that Kaiser hire more therapists and put pay and benefits on par with other employees in medical care.

    Reply
  27. NotTimothyGeithner

    The Falwells wanted to keep “a bunch of photographs, personal photographs” from becoming public, Cohen told Arnold. “I actually have one of the photos,” he said, without going into specifics. “It’s terrible.”

    Falwell, president of Liberty University, one of the world’s largest Christian universities, said someone had come into possession of what Cohen described as racy “personal” photographs — the sort that would typically be kept “between husband and wife,” Cohen said in the taped conversation.

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-politics-falwell-exclusive-idUSKCN1SD2JG

    I wonder if this is connected to the pool boy Jerry Junior loaned money to.

    Reply
  28. leadenise

    In regards to bat homes: the county I live in has lots of bats. And lots of rabies in the bat population.

    Reply
  29. allan

    “Always read the small print”: a case study of commercial research funding, disclosure
    and agreements with Coca-Cola
    [Journal of Health Policy]

    Abstract of and link to unpaywalled article:

    Concerns about conflicts of interest in commercially funded research have generated increasing disclosure requirements, but are these enough to assess influence? Using the Coca-Cola Company as an example, we explore its research agreements to understand influence. Freedom of Information requests identified 87,013 pages of documents, including five agreements between Coca-Cola and public institutions in the United States, and Canada. We assess whether they allowed Coca-Cola to exercise control or influence. Provisions gave Coca-Cola the right to review research in advance of publication as well as control over (1) study data, (2) disclosure of results and (3) acknowledgement of Coca-Cola funding. Some agreements specified that Coca-Cola has the ultimate decision about any publication of peer-reviewed papers prior to its approval of the researchers’ final report. If so desired, Coca-Cola can thus prevent publication of unfavourable research, but we found no evidence of this to date in the emails we received. The documents also reveal researchers can negotiate with funders successfully to remove restrictive clauses on their research. We recommend journals supplement funding disclosures and conflict-of-interest statements by requiring authors to attach funder agreements.

    It’s the Real Thing™ – and you don’t need to know about certain other real things.

    Reply
  30. John Beech

    Bat houses. Good link. May have to find time to build one or two of these as I have bats in the evenings but would like to encourage more to hang around.

    Reply

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