2:00PM Water Cooler 6/4/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


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

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

“2020 Democratic Presidential Nomination” [RealClearPolitics] (average of five polls). Biden down 34.9% ( 35%) and Sanders up 16.9% (16.5%) stabilize. Warren down 8.4%, others Brownian motion. Of course, it’s absurd to track minute fluctuations at this point.

* * *


Bennet (D)(1): A little premature for Bennet to be speaking of himself in the third person:

Fortunate” is rather the point, no?

Biden (D)(1):

Gravel (D)(1): [dunks]

Sanders (D)(1): “‘No middle ground.’ Bernie Sanders jabs Joe Biden at California Democratic Party convention” [Sacramento Bee]. “Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders told a California Democratic Party convention Sunday that America’s best path forward is to the left. Speaking to a crowded room of Bernie supporters, the Vermont senator said that in order to advance a ‘political revolution,’ Democrats must not settle for ‘middle ground’ on issues ranging from environmental policy to cutting prescription drug prices…. Unlike ‘those who have chosen for whatever reason not to be in this room,’ [Biden] Sanders said, the party must ‘give millions of young people and working people …a reason to believe that politics is relevant to their lives.’…. That message earned roaring applause and a standing ovation from Democrats who gathered in San Francisco for the state party’s three-day convention.”

Sanders (D)(2): “Rep. Barbara Lee finds Kamala Harris a tough sell before Bernie Sanders’ crowd” [San Francisco Chronicle]. “It was a tough crowd, however — the progressive caucus is heavily tilted toward independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, whose campaign is co-chaired by Khanna, a Fremont Democrat. Even after Lee spoke on behalf of Harris, many of those in the crowd chanted, ‘Ber-nie! Ber-nie! Ber-nie!’ Harris isn’t even in the second choice of many progressives in the caucus, said the group’s outgoing Northern California vice chair, Mark Van Landuyt. Khanna was at the caucus and signed its list of priorities on the senator’s behalf. Lee declined to do so for Harris, saying she had to check with the campaign first. ‘Most here are for Bernie, then after that it’s Elizabeth Warren,’ Van Landuyt said.”

Warren (D)(1): Hadn’t thought of Warren as a charters supporter:

Warren (D)(2):

At a minumum, not very good prep work. (I should say, word is that Warren was very enthusiastically received by CA Dems. Speculating very freely, I would say that Warren appeals to the “better angels” of 2016 Clinton voters: Warren is a [x] woman, she has a track record with the CPFB, has a lot of detailed plans, and is not remotely threatening to the professional class, being credentialed and “capitalist to her bones” (I do not love Warren for the enemies she has made; I don’t think she’s made nearly enough of them).

Yang (D)(1):



“Democrats keep censure for Trump on the table” [The Hill]. “A censure resolution — essentially a public reprimand — lacks the teeth of impeachment’s intrinsic threat to remove a sitting president. But supporters say it would send a clear and immediate message to voters that Democrats are taking seriously their constitutional responsibility to be a check on executive misconduct.” • Lol. That’s exactly what it doesn’t do. Still, a slap with a wet noodle might not alienate suburban Republicans, and that’s the main thing, isn’t it?

Realignment and Legitimacy

“The Family Style in American Politics” (interview) [Melinda Cooper, Medium]. “When the prefix ‘family’ is stuck onto any particular policy it tends to play a similar role to words such as ‘productive,’ ‘hard-working,’ or ‘tax-paying’ — that is, it serves to designate certain recipients of redistributive public spending as deserving and others as less deserving.” • Think gatekeepers, whether as law enforcement or trained professionals.

Stats Watch

Factory Orders, April 2018: “April’s factory orders report closes the book on what was a weak month for US manufacturing” [Econoday]. “Core capital goods (nondefense ex-aircraft) are very weak in the report…. Both [orders and shipments] hint at slowing for second-quarter business investment. General weakness is evident in the market breakdown with orders for primary metals, fabrications, machinery, and new vehicles all weak.”

Real Estate: “Blackstone Group LP is betting e-commerce trends are more enduring than fluctuations in the logistics market. The private-equity giant’s $18.7 billion acquisition of the U.S. warehouse portfolio held by Singapore’s GLP comes at a generous price” [Wall Street Journal]. “The warehousing market has been booming because companies such as Amazon and Walmart Inc. are snapping up space close to big cities to handle the tricky logistics of short-term shipping. Some industry indicators have been softening recently, however, and new construction has started to catch up to demand, Deloitte says in a new report the market may have peaked last year and is set to cool down. Yet retailers also are stepping up their competition over next-day and same-day delivery, and they’ll likely have to pay a premium to get closer to consumers.” • I don’t know of a study that compares the carbon impact of online + delivery to brick and mortar retail. My guess is that when everything is taken into account (including server farms) bricks and mortar would far better. (Yes, people drive to the mall — what a shame our downtowns were destroyed — but they tend to consolidate trips.)

The Bezzle: “Swedish Startup To Bring Pogo Sticks To San Francisco As E-Scooter Alternative” [KPIX]. “Earlier this month, start-up company Cangoroo announced plans to deploy hundreds of pogo sticks in select cities to directly compete with electric scooters as a transportation option…. On Friday, Cangoroo CEO and co-founder Adam Mikkelsen said his company chose San Francisco as one of its launch cities because of its reputation as place of innovation. He added that Cangoroo could start deploying anywhere between 100 and 200 pogo sticks in San Francisco as early as late summer or possibly in the fall.” • Not April 1, not The Onion.

Tech: “Apple Announces Plans To Sell Power Mac G4 For $120” [The Onion]. “Bringing to an end weeks of fevered anticipation, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced plans Monday to sell a Power Mac G4 for $120 that can still run Photoshop CS without a hitch. “Today, Apple is proud to announce the sale of a really phenomenal personal computer featuring a 350 MHz processor, 64 MB of ram, and a fully functioning zip drive bay—all for only $120,” said Cook, adding that Apple would listen to any other competitive offers for the 2002 desktop, which comes in a sleek Graphite case with only a few cosmetic nicks and scratches.” • How’s the keyboard?


Thanks, Jony.

Tech: “How capitalism killed one of the best video game studios” [The Week (UserFriendly]. “Valve — once one of the most artistically creative game studios in the world — has all but stopped producing games altogether. What happened? In a word: capitalism. Valve has mutated from a game developer into a ruthless financial middleman through its platform Steam, which has become the largest platform for digital game distribution — allowing them to make huge amounts of money while creating virtually nothing original themselves…. The platform, which serves as a one-stop shop for gamers to buy and download titles from nearly every major game developer, reportedly made roughly $4.3 billion in revenue in 2017 (as it takes a substantial cut of every sale), up from $3.5 billion in 2016 — and that doesn’t include revenue from downloadable content and “microtransactions” (that is, in-game purchases of cosmetic items and such). There is clearly a lot more money in being an Amazon-style distribution platform than in developing games. What’s more, that money is a lot easier to make. First-mover advantage and network effects do most of the work for you.” • Another “platform.” We really need another word than “platform,” which sounds so neutral (and is also by definition flatliterally “flat form,” from Old French plat “flat” (see plateau (n.)) + forme “form” — which helpfully prevents visualization of inputs, outputs, and the rental extraction mechanisms inside). Also, hat tip for the games link.

Tech: “Mental Health App Raises $50 Million for Expansion” [Bloomberg]. “A startup whose app connects people with mental health clinicians for counseling through text messages and video chats raised $50 million and forged ties with the biggest U.S. health insurer, a sign that the market for delivering psychotherapy remotely is growing.” • Maybe instead of “remote psychotherapy” we could say “impoverished bandwidth” therapy. Since when is talking to somebody on the phone the same as, let alone superior to, talking to them in person?

Tech: Thanks, @jack. Thanks a lot:


Will Grigory Potemkin please pick up the nearest courtesy phone?

Marketing: “The Price-to-Logo Correlation that Underlies the Market’s Most Expensive Handbags” [The Fashion Law]. “In looking at a wide range of handbags – from cheap, mass-market ones to much more expensive Gucci and Bottega Veneta bags, what [Jonah Berger, a marketing professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Busines, and Morgan Ward, a professor at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School] found more specifically was this: among the market’s cheapest handbags – and other fashion items, such as sunglasses and footwear, the visibility of logos or other branding elements tends to be minimal. This changes – and logos grow in size and centrality – as price tags grow. As reported by Business Insider, Berger and Ward found that “as prices increase, branding becomes more prominent.” This is true particularly for mid-market to more accessibly-priced designer products. But the logo prominence does not increase from there. In fact, as prices increase further, the prominence of branding begins to decrease. “For example, of ten different models of sunglasses ranging between $100 and $300 that Berger and Ward studied, the majority featured visible logos, while only a few out of ten $500-plus sunglasses had a brand name or logo on them,” per BI. For handbags, the difference in branding by price point is significant, according to Berger: for every $5,000 increase in price, the size of the logo or other branding is reduced by an average of one centimeter.” • “One does not—at least, you and I and this gentleman do not—consider the brand to be the guarantee of quality. For us, the quality guarantees the brand.” Dorothy Sayers, Murder Must Advertise.

The Fed: “Powell signals it might be time to wave goodbye to the Fed’s ‘dot plot'” [MarketWatch]. “Don’t bet on the survival of the Fed’s so-called dot plot, the central bank’s innovative approach to showing where central bankers expect interest rates to go if the economy performed as they expected. The dot plot is a graph that shows where all 19 top Fed officials individually expected interest rates to go….. ‘In times of high uncertainty, the median dot might best be thought of as the least unlikely outcome,’ Powell said.”

The Fed: “The Fed’s dangerous ‘new normal'” [Politico]. “while they helped it fight the Great Recession, the Fed’s quantitative easing powers also fudged the traditional boundary line between fiscal policy, which Congress controls and which includes decisions about government funding, and monetary policy, which the Fed controls and which is supposed to be dedicated solely to fighting recessions and limiting inflation… BY BLURRING THAT boundary line, the Fed’s new methods threaten to undermine its critically important independence. An independent central bank ensures that neither the president nor Congress can decide to fund special projects or tweak economic growth by compelling the Fed to print more money. But the longer the Fed retains its “new normal,” the more that independence is at risk.” • Hey, maybe we won’t have to #MintTheCoin after all!

Honey for the Bears: “If U.S. Economy Hits Trouble, It Won’t Be Like 2008” [Conor Sen, Bloomberg]. “To be clear, the economy hasn’t hit any of those supply shocks yet. It’s unclear to what extent trade tensions will result in less trade with China and Mexico, and while the bond market is increasingly expecting interest rate cuts, the bond market might be wrong. Beyond the risk of a downturn, investors should keep in mind that the next downturn won’t look like the previous two. A negative supply shock and lost output for a period of time are unlikely to stall inflation and the labor market like the 2001 and 2008 recessions did. If you’re bracing for a slowdown, don’t be surprised if demand and inflationary pressures roar back quickly this time.”

The Biosphere

“In quest to destroy PFAS, MSU diamond tech shows promise” [MLive (MN)]. This caught my eye: “Wastewater plant sludges are often either landfilled themselves, or spread on farm fields as a soil amendment. If contaminated, they can further spread PFAS by polluting soil and groundwater.” • I tried some of landfill operator Casella’s stuff — as a large out-of-state company, they destroyed all the local producers — because it sounded like a good idea, like recycling “night soil” in Asia. Horrible stuff that didn’t help the plants at all; you could tell from the consistency alone there was something terribly wrong with it.

“FDA: Sampling finds toxic nonstick compounds in some food” [Associated Press]. “The Food and Drug Administration found substantial levels of a worrisome class of nonstick, stain-resistant industrial compounds [PFAS] in some grocery store meats and seafood and in off-the-shelf chocolate cake, according to FDA researchers…. Last year’s federal toxicology review concluded the compounds are more dangerous than previously thought, saying consistent studies of exposed people ‘suggest associations’ with some kinds of cancers, liver problems, low birth weight and other issues. The compounds have been dubbed ‘forever chemicals’ because they take thousands of years to degrade, and because some accumulate in people’s bodies.” • A high price to pay for convenience.


“Ex-governor’s phone seized in Flint water probe” [Associated Press]. ” Authorities investigating Flint’s water crisis have used search warrants to seize from storage the state-owned mobile devices of former Gov. Rick Snyder and 65 other current or former officials, The Associated Press has learned…. Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud and Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, who is helping with the probe, confirmed they executed a series of search warrants related to the criminal investigation of Flint’s lead-contaminated water in 2014-15 and a deadly outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease…. Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud and Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, who is helping with the probe, confirmed they executed a series of search warrants related to the criminal investigation of Flint’s lead-contaminated water in 2014-15 and a deadly outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease.”

Health Care

Health care in Iceland. Thread (DG):

“What’s a referral.” Reads like a Monty Python script, doesn’t it? And I was cracking up at this point: “I don’t need an appointment?”

Health care in the United States (don’t read on if you don’t want dark). Thread:

“1.1 million Americans lost health insurance coverage in 2018” [Fast Company]. • Well, if people misplace things, they should just look harder for them. Did you check under the couch?

“Opinion: GTA Exposed My Son to Unrealistic Portrayals of Quick and Affordable Hospital Visits” [Hard Drive]. “I sat down with my son when he started playing, and I quickly realized the offensive ideas this thing is teaching our children…. The next thing I knew my son was leaving a hospital the next morning. For a reasonable one time payment he was back in peak physical condition; no lingering injuries, no inescapable debt. This is an outrage! I’m trying to teach my kid about the real world, and this sick, twisted game is NOT helping.”

“U.S. Citizens Are Dying and We Can Save Them” [New York Times]. 17-year-old Student Editorial Contest Winner: “There is only one way to prevent innocent people like Alec from dying: adopt national health insurance. With a single payer-program where the government subsidizes the cost of treatment, any and all citizens would be able to receive and afford any medically necessary treatment. Many fear that this program would cost an exorbitant amount of money and it is true that U.S. citizens would have to pay more in taxes to support it. However, US families, would save more money because they are no longer paying as much for health care costs like co-pays, premiums and deductibles.” • “More money in your pocket!” is always a good pitch (plus not dying for lack of care, like Alec, who had to ration his insulin). Of course, that assumes “we” wish to save “them.”

Our Famously Free Press

The Times faithfully implemented Clinton’s “Pied Piper” strategy, I see:

And cashed in, too, as outraged #Resistance types subscribed. One hand washes the other!

“If it bleeds it leads,” except if the bleeding is internal:

Sports Desk

Why do fans have to have confidence?

Why can’t fans be introverted, bemused, ironic, or even depressed, and still be fans?

“Everest Needs to Go More Commercial” [Bloomberg]. “The most straightforward would be to establish concessions whereby a select group of qualified operators are offered exclusive rights to guide expeditions. A reduced number of well-qualified operators would boost climbing fees and local-government revenues while lowering numbers and boosting safety. It’s a model that has a track record of success around the world, including in the U.S., where the National Park Service leases multiyear concessions on some of its signature peaks, including Denali and Mount Rainier.” • Also, why not sell the naming rights? Who knows from “Everest”? And can any of our outdoors-y readers comment on arrangements at Denali and Mount Rainier?

Class Warfare

“The U.S. labor market in 2050: Supply, demand and policies to improve outcomes” (PDF) [Brookings Institution]. I’ll just quote the whole summary, because “the liberal Brookings Institution” paints about as bleak and dystopian future for the working class as its possible to paint:

Current estimates suggest that over the coming decades, slower population growth and lower labor force participation will constrain the supply of labor in the U.S. The U.S. labor force will also become more diverse as immigration and fertility trends increase the size of minority populations. New forms of automation will likely require workers to adapt to keep their old jobs, while many will be displaced or face less demand for their work (while others benefit). Firms will continue to implement alternative staffing arrangements, like turning workers into independent contractors or outsourcing their human resource management to other firms; and many will adopt “low-road” employment practices to keep labor costs low. Exactly whom these changes will benefit or harm remains unclear [lol], the author finds, though non-college workers will likely fare the worst; higher productivity from new technologies and reduced labor supply could raise average wages, but many workers will clearly be worse off. According to the author, policymakers should provide incentives for firms to train current employees, rather than replace them, and should encourage schools and colleges to teach flexible, transferable skills, as the future workforce will likely need to adapt quickly to new and changing job requirements. Lifelong learning accounts for workers could help. Expanding wage insurance and improving unemployment insurance and workforce services could help workers adapt after suffering job displacement. Policies that make work pay, like the EITC, and others designed to increase labor force attachment, like paid family leave, could help mitigate declines in the labor force. Reforms in immigration and retirement policy will help as well, as would policy experimentation at the state and local level (with federal support).

(I underlined my favorite part.) Obviously, liberalism is completely exhausted; decadent, even. Although as an expression of class hatred, the piece holds up rather well.

News of the Wired

“Endangered baby dolphin dies after swimmers pass it around for selfies” [WaPo]. “At no point in the footage does it appear that anyone in the crowd intervened or attempted to return the animal to the water.” • :-(

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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 (Oguk):

Oguk writes: “Pawpaw flower! I’ve had flowers but no fruits yet (need 2 for pollination and so far only one blooms).”

* * *

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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. Samuel Conner

    Re: “Swedish Startup To Bring Pogo Sticks To San Francisco As E-Scooter Alternative”

    My aching middle-aged back almost went into spasm at this headline. Pogo-stick as personal transport over significant distances cannot be good for one’s spine, can it? I want tension, not compression!

    1. polecat

      Just imagine the personal injury lawsuits enabled by idiots pogoing straight into piles of S. F. sidewalk sh!t !! … then slip-springing into unsuspecting pedestrians ….

      The Tech startup World has lost it’s frackin mind !

    2. Cal2

      “significant distances?” Like 5 and six miles of hopping to the mandatory diversity school.
      Problem is, no one wants to go. Why there are more dogs in S.F. than school age kids.

      Here’s what S.F. schools offer:

      “What if you build a $54 million school and no one comes?
      The demolished Willie Brown Academy, which was at the same site as the new school, posted among the lowest test scores in the state consistently over 10 years…even though it was the only middle school option in the neighborhood.”

      “Four high school students were hospitalized after a Friday afternoon stabbing in San Francisco’s Silver Terrace neighborhood. Officers responded at 3:37 p.m. to reports of a fight involving up to 40 students just two blocks away from Thurgood Marshall Academic High School and Willie L. Brown Jr. Middle School.”


    3. WheresOurTeddy

      If someone asked me to invest in that idea I would assume I was on an elaborate prank show

  2. bsg

    FYI: Hard Drive is an Onion-like website for video games. Points made still stand though.

    1. diptherio

      Does that mean the author’s name isn’t really “Annie Christ”? Shoot….

  3. ambrit

    One for the ‘War on Cash’ department.
    I trundled on down to the local Fastenall supply store, an industrial/commercial nuts and bolts vendor, to try and find an analogue for a motor mount bolt set for the PT Cruiser. found something that might work. (Hooray!)
    come to check out, under ten dollars for the lot, and find that as of June 1 this year, they do not accept cash or cheques. Luckily, our debit card did the trick. However, this emporium holds a pretty unique niche in the heavy goods world. I didn’t know the countermen there. so they would not tell me why the company moved to all plastic billing.

    1. BobW

      Didn’t you read your money? “For all debts, public and private,” and behind the pyramid eye, “except for threaded hardware.”

      1. Oregoncharles

        So is it legal tender, or not? I would advocate putting your money on the counter and walking out with the goods. Defense: I paid you!

        But then they might not let you back in the store.

        Seriously, does anyone know whether this policy is even legal?

        Seems like this could be a serious hole in the fiat money thing.

    2. Cal2

      Get the price, with tax, leave cash on counter and walk out.

      Good reason to carry one dollar bills.
      “Keep the change”.

      After taking a bite of our sandwiches, we did that at out local AmazonGo store, before they were forced to accept cash, one of the few decent things that the COG, Carpetbagger Occupation Government, of San Francisco has done, along with banning facial recognition software use by the city.

  4. Samuel Conner

    re: The Fed: “The Fed’s dangerous ‘new normal’”

    Am not going to read the piece, but I noticed in the quoted bit that the “dual mandate” is portrayed as “fighting recessions and limiting inflation”. That’s clever; so basically, on this account of the mandate, the Fed’s has no statutory responsibility to pursue an agenda of maximizing employment if we’re not in a recession.

    The humiliation of the current “Establishment” (both parties and the press) cannot come soon enough for me.

  5. willf

    So this is kinda weird:

    This story in the Sac Bee, about Sanders speaking, something odd…

    Speaking to a crowded room of Bernie supporters, the Vermont senator said that in order to advance a ‘political revolution,’ Democrats must not settle for ‘middle ground’ on issues ranging from environmental policy to cutting prescription drug price.


    That message earned roaring applause and a standing ovation from Democrats who gathered in San Francisco for the state party’s three-day convention.”

    Please note the bolded segments. The top paragraph has Sanders delivering his “message” to a roomful of his own supporters. But at the end of the story, he is delivering the same message –at the same time– not just to his supporters, but to “Democrats who gathered in San Francisco”.

    It’s as if the SacBee is using edits to make it seems as if Sanders was speaking to a smaller group of people, but forgot to do continuity checks… on the rest of the same story

    Am I missing something? I did read the story to make sure it was actually written that way. Is there another way of reading it? Perhaps I am seeing something that isn’t there.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I think 2008 and 2016 were weird because HRC had such strong devotion and goldilocks ideas about politics were so strong. I think a narrative existed of HRC as a liberal crusader who couldn’t speak out against her husband.

      HRC’s 2008 closing speech was actually good (the needle may have moved since then, but for her and Obama, it was good). If she gave that in 2007, she would be a former President. I thought it was the best speech of that campaign, better than Michelle’s February 2008 era speech. Despite MSDNC, we did see Trump beat the Clinton campaign mantra of “run to the center in the general”. The promise of the Third Way failed. For the other groups who believe in a fantasy HRC, Sanders is saying what they believed Hillary supported. Hillary and other Democrats push the narrative that Sanders and Hillary are just a teeny bit apart “except she gets things done” (that post office she renamed).

      1. Isotope_C14

        Did she rename it “The Honorable Barry Goldwater Federal Postal-Penitentiary Facility of Atlanta”?

        2-birds, one stone. Make the inmates sort the mail. It’s “freedom”.

        I hope I didn’t just give them an idea…

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Watching Warrens’ trans-substantiations about why she was a registered Republican was almost as fun as watching Hilary try to explain why she was a Goldwater Girl.

          The real answer was provided by Gore Vidal: America has one political party with two right wings, Republican and Democrat

    2. polecat

      Well, it IS the Bee, after all .. They’ve only had a hard-on for promoting OrangeManBad × Scary Deplorables + Evil Conservatives since at least 2016 …

      Such a dirty dish rag ! .. or what Hillary would call a ‘wipe’.

          1. flora

            That’s hillarious! I thought you were kidding. She has now officially moved into farce territory. FireEye must be selling something.

            (I notice Dell is offering a Crowdstrike security protection program as an option on new pcs. I’ll let you make up the jokes to go with that. )

  6. Matthew G. Saroff

    Googled it for Rainier, and I found::

    Guided Climbs

    Climbing instruction, multi-day summit climbs, multi-day climbing seminars, and private climbs are available through:

    Alpine Ascents International
    International Mountain Guides, LLC
    Rainier Mountaineering, Inc.

    There are also 15 single trip guide services authorized to perform only one guided trip per year. Check the list of Commercial Use Authorizations for approved guide service companies. Engaging in any business in park areas except in accordance with the provisions of a permit, contract, or other written agreement is prohibited. Leading or participating in an unauthorized guided climb of Mount Rainier is illegal (Title 36, Code of Federal Regulations). Learn more about regulations for guiding on Mount Rainier.

    Solo Permit

    Solo travel above high camps or anywhere on glaciers is not permitted except with prior written permission from the Superintendent. You may submit a Solo Climb Request Form or you may request this form by writing: Superintendent, Mount Rainier National Park, 55210 238th Avenue East, Ashford, WA 98304.

    Commercial Non-Profit Climb

    Some guided climbs qualify as charities. This type of climb is allowed, but requires a Commercial Use Authorization. Paying the climbing fee is still required.

    1. Cat Burglar

      Both Denali and Mount Rainier are National Parks, so guide services are concessions that need a permit from the Park Service to operate, and they are quite difficult to get.

      For many years, a single guide service on Rainier, RMI, had a monopoly. They were very competent, but tended to run on a fixed and inflexible schedule, and in large groups. Consequently, people that wanted to go in smaller groups during specific times were frustrated, and looked elsewhere. In the 90s, I must have been the only Seattle-based mountain guide that had never done a “bootleg” guided climb of Rainier — virtually everyone had.

      Local guides had many theories about what sustained the monopoly: corrupt relations with the concession staff, an incompetent park superintendant, and so on. My favorite was one told to me by the late California mountaineer Galen Rowell — it was the Kennedys! The family that owned the service was very well connected in the state Democratic Party, and one famous member was a close friend of the Kennedys. All these were widely believed in the Cascade climbing world, and many guides had first person experience that seemed confirmatory.

      The jig was finally up in the 90s, and after a trial period, other services were allowed in. I recall a public radio show that invited people from different guide services to talk about the proposal. The fellow from the monopoly service repeatedly, and, it seemed, wilfully, mispronounced the name of the independent guide — which was not a good thing to have done, since that guide later went on to become the President of the American Alpine Club!

      A guide friend once guided Rainier during the monopoly period for a state college — which meant he could go, because he was guiding under an educational, and not a commercial permit.

      He and his students showed up at the beginning of a rare stretch of good weather in May, He went in to sign out for the climb and pick up his permit from the rangers. They had come to climb the Disappointment Cleaver Route, the standard easy route on that side of the mountain. “You may not want to go. there is blue ice everywhere up there!” the ranger told him.

      He went out and looked at the mountain. It was May, and Rainier is very snowy then. “Hm, blue ice, in May. I don’t see any blue ice.”

      They packed up and headed upward. Several thousand feet up, they met a party descending the mountain; a ranger and a couple guides, who made loud demonstrations about the extent of the blue ice high on the mountain. “Well, no blue ice around here,” thought my friend, and they pushed on.

      At the high camp, Camp Muir, more guides affirmed the presence of the dreaded blue ice on Disappointment Cleaver, and told him he shouldn’t take his students up there. But he hadn’t seen any blue ice yet, so in the morning, up they went.

      A few hours into the climb, they were nearing the Cleaver, a ridge of rock that splits the glaciers that flow around it. The slope steepens there, and sometimes the glacier is broken and crevassed. There was no blue ice. But there were several assistant guides from the monopoly guide service, hard at work with big grain scoops, digging out a broad switchback path in the snow to speed the easy passage of clients up the steep section during the Summer high season. Clearly, they didn’t want my friend’s group to use the path before it had age hardened, and all the reports of blue ice had been attempts to scare them off! As they walked up it, my friend made sure to thank the assistant guides profusely for their good work, and his students climbed to the summit and had a great time.

  7. Wukchumni

    I’m informed about 4x a week what the frocks Melania are wearing costs, i’d appreciate in the future if she’d just leave a price tag on, so I don’t have to guess.

    To be fair this is not an uncommon thing for the press to do regarding women, however about the only male i’ve seen appraised in such a fashion is Bernie, he of parka place.

    Thread theme:


        1. Wukchumni

          p.s. A’merkin

          Perfectly polished! Melania Trump accessorised her elegant Celine coat with a Hermès Birkin worth £50K as she joined the President at Downing Street

  8. SlayTheSmaugs

    re the brookings projection

    There’s something weirdly acontextual about it. Why don’t people participate in the labor force? Might raising wages and addressing opioids have an impact? What about the impact of addressing consolidation and minimizing rent extraction? What about the impact of single payer, as companies no longer pay for health care? What if the government decided it wanted to employee people?

    (as an aside re gov’t employment, I’ve always thought the way to save coal jobs would be to invert the job–hire the miners to clean up the mess and restore the countryside. Sure, you need people with the right training in charge, but a lot of it is heavy equipment operation, landscaping and other blue collar skills.)

      1. Oregoncharles

        That graph is extremely interesting, because the digression of the two starts, as conveniently marked on the graph, in 1973 – 7 years before Reagan was elected. Nixon, then, supported by Carter. WTF happened in 1973? It increases after 1980, but that isn’t when it started.

        I remember 1973, but I don’t remember any specific event that would have that effect.

        1. Big River Bandido

          The OPEC moves were a profound shock to the American economy; 1973 was the year that wage growth stalled (and never recovered). The Breton-Woods arrangement had also ended in 1971.

        2. Mo's Bike Shop

          The (previous) peak US petroleum production was 1972 no? Energy keeps ‘costing’ more. Which is also my reaction to the summary of the Brookings’ thing. At a certain point, far less complex beats ‘progress’ because of real costs. I believe our military is already testing that out.

      2. SlayTheSmaugs

        Sure, Ranger Rick, I guess my point was just, if stop paying peanuts and you make health care a right, and free public college, why wouldn’t all the projections change? The grim ‘future’ is not inevitable.

        Oregoncharles, don’t know the connection to the disconnect between productivity and wages that started then, but in 1973 we had the oil embargo

        1. Oregoncharles

          And a stock market collapse, IIRC. so maybe that was what set it off – plus some sneaky policy changes

        2. wilroncanada

          Two years after the Nixon administration killed Breton Woods in favour of the world dollar economy, or maybe the petro economy.

    1. Left in Wisconin

      (as an aside re gov’t employment, I’ve always thought the way to save coal jobs would be to invert the job–hire the miners to clean up the mess and restore the countryside. Sure, you need people with the right training in charge, but a lot of it is heavy equipment operation, landscaping and other blue collar skills.)

      Completely agree. We should turn a very large part of WV into a combo reclamation project/national park with abundant eco-tourism. Talk about win-win.

    2. JohnnyGL

      Firms will continue to implement alternative staffing arrangements, like turning workers into independent contractors or outsourcing their human resource management to other firms; and many will adopt “low-road” employment practices to keep labor costs low.

      Things are just going to become more like Uber/temp employment agencies/day laborers at Home Depot and there’s NOTHING that can be done….except, maybe….some tax credits and ‘lifelong learning accounts’ (WTF is THAT?!!?!)

      That phrase I highlighted above is purely a political decision. Firms can’t do that if it’s illegal and if there’s union contracts that stop it. Nothing inevitable whatsoever.

      1. Pookah Harvey

        Just in case you didn’t notice it; the paper starts with this:

        Editor’s Note:
        This report was produced for the Peter G. Peterson Foundation’s US 2050 project.

        1. Massinissa

          For those who dont know who Peter G. Peterson is I’m just going to paste this from wikipedia…

          Peter George Peterson (June 5, 1926 – March 20, 2018) was an American investment banker who served as United States Secretary of Commerce from February 29, 1972, to February 1, 1973, under the Richard Nixon administration. Before serving as Secretary of Commerce, Peterson was chairman and CEO of Bell & Howell from 1963 to 1971.[2] From 1973 to 1984 he was chairman and CEO of Lehman Brothers.[2] In 1985 he co-founded the private equity firm The Blackstone Group, and served as chairman.[3] Peterson was chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations until retiring in 2007, after being named chairman emeritus.[2] In 2008, Peterson was ranked 149th on the “Forbes 400 Richest Americans” with a net worth of $2.8 billion.[2][3] He was also known as founder and principal funder of The Peter G. Peterson Foundation, which is dedicated to promoting fiscal sustainability.[4]

          An ‘investment banker’ with ties to the Nixon administration and Lehman Brothers who spends lots of money on a foundation to promote ‘fiscal sustainability’. Save me.

          1. WheresOurTeddy

            An ‘investment banker’ with ties to the Nixon administration and Lehman Brothers who spends lots of money on a foundation to promote ‘fiscal sustainability’.

            “Enemy of the people” for short

          2. witters

            And that tops off 1973.

            “Peter George Peterson (June 5, 1926 – March 20, 2018) was an American investment banker who served as United States Secretary of Commerce from February 29, 1972, to February 1, 1973, under the Richard Nixon administration.”

  9. Geof

    From Biden (1): “When I marched in the civil rights movement, I did not march with a 12-point program. I marched with tens of thousands of others to change attitudes. And we changed attitudes.”

    The tweet says that Biden never marched in the civil rights movement. But what I find interesting is the explicit claim that the social justice agenda of virtue signaling and woke consciousness-raising is superior to a policy agenda. Also, the way it’s worded it seems to downplay leadership, promoting merely having the right attitude – one of many, identity submerged in the mass – as more valuable.

    Apparently we need no individuals, no leaders, no policies. All we need are solidarity and the right attitudes.

    1. marym

      The civil rights movement in which he didn’t march had a policy agenda and achieved changes in the laws.

      1. ChrisPacific

        Yes, he is not wrong about changing attitudes, even if he is misrepresenting his own role. It’s also a reasonable description of what Sanders spends most of his time doing.

        In the end it’s really the only way to achieve lasting change in politics. Build a solid, enduring majority of support for a position and it it’s easier to get into law, and will stay forever if you do barring a major attitude shift. A similar majority in opposition and while you might be able to get something passed by clever political dealing, short term electoral fortune or whatever, it will be temporary and get reversed the next time there is a change in administration. Hover perpetually around 50% and it will be a political football and wedge issue, with an attempted law change every time there is a change in power.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      It also demonstrates the gross ignorance on display about the Civil Rights movement.

      MLK Jr just came down from the mountaintop and said no more racism.

      This is how I imagine most people see the Civil Rights era based on what is bandied about.

      I think Biden’s point means we need symbolic gestures not organizing efforts. Rallies and marches usually came long after other actions were taken. The sit-ins at restaurants and so forth weren’t sit-ins at establishments blacks didn’t go to. They were demonstrations at places where they were friends/customers with proprietors who allowed John Crow to continue to exist. Movement on Civil Rights wasn’t done by “standing up to the Klan”, it was done by demanding “friends” or “white moderates” do the right thing and stop appeasing Bull Connor. Biden is effectively someone who was repulsed by these actions demanding an end to school integration and embracing these dangerous conservative elements.

    3. RopeADope

      Biden is over but he just doesn’t know it yet. If you want to finish him off you show this to Oprah Winfrey and ask her to fund a documentary/research team.

      1. sleepy

        Agreed. Biden’s policy history and his current cluelessness about how negative that is with the dem base will cause a flame-out in the next six months or so. Imho, the dem elite and Msm quickly hop on the Harris bandwagon as the only alternative to Sanders who will split a good chunk of the left vote with Warren.

    4. Mo's Bike Shop

      That sums up my jaundiced English major view of what the term postmodernism was describing, back before it became an epithet. Meanwhile, the signifiers of Modernism weren’t all that hot either.

      So, talk to a current Humanities major, they can probably inform you about the shape of the ennui for 20-30 years to come!

    5. WheresOurTeddy

      The Civil Rights March he didn’t march in…you mean the one *before* he voted against desegregating busing in the 1970s?

    1. Cal2

      Barbara Lee was the lone dissenter in the post-9/11 vote authorizing military force.

      She’s just pulling an East Bay color coordinated courtesy endorsement for Kamala, so popular among blacks in California, that she’s called “Kamala The Cop,” and she had to move her campaign all the way across the country to Baltimore.


      As to losing wars in the Middle East: Harris voted to send more weapons to Saudi Arabia, which is the largest investor in Uber, for which her brother-in-law, Tony West just happens to be the chief counsel. Want more status quo, with a performative chocolate chip on her shoulderpads? Then vote for Kamala in the primary, instead of Bernie, and you help get Trump back in the white house.

        1. Oregoncharles

          People become very isolated when they’re in Congress for a long time. Might even be an argument for term limits.

  10. laughingsong

    ‘We really need another word than “platform,” ‘

    How about “Digital Rentier?”

  11. Wukchumni

    The first of the summer fruit is ripe, my childhood favorite: Loquats.

    Growing up in L.A. it seemed as if there was trees everywhere, as unlike most fruit, you can grow a tree that will bear fruit from one of the 4 or 5 half-hazelnut sized pits in a loquat.

    A very intriguing sweet tasting treat…

    The flavour is a mixture of peach, citrus and mild mango.


    1. JohnnySacks

      Fruit trees, so good to have, but they’re a lot more work than one would think to establish. I baby my trees for years only to have the tree-rats strip them, fungal plagues attack the fruit and leaves, caterpillars devour the leaves. I think I’ve got some resistant breeds ready and will start the tree-rat pogrom soon so hopefully we’ll get a good crop off one or two this year.

      1. Wukchumni

        All I have going against me are gophers, ants, aphids, deer, birds, bears and borers, and i’m pretty sure I left out some miscreants.

      2. Cal2


        Build a chicken wire cylinder, with top, around them. extend it underground for gophers at least a foot. Leave a hatch or door in the side to prune the tree and harvest the fruit.

        Take a pick and make a hole in the soil where you want trees. Dump some compost in the hole. Put a couple loquat seeds in the hole at 1″, 2″, 3″. Water it in. You will get trees.

        Notice like cells, the more mature the fruit, the seeds split in half then in fourths. Plant the more mature seeds.

  12. Mr Rua

    That Warren clip is so frustrating and painfully cringey. Why is she making such a meal of the question? It’s not that big a deal that she was once a registered Republican, is it? In fact, surely it’s commendable that she left the party when she realised that it didn’t align with her values and politics? That she realised how far right and nutty the Rs had become? Just feckin’ say that and move on to the next question. And that stuff about “when I got into the bankruptcy wars…” Yeah great but now is not the time to talk about it and clearly the interviewer is not gonna be particularly impressed nor is he gonna accept that total red herring as an answer. She comes across as insincere and evasive.

    So she can’t read her interviewer, can’t see that the simple truth could actually make her look good, and can’t see how she comes across to viewers.

    It’s been mentioned here on NC several times that her political instincts are lacking. It’s really disappointing in a way. But perhaps, as one of the more progressive candidates who could take genuinely progressive, primary voters from Sanders, there’s a silver lining to her getting nowhere fast.

    1. JerryDenim

      If she were ever were to find herself on a debate stage with Trump he would destroy her.

      “You had a lot of confusion back in the day Ms. Warren, you thought you were a Native American, you thought you were a Republican”


      1. jrs

        Trump thought he was a Democrat though. Warren isn’t the only one who party flipped. He thought he was a good businessman or at least lied about it (and of course he bled money for years we now know).

        But that’s the thing, Republicans can get away with literally anything, Dems have to be purer than the angels.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          But that’s the thing, Republicans can get away with literally anything, Dems have to be purer than the angels.

          And? A Republican who might be a saint in his (I’m assuming Republicans are men) in his daily life would still be a Republican and an adherent to a morally reprehensible philosophy. Guys like Trump are simply baked in.

    2. Darthbobber

      Unbelievable that this, of all possible questions, wasn’t exhaustively gamed out with her responding to iterations of it until she could produce a believable and “heartfelt” response at the drop of a hat. A lawyer, mayhap, but not a trial lawyer.

      1. jrs

        Heartfelt would come across as obvious pandering.
        Heartfelt, hope, change and $3 will buy you a Starbucks.

        Saying she changed her mind though … I could respect that.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner



          This is interesting. Sagarmatha is a modern Nepalese name. Though I suppose Everest is appropriate for those without a local name if we adhere to naming conventions we use, ex. Germany instead of Deutschland. Since there isn’t an obvious singular white washing, I feel Everest is appropriate. Its not like McKinley and Denali which was the local name.

    1. polecat

      I could see someone erecting a giant BEER sign on Mt.Rainer’s Liberty Cap … or maybe 4, one for each direction of the compass !

    2. The Rev Kev

      I swear to god that there is a range of mountains in Antarctica named Executive Committee Range.

  13. Summer

    “The Family Style in American Politics” (interview) [Melinda Cooper, Medium

    “Let’s start with the facts: Michael is not on a government plan. He’s fortunate to be covered by his wife’s private insurance.
    – Team Bennet https://t.co/9FopYinzJu

    Read the medium article then the Bennet comment. See social engineering people into coupldom with high insurance costs….

  14. RopeADope

    Warren (D)(3):

    A Plan For Economic Patriotism

    Sanders is out there teaching a masters class in politics and Warren seems to be the only candidate paying attention and incorporating those lessons into their campaign.

    Is this an example of Elizabeth’s teaching experience at Harvard paying off in unexpected ways?

    Kuttner’s take which I agree with on Warren’s Astonishing Plan.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It seems Warren deliberately wants to include the word ‘patriotism’ even though, to many readers, that is said to be the last refuge of many scoundrels, unless encomic patriotism is an exception.

    2. JohnnyGL

      Wow….that actually looks really good. Impressive stuff from her. In a sense, she’s taking the Biden/Clinton playbook of neoliberalism and brutally murdering it with a butcher knife.

      She’s got export promotion, public investment in r&d and ownership stakes in the upside, currency policy. Lots of useful tools in the toolkit.

      I still want Bernie as top dog, but Warren’s got a really good slew of policy ideas. Absolutely, please get her in the cabinet.

      That plan is as good/interesting as her Breakfast Club interview was bad/humiliating.

      As a contrast to Biden’s new idea….which is the GND, except smaller, slower, with private money that won’t materialize.

      1. John k

        Doesn’t seem good at one on one debates, even as voters nominee she would have to once, against pence.
        Better for treasury.
        Tulsi likely better in live debate, and maybe innoculates Bernie against some forms of accidents.

    3. Hopelb

      After reading this fantastic and long overdue plan, with the government managing r and d and planning, I wonder if Warren will soon realize the economic value of medforall to the majority? She does seem to be evolving rapidly, and I loved her in many financial hearings. Marcy Kaptor and Alan Grayson were excellent as well. I wish I could locate that clip of Kaptor pointing her finger at the banksters’ overseers whom she’d just unmasked ( by simply asking them all their addresses which were, of course, all on WallStreet) and saying, “I’ll get you”. I’ll never forget it or Grayson evicerating them. No wonder the Dems and Reid hated Alan.

  15. Jerry B

    ===Endangered baby dolphin dies after swimmers pass it around for selfies===

    An example of this type of behavior that happened in the US;

    Alabama Beachgoers May Have Killed Hundreds of Protected Birds

    These and many other examples like it in recent times remind me of the the movie critic Vincent Canby’s description of Sissy Spacek and Martin Sheen’s characters in the movie Badlands:

    “Sheen and Miss Spacek are splendid as the self-absorbed, cruel, possibly psychotic children of our time”

    Another sentence in the Badlands Wikipedia page mentions Martin Sheen’s character Kit:

    “Malick, at a news conference coinciding with the film’s festival debut, called Kit “so desensitized that [he] can regard the gun with which he shoots people as a kind of magic wand that eliminates small nuisances”.

    I believe, due to several factors, that many people in the world have become desensitized to other living things whether they be humans (mass shootings in the US) or nature (plants and animals).

    1. laughingsong

      I can’t tell you how disturbing I find this. Along with the other news about starving whales and puffins, the loss of an entire generation of emperor penguins due to melting ice, the behavior of GTA characters that I allude to below, the many articles about mental illness. . . . this story has somehow triggered a great sadness that’s like agony. Although I read many here, I am glad of this place, because I also realize that there are many venues that were I to pot this comment, a number of psychopathic trolls would jump on and totally make it worse.

      I’m at sixes and sevens.

  16. SlayTheSmaugs

    re the health care tweet threads. I saw these threads coupled in a post in my Facebook feed today and commented that we didn’t have to put up with our current situation, we could just choose single payer, the Jayapal bill. The other comments were “good grief” or “the mammogram had warmers??”

    I mean, so many Americans get moved by these stories, but in seemingly impotent ways; like the brookings study, trapped in the policy box of now…

  17. TonyinSoCAL

    “A Flood of New Listings” in Dallas, Nashville and Los Angeles

    Home buyers in Los Angeles County, once one of the nation’s most competitive housing markets, are now gaining the upper hand. The city ranked No. 6 in the nation for top buyer’s markets in the U.S., according to new data analysis from realtor.com. Los Angeles, along with previously white-hot housing markets Dallas and Nashville, have all seen a flood of new listings, with the amount of available inventory spiking by around 23% to 25% compared to a year ago.

    “Inventory Pile Up”

    As demand cools in these top markets for buyers, inventory continues to ramp up. On average, the top markets for buyers are seeing active inventory grow at a rapid 14.6 percent pace, year-over-year, compared to the national growth rate of just 4.0 percent. This paints a completely different picture from the supply constrained conditions that haunted buyers in many areas for so long. Los Angeles, Dallas, and Nashville, which were previously some of the most constrained among these buyer friendly markets, have seen the greatest inventory growth, as each of these markets have increased its active inventory by over 24 percent, year-over-year.

    [. . .]

    In Chicago, Los Angeles, and Providence, the housing market slowdown can be traced to economic growth that’s fallen behind the rest of the country and pushed potential buyers to seek career options elsewhere. A similar pattern is occurring in Riverside, Tampa, and Jacksonville, where job growth has notably lagged the U.S. average.

    The First Price Drop in New Homes in 7 Years

    Sale prices for newly built homes fell 1 percent year over year to a median of $363,900 in the first quarter, the first such drop in seven years, according to Redfin. Sales of new homes were down 3.1 percent year over year in the first quarter, the third consecutive quarter of declines. Supply of new homes was up 4.2 percent in the first quarter, the fourth consecutive period of increases.

    The small declines in new-home sale prices and sales and the rise in supply were expected. Redfin first reported that demand for new homes was cooling in the second half of 2018 as builders started dropping prices and offering incentives to agents and buyers showing interest in new construction, such as free design upgrades.

    “The small declines in new-home sale prices and sales and the rise in supply were expected.”

    Now they tell us!!

    1. Wukchumni

      Loves me some Realtortrix:

      Home buyers in Los Angeles County, once one of the nation’s most competitive housing markets, are now gaining the upper hand.

      The onus is on ‘upper’ as in they’re driving a hard bargain buying something that will go ‘up’.


  18. Michael Fiorillo

    All you need to know about Michael Bennett: he’s one of Teach For America’s most prominent alumni/ ed reform bots, risen to his level of incompetence… treyf, haram, unwholesome.

  19. Tim

    Warren Buffet threw in the towel last year and went in heavy on the new economy. The new economy, modern capitalism, is all about access to the consumer. He who owns that owns the world.

    Which of course brings us to to the current growing concerns of antitrust behavior of these new tech titans.

    1. Jerry B

      Good comment Tim!

      ===The new economy, modern capitalism, is all about access to the consumer==

      At the risk of being repetitive as I have mentioned the documentary, Century of the Self, many times in comments, it does a great job of describing the post WWII/post 1970’s ramping up of consumer capitalism. Modern capitalism/access to the consumer has been around for a long time already.

      IMO the only difference today is the removal of “obstacles” for access to the consumer. By obstacles I mean the only access to the consumer in the 1970’s were TV and print advertising and if people somehow did not watch TV or read newspapers or magazines then no access to the consumer.

      In today’s economy the idea of a boundary between businesses and consumers has all but been removed with the advent of not just the Internet but the ubiquity of smartphones, cable TV, streaming services, and other digital devices. Not to mention one of the biggest accesses to the consumer: analytics, tracking, surveillance capitalism, Facebook, apps, etc.

      Most people think of boundaries as the line between one state or country and another state or country. But in a more psychological view boundaries are also everywhere in society. My own personal space is a boundary. The line between my work life and my personal life is a boundary. In today’s capitalism there is no such thing as respecting boundaries. Thanks to emails and texts, work is 24/7 and due to analytics, the internet, Facebook, Google, the boundary between private life and consumer is disappearing. When business people today refer to access to the consumer what they mean is the crossing or removal of boundaries. The sanctity of personal space, respect for a person’s private life, the public commons, is just one more boundary for the predatorial corporate/business classes to dismiss in the pursuit of profit.

      An example is modern sports. IMO the major sports leagues used to focus on the play on the field. In today’s sports industry the game on the field is secondary to the “experience” around the stadium, the different revenue streams, advertising dollars, etc.

      I cringe at the latest Apple IPhone ad that advertises that you will fall asleep before the IPhone’s battery runs out. #head on desk

      1. Cal2

        “In today’s sports industry the game on the field is secondary to the “experience” around the stadium, the different revenue streams, advertising dollars, etc.”

        The San Francisco Chronicle, a laughably bad paper a couple decades ago, has now further degenerated to the point where, the antics of basketball players wives and their children are now featured at the top of the page as “news.”

      2. Summer

        “Internet but the ubiquity of smartphones, cable TV, streaming services, and other digital devices…”

        That is all “tv” and print still. The monitors just got more portable. Same types of shows and content….
        It’s all watching content on a screen where advertisers and marketers can reach you.

        There hasn’t been a real revolution in storytelling. The underlying myths that shape the stories (different than the constant changing of the method of delivery).

        1. wilroncanada

          Yes, true. But a previous poster noted that these new methods of delivering content are two-way, unless you are diligent about security. As you are watching, listening, or reading, you are being tracked; you are not the consumer, you are the product, being sold to advertisers whether you want to be or not, as well as being sold to Big Brother, whether you want to be or not.
          The story is the same, but you cannot escape it…ever. The medium is the message (MM).

      3. ObjectiveFunction

        “In today’s capitalism there is no such thing as respecting boundaries. Thanks to emails and texts, work is 24/7 and due to analytics, the internet, Facebook, Google, the boundary between private life and consumer is disappearing. When business people today refer to access to the consumer what they mean is the crossing or removal of boundaries.”

        Well said!

  20. Tim

    Regarding the Cause of Death graphic. There are lots of reasons for the differences, but the differences between Google searches and media shows that people search for information on the web, but read media for entertainment.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Decades ago here in Oz you were forever seeing film clips of road crashes on the TV with a running tally of those killed as compared to the previous year at the same time. They still do for that matter. Finally got curious and went into the books to see what the main cause of death were for Australia – this was pre-internet days by the way. Found out that the main causes of death annually were the big three – heart attacks, cancer and strokes which accounted for two out of every three deaths back then. Road crashes and in fact all accidents were less than 5% which was an eye opener. So people maybe were more wary when they went driving but ignored the real risks by going into the drive-ins of places like McDonalds and Kentucky Fried.

  21. laughingsong

    “Opinion: GTA Exposed My Son to Unrealistic Portrayals of Quick and Affordable Hospital Visits”

    Oh please! This game is chock full of sadistic and psychopathic behavior (“Trevor” anyone?) as well as many unrealistic physics-defying scenarios that people magically survive, and he’s worried about the unrealistic COSTS?!? F*** me.

    1. Wombat

      I believe it’s satire:

      “I sat down with my son when he started playing, and I quickly realized the offensive ideas this thing is teaching our children. He was able to get a gun almost immediately, something I have no problem with, and after murdering several people that were probably bad guys he was badly injured in a misunderstanding with police.”

      1. Wombat

        oops, perhaps you were being sarcastic.. “physics defying scenarios”… disregard

  22. pictboy3

    I always felt like Valve ceasing their game development was a good thing because they weren’t doing the sort of double dipping that Amazon does by undercutting rival sellers in their own marketplace. Also, as someone who has played a lot of PC games over the years, Steam is just a good service. Publishers have been ruining good games for years, and with the advent of Steam, a lot of indie developers have been able to circumvent publishers entirely. Plus they provide a ton of services that would be costly for indie studios to provide

    It’s also very unfair to pin micro-transactions on Valve when it’s an industry-wide problem. Plenty of games have their own launchers and still offer micro-transactions to hook the whales. Steam is just profiting off the wider trend. Is it admirable? Absolutely not, but they’re not uniquely bad in that respect.

    Lastly, I don’t think Valve has a monopoly in game distribution. EA uses their own service (the absolutely terrible Origin), Ubisoft as well (the much better Uplay), and Epic games has their own launcher that is stirring up a lot of controversy with gamers right now (I’ll spare you the details). Blizzard has their own launcher as well for their games, and you’ll still see independent developers develop their own launchers. If Valve starts doing some shady stuff, I’ll be the first to drop them, but I’ve always had the impression that they’re one of the better actors in the gaming industry.

    1. Toshiro_mifune

      Meant to reply here but it got posted down below;

      Thanks for this. I was going to write up about Steam and digital distribution but you already got most of the points.
      Also, agreed; I like Steam. It’s a boon for small and indie developers. It regularly has great sales. There’s a lot of free games and anything I do buy is always available.

    2. FriarTuck

      Personally I never saw the draw of Valve’s Half-Life series; it all seemed baldly derivative of other more inventive games that I was playing at the time. Their slide into being a distributor was and always has been a product of their free-wheeling corporate culture (supposedly a flat, non-hierarchical structure) versus pure ROI. Supposedly within Valve there were many games that died in their infancy as devs puttered around with concepts that never got off the ground. Many concepts apparently never had management nor team buy-in, which largely left talent with one way to go: to leave. Steam was always their big moneymaker, and thus was always going to be the thing to attract most attention.

      EA is probably most famous for their premiere presence in abusing microtransactions as they’re widely featured in their EA sports line, along with the fiasco involving the Star Wars license with their attempt at Battlefront. EA is also infamous for leaving a graveyard of game studios in its wake as it absorbs them and twists studio talents to what the money men think will sell rather than towards what the artists are inspired.

      Still, the thought that true art is perfect absent capitalism doesn’t hold up either. The video game industry is littered with hundreds of examples of games brought short of their potential due to management hubris and/or run-ins with real-world budget restrictions. Jason Schrier at Kotaku has been one of the foremost journalists investigating and publishing stories about how trainwrecks happen (or not happen if cancelled); one of his most recent is his excellent article regarding BioWare’s Anthem : https://kotaku.com/how-biowares-anthem-went-wrong-1833731964

      TLDR: EA was counting on BioWare making gonzo dollars for EA, but no concepts ever really clicked soon enough to take shape before EA threatened to pull the plug on the development dollars. The result was the game turned out as flat as a warm coke.

      1. Morgan Everett

        Which are these more inventive games you were playing at the time? Half-Life is if anything the descendant of early id games, but I wouldn’t call it “baldly derivative” of those games by any means.

        1. Plenue

          I’m wondering this as well, because there literally wasn’t anything else like Half-Life in 1998/99 in the FPS genre.

        2. Knifecatcher

          The irony for me is that Half-Life 2 was the first game that REQUIRED a Steam account to play. The game was a blockbuster, one of the most cinematic experiences I’ve experienced in a video game. Then the Half-Life 2 story arc was never completed – due in large part to the ungodly amounts of money Valve was raking in with Steam.

        3. FriarTuck

          GoldenEye, Wolfenstein series, Unreal series, Star Wars Dark Forces series, System Shock series… and those are just the First-person silent-protagonist series that I could think of of the top of my head. Each of those game series which have at least one if not multiple predecessors before Half-Life, running 3D or near-3D engines, multiple weapons, limited health, and limited ammo.

          Half-Life leaned on the horror genre a bit more than some of those other series, but I think a lot of people are wearing rose-colored glasses when it comes to the game. Hell, the game I most remember playing wasn’t Half Life itself, but a mod which grew out of it: Counter-Strike.

      2. Stadist

        Personally I think Valve’s Steam is monopoly-like, but not exact monopoly. I have argued earlier for social media platforms and similar to be kind of natural monopolies, it doesn’t make sense for customer to be in several ones or alternatively there is significant upsides to using a social media that all your friends are using. Steam is actually a kind of social media platform because the friends list and ability to easily play games with your friends is significant positive for the user. If everyone splinters to multiple different ‘game platforms’ that will also splinter communication with friends. This is my argument for natural monopoly, it’s just an infrastructure connecting both game developers to customers and customers between each other to enjoy these games together and viewed this way it’s not so much different from electrical grids, of course the actual cost differences are not the same scale, but still there is inherent inconvenience and thus cost to using more than one such platform.

        Personally I dramatically reduced my Steam use after I became aware of the cut size Valve takes from sales. The amount is ridiculous and can’t be anyway fairly proportional for their actual costs of running the service. Many competing platforms are on the market, but most are relatively new while Steam is easily over 10 years old at this point. They have first mover position and for reasons listed above the social media aspects of the platform limit propagation into different platforms.

    3. ChrisPacific

      Yes, this sums up my feelings about Steam pretty well. It is a good service, and as a fan of indie games I appreciate the leg up that it gives them. Gacha style microtransactions are a worthy subject for criticism, but the if you made a list of the biggest abusers I don’t think Valve would appear anywhere near the top.

      I also don’t buy the “big company culture is toxic for creativity” argument. It can be, but it’s also easy enough to create a subsidiary and ring fence it if you feel strongly enough about it. It’s been done before, plenty of times.

  23. Edward

    “Wastewater plant sludges are often either landfilled themselves, or spread on farm fields as a soil amendment. If contaminated, they can further spread PFAS by polluting soil and groundwater.”

    This is scary, given that anything can be flushed down a toilet. California has a variant on this; fracking wastewater is used to irrigate crops.

    1. polecat

      Next thing you know, Nancy P. will be heard shouting from her podium, for all to hear .. “Embrace the Mutations” …. ‘;]

      1. Edward

        Apparently, we are having a hard time doing better then the government in Idiocracy.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      what i don’t get is why a picture of the pentagon isn’t a slam dunk debate ender.
      cured me of any remaining skepticism.

  24. Edward

    I have my own health care story. I have an infected tick bite. I have been through this rigamarole several times now and know I need an antibiotic, probably doxycycline, which is used to treat Lyme disease. So the question becomes, how much is it going to cost to get that prescription? I ended up going to an out-patient clinic that charged $115. (I also thought about using an online doctor for a $99 fee.) Anyway, the doctor spent one minute looking at the bite and prescribes doxycycline. I spent $115 to get a $13 prescription.

    1. Scripty

      @Edward, My father is a practicing physician and has saved me $thousands over the years by just writing me prescriptions for free for the drugs I knew I needed (other doctors had prescribed in past). There is only 1 problem. He is 91. I hope Medicare-for-All gets here before he writes his last prescription.

      1. WheresOurTeddy

        Not to be morbid, but when the inevitable happens, one assumes possession of his Rx pad is all you’ll need to keep things going as is.

      1. Edward

        The only catch is that you can’t be sure of the quality of the doxycycline. Katherine Eban, in a new book, discusses the widespread safety violations in Indian drug manufacturing discovered by an FDA agent. She recommends checking on the internet whether a drug manufacturer has an “FDA warning letter” before buying their drug. In my case, I had to try 4 pharmacies before I could find doxycycline from a manufacturer without a warning letter. Eban is interviewed here:


  25. L-City Layabout

    “Murder Must Advertise”–not high-quality enough to sell itself, then?

  26. Wukchumni

    My pregame routine is as follows…

    Blow off the entire season until the finals, and then get interested. I’ve noticed the trend this year is for NBA players to wear magic underwear underneath their uniform, what’s that all about?

    And while we’re talking uniforms, what is it with MLB players wearing pants often where the bottom cuff is sometimes drooping under their shoes, and does anybody trip over themselves on account of?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      what is it with MLB players wearing pants often where the bottom cuff is sometimes drooping under their shoes,

      Its hot, and they aren’t wearing socks but still have to deal with sliding. This is how baseball has rolled since Abner Doubleday.

  27. toshiro_mifune

    Regarding Valve Half Life:3 and etc.
    Gabe Newell has pretty much come out and said why they haven’t released a Half Life follow-up/sequel/Episode 3. Namely; “They’d already done everything they could think of”. Essentially what made Half Life and Half Life 2 great wasn’t really the story, but how they story was told. They were one of the first developers to really realize that if games were a medium for telling stories, it was a very different one from what had come before and different narrative tools would need to be applied and developed. Trying to do so isn’t simple or easy stuff. Look how long it took movies to drop the narrative conventions of the stage. Valve simply ran out of ideas for a new way to tell the story, even if they had the story to tell. More than enough leaks have come out showing that work was certainly started, probably several times on a HL sequel and then eventually dropped. Without the new narrative tools though, you’re just rehashing what you’ve already done… A simple cash grab sequel would have been very capitalist. Not doing so because, artistically, its not ‘all there’, that isn’t.
    Last year Valve acquired Campo Santo who did Firewatch (which i enjoyed) and said they’re moving back to making games. So maybe something will come of it in a few years.
    I’m sure Steam took up a lot of time and effort on the part of Valve. It’s success meant they didn’t have to release another HL if they didn’t want to and weren’t feeling it.
    Steam’s role in the market, monopolistic/not is really another debate.

    1. ChrisPacific

      Agreed. Different businesses. It doesn’t make sense to compare them any more than it makes sense to compare Amazon with a product manufacturer.

  28. RubyDog

    Re: Remote Psychotherapy

    “Since when is talking to somebody on the phone the same as, let alone superior to, talking to them in person?”

    It may not be, but there are some real barriers to getting needed face to face mental health care. In many areas there is a shortage of clinicians and long waits for appointments. In my Family Physician days (now retired), 4-6 weeks for an initial nonurgent (not actively suicidal) appointment for my patients was common. Distance could be another barrier. Many patients with anxiety issues simply can’t drive on the freeway to get to their appointment, due to their anxiety about driving in traffic. I found patients were actually happy to have the option to have a visit through an alternative means such as phone, email or video when it was available. I don’t have any links at hand, but I believe there have been studies showing similar therapeutic benefit where the care was given face to face or remotely.

    1. jrs

      it might be better if one could do it more often than the once a week at most psychotherapy (due to cheaper costs or whatever). I mean once a week for 50 minutes at most isn’t much. Not that I’m a big believer in therapy at all though.

  29. Samuel Conner

    Let’s not be too hard on lovable goof JB. I’m sure that when he saw on TV the news footage of the civil rights marches that he was not physically participating in, his mirror circuits were firing. I mean, the man’s not a sociopath with no empathy, is he? So he does get some credit for the involuntary brain mirroring that took place back then.

    1. Wukchumni

      It ain’t all that different from Biden’s plagiarism episode in the late 80’s, he just borrowed somebody else’s experience and called it good.

      1. Darthbobber

        But not even somebody else’s experience. His own deliberate distortion of it.

        If I remember his recent “gimme a break” thing, the list of things “we” accomplished back then was apparently based on his theory that if it was good admit happened during his lifetime he’s entitled to the credit.

    2. jrs

      Biden is not seriously running. He’s not in it to win it. At all.

      Kamala Harris wants to win, being no end of ambitious. Heck Buttigieg, Beto, and Inslee (whom I like) still seem like they want to win. Gillibrand, Klobuchar, and Warren might want to win. Heck even Corey Booker might want to vaguely, kinda, though his new girlfriend is probably more interesting and distracting and it seems he’s plenty distracted.

      But not showing up at the Dem CA convention: BIDEN IS DEFINITELY NOT IN IT TO WIN it. He has some other motive, but it’s not winning.

      Of course they say Trump didn’t want to win … ugh, make it stop!!!! Make it stop!!! Give Biden a t.v. network if it will make him go away.

    3. WheresOurTeddy

      “I mean, the man’s not a sociopath with no empathy, is he?”

      no empathy for millenials, by his own admission, or people of color, women, the poor, foreigners, and many others based on his voting record.

      Empathy for the oligarchs is present however. “The guys at the top aren’t bad guys”…

  30. Eureka Springs

    Paw paw flowers always strike me as one of the most primitive blooms I’ve ever seen.

    1. Wukchumni

      I was sure it was going to be a montage of four straight Superbowl losses, for nope springs eternal.

  31. DonCoyote

    An example of the “twins study” Andrew Yang cites:

    Genetic and Environmental Transmission of Political Orientations

    And they admit:

    It should be noted that our sample is clearly not
    representative of adults in the United States—it is middle-aged, overwhelmingly white, and geographically concentrated in the Midwest.

    And then there’s how they measured “political ideology”: a seven point Likert scale going from “extremely liberal” to “extremely conservative”, and the 51-year-old Wilson-Patterson conservatism scale, which is a three point Likert scale (Yes/?/No or Agree/?/Disagree) to such concepts as capitalism, segregation, and immigration. (Although this scale, or usually variants thereof, are widely used).

    This is not the only study of course. But usually the key little details that undermine the validity don’t get included in the clickbait-y write-ups/summaries (e.g. for an example), and that’s probably all Yang looked at.

    1. Darthbobber

      I’m going to heroically refrain from posting the Grenadier’s song from Iolanthe here.

    2. Hopelb

      I thought that one clickbait study put the whole difference down to flinching? Seems spit on to me.

  32. Toshiro_mifune

    Thanks for this. I was going to write up about Steam and digital distribution but you already got most of the points.
    Also, agreed; I like Steam. It’s a boon for small and indie developers. It regularly has great sales. There’s a lot of free games and anything I do buy is always available.

    1. RMO

      Yeah, but we’re never going to see Half Life 2: Episode 3/Half Life 3 are we? I’m OK with digital distribution but what I don’t like is the push towards streaming/games as a service/online-only games. At least streaming would be up front about what it is: steady rent, probably at a cost well above what outright purchase used to cost (though the downside for those of us who don’t like streaming is that the games will be altered to work better through streaming at the cost of the experience that was available with the whole game being right on your hard drive) whereas the “games as a service/online only” model seems to mean “pay the same up front for the client alone as you used to pay for the whole game” and when they decide to shut down the servers in anything from a week to a few years after release, the game is dead – never to be played again unless the user base is huge and includes some geniuses who can reverse engineer the server software.

  33. FredsGotSlacks

    Long time, first time…

    I summited Rainier a few years back with RMI. They used to have a monopoly on use of the bunkhouse up at Camp Muir until another outfitter complained and got the park service to give them a share (at least that’s how I understood what someone told me). While there, saw both guided teams and privateers making summit attempts so it would seem like the solo permits are/were fairly easy-ish to come by. Rainier is summited by thousands of people from young to old every year so certainly a much different animal than Everest and other 8000m peaks.

    1. Wukchumni

      There’s a few commercial guides in the Sierra, but mostly it’s DIY as far as peak bagging goes. There isn’t much in the way of glaciers left from the Little Ice Age, and that’s the trickiest part of climbing a mountain. It seems as if damn near every peak has an oh my god-technical side, and a mere mortal class 2-3 side, the latter is my speed.

    1. Arizona Slim

      I’m already getting email requests for volunteering in Tucson. And I may just get off of my high horse and do some of that volunteer Berning.

      1. dcblogger

        The Bern app enables Bernie supporters to be active across the country without Bernie having to pay staff. He has a ground game like no other

        The Bern app is going to transform American politics. Not just presidential, but environmental, union organizing, women’s rights, every cause is going to develop their own version fo the Bern app.

        1. Arizona Slim

          Update: I got off that high horse and signed up for a Bernie canvass in Tucson.

          1. Hopelb

            Great! I am also a Bernie volunteer. What I believe we should all do is coordinate rides to the polls for the poor communities we visit and arrange a potluck primary night fun fest on the sidewalks and when we are not signing up new voters, get out with creative signage about various, and/or local issues while simultaneously proclaiming our support for Bernie. Here in Pittsburgh, Pa we could walk in Oakland/shadyside with signs for Med for All and signs for a living wage around the Upmc hospitals and have signs about the radiation in our water(due to fracking) and signs about privatizing our water and have signs about paper ballots/publicly counted. Events such as these will build community and solidarity. You in Arizona and we in Pittsburgh should host parties where signs/ and other creative displays are made. I am so happy you are in! (Warren’s latest plan is great, and Tulsi would make a great VP or head of National Security or Sec of State). Imagine Bernie giving Gravel some telecommuting position!
            Perhaps, as a stand in for Bernie’s fireside chats? Even better, imagine Bernie inviting both Kucinich and Ron Paul into his cabinet?

  34. Left in Wisconsin

    How I feel about Elizabeth Warren and the Presidency:

    1. It would be disastrous if she were to be elected our next President. Warren is probably my second choice but, because we need to do so much, change so much, so quickly, I see Bernie as the only one who doesn’t represent incremental, too-slow progress. Bernie is the only non-disastrous possibility. No one else is a game-changer.

    2. If Warren was elected, I predict she would be our best President since LBJ. She has a core set of progressive beliefs (that she seems to have come to in the best way, via experience) and she has the right reason for wanting to be President – not because she deserves it but to change the world in specific ways (that I mostly agree with).

    3. She has no chance of getting elected. She is not a good campaigner. She might make a good President but she will never win an election for President. Which is fine with me; I think she is more valuable in the Senate (especially if Bernie is President).

    4. She has (some) good beliefs and (many) good policies. Why is she not a good campaigner? She can’t articulate a compelling vision. To get elected President, you must convince (enough) people who don’t share your priorities to vote for you anyway, because they trust your vision. She is ultimately a good-government progressive, which fails as a vision, mostly I suspect because virtually every non- “conservative” politician campaigns as a good-government progressive though almost all of them are lying, so people are naturally skeptical.

    5. Also, she shares the fatal flaw of the neoliberal meritocrat – she can’t ever admit she made a mistake. (Because she truly doesn’t believe she has ever made a mistake.) That is what comes through most clearly on The Breakfast Club interview. If she could just say, “I made a huge mistake and I feel like I need to do everything in my power for the rest of my life to try to rectify it,” she would have gained a lot of credibility. But she couldn’t.

    6. I’m still happy she is in the Senate and I hope she stays there for a long time.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        We need to think differently about the crowd of midgets with no chance of being elected who are crowding the stage.

        They are doing nothing but sucking oxygen away from candidate(s) who do have a chance.

        So Liz should go back to the Senate *now*. She is not useful in pulling the policy debate in any interesting new direction that others are not already doing much better than she. Pulling people to “the center” is not required or useful.

        Liz, go home.

    1. Hopelb

      I disagree slightly. Warren should as you say come right out and say , “I was dead wrong about being a Repug. I thought it meant fiscal responsibility,care for the land, long term thinking, but it no longer does.” Something along those lines. I also think she could be bold with Trump by using the same skills she uses in hearings, pointing out so ecific policy decisions. She good at drilling down.To Trump’s Native American taunts she could just simply counter with, “You thought you were a Trump when you are a Drumf”. Or “Families tell stories”something like that. Imagine Bernie installing Warren as the head of the Fed? Or as Sec of Treasury? Or as head of one of the financial reg agencies? She could do lasting damage/improvement/accountability!

    2. WheresOurTeddy

      “Best president since LBJ” is some damning praise and a tragically low bar to get over.

      Going through the list, I have a soft spot for Carter on account of the whole “no wars for 4 years” thing, but it’s been 50 years of unmitigated failure for all but the wealthy. LBJ’s Great Society and the Civil Rights Act make that lying, warmongering mysogynist the best president since FDR. I hate that this is true.

  35. ewmayer

    I must say I am shocked – shocked, I say! – to see no official linkage on this, the 45th anniversary of the infamous 10 cent Beer Night riot in Cleveland. Growing up in NE Ohio I remember watching a local news broadcast of said “festivities”. But let’s get a few things straight: first off, it was the infamously weak 3.2% “near beer”, the potency limit in Ohio for booze allowed to be sold on Sundays. Also, as Wikipedia notes, “The Indians had previously held such promotions without incident, beginning with Nickel Beer Day in 1971.” Lastly, this was not the end of the cheap-beer-night promotions, just no longer in unlimited quantities: “The next Beer Night promotion on July 18 attracted 41,848 fans with beer again selling for 10 cents per cup but with a limit of two cups per person at the reduced price.” The Wiki article ends with a great quote:

    NBC newscaster Tim Russert, then a student at the Cleveland–Marshall College of Law, attended the game. “I went with $2 in my pocket,” recalled the Meet the Press host. “You do the math.”

    More seriously, I saw no associated linkage yesterday, the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre.

        1. Wukchumni


          It was quite something watching things get out of hand, 40 years ago next month. It was straight out of Gustave Le Bon, that.

  36. Sharkleberry Fin

    “[I]n order to advance a ‘political revolution,’ Democrats must not settle for ‘middle ground’ on issues.” There it is. A “revolution” but with the qualifier, “political”. Not an “economic” revolution. Not a “social” revolution. Political. Ok, but who’s settling for the “middle ground”, now. Is this not the urban outfitting of New Deal-er politics in faux guerilla fatigues approaching, what, in other circumstances, would be considered a crass stunt? Did Trump just not dress up retail republican politics in fascist leathers for the 2016 victory? This type of paranoid play-acting was ok in the past because it was on the fringes and there was a more sober center willing to put in the daily work of governing within the messy, imperfect political zone of ground truth. In our case, triage of the 21st century American electorate experiencing profound economic exsanguination. Start with a tourniquet not an organ transplant.

    A revolution seeks to overthrow a government, transform a society, and replace the government with a different form of government. What sets a revolution apart from a rebellion is that the population is fully mobilized in a revolution, and not just with active support. Because there is also a simultaneous counterrevolution being conducted by the host government, who do not play. But thankfully, revolution is more of a campaign device here, part of a colorful log cabin campaign from the hinterlands. Unfortunately, without the free hard cider this time around to nerf the pending disappointment. Because the neo-orthodox historical consensus [from the opening of post-cold war Kremlin archives] is that the political revolutions of the 20th century really were mere vehicles for the safety of the leadership, the first and foremost priority, with ideology coming in dead last. Because I have a hard time believing when I hear, “Now we mean what we say,” do I believe the political revolution is more cynical or naïve in its goals?

    1. Darthbobber

      Then most historic events that are generally referred to as revolutions, and were described as such by those experiencing them were nothing of the sort by the above definition.

      And generally, I’d say that in practice the difference between rebellion and revolution is success.

      As to the rest, I’m just perceiving word salad.

    2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      This comment is solid gold and deserves to be noticed by the NC blogerati.

      As that great fictional oracle of 20th century societal angst Travis Bickle said: “someday a real rain is gonna come”.

      It’s time, folks.

    3. jrs

      He really just means a non-violent revolution. I’m not going to say that violence never accomplishes anything, but via *revolution* in the U.S.? *That* really has no chance. Anyway if violence is what you want Bernie is definitely not your candidate, nor are any of the other Dems. And quite honestly electoral politics is not really your game at that point.

      I’m not sure if your plea is a plea for purity (Howie Hawkins?). Well I can respect that, they all have flaws if one is honest. However many honest people admit this and make the best choices they can to try to make things better because we need something to actually change – so we do the best we can to bring that about and wow is the green party a long shot for that. Or if it’s a plea for centrism ala who do you like for that – Warren? Harris? Or if it’s simply an argument that voting is not enough by itself.

  37. Cat Burglar

    The Bloomberg Everest article conflates mountaineering with guided mountaineering, the commercial side of the sport.

    Partly that is because virtually every Himalayan climb involves hiring porters and guides to reach the mountain and assist in load hauling on the peak — even if you are a skilled group of climbers, you still need to hire staff to do the climb. Commercial guided trips just add a technical and managerial epicycle: a client hires an experienced climber to make all the decisions, plan the food and movement, and, frequently, to haul the client to the top. Both commercial and non-commercial mountaineering there requires a lot of hiring.

    Big North American peaks don’t require that. You can drive to Mount Rainier, and most people climb it without a guide. To reach basecamp for Denali you have to hire a flight service that can do glacier landings. And most of the people who climb Denali do not need a guide.

    It is hard to tell, but the Bloomberg article seems to be proposing that Nepal farm out control of all access to mountains to private guide services vetted by the government. Perhaps that would work there (though climbers wanting to do their own low-cost bootleg ascents are certain to show up and sneak up the peaks). There will be huge competition for the Everest rent, but no takers for smaller or more dangerous peaks. In Pakistan, there are no lines for the second highest mountain in the world, K2. Even though virtually every climber I know thinks it might be the most beautiful mountain in the world, when I last checked it had a death rate of around 25% of the number of people that had summited. Kind of hard to drag bond traders to the top of that one.

    In North America access and guide service vetting are under control of the public lands agencies; in the case of Denali, Rainier, and the Tetons, it is the National Park Service. The NPS has to approve the practices of each service and allots user days to each guide service. So there is no crowding problem here. Should there be one, the NPS will just limit the user days until there is not.

    1. ElizabethMenzie

      I’ve climbed K2, one must be a technical climber or climb not at all. Death rate is closer to 50% and they were all experienced. One climbs because one isn’t trying to prove anything but doing it and staying alive. No bragging about it either, those that know, know.

  38. Carey

    ‘How Monsanto manipulates journalists and academics’:

    “..Much attention has been paid to Monsanto conversations in which company scientists casually discuss ghostwriting scientific papers and suppressing science that conflicts with corporate assertions of Roundup’s safety. There has also been public outrage over internal records illustrating cozy relationships with friendly regulators which border on – and possibly cross into – collusion.

    But these once-confidential Monsanto documents demonstrate that the deception has gone much deeper. In addition to the manipulation of science and of regulators, the company’s most insidious deceit may be its strategic manipulation of the media, according to the records..”


  39. Oregoncharles

    ” it sounded like a good idea, like recycling “night soil” in Asia. Horrible stuff that didn’t help the plants at all; you could tell from the consistency alone there was something terribly wrong with it.”

    OTOH, the compost from the local waste company (Republic Services, not so local) is quite good, in my experience. They actually separate the yard and food wastes from the landfill; I’ve used both ends of their services, though I prefer to keep biomass onsite. The compost is very clearly compost. I wonder if the town matters – there’s an ag school here, so plenty of people who can test the stuff. Last I heard, they weren’t finding toxins in it.

    They also chip wood wastes to use for paper – even branches.

  40. John Beech

    adopt national health insurance. With a single payer-program where the government subsidizes the cost of treatment

    This is so fucked up (forgive the French). People, we have stop saying the government subsidizes. We the people are who pay these things, not the government. Government is just the tool we use to collect taxes and apportion monies to the expenses.

    Bottom line? Whether we call it a tax, a health care premium to a private company, whatever, the cost must be borne and spread out in the fairest manner possible. We have the hospitals, they won’t go away if the government runs things. All the people working now will keep working but the employer will be the federal government instead of Cigna – but they keep their jobs and keep doing what they do (except maybe deny coverage). I simply fail to understand what’s so hard about this other than the ones who own these things resisting there being taken away. Think of it as a piece of land the government needs to take away for whatever reason, just as the landowner is made whole, the owners of the hospitals will be made whole when we strip them of their assets. Stealing, but with recompense. Let’s do it now. Rip the band-aid off, do it now! Health care is non-elastic. As the price goes up you have to pay, and you’ll pay everything (unlike elastic things, which as the price goes up consumers buy less). This just can’t be left in the hands of rent seekers. After all, why do we have public utilities? Same idea holds true with health care. Too important to leave to private hands . . . like the Sacklers. My 2¢

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