2:00PM Water Cooler 7/26/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Patient readers, I had a household event and got a late start. I’ll return with more shortly. –lambert UPDATE All done!

Trade

“Trump Says Apple Won’t Get China Tariff Relief” [Industry Week]. “The president tweeted on Friday, ‘Apple will not be given Tariff wavers, or relief, for Mac Pro parts that are made in China. Make them in the USA, no Tariffs!'” • If we can, without an industrial policy of any kind….

Politics

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

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

“2020 Democratic Presidential Nomination” [RealClearPolitics] (average of five polls). As of July 25: Biden up at 29.3% (28.6), Sanders flat at 15.0% (15.0%), Warren down at 14.5% (15.0%), Buttigieg flat at 5.0% (5.0%), Harris down 11.8% (12.2%), others Brownian motion. Harris reminds me of Clinton, in that her numbers are like a hot air balloon, which sinks unless air is pumped into it.

* * *

2020

Biden (D)(1): “Two longtime Biden African American supporters in S. Carolina defect to Tim Ryan” [NBC]. “Fletcher Smith and Brandon Brown, who played senior roles in Biden’s last presidential campaign in 2008, attended a meeting Biden held last month with a small group of African-American leaders in Columbia and both told NBC News that he’s neglected some relationships in the state.” • Tim Ryan?

Gabbard (D)(1): “Tulsi Gabbard sues Google over censorship claims” [The Hill]. “In a federal complaint filed Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Gabbard alleged Google censored her presidential campaign when it suspended their advertising account for several hours last month…. ‘In the hours following the 1st debate, while millions of Americans searched for info about Tulsi, Google suspended her search ad account w/o explanation,’ the campaign said. … ‘For hours, as millions of Americans searched Google for information about Tulsi, and as Tulsi was trying, through Google, to speak to them, her Google Ads account was arbitrarily and forcibly taken offline,’ it reads. ‘Throughout this period, the Campaign worked frantically to gather more information about the suspension. In response, the Campaign got opacity and an inconsistent series of answers from Google,’ it states.”• Like everybody else who tries to contract Google. Google’s response: Blame the algos, as usual: “We have automated systems that flag unusual activity on all advertiser accounts.” Come on. The brain geniuses at Google can’t figure out that searches for a Presidential candidate are likely to spike after a debate? Gabbard did well in that debate; it’s unconscionable the Google throttled her.

Sanders (D)(1):

Sanders (D)(2): Whaddaya know:

Warren (D)(1): “Elizabeth Warren Has a Radical Plan to Beat Trump at His Own Game” [Bloomberg]. “Warren made the wealth tax the centerpiece of her campaign. It’s part of a fusillade of proposals that are more aggressive, far-reaching—and expensive—than any previous Democratic front-runner would have dared venture: break up big tech companies like Google and Facebook; abolish private health insurance and give everyone Medicare; start a $2 trillion industrial policy built on “economic patriotism” to boost exports; crack down on private equity’s “Wall Street looting”; overhaul corporate governance by putting workers on boards; eliminate the filibuster; cancel student loan debt; and establish free public college and universal child care. Together, Warren’s platform amounts to a giant leap in Democratic ambition—some would say radicalism—that dwarfs the steady but safe achievements of the Clinton and Obama eras.” • Fair’s fair. That’s an impressive list of policy proposals. Though I don’t know if I’d classify ObamaCare as either “steady” or “safe.”

* * *

“Democratic super PAC launches ‘hyper-local’ ads targeting Trump supporters in rural America” [McClatchy]. “American Bridge officials describe their effort as one that will forgo conventional TV and digital ads and instead fixate on what they identify as “hyper-local” effects of Trump’s policies in each targeted rural area…. The campaign will focus on featuring rural voters who feel burned by the White House and are willing to speak on camera about it. Their stories, rather than just polling data, will drive the media strategy, the officials said…. American Bridge has traditionally been in charge of Democrats’ national opposition-research efforts, providing damaging footage and information about Republican candidates up and down the ballot. Running a large paid-media campaign like this, officials there acknowledge, is a different effort than they’re used to.” • American Bridge is David Brock, so there must be some sleazy, horrid angle to this.

“The 2020 Congressional Elections: A Very Early Forecast” [Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball]. “In the House, we are in an era with limited ticket-splitting and a weak incumbency advantage. Additionally, the overall House map has a Republican lean: Republicans could win the House back by defeating fewer than two-thirds of the 31 Democrats who hold seats that Trump carried in 2016 (and only three Republicans hold seats that Hillary Clinton carried). The confluence of these factors could allow Republicans to overperform the projection in this model, particularly if Trump is reelected. While the model predicts a good chance of a Democratic majority in the Senate in 2021, that prediction should be taken with considerable caution considering the margin of error of the model and the fact that only a handful of Republican seats that are up next year are in Democratic-leaning or swing states.”

Puerto Rico

Against stupidity the Gods themselves contend in vain:

I guess Plouffe was too busy cashing in at Uber to keep up.

2019

“Pelosi downplays differences with Ocasio-Cortez after talk” [Associated Press]. “‘In our caucus we have our differences. Respect that instead of making a big issue of it,’ Pelosi told reporters, displaying a little exasperation with the media’s fixation with their relationship. ‘We just had a meeting to clear the air.’ Corbin Trent, a spokesman for Ocasio-Cortez, said, “It was a very positive and productive meeting about progressive priorities.'” • Like, ya know, the “Green Dream or whatever.”

Identity Politics

“Maybe It’s Lyme What happens when illness becomes an identity?” [New York Magazine]. “Decades after Polly Murray kept her diary of symptoms, the spirit of advocacy associated with Lyme disease endures. But while Murray’s efforts were ultimately vindicated by medical science, a new fight — for the recognition of something known as “chronic Lyme,” which can encompass a vast range of symptoms and need not be linked to any tick bite — has grown into a phenomenon often untethered from scientific method or peer review. The chronic-Lyme community has a new agenda, one that was visible at last fall’s Global Lyme Alliance Gala in New York, where supporters gathered at Cipriani heard a speech from Real Housewife of Beverly Hills Yolanda Hadid.”

RussiaGate

“Trump: Mueller made Biden ‘look like a dynamo'” [The Hill]. • Ouch.

2018 Post Mortem

“A Non-Hack That Raised Hillary’s Hackles” [Ray McGovern, Consortium News (Furzy Mouse)]. “Independent forensic investigations demonstrated two years ago that the DNC emails were not hacked over the Internet, but had been copied onto an external storage device — probably a thumb drive. Additional work over recent months has yielded more evidence that the intrusion into the DNC computers was a copy, not a hack, and that it took place on May 23 and 25, 2016. The DNC almost certainly knew what had happened — not only that someone with physical access to DNC computers had copied thousands of emails, but also which ones they had copied, and thus how prejudicial to the Clinton campaign they would be when they saw the light of day.” • IIRC, the Mueller “investigation” never had access to the DNC servers, and thus all forensics remain a matter of at best conjecture (including those of DNC vendor CrowdStrike, upon whom Mueller relied.

Realignment and Legitimacy

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (@CISAgov) is a thing. Thread:

Again, there’s only one litmus test for balloting: Hand-marked paper ballots, hand-counted in public. Anybody who tries to sell you a digital intermediary is selling fraud.

“Structure, Subjecthood, & Socialist Workers: A Response to the Bread & Roses Labor Resolution” [The Organizer]. • Can’t take a position one way or another. But again, this encouragingly serious.

“Green candidate’s entry pushes Maine toward ranked-choice U.S. Senate race in 2020” [Bangor Daily News (OregonCharles)]. “A Green candidate from Waldo County is expected to announce his 2020 candidacy for U.S. Senate this week, increasing the likelihood that the nationally targeted race for the seat held by Republican Susan Collins will be decided by ranked-choice voting…. if three or more candidates qualify for the ballot, the race will be decided by Maine’s first-in-the-nation statewide system of ranked-choice voting…. It’s unclear if Gibson will be able to get on the ballot in 2020. The Maine Green party dates back to 1984, making it the oldest one in the U.S., but it has receded during this decade and hasn’t nominated a candidate for statewide office since Pat LaMarche in the 2006 gubernatorial race.”

Stats Watch

GDP, Q2(a) 2019: “If there’s one strength that is most important for the economy, it’s personal consumption expenditures which along with government spending held up second-quarter GDP to a 2.1 percent annual rate that beats Econoday’s consensus by 2 tenths. Beating Econoday’s consensus by 4 tenths is inflation-adjusted consumer spending which came in at a very hot 4.3 percent pace. This is directly tied to the strength of the labor market. Government purchases, here tied to heavy government spending, grew at a 5.0 percent pace. Consumer spending contributed 2.85 percentage points to the quarter’s growth while government purchases contributed 0.85 points” [Econoday]. “Though the dip in nonresidential investment does fit with the Fed’s main concern which is weakness in business investment, this report doesn’t speak to any urgency for new monetary stimulus.”

The Bezzle: “Atlanta pauses scooter permits after deaths” [NBC]. “Atlanta’s mayor put a pause on the city’s issuance of permits for smartphone-based electric scooter rentals Thursday following two recent deaths. Like many U.S. cities, Atlanta is trying to figure out how to deal with the sudden appearance of startups that offer dockless, electric scooters that are rentable via smartphones.” • “Sudden appearance” = regulatory arbitrage.

The Bezzle: “McKinsey Advised Johnson & Johnson on Increasing Opioid Sales” [New York Times]. “One lawsuit stated that McKinsey advised a pharmaceutical company to ‘get more patients on higher doses of opioids’ and study techniques ‘for keeping patients on opioids longer.’ And in a civil trial that wrapped up last week, Oklahoma joined two other states — Massachusetts and New Jersey — in showing that McKinsey offered advice to a drug company on how to increase opioid sales at a time when abuse of its pain medicine was widespread. Although McKinsey is not a defendant, Oklahoma used McKinsey consulting records to help build its case.” • Have I run this clip from Michael Clayton before? It’s about a large law firm, but it might as well be about McKinsey:

How do they sleep nights?

The Bezzle: “Tesla Loses a Founder, and a Piece of Its Soul” [Industry Week]. “On Wednesday, as Tesla announced that it had delivered 95,356 cars in its most recent quarter and another net loss, it also revealed that [J.B.] Straubel will cede his CTO position and step away from the daily grind to become an adviser to the company. For longtime Tesla watchers, it’s an astonishing change. Straubel, 43, represents, alongside Elon Musk, the soul of the automaker—a true believer in electric cars and how they could reshape the world…. [S]traubel very much was the Woz to Musk’s Jobs and so many of the great parts of Tesla emanated from the spirit of that kid playing with batteries in his backyard.” • The author was Musk’s biographer, which no doubt accounts for his curious notion that Tesla has a soul.

Tech: “Chris Hughes Worked to Create Facebook. Now, He Is Working to Break It Up.” [New York Times]. “Chris Hughes used to huddle with Mark Zuckerberg in a Harvard dorm room building Facebook from scratch. Now, he’s huddling with regulators to explain why Facebook needs to be broken up.”• But as Aaron Greenspan percipiently asks: “Would it have helped to separate Madoff Securities LLC into one company per floor, or split up Enron by division?”

The Biosphere

“The Risk of Conflict Rises as the World Heats Up” [Scientific American]. “Scientists who study the issue say one of the clearest findings so far on climate change and state security is the former’s role in increasing the risk of domestic conflict. “There’s a lot of evidence that internal stability of societies is strongly coupled to the climate,” says Solomon Hsiang, a professor of public policy and director of the Global Policy Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley. He and other researchers have been looking at historical events to see if climate factors have increased the risk of conflict, and used their findings to extrapolate what might happen as global warming intensifies. One of Hsiang’s studies found, for instance, that the risk of civil conflict in African countries has risen 11 percent since 1980 because of the warming climate… How climate might influence international conflicts is not as clear. ” • So that’s good news. I was thinking we’d need the oil for the Pentagon. I guess we’ll just need it for the cops and the National Guard.

“Water Shortages, Murder, and Chaos: The Grim Future of Heat Waves” [Vice]. “Compare that to India’s heat wave and drought earlier this summer, during which police had to guard water deliveries from rioters. A water tanker driver was beaten up, one man stabbed six people, and a 33-year-old named D Anand Babu died after being attacked with logs and “hacked with deadly weapons.” He’d reportedly confronted an older man and his three sons for taking large amounts of water from a public tap. That heat-related brutality seems shocking, but climate change could make it more common. A violence researcher contacted by VICE, Iowa State University’s Andreas Miles-Novelo, suggests that the difference between the outcomes of each heat wave comes down to the U.S. being in a temperate climate and having more abundant natural resources. He warns that as rising global temperatures make extreme events and conditions more common, not even America’s vast environmental privilege will make its citizens immune from violence.”

“In the US, wells being drilled ever deeper as groundwater vanishes” [Ars Technica]. “[C]urrent levels of groundwater use are not sustainable: resources are being steadily depleted as groundwater use outpaces natural replenishment….. Not only is the US one of the world’s largest food exporters (with a great deal of that food reliant on groundwater), but similar dynamics will be at play in other countries that rely on depleting groundwater, including China and India.”

“News Feature: Do hosts and their microbes evolve as a unit?” [PNAS]. “[O]ne theory of evolution… proposes that hosts and their resident microbes function as an evolutionary unit. This unit, dubbed the holobiont, carries what some have termed a hologenome, meaning the genetic information encoded by both a host and its microbes. The hologenome theory suggests that evolutionary pressure acts on holobionts, not hosts or microbes alone, and so the two should be considered a single unit of selection. Studies of fish, wasps, corals, and several other animals provide evidence to support the provocative idea that creatures and their microbial inhabitants are linked as holobionts through evolutionary time.” • Rather like debtors and creditors?

Games

“65% of online gamers face threats, stalking, other ‘severe harassment'” [CNET]. “Online gaming may be popular and fun, but it’s not without pitfalls. More than 70% of online gamers have experienced some form of harassment, according to a survey released Thursday from the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Technology and Society. And 65% of players said they’ve experienced “severe harassment,” including physical threats, stalking and sustained harassment…. Among online gamers who experience harassment, 53% reported being targeted based on their race, religion, ability, gender, sexual orientation or ethnicity, according to the ADL. Nearly 30% also report being doxed, which means having their contact or other personal information published online.” • What do our gamer readers think of this?

“The happiness of the otaku: Daydreaming to well-being” [Japan Times]. “Otaku now is mostly taken to mean people with an obsessive interest in something, particularly manga and anime. The nickname seems to have come about because of a feeling that such people are socially withdrawn and never progress beyond calling other people by super-formal pronouns. And while there has been some reclaiming of the name, there is still a negative connotation attached to it…. Yoshinori Sugiura and Tomoko Sugiura of Hiroshima University surveyed 800 adults and scored them for their consumption of ‘otaku contents’ — that is, the amount of time they spent watching anime or playing video games, their sense of well being and their tendency to daydream…. Sure enough, the survey indicated that among avid consumers of otaku contents or highly mindful people, a higher frequency of daydreaming was related to higher feelings of well-being. The pattern wasn’t seen in people not consuming large amounts of anime or games, or in people who do not practice mindfulness.”

Health Care

“How “Medicare Extra” gets to universal coverage without single-payer” [Vox]. “Like Medicare-for-all — and unlike Obamacare — it’s universal, it uses Medicare’s pricing power to hold down costs, and it rebuilds the entire health system around public insurance. But like Obamacare, it’s designed to minimize middle-class tax increases while stepping gingerly around people’s fear of change and mistrust of the government. And so, unlike Sen. Bernie Sanders’s Medicare-for-all bill, it holds on to much of the employer-based private insurance market and includes means-tested premiums and cost sharing for all but the poorest Americans.” • If only venues like Vox hadn’t worked so hard, along with conservatives, to maximize “people’s fear of change and mistrust of the government.”

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“Hundreds of black deaths in 1919 are being remembered” [Associated Press]. “America in the summer of 1919 ran red with blood from racial violence, and yet today, 100 years later, not many people know it even happened. It flowed in small towns like Elaine, Arkansas, in medium-size places such as Annapolis, Maryland, and Syracuse, New York, and in big cities like Washington and Chicago. Hundreds of African American men, women and children were burned alive, shot, hanged or beaten to death by white mobs…. “The people who were the icons of the civil rights movement were raised by the people who survived Red Summer,” said Saje Mathieu, a history professor at the University of Minnesota.” • Well, as for “distrust,” there was the whole slavery thing. The story also mentions the Chicago Defender, which sadly just went all digital this year. Read the whole thing.

“‘Ready to explode’: How a black teen’s drifting raft triggered a deadly week of riots 100 years ago in Chicago” [Chicago Tribune]. “[Juanita Mitchell] — one of the last living eyewitnesses to Chicago’s most violent racial conflict that began on July 27, 1919 — still recalls her uncle Cecil’s signal that white men armed with guns had crossed Wentworth Avenue, the racial dividing line, and entered their neighborhood.” • An episode of the Red Summer. This too is worth reading in full.

Guillotine Watch

“Amtrak will launch nonstop service between Washington, D.C. and New York” [WaPo]. “Acela Nonstop will include one northbound and one southbound train per day on weekdays only. The southbound train will leave New York’s Pennsylvania station at 6:35 a.m. and arrive at Washington, D.C.’s Union Station around 9:10 a.m. The northbound train will leave Union Station at 4:30 p.m. and arrive in New York around 7:05 p.m.” • I would think that, things being as they are, we would want to slow down decision-making on the Acela Corridor, rather than speed it up.

“Photographers, Instagrammers: Stop Being So D*mn Selfish and Disrespectful” [PetaPixel]. From the lavender fields of Provence: “These weren’t people wanting to enjoy the view – or even capture the scenery to share and enjoy well into the future with friends. These are people so obsessed with their own sense of self-importance for the sake of a few instant ‘likes’ on their social media profile that they find it perfectly acceptable to trespass, steal, disrespect the workers and their land – all in the name of ‘influencing’… Slowly, an hour before sunset, a tractor and cherry-picker made its way towards ‘the tree’ at the end of the rows. The tree that everyone had been focused on, the tree that ‘made the shot’. Not to harvest, but to unveil…

…their sign. A PLEA, to those who were trampling their hard work, produce and land.”

“Did it have the desired effect? No, of course not.” • Sigh. Don’t be like infuencers.

Class Warfare

I was looking for an appropriate song to share my emotions about Brexit, and came up with this:

but I also encountered this wonderful article on the Ramones from Rolling Stone–

“The Curse of the Ramones” [Rolling Stone]. On the music: “When Tommy joined the band as drummer – as the story goes, none of the drummers they auditioned could play without bombast and flourishes – the Ramones’ sound came together. ‘I wanted to lock in with the guitar,’ he told Mojo in 2011. ‘Most people assume that the bass and drums lock in together … But I locked in with Johnny, and Dee Dee’s bass was the underpinning of it all.’ The effect was primitive but also avant-garde: harmonic ideas stacked on a rapid-fi re momentum. ‘We used block chording as a melodic device, and the harmonics resulting from the distortion of the amplifiers created countermelodies,’ Tommy told Timothy White in Rolling Stone. ‘We used the wall of sound as a melodic rather than a riff form; it was like a song within a song, created by a block of chords droning.'” • But read the article for the life stories of each of the Ramones; it’s quite likely that if they had been born into the opioid epidemic, they would have been caught up in it and not survived. So everything’s going according to plan!

News of the Wired

“The Strange Similarity of Neuron and Galaxy Networks” [Nautilus]. “[W]e—an astrophysicist and a neuroscientist—joined forces to quantitatively compare the complexity of galaxy networks and neuronal networks…. Not only are the complexities of the brain and cosmic web actually similar, but so are their structures. The universe may be self-similar across scales that differ in size by a factor of a billion billion billion…. Is the apparent similarity [between images of the cosmic web and the brain] just the human tendency to perceive meaningful patterns in random data (apophenia)? Remarkably enough, the answer seems to be no: Statistical analysis shows these systems do indeed present quantitative similarities. Researchers regularly use a technique called power spectrum analysis to study the large-scale distribution of galaxies. The power spectrum of an image measures the strength of structural fluctuations belonging to a specific spatial scale. In other words, it tells us how many high-frequency and low-frequency notes make the peculiar spatial melody of each image. A stunning message emerges from the power spectrum graph in Figure 2 (below): The relative distribution of fluctuations in the two networks is remarkably similar, over several orders of magnitude.” • Word of the day: Isomorphism.

“‘How to Read a Japanese Poem’ by Steven D Carter” [Asian Review of Books]. “[T]he poem included here is actually about love, and we know that Shikishi was a virtual recluse. What could she know about that subject? The comment section explains; she creates a persona, ‘a rhetorical extension of herself based on literary precedents’ and, of course, drawn on her own life in the formality of the imperial court.” More isomorphism?

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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 (WB):

WB writes: “Willow branch sculpture at the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. Artist’s Statement: “Often the public imagines that a work of art should be made to last, but I believe that a sculpture, like a good flower bed, has its seasons.’” – Patrick Dougherty

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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.

138 comments

  1. Off The Street

    Michael Clayton and other movies seem to be entertainment at first viewing. Their real purpose is more subtle as they are essentially anchoring stories for the eventual pharma or other malign company documentaries that are playing out in communities. Some view them and say, If we can get people used to something, why not! That is a perverse twist on Robert Kennedy’s why and why not vision.

    Those Provence lavender farmers felt compelled to put up their sign in English, sigh.

    Reply
    1. Bruce F

      Also at the end of Michael Clayton the “bad guys” are safely put away by Officer Friendly. The system works, nothing to see here, go home.

      Reply
        1. Pavel

          As I recall, Tom Stoppard defined tragedy (perhaps in the magnificent Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead) as when “the good end up dead and the bad unhappy”.

          Reply
        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          The good go to Heaven.

          The bad go everywhere.

          And if you believe localism is good, the bad are very bad* here (going everywhere, by rail or air…all bad).

          *Doubly bad – by just being bad in the first place, and being bad, again, by going everywhere. Unless their being bad consists entirely of the act of going everywhere, and nothing else.

          Reply
        3. Yves Smith

          Yes, but Michael Clayton’s career was over and the movie made clear he was up to his eyeballs in money troubles. That’s part of the reason for the long end shot of him in a cab.

          Reply
    2. Lee

      And here in Murica too. We have local shopping malls that label themselves Towne Centre. Lotta Frenchie named vineyards up in Sonoma and Napa wine country. Now that’s what I call multiculturalism.

      Reply
  2. JohnnySacks

    Saw some of Patrick Dougherty’s woven willow branch sculptures at the Montreal botanical garden a couple years ago, quite impressive and a much more accessible road trip vacation for us New Englanders.

    Reply
  3. toshiro_mifune

    Photographers, Instagrammers: Stop Being So D*mn Selfish and Disrespectful

    *sigh* This is completely expected, unfortunately. Yosemite and Half Dome are about as bad and I can only imagine what the various photographic tours of places like the African Savannah, Galapagos or Denali Park are like. It wouldn’t be so completely awful if these crowds weren’t creating a mess by all trying to take the exact same photograph… and one that’s already been taken before by someone with far more skill and talent.
    I love photography but it attracts a large number of complete knuckleheads.

    Reply
      1. shinola

        The photo of the German shepherd & the sunbather made me LOL.

        Some of the others are more “Just how dumb can some people be?”

        Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      Last time I was at the Sherman Tree, there was a line of 14 people wanting to get a selfie with the big fellow in the background behind them, 2 of the 14 were just ordinary people taking an old fashioned photo where there are a number of people in the image, with the hope that the person in the vicinity they recruited to take the shot, didn’t blow it.

      I don’t really get the whole selfie thing, it’s very much bowling alone, no?

      Reply
      1. Carey

        I hear you. That there is general cultural acceptance of taking photos of onesself (sp?) doing this-or-that is just.. bizarre and sad, to me. Won’t last long.

        Reply
      2. scarn

        There is some backlash against selfie culture on Instagram. Accounts like @insta_wrecked and @publiclandshateyou and @touronsofyellowstone and many others spend time and effort highlighting influencer stupidity and greed, and they do try to alert NPS agents when regs are broken. Unsurprisingly many of these accounts are shadowbanned or suspended by Instagram for “harassment”. My old fave “joshuatreehatesyou” seems to be gone, done in by complaints by influencers to the corporate dictatorship.

        Reply
    2. Lee

      An ex had me enter a corral so as to meet her horse and I did. The damned thing immediately charged me. I remained stock still and he veered off within a few feet of me. The ex laughed and complemented me on having done the right thing. After awhile the horse and I got along fine; she and I not so much.

      Reply
  4. Plenue

    “We’re not going to be caught flat-footed again. We’re ready for what they’re going to bring at us.”

    Lock and load boys! Trenches are dug, sandbags pilled, artillery pre-sighted. Those buff bernie memes won’t get past us this time!

    Reply
      1. maxi

        in a bolt action rifle (typical WW2-era infantry weapon), one had to lock the bolt in a back position in order to load the magazine into the weapon.

        i think that’s where the famous movie quote came from, anyway – not sure if there’s more history

        Reply
        1. dearieme

          Thanks.

          My memory is poor enough that I’ve forgotten the details of many of my boyhood hobbies. Shooting, sailing, soldering, taking the readings of the max and min temperatures in the town ‘s Stevenson screen, and Lord knows what else.

          And then bits click into place when I have something in my hands. I was coiling a bit of rope the other day and that wrist-twist action you use when you do that just returned automatically. Odd.

          Reply
          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > I was coiling a bit of rope the other day and that wrist-twist action you use when you do that just returned automatically. Odd.

            I remember, dimly, a story about a surgeon who was terribly brain-damaged, whether in an accident or a stroke or Alzheimers I don’t know; but put thread in his hands, and he would immediately tie beautiful surgical knots.

            Reply
    1. Polar Donkey

      Also in ole Miss student news this week, a lunatic, gun bunny, abusive boyfriend/stalker had gotten his girlfriend/victim pregnant. Went nuts and shot her dead. He got caught here in Memphis. This hasn’t been reported in news yet, but supposedly shot girl 10 times, mostly in the abdomen.

      Reply
    2. Polar Donkey

      The kappa alphas at ole miss still have parties at old plantation house and dress in in antebellum costumes.

      Reply
      1. sleepy

        When I was at college in 1969, the KAs dressed up in confederate officer uniforms and rode horses around campus.

        Reply
  5. Plenue

    >“65% of online gamers face threats, stalking, other ‘severe harassment’” [CNET].

    Lumping all these things together is clunky at best. There’s a big difference between simple asinine trash-talking and harassment, much less stalking. Microsoft’s Xbox Live service has been synonymous with obnoxious foul mouthed twelve year olds for about the last fifteen years, as an example. ‘Your mom’ and rape jokes are so common as to be ubiquitous. I could well believe that 70% of girls and women in online games have been subjected to harsher harassment, but I think the percentage goes way down for males.

    Reply
    1. drexciya

      The “research” on which this article is based is very poorly done. In this case they’re referencing something produced by the ADL, which is totally an activist platform. It’s getting rather boring by now; games “journalists” are not journalists, but activists, and they will grasp at any straw to put the gaming community in a bad light. It’s also not surprising that all the usual suspects (Kotaku, PC Gamer) are also into this “research”.

      Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Many of us mistakenly believe horses sleep standing up.

      Not true, not during the REM phase.

      But a rich man or woman (or a teenager) can sleep standing up, if surrounded by enough strong money*.

      *some gluing might be required.

      Reply
        1. John k

          Friend of mine has a box there, goes most days in the season. I went with him a few years ago, got confused and bet on the wrong combo, which won! He said it was a miracle.

          Reply
  6. Dan

    “Hundreds of black deaths in 1919 are being remembered”

    Perpetrators all dead as survivors.
    How about something more recent? The guilty often still walking free.

    “Yet just as Galipeau was readying to leave, Mayor Tom Bradley went on the air stating that “we will not tolerate the savage beating of our citizens by a few renegade cops.” Though Bradley also appealed to Angelenos to stay calm, no one will know whether his comments helped incite a riot. But at 5:22, shortly after he finished speaking, an LAPD dispatcher reported that a group of eight black males were using baseball bats to break the car windows of passing motorists at Florence and Halldale avenues about 100 yards from Mr. Lee’s store. Shouting “Rodney, Rodney,” the group had attacked two whites who had driven an old Cadillac through the area and thrown rocks and beer bottles at other drivers. When officers drove up to interrogate the group of young men and two girls, they were met with a fusillade of insults. “F— y’all,” one of the men screamed. “What you gonna do, beat me?” “You sold out to the white man, Uncle Tom,” another one told officer Rick Banks, who is black.”

    https://www.usnews.com/news/articles/1993/05/23/the-untold-story-of-the-la-riot

    Reply
    1. pretzelattack

      yes cops get away with killing and beating innocent civilians way too often. and that provokes riots.

      Reply
    2. William Beyer

      Gary Krist’s book, “City of Scoundrels” covers the Chicago riot nicely, plus other unlikely events from 1919, including the crash of a flaming blimp through the roof of a bank in the Loop. A great read!

      Reply
  7. JohnnyGL

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7K2oOtr3JkQ

    LOL!!! Team Dem consultants at their best! Jennifer Holdsworth, who’s some kind of political consultant….has a ZERO tolerance policy for talk of Kamala Harris’ boost to her career path from her relationship with Willie Brown, even though he’s openly said he helped her get the DA job. She immediately pivots to smearing Tulsi Gabbard as an “Assad apologist”.

    Never change, dems!!!

    Reply
    1. Carey

      Good to hear from Holdsworth the Harris is “coalescing around a cohesive strategy”.
      I wonder what it’ll be?

      What strikes me is the complacency in that class..

      Reply
    2. Dan

      ” In the mid-1990s, Harris had dated Brown, who was investigated by the FBI when he was speaker of the California Assembly and as mayor was dogged by conflict of interest, and she had benefited from his political patronage. As the speaker of the state Assembly, Brown had named Harris to well-paid posts on the California Medical Assistance Commission and Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board. As mayor of San Francisco in 2003, Brown was supportive of her district attorney campaign although they were no longer dating. Critics—including her opponents—were bemoaning cronyism at City Hall.

      And so, when an audience member inside the church asked how, if elected district attorney, she could operate independently from Brown’s political machine, Harris was ready with not just an answer, but a counterpunch. “Make them understand that if they’re going to try to hurt you, they’re going to get more hurt,” Stearns said he counseled her.

      “That was her cue,” Stearns said. Harris dismissed the question for its negativity while highlighting the most salacious elements of her opponents’ records.”

      https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2019/01/24/kamala-harris-2020-history-224126

      Another Willie Brown girlfriend handed a cushy job, leading to another disaster:
      “she walked into Mayor Brown’s office and said she was looking for a job either in the District Attorney or Public Defender’s office and thought she would avoid the middle man and go straight to him. Brown remarked there was a hiring freeze in those departments. To which she somewhat jokingly responded, “that is ok, here is my resume, this is what I’ve done, and you can just make me deputy Mayor”. Willie Brown hired Maria Ayerdi-Kaplan on the spot and said she could be in charge of transportation work in his administration.”

      https://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/Editorial-Find-out-what-went-wrong-at-the-13260986.php
      “Sep 26, 2018 … San Francisco’s new Transbay Transit Center, a $2.2 billion unmitigated disaster for a project that’s already been plagued by problems ..

      Reply
    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Jennifer Holdsworth, who’s some kind of political consultant….has a ZERO tolerance policy for talk of Kamala Harris’ boost to her career path from her relationship with Willie Brown,

      Remember the Taylor Swift fans who were ticked off that Harris held a fundraiser with Scooter Braun, the guy who bought her master tapes? They all knew about Harris and Willie Brown. Holdsworth won’t be able to get the toothpaste back in the tube, no matter how hard she tries.

      Of course, being a “manipulative bully” is adaptive in the 1% environment, so there are many more Scooter Brauns — ugh, “Scooter” — but we don’t seem able to generalize.

      Reply
  8. Deschain

    As a gamer, I’d say – what percent of people have faced severe harassment IRL? I’d guess it’s above 70%. There is definitely a lot of shitty behavior in online games, I think especially towards women. However online gaming does offer an element of anonymity that can help prevent being targeted due to minority status.

    I’ve met my share of jerks in online games, but that is far outweighed by the positive experiences I’ve had.

    Reply
    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > As a gamer, I’d say – what percent of people have faced severe harassment IRL? I’d guess it’s above 70%.

      IRL???? That seems like a very high number to me — IRL, to me, implies doxxing, or people coming to your house, etc. With — what is it? — 40 million games, that’s a lot of harassment. Is it real? That’s why I asked readers.

      Reply
      1. Robb

        The ADL report is very puzzling. It seems to be extremely thin (751 responses) and light on granularity given what they’re surveying. They address hugely complex games with equally gigantic (and subdivided) audiences – I doubt many people surveyed have experience with more than a handful, especially given the genre spread they’ve gone for. They omit Call of Duty – a notoriously antagonistic community – and include Hearthstone, a game in which there is by design no direct communication between players (the maximal griefing you can achieve is putting together some sort of silly deck or refusing to quit a lost match). Very strange. Perhaps the CoD vector is too obvious.

        I’m very skeptical of some of the reported degrees of harassment. Multiplayer games are not identity-forward, in the sense that you only ever really know a player’s handle. You have to dig in player profiles outside the game typically to glean more information, unless they announce themselves (typically in voice-chat, which is rare in my experience on PC). Most harassment I’ve seen comes about as a consequence of the structural characteristics of games – there’s no referee, players are nearly always anonymous, skill and performance varies. Badmouthing is common, griefing/trolling unusual. Add to that the raw quantity of players you encounter and the engagement time of gamers – invariably you can run into some dingbats (and be one, naturally). No small number of people will say anything to get a rise, to boot.

        One distinctly troubling (or darkly ironic) part of the ADL report – they blithely conflate Holocaust denial and white supremacy alongside “Gamergate was right” as classes of misinformation. The preface also details a decidedly pro-media stance to the affair – presumably this is the intended audience. Not a great look.

        Reply
  9. Camp Lo

    Ida no. Didn’t Dee Dee Ramone write “Chinese Rocks”? Thinking… Opiates and OD’n were on the NY rock radars in the 70’s. That or ‘ludes and alcohol. Also, deadly. But how else is a mook going to get sedated? *And am I the only one who finds refreshing the danger and freedom possibly found on a scooter, so unlike the nerf-ness inherent to 2019 stuff. I wouldn’t be caught dead on one, but I can inline skate much faster through traffic, bike lanes, and sidewalks. So I get it. No terrain off-limits, and close proximity to vehicles and pedestrians, is appealing, analogous to skiing. I champion moderate doses of peril in order to introduce possibility into your life, but more compellingly, a route by which the collective is reintroduced to the potential for societal change vis-à-vis heightened sensory stimulation. But also, a chance to jail-break those scooters and re-appropriate directly from private equity, for those having that yen. Bringing it back back to 70’s NY rocknroll, self-proclaimed artist-mutant Patti Smith sings, “The storm that brings harm / Also makes fertile.”

    Reply
    1. neo-realist

      Reading the Rolling Stone Article, I came away with abusive parenting creates anti-authoritarian people, and, in better outcomes, rock and rollers

      Reply
    2. Mo's Bike Shop

      Carbona Not Glue

      Scooters story makes me wonder if local reporting is being as assiduous about ‘was wearing ear pods’ as they have been about ‘not wearing a helmet.’

      I remember back in two thousand something, when Doctor Who was presenting a parallel Earth with everyone walking around with huge dual wireless earpieces, and thinking that that it was a bit much. I naively thought that basic human vanity would intervene. Now I suspect the ear pods will become symbols of disconnection, status, and insouciance, growing as large as can be succesfully wedged into the ear, eventually leaving everyone with a silhouette that vaguely resembles Mr. Gumby.

      Hello!: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ve2iAxzXFPE

      Reply
    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Opiates and OD’n were on the NY rock radars in the 70’s. That or ‘ludes and alcohol. Also, deadly.

      I believe today’s opioids (like today’s marijuana) are more powerful. Also, the culture is more decayed.

      > I champion moderate doses of peril in order to introduce possibility into your life

      All very well until the scooter-riding organ donor goes under some innocent’s car on the freeway, and they have to live it with for the rest their life

      Reply
  10. Darthbobber

    Of course Pelosi would like to downplay that little contretemps, as the drive-by shooting of the squad didn’t work out as hoped.

    And it’s the media’s fault that they failed to recognize that her very public attacks were not really intended to be public. Sure

    Reply
  11. flora

    re: American Bridge, to repeat –

    “Democratic super PAC launches ‘hyper-local’ ads targeting Trump supporters in rural America” [McClatchy]. “American Bridge officials describe their effort as one that will forgo conventional TV and digital ads and instead fixate on what they identify as “hyper-local” effects of Trump’s policies in each targeted rural area…. The campaign will focus on featuring rural voters who feel burned by the White House and are willing to speak on camera about it. Their stories, rather than just polling data, will drive the media strategy, the officials said…. American Bridge has traditionally been in charge of Democrats’ national opposition-research efforts, providing damaging footage and information about Republican candidates up and down the ballot. Running a large paid-media campaign like this, officials there acknowledge, is a different effort than they’re used to.”

    Ignore rural American until Pres election year. Swoop in to campaign for donations then leave for another 4 years. Meanwhile, more and more statehouse seats go to the GOP. Yes, yes, a repeat of the standard fare with better advertising should work. /s

    Reply
    1. flora

      Not that I doubt the sincerity of their effort… I’m sure their very sincere about wanting to raise money. /s

      2020
      State legislative campaign

      On April 4, 2019, Politico reported that American Bridge was launching a campaign to flip state legislatures ahead of the 2020 census redistricting. The initiative reportedly involved partnering with Democratic groups and creating a three-person research team.[5]

      $50 million Midwest campaign

      On March 21, 2019, NBC reported that American Bridge officials were on a national fundraising tour designed to raise an extra $50 million to target working-class voters in the Upper Midwest during the 2020 presidential election season.[6] ” (my emphasis)

      https://ballotpedia.org/American_Bridge_21st_Century

      Reply
      1. laughingsong

        ” American Bridge is David Brock, so there must be some sleazy, horrid angle to this.”

        Paid actors

        Reply
        1. Cal2

          Oh, it can’t be THIS David Brock, can it?
          Odds on the slimeball trying to switch sides to Trump after he’s elected? Even Trump would reject him.

          “The task force designed to stop the spread of online misinformation and misogyny is the brainchild of David Brock, a Clinton confidant who once made a career of spreading such misinformation and misogynistic attacks against her and Bill Clinton. His critics say he kept his taste for dirty tricks when he switched sides to become one of the Clintons’ most valued operatives.”

          “The mere mention of Correct the Record makes some critics seethe. Super PACs are typically prohibited from working in tandem with candidates, but Correct the Record is doing just that by exploiting a loophole in campaign finance law that it says permits such coordination with digital campaigns.”

          https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-clinton-digital-trolling-20160506-snap-htmlstory.html

          Reply
          1. flora

            I’m sure it will be different this time. Because different candidate at the top. (If you believe that … I have an American bridge to sell you.)

            https://www.politico.com/story/2016/04/clinton-fundraising-leaves-little-for-state-parties-222670

            ‘In the days before Hillary Clinton launched an unprecedented big-money fundraising vehicle with state parties last summer, she vowed “to rebuild our party from the ground up,” proclaiming “when our state parties are strong, we win. That’s what will happen.”

            ‘But less than 1 percent of the $61 million raised by that effort has stayed in the state parties’ coffers, according to a POLITICO analysis of the latest Federal Election Commission filings.

            ‘ “It’s a one-sided benefit,” said an official with one participating state party. The official, like those with several other state parties, declined to talk about the arrangement on the record for fear of drawing the ire of the DNC and the Clinton campaign.’

            And before Hills there was O.
            https://www.lifezette.com/2016/11/obama-leaves-democratic-party-in-shambles/

            Reply
    2. edmondo

      Why is it that the Democrats are focused on “Donald Trump sucks” but never, ever say what they want to do to help these rural voters, you know, promote policies over personalities.

      Memo to David Brock: We all know Trump sucks. So does Joe Biden…and Kamala Harris…as does Hickenblooper and Mayo Pete and…

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Why is it that the Democrats are focused on “Donald Trump sucks” but never, ever say what they want to do to help these rural voters, you know, promote policies over personalities.

        I just wish Democrats cared enough to fake it. Trump did.

        Reply
        1. John k

          Well… to fake it you have to actually go there and pretend to care. And there’s no money in the rust belt, explaining why Hillary never dropped in as she shuttled back and forth from NY and CA.
          For the typ dem candidate Detroit is really offputting… and the waters terrible, wouldn’t bathe in it. Pipes or something…
          Granted, Trump did go there… but do dems want to win that bad? Oppo is so easy, the script writes itself… and just make stuff up, they’ll print anything…

          Reply
        2. RMO

          “I just wish Democrats cared enough to fake it. Trump did.”

          Dead in the center of the “10” ring on the bullseye there Lambert. When a group of politicians doesn’t even think it worth the effort to ply the citizens with BS to get their vote (let alone formulate and enact policies which would actually make things better) it really shows the contempt they have for them.

          Reply
    3. Mo's Bike Shop

      Am I a hyper-local? Will hyper-locals be able to opt out of the invasive data mining necessary to carry out this strategy?

      Will any of that more complex solution give better results than sending one competent-looking snail mail inquiry to each of the surveiled? The DNC ‘surveys’ I get in the mailbox have less quality and design value than your average discount meat club mailer.

      The Democratic Party: they’d rather spy on you than court voters who might vote split ticket.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        We get those same Democrat mailers. You are right about the lack of ‘sophistication’ they display. The most important part of those mailers seems to be the ‘contributions’ form. (We take credit cards! This donation is not tax deductible. Etc.)
        Has the, send them a bunch of lead weights trick taken off yet?

        Reply
  12. DJG

    On the mirroring in the neural network of our brains of the galaxy above. Fascinating graph in the middle showing a convergence.

    I am reminded of the pagan view: Stealing from Wikipedia. >

    “As above, so below” is an aphorism associated with Sacred geometry, Hermeticism, and the Tarot.

    The phrase derives from a passage in the Emerald Tablet (variously attributed to Hermes Trismegistus or Pseudo-Apollonius of Tyana). The 16th-century scholar Chrysogonus Polydorus provides the following version translated from the original Arabic into Latin:

    Quod est inferius est sicut quod est superius. Et quod est superius est sicut quod est inferius, ad perpetranda miracula rei unius.

    In Hermeticism, the phrase can be taken to indicate that earthly matters reflect the operation of the astral plane, particularly “by other means than mundane chains of cause and effect, such as Jungian synchronicities or correspondences.”[1]

    In a secular context, the phrase can refer to the idea that the microcosm reflects the macrocosm – for example, that individual or domestic ills can result from larger societal ills.

    And Jung. The article is synchronicity. You’d think that the constant discoveries that we are threads in the net of the Cosmos would somehow stop us from ruining our own (and only) planet.

    I note also that the authors are Italians, who have been studying the heavens for thousands of years. Check out “thunder calendars,” which I just learned about from the estimable Jörg Rüpke and his book Pantheon.

    Reply
    1. readerOfTeaLeaves

      Just… wow. This is why I try to read NC comments ;-)
      Now downloading… thanks so much for this reference!

      Reply
    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I was just thinking about the ‘as above, so below’ the other day, while remembering something from Carl Sagan’s Cosmos, about how the human fetus goes through stages from conception to birth, similar to our species’ evoluation from the beginning in the primodial soup to the wise ape (or something like that).

      Similarly, as the society, so the individual, in the sense that we have a left wing and a right wing (even to include the radical left wing and radical right wing regions) in the society, and that we should also have a right wing and a left wing inclination within each of us.

      That is, we are all right wingers and left wingers, simulataneously.

      And it’s meaningless to charge someone as a left winger, or a right winger.

      Reply
      1. MichaelSF

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recapitulation_theory

        “The theory of recapitulation, also called the biogenetic law or embryological parallelism—often expressed using Ernst Haeckel’s phrase “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny”—is a historical hypothesis that the development of the embryo of an animal, from fertilization to gestation or hatching (ontogeny), goes through stages resembling or representing successive adult stages in the evolution of the animal’s remote ancestors (phylogeny).”

        Reply
      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > as above, so below

        If you think it is adaptive for the brain (a network) to be able to model the universe (as a network), then it makes sense for the self-similarity of the first to model the second; it really would be a map/territory scenario.

        But I wonder what set of perceptions would have been used as a proxy for “the universe”? My guess would be the stars — a network of which would have been of sufficient scale to induce such a promiscuous and massive network of connections, back 50,000 or 100,000 years ago, before light pollution, haze from fires, and so so.

        Reply
    3. ewmayer

      Gonna put on my skeptical-scientist hat:

      “Is the apparent similarity [between images of the cosmic web and the brain] just the human tendency to perceive meaningful patterns in random data (apophenia)? Remarkably enough, the answer seems to be no: Statistical analysis shows these systems do indeed present quantitative similarities.”

      I suggest the above ‘mystical convergence’ is just a higher-order version of finding patterns in random data: compare enough power spectra of complex physical systems and you will inevitably find some ‘remarkable’ similarities.

      I do appreciate the Star-Trekky “perhaps galaxy networks are giant webs of consciousnes with ‘thoughts’ that take place over millions of years” angle, though.

      Reply
  13. Wukchumni

    “In the US, wells being drilled ever deeper as groundwater vanishes” [Ars Technica]. “[C]urrent levels of groundwater use are not sustainable: resources are being steadily depleted as groundwater use outpaces natural replenishment…..
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Water wells in some parts of the Central Valley have hit brackish water at around 1,100 feet or so, as in game over for groundwater for many, which in a normal year supplies around 40-50% of an orchard’s needs, and during the long drought, closer to 100%.

    There’s gonna be one heck of a lot of almond firewood available sometime soon…

    Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        67 year old farmer to his grandson:

        “Sorry we turned what could have been hundreds of years worth of water underfoot, into a rather useless desert after squandering the resources in a race to the bottom, but the Chinese were willing to pay $3 a pound for almonds, i’m sure you understand.”

        Reply
      2. Darius

        Almond trees are thirsty. Does it make sense to grow them on a vastly unprecedented scale in an arid zone?

        Reply
        1. Lee

          Arid in the case of the California central valley is a function of population and the most intensively engineered water system in the world managed to serve that population. Prior to massive “reclamation” projects the central valley was a vast wetland.

          Reply
          1. Milton

            I replied with a bit of snark as im sure Wukchumni is well aware of those huge billboards along the 5 and 99-put up by the local agribusiness growers. Believe me, im no fan.

            Reply
      3. Lee

        To the extent that people are to numerous or a waste of space, yes.

        I’m assuming that some amount of the water used for irrigation returns to the aquifers or is otherwise beneficially recycled. Would the farmers and hydrologists among us care to add to the NC burgeoning fund of knowledge on this?

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          The irrigation in drain stays mainly in the plain!

          But that said, you’re not recharging 166 fathoms down under from whence it came…

          Reply
        2. Monty

          These farmers are among the greediest and most selfish individuals in our society.

          Rest assured they don’t waste profits pumping water that goes to help anyone but themselves.

          Reply
      4. John k

        It takes a gallon of water to grow one almond.
        Ca is an arid desert. Water that falls in mountains drains thru the desert to the ocean.
        Three water intensive crops are grown there, mostly for export… rice, almonds and alfalfa. Dairy is also water intensive, though mostly for locals. Farmers donate to maintain access to water while urban folks see rationing at times… nothing wrong with urbans planting drought resistant shrubs, but farmers should be limited to low water consuming crops, too.
        Some day a ballot measure will change the allocation between farmers, which get the vast majority of all water allocated to humans, and the other 30 million in the state… grow water intensive stuff where it rains regularly.

        Reply
  14. Jeff W

    “Elizabeth Warren Has a Radical Plan to Beat Trump at His Own Game” [Bloomberg].

    It’s part of a fusillade of proposals that are more aggressive, far-reaching—and expensive—than any previous Democratic front-runner would have dared venture…

    [Emphasis added.]

    Aside from whether that claim is true or not, doesn’t that sentence read as if Warren is the current Democratic front-runner?

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Warren is in a good position to quote Chief Joseph – how can we buy or sell the sky? The land? Health care? Employment?

      Reply
  15. readerOfTeaLeaves

    The happiness of the otaku: Daydreaming to well-being” [Japan Times].
    Thanks for this sublime little nugget ;-)

    Reply
        1. RMO

          Personally I think you would have to go with Joy Division to really match Brexit up with music – no one does hopeless despair better.

          Reply
    1. neo-realist

      The progressives who voted yea probably weren’t crazy about the defense spending increase, but felt it was the only way to get increased domestic spending while the Presidency and Senate are in control of the republicans. Not all that black and white. Hard to be a progressive opposition when you’re outnumbered not just by republicans but also by neoliberal democrats

      Reply
      1. 3.14e-9

        My Democratic congressman voted against it. Brindisi claims to be a Blue Dog, but I suspect that he’s a closet progressive. NY-22 is a deep red district, and he narrowly won his seat in 2018, so he’s doing a tightrope walk over a political Grand Canyon. And the lazy self-promoting lunatic he defeated in 2018 recently started making noise about mounting a challenge in 2020, saying she’s the only candidate who can beat him (LOL).

        As I see it, voting against the bill clearly was a no-brainer for him, given that it was going to pass with or without him, and he got to chalk up some points with Republican constituents. His justification was the typical “mortgaging our children’s future” BS, for which he caught a lot of flak on his FB page from the left side – ironically, arguing with MMT! One commenter linked to a Stephanie Kelton YouTube video!

        Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      When we make the turn on Hwy 198 @ 1,000 feet to go to our cabin @ 7,000 feet, the differential is a minimum of 3.5 degrees cooler for every thousand feet of altitude gained, but can vary quite a bit. Last trip was 97 @ the bottom and 67 @ the cabin, a 5 degree drop per 1,000 foot altitude gain. It’s typically 4 degrees on average.

      Getting high is not an option for many, but is a natural way to beat the heat.

      Reply
    2. Wukchumni

      The couple whose wedding we went to last week were headed to Paris for their honeymoon 3 days ago, and keeping with the ‘heat conflict’ index, I wonder if they had their first fight, on account of?

      Reply
  16. Lee

    Trump Signs Agreement With Guatemala To Limit Asylum Seekers

    https://www.npr.org/2019/07/26/745727128/trump-signs-agreement-with-guatemala-to-limit-asylum-seekers

    Refugees International President Eric Schwartz said Guatemala is “in no way safe for refugees and asylum seekers.” He said the agreement “also violates U.S. law and will put some of the most vulnerable people in Central America in grave danger. At the moment, it is not clear exactly what arrangement has been reached in light of the Guatemalan Constitutional Court’s provisional decision against a third country agreement.”

    At least two cities in the U.S., St. Louis and Baltimore, have higher murder rates than Guatemala City. How about sanctuary cities for residents of these and other dangerous U.S. environs?

    Reply
    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Yes, on the one hand the United States is a racist hellhole, on the other we must admit as many as possible to experience that same racism.

      “The United States: Come for the remittances, stay for the racism!”™

      Rant:

      I wouldn’t be so crazed by the open borders crowd if they were also advocates for the international working class, which they could show by (for example) advocating for a world-wide minimum wage or at least singing or humming along with the The Internationale every so often. But they don’t. So what we have is a repellent admixture of sincere but gooey humanitarianism* and self-interest in the form of (a) labor arbitrage (somebody’s gotta clean the granite countertops and take care of little Madison) and (b) a quest for partisan demographic advantage (the Democrat “coalition of the ascendant”**). The whole combination is beyond hypocrisy, beyond even virtue-signaling. The whole complex of ideas makes me want to hang myself with the straps of my NPR tote bag. It shouldn’t be possible to moralize with no principles at all, but here we are.***

      NOTES

      * There ought to be word for the opposite of a “selfie,” by which I mean a photograph that manipulates our capacity for empathy for political gain (the classic example being the “ventilator babies” fiction used to justify the first Iraq war, which turned out to be propagated by the (cute, relatable, teenage) daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador. The “heart-tug-ie” was also ubiquitous when our policy in Syria was creating all those refugees, but since all sides were faking digital evidence, it was impossible to know when one’s heart should have been tugged and when not. “Manipul-ies” are also ubiquitous in the current storyline refugee story line (with the occasional blooper that one’s heart should be tugged by images that are post January 21, 2017, but not by pictures before that date. (This is called “deceptive similarity” in trademark ligitation.) At least for me, my defense against the manipulation and fakery is to harden my heart not only against such pictures, but against the entire genre. I can’t be the only one, and I can’t think the effects socially are good.

      ** We hear a good deal, mostly true, about the importance of the rule of law and its violation by the Administration. We rarely hear the idea expressed that if the rule of law is paramount, then there should be some sort of reaction by the State to individuals who are living and working in this country without visas. (I find this, frankly, astonishing. Nobody in their right mind would say I could simply move to Canada without a visa and live there so I could use their fine Medicare for All system instead of our own barbaric “health” “care” “system.” I’m not a citizen of that country! Ditto anybody who has gone through the process of acquiring a retirement visa for expatriation. You don’t just get to expatriate because you want to, not even if your motives are the best in the world! And if the rule of law is paramount, then sanctuary cities are the equivalent of John C. Calhoun’s theory of nullification from the 1820s (except, see above, this time local entities are nullifying Federal law for (a) labor arbitrage and (b) partisan gain, as opposed to slavery. Which I suppose is progress, so “progressive.”)

      *** It’s entirely possible to believe that we should abolish the vile Joe Lieberman’s ICE and not support open borders; we got along fine without ICE, and it looks to me like we’re creating a cadre of goons who’ve lost their empathy as a deformation professionelle, and that these goons may well be employed at far worse tasks in the future. It’s clear that the “deterrence” policy (i.e., the camps; child separation) initiated by Obama (says AOC) and intensified and nastified by Trump, is a failure, both in its own terms, and for what it does to the county and the organs of State security. Surely it’s possible to move beyond the moralizing the come up with some sort of policy?

      close rant

      Reply
      1. Left in Wisconsin

        Excellent rant.

        Found myself ranting at a small crowd of very liberal friends last night – yes Trump bad, no Trump not worse than W, no Trump not worse than Reagan, not clear if Dems are really interested in winning. Crowd was all big Warren fans, most not fans of Harris (esp the Californians), all believers that Bernie is a ranting old man. (Anecdotal confirmation of polling data on Warren supporters from the other day.) They were good with me until talk turned of the border and kids in cages. Then there was no having it and the only correct answer is “Trump really is the devil.”

        Reply
    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Well, we have only 24 years to go before wypipo (however defined*) are no longer a minority, and Democrats dominate, according to their theory of change (“coalition of the ascendant”). In geological terms, that’s practically an eyeblink.

      * Obviously, some likely candidates — Asians, Latinx’s of the better sort — will become white, as the Irish, etc., before them. Who knew, ascriptive identity is not essentialist and can be managed and manipulated for class purposes.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        The tell is that one needs the official approval of a medical professional, the quintessence of 10%erism, to change one’s ascription.

        Reply
  17. bruce

    You had a household event? Please tell us more, for our amusement. My household is pretty stable, if I say so myself, and it would have to be an apocalyptic event for me to talk about it on the internet.

    Reply
  18. Summer

    Re: Two longtime Biden African American supporters in S. Carolina defect to Tim Ryan” [NBC]….”Tim Ryan?”

    Any more inexplicable than “longtime Biden supporters”?

    Reply
  19. Chris

    I wonder how this is playing in San Francisco tonight?

    Anyone else know if these 3 pushing for the articles of impeachment is real or not?

    Reply
    1. Cal2

      The long-of-tooth astrology hags in the Haight Ashbury are undoubtedly high-fiving.

      “It’s over for him now! I’m voting for Kamala Harris, she’s for the people–like me!”

      ;-)

      Reply
  20. JohnHerbieHancock

    Just read that blurb about the Ramones, and the next song that popped up on my itunes random play was “I Don’t Want to Walk Around With You” by none other than…

    Coincidence? Creepy? Cool?

    Reply
  21. Michael C

    “Again, there’s only one litmus test for balloting: Hand-marked paper ballots, hand-counted in public. Anybody who tries to sell you a digital intermediary is selling fraud.”

    Yes, and imagine if counted at the precinct level in public with citizens from the precinct watching on? I remember the old voting booths as a kid in Ohio. Voting was a neighborhood affair, and many people walked to the booth, seeing neighbors, a sense of community. That is what democracy looks like, a social event.

    Reply

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