2:00PM Water Cooler 8/19/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Readers, this Water Cooler is a bit light because I’m finishing up a post. –lambert


“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

I’m abandoning the RCP poll on the Democrat Presidential nomination race, despite the fancy presentation, because I don’t like the way the polls used keep changing (and RCP doesn’t include Reuters/IPSOS either, at least not now, even though Reuter is one of the polls that the DNC uses to determine — if that’s the word I want — candidate eligibility for the debates. So I’ll try FiveThirtyEight (I know, I know) for awhile. Here are results going a week back:

Although FiveThirtyEight doesn’t give a view of the polling over time, it rates the pollsters, gives the sample size, and categorizes the sample (e.g., likely voter). Morning Consult is obviously the pick of the litter today, and it has Biden, Sanders, and Warren, in that order, and — despite some excitable stories to the contrary — Sanders solidly ahead of Warren. Maybe somebody clever has found a way to turn FiveThirtyEight’s data into a fancy, RCP-like chart, and if so, I’ll take a look at that.

* * *


Buttigieg (D)(1): “‘A heavy lift’: SC’s religious black voters weigh Pete Buttigieg’s bid” [Post and Courier]. “Joe Darby, a South Carolina pastor in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, pondered a sensitive question that he knew was on the mind of his congregation. Would black voters be able to reconcile their conservative religious doctrine with voting for a gay candidate for president? ‘It’s a heavy lift in the black church,’ says Darby, who is also a Charleston-area NAACP leader. ‘Just as nobody who is racist likes to say, ‘I’m a racist,’ nobody who is homophobic in the black community likes to say, ‘I’m homophobic.””

Harris (D)(1): “‘I Believe in Capitalism’: Kamala Harris Courts Big Donors in the Hamptons” [Bloomberg]. “Teslas and Maseratis lined the street as Kamala Harris greeted guests sipping drinks from plastic cups with her name on them and eating cinnamon sugar donuts from Dreesen’s at a fund-raiser hosted by movie executive Jamie Patricof and his wife Kelly as the summer of Democratic fund-raisers rolled on in East Hampton.” •

O’Rourke (D)(1): “2020 hopeful Beto O’Rourke visited an Arkansas gun show to talk about gun control” [ABC]. “O’Rourke, who was in between campaign events in Arkansas on Saturday, paid $10 to enter the event, and walked through aisles lined with handguns, AR-15s, stun guns, hunting rifles, scopes, magazines and knives before striking up a conversation with Preston Linck, who was selling handguns and rifles. Linck, who later said he doesn’t identify with either political party, supports closing the so-called gun-show loophole and requiring background checks for all gun sales.” • Good for O’Rourke.

Sanders (D)(1):

Ian Sams is National Press Secretary for Harris.

NH: “A tale of two rallies: Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have similar ideas but competing paths to 2020 victory” [Los Angeles Times]. “A pair of rallies last week by the two candidates, only 11 miles apart on consecutive days in New Hampshire’s mountainous North Country, showcased their differences of style, tone and potential paths to the Democratic nomination…. Sanders spoke at a small-town opera house in Littleton to about 300 supporters, including many from his 2016 following who are crucial to his ability to win. Warren went to a splashier setting — a tony estate in Franconia with a spectacular view of the White Mountains — to address an audience of 700, which included not just die-hard supporters but also curious voters checking her out for the first time…. Warren’s coalition is older , better educated and more affluent. Sanders has stronger appeal to young voters, people without a college degree and the less affluent. That puts Sanders in competition with Biden for blue-collar voters.”

NM: “Progressive or Former DCCC Head for Senator of New Mexico?” [The Intercept]. • I’m thinking….

* * *

“Does anyone understand the 2020 race? This scholar nailed the blue wave — here’s her forecast” (interview) [Salon]. “July 1, newcomer Rachel Bitecofer, assistant director of the Judy Ford Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia, released her prediction of a 42-seat ‘blue wave,’ while also citing the Arizona and Texas U.S. Senate races as “toss-ups.” Her startling prediction was numerically close to perfect; Democrats will end up with a gain of 40 or 41 seats, depending how the re-run in North Carolina’s 9th district turns out.” Bitecofer: “The explanation, of course, is that it was this giant turnout of core constituencies, that either are Democrats or favor Democrats — they’re independents who favor Democrats — and they have a huge turnout explosion. So it’s not the same pool of voters changing their minds and voting Democrat after voting Republican because of the issue of health care. It’s a whole different pool of voters. They might have many reasons that they cite, and probably this is not the reason they would cite. But what made them enraged and show up is Trump Inc., the negative partisanship. I don’t know why Nancy Pelosi, the DCCC or many of these moderate members are convinced that moderate Republicans crossed over and voted for them. I have the data for some of these districts and the data tells a very different, very clear story: If Republicans voted in huge numbers, they voted for Republicans.” • Important!

“In God’s country: Evangelicals view Trump as their protector. Will they stand by him in 2020?” [Elizabeth Bruenig, WaPo]. “On Holy Saturday, the day before Easter, I met Joe and Daniel Aguilar, both evangelical, 65 and 33, respectively, father and son. While age has increasingly defined political divisions nationwide — most notably inside the Democratic Party — research has revealed a surprising continuity between older and younger evangelicals. As professor Ryan Burge of Eastern Illinois University has found using survey data, while younger evangelicals show signs of parting from their elders when it comes to prioritizing issues such as immigration, young white evangelicals voted for Trump at roughly the same rate as their parents and grandparents. But a fraction — less than 20 percent — didn’t, and Daniel was among them.” • I like Bruenig because she doesn’t caricature her interviewees and sources. This is well worth a read.

Oh no. No. Please, no:

“May be the party’s most effective message” cuts both ways…

“The Dow Drops” [The Big Picture]. This rant is all over the place, but the conclusion: “I thought America was the land of DOERS!” • See above.

2018 Post Mortem

“CNN Focus Group: Obama Voters Explain Why They Voted For Trump, Talk 2020 Choices” [RealClearPolitics]. From June, still germane. The last comment: “WIMBLEY: You know what? I deserve a better life as an American. When you can take care of Americans and I’ve got something left over, I’ll give it to you.” That’s scarcity talking; austerity. On the other hand, if the role of the State is not to take care of its citizens first, what is it?

Realignment and Legitimacy

Decay of religion:

“Art Spiegelman: golden age superheroes were shaped by the rise of fascism” [Guardian]. “Enter Jerry Siegel, an aspiring teenage writer, and Joe Shuster, a young would-be artist – both nerdy alienated Jewish misfits many decades before that was remotely cool. They dreamed of the fame, riches and admiring glances from girls that a syndicated strip might bring, and developed their idea of a superhuman alien from a dying planet who would fight for truth, justice and the values of President Roosevelt’s New Deal. Barely out of childhood themselves, the boys’ idea was rejected by the newspaper syndicates as naive, juvenile and unskilled, before Gaines bought their 13 pages of Superman samples for Action Comics at 10 bucks a page – a fee that included all rights to the character. Not only was Siegel and Shuster’s creation the model for the brand new genre that came to define the medium, their lives were the tragic paradigm for creators bilked of the large rewards their creations brought their publishers.” • History of comic books.

Stats Watch

E-Commerce Retail Sales, Q2 2019: “E-commerce sales rose a quarterly 4.2 percent in the second quarter versus a revised 4.0 percent in the first quarter” [Econoday]. “As a percentage of total retail sales, second-quarter e-commerce rose 2 tenths to 10.7 percent.” • Ya know, the nice thing about shopping in a bricks-and-mortar store is that there are no dark patterns. I think.

Big Ag: “Corn Industry Reeling After Shocking Ethanol Decision” [Safe Haven]. • The mix between oil and ethanol in fuel is set by “waivers” granted by the EPA. This year, ethanol got the short end of the stick. Sorry, Iowa farmers, but ethanol was always a boondoggle.

Tech: “Biostar security software ‘leaked a million fingerprints'” [BBC]. • Please reset your biometrics.

Tech: “Wireless Carrier Throttling of Online Video Is Pervasive” [Bloomberg]. “U.S. wireless carriers have long said they may slow video traffic on their networks to avoid congestion and bottlenecks. But new research shows the throttling happens pretty much everywhere all the time. Researchers from Northeastern University and University of Massachusetts Amherst conducted more than 650,000 tests in the U.S. and found that from early 2018 to early 2019, AT&T Inc. throttled Netflix Inc. 70% of the time and Google’s YouTube service 74% of the time. But AT&T didn’t slow down Amazon.com Inc.’s Prime Video at all.” • My goodness!

Tech: “AI emerges as new teacher for music education in China” [Nikkei Asian Review]. “The piano is especially suited for online instruction and visualization of sounds because each key on the keyboard represents a specific music note, making it clear when the student makes a mistake in finger position. Some 20,000 pieces of music, played by professional pianists, are stored in 01yinyue, and the process of playing is shown on the chart on the screen in real time when any of them is reproduced. Tempo and finger pressure, as well as pedal techniques and finger movements, are also displayed on the chart. The user’s performance is checked via smartphone or tablet and evaluated, and mistakes are pointed out in real time. Based on the practicing data, the app works out a new practicing plan for the user.” • An over-wrought headline. Playing the piano is good, but it’s not the same as “music education.”

Tech: “China Now Has AI-Powered Judges” [Radii]. “This virtual judge, whose abilities are based on intelligent speech and image synthesizing technologies, is to be used for the completion of ‘repetitive basic work’ only, according to the Beijing Internet Court’s official statement on the move. That means she’ll mostly be dealing with litigation reception and online guidance.” Another over-wrought headline. Not “judge.” “Receptionist.”

Transportation: “UPS Has Been Secretly Delivering Mail in Self-Driving Trucks for Months” [Interesting Engineering]. “The parcel delivery company has revealed a collaboration with [China’s] TuSimple. In a statement, they said that, since May, the autonomous truck company has been carrying UPS cargo on a 115-mile route between Phoenix and Tucson.” • No snow, straight roads. No left turns?

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 26 Fear (previous close: 20, Extreme Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 23 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Aug 19 at 12:39pm. Note that the index is not always updated daily, sadly.

Rapture Index: Closes down one on Oil Supply/Price. “The oil prices are down on oversupply” [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 184. Remember that bringing on the rapture is a good thing.

The Biosphere

“Bee population recovering due to regenerative farming, producers say” [Global News (CI)]. “The new farming system, and increased number of bees, has attracted the attention of General Mills, the maker of Cheerios and Lucky Charms. ‘This is all-important to rebuild [the] soil health from areas where we source the ingredients,’ said Jim Eckberg, a General Mills research agronomist. He said that GM is interested in the regenerative agriculture that Dancey, Kernaleguen and Elmy are using to improve the sustainability in their supply chain. ‘Ultimately, to move into the 21st century, to be able to cope with the big challenges we have we need a healthier soil base,’ he said, referring to soil depletion and sustainability.” • General Mills?!

“Bizarre Happenings in the Far North: Lightning, Tropical Moisture, and More” [Weather Underground]. “You’ll have to forgive the Arctic. It’s had a rough summer. Sea ice is running neck and neck with 2012 for the lowest values on record for this time of year. Wildfires are ringing the Arctic, pouring more carbon dioxide into the air than in any comparable period in 17 years of satellite observing. Alaska saw its hottest month by far in almost a century of recordkeeping. And a surge of warm air with origins in last month’s record-devouring European heat wave pushed across Greenland at the end of July, melting 55 million tons of sea ice in five days. That’s an unprecedented rate in satellite records, according to the European Union’s Copernicus project, and more than three times the average melt rate for 1981-2010.

The past several days have doubled down, bringing weather events that wouldn’t be out of place in the U.S. South but that stand out in the far north like a magnolia tree sitting on tundra.”

“NASA’s Investigating the Impact of Arctic Wildfires on Earth. Here’s Why” [Space.com]. “Using a combination of field and laboratory work, as well as satellite and airborne observations, NASA is launching a study of the effects of Arctic wildfires in Alaska on the surrounding habitat and people’s health, as well as how the increased frequency of these events affects climate forecasting…. Wildfires in the Arctic contribute to carbon emissions created by the burning of a thick, carbon-rich layer of soil, which also acts as an insulation for the permafrost — a frozen layer of ground that lies beneath the soil. ‘When you burn the soil on top it’s as if you had a cooler and you opened the lid,’ Hoy said. ‘The permafrost underneath thaws and you’re allowing the soil to decompose and decay, so you’re releasing even more carbon into the atmosphere.’ The thawing of this layer of ground also causes land subsidence and soil collapse, according to NASA.”

“California oil regulators made ‘dummy’ approval files for risky drill permits, records show” [Desert Sun]. “Just as chefs and cleaners use steam to remove stubborn bits of dirt from pots and carpets, oil companies in California use steam injection to extract the state’s uniquely heavy, hard-to-pump petroleum. The process, while effective, is also dangerous and environmentally destructive, experts say. Since a Chevron oil worker died in a boiling sinkhole in 2011, regulations on the practice have gradually tightened. But employees inside California’s embattled Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources, or DOGGR, say higher-ups are using empty “dummy” files that allow petroleum firms to avoid upfront reviews of the risky projects and keep operations moving. Documents and emails obtained by The Desert Sun appear to back up their assertions.” • Everything is like CalPERS…

“We Can’t Confront Climate Change While Lavishly Funding the Pentagon” [Truthout]. “When we talk about the U.S. as the ‘world’s policeman,’ much of the beat Uncle Sam walks is paved with oil. The Persian Gulf, the Niger River Basin Region of Africa, the Horn of Africa, the South China Sea, Central Asia, Venezuela and Libya are all places of U.S. ‘national interest’ because U.S. policymakers are really interested in preserving the dominant role of hydrocarbons in the global economy.”


Interesting framing:

Class Warfare

Unpaid Miners Blocked a Coal Train in Protest. Weeks Later, They’re Still There.” [New York Times]. “A protest that began with five men blocking a train full of coal has grown into a small 24-hour tent city along some railroad tracks next to the highway. It has become a pilgrimage site for labor activists, a rallying point for the community — “a tailgate party on steroids,” as one local official approvingly put it. And it is the first organized miners’ protest that anyone can remember for decades in Harlan County, Ky., a place once virtually synonymous with bloody labor wars…. A philanthropic foundation gave $2,000 to each miner, and the owner of a local Chinese restaurant has raised thousands of dollars for them on her own…. Much of the daily life at the tent city has been organized by a group of activists who are camping there, many of whom identify as transgender and anarchist. The activists came from around the region in the first few days of the blockade, some with experience operating these sorts of camps at environmental protests, and they quickly got to work running the kitchen and tapping networks of liberal interest groups for contributions.” • Fascinating! Apparently, they train they’re stopping has a million dollars worth of coal on it. A million dollars would solve a lot of problems

“‘Deaths Of Despair’ Grew Slowly In Arizona, But Still Higher Than U.S.” [Arizona Independent (RH)]. “Deaths of despair – the catchall name for deaths from drug overdoses, alcohol and suicide – have seen ‘alarming’ increases across the country since 2005, said the Commonwealth Fund’s Scorecard on State Health System Performance for 2019. The report, released in June, said those increases have come as access to health care has started to level off after several years of improvement when states were expanding access to Medicaid. It said most states “are losing ground on key measures related to life expectancy as premature deaths from suicide, alcohol and drug overdose continue to increase… In Arizona, the growth in overdose deaths was slower, but the rate was no better: The overdose death rate rose 57% in the same 12-year period, from 14.1 deaths per 100,000 Arizona residents to 22.2… Suicides nationally rose from 10.9 per 100,000 in 2005 to 14 per 100,000 in 2017, a 28% increase. In Arizona, the suicide rate rose just 11% but was still higher than the national rate…. When it came to alcohol-related deaths, Arizona was both higher than the national rate and was rising at a faster rate. Alcohol-related deaths rose 43%, from 11.3 to 16.2 per 100,000 Arizonans, compared with a national rate increase of 37%.” • Everything’s going according to plan. RH comments: “The Arizona Daily Independent is a conservative publication. For them to use Deaths of Despair framing indicates it has either entered the mainstream, or at least conservative circles.” Trump 2.0 may end up using it.

News of the Wired

“What Your Snapchat Selfie Has in Common With the Army” [Bloomberg]. “Sixty years after fighter pilots used the precursor to AR technology, the ability to view the world enhanced with digital imagery is now available in the dashboard of your car, in eyeglasses or on your smartphone…. AR is what happens when you superimpose computer-generated information such as text and images onto the real world in front of you. Widely used examples include face-distorting lenses on the Snapchat photo-sharing app, which add effects like face swaps and virtual rainbows to selfies, and an iPhone feature called Animoji that incorporates the user’s expressions to animate virtual animal faces.” • I’ve seen those effects, and I don’t think “augmentation” is what’s going on.

“One more big push, then just say cheese!: High-end photographers enter delivery rooms” [Los Angeles Times]. “In Los Angeles alone, dozens of professional photographers now make their living in the delivery room — and, increasingly, in the OR — documenting the first moments of motherhood for clients who pay thousands of dollars for wedding-style albums of their labor…. Birth photographers charge anywhere from $1,500 to more than $4,000, well out of reach for many new parents. But the practice is so popular at Westside hospitals like Cedars-Sinai, UCLA and St. John’s that some providers carry photographers’ business cards in their exam rooms.” • “Many”?

“Mortal remains” [Aeon]. “For many bereaved Americans, the funeral has become instead a ‘celebration of life’. It has a guest list open to everyone except the actual corpse, which is often dismissed, disappeared without rubric or witness, buried or burned, out of sight, out of mind, by paid functionaries such as me — the undertaker.”

Now try “May”:

* * *

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Busy bee!

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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. Geo

    “Thanks Can, nice to meet you.”

    Once again the movie Idiocracy nailed it. Main character was named “Not Sure” because a computer thought his question was an answer.

  2. flora

    More reason’s to stop Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency project.

    What should really concern critics, though, is that Libra is a small part of a larger, more troubling trend: the blurring line between finance and commerce. This trend, now a few decades old, has significant implications for customer privacy, competition, financial risk, and concentrated economic and political power. Stopping Libra would be a sign that policymakers are starting to take these issues seriously, but unwinding the threat of the industry-finance colossus will be much harder.


    1. Wukchumni

      Libra Horrorscope:

      People may be coming on strong in disfavor, but will you be right there to meet them with an equally powerful rebuttal?, Libra. The problem is, the person who confronts you is talking about apathy and you’re talking about internet scrip. Get off your social media soapbox for a minute and listen to the real issue. Don’t get caught in misunderstandings or things could backfire later.

    1. a different chris

      I’m a bit confused by the China part in the “with [China’s] TuSimple.” phrase. Couldn’t find anything but a large claim, on TuSimple’s home page, to be a “San Diego” (go Tech Bros, sigh) startup.

      Anyway, if you go to said home page, there is a video. In the video the truck shifts a good 10 feet, right up against the white stripes, when there is a change in road width. It’s not obvious when it’s happening, but it really pops out when they switch to the rear view. I think it’s the light coloration that messes the little armada of microprocessors up but just guessing (I imagine them yelling at each other :)). Pretty terrifying. And this is their proud video, like beaming parents subjecting you to a child banging noisily on a piano. But the piano doesn’t weigh 80000 lbs and isn’t moving at 60mph…

    2. neighbor7

      What was the point of doing this delivery secretly? Was it against the law? Shouldn’t it have been in the open?

      1. Wyoming

        No it is not illegal to do that here in AZ. We are one of the places most heavily used for autonomous vehicle testing.

        And it is still ‘testing’ when a backup driver is in the vehicle. So good to go. I doubt they were doing it in ‘secret’ but rather there is so much of this going on that it was not especially news worthy.

        Now when the backup driver stays home…then I want to know about it. But that day is coming soon.

        By the way on that route from Phoenix to Tuscon there is lots of road construction going on and there has been for a ‘long’ time. It is annoying. It would be interesting to find out if the backup driver had to take control there or if the trucks managed to navigate through it.

        And if those trucks are only going 60 they are a serious hazard to the rest of us as the defacto speed limit on that road is about 80-85 and the actual speed limit is 75. Arizonans pride themselves on being outlaws (not criminals mind you, but outlaws) as it is part of our heritage.

        1. Detroit Dan

          “Now when the backup driver stays home…then I want to know about it. But that day is coming soon.”

          That’s what people have been saying for years. But there are still backup drivers and no sign of this changing anytime soon. In the case of the UPS trucks, they have a backup driver and an engineer!

          My impression is that this is not going to be cost effective anytime soon. It’s not like other technological developments that have actually been useful , if expensive, for early adopters.

    3. ewmayer

      Lambert adds “No snow, straight roads. No left turns?” — I’d be interested to find out whether said trucks had to cope with any real-time deviations-from-ideal such as accidents or road construction. The article doesn’t say. The article *does* however say

      “The company initiated self-driving service in May 2019, with a driver and engineer in the vehicle.”

      ..meaning that the “fully autonomous” claim by TuSimple is bullshit, in the absence of data showing the trucks actually did encounter some real-time situations requiring nontrivial course corrections without needing human intervention.

          1. John

            Assuming you live with a grid that works just fine. Where I live going around the block could add twenty mies tothe trip

  3. adam1

    “…But, that means mainlines are going to face an age cliff soon”

    Just a month ago it came up in casual conversation with my parents that the church I grew up in (United Methodist) probably didn’t have anyone under 50 attending. Even if it was a slight exaggeration, it’s probably not far off. None of my siblings attend or nothing more than very casually attend any church. 2 of them are millennial’s. I’m the only regular attendee and even so I’m now a Unitarian Universalist (to my mother’s dismay).

    1. Synoia

      I’m at best an Agnostic, bordering on atheist. The concept of a loving almighty is in direct conflict with the Old Testament.

      Coupled with “you will receive your reward after you are dead”, and “we know this because we’ve never had a complaint”, struck me as Peasant Control.

      We had Divinity class , and divinity homework, at school, and I received a notable number of detentions from that class. I refused to learn passages by rote.

      1. Oh

        “you will receive your reward after you are dead”, and “we know this because we’ve never had a complaint”

        Dead men don’t tell tales. :)

  4. dearieme

    You know what? I deserve a better life as an American. I’m entitled.

    ethanol was always a boondoggle Who could doubt it?

    Deaths of despair is a brilliant piece of branding. How well does it reflect reality? Dunno. I imagine that the diagnosis of suicide is likely to be pretty accurate. Perhaps overdose too? But “alcohol-related” is a category wide open to abuse.

    A friend of ours committed suicide fifteen years ago. It seemed to involve a cock-up with his drugs. I suppose you could say that in the absence of drugs he was in despair. But his problems weren’t social, poor chap, they were psychological.

    1. pretzelattack

      entitled as in having a legitimate claim, not in the sense of being spoiled. characterizing it as some kind of selfishness or childishness does serve to minimize it, though.

    2. Oregoncharles

      Sociologists have used those statistics – suicide and addiction – as indicators of social stress at least since I took the class in the 60’s. “Deaths of despair” is indeed dramatic, but a logical xtension.

  5. Steve H.

    > General Mills?!

    That is a little weird. Most of General Mills products are cereals, which are wind pollinated. They have subsidiaries of Cascadian Farm, Green Giant, and Muir Glen. So there’s some basis.

    It just makes me nervous, like when the Oil Giants cast their Eye of Balor towards solar patents in the 60’s and 70’s. Tends to burn more than illuminate, and neither grasses nor soybeans require bees. And I’m uncertain who owns General Mills…

    1. Bob

      Hmmm ?

      I wonder if General Mills will also make sure that their cereals are free of Round Up.

      There are some suggestions that the herbicide is widely used to create a uniform harvest time for oats. And of course there are further concerns that the herbicide negatively affects the bee population.

    1. DK


      “The people are on the left’s side.”

      Too bad the author of this idiocy can’t understand that the Dems are a center-right party that relishes punching left even more than the other right party, since they’re more threatened by leftists.

      1. JohnnyGL

        That’s right. Neera Tanden has made a career of saying “Trump is doing something horrible. Let’s all agree to blame the lefties for flaking off and not voting HRC.”

        But there’s also the ossified leadership at the top that can’t/won’t do much of anything different about anything at all. Pelosi, Schumer, Hoyer…they’re all quite content to work back channels to quiet down the ‘squad’ and stick to complaining about trump’s twitter use. They got away with it in 2018 and they’re sticking with that line of thinking.

        Recall how weak and damaged they felt in 2017 (post GA 6th debacle) when they rolled out the “Better Deal”. Everyone mocked it and it looked awful because they didn’t care enough to really sell it hard. Nonetheless, it was a kind of capitulation that they had no agenda to pitch to voters. That was the hardest they could fake it.

        Later on, they won back the governor’s races in VA, and NJ, and centrism got its groove back. They were quite happy with the 2018 mid-terms. They think they’re doing just fine and they can continue to squash progressives at every turn.

        Make no mistake, they’re watching polls and sticking with Biden all the way….until he fades….then, they’re jumping ship.

        1. sleepy

          And the torch will then be passed to Harris who has as much baggage as Biden and even less ability to conceal her insincerity.

          1. Hepativore

            They might even pull Hillary out to serve as a running mate.

            The Democratic party does not care if it wins or loses as long as the wealthy donor money keeps flowing and the uppity peasants are kept in their place.

            The Republicans make no bones about the fact that they will knife the non-Wall Street crowd in the gut. Democrats on the other hand pretend to be caring and forward-thinking, while they stab the sans culottes in the back. Then an identiarianism-laden sob story follows from the media on their behalf only for the Democrats to do it again the moment they have the chance.

            1. katiebird

              I got a fund raising email from Hillary today. She said donations have slowed down this summer and could I make a big donation

              I followed the link to unsubscribe…..

            2. Kurt Sperry

              I wonder if the Dems rake in more money with Trump than they were likely to have with Hillary? Trump outrage seems like a potential retail-level fundraising bandwagon. I assume larger contributions through PACs, bundlers, and other shenanigans are essentially on a quid pro quo basis, and thus insulated from dynamic popular political currents.

            3. DK

              To me the difference between the two parties is that one wants to plunder as quickly as possible to make sure they get away with as much as possible, and the other wants the plunder to be sustainable over the long term. Pirates vs enlightened businessmen.

              And I can’t help but think the mass media is going to find some way of throwing the election to Trump since, whatever they claim ideologically, their entire business model depends on him. He’s a superstar for ratings like no president has ever been. You think MSNBC wants to lose that in favor of a Biden? that they want their ghastly Obama ratings back?

    2. ewmayer

      My favorite bit was that about Team D being the one that “plays by the rules” … where to begin with that precious self-delusional shibboleth by Mr. Lefsetz?

      – You mean like Obama rewarding the TBTF fraud cartels for “playing by the rules”?
      – Yah, like they did in their own primary in 2016?
      – Going into the 2016 election, eveyone knew precisely what the rules for deciding the winner of the presidential election were, and no one in Team D was rattling on about ‘abolishing the Electoral College’, in fact you had the Dims and various pollsters and pundits seemingly relishing that ‘Trump has no realistic path throught he electoral map to victory’. So whining for nearly 3 solid years now about ‘Hillary won the popular vote’ and even ginning up a bogus Red Scare conspiracy theory to justify Obama’s illegal wiretapping of the Trump campaign and an expensive FBI witch hunt and attempted soft coup – those are all examples of “playing by the rules”. Funnily, going into November 2016 I recall Team D and their MSM buds makig a big deal about asking Trump the gotcha question of whether he would accept the results of the election, should he lose.

      Oh, the hand-wringing about the predicted-to-be-dire effects of Trump’s tariffs on the price of next year’s iPhones was … precious. Hilariously, you can almost see the wheels in the guy’s hive mind turning at that point: “OK, don’t want to come across as a complete out-of-touch elitist douche here, so better throw out something that makes me sound more egalitarian … ooh, I got it! Point out some part of Trump’s base that will be negatively affected by the trade war” … leading to “wait until farmers go bankrupt.” Note the priority order: prices of iPhones first, farmers going bankrupt en masse – because farmers were doing great up to November 2016! – second. Obama immunizing the Wall Street fraudsters, and private-equity looting of businesses nationwide, nary a mention of those. I guess those are all part of “living in a global village™”.

      1. Left in Wisconsin

        I think maybe you misunderstand the word “rules”. Substitute “existing relations of power” and things will make more sense. For example: – Going into the 2016 election, eveyone knew precisely what the rules for deciding the winner of the presidential election were

        The rules were that it was HRC’s turn.

  6. Off The Street

    Those pricey birth photogs can also capture the pure essence of modern birthing by including a shot or two of the partner or other interested party handing over the push present, also known as the push gift, as in I pushed out a kid, what do I get now, huh?! Such presents might include a bangle, bauble, sizable ring, keys to that new German sedan or maybe some tickets to a post-partum spa retreat or to that next offshore getaway.

    In case you thought that self-interest and vapid consumerism couldn’t plumb new depths, now you can rest assured that they can, so just change the definitions.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Same here. If you have a strong stomach, put the words ‘birth cakes’ into Google images and see what comes back.

        1. shtove

          Legally, you’re supposed to sign off with, “I rest my cakes”. Fined $100k, due in 14 days. Cakes!

  7. Jason Boxman

    The Salon article is worth reading in full, but in response to this I’d say Democrats are simply talking their book; They don’t want to understand what happened because the status quo suits them just fine:

    The Democratic leadership — the way they’ve chosen to navigate the Trump impeachment stuff, and certainly the way they talk about their House victories and how to maintain their House majority, it tells me that they’re still living in a understanding of the data that is outdated. If you don’t understand how you won, and what the concurrent political data environment is telling you, that is concerning. So I do see a lot of evidence that Democrats don’t get this. I’m not sure why.

    1. notabanker

      “Democrats” is doing a lot of work here. Maybe the mindless, sycophantic social media drones don’t get it, but I think it’s pretty dangerous to assume the party’s leadership doesn’t get this. Not only do I think they get it, but their brazen dismissal of it is quite worrying. These people aren’t acting like they are fighting for this constituency. More like they know they aren’t going to matter.

      1. Carey

        See, for example, Harris’s haughty behavior in the mcDebates.
        Seems like she knows something we don’t.

        “..we see you!”

      2. Procopius

        Al From founded the Democratic Leadership Council. Bill Clinton was its chairman before he ran for President. The membership was made up of all the Democrats who are now “the leadership.” If you read Al From’s book, The NEW Democrats and the Return to Power, you’ll see how authoritarian their mind-set is. Dump labor, we need the big money. The answer to rampant crime is to hire 100,000 more policemen. Crime is deterred by draconian punishment and weakening the rules intended to keep the government from imprisoning innocent people (OT: That’s the same philosophy as the Chinese Legalist Philosophers). From never explains why the Democratic Party wants power, or maybe I just passed over it, but one thing he (they) did want to do was get rid of the New Deal. It is outdated, you see.

    2. ChiGal in Carolina

      yes, interesting, analysis seemingly based on empirical observation, thanks for linking it.

      some of her observations reinforce my thoughts on 2016, others go against the grain–the need to be more partisan for example, by which she seems to mean not going Left but attacking Trump.

      will read more closely–it’s long!

      1. Left in Wisconsin

        She is very insightful and IMO correct. But she’s not really left – or if she is she doesn’t betray her politics. What is amazing is the data on hyper-partisanship despite the fact that the Dems don’t really have an economic story to tell. To me, this confirms the Nancy Fraser argument that we now have competing elites, a traditional capitalist elite and a newer cosmopolitan meritocratic elite, neither of which gives a sh1t about ordinary people. They each dominate a political party, and so are intensely partisan, but they mostly share the same economic viewpoint. The capitalists love the meritocratic story because it provides them cover. The meritocrats actually believe it!! (See Elizabeth Warren).

  8. JBird4049

    The jump to a new equilibrium level after the 2008 legitimacy crisis is very distinct.

    Somehow, I ain’t surprised. The explosions of violence is partly caused by the increasing insanity and the growing delegitimization of… well…everything is making Americans bugnuts crazy. The Epstein Affair is probably gonna push some future shooters over the precipice.

    I don’t think people realize just how important that the social structures be accepted as real for them to be real. People internalized the accepted or agreed upon social order because they see it as such; the Constitution has legitimacy because we give it such. The same with the government, laws, religion, rules of driving, table manners, and so on. Not having these agreements not only makes society dysfunctional, it also makes people, what makes them balanced individuals, dysfunctional. I think that we can agree that some people are just a little closer to the precipice than most.

    1. Summer

      Everybody knows things change, they just don’t want them to change, even if built on lies, if it’s worked out for them.
      They’re always quick for others to adapt to change, but cry when it visits them.

      1. JBird4049

        What work out for whom? Who is lying to whom on what?

        Are not Goldman Sachs, American Deindustrialization or the Rust Belt, Epstein, Neoliberalism, the California Housing Crisis, and Global Warming or Climate Change also based on lies?

        Our whole system is based on the forced feeding of lies by the powerful into the weak. One of those lies is that the problems we face are because of the actions of the weak and not the powerful. Shall we demand yet more job training? Or that maybe they should move to where the jobs are forgetting family, friends, and connections, and spending thousands of dollars to move? Or perhaps more education paid for by the non-dischargeable loans? Of course finding a place to live in job rich California is almost impossible.

        But we can petition our government for help, right? If anyone is not successful, it must be their fault.

        1. Summer

          The lies are lived with so they don’t have to face change. The bigger the lie, the bigger the fear of change.

    2. Skip Intro

      I love how the official stats enforce the glorification vocabulary of ‘Active Shooter’ so common when the media discusses white males running amok with their little arsenals.

  9. Cal2

    Harris Courts Big Donors in the Hamptons?
    “Kamala Harris, for the people”

    Recent headlines, all searchable, all with links:

    Harris’s relationship with an Indian-American community eager to claim her,
    “Joe, I’m the only African American on this stage…”

    Twitter video of Harris eating a pork chop moments before filing an Eid Mubarak message to Muslims around the world,
    Kamala Harris Gives Off-the-Record Address to AIPAC,

    Kamala Harris ad: I will protect your family from gun violence.”
    Kamala Harris: ‘I am a gun owner’ for personal protection,

    “I didn’t understand the health care question”, (every other candidate did.)

    What were you listening to when you was high?” Harris was asked. “Oh yes – definitely Snoop,” Harris responded. “Uh-huh. 2Pac for sure.”
    Impossible on chronological grounds.
    “Kamala Harris had locked up at least 1560 people for weed, more people were put in prison for marijuana-related offenses than initially estimated.”

    “As Attorney General of California, I took on the five biggest Wall Street banks during the financial crisis. We won $20 billion for California homeowners and together we passed the strongest anti-foreclosure law in the United States of America.”

    — Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) February 24, 2019

    “In reality, as David Dayen detailed at The Intercept, the settlement was at bottom yet another bank giveaway — on top of the TARP bailout and Tim Geithner’s backdoor subsidy of banks through a fake homeowner assistance program.”


    Governor Jerry Brown put the money in the state’s general fund, not homeowner’s hands.

    The color-coordinating,

    Bernie or Trump. It’s up to the Democrats.

    1. Librarian Guy

      Link’s at about 37 seconds in this YTube clip (don’t believe the headline caption)– & he verbally craps on Kofi Annan for not being submissive as Blair was to the Empire as well, all nicely captioned.

  10. XXYY

    Maybe somebody clever has found a way to turn FiveThirtyEight’s data into a fancy, RCP-like chart, and if so, I’ll take a look at that.

    This would be very worth doing. The chart of polling results over time is super useful and a good, intuitive way to pick out trends. (Obviously one wants it to be based on good underlying data.)

  11. Wyoming

    Re: Arizona and the depths of despair post.

    On the rise in alcohol related deaths I can attest to this issue here in AZ. I live in an area which is heavily retired people and the alcohol consumption among them is huge. My wife and I comment that a great many of our retired neighbors are alcoholics. We refer to the Trader Joe’s at the edge of our development as the local liquor store as it seems most of their customers are hauling out bags of booze. The store is about 1/3 various brands of booze. Costco a half mile away is loaded with literally pallets of booze.

    I also work with the local police and the number of DUI’s involving older folks is quite high. There are also a lot of overdose issues as indicated. And there is about one call related to a suicide issue per shift (for a town of roughly 50,000 people. A somewhat higher rate than that for domestic violence calls also – this issue sort of belongs with the others from the article I think.

    1. Arizona Slim

      A couple of decades ago, one of my friends was in an assisted living facility that was just outside the Tucson city limits. My friend was amazed at the level of alcohol abuse. It led her to believe that some of her fellow residents were drinking themselves to death.

        1. Oregoncharles

          My mother’s was wonderful – and expensive, I think. And my sister-in-law likes the one she’s in. She nearly died of isolation, before that.

          So it depends; unfortunately, it may depend on what you can spend.

          1. Wukchumni

            The one commonality of the oldsters living in my mom’s assisted living place that’s more akin to a cruise ship that never leaves port, is they bought a house/houses in L.A. in the 50’s-60’s-70’s, and watched their $29k purchase go up in value like a perpetual notion machine, and the smarties who didn’t tap the ATM of their house kept their Benjamins.

            I reckon if my mom lives to be 100, they’ll more or less get every Cent she got for selling the home I grew up in. Ashes to assets.

    2. Bugs Bunny

      (reading this as I stir my G&T with my finger)

      I’m only being slightly sarcastic when I say that’s sort of how I’ve planned my retirement as well. Hopefully without opiates. If I can afford to paint, I’ll do that, and travel as much as possible. Golf seems fun but I’m not good at it.

      So then we have booze. As long as you’re honest with yourself and your doctor, who’s to judge?

      Perhaps there should just be a brand of vodka called “Senior Despair”.

      1. ewmayer

        ‘Perhaps there should just be a brand of vodka called “Senior Despair”.’

        Instant naming contest! My entries:

        o Absolut Despair
        o Your Grey Goose is Cooked

        and a suitable new slogan for a popular brand of malt liquor: “Put a Colt .45 in your mouth!”

      2. Wyoming

        Only slightly off topic.

        As I was leaving the police station I work at a couple of weeks ago there was an elderly woman in the lobby emptying pills into the secure bin we have for disposal of prescription medicines (drop them off no questions asked). She was putting the empties into a plastic garbage bag (about the kitchen bin size) – it was FULL!!! There must have been 2-300 empty pill containers in the bag.

        I could not stop myself stopping in amazement. Turns out her husband had just died and she was getting rid of the meds (good job of course). But 2-300 pill bottles??? I would like to have a discussion with their doctors.

      3. John k

        Learn to play duplicate bridge. Most of the larger (ACBL) clubs have teaching programs and junior games.
        Met my first wife at a tournament, couple years after she passed I met my second wife at another.
        Meet people slowly, play with different people in a low pressure environment.

        1. Janie

          Second the motion. Duplicate bridge is a great game. Instruction is provided, it is challenging but doable and you don’t have to clean the house before the other three people come for an at-home foursome.

    3. sleepy

      According to a study from years ago, the top states for binge-drinking were all in the upper Midwest: North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. In Iowa rows of vodka are found in every convenience store, gas station, drug store, and grocery store. They don’t bother with official liquor stores here. The state even has its very own brand, “Hawkeye Vodka”. Most towns are losing population and the standard retail outlets such as Sears, Penny’s, etc., replaced by used car lots, payday lenders, tobacco shops, convenience stores, and so on.

      I came here after living in New Orleans for almost 30 yrs, yet I found more drinking and more hard liquor here than down there, yet paradoxically I found boozing in New Orleans to be far more socially acceptable. In Iowa it’s considered something dark and disconnected from your daily life and frowned upon, though honored in the breach.

      Probably the influence of stern Lutheran moralizing and hard-nosed German Catholicism.

      1. Big River Bandido

        Catholic or Protestant, Germans in the Midwest were largely beer drinkers, and very much about their “personal liberty”. They were the chief political opponents of Prohibition in the late 19th and early 20th century, and enough of a political force in Davenport (where they were 20-25% of the population) that they were able to completely undermine the state prohibition laws for 40 years.

        I have heard (anecdotal only) that alcohol is more heavily consumed in places with cold winter climates (Russia, Scandinavia, England…). Considering how many Iowans originated in those countries, quite possible that tradition is imported.

        1. sleepy

          I just find the Lutherans and Catholics up here to be very different–more rigid and judgmental I guess–than those in New Orleans, which is not surprising. My son attended a Lutheran school in NO and his teacher mentioned that when she heard we were moving to Iowa.

          1. Redlife2017

            As a story to back this up – when I was a teenager in small town Iowa, I went out on a few dates with a guy from a town about 20 miles away. That town was a Lutheran Scandinavian protestant town (hey – this was only in the 90s!). I was from a more mixed town that had Catholics, Methodists, and Evangelicals (of German and non-German stock – but not much Scandi). I met the guy’s parents and the only thing I remember is his mother’s question/comment about my name: “Oh, [redacted], isn’t that a Catholic name?” As she said dripping with borderline disgust. Yeah, two dates and that was it…

            Nothing like small town Midwestern inter-ethnic / inter-religious rivalry! The Scandis and Germans were frickin’ uptight and judgemental as all be. So, of course their kids drank and had copious amounts of, uh, loving.

  12. russell1200

    On your “important” note. Of course Republicans vote for Republicans. But I don’t think Pelosi or the Moderates are going so much for the moderate Republicans, as they are for the Independents. That is where the biggest block of undecideds are. Unless you are absolutely sure that I am going to get out the base in huge numbers, that is the group you need to win. And Bitecofer specifically mentions Independents coming out to vote against Trump in the midterms.

    1. notabanker

      Then they are doing it all wrong.

      But in many districts, especially where the candidates were focusing on being moderate, the Democratic turnout still underperformed its potential, and still underperformed turnout among Republicans, according to this analysis that I’ll be releasing after Labor Day.

      But the turnout surge among independents — new independents, not ones who voted in 2014 — was so large combined with that turnout surge of Democrats to flip the district.

      it looks like the electorate has this giant recoil effect, driven primarily by these independent voters who are rejecting the party in power. But what we’re really looking at in much of these elections are the surge and decline of certain voters entering and leaving the electorate.

      To me this is pretty clearly a disenfranchised electorate that is pretty much doing what Blyth has been calling out across Europe, UK and US, voting out incumbents for populists. You have to do some reading into “moderate” to get there but that’s not much of a stretch. Further, she is clear that it reverses itself in 2022.

      What I find most fascinating about the piece is that it has already called a Democratic victory. As if the candidate doesn’t matter, the party will defeat Trump. While this may be the case, a Biden / Harris election is game over for the US. If the government stands, it won’t be a place that 90%+ of the people will be able to bear.

      1. Fred1

        “Further, she is clear that it reverses itself in 2022.”

        What she means is that if her predictions are correct, the Ds will have two years to make a difference, provided they’re willing to govern.

        1. notabanker

          “Under my research assumptions, under my model, Democrats win the White House in 2020, and then in 2022 they’re going to have a very tough electoral cycle, because turnout for Democrats will go back to normal.”

          She goes on to say that their poor electoral strategy and moderate blue dog legislation will ensure they get crushed.

          This is completely consistent with a populist churn over incumbents. Senior Dem’s are playing Trump as the incumbent, ignoring that they themselves can / should be the victims.

      2. Big River Bandido

        As much as I find her model and thought interesting, and possibly of value in prediction, I have to agree with you that calling victory without a candidate is foolish. The power of incumbency is very strong in the presidency — you might call it the “devil you know vs. devil you don’t” conundrum. Even if voters conclude the current occupant does not deserve re-election, the challenger must still “make the sale”. If they cannot, usually enough voters will hold their nose and go with the devil they already know.

        For that matter, what does “hyper partisanship” mean when the Democrat candidate is a milquetoast moron?

    2. Left in Wisconsin

      But her point is that it was different groups of independents that turned out in different years, not that (very many) independent voters switched their votes from one party/candidate to the other.

  13. jo6pac

    Class Warfare

    Fascinating! Apparently, they train they’re stopping has a million dollars worth of coal on it. A million dollars would solve a lot of problems

    I wonder if the money would go to the miners or creditors of the bankrupt mine?

  14. Knifecatcher

    Ian Sams is the same moron who responded to Tulsi’s takedown of Kamala in the last debate with the following incredibly intelligent response:

    “Yo, you love Assad!”

    That’s it. Verbatim. From the national press secretary for a major presidential candidate. Unbelievably he still has it posted.



      1. JohnnyGL

        There’s a reason she’s seen her polls dive rapidly into the single digits.

        Irony of ironies….it was right about time she called herself a ‘top-tier presidential candidate’ that she quickly plunged into the 2nd tier!

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Team Clinton has produced so many luminaries: Dick Morris, Mark Penn, Donna Brazille, James Carville, etc.

        If not for Susan Sarandon…

        1. Oh

          Donna Brazille shows up like a bad penny in every election with an important role; luckily she’s such a loser that she’s a liability.

          1. Whoamolly

            First I heard of Donna Brazille was an interview she did a few years ago. She told the interviewer how she knew that white men wouldn’t vote for her candidate. I was shocked at what sounded to me like a racist, sexist dismissal of a whole class of Democrat voters. I now believe she was just telling it like it is at the top levels of the Democrat establishment.

    1. ewmayer

      Ian Sam
      Sam Ian

      That Sam-Ian
      That Sam-Ian!
      I do not like
      that Sam-Ian

      Do you like
      Assadi man?

      I do not like him,
      I do not like
      Assadi man.

      Would you like him
      Here or there?

      I would not like him
      here or there.
      I would not like him
      I do not like
      Assadi man.
      I do not like him,

      Would you like him
      in a house?
      Would you like him
      with a mouse?

      I do not like him
      in a house.
      I do not like him
      with a mouse.
      I do not like him
      here or there.
      I do not like him
      I do not like Assadi man.
      I do not like him, Sam-Ian.

      Would you like him
      in a box?
      Would you like him
      with a fox?

      Not in a box.
      Not with a fox.
      Not in a house.
      Not with a mouse.
      I would not like him here or there.
      I would not like him anywhere.
      I would not like Assadi man.
      I do not like him, Sam-Ian.

      Would you? Could you?
      In your biz?
      Like him! Like him!
      Here he is.

      I would not ,
      could not,
      in my biz

      You may like him.
      You will see.
      You may like him
      in a tree?

      I would not, could not in a tree.
      Not in my biz! You let me be.

      I do not like him in a box.
      I do not like him with a fox
      I do not like him in a house
      I do mot like him with a mouse
      I do not like him here or there.
      I do not like him anywhere.
      I do not like Assadi man.
      I do not like him, Sam-Ian.

      A train! A train!
      A train! A train!
      Could you, would you
      on a train?

      Not on a train! Not in a tree!
      Not in my biz! Sam! Let me be!
      I would not, could not, in a box.
      I could not, would not, with a fox.
      I will not like him with a mouse
      I will not like him in a house.
      I will not like him here or there.
      I will not like him anywhere.
      I do not like him, Sam-Ian.

      In the dark?
      Here in the dark!
      Would you, could you, in the dark?

      I would not, could not,
      in the dark.

      Would you, could you,
      in the rain?

      I would not, could not, in the rain.
      Not in the dark. Not on a train,
      Not in my biz, Not in a tree.
      I do not like him, Sam, you see.
      Not in a house. Not in a box.
      Not with a mouse. Not with a fox.
      I will not like him here or there.
      I do not like him anywhere!

      You do not like
      Assadi man?

      I do not
      like him,

      Could you, would you,
      with a goat?

      I would not,
      could not.
      with a goat!

      Would you, could you,
      on a boat?

      I could not, would not, on a boat.
      I will not, will not, with a goat.
      I will not like him in the rain.
      I will not like him on a train.
      Not in the dark! Not in a tree!
      Not in my biz! You let me be!
      I do not like him in a box.
      I do not like him with a fox.
      I will not like him in a house.
      I do not like him with a mouse.
      I do not like him here or there.
      I do not like him ANYWHERE!

      I do not like
      Assadi man!

      I do not like him,

      You do not like him.
      So you say.
      Try him! Try him!
      And you may.
      Try him and you may I say.

      If you will let me be,
      I will try him.
      You will see.

      I like Assadi man!
      I do!! I like him, Sam-Ian!
      And I would like him in a boat!
      And I would like him with a goat…
      And I will like him in the rain.
      And in the dark. And on a train.
      And in my biz. And in a tree.
      He is so good so good you see!

      So I will like him in a box.
      And I will like him with a fox.
      And I will like him in a house.
      And I will like him with a mouse.
      And I will like him here and there.
      Say! I will like him ANYWHERE!

      I do so like
      Assadi man!
      Thank you!
      Thank you,

  15. Cal2

    On speaking to a robot:

    Shout and swear. It automatically transfers the caller to a live human.
    Or, you can just say “OPERATOR! OPERATOR!” if there are kids around.

    Another hint. Only say “Hello” one time when you answer the phone.
    The mass robo-dialers only kick the recording on after the second “hello.”
    Silence after your first hello means you hang up.

    If one really wants to be nasty, when it comes to the home improvement calls, i.e.”Dave’s Duct Cleaning Service,” Go ahead and make an appointment–for a vacant lot down the street, always when the rush hour traffic is at its worst. Enough wild goose chases and the robo-call leads will be seen as useless.

    If you are really hardcore, and you are on the Do Not Call List, give them your own address. Call the cop’s non-emergency number and explain that you are being harassed over the phone and to please send an officer by for civil documentation.
    Then get all the information you can about the “contractor”, their license plate number, their contractor’s license, the name of the company they hire to buy the leads from etc.

    All friendly like, mention to the workman that shows up; “Dude, you seem like a nice guy, you are being taken advantage of by those crooks that run the call centers. If I were you, I wouldn’t give another cent to those robo-callers. A bunch of complaints to the state contractor’s license board and you could lose your license.”

    1. Amfortas the hippie


      looks like the torches and pitchforks aren’t yet close enough.
      subcontracting out the lipstick application.
      still a pig.

    2. Inode_buddha

      Maybe some day they can start remembering 49 years of suppressed wages, and how we used to make things in America /sarc

      because believe me, I don’t owe my time to anyone…. they owe me for decades of suppressed wages. And millions of other workers, too.

  16. noonespecial

    Empire and its follies

    For NC readers who have not seen Chris Hedges’ latest interview.

    From the y-tube description – Hedges speaks with, “…journalist Max Blumenthal about the intimate connection between the misguided support the United States has given to international Jihadism.”


    1. polecat

      !! misguided !! .. ????

      No. It’s a cynical NeoliberalCon DeepState/Pentagram form of ersatz nihilism, where the ends justify the means .. nothing ‘misguided’ about it .. at all !

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      I saw her retweet of the suggestion that Bernie drop out in order to help Warren. But I haven’t seen one that says Bernie can’t win, have you? That said, she’s a political scientist. I think they screen out for socialist/social democratic tendencies pretty early on.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        It does. It has a lower energy density and the closed-loop Lambda sensor will tell the FI system to spray more fuel for a given use case to more closely approximate a stoichometric fuel-air ratio.

    1. Late Introvert

      There are only 2 gas station chains that sell non-ethanol gas in my part of Iowa, but I go to them every time. The pumps have stickers that say ethanol is less polluting, so the state is pushing the propaganda.

      Grassley got press for saying the Trump admin “screwed us”.

  17. Inode_buddha

    Reporting from the front lines, Sanders posts on FB are being heavily trolled or salted with garbage/distraction in the comments sections, huge uptick in the last couple days, dunno why… everyone pile in and help! Best guess is that its a paid astroturfing campaign, seems very coordinated and professional

    1. DonCoyote

      David Brock must have got another check from Hillary’s super-PAC…what’s it called? Oh, right, Onward Together…because we’re still with her.

  18. Summer

    “One reason that it may seem natural to identify young people with what was happening in the nineteen-sixties is because of the huge emphasis in those years on youth—though few at the time seem to have realized that a lot of the people who went around saying “Don’t trust anyone over thirty” were over thirty.

    But there was a lot of youth culture in the nineteen-sixties only because there was a lot of youth. The idea that youth culture is culture created by youth is a myth. Youth culture is manufactured by people who are no longer young. When you are actually a young person, you can only consume what’s out there. It often becomes “your culture,” but not because you made it….”

    Lots to unpack here, but I keep thinking …now it’s the 70s years that are going to have the 50th anniversaries. So we’ll see who owns that.

    1. roxy

      The Who (Daltry, Townsend, plus Moon and Entwistle replacements) play Fenway Park Friday September 13.

    2. Oregoncharles

      I was there, and I disagree. While there was a lot of (acknowledged) influence from the Beats of the previous generation, as far as I could tell, most of the visible Sixties culture was generated internally. You could tell; most of it was pretty amateurish, until it had been going for a while. And there was a lot of the kind of sentimentality you get from youth, to say nothing of a tremendous emphasis on sex and partying.

      Worth remembering that there were TWO movements, the hippies and the political/antiwar movement. People moved back and forth, of course, but the impulses were different and they could be played off against each other – Gov. McCall of Oregon pulled that off, sponsoring a rock festival in the country to defuse a potential political standoff (New Left vs. American Legion) in Portland. I went to the festival, as did many thousands. Things were fairly quiet i Portland – for one thing, McCall, a Republican, also got Nixon to not come. Oregon Public Broadcasting has a film about it; it was called Vortex. Very carefully edited film, as there was a lot of nudity.

      The Yippies were an effort to cross-fertilize the two movements, and pretty successful. That’s one reason we see them as one thing.

  19. Summer

    This was pretty slick..
    “The first picture of Ghislaine Maxwell in more than three years was staged by her close friend and attorney, Leah Saffian,” the Mail wrote.

    The Mail is sticking to its contention that Maxwell was spending time in Massachusetts, noting that her sister, Christine Maxwell, was seen by a rival newspaper checking out of a hotel in a town near Borgerson’s house. Borgerson denies he is involved with Maxwell or that she is living with him..”

    I think they are sending a message or planting a seed about the viability of photo evidence. Maybe?

    1. Carey

      What are we missing while giving attention to the Epstein™ stuff?

      Flies back to USA
      High-profile arrest
      High-profile “death” in “custody”

      not buyin it

  20. Wukchumni

    Had a perfect game on a hike to the seldom visited Mineral Lakes today. It’s mostly off-trail where 99% of hikers fear to tread. A 7 hour stanza where we saw not another soul other than in our party of 6.

    Every step you take off-trail is where you think it should be, keeps you on your toes.

  21. Carey

    A thought: The herding continues, with even Sanders adopting the
    “White Nationalism” meme, and the new “eco-fascism” one quickly
    spreading… all for good of the great majority of the citizenry,
    of course. Of course.

  22. ChrisPacific

    I am having difficulty finding any AI in that China music education story. Similar applications have been around for a long time for learning how to touch type (for example) with no AI required. I am unclear on how this differs, or what part of it is supposed to be intelligent.

  23. Oregoncharles

    From the graph on religions: “Mainline is a tradition that has declined rapidly over the last 40 years, while nones have risen just as dramatically. It seems that a lot of kids who were raised mainline left religion entirely.” That is misleading. “Nones” have increased MUCH more steeply than “mainlines” have decreased, and both Evangelical and Catholic have decreased at a similar rate. (I’m surprised that Catholic hasn’t fallen off a cliff, but apparently it hasn’t.) So “none” is gaining at the expense of most of the mainstream, non-ethnic religions.

  24. John Beech

    “CNN Focus Group: Obama Voters Explain Why They Voted For Trump, Talk 2020 Choices” [RealClearPolitics].

    CNN interviews six crossover Democrats in MI, PA, WI. Folks who voted for Obama who then voted for Trump in 2016. About 1/3 regret it, but he keeps 2/3. Brief video, maybe 7:30 long but the money shot is from 6:00 to 6:23 and it’s eye opening.

    Mature black guy, totally against illegal immigrants, says they show disdain for our laws by coming illegally. Doesn’t want them here at all – not until we figure it out. Continues with, “I deserve a better life as an American! When you can take care of Americans and I’ve got a little something left over I’m giving it to you.” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=13&v=2BO5I8SX3oM

    This is the kind of citizen Republicans need. People who know which side of the bread is buttered, and who want it to be his fellow Americans, first. Nothing wrong with that view by any citizen.

  25. John Beech

    Transportation: “UPS Has Been Secretly Delivering Mail in Self-Driving Trucks for Months” [Interesting Engineering]. “The parcel delivery company has revealed a collaboration with [China’s] TuSimple. In a statement, they said that, since May, the autonomous truck company has been carrying UPS cargo on a 115-mile route between Phoenix and Tucson.” • No snow, straight roads. No left turns?

    These things are in their infancy. These are mere baby steps. From the Wrights, to fifty years later . . . Boeing jets. Any wind turbine today compared to ones from 10 years ago. Self driving too, will one day arrive. Give it time. Best part is, with luck it’s fully mature by my dotage.

    Good thing too because I resent the thought of giving up freedom and mobility just because I have the good fortune to age. A car and the American dream is an existential experience, which forms part of what binds Americans together and it doesn’t go away once you get old!

    Millennials will really benefit. Self-driving also brings an aspect of public transport to private. Take Birmingham, for example, totally different from NY, NY. It won’t ever be reasonable to believe someone would willingly give up their car in flyover country like Alabama. And it’s certainly not reasonable nor economical to replicate MTA with such a low population density? Self driving is almost like hopping the subway because you can sit back and reclaim grains of sand presently being stolen by time spent actively driving. This becomes added time in which to work, daydream, yak with friends, or just time kill lurking reddit. All versus being an active participant in the process of transportation. I predict there will come a day when this will be perceived as especially liberating for residents of flyover. Especially out west due to the sheer monotony of it due to huge expanses to travail. Imagine a motorhome where you’re free to ram the cabin!

    Me? I love cars. I look forward to self-driving ones, too. And I hope they don’t somehow end up infringing on private road use of non-autonomous cars.

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