2:00PM Water Cooler 10/28/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient, this piece is a bit short, because I have a post on the global protests to finish. I’ll make it up to you, I swear! –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

* * *


Alert reader dk (not to be confused with DK) is in the process of developing the following interactive chart. Here is (are) the latest Dem Primary Polling as of 10/28/2019, 11:00 AM EDT:

I went to the daily instead of a 7-day average (for now) to see what was happening with Biden. And here are the poll results, as of 10/28/2019, 11:00 AM EDT:

October 22? It’s like all the pollsters went on strike together at the same time!

I think dk has started a really neat project, and in the near future we’ll seek your feedback (within reason) for the tool “live.”

* * *

Biden (D)(1): “The Zombie Campaign Joe Biden is the least formidable front-runner ever. Will it matter?” [New York Magazine]. “In September, somebody had the bright idea to stage an afternoon event under the open sky at the Indian Creek Nature Center in sunny Cedar Rapids. It was the day after news of the whistle-blower broke, but Biden stuck to the event’s topic, climate change, addressing all the usual themes. Then faces began turning upward to the birds overhead. Somebody from Showtime’s The Circus told me the birds were bald eagles, but at the time I thought they looked like hawks, which, I guess, is a sort of glass-half-empty or -half-full dilemma. Eventually, word of the alleged bald eagles made its way to Biden, and with a look of optimism, he turned his face to the sky. He grew emotional. He said that at the Lake House, Beau used to sit by the water and watch the bald eagles fly overhead. The night Beau died, in 2015, Biden said he watched an eagle take off from the lake, circle in the sky, and then fly away. He hadn’t seen another bald eagle since that night, he said, until now. Looking at the bird, he said, ‘Maybe that’s my Beau.'” • :-( A long read, worth reading in full.

Biden (D)(2):


Sanders (D)(1): Naturally there has been a good deal of pearl-clutching over this from liberal Democrats:

From what I can tell from following Black Twitter, Sanders’ remarks were entirely consistent with “The Talk” so many Black parents have to give their children. For example, this thread:

I’m seeing plenty more like this. I think Sanders helped himself here.

Warren (D)(1): “Elizabeth Warren’s Days Defending Big Corporations” [New York Times]. “Ms. Warren has twice released accounts of her practice — a partial list of cases during the 2012 Senate race and a fuller list of more than 50 cases posted to her presidential campaign website in May. Among her corporate clients were Travelers insurance and the aircraft maker Fairchild, as well as one of America’s wealthiest families, the Hunts of Texas. She advocated for a railroad company that wanted to avoid paying for a Superfund cleanup, and advised Dow Chemical as its subsidiary Dow Corning dealt with thousands of complaints from women who said they had been harmed by its silicone breast implants. But she also worked on a number of cases involving consumer bankruptcy and victims’ rights in asbestos litigation, served as an expert in a lawsuit against the cigarette maker Philip Morris and represented the lawyer whose battles with polluters inspired the film “A Civil Action.” In very brief and simplified summaries, the lists cast much of her work — even for corporate clients — in terms that align with her pro-consumer narrative. Those descriptions have themselves become a focus of some contention. But a review by The New York Times, together with interviews with several of Ms. Warren’s former compatriots in the rarefied world of self-described bankruptcy nerds, reveals a complex picture in which many cases defy simple black or white categorization. It also offers a look at a relatively unexamined aspect of her thinking. Her work, the scholars say, should be understood primarily as an effort to preserve the right to file for bankruptcy and the integrity of the bankruptcy system.” • And that makes sense, if we recall Warren’s speech to the Federalist Society.


“New York Times Confirms: It’s Trump Versus the Deep State” [Robert Merry, The American Conservative]. “The New York Times on Thursday published a remarkable piece that essentially acknowledged the existence of an American ‘deep state’ and its implacable hostility to Donald Trump. The Times writers (fully five on the byline: Peter Baker, Lara Jakes, Julian E. Barnes, Sharon LaFraniere, and Edward Wong) certainly don’t decry the existence of this deep state, as so many conservatives and Trump supporters do. Nor do they refrain from the kinds of value-charged digs and asides against Trump that have illuminated the paper’s consistent bias against the president from the beginning. But they do portray the current impeachment drama as the likely denouement of a struggle between the outsider Trump and the insider administrative forces of government. In so doing, they implicitly give support to those who have argued that American foreign policy has become the almost exclusive domain of unelected bureaucrats impervious to the views of elected officials—even presidents—who may harbor outlooks different from their own.” • Do note, however, alert reader BC’s comment summarizing Snowden on Joe Rogan:

[Snowden] makes an interesting point about the “Deep State” that has been my experience too in that the IC is not a homogeneous family, rather a series of competing interests of career bureaucrats whose authorities outlast Presidential administrations. Human nature drives the rivalry between agencies that all wish each to portray themselves as the Country’s premier go-to, can-do, agency. Their foremost priority is to protect their agencies, their power and secrecy, and their personal careers. They come together when there is a mutual threat to those priorities or an opportunity to further fortify them. When conspiratorial behaviors occur, it is typically not some grand plan as much as (the more reactionary) protection of interest.

As I have been saying.



Still waiting on Agency. I wonder why it’s so hard to write…

Realignment and Legitimacy

“At Least 20 Billionaires Behind ‘Dark Money’ Group That Opposed Obama” [Forbes]. “A nonprofit group with a bland name, Americans for Job Security, spent $5 million supporting Republicans in the 2010 midterms and $15 million denouncing former President Obama in the 2012 election, but until this week, the group never had to file disclosures showing where its money was coming from…. The biggest individual donor to the group appears to be Charles Schwab, the brokerage titan worth an estimated $7.8 billion. Over the span of three months in 2012, he donated nearly $9 million. Gap cofounder Doris Fisher—along with her sons Robert, John and William—gave another $9 million.”

Hell-o-o-o-o, Atlantic Council:

I didn’t catch that this was happening at the time. I suppose this time, DHS will be determining whether e-voting totals have been hacked? What a reassuring prospect!

“Voting machines pose a greater threat to our elections than foreign agents” [The Hill (Furzy Mouse)]. “In August, North Carolina became the latest casualty. Voters and representatives from good-government groups pleaded with the state board of elections to adopt the type of voting system almost unanimously supported by election security experts, one that uses hand-marked paper ballots. They asked the board to reject ballot-marking devices that use barcodes and argued that hand-marked paper ballots are more secure, less expensive and less likely to create long lines at the polls. Nevertheless, Democratic chair Damon Circosta reached across the aisle to join two Republican commissioners in opening the North Carolina market to a barcode ballot-marking system. The vote presents a setback to a multi-year effort to provide secure, accurate elections for North Carolina voters.” • In other words, both parties are in favor of having the capacity to steal elections.

Elections as a Keynesian beauty contest:

Stats Watch

International Trade in Goods, September 2019: “The good news is that the trade deficit in goods narrowed sharply…. but the bad news is both exports and imports, in an indication of economic slowing, fell sharply” [Econoday]. “[M]ore fundamentally the results speak of slowing US demand and will not be giving a lift to overall assessments of economic growth.”

Chicago Fed National Activity Index, September 2019: “Industrial production once again pulled the national activity index sharply lower” [Econoday]. “Production-related indicators fell … reflecting in part a sharp decline in vehicle production tied to the GM strike.”

Wholesale Inventories [Advance], September 2019: “Wholesales inventories … September versus a revised no change in August” [Econoday]. “The draw was centered in nondurable goods where price effects are often at play and where inventories.”

Retail Inventories [Advance] September 2019: “Retail inventories rose” [Econoday]. “Retail inventories for autos… showed no immediate indication of dislocations tied to the GM strike.”

Dallas Fed Manufacturing Survey, October 2019: “Texas manufacturing activity unexpectedly slowed in October” [Econoday]. “One bright note for the current conditions part of the survey was a rise … in capital expenditures…. But despite the general decline seen in current conditions, expectations regarding future business conditions were more optimistic in October.”

Commodities: “What a Difference a Year Makes: Gloom and Doom at Metals Week” [Bloomberg]. “The outlook for some key metals is at the weakest since the financial crisis as the U.S.-China trade war and a synchronized global slowdown pummel consumption and investor sentiment. Economic bellwether copper is flashing warning signals, with demand growth stalling this year as manufacturing contracts.”

The Bezzle: “Five reasons why Tesla’s ‘really cool’ solar roof isn’t a surefire hit” [Buffalo News]. This: “So Tesla needs to convince homeowners that its Solarglass roof, which hasn’t shown outside of a laboratory that it can withstand the test of time, is just as reliable as a regular roof. This at a time when Tesla is facing lawsuits from customers whose conventional rooftop solar arrays have caught fire. With the solar roof and all the complexities that come with having solar modules built in, Tesla has decided to take on the responsibility for installing its solar roofs, at least initially. That’s an entirely new line of work for the company, and it means Tesla will have to hire and train an entire corps of solar roof installers. That’s getting away from Tesla’s expertise in making cars and batteries.” • Well, solar roofs don’t require a paint shop, so…

The Bezzle: “WeWork Falls Furthest in a Year of Clipped Wings for Hot Startups” [New York Times]. “Across Wall Street, in Silicon Valley and at some of the world’s largest companies, a reckoning is unfolding as valuations slide for the so-called unicorns — start-ups worth at least $1 billion — that everyone was once so eager to buy.” • Short corrupt language…

The Bezzle: “The welfare effects of peer entry in the accommodation market: The case of Airbnb” [Brookings Institution]. “Farronato and Fradkin propose a simple demand and supply framework where accommodations can be provided by either dedicated or flexible supply – hotels vs peer hosts. They then use data from top US cities to test the model hypotheses about the entry of peer supply, and to quantify the effects of this entry on travelers, incumbent hotels, and peer hosts. They find that Airbnb generated $41 of consumer surplus per room-night and $26 of host surplus while reducing variable hotel profits from accommodations by up to 3.7 percent. This resulted in a total welfare gain of $137 million in 2014 from Airbnb in these cities and this effect was concentrated in locations (New York) and times (New Year’s Eve) where hotel capacity was constrained. This paper informs the active policy debate regarding whether and how to regulate peer-to-peer accommodations. The result favors a regulatory framework that preserves the benefits of peer production during peak demand days while achieving a broader set of objectives such as consumer protection, affordable housing and fair competition.”


Catalina seems to have been pulled from the oven before being entirely baked.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 69 Greed (previous close: 62, Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 56 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Oct 28 at 11:37am.

Rapture Index: Closes down one on Floods. “The lack of activity has downgraded this category” [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 183. Remember that bringing on the rapture is a good thing. I wonder when, in 2020, the index will start flirting with 190 again. So far, the latest impeachment push hasn’t affected the Index. And wait ’til they get to the California wildfires!

The Biosphere

“California’s Governor Wants Berkshire to Bid for Bankrupt PG&E” [Bloomberg]. “‘We would love to see that interest materialize, and in a more proactive, public effort,’ [Governor Gavin Newsome] said in an interview. ‘That would be encouraging to see. They are one of the few that are in a position to make a significant run at this.’ Berkshire has been raised as a possible suitor since PG&E’s collapse, but the most vocal group seeking to take control of the utility is a collection of creditors led by Pacific Investment Management Co. and activist investor Elliott Management Corp. Newsom said Saturday that he’d like to see more than just hedge funds vying for the company.” • Maybe they can put PG&E and CalPERS together in some kinda package deal.

“Study linking fracking to Permian Basin earthquakes stirs public debate” [Houston Chronicle]. “In a study released Tuesday afternoon, scientists with the TexNet Seismic Monitoring Program at UT Austin reported that some earthquakes in Reeves, Pecos and Culberson counties may have been caused by fracking, the process of pumping water, sand and chemicals at high pressures deep underground to crack shale rock and unlock and oil natural gas…. ‘The research done through this new study in West Texas, using a statistical approach to associate (earthquakes) with oil and gas operations, suggests that some (earthquakes are) more likely related to hydraulic fracturing than saltwater disposal,’ Alexandros Savvaidis, a research scientist and manager of the TexNet Seismic Monitoring Program, said in a statement.”

“Wandering Space Rocks Help Solve Mysteries of Planet Formation” [Quanta]. “In 2017, a weirdly shaped rock with a strangely erratic orbit swept through the solar system, leaving as quickly as it arrived. Astronomers soon realized that it was not from around here…. But it turns out that the object, [‘Oumuamua,] the first interstellar asteroid ever observed, was not unique. It may not even be all that rare… In a paper published in April in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, Bannister and Pfalzner argue that rocks like ‘Oumuamua might be catalysts for planet formation. There are probably uncountable billions of such objects sailing through the cosmos, they say. When one intersects with a billowing envelope of gas and dust surrounding a young star, it might cause turbulence and shear that stirs the gas, sculpting it into patterns that later form planets.”

“Principles of a Green New Deal Economy” [Verso]. “Principle Number One: A Steady State Economy. An economy that sustains life on earth will be a steady state economy and will not exceed the nine ecological boundaries: stratospheric ozone depletion; loss of biosphere integrity (biodiversity loss and extinctions); chemical pollution and the release of novel entities; climate change; ocean acidification; freshwater consumption and the global hydrological cycle; land system change; nitrogen and phosphorus flows to the biosphere and oceans; atmospheric aerosol loading.” • Well worth a read.

Health Care

I don’t think comparing #MedicareForAll to the DMV is the killer argument conservatives think it is. Thread:

I think what really ticks conservatives off — and, to be fair, some liberals — is the very idea of taking a number. It means they can’t buy their way to the head of the line.

“How bad teeth and a lack of dental care can lead to discrimination and poverty” [Fresno Bee]. “Many things can get in the way of advancing out of poverty: The lack of a car to get to work. Failing to secure a high school diploma or college degree. Even showing up to a job interview without a sharp-looking outfit. But in the U.S., there is one unspoken barrier that can do lifelong damage: Bad teeth. Interviews with Medi-Cal patients, advocates and dentists show that some people on Medi-Cal in Fresno have had to pull their own teeth. Others had their dentures stolen. They have tried to access dental services over the years, but were unable to navigate the complicated system, and lost faith when their only option was teeth removal. Others found coverage for more complicated services, but struggled to gain quality care. Diaz-Nino tried going to multiple dentists with her Medi-Cal card over the years, but what was a covered benefit during one visit was no longer covered the next time around. The only service dentists offered consistently were extractions. She considered having her teeth pulled to get a denture, but her friends told her horror stories of their ill-fitting dentures, and she wanted to keep the teeth she still had.” • Now MediCal covers partial dentures and crowns. But very badly. Watch for dental coverage in competing #MedicareForAll “plans.”


“Betrayal at Krondor” [The Digital Antiquarian]. “The most widely publicized early example of [living out shared stories through games] was undoubtedly the one which involved a humble insurance salesman named Tom Clancy, who came out of nowhere with a techno-thriller novel called The Hunt for Red October in 1984. The perfect book for a time of resurgent patriotism and military pride in the United States, it found a fan in no less elevated a personage than President Ronald Reagan, who declared it ‘my kind of yarn.’ As the book topped the bestseller charts and the press rushed to draft their human-interest stories on the man who had written it, they learned that Clancy had gamed out its entire scenario, involving a rogue Soviet submarine captain who wishes to defect along with his vessel to the United States, with a friend of his named Larry Bond, using Harpoon, a tabletop wargame of modern naval combat designed by the latter. Clancy’s follow-up novel, a story of open warfare between East and West called Red Storm Rising, was a product of the same gestation process. To the literary establishment, it all seemed extremely strange and vaguely unsettling; to many a wargamer, it seemed perfectly natural.”

Guillotine Watch

“This home comes with yoga, sound baths, star energy healing — and 95 roommates” [Los Angeles Times]. “On a recent Friday evening, two dozen young men and women shuffled to a backyard patio aglow in string lights. Most were heavily tattooed and wearing several beaded bracelets. A few wore tie-dye tank tops. All carried a stainless steel water bottle like an adult security blanket. They listened attentively as celebrity chef Seamus Mullen conducted a cooking lesson, discussing the importance of food as “nourishment” while pointing to a bouquet of squash. Then, much like a home-economics class, the group was broken into four groups, each responsible for cooking an assigned dish. This is but one of many events at Haven Coliving, a fully furnished adult dorm in Venice dedicated to wellness. When these residents aren’t sleeping in a pod-style room with up to half a dozen strangers, they’re treated to a full lineup of Goop-friendly activities.” • I didn’t know where else to file this…

Mirrors are apotropaic for vampires:

“A billionaire who signed the Giving Pledge in 2012 said Bill Gates’ philanthropy pact isn’t ‘growing as rapidly as we hoped'” [Business Insider]. “Bill Gates and Warren Buffett founded the Giving Pledge in 2010 to encourage billionaires to give away the majority of their fortunes, according to the organization’s website. The pledge now has 204 signatories from 23 different countries, including Marc Benioff, MacKenzie Bezos, Sara Blakely, Richard Branson, Micheal Bloomberg, and Ray Dalio. The pledge could be worth up to $600 billion by 2022, research firm Wealth-X found. Those impressive stats aside, the pledge has come under criticism in the past for not verifying that signatories actually donate the money they pledge and for not accepting applications to become a signatory from the public. The late hedge fund manager Robert Wilson called the pledge “practically worthless” in an email exchange published by Buzzfeed News in 2014 because it allows donors to name their own foundations in their wills.” • Lol.

Class Warfare

“Who suffers the most from California’s high rents? It’s not the middle class” [McClatchy]. “Only 4 percent of median income families in the state are ‘severely’ burdened by housing costs, meaning they spend more than half of their income on housing costs, the study says. Meanwhile, 76 percent of low-income households are strained by housing costs. The study defines those households as ones whose income is 30 percent or less of their community’s median income. In Sacramento, that’s $22,600.”

“Wages at the Wheel: Were Spinners Part of the High Wage Economy?” [Oxford Economic and Social History Working Papers]. “[S]pinners’ wages were low even compared with other women workers and did not follow a trajectory which could explain the invention and spread of the spinning jenny.”

“The Socialist Agronomist Who Helped End Portuguese Colonialism” (interview) [Jacobin]. “I grew up hearing and reading a lot about the bloody war against the Portuguese colonizers. [Amílcar Lopes de costa Cabral ‘s] effective leadership played a central role in the outcome, which culminated not only in independence for the two West African nations formerly ruled from Lisbon, but also served as a vital catalyst for the downfall of almost half a century of fascist dictatorship in Portugal and the collapse of the Portuguese empire in Africa…. In the context of neoliberal triumphalism, knowledge of Cabral’s visionary leadership qualities and progressive ideas have remained largely unknown in the world generally, and in postindependence Africa in particular, while in Guinea-Bissau and Cabo Verde, it has significantly faded.”

News of the Wired

I heard just a snippet of this song in Scorses’s Rolling Thunder Revue. Here is a complete version:

(Lyrics). And so we don’t too serious, this from the National Lampoon:

It occurred to me that surely we have a good history of the Sixties; it’s been long enough. But I can’t think of one. Readers?

* * *

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 and coral 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 (PS):

PS writes: “Plectranthus ecklonii, Berkeley, CA.” Looks like a good plant to know about.

* * *

Readers: Water Cooler is a standalone entity not covered by the annual NC fundraiser (which has just concluded; thank you all very much!) Remember, a tip jar is for tipping! So if you see a link you especially like, or an item you wouldn’t see anywhere else, please do not hesitate to express your appreciation in tangible form. Regular positive feedback both makes me feel good and lets me know I’m on the right track with coverage. When I get no donations for five or ten days I get worried. More tangibly, a constant trickle of donations helps me with expenses, and I factor in that trickle when setting fundraising goals:

Here is the screen that will appear, which I have helpfully annotated.

If you hate PayPal, you can email me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, and I will give you directions on how to send a check. Thank you!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Guest Post, Water Cooler on by .

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. Deschain

    The jackpot has arrived in California. San Francisco smells like an ashtray, up in Marin we’re potentially looking at no power for an entire week, and my mother-in-law down south just evacuated her house due to the Getty fire. And Paul Singer wants to buy PG&E. I’m sure that will have a happy ending for the citizens of the state.

    1. Wukchumni

      If you think its snowing in San Francisco
      Be assured that its ashes in your hair
      If you’re going to San Francisco
      You’re gonna meet some frazzled people there

      For those who come to San Francisco
      Late fall time will be a smoke-in there
      In the streets of San Francisco
      Homeless people with a Coleman as their lair

        1. Wukchumni

          I remain at the mercy of Prometheus’s whims by stealing fire from one group of Californians and ‘giving’ it to another, although in our defense, ooh ungowa we’ve never had our power taken away. (yet)

          1. Carey

            I’m a couple of hours south and north of the for-now Fire Zones, but my daughter’s in school in Davis, and has been instructed to bring her
            smoke-ameliorating gear to class. She has trouble
            breathing in the best of times, so yeah, ho ho ho.

      1. Lee

        I’ve lived in the bay area my whole life. This used to be my favorite time of year and I would often head north on outings to areas now on fire. Now I just stay home with my air purifier.

    2. inode_buddha

      Look on the bright side, maybe more of the same will finally start knocking Cali’s real estate prices back down into reality.

      1. JBird4049

        For California’s housing to get within shouting range there’d have to be something like the Black Death of 14th century. Or finally, The Revolution and Power to the People. Perhaps both.

        Anyways, I just wanted to say that rule of an intersection without working lights is to treated as a four way with stop signs. But nooooo. Some people just cannot accept the idea of waiting their turn. It was not this nuts with the last large earthquake knocked everything out. Then people got out and safely directed traffic until the chaos went down.

      2. Tom Stone

        Inode, prices are already dropping in 8 out og 9 Bay Area Counties, it looks ( So far) like the normal correction we see at the end of every Real Estate up cycle.
        That said, different market segmants and different locales will acrt very differently depending on the local economy.
        Sonoma County was correcting nicely, the fires this year will have an important effect.
        If the fire jumps 101 and burns down the Russian River it will destroy much of the “Affordable” housing in the County.

        It’s a matter of some interest to me, it would be nice to come home to a home rather than a pile of ashes when the evacuation is lifted.
        I’ll know one way or the other within a week.

        1. JBird4049

          Maybe I should not whine so much. Got no power and very spotty internet, but my apartment is not going up in flames.

          Good luck there.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > I’ll know one way or the other within a week.

          I guess snow isn’t so bad after all. I worry about the roof both in blizzards and hurricane season (and probably for no reason). I can’t imagine what you must be going through. Good luck!

      3. Summer

        If you’re talking about areas that ever were “affordable” for many,,,,
        Otherwise, it will cause a price rise as the monied rush to buy in safer areas.

  2. Crestwing

    Re: macOs Catalina:

    At our shops we have serviced 3 macbooks when Catalina failed to install correctly. Each customer lost all of their entire data when the Catalina update botched. We were not able to get the data back. We do not know if the data could be recovered by a data recovery company, as none of the customers wished to do that.

    Also, Apple designed Catalina to not run any 32-bit software–none.

    I have also read, but not personally seen, reports of Catalina destroying entire message histories, not just a single message history, but all of them on a device.

    Caveat Installor.

      1. RMO

        I did that using TimeMachine on my Macbook. Then when the computer died spectacularly I was all ready for a no-pain installation of all my stuff on the replacement. Except that the OS the new one shipped with couldn’t use a TimeMachine backup made with my version of the OS (one cycle behind – I hadn’t changed it because a couple of programs that were essential for me had some big problems with the latest OS).

        Eventually I managed to use another Mac and extract and copy all the files over onto the new laptop but it was not fun. That’s when I decided that I was done with Apple. Seems like I got clear and pulled the ripcord in time.

        1. Carey

          What is the good part of an operating system ‘update’? In my experience, they make my computer less responsive to my needs, and, relentlessly, more manipulative; as
          with website updates, and the internet in general.

          I plan to try a Linux variant soon, which might be better.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            aye! it always feels like a faux pas, but i loathe updates…and have since our first machine.
            win98se was easy enough to prevent them, but MS has done nothing but get more intrusive.
            win10 is the worst yet….it’s like they think it’s their laptop, or something.
            tried a linux os once, but i think my spotty internet at the time screwed up the download.
            haven’t had the time or stones to try again since we got real internet service.
            ive never even sat before an apple, but if the iphone is any indication, i think i’ll pass.

            1. Carey

              I hear you. Mac up to OS 8.6 or so felt human-oriented, and up to 10.6 was
              tolerable, but no longer.

              Gonna get a cheap surveillance-machine now and try Linux.

              1. Yves Smith

                Nah, the best OS ever was the NeXT and the Mac GUIs were all crapified compared to that. The NeXT GUI was severely downgraded when it became the guts of the Mac OS to make it compatible with the clutter Mac users were accustomed to.

                1. Carey

                  Oh, I can believe that! I’m no computer whiz, just that,
                  as I said, up to OS 8
                  felt relatively human-oriented.

                  They shape™ us daily, and without effort.

    1. Bugs Bunny

      This rabbit lost 2 essential 32 bit programs and the iTunes library. Luckily I’m an assiduous user of Time Machine and was able to go back to the previous version. It took me 6hours, total.

      Nerve racking. I might try installing it again when the coast looks clear.

      I can’t lose my Photoshop and Acrobat though. Why do I need to sacrifice my investment in software to get the latest OS update?

      1. thoughtful person

        So you can buy the latest new software of course? Doesn’t everyone want the latest?

        (I’m using a 2009 Adobe Elements version of photoshop)

  3. Hepativore

    The “1960’s” and parodies thereof? Well, there is always Jet Set Junta by the 1980’s New Wave group, the Monochrome Set. They are a very underrated band.

    Jet Set Junta is a mock-anthem to all of the brutal Latin American dictatorships that arose in the 1970’s and 1980’s. It is a very tongue-in-cheek parody set in a retro-Sixties surf rock style. Now with the rise of Maduro and Bolsanaro, it is just as poignant as ever.


      1. WheresOurTeddy

        how odd…I have been assured by some expat children of wealth who have never spent a day in the country that he is a dictator.

      1. Hepativore

        I was in a hurry to type my comment as my break at work was ending. What I meant to say was the rise Bolonsaro hypothetical coup of Maduro.

  4. molonlabe

    “I think what really ticks conservatives off — and, to be fair, some liberals — is the very idea of taking a number. It means they can’t buy their way to the head of the line.” Way to reach out, Lambert.

    1. jrs

      I one time paid the DMV for the same thing 3 times, because my record continually got lost in their system (yes that’s also an hour or more wait each time). Take it from me: never ever try to fix a salvage car, the DMV headaches alone will drive you batty. So add non-functional record keeping systems to things that tick people off about the DMV (I think there was a scandal about DMV computer systems and public money being wasted at one time actually). How he describes private health insurance with deeply opaque policies, interminable waits, not getting one’s issues resolved is VERY MUCH my experience with the DMV. He just doesn’t know it as he happens to have gotten lucky with his DMV experiences. So what, there are people that love their health insurance but have never gotten sick as well.

      And of course triple A (autoclub) IS an attempt to buy one’s way to the head of the line (avoid DMV transactions),that and tows and the like, and that’s mostly why people have it. It just only does so for some DMV services, so it’s not a complete escape. But I’ll use it whenever I can.

      If people like the DMV so much why are the clerks all behind bulletproof glass? There are banks with much less bulletproof glass than the DMV.

      1. EGrise

        Sorry man, that sucks.
        My experiences with the DMV here in Austin have been very positive: fast, efficient, willing to handhold me through the more unfathomable aspects of title application, never had a problem – I suspect this is the type of DMV Lambert is referring to. I’d be okay with a healthcare experience like that.
        And never saw any bulletproof glass, but it might be advisable in some places since the DMV accepts cash.

        1. KLG

          Renewed my driver’s license for 8 years (after completing the application online to get in the queue) and paid my yearly automobile taxes last month in 20 minutes. The first at the Department of Driver Services and the second at my local tax office a few blocks away. The tax office is a former bank. Completed the transaction at the drive-through window in less than 5 minutes. State/local government that works is possible, and expected.

          1. Carey

            My experiences at the DMV here in California have been very acceptable.
            From what I can see, they do *very well* with the resources available.
            Nothing like the Hell of dealing with health™ insurance companies..

          2. JTMcPhee

            Ditto from here in Pinellas County, FL. DMV processes huge number of transactions in a very fair and expeditious fashion. I will observe that “regulars” with lots of registrations and titles from car dealerships get their own special category and do get a head of ordinary mopes renewing licenses, paying for their “tags,” registering their boats and so forth.

            And my observation as a nurse for a while is that most people are in the “take a number and wait to get screwed” cohort, under the present system. And yes, the 1-10%ers want to buy their way out of the line, but there’s no guarantee that their Concierge Physicians will not screw up their bodies too. Rough justice… a great leveler, Death: https://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/deaths-by-medical-mistakes-hit-records

      2. jo6pac

        In Calif. there are private DMV services that does all the state DMV does with no lines. They have stand fee of $30.00 Plus what the DMV fee is and worth every cent.

      3. polecat

        It depends on the DMV. I just recently renewed my state (Wa.) drivers license. Walked in, grabbed a number for my turn. 30 seconds elapsed before I was called to approach the counter. Renewal done in 5 min. ! At virtually any Ca. DMV, it would’ve taken the good part of the day … that’s after making an appointment.

        Not to offend any Ca. commentors … but, I have to say that I’m sooo glad to no longer be residing in the downward spiral that is the Sh!thole State !
        Most likely, there are other States looking to vie for top place in acquiring that title …

        1. TroyIA

          In Iowa you don’t even have to leave your house. Just go to the DOT website and renew your license online and they mail it to you.

        2. Wukchumni

          Visalia Ca, DMV is a breeze. You need to make an appointment, which is no biggie. Might take 30 minutes to get ‘r done. Piece of cake.

    2. Lydia Maria Child

      ““I think what really ticks conservatives off — and, to be fair, some liberals — is the very idea of taking a number. It means they can’t buy their way to the head of the line.” Way to reach out, Lambert.”

      Are you seriously insinuating that you or they deserve some sort of special treatment? Or is it that nobody is supposed to have such “poor taste” as to mention this set of class assumptions publicly? Serious question.

  5. Phacops

    Whoa! Mass media just cannot abide the truth that Bernie is capable of speaking. The more I hear the greater I respect him. No, he is not perfect, but given information his ethical compass swings towards justice. Absolutely nobody running for president has demonstrated such moral clarity.

    Given that, I can also trust in the choices he will make in selecting appointees.

    I remember that one month past Obama’s election I knew that we were in trouble when his economic team was unveiled. Growing up in the inner city there is a racist term for what he did to us in his first election that I will refrain from using. Let’s just say that he dealt hopium.

    1. WheresOurTeddy

      the Goldman Sachs alumni meeting that convened every time he held a cabinet meeting didn’t inspire you?

      me neither

    2. Procopius

      Heck, I knew we were in trouble with Obama when he selected torture advocate John Brennan as his campaign’s national security adviser.

  6. scarn

    Great to see Cabral highlighted in Jacobin. His party directive in 1965 is gold.

    “Always bear in mind that the people are not fighting for ideas, for the things in anyone’s head. They are fighting to win material benefits, to live better and in peace, to see their lives go forward, to guarantee the future of their children .”

    Too often forgotten.

    1. Phillip Allen

      And also this, which has guided me for many decades: “Tell no lies. Claim no easy victories.”

      1. Carey

        That is a very good motto, and Senator Sanders seems to be
        following it. It’ll be our job to carry it on.

  7. 3.14e-9

    Re: macOS Catalina

    As an early adopter of Final Cut Pro, I subscribed to a weekly newsletter from editing guru Larry Jordan. Benefits have included knowing when it’s safe to update to the latest macOS. My first iMac came with Snow Leopard, so I’ve been through eight updates with him and so far have managed to avoid problems such as those described above. In general, Larry always advises waiting to update, especially if you’re in the middle of an editing project. And, because he has a broad network of film & video editors, Mac users, and Apple insiders, he usually is among the first to know about the bugs in new releases. He has been warning about Catalina for weeks – months, in the case of 32-bit media files. His newsletter comes out every Monday. First paragraph in this morning’s edition:

    It’s been a week since macOS Catalina was released and the reports are coming in that it is still a bit too buggy for serious work. The advice I’m reading is that Apple is working hard to get this fixed, but we should probably plan to wait until the .2 update, rather than .1, for sufficient stability. For now, waiting seems wise.

    Here’s his warning from a month ago (link to subscribe to the newsletter in sidebar):

    1. The Rev Kev

      It is the same with Microsoft. I was given the advice some twenty-five years ago never to get Microsoft version 1.0 anything. That it was actually beta software and Microsoft’s customers were acting as free testers.

    1. John k

      CR data shows their cars are more popular with their owners than any other other brand in their surveys (don’t survey rolls.)

  8. neo-realist

    Both parties want to have the capacity to steal elections with different objectives: Republicans tend to use the capacity to defeat Democrats in National Elections, e.g., Florida 2000, Ohio 2004, and State, e.g., defeats of Ossoff and Abrams to Republicans utilizing voter disenfranchisement and non-paper voting machines. Democrats, on the other hand, tend to use the capacity to defeat progressive democrats in favor of establishment approved dems, e.g., Voting machine problems in black neighborhoods (neighborhoods most likely to vote progressive) in the AG dem primary election that Zephyr Teachout lost to Letitia James, and the 2016 Democratic primary shenanigans involving the vote for Bernie Sanders.

    1. Big River Bandido

      Don’t forget the Queens DA primary this past June, where the BOE threw out thousands of absentee and “affadavit” ballots after Election Night — just enough ballots, it turned out, to change Tiffany Caban’s thousand-vote lead to a 16-vote “victory” by a tool of real estate developers and machine Democrats. Curiously, of the paper ballots that weren’t invalidated, the establishment tool took 68% of the vote…way above the Election Night percentages.

  9. GF

    “Who suffers the most from California’s high rents? It’s not the middle class” [McClatchy]. Only 4 percent of median income families in the state are “severely” burdened by housing costs, meaning they spend more than half of their income on housing costs, the study says. ”

    What isn’t mentioned is that only 5% of the population of CA is in a median income family.

    1. smoker

      What isn’t mentioned is that only 5% of the population of CA is in a median income family.

      Not only that, but given that it used to be – and possibly still is – not uncommon, and legal (at least in many California locales) for landlords to demand that a renter could pay their rent on one weeks income, 23% (7/(365/12), that article’s benchmark of over 50% of income paid towards rents marking a severity zone seems utterly off base and a disingenuous pitting of those close to being utterly impoverished against those who already have been.

      Of course those making less need far more assistance, but to imply that having to pay up to 50% of ones income for rent will not push that ‘middle class waged’ down to a further impoverished class is criminal.

  10. Lemmy Caution

    Regarding the validity of the DMV smear. Could be a fluke but the DMV near me runs like a clock.

    If you’ve gone online to make an appointment, the wait is minimal.

    A kiosk near the entrance allows you to renew license tabs in a minute or two if that’s all you need.

    If you’re a walk-in you grab a paper number, or increasingly, check in with your smartphone.

    The first stop is a document check station to ensure everybody has the paperwork so there are no holds ups at the counter.

    Display screens overhead show the next ten customers in line so you can monitor progress.

    On my last visit there were probably 50 or 60 people ahead of me. I waited about 90 minutes and concluded my business in just a few minutes once I got up to the counter.

    So yeah, there’s a wait, but I actually don’t mind waiting a bit when the place is run by employees who are professional, friendly and customer-oriented.

    Under the current system, I shudder to think how long I’d have to wait in my Doctor’s waiting room if there were 50 or 60 people ahead of me. (Sometimes it feels like there at that many, to be sure.)

    1. Yves Smith

      Dunno if you mean the DMV in NYC, but it is great. Even getting a Real ID, which entails way more document fuss than a renewal, took all of one hour.

      And the idea that there isn’t queuing in the US is false. Unless you’ve got an antique plan like I do, you can’t see a specialist w/o having your primary care doctor authorize it. And if you want to see a particular person (like the one your MD recommended), you can easily have a wait of three to six weeks. This is NYC which is lousy with doctors.

      1. jsn

        DMV in New York is pretty good: rich people do go there.

        As you point out all the time, if the rich are allowed to opt out of systems, those systems are allowed to deteriorate.

        When the rich have to use M4A, M4A will run like clockwork.

    2. Phacops

      I think the greatest damage that Republicans have done to our republic is convincing weak minded people that our government doesn’t work. But, of course, they get elected and then set out to prove it by crippling good governance.

      1. Milton

        I think the greatest damage that Republicans the ruling class have done to our republic is convincing weak minded misinformed people that our government doesn’t work. But, of course, they get [the people that do their bidding,] elected and then set out to prove it by crippling good governance.


  11. XXYY

    I think what really ticks conservatives off — and, to be fair, some liberals — is the very idea of taking a number. It means they can’t buy their way to the head of the line.

    This is the profound insight. Elite hatred of public services is based on the fact that everyone in the society gets the same service. They don’t care if they and everyone else get good service, they care that they don’t somehow get better service than the stupid proles.

    This is the core of the (mostly made up) “wait times” arguments against the Canadian healthcare system. They don’t care about others having to wait. They care that there might conceivably be a wait for them.

      1. RMO

        Yeah, like my father-in-law – he’s about Bernie’s age. What a horror show he had with his heart condition here in Canada – he felt bad, went to his family doctor, got referenced to a specialist, had some tests, went into Vancouver General, had the surgery and I was giving him a ride home all within a month. Then there were the post operative checkups, medications and some special cushions etc. to help him sleep in the right position when healing. Later than year in the summer he danced the twist with his daughter when she married me. All that covered by his normal BC Medical Services Premiums with no filling out of paperwork, no long phone calls, no worries about sudden bills coming up. Terrible, isn’t it?

        1. Wukchumni

          You mean to tell me those horror stories of people that politely expired like so much cordwood in line while awaiting medical help up over, was a gross misrepresentation by those leaning so far to the right here, they’re are in perennial potential of toppling over?

        2. Phacops

          Yep, horrible. A family friend had a cardiac crisis while I was visiting near North Bay, Ont. Long distance ambulance (I met them on the highway), immediate treatment and follow ups. $0.00.

          Now, if Canada would only pull the border down a bit . . . like the southern border of Michigan.

          1. hunkerdown

            If only! But they’d be pushing, we’d be pulling. Meet you in Port Huron with a rented 1.5-ton pickup?

            1. HotFlash

              Here in Ontario vehicle licence tags and even drivers licences can be renewed online, unless you are up for a new photo or test. When I went in person to renew my long-lapsed drivers licence (I don’t own a car but carshare from time to time) I figured I’d be forever getting a new one (lost wallet and ID a while back), have to prove my ID, have to re-take test, etc, etc. Not so! Nice lady said, hmm, your’e still in the system, we’ll just go with that. Picture snapped, deal done 15 min after I walked in.

              When my very frail older friend had to renew her health card at the same office a few weeks later, the staff spotted her in the (short) line, whisked a comfy chair over to the wheelchair-height wicket and processed her immediately, photo and all. I don’t think we were there even 10 minutes.

              When people say to me, “Government can’t do anything right”, I respond, “You want your life being run by Bell? Or Rogers?” (our version of Comcast, and just as awful). “Oh, well…,” they say, and start to tell me their Bell or Rogers horror stories.

    1. wilroncanada

      Maybe Forbes means unlucky like me:
      I had a heart attack about 9 years ago, at about 7:30 AM. I awakened my wife and daughter just in case; I phoned 911, then took 2 aspirins, like the TV ads say. Within 10 minutes, the ambulance arrived ( I told the 911 operator not to bother the local fire department 3 blocks away, because the symptoms had eased, their arrival would have been 3 minutes). I was delivered to the local hospital 20 minutes away–no upfront costs–and admitted through emergency with priority–no upfront costs. Tests showed I had indeed suffered a heart attack–no upfront costs–and the onsite cardiologist immediately arranged for transport to Victoria the next day–no upfront costs–and I was delivered to ICU for the night. The following morning I was transported to the cardiac unit at one of the two Victoria hospitals (about 60 kms.) –no upfront costs, booked in with a lineup of patients from all over Vancouver Island who were scheduled that day for major or minor (in my case) heart surgery–no upfront costs. I watched the angioplasty with the insertion of 3 stents, on a TV screen, then was sent to a recovery room for about 3 hours, and then for another 2 hours seated with other recovering patients. I was then discharged in the care of my oldest daughter who lives in Victoria area–no upfront costs–with suggested meds and a pre-arranged appointment to see the local cardiologist–no upfront costs.
      That’s how badly I was hurt by so-called socialized medicine here in Canada.

    2. dcrane

      Yeah, this line gets me.

      This kind of immediate, high-quality treatment is routine in the United States. Whether the patient is wealthy or poor, has insurance or not, is irrelevant. The care comes first, and the result is countless lives saved.

      Routine for the rich, I would say. Despite what the author claims.

      That being said, it is true that a single-payer system is unlikely to be able to provide healthcare for everyone at the levels being provided to today’s uber-wealthy, right? Public systems do have to resist spending large sums on more experimental care, and on treatment that accomplishes only small gains in lifespan. Public systems do often have waiting lists. Those of us who desire such a system for its overall efficiency and fairness should not undermine our own credibility by pretending that these issues aren’t real.

      1. JTMcPhee

        I’ve been doing some volunteer work. Came across the experience of one gentleman with diabetes, and no “health insurance.” He required amputation of a leg above the knee, on account of gangrene and osteomyelitis. Surgery was done, all right, but within 12 hours, the hospital discharged him into the back of an ambulance . The attendants deposited him on the stoop of his home, in a hospital gown, with an IV cannula still in his arm. His wife, also physically challenged, managed to get him up into the house.

        He probably qualifies for Medicaid, even under the scum bucket restrictions and reductions imposed by “Skeletor” Rick Scott and the new guy and the whole Republican-gerrymandered legislature and the evil people appointed to administer it. But does not have the remaining awareness and energy to pursue it.

        Yaas, patient care comes first…

  12. Pavel

    Jeez I lost all respect for William Gibson after reading that tweet. He really jumped the shark there.

    1. Acacia

      Ditto. Dude is unhinged. And his book Agency sounds like a turkey. I thought the guy was more perspicacious?

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Loved the Peripheral and had plopped down my $28 and read it even before it started getting good press at NC. I’m going to have to hear a review here first before even thinking of spending anything on this sequel. Gibson sounds like he needs to have that TDS looked at…

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          (Link to the good press, which includes a long excerpt on “The Jackpot,” a label/meme/concept Gibson invented.)

          I think Gibson is having such a hard time completing Agency because he is too good a writer to have lost his mind completely; but too committed to the neoliberal order to be able to reconcile its contradictions. One notes the hero worship of the good (old, wise, not young, mercenary) intelligence community members, and the fascination with tradecraft generally, in Spook Country, another example of “the future is here…”

  13. DJG

    Diviners of outcomes, not agents of change

    Brilliant summation by Meagan Day. I would also put it as Americans are total fools for “analysis,” but no one wants to sully themselves with synthesis. I see flocks of butterflies with the wings pulled off.

    Her summation also explains why you saw upper-middle-class peeps by the dozens buying expensive tickets to hear the Clintons bloviate, rather than, say, paying the groundskeepers a decent wage. It is why you have so many people out there who just discovered the Kurds last week. It also why (category error, Lambert?) you have people living in dorms together, obsessively tattooing their skins, hoping that kale will stave off aging, and combining all of that into a rickety structure that leads back to more obsessive tattooing and buying tickets to go to Hamilton with Mayor Pete’s husband. America, gumming itself to death.

      1. ambrit

        I find tattoos to still be a good indicator of a persons incarcerability.
        (Except for the occasional manly looking sailor.)

        1. The Rev Kev

          I have been seeing grandmas with tattoos over the past few years. When I was a kid, the only people that had tattoos were crims and sailors.

      2. HotFlash

        Matt Groenig, learning that Bart Simpson was a popular tattoo, designed one of Bart with the legend “Born to make minimum wage”. I couldn’t find it online, but the gallery of Bart tattoos is, um, educational.

  14. dearieme

    But a review by The New York Times … reveals a complex picture in which many cases defy simple black or white categorization.

    Of course. She’s a Democrat.

    Anyway, is it palatable to use “black or white” when she’s a Cherokee?

  15. dearieme

    Do note, however, alert reader BC’s comment summarizing Snowden on Joe Rogan

    The bit I particularly enjoyed was his description of what a large chunk of the Deep State did on 9/11. It went home early just in case there should be an airliner aimed at its buildings.

    1. Tomonthebeach

      Snowden’s remarks are funny, but bullshit. First, many of us left the office early because they closed all the schools and many of us had to fetch family members as public transit was impossible. Second, asserting that agencies compete is from Fantasyland. Sure, HHS wants to beat out Agriculture? Really? The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration is neck and neck with NASA?

      The deep state is just a term for career civil servants who network across agencies to coordinate activities and policies. One agency’s rule could upend the mission accomplishment of another agency unless aware of the dilemma. How do you think conferences involving multiple agencies get coordinated? It is called teamwork, and that is how most stuff gets done in DC – teamwork. Okay, that was pre-Trump.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > The deep state is just a term for career civil servants who network across agencies to coordinate activities and policies … It is called teamwork, and that is how most stuff gets done in DC – teamwork. Okay, that was pre-Trump.

        Say what you will about Trump, he didn’t get us into the Iraq War (teamwork!), destroy the Fourth Amendment with an enormous system of warrantless surveillance (teamwork!), legalize torture (teamwork!), or reboot the slave markets of Libya with a bombing campaign (teamwork!). Or keep losing war after war (teamwork!) while pissing away trillions of dollars (teamwork!) and blowing hundreds of thousands of faraway brown people to pink mist (teamwork!).

        The Blob needs to be cut out of the body politic like the (metastatic network of) cancer (cells) that it is. If the only person willing to even take up a scalpel and wave it in the tumor’s general direction is Trump, then good for him, and hopefully the rest of us poor schlubs can put the scattered body parts to good use. That’s what matters in the impeachment story, and not all this Democrat pearl-clutching about the rule of law, which was on its death bed when Obama took over, after which he gently smothered it while murmuring soothing platitudes (“Look forward and not back,” “stand between you and the pitchforks”). Let’s have some realpolitik here.

        > many of us left the office early because they closed all the schools and many of us had to fetch family members as public transit was impossible

        Yeah, sheesh, who’s gonna stay at their desk for Pearl Harbor II when it’s time to pick up little Madison from her ballet lessons! Oh, the humanity!

  16. dearieme

    Dental care: the NHS used to provide a reasonably practical service across the country. It wasn’t free but it was cheap i.e. heavily subsidised. Maybe it was free for some patients: children, perhaps? The unemployed? I don’t know.

    (That everything is free under the NHS is a myth: the postwar Labour government that introduced it started charging for some things within a year or two. The problem may have stemmed from Labour’s lack of time devoted to thinking in advance about an NHS: Labour was the last of the three major parties to adopt a policy of introducing an NHS.)

    Anyway, the NHS dental service was reformed by the Blair government and immediately people in some parts of the country found it hard to find an NHS dental practice that would accept them as patients. I know that my own practice gave us all a fortnight’s notice that it would no longer belong to the NHS scheme except for those of its patients who were students. I persevered with them for a while but gave up partly because their staff turnover was so high that there was no continuity of service. I now pay full whack at a private practice.

    I suppose that there are people richer than me in other parts of the country who do use an NHS practice and whom I am therefore subsidising. Thanks, Toni.

      1. Carey

        Yes! It all depends on what one’s goal is, doesn’t it?

        Mister Blair made Maggie look small-time, with his smooth

  17. Ted

    Haven Coliving: $1000 per bed per month, 24 beds in each housing unit and 96 in total crammed into 4 linked units. That’s a rental income of 24k per month per unit to the homeowner. Cha-cha-ching! Tenements are still tenements, even if they do have a yoga class. With that many users, they building will degrade like an over-ripe melon in a Venice beach heatwave. And let’s not forget the potential for all sorts of public health issues. Expect this experiment to end quickly.

  18. BoyDownTheLane

    “I think what really ticks conservatives off — and, to be fair, some liberals — is the very idea of taking a number. It means they can’t buy their way to the head of the line.”

    The whole idea of being a number and being stuck in a queue is so incredibly dysfunctional. Why do emergency departments do triage? Why do places like Walmart and Home Depot employ “greeters” to ascertain the nature of your interest? Why do major roadway intersections use route-guidance signs for miles ahead?

    The herd is not yet sufficiently intelligent to organize itself unless it is limited to ants and other similar insects. But the collective is into artificial intelligence….

    1. Wukchumni

      WalI*Mart hasn’t had greeters for about 20 years now, they do employ ‘exiters’ who make sure you’ve paid for what’s in your shopping cart.

      1. JTMcPhee

        I must offer that at two of our local Walmarts, a neighborhood and a Super Store, I have been greeted by Exiters (uniformly older folks like myself) who take it upon themselves to try to direct you to the spot you will have sock difficulty finding in the chaos that is a Walmart store…

        No doubt on other shifts at other stores, you get the martinet types instead, but good to see decency still poking up above the rubble.

    2. cnchal

      > Why do places like Walmart and Home Depot employ “greeters” to ascertain the nature of your interest?

      The greeter is a pshycological tactic employed by management to get you to spend moar than you were planning on. Forcing someone to say hello to you, even if it’s a vacuous gesture is supposed to make you feel better.

      Wuk is right about the Walmart reciept checkers upon exit checking your reciept versus your cart. When I have been asked I just say no and keep going. I also engage the cashiers and let them know that management thinks every customer walking through the door is a thief and that the cashiers are not trusted and incompetent.

      Which is the exact implication of what management at Wally thinks

  19. Carey

    Doesn’t fit the bill as a history of the 60s, but as a snapshot, Don McNeill’s ‘Moving Through Here’ is worth checking out.

    1. ambrit

      A heavy handed attempt to enforce conformity to the “Official Version” of the news.
      What is more troubling is the apparent collusion of the local police forces with the ‘foreign’ Golpistas.
      This is a clear case of the observation that what a country does overseas will eventually come home to bedevil the homeland.
      “Sow the Wind…”

  20. notabanker

    So the people that tabulate the votes have a War room setup to remove videos from the internet that show voting machines changing votes, because they say it isn’t true. Well then, glad that’s all cleared up.

    1. The Rev Kev

      And of course it would be the Atlantic Council that would have their grubby mitts all over this.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        It certainly is odd that the Atlantic Council isn’t leading the charge for hand-marked paper ballots, hand-counted in public, if election security is their first concern.

    2. metannoya

      I’m not a lawyer but if the said videos accurately depict voting machines changing votes, could actions such as removal of the videos from the internet be obstruction of justice, as in tampering with evidence, or shown to be part of a conspiracy to commit voter fraud?

  21. Cuibono

    Would someone be so good as to explain what the basis is for the outrage over what Bernie said is supposed to be about? It sounded pretty much spot on to me.

    1. EGrise

      AFAICT it’s because his remarks struck some people as being disrespectful, if not anti-police. After all, if you just do what the police tell you then you have nothing to worry about, right?

      Expected from the GOP, but perhaps also from a Democratic Party infested with MILOs as Lambert terms them (where the “L” stands for Law Enforcement, I believe).

    2. jeremyharrison

      I just woke up and haven’t caught up with the news to read any of the “outrage” over Bernie’s remark, but I’ll toss in my personal take:

      I don’t think it’s healthy to spread a narrative that, in essence, says that most all police officers are just itching to shoot as many black people in the head as they can possibly get away with.

      1 – That’s not true

      2 – Teaching this during “the talk” can leave the impression to a young black kid that, if he/she is ever pulled over by a police officer, his/her wisest move might be to flee, or worse, to resist and fight – which is EXACTLY when things can suddenly go very lethal.

      White guys who flee or fight police often suffer the same lethal consequences – it just doesn’t make eyeball-corralling headlines. Whenever I’m pulled over while driving, I make sure that BOTH of my hands are on the steering wheel, in plain sight, and I do NOT move them without first telling the cop exactly what I am doing – “Is it alright for me to reach into my glove compartment to get my registration – Sir?”

      A cop has NO idea who or what he is dealing with in any encounter. To avoid a Darwin award, recognize this, understand the situation, and act accordingly. Your chances of “getting shot in the back of your head” go down phenomenally.

      It’s just common freaking sense. As a politician with influence, as Bernie is, why not quickly explain this, rather than encourage the trope that “If you’re black, cops really want to kill you”.

      I’m not “outraged” at his statement – just disappointed for a lost opportunity for a helpful “teachable moment”, opting instead for a cheap score for political cred with the black voters.

      1. Carey

        Cops here in USA USA don’t only shoot people who don’t “do it right”: that notion is entirely bunkum. Interesting that this is only a huge problem here in the Exceptional™ Nation.

        ps: my father was a cop in the 60s-early 70s, and quit because he saw where it was heading;
        that is to say, where it is now.

      2. ambrit

        That idea would work if the police forces showed any inclination to deal fairly with the “Lower Classes” in America. Such however is not the case. Add to this the realization that this hyper macho policing methodology is wending it’s way up out of the ghettos and barrios and into the formerly ‘All American’ inner suburbs. When you segregate the neighborhoods by wealth, you also segregate the methods of policing. I would not be at all surprised to read that the average upper class automobile pulled over by a police person has a much higher probability of having a firearm in it than an automobile belonging to a poorer person. For one thing, guns aren’t cheap.

      3. urblintz

        absolutely ridiculous… in NO circumstance should cops kill unarmed civilians. Shooting first is the act of a coward. Cops are SUPPOSED to put their lives on the line. I live in a purportedly free society and to me that means I am free to not have some sermon in my head dictating how I should behave because cops kill a lot of people for NO reason. I’m gonna behave like a decent person and it is my right that the cop make the same assumption about me and act accordingly. Aren’t crime statistics down significantly? Why are cops approaching citizens with such paranoid and lethal aggression?

        Because they can and when they kill innocent people, they get away with it.

        Spare me the cop pity. A few good cops do not make up for the ages long and continuing story of killer cops and cover-ups by other cops.

        1. Yves Smith

          FWIW, a big study in LA (which as you probably know has a bad record overall found that that abuses really were made by a small % of terrible cops. The problem is the great blue wall of silence means other cops won’t turn them in, but their behavior shows up pretty quickly in data. The best approach is to get them off the street ASAP when this sort of thing happens but very few police forces are willing to do that.

          Having said that, things may have gotten worse overall in lots of forces due to more and more ex-soldiers joining the police. The reflexes of soldiers are generally all wrong for policing, since they are trained to shoot first and ask questions later.

          1. Carey

            In my opinion, it goes quite a bit deeper than that.
            The few cops that do get named for killing innocent
            and unarmed citizens seldom are prosecuted; those
            very few cops who do get prosecuted are *almost never* convicted.

            Friends in High Places seems a more
            fitting explanation, to me.

          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            I remember perhaps five or six years go I still read Digby, and she was very sound on tasers. I subscribed to a Google alert for “police shooting” and once or twice a week I would get a story about somebody making a 911 call to the police, always with good motives, and not for cases of domestic abuse and such, the police showing up, and somebody getting whacked (with the somebody always being black). Always for no reason (as in, nobody had barricaded themselves in their home with an arsenal).

            This was before Black Lives Matter. The obvious remedy, if you are black, was to never, ever call the police, for any reason, even a good one.

            1. Phemfrog

              This is the exact thing that happened in Dallas last week. Poor woman was playing video games with her nephew and left the front door open. Neighbor called non-emergency police line to check it out. Cop arrived, walked the perimeter, and then shot the woman dead in her living room through the window. There was a body cam capturing all of this. He didnt even ID himself as a cop.


              At least this guy was charged with murder. I dont think it would have happened if Amber Guyger hadnt been found guilty. That felt like a big change.

        2. Procopius

          I remember reading many years ago, probably when I was still drinking alcohol, hence my inability to fix the time, that the new thing in the courts was to release poor people on their own recognizance, rather than demand cash bail from people who did not have cash. I guess that would have been late ’60s or early ’70s. I don’t know what happened to that. I also remember reading that cops were being instructed to never shoot at a fleeing suspect. Never. Not under any circumstances. No matter what he was suspected of. Never. Because in an urban environment you did not know where that slug was going to go when you (inevitably) missed the guy you were shooting at. When cops shoot, innocent bystanders get hit. That doesn’t get reported very much, but it’s the reality. Whatever happened to that policy?

      4. sd

        Elder parent had one of those alert units that could be triggered by pushing a button on a watch band that would trigger a call to 911. Occasionally the system would call 911 on its own. One time, even though the police knew the call was coming from a home with an elderly patient most likely in need of medical assistance, they arrived with guns drawn…

        It’s was a frightening experience.

        1. Carey

          Agree. I called 911 in early 2015 for what seemed to me like a health emergency, and wish I hadn’t. Details only
          on request, because I don’t want to remember. It might
          be OK if you’re quite sure you’re dying- but that doesn’t
          really make sense, does it?

          Lambert’s Neoliberalism Rule #2- but let us make money
          off of you, first! (they did!).

    3. Oregoncharles

      He isn’t supposed to mention that cops shoot people without good reason – as they in fact do.

  22. Tom Stone

    Bernie’s comment about why you should always be polite to the police echoes what my Mother taught me.
    She grew up in Stockton CA in the 1930’s..
    And I was raised in Oakland CA.
    I saw and experienced plenty of police misconduct and racism both as a youth and as an adult.
    For what it’s worth I’m white.
    Skin color has always been taken as an indicator of Class in America and the primary job of the police is to ” Maintain Public Order”..
    And they will do that, no matter what it takes to maintain the status quo.


  23. Wukchumni

    There is a $12 billion backup of maintenance projects/roads/new buildings needed to bring our National Parks into the 21st century, as they are being literally loved to death by an onslaught of tourists, but the money simply isn’t there.

    On the other hand, should you get lost in the forest for the trees here, they’ll spend like there’s no tomorrow, not that there’s anything wrong with that, should you be on the receiving end of a search & rescue operation, case in point: around $50-100k spent here finding a lost woman.

    SEQUOIA AND KINGS CANYON NATIONAL PARKS, California October 28, 2019 – Mary Joanna Gomez from Mississippi was found alive and in stable condition by National Park Service personnel on the afternoon of October 28th and has been in contact with her family and will be reunited with them shortly. She was found off trail about 3.5 miles over rocky and steep terrain from her vehicle.

    A California Air National Guard aircraft C-130 first located an SOS spelled out with rocks on the ground and later identified a person nearby. Ground searchers responded and were able to find Mrs. Gomez cold, thirsty and hungry, but in otherwise good health.

    Mrs. Gomez was reported missing by her family after missing her work shift in the Bay Area on Friday, October 25th. Her last contact with family had been the day prior while visiting Kings Canyon National Park, when she stated her intention to visit Sequoia. Her vehicle was located on the night of October 26th which helped narrow down the search zone.

    1. Carolinian

      The “drag outs” who strand themselves at the bottom of the Grand Canyon now get charged for their rescues. And fair enough IMO.

  24. ambrit

    About the “salesman” Clancy gaming out his plots. This is a big problem in Fantasy books as well. As in, an astute reader can tell when a plot twist is based on a dice throw or Hit card draw. Dungeons and Dragons has a lot to atone for. (I speak as a ‘reformed’ tabletop gamer.)

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > an astute reader can tell when a plot twist is based on a dice throw or Hit card draw.

      Hmm. Could one draw a fruitful analogy to contemporary electoral politics?

      1. ambrit

        Oh boy, could you ever.
        However, the dice throws in electoral politics are done like God does science; around a corner and out of sight. (H/T Stephen Hawking I believe, in response to Einstein’s utterance.)
        One could also make an analogy to the degradation of ‘popular literature’ over time. Heavens to Murgatroyd! ‘Newt’ Gingrich ‘co-authors’ Alternate History novels! Destroying the American system of governance was not enough for him. He wants to corrupt the public’s sense of history as well.
        Of course, throwing dice and drawing cards is the primary function of a casino. Thus, Wall Street leads the way into the Brave Neo World.

  25. Wukchumni

    Our airports are increasingly secure from terrorist attack and all that, but all it would take for somebody that looks the part during Diablo & Santa Ana wind conditions, is a rental car, a couple dozen road flares and a full tank of gas, and most of California would go up in flames, too many conflagrations going on at the same time to be able to do anything.

    Round trip air ticket from somewhere in the Mideast: $1534
    Rental Car for a week: $299 (insurance coverage waived)
    36x 30 minute road flares: $75
    Full tank of gasoline: $88

    Effect: Priceless

    1. Carolinian

      Recently departed your fair state (the other side of the Sierras from you). Sounds like I got out just in time.

    2. JTMcPhee

      That, of course, is only one of the many interlocking vulnerabilities the Overclass has helped build into this wonderful country of ours. Here’s a rice bowl look at some “terrorism” vulnerabilities, https://www.nap.edu/read/10968/chapter/3#16 . This site has exposed the vulnerabilities of the payments system and a whole lot of other reasons to live a fearful life. Like kids with a model rocket and a spool of carbon-fiber fishing line getting bored and wondering what would happen if they tied the fish line to the rocket and shot it over a power substation or high tension line…

      Here’s hoping some AI agent at some Fusion Center does not read and react to your observations about railroad flares and stuff. Or mine as above.

  26. Oregoncharles

    “Five reasons why Tesla’s ‘really cool’ solar roof isn’t a surefire hit”

    This appears to capture both what is right and what is wrong with Tesla. The concept makes excellent sense. Solar panels make perfectly good roofing, and it’s rather foolish to mount them OVER a roof: far more expensive than need be, and it promotes moss in their shadow – I’ve seen it inches thick. That isn’t good for the roofing. It’s unavoidable in retrofits, but in new construction, even just replacing a roof, the panels should BE the roof. Tesla addressed that problem/opportunity. From what I saw, they also addressed cosmetics: the panels are disguised as tile roofing. That’s a selling point for some, but extra expense for many.

    But they have trouble delivering on their clever idea, possibly because disguising it makes it too complicated. Great idea, fumbled execution. Especially if they catch fire.

  27. Oregoncharles

    ” rocks like ‘Oumuamua might be catalysts for planet formation. There are probably uncountable billions of such objects sailing through the cosmos, they say. ”

    Which are largely undetectable from Earth, hence unaccounted for in the astronomers’ numbers.

    Dark matter? The whole theory is based on estimates of the amount of normal matter in galaxies.

  28. Stanley Dundee

    Lambert asks:

    It occurred to me that surely we have a good history of the Sixties; it’s been long enough. But I can’t think of one. Readers?

    Rick Perlstein has done a pretty great job with Before the Storm and Nixonland. These are directed more towards towards politics than culture. I have found them quite valuable including rereads.

Comments are closed.