Links 11/2/19

Vampire bats help their friends in need, study finds CNN (furzy)

INCURSION Society and Space (guurst). Yaks as spies.

Multiple raccoons take over the library at Arkansas State Arkansas Online (Dan K)

Iceland Livestreams 10-Year-Old McDonald’s Cheeseburger That Won’t Decompose BBC

Artist ‘humiliated’ after UN cultural agency put underwear on his nude sculptures CNN (resilc)

Video: Drones help restore Minnesota’s North Shore forests MPR News (Chuck L)

Could trains haul millions of gallons of MN groundwater to the Southwest? A Lakeville railroad thinks so Pioneer Press. Chuck L: First shots of inter-region water wars in the Upper Midwest?”

Scientists find a way to target the protein behind Huntington’s disease ars technica


China says it’s reached a consensus in principle with the US during this week’s trade talks CNBC

China cleared to impose $3.6bn in new tariffs on US Financial Times

Even Latin America’s Trump is Kowtowing to the Chinese American Conservative (resilc)


Boris Johnson faces threat of Brexit party battle in every seat Guardian (avoidhotdogs)

Brexit: groupthink Richard North. I have not had the misfortune to be subjected to Farage much, but my view is North is giving Farage far too much credit. Farage looks to be knowingly adopting the strategy that has the best potential payoff for him. He’d rather be the slayer of a wannabe King than made irrelevant by the success of Johnson’s deal. Remember that even if the Tories win the most seats but cannot form a new government, and therefore Johnson’s deal fails, Brexit is not going away as a topic. The embittered loyalists would still keep stirring the pot.

In case you had any doubts, the headline on the daily e-mail from ERG mouthpiece BrexitCentral had the subject line: “The Farage ultimatum to the Tories should make Brexiteers despair.”

Boris Johnson takes no-deal off the table: PM’s manifesto will abandon the threat of crashing out of EU – and promise tax cuts – in bid to capture the centre ground after ruling out a pact with Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party Daily Mail

Fracking banned in UK as government makes major U-turn Guardian (PlutoniumKun, BC)

European snub to North Macedonia fuels frustration in Balkans BBC


Iraq: Anti-government protesters hold largest rally since demonstrations began DW

Nuclear Weapons and Turkey Since 1959 | National Security Archive (Chuck L)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

How Gaggle Surveils Every Document, Email, Chat, And Picture That Students Create BuzzFeed. BC:

Horrifying destruction of constitutional rights at industrial scale. I have no doubt that most of these capabilities were developed to serve Chinese Government internal requirements and were then repackaged to pedal here “to protect children”. Once the existence of these capabilities become normalized and the implementation bugs are worked out, it will be pointed to broader and broader constituencies.

DNA Databases Are a National Security Leak Waiting To Happen MIT Technology Review

Australia Proposes Face Scans for Watching Online Pornography New York Times (Chuck L)

Senator Introduces Bill Banning Facial Recognition Tech In Public Housing The Hill

Google buys Fitbit, acquiring users’ health histories & triggering privacy backlash RT (JTM)

Did Body Cameras Backfire? Atlantic (UserFriendly)

Imperial Collapse Watch

Senate Panel Tackles Unauthorized Appropriations, or ‘Zombie Payments’:
Unauthorized payments accounted for 23% of the discretionary budget in 2019, compared to 10% in the early 1990s. Government Executive (Changemaker)

The F-35 Is Cheap To Buy (But Not To Fly) Popular Mechanics (resilc)

Trump Transition

Trump Names Chad Wolf as Acting Homeland Security Secretary Wall Street Journal

Trump Administration Stops Enforcing Some Nondiscrimination Provisions in Federal Grants Wall Street Journal

Nearly 40% of 2019 farm income will come from federal aid and insurance Axios (resilc)

Obama to address top Democratic donors in Washington Politico (Christi I)


Trump at rally says impeachment an ‘attack on democracy itself The Hill

Energy Secretary Perry refuses to testify before Trump impeachment inquiry, his spokesperson says CNBC


Warren’s Medicare proposal underlines the question: Is she an electable revolutionary? Washington Post. UserFriendly:

I am really getting sick of the trend of putting 7 headlines on a story, The Atlantic does it constantly. And on WaPo’s on trending story list the headline is “Warren wants to be a revolutionary — and electable. Her embrace of new taxes for health care shows the dilemma.” Which has the unstated premise that the Bezos Reader is full of incompetent hacks enamored with the status quo who would just love to vote for Warren as soon as she can just drop the charade of wanting to change anything. Because, you know by definition revolutions are without a doubt against the popular will. Beltway common wisdom is probably the most underrated evil in existence.

O’Rourke ends presidential bid The Hill

L’affaire Epstein

Jeffrey Epstein: Hanging or Strangulation? MedPage. Frustrating in that the author seems not familiar with some complicating facts, such as the lack of any drop and even inability to get full body weight against the noose for a “hanging” scenario (Epstein presumably leaned or fell into his sheet-noose). Another bit of info presented in one of Baden’s accounts seems missing from consideration, that the thyroid cartilage was broken on both sides of the neck. Finally, Epstein was an avid weight-trainer, which means his bone density would have been better than that of the typical 66 year old man.

California Burning

Evacuations Mount in Southern California as Wildfire Spreads Bloomberg

California governor says if PG&E doesn’t get itself out of bankruptcy the state could take it over CNN. Newsom trying not to look impotent.

Five hundred goats save the Ronald Reagan library from wildfires Guardian (furzy)

Bigger Private Equity Checks Won’t Make Up for Weakened Credit Protections Institutional Investor

MDE, Verso seeking to identify chemical leak into Potomac at closed Luke mill Times-News. An item of personal interest. I lived in Luke for a couple of years in my toddlerhood. The house there is the first I remember. Cerberus bought a package of paper mills from Mead Corp. which had merged with WestVaCo, and proceeded to wreck them (putting way overpaid, no-nothing CEOs in charge, underinvesting in maintenance, a huge no-no in a continuous process operation).

Europe, Not America, Is the Home of the Free Market Atlantic (UserFriendly)

Class Warfare

The Capitalist War on the Last American Commons Counterpunch (ChiGal)

Uber’s lawsuit challenging NYC’s cap on new vehicles is dismissed The Verge

Chaos in Brooklyn as 1,000 anti-cop protesters block traffic, storm subway stations and say ‘don’t let these pigs touch us’ in anger over the $2.75 fare evasion crackdown – hours after Trump slammed the ‘disrespect’ of the NYPD Daily Mail. You need to read past the Mail’s spin, but this story isn’t being reported much elsewhere. Lambert adds:

Signage doesn’t = organizing, but the yellow signs are People’s Power Assembly (though the Mail stupidly cuts off the bottom of the big banner)

PPA is Worker’s World Party

I think they’re tankies!

One remembers that protests in both Chile and France were over transport costs.

Public Misperceptions Are a Barrier to Combating Inequality YouTube (vlade)

The right’s mega-rich problem Stumbling and Mumbling (UserFriendly)

Stealing Amazon Packages in the Age of Nextdoor Atlantic (UserFriendly)

Antidote du jour (Pleasant Lake Protective Association via Lawrence R):

And a bonus (guurst):

Another bonus:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. The Rev Kev

    “VIDEO: Multiple raccoons take over the library at Arkansas State”

    Campus Police say that they are unable to help. “We tried to use facial recognition technology to identify them”, said the Chief of the Arkansas State University Police “but their masks prevented us doing so.”

    1. notabanker

      Here in Arkansas we have proven that any creature can bootstrap themselves when provided access to higher learning.

        1. JBird4049

          What a cheap ass suit. If you got the money, spending an extra hundred and fifty dollars for the next level suit and then having some tailoring done is a good idea.

    1. Carl

      Perhaps I’m not familiar with posting links; this was a link to a Vice article on a nationwide Airbnb scam.

      1. UserFriendly

        you are supposed to select the text that you want to be clickable, then click link and paste the url. or just paste the url. :-)

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          I know I am going against the grain and I don’t always follow this practice as I should — the text of a hyperlink can hide a different link below. It would be safer to refer to the text of a link, enclosed to prevent automatic conversion to a hyperlink:
          []. To reach the link copy and paste the link text into the little window of a new tab. It is a little more trouble but it’s also a little safer.

          1. Oregoncharles

            In what way safer?

            I always just post the text of the link, since that way you can see what the source is – it’s frustrating to click on one that turns out to be paywalled. And making it a hyperlink seems too complicated.

          2. Grebo

            Most browsers (that are worth using) will show the target of a link when you hover your cursor over it. Get into the habit of checking before clicking to stay safe.

      1. Olga

        This is pretty bizarre story of an obvious/horrible scam… but after being scammed, losing money, and not getting much help from the company, all involved say they are not giving up on ABB. Accepting the situation and continuing to do business with ABB is why the company will not change its practices.

    2. Arizona Slim

      Well, here I am, commenting while sitting in a hotel room. Yup, Arizona Slim is on the road again.

      While I could have booked an Airbnb, I chose not to. Why? Two words: Fire safety.

      This place has to comply with regulations that most Airbnb lodgings can’t touch. And that difference could be worth my life.

      1. Lee

        If you are coming to the SF Bay Area don’t forget that i still owe you a nice lunch or its equivalent for your useful tip for curing sciatic pain.

          1. Arizona Slim

            McKenzie Method press-ups. They helped me get rid of sciatica in six days. It hasn’t come back.

            And, Lee, you gave me a good reason to come to San Francisco.

      2. Wukchumni

        My friend manages about 25 short term vacation rentals, and I asked which of all out there was the worst one in town, and was told me this one. It offers 16 guests 4 bedrooms, and often has a couple dozen human beans. The ‘White Castle’ is right on the river, and the leach field for its septic system is getting laid out wet from so many people.

        If occupied nearly every day (which it would) for the summer, it’d have a gross income of close to $60k for that stanza alone.

      1. anon in so cal

        Was just going to mention this. Another party house Airbnb.

        Orinda is a quiet suburb of San Francisco. Apparently its owner saw the mayhem on CCTV in the house yet did not call the police as the crowd grew?

        Fortunately, in Los Angeles, there is now a strict ordinance against renting out Airbnbs as party houses. If an owner violates this ordinance, there are a series of escalating penalties.

    3. Jason Boxman

      Fun. My AirBnb experiences have been less bad in that I was never scammed, but the accommodations have generally been less than great at best. It’s certainly cheaper than a hotel, but I feel like it’s a coin toss as to whether you get hosed or not. I try to be discerning, but I’ve never taken it to the level the author did, reverse looking up photos and such. I’ll have to try that, next time.

  2. avoidhotdogs

    Thanks for quoting me for the Guardian link. Whilst i do think this is a serious threat to Boris *overall* my head is telling me not to get ahead of myself in regions like round here. My constituency (Gedling) – effectively another section of North Nottingham – had several thousand people voting British National Party (fascist) until UKIP usurped them. Now Ukip has failed our popular Labour MP could be somewhat vulnerable – he is a former shadow cabinet member and was one of the first to quit when Corbyn got power. My hope is the BP and Tories split the right wing vote allowing our somewhat chalemeonic but good campaigner Labour MP another win. People round here have long memories…. Remainers won’t vote LD which helps Labour. The area is, however, heavily “leave” due to poverty going up.

    1. avoidhotdogs

      Follow-up piece in the Guardian is here. It refers to Nottingham area seats, illustrating why we are such a battle-ground. My heart is saying “Labour victories helped by split right-wing votes” but my head is warning me that many seats around here are full of leavers who are not convinced by Corbyn. BREXIT party did even better than expected in euro elections recently. Tough to predict… Still awaiting our first canvasser…..

  3. Otis B Driftwood

    Anyone else weary of the dreadful overuse of “f&*cking” as an adjective? This is one thing, at least, that we can’t blame on the Boomers.

    Perhaps being bothered by this makes me a grumpy old fart? Or a f&*cking grumpy old fart, as it were.

    1. urblintz

      It does seem to be the middle name of so many of our politicos:

      Donald. F. Trump
      Hilary F. Clinton
      Mike F. Pence
      Joe F. Biden
      Nancy F. Pelosi
      Mike F. Pompeo
      Betsy F. DeVos…

      Barack F. Obama

      …it’s along and devastating list

      1. Poopypants

        That reminds me of one of my jokes:

        What if everyone’s middle name was ‘f#$king’?

        Everyone sounds tougher with that as a middle name, just try it for yourself.

        1. richard

          I always wondered
          did “Bucky F Dent” start in NY or Boston?
          i’ve heard it used as both a sigh against the galaxy (boston, not that they’ve had anything to sigh about sportswise for some time)
          and as a sort of imperial boast as well
          it sounds like something bill lee would say

    2. DakotabornKansan

      Radio FG and the use of an English swear word in French

      “The thing is, to my ears it just sounds so wrong. I’m not a prude and can swear like a trooper (in fact I probably swear too much) but I understand context and get when I can and can’t use the F-word. This trend towards using English words in French is very popular and clearly considered cool. But to my English ears this excessive over use of this particular taboo swear word is more than out of place, it’s tasteless, gross and way out-of-line.” – Posted by Phoebe Thomas | 9 Jun, 2015 /

      1. Jessica

        I had a similar experience in Copenhagen. Danes used the English F-word _a lot_. I sensed that it didn’t pack the same punch for them, so it sounded fine to them, but to me it was too much. Not obscene, just the wrong register for what they were saying.

          1. Jessica

            In the 2000s, you could still get Darlie toothpaste in Thailand and it had a picture that would fit with the old stereotypes of a ‘Darkie’. They also had “White Man” toothpaste. That surprised me even more. I forget what the picture looked like.
            BTW, the Chinese characters for Darlie mean “Black Person”.

        1. John A

          Well, the Swedes out arrogant anyone in terms of considering themselves the arbiters of English. Some years ago, a Swedish film was released with the title ‘F*cking Åmål’ (Åmål is a small Swedish town). The English title was ‘Show me love’. Far more sensible

      2. avoidhotdogs

        Singlish (Singaporean English) can be hilarious. I have a t-shirt with the logo of the shop “Fourskin”. There was also a shop called Wanko. I have pics of both shops.

        I don’t mean to come down on Asian cultures but given that English is the “official” #1 language and their history I’m incredibly surprised to see these faux pas compared to, say, somewhere like Japan.

    3. lyman alpha blob

      Yes I don’t know what these [family blog]ing kids are up to these days but in my grammar class we were told that f&*k should be used as a verb or part of a compound noun.

      Normally I might just drop a link and leave it be, but when I went looking for a George Carlin tribute song I’d heard years ago, I couldn’t find it at all on youtube and when I did eventually find a couple other versions I noticed they had extremely few hits, so I encourage everyone to give these hard working musicians some attention. Teach your children well –

      Ode to George Carlin (children’s singalong)

      Seven Dirty Words by some mother[family blog]er named Clyde Leland

      Definitely NSFW

      Now get off my lawn!

    4. Toshiro_Mifune

      I fully support inventive new uses of the F word. The English language needs more Malcolm Tuckers

        1. Jessica

          Maybe he did this twice. I was there one morning when he read out the entire Webster’s dictionary definition of the word in question. Many of us could hardly get up afterward. For the rest of the morning, people would look at each other and just break up laughing again. Very little work got done that morning.
          I also was in a Hindi-language lecture where he had the entire audience falling over with laughter. Since I understood none of it, I could sense his comedic timing and the way he was working his audience.
          He was an amazing orator.

    5. JTee

      Also a consummate cusser here, but confine it to “appropriate” situations. I have also seen/heard non-English speakers using these words willy-nilly. In China, I saw a toddler with a sweatshirt reading “f$#k off” or f&%k you”. The parents and others thought it was so darling.

      1. RMO

        I’m not overly bothered by swearing (I don’t do it too often myself) but what has started to annoy me is the overuse of “F*****G” and “S**T” in articles, predominantly in websites and web-only publications apparently done to make the writer seem “edgy”. Go Media Group for example. That f*****g s**t can get really f*****g tiresome really f******g quickly.

        1. Wukchumni

          Seeing profanity online has no effect on me, only a signal that the writer had no idea of more cunning words that could be used in its place.

          Hearing profanity spoken in public almost always signifies that the person uttering it, is of lower class.

          1. richard

            to you it signifies that. to me it’s just a road that anyone can slip down and use when it suits them, and i’ve seen plenty of the 10% use it, just like the 90. glob bless them. cursing is like sex, everyone gets it free of charge. a concrete immaterial benefit.
            to me, in a conversation, cursing signifies someone who wants to distinguish themselves from me. i’m pissed off, i’m not like you that sort of thing. or i’m edgy, i’m not like you. Unless we’re both cursing; then we’re both trying to distinguish ourselves from all the people who don’t feel it like we do. it can actually be kind of awesome. but ymmv of course.

          2. CanCyn

            Being a bit of a potty mouthed person myself, I feel the need to defend those of us who use colourful language. There are some who say that the use of profanity demonstrates intelligence and a wider vocabulary!


            However, I do understand that there are those who are offended by the word f!ck and will tone it down when I am out in public or with people I don’t know well.

              1. witters

                Limited vocabulary? Anthony Burgess quotes a New Zealand aero-engineer in WWII: “F***ing, F***er’s, F***ing F***ing F***ed!”

                The grammar is perfect, too.

          3. Procopius

            When I was still on active duty in the Army, it was not at all common to hear swearing. NCOs felt it was unprofessional, and officers, of course, were supposed to act upper class. “Classy,” in other words. Very odd. I swear a lot more now than I did then, but it’s more like verbal punctuation.

    6. Mark Sanders

      Why do you say we can’t blame it on the boomers? As a boomer, I know we swear a lot more than our parents. Example: Use of the word “suck” as in “that movie really sucked.” We would never say that aloud in front of our parents as it was considered vulgar talk, and now it’s very common to hear on TV. And I and my friends have used “f**k” often in daily conversation which our parents never did. Of course, I’m from a middle class background and perhaps the working class parents were more potty mouthed than mine and my friends’ parents.

      1. Fíréan

        Parents might use an “alterative language ” though through self-censorship their children would not be aware – not in front of the children .

    7. mpalomar

      Boomers, f%#king eh! They bear some responsibility.

      Probably a regional preference. In Quebec it doesn’t carry the cultural weight of ‘sacrament’. I also a recall a time in NYC if you hung with the right set, f$%k was an all purpose, high frequency word, widely expressive but semantically dependant on intonation.

      The word’s ubiquitous appearance does suggest a lack of eloquence, though i still prefer if for those occasions that demand it; for instance, the shouted oath accompanying the malfunctioning, ornery bit of technology on its way to an impact with the wall, just before I stomp up and down on it.

      1. rowlf

        As a mechanic it is common knowledge that any problem needs some blue air to fix it. Hearing protection around female mechanics is recommended. Percussive maintenance may also be required, which, if it doesn’t fix the fault, at least makes the mechanic feel better.

        Maybe the best use was “the ef-ing ef-er’s ef’ed”.

        1. rowlf

          Btw, the is an airline in Europe named Blue Air. I always wondered what their radio traffic sounded like. What about their safety briefing to the passengers?

  4. richard

    “O’Rourke ends presidential bid”
    Rocky the Flying Squirrel’s plaintive, unlistened to cry is once again brought to mind

  5. zagonostra

    >L’affaire Epstein suicide/murder

    Whitney Webb commented that focusing on whether Epstein hung himself or was strangled is designed to misdirect. Her reporting in reveals the deep rot festering in the heart of the ruling elites and their entanglement with the security state, finance and political corruption.

    If you draw out the implications revealed in her reporting, she is correct that focusing on suicide or strangulation is beside the point. The ruling elites – call them the deep state, plutocrats, opinion leaders, whatever, we know they exist and always have – have reached such a level of depravity that we are all participating in a collective consensual hallucination of normality – a pathology of normalcy.

    I think a recent article by Glen Ford in BAR correctly stated that restoration of a democracy, at least a society that putative embraces its principle, let alone combating the degradation of the earth, will go no where until those at the top, Democrats/Republicans are deposed. Every other discourse is speculating on the number of dancing angles that can fit on the head of a detonation pin.

    1. T

      Agreed. Because I don’t expect to find out, I prefer to accept my personal theory that a lifelong perve in need of something extreme suffered an auto-erotic strangulation mishap. Let’s move on: there are still-living people who should be prosecuted.

      (AFAK, no witnesses have mentioned this predilection. Untroubled. Have myriad alternate explanations for this explaination, that I totally made up.)

  6. timbers

    The link about NYC police cracking down on $2.75 subway fare avoiders vs the previous article Trump eliminating rules on corporate tax avoidence.

    Maybe Warren or Sanders should come out for having NYC cops politely enter corporate headquarters located in NYC to arrest CEO’s of companies avoiding taxes and while doing so give each of them a free subway ticket to the Courthouse and then jail?

    We could even allow the police to direct the taxes collected to their departments to spend as they wish. Maybe that will incentivize them to spend less time seizing working folks cars and houses.

    FOX could revive it’s Bad Boys TV series and film police walking into corporate headquarters as they arrest the CEO’s.

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      “We could even allow the police to direct the taxes collected to their departments to spend as they wish.”

      That is still a very bad idea. imo.

      1. ambrit

        Basic “Entrepreneural Policing” is still founded on the idea that police collect “taxes” from ‘suspects’ and budget said funds towards personal ‘improvement’ projects.
        See ‘Ye Sheriff of Nottingham Fund for Pious Projects,’ etc. etc. Or, the New Orleans Building Inspection and Code Enforcement Department. Heck, try the ‘Tri-Borough Vigorish Regulation Commission.’

  7. The Rev Kev

    “Five hundred goats save the Ronald Reagan library from wildfires”

    Ever since 1953, the California Grizzly Bear (Ursus californicus) has been designated as the official State Animal. Between climate change, the drying out of the forests of California, the intensity of the fires and increased frequency of the fires themselves, I would be not surprised if by the end of the century that the official State Animal for California becomes the goat through its proven worth in scaling back fire risks by eating back rubbish vegetation.
    Know what I would do if I was the Governor of California? I would order the cutting down of every Eucalyptus tree throughout the State. Australia use to be covered by rain-forests but through the progressive drying out of the continent since the Miocene era, these rain-forests were replace with trees that could tolerate the new dry climate – Eucalyptus trees which now account for three quarters of Australia’s forests. If California’s is set to have a similar drying out, you do not want your forests replaced with Eucalyptus trees, especially during serious fires.

    1. Stephen V.

      I can’t speak for the entire State but in San Diego the story was that they were planted for rail ties in the late 1800’s. Turned out the grain of the wood was spiraled not straight. Pretty sure they played a role in the we-almost-lost-Oakland fire in the early 90’s mentioned yesterday.
      But the blossoms in the Fall! Great bee forage for the bees in the 80’s before the troubles set in.

      1. The Rev Kev

        For rail ties, they should have planted a Eucalyptus tree named Ironbark-

        They were used for railway sleepers here and got their names from the early days. The convicts of the First Fleet that landed in Sydney Cove in 1788 were issued with axes to cut down the trees to clear space for the new Colony. When they went to cut down these never seen before trees their axes nearly bounced off the trees as they were so hard.

        1. Darius

          Australia has some beautiful hardwood lumber and quite a few notable arts and crafts houses and furniture. I don’t think Australia has suffered for lack of suitable lumber. Although you did introduce the radiata pine from California.

            1. polecat

              Pinus radiata – Knobcone pine, if my memory serves. Burn it with fire, thus you just get moarrr weeds, I guess .. as the cones won’t open to disperse the seeds without the benefit of a good toasting !

              1. polecat

                Oops, my memory banks were in error. I was thinking of P. ‘attenuata’. Guess I shouldn’t make such synapse judgments …

            2. Darius

              In California it only grows around the city of Monterrey and is is short and gnarled. It’s like California and Australia bestowed a monster on each other.

              1. The Rev Kev

                This tree is a really bad boy tree and I quote-

                In South Africa, the tree is a threat to already scarce water resources. The tree has remarkable roots. Monterey pine roots will reach downward as far as physically permitted by subterranean conditions. Roots have been discovered up to 12 meters (39 ft) long. Efforts to remove large quantities of the non-native tree in areas of South Africa have resulted in significant increases in accessible water.


    2. Wukchumni

      Friends live down south in Tijuana-adjacent and their city is so infested with the pigpen of trees, I like to call the place Powaylyptus.

      Makes for good cough drops, and probably some other beneficial by product that no doubt a defender will come up forthwith.

      Would you like a wildfire to go, or heat in?

      …you can get there with Eucalyptus

      1. Lee

        Of my many contributions to humanity, I consider the cutting down of acres of Eucs in the East SF Bay hills after the killing hard freeze of 1973, to be foremost among them. Tis a dreadful, dangerous tree under which nothing else grows.

    3. Craig H.

      That is a great story but they put the best part at the end!

      A heavy dependence upon goats does carry risks, however, as residents of West Boise, Idaho, found out to their cost last year when a herd of more than 100 goats rampaged through the neighborhood. The invaders caused carnage in flowerbeds and lawns before breaking a fence and it took two hours for the goats to be rounded up.

      Also they didn’t really have any good pictures of the goats. There is a hole in the literature here. If you do a google image search on “goat” there are a million stupid pictures and I couldn’t find a single one that I would classify as post-able.

      1. Jokerstein

        I remember visiting the Wild Animal Park petting corral in Escondido, and seeing a sign: “Goats eat (a) Airline tickets; (b) Money; (c) Passports; (d) Anything”

        And they had those gumball-machine-like things that dispensed goat chow – as soon as a child put a quarter in one of those, they got goated like there was no tomorrow!

        Of course, baby goats are cute.

    4. Jeremy Grimm

      They also drop heavy branches at random. One tree need a small elementary school Inland in San Diego dropped a branch on a little girl at recess and killed her.

      But Eucalyptus wood makes a good hot fire to keep warm in the Winter. Although many of the trees planted around San Diego are the kind that litter profusely, and drop branches — there are other better behaved varieties as The Rev Kev might confirm. I don’t think it would benefit California to blindly get rid of the Eucalyptus trees without replacing them with some better behaved tree or shrub. Before hopping on the native versus alien-intruders controversy about kinds of trees and plants remember many of the trees and plants native to California now will not fit the climate of the near future and some of the native plants are plants like greasewood. Greasewood bushes burn fiercely, let fly all kinds of sparks, and put out a particularly acrid and irritating smoke. Many of the trees that were native to California a few hundred years ago are having more and more trouble remaining. It is very easy to forget that a river ran through the middle of Mission Valley in San Diego.

  8. Phillip Allen

    Workers World Party formed in the late 1950s as a split from the Socialist Workers Party. I was a member of the New York City branch in the 1980s. Since WWP founder Sam Marcy’s death in 1998, the party has undergone several splits. I am still acquainted with a number of former comrades now affiliated with one or another of the remaining formations, but have not made any effort to understand the basis for their factional divergences.

    If I understand the term ‘tankies’ correctly, Lambert is probably using the term more or less fairly.

    1. Plenue

      Tankie meets outright Stalinist. They’re the people who literally defend gulags and reeducation camps.

      1. hunkerdown

        Neoliberals are in critical need of mental health care. Why else would they push so hard against single-payer? I don’t actually see the problem with reeducating neoliberals and putting them to doing something useful for the first time in their lives.

        1. inode_buddha

          They push back because of being convinced its a commie plot to take all their money and put them in a dystopian society one step removed from bread lines like the Russians, and the reason nobody has any money is because of taxes to pay for unnecessary giveaways by the democrats to buy votes and pass their socialist agenda and they’re gonna make serfs out of us all….

          1. JBird4049

            Funny, I thought most of us were either already serfs or the slippery downward slope of becoming one. Is it because they think the wrong people, for instance not them, would be the ruling elites in the new system?

  9. TomOftheNorth

    RE: Could trains haul millions of gallons of MN groundwater to the Southwest?
    MN DNR has tentatively shot this down, although left a bit of wiggle room.
    “Based on our initial review of the Empire Builder request, we are notifying the company today that we see virtually no scenario where the DNR would grant a water appropriation permit for the project, as it does not appear it could meet applicable statutory requirements, including significant restrictions on use of the Mt. Simon aquifer.” – DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen
    Separately, Great Lakes surface waters are quite high. Lake Superior is near a record, with now frequent flooding in Duluth’s Canal Park neighborhood. Lake Michigan is at a record high level. Erosion on the Michigan side hasn’t been this bad in decades.

    1. inode_buddha

      You know all those pumps that keep NOLA above water? Marvels of antique engineering. I’ve never understood why they don’t just pump it right across Texas to people that actually need it and will pay for it in California. Instead of pumping it into the Gulf as they do now.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        That might work for the short term but NOLA waters may soon get too brackish to make it worthwhile to pump them to California.

        1. inode_buddha

          How so? Mississippi water is fresh, rising sea levels won’t change the direction of flow. Considering that Chicago is at 597 feet and NOLA is below sea level. Worse comes to worst, they have to move upstream to Slidell.

          1. Jeremy Grimm

            Do the pumps you are referring to pump water directly out of the Mississippi River from well above where it flows into the Gulf or do they pump ground water? If ground water the Mississippi may flow into the Gulf but doesn’t the Gulf still sour the ground water as it Gulf waters rise?

          2. Leftcoastindie

            rising sea levels won’t change the direction of flow.

            As long as the river levels stay more or less even with sea level that shouldn’t be a problem. However if the rivers don’t rise as fast as the oceans at what point will the rivers cease to flow into the ocean and instead, the oceans begin to flow into the rivers?

          3. ambrit

            Sorry Erie dweller, but Slidell is to the East of N’Awlins and near the mouth of the Pearl River. During Katrina a large part of Slidell was inundated. Honestly though, Slidell, being near sea level is still higher than most of N’Awlins. Upstream of N’Awlins proper is Baton Rouge. The water drainage patterns of the area make Baton Rouge, elevation roughly 55 feet above sea level, still prone to floods from heavy rain events.
            The New Orleans Municipal Water Treatment system is considered world class. However, the Mississippi is the primary water source for the city and parish water systems. That part of the Mississippi is basically downstream from about a fifth of the industrial effluent sources in America. We don’t call the area “Cancer Alley” for nothing.

            1. inode_buddha

              My mistake, I thought it was about an hour north. Pretty sure we have one fifth of the cancer stuff here too (Love Canal, etc.)

              1. ambrit

                Ah yes. I would love to see a staging of “Return to Love Canal.”
                You all do have a heavy industrial effluent burden up there, I realize now. What about the Great Lakes, especially Lake Eirie? All the older industrial sites lining the shoreline and river sides should have severe impacts on local water quality.
                Time for us both to look into industrial scale passive distillation rigs.

                1. inode_buddha

                  Actually charcoal filtration works well. The Feds and several states have spent decades cleaning up the great lakes. One issue in my hometown is zombie industrial districts, impossible to sell the land because the state mandates the buyer pay for the cleanup. NY is infamous for unfunded mandates. So, it takes decades to tear down an old plant and return the land to something halfway useful.

                  1. ambrit

                    The commercially available triple canister reverse osmosis units are pretty good for small scale use, say, a single family house or apartment. (Of course, many apartment buildings have common water piping systems.)
                    I would say a passive solar run distillation unit would be good for a small farm. Humans and livestock use a good bit of water. If it’s crops we need safe water for, we might as well go ‘down the mine shaft’ and grow in greenhouses.
                    Then and all, if the worst case scenario for global warming comes to pass, we’ll all have to live like the Fremen of Arrakis.

    2. redleg

      The wiggle room is based on MN water law. There is a very specific way that the MN regulators would have very little legal standing to prevent this, and I’m not going to offer a hint as to what that is.
      But the State and Local government officials are 100% against this nonsense (I have direct knowledge of this). However, all it takes is a bought politician and the law changes…
      In addition, there’s the big question of water rights, as Minnesota does *not* have western water right laws, and attempts to mesh those two systems will result in a protracted legal battle. That buys time, but we have a very good idea as to how it would be dicided by this US Supreme Court.

      1. Wukchumni

        In L.A.’s defense, they did buy title to the Lakers from Minnesota, and thus should be able to extract as much as they want, no?

        1. Off The Street

          Public-private solution to SoCal water needs:

          Sell off median strip rights to the Interstate 5 (main north-south freeway on the west coast). Use the proceeds to begin funding construction of a water pipeline down said median from Washington and Oregon. Supplement funding as needed by government-guaranteed bonds. Be sure to tilt the upside toward investors and the downside toward consumers. Variations elsewhere monetize Great Lakes water. /s

          Those schemes are probably under consideration somewhere. :(

          1. Oregoncharles

            I believe that scheme would cause an uprising in the PNW. It’s already been discussed, in various forms.

            Cali can have our water when we’re through with it – at the mouth of the Columbia. Maybe run their pipeline underwater down the coast (Impossible, I suspect.)

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Even Latin America’s Trump is Kowtowing to the Chinese”

    This might be a bit more significant than just looking for investments from the Chinese. There have been a series of countries the past few weeks that have been hit by Trump’s trade policies and sanctions – mostly allied nations – and Bolsonaro must surely realize that by tying his fortunes to Trump is no guarantee that Trump won’t hit him with sanctions to get a better deal.
    But like China, Brazil is still part of the BRICS and Brazil itself is due to host the 11th BRICS summit in less than a fortnight’s time in Brasília. I would guess that Bolsonaro has decided that being part of the BRICS, which helps with getting investments from the Chinese, is far more reliable than depending on Trump’s chaotic trade policies.

  11. Amfortas the hippie

    re: wapo on Liz’ Pay For exercise:

    blindfolded taste test
    who said it, D or R?
    “The plan will “hurt millions by eliminating their jobs and private health insurance while simultaneously bankrupting the country and hurting the quality of care,”

    that so many democrats are using gop talking points..openly and on the record and shamelessly…is depressing…although i guess i should be used to it, by now.
    even more depressing is how many rank and file dems parrot such sentiments, and actually defend them…even when provided a one to one correlate from a GOP spokesman(steve guest, the source of that quote)
    i’ve known since the 90’s that the “New Democrat”/Third Way/clintonists were the lost tribe of the moderate gop.
    30 years later, this remains a controversial stance in the demspaces i wander into.
    THAT is why we can’t have nice things.

    (i recited mr guest’s quote to my wife, and asked who said it…she said “Obama”,lol)

  12. lyman alpha blob

    RE: How Gaggle Surveils Every Document, Email, Chat, And Picture That Students Create

    What an utterly stupid idea. What’s to stop every high school prankster from sending messages like “being constantly surveilled in school makes me want to kill myself” accompanied by an uploaded picture of their ass?

    1. The Rev Kev

      Maybe there should be a sign above every doorway in those schools that use Gaggle that says: “We Are Watching You”. I bet that a lot of those kids are using countermeasures to evade this system such as code words and privacy services. Things is, if you get on their radar and Gaggle notifies your school, does that mean as far as the school is concerned you are there forever on their hit list and that they will try to get rid of you?
      After the Columbine shooting, schools started profiling their students using FBI methodology if I remember right. If you were one of the popular kids you were right but if you were a bit of a loner and were not a ‘joiner’, this would be enough to get you tagged as a possible school shooter so schools would pile on the pressure onto these kids until they bailed from school where it was no longer their problem. Could the same happen with Gaggle?

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        happened to me in the mid-80’s.
        no high tech needed.
        this will just make it more widespread and intrusive, and channel more kids into the jail-track and mental health “services” track….as well as providing cover(eg: escape from responsibility) for the stasi imitators that seem to crop up in many such environments(we have them here, at the edge of civilisation…altho ourn are more akin to Torquemada or Calvin)

        if i were that age today, and doing what i did then, now…it wouldn’t be pretty. I admit that i was a handful…but i was a principled handful.

        1. inode_buddha

          You too? I recently (5 yrs ago) had to return to my HS to get a transcript copy for the community college… was *shocked* at how the kids live nowdays. I wouldn’t treat somebody else’s goat like that. It reminded me that all of Pink Floyd and Orwell had come true. I mean, at least we had the chance to be kids. I was in a group of one, a merry prankster. Nowdays, they don’t even get that.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            mine began with hair, which i grew over my ears to discourage the ear pulling(which the ptb had no problem with apparently,lol)
            by highschool, i was in total resistance mode…refused to cut my hair(told them once i was rasta,thus against my religion…which sent them back, apologising…until they figured it out)
            i’d point to blue eyed jesus there on the wall, all beard and flowing locks,”be in imitation of christ…”…and they’d carry me bodily to the cosmetology lab to be shorn.
            of course, i also ran an ad hoc underground railroad to planned parenthood,lol.
            then i was 20 seconds late to the class after lunch, due the the gaggle of gossiping girls(unpunished) clogging the door….and i refused to go to detention…and ended up “owing” them 240 hours of d-hall if i wanted to graduate.
            i quit on the same day i got the expulsion notice in the mail.
            put on my choir tux and purple john lennon glasses and went to the cafeteria and stood on a table, barefoot, and recited Howl…”i saw the best minds of my generation…”…taking off the tux, to “return it”..until the cops came and removed me and my boxer shorts.
            good times.

            1. inode_buddha

              I spent 2 yrs in a reform school in the inner city, then 2 more yrs of detention, and still managed to graduate with a NYS Regents scholarship, despite having physical handicaps and a severe case of attitude. Told the scholarship commitee to shove it and that was that. Academically, was performing about 5 yrs ahead of the class, bored off my ass and wasn’t going to be told what to do by anyone.

              1. ambrit

                It doesn’t turn out any better when you try to play “by the rules.” Eventually you figure out that the game is rigged.

        2. Wukchumni

          more akin to Torquemada

          There’s an open air coin show that goes on inside the Plaza Mayor on Sundays in Madrid. A weird milling spot on the hunt for aged metal discs, as I knew well what went on there once upon a time, in a torture vein.

    2. smoker

      Interesting how opaque Gaggle and its founder have been on the news radar, given that Jim Patterson founded it in 1998 as a student email provider (per the About page). I suspect Patterson may have first focused on Department of Defense contracts, given this 2007 piece: is an Internet communication system used by Department of Defense Education Activity schools across the globe to improve the learning environment for their students. It also allows children the opportunity to get online without using popular sites like My Space and Facebook, which offer features that often concern parents.

      I’m guessing that Google, which Gaggle formed a June 2019 partnership with – and which couldn’t be shattered into thousands of pieces anytime too soon – will soon acquire it.

      Sickening that children, at increasingly young ages, outside of our the elite class – whose children aren’t 24/7 monitored at the exclusive schools they go to – are being classified into a permanently lower class, and soldier class and surveilled 24/7, which I can’t imagine isn’t creating severe mental health issues for those with independent minds. Only the children of the elite are allowed and highly encouraged to be free thinkers?

      1. Oregoncharles

        ” whose children aren’t 24/7 monitored at the exclusive schools they go to ”

        You sure? I went to one of those, a long time ago, and the control was as tight as they could manage – that’s part of what the parents are paying for.

        Now? – I don’t know, fortunately, but I suspect you’re wrong about that.

        1. smoker

          Being more specific, I was referring to preferred private schools for the last couple of decades, such as Waldorf, which severely limit, or restrict, online use. Schools which the likes of the techno billionaires (for one obscenely wealthy group of parents) have been shown to prefer and demand since Bill Gates became a household name.

          I somehow doubt that billionaires will allow a school to track their kid’s emails 24/7.

          1. JBird4049

            Yes, public higher education in California is shoving us all into Google Docs and the Microsoft Panopticon; all of us plebs getting an education can have our thoughts sent directly to the Security State for our safety.

            I can imagine myself being carted away before class for something I wrote in a paper.

            1. skippy

              Core was always about the IP rights of knowledge as well as its context, rents in perpetuity is just savvy business rational thinking …

            2. smoker

              Truly. Any state such as California, which powers that be were more than okay with a person such as Janet Napolitano as the President of it’s enormously power ridden and highly influential University system, does not have what should be a first priority of the privacy rights and emotional well being of it’s non elite students, and its non John Yoo [Berkeley] elite professor type Professors in mind at all, from Kindergarten through High School [K12™], and further; if, increasingly, they can even afford it.

              1. polecat

                That’s right, TSA Janet !
                By the way, what ever became of that fired UC Davis Pepper-spray Cop ?? … anyone ? ……. You in back row .. mr. .. uh .. Mueller ??

                1. smoker

                  Trigger Alert. From 2016, UC Davis paid AT LEAST $175,000 to hide references to infamous 2011 ‘pepper-spray incident’ from Google searches, he was treated as if the victim:

                  After the pepper-spraying incident, Lt. Pike was awarded $38,000 in ‘worker’s compensation’ benefits for ‘psychological pain and suffering.’

                  As to that horrid, corrupt UC Davis chancellor who empowered his actions, Linda P.B. Katehi, another trigger alert, both cream and scum rise.

  13. Lee

    Could trains haul millions of gallons of MN groundwater to the Southwest? A Lakeville railroad thinks so Pioneer Press. Chuck L: First shots of inter-region water wars in the Upper Midwest?”

    I blame the Saudis:

    Saudi Arabia buying up farmland in US Southwest

    Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf countries are scooping up farmland in drought-afflicted regions of the U.S. Southwest, and that has some people in California and Arizona seeing red.

    So, water from MN will end up as hay for horses in Saudi Arabia. Another case of “We are stupid and we will die.”

    1. Off The Street

      Wondering how the Bushes are faring with their South American aquifer investment. Will there be some new water tanker traffic to the Arab Gulf, for example?

    2. newcatty

      Lee, appreciate your pointing to the situation of the Southwest being at an epicenter for the conflicts between the rapacious “elites” in the state of Arizona and the constituents who are choosing to put the preservation of the natural environment and the natural resources of water and quality of clean air as priorities over more and more development and extractive industries. As an Arizona resident, who has the rare claim to fame of being born in the state so many years ago, I have some personal and professional background in our state and local policies. We live in Northern AZ and the continued development in the bigger cities and towns is astounding.

      Right now there is a struggle to stop destructive and exploitative use of lands bordering Grand Canyon National Park from being “gifted” to foreign mining companies to mine uranium. And, yes, we knew about Saudis buying up Southwest farm land to grow hay for their horses was an outrage. But, you know, perfectly legal…With that land comes them right to use, you know it, the water rights for that “farm land”.

      The ironic thing is that the tourist money that comes into AZ at the Grand Canyon National Park, and surrounding attractions, is a huge contribution to the State and local economies. Talking about being willing to bite off the hands that feed you…Yeah, let us continue to degrade our wonders of the world… Who benefits?

  14. Carolinian

    Re Counterpunch on the Western lands–Paul Street does his usual TDS tap dance but then goes on to admit that Trump’s policies aren’t much different from Obama’s. In fact the heyday of the “Wise Use” movement was arguably during the Reagan administration and the initial assault crashed up against not just Monkeywrenchers but also hunting and fishing advocates and an ever growing recreational industry that pits lifestyle Westerners against the mining and ranching troglodytes. Meanwhile the capitulation of environmental organizations is very old news.

    As the article says the land exploiters don’t really want to own the land, just despoil them. So it’s quite possible that public opposition can change this.

  15. JTMcPhee

    Re Epstein: have there been any “fortuitous” deaths or disappearances amongst the guards and administrators at Rikers since l’affaire? As in “cutouts?”

    Anyone checking on sudden wealth amongst possible facilitators? I do recall that child molestors are at the bottom of the lowerarchy in prison populations —so since cigarettes and Snickers and “privileges” are the prison currencies, any peculiar distributions of that kind of wealth, or large beneficence to some cons’ families, might there be a line of investigation into a possible “inside job?”

      1. urblintz

        An officious stranger wearing a suit approached the guards.

        “Hey fellas” he said with a smile “this is what’s going to happen now…”

        easy peasy lemon squeezy

    1. polecat

      He’s not dead ! …. and he’s laughting at our inferior intellects, whilst sipping champaign in some outta-the-way spot with his Israeli Intel buddies. Probably designing his newly acquired fantasy island as we comment. Sling-back Bill can hard-ly wait.

    2. Cripes


      Epstein was jailed and later died at the Metropolitan correctional facility which is part of the federal detainee facilities, and has nothing to do with Rikers Island which is the New York City Jail system

  16. The Rev Kev

    “Artist ‘humiliated’ after UN cultural agency put underwear on his nude sculptures”

    That statue is not bad and you can see the influence of classic statue in its design and which is quite clever. The project itself has their own website and a good page to check it out is at-

    Of course covering up statues has a long tradition with the most infamous one being the “Fig Leaf Campaign” begun by a fundamentalist Cardinal and Monsignor back in 1541 ( It still continues today with the moralistic decrees of Facebook and Instagram which have been found guilty of banning fotos of classic statues and thing like the famous foto of the Vietnamese girl running naked from a napalm strike. In the earlier era it was the Council of Trent (1545-1563) that came down on nudity but these days it is Silicon Valley of all places that does so.
    I think that this is a bigger story than at first appearance. Having been to Paris once, I doubt that the locals would go catatonic at the sight of a dong on a statue as they are far too sophisticated for that. A clue might be when the Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, visited Rome and met the Italian prime minister at the city’s Capitoline Museum. Nude statues in the vicinity were covered by large white panels to not offend the sensibilities if the Iranian president. As Rouhani is 70 years old and has a wife and three kids, I do not think that he would have been too offended. Could it be that these statues were covered up in case it might possibly offend someone from country where such things are disapprove of? A lowest common denominator approach which sounds like a bureaucratic idea? Because that always works.

    1. inode_buddha

      I think it says more about the people doing the covering up, than it does about anything else… many people cannot handle any kind of nudity because they equate it with sex. Says a lot about them.

      1. Wukchumni

        Some hot springs are naturals for nakedness (only really when you’re in the hot spring or in the process of taking off or putting on your clothes en route) and others are awkward only in that its a little weird having disparate groups, such as when a couple dozen Burners were camped along with a couple dozen Boy Scouts @ Arizona hot springs just off the Colorado River, I was told the scoutmaster was quite peeved at their antics of flaunting flesh in the default world.

        On the other hand if you had a bathing suit on @ Saline hot springs, you’d feel out of place, as 9 out of 10 are in their birthday suits.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Was at a Greek beach for a coupla months when young and where the default was sans swimming costumes. Girls with bikini lines seemed out of place there and I use to nickname them ‘zebras’ and which made your realize which was more natural. In pre-Victorian time it was normal to swim without clothing but the times did change.
          Would you believe that in the 19th century that “swimming during the day was declared an illegal activity by New South Wales authorities, for fear that it raised ‘morality concerns’.” Damn Victorian moralists were everywhere-

    2. Eustache de Saint Pierre

      Then there was the Victorian values thing when Queen Haemophilia sent the Italian gifted plaster cast of David by Michelangelo off to the Victoria & Albert museum, where it was fitted with a roughly 500mm high fig leaf presumably to avoid a large scale attack of the vapours.

    3. flora

      The artist is in good company.

      The Last Judgement, painted from 1535 to 1541, covers the entire altar wall of the Sistine Chapel. It depicts the second coming of Christ on Judgement Day, surrounded by apostles, disciples, saints, martyrs, angels, demons, the saved ascending to paradise and the damned being dragged to hell. It’s an extraordinarily complex and detailed scene, especially given the enormous size of the fresco. Painted twenty-five years after the completion of the Sistine Chapel ceiling, The Last Judgement is the work of the mature Michelangelo, at the peak of his artistic powers.

      The work had been commissioned by the Pope, but many Catholics felt that The Last Judgement was inappropriate for a place as sacred as the Pope’s private chapel. The Papal Master of Ceremonies, Biagio da Cesena, deemed the fresco outrageous, and more suitable for public baths or taverns than a chapel. “….it was mostly disgraceful that in so sacred a place there should have been depicted all those nude figures, exposing themselves so shamefully”. Michelangelo responded by making Minos, judge of the underworld, resemble Cesena. It’s an extremely unflattering portrait; Minos/Cesena has the ears of a donkey and a snake biting his genitals. When Cesena complained to the Pope, the Pope reportedly pointed out that his authority did not extend to hell. The painting remained unchanged.

      But Cesena was far from the only detractor. The satirist Pietro Aretino, angered when Michelangelo ignored his advice, accused the artist of being “godless” and homosexual – a little hypocritical, given Aretino’s boasts about his own same-sex conquests. The obvious response was to include Aretino in the painting, which Michelangelo promptly did. St Bartholomew, portrayed as a stern old man holding his own flayed skin, bears a striking resemblance to Aretino. Interestingly, the face on the flayed skin of the saint has been interpreted as Michelangelo’s anguished, distorted self-portrait.

      The controversy over nudity in the Sistine Chapel continued after Michelangelo’s death. The artist Daniele da Volterra was hired to cover up some of the genitals in The Last Judgement by adding fig leaves and loincloths, which earned him the nickname “Il Braghettone” (“The breeches maker”).

      You understand that “The breeches maker” was an insult to the man hired to repaint Michelangelo’s work. Starving artists, however, often take commissions just to put food on the table. It ain’t the artist that’s hired to bowdlerize the work that’s at fault, it’s the committee.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Thank you for the links. I looked up Prof. Megan Konar [ [Search domain] and found a couple of other papers among her publications which might interest you:
      “Sociohydrology: Scientific Challenges in Addressingthe Sustainable Development Goals”, 2018
      [] — open access
      AGU 100 Feature Article

      “Virtual groundwater transfers from overexploitedaquifers in the United States”, 2015
      [] — PNAS open access

  17. The Rev Kev

    “Australia Proposes Face Scans for Watching Online Pornography ”

    I’m confused. Is the scanning of your face so that you can log onto a pornographic site or is it to scan your face while you are watching porno on a pornographic site? That could make a difference that.

    1. Lee

      That was a rather disheartening read. The described feckless faffing about of the Obama administration is currently being replicated here in CA by Gov. Gavin Newsome in this bluest of states when it comes to PG&E. To be fair, as Stoller points out, the vitiation of government’s ability to provide social goods has been a bipartisan, decades long process.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        Thank you for the new word — “vitiation”! I added to my list of useful words to learn.

    1. The Rev Kev

      The US is also paying countries to ditch Russian and Chinese arms-

      Other countries they merely threaten like when they try to order Afghanistan to ditch the Russian Mi-35 helicopter and replace it with a US one that can’t do the same work-

      Or when they threaten Egypt with sanctions if the purchase the Russia’s Su-35, even though for decades they have refused to sell them the F-15 (the Egyptians went ahead and ordered them anyway)-

      1. wilroncanada

        The Rev Kev, re F-35’s
        A two-fer. Bribes and Protection Rackets.
        What a wonderful government program.
        One wonders where the bribes…er “repatriation dividends” go? To the military leaders? Maybe? To the Presidents or Prime Ministers to use personally? Maybe? Into the general revenues of the nations? HaHaHaHa.
        Bribes-Head Revisited!

  18. lyman alpha blob

    RE: impeachment

    Wait a minute, this guy is the ‘whistleblower’ at the center of the impeachment nonsense who the Democrats are counting on to take down Trump?!?!? A still wet behind the ears prep school and Yale educated kid who was on Biden’s staff and worked for Brennan and doesn’t even have firsthand knowledge of anything?!

    Every time I think the Democrat party can’t get any dumber they continue proving me wrong. The republicans are going to rip this guy to shreds.

      1. flora

        They could win easily if they listened to their base and worked for policies their voters want. If they put half the effort into improving economic conditions on Main Street that they’re putting into the impeachment circus they’d win in a walk. But they aren’t doing that. They’re filled ‘with sound and fury signifying nothing.’ imo.

        1. lyman alpha blob

          That’s pretty much sums it up. Checking the link urblintz posted below I just found this:

          Because that worked so well last time, Nancy?

          I’m reminded that AOC and some other skunks at the Dem party contested Pelosi becoming Speaker again not all that long ago before quietly backing down. Some of those same people have also been talking up impeachment, while also showing they can walk and chew gum at the same time by campaigning for concrete material benefits, the end of corporate rule, and even endorsing Bernie. Putting my tinfoil hat on for a moment, perhaps they talked up Russia3/Ukrainegate/impeachment knowing there was no there there so the faux resistance types suffering from TDS would be hoisted on their own petards, discrediting the entire Blob, and allowing Sanders to take the White House with a movement behind him.

          A guy can dream anyway, because otherwise all of this is a complete joke, fiddling while the world literally burns.

          1. chuckster

            I think Nancy like being Minority Leader. Everything she has done since January points to her wanting to regain that position.

    1. flora

      re ” Every time I think the Democrat party can’t get any dumber they continue proving me wrong.

      I’m starting to think the Dem estab is no longer a national party, it’s a California/New York regional party, and a party of the Clinton faction at that. (Consider the voter role purges in NY during the 2016 Dem primary and the refusal to count (or even accept) likely non-Clinton primary votes in California.) The current Dem estab is making an already shrunk party even smaller, imo.

    2. urblintz

      “No further discussion’: Talks halt between whistleblower lawyers and Schiff staff amid expectation he won’t testify”

      mind you this is the Washington Examiner. A search on the topic shows many right-wing sites repeating the story. If this isn’t ‘fake” news could it be an impeachment game changer?

      First Russiagate, now Ukarinegate and the feckless Democrats manage to shoot themselves in both feet with the same bullet: hypocrisy.

      1. polecat

        Wouldn’t it logically segue into ‘Brennangate’ ??
        That’s where my juicy anticipation resides.

    3. anon in so cal

      Yes, the apparent whistleblower was outed on Twitter several days ago.

      No surprise he was copied on emails from Victoria Nuland.

      This should end the impeachment charade but guess it won’t. Even though it’s over 4 days since he was outed, it seems to having no effect.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        At the risk of stating the obvious, if the “whistleblower” is no longer anonymous, what is the rationale for his not testifying?

        The “hearings” are now going to be public, according to the new rules, and the republicans are allowed to subpoena witnesses, subject to “approval” by the dems. The republicans on the committee should just subpoena this guy and let the dems quash it and explain why.

        That should make it clear to all but the most deranged, what a blatantly partisan finale to a three-year-long attempt to overturn the 2016 election this shameful, insulting abuse of power actually is.

        nancy pelosi, adam schiff and their deep state friends could save us all a lot of aggravation if they’d just tell us who they’ll allow to be president in 2020, and what policies that person will be allowed to pursue. Because “democracy.”

        1. anon in so cal

          It’s weird that the outing of the whistleblower seems to be having so little effect outside of Twitter.

          Separately, the GOP establishment is just as anti Russia as Schiff and the CIA Dems. So, hard to say where this is headed.

          1. anon in so cal

            Apparently, the identity of the whistleblower has to be confirmed by Schiff before anything can be done with the information?

        2. Acacia

          At the risk of stating the obvious, if the “whistleblower” is no longer anonymous, what is the rationale for his not testifying?

          Indeed. But Schiff will probably blather on about ensuring the Whistleblower CIA operative’s safety, including the innuendo that the rat funk might get offed by a Trump supporter, while many will be instead thinking “his name is Seth Rich”.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “The F-35 Is Cheap To Buy (But Not To Fly)”

    The article says that the costs for Lot 14 locked are in at $77.9 million. From what I have read, that would only be for just the aircraft itself with its engine and nothing more. Sorta like when you go to buy a car and you forget to add in the costs for insurance, registration, servicing, maintenance, fuel & oil, etc. That can make a difference that.
    Seems you have to add in a lot of other cots for an F-35. You start to crank in other additional costs such as training, helmets, modifications, spare parts, special hangers, repairs and all the rest of it. Just flying the thing costs about $44,000 an hour. Apparently a Danish blog pointed out that the cost of an aircraft represents only about half the true price when you crank in all the other stuff. And that to fly the thing for its full life span can triple that total cost there.
    And it is not like it can survive for long in a fight with the Russian Su-35 which is being sold all around the world. The F35 – the Brewster Buffalo of the 21st century.

    1. pricklyone

      Rev, I think you have just paraphrased the headline. The cost of flying (44000/hr.) should represent exactly those costs you mention. At least that is my impression from reading other stories about the cost of flying a given plane.

    2. IanB

      I can’t imagine that the $77.9 million cost recovers any of the R&D dollars spent, either. So that’s a sunk cost absorbed by the US taxpayer, and an implicit subsidy to today’s purchasers.

  20. JohnnyGL

    Tulsi seems to be stepping it up, lately. Going on Tucker and hitting Saudi Arabia, specifically over 9/11.

    I’d love to see Tucker interview former Senator Bob Graham. His interview with Paul Jay several years ago was incredible. It was a starkly clarifying moment of just how effective orchestrated media blackouts really are. Imagine how crazy it is that a former US Senator can find his explosive story completely squashed.

  21. ObjectiveFunction

    ‘putting way overpaid, no-nothing CEOs in charge, underinvesting in maintenance, a huge no-no in a continuous process operation’

    Nardelli is a definite candidate for the Archie McCardell.

  22. Craig H.

    Max Blumenthal is tweeting from prison? Is this the same M. B.? Did they let him go? Is he in a user-friendly prison?

    1. Stephen V.

      Max Blumenthal, the editor of independent media outlet The Grayzone, was secretly arrested on October 25 in a “SWAT-style” morning raid on his Washington D.C. home. He was held in D.C. Central Detention Facility for two days incommunicado, without the ability to communicate to the outside world, having been refused a phone call. He claims to have been shackled by his hands and ankles for some time and kept in a series of cages and cells. Blumenthal was arrested on a five-month-old assault charge stemming from an incident that took place during the D.C. Venezuelan Embassy siege. (snip)

  23. Tomonthebeach

    GED-match. Grasp my pearls!

    What the alarmist article that the Chinese and Russians are probably stealing our DNA codes is at first a terrifying thought. But then, the article does not bother to tell readers why a foreign country having my DNA puts me or my country’s safety or my health at risk? Will these countries start developing a holocaust biological weapon that only kills Americans? Given that we are the most ethnically diverse country on the planet, I seriously doubt that DNA enables biowar. Maybe it will make it impossible to sneak into China with a different persona. To do that, I need a fake passport as only my country issues valid ones. Finally, why would I wish to 007 my way into China in the first place?

      1. wilroncanada

        The Rev Kev
        …Israeli DNA is almost identical as Palestinian DNA…
        Is there evidence of that? From Shlomo Sand and others, it seems more likely that Israeli DNA wold have a distinctly Eastern European flavour, tinctured with Moorish and Spanish factors and even some Viking. The Palestinian DNA would more likely be almost all Semitic.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Here is one link talking about what I should have said was a substantial link between the DNA of the different peoples of this region. I have read other accounts saying that it is very close in similarity so your mileage may vary depending on what article you read-

          Needless to say this is not a very popular idea in modern Israel and DNA studies have been of course weaponized by Netanyahu to claim that the Palestinians are only newcomers to the region. It gets pretty bad in the sciences there. I have read of Israeli archaeologists bulldozing the upper layers of ancient sites to obliterate the Arabic levels and only going after the older Israeli people’s layers in the record.

  24. Wukchumni

    Google buys Fitbit, acquiring users’ health histories & triggering privacy backlash RT

    My sisters are loyal step counters & Fitbit wearers, one more apparatus providing information we had no idea that we needed to know, but thanks to the internet of things, another tether to embrace.

    Overheard @ Accolades Anonymous meeting:

    “I did a 12,000 step program”

    1. witters

      Diana Johnstone is is absolutely on the nail. (& just as bad here – indeed, just the same, in my view – are those who have never met Julian, and begin their tepid “defense” of a “free press” with “While I loathe Julian Assange,…”)

  25. Danny

    Newsom: “we are not going to sit around and be passive…”

    Never in my life have I seen so many furious people, of all types, regions, ages and backgrounds.
    Hot damn! We get a $100 credit on our PG&E bill— maybe?
    That should take care of most of next years $9 a month bill increase, on top of all the earlier ones.

    Newsom and predecessors Have sat around and been passive, seemingly more interested in protecting PG&E’s stock valuation. Now he pretends to be doing something. State A.G. Harris did nothing to investigate PG&E’s judge shopping, seeking to slither out of liability for San Bruno’s inferno.

    There’s hope and inspiration in the past:
    “Nearly a century ago, thousands of dissatisfied Pacific Gas and Electric Co. customers decided they wanted to divorce themselves from the company’s power service and form their own government-run utility. What followed was a long and complicated process that stretched out over more than two decades, held up in part because of stiff resistance from PG&E and culminated in 1946, when the Sacramento Municipal Utility District began providing electricity.”

    Karma: Harris’s home, in billionaire’s row in Brentwood, which she shares with her husband Doug Emhoff, is a $4.8 million four-bedroom…is in danger of burning down.

  26. Wukchumni

    Harris polls being what they are, thought i’d give this a reprise:

    It’s true, it’s true, the Senate has made it clear
    The climate in DC isn’t perfect all the year

    A law was made a distant moon ago here
    July and August can be too hot
    And there’s a 6 year limit to the show here for Kamala

    Senate is forbidden after December
    And exits not having done a lot
    By order, Senate lingers through November for Kamala

    Kamala: Camelot?
    I know it sounds a bit bizarre
    But for Kamala: Camelot
    That’s how conditions are

    Her reign may never fall till after election
    By November third, when the possibility must disappear
    In short, there’s simply not a more congenial spot
    For happily ever after in than here for Kamala

    Kamala: Camelot
    I know it gives a person pause
    But in Camelot: Kamala?
    Those are the legal laws

    The show may never be thrust upon her spot
    By for of November, an answer must appear
    In short, there’s simply not a more congenial slot
    For happily ever after in than here in the house for Kamala!

    1. Danny

      To be modest, I’m not,
      A top tier candidate, wot?

      In spite of my straight hair
      A skin of many colors I wear

      For the people I claim
      Billionaires are my domain

      Three more years of senatorial snot
      Then I’ll give it another shot

      Please Trump remain
      So I can loudly complain

    1. avoidhotdogs

      Seems a tad simplistic. Don’t get me wrong, there is a campaign to constrain Corbyn but it isn’t really working as the article implies. In any case if Corbyn is the next PM he will be leading a coalition with the LibDems and/or SNP so be forced to at least in part dance to other parties’ tune.

  27. JEHR

    Re: Google buys Fitbit

    Well, it was fun while it lasted (from 2015 to present) but I just took my FitBit off and won’t wear it again. In the end, Google will own everything when Amazon, Apple and Facebook merge with it.

        1. cnchal

          Still the wrong order, but direction right. Amazon-Alphabet One Ring to Rule Them All.

          Data Center power consumption which is increasing exponentially, will choke the earth to death, but that isn’t before life won’t even be worth living under the worlds most trusted psychopath.

  28. Wukchumni

    Is ditching your Donkey Show presidential candidacy similar to a boring party where all it takes is the first guest to leave, and then a rush for the exit entails?

    1. Pat

      Harris should be going soon. She is giving up on New Hampshire and supposedly concentrating on Iowa. (Closing offices and cancelling appearances is not a sign of confidence, but of failing, including in amount of resources.)

      1. Wukchumni

        Beto stole the weekend newscycle thunder and there was no way to bow out with him in tow, which necessitates relinquishing any claims to the throne on a weekday, where for once upon a time, people will finally notice her.

      2. ptb

        yep we will now be cleaning house in the “moderate alternative” category, since Biden’s Iowa polling is fast approaching the 15% minimum to get delegates.

        In the nightmare scenario that he does not get any delegates at all in Iowa, and of course NH is next which is Sanders/Warren turf, then Biden would be in truly rough shape going into NV and SC…

        So say goodbye to Booker, Klobuchar, Harris, and the no-name moderates. I expect they will keep Mayor Pete for strategic reasons (he is the only one who has a shot at beating 15% of the second tier group, all other moderate votes would be wasted for no delegates)

      1. ptb

        that’s a good line actually. But guess who was behind Sharpton’s 2004 campaign, organizing it and closely advising?

        none other than Roger Stone.

    1. Jokerstein

      Lots of people said that about leaving the US if Trump got elected, but the the buggers all broke their promises :-(

      1. Carl

        The “I’m going to Canada”-thing has been going on since GWB was “elected.” It’s become an evergreen in the news business.

    2. JBird4049

      So if that “Marxist” Sanders wins the 2020 election and Corbyn becomes Prime Minister where will those poor abused rich folk go? New Zealand or Canada?

  29. judy2shoes

    Re: Max Blumenthal tweet
    Last week, a neighbor of mine came out of her house to ask me if I would sign a petition to get Mayor Pete on the primary ballot. I declined, simply saying that I am not a fan of his. She asked me who I was for, and I said Bernie. She said she couldn’t see Bernie as President and explained that Mayor Pete seemed to be someone who could “get things done,” to which she added, “He looks* so Presidential!”

    After seeing the photo in Blumenthal’s tweet, I now understand why my neighbor thinks Pete looks “Presidential.” She is a dyed-in-the-wool liberal Democrat who was and is a huge fan of all things Obama. That pose that Mayor Pete struck in that photo is exactly the kind of pose Obama loved to strike – chin lifted, shoulders back, and all the rest, designed to inspire confidence in an empty suit. It made it clear to me what my neighbor was seeing, and it boggles my mind that good people are taken in by this crap.

    *all cover and no book

        1. judy2shoes

          @Olga & Carl,

          There is no there, there, with Mayor P, but then I’m preaching to the choir.

          I’m still struck by his pose in the photo, though. Tinfoil hat on, I suspect it’s by design. He WANTS to mimic Obama, and good people are falling for it.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Roger that but especially for Obama. Reagan at least helped bring about the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty to reduce nuclear weapons. Obama decided it was his mission in life to bring about Cold War 2.0 and escalate tensions with not one but two nuclear powers-

        Would you believe that Syrian President Assad said on Thursday that President Trump is the best type of President? Here is a link to that portion of the interview-

  30. ewmayer

    Signage from the recent NoCal power outage

    Spotted on a utility-cabinet-long-repurposed-as-a-kiosk in downtown Novato, Marin county, Sunday Oct. 27, the day after the lights went out. Not saying the blue-taped message is at all accurate – seems to me we could use a little proletarian ownership of the means of production, by way of the state of CA buying out PG&E in bankruptcy court and turning it into a true public utility on behalf of the populace – but just by way of a tiny snip of the Zeitgeist. The ‘Venezuela’ flyer and Trump sticker had both been ripped down the next day, since then another Trump sticker has appeared, and subsequently razor-blade edited to remove the T, leaving “RUMP for president”. Possibly the original poster had in mind DJT’s “shithole countries” barb, in reference to CA’s now being effectively a 3rd-world state.

  31. Wukchumni

    Breeders Cup is on this weekend @ Santa Anita, and is very much the Super Bowl of horse racing, with the best horseflesh in competition. We went 3 or 4 years ago and it was a hoot, with a fair number of mares dressed to the nines with goofy hats on, milling about.

    Looking at the L.A. Times sports section today, it got aced out by some fellow that made exactly one catch in his NFL career, as lead story.

  32. The Rev Kev

    “Video: Drones help restore Minnesota’s North Shore forests”

    Seeing landscapes from the air is always a useful view and previously was undertaken with aircraft. Many decades ago there was a tree-cutting operation in North America which would send the cut trees into a lake before being transported down the river. For taxation purposes, it was necessary to know exactly how many trees there were and annually the newest guy would be assigned the job. The workers would gather by the lake shore to watch the hapless young guy try to walk across the trees while counting them and occasionally falling into the lake to the laughter of the watchers.
    One year a new guy started and when the workers watched for him to go count the trees there was no sign of him until he showed up in the office with an exact account of the trees. What he had done was to hire an aircraft to fly over the lake and from the cabin he took several fotos of the lake. After developing the film all he had to do was count the trees in the foto for an exact count. From that year on that was how they always counted the trees. If that operation is still going, I would expect them to be using drones by now as well as scouting the forests for new stands to cut.

    1. RMO

      They sent the untrained new guy out walking on logbooms to count them? Why not something really funny like forcing them to play Russian roulette? Being on a boom is a bloody dangerous job even for people who know what they’re doing and have their team looking out for them.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Did you see in the comments how Gavin’s father, William Newsom, had a late sister that was married to Ron Pelosi, Nancy’s brother-in-law? Funny how often you come across all these family connections among the elite. If it is not family connections, you find that they sit on the same boards or are members of the same think tanks. Sometimes it feels almost incestuous.

  33. ObjectiveFunction

    Found myself lingering over the photo of the 4 front runners, comparing and contrasting their suits, and stances. Here’s what I took away, fwiw:

    Joe is the most off-the-rack guy, classic fabric and cut, red power tie, all well done and squared away. His hands behind the back stance make him seem the most confident, alpha and also relaxed. He’s in charge here, yes, and not nuts.

    Bernie, being long waisted, pulls off a 3 button suit well, but still has that slight stoop and ‘cupping’ thing going on, which always looks a touch ill at ease. Humble servant of the people, sure, but sometimes you gotta signal dominant. Swagger a bit, like Fdr?

    The imperial purple looks great on Liz. But there’s something in the combination of the low neckline and jacket front, plus her smile that makes her seem a little… vulnerable? And maybe that’s a safe choice, to signal ‘nice’ (sigh, yes, that old double standard) at the expense of ‘dominant’, and save the hard edge for the debate.

    Pete is going for the fashion forward European style, charcoal(?), narrow tie, jacket cut shorter and cinched. Yes, he’s showing more curves than the lady. Hey, he looks great, but to me, everything about him, suit, stance, shiny skin, head tilt and hand position radiates self-awareness. Dare we say, slick? Packaged?

    Curious how these worthies will measure up in the nonverbal battle with the Donald, who frequently struggles with his suits” in public, but also continuously signals dominance at a very raw primate level. And this time around, it’s “Mr. President”.

    1. polecat

      Then there’s the red Girrrl on fire – Tulsi gabbard !
      I think I’ll vote her in charge …

      She’s in the Presidential Pipe – 5 by 5

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