2:00PM Water Cooler 12/20/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


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

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

Here is a second counter for the Iowa Caucus, which is obviously just around the corner:

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Alert reader dk (not to be confused with DK) is in the process of developing the following interactive chart.

Nationally, we have yesterday’s polls from Emerson, YouGov, and NBC. Nothing new as of 12/20/2019, 1:00 PM EST. Biden first, Sanders strong second, Warren drops, Buttigeig drops, Bloomberg up, though still flirting with the bottom feeders. The top four seem to be an established pattern (or, if you prefer, narrative). On to the next debate (today, December 19), and Iowa:

And yesterday’s numbers:

It would be nice if we didn’t have an enormous gap between the debate and the next round of polling, though truth to tell, I don’t know either how long it takes for the biomass to assimilate poll results, and I also don’t know if Xmas and the holidays will have an effect.

CAVEAT I think we have to track the polls because so much of the horse-race coverage is generated by them; and at least with these charts we’re insulating ourselves against getting excited about any one poll. That said, we should remember that the polling in 2016, as it turned out, was more about narrative than about sampling, and that this year is, if anything, even more so. In fact, one is entitled to ask, with the latest Buttigieg boomlet (bubble? (bezzle?)) which came first: The narrative, or the poll? One hears of push polling, to be sure, but not of collective push polling by herding pollsters. We should also worry about state polls with very small sample sizes and big gaps in coverage. And that’s before we get to the issues with cellphones (as well as whether voters in very small, very early states game their answers). So we are indeed following a horse-race, but the horses don’t stay in their lanes, some of the horses are not in it to win but to interfere with the others, the track is very muddy, and the mud has splattered our binoculars, such that it’s very hard to see what’s going on from the stands. Also, the track owners are crooked and the stewards are on the take. Everything’s fine.

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.”

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Biden (D)(1): “‘Biden has never won a debate. And it has worked.'” [Politico]. “No candidate has surged to the top. And as long as the electorate remains divided, the status quo continues to reign and Joe Biden takes another step toward the nomination.” • This is actually an interesting wrap-up.

Buttigieg (D)(1): “Amy Klobuchar Exposes Pete Buttigieg’s Electability Problem” [The Intercept]. “‘If you want to talk about the capacity to win, try putting together a coalition to bring you back to office with 80 percent of the vote as a gay dude in Mike Pence’s Indiana,’ Buttigieg told fellow Midwesterner Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota…. ‘Mayor, if you had won in Indiana that would be one thing,’ Klobuchar pushed back. ‘You tried and you lost by 20 points.’ Klobuchar didn’t go into detail, not naming the race or the year, but an examination of Buttigieg’s 2010 statewide run — which he actually lost by 25 percentage points — is damaging to his key claim that he can win in “Mike Pence’s Indiana.” •

Sanders (D)(1):

I’ve heard Trump’s style compared to a Borscht Belt comedian on the Useful Idiots podcast; it’s interesting to think of Trump v. Sanders trying to top each other doing stand-up.

Warren (D)(1): “Inside the Secret List of Demands Warren Gave Hillary” [Politico]. • Warren’s inside game in 2016 and how it all worked out.

* * *

The Debates

“The moment the Warren-Buttigieg slugfest went national” [Politico]. “In a riveting, minutes-long exchange that punctuated just how much the two leading candidates view one another as a threat, Warren and Buttigieg tussled over high-dollar fundraisers, hypocrisy and personal wealth. The clash during the PBS NewsHour/POLITICO debate came as the two favorites of well-educated white voters compete for the top spot in Iowa, a must-win state for both. Each of them attacked the other as phony. Buttigieg denounced Warren’s ‘purity tests,’ adopted for political expediency; Warren, in so many words, dismissed Buttigieg as a phony reformer who sidles up to millionaires and billionaires in chandalier-filled wine caves.” • Could they both be right? This is classic Bernie Blackout material: “Bernie Sanders and Andrew Yang jumped in, too, with Yang saying his universal basic income proposal would get more women to run for office ‘because they don’t have to go shake the money tree in the wine cave.'” • Oddly, or not, neither Politico nor New York Magazine mention what Sanders said:

“Key Moments From the December Democratic Debate” [New York Magazine]. “When Warren shot back, “I do not sell access to my time,” Buttigieg asked, ‘Since when, Senator?’ Though Warren has not held big-ticket fund-raisers during her primary run, she did pursue moneyed donors in her last Senate race, and transferred $10.4 million from that fund to her 2020 war chest. There’s a debate over who came out on top, but the phrase ‘wine cave’ trending on Twitter isn’t helping the mayor’s perception among the online left.”

“Newsletter: Greetings from the wine cave” [Los Angeles Times]. “California figured early and often in the 2½-hour debate, including a question about climate change that specifically referenced the Northern California town of Paradise, which was ravaged by last year’s Camp fire. But most of the California talk was made in passing, as opposed to much substantial courting of Golden State voters. (The in-passing mentions included references to California being ‘majority-minority’ and home to more DACA recipients than any other state, as well as shout-outs to Gov. Gavin Newsom and Oakland Rep. Barbara Lee, who issued the sole “no” vote on authorizing force in the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks.)”


“Queens man impeached” [Queens Daily Eagle]. “Former Jamaica Estates resident Donald Trump was impeached Wednesday by the U.S. House of Representatives. He is the third president to be impeached in United States history — and the first from Queens…. The entire Queens House delegation voted in favor of impeachment…” • Hero headline-writer. And the final paragraph: “Trump’s parents’ graves are located at All Faiths Cemetery in Middle Village. The cemetery was slapped with a lawsuit by New York Attorney General Letitia James earlier this year for allegedly misappropriating funds.” • Ouch!

“”We Have to Hold This President Accountable”: In Historic Vote, House Impeaches President Trump” [Democracy Now!] Pramila Jayapal: “And the idea that he would withhold this critically needed, congressionally approved military aid to Ukraine, very fragile country fighting Russian aggression, desperately needing that aid, is really an affront.” • Yikes. A progressive.

“Pelosi Buys Democrats Time With Impeachment Trial Standoff” [Ed Kilgore, New York Magazine]. • Maybe — follow me closely, here — if the Democrats hadn’t put impeachment on the rocket docket, they wouldn’t need to “buy time” now?

L’Affaire Joffrey Epstein

“JEFFREY EPSTEIN SUICIDE ATTEMPT VIDEO MISSING … After Ex-Cellmate Request” [TMZ]. “The Jeffrey Epstein story just gets more and more suspicious, because now … surveillance video from his failed suicide attempt has mysteriously vanished. Prosecutors revealed in court Wednesday they could not locate the footage from outside of Epstein’s cell on July 23 — the day of his first reported suicide attempt at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in NYC. That was 2 weeks before he successfully killed himself … according to the Medical Examiner’s report. The feds had no explanation for why the footage has gone missing — they said they simply can’t find it.” • Odd

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Dictionary.com chooses ‘existential’ as word of the year” [Philadelphia Inquirer]. “‘In our data, it speaks to this sense of grappling with our survival, both literally and figuratively, that defined so much of the discourse,’ said John Kelly, senior research editor for the site, ahead of Monday’s announcement. The word earned top of mind awareness in sustained searches at Dictionary.com in the aftermath of wildfires and Hurricane Dorian, and mass shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand, and El Paso, Texas. It also reared itself in presidential politics and pop culture, including Forky the white plastic spork who was the breakout star of ‘Toy Story 4.’ The soiled utensil is convinced his destiny is in the trash, until he embraces his purpose as a treasured toy of kindergartener Bonnie. ‘Forky underscores how this sense of grappling can also inspire us to ask big questions about who we are, about our purpose,’ [said] Kelly.”

Stats Watch

The Bezzle: “State of Startups” [First Round]. “This year, over two-thirds of founders who ventured a guess think we are in a bubble for technology companies. It’s the highest number we’ve seen since 2015 — up 12% from 2018 and 25% from 2017…. 65% of founders believe capital will be harder to raise in 2020, and 70% predict the balance of power will shift towards investors.”

The Bezzle: “Travis Kalanick on course to sell out of Uber” [Financial Times]. “Travis Kalanick has sold the vast majority of his stake in Uber, liquidating more than $2.5bn worth of stock in less than two months. Mr Kalanick, Uber’s former chief executive, has now sold more than 90 per cent of his shareholding at the time of the ride-hailing group’s initial public offering in May. The scale and pace of his share sales has prompted speculation that Mr Kalanick could sell his entire stake in the company he co-founded before the end of the year.” • Good job, Trav!

Manufacturing: “Battery Sales by Panasonic, BYD Drop on Slow Electric-Car Demand” [Bloomberg]. “Panasonic Corp. and BYD Co. saw sharp declines in sales of electrified-vehicle batteries in October as demand weakened in the U.S. and China, SNE Research said. Measured by capacity, sales by Panasonic fell 38%, while BYD’s plunged 66%, causing it to lose its No. 3 ranking to South Korea’s LG Chem Ltd., the research firm said Thursday. Sales by market leader Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd. declined 17%. Slumping electric-car demand in China is pulling down the global market and weighing on battery purchases by automakers. Sales of new energy vehicles, which includes electric cars, plug-in hybrids and fuel-cell autos, have declined for five consecutive months in China after the government scaled back subsidies.”

Manufacturing: “Starliner’s timer was off—capsule thought engines were firing when they weren’t” [Ars Technica]. “After being released by the rocket, Starliner was supposed to use its Orbital Maneuvering and Attitude Control engines to provide the thrust needed to reach a stable orbit and begin the process of catching up to the International Space Station. But that did not happen. During a post-launch news conference, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine explained that the mission elapsed timing system had an error in it, with the net effect that the spacecraft thought it was performing an orbital insertion burn, when in fact it was not. The on-board computer then expended a significant amount of propellant to maintain a precise attitude, thinking it had reached orbit. When ground-based controllers realized the problem, they immediately sent a command to begin the orbital insertion burn, but due to a communications problem—which could have been a gap in coverage of NASA’s Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System or some spacecraft error—those commands were not received right away by Starliner. So it continued to expend fuel to maintain a precise attitude.” • Boeing, eh?

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 92 Extreme Greed (previous close: 90 Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 75 (Extreme Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Dec 20 at 12:29pm.

The Biosphere

“Revealed: the 20 firms behind a third of all carbon emissions” [Guardian]. “The analysis, by Richard Heede at the Climate Accountability Institute in the US, the world’s leading authority on big oil’s role in the escalating climate emergency, evaluates what the global corporations have extracted from the ground, and the subsequent emissions these fossil fuels are responsible for since 1965 – the point at which experts say the environmental impact of fossil fuels was known by both industry leaders and politicians. The top 20 companies on the list have contributed to 35% of all energy-related carbon dioxide and methane worldwide, totalling 480bn tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (GtCO2e) since 1965.” • Here they are:

“U.K. Banks Asked to Tell BOE About Risks From Climate Change” [Bloomberg]. “The central bank published a discussion paper on its planned 2021 stress tests on climate change Wednesday. It’s not a pass or fail capital test for companies, and only aggregate results will be published rather than those for individual firms. The discussion paper said the bank will examine three possible scenarios: an abrupt transition to lower emissions, a smooth transition, and a world with no transition whatsoever where physical risks are higher. The message is to move in an early and orderly way, rather than a late and disruptive one with more economic damage. Companies are, for example, being asked to judge the hypothetical valuation of a corporate bond issued by an energy utility company, or how much their mortgage loans could be affected by rising sea levels or flooding. Feedback on the BOE’s proposals, which would also see financial firms explaining how they would respond to the risks, is due on March 18, the BOE said. It aims to publish results in two years.” • Stately progress….

“Newly Identified Jet-Stream Pattern Could Imperil Global Food Supplies, Says Study” [State of the Planet]. “Scientists have identified systematic meanders [“Rossby Waves”] in the globe-circling northern jet stream that have caused simultaneous crop-damaging heat waves in widely separated breadbasket regions—a previously unquantified threat to global food production that, they say, could worsen with global warming. The research shows that certain kinds of waves in the atmospheric circulation can become amplified and then lock in place for extended periods, triggering the concurrent heat waves.”

Resource curse:

“Valuing humans over animals – Gender differences in meat-eating behavior and the role of the Dark Triad” [Appetite]. “Empirical findings demonstrate gender differences in attitudes toward meat consumption and actual meat-eating behavior. Furthermore, several studies have found that men score higher on all three Dark Triad personality dimensions (Machiavellianism, narcissism, and psychopathy)…. These findings support the idea that Machiavellianism is partly able to explain gender differences in meat-eating justification, which is associated with higher meat consumption.” • Interesting…

Health Care

“Scenes From the Ragged Edge of American Health Care” [The New Republic]. “RAM is an organization founded in 1985 by Stan Brock, a former actor and ascetic servant of the poor…. As the name implies, the organization was founded with the intent to serve inaccessible parts of the world, but it quickly became clear that the need was also severe closer to home…. The clinic coordinator, Vicki Gregg, has worked at RAM for about five years, after a lengthy tenure as a volunteer. She spoke with admiration and at length about Brock, as we discussed the irony of RAM having to serve areas as wealthy as Washington, D.C. Unlike the remote places that inspired RAM’s creation, she said, in America, it’s “a financial border,” not a geographic one, that stops people getting health care. She said RAM has even been asked to go to Martha’s Vineyard—to serve the service workers who prop up that plutocratic aerie. I asked her if the Affordable Care Act had made any difference to the number or needs of patients who showed up; she shook her head.”

“Medicare-for-All Opponents Aren’t Murderers” [Bloomberg]. • A pretty low bar, even leaving aside the concept of “social murder” (originated by Friedrich Engels, interestingly).

“Women make up the majority of U.S. medical students for the first time” [USA Today]. • I hope this transition doesn’t presage a decline in the prestige of the professions (as it sadly has done in other fields).


“Korean Go master quits the game because AI ‘cannot be defeated'” [CNN]. “‘With the debut of AI in Go games, I’ve realized that I’m not at the top, even if I become the number one through frantic efforts,’ Lee told South Korea’s Yonhap news agency this week. ‘Even if I become the number one, there is an entity that cannot be defeated.’

Lee told the news agency that his victory in 2016 was likely down to a bug in Google’s code, after he used a move that could not be ‘countered straightforwardly’ and the program responded in an unusual way that gave him an opening and eventually forced AlphaGo to surrender.” • But bugs are intrinsic to code…

Feral Hogs Return

“Swine cave.” Make up your own jokes!

And, of course:

Imperial Collapse Watch

“America weaponized the global financial system. Now other states are fighting back.” [WaPo]. “Since 2001, America has increasingly turned global economic and financial networks into weapons that can be used against adversaries. As we showed in earlier research, financial networks such as the “dollar clearing system” and the SWIFT messaging service, which provide foundations for the global financial system, have been used by the United States to gather intelligence and to isolate entire economies, such as Iran, from the global financial system. Control of these networks allows the United States to issue “secondary sanctions” against countries, businesses or individuals that it wants to target, obliging non-U.S. actors to adhere to the sanctions or risk substantial penalties. Now, these tools are leading to backlash and reaction. As we discuss in a new article in Foreign Affairs, other countries are beginning to think about how they can best respond: by threatening retaliation, by creating their own networks, or by insulating themselves from U.S. pressure.

Class Warfare

“3 French Executives Convicted in Suicides of 35 Workers” [New York Times]. “The former chief executive of one of France’s biggest companies and two subordinates were convicted on Friday of “institutional moral harassment” in the suicides of 35 employees in the mid-2000s, in a landmark ruling that represents the first time a French company has been held responsible for such a crime…. The criminal court in Paris found that the three men were responsible for creating an atmosphere of fear during a desperate company restructuring that led directly to the suicides and attempted suicides of numerous employees.” • More like this, please.

“Julia DeCook — How Deep Does the Rabbit Hole Go? The “Wonderland” of r/TheRedPill and Its Ties to White Supremacy” [b2o]. “To “Red Pillers” (what r/TheRedPill members call themselves and are referred to as outside of the community), feminism and society in general promote “sexual strategies” that favor women, thus giving women power in relationships, whereas The Red Pill community teaches men sexual strategies to take back the power in sexual or romantic relationships.” • This is very similar to Corey Robin’s definition of conservatism: “A meditation on — and theoretical rendition of — the felt experience of having power, seeing it threatened, and trying to win it back.”

News of the Wired

Useful tip for your holiday travels, if any:

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Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi 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 (Carla):

Carla writes: “November, NE Ohio.”

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Isotope_C14

    “Wine must be stored in a climate controlled environment. This means a cellar, aka a “cave.” ”

    I once managed a winery lab for a significant scale production facility in the miserable state of Oregon.

    I kept a bottle at 37C for over a year, actually a couple. They tasted not particularly different than the ones stored cool after “cooking” for that long of a time. They certainly didn’t taste “cooked” as some in the wine industry would insist.

    I’d suspect that most of the voo-doo related to wine storage is that most winemakers have no real scientific training, and don’t really know how to produce wine at scale.

    Most of the reason people “cellar” wines was because in the old days, they didn’t purge the dissolved O2 from the wine. If you bottle without inert gas, you’ll have some pretty awful tasting plonk that could take a year or two to taste right, but that comes with a fee, the O2 remaining at bottling can react-off good flavors, and end up making something pretty bad.

    Reputable wineries bottle at zero or close-to-zero O2, and filter with 0.22 or 0.45 micrometer filters. I’ve seen some people skip filtration, and the bacterial load was impressive, and so was the sewage odor. Filtration is good, 100% of the time.

      1. Isotope_C14

        I’m a big fan of the cap. The cork *can* have an organism that secretes a compound called tri-chloro-anisol, which tastes and smells like a basement-moldy piece of cardboard.

    1. skippy

      Speaking of wines …

      Happy clients asked what I liked to drink in appreciation of the work done to their Post WWII cementious walled front room and entry way. So said Schöfferhofer Hefeweizen and Velvet Reds, thought I might get a bottle or a 6 pack …. bloody got a slab of Schöfferhofer Hefeweizen and a bottle of d’Arenberg Dead Arm Shiraz 2016.

      Fantastic except I have to wait at least 2 years to crack the d’Arenberg … sigh, dead arm takes time that industrial processes can’t mimic.

      1. Isotope_C14

        Amazing, I had no idea they had Schöfferhofer in the US now. I see it all the time at the Spatkauf.

        I don’t think you need to wait that long on the Dead Arm. I’m sure it’s splendid now. Plus, 2020!

        1. skippy

          Hay Iso I live in Australia, but was drinking Schöfferhofer in L.A. during the 80s, think they sell a grapefruit infused version now in the U.S. Used to be a place down by King Harbor that specialized in international beers, only place I could get a proper Black and Tan from a tap.

          You probably know but the dead arm refers to the state of an old vine dying off on one half, which increases the intensity of the fruit on the other half. With this particular wine d’Arenberg have been at it a long time and have it sorted.

          I have already check the appropriate time to crack the bottle due to the initial intensity, quite happy to wait two more years and enjoy the full potential. Although it can be stored till up to 2030.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      Am I correct to assume your advice regarding O2 and filtering also applies to mead? Can you suggest a good source or sources of information about the science of wine making? — some organization or reference? Most of what I’ve played with in my kitchen is purely prescriptive like cooking recipes. They don’t give much insight into the reasons for what is prescribed.

      1. Isotope_C14

        Hi again Jeremy,

        I’m a microbiologist by training, just to put that out there. There aren’t really good sources of information, as I discovered while doing some research in AJEV – it’s pretty awful, a journal 100% not worth paying for.

        Enology and viticulture are quite infected with ridiculousness such as this parameter they call “TA” which is Titratable Acidity. This implies that the grape juice is 100% tartaric acid, which it is most certainly not.

        Pinot Noir, is more tartaric (and less complicated of an acid profile) than say Merlot or Cab Sauv. The “big” reds have high amounts of malic acid and when the wine is finished, they have lots of lactic acid after ML fermentation is complete.

        Pinot Noir has a starting fruit acid profile of say 2g/L tartaric, 2g/L Malic, and then perhaps a little bit of citric. Pinot Noir also has a quite boring acid profile, the Big reds will all have other acid peaks like citric, fumaric, and a couple others I never identified. (We were using an HPLC with a special C18 column to look at the profile)

        Big reds are more like 2.5g/L tartaric, 3-5g/L Malic, and often come in with 1g/L lactic.

        After ML fermentation the malic is 100% converted to lactic (nearly) and acetic acid might be around 0.5g/L (0.8g/L starts to taste acetic)

        How are you making your mead? Usually the home-brew methods suffice, as long as you are as sterile as you can be, you shouldn’t have too many problems. Winery scale filters would be too large for a home-mead operation, and of course, if the mead still has a little carbonation to it, that is antimicrobial itself (and pushes out almost all the O2).

        Also – pro tip – O2 dissolves better into cold liquids. Keep your mead room temp during bottling.

        1. polecat

          I have had great success making mead. Hygiene and sterile equip., utensils, bottles is important. However, when I’m heating the wort, I keep it just below the boiling point when adding the honey, so as to not lose all the fine aspects that it provides. So far, I’ve not had problems picking up bad yeasts or bacteria in the batch. I pitch champagne yeast, and prime the batch when bottling, with 3/4 cup corn sugar per 5 gal., for carbonation.
          About time to start another ….

        2. Oregoncharles

          My vague impression is that mead, like cider, is generally sold carbonated. My neighbors -the ones that keep bees – make a lot of mead; I’ll ask them just how. They’re both very technically minded and she’s a biologist, so I’d guess they’re doing it “right.”

        3. JP

          So I tried carbonic maceration for the last couple of years. I have to say it is pretty scary without any guidance about what your nose is telling you. The first time I freaked out and shortened the process. The second time I wasn’t ready for the rapid fermentation brought by the predigestion process. I couldn’t float enough ice packs to keep it below 80 and it finished dry in three days. It didn’t have a lot of character and I bottled the first barrel in two months without any ML firm. I have to say it is still pretty smooth. Goes just fine with turkey.

      1. JohnnyGL

        Whoa, things got real around the 3:10 mark. It starts with a discussion of the wine cave and then moves on to a discussion of billionaires. Frank Luntz gets deeply unsettled by the idea that the panel suddenly erupts with class hatred about the issue of whether billionaires should even exist.

  2. smoker

    Re: “3 French Executives Convicted in Suicides of 35 Workers”

    More like this, please.

    Yes, particularly Elites the likes of Bezos, and countless Politicians have sent the US Suicide rate Syrocketing with their cruelty.

    To inflict such emptional pain that someone, for example, lights themselves a fire, or throws themselves under a train to escape the 24/7 agony, should carry a life sentence.

    So sick of hearing the trope Mental Illness, and now, the new Suicidality proposed for DSM 6.

  3. TroyIA

    “Pelosi Buys Democrats Time With Impeachment Trial Standoff”

    What the president has done is so egregious he needs to be removed from office. Just not right away. That makes sense.

    1. flora

      Waiting will give Rachel and MSNBC and the usual msm outlets a few more weeks to hyperventilate and speculate and whip up their viewers… (“They’ve really really really really got him this time” ) It’s all about the ratings. /s

      1. Clive

        I was beginning to wonder if I should stay watching until the credits rolled in order to check if the whole show was, as I was starting to suspect it might be, an HBO production. It it were, their standards really are slipping. I’m only keeping my subscription going waiting for season three of Westworld.

    2. clarky90

      Ever encountered this Jungian-Archetypal narrative? “An outsider kid moves into a wealthy neighborhood. The snotty “insider kids” immediately hate his guts, and torment him mercilessly, … his appearance, his manners. Vulgar, crass, Gaudi, gauche…. Absolutely, “Not one of us!” They ban him from the Kool kids lunch table. They invent salacious gossip. “I heard, that he …….!!! Ewwwwh, gross, weird, what a creep!”

      These mean kids have huge tantrums. “Wealthy Daddy, powerful Mommy, demand, on the double, that the the principal and the school board expell this yukky stinky kid. We hate him. We hate him!”…..

  4. Doncoyote

    “During a post-launch news conference, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine explained that the mission elapsed timing system had an error in it, with the net effect that the spacecraft thought it was performing an orbital insertion burn, when in fact it was not.”

    #MCASinSpace #PigsinSpace

    1. RMO

      Vanguard 1, first US satellite in orbit: 1958. “Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed”: 1969. Boeing CST-100 Starliner: work begins 2010. 2019 – give us some time, still a few bugs in the system. And the Orion started in 2006 as part of the now largely cancelled Constellation program of 2005. 11 years to go from getting a 30 pound satellite into orbit to landing two people on the Moon. 14 years trying to develop a spacecraft with roughly the capabilities of the Apollo CSM – and it’s still not ready for prime time. One of the many areas in which it seems like we are getting less and less competent.

      Maye Putin is disrupting the US spacefight ability with subversive Facebook and Twitter posts in order to keep the ground to orbit industry in Russia? /s

      1. jsn

        Musk makes US space policy now.

        I look forward to discovering which other essential government function will be privatized next and by which oligarch.

        At some point they’ll all have to have their own armies and start fighting each other over supply chains.

        When they degrade technological civilization back to bows and arrows, some corporate Gingis Kahn will come along and reinvent the nation state.

        1. Synoia

          Exceptional program for careerists and Executive Bonuses.

          Demonstrating once again that the Swiss Army knife, and derivatives, is useless at every possible task except Executive Enrichment.

      2. The Rev Kev

        Could you imagine what it would be like if 21st century industry had to re-invent the telephone? And how many years it would take and what the budget for it would look like? And how each phone call would be monetized, surveilled and interrupted due to updates?

        With this botched launch, it was embarrassing to watch NASA come out and say we are cutting the live feed now so bye, and thanks for watching.

    2. wilroncanada

      They installed two timers, but only connected one, and damned if it didn’t malfunction.

  5. martell

    Regarding the Bloomberg article on M4A and murder, the author is correct: killing is, as a rule, not the same as letting die, and murder is a kind of killing. So, right, opposing M4A is not murder. It is merely unjust, stingy, unpatriotic, and extremely imprudent relative to present circumstances.

    1. Harold

      Not murder because not specifically planned maybe, but I think most people would call it is depraved indifference “so wanton, so deficient in a moral sense of concern, so lacking in regard for the life or lives of others, and so blameworthy as to warrant the same criminal liability as that which the law imposes upon a person who intentionally causes a crime.”

          1. Fred1

            “Strawmanning a reasonable legal argument? . . . . *Family blog* outta here?”

            I don’t understand what you mean?

            Depraved heart murder is a real thing, at least in those states that still recognize common law crimes, which is all I was saying in my first comment upthread.

            And the only reason I commented at all was because I was delighted to see it mentioned, simply because it’s so obscure.

            I have practiced criminal law for over 40 years and have both prosecuted and defended depraved heart murder cases.

            Once again, I don’t understand what you mean?

    2. Riverboat Grambler

      The article is so laser-focused on semantics that it only makes it more obvious how many Democratic voters are willing to let thousands of their fellow Americans die every year rather than face the inconvenience of switching health plans.

  6. WJ

    “America weaponized the global financial system. Now other states are fighting back.” [WaPo]. “Since 2001, America has increasingly turned global economic and financial networks …”

    “Since 2001” LMAO. I thought Bretton Woods dated from 1944?!

    Saying America “weaponized the global financial system” is like saying that America weaponized the nuclear bomb.

    I wish to God somebody would put this neologism “weaponize” out of its misery.

    1. Ranger Rick

      Weaponize is a useful term for describing stuff that’s been deliberately made harmful or being made more so, and there’s an intent inherent to the word — that the entity doing the transformation is doing so out of malice — that helps describe what’s taking place.

      I find it somewhat ironic that this is a strikingly similar situation to what preceded the US abandonment of the gold standard. If you can’t control your monetary policy in its entirety, do you have a national currency?

      1. skippy

        Should be remembered that Bancor was envisioned as an international accounting token without all the commodity currency hang ups, which would then allow sovereign currency to facilitate national accounting. Sadly the Bastard Keynesians and political – ideological sorts used raw muscle to push reserve currency status to USD.

        Ramifications of this are quite stark in historical perspective and only amplified by neoliberalism E.g. early on the original use had some positive qualities both national and international, sadly the cold war kinda over took everything and that seems to have paved the way for neoliberalism to dominate every aspect of reality.

    1. JTMcPhee

      It would be interesting to watch the 72 or whatever hours of guards walking, food being delivered, lights dimming and such. And then examination by Pixar, to see how the Feds “found” the equivalent of that Nixonian “18 minute gap.”

      I guess we’ll just have to trust the Prisons and FBI on this on, hey?

      1. Tvc15

        Yeah, nothing suspicious here at all. I routinely see video from the most obscure locations capturing everyday mundane public activities. Yet at the MCC, one of the most secure facilities in the U.S. we’ve been told the video around Epstein’s cell was “unusable”, missing/found and the guards were asleep. AG Barr described it as a “perfect storm” of errors. Right, and Russian interference is why we have Trump and the economy has never been better. The optics around this are a joke to anyone capable of simple critical thought, but we are supposed to accept it at face value.

        1. polecat

          You tinfoiler, you !

          … ‘polecat utters under his breadth, as he clutches his virtual pearls-before-swine necklace’ …

    1. RMO

      I have to wonder who thought it would be a good idea to have a ceremony involving uniformed German soldiers and politicians lit by torch light… not a good look in that picture.

      If only Germany was a nation of laws like the US she would have been allowed to just hire her own investigation firm to search the phone, determine everything was fine, and then release whatever data she felt like releasing to the investigation. /s

  7. reader

    I hope this transition doesn’t presage a decline in the prestige of the professions (as it sadly has done in other fields).

    Any specific examples?

    1. Carolinian

      The article has a dubious premise which is that owners of a Roku tv (or similar) are glued to the Roku channel in order to watch old movies and tv shows which could be watched just as easily by attaching an antenna to the back rather than a broadband connection.

      There have been reports that set makers are spybotting owners viewing habits–a kind of universal Nielsen service–but isn’t that soon going to apply to our refrigerators and doorbells too?

      The real reason they are so cheap is probably because they are so cheap to make. My most recent flat screen tv weighs about a third what the first one did (same size) and works better. That plus all those Asian factories churning out televisions is all the explanation you need,

      1. RMO

        I agree that that is why they are so cheap, but the drive to spy on the user and sell the data to whoever is capable of paying for it seems to becoming some sort of accepted universal imperative. A few days ago there was a story on Jalopnik about just how much data car companies are collecting and trying to monetize. Naturally there were quite few comments going on about how this is perfectly all right and plenty of the “there is no privacy anymore, get over it” For over a century now it was enough for a car company to take your money in exchange for a car they built. Now they have made it seem natural and obvious to many people that they should get any information the can out of you while you use it and sell it to anyone they want.

        It reminds me of Ross Scott’s bit about how it feels like we’re in a society that has, for years, had an almost universally observed tradition that every ten years we cut off one of our finger and feed it to the birds. it’s so common that it’s not even questioned regularly. Sure, there are the occasional radicals that no one pays any attention to saying that maybe we could just do it every twenty years… or not cut off our fingers at all and just buy some birdseed. If you personally object to cutting off your fingers, most people just roll their eyes because you’re one of those old coots who still cares about having all their fingers… weirdo!

    2. LifelongLib

      Well, if in actuality the price is device + content, the cost of TV hasn’t fallen. The model now is to sell a (relatively) cheap device, which then requires endless payments for content. Fifty years ago the opposite was true; the device was expensive (but at least had a fixed price) and the content was essentially free. The latter was much less expensive overall.

    1. jeremyharrison

      I was writing my post below, as you were writing yours – I just realized I won multiple bets I had made with friends – giving them 10-1 odds that the House would not impeach Trump before the end of the year. I was about to pay them off today until I read this. Now I want my winnings!

      1. Bugs Bunny

        The House actually DID impeach the Queens man. The impeachment has not been sent to the Senate. So I would hold off trying to collect on your bet. Because you lost it.

  8. jeremyharrison

    Huh. I made multiple bets with friends that the House would not impeach Trump before the end of the year (my reasoning being that they’d be afraid to let the Senate call witnesses, potentially Biden). I even gave everyone 10-1 odds that they wouldn’t.

    I was about to start paying everyone off – but just now read this: He hasn’t been impeached yet! The House has voted TO IMPEACH (future tense) but impeachment will only occur once the articles have been delivered to the Senate. As Nelson would say on The Simpsons – “Ha Ha!”


  9. Expat2uruguay

    Goodbye cruel world! No, I’m not killing myself. but after today’s links article about the inevitability of the collapse of the biosphere I’m moving into acceptance quite rapidly. I was a huge activist in the u.s. doing everything I could up to and including getting arrested, and long term political fasting, not that it mattered one bit. So I guess I’m ready. I recently went through cancer treatment so I can think about this in a way that brings me peace. Goodbye cruel world!, now is the time to party for the years that I have left and to love my family because nothing can save them or anyone else. When I first read the news I was in shock, but now my spirit feels light. My focus will be on how to enjoy the time that remains and love the people I love. I’m not sure how much longer I will read the news here, because it seems a lot like chemotherapy for someone who knows they’re going to die regardless. The only thing left to do is to watch everyone else come to the inevitable conclusion. There is peace in acceptance and today it is mine. Tomorrow I may be scared again, but today I feel free!

    1. Expat2uruguay

      I feel again the joy I felt when I first came to Uruguay, it’s the feeling of not being responsible. there’s nothing I or anyone else can do to save humanity, but now I am free free free!!!! I’m sure you guys think that I am crazy, but I don’t feel like there’s any other place I can speak about this new perspective on life. No one else I know is prepared for the truth, maybe a few here are…. It feels so good to speak my truth to validate myself

      1. Carl

        No, I’ve felt like this too, for awhile now. It is freeing as you say. So much of the articles on this subject seem to want to make it a matter of personal responsibility, when it is a systemic problem which can only really be addressed in a systemic way. Changing personal behavior amounts to virtue-signaling and feel-goodism under these conditions.

        1. AndrewJ

          I too have a strong feeling that what is happening is no more or less who we are as a species. Cruel, unkind, unthinking, and completely incapable of changing our ways. We tell each other lies about love and stories of redemption, but we’re just really bad animals. Maybe the next intelligent species will have a better run of it than we will.
          Perhaps the concept of “original sin” has a kernel of truth in it.

          1. Basil Pesto

            but we’re just really bad animals.

            Or perhaps we’re just animals, as

            Cruel, unkind, unthinking, and completely incapable of changing our ways.

            could probably adequately describe most species on the planet

      2. ambrit

        I come towards the ‘acceptance’ mindset from a different direction, but do understand what you speak of. The ‘kensho’ like enlightenment that produces such a calming state of being comes unbidden. (I just ‘googled’ the word kensho to be certain that I was using it properly. On the first page of results, one citation was to a wiki on the concept in Zen. The other nine citations were to a company, and reviews of the company, with that name. Google jumped the shark years ago. Now, it seems that the shark has eaten Google whole.)
        If anyone will make it through the Jackpot, you and yours would be the obvious choices.

      3. GramSci

        We’ll miss you expat! Don’t let our commiseration distract you from your loved ones, but you’re loved here, too!

    2. skippy

      If I may …

      I was supposed to be dead back in the late 70s or early 80s, then in 2008, and again this time last year, for some absurd reason I’m still here.

      This is compounded by my wife of almost 25 years coming off a 12hr paramedic night shift, only to see her around 10AM whilst popping in to the house to grab some gear for work, and have her inform me that see was going up to Noosa coast for a few days, after her appointment at the doctors down the road.

      Some hours later I got a call from the kids informing me she had a stroke and was at hospital, more accurately ICH [internal cranial hemorrhage] – in her late 40s. Survival rates and return to previous function for this condition are quite low and even for those that manage to return to some semblance of previous function its very specific to ones previous activities at work or at home E.g. controlled environment or dynamic.

      Just the story of her doctors visit and how it all unfolded is a visceral examination of the human condition. Had complained to paramedic partner of some years the night before of a headache, but having anxiety issues due to OCD, all her life, it was misleading. Having presented at her long time GP [aware of everything] she sat for a wee bit and was approached by known staff, due to her seemingly stupor, out of place for her norm. When asked how see was feeling she said I’m dying.

      Once in her GP’s room the neurological effects were becoming acute, questions were asked, but responses were off topic, even if coherent. At this point the paramedics were called and due to location it was her station that responded, not that dispatch was aware of it was one of their own. Upon arrival my wife’s first thought was the status of the male and female paramedics responding due to having been a teacher in Uni for the female and how that might psychologically effect her vs the male she knew, but did not have the same personal affiliation – was concerned about long term psychological effects the female would have due to the nature of their personal relationship.

      At this time she was being transported out of the clinic and the original staff member, she knew, that asked how she was in the waiting room approached, wife grasped her arm and said it was alright, then had a T seizure, head starts to rotate backwards, staff member burst into tears. This was moment when the wife made that transition from concern about the – here and now – to the complete abdication of the tenuous grasp we all hold onto life – she accepted deaths inevitability regardless of ones life’s plans. Hell of a thing for someone that has struggled with a childhood illness that set the ball rolling for rheumatoid arthritis at a preteen age and a plethora of psychological issues like OCD due to it.

      Was even coaching the attendant paramedics on doing things right in the ambulance, intubation, that’s when the second T seizure occurred.

      Anywho … whomever she was has been wiped like a hard drive damaged, currently under going extensive rehab physically, cognitively, and psychologically, was fast tracked into a study due to her past medical back ground as a good candidate for this study as well her personal affiliation with many of its team members.

      Currant status is estranged, she lives with elderly parents down the road with youngest son [15], said she wants to concentrate on him and her, with the addition of focusing on being happy. Eldest son and myself are the only ones at our residence, youngest daughter is having a working holiday in Banff. This is all juxtaposed by my experience of lower bound DIA [diffuse axonal injury] in 2008.

      In summation it might seem I’m rambling, but, that has more to do with dynamics than the status or yours or my plight, the issue at had is the human condition, those that define the – framework – that “is” [categorical imperative] allowable for introspection, and how that translates to defining it, let alone formulate any response to its condition.

      I would only add that whomever she – was – and how that translates to our shared past, good or bad, no longer is applicable, I have no enforcement of rights to anything[.] This person is something that will unfold henceforth and 25 years are gone in a blink of an eye. I have to stand back and let that happen at the age of 58 with complete abandonment of any previously held notions about the future [tm].

      May you travel well in your circumstances …

        1. skippy

          Hope you don’t mind under the circumstances that I use your first name – after all these years … Susan … hope I earned it … and think it applicable in this context … walking stick is not out of the question.

          Aaaah … its not about me or her its about us, specifically the information available that makes a mockery of the currant framework and its attendant failures, its too that I avail myself, only used the personal experience to highlight the failings of the currant construct.

          You see in my case I’ve had a life time of experience and knowledge to contend with such vagaries of life, most don’t due to scope, as I think you would be acutely aware from your own perspective – still remember your early podcasts yonks ago and sharing of your life’s experiences so all could benefit.

          Too be quite honest with you, this is just another instance where I can avail myself to be a better human [with a few ticks] and walk a path that is not all about me. Hell of a thing to understand intrinsically from experience where she is at and how that corresponds to any future outcome regardless of previous notions. Too be more concise its my previous experiences that enable me to make those distinctions, and not devolve into some wonky rights based issues about expectations or antiquarian notions.

          Yet who knows … I could date her all over again and enjoy the experience of a past removed or not.

          Only thing I know is I will persist …

        2. skippy

          I feel compelled as a long time NC member to say she also had a very dark side in human relationships due to the OCD influenced, but due to my past experiences thought I could rise above it until certain age and brain chemistry might take the edge off it … then boom.

          How mainstream economics and political ideology effect these outcomes is something I’ve been very concerned about for a long time.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Jeezuz, skip. You and your family have well and truly been through the wars. I’m so sorry to hear about what you and your family are going through and hopefully your wife is on the road back. But sounds like it will be a long one. Stay strong not only for yourself but for your family.

        1. skippy

          Lmmao ….

          No one is shooting at me or me having to shoot at others, even with the bush fires Oz is a better place than others, people wrongly or rightly have a scene of community in dire circumstances, hence the umbrage at our esoteric PM – the group is more important than some narrow interest in the long run.

          I mean considering the implications of a unforeseen medical event and how that effects ones life compared to say being proffered lines at Malibu Cove, by a sanding Congressman, whilst he unceremoniously evicts the wannabe patronage so he can milk information from an ex special opts member is hilarious ….

        1. skippy

          Its just plain old life DC, its not a special circumstance, worse happens all the time, at least I have the experience to contend with it all, my issue is with those that don’t have the same tools through any fault of their – own – its the framework or methodology that is the issue.

          I don’t live to gratify myself … I live to pass on information that might help refute the present framework of humanity in spite of my past failings, due to it, because I think we can given the opportunity as a whole.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            I’m with you in Rockland, Skip.
            the june before wife’s september cancer diagnosis, we two spent a weekend in an RV at the beach(Matagorda, Texas…the edge of the world–the pain began after that trip, so we occamed that the long drive was the source of the pain)
            we drank and screwed and frolicked in the surf….and after the cancer emergency, “Riding the Wave” has been the metaphor of choice.
            we take what comes, and accept that most of it is well outside of our control.
            during the monthlong emergency, i found a bunch of copies of Marcus Aurelius on sale at halfprice…and bought them all.
            then handed them out to all and sundry.
            both boys read it…and it helped more than all of the fervent praying by the well meaning death-fearers.
            good luck.

        1. skippy

          Again lol … I have more crazy behind me than this, that’s the point and regardless of how some were banging on about Keynes in the day was the perspective and methodology he and his fellows were forwarding conta to the bad maths and physics we now enjoy as economics.

      2. ambrit

        Good God man. That is a real ‘ordeal’ for you and ‘yours.’ I don’t envy you. You are strong, but this will still be a test. I hope the young ones are dealing with this well. Help them.
        Any advice from the ‘cheap seats’ would be an insult. I’ll confine myself to empathy and solidarity.
        The Solstice is days away. After that, it gets lighter and lighter.

        1. skippy

          I count myself as one of the 7 on this blog, personal experiences are not the rule of the day, something bigger is afoot.

          1. meeps

            I most definitely count you as an one contributing greatly to my edification here. I wish I’d more to offer you now. All I have is a big virtual hug going out across space-time.

            Same goes for you and Phyl, ambrit.

            1. skippy

              Not to make too fine a point, of it, humans are not the issue, but the expectations of others on how they should conduct themselves in life and why, especially considering environmental aspects and historical imperatives. I for one would suffer all manner of social constructs as long as some semblance of continuity with the environment was on offer, sans the neoliberal aspect.

              Your kind thoughts should be better discharged with those much less fortunate as myself, even if I humbly except its generosity.

            2. ambrit

              Thank you meeps. One of what I consider one of the ‘goods’ inherent in well tempered blogs and their commentariats is the aspect of trans personal solidarity. Short form is that today’s ‘society’ encourages “rugged individualism,” which leads to a lot of atomized and lonely ‘rugged individuals.’ Places like this offer a community of like minded people with which to interact and mentally associate. Now, this might be a sign that I, personally, am somewhat maladjusted; “..does not play well with others.” It could also be a sign that the general society is breaking down. This must be fought at all costs. This site provides the best tool with which to fight the ills plaguing society today: Knowledge.

          2. ambrit

            There are so many ‘Sevens’ in myth and folklore that I happily conflate them all in your honour.
            As to something “bigger” being afoot; we are enmeshed in a ‘Turning of the Age.’ That is the best way I can describe events unfolding now.
            Nothing more really to say.
            Be strong.

      3. Oregoncharles

        That’s far too much. Your grace in describing all this speaks very well of you.

        May your luck and your wife’s improve – a lot.

      4. The Historian

        I am so sad for you right now Skippy. I don’t know the right words to bring you some comfort, but I care and I will always listen.

      5. Wukchumni


        Sorry to hear of your travails, i’m usually not at a loss for words, but there are few to describe what you must be going through.

    3. The Rev Kev

      Hope is the only good god remaining among mankind;
      the others have left and gone to Olympus.
      Trust, a mighty god has gone, Restraint has gone from men,
      and the Graces, my friend, have abandoned the earth.
      Men’s judicial oaths are no longer to be trusted, nor does anyone
      revere the immortal gods; the race of pious men has perished and
      men no longer recognize the rules of conduct or acts of piety.

      – Theognis of Megara

      1. Fiery Hunt

        Reading all of this on Solstice. ..before a trip into the City by the Bay to see my wife’s old friend who is hospitalized after brain surgery for a tumor (she’ll survive well it’s forecast)…

        Skippy…true hope your grounding holds. It seems firm and made of our best; clarity and empathy held in place by courage and humility.

        Amfortas, ambrit and all others…

        Thank you for the continued examples of the same wisdom and strength.

        May the hard Winter bring a better Spring.

  10. skippy

    For the olds here its probably not requisite, albeit it might be useful as a short concise introductory to put under the noses of others, but, for other NC readers I think this might help unpack a rather difficualt and seemingly nebulous term and all its ramifications.

    This is Neoliberalism


    So if one wonders why so many pressing matters seem to be ignored or worse acerbated, one might consider the dominate framework utilized to firstly judge reality and then respond too it.

    1. Summer

      That’s a good primer for people that don’t have the patience or inclination to wade through the more academic explanations. It can potentially reach more that suffer the worst of neoliberalism.

      1. skippy

        Hence why I posted it, the multidisciplinary academic backdrop one needs just too begin to understand both the historical and philosophical aspects of this frame work is laborious, not discounting the chaff spewed across the information stream by vested [self] interests.

        I fear that – we – won’t be able to confront any of the challenges wrought by classical ignorance or neoliberalism until the vast majority of humanity has an inkling of what has transpired and why.

        1. Mark Gisleson

          My sympathy on the personal, and (again) my thanks for the links. There are few people online I’ve been reading/interacting with as long as you.

          Peace my brother.

  11. Summer

    RE: “3 French Executives Convicted in Suicides of 35 Workers” [New York Times]

    That’s not how that would have turned out in the USA. Not talking about the convictions. It would have never come to that.
    That would be a workplace shooting before that number of suicides happened.

  12. Jeff W

    “Queens man impeached” [Queens Daily Eagle].
    Brings to mind—with an entirely different comic intent but too good to pass up—the famed Dacron [Ohio] Republican-Democrat* headline “Two Dacron Women Feared Missing in Volcanic Disaster” with the drop head “Japan Destroyed.” The lede: “Possible tragedy has marred the vacation plans of Miss Frances Bundle and her mother Olive as volcanoes destroyed Japan early today.”

    *i.e., the National Lampoon Sunday Newspaper Parody (1978)

  13. wilroncanada

    So, Dictionary.com has named “existential” as the word of the year. Jean Paul Sartre must be turning over in his “High-Diggers.”

    1. inode_buddha

      I recall spending some time wrapping my head around the idea that nothingness could not come from something, and then reflecting on the limits of language.

  14. Carla

    “Women make up the majority of U.S. medical students for the first time” [USA Today].

    Lambert comments: I hope this transition doesn’t presage a decline in the prestige of the professions (as it sadly has done in other fields).

    Carla counters: Considering the corrupting effect of prestige on “the professions,” perhaps such a decline is devoutly to be hoped. Or let me rephrase that: maybe “prestige” is not the best thing for professional ethics and the future of society. We can all hope that more women in a field will raise the ethical bar. It’s only a hope, I know.

    Hey, thanks for featuring my yellow tree pic, Lambert! Such a joy on a grey day, of which NE Ohio sees many.

    1. Big River Bandido

      From what I have seen of my own physician’s practice over a 15-year period, and from what I’ve seen of my dad’s old law firm — such declines have been well underway for quite awhile. Doctors are not allowed to practice medicine, many lawyers work basically as temps, and most college teaching is done by adjuncts.

      I’d say the entrance of women in these professions is not a cause of declines in pay and working conditions, but rather a result.

  15. The Rev Kev

    “Julia DeCook — How Deep Does the Rabbit Hole Go? The “Wonderland” of r/TheRedPill and Its Ties to White Supremacy

    Actually I have another term that Julia R. DeCook might find useful-

    noun: misandry

    dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against men (i.e. the male sex)
    e.g. ‘All men are dogs!’

    I actually consider myself to be partially an old-style feminist. That is, I say that if a woman can do the same job as a guy, then she should do it – and for the same pay and conditions as a guy. The feminism that we have nowawadys is nothing less than toxic and has resulted in the backlash talked about in this article. Since she talks about the movie “The Matrix”, I will go with that. Take a look at the films and TV shows of the past few years and you will notice that women are taking their place more and more but crucially, when they do so it is felt necessary to denigrate men at the same time.
    The Star Wars series fell victim to this and you certainly saw it in the Star Trek Discovery series and the producers wondered why audiences were staying away from their offerings. The latest Ghostbusters particularly went out of their way to humiliate men in it and the same has happened in those Marvel films. Same too for the new terminator film come to think of to. And it was deliberate. I note that on at least two of these productions, that there were crew photos taken of ONLY the women in it. Can you imagine what would happen if you had a men-only crew photo taken?
    The point of this rant is yes, you do get toxic masculinity but I am going with the theory that this is more a result of toxic femininity and not just resentment of women gaining power. Extremism results in counter-extremism and that is predictable. Getting back to those movie examples, if you had women depicted as taking their place besides men then that is as it should be. Showing women taking their place while humiliating men and denigrating men was always going to have a counter movement.

    1. Carey

      >when they do so it is felt necessary to denigrate men at the same time.

      Agreed, though I call it the last thirty-or-so years, especially on tee-vee here in USA USA.
      In retrospect, the all men-are-schlubs-and-liars trope has a distinctly seventeen-intelligence vibe to it, and has had for a long time..

      divide ‘n’ rule

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      I haven’t seen most of the films you referred to but I did see the latest Ghostbusters movie, after first watching the first two Ghostbusters movies. I didn’t care much for the plot or characters but there was something else about the movie that made it distastful. I couldn’t identify what about the movie made it so irritating. I think you nailed it.

      I tried to read DeCook’s essay but had a lot of trouble trying to understand it. I noticed the author is “an Assistant Professor in the School of Communication at Loyola University Chicago.” I think it is scary that this essay is an example of writing from a School of Communication. It reads too much like preaching to a choir I’m not part of, using a peculiar slang language that is mostly Greek to me.

  16. ewmayer

    Breaking!!! Exciting Not-To-Be-Missed Holiday-Bowl News! *** Upset Alert *** In the historically significant Tropical Smoothie Cafe™ Frisco Bowl© being played Somewhere in Texas®, the Kent State Golden Flashes (6-6) led the Utah State Aggies (7-5) 23-17 at halftime and have since kicked a field goal to widen their lead to 26-17. It’s can’t-miss action, people!! Available on ESPN2 (a wholly-owned subsidiary of ESPN Sports (a division of Disney Corp™.)) *** End Upset Alert ***

    1. ewmayer

      Ha, that actually turned into a pretty entertaining game – just the sponsor-afflicted name of the damn thing was ridiculous.

    1. Oregoncharles

      Try not to plant females. The fruit smells strongly like dog poo. (Most nursery trees are grafted, for this reason.)

      However, the nuts and leaves are important elements of Chinese medicine, so maybe in the back 40.

  17. Carey

    I thought that FT on Kalanick being able to offload virtually all of his Uber™ stock
    was really worth reading. Pillage and plunder still pays very well, it seems, and
    the externalization of costs to the rest of us widely accepted.

    for now

  18. richard

    Fragile Ukraine, really Pramilla? In 2013 the IMF held up aid to the Ukraine over cuts in pensions, if I remember correctly. How fragile was ukraine then? Not as fragile I guess.

  19. Michael C.

    “The feds had no explanation for why the footage has gone missing — they said they simply can’t find it.” • Odd”

    More than odd. Criminal is more the word. Whay too many anomalies in this story to not make one incredulous. Seems people in high places on both sides of the aisle can easily game the criminal justice system to protect members of the club. But our famous investigative media is on it, just like they have investigated the Space Force, the war budget, USMCA, Bolivian coup, attempts to cut SS and Medicare, environmental regulations, on and on, all of course after it clears up the aftermath of Russia-gate and impeachment.

  20. Michael C.

    Ukraine. The US in its drive to further isolate Russia with the expansion of NATO (under Obama) supported and advised the coup of the democratically elected president and installed a new man who was supported by openly right-wing fascists (not unlike in the recent Bolivian coup or the previous Brazil push for Bolsanaro).

    This all after Clinton (and Bush I too if I remember correctly) famously promised Gorbachav that the US would not expand NATO after break up of Soviet Union, which they pursued almost immediately afterward, I won’t mention the US support for the drunkard and easily manipulated Boris Yeltsin. (But we of course do not like interference in our elections, even if spun out of thin air.)

    We are arming a nation at Russia’s door that has historically been linked to Russia for centuries. But we need to make Putin into some kind of evil Spectre who wants to conquer the world, when if one only looks geopolitically or through the lens of what they call Real Politics, Putin is acting as any leader of a nation would act. Imagine if China or Russia armed Mexico and had weapons pointed to the US. Oops, we saw that–Cuba.

    This who Washington Consensus/congressional military industrial complex, global economic hegemony, whatever you want to call it, it bipartisan. I believe Pramila’s misunderstanding of this and probably much of what US foreign policy is really about is a big hole in not only her understanding but of a large segment of elected leaders who are too ready to accept our national security state’s take on the world. This take will lead to the destruction of humanity (and already is in regard to climate change) unless we rise up and force the changes needed to, and I don’t mean to be dramatic, save the world.

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