2:00PM Water Cooler 2/13/2020

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

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

We have no new national or state polls, so I prepared the following small multiples chart

The arrows show who’s winning, and who’s losing. The one-word captions make a claim as to why.

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 I 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.

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Bloomberg (D)(1): Not cut out for this (1):

I think “Mike” — or whichever overpaid but incompetent staffer manages his Twitter account — meant to write carnival barker. Arf! [UPDATE Marx, a master of invective himself, would, I think, like Trump’s quote — if we identify “mass of dead energy” with “congealed labor time.”]

Bloomberg (D)(2): Not cut out for this (2):

Bloomberg (D)(3): “The Bloomberg Effect: Local Campaigns Are Starving for Help” [The Intercept]. “Bloomberg’s spending is having a shockingly disruptive effect on Democratic politics throughout the country: He is hiring armies of staffers and canvassers in nearly every state in the country at eye-popping salaries, poaching talent from other campaigns and progressive organizations that are now struggling to fill jobs. In just three months, the Bloomberg campaign has hired thousands of people to staff more than 125 offices around the country…. Progressive groups, local campaigns, and presidential operations are either losing staff to the Bloomberg campaign, or are struggling to hire people because the former mayor has picked so many political operatives and canvassers up, according to interviews, emails, and messages from dozens of people involved in hiring…. The salaries being paid to Bloomberg staffers are well above market rates, and often come with housing included, as well as a laptop and an iPhone. One operative lured to Bloomberg’s office in New York said she observed a seemingly endless wall of iPhones stacked like bricks as far as she could see. Another said that Bloomberg offered a job to one operative who didn’t take it, but still received a laptop and iPhone from the campaign in the mail anyway, presumably by sheer dint of onboarding momentum.” • Why is this even legal?

Bloomberg (D)(6): Redlining is good, actually:

Bloomberg (D)(5): “How NYCHA Lead, Repair Scams Started Under Bloomberg’s Watch” [The City]. “In his final year as mayor of New York, Mike Bloomberg, who built his billions on a data-driven news business, ordered the city’s Housing Authority to drastically reduce a huge backlog of tenant repair requests. But while some city and federal officials were skeptical as NYCHA claimed the number of pending requests plummeted 75%, from 420,000 to 106,000 in just one year, Bloomberg never publicly questioned the authority’s figures, an examination by THE CITY found…. Prosecutors discovered that NYCHA illegally halted required apartment inspections to reduce the number of new requests — and marked nearly 200,000 pending requests as “closed” without any work being done. “A significant portion of NYCHA’s backlog reduction involved simply moving needed work off the books — principally by unlawfully suspending all annual apartment inspections for two years and finding other ways to manipulate its work order numbers,” prosecutors in Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman’s office wrote last year. Besides the bogus work ticket blitz, it was during Bloomberg’s tenure that, prosecutors later determined, NYCHA executives began falsely certifying they were performing required lead paint inspections — a practice that continued through 2016 under his successor, Bill de Blasio.” •

Bloomberg (D)(6): I don’t think this anecdote means what Frum thinks it means:

A servant lets her mistress win? Totally relatable!

Buttigieg (D)(1): “Union President Accuses Pete Buttigieg of ‘Perpetuating This Gross Myth’ About Union Health Care: ‘This Is Offensive'” [Newsweek]. “Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants, strongly criticized Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg on Wednesday, arguing that he was perpetuating a ‘gross myth’ about union workers’ health care… ‘This is offensive and dangerous. Stop perpetuating this gross myth. Not every union member has union healthcare plans that protect them. Those that do have it, have to fight like hell to keep it. If you believe in Labor then you’d understand an injury to one is an injury to all,’ the union president wrote. ‘For profit healthcare doesn’t work, @PeteButtigieg. It’s killing people & putting working people in financial ruin. The whole country knows it,’ she added in a follow-up tweet. ‘Collective bargaining is about problem solving. Don’t use unions to promote division – that’s only good for the profiteers.'”

UPDATE Buttigieg (D)(2): “Pete Buttigieg and the Democrats’ Veteran Problem” [The New Republic]. “While the Democratic Party has run scores of veteran candidates since the Forever Wars began, most of them have lost. The last time the party effectively organized veterans as voters, activists, and campaign volunteers was during Vietnam veteran John Kerry’s 2004 presidential run, as public opposition to the Iraq War spiked…. Even in the historic blue wave of 2006, amid public discontent with the war in Iraq, only five of the party’s much-ballyhooed 49 veteran “Fighting Dems” won their congressional races. During the 2018 midterm elections, the Democrats and VoteVets redeployed a Fighting Dems strategy, yet in a strong election for the party, out of the 38 one-on-one matchups run by Democratic veterans, again, only five won. As it turns out, ‘there is no systematic advantage for veterans on Election Day,’ according to political scientist Jeremy Teigen: A candidate’s military service turns out to matter a lot less than incumbency, ad buys, and gerrymandering.”

Klobuchar (D)(1): “One of Klobuchar’s Biggest Backers Is ‘the Worst Company in the World'” [Daily Beast]. “But while the Minnesota senator has successfully parlayed her grandfather’s work in an Iron Range mine into working-class bona fides, some of Klobuchar’s most important longtime backers are billionaires and billion-dollar corporations. Chief among them: Cargill, the agriculture behemoth and the largest privately held company in the United States, which has donated a small fortune in campaign contributions over the course of Klobuchar’s political career.” • Cargill is a busy company. They’re also helping to burn down the Amazon rain forest (no matter what their PR says).

Sanders (D)(2): “‘This is what panic looks like’: Sanders team hits back after Wall Street criticism” [Guardian]. “Bernie Sanders’ campaign has accused the ‘Wall Street elite’ of panicking after one of its leading figures attacked the presidential candidate in the wake of two straight victories in the nomination process. In a Twitter post on Tuesday Lloyd Blankfein, former chief executive of Goldman Sachs, said Sanders’ election would “screw up” the US economy and delight Russia.” • And the [***chef’s kiss***]: “Blankfein, a registered Democrat, supported Hillary Clinton in the last election.”

Sanders (D)(3): “Sanders: There’s a difference between ‘my socialism and Trump’s socialism'” [Axios]. Sanders: “In many respects, we are a socialist society today. … Donald Trump, before he was president, as a private businessperson, he received $800 million in tax breaks and subsidies to build luxury housing in New York. … The difference between my socialism and Trump’s socialism is I believe the government should help working families, not billionaires.”

Sanders (D)(4): “Bernie Sanders’ path to the nomination was blazed by Trump 4 years ago” [CNN]. “Like Trump, Sanders won’t need to get a majority of votes in the primaries and caucuses to win the nomination either. Even if he continues to win primaries by small margins, or even come in second or third in a few of them, Sanders can wrack up delegates the way Trump did. The longer Sanders’ center-left opponents remain in the race, the better it is for him…. Meanwhile, those other candidates — Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren — find themselves in a similar place to Trump’s own challengers in 2016. The campaigns and supportive super PACs of Cruz, Rubio, Bush and Kasich focused on going after each other, all while the front-runner went through the early primaries relatively untouched.”

UPDATE Sanders (D)(5): A nice shout-out:

Showing its possible to escape CAP with one’s integrity intact. (And it is notable that two policy-based stumbles — Warren on #MedicareForAll, and Biden on Social Security — were punished, although none of the pundits are mentioning this.)

Trump (R)(1): “Hope Hicks To Return To White House As Senior Adviser” [HuffPo]. • Ostensibly for Kushner. I’ve always had a soft spot for Hicks, ever since she told a reporter she wasn’t available for a phone interview because she was taking a nap, back in the day when the Trump campaign offices in Trump Tower were, IIRC, basically wallboard. . I also think Hicks has a moderating influence on Trump’s temperament, a good thing given the way we’ve arranged war powers.

UPDATE Trump (R)(2): “Larry Ellison is doing an unthinkable thing for a tech titan: Hosting a fundraiser for Donald Trump” [Recode]. “Ellison is hosting Trump at his estate in California’s Coachella Valley next week for a “Golf Outing and Reception,” according to a copy of the invitation obtained by the Desert Sun, a local newspaper. Tickets run as high as a quarter million dollars. The event will be held at Ellison’s private estate in Rancho Mirage next Wednesday, according to a copy of the invitation, on a golf course where he once played with Barack Obama. Ellison — far more comfortable with displays of opulence than many other tech billionaires — is a prodigious acquirer of property in Southern California.” • Sweet!

Warren (D)(1): On Bloomberg’s ridiculous statement on housing and the crash (see above):

These two tweets show what has frustrated me about Warren since the beginning: Strong problem statement, weak tea technocratic solution. An “office”? As opposed to breaking up the big banks altogether?

Yang (D)(1): “A Visual History of the #YangMediaBlackout” [Vocal]. “Back in June of 2019, I tweeted about the latest egregious example of MSNBC excluding Democratic Presidential candidate Andrew Yang from their ongoing coverage of the 2020 Presidential candidates. There had been previous examples, but that was the worst up to that point because they had photos of all 20 candidates who were going to be in the first debates, and instead of including Yang as one of them, they included someone who wasn’t even going to be there. I then started to add each new example as a new reply, and that ongoing thread has now been covered over and over again with each new example as a source of entertaining absurdity.” • MSNBC a prime offender, naturally.

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“Bernie Wins New Hampshire and the “Klobucharge” is Real” [Will Cormier, The Sports Geek (farmboy)] “[Klobuchar’s] recent debate performance earned Klobuchar dramatic boosts in both the polls and donations, making the Minnesota Senator a legitimate challenger for the already-crowded moderate lane. Warren and Biden each finished with less than 10% of the vote, showing that the ‘Klobucharge’ came more at their expense than Mayor Pete’s.” • Well worth a read. A betting site!

UPDATE: Readers may remember Artist Taxi Driver from our Brexit coverage:

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An excellent round-up on murine carnality in the Silver State. Thread:

Oppo on the Culinary Workers leadership (1):

Oppo on the Harry Reid’s good friend in the Culinary Worker’s leadership:

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“Troy Price, Iowa Democratic Party Leader, Resigns Over Caucus Debacle” [New York Times]. Reading all the way to the end: “Sean Bagniewski, the chairman of the Democratic Party in Polk County, which includes Des Moines, said the coziness between state party leaders, vendors and candidates did not originate under Mr. Price. ‘I think it’s been this way for quite some time,’ he said. ‘It’s kind of like the little families that control petroleum countries. You’ve got access to resources that everybody wants, and you kind of become your own little kingdom of consultants and advisers.'” • So what did you do about it?


Realignment and Legitimacy

“More Than 75% of Democrats Would Support a Socialist for President: Gallup

” [Common Dreams]. “A new Gallup survey showing most Americans would not be willing to vote for a socialist also revealed that an overwhelming majority of Democratic voters said they would back a candidate like Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is leading in national polls. More than three-quarters of Democratic voters surveyed—76%—told Gallup they would support a presidential candidate who identified as a socialist. A large chunk of independent voters said they would back such a candidate, with 45% saying so, while only 17% of Republicans reported the same. Overall, 45% of 1,033 respondents said they would back a socialist in the poll, which had a margin of error of four percentage points.” • Remarkable, even if over-estimated. “Change vs. more of the same!”

“The latest progressive economic policy is designed to stabilize the US labor market — and it looks a lot like the military” [Business Insider]. “A jobs guarantee also has some distinct advantages over ideas like UBI. Rather than simply transferring income, important capital projects like infrastructure can be built as jobs guarantee projects which in turn would raise the US economy’s productive capacity…. In other words, the government is already openly bidding for a material chunk of the non-college youth labor force at $13 to $15 an hour. Our all-volunteer military doesn’t have a cap in terms of recruitment and generally struggles to get the numbers it needs. Granted, the job description comes with substantial risk of physical harm and a benefits package that has let down soldiers in recent years. But is the basic labor-bid function really that different from a jobs guarantee? There’s no reason we can’t include a reduction in social isolation, provision of basic services, and maintenance of economic stability as goals equally important to those accomplished through the military.”

“The U.S. Military Is Not Ready for a Constitutional Crisis” [The Atlantic]. “I spent nine years on active duty in the U.S. Navy. I served as an aircraft commander, led combat reconnaissance crews, and taught naval history. But the first thing I did upon joining the military, the act that solemnized my obligation, was swear an oath to support and defend the Constitution. How strange, then, that despite all of my training, the millions of taxpayer dollars devoted to teaching me how to fly, lead, and teach, not once did I receive meaningful instruction on the document to which I had pledged my life.”


Stats Watch

The Bezzle: “Tesla Fields a Fresh SEC Inquiry After Another Probe Ends” [Bloomberg]. “On Dec. 4, the same day the agency closed its second investigation into the electric-car maker in as many years, the SEC sent a subpoena seeking information on a fresh set of matters, Tesla disclosed in a regulatory filing Thursday. The regulator is looking into “certain financial data and contracts including Tesla’s regular financing arrangements,” according to the company…. While the SEC has closed its investigation into Musk’s statements about taking Tesla private and Model 3 production rates, the Justice Department has also been looking into those matters.”

The Bezzle: “Wayfair lays off 550 employees, including 350 in Boston” [Boston Globe]. “Wayfair, the city’s fastest-growing tech company, announced on Thursday that it was laying off 550 employees worldwide, as its chief executive acknowledged the company had grown too quickly and become inefficient at a time when its prodigious sales growth showed signs of slowing. The company said it was laying off 350 people in its Boston headquarters, and a total of 3 percent of its global workforce… . Yet Wayfair has still failed to turn a profit. Its executives have long argued that despite a long track record of losses, the company has been in growth mode, investing heavily in its supply chain infrastructure and European expansion efforts. More often than not, its board members and leadership team will point to Amazon as their model, which for years funneled its revenues back into growth and failed to turn a profit. But Wayfair’s critics are quick to point out that the company is not Amazon — selling furniture is far more challenging than shipping books and boots — and besides, Amazon is now positioning itself to become one of Wayfair’s largest competitors online.”

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 58 Greed (previous close: 60 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 63 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Feb 13 at 12:34pm.

The Biosphere

“Status of Spring” [National Phenology Network]. “How do you know when spring has begun? Is it the appearance of the first tiny leaves on the trees, or the first crocus plants peeping through the snow? The First Leaf and First Bloom Indices are synthetic measures of these early season events in plants, based on recent temperature conditions. These models allow us to track the progression of spring onset across the country.” For example: “Spring leaf out has arrived in the Southeast, over three weeks earlier than a long-term average (1981-2010) in some locations. Charlottesville, VA is 24 days early, Knoxville, TN is 20 days early, and Nashville, TN is 18 days early.” • Not phrenology, phenology.

“Antarctic temperature rises above 20C for first time on record” [Guardian]. “These records will need to be confirmed by the World Meteorological Organization, but they are consistent with a broader trend on the peninsula and nearby islands, which have warmed by almost 3C since the pre-industrial era – one of the fastest rates on the planet. Scientists, who collect the data from remote monitoring stations every three days, described the new record as ‘incredible and abnormal’. ‘We are seeing the warming trend in many of the sites we are monitoring, but we have never seen anything like this,’ said Carlos Schaefer, who works on Terrantar, a Brazilian government project that monitors the impact of climate change on permafrost and biology at 23 sites in the Antarctic.”

“Tiny Dancer: Scientists spy on booty-shaking bees to help conservation” [Phys.org]. “We’ve long known honey bees shake their behinds to communicate the location of high-value flower patches to one another, a form of signaling that scientists refer to as ‘waggle dances.’ A group of US biologists have now decoded the meaning of over 1,500 of these jigs, providing conservation groups trying to boost the imperiled species’ population with new insights into their dietary preferences…. The US honey bee population declined by 40 percent between April 2018 and April 2019 according to a recent report, as the species faces threats from mysterious pathogens, parasites, pesticides.” • Wonderful science, but our poor bees!

“Rail Trouble Strikes Canada’s Oil Patch With Snarled Shipments” [Bloomberg]. “Canadian oil shipments are getting snarled once again as protesters block train lines in the latest setback to the nation’s rail-dependent crude industry that was struck by a blazing derailment just last week.” • The headline is more than a little deceptive!

Health Care

“As coronavirus spreads, the time to think about the next epidemic is now” [Nature]. “The march of the coronavirus reminds us yet again that world leaders and philanthropic donors pay attention to epidemics only when an infection is on their doorsteps. They must recognize that the time to think about the next epidemic is now.” • Yep.

“Coronavirus: Beijing purges Communist Party heads in Hubei over outbreak response” [South China Morning Post]. “Beijing’s purge of officials in Hubei province picked up pace with the removal of the top Communist Party leaders in the region as the central government responded to public anger over what is seen as the botched handling of the deadly coronavirus outbreak. China’s official Xinhua news agency reported that Hubei party secretary Jiang Chaoliang had been replaced by Shanghai mayor Ying Yong, 61, a close ally of Chinese President Xi Jinping. The Communist Party leader of the city of Wuhan, Ma Guoqiang, 56, also lost his job, Xinhua said. He will be replaced by Wang Zhonglin, 57, the party secretary of the city of Jinan, in the eastern province of Shandong. Another Beijing heavyweight, Chen Yixin, was flown into Hubei last week. He is chief of the party’s top law enforcement body – the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission – and is now in charge of handling the outbreak.”

“Coronavirus: China reports 254 deaths in a day as cases surge after including clinically diagnosed patients” [South China Morning Post]. “China’s National Health Commission reported 59,804 confirmed cases of coronavirus as of Wednesday – after a surge of 15,152 new cases because of a change in diagnostic criteria.” • See above; seems like they’re cleaning up the balance sheet to give new management a clean slate.

* * *

“3 surprise billing proposals compared side by side” [Health Care Dive]. • Useful post of comparison chart. But why is there billing?

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“Forty Acres and a Mule” (PDF) [Walter Fleming, The North American Review]. ” For several years after the close of the Civil War, the negroes of the South believed that the estates of the whites were to be confiscated by the Washington Government, and that each negro head of a family would obtain from the property thus confiscated ‘forty acres and a mule.’ Some old negroes still believe that the homestead and the mule will be given to them. This belief has often, especially in late years, been ridiculed as the childish dream of an ignorant people; for it is assumed that the negro had no reason for expecting land and stock from the Government. The purpose of this paper is to show that the expectations of the blacks were justified by the policies of the Government and the actions of its agents, and also to show that rascals took advan tage of these expectations to swindle the ignorant freedmen.” • From 1906, still germane.

“The assassination of Malcolm X is being reinvestigated after questions raised in a Netflix series” [CNN]. “The Manhattan district attorney’s office said Monday it would review the case after new information came to light. It’s also working with the Innocence Project, a non-profit that works to exonerate the wrongly convicted…. ‘Given the historical importance of this case and the fact that our client is 81 years old, we are especially encouraged that Mr. Vance has assigned two highly respected prosecutors, Peter Casolaro and Charles King, to work on this re-investigation,’ Innocence Project co-founder and special counsel Barry Scheck said in a statement.”

Our Famously Free Press

“McClatchy files bankruptcy to shed costs of print legacy and speed shift to digital” [McClatchy]. “McClatchy Co. filed for bankruptcy Thursday, a move that will end family control of America’s second largest local news company and hand it to creditors who have expressed support for independent journalism. The Chapter 11 filing will allow McClatchy to restructure its debts and, it hopes, shed much of its pension obligations. Under a plan outlined in its filing to a federal bankruptcy court, about 60 percent of its debt would be eliminated as the news organization tries to reposition for a digital future. The likely new owners, if the court accepts the plan, would be led by hedge fund Chatham Asset Management LLC. They would operate McClatchy as a privately held company.” • Oh, great. McClatchy, then Knight Ridder, was the only news organization to get the Iraq WMDs story. The Post and The Times not only got it wrong, but shamefully propagandized for it, and published false stories. And so the virtuous are punished, and the guilty are rewarded.


“Steam: Virtual reality’s biggest-ever jump in users happened last month” [Ars Technica]. “Valve’s gaming marketplace Steam includes an opt-in hardware survey feature, and the results are published as percentages of surveyed users on a monthly basis. You’ll find all kinds of data about Steam-connected computers every month, and this includes operating systems, video cards, VR systems, and more. In the latter case, that figure is counted out of all Steam users—as opposed to a less-helpful stat like “70 percent of VR fans prefer Product A, 30 percent Product B.’ We were intrigued (but not surprised) to see a jump in connected VR devices for the reported month of December 2019. That’s the holiday season, after all, and it’s reasonable to expect Santa’s deliveries of headsets to affect data. What surprised us was the continued growth of that metric through the following month—and a statistically significant one, at that.” • As I keep saying, go long social distancing.

Class Warfare

“Inside Documents Show How Amazon Chose Speed Over Safety in Building Its Delivery Network” [Pro Publica]. “As they prepared for last year’s holiday rush, managers at Amazon unveiled a plan to make the company’s sprawling delivery network the safest in the world. Amazon, which ships millions of packages a day to homes and businesses across America, had seen a string of fatal crashes involving vans making those deliveries over the previous few years. Improving safety, the plan said, was ‘Amazon’s Greatest Opportunity.’ A key part of the proposal was a five-day course that would put new drivers through on-road assessments overseen by an outside organization with four decades of experience in driver training. But the defensive-driving course didn’t materialize. Amid the rush of what would become Amazon’s busiest holiday season ever, the class was vetoed. With more than a billion packages shipping in a span of six weeks, the company needed to put drivers to work almost as soon as they were hired, internal documents show.” • All so Bezos can buy another house

“The Other Gender Gap” [Inside Higher Ed]. After a litany of other problems: “Today, women earn 57.4 percent of Bachelor degrees, 58.4 percent of Master’s degrees, and of 52,8 percent of Doctoral degrees. Taking Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctorate’s together, women women have earned 13 million more degrees than men since 1982. Consequences of this gender attainment gap might well include a dwindling pool of marriageable men and mounting anger and alienation among the growing number of young men who feel cut off from the opportunities to achieve a middle-class standard of living. The gender gap in illegal, anti-social, and counter-productive behavior has been explained in many conflicting ways, including the notorious and grossly exaggerated claim that that anti-male prejudice has contributed to a “war against boys.” Nor is there much evidence to support the claim that video games, hip hop, a “school-ain’t-cool” ethic within boy culture, or female-dominated schools explain these gender differences. Recently, a great deal of emphasis has been placed on the role of “hegemonic” or “toxic” masculinity — the dictate that manliness requires a boy or man to suppress emotions, mask distress, refuse to admit vulnerability or neediness, and be physically strong, competitive, and aggressive. But such a constricted conception of masculinity does little, by itself, to help us understand academic underperformance and what to do to combat that.

News of the Wired

“People Born Blind Are Mysteriously Protected From Schizophrenia” [Vice]. “A person who was born blind doesn’t have the visual inputs to help shape their model of the world. They have to build it with their other senses—a model of the world that [Tim Pollak and Phil Corlett] argue could be more stable.”

“The Economics of Maps” [Journal of Economic Perspectives]. “We then explore the economic implications of a central insight from cartography that “a map is not the territory” (Korzybski 1933, 750). Maps are fundamentally a representation of physical space different from ground truth. We argue that representations appearing on a map are not an objectively “best” way to represent a geography, but instead reflect the goals, incentives, constraints, and choices of map producers, which themselves depend on particular economic and strategic environments. We endogenize the process of cartographic representation and clarify key economic dimensions which influence representational choices. In particular, we examine: (1) the costs of mapmaking, (2) the nature of demand for maps, (3) intellectual property and the competitive environment, (4) the role of innovation in mapmaking technology, and (5) incentives of mapmaking organizations or individuals.” • Do we have an cartographers in the readership?

“Stolen bonsai trees worth thousands mysteriously return to Washington museum” [News-Tribune]. “Two historic bonsai trees were stolen Sunday from the Pacific Bonsai Museum in Federal Way, the museum said in a news release. They were likely to die if they weren’t returned, museum officials said. Fortunately for the museum and the trees, they were returned Tuesday, a news release said…. ‘These trees have been cared for every day for more than 70 years, and if that daily care doesn’t continue the trees will die,’ [Museum Curator Aarin Packard] said when the trees were taken. ‘These historic, living works of art are the result of the care provided by multiple generations.'” • Good news!

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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 (FM):

FM writes: “I don’t know what this shrub is, but it has an interesting structure.” I don’t know either. Readers?

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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. dk

    Re: Bloomberg & Trump:

    “Behind your back” is a key phrase here, a rich man is rarely criticized to his face. Bloomberg himself is as enabled by fawning toadies as Trump is.

    Anybody that seriously means to piss Trump off can just call him “Don” or “Donny.” He hates it and it triggers him.

    1. shinola

      Oh, I dunno. Sometimes it appears that he wouldn’t mind being addressed as Don Trump (as in Don Corleone)

    2. Jim Thomson

      I think getting into a Twitter fight with trump this early, or at all, is a mistake. Pigs in mud?

      1. Mo's Bike Shop

        He’s acknowledging and reinforcing the insult. Trump got inside his head. Next.

        “Neck Up”??!!??

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Trump got inside his head

          That’s what I felt. Trump has a genius for sensing weakness. When he finds Bloomberg’s, Bloomberg won’t enjoy it. I think it shows bad judgment by Bloomberg to pick a fight he can’t win. (Also, the enormous and embarrassing typo of “carnival barking” for “carnival barker” is a tiny little sign that perhaps Bloomberg’s ability to staff up massively isn’t the same as staffing up excellently.)

    1. rd

      We still have a print subscription to our local newspaper. We simply view it as the price of a free press.

      1. Late Introvert

        I wish I had a local paper I could support. Des Moines Register, Cedar Rapids Gazette, and the Iowa City Press-Citizen are all shiteful.

        Reminds me it’s time to send a check to Lambert.

  2. Alternate Delegate

    On “measuring from the neck up”:

    Dear Managers,

    Sanders Now
    – OR –
    Guillotine Later

    Your Choice.

    1. Plenue

      You could, you know, stop acting like someone else’s gender expression is an issue for you to divide yourself from them over.

    2. Democrita

      I would have thought I’d support anyone calling out the Pritzkers, but sometimes the enemy of my enemy is just an a××hole.

      1. inode_buddha

        How do you know that axxhole isn’t a gender? The way things are going nowdays, it wouldn’t surprise me. You can’t hardly say hello without offending some thin skinned flake anymore. I should know, I was picked on mercilessly.

  3. shinola

    Bloomberg is not a Democrat. He’s actually an anti-Trump Republican but figured there’s no chance that he could run on the R. ticket challenging an incumbent R. prez. So he switched party affiliation & figures that he has a decent chance to buy his way onto the D. ticket.

    That’s my story & I’m sticking to it.

    1. Deschain

      Your story also has the virtue of being correct.

      IMO Trump v Bloomberg is a distinction without a difference.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > IMO Trump v Bloomberg is a distinction without a difference.

        Bloomberg is an order of magnitude worse than Trump, as his billions are an order of magnitude greater than Trump’s.

        If we want a democracy, we can’t permit oligarchs to simply buy up the political class, which is what Crassus Bloomberg is doing. Not even at arm’s length! Even at his worse, Trump can’t do that. This is a real “cross the Rubicon” moment.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Hear, hear, we seem to be sleepwalking into it. I’ve said before that you can’t label what Mini Mike is doing “politics”, it’s correctly categorized as “commerce”.

          When did we decide that our grand experiment in self-rule was to come to an end?

          1. ambrit

            As the Supreme Court showed in their “Citizens United” ruling, the definition of ‘self’ is mutable.

          2. Oregoncharles

            Quite a while ago. Have you forgotten the “Princeton” study that concluded the US is not a democracy: the people’s wishes have no effect on policy, unless they’re rich – immoderately rich, really.

            Personally, I think that’s at least partly because we buy into the 2-Party duopoly, but maybe that’s just me.

            Subvert the Dominant Paradigm

          3. Matthew

            Well, when you convince yourself that the sitting president is a foreign intelligence asset, what does that give you if not precedent?

          4. albrt

            “When did we decide that our grand experiment in self-rule was to come to an end?”

            Republicans decided in 2004 when they re-elected a traitor on a platform of War Crimes and Wall Street.

            Democrats decided in 2012 when they re-elected a traitor on a platform of More War Crimes and Wall Street.

            Since then we’ve just been fighting about the color of the drapes in the Oval Office.

        2. Cloelius

          A “cross the Rubicon” moment means setting off a mass political revolution (which led instantly to all the oligarchs fleeing in panic out of Italy and across the Adriatic). But would the populus have been able to rise up like that had Caesar not had an army to come to their aid?

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            In fighting between elites would probably take over as they were at “there’s profit to be had” stage, and Pharnaces II was out there. And then there is the Egypt problem and shipments of grain. Early set backs might not have been very popular with the denizens of Rome. Pharnaces II (who’s defeat was the cause of J.C.’s boast Veni Vidi Vinci) massacred Roman citizens in Anatolia.

            Who knows what would have happened? My guess is Rome wouldn’t be quite the influence it was on history.

        3. Titus

          Do or do not the people have to vote? Without votes Bloomberg goes nowhere. Nor Sanders. Trump/Bloomberg the same guy or worse, in your NSHO? I don’t think not. And I’m not going to count angels dancing on the heads of pins. Is it all going to be gamed? If being a billionaire which is simply a 1000 million is, of which as of today, in the US we have 536, are all the same, then that’s it. It’s all over. Nothing matters the machines have won. On the other hand if there are differences, then not all is lost. In Constant 2005 dollars Washington was a billionaire. Kept slaves, and hung people who annoyed him. Several presidents, 4stars, and others in Gvt were in the club or close. FDR and Kennedy with family money were in the BDBC and they had their share of quirks, not sure trump or Bloomberg ever killed anyone. I seek not perfection nor will I find it. Life is working with what you got.

          I’m really not sure who, you, as in actual people, thinking have been running this country on behalf of the citizens since the beginning. It’s always been this way – hard and on the brink. If we the people want a country then we shall have to make one again, and again, till we get it right. We are in an ‘again’ moment. As you are the host I offer no offense. Passions run high, as are the stakes.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > In Constant 2005 dollars Washington was a billionaire

            $525 million (in other words, 1/120 of Bloomberg’s $60 billion).

            Sometimes, quantity changes quality. Here, the order of magnitude difference means that neither Washington (in his day) nor Trump could buy up the entire political class, so independent power centers remained. Bloomberg is doing just that, quite visibly.

            Are you really saying that outright one-person rule by an oligarch is the same as a Republic, however skewed toward the property owning class?

        4. flora

          per Lambert: “Bloomberg is an order of magnitude worse than Trump, as his billions are an order of magnitude greater than Trump’s.”

          Read this entire thread.

          “Blake Zeff
          The degree to which Michael Bloomberg is using his fortune to fundamentally alter & manipulate U.S. politics to his personal advantage extends way beyond ads. I’ve worked against him, covered him as a journalist & worked with his top aides. Here’s their playbook: (1/17)


          When hizzoner says he will answer to no one he means it.

            1. The Rev Kev

              I’m not even black and I am disgusted that so many organizations representing blacks are throwing their support behind Stop-and-Frisk Bloomberg. I think a key to this is what is in that twitter page when one person wrote-

              ‘I can. The only goal is to beat Trump. If it looks like Bloomberg can be the guy who can get that done, NOTHING ELSE MATTERS!’

              Yeah, no blowback ever coming from this idea. President Bloomberg could bring back segregation like President Wilson did but that would be OK because he beat Trump!

                1. Typing Chimp

                  I am not sure how important the endorsements are, but if I were running against Bloomberg, I think I would be far more worried about the unpaid money he is given–this was a key factor behind Trump’s win. I am a bit surprised more attention has not been given to it by candidates this time around.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        Its clarifying in the sense of how much of the elite media and Washington courtier class will embrace an open racist if he just uses the right fork.

        1. pretzelattack

          well, even a fork faux pas would be acceptable with as much moolah as he is shelling out.

          “de MONAY bernaise”

        2. Arizona Slim

          Stick a fork in him. He’s done.

          Maybe not this month, but I don’t think he’ll do much better than, say, Mitt RMoney.

          1. chuckster

            I totally agree. Bloomberg may be the most over-estimated politician since – oh let’s say — Joe Biden. They’ll take his money and he’ll run his thousandth ad of the night but it won’t buy him love. Freaking Amy Klobuchar is more interesting than this guy.

            I’ve had the opportunity to hear MB speak on two different occasions. If he was any more boring and wooden his father’s name would be Geppeto.

            1. Typing Chimp

              I completely dismissed Bloomberg until today. Now his anti-Trump tweet gives me second thoughts:

              1. He is demonstrating to the NeverTrumpers that he can run a very strong “anti-Trump” campaign

              2. With that single tweet, Bloomberg shows that he, too, can manipulate the press to change the topic re:his audio recording and cover his new distraction of the day. Trump showed how effective that type of strategy was four years ago, and I suspect that it is just as effective now.

              Let’s see…For the first time ever, I am thinking of him as a serious candidate

              1. Roland

                I disagree. I think Trump effortlessly punked “Mini Mike.”

                Trump is not a sequential thinker, but Twitter favours his intellectual pointillism. Trump’s tweets are colourful, sparkling, and lethal. Trump finds the chink through which to thrust a malicious and memorable epithet.

                Bloomberg’s not a political rookie, but Mini Mike’s making some rookie mistakes. All the money in his portfolio can’t un-buy those few text characters.

                1. Typing Chimp

                  I agree that Twitter-like media favors Trump, but I think Bloomberg got what he needed–a change in topic.

                  I honestly don’t even think that Bloomberg even really wants the nomination, although I am no longer so sure that he doesn’t want it. I think he just wants to force the Democrats to the right. Whether he wins the nomination or not may not matter–his money and pledged delegates may allow him to set the agenda or key parts of the platform regardless.

                  More importantly, though, consider the ways of directing media coverage:


                  Bloomberg definitely has owned and paid media covered. I think that getting the earned media gives him a very dominant hand–again, not necessarily to win an election, but rather to force the winner towards adopting his key positions. This earned media is what gave Trump a huge advantage over Hillary (who admittedly has pletny of other problems).

                  In this particular election, even Bloomberg may need to compromise between two competing interests of “Not Trump” and “not a left-wing platform”, but I think he has more flexibility than any single other candidate.

                  I could be wrong, of course–let me know where (if) you think my logic/assumptions fall short.

                1. Typing Chimp

                  LOL! I don’t know if you read posts on old threads, but in case you do, thanks for the video and the comments–they made me laugh.

        3. Plenue

          Thus demonstrating that liberals literally believe in nothing. Identity politics is at least a kind of ideology, albeit a profoundly stupid one. But they’re perfectly willing to shove the whole “we’re not racist” thing overboard if that’s what it takes.

          And they’re doing it for a Republican. You can’t even really say ‘former Republican’ like with Warren; Bloomberg is just an outright Republican, to the point that he’s currently funding Republican campaigns. He’s just not running for the GOP at this particular moment in time.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          I think if Sanders can take Bloomberg down*, that’s an excellent test for whether he can take Trump down. What a year we are having!

          “My campaign doesn’t want your money.” (Bloomberg’s entry has been very clarifying about NGOs and the real role they play as a weak substitute for/gatekeepers against a functional state.

    2. Samuel Conner

      It’s a plausible story. I think one could argue that DJT was the mirror-reflection of that in 2016, not a Republican, but with no realistic chance to defeat HRC in the D primary. But I think that the motives for running might be subtly, or more than subtly, different. MB wants to win, while in 2016, I have the impression that DJT was brand-burnishing and enjoying messing with his primary opponents.

      I’ve read (I think extracted from Bannon’s writings) that on the night of the election, as it became clear that HRC would lose, DJT was IIRC stunned and a bit panicked at first. The lack of energetic transition preparation prior to the election would suggest that the campaign did not expect to win.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        his 3am victory speech is indicative of just that…emperor caught the car.
        he had no intention of winning, and didn’t think he would.
        and that is more amazing than a whole lot of things that have happened since.
        he essentially blundered into the white house after the usual suspects(R&D) had all but torn it down.
        perhaps the Sulla, to bloomer’s Crassus?
        would that make Bernie Marius?
        Prolly not.
        I think of him more as one of the Gracchi.

    3. katiebird

      I haven’t said anything about the Bloomberg campaign because it makes me incoherent with rage. For months, years!, Sanders has been treated like some kind of carpet bagger for running as a Democrat. This in spite of sitting and voting with Democrats through his entire legislative career.

      But Bloomberg has been an active Republican for years (with some back and forth as an independent) and no one blinks at him campaigning as a Democrat.

      Then the money thing. What a nightmare. Will the lesson be that all campaign financing restrictions be removed? Because I don’t see us getting public financing for elections if we can’t even get Medicare forEveryone.

      I am sorry to sound so crazy. But I can’t believe this guy will get away with this. And I’m afraid he will. And the Dems will be so thrilled to defeat Trump, anything Bloomberg proposes will be just fine with them.

      1. carl

        You’re not crazy. I feel the same way, without the rage, I think. There seems to be no limit on how low the Democrat party can go.

      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Katie you’re not crazy in the slightest and your rage is extremely well-founded, nothing less than the entire concept of America is at stake. And if we can’t see that, if we’re too bored or distracted or blinded by agitprop, why then we deserve our fate: to return to being medieval serfs subject to the whims of a king. And the “doigt du seigneur” will be the middle one, raised in our direction.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > nothing less than the entire concept of America is at stake

          There are about ~3000 counties in the United States. Bloomberg could set up an office in each one, endow it with a million bucks, and not even feel it.

      3. turtle

        Another piece of hypocrisy that I just discovered today with regard to Sanders vs. Bloomberg is their age. Bloomberg is only 5 months younger than Sanders(!)*, yet we heard a ton of noise about Sanders’ age and I have yet to hear anything similar about Bloomberg’s age.

        * Sanders DOB 9/8/1941 (age 78); Bloomberg DOB 2/14/1942 (age 77); both according to their wikipedia pages.

          1. Shiloh1

            He seems to be a poor imitation of another NYC tycoon, Maurice “Hank” Greenberg. May as well go with the genuine article.

      4. human

        I was sitting in a Fortune 500 lobby this afternoon, waiting for my escort, with CNN on the tube. It was all, for more than a half hour, the “feud” between Bloomberg and Trump. As far as CNN is concerned, we are already into the national contest.

      5. Matthew

        Democrats are scum and Bernie should be proud not to be one. No one with any principles should be happy to have that letter next to their name.

    4. Pat

      I disagree. Not about him being a Republican or about wanting to win, but I think Bloomberg’s main impetus was to make sure that Sanders did not win the nomiination. I don’t think he was waiting for Biden to falter to determine his own viability but Sanders’ possibility to take advantage of that. He has been positioning himself and threatening to run for years, but in many ways this is not the most advantageous of times to do so. Despite Trump being deeply disliked by Democrats, Republicans are largely more pragmatic about him. He has been very successful on core Republican policies. If he wins great, but this is likely getting him set up for 2024 more than getting the nomination. However this increases the likelihood of Sanders losing.

      Mind you I may be giving him more credit than I should – a pro global trade, pro-immigration, pro-abortion, anti-gun Jewish billionaire from NY, no matter his racist bonafides, is going to lose big time. My back of the envelope calculations puts it at upwards of 320 electoral college votes. Disliking Trump isn’t going to help him where he needs the help.

      1. Yves Smith

        Not correct.

        Bloomberg thought seriously about running in 2016 and concluded then as he put it, a short Jewish billionaire couldn’t win. But his competition was Hillary and Jeb. His influence networks overlap with hers a ton and she had longer-standing loyalties plus the woman thing going for her.

        He has personal contempt for Trump (as many people in NYC do) and thinks he can win the Dems by weight of money and by virtue of too many candidates.

        He said the best job he ever had was being NYC mayor.

    5. Late Introvert

      Great thread.

      Trump is 6’3″ and Bloomberg isn’t even close*. As I was telling my 14-year-old daughter, they’d rather lose to Trump than win with Bernie. How to sell that message far and wide?

      *I’m not either, so I’m speaking from both personal experience and from historical facts. Taller candidates almost always win. Which speaks poorly for Bernie, but I did say almost always.

  4. Tim

    So was it the sign falling off Price’s podium or his comment that “math is an opinion” that finally did him in?

    1. Monty

      He’s probably off to enjoy an all expenses paid vacation at one of Pete’s *ahem* backers Caribbean estates. A quid pro quo for a dirty deed, well done.

    2. Big River Bandido

      Sacrificial lamb. Deserved, but the main purpose of Price’s head rolling was to deflect blame from Perez.

      1. Carey

        >Sacrificial lamb. Deserved, but the main purpose of Price’s head rolling was to deflect blame from Perez.

        I think you’ve nailed it. It’s be interesting to follow Mr. Price’s (perfect name!) career™ from here on out.. guessing he’ll do just fine.

    1. Samuel Conner

      When parents tell their adult children, still living at home, to “get a life”, the children may be hearing “get Half-Life”

    2. Toshiro_Mifune

      Thank you. I was about to write the VR sales jump is directly related to Valve’s announcement of Alyx. I know I was thinking about VR before, mainly for Assetto Corsa, but Alyx pretty much clinched me buying a Valve Index as long as the reviews aren’t abysmal.

      1. RMO

        Alyx is what’s going to get me to try VR. It strikes me as one of those things that could be wonderful if done well… and utterly dismal if not. So far I’ve been reluctant to take the plunge but I’ve long said that if another Half Life game comes out that I would buy it. Of course I was thinking in terms of an ending to the series that I had already played not a prequel! I built a new PC not too long ago and it does have the power needed to run a VR system so whenever the game finally comes out I’ll figure out which VR gear to buy and get it. I have a feeling that while I will probably like the visual immersion aspect the other VR interfaces will probably be a pain – gloves, treadmills etc. and that I’m going to end up using the headset as a display while sticking with the keyboard and mouse for everything else – if possible. I even find it near impossible to deal with the standard keyboard layout most games use and have to reprogram the controls to my own idiosyncratic layout (e.g. movement is on the number pad instead of the standard WASD)

    3. JohnnySacks

      $59.99 and it’s yours (along with $1000 for the VR headset, just think, maybe price will plummet to half and it’ll ‘only’ be $499, sigh). I think my computer has the horsepower, but I use that for many purposes, including working remotely now and then. What in gods’s name will I ever need a VR headset for other than occasional gaming?

      I’ll admit, Half-Life 2 is/was one of the best games I’ve ever played. Makes me want to cry, they completely ruined it.

      1. Bill Carson

        We need somebody to develop an NC steam app that uses the VR headsets. That’s be cool. Nerdy, but cool.

      2. Mo's Bike Shop

        If I could fly around in the rafters of Chartres and look at the chisel work, I’d get one. But it’s all not really like that.

      1. Yves Smith

        I don’t know what you mean by “in game currency” but…

        The IRS ruled years ago that all gains and losses on crypto when realized were taxable events, just like trading a foreign currency. As the CNN piece says, but not clearly enough, the changes on forms do not change the IRS position.

        1. epynonymous

          retrospect quickly showed your take to be right, but I was posting half-based on the original headline.

          The details really shine in the article, but for two lines I did my best.

          Sorry I haven’t made NY yet.

  5. Off The Street

    The Court-Voters would like to thank and excuse Prospective Juror Bloomberg, due to voir dire violations.

    If subsequent analysis uncovers unusual derivative trading in, say, campaign ad revenue volatility, that wouldn’t surprise me. ;)

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > If subsequent analysis uncovers unusual derivative trading in, say, campaign ad revenue volatility

      Pleasingly cynical, but is this really possible? If so, one would expect it to have been done already

  6. Off The Street

    Re: Higher Ed
    I suspect that there are many uncovered themes in the decline of male matriculation. Perhaps there is a need for patriculation studies, as there probably aren’t legions of basement-dwelling gamers but are entrepreneurs and others not yet counted. They didn’t just vanish.

    1. Massinissa

      Maybe we didnt just vanish (I am one of them, male under 30), but I assure you I have seen no entrepreneurship among my peers. I’m pretty sure one can look up statistics for entrepreneurship, and I am pretty sure young men are not a dominant force there, either.

      Hell even if it was true, considering the vast majority of new businesses fail within a few years, it may not even be a good idea.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The problem with your age group:

        -most businesses start as retail even the giants of industry (Amazon is going to eat anyone doing this alive) because anything else is too expensive.
        -the computer internet start up period has run out. There is room for an element of fashion, but “entrepreneurs” are inventing Bodegas and vending machines and presenting them at trade shows largely because there isn’t much to do that doesn’t have high costs to entry.
        -then there are issues such as healthcare and so forth. What happens if the owner who is at the store earning virtually nothing while trying to build a business gets sick?
        -the policy of asset inflation besides pricing young people out has also led to money going to assets that sit instead of towards productive assets.

        “Go West young man.”

        So…where the eff is that? The American economic set up was really based on free land and then enjoying a few weird booms that gave neoliberalism a few years of life it should not have had.

        1. Mo's Bike Shop

          And a culture that only presents entrepreneurialism as setting up a buyout by someone bigger.

          My parents fed me with two small town (under 3000) retail businesses. My current little city was crawling with bookshops, crystal shops, whatever works at this location shops, and niche manufacturing 30 years ago. Now we have an Innovation District.

  7. Monty

    I wonder if all these leaks about Bloomberg’s racist policies and opinions are a deliberate, crafty dog whistle to the ‘white flight’ voters who migrated to Trump as a response to Democrat political correctness and identity politics?

    1. Pat

      He is pro abortion, he is pro gun control, he is big on climate change legislation and he is pro global trade. Not liking black people is not going to sell him to the people who don’t like having their jobs go to everyone else in other countries.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        He is pro abortion, he is pro gun control

        Didn’t he support Toomey? Maybe the key vote on Kavanaugh. Then of course, his economic views go against any claims he’s green. Don’t let buy the bs.

        1. Pat

          His two big charitable initiatives are gun control and climate change. (A lot of the “activists” have hypocritical items.)
          I will give you his pro choice bonafides are an inch wide and a millimeter deep, and I don’t see him seeking the endorsement from PP, but there is enough out there for the anti abortion crew to use in the counter ads should he buy the nomination.

          1. Michael Fiorillo

            He’s pro-choice strictly and solely because in his mind pregnancy impairs the overall productivity of the prolz.

            1. pretzelattack

              it looks like the un made him a climate envoy because he showered some money, kinda like the democrats making him a late entry candidate. he is definitely willing to shell out some cash–he’s 78 i think, and as they say you can’t take it with you.

              1. eg

                Isn’t a treat to discover that good old ancien regime traditions like the sale and hire of offices hasn’t gone completely out of style? /sarc

                Listening eagerly for the sound of the tumbrels …

    2. Yves Smith

      1. These are not leaks. Leaks are from insiders, like the report of Klobuchar being mean to her staffers. These are all of things Bloomberg has said and done. CNN tried to undercut the first one, of Bloomberg in 2015 saying that 95% of crime was committed by minority men aged 16 to 25 and volunteering that going after them resulted in lots of marijuana arrests of black men, as if that should not be an issue of concern, by saying it had been posted on Twitter by a Sanders supporter.

      2. The leaks on Bloomberg so far are about how his company treats women badly, particularly women who get pregnant.

      1. Deschain

        It’s not clear to me if stop and frisk is his policy towards young black males or women in the workplace

  8. Calvin

    “Union President Accuses Pete Buttigieg of ‘Perpetuating This Gross Myth’ About Union Health Care”. ~ Of course he does, he’s an asset for the elites. Look where he worked:

    “McKinsey’s internal churn fits perfectly with the company’s consulting philosophy. McKinsey, which in 2003 advised 100 of the world’s top 150 firms, “may be the single greatest legitimizer of mass layoffs,” writes McDonald. “Its advice: Identify your bottom 10 percent or 25 percent or 33 percent, and get rid of them as soon as possible.”


    “McKinsey allegedly advised Purdue Pharma, the progenitor of today’s opioid crisis, on how to “turbocharge” OxyContin sales and keep users hooked. “We are now living with the consequences of the world McKinsey created,” writes a former McKinsey consultant in an exposé for Current Affairs. “Market fundamentalism is the default mode for businesses and governments the world over.”

    The DemoPlutocratic Donors Demand Bernie’s Destruction; hence Mayo Pete.

    1. John

      Market fundamentalism is economic cannibalism at best. An economic philosophy that elevates the taking of profit and rent seeking as its first commandments is morally bankrupt and destructive since it “eats its young”.

    1. Darius

      I think it’s a giant lambs quarters or ragweed that no one pulled and then it was killed by cold weather. They’re summer weeds. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  9. Bill Carson

    Regarding Senator Warren’s tweets, shown above, I find the language she uses to be a bit troubling.

    Warren: “…my housing plan helps families in formerly redlined areas to buy homes and build wealth.”

    That sounds too much like Reaganomics/Trickle-down for my tastes. “You, too, can be rich someday, if you’ll just follow The Plan.”

    This illustrates how Warren believes that if we just fix the system with a few tweaks here and there, then everything will be just fine. She doesn’t understand that we are in a class war.

    1. Bill Carson

      Here’s the thing, Liz—Buying a house doesn’t always have to be about building wealth. We’re not helping them buy homes so they can build wealth. We’re helping them buy homes because they need a place to live—SHELTER! This is about basic human needs. And safety. And stability. After we’ve met those needs, then we can worry about wealth, okay?

      1. Arizona Slim

        The FIRE sector isn’t going to like that sort of talk, Bill.

        That would be the Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate sector of our economy. The one that keeps promoting homeownership as more than just a place to live — SHELTER!

        As for formerly redlined areas, I live in one. Right here in Tucson, Arizona. Back in the day, the redline was Grant Road. If you were a person of color, you couldn’t buy property north of Grant.

        In recent years, the neighborhood has become more diverse. But there are plenty of old-timers who remember the redline years.

        1. Angie Neer

          Thanks for defining your acronym, Slim. Note that there is also a community in which FIRE stands for “Financial Independence, Retire Early.”

        2. Bill Carson

          Thanks, Arizona Slim.

          I know there are different schools of thought, but it seems to me that despite the FIRE mythology, home ownership isn’t a particularly good way to build wealth assuming that is something a person should strive for. All your “wealth” is tied up in the home. You could sell the house to get to the wealth, pay a 6% commission, but where would you live? You could get a home equity loan, assuming you have an income. You could get a reverse mortgage, but those don’t work for everybody. Meanwhile, your wealth is held captive to the national market, your local market, your school district, and whether your neighbor mows his lawn. Then you’ve got maintenance, property taxes that go up along with your “wealth,” insurance, utilities.

          Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against home ownership. But the biggest benefit, ISTM, is having a place to live and to store your stuff where the landlord can’t raise the rent every year, where you can’t be told you have to move because the landlord has decided to sell the house or move back in.

          1. JBird4049

            Redlining is one of the tactics used to confine blacks into overcrowded, expensive, often poorly maintained housing. Since owning your own house is the single largest part of the American Dream, is a separate social marker of success regardless of class, and a way to build up and transfer a family’s wealth across generations being redlined was a significant weight or handicap.

            Everyone in a redlined community either had to pay exorbitant rent or buy a house on contract. Buying on contract meant a single missed payment often meant losing the house and being evicted. There was none of the protections provided by a loan or mortgage.

            It was a deliberate and legal federal and state policy to deny affordable loans to anyone in redlined areas into the 1970s and soft, albeit still illegal, policy of financial institutions to steer decent loans as whites away from those areas still. This means all the minority Baby Boomers were denied the buying opportunities that white Boomers had.

          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            It’s insane to think of a house as wealth, starting with the fact that it’s a home. After all, even the greatest gold bar-fondling bankster doesn’t actually live in the safe. Then there is the fact that a house is almost a living thing, with a life cycle like all living things: A house needs constant maintenance just to stay in condition. If a house is an asset, it’s a wasting one. If there is appreciation, it’s due to speculation, or the luck of the draw on location.

        3. Charlie

          The FIRE sector needs to be set on fire. Literally or figuratively is only a minor point of contention at this point.

      2. jrs

        How about we build more public housing first then? If the problem is an affordable housing crisis, then all of this stuff is very far removed from solving it, upper middle class solutions.

    2. notabanktoadie

      The whole concept of being “worthy” of what is, in essence, the PUBLIC’S credit but for private gain is inherently corrupt.

      Warren should be asking herself “How was the equity of the poor stolen?”, not why they too were not allowed to steal from the public at large via a government-privileged usury cartel.

    3. Mo's Bike Shop

      The idea that Carter’s Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 was the cause of the 2008 GFC was one of the few laughs I got out of the whole thing.

      How about ‘One Drop Mike’? I can’t think of anything cleverer over the whistling.

      Title to my house has a No-African-Americans clause (not in those words). Annulled but still there.

    4. Eric

      Does anyone remember when
      Lee Iacocca was asked about a class
      war some years ago and he just LAUGHED!

      Then he said (to paraphrase): Well,
      the rich won that war long ago.

  10. mle detroit

    I want to continue and expand a conversation from Links this morning:

    JohnnyGL February 13, 2020 at 11:03 am
    According to an exit poll (usual caveats apply), 7/10 of Amy Klobouchar’s voters seem to have decided to vote for her based on her last debate performance. That’s 45K voters that flocked in her direction on a whim.
    So, I think we need to stop and take stock of what this means.
    1) This group was disproportionately, women, educated, white and older. This seems to be the spitting image of the PMC (Prof Middle Class).
    2) They prioritized electability and seems convinced that Bernie can’t win because he’s too far left.

    This tracks with the last get-together of a small Old Girls’ Club I belong to: Women, educated (4 JD, 1 PhD, and me). However, two were fiercely adamant about favoring Warren, not because of shared profession but because they were frustrated, sick, and tired of hearing that a woman could not win and that a woman was not competent to be president. With Warren sinking, Klobuchar remains (Tulsi they don’t take seriously). It will be interesting to see if my friends’ strong left leanings will overcome girls’ club loyalty.

    I watched part of last week’s debate with the sound turned off. Klobuchar’s affect impressed me. Unfortunately for her, I read candidates’ “Issues” pages – Bernie’s ahead by a mile. “We’re all better off when we’re all better off.”

    Again from this morning:

    Michael February 13, 2020 at 11:22 am
    Could Amy be Bernie’s LBJ?
    If the goal is to beat DT…and not elect another billionaire.
    What is politics but compromise
    pretzelattack February 13, 2020 at 11:58 am
    well, that would come with a chance of a president klobuchar, which means neoliberal.
    NotTimothyGeithner February 13, 2020 at 12:31 pm
    We are judging it from the other side, but one could argue LBJ had better politics than JFK…so no.
    Also, LBJ was the master of the senate and a major player. Though he was abusive to staff, he did pass land mark legislation as a Congressman and Senator. Klobuchar goes through staplers. The next VP is likely to be the next President too or at least Democratic nominee in the future. On what planet would Sanders want to hand off his project to the “we can’t have nice things” candidate.

    Let me throw out these names for your consideration, critique, and additions:

    Senator Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin
    Governor Michelle Lujan Gresham of New Mexico
    Flight Attendants International Union president Sara Nelson
    Rep. Brenda Lawrence (my congresswoman), formerly mayor of Southfield, Michigan (yeah, smaller than South Bend)

    Fellow commenters?

      1. Phenix

        Why a union President? What does that bring?

        Baldwin is a Senate ally. Stay in the Senate.

        Brenda Lawrence = zero foreign policy experience. Hard pass.

        Michelle Lujan Gresham = no foreign policy chops. On first glance seems like a DNC type.

        Tulsi Gabbard. WoC check. Military vet check, foreign policy experience and factual knowledge check. Cross over with Republicans check, hated by DNC and Clinton check. Under 50 check.

        1. Monty

          Tulsi would be good. A clear message that he is serious about changing things up, and isn’t going to “pivot”, Obama style, once elected.

          1. pretzelattack

            i would like tulsi. it may not help much on electoral maps, but it reinforces the campaign as a movement, and i think that is its strength.

                1. richard

                  I also support the gabbard for that spot
                  the most impressive list of daggers drawn enemies in american politics
                  all the worst people absolutely hate her
                  I’ve often connected her with anti-imperialism, because Hawaii seems like kind of a natural place to develop such ideas, as natural as any in the u.s., but i understand the some people feel her anti-imperialism is more situational.
                  Agree with Monty that a Gabbard pick would show determination and seriousness. Man will he take a lot of $*&^ if he does it. But here is the kicker: almost all the people who will be slinging &^%$ are hated. Not always a losing look to get attacked by them.

                2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                  I always think women should be offended when they’re told to vote for someone “because they’re a woman”. Wait: I thought that was the opposite of what this was supposed to be about? And that is: equal merit. If you merit it, and you don’t get it because you are a woman, that is wrong. But the converse should also be true. I find the merits of Amy and Liz to be very average. I find the merits of Tulsi, in her own sphere (military and foreign policy) to be superior.

        2. John k

          Wisconsin dem gov Evers would replace Baldwin with a Democrat, hopefully a progressive one.
          Granted Baldwin is a good ally in the senate, but you need a credible progressive for veep, and by this I mean a state gov or senator.
          Baldwin just turned 58, openly gay, focuses on healthcare, good person to run the m4a push as veep. Voted against Iraq war, good start for foreign policy.
          Sanders campaigned with Baldwin in 2018, hope she jumps on the wagon soon.
          I used to like tulsi, but she’s not a progressive.

        3. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Why a union President? What does that bring?

          Executive competence, organizing ability.

          The difficulty with elevating any other elected (Baldwin, Gabbard, Jayapal is that the left has a very thin bench, and removing any of House and Senate leftists would make passing his legislative agenda that much harder).

        4. Charlie

          Tulsi. The fact she took Clinton by the short hairs is more than enough for crossover and independent voters to elect Bernie. Check.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        Its not a giant union at 38,000 members, but besides good politics, she did end the government shutdown. Like Nina Turner, the lack of general election success is a problem given Sanders’ age, but Nelson has done more positive things for this country than Nancy Pelosi.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            No, but the Sanders candidacy is not so much about Sanders as much as the appalling lack of credible standard bearers. 3/4 of the squad are good. Age, newness, and I’m under no illusions about perceptions of Islam in this country are factors.

            When you compare Nelson to a random Senator or Governor, you come away with basically the same result as if you compare Nelson to Pelosi.

            1. Mo's Bike Shop

              Not-a-politician for VP would be a heck of a dog whistle. Like for a decent Cabinet. Unfamiliar with her record.

              But it needs to be someone who will send the message that this is really not just a Bernie thing. I’m ready for a ‘keep going’ contribution if he gets past Milwaukee and November is disappointing.

      3. Darius

        I second Sara Nelson, a rockstar in the labor world, solid on organizing, solid on representing her members, to management and the larger world. Head an shoulders above anyone at that level in organized labor, or elective politics.

    1. Judith

      Jacobin has a great article about why Tammy Baldwin should be Bernie’s VP:


      “Baldwin has consistently been one of the most progressive members of Congress and the Senate. On the two issues where Sanders has most distinguished himself from the rest of the field, foreign policy and health care, Baldwin has a record that approaches Sanders. She voted against the Iraq War and the Patriot Act and was one of the staunchest critics of George W. Bush’s foreign and military policy. Since 2000 she has also sponsored legislation establishing a single-payer healthcare system and is one of the fourteen Senate cosponsors of Sanders’ Medicare-for-All bill.

      Baldwin’s career in Congress is uniquely suited to enacting Sanders’s agenda. Two of the seven major bills she sponsored that became law dealt with veteran and maternity health care. According to GovTrack, 24 percent of bills sponsored by Baldwin have been related to health care, her single largest category. If Sanders does indeed make a major overhaul of the US health care system his first legislative priority, a vice president with Baldwin’s record and experience would be the best choice to shepherd that effort through Congress as his right-hand person — and tie-breaking vote.

      Not only has Baldwin been on the right side of these progressive battles — she knows how to win. Baldwin won her first Senate race in 2012 by defeating popular former Wisconsin governor Tommy Thompson. She won a landslide reelection in 2018, flipping back seventeen Obama-Trump counties in the process. Take Kenosha County, Wisconsin, which had voted Democratic in presidential elections for forty-four years until Trump took both it and Wisconsin itself in 2016. In 2018, Baldwin carried Kenosha with Obama’s 2012 level of support while running ahead of him in the state as a whole.”

        1. John k

          Cause first you gotta win the swing state. And she might help win the other rust belts, too.
          Plus you want a strong ally in the White House that will really get behind pushing your agenda thru congress.

          1. orlbucfan

            Plus, you want a strong capable VP. Bernie is no youngster, and I am one of his staunchest supporters.

      1. Mark Gisleson

        I won’t argue with you about Baldwin as she wasn’t up while I lived there but you really can’t give her credit for winning Kenosha. I’ve talked way too much about 2016 in Paul Ryan’s CD in this space, but if you’d like to know some more about that and the Kenosha area, feel free to email me. [mark.gisleson at gmail.com]

        1. Arizona Slim

          Hmmmm, should I use that email address to invite Mark to an NC meetup in Tucson? Because talk of such an event is starting again. And it’s a lot warmer here than it is in Wisconsin.

          Most of the time, that is. We narrowly missed having snow a while back. Oh, this morning, I found ice on my compost bin lid.

          1. Jackson

            Count me in if the schedule is right for me to fly in from Boise. It will give me a chance to evaluate the place as it is one of my choices to relocate.

            1. Daryl

              Tucson’s high on my list as well. I visited and it’s a great place to check out — relocation or no there’s so much nature in and around the city.

    2. chuck roast

      Do any of them provide Bernie with a life insurance policy? To my mind that is his #1 requirement.

      1. Mo's Bike Shop

        Do you really think that Cable News would give up four years of ‘Fighting Communism at Home!™’?

        Sorry, I grew up with Gerald Ford, I can’t take this kind of stuff seriously.

  11. Synoia

    Tuesday Lloyd Blankfein, former chief executive of Goldman Sachs, said Sanders’ election would “screw up” the US economy

    Lloyd would know. He’d be an expert in screwing up the US economy.

          1. inode_buddha

            The fact that people like him so blatantly operate above the law is the single best argument for an armed populace I’ve ever seen.

            1. witters

              “The fact that people like him so blatantly operate above the law is the single best argument for an armed populace I’ve ever seen.”

              OK. And now you are all armed. What is different?

  12. Ignacio

    Highly educative dialogue between billionaires indeed. A potential Trump vs Bloomberg campaign sounds like an explosive POS event. TV outlets must be salivating, no reality show beats that!

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      It would be darkly amusing to see them arguing at length about which of them deserved the minority vote.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Mayor Bloomberg, you recently asserted that shrinkage was at issue in the most recent measuring contest between your self and the President, can you elaborate?

        President Trump, are we supposed to believe you were giving your flaccid measurements during an interview on Sean Hannity’s Hour of Power -CNN Host October 2020 during a Presidential debate.

        This is where we are headed.

    2. Typing Chimp

      More like a way for Bloomberg to change the topic of his “xerox” audiotape.

      You don’t need to like him, but he seems to understand how to shift the media focus to his favor, and that’s a pretty vital skill to have when campaigning.

  13. Grant

    Here is Bloomberg, a year ago, thanking Ted Pappageorge, the head of Culinary Union now attacking Bernie, for meeting with him. People should look more into this. Rolston and Harry Reid are obvious connections too. Horrible that a union would lead an attack against the most pro-worker and pro-union candidate in the race and would attack him from the far right in a way that massively harms working and poor people. Single payer would save thousands of lives a year, would benefit working people and would strengthen labor relative to capital. But, in some instances, it certainly doesn’t benefit union leaders. And like the leaders of the Democratic Party, what is good for them is far more important to them than what is for the collective good of working people. Even if they have good healthcare, Bernie’s bill has accounted for that and all of their workers are a layoff away from losing it.


    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > it certainly doesn’t benefit union leaders.

      I sure wish I knew more about the Culinary Worker’s Trust fund. Everything is like CalPERS… Seems clean according to a Google search, but then…. so did CalPERS.

      1. ChrisAtRU

        Pardon The Interruption … but I think this is YUGE:

        “Following multiple complaints from rank and file members over @Culinary226 running an anti-Bernie ad campaign, the largest union in Nevada has decided to back away from politics and solely focus on #GOTV efforts for the caucus.” [APNews via Tweet]

        Perhaps it is truly as you said, Lambert, that nobody is willing to go to the same ends as they would/might have for Clinton. Treachery may now have limits. Props to people power in the form of the rank and file who kicked up a stink.

        1. pretzelattack

          thanks!! loved the part about “following multiple complaints from rank and file members” having an impact on the union leadership. all those crocodile tears about the poor victimized union members were wasted, it seems. maybe we should trust them instead of the union leadership.

          1. Pat

            Rank and file union members seem to be making a lot of noise this time around in lots of unions. I think they recognize that keeping their misgivings to themselves four years ago didn’t work.

        2. Grant

          If only the worthless and corrupt leaders of the Democratic Party itself responded to the needs and wishes of the rank and file. But, of course, their enemy isn’t the Republicans, their enemy is democracy itself. Because, if we had a well functioning democracy in the political system and within that party, no one would choose to give them power. So, how do you maintain power? Ditch democracy itself.

          Whatever happens to Bernie (I think he can win, he has a chance), he and his run have utterly exposed the media and how corrupt this political system and the Democratic Party are. Iowa was a disaster. Why? Basically, because Bernie in 2016 demanded that there was data and that data had to be publicly released. It showed them rigging it in real time. If he didn’t do that, they would have rigged sociopath Pete to a victory and we would have no receipts. I have no doubt anymore that Bernie won Iowa in 2016 too. If we had data then, the disaster a few days ago would have happened four years ago. And now MSNBC hacks like Joy Ann Reid are just coming out, after years of screaming unity and pointing out that Bernie isn’t a Democrat, and backing a racist right wing former mayor of New York, who joined her party a few months ago. The media is at this point so biased that no logical person can deny that they say what they say because of how elections impact them, their corporate employers and their place in the social structure.

          Lambert, I agree entirely.

          1. inode_buddha

            You know, it’s kind of funny reading what people say about the media here, because the right wing has been screaming about the media for decades. That is why they give Fox News a pass as being “fair and balanced”. The fact that Fox exists provides the balance, in their point of view.

            1. Grant

              Yeah, and I get some of their critiques. But, Manufacturing Consent by Chomsky provides an explanation of the media that is unmatched. Also, Orwell’s unpublished introduction to Animal Farm, where he strongly critiqued the capitalist ownership of the media, that too was pretty powerful.

          2. Mo's Bike Shop

            The media is at this point so biased that no logical person can deny that they say what they say because of how elections impact them, their corporate employers and their place in the social structure.

            There will be a lot of realignment from a month before now until something new coalesces. But clarity is not one of my expectations.

            Let me put it this way, I’m related to a lot of high functioning people who are not exactly logical. Most will go from one certainty to another.

    2. pretzelattack

      it’s also being used by other candidates to attack the sanders campaign. this looks like a coordinated smear to me.

  14. polar donkey

    I made maps. I didn’t go to school for it. Did some online tutorials and had some grad students who were doing internships give me pointers. Didn’t cost me anything but some time. Since I didn’t have the formal academic training, I was much more interested in stories maps told and visually making them as vibrant as possible. I had been an undergraduate film minor too so that helped as well. In my little gis corner of the world, you could spot my maps a mile away. I prided myself on making them easy to understand and aesthetically pleasing. Many maps I saw peers doing were neither. I also worked hard to digitize data not really considered by others and combine with other data sets. My favorite thing would be one of my maps flashed on the screen to an audience of people who weren’t academics or in government and gasp from the crowd. I knew I had told the story. That was a different life. I sell nachos at a basketball arena. Make a lot more money. Maps made me happy. Nachos pay the bills.

          1. polar donkey

            It is Memphis focused from 7 to 10 years ago. City was decimated by foreclosures. Also a primary focus of maps was racial/economic polarization and all the related problems.

  15. clarky90

    Re; “The Economics of Maps”

    “The new world map [cartographic material] : Wizard’s projection – Mercator. Synchronised with the Wizard’s Time Projection through W.M.T. at W.M.P.”

    … the New World Map is a deliberate declaration of cartographical independence from the domination of the Northern Hemisphere intellectuals who control the mass education and mass media institutions in the Southern Hemisphere through their stooges.

    On verso: Wizard’s spell-breaking meditation diagrams for superior scholars.

    The word Mercator in title is printed upside down.

    Map oriented with north to the bottom.

    Scale [ca. 1:74,000,000] ; Mercator proj. (W 180°-E 180°/N 82°-S 65°]

    [Christchurch, N.Z.] : Imperial British Conservative Party, [1977]
    1 map :col. ;34 x 54 cm.

    This is the best image I could find of it on the internet;


    NZ is regularly (!) omitted from World Maps. The New World Map places NZ on the top and in the center of the map. I found it mind blowing when I first saw it 40 odd years ago. I had a copy but lost it in a house fire years and years ago.

    It is how we look at life!

    1. Oregoncharles

      I’ve seen the New World done with South America top center. Mind-bending and illuminating.

      Would actually make sense for your world map, too, because S. America extends the furthest toward the pole (not shown). Better composition. But the map reflects the people making it.

      But then, my requirement for maps is that they not show gated roads as open; we’ve gone miles on very rough roads, only to discover that we have to turn around and go back.

  16. laughingsong

    ” ‘there is no systematic advantage for veterans on Election Day,’ according to political scientist Jeremy Teigen: A candidate’s military service turns out to matter a lot less than incumbency, ad buys, and gerrymandering.”

    What a load of hooey. I may be wrong, but I think that Dems’ vets would win if they weren’t the kind that wanted to perpetuate war instead of having learned anything from their deployments.

    Which is something I don’t get. How can you see up front what our war machine does and still want it to go on?

    Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from The Phantom Tolbooth: “Some people can swim all day in the Sea of Knowledge and not get wet.”

    1. Duke of Prunes

      I would guess that most of these vets have “combat” experience similar to mayo Pete. Hence, they’ve not seen the “up front” , only the grifting rear… and what better way to feed at that tough then be elected to office.

      1. laughingsong

        That’s pretty much what I was thinking when I see that kind of vet, but not having actually researched their service I don’t know for sure.

      1. pretzelattack

        losing wars is almost redundant when it comes to us “police actions”. sometimes we have draws.

    2. cm

      How about we take a camera into Walter Reed Medical Center and poll the veterans there? This infuriates me.

      Edited to add: does no one remember Johnny Got His Gun?????

      All you college students who protested Viet Nam — if you don’t support Sanders now I hope you rot in hell.

      1. Eric

        Thanks for the reminder about
        “Johnny Got His Gun” One of
        the most powerful books out there.

        Very hard to reconcile going from “make love, not war” to “my 401K
        is doing well”.

  17. divadab

    Re: Filthy lying MSNBC invisibilizing Yang – Yup – they are the enemy.

    re: Iowa Dem chair – note this guy was in charge of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Iowa Campaign. Are there any Hillary personnel who are not incompetent/venal/dissembling identities?

  18. divadab

    Re: Sports Geek article – I looked all over the site and found no political articles at all. Is there a better link?

    1. Dirk77

      Here it is. I haven’t read him before. I don’t bet, but reading the sports views of other bettors can be an interesting contrast to the blathering of the MSM. Judge how astute Cormier’s observations are.

  19. ambrit

    I’m glad the bonsai trees were returned. I knew a young man who cared for several of them as almost a ‘vocation.’ The care to detail was stunning to watch.
    The quick return of the shrubberies could be characterized as an example of “Stealer’s Remorse.”

    1. Darius

      Forget to water them for a day and hundreds of years of work down the drain. Don’t go on vacation. They’re awesome but you don’t own them. They own you.

      1. Harold

        This is true. Aficionados take the little ones with them wherever they go. It is worse than having a puppy.

    2. smoker

      I can’t help but wonder if the Ken Sugimoto family, of Ken’s Bonsai Garden, has trees represented in the museum. Ken’s was on Page Mill Road, near the corner of Page Mill Road and El Camino Real from the fifties to the end of 2007 (a door or two down from the used glasswares shop at the corner. It was my favorite place in Palo Alto (California). Ken nurtured mini pine forests and fruiting trees, it was a humbling and awe inducing experience to visit there. Such nurturing as to boggle the mind.

      I first visited in the mid seventies – when Silicon Valley wasn’t named such, and there was still an abundance of humanity and wonderful small businesses to be found, now it’s near utterly devoid of such places – and fell in love with the small place, and Ken’s inspiring nurturing and utter lack of hubris and cunning (versus wisdom and patience).

    3. Mo's Bike Shop

      On the other side of the coin, I know of a society in my town that steals tortured trees from parking lots in order to turn them into bonsai.

  20. notabanktoadie

    As opposed to breaking up the big banks altogether? Lambert

    As if small banks, credit unions and other members of a government privileged usury cartel aren’t a problem too?

    A few big thieves bad, thousands of small thieves good?

    1. Carey

      I don’t see my Credit Union (Golden 1 in CA) as a problem, at all. In fact, I think they’re pretty great, given present realities.

      1. notabanktoadie

        given present realities. Carey

        The intensely corrupting thing about government privileges for private credit creation is that it allows the richer, the more so-called “credit worthy”, to (net) steal from the poorer, the less so-called “credit worthy.”

        The solution is to abolish those privileges in a just, responsible manner.

        The problem then is how to do so; i.e. breaking up the big banks misses the point that ALL banks, credit unions, etc. should be de-privileged, not just the big* ones.

        *reminds of this, btw.

        1. Pat

          This is a case where scale matters. There are constraints on the smaller institutions and more rules for credit unions.

          First things first, best to destroy the multinational financial institutions and cleave the banks from the investment groups.

          1. notabanktoadie

            Government privileges for private credit creation are bound to violate equal protection under the law in favor of the so-called “credit worthy” whoever they may be – either the richest or the most politically in favor. There’s no way around it.

            Look, we can have an ethical system and in a rich country like the US no one need suffer a loss in their standard of living unless it’s so indecent that it can’t be justified anyway.

    2. cm

      Let’s kill some large banks (Deutche Bank first, then GS). Then we can talk about further action (and at that point I’m fine w/ smaller banks). Surely, you agree, right???

  21. Pelham

    Re the other gender gap: The excerpt mentions the lack of marriageable men as fewer of them earn degrees. Why should that make them unmarriageable? Would it work the other way around? Historically did it work the other way around?

    Male executives used to marry their secretaries. Would a female executive be likely to consider marrying her male secretary today? Why not? (Of course, a secretary of either sex today would possess a college degree. That is, if secretaries still exist. I’m not sure they do.)

    In any event, this recalled for me a radio interview I heard years ago in L.A. on a program in which successful women were complaining about not being able to get dates. One woman said the only man who had dared to ask her out in the past year was a tow truck driver she had summoned when her car broke down. She shuddered to recall the incident. What a creep, I thought. Not the truck driver. The woman.

    1. Massinissa

      I have to agree with you. Its one thing to get asked out by a truck driver and not like it, thats her prerogative and is a completely acceptable response. Its another thing to go around telling people how awful it was that he did so, implying that the main problem is that he was too proletarian. So often the upper class seems to lack class.

    2. BlakeFelix

      Although while looking down on truckers sucks, hitting on captive women sucks too. You can ask them out when you drop them off, but it’s creepy when they are in your truck and can’t get out imo.

  22. Copeland

    >I don’t know what this shrub is, but it has an interesting structure.” I don’t know either. Readers?

    It is one of the shrubby dogwoods – Cornus hybrids. These are planted for their bright red or yellow winter twig color, not so much for the flower effect, as with most tree-type dogwoods.

    This specimen has been heavily but properly pruned to control height. Often with this Cornus group, there is a jumble of thin, upright twigs from the base but not in this case.

  23. Craig H.

    > How do you know when spring has begun?

    In my zipcode when the oak trees commence to pumping out the pollen it is spring.

  24. chuck roast


    Here is one of the first maps of New England ever published. It was published as a part of a large folio of maps called Atlas Novus or Theatrum Orbis Terrarum sive Atlas Novus in 1635, by Willem and Johannes Blaeu of Amsterdam. During the Age of Discovery the very wealthy bought these atlases and for decades they were all the rage. They would go to one another’s houses and marvel over the newly discovered worlds.


    I was always intrigued by this particular map because it was cock-eyed, it got New England pretty much correct and many of the original names are long in the ash can of history. Nowadays hardly anyone can afford these folios, so unfortunately, like the Audubon, Edward S. Curtis folios and so many others they continue to be broken up.

    The critters depicted on the map – turkeys, beavers, etc. – were all new to the eyes of the Europeans. In a sad bit of irony, an almost-extirpated southern NE tribe uses the Indian canoe depicted on this map to illuminate its largely lost history.

  25. Carey

    FAA rules kill ‘grandfather rights’ in USA and Europe:

    “Grandfather rights have finally been killed on both sides of the Atlantic. A new US Federal Aviation Administration rule has replaced the regulation which allowed completely new aircraft models in a well established family, like Boeing’s 737 series, for example, to continue to be produced to some of the out-of-date certification standards in force when the first 737 was produced..”


  26. Carey

    Sara Nelson sounds like she might be able to fill Senator Sander’s shoes, by the time that’s necessary.. real good to hear her hammering the Buttigieg campaign on healthcare duplicity.

  27. PlutoniumKun

    “The Economics of Maps” [Journal of Economic Perspectives].

    Interesting articles – maps from their earliest incarnation were always tools for whoever paid for them. Ireland is probably the longest and most intensively mapped country in the world, primarily because it was the first part of Englands empire. It was first mapped in the mid 17th Century (land boundaries) so land could be taken away and given to colonists. Those maps are crude, but are quite clear about land boundaries – this is one reason why the basic unit of Irish landscape – the townland – has stayed so consistent (the downland was probably originally one persons landholding). The later original OS maps from the 1830’s are incredible – they are accurate down to a few feet despite all having been measured by hand. The trigonometry points used are still major features of many Irish mountain tops. Thos maps were heavy on topographical features, as befits maps primarily of use by the military to quickly put down rebellions. Its quite interesting to see which areas had the most attention (wide open areas of moor and bog seemed of least interest to them, or maybe the surveyors just didn’t like going out and walking them).

    One feature I think of modern digital mapping is that they emphasise movement more than static feature, as so many are either for transport, or are built up by users movements. There was an article linked here last week I think about a Czech artist who deliberately screws around with google maps by walking around with a cart full of phones. The use of algo’s is definitely changing the nature of maps – a famous example being when Apple Maps decided that a place called Airfield House in Dublin must, logically enough, be Dublin Airport, and so directed many unsuspecting tourists there (its actually a small park).

    I recently bike toured Kyushu and Shikoku in Japan using the bike feature on Maps.me, which is based on Openstreetmaps. From what I understand, their bike routes are based on heat maps from users who, from their speed, they think are cyclists. The results were pretty fascinating – I was continually pulled down side roads used by local cyclists, sometimes major routes used by road riders, and occasionally down barely discernible paths, presumably from mountain bikers. On one occasion I was brought many miles up some mountains, only for the ‘road’ to disappear entirely into scrub and forest. I didn’t really mind at the time as it was part of the adventure – but it did make me miss a proper map, based on someone actually walking the road. But collective user maps like this are I think an exciting form of new map, perfect for exploring a place, if not so good for someone wanting military precision.

  28. Michael

    What I find particularly interesting regarding the Gallop Poll, is asking about a “Socialist” president. While Sanders has always called himself a “Democratic Socialist”, in Europe he would hardly qualify. In my mind he is a FDR Democrat, but that does not play well in the MSM, as he is vilified with a label he oddly self inflicts upon himself, and our rulers have used as an evil talisman for 100 years on their unrelenting march towards ever increasing monopoly and political oligarchy.

    I find the semantics very distracting and depressing.

    1. John

      Sanders an FDR Democrat but not even a radical FDR Democrat. Socialism is, as you say, a scare word. Do those using it know or care what socialism means in any real sense? Given the general political climate of the country, Sanders would not be able to move the needle much, if at all, left of center and platoons, nay regiments, of professional righties would take to the fainting couch. It would be ignorance or hypocrisy that took them there, but whatever works.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > he is vilified with a label he oddly self inflicts upon himself

      I think it’s too late to put that particular toothpaste back in the tube. And given how socialism plays among the youth, I’m not sure its desireable.

  29. Plenue


    The Syrian army seems to have halted its westward pushes for now, and is currently expanding the territory it controls along the edges of the M5 highway near Aleppo.

    No idea if they’ve stopped because that was always the plan, or because Turkey is playing chicken with them. Turkey continues to move vehicles into Syria or to the border, and is apparently taking tanks off trailers and deploying them in combat positions.

    Also the AA defenses around Damascus opened fire on something within the last hour, and someone launched a rocket at a base in Kirkuk housing US troops again a few hours ago.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Thanks for your updates, Plenue. Meanwhile the New York Times is flipping out about what is happening. In an article, they seem to accuse the Syrian Army of invading and trying to carve out a zone of control – in Syria. The first line of this article says ‘Turkey is sending reinforcements into northwest Syria and pressing for a Turkish-controlled zone there.’ Turkish controlled? I thought that they use to call that invasion & annexation in earlier days.

      I think that Erdogan has been trying to drum up interest from NATO in helping him but that would involve an all-out war with Syria so nobody is leaping forward here. And not once does the New York Times refer to the fighters in Idlib as what they are mostly composed of – a franchise of al-Qaeda. Probably the professionals in the Turkish army have warned him about having small forces at the end of a vulnerable supply line without air cover but I doubt that he is listening. He has proven in the past that he will let Turkish soldiers get killed in order to grab Syrian territory.


  30. vegasmike

    I worked for NYCHA until 2008. Yes, we did fake apartment inspection. We didn’t do real apartment inspections, because we didn’t have the staff to do it. If you have one maintenance man for 200 units, there’s no way he can do both apartment inspections and routine maint. work. There’s another problem too. Outdoor lock and doors were routinely vandalized.

  31. The Rev Kev

    “The U.S. Military Is Not Ready for a Constitutional Crisis”

    Well, if the guy is complaining that he did not receive meaningful instruction on the Constitution, the reason may be that you would then be aware of how it is being broken so often, especially in acts against the Bill of Rights. He also complains how ‘Today, the Constitution is under assault from within.’ but the Constitution he swore an oath to covers that when he swore that he would defend it against all enemies, both foreign or domestic. One thing that I admired about the US was its Constitution and that when members of the military swore an oath, it was not to America itself or a politician but to the Constitution leftist which gave it enormous flexibility.

    It could scale up from several million people to over 330 people and it did not matter if it was for a narrow strip of land on the Atlantic coastline or half the damn continent, it still applied. It even had the ability to be modified and changed through the Amendments. Now you have the present generation of leaders like George Bush who dismiss the Constitution as nothing but a goddamn piece of paper. I do not think that he has thought it all the way through – if he ever thought anything all the way through – about what America could be like without it and what could happen to leaders like himself. It is not so much the Constitution being at fault as too many people chaffing about being restricted by it, or ignoring it. It is not so much the Constitution has to be ‘reformed’ but that it has to be actually enforced for it to work, as that Officer of Aviation should be aware of.

    1. Plenue

      >One thing that I admired about the US was its Constitution and that when members of the military swore an oath, it was not to America itself or a politician but to the Constitution itself

      And officers in Imperial Japan swore an oath directly to the Emperor, not the government. That worked out great.

      1. The Rev Kev

        And the Wehrmacht had to take an oath to the German leader from the early 1930s on which did not work out either. I am beginning to see a pattern. :)

        1. Plenue

          I think we’re saying different things. You’re saying it’s admirable for soldiers to swear an oath not to a government but to something that transcends individual governments. My point is that the record of such arrangements isn’t great: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/February_26_Incident

          Much like with religion, pretty much any act of rebellion could be justified by saying it was done in the service of *thing*.

          1. The Rev Kev

            I think that this idea of swearing an oath to a Constitution may have been a solid idea and not just for soldiers. Take a look at the US. Not only has the population gone from about 4 million in 1790 to about 335 million today, the composition of that population is radically different. If that is not enough, look how much the borders of the United States has changed-


            Swearing loyalty to a leader was what tore the Roman empire apart every time a Emperor died through most of its history so that was not a good idea to copy. And don’t get me stated about basing a country’s identity around religion – that way lies madness. So is swearing an oath to a political organization.

            Having something fixed like a Constitution that is capable of change is quite a good idea in my opinion. And the Constitution was formulated by ideas expressed in the Declaration of Independence. It is about principles and to take a movie quote, the Constitution is based around the idea that every single person has value. Long term, principle will be kinder to you than political expediency. And when you hear the truth of this, you know it-


    2. Daryl

      I expect that if we ever have an acute constitutional crisis (as opposed to the slow rolling one that’s been going on for decades), the military will have an active hand in causing it.

    3. cm

      Obama ordered the assassination of US citizens with no trial nor due process. I didn’t see the author complaining about that, and so I disregard his writings.

      The US Consitituion is an easy read. There’s a section in there about military budgets that EVERYONE ignores.

  32. FluffytheObeseCat

    Best, classic source regarding the issues discussed in the Nagaraj and Stern paper*:

    How to Lie With Maps” 3rd ed.
    Monmonier, Mark, 2018, University of Chicago Press, 256 p.

    They may have some key new takes on the deceptive powers of maps…… but I doubt it. Geographers and cartographer have been acutely aware of how easy it is to mislead with maps for a long time. Monmonier has been the leading authority on it for nearly 30 years.

    *(Sorry, I can’t review it properly before the weekend).

    1. KLG

      How to Lie With Maps and How to Lie With Statistics are two of the most important books in the library of any citizen. Comprehensible and full of uncommon sense.

  33. Dan

    AOC concedes Sanders may have to compromise on Medicare for All

    Anyone who thinks electing Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) president means that Medicare for All would become law has an unrealistic view of lawmaking. And it’s not just health care. Every component of his agenda that requires Congress would be a tough slog. But what even more sophisticated voters might not understand is how resigned some of the most liberal voices in Congress are to their inability to get items like Medicare for All.

    “A president can’t wave a magic wand and pass any legislation they want,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) told HuffPost this week.

    Ocasio-Cortez ― one of the most outspoken advocates for Medicare for All ― said she thought voters understood there was an “inherent check” on the president’s ability to actually change things like our health care system. And she argued that the realities of governing were actually an argument for someone like Sanders, as he’d be able to push Democrats and resulting changes further left.

    But Ocasio-Cortez is also realistic about how far even a President Sanders could actually move Congress.

    “The worst-case scenario? We compromise deeply and we end up getting a public option. Is that a nightmare? I don’t think so,” she said.

    Ocasio-Cortez stressed that just getting a public option for health care wasn’t the left’s ultimate goal. But she also said she wasn’t here to railroad other members with differing viewpoints on health care ― she just thinks it helps to have a president who has a more ambitious platform than Congress so that Democrats could stretch what’s possible.


    1. Grant

      I think the public option is bad policy and could harm the public parts of the healthcare system. It would also preserve a multi payer model, although it would likely simplify the system a little, which could result in some administrative savings. But, I don’t think it is good policy, as it would also largely still tie people to their jobs in regards to healthcare, and would still treat healthcare as a commodity. I also think a private option would be a more logical compromise, at least in the short term, which is kind of what Germany has for some people. Basically, you are covered by a public healthcare system but can opt to pay out of pocket in a private system. Would likely create a two tiered system though. But, I think a private option is better than a public option since most would likely not opt put, it would probably realise greater administrative savings and it could make it so that a person is not tied to their job in order to get healthcare.

    2. Eureka Springs

      Yes it’s a horrific scenario. She’s railroading herself and her past supporters. I’m sure the constant hazing in D.C. wears most anyone down but this is just sad and inexcusable. Classic ‘prog’ giving away everything they claim to believe in.

      Public option is not everybody in, nobody out. Public option gives government the most expensive and leaves the privateers the most profitable.

      Kill health insurance companies. Kill them dead. I want to see their articles of incorporation dragged into the street, run through a paper shredder, and burned live on youtube.

      1. Carey


        Very disappointing from AOC.. why do Dems *always* do this? Why begin negotiating by giving away the store?

    3. marym

      If she (or someone on her staff) doesn’t have the necessary expertise on this topic, she needs to do something about filling the gap. It’s too important. The “public option” would be a step in the wrong direction.

      Documented extensively, including: 2009 and 2016.

      Issues in convenient table format: here and here (PDF).

    4. hunkerdown

      Notice that she called the public option the worst-case scenario, and not a success, and in particular was not speaking on behalf of the next Congress, no matter what some “moderate” Huffpoo hack who calls the left “liberal” would have us think. There are many plausible better cases.

      Besides, it’s terrible strategy to telegraph to the PMC, who are literally the enemy, what your “plans” are when you don’t even know for sure how well and where your own forces are located. Let the enemy see us seething and eyeing them coldly, and especially let them wonder and speculate uneasily, for we will railroad them ourselves at a time and place of our choosing.

    5. curlydan

      Imagine Mitch McConnell or Dick Cheney admitting that the public option was “a possibility” as a compromise. No, you can’t imagine that.

      If you want to beat jerks like that, you’ve got to learn how to negotiate and play some serious hardball.

      If you want it, you’ve got to demand it.

    6. jrs

      If she is merely stating a Republican Senate will block it, that is practically tautology. The Senate needs to flip otherwise we get good executive orders and good appointments and that is all. A Dem Senate is more tricky as to whether they could be made to to vote progressively.

      As for the compromise: that’s the Warren plan Only Warren’s is better thought out and in more detail truthfully.

      1. Oregoncharles

        No, she’s saying DEMOCRATIC (party) Congress will block it – because if Bernie’s President, he’d almost certainly have Democratic congress. However, I see no sign that it would be a leftist one – those candidates simply aren’t out there, let alone nominated. That’s why he keeps pointing 2 years down the road, to the mid-terms. His first two years would be spent campaigning for a compatible congress.

        I assume AOC knows this, too. She’s warning that it’s not that easy.

    7. cm

      Despite popular opinion, the medical racket is not exempt from anti-trust law. This means that when your hospital has two different prices for the same procedure, they are violating federal law.

      A President needs no cooperation from Congress when it comes to the Dept of Justice enforcing federal laws.

      If elected, President Sanders can enforce federal law (banks, medical insurance, etc.) with no interference from Congress.

      If Sanders is elected, he will face complete blockage — the House won’t consider anything he proposes, and the Senate will certainly block anything coming out of the House.

      If elected, President Sanders has Executive Powers — ownership of the Dept of Justice, and Executive Orders. That is all. He needs to use the powers to his maximum advantage, and stay out of the way of people like Lee Harvey Oswald (and Oswald’s employers).

    8. Big Tap

      I do feel that the best plan is Medicare for All. If Congress would pass m4a great. I agree with AOC in that is would be very difficult to see it pass Congress. The second best option would be the Public Option. It may have a chance to pass because you work around all the excuses now used against m4a. Typical arguments:

      * It Takes away private health insurance from people that want to keep it. (The Public Option does not)

      * Only sick people would be in it. (Not necessarily. Companies over time will drop their employee health coverage and tell them to sign up for the Public Option. Why would companies pay for health insurance when they can pass off that expense to the government. A lot of those people forced into the Public Option would be healthy).

      * Current people on Medicare are concerned about it running out of money. More people on it may make it go broke sooner. (The Public Option is not Medicare strictly speaking so they not worry about that)

      * The Public Option doesn’t have a dedicated revenue source. ( as I said about Medicare it’s supposedly running out of money too. I feel they’ll find a way to finance it if enough people are on it.)

      Over a number of years so many people would be on the Public Option it would become m4a under a different name. My assumptions are based on the coverage for m4a and the Public Option basically the same.

    9. Michael

      It is exciting to see politicians of Sanders’ and AOC’s ideology, who support things like Medicare for All and a Green New Deal, gaining so much support from voters. There are not enough of them in office yet though. They are greatly outnumbered. I’ll vote for Sanders again, and hope he wins, but I have pretty low expectations about what he would be able to accomplish legislatively, even if the Dems gain a majority in the Senate. I understand Sanders has a history of leveraging public pressure to get things done. It will be interesting to see if he can do that as President. He is going to face a lot of resistance from the Washington establishment.

      How many current members of the House would vote for M4A? Any possibility of a progressive replacing Pelosi as Speaker? If a solid M4A bill passed in the House it would make a great springboard for Bernie to talk to the public about millionaire Senators blocking the public will to protect corporate profits.

  34. ChiGal in Carolina

    >murine carnality

    maybe you settled on this a few days ago and this is the first time I’m seeing it, but how very Lambert of you: your linguistic elegance is the perfect rebuke to Twitter ;-)

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Samuel Connor came up with “murine”; Bob pointed out that we should avoid synonyms for f*ck that would get us downrated, so I came up with “carnality.” Also, “murine carnality” has a pleasing rhythm and sounds like it ought to be an academic speciality, even though it isn’t.

      For those who came in late, ratf*cking, as a term has been around since the 70s, at least; very pre-Twitter.

  35. Samuel Conner

    Hypothesis: MB running as a Democrat has two goals:

    a) stop Bernie

    b) by stopping Bernie by means of a brokered convention in which the candidate — Bernie — who has a plurality of pledged delegates and who won a majority of the primaries is not nominated due to the intervention of the party establishment superdelegates …. wreck any future possibility of progressive willingness to cooperate with the D establishment.

    Bloomberg has no interest in the long-term well-being of the Democrat Party. If he could stop Sanders’ progressive insurgency and cripple the D Party for years to come, what is not to like?

    Me thinks the D establishment is nuts to welcome this kind of political sabotage.

    1. hunkerdown

      Why nuts? If the Money is paying the D establishment to be a minority party, and they can still get promoted through the ranks for serving the Money, then where’s the problem from their end?

      1. Kurt Sperry

        Exactly. Being paid to lose is, vanity aside, exactly the same as being paid to win. Being paid is the important thing. Do actors care whether the characters they play are winners or losers, good guys or bad guys? No. Do they care if the checks clear? Yes. Yes they do.

  36. SerenityNow

    I think any candidate that talks about housing and building wealth doesn’t really understand the structure of the housing problem. It is the expectation that houses should build wealth that is the reason that housing is constantly increasing in value.

    Land trusts, which are probably the best solution for “affordable” housing in the US, work so well precisely because they remove the land value from the equation. Land becomes valuable through the process of public investments capitalizing into the surrounding private property (which people can then cash out on, and move to some place cheaper).

    We need more housing. People need economic stability. But we can’t use the former to produce the latter.

    1. cm

      Where I live the powers that be have effectively prohibited both manufactured houses and mobile home parks.

      That tells me they don’t care about affordible housing.

      IMO, affordable housing includes both manufactured housing and trailer parks.

  37. meeps

    FM, I could be wrong, but I think your window box plant might be an Asparagus Fern:


    I kept a lovely specimen as a houseplant years ago but could never keep one outside here as a light frost would be its demise. It’ll survive in US hardiness zones 9b to 11 and I’ve seen it creatively planted bonsai-style.

  38. The Rev Kev

    Just a small update from the post-fire emergency in Australia. The rains have enabled the firies to finally get on top of the fires and all the remaining ones in NSW are now marked as contained. I was reading a page this morning about the animals surviving being taken care of-


    Some of you may remember Paul Parker from Nelligan – the firefighter who totally unloaded on Scotty from Marketing from his fire truck. Well it looks like he and his mates won’t be short of a beer anytime soon-


    High praise indeed.

  39. Samuel Conner

    The thought occurs that the 22nd amendment to the US Constitution could be revised or revoked in the course of a national convention called by state legislatures with vote switches of a relatively small number of state legislators, probably no more than a few hundred.

    Obviously, if such a convention were to be convened, all sorts of things could be placed on the table, including dissolution of the Union. A less extreme but still severe possibility would be an amendment mandating permanent austerity as a feature of the Federal budget.

    One of the candidates currently running for the D nomination has more than enough funds to make this sort of thing happen.

    I’m with Lambert; DJT is the less perilous of the two.

  40. Oregoncharles

    ” But such a constricted conception of masculinity does little, by itself, to help us understand academic underperformance and what to do to combat that.”
    A much-overlooked factor: girls mature an average one or two years younger than boys – a difference that is greatest in the high school years. That means that they have up to a two-year head start going into college, and might explain their better school performance all by itself.

    The problem here is the lock-step approach of most schools. The grade system is based on an assumption we know is absolutely false: that children mature, or learn, at the same rate and in the same ways. We get about what you’d expect from a false premise.

    It might make sense to just take boys out of school for a year or two, give them something productive to do.

    That said, it’s also true that primary and secondary schools are staffed and run mostly by women. It’s hardly surprisingly that they’d favor feminine characteristics (it doesn’t matter where those come from – could be purely cultural). For one thing, girls are generally much easier to manage, more co-operative. That may help them in school, too, but not necessarily in the business or academic worlds.

    Which raises another question: is the harshly competitive quality of business and academe because they were designed by and for men, or is it built into their, umm, missions? In the latter case, men might be adapted to those jobs, rather than vice versa. That would be a much more intractable problem. I’ve seen claims that the introduction of women has moderated the atmosphere, to the benefit of everyone. I wouldn’t know, and haven’t seen academic studies on the subject. Might be too hot to touch.

  41. Oregoncharles

    ” “We then explore the economic implications of a central insight from cartography that “a map is not the territory” ”

    The economist Herman Daly argues that mistaking the map (money) for the territory (the real economy – people and things) is a fundamental, characteristic error of modern economics. The obvious example is their insistence that the economy can grow indefinitely, because money (an abstraction) can. Unfortunately, the world is a sphere and therefore quite limited.

    1. notabanktoadie

      Otoh, increasing knowledge allows us to do more and more with less and less material and energy.

      Otooh, usury requires growth (to pay the interest) so it would seem rather stupid to have government privileges for private credit creation – besides the in your face injustice of it.

  42. Basil Pesto

    I have a splendid book called ‘Map’, put out by Phaidon press, which is basically a survey of cartography in ‘coffee table book’ form.

    The first map is “A New Yorker’s Idea of the USA”, a satirical map drawn during the Great Depression.

    Others that may be of interest to NC readership:

    ‘City of anarchy’, a SCMP liftout, which idometrically maps Kowloon Walled City, a squatter camp in Hong Kong that housed 50,000 residents by the 1980s and was demolished in 1993.

    an Industrial Map of Portland, Oregon from 1945

    A ‘Whale Chart’ map of the world for whalers from 1851 – the world is mapped in a grid and known whale populations shaded according to colour in the corresponding grid squares

    ‘Figurative Map of Public Education in France’ from 1826

    ‘Deaths from Cholera in Soho’ by John Snow in 1855 alongside ‘Human Mobility and the spread of Ebola in West Africa’ from 2014 (maps are paired on double pages based on how they complement each other either thematically, technically etc) (cf these with the Johns Hopkins nCoV-2019 map)

    the book is not cheap, alas, but it is pretty great

  43. Matthew G. Saroff

    Re: Bloomberg’s poaching of staff.

    Under most circumstances, this would be virtuous, where a high demand for workers increases wages.

    The problem here is that Bloomberg is (probably deliberately) strip-mining the Democratic Party apparatus.

    Not sure of the solution, though.

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