2:00PM Water Cooler 11/28/14

By Lambert Strether of

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. And I must be completely out of touch, because the Detroit Lions won!

Ferguson

Ferguson protesters target Black Friday sales at major chains [], in suburban, upper middle class areas “previously untouched by the unrest” []. Great. I’m sick of Black Friday myself.

Shoppers dodge National Guard trucks, police cruisers, and media vehicles on their way into stores []. George Bush: “Go shopping.”

Pregnant woman loses eye after police shoot bean bag at her []. Non-lethal doesn’t mean without consequence….

The cop McCulloch did indict []. July 25, 2014, two weeks before Wilson whacked Brown.

Handy tip for police: Avoiding the Darth Vader outfits and treating protesters as fully human moral agents brings calm []. Who knew?

Ferguson businesses hit in the riots worried about filing insurance claims []. Because their rates might go up.

Ferguson Peace Train [].

“How we’d cover Ferguson if it happened in another country” []. Onion-grade trope. Wait ’til you get to the part about President Xi.

Class and race in US police killings: A further comment [].

Hong Kong

Boycott planned for companies that brought suit to shut down Mongkok, with handy map [].

Joshua Wong: Students won’t try to retake Mong Kok [].

Mainland opinion on Occupy split; a large majority thinks they should be shut down immediately [].

What I am deeply concerned about is the radical reaction so many of our mainland youths and netizens have toward Occupy Central. In their eyes, it’s as though the students illegally blocking Hong Kong streets and roads are digging up their ancestors’ graves – or as though these protestors had hidden hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars in their homes.

Of course, both government and business on the Mainland dig up ancestor’s graves for development and steal tax money all the time. So, savvy strategic hate management by the powers that be?

Good detail on the Hong Kong election commission, and a trial balloon for compromise [].

2016

Clinton Watch: Day 1 of . Got to start the clock ticking sometime! (And if there is a statement, I’d love to see it; I’ve looked, but I can’t find one. Thank you, readers!)

“[T]he complex and meticulous backstage efforts to manage” Hillary Clinton’s “lucrative speaking career” []. Hey, who wants to break Hillary Clinton’s rice bowl? It’s the content of the speeches — clearly also produced by a complex and meticulous process — that concerns me.

Since all the Democrats ever do is kick their base and say the other guy is worse, why not elect real Republicans? [].

Post-disaster fingerpointing [].

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

UK ISPs wish the security services demanding all that surveillance data had a clue [].

Corruption

Rahm Emmanuel rakes in $400K, as contribution limits are removed in what looks like a “Chicago Way” scam []. A candidate filed papers, then didn’t. Odd, that. “Emanuel’s third donor to re-contribute after making a maximum contribution is John Arnold, a retired billionaire hedge fund manager and former Enron executive who runs a foundation with his wife, Laura Arnold.” Wait, let me guess on that foundation. Charters? [].

Mexico

Obama should really stop patting Peña Nieto on the back [].

Maps and Mapmaking

Protest mapping []. Great visualization, stops in 2012.

Tax foreclosures in Detroit [].

Tracking global fishing through satellite data [].

News of the Wired

  • If you’ve lost Anna Wintour…. [, “Are Flip Phones Having a Retro Chic Moment?”] There’s also that your ten year-old flip phone isn’t likely to turn itself on and send all the personal data it can suck up to the NSA’s servers.
  • Data scientists need to correct for biases in social media datasets []. The data isn’t about persons; it’s about personas. How hard can this be?
  • Automating the Mac [].
  • If a bird strike can take down an airplane, I don’t see why a drone strike couldn’t []. “[W]e have to program basic safe-flying practices into the firmware.” What could go wrong?
  • The FBI agent in charge of naming bank robbers [].
  • Video of black cosplayer with fake samurai sword getting whacked by cops [].
  • Parents furious after unannounced shooter drill at Polk middle school []. Next time, no weapons.
  • Reporter’s family history, and the Sand Creek Massacre [, “My Great-Great-Grandfather and an American Indian Tragedy”]
  • Scores of military officers and policemen have been killed since Army coup last July [].
  • Syrian refugees crossing into Greece, and what they do next [].
  • The rise of Angela Merkel []. An Obama, Putin, Clinton, Merkel celebrity cage death match would be something to see. Say, we’re seeing it!
  • Is slime mold smarter than we are? []. How hard could that be? More seriously, intelligence could be more widely distributed than we think.
  • Darwin’s notebooks digitized and placed online [].

    Darwin-Tree-of-Life

* * *

Readers, feel free to with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, and (c) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. And here’s today’s plant (furzy mouse):

winter_flower

Yes, in the “winter”!

Talk amongst yourselves! Readers, I’ve been, if not incapacitated for the last few days, not exactly capacitated. Normally, I’d have been looking for stories that were buried by being released at 5:00PM on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Did you spot any?

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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.

60 comments

  1. Clive

    Oh, furzy mouse, please — please — do tell me where you live to the nearest 100km. I want to get on a plane and move there like a shot. We don’t even get that sort of delight in July, never mind November. I squelched my way through the remnants of my geraniums (now a sad, soggy, frosted mess) earlier, doing a bit of tidying up in the garden. I stuck it out for half an hour at most… I told myself I felt better for getting outside for a bit, but myself didn’t entirely buy it.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Excellent choice, I was there recently and looked at a new four-bedroom house for rent. Pool, two live-in help included (cook and cleaner) on about a half tropical acre 15 minutes from the city center, USD$1500 per month. Lovely Buddhist people, unbelievable cheap street food but also now high-end chic Italian etc. Can’t wait to go back.

      1. walt

        That is a bottle brush shrub. Mine in Stockton, CA (Central Valley) is in bloom to delight of my humming bird (just one because they are fiercely territorial). Also, my navel oranges are ripe.

        1. walt

          From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
          Bottlebrushes
          Red bottle brush.jpg
          Red bottlebrush flower
          Scientific classification
          Kingdom: Plantae
          (unranked): Angiosperms
          (unranked): Eudicots
          (unranked): Rosids
          Order: Myrtales
          Family: Myrtaceae
          Subfamily: Myrtoideae
          Tribe: Melaleuceae
          Genus: Callistemon
          R.Br.[1]
          Callistemon /ˌkælɨˈstiːmən/[2] is a genus of shrubs in the family Myrtaceae, first described as a genus in 1814.[3] The entire genus is endemic to Australia but widely cultivated in many other regions and naturalized in scattered locations.[4]

          Callistemon is sometimes considered a synonym of Melaleuca,[1] and four Callistemon species from New Caledonia were moved to that genus by Lyndley Craven and John Dawson in 1998. Callistemon species are commonly referred to as bottlebrushes because of their cylindrical, brush like flowers resembling a traditional bottle brush. They are found in the more temperate regions of Australia, mostly along the east coast and south-west, and typically favour moist conditions so when planted in gardens thrive on regular watering. However, at least some of the species are drought-resistant. [Mine is.] Several species are used in ornamental landscaping elsewhere in the world.

          Bottlebrush seed capsules
          Callistemons can be propagated either by cuttings (some species more easily than others), or from the seeds. Flowering is normally in spring and early summer (October–December), but conditions may cause flowering at other times of the year. The obvious parts of the flower masses are stamens, with the pollen at the tip of the filament; the petals are inconspicuous (see picture). Flower heads vary in colour with species; most are red, but some are yellow, green, orange or white. Each flower head produces a profusion of triple-celled seed capsules around a stem (see picture) which remain on the plant with the seeds enclosed until stimulated to open when the plant dies or fire causes the release of the seeds. A few species release the seeds annually.

          They are relatively slow growing though in time the larger species can grow up to 15 m (49 ft). Some are ground-hugging, and grow to only 0.5 m (1.6 ft). The leaves are linear to lanceolate and they are not deciduous.

          They have been grown in Europe since a specimen of C. citrinus was introduced to Kew Gardens in London by Joseph Banks in 1789.

          In Australia, Callistemon species are sometimes used as food plants by the larvae of hepialid moths of the genus Aenetus including A. ligniveren. These burrow horizontally into the trunk then vertically down.

          In India, bottlebrush plants/trees are grown in gardens. Their leaves have a lovely fragrance which gets released on crushing the leaves with hands.

    1. Furzy Mouse

      I was afraid you would ask….I bot this plant at a Thai ag fair maybe 3-4 years ago, a 3″ slip…now a rather large 10′ bush…winter flowers!! Thanks to Google, I can tell you it is called Powderpuff Thailand, aka Combretum constrictum. (). It’s a funny plant…if I pick the flowers, the tendrils curl up in a small ball overnite…so best left on the shrub…..

    2. Furzy Mouse

      Hi Clive…I was afraid you would ask….but I’ve managed to find it online….I bot it as a 3″ slip some 3-4 years ago; it is now over 10′ tall, blooms in winter. The link describes it a bit differently, like a vine; mine is a quite erect bush!

      “Combretum constrictum – the Powderpuff Combretum.
      This is a very showy and bushy vining shrub, originally from Thailand. It is a multi-stemmed plant with long arching canes.”

  2. STEPHEN V

    “Nobody wants our streets to look like a war zone,” she said. “Not in America. We are better than that.”
    THIS SEEMS TO BE HILLARY ‘s money quote. Nobody? If this was Jon Stewart I’d have video of her at a defense contractor convention…

    1. jrs

      Nobody wants them too. Never mind the fact that they do look like a war zone. That just kind of happens somehow WITHOUT anyone wanting it. Maybe it’s a case of unintended consequences, if I was going to use them fancy concepts. Or a case of “mistakes were made” maybe? Someone even suggested to me once it was an “emergent property”, so maybe that’s it, it’s an emergent property! All I know is: nobody actually wants it.
      /s

      And the “we’re better than that” statement gets more and more ridiculous. We’re better than that, better than you know we ACTUALLY ARE (although the we is problematic of course). Yes and in my daydreams I’m Albert Einstein. See I’m much better than I am!

      Meanwhile Rand Paul runs on the anti-police state position, the fricken obvious common sense position of course, Only we’ve been down this road before, similar common sense positions on different police state issues is part of why people voted for Obomber (although it seems to me Rand is an even greater unknown than the Obomber in how he’d actually govern). Sanders takes a common sense position bound to go nowhere.

      1. jrs

        They make sure we know Sanders is a socialist because making it about economic opportunities as well is you might as well be Karl Marx.

      2. Linda J

        Hillary comes by it honestly. She married Bill [The quote is from wikipedia, but I remember when he said it. I was outraged] : “[…]He maintained that the King verdicts could not be avenged by the “savage behavior” of “lawless vandals”. He also stated that people “are looting because … [t]hey do not share our values, and their children are growing up in a culture alien from ours, without family, without neighborhood, without church, without support.”[82]

        1. lambert strether

          “We are better than that” is a lot like But as Aristotle says: We are what we repreatedly do. So, no, we aren’t, and yes, it is.

    2. James

      After catching up with numerous extended family members and long distance friends over the weekend, I’ve concluded that getting worked up about this sort of thing (the Michael Brown lynching by the Coward Darren Wilson and his Ferguson et al official accomplices in the aftermath) is no longer worth the effort. No offense to the friends and family of Michael Brown whatsoever, who in any case has been dead and buried for several months now anyway, but Americans that I know across a fairly wide socio-economic spectrum could simply care less. What this says about *America* I’m not sure either (go shopping!), but I’ve decided to join the crowd there too, and just say fuck it! Time to recalibrate me thinks.

      1. jrs

        Go buy something. If it makes you happy. But it’s ultimately fairly empty natch. But it is afterall a pleasure they allow us (if only we have the money). And we’re not allowed much, they may not even allow us the Friday after thanksgiving off, or even Thanksgiving off. Not even allowed time with friends and family sometimes, but they allow us to shop (if you have the money somehow).

        But yea one pretty soon does hit that bedrock, the suspicion that while most Americans may not control much of anything, certainly not any centers of power in this society, they are such willing victims. It hardly matters what issue one mines to bedrock with because you’ll hit it even with the things that seem so basic and uncontroversial, even the protections in the bill of rights.

        Turn it around: still there were some protests today of the Mike Brown ruling and of Walmart – (add that to the usual ad busters black friday performances I guess). But they are small. Turn it around: it’s semi-taboo to talk about politics in most social situations anyway. Turn it around: clearly a “getting the masses all and completely aboard strategy” is probably not a very viable one, not for anything, even uncontroversial things. But maybe there are other strategies.

      2. jrs

        If people, precariat, working class, middle class, professional people (I don’t really care about those who aren’t working class in the large sense) were to encounter protests regularly (just going about their lives) even just small protests, how would it change their world view? Couldn’t be so blissfully oblivious perhaps.

        Protests would be like homelessness hard to ignore (there’s massive homelessness here). I mean one can pretend to ignore homelessness but if nothing else at least the lousy state of the economy sinks in upon encountering it so much. Enough protesting would end the blissful obliviousness, but it might harden into something else (harden to a harder right). Maybe one catches more flies with honey.

    3. Eclair

      Sheesh! Has she been to Buffalo, NY lately? Ride Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited, from Chicago to Albany, NY, and watch the bombed-out devastation of our once-flourishing manufacturing sector roll on by.

  3. Luke The Debtor

    Why post the link to the Foreign Policy story about Mexico? Are Obama and congress responsible for Ferguson, too? I suppose their also responsible for the Honk Kong protests as well, and far-right fanaticism sweeping across Europe.

    This is Mexico’s problem but I imagine much of America has dug their head in the sand quite well on this issue. There has been an enormous amount of violence and corruption brewing for the past 12 years in Mexico. Do people outside of the southern border states even know that there is a war in northern Mexico?

    Yes, Obama should stop patting Nieto on the back, but…out of sight out of mind.

    1. vidimi

      mexico would never have this problem if they weren’t compelled to take part in america’s war on drugs. also, their cartels are well-armed by obama’s doj.

      1. Luke The Debtor

        Mexico is a sovereign nation. They can decide their own drug policies. The war in northern Mexico dates to before Obama’s presidency. In fact, lawlessness in northern Mexico dates back even before Poncho Villa.

        1. vidimi

          they are not a sovereign nation but a suzerain nation. america is an empire and mexico one of many vassals. they cannot craft their own policy where they receive imperial dictats.

          as for the war dating back to before obama’s policy, that is true. but obama has done nothing to end it so he deserves all the blame.

          1. Luke The Debtor

            Ok. The US certainly has an influence but I don’t think is a supreme absolute controlling dictator to other nations. Case in point: Mexico’s Pemex. The company goes against “American interest” and “American style capitalism”.

    2. lambert strether

      Had you considered reading the post? Here’s quote:

      The United States has funneled at least $3 billion in over the last six years, in addition to enormous amounts of
      secret spending in direct military and security support. U.S. agents directly participate in the Mexican drug war. Numerous exist throughout Mexico for directly sharing intelligence. American over Mexican territory. Last year, the Obama administration ordered the website host GoDaddy to close down a leading Mexican opposition website in response to a groundless complaint from the Mexican government. And the Wall Street Journal has just that U.S. agents dress up in Mexican
      military uniforms to participate directly in special missions.

      One might almost think Mexico was a colony instead of sovereign. Of course, that’s not completely fair; as the article goes on to point out, the “war on drugs,” though it certainly hasn’t been successful at much more than bloating the national security apparatus, has greatly enriched the Mexican elite, who corruptly support the drug trade. So the whole thing is an especially nasty self-licking ice cream cone.

      1. Luke The Debtor

        Mexico has a national oil company. Definitely not an American product. The US “gives” assistance but Mexico “accepts” assistance. It takes two to tango. Why not acknowledge that the US does business with other countries rather than paint the picture of the US being a boogy-man? Part of the assistance may be to combat cartels as well as patrol the border. I see no way how that is responsible for whatever has happened to the 43 missing students.

        It’s a big stretch of the imagination to say the US has this type of influence where it was directly responsible for such an event. However, this kind of thinking seems to extend to events around the world. It almost reminds me of the way anti-Semitic people believe that Jews “control” everything.

    3. James

      Are Obama and congress responsible for Ferguson, too? I suppose their also responsible for the Honk Kong protests as well, and far-right fanaticism sweeping across Europe.

      Since you asked, yes, yes, and yes.

      1. OIFVEt

        Which begs the question, who is responsible for the US government? I submit that it is the millions of Indebted Lukes. The greatest trick the devil ever pulled is convincing the Lukes that he didn’t exist.

        1. vidimi

          you think the hk protests are wholly organic? it’s true that the amount of u.s. funding they received was negligible, at least compared to most colour revolutions, but maybe they just wanted to get the snowball rolling to keep china occupied and not noticing something else. call it a sleight of hand, if you will. putin was tricked into obsessively monitoring the sochi olympics while ukraine was putsched, so maybe this is intended to be china’s sochi?

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            Hmm. I think I was responding to “responsible,” not “wholly organic.” That said, the only evidence I’ve seen is a little funding from the National Endowment for Democracy. The Mainland press makes much of that, but then they would. In reality, the HK Occupiers don’t need our money; they’ve got the backing of at least one squillionaire, Jimmy Lai, who is also a media mogul; and there are doubtless others. However, the surest sign that US involvement is not significant is that it hasn’t turned into a clusterfuck of epic proportions, like everything we’ve gotten serious about from the Black Sea and around the Mediterranean. Speculating freely, I think factions that would prefer us to be embroiled in the Middle East and Ukraine for the forseeable future won out over the “pivot to asia” crowd. So, very little for HK.

            Adding… There seems to be a meme floating around, mostly by those who use the term, that the “color revolutions” were an example of US puppetry. I think at the very least each case varies. I also think it’s a bizarre view of the world to deny, say, the protesters at Tahrir Square their own agency.

            1. vidimi

              i agree with that assessment, especially the last part. in maidan as well, the majority of the anti-yanukovich/anti-crony sentiment was genuine, but the best-organised factions in the movement were funded externally; i.e. by the united states. in general, most popular movements get co-opted in this way, including tahrir square where the popular movement was co-opted by the qatari-funded muslim brotherhood, and then co-opted once more by the u.s. funded military when people began protesting the mb’s regressive policies. i’m thinking the student protest movement might follow those patterns: genuine discontent for genuine reasons, but co-opted, if not led, by organised, special-interest factions.

  4. Randy

    Just read this in the HuffPo article about the dems:
    “Every time the Democratic leadership in Washington fucks its base”
    Since when did “fuck” become acceptable in an article such as this one?

    1. James

      You’re entirely correct. “Fuck” is ENTIRELY too weak a word. A**-fuck is MUCH closer to the mark, seein’ as… you get the picture.

      1. Paul Niemi

        I would say, “Every time the Democratic leadership in Washington debases its base.” The f-word in use there is banal, not improved by adding a donkey.

      1. hunkerdown

        How about as bathos? Seems to me that the single instance, right at the end, could well illustrate patience run out, a condition which one hopes others might start to see in themselves once the denial breaks.

      2. DJG

        The whole last paragraph of Palermo’s article is a pile of rhetorical sludge. The use of the f-bomb isn’t so much a category error as a reflection of poverty of discourse and the lack of imagination so prevalent these days. Are we really at the limits of language? Is the f-bomb a signal of indeterminacy? Or are we just plagued by a lot of crappy thinkers who won’t give up the proverbial talking stick? Speaking of crappy thinkers, he evokes Claire McCaskill, another politician who seems to have disappeared. Doesn’t she represent Missouri?

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          When exactly are we supposed to tip over from dispassionate and aloof intellectualizing and chronicling of the theft of our future into expressive outrage that might make enough people sit up and pay attention? Oh I think I’ll just do another snarky piece in Harper’s observing the minute details of Nero’s fiddle strokes, meantime I’ve got to find Grandma a cheaper brand of catfood so the billionaires never miss a coupon payment…I’m so glad I didn’t sink to using any SWEAR WORDS

  5. hunkerdown

    To paraphrase Adlai Stevenson, the organized Left doesn’t actually need the Democratic Party. They need a majority.

  6. OIFVet

    Re: Rahm Emanuel. Another thing that caught my eye are the sizable contributions from two union PACs. When will the rank and file membership of unions finally wake up to the reality that their union leadership consists of corrupt flunkies for the corporate wing of the Democrat party, and that in effect it is their own hard earned money that finances the very dismantling of labor protections and middle class wages? Little wonder that there is so much hostility against unions these days, their leadership has long since seized to protect the interests of its membership.

    1. James

      Part and parcel. Unions are playing the same game everyone else is – pay to play. Granted the rot starts at the head and works down, so what does it tell you when you discover the rot already advanced in the extremities? The cancer is terminal. Time to put the patient on life support and milk the insurance company for all they’re worth. See there? It really does all come back to ObamaCare!

  7. OIFVet

    Interesting passage here:

    Deptula said that fully integrating the Pentagon’s disparate weapons so that they function as a coherent whole would provide capabilities beyond what a new aircraft might provide. “Future developments in data sharing promise to dramatically enhance the way that combat effects are attained as individual aerospace assets are fully integrated with sea, land, space and cyber systems to form an omnipresent defense complex,” he said. “Individual systems connected together to form a self-forming/self healing ‘combat cloud’ and able to leverage their respective strengths, while simultaneously circumventing specific system weaknesses and vulnerabilities is where we need to be heading. This could well be the basis of the next ‘offset strategy’ that the [Secretary of Defense] and his deputy are now championing.”

    Data sharing? Combat cloud? What could possibly go wrong? Someone correct me if my recollection is wrong, but didn’t the Iranians hack a drone and directed it to land into their custody? Sounds like a super-expensive military version of “internet of things” to me. $50 million per PAK FA vs $300 million + per sitting duck F-35 (). Well, at least they ain’t calling it Skynet, yet.

  8. Rosario

    With respect to Darren Wilson’s spa treatment I’m to the point of advocating complete decoupling from the American political/economic system for black Americans. Though I’m completely supportive of voicing dissent peacefully I’m noticing that it is falling upon deaf ears and/or the reaction is incredibly inappropriate to the situation (see Obama’s response: ). I see two viable options and one wildcard:

    1) Complete rebellion (this includes “breaking the law”, destruction of property, and unfortunately violence)
    2) Complete decoupling (do not participate in the political process, create community hodgepodge economies utilizing the advantages of government power and structure while simultaneously denying its power and structure)
    3) [wildcard] Bore into the political system with a tide of lawsuits and legal mechanisms (this takes privilege and wealth, things not very common in poor black American communities…cue the available Ivy League educated lawyers)

    Though not a black American myself I’m not speaking out of complete ignorance nor are my recommendations anything new (particularly in the revolutionary black community). Where is there left to go in legislation? A bill stemming police violence? How does this address the increase of explicit racism in the USA over the past decade? Xenophobia, racism, classicism are manifesting symptoms of a society with far deeper structural problems. Matters of employment, education, infrastructure, and the relative levels of empathy and respect given to fellow citizens when one feels secure and confident are what determines our well being as we move into the future.

  9. readerOfTeaLeaves

    The Grey Lady has a rather intriguing article up about the way in which micro-distilleries and changes in US drinking habits are creating: (1) jobs, (2) tourism, and (3) tax base.

  10. DJG

    Even though Hillary Clinton, as well all know, is married to the First Black President, she has always been curiously non-present when it comes to articulating a moral stance or even a political position. Here she is on Snowden:

    That article and the readily available video alone made it clear to me that voting for Hillary Clinton is voting for further political decline. She’ll usher in the slogan: U.S.A.! At Least, We’re Not Honduras!

  11. walt

    My brother near Boston writes:

    Rent-seeking news.
    I got my first indication of what was going on when the local Fox station ran a banner across the bottom of the frame in the Patriots game last Sunday. It was some kind of screed about Fios. It turns out that Verizon and the local Fox (Boston and Providence) company was in a dispute over an increase in “carriage” fees.

    Flash forward to Thanksgiving day at my ham friend’s house. The guests included a couple of serious Eagles fans eager to see them take on Dallas. But their Fios had turned off Fox that morning. Will [his friend] always has plenty of low loss cable handy, so we ran a cable down to the shack to connect up to his 6 meter beam [antenna on a tower. I use little more than a wire hanger at 6 feet]. The Eagles fans were pleased with the picture and the score.

    When I stopped and thought about it, these fees are complete BS. The NFL supplies the only content, and everybody else is just shipping bits. Fox adds some value by putting a signal out to the rabbit ears crowd. And, of course, Fox and Verizon are both in the business of delivering eyeballs and ears to the advertisers, which is where the serious money comes from. That’s why Ted Turner decided to give his station away to cable systems. These fees are just a cozy excuse to jack up the bill, and split the increase between cable company and tv stations.

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