2:00PM Water Cooler 3/15/2018

By Lambert Strether of .

Trade

“U.S. and South Korean negotiators meet in Washington today for the third round of talks on renegotiating the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement [KORUS], which President Donald Trump has threatened to terminate unless changes are made to reduce the U.S. trade deficit with the Asian ally. The meeting comes on the sixth anniversary of the pact going into effect in March 2012” []. “‘Not everything with regard to KORUS is perfect and there are important areas where Korea has not met its commitments,’ the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said in a blog post today that makes the case for staying in the agreement. ‘But it might come as a surprise that in six years KORUS is actually advancing many of the administration’s highest priorities and delivering wins for U.S. workers and the economy.'”

Politics

2020

Sanders on National School Walkout day:

Just a reminder to both Dems & GOP, most of these people screaming for Bernie and saying they love him will be 18 by Nov 2020.

This is just 1 minute of over 5 minutes of this.

— SLumpy SLouise (@lumpylouise)

Impressive.

Midterns

“Are Republicans in More Special Trouble?” []. “With the PA-18 special now in the books, the House now only has three vacancies, seats previously held by ex-Reps. Trent Franks (R, AZ-8), John Conyers (D, MI-13), and Pat Tiberi (R, OH-12)….. AZ-8 is based entirely within Phoenix’s Maricopa County, the fastest-growing county in the whole country (its population is more than 4 million total and has roughly doubled over the last three decades). Maricopa remains one of the only big counties that still votes Republican at the presidential level, but that edge may be eroding… There’s no doubt MI-13 will elect a Democrat: Hillary Clinton won the majority-black seat 79%-18% in 2016…. Overall, OH-12 voted for Trump by about 11 points and Romney by 10, so it hardly budged at all from 2012 to 2016. That’s probably because the district is more highly educated than the national average (40% of residents over 25 have a four-year college degree, compared to about 30% nationally), and white college-educated voters are significantly more skeptical of Trump than white non-college voters. If there’s a parallel to PA-18, it would be if the areas of the district closest to Columbus swing heavily to the Democratic nominee as a protest against Trump, much like areas of PA-18 did on Tuesday.”

PA-18: “The Republican candidate, Rick Saccone, may still contest the outcome. But Mr. Lamb’s 627-vote lead Wednesday afternoon appeared insurmountable, given that the four counties in Pennsylvania’s 18th district have about 500 provisional, military and other absentee ballots left to count, election officials said” [].

PA-18: Recall yesterday’s turnout chart. Here’s more:

Story of the result: Lamb (D) & Saccone (R) both hit roughly the %s they needed in each county of . But here's the difference:

Allegheny Co. (Dem) turned out at 67% of '16 levels, Westmoreland Co. (GOP) turned out at just 60% of '16. Another pro-Dem enthusiasm gap.

— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict)

PA-18: “What the Pennsylvania special election tells us about the Democratic turnout surge” [].

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Philadelphia’s New Top Prosecutor Is Rolling Out Wild, Unprecedented Criminal Justice Reforms” []. “Back on the campaign trail last year, Krasner, a former civil rights and criminal defense attorney who had been best known for suing police officers, offered a stump speech that condemned the criminal justice system for being racist and for criminalizing poverty and addiction. He was an unusual candidate to be the city’s top law enforcer. Voters swept him into office. Now, two months into his term, DA Krasner is virtually undistinguishable from candidate Krasner. On Tuesday, Krasner issued a memo to his staff making official a wave of new policies he had announced his attorneys last month. The memo starts: ‘These policies are an effort to end mass incarceration and bring balance back to sentencing.’… In an about-face from how [plea bargaining] transactions typically work, Krasner’s 300 lawyers are to start many plea offers at the low end of sentencing guidelines…. Krasner’s lawyers are also now to decline charges for marijuana possession.” This is important. I don’t want readers to get the impression, when I go up to the 30,000-foot level and start blathering about institutions and systems, that electing one good person to office can’t make a difference. It can. (It’s just not enough.)

“Finalized Memo Mar. 13, 2018” (Scribd) [].

“Political Identity as Identity Politics” (PDF) [Richard Thompson Ford, ]. Fun polemic, less mild-mannered than it seems at first:

Shaking off the constraints of left-liberal dogmatism should mean dropping the sports league approach to politics that dominates the bi-partisan American scene: it’s our team against theirs, every loss for them is a victory for us and vice versa (now we even have team colors, red and blue). Perhaps the most destructive form of identity politics is this bi-polar identification of American ideology: in the cabined imagination of popular politics “left” and “right” become, not reasoned worldviews and normative commitments that are subject to argument and thoughtful revision, but instead (ironically) almost pre-political identifications from which follow detailed dogmas: bundles of logically distinct and unrelated commitments and positions offered, Happy Meal style, as an integrated package (no substitutions, please).

“Oconomowoc schools impose limits on ‘privilege’ discussions after parents complain” [].

“Joanie Mahoney: Guilty verdict for Cor’s Steve Aiello ‘simply does not make sense'” [ (Bob)]. “The rot is completely bipartisan, top to bottom, right to left….. I’m not sure I can a put more fine point on this- Two of the defendants in this case were Mahoney’s patrons. She’s defending them, IN THE LOCAL [family blogging] PAPER, after they were convicted of bribing the Democrat governor.”

Stats Watch

Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey, March 2018: []. “Rarely in its 50-year history has the Philly Fed’s manufacturing report shown such unusual strength and with it, unusual capacity stress” []. “Shipments are at 32.4 and employment at 25.6, also at a feverish pitch which raises the question of sustainability for this sample…. Yet the strong upward signals being sent by small sample surveys like Philly and Empire State have yet to be matched by the actual factory sector where strength, though tangible, is much less extraordinary and much less at risk of capacity dislocations.” Survey vs. data mismatch, film at 11. And: “Consider this a stronger report than last month as key elements strongly improved” []. “This is a very noisy index which readers should be reminded is sentiment based. The Philly Fed historically is one of the more negative of all the Fed manufacturing surveys but has been more positive then the others recently.”

Empire State Manufacturing Survey, March 2018: “Empire State is back on fire.And like Philly Fed, employment is up, delivery times are slowing, and prices are hot. Also like Philly Fed, this sample sees their selling prices rising sharply in the months ahead” []. “Small sample surveys have been sending record strong signals for the past year with actual government data showing much less strength, though tomorrow’s industrial production report, which is part of the actual data, is expected to move higher.” And: “I am not a fan of surveys – and this survey jumps around erratically – but has been relatively steady for the last year. Key internals in the report marginally improved so I would consider this a better report than last month” []

Import and Export Prices, February 2018: “Import prices, inflated by the yearlong decline in the dollar, continue to offer what may prove to be an early and, from the Federal Reserve’s perspective, a welcome indication of price pressures” []. ” Excluding petroleum, import prices rose 0.5 percent for a second straight month which is very hot for this reading… February price data were uniformly soft before today’s import data, which though not showing an alarming increase do nevertheless support the Fed’s view that rising imported inflation should help prices move to their 2 percent inflation target over the course of the year.” And but: “Because of backward revisions – the import and export price indices were little changed from where we thought we were last month” [].

Housing Market Index, March 2018: “Home builders remain extremely optimistic but just a little less so in March” []. “Today’s data point to continued though perhaps to easing strength for the new home market, which are the expectations for tomorrow’s housing starts and permits report.”

Jobless Claims, week of March 10, 2018: “Jobless claims continue to point to strength in the labor market with initial claims down” [].

Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index, week of March 11, 2018: “Consumer confidence remains very high, boosted by this year’s tax cut and despite volatility in the stock market” [].

Consumer Spending: “Federal tax refunds have caught up which may have slowed spending in Feb” (chart) [],

Retail: “The demise of Toys “R” Us poses a serious challenge to the $27 billion U.S. toy industry. The chain has been a vital cog in the industry as its stores carried a breadth of toys unmatched by rivals and nurtured smaller companies hoping to hit it big” [].

Retail: “‘Not welcome here’: Amazon faces growing resistance to its second home” []. “What do you get for the man who has everything? When it comes to Jeff Bezos – the richest man in the world with around $130bn to his name – many US cities competing to host Amazon’s second headquarters have an answer: billions of dollars in tax incentives. That proposition has united an ideologically diverse group of dissenters to Amazon’s grand HQ2 competition, ranging from rightwing organizations linked to the Koch brothers to the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA). Groups and individuals that would normally agree only to mutual disdain and distrust have somehow come around to the same conclusion: that Amazon’s decision to pit 20 cities against each other in a fight to host a future hub is a bad deal for everyone except Amazon.”

Retail: “Detroit’s Amazon tax incentives remain ‘trade secret'” []. “The Michigan Economic Development Corp. is keeping secret the tax incentives offered to Amazon for an economic development project in downtown Detroit that’s not expected to ever materialize, citing a “standing” nondisclosure agreement with billionaire Dan Gilbert’s Rock Ventures. The state agency’s decision to shield from public disclosure the likely billions of dollars in tax incentives the state was prepared to give Amazon for a 50,000-employee corporate campus in Detroit stands in contrast to its disclosure last week of up to $2 billion in incentives offered to Amazon for a Grand Rapids campus and the more than $3 billion in subsidies offered last year to Foxconn Technology Group for a manufacturing plant in Michigan. It also raises questions about whether Gilbert and Rock Ventures are getting special treatment from the state, and why the state is keeping secret incentives that it and the city of Detroit had offered. Public money was being offered that would have benefited Gilbert, but the public isn’t being told how much.” Tax breaks are a trade secret? Icky. That sounds like a CalPERS move.

Retail: “The best online trend some retail real-estate experts have heard of lately is what they call “clicks-to-bricks.” A New York City landlord recently signed four web-based apparel retailers to open storefronts at a single Manhattan property…, making the site a destination for shoppers looking to test out physical products before they buy online. It’s the latest move by retail-space owners to rethink and renovate stores as e-commerce continues to whittle down sales at brick-and-mortar sites” [].

Apparel: “[Zara] plans to operate online stores in all 96 of its markets, up from 49 markets today. That could chip away at profitability since Inditex will take on extra shipping costs, but the company insists it has fashioned a fulfillment strategy that makes the online sales just as profitable as store sales” [].

Shipping: “Port of Oakland imports jumped 14.9 percent last month” []. “February container volume grew in all categories, setting records along the way.”

Shipping: “Ship owner Seaspan Corp. is placing a bigger bet on container shipping. The ship-leasing heavyweight is buying out the controlling shares of a China-based joint venture called GCI from private-equity firm Carlyle Group , giving the company a bigger share of a charter market that’s been in broad recovery” []. “[T]he $450 million deal brings Seaspan 18 container ships and a jumpstart to what may turn into a bigger acquisition strategy. Seaspan is the world’s largest containership lessor by cargo-carrying capacity, according to Alphaliner, and the combined companies would have 8% of the market. Alphaliner said in a report this week that charter demand has been ‘robust’ in recent weeks, boosting ship leasing prices.”

Shipping: “Advances in Last-mile Delivery Take Shape” []. “From China to Europe to the U.S., companies as divergent as Amazon, SF Express, Shipt, Instacart and XPO Logistics are pushing and shoving their way through the last-mile delivery maze…. On the surface, last-mile doesn’t look all that tough. Just deliver goods from a regional distribution center or retail store to the consumer. But looks can be deceiving. And expensive, too. Some say nearly 30% of the total cost of all goods delivery is in last-mile. Last-mile delivery is much more than navigating city streets, avoiding traffic congestion and finding the right address. Last-mile is also a matter of actually being able to deliver the goods, especially when no one is home but needs to be. And that doesn’t even include the challenges of building security, the scale of high-rises and parking availability. Oh, don’t forget the weather.”

The Bezzle: AirBnB is really in the business of selling regulatory arbitrage to landlords who want to go into the hotel business:

Airbnb has updated its website to clearly show how many listings a host has on their site. They've hidden this information for years. Let's say hi to some of New Orleans biggest operators.

— Jane Place Neighborhood Sustainability Initiative (@JanePlaceCLT)

The Bezzle: “Blue Apron to Sell Meal Kits in Stores to Buttress Sagging Deliveries” []. Another squillionaire vanity project, then?

The Bezzle: “Tesla employees say automaker is churning out a high volume of flawed parts requiring costly rework” []. “To deal with a backlog of flawed parts and vehicles, said these current and former employees, Tesla has brought in teams of technicians and engineers from its service centers and remanufacturing lines to help with rework and repairs on site in Fremont…. Tesla said that cars coming off the end of the line are reviewed in detail in an effort to ‘produce perfect cars for every customer.'” I don’t think Edward Deming would think very much of Elon Musk.

The Bezzle: “Tesla’s corporate treasurer and vice president, Susan Repo, has left Tesla, Bloomberg on Tuesday. The report said Repo departed to become chief financial officer at another company. Her profile hasn’t changed, yet” []. “Repo’s exit comes a few days from Tesla’s chief accounting officer Eric Branderiz leaving because of “personal reasons,” said a with the Securities & Exchange Commission. Perhaps this is all a coincidence, a function of a high-achiever burning out () and another wanting to be the top person in the finance department (Repo). Even still, losing two people overseeing the finances of a money-losing electric car company that has a history of execution missteps, weeks removed from the end of the first quarter, is a big red flag. Buyer beware.”

The Bezzle: “New report highlights limitations of Cruise self-driving cars” []. “In recent months, Cruise has been ramping up testing efforts in a roughly 20-square-mile area in and around downtown San Francisco. Sources familiar with that testing effort told The Information’s Amir Efrati that Cruise vehicles still had significant limitations. ‘Cruise cars frequently swerve and hesitate,’ Efrati reports. ‘They sometimes slow down or stop if they see a bush on the side of a street or a lane-dividing pole, mistaking it for an object in their path.’ In one case, Efrati says, Cruise employees trimmed a bush ahead of a demonstration for journalists to make sure the car wouldn’t swerve while driving past it.” If your algo doesn’t work, change the data…

The Bezzle: “Uber Freight sends driverless truck on its inaugural trip across Arizona” []. “The movement captured San Francisco-based Uber Freight’s near-term vision for its autonomous truck operation: A hybrid of human and technological effort. No one expects a tractor-trailer to fly down the roads any time soon without the presence of a professional truck driver. Indeed, drivers will be called upon to execute more complex, precise actions that automation cannot yet do, such as backing up into truck bays. In addition, because federal rules need to be written governing the interstate movements of autonomous trucks, driverless trucks will be confined to intrastate hauls. For the foreseeable future, loads must be transferred to a conventional truck for a move across state lines.”

Concentration: “Antitrust critics fear that a winner-take-all contract for the Defense Department’s cloud computing needs could help tech giant Amazon corner the government contract market even further” []. “The winner of the contract, which the DOD updated its position on last week, in its current form would give its winner control over serving the Pentagon’s cloud computing system as it switches over from an older IT system. The agency predicts that the contract will be worth billions.”

Five Horsemen: “Amazon bides its time as the press speculates fancifully about which industry it takes over next” [Hat Tip, Jim Haygood].

Five Horsemen March 15 2018

NakedCap Mania-Panic Index: “Mania-panic index cools to 51 (complacency) as new lows outnumbered new highs yesterday” [Hat Tip, Jim Haygood]. (The NakedCap mania-panic index is an equally-weighted average of seven technical indicators derived from stock indexes, volatility (VIX), Treasuries, junk bonds, equity options, and internal measures of new highs vs new lows and up volume vs down volume … each converted to a scale of 0 to 100 before averaging, using thirty years of history for five of the seven series.)

Mania panic index March 14 2018

Our Famously Free Press

“Google offers olive branch to newspapers, YouTube relies on Wikipedia” []. “Google is planning to highlight content from newspapers with paywalls for users who are paying subscribers…. So when users search for articles on a topic, results from sites they subscribe to will show up higher than results from regular websites. Google also plans to share data with publishers about who is most likely to sign up…. Google also recently changed its policy on search results from sites with subscription models. It used to encourage publishers with paywalls to let searchers read at least three articles free under its “First Click Free” model, and those who didn’t comply were ranked lower in search results. But the company dropped the FCF approach last year, and now subscription-based publishers can choose to provide whatever number of free articles they wish to non-subscribers, including providing none at all.”

MMT

“The Federal Job Guarantee – A Policy to Achieve Permanent Full Employment” []. Mainstreaming…

“MMT meets Rey’s dilemma: a balance sheet view of capital flight (coming soon to an EM country near you)” [] What a nice name for a journal!

Police State Watch

“Amid legal battle, Alabama sheriff wants judge to let her keep unspent jail food funds” []. “The center argued that Franklin should have been held in contempt after removing $160,000 from the inmate food account. The sheriff loaned $150,000 of the , Priceville Partners, LLC, that was co-owned by Greg Steenson, a convicted felon.” Know your sheriffs: This is not the same sheriff as the one who used .

Class Warfare

This is March 15, not April 1:

Capitalism still has some life left in it yet.

— Jacobin (@jacobinmag)

.

“Agriculture Wars” []. “If country music gave voice to many American farmers during the 20th century, what does it have to say about the fundamental shift in farm labor that is coming to define the 21st?” Can any country music fans in the readership comment?

“Reckoning with the Imperial We” []. “Fundamental to the territories are questions of self-rule and union, which were shaped through an explicitly racist understanding of the world into law through the Insular Cases—the Supreme Court rulings that allow for the territories to be governed as colonies, rather than extending the full dignity and protections of the Constitution (as well as statehood) to the people living there.” Next time I look at Puerto Rico, I’ll have to remember this review.

“Big data for the people: it’s time to take it back from our tech overlords” []. “Data is no less a form of common property than oil or soil or copper. We make data together, and we make it meaningful together, but its value is currently captured by the companies that own it. We find ourselves in the position of a colonized country, our resources extracted to fill faraway pockets. Wealth that belongs to the many – wealth that could help , educate, house and heal people – is used to enrich the few.”

News of The Wired

“Human hippocampal neurogenesis drops sharply in children to undetectable levels in adults” []. “We conclude that recruitment of young neurons to the primate hippocampus decreases rapidly during the first years of life, and that neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus does not continue, or is extremely rare, in adult humans.” translates: “In a direct challenge to earlier studies, the authors report adults produce no new cells in the hippocampus, a key hub for processing memories.”

“The Consciousness Deniers” []. “How could anybody have been led to something so silly as to deny the existence of conscious experience, the only general thing we know for certain exists?”

And speaking of silly:

So this Roman centurion goes into a bar and orders a martinus.

The bartender asks, “Do you mean a martini?”

The centurion says, “Look, if I wanted a double I’d tell you!”

— Ro Pi (@TheRAP1966)

#idesofmarch:

Caesar was assassinated at the Curia Pompeia, within the Theater of Pompey's complex. The site where Julius Caesar was betrayed and killed in 44 BC is now a stray cat-sanctuary. ttps://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Theatre_of_Pompey_Sketch_up_model.png

— Ticia Verveer (@ticiaverveer)

(; ). So, civilization does advance.

* * *

Readers, feel free to 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 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 (C Carroll):

C Carroll writes: “A second year clary sage starting to green up despite the recent cold and snow, should bloom this summer.” So there’s hope!

* * *

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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.

120 comments

  1. Synoia

    U.S. Chamber of Commerce:

    Not everything with regard to KORUS is perfect and there are important areas where Korea has not met its commitments.But it might come as a surprise that in six years KORUS is actually advancing many of the administration’s highest priorities and delivering wins for U.S. workers and the economy.’”

    Would the US Chamber of Commerce please list those “wins” for US workers.

    1. Altandmain

      Needless to say, the Chamber of Commerce as a lobby organization cannot say that they have contributed to the outsourcing and decline of American manufacturing.

  2. diptherio

    For fans of dogs and/or zombies and/or cooperative board games:


    (It will be printed by a worker co-op)

    For people looking for another reason to hate Whole Foods (aka Whole Paycheck):

    1. Arizona Slim

      Back in the day, I worked in a food co-op. Low-level shelf stocker and cashier, that was my game.

      One of my bosses, who described himself as a martinet, went on to become one of the original executives at Whole Foods. And, yes, he was a martinet.

        1. Arizona Slim

          Two years after becoming manager of our co-op, Mr. Martinet left to become manager of an upscale organic grocery store in North Carolina.

          Perfect for him, because he was trying to make the co-op into an upscale sort of place. To the point of requiring that the store’s radio be tuned to classical music. Mind you, the store was in Pittsburgh’s Garfield neighborhood, which was predominantly black.

          We used to play jazz on the stereo system, and our neighbors loved that. The classical? Ehhhh, not so much.

          Sometime after his North Carolina job, he joined what is now Whole Foods.

          1. HopeLB

            The co-op is great but expensive. Glad to see that some other Pittsburghers or ex-Pittsburghers are here!Hoping Peduto signs off on that pledge but he has disappointed before.

  3. Pat

    KORUS is actually advancing many of the administration’s highest priorities and delivering wins for U.S. workers corporate management and the economy.’” Corrected that for them, but even if you do that it ignores the biggest advantage to KORUS as per their website:

    The U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) entered into force on March 15, 2012. As written, it is the United States’ strongest, most up-to-date free trade agreement. It is expanding opportunities, creating American jobs, and paving the way for substantial Korean investment in the U.S. KORUS remains one of America’s only free trade agreements in the increasingly competitive Asia-Pacific region and serves as the economic foundation for relations with one of our most important strategic allies and 6th largest trading partner.

    I really want to ask them how Korean investment in the US advances American workers. I would also like a lesson on how advancing foreign ownership of American business constitutes trade and not asset sell off.

    1. John k

      We give them green paper for stuff. They get to spend it on whatever they want… if we don’t let do that, now or later, why would they want it?
      That’s trade… since a lot of them stuff the green paper in the mattress, we will maybe have to give them what they want to buy later.

      1. Pat

        We used to give them green stuff, now it is real estate and majority ownership in x.

        I know about the theory that you have to run a trade deficit to be the reserve currency economics theory. But considering most of our economic theorists couldn’t find their hand in front of their face on a sunny day, I am pretty damn sure endlessly increasing trade deficits aren’t protecting or insuring anything but the continued destruction of American lives either as sacrificial lambs lost on the alter of trade or as real lives lost on battlefields as those currently benefitting from globalization wake up and realize their lives are next on the chopping block and declaring war to avoid that.

  4. Enquiring Mind

    Tesla troubles bring to mind another automotive adventurer. I write, of course, of John Delorean, he of that magnificent steel gull-winged cocaine consumption vehicle. (You can spot it due to tendency to inhale the white line. rim shot, I’m here all week, tip your robot) Will Sir Elon of Musk be tempted to similar extracurricular fates? After all, he too produces a gull-winged vehicle so there is that obvious precedent ;)

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Winged vehicles should be able to fly.

      Otherwise, they are no different from the Dodo bird.

      1. ambrit

        Is the Roadster now headed out to the asteroid belt gull winged?
        Or, as has been theorized, the whole thing is being ‘produced’ in a set in the Bonneville Flats by Kubricks’ daughter.

    2. Bugs Bunny

      The inevitable reboot of Back to the Future will be the sign.

      Watch for a hot unproduced script. Hollywood bonfire of all vanity.

    3. nowhere

      Indeed:
      DeLorean DMC-12: 9,000
      Tesla Model S: 200,000
      Tesla Model X: 76,000
      Tesla Model 3: 2,000 in 6 months of production

      1. Alex V

        Tesla anecdote: an acquaintance works there as an an engineer. He proudly posted his new business cards on Facebook the other day. One year after starting there.

          1. nowhere

            Can you point to a business cards that is compromised of thousands of interrelated parts built to exacting specifications?

  5. Synoia

    Cloud Computing “The winner of the contract, which the DOD updated its position on last week, in its current form would give its winner control over serving the Pentagon’s cloud computing system as it switches over from an older IT system. The agency predicts that the contract will be worth billions.”

    Here’s my $10. I bet Amazon’s new headquarters will be close to the money, and bribes, in DC.

    1. mle detroit

      To the surprise of absolutely no one, since JPB already owns a house and another business there. Another 50,000 commuters on the beltway; all good. And near the under-utilized ICC too, no doubt.

    2. Louis Fyne

      It would be funny—-in a dark humour way—-to see Amazon move to Detroit and become OCP [Omni Consumer Products from Robocop].

      The future: everything 1970’s-1980’s dystopian movies said it would be!

    3. Eureka Springs

      Okay, so why wouldn’t government do its own cloud? Don’t laugh, but wouldn’t it be less expensive? In a world where government gave a damn about securing our info, safer too?

    4. cnchal

      Good bet. No doubt the government and DOD will grossly overpay for whatever it buys from Bezos so that can be used to subsidize the warehouse business to destroy everyone else. Oh sorry, that’s what we have already.

      No wonder Amazon’s stawk price is so high, Wall Street expects them to take over the world. Deluded me, I though there was merit to the idea that when Jeffie has a free moment from beating his employees, like when on the crapper, he has his Ameritrade screen with him and is buying one share at a time at an ever higher price, to make all his other ones worth moar.

  6. Tim

    Amazon getting into the DoD may very well backfire, limiting their success in continuing to grow unabated.

    The DoD does not like consolidation, they like variety. Coming in as a blob guaranteed to snuff out all competition is a major disadvantage.

    Trump just canned the Broadcom issue over DoD contract issues. Different specific issues, but still related to consolidation.

    1. nowhere

      I guess spending n-times more money to integrate multiple cloud services is the general practice of the DoD.

      “First rule in government spending: why build one when you can have two at twice the price? Only, this one can be kept secret.” S.R. Hadden

      1. Synoia

        I remember the Austin Champ.

        It was a competitor to the Land Rover, designed by a committee, for the British Army’s use. It had five forward and 5 reserve speeds (do not laugh, nor make any joke abut retreating as fast as it could advance). It could wade through (or drive through water 4 – 5 ft deep.

        It was made of steel and the Land Rover from Aluminium. It was top heavy and prone to rolling over (Also the subject of much ribald humor).

        It fit the description of “A Camel is a Horse designed by a committee.”

        A bit like the Swiss Arm Knife of military airplanes, the F35. It can do everything, but excels at nothing.

        1. AbateMagicThinking but Not Money

          Ah, the British motor industry of yore – hubristic to the core – run by the likes of people who heartily approved of the social status of spies such as Philby and Blunt. That spirit of failure-ism was still very much alive when John DeLorean conned the British government into financing his laughtable sports car project (they even built a factory).

          Pip-Pip!

  7. Wukchumni

    “Uber Freight sends driverless truck on its inaugural trip across Arizona”
    ~~~~~

    ‘Bot Is My Co-Pilot’

    1. Edward E

      Trust in your bot… “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your bot will be with you wherever you go.” …. until we figure out a way we can get around that.

      Or the great war about the PetroYuan zaps your bots

  8. JohnnyGL

    Further to the short video with Bernie and the kids….

    “He is a lot more popular now then he was in 2016 during the primaries. I was in SC making phone calls just over two years ago and most of the people never heard of him. Now at least 80-90% of people have.”

    Lots of people haven’t heard of Kamala Harris, Corey Booker and Joe Kennedy. Establishment Dems have a lot of heavy lifting to do between now and then.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Wonder what tricks they have up their sleeves.

      “You have to be a Democrat for at least the last 5 years, continuously.”

      1. foghorn longhorn

        Must say, between the bernie vid and the Philadelphia prosecutor, the pendulum may be starting to swing back.
        Crawl before you walk, walk before you run.

      2. Big River Bandido

        “You have to be a Democrat from a place that is ‘optimistic, diverse, dynamic, moving forward’.”

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          * * *

          And for the old codgers and codgeresses:

          “Gentlemen, gentlemen – I, as leader, will use power like a drum, and leadership like a violin. Take out any idea. Compare ideas, with the one idea left we are left you have no doubt and without a doubt we have enthusiasm! Gentlemen, gentlemen, please, gentlemen – to make life whole, it’s as easy as a bridge! Now, now, gentle- gentlemen, now that we have obtained control we must pull together as one – like a twin!* Keeping the prophecy of power as enthusiasm! All for one!”

          NOTE * Rather like the Democrat Unity Reform Commission if it comes to that.

    2. Pavel

      Remember the HRC campaign claim that Bernie only appealed to whites? From that short clip there seemed to be plenty of young millennial people of colour who wanted to shake hands with him.

      That’s another charming clip of the typically natural and unrehearsed Sanders BTW. Contrast with those scenes of a handful of HRC supporters lifeless in a school gymnasium.

      1. foghorn longhorn

        Since you brought up the clinton, another positive step is that she continues to demonstrate why she was and should have been rejected.
        Keep it up hills.
        Trump sucks, but he has his purpose,
        Break the mofo

    3. Oregoncharles

      Sorry to raise difficulties, but how old will he be by then? His VP choice will be unusually important, as the job may kill him.

      Does he have any obvious political successor? I ask because I don’t see one. Developing a successor is part of the job if you start a movement.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The major problem is the Democrats in Congress are too stained from years of Clintonistas running the Democratic Party organs. I like Nina Turner for example, but she isn’t a classic candidate for VP. Looking at the rest of the field, Turner is a person who has to be considered given the youth of the Democratic Party elite is represented people such as a random Kennedy nephew.

        I would add homogenization of the states and the power of Senators really does make it difficult for people to make a name of prove their worth at lower levels. Then of course, how is someone going to get on Rachel Maddow without having read failed a book report on “Crime and Punishment”? This is a problem both for Sanders and potential successors.

        1. Synoia

          Clintonistas running the Democratic Party organs.

          Yes, they have expert leadership in Organs.

      2. edmondo

        Shhhhhhhhh. You will kill the Hope and Change for 2020. Clap harder and don’t ask questions.

      3. The Rev Kev

        Good point that. Remember when John McCain was running for President and people said that if succeeded, that meant that Sarah Palin was only one heart attack away from being President of the United States herself?

        1. Octopii

          That is why he didn’t win – both your thought, and also his nakedly bad judgement for selecting an idiot as a running mate.

      4. Oregoncharles

        Come to think, he might want to look into Oregon’s current governor, Kate Brown. I have some issues with her, but she’s OK for a Democrat.

        And there’s DeFazio, but he’s almost as old. Both have the problem that Oregon offers only 7 EC votes, and is reliably blue anyway.

      5. Jen

        One year younger than Nelson Mandela, when he was elected president.

        Bernie has 25 years on me, and just reading about his schedule makes me tired. Wouldn’t exactly call myself low energy, either.

    4. NotTimothyGeithner

      I’m reminded of the “Where has Obama’s groove gone” articles about how Obama needed to find his voice of the 2013-2014 era before the Presidential election season kicked off. What was missing in those articles was references to the glory days of the Great Orator of our day. This was the result of Obama’s speeches largely being vacuous or a series of platitudes. There is a growing demand for results. It might not be a result, but Sanders can point to his opposition of the Bush/Obama tax cuts for the wealthy. More importantly, Sanders can point to his credible behavior from when he wasn’t running for President, and lets be honest, he isn’t television candidate by any stretch of the imagination.

      What do Harris, Booker, and Kennedy have? The little Kennedy wants to arrest drug users because he can’t handle his booze despite living off a family fortune/name built on bootlegging. Is he going to run on being related to our first orange skinned President? JFK died in 1963. Who cares about him anymore? That decision to use Agent Orange wouldn’t make “Profiles of Courage 2.”

      Obama had the non-binding resolution and novelty. Hillary tried to run on novelty and nostalgia, and a really old Jewish carpenter gave her a credible primary challenge despite no money and little name recognition.

  9. DJG

    Wowsers, Ides of March populus. I didn’t know that Julius Caesar was assassinated in the ruins across the street from that big Feltrinelli bookshop in downtown Roma. He would have been much safer in a bookshop, as would all of us.

    1. wilroncanada

      The Martinus joke…
      Vintage Wayne and Schuster, circa 1956.
      Detective Flavius Maximus, in Who Killed Big Julie?

  10. shinola

    A lot of what passes for country music today is party rock (or even hip hop) with fiddles and/or steel guitar thrown in. A new equivalent of Woody Guthrie or Merle Haggard is sorely needed.

    Perhaps today Merle would write: “Big Ag turn me loose and set me free”

    1. Jim Haygood

      Last weekend I was subjected to a couple of hours of some Pandora “country” channel. It was all the same song: tough-but-sensitive workin’ class guy praising his foxy small-town girlfriend who’s equally comfortable in high heels or cowboy boots; they get in his truck, cruise through their one-stoplight town a few times, then make out by the lake — all sung in a fake put-on southern accent.

      On a happier note, I Heart Radio which broadcasts this forgettable, interchangeable muzak in many markets declared bankruptcy, choked on its own vomit debt load. :-)

      Help me Merle, I’m breakin’ out in a Nashville rash
      It’s a-looking like I’m fallin’ in the cracks
      I’m too country now for country, just like Johnny Cash
      Help me Merle, I’m breakin’ out in a Nashville rash

      — Dale Watson, Nashville Rash

      1. Darius

        Country music is for exurban white dudes with oversized pickups and other trappings of rural identity. Rural people listen to rock and roll and hip hop, like other Americans. Maybe it’s different in the South.

        1. jrs

          Rock is fine, but I’d rather listen to folk, and sometimes country too as it’s similar (at least real country, not the latest stuff calling itself country which often isn’t even country). But I basically live in the vast urban sprawl so.

      2. Plenue

        Modern mainstream country is breathtaking in the open loathing it has for its audience and the utter cynicism that goes into making it.

    2. foghorn longhorn

      Yup
      Hiphop with a twang
      FWIW, Miranda grew up around the corner from here
      They’ve got a winery going now

    3. Elizabeth Burton

      Check out Kasey Lansdale, daughter of author Joe, for some seriously decent real country.

    4. Dr. Robert

      Bluegrass is where it’s at these days. And the music is good too! Plenty of social commentary from a lot of bluegrass groups, but very little airtime on the radio. The music is so much more complex and skillfully played than country. Same twang, same accents, same general cultural aesthetic (only they get along with hippies and like dope as much as beer), but it’s actually good music. Most Country Music is recycled poppy garbage and the popularity of various groups is based almost soley on marketing and tabloid PR with a healthy heaping of payola. Of course that hardly differs from what passes as ‘indie music’ these days. People pour out all kinds of love for some pretty shitty music just because they saw it on Pitchfork and it matches their ‘hipster’ aesthetics (which basically means looking like young people in commercials these days).

    5. Lee

      Susan Tedeschi is more blues rock than country but she does a nice job with John Prine’s Angel from Montgomery.

      1. Lee

        And if you’re not feeling like yourself lately. Don’t feel all alone. Definitely not country.

          1. Fiery Hunt

            How about a Pink Floyd cover done acoustic in country twang?
            Best version I’ve every heard (including the original !) …first time I’ve every actual understood the song..

              1. HopeLB

                Stay a while longer to hear Misguided Angel. The entire album, Trinity Session, is lovely as is the book Trinity by Leon Uris, as is the the idea of the trinity (I have a twin and an younger “Irish Twin” sister so I am biased about 3’s and 27’s)

            1. Bukko Boomeranger

              There’s also If you’ve never listened to the Lizards, you should Oogle for their tune “Jesus Loves Me But He Can’t Stand You.” Just don’t be drinking coffee and sitting near your computer when you do.

      1. Alex V

        Dirty South hip-hop. OutKast is off course a classic. Houston has chopped and skrewed. Juvenile when you’re feeling juvenile.

      2. Edward E

        What next? How about Southern Country Rock, the Ozark Mountain Daredevils!
        Ozark Mountain Daredevils-If You Wanna Get to Heaven

        Live version:

        My brother has chickens right there in Arkiefornia of all places! Watch
        Ozark Mountain Daredevils – Chicken Train (Live 1976)

        1. Edward E

          Hope Superstar will burn a CD of this for me. She did a wonderful Laura Nyro that is just awesome. Enjoy
          Ozark Mountain Daredevils on Old Grey Whistle Test (1976) Full TV Show

    6. wilroncanada

      Things are a little different in Canada, musically. The market is smaller, though radio also invaded by I-Heart musak. The performers have to be more versatile, playing a wider variety of styles. There are, fortunately, a lot of summer festivals, and specific music festivals where players, singers, and composers can get a start, find audiences, and hone their craft.
      People like Colin James will play and sing everything from roots to country to rock to folk to blues (used to have coffee regularly with his mother and stepfather out here in the Island). Went to high school with Richard Newell–King Biscuit Boy name given to him by Ronnie Hawkins in Toronto–blues harmonica player, who formed Crowbar as Hawkins second backup band after Levon Helm and the Hawks left to go to Big Pink and become The Band.
      Island Folk Fest in Duncan every July has blues, celtic, traditional folk, international, country, jazz, latin, and rock. Five stages, good local, national and international acts.
      For loud, roots rock, look up Lion Bear Fox from Nanaimo BC, especially “Freedom.” And look up Asani, three Cree women, doing Oh Canada, our national anthem.

      1. Oregoncharles

        That’s a thing, only they call them trotting races, with little buggies. I’ve forgotten all the specialized words, but that’s what they are. Might be well out of fashion, though.

        Sadly, blades on the wheels are not allowed and nobody dies. That’s in the stock-car races, the true modern equivalent.

      2. The Rev Kev

        I did see film footage once where they tried to have chariot races but with monkeys as drivers. It all ended in a big pile-up with crazed monkeys running around everywhere – it was glorious!

  11. Jim Haygood

    Well, there they go again — the sinister cabal of sellers, I mean, who have attacked and quashed stocks’ hopeful opening rise, each and every day this week. It’s the exact opposite of a healthy market, in which any early weakness dissipates like morning mist as “conviction buyers” swoop in to snap up bargains in later trading.

    But conviction buyers are sitting on their hands waiting for the hammer of a full-fledged trade war with China to fall, devastating US exporters (including farmers) as they bear the brunt of retaliation.

    Even the MSM is starting to wake up and smell the stale coffee. Today Marketwatch ran an article on the creeping sense of malaise, as the R-dogs of western PA declined to lap up their partisan swill. Long gone are the adulatory crowds of Harrisburg, back in the euphoric campaign days.

    It’s dawning on folks that there’s a downside to an erratic commander in chief who’s prone to roaming the third floor of the White House beating his chest while proclaiming “Trump is a very stable genius! And Xi Jinping is his grinning shoeshine boy!”

    He stopped once to wipe the sweat away
    I said you’re a mighty little boy to be workin’ that way
    He said I LIKE it with a big wide grin
    Kept on a-poppin’ and he said it again

    — Johnny Cash, Get Rhythm

    1. Oregoncharles

      On the bright side, if Trump triggers a new recession, we won’t have to worry about him winning in 2020.

      1. Edward E

        All the repeal and replace talk is having an effect after all. Donald Trump Jr’s wife is divorcing him citing irreconcilable doofuses

  12. Pat

    Considering all the over conspiracy theories that are being spread daily by our pundit class (not to mention the political one) couldn’t Lamb’s win in PA-18 all be a dastardly plot by Republicans to lure the Democrats into a foolish state of complacency regarding 1.) turnout and 2.) more importantly the necessity to run ever more conservative candidates who don’t really support policies that would be popular. Or really the oligarch’s putting a show on for the rubes yet again – mostly the ones from out of state who think this means something.

    First off this is a seat that is going away, will cease to exist, mere months of office time where the person elected is not going to be able change or effect much. But far more important to me is why I think this is a win/win for our current one party system disguised as a two party one. Lamb was called a conservative by Ryan. Yeah, he noticed. But that means the oligarch party machine wins. This just insures that Democrats in name only will increasingly be the norm. Lamb’s “win” is also being touted as a win for health care. Ha, he supposedly supports the ACA, but not Medicare for All or any type of single payer system. We all know what that really means – he isn’t going to do diddly to make sure everyone gets healthcare, but he will make sure the profit centers in those sectors continue to do a bang up business while ignoring that anyone not on medicaid either has no real access to health care or is at increasing risk to losing it. His other stands are nebulous at best – I can’t support reproductive rights but I won’t actively go after them, frack away, etc. I don’t consider not supporting Pelosi a deal changer, but then I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t support anyone I would support to truly change the direction of the House to reflect more traditional Democratic stands, like not spying on the populace, not ignoring banks stealing things etc. Lamb’s win, especially with the anemically better Democratic turn out, was just as good for the ‘real’ Republicans as it was for the ‘real’ Democrats – neither of which have anything to do with the rank file membership or the historical parties at all.

    Yup, my conspiracy theory spidey sense says “Turn out be damned. Any way this had turned out it was good for the guys behind the curtain, screw the voters.”

  13. Timmy

    The cheese printer is a “prank box”. The product isn’t real, just the very real looking box. $7. Some great pictures on amazon (mom’s face peeking out from under some lettuce in a sandwich).

  14. Darthbobber

    Very pleased with Larry Krasner here. Campaigned for him and hoped as DA he’d be maybe half what he appeared to be. But he seems to be that rarity of rarities. Someone who actually is pretty much exactly what he campaigns as.

    For a measure of how much the political environment has changed in Philly in not all that long, Lynn lock em all up Abraham actually ran for reelection as DA as the joint nominee of the Democratic and Republican parties, and nobody who criticized the policing as war approach could get a word in edgewise.

  15. The Rev Kev

    “Oconomowoc schools impose limits on ‘privilege’ discussions after parents complain”

    So I guess that holding the Blue eyes–Brown eyes exercise might be out of the question here?

  16. Sutter Cane

    “If country music gave voice to many American farmers during the 20th century, what does it have to say about the fundamental shift in farm labor that is coming to define the 21st?” Can any country music fans in the readership comment?

    This article was a bit frustrating. “fundamental shift in farm labor that is coming to define the 21st?” That is coming? The author seems to be noticing the need to close the barn door after the horse has long since skedaddled. And while it does a good job of raking Luke Bryan over the coals for his catering to bankers and Monsanto/Bayer, if anything it is far too kind to him regarding the quality of his music. “A future where “farmer” survives as an identity wholly removed from any actual farming” – that future is pretty much already here.

    Full disclosure: I grew up on a small, family farm. Country music fan. I now live in the big city. The prospect of anybody making a living like my parents did on a farm like my parents had is deader than a coffin nail, and has been for years. The transition from the kind of pastoral farm that people like to envision when they think of a “family farm” and the kind of industrial operation that people think of when they hear “factory farm” already happened long ago. The only thing new about this is that maybe now they are going to use drones.

    Country music is as dead artistically as the family farm is economically. Country music today is for suburbanites who are looking for an identity. You’ve heard of “all hat, no cattle” but in addition to the hat, add a “coal burner” giant pickup and lots of tacky western clothes with crosses bedazzled on them. Young people who actually live in the country listen to hip hop like everybody else. The article states: “A recent survey by the Country Music Association put the average household income of country fans $81,900 per year, $5,000 higher than that of the average pop fan” which says it all. To own a profitable farming operation today requires a lot of capital. Contemporary country fans are in the same situation as Trump voters – frequently confused with the “white working class” by the media when they are really more petit bourgeois.

  17. Rates

    Been getting a lot of reach out from Cruise. I have always been skeptical of this self driving cr**. I wonder if my job would be exactly that … changing data.

  18. Steely Glint

    Please explain the defenition of MILO canditate & list of/ or example those canditates. My inquiring mind wants to know.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      See this post:

      Military/Intelligence/Law Enforcement/Other, where Other is for intelligence/national security outliers like consultants.

      About 23% of Democrat candidates in the seats most likely to flip are MILOs. See the “Dem Challengers” column for individual candidates.

      The Catch 22 reference is intentional (see note [3] at the link).

  19. paul

    As no one has gone for this:

    “Human hippocampal neurogenesis drops sharply in children to undetectable levels in adults”

    In my meagre understanding of epigenetics (which amounts to nuture trumping nature) it would be predictable.

    The joy of life is robbed young.

    NC nags us to remember things that are too easy to forget, too painful to remember

  20. Fiery Hunt

    Country music, like so much of America has split: Nashville is a huge corporate industry and the town is (based on a quick visit) suffering with a few huge winners.

    But there’s still fantastic music being made by real musicians…poignant and haunting, or defiant.
    Check out Sturgill Simpson or better yet Tyler Childers. His “Nose on the Grindstone” is straight from a land full of opioids and dispair. He’s out of Kentucky, I believe.

    “…keep your nose on the grindstone
    And outta the pills..

    But Daddy, I been trying just can’t catch a break.
    There’s too much in this world I can’t seem to shake…”

  21. Ed

    I ran across a movie I’d never heard of while doing some genealogical rumination and turns it out has some tunes that have stood the test of time. The movie is “Songcatcher”, there’s a soundtrack (on YouTube), and one song, in particular, caught my ear. You can find many covers of it on YouTube. Here’s one in particular:

    1. Oregoncharles

      Back to 60’s folk music – now called “roots” music, if American. That song is probably a border ballad, that goes clear back to the perpetual wars on the Scottish-English border.

    2. Harold

      The singer Eric Bibb is the son of the well known folksinger, actor, and activist Leon Bibb, whose records we had (on 78) when I was a child. Eric Bibb sings, adapted to blues style, the version made famous by Burl Ives, who used the phrase “Wayfaring Stranger” as the title of his autobiography.

      I loved Iris Dement’s singing of “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms” in the closing credits of the Coen Brothers’ movie, True Grit.

      The movie Songcatcher had good music but to my mind it was marred by the fact that it made villains out of the pioneering academic folksong collectors, and, in particular, it very unfairly caricatured the indefatigable Australian composer collector Cecil Sharp and his assistant, Maud Karpeles, implying that they were somehow exploiting the singers, whereas the notoriously corrupt commercial music publishers of the era, and especially later, were not. This was in the height of the neoliberal era. That’s how I see it anyway. I believe the real quarrel for which the plot of Songcatcher was a stand-in, was between the cold-war commercial music publishers in the 1960s and the older Popular Front Folk Revival of the 1930s and 40s.

      Here is a cover of Wayfaring Stranger by Bill Monroe

      Monroe’s version makes very clear the connection between the “high and lonesome” (I am not a musician, but is his singing a little sharp?) hymn-singing style of the Old Regular Baptists and Bluegrass music.

      The Old Regular Baptists sang strictly a cappella, using the natural scale and and a lot of rubato, as opposed to the regularized diatonic tempered scales and rhythms that we are all accustomed to thanks to inventions such as fixed tuning, the piano, etc. (not to say autotuning).

      It is my impression that the natural scale was used by everyone in America (and probably England, Scotland and Ireland, too) until the end of the 1700s and is not particularly “Celtic” as some imply. It just lingered on in the mountains and isolated backwaters (including the coastal islands of Scotland) longer than elsewhere.

      I would like to read this article by John F. Garst (1980), “’Poor Wayfaring Stranger’—Early Publications,” The Hymn 31/2 (1980): 91–101. Which probably has the absolute ultimate last word on the history of the words and music of song “Wayfaring Stranger” and will probably have to go to the library to find it.

      1. wilroncanada

        I first heard Leon Bibb in the late 1950s as I lay in bed on Sunday nights in Hamilton ON listening to an hour of folk on my transistor radio out of Wheeling West VA. Later, he move to Vancouver BC, and I saw and heard him in a revival of Jacques Brel, which played for many years at the Arts Club in Vancouver. Bibb died just a couple of years ago.

  22. Duck1

    Infrastructure USA! USA! shadenfreude edition: newly emplaced pedestrian bridge collapse in Florida.
    Total regrets for the victims, wasn’t ready for the pedestrians yet.

  23. Jessica

    So if one martini is a martinus, is one bikini a bikinus? Or maybe a bikina? Come to think of it, shouldn’t it be bikinae instead of bikini?

  24. allan

    [AP, whose headline editor should get a bonus]

    A new U.S. advisory board created to help rewrite federal rules for importing the heads and hides of African elephants, lions and rhinos is stacked with trophy hunters, including some members with direct ties to President Donald Trump and his family.

    A review by The Associated Press of the backgrounds and social media posts of the 16 board members appointed by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke indicates they will agree with his position that the best way to protect critically threatened or endangered species is by encouraging wealthy Americans to shoot some of them. …

    Most are high-profile members of Safari Club International and the National Rifle Association, groups that have sued the Fish and Wildlife Service to expand the list of countries from which trophy kills can be legally imported.

    They include the Safari Club’s president, Paul Babaz, a Morgan Stanley investment adviser from Atlanta, and Erica Rhoad, a lobbyist and former GOP congressional staffer who is the NRA’s director of hunting policy.

    Bill Brewster is a retired Oklahoma congressman and lobbyist who served on the boards of the Safari Club and the NRA. An NRA profile lauded Brewster and his wife’s five decades of participation and support for hunting, and his purchase of a lifetime NRA membership for his grandson when the boy was 3 days old. …

    Among Zinke’s appointees is Steven Chancellor, a longtime Republican fundraiser and chairman of American Patriot Group, an Indiana-based conglomerate that includes a company that supplies Meals Ready to Eat to the U.S. military.

    According to Safari Club member hunting records obtained in 2015 by the Humane Society, Chancellor has logged nearly 500 kills — including at least 18 lions, 13 leopards, six elephants and two rhinos. …

    Also on the council is Olivia Opre, a TV personality and former Miss America contestant who received Safari Club’s top prize for female hunters, the Diana Award.

    Opre, who co-produces a competition called Extreme Huntress, has killed about 90 different species on six continents, bringing home some 150 animal carcasses. Many are stuffed and mounted in her house, she told the British newspaper The Telegraph in 2016.

    “I’m tired of hearing the words ‘trophy hunter’,” she told the paper. “We’re helping to preserve wildlife; we hunt lions because we want to see populations of wildlife continue to grow.”

    Opre, who did not respond to messages seeking comment, has previously recounted killing a hippo, buffalo, black rhino and lion, all in Africa. …

    We had to destroy the species in order to save it.
    File under Trump Transition Class Warfare on Gaia.

  25. moby

    Glad they got rid of the stupid privilege discussions. My poor 15 year old has been going through that shit for a couple years now. He hates it, and I don’t blame him. I guess he’s supposed to feel guilty and apologize for having a place to live and regular meals?

    I don’t know what the people that come up with this stuff are thinking. It’s almost like they’re Republicans trying to sow discord in the working class camp.

  26. allan

    BoJo’s pipe dream is like Theranos for customs:

    [Irish Times]

    The British Government will not have time to introduce invisible customs arrangements on the Irish border before Brexit, an influential group of MPs warned. Withdrawal is due in just over a year and the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee said the UK may need to remain in or parallel to the Customs Union and Single Market throughout the two-year transition period.

    Parliamentarians urged Government to do more to clarify the rules, processes and technical measures that will allow the current frictionless North/South arrangements to continue. They said ministers should develop an innovative system capable of delivering customs compliance without “ineffective and unworkable” physical infrastructure. The committee inquiry failed to find a technical solution capable of avoiding a hard border anywhere else in the world.

    Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson had suggested crossings of the frontier could be monitored by technology like travel between London boroughs. …

    The Committee heard “numerous” proposals for how the UK and the EU could ensure customs compliance without physical infrastructure, including mobile patrols, data sharing and enforcement measures away from the border. “However, we have had no visibility of any technical solutions, anywhere in the world, beyond the aspirational, that would remove the need for physical infrastructure at the border. …

    “Aspirational” – they say that like it’s a bad thing.

  27. XXYY

    Personally, I find this very welcome and right on target, a visible repudiation of the Reagan/Clinton “tough on crime” ethos that has created so much national suffering and destroyed much of two human generations in the US.

    Obviously the criticism will be that all this “coddling of criminals” will create a criminogenic environment (much as the failure to prosecute finance execs has); this will be a good real-world experiment at the level of a large city.

    I like this:

    In a move that may have less impact on the lives of defendants, but is very on-brand for Kranser, prosecutors must now calculate the amount of money a sentence would cost before recommending it to a judge, and argue why the cost is justified. He estimates that it costs $115 a day, or $42,000 a year, to incarcerate one person. So, if a prosecutor seeks a three-year sentence, she must state, on the record, that it would cost taxpayers $126,000 and explain why she thinks this cost is justified. Krasner reminds his attorneys that the cost of one year of unnecessary incarceration “is in the range of the cost of one year’s salary for a beginning teacher, police officer, fire fighter, social worker, Assistant District Attorney, or addiction counselor.

    Great that he put ADAs in this list: the job you save may be your own! It’s also an extremely good point that there are many ways to reduce crime besides locking people up, and the other approaches are being foreclosed by the cost of the ever-expanding prison system.

    Go, dude.

  28. Matthew G. Saroff

    Am I the only one who thinks that a top financial person being named “Repo” is ironic?

    1. wilroncanada

      I thought it might be an assumed name, and wondered what po-ssessed the person to adopt it.

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