2:00PM Water Cooler 4/3/2018

By Lambert Strether of .

Readers, thanks for your patience yesterday, and for holding the fort in the comments section with your links. –lambert

UPDATE Readers, I updated my post on “Worksheet for the 2018 Midterms (More Democrat Biographies and #MedicareForAll Support)” with a new figure (which is why the Politics section today is so light; I did my politics over there!) I rarely toot my own horn [lambert blushes modestly] but I think this series of posts is important both to understand the Democrat Party, and to push policies like #MedicareForAll. And after the additions, I’m a bit more optimistic in my conclusions. So do go read.

Politics

2018 Midterms

IL-12: “Dems Boost ‘Conor Lamb Clone’ in Illinois Race” []. “[Brendan Kelly] is a state’s attorney and former naval officer running in a blue-collar district that has historically been favorable to Democrats but that Trump won by 15 percentage points” []. “‘I meet a lot of guys that love their union, they support the Second Amendment and they want to be able to smoke weed without being prosecuted. That’s the kind of district I live in,’ Kelly told RealClearPolitics in an interview. ‘It is not left versus right. It’s a much more complicated world, and we’re in the middle of the country geographically and we’re in the middle of the country politically and that’s why this is a really fun place to be able to run for office.'” If the Democrats actually supported unions, that would be nice.

2016 Post Mortem

“Did Obamacare Implementation Cost Clinton the 2016 Election?” []. “We also offer evidence that consumers purchasing coverage through the exchange were sensitive to premium price hikes publicized shortly before the election — despite most receiving a federal tax credit that shielded them from the increases. We attribute this to the design of the HealthCare.gov website, which reduced the salience of federal subsidies and likely made consumers needlessly sensitive to media coverage focusing on rising premiums. Placebo tests using survey responses collected before the premium information became public suggest that these relationships are indeed causal.”

Realignment and Legitimacy

“‘Chappaquiddick’: The Trial of Ted Kennedy” []. Anybody been to Chappaquiddick?

UPDATE I should have run this, um, earlier:

BREAKING: It started leaking out last night that SCOTUS will hear a case that challenges West Virginia's separation from Virginia. The Court is going may well order the states reunited. ARTICLE about the history of the separation and backstory here

— Matthew Isbell (@mcimaps)


Stats Watch

Motor Vehicle Sales, March 2018: “[U]nit vehicle sales are running moderately above February’s pace” []. “Vehicle sales have been very soft in recent months and more of the same is expected for March.”

Construction Spending, Februrary 2018 (yesterday): “Construction spending has been soft” []. “The weakness in February’s overall report comes from home improvements, which fell a monthly 1.5 percent for only a 1.4 percent yearly gain…. Public spending also weakened in February with educational and highway spending both slipping into slightly negative ground on the month. But private nonresidential spending is a positive… [T]otal year-on-year spending is still subdued.” And: “Worse than expected, weak, and decelerating” [].

Purchasing Manager’s Manufacturing Index, March 2018 (yesterday): “The manufacturing PMI finishes March steady and firm” []. “The data are piling up showing accelerating factory conditions including building signs of inflation. This index has been on the climb over the last half year but is still running noticeably cooler than the ISM report which has been running very hot.” This is a survey, not “data”! And: “The results of this survey continue to correlate to district Federal Reserve manufacturing surveys – and generallly aligns with the overall trend of the ISM manufacturing survey” [].

Institute For Supply Management Manufacturing Index, March 2018 (yesterday): “ISM manufacturing eased back from February’s 14-year high, slipping 1.5 points and back below 60 to what is nevertheless an outstandingly strong 59.3 in March” []. Questions of capacity stress have to be raised given a second 60- reading for supplier deliveries which indicates lengthening times and suggests that the supply chain is increasingly jammed up… This report proved its worth last year, being among the very first to report unusually strong conditions that actual data from the government is now increasingly confirming.” And but: “Based on these surveys and the district Federal Reserve Surveys, one would expect the Fed’s Industrial Production index growth rate remain about the same as last month. Overall, surveys do not have a high correlation to the movement of industrial production (manufacturing) since the Great Recession” []. And but: “Tim Fiore, chair of the ISM’s Manufacturing Business Survey Committee, said that despite the sequential declines, manufacturing remains in a good place….’Demand is fine and not a concern. What this is really saying is we are maintaining really high PMI levels, because suppliers are continuing to struggle to deliver, whether it be because of the new tariffs or transportation issues or whether it is sub-suppliers who can’t hire the proper amount of people or cannot get the right skills'” [], Fiore: “It is primarily being reflected in the inventory count, which is up 7 points since December. Inventory tends to be where all the ‘ugliness’ gets reflected. Inventories are what’s driving it up, and that is what you expect inventories to do….is be negatively impacted really by inefficiencies in the supply chain and suppliers struggling to deliver.'”

Commodities: “Growth in the U.S. manufacturing sector is coming at a higher price. U.S. factories are reporting robust demand for their products but say rising prices for materials cast a cloud over industrial expansion” []. “But prices for materials also rose nearly four percentage points to the highest level in nearly seven years, and factory operators appear to be taking actions that may slim down manufacturing supply chains. Manufacturer and customer inventories both pulled back, and measures for new orders and production also declined. The survey came before new U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum imports took effect, suggesting that prices still have room to rise. Factories are still pushing out plenty of goods, but it’s costing more to keep up the pace.”

Debt: “Subprime New-Car Buyers Going Missing From U.S. Showrooms” []. “Rising interest rates and new-vehicle prices are squeezing shoppers with shaky credit and tight budgets out of the market. In the first two months of this year, sales were flat among the highest-rated borrowers, while deliveries to those with subprime scores slumped 9 percent, according to J.D. Power.”

Retail: “Mall Vacancies Reach Six-Year High as Retail Slump Batters Local Economies” [].

Retail: “H&M sits on billions of unsold clothes as profits plummet” []. “Swedish fast fashion giant H&M is not having a great 2018 — first-quarter operating profit tumbled by 62 percent to its lowest level in over a decade — and on Wednesday it emerged that it was sitting on $4.3 billion (€3.5 billion) worth of unsold garments.” That’s real money!

Debt: “People have stopped paying their mobile home loans, and it’s a warning sign for the economy” []. “The delinquency rate on mobile home loans has increased by 200 basis points, or two percentage points, over the past year, according to research cited by UBS, with the 30-day- delinquency level now at around 5%, the highest level since 2005. The increase in the number of struggling mobile home borrowers suggests that a large chunk of these individuals haven’t benefitted from the economic growth of the past few years, despite the current low level of unemployment.”

Shipping: “Construction activity stalls, with implications for freight markets” []. “Much of the disappointment in yesterday’s report stemmed from the public sector, as spending on infrastructure projects fell during the month. In the private sector, construction of both single and multi-family housing actually posted solid gains in February and remain on a general upward trend headed into the 2nd quarter. Construction on building improvements continued to struggle, however, declining for the second consecutive month.”

Shipping: “About one-quarter of all ship bookings never materialize because users find cheaper rates elsewhere, according to the New York Shipping Exchange (NYSHEX), which has created a digital capacity-allocation platform supported by real-time market data and binding contracts with incentives for shippers to ship on the contracted vessel and carriers to make the contracted capacity available. No-shows cost carriers about $23 billion a year, NYSHEX has estimated” []. That’s real money, too!

Transportation: “Transportation Tragedies Shine Light on Pedestrian Infrastructure Needs” []. “The Governors Highway Safety Association estimates there were 6,000 pedestrian deaths in 2017. That’s essentially unchanged from the year before — but 2016 saw a higher level of pedestrian deaths than the country had seen in 25 years…. For many safety advocates, [both the FIU bridge collapse and the Tempe Uber death] appeared to be the result of transportation officials prioritizing the quick movement of cars over the safety of pedestrians…. [National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO)] has long pushed for autonomous vehicles to be limited to 25 mph or less in areas where pedestrians are likely to be present — not just in downtowns. At that speed, pedestrians are much more likely to survive a crash with a vehicle, which is a major reason why many cities that have adopted have lowered their speed limits to 25 mph.”

Transportation: “Host Railroad Report Card & FAQ” (PDF) []. “[T]he largest cause of delay to Amtrak trains on host railroads is Freight Train Interference, typically caused by a freight railroad requiring an Amtrak passenger train to wait so that its freight trains can operate first. …. By Federal law, with only very few exceptions Amtrak passenger trains must be given preference over freight trains in using any rail line. Unfortunately, only the Department of Justice can enforce this law, and it has brought only one enforcement action against a freight company in Amtrak’s history, and that was nearly 40 years ago! As a result, freight railroads suffer no significant consequences for prioritizing their freight over our country’s rail passengers.” That exclamation point converts this document from a “Report Card” to a cri de couer, and not unjustly.

The Bezzle: “‘Being cash-free puts us at risk of attack’: Swedes turn against cashlessness” []. Finally. “[A]n revealed unease among Swedes, with almost seven out of 10 saying they wanted to keep the option to use cash, while just 25% wanted a completely cashless society. MPs from left and right expressed concerns at a recent parliamentary hearing. Parliament is conducting a cross-party review of central bank legislation that will also investigate the issues surrounding cash. The Pirate Party – which made its name in Sweden for its opposition to state and private sector surveillance – welcomes a higher political profile for these issues. Look at Ireland, [party leader] Christian Engström says, where abortion is illegal. It is much easier for authorities to identify Irish women who have had an abortion if the state can track all digital financial transactions, he says. And while Sweden’s government might be relatively benign, a quick look at Europe suggests there is no guarantee how things might develop in the future. ‘If you have control of the servers belonging to Visa or MasterCard, you have control of Sweden,’ Engström says.”

The Bezzle: “2 Tesla drivers tried to recreate the fatal Model X accident and showed a potential limitation with Autopilot” []. “While they’re certainly not an official investigation, both [YouTube] videos show the potential limitations of Autopilot. While the software’s Autosteer feature can keep a vehicle in its lane on the highway, it does so by reading the lane markings on either side of it. If a lane marking has faded, it’s more difficult for the vehicle to recognize it, and if the faded lane marking is close to one that’s more prominent, the vehicle may assume the more prominent marking is the one to follow…. The videos also emphasize Tesla’s point that Autopilot is not a fully autonomous system and should not be treated as one.” Just spitballing here, but maybe the word “autopilot” — short for “a device for keeping an aircraft on a set course without the intervention of the pilot” — is marketing hype with safety implications?

The Bezzle: “Tesla raises production but falls short of Model 3 goals” []. “The Palo Alto, California, company says it made just under 9,800 Model 3s from January through March. That’s four times what it made in the fourth quarter. But it’s still only a fraction of the 20,000 per month that CEO Elon Musk promised when Tesla first started making the car. The news, released just before the markets opened Tuesday, pushed Tesla’s shares up about 3 percent to $259.54 in early trading. Still, they have fallen nearly 15 percent since the start of the year on a string of bad news for the 15-year-old company.”

Mr. Market: “Stocks rebound after huge tech-driven selloff” []. As of 11:38 a.m. ET. Still plenty of time for all kinds of excitement!

The Fed: “NY Fed names Williams to top post amid political backlash” []. “John Williams, the genial president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and a top monetary economist, was promoted on Tuesday to head the New York Fed in a politically explosive decision likely to ramp up criticism that the bank ignored more diverse candidates.” Or, as has it: “Decision suggests central bank has prioritised economics expertise over diversity.”

Five Horsemen: “Amazon stabilizes as the tweetstorm rages” [Hat Tip, Jim Haygood]. Sorry I missed the excitement yesterday. Wheeeee!

Five Horsemen Apr 3 2018

NakedCap Mania-Panic Index: “The mania-panic index fell to 20 (panic) as the S&P 500 closed less than a point above its Feb 8th low” [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 Apr 2 2018

Rapture Index: Closes down 1 on earthquakes. “There has [sic] been no major quakes in recent days” [] Record high, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 183.

Facebook Fracas

“Ever Record a Video on Facebook? Facebook Still Has It.” [] “Have you downloaded your yet? Facebook makes it easy to obtain a ZIP file of all the data it has on you: your status updates, your friend list, your messages … and, as I and several people I spoke with were surprised to discover, every video you ever filmed on the platform — including videos you never published.”

“Facebook Data Scandal Has Left Zuckerberg Isolated in Tech” []. Facebook friends aren’t friends…

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

“A radical proposal to keep your personal data safe” [Richard Stallman, ]. “I propose a law to stop systems from collecting personal data. The robust way to do that, the way that can’t be set aside at the whim of a government, is to require systems to be built so as not to collect data about a person. The basic principle is that a system must be designed not to collect certain data, if its basic function can be carried out without that data…. To restore privacy, we must stop surveillance before it even asks for consent.”

“Panerabread.com Leaks Millions of Customer Records” []. “Panerabread.com, the Web site for the American chain of bakery-cafe fast casual restaurants by the same name, leaked millions of customer records — including names, email and physical addresses, birthdays and the last four digits of the customer’s credit card number — for at least eight months before it was yanked offline earlier today…. KrebsOnSecurity learned about the breach earlier today after being ed by security researcher Dylan Houlihan, who said he initially notified Panera about customer data leaking from its Web site back on August 2, 2017.” Wowsers.

Class Warfare

“The Only Way to Survive Janus” []. “Even if West Virginia’s teacher union leaders had wanted to, they couldn’t have called members out on a sudden, two-week unlawful strike by decreeing it from the top. The strike wave worked because teachers devised the strategy, owned the strategy, and believed in it. It was theirs. This is why democracy is not simply a moral question—we need it if we’re going to survive. Union members need to exponentially expand the number of us who have the skills, confidence, and authority to be the union. Leaders need to welcome, not begrudge, rank-and-file initiative, and to do everything they can to help it happen. Lead, follow, or get out of the way.”

News of The Wired

If I see one more of this photographic trope:

Spotify to go public in an unusual New York listing that could see it valued well over $20 billion

— AFP news agency (@AFP)

The shaven-headed tech dude, the T-shirt, the tiny sphere of the head-mike, the Leni Riefenstahl-style camera angle, the general air of overlordship… It all gives me the creeps.

A current face meme:

— Data for Progress (@DataProgress)

Going meta:

— pixelated boat [ASMR] binaural ~4 hours~ (@pixelatedboat)

I like this meme; it’s, dare I say it, dialectical (a heuristic, mind you, not science). Exactly like , which with this one:

— HevalStalin (@SadStalinist)

Neither meme is binary in its thinking. That’s an important cultural shift.

“Metaphors We Think With: The Role of Metaphor in Reasoning” []. “The way we talk about complex and abstract ideas is suffused with metaphor. In five experiments, we explore how these metaphors influence the way that we reason about complex issues and forage for further information about them. We find that even the subtlest instantiation of a metaphor (via a single word) can have a powerful influence over how people attempt to solve social problems like crime and how they gather information to make “well-informed” decisions. Interestingly, we find that the influence of the metaphorical framing effect is covert: people do not recognize metaphors as influential in their decisions; instead they point to more “substantive” (often numerical) information as the motivation for their problem-solving decision. Metaphors in language appear to instantiate frame-consistent knowledge structures and invite structurally consistent inferences. Far from being mere rhetorical flourishes, metaphors have profound influences on how we conceptualize and act with respect to important societal issues.” “Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world” [Percy Bysshe Shelley, ].

Give me this over Le Corbusier any day, or Robert Moses:

The old walled city of Shibam, Yemen, has been inhabited at least since the 3rd c., an example of perfect desert urbanism. A pop. of 7000 living on 0.03 square km (three times as dense as the the most crowded Wards of London), with houses clustered around the five public squares.

— Wrath Of Gnon (@wrathofgnon)

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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 (EW):

EW writes: “A yucca and its stalk with a backdrop of the Organ Mountains.”

* * *

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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.

130 comments

  1. jo6pac

    More on tesla.

    Who knew making cars was so tough and I see where mosk has taken over on 3 production that must be really fun place to work;-)

    1. Jim Haygood

      According to Tesla’s Form 10K for 2017 (page 63), long-term debt mushroomed from $5.86 billion in 2016 to $9.41 billion in 2017.

      Yet in a press release today, Tesla claims it will need no more equity or debt financing this year. That’s incredible!

        1. Jim Haygood

          Probably you’re being sarcastic, but Tesla’s current fiscal year ends on Dec 31, 2018.

      1. jo6pac

        I saw that also they must be using some accountants from the old enron days;-)

        I posted that a pro-tesla site and it was taken down.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        “I don’t need equity or debt financing. I need more faith from you.”

        Can’t wait for the new miracles.

    2. uxxx

      Yep.

      A couple more hits coming their way as well.

      The Subsidy: Tesla will max out this year on the 200k total vehicles qualifying for the $7500 federal plug-in-EV subsidy. (so will GM, btw). The way the phase-out of the subsidy is structured, they get a window of 2 quarters after they reach the 200k total, during which they can and should sell as many as they can to qualify for the subsijdy. This incentivizes them to overbuild capacity. In 2019, Nissan will have a $7500 price advantage, and if Toyota, Honda, and Ford get in the game, they will too.
      Of course with domestic manufacturers out, Trump may cancel it.

      The capacity utilization: 2500/week is supposedly an interim step, Musk is talking about 0.5 MM vehicles per year capacity. I actually think they can do it. If they reach 80% of this (typical utilization), it would make the model 3 the number 1 selling sedan in the US. If they deliver their entire backlog in the next year, they may even pull it off, but is that sustainable? If they build the capacity and don’t use it, money problems will follow.

      The competition: They’re in the $30-$40k+ “nicer” sedan range. Currently the playground of the big Japanese automakers. A new competitor eating 200k-400k of that market will get a reponse

      The buildout: again, assuming they make production goals, we would see a million Model 3’s on the road in the next 5 years. This means, buildout of national sales, parts/service, charger installations. Capital. See utilization, above. With the exception of charger installation, their competition has this all already.

      It will be interesting. I have a feeling Tesla can have a great year, shoot their stock to the moon… after, however, who knows.

        1. Arizona Slim

          If I was one of the major automakers, I wouldn’t be interested in buying Tesla. Instead, I’d be developing my own technology in house, because I already have the manufacturing know-how and the engineering and design talent.

          Come to think of it, isn’t this what the majors are doing right now?

            1. Jim Haygood

              In Tesla’s $28 billion balance sheet, only $361 million is attributed to intangible assets such as intellectual property.

              The rest is depreciating “stuff” — leased vehicles, solar systems, plant and equipment.

              Yet according to the income statement, Tesla spent $1.38 billion on R&D in 2017. As the great George W Bush might have asked, “Is their engineers learning?

      1. John k

        Certainly the 60% monthly rate increase is not sustainable for very long.
        (Extrapolating is fun.)

        Monthly Quarterly
        Sep 464
        oct 742 2394
        nov 1188
        jan 1901
        feb 3041 9807
        mar 4865
        apr 7785
        may 12455 40169
        jun 19929
        jul 31886
        aug 51017 164531
        sep 81628
        oct 130604
        nov 208967 673919
        dec 334347

        2019 total = 888,425

    3. Altandmain

      Having worked at an automotive assembly plant myself, here’s my brief analysis. Assuming 3 production lines, the 500,000 per year that Tesla is claiming is possible by the established car makers.

      The Nummi facility that Tesla occupies was once operated by a GM and Toyota partnership. I believe that total output was in excess of 425,000 at its peak.

      Toyota’s Kentucky Plant, TMMK, which makes the Toyota Camry, Avalon, and Lexus ES can do 550,000 per year, with 3 production lines. Assuming 50 production weeks, that works out to 11,000 a week with a summer shutdown and a winter shutdown lasting a week each. Toyota claims over 2,000 a day, which seems to be reasonable. There will be some weeks where the workers have scheduled Saturday overtime.

      To be honest, after more than 3 production lines, it is often better to build a second plant. That said, there are bigger plants. Hyundai’s Ulsan plant can do over 1.5 million vehicles per year.

      However, just because Toyota and GM and Hyundai can do it does not mean that Tesla can. It is important to understand that they surged their workers to make just 2,000 a week. Workers were implored to volunteer overtime to make this happen. They also pulled workers off their Model S and X lines just to work on this.

      This is not a sustainable solution. First, they sacrificed the process of making higher gross margin vehicles with the Model 3, which is a car at a price point where it will be harder to make money. I have heard that Tesla might lose money on the $45,000 USD and lower price variants of the Model 3. That may be why the $35,000 Model 3 is largely absent. They simply cannot make money on it.

      In this business, the main sources of profit are luxury cars, SUVs, and trucks. Financing is also potentially lucrative. Profits are razor thin and often even the large automakers lose money on smaller cars. When I was in university, one of my professors told me he worked at the Ford Motor Company and they lost every year on their smaller to mid sized cars against the Japanese competition. It is literally a business of losing money in each sold and making it up with volume.

      Now granted, the Model 3 is a 50 to 60k car, so it is competing in the entry to mid sized level luxury segment. However, they do not have the volume to do make this work unless they sell millions of cars.

      The question is not if this theoretically possible. The question comes down to, can Tesla execute mass production competently? Thus far, I have not seen that level of competency and Tesla has made some amateurish mistakes.

      Another big issue is reliability. All automobile manufacturers set aside some of the money they make from sales for expected warranty repairs. If there is a major failure, then Tesla could be in deep financial trouble. Another issue is that they will take a huge reputational hit. Not everyone is a Tesla fanatic. The general public is less forgiving. Look at the big 3 American car makers for example. They still have not recovered their reputation from their worst days despite their attempts to close the gap with the Japanese. Ford and GM have especially made big strides. Tesla has a long way to go…

      1. Procopius

        Another big issue is reliability.

        Absolutely. David Halberstom pointed out in “Reckoning,” which I think was published in 1984, that the biggest single factor that allowed the Japanese to succeed in the States was reliability. The Japanese were building up a repair/maintenance network all over the country and at the same time using advanced statistical techniques and also asking workers for their input to reduce the number of lemons. Detroit at that point (mid- late-’70s) seems to have been churning out the equivalent of Soviet autos. I don’t know how Tesla has been doing at developing a maintenance network.

  2. Buck Eschaton

    I was at that MN meet-up this weekend, it was great. Thanks Katy!!! I think there was some discussion there re why there is so seemingly little protest in the face of such overwhelming/cataclysmic economic subjugation/dislocation.
    I had several things in my head when I read a journal article this weekend re depression.
    1. The number of opioid/depression deaths (deaths of despair) exceeding all deaths of American soldiers in the Vietnam War.
    2. The recent Johann Hari posts here re depression.

    I came upon an article “Blessed are those who mourn: depression as political resistance”, by Bruce Rogers-Vaughn.
    I hadn’t thought of it in this way before. “Depression as an internal form of resistance…depression may often be resisting something in the sociopolitical domain.” Depression of course is horrible.
    I suddenly thought, there’s our protests, there’s a mass casualty event with deaths greater than a major war.
    Case-Deaton lowered life expectancy only caused by war or absolutely horrible economic dislocation.

    1. Amfortas the Hippie

      I’ve got an old analog* scanner(local news)…
      I get the volunteer fire department and the emt.
      There ain’t a week that goes by without an attempted suicide….or something that could well be(overdose, alcohol psychosis,shot self in arm)
      there’s only 4500 people in the whole county, or thereabouts.
      If the ratio fits elsewhere, then we’re in bad shape, indeed.

      *so it no longer picks up the sheriff department, save for garbled alien-speak, due to a 2006 Homeland Security(sic) grant that digitised and encrypted them. I still maintain a rather robust intel-gathering network, so I find out about raids and whatnot pretty quick, any way…but it still bothers me(I should be able to listen to my employees, dammit)

    2. Arizona Slim

      And, Tucson peeps, the Minneapolis folks are throwing it down! I expect the same high level of conversation at our meetup on Friday.

  3. gearandgrit

    Retail: “H&M sits on billions of unsold clothes as profits plummet”

    That explains all the 60% off 25% off free shipping notifications that have been blowing up my phone.

    1. Clive

      Ah, yes, me too. Oh, has that hashtag already been taken?

      Anyhow, last time I went to one of their stores, it was rail after rail of expensive tat. It used to be cheap, or, at least, moderately priced tat. To which my reaction was: You can try to sell me rubbish tat at cheap prices*. You can try to sell me good quality stuff at high prices. But you will never, ever, sell me rubbish tat at high prices.

      * but you still never will, because I’m with Jerri-Lynn Scofield, of this parish, about the high costs of inexpensive fast fashion.

    2. Katy

      Maybe one of the reasons that H&M isn’t doing so well is that I would rather wear a Febreeze-scented garbage bag than their clothes.

      Of course, I can say the same for nearly all women’s clothing stores in existence today.

      1. clarky90

        “Febreeze-scented garbage bag” is a wonderful metaphor. Thanks Katy. Poetic, and evocative. Wearing a Febreeze scented garment is the pits. The chemical-sweet smell envelopes and follows you. Russia, Russia….?

        1. Oregoncharles

          We’ve found that we can smell people a long way off on hiking trails, by their laundry. We don’t use fabric softeners or scented detergent, so we notice.

      2. AnnieB

        I agree, especially after making a point to look at the labels of spring clothes at Kohl’s, which is a moderate price department store. Every piece of clothing that I looked at was made from synthetic stuff from Nicaragua. Not a cotton blend to be found. Even Nordstrom clothing quality has gone downhill. Target has cotton t shirts, although poor quality from Vietnam. Best casual clothing store for me is J.Jill. Next is LLBean, but read the reviews because quality is mixed. I remember it was not so many years back that LLBean was a sure thing for quality. Most retail women’s clothing has been crapified.

        1. marym

          Made in USA women’s t-shirts

          allusaclothing allamericanclothing and american-giant

          all are dot com

          1. Donna

            In the 60s my Mom got a Sears sewing machine and taught herself how to sew. She clothed 6 children (even my brother) for over 30 years. I also took up sewing in the 70s. Eventually with factory outlet stores that truly had name brands for less in the 80s and early 90s, sewing went by the wayside for me. I’m close to 70 now and back at the sewing machine. Unfortunately, good fabric is now hard to come by.

            1. anon y'mouse

              Yes, all that is in a Joann is kitchy polycotton crafty crap. I have found good stuff and decent pricing at two places that have been around for years, and both provide samples. One is dharmatrading, and the other fashion fabrics club. The first provides undyed cottons, silk etc for fabric artists to paint and dye, the second actually sells something an adult might wear in public.

          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            I actually bought a hoodie from American Giant (good for travel in freezing air-conditioned vehicles, and the hood is a bit of a sound-blocker, though apparently hoodies trigger security personnel).

            It’s very well made and I’m happy with it. It’s not cheap, but OTOH it’s not a sleazy throwaway item that will pill and disintegrate in two years, either.

      3. ArcadiaMommy

        Absolute nightmare to just walk in the store, complete crap left and right, horribly organized, no one available to answer questions, filthy dressing rooms, etc. And the godawful loud music.

        I would be afraid the seams would disintegrate as I was wearing the H&M stuff. Some people just like buying stuff I think.

        I have been buying online consignment stuff lately, kids things, mens shoes, stuff for mom, and furniture. It’s generally been a good experience. Lots of it has never been used. Also do a lot of mom sharing of kid items (just gave away three kids bikes and a toddler bedroom set!).

  4. WobblyTelomeres

    Debt: “The increase in the number of struggling mobile home borrowers suggests that a large chunk of these individuals haven’t benefitted from the economic growth of the past few years, despite the current low level of unemployment.”

    Wish we could simply say, “We hold these truths to be self-evident.”

    1. Arizona Slim

      One of my friends is a second-generation real estate agent who specializes in foreclosures. (Her mom started the agency when my friend was four years old.)

      She says that business has been brisk, and, yes, they deal with mobile homes. Man, you should see some of those places. Calling them “trashed” is being charitable.

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        Maybe ambrit will chime in. I remember riding through Louisiana on I-20 and was stunned (gobsmacked?) to see a billboard advertising “Cretin Homes”. I spent a few miles wondering why anyone would actually buy one.

        Disclaimer: they may very well be a very fine establishment full of very fine people building very fine homes. Bigly.

        1. Amfortas the Hippie

          lol.That rings a bell.
          like “Crook Automotive” or Shady Gipp’s Used Cars”.
          Foreclosures in the trailer park due to folks just giving up.
          That’s a worrisome indicator.

        2. swangeese

          Louisianan here.

          Cretin is the developer’s last name. Why he chose to use his last name for his business is beyond me. It’s memorable I guess.

          It’s your typical ticky tacky house building business.

      2. perpetualWAR

        Skimming money off the victims at the behest of the banksters…..that’s “specialization.”

      3. polecat

        ‘Mobile’ is a misnomer with regard to these dwellings. It’s not like you can just pick-up and move one when you want to live elsewhere …
        ‘Low-end modular’ is probably a more discriptive term … and no, mine ain’t trashed .. white, or any other ! ‘;)

    2. WheresOurTeddy

      “these individuals haven’t benefitted from the economic growth of the past few years”

      The individuals who HAVE benefitted from the economic growth of the past few years are buying 2nd and 3rd houses, not mobile ones.

  5. Filiform Radical

    I think the SCOTUS case with West Virginia and Virginia is an April Fools’ Day joke; some of the replies are claiming it to be, and the linked article in turn has a link to further reading which is actually a Rickroll.

          1. Darius

            Isn’t this how April fools jokes are supposed to go? I was totally fished in. I even googled it, before I figured it out.

    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      April Fool’s Day bother’s me far more than DST. Though I have an opinion on DST.

    2. Big River Bandido

      What blows my mind about that is the amount of work that must have gone into writing the article, creating and assembling the graphics, and putting the whole thing together.

      Lot of work just for an April Fools’ joke.

  6. Jim Haygood

    Snapshot of AZ-8 as a special election approaches on April 24th:

    Hiral Tipirneni, a former emergency room doctor and political newcomer who was inspired to run for office after the 2016 election, is the first Democrat to contest the seat since 2012.

    She faces Debbie Lesko, a former state senator who championed legislation allowing Sun City residents to drive golf carts on the road. When the bill was passed, the community feted officials including Lesko with a 100-golf cart parade.

    Clearly the R party must up the ante to hold on to this formerly safe seat.

    Nothing short of free golf for life will do!

    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      On vehicular streets, I prefer the traffic calming results from areas that simply have to accommodate their kamikaze golf carts over the ‘urban design’ that goes into the ambitious city projects I’ve tried out. The projects are prettier, but the cart routes are calmer. Highway capable cars in dense populations were one of the problems for happy motoring.

  7. Arizona Slim

    About those Facebook friends: If your friendship depends on a platform, you don’t have a friendship. At most, you have an acquaintance.

    1. ArcadiaMommy

      I have reignited old friendships from the past on FB. Most not so much but a few are back to the level of the old days, if not more important to me.

    2. Elizabeth Burton

      I live in Austin TX. My children all live in PA, as does one of my sisters and her family. My brother and his family live in Louisiana. I lived in Pennsylvania for 50 years, and a good many of my friends from school still reside there. I have other friends, and authors I’ve published whom I consider friends, who live all over the globe.

      We all meet on Facebook, and interact with intelligence and feeling. Yes, we could call or send email, but the former requires coordination and the latter isn’t as immediate.

      I am not alone. So, could we please stop sneering at people who use social media for perfectly legitimate and necessary reasons? Thanks.

      1. Oregoncharles

        As I’ve said before, despite me it’s an important organizing and outreach tool, especially with young people.

        Which creates a worrisome dependency on a giant corporation that has no reason to love us.

    3. anon y'mouse

      I would agree with you on your point. But….[friendly f___book story incoming] a while back, I was able to find and the paternal side of my family, whom I have never met, simply by name and photo searching alone. When I sent a message to my half brother, he said “I’ve been looking for you for years!” Even my {other} grandmother is on FB. She uses it to keep tabs on her grandson, a “deadly catch” fisherman. He uses it to communicate with his fiance’ when out of port, and she uses it to…..
      A friend who operates a rather unique, New age business/performing art has s and is able to travel all over the world. Granted, he was doing that before the internuts, but it’s much easier now.
      People tell “it” everything about their lives. The problem stems from what the owners are doing with all of that, not maintaining connections between us. Unfortunately, all of these online things were pushed with the same initial business plan as drug dealing–give it away for free until you’re hooked.

  8. Louis Fyne

    The Wall-E future is nearly now.

    Apple patents a system that lets humans move around while constantly being fed entertainment

  9. Summer

    Re: Virginia / West Virginia

    Could make for some fun times! 49 states, 98 Senators, until:


    For a longshot, I could see the California split happening before any secession.

    1. Jim Haygood

      West Virginia’s independence — approved by a wartime Congress consisting only of Union states (with prospective amputee Virginia not represented) — is not unlike Russia’s annexation of Crimea, so bitterly complained of by the US.

      In both cases residents of the breakaway region approved, in votes of questionable integrity. Voters in the rest of the former ruling state were not consulted. So it’s “all legal,” SCOTUS doubtless will conclude. :-)

      1. edmondo

        That 4th Amendment can be somewhat nettlesome if one gave it a “strict construction” reading:

        Section 3.

        New states may be admitted by the Congress into this union; but no new states shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other state; nor any state be formed by the junction of two or more states, or parts of states, without the consent of the legislatures of the states concerned as well as of the Congress.

        The Congress shall have power to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to prejudice any claims of the United States, or of any particular state.

    2. WheresOurTeddy

      I live in “Jefferson”, and god help the rubes around here if they actually get what they want (they won’t).

      A whole hell of a lot more money goes UP I-5 from Sacramento than DOWN.

      Jefferson would be the poorest state on the west coast by miles. We already call ourselves “Calabama”.

      1. Darius

        If Democrats thought like Republicans, they’d split California into two states, one centered on San Francisco, and the other on Los Angeles. That would give them two yellow dog Democrat states of more reasonably sized population than the current California. Rather than letting the white people have another sparsely populated Wyoming, complete with two more Republican senators.

        I’ll acknowledge the Republicans could split Texas into at least three, but probably no one would want to give up the Texas identity.

        1. Amfortas the Hippie

          Texas could split into as many as five separate states

          I’ve been a Lefty Texas Secessionist for a long time(rara avis!), figgering that Austin is closer, and therefore easier to intimidate,lol.(see: Lysander Spooner)
          But I have no love for the various movements that have come and gone to try to force the issue: Lunatic children with guns, mostly.
          Divisionism is actually legal, however…and I wouldn’t mind so terribly if the Hill Country were separated from Deep East and DFW.

          1. Mo's Bike Shop

            Our capital and surrounds should be ceded back to AL and GA. Then put the legislature right in the middle of the state at Orlando, no wait Ocala, well Baldwin should probably stay dry for a while.

      2. Lee

        The state as a whole has a very high poverty rate in spite of our being one of Hillz high gdp areas. Indeed, relatively wealthy, population blue states are among the worst as measured by the gini coefficient.

        TRUE: California has the nation’s highest poverty rate, when factoring in cost-of-living

        List of U.S. states by Gini coefficient

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It’s two-for as far as 1% Californians are concerned.

          The Golden State’s poverty makes for more pliant workers.

          And as enablers and beneficiaries of global free trade, they can teach the Deplorables in the industrial heartland some self-evident (to them) lessons..such as ‘Why do you hate the world? You shouldn’t. Look at us – admire us – we have many happy and rich (successful ) friends abroad.’

          1. JBird

            The more dysfunctional our state becomes the more noise about either succeeding or splitting the state. Yeah, right. Maybe they should focus more on our growing thirty year housing crisis instead of turning the state into a dystopian theme park.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Where the ability to vote at the UN is concerned, in order to save the planet, the preference is for secession, not to mention local control over crypto-money.

  10. JohnnyGL

    More context on Kyle Kulinski’s Fox interview from Kyle. I thought he did pretty well in his 5 minute segment. He pats himself on the back a bit much, but I can let that slide. :)

    It’s nice to see alternative voices break into corp media bubble. Kyle’s pretty popular (500K subscribers) on youtube and can make good use of short segments like they gave him.

    The only other decent lefty who has managed to make a dent on Fox that I can think of is Dean Baker. Beyond that, it’s Dem party hacks, mostly.

    1. aliteralmind

      I thought it was a complete waste. Sure, he did it as good as could be expected given the ridiculously short leash they put him on . It’s just not worth it.

      I did enjoy the analysis, but who exactly is he reaching in this? How much of a difference is he making? How many of those Fox viewers are bowled over by his 1.5 minutes of input?

      He could’ve done another one of his own segments during that time which would’ve produced way more value.

      1. johnnygl

        I’ll disagree with you, here. Any opportunity to get lefty thinkers and lefty ideas out of our own little niches should be taken with gusto. FOX news has its own tactical reasons for bringing on lefties like, say, jill stein. They see it as a way to peel off dem loyalists.

        I suspect fox viewers aren’t as lemming-like as we’re told by the liberal establishment outlets. Do recall that fox did everything it could during the republican primaries to undermine trump and crush his campaign. They thought a trump nomination spelled doom. The repub base, and many fox viewers, didn’t listen and didn’t do as they were told.

        That tells me that people are looking for something different. We should offer something different for them to take a look at whenever the chance arises.

        I’ve got plenty of repubs and loyal fox news viewers in my family, coworkers, etc. A lot of them respect bernie and may be persuadable. The older ones even pine for old-style new deal democrats.

  11. jsn

    “Metaphors We Think With: The Role of Metaphor in Reasoning”
    The causal mechanism behind the .

  12. Craig H.

    > The basic principle is that a system must be designed not to collect certain data, if its basic function can be carried out without that data.

    It turns out that Stallman was right all along. Thing is the “function” of paying for the service is selling our data, so this principle is basically pointless. There ain’t no such thing as a free social media.

    In other news Orwell’s 1984 blueprint marches on:

    (Radio Free Asia March 30)

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      And the Chinese officials admitted that they did not know enough (mentioned the other day).

      Not enough, even with their Social Credit score.

    2. Mo's Bike Shop

      I now miss having one f-b-ing Yellow Pages for finding which businesses are around me.

  13. XXYY

    2 Tesla drivers tried to re-create the fatal Model X accident and showed a potential limitation with Autopilot

    A picture is worth a thousand words; two videos worth a million! Hopefully the NTSB will be able to recreate this with ease. I actually like this “crowdsourced NTSB” approach, though its probably not good with aircraft or trains.

    It’s easy to see here that the “simple” task of keeping a car in a lane is actually quite difficult, requiring a real-time fusion of lane markings, placement of joints and seams, guardrail positions, signs, crash barrier positions, what’s happening farther ahead on the road, as well as cues from other drivers and cars. Especially in construction zones and/or bad weather, it can be really hard to figure things out even with a brain. The simple-minded idea of “following the lane markings” is dangerous and, I assume in rain or snow, unworkable.

    Of course:

    When Autopilot launched in 2015, CEO Elon Musk noted that the software worked best in areas with clear road markings.

    The idea that safety-critical software “might not work the best” but that’s somehow OK is Musk all the way. I guess “not working best” means death.

    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      There are so many assumptions in this that one keeps on learning are dumb. My free associations about ‘busy intersection’ have lane markings not showing up at all. I’m having another sinking feeling about all those google sign tests.

  14. Jim Haygood

    How Amazon saved the market today:

    Around 2:45 pm, a Bloomberg headline unleashed a buying panic first in Amazon and then across the broader market:

    *NO ONGOING WHITE HOUSE TALKS ABOUT ACTION ON AMAZON: SOURCES

    This was enough for the headline scanning algos … the Bloomberg story sparked a furious buying spree that sent AMZN stock more than $50 higher in the span of just 30 minutes.

    Meanwhile, in a curious case of the dog that didn’t bark, megabear Dr Hussman — whom one would expect to be all over the market’s shaky action — has posted no April market comment yet.

    One fears the worst: namely, that the good doctor may be contemplating buying the fabulous dip. If so, stocks would promptly plunge headlong to their doom.

  15. allan

    [The Hill]

    In Potemkin villages they at least built store fronts.

    Another massive delivery on a campaign promise.

    1. Jim Haygood

      The giant graphic which Gribbin is hiding behind in the photo looks like the original organization chart for HillaryCare. :-0

      And it appears that he had it printed on a white surfboard.

      Everybody’s gone surfin’ … surfin’ USA

  16. clarky90

    From “A Last Look at the West That Was” by the Saker.

    A heart-breaking article. I remember this USA,- growing up in a small town, beside the mighty Ohio River. There was a band rotunda in the grassy park in front of our brick high school.

    “These are Sophocles’s words in the tragedy Antigone: “Evil appears as good in the minds of those whom the gods lead to destruction.” That, written over 24 centuries ago, describes exactly what is happening today. What was inconceivable in 1961 is ubiquitous in 2018.”

    1. Whoa Molly

      Re West that was…

      Yes Mr Moons article is exactly right. It is the way I remember that time as well.

    2. JCC

      Yes. It reminded me, too, of the Upstate NY town I grew up in and the attitudes I grew up with that no longer exist.

      It also reminded me of Thomas Wolfe’s “You Can’t Go Home Again”, including the circumstances of the times he wrote about and his disappointment with the changes in 1930’s Berlin. Optimism and hope is all my hometown has now; the old town, its core infrastructure, and attitudes are long gone.

  17. Lee

    Police respond to “active shooter situation” at YouTube’s California headquarters — live updates

    1. Summer

      And now we get to see how Youtube handles postings about a shooting they are directly involved in.

      1. Lee

        They have posted links to news coverage. As of March 21:

        YouTube Bans Firearms Demo Videos, Entering the Gun Control Debate

        1. Summer

          Think they’ll post any videos with some dude calling it a “false flag” op or some other craziness?

    2. allan

      [The Hill]

      GOP lawmaker claims without evidence that YouTube shooter ‘could be’ an illegal immigrant

      Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) speculated without evidence Tuesday that the shooter at YouTube headquarters could be an “illegal immigrant,” as news of the shooting was breaking.

      Rohrabacher made the unsubstantiated comments while appearing on Fox Business on Tuesday, during the network’s breaking news coverage of the shooting.

      “You were going to discuss with me sanctuary cities and the sanctuary state movement, and it fits right into what you’re talking about right now. Would anyone be surprised?” Rohrabacher said. …

      The farce is strong in this one. How long before reports about Rohrabacher’s comments
      on Fox are themselves labeled “fake news”?

      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        I wish the Critter Dana would stick to Pro-Dope stuff, and just sink into a haze for all the rest.
        He could actually be useful that way.

      2. Mo's Bike Shop

        Rohrabacher is a crazy weird entity of course. Google him with Taliban for a start.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I don’t think Teddy’s story checks out at all. No way he makes the wrong turn; no way he swims the channel.

      I’ve taken that ferry to Chappaquiddick across that channel. The pilot aims the ferry 45° upstream, against the current, to hit the landing that’s directly opposite. Teddy had a bad back. (To be fair, I’d need to check a tide table against the time he actually claimed to have swum it, but whatever time of day I crossed, the pattern was always the same: Compensate for the current.

      1. Erik

        I think swimming the channel is the most believable part of his story! There may have been a strong current, but it’s a short channel, and he didn’t need to hit a precise target the way the ferry does. Even with a bad back, he was young and in a panic.

        The rest of the story makes no sense. He went to the secluded beach, no doubt, and then ran into trouble when he drove into the water and went into a panic. Going into a panic is almost understandable. If I was drunk, cheating on my wife, almost drowned, and was then unable to save the woman I was with, I would probably panic myself.

        Add to that the expectations that were stacked on him as the last of the Kennedys. He and his family suffered back-to-back trauma, all related to a political dynasty which he surely knew he just ended. Finally, his father was still alive but at the end of his life. The thought of Joseph Kennedy learning of the incident must have been panic-inducing all by itself! There’s both the fear of the man as he was and the tragedy of disappointing the man as he was then, post-stroke and clearly at the end of his life. The whole thing was packaged up like an emotional nuclear bomb. Teddy’s bad decisions and recklessness on that day probably owed more than a little to all of that being pre-wrapped and a self-destructive desire to test fate even if it mean a non-zero chance of lighting a fuse.

        Behavior that is unconscionable is necessarily beyond understanding.

  18. Jim Haygood

    Herbert Hoover Trump declares full-scale trade war on China:

    The U.S. proposed imposing tariffs on a range of Chinese-made products worth about $50 billion, focusing on high-tech items from semiconductors to lithium batteries while seeking to minimize the impact on American consumers.

    In deciding which products to hit, U.S. officials identified items that “benefit from Chinese industrial policies, including Made in China 2025,” USTR said, referring to Beijing’s plan to dominant key strategic technologies. The U.S. also picked products based on the principle of trying to minimize the effect on U.S. consumers, the office said.

    In addition to advanced technologies such as communication satellites, the list includes products ranging from various types of steel to television components, dishwashers, snow blowers and flame throwers. As expected, USTR said it recommended imposing a new 25 percent duty on the products.

    For perspective, the estimated $50 billion of Chinese products affected by these proposed new tariffs is 17 times larger than the $3 billion of retaliatory tariffs which China announced on Monday in response to earlier US steel and aluminum tariffs.

    From a WTO perspective, these unilateral new tariffs relying on Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 are wholly illegal and will be shot down in their entirety when China sues.

    Au revoir Bubble III — kiss prosperity goodbye. Republicans killed it, just as they did in 1930. Trump’s theatrical, reactionary know-nothingism will complete the job of eradicating the US middle class. Don’t give this family money when they show up begging for food outside Walmart:

    1. WheresOurTeddy

      If we get FDR 2.0 in the form of Sanders, all the better.

      Side note: Bernie does not appear to have a middle name or initial. I believe he’d be the first one since Harry Truman made up the S.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Trump is the Republican Jimmy Carter — that once-in-a-generation interruption of America’s Old Faithful-like eight-year partisan alternation in the presidency.

        Unlike the 93-year-old Carter, who might plausibly blame his ejection from the Oval Office on feckless Fed chairs Arthur Burns and G William Miller, Trump is solely, personally responsible for the egregious US trade war on China.

        The presidency is Bernie’s in 2020 if he stays on message and even sharpens it.

        1. Lee

          Assuming Dem establishment skulduggery and sabotage is neutralized, or that Sanders is not co-opted by them. Fingers crossed.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Jim, what goes up must come down, and what inflates must deflate.

          If you see a bubble, with or without Trump, it will go bust.

          We humans are not smart enough to say it’s better now or later. There will not be controllable experiments to know the alternate realities.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Why should China sue or worry?

      According to the South China Morning Post, someone should tell Trump China won.

      “Here are the surrender terms – unconditional. We want California, which apparently in the 80’s was also wanted by Japan, but you guys said ‘Nuts,’ just like the commander at Bastogne.”

    3. John k

      The us, then the biggest exporter, took the biggest hit in the 30’s trade war. China can’t win this, if they target, say Boeing, just slap 20% on everything. WTO takes a while, and trump can just ignore the ruling. We’re not Brexit.

      China knows this, they tried mild response, didn’t work. They will have to change their foreign content and other laws if they wish to continue their trade sur… which anyway reduces their citizens standard of living. So maybe they move to balanced trade, boosting most living standards but hurting Soe’s and employment.

  19. Alex morfesis

    Chapwhodidit…poor Ted…never wanted to be number one sun…airplane flops soon after JFK commits suicide and then Frank sturgis fires blanks at him from a machine gun on the road and drunken Ted panics and keeps wading and pops up a few thousand feet away…

    The entire story revolves around the ramblings of a volunteer dude who hangs out waiting to get cats out of trees so he could blue light his way thru red lights in the middle of nowhere…

    John farrar burped out some nonsense not even ahlyxx kojones or the national inquisitioner would publish or repeat…an unqualified quack…with no documented training nor background but he self certified and proclaimed his imagined capacity to burp out a coroners report and findings…

    but…hey…it was wonderfully convenient good ole Ted was not around to take away the spot light from tricky dicky…

    One small crash for Ted, one giant leap for the little man from Whittier…

    So many people died along the way for the ego of the little German Swiss cousin of Herbert Hoover who found a way to be the only president ever to resign..

    If Patton had not been such a knucklehead imagining himself invincible even after the various mystery near death experiences prior to his being killed just before he was depart for California…

    We would never have heard of tricky dicky for him to kick us around…they were in the same Congressional district…

    But from Nixon to Nancy pelossi…the 12th hasn’t changed much…

    Doing so much for Americans…

  20. Wombat

    The plantidote from the Organ Mountains is exciting! It reminds me of many early wake ups and drives from West El Paso to bag some of those gnarly peaks, but not before paying a stiff penalty getting stabbed and cut repeatedly from those dang yuccas!

      1. Wombat

        Thanks! I’ll try it out. Also many prickly pears at those higher altitudes that would probably pair well in a nice salsa!

        1. polecat

          There’s a mead recipe I’d like to try that calls for using pricklypear fruit in the wort ..
          I need to scource enough ripe fruit to make a batch !

          1. Amfortas the Hippie

            Shiner makes a prickly pear infused Bock that’s pretty good on a hot day.
            The hard part is the spines….especially the almost invisible tiny ones.coffee filter, after fire.
            (I’m generally covered in them,lol.panty hose gets them out…or duck tape).
            Makes good jelly…and failed jelly is good syrup for pancakes.

    1. icancho

      though in the same family as Yucca, the plant is actually sotol, a.k.a. desert spoon, Dasylirion wheeleri.

  21. Huey Long

    RE: Union Grassroots Activism in WV

    Grassroots activism isn’t only confined to WV; rank and file construction workers from all trades have been picketing the Related Companies’ Hudson Yards for months now. Twice a week workers have been rallying to protest Related’s open shop labor practices on the largest construction project in New York since Rockefeller Center.

    The movement is known as #countmein and is rapidly spreading to construction locals nationwide.

    There’s going to be a huge rally tomorrow which I will be attending and the Cfdtrade commenteriat is cordially invited to join us at 3:30pm at 40th St. and 7th Ave. in NYC.

  22. The Rev Kev

    “Rising interest rates and new-vehicle prices are squeezing shoppers with shaky credit and tight budgets out of the market.”

    Umm. Isn’t that the way it is supposed to be? When I was a kid we had an economic system that had this as a standard feature. We called it Classic Capitalism. If you had dodgy finances, then you didn’t get the loan as you probably wouldn’t be able to pay it back. The idea was to stop loan markets blowing up through books being full of bad loans.

    1. Tim

      No that isn’t the idea here.

      The loans are still bad for the bank, it’s just the terms are getting worse for the debtors.

    2. Mo's Bike Shop

      Not sure if you’re in country, but yes, go to Sears when you’re 18, sign up for a credit card. Buy some Sears stuff. Pay for it. Keep doing that.

      Although, I was in the 80s where when I checked my mail at college I was offered 25K of credit. I didn’t use it, I’d already done the Columbia Music Club and learned my lesson.

  23. clarky90

    News that, likely, will not be in the NYT or WaPo?

    “While both London and New York have populations of around 8 million, figures suggest you are almost six times more likely to be burgled in the British capital than in the US city, and one and a half times more likely to fall victim to a robbery.

    London has almost three times the number of reported rapes and while the murder rate in New York remains higher, the gap is narrowing dramatically.”

  24. lyman alpha blob

    From the “Facebook Data Scandal Has Left Zuckerberg Isolated in Tech” piece, here’s one for the “kill me know” files. Zuckerberg’s panopticon is all for the benefit of the poors!

    While Facebook makes money selling targeted advertisements based on user data, Apple’s profit comes from hardware products like the iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

    Zuckerberg responded in an interview with Vox, published Monday: “I find that argument — that if you’re not paying, that somehow we can’t care about you — to be extremely glib and not at all aligned with the truth.”

    “There are a lot of people who can’t afford to pay” for a service and that having an “advertising-supported model is the only rational model that can support building this service to reach people,” Zuckerberg said. “If you want to build a service which is not just serving rich people, then you need to have something that people can afford.”

    Huh, wonder why my computer says Fleecebook is trying to track what I’m doing even though I’ve never had an account?

    1. Summer

      “There are a lot of people who can’t afford to pay” for a service and that having an “advertising-supported model is the only rational model that can support building this service to reach people,” Zuckerberg said. “If you want to build a service which is not just serving rich people, then you need to have something that people can afford.”

      “A lot of people…” – not very specific about the who or where of that lot.

      “advertising-supported model is the only rational model that can support building this service to reach people…” – sounds a lot like another type of TINA…the establishment loves throwing out their TINAs and then cry about not being able to have “rational” discussions. Discussion time is over when you’re confronted with people that have no interest in changing.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > advertising-supported model is the only rational model that can support building this service to reach people

      Except for making Facebook a public utility, of course. It would probably be pretty cheap to run if all that surveillance and manipulation stuff was slashed from the requirements statement.

  25. Altandmain

    We’ll see if Spotify can get Wall Street down a few pegs:

    Seriously, anything that reduces Wall Street’s pocketbook is a win in my book.

  26. allan

    What the NYT apparently thinks will appeal to a random person who wanders in off of the internet
    is the sort of in-depth informed policy analysis that can be found in the check-out line at CVS.
    Browse over in stealth mode, and these are the stories the NYT.com homepage currently shows
    as Recommended to You:

    My Girlfriend Is Perfect Except for Everyone She Dated and I Obsessively Think About Them Hourly
    Should the New Girlfriend of an Awful Ex-Husband Be Warned?
    15 Minutes of Fame? How About 30 Years of Happiness?
    Christine Lahti’s Tales of Feminism, Sex and Aging in Hollywood
    Older Americans Are ‘Hooked’ on Vitamins
    The Pope and Opus Dei
    Mother’s Boyfriend Is Charged With Beating 3-Year-Old Girl to Death
    It’s Sweater Weather Forever
    Frank Bruni: President Trump’s Perversion of Leadership

    All The Clickbait That’s Fit to Print.

  27. Left in Wisconsin

    Looks like Dallet won the WI Supreme Court race today. So that’s one bit of good news. Terrible weather for an election but that may have helped.

    1. Stillfeelinthebern

      And the state overwhelming voted against eliminating the State Treasurer. That was another GOP attempt to consolidate power. Very proud of Badger State voters today. It was very nasty weather and still, they turned out.

  28. Oregoncharles

    “Disgruntled video-maker who expressed anger at YouTube policies ID’d as shooter”

    She was complaining about some of the manipulations by Youtube that we’ve talked about.

    Maybe not a “domestic,” after all.

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