Links 9/23/18

American Conservative

London Review of Books

The Conversation

Stat

The Wire

Quillette

Daily Yonder

The Post and Courier

MIT Technology Review

Syraqistan

Independent. Patrick Cockburn.

Independent. Robert Fisk.

FT

WaPo. Hassan Rouhani op-ed.

BBC

Handelsblatt

Al Jazeera

Brexit

EUReferendum.com

Guardian

India

Economic Times

The Wire

Russia

SCMP

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

Fast Company

Motherboard

Class Warfare

Vice

Jacobin

New York Review of Books

NYT

Jacobin

WSJ

Puerto Rico

The Hill

Tariff Tantrum

SCMP

Asia Times. Marshall Auerback.

SCMP

WhoWhatWhy.org

Kavanaugh

Abovethelaw. Maybe this is inside baseball stuff– but it’s certainly being discussed, and since Links is supposed to provide material ignored by the MSM , I offer it up. Lambert linked to a related Guardian account last week.

Spectator

Politico

‘Incredibly frustrated’: Inside the GOP effort to save Kavanaugh amid assault allegation WaPo

Trump Transition

Pro Publica

Bloomberg

Intercept. Glenn Greenwald

WaPo

SCMP

Truthdig

Reuters

International Business Times

Antidote du Jour:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

227 comments

  1. PlutoniumKun

    The ceasefire agreed by Russia and Turkey proves how far Putin has come out on top in Syria Patrick Cockburn

    The accord means that Turkey will increase its military stake in northern Syria, but it can only do so safely under license from Moscow. The priority for Turkey is to prevent the creation of a Kurdish statelet under US protection in Syria and for this it needs Russian cooperation. It was the withdrawal of the Russian air umbrella protecting the Kurdish enclave of Afrin earlier this year that enabled the Turkish army to invade and take it over.

    Interesting overview – the ceasefire in Idlib a seems to have caught everyone on the hop – everyone is interpreting it in line with their own prejudices. I’ve no doubt Assad is less than happy as he desperately wants to take over the last serious enclave of opposition (save the Kurdish lands), so no doubt Putin has imposed this on Assad for his own reasons. I suspect the longer agenda is that Russia is seen as the rule-maker in that region, and Turkey will need to play ball if it not to have an even bigger Kurdish problem on its plate. The Kurds will have no doubt noticed that everyone is ganging up on them, they will have some big decisions to make.

    As has happened with North Korea, President Trump’s instincts may be surer than vaunted expertise of the Washington foreign policy establishment and its foreign clones. They have not learned the most important lesson of the US-led intervention wars in Iraq and Syria which is that it is not in western interests to stir the pot in either country. Despite this, they argue for continued US military presence in northeast Syria on the grounds that this will weaken Assad and ensure that any victory he wins will be pyrrhic.

    Reply
    1. SoldierSvejk

      To my understanding, this provides a more realistic account of the agreement – giving all sides agency:

      From this, one gets a better sense of how serious the situation was and is.

      Reply
  2. PlutoniumKun

    CHINA AND RUSSIA: NEW BFFS THANKS TO AN INSECURE US SCMP

    In fact, relations between Moscow and Beijing have been improving steadily for more than a quarter of a century. Although they quarrelled in the 1960s and 1970s, the two countries have been growing closer since the final years of the Soviet Union and have now reached the point of “strategic partnership and interaction”.

    The very fact that China changed leaders several times during that period and Russia transformed its entire political system indicates that the Moscow-Beijing rapprochement is based not on transient ideology or political goals, but on a convergence of national interests.

    Trump is making a mess of the US’s international status, but it seems that while some of it is on his plate (the clumsy anti-Chinese tariffs), most of it is down to the neocon Washington apparatus.

    This trend will continue, thanks in large part to the extremely hostile approach the US has taken towards both countries. This is not about US President Donald Trump or any other leader; Trump is only a symbol of the larger situation. The US has long been accustomed to profiting from its global economic dominance, but its influence is declining, even as the relative influence of other centres of power, including Russia and China, is growing. Washington finds it especially irritating that the collapse of the Soviet Union did not mark the “end of history” and the ultimate triumph of the US, but only the start of new and far less advantageous global developments.

    The unipolar world has been slowly eroding – probably the Iraq invasion was the crucial tipping point. But the US needs to get its collective mind around the reality that we are now in a multipolar world, with at least three great powers (four if you are wearing sunglasses and include Europe). For as long as it refuses to accept this reality, under Trump or anyone else, we are all in danger of war.

    Reply
    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      It would have eroded, and Moscow and Beijing knew they had to change after Iraq. Libya would be the tipping point or at least the acceleration point when Moscow and Beijing recognized the American “adults in the room” were as reckless as 43. “Agreement incapable” is a huge deal. Short term political gain or simple brutality was chosen in favor over the only sound thing Shrub did.

      Reply
    2. a different chris

      Not disagreeing with most of what you’ve said, but calling Russia a “great power” is stretching it a bit, don’t you think? Money is power, and Russia (with less than 2/3 the GDP of the UK,of which we are all crowing about its “delusions”) just ain’t got that much.

      Reply
      1. paulmeli

        Comparing GDP alone leaves out a lot of the story.

        Russia gets way more bang for the buck with their GDP than most western counties, where it it is mostly wasted on war or other counter-productive stuff. 40% of US GDP comes from the financial sector, which produces nothing, arguably less than nothing.

        For example, it appears Russia’s weapons systems outperform (or at least have parity with) ours at 10% of the cost.

        Reply
        1. a different chris

          And we have what, 10x the weapons systems? 50x? They don’t outperform that well. They have one (1) aircraft carrier. We have 11 and 4 more on order. Theirs has 15x our capability? Unlikely.

          Note that I make more fun of the DOD boondoggles than anybody, but any crappy pro football team can take Clemson to the cleaners. It’s a difference of kind, not degree.

          Reply
          1. OIFVet

            Wow, 15 carriers!!! The question is, can they sink the Eurasian landmass before it sinks them? Or before they get sunk by a few cheap anti-ship missiles (as in less than $12 billion per missile, $12 billion being the price of the latest and greatest carrier)?

            Reply
      2. John Wright

        Perhaps Russia is far more effective than the USA in allocating/leveraging its financial/military resources so that it is perceived as a “great power”?

        It is true that on a numerical basis Russia is operating with small financial resources, as it’s defense budget is about $70billion/year or less than 10% of the USA’s.

        Russia does have the USA promoting Russia’s soft power via the entire “Russia, Russia, Russia” hysteria which builds up Russia’s image.

        And Russia has done well vs Great Power USA in the Middle East.

        in the Bible, Goliath had the apparent great power, but small David used his limited resources quite well.

        Reply
        1. a different chris

          And if Goliath’s side hadn’t been stupid enough to take the “our best against your best” challenge what would have happened?

          Reply
        1. a different chris

          Yeah but PPP is about “people”. GDP is hard cash. I buy basic staples, Richey Rich buys caviar. Yea I am so much better with my money. Hmph, when it comes to who has power, it ain’t me.

          I mean, we* simply give Israel 3.5 billion dollars/yr. That’s 5% of Russia’s total military expenditures. And we don’t even notice it. That is power.

          *well, again, not me…

          Reply
      3. TimmyB

        I believe using the number of nuclear warheads sitting atop missiles that can be instantly launched against any target on Earth, instead of GDP, provides a more accurate indicator of whether or not a country is a “great power.”

        Reply
        1. a different chris

          Now *your* definition I don’t have a problem with. But I’m not sure how useful it is, except for our MIC to use to scare us into giving them more, more more. Despite the fact that, when you look at it your way, you realize that more, more, more quickly became pointless.

          Reply
      4. vlade

        I sort of agree – more in the terms that US is at the moment the only state that can project power in more than one theatre at the same time – and had practiced to do so.

        Russia at the moment projects power in Syria, and it’s streching it by some accounts. China sticks to South China Sea, and it’s not clear how much it could really project beyond that (I don’t count the clashes on China/India border, those’ve been going on for last few decades).

        So, unless we discuss super-powers as nuke-capable (in which case North Korea is admitted as wel..), US still is the only one. Question is, how long that will last. I don’t believe that realistically Russia can project power much past Easter Europe and parts of Asia, but China is a much different beast. The question with them is whether they can get bases outside SE Asia.

        Reply
        1. PlutoniumKun

          I suppose the broader point is that while the US can project power pretty much anywhere, and in more than one theatre, whether this actually gives an advantage depends on the scenario.

          The winner in any war is not usually the nation with most planes and tanks and men, but the nation that can place those planes and tanks and men in the right place at the right time. Throw a dart randomly at the globe and start a war there, and odds on the US would win. But pick a particular theatre where another power has a foothold, and it could be a very different story. Certainly in Syria, if a non-nuclear full on conflict developed, its not clear who would have an advantage. The Russians are at their stratetic limit, but the US (without Turkish help) would also struggle.

          The other key point of course is who is willing to suffer the most. The US lost in Vietnam because the Viet Cong were willing to take far more casualties than the US ultimately proved capable of accepting. I suspet the Taliban are likewise well equipped to outlat the US.

          Reply
          1. vlade

            Your last point is the importatn one – staying power. Not necessarily “suffer the most” – Vietnamese suffering was orders of magnitude more than the US one, and you can easily suffer AND lose the war – but how much can realistically the domestic front take. And that, with the US (and really any democracy, where it matters) is the crux.

            That said, my (rather fragmented) info from Russia is that not a few people are not happy with the coffins coming back either, especially ones that come from east Ukraine or Syria (non-military) see as much point in bleeding there as most of ordinary Americans in Afghanistan (in fact, for Syria, likely less).

            China, of course in this is entirely untested. But I suspect, that it may be much more vulnerable than most people expect. Ironically, because of the one-child policy. Can you imagine Chinese elites explaining to quite a few Chinese parents why their _only_ son was sent somewhere middle of nowhere to die?

            Reply
  3. PlutoniumKun

    Brexit: a lot to answer for EUReferendum.com

    What the EU should be doing is setting the parameters within which any arrangement must fit, for it to be acceptable. But that is precisely what it has already done. All Mrs May needed to do was listen to M. Barnier and any one of his innumerable speeches.

    Thus, if Mrs May, “victim” of what is now being styled as an “ambush”, had no idea that it was coming, that simply represents another of her failures. In Salzburg, she was at the back of the line but back in London, she is making a complete fool of herself. “We need serious engagement”, she says. One of these days, she needs to try it.

    I’m kind of Brexited out – too much going on – but suffice to say that there seems a slowly growing awareness everywhere that any kind of a deal – even a last gasp face saving transition period one – seems increasingly unlikely. The only ones not to quite get it are the markets – sterling is slipping, but not as much as it will once they realise what they are facing.

    So my only comment now in the light of whats been written in so many papers today – and I write this in the context of the upcoming annual fundraiser for NC – is to note that Yves has been consistently, for 18 months now, entirely correct in her predictions so far on almost every single crucial issue (the only minor exception being the December deal, which now seems to have been something of an error by Bernier and the EU). There have been a small number of other writers – such as Jonathon Lys in the Guardian, or Tony Connelly on RTE, who have ‘gotten’ just how difficult the exit would be. But I don’t think anyone has been so consistently accurate in predictions as Yves and nobody has explained in such a cogent manner why this would be so.

    So just remember that when the fundraiser comes around :-)

    Reply
    1. Todde

      Trade deals….

      I know alot of people who made alot of money dealing drugs.

      I think trade will still happen, it just may be done illegally.

      Reply
    2. DJG

      PK: Hear, hear. And there are plenty of times I wish that Yves Smith hadn’t been so far-seeing and accurate about Greece. But she tamped down our collective emotions and natural sympathy toward the Greeks to show us how the hard-edged facts would play out.

      The irony here is that the English elites (and they are mainly English) are even less sympathetic and competent than the Greek elites are.

      Reply
    3. ChrisPacific

      And it was the best kind of analysis, which lays out the reasons (media disconnect and groupthink on the UK side) in a way that makes the conclusion obvious, can easily be checked against future evidence, and holds up well when you do so. You’re left bemused as to why so many of the major media sites publish stuff that obviously has no relation to reality. It’s all quite reminiscent of the lead-up to the GFC.

      I admit I am still a bit of a Brexit junkie, partly because I have a professional interest in man-made disasters and how they can be foreseen and avoided (I work on large IT projects for a living). The warning signs on this one were evident from an early date and have only got worse. In the case of Brexit we have now used 80% of the available time by the calendar and the two sides still haven’t agreed on a specification (even worse, it seems like one that’s acceptable to both parties may not actually exist). If it was an IT project, the sane course of action would be to abort and figure out exactly what went wrong and how to do it better next time, if there is a next time. Of course, projects that are governed by sanity generally never reach that point in the first place, and what typically happens in practice is that whatever irrational decisions and dysfunctional processes that brought the project to that state continue until they finally push it over the edge. And indeed it appears that’s precisely what is going to happen (or rather, continue happening) in this case.

      Reply
    4. Yves Smith

      Thanks so much for your kind words!

      And yes, re DJG on Greece, the Greeks ran rings around the UK. They has a sympathetic and articulate spokesman in the form of Varoufakis, who made a very sound economic case. But he and the rest of the government failed to grasp that the EU view was they held the cards (Greece needed its debt refinanced, the Greek banks were on life support from the ECB, which was way outside the rules in doing so) and what made economic sense was politically a non-starter (many reasons, but a biggie was it was widely believed than any principal writedown by the European states, who were the biggest creditors to Greece, would have to be recognized as losses on the current budget. That would mean big tax increases and/or budget cuts, which would be both unpopular and recessionary).

      The Greeks were also desperate and for good reason, while the UK created this mess and has managed it in the worst manner possible.

      Reply
  4. The Rev Kev

    “Why We Hyperparent, Helicopter and Heavily Manage Our Children”

    And just in contrast, here are two links that shows what happens when countries do not lose their sense of community-

    And in passing, is tonight’s Antidote du Jour some type of hawk?

    Reply
      1. KB

        Sorry, Eureka…..doesn’t look like a juvenile bald eagle……I live in the land of bald eagles!..
        Looks more like a juvenile African Sea eagle?…..not sure….except pretty sure not from North America…waiting for more responses, anyone?

        A North American juvenile bald eagle does not have that white chest or beak coloring…they are all black with black beak and slowly over 5 years change to all yellow beak and white head and tail…in the intervening years they look almost “dirty” with black and white coloring spread all over and it is my favorite looking baldy.

        Reply
        1. crittermom

          I would concur that it may not be from North America & am certain it’s not a Bald Eagle. The coloring is all wrong, as you state. Even for a juvenile.

          A search of the photo revealed no answers, so we’re left wondering…

          Reply
        2. Edward E

          That’s an American Fish Eagle I believe. I’m not going to tell stupid jokes today, after getting chewed up by a rabbit yesterday…

          You know you’ve been in Arkiefornia too long when you’d rather be Number One in football than Number One in education. Hee Haw is your state’s, ‘Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous. (formerly Dogpatch USA) Razorbacks tenderized again, guess we’ll get to hear about two millionaires sitting around watching the BCS championship game again, the coaching staff. Bobby Petrino’s buyouts are so big he could feel sorry for us and put a hog nose on and come back and work for Floozies, that’s all we can afford🐗

          Reply
          1. KB

            Nope, pretty sure it’s an African fish eagle close to 2 yrs of age. We don’t have fish eagles in North America, only baldies and Goldens…check on the mashatu.com/pete’s pond web cam..there is an African fish eagle juvie they have been viewing this morning..from their web cam.

            I used to volunteer at the University of Minnesota Raptor Center ( actually de-gutted rats for food for them) and have been documenting a pair of baldies that perch across the street from my living room window. Documented for 10 years and have spotted their nest just blocks away. Don’t pretend to be an expert but do know our Goldens and Baldies on film and in person…
            Am open to a different opinion, still waiting..

            Reply
            1. KB

              sorry, meant we don’t have sea eagles. So yes an American Fish eagle….baldies and goldens…this is a fish eagle..I presume from Africa

              Reply
              1. Edward E

                You are correct, African Fish Eagle, I was doing a search, yellow beak black tip, white brown black feathers… and American Fish Eagle popped up somehow

                Reply
          2. Wukchumni

            I’m thinking of slitting my risks by not watching the Bills lose again today, but it’s fruitless, not dissimilar to their offense.

            Reply
            1. Edward E

              I know the feeling…Tried hard to de-risk back in January and February, taken all this time to see a light at the end. My brother told me he’s talked to the fine woman at the VA medical foster care home, dad super-frenzied out all day yesterday, she’s never seen anything like that. So he may be picking him up today and that probably really means me… unless mgmt finally does their damn job and makes the Veteran’s Home decision

              Reply
            2. pretzelattack

              they’re up 24-0 at the moment, granted, over a half to play. still, cleveland proves there is hope to win a game occasionally.

              Reply
            3. Edward E

              Made up my mind, good time to runnoft’ to Hawaii, my neighbor stopped by a while ago said he went. He said there’s no tourists there in October-Nov said he was there for two weeks and didn’t see a single out of state license plate. 🐗

              Reply
              1. Wukchumni

                A local has one of these:

                It’s tan in color and occasionally you’ll see it driving into the lake, or emerging from…

                Now, whether it could make it to Hawaii?

                Reply
                1. Edward E

                  My old high school girlfriend friend should have had one of those instead. She called and said there’s water in the carburator. “Where’s the car?” She said in the city lake. Wonder about stop lights on the water?

                  Reply
                2. Edward E

                  If I remember correctly her dad called all her cars Yugo. “Yugo buy her one and a few months later Yugo buy her another one…” something like that

                  Reply
    1. Afred

      Why did “the village” disappear? Why have “family and community structures” eroded? The article is silent on the agencies that underlie those turns of events. It implies that they happened (first?) in the USA, among an affluent tranche of the middle class, and within the past generation. But why there, why in that particular population, and why then? Is their chronological coincidence with the rise of an ‘all-volunteer’ American military, a ‘mere’ coincidence? Such, it seems to me, are the crucial questions. But they are much harder to address than are the oddball mechanics of helicopter parenting — and of course less lucratively marketable than are the technologies (from the SUV right on down to the smartphone) that enable it, and in which (as Lu notes) parents are pressured to make “investments.” They do indeed lead “beyond parenting” into realms where nowadays even adults are scared to venture.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        The neighborhood I grew up in always had block parties going on, or my parents would invite the neighbors over for daiquiris and Laugh In, and there’d be a dozen lefty adults laughing their collective arses off (the tv show doesn’t hold up well, now) or 68 people in the ‘hood would get together for a blowout July 4th party @ that relatively rare house back then that had a swimming pool.
        Everybody knew everyone.

        In some ways it was a keeping up with the jones neighborhood, but things were really more or less on an equal footing financially, nobody got rich back then, it was very much the exception.

        Fast forward to this time last year, and my wife & I played parents for our 10 and 12 year old nephews in SD, when mom & dad were off on a well-deserved vacation, and there is essentially no vibe whatsoever in the wealthier enclave, no kids playing in the streets, none of them walking to school, which is an easy 1/3 to 3/4’s of a mile away from where the students live, as fear runs rampant, and the elementary school only needs a few tweaks to turn it into a prison, it’s not that far away from a concentration camp as it is.

        One night we took the boys out bowling and picked up one of their friends, and I asked him if kids play on the street in his neighborhood, and he told me that “there has been a suspicious white van seen in the area, and his parents didn’t want him outside”.

        Reply
        1. scarn

          Your experience may be colored by the class character of that neighborhood. In my Orange County neighborhood we still have block parties with lots of free drinks, most everyone knows something personal about everyone in a ten house radius, and my kids are often out running about with the local gaggle. It’s mostly cops, fire, government workers, construction, and retirees here. I wonder if 10%er lifestyles aren’t much more atomized.

          Reply
      2. PlutoniumKun

        There are many reasons, but there is plenty of research to point to the biggest culprit being the car itself – or more specifically, the way cities and countryside have been designed around the car. By lowering residential densities it reduces the possibilities for casual encounters and undermines local gathering places like a local grocery store or cafe. By making streets unsafe it keeps children indoors or in private space. By allowing people to travel long distance it makes it easier for people to choose not to socialise or work or go to school locally, atomising communities.

        Reply
        1. perpetualWAR

          I don’t think so. We had 2 cars growing up, yet we kids played outside and had neighbor kids over to play.

          I think it has to do with both parents now working. No one has time to meet or greet neighbors. The one parent staying home allowed for neighbors to talk over the fence and get to know one another.

          Reply
          1. PlutoniumKun

            Its not simply ‘having’ cars. Its about neighbourhoods designed around the car. Front gardens that are (Danish research indicated that the optimum front garden side for neighbour interraction is 6 foot). Roads that are wide enough for cars to go too fast to stop if a kid dashes out. Neighbourhoods that lose their local shop because everyone is driving to the hypermarket.

            Reply
      3. HotFlash

        An observation: when we had the Big Blackout in August 2008 (IIRC), life in my residential neighbouhood went on. Our little corner of Toronto, which had been its own village 150 years prior, with layout to suit, was one of the last areas to get power back, although most of the city was back on the grid. So, people were going to work, the streetcar line a block away would still get you downtown in 30 min or so, universities were open. But, no power.

        So, no lights inside, no TV, very little radio or telephone, no computers, no air conditioning. Boring! People sat out on their front porches, happily helloing to passersby, introducing themselves (imagine that!), chatting, sharing news, and just, in my grandmother’s term, socializing.

        I met, as in with names exchanged and conversation conducted, neighbours I had only seen, usually going from the house to the car or vice versa, and not spoken to for the previous 25 years.

        Reply
      4. rd

        I think the hyper-parenting phenomena makes the news because it is largely a function of the wealthier suburbs. My spouse teaches in an inner city school and hyper-parenting is effectively a non-issue. Just having two parents can be an oddity. However, I did run into a lot of helicopter parenting and “everybody gets a trophy” when I was coaching rec soccer in a relatively wealthy, primarily white suburb.

        In general, I don’t see millenials as that much different than my baby boomer generation – at least the ones that come to us out of science and engineering. They still need training in the work specifics but arrive as functioning human beings.

        I suspect that helicopter and hyper-parenting is going to be another societal tool to achieve “shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations” as the children are deprived of the very stimulations and tools that allowed their parents and grandparents to succeed and advance.

        Reply
  5. PlutoniumKun

    Details On The Allegations Against, And Yale Law School Investigation Into, Professor Jed Rubenfeld Abovethelaw. Maybe this is inside baseball stuff– but it’s certainly being discussed, and since Links is supposed to provide material ignored by the MSM , I offer it up. Lambert linked to a related Guardian account last week.

    I don’t really care so much about the details of this – not my fight – but every leak around this really does reveal just what an unpleasant bunch of people many of the self proclaimed ‘elites’ are. I didn’t read Chua’s ‘Tiger Mom’ book but I’ve several Asian American friends who were fascinated by it, but they all talked about how weirdly unpleasant she came across and how much she lacks self awareness (probably unknowingly so, although some reviewers praised her for her ‘honesty’), and how her husband hardly seemed to figure at all in her considerations in how to raise their daughter. So the notion that she was giving such wildly inappropriate advice to young female students is hardly a surprise.

    It also shows just how much these allegations are just becoming a political weapon. I don’t think any of these people actually care at all about discrimination or sexual misbehaviour (unless it directly impacts on them). Its all culture war weaponry and political backstabbing.

    Reply
    1. tokyodamage

      this story is fascinating to me: Tiger-Mom Yale Pimps! Finally, a reality tv drama i can get behind!

      An unexplored aspect of the story: why does anyone – regardless of gender – have to dress a certain way to get a certain job? If it’s awful to ask (intelligent, competent, well qualified) young women to dress sexy for an interview, why is it ok to ask (intelligent, competent, well qualified) people to wear ‘business attire’ and demand that they ‘get a haircut’ or you won’t even consider them?

      To me, the lesson isn’t so much “the old boys club is bad” (The old boys club of. . .chinese-American women?) . . .the lesson is “bosses and their weird gatekeepers are bad”.

      Anytime you have 1000 kids trying for the same one job, a whole gatekeeper/groomer class is gonna materialize out of thin air, and the kids are going to be exploited. Doesn’t matter if the gatekeepers are women/men/trans/gay/straight/asexual/black/white/eskimo.

      But because my take isn’t as sexy, and isn’t as divisive, don’t count on seeing it in the media. . .

      Reply
      1. jrs

        Well suits are said to equalize people’s looks if anything (well if you can afford at least a somewhat ok suit that is) and I think they do for men at least. It doesn’t matter if I guy is significantly overweight etc., they’ll look snazzy in a suit. So they equalize looks as well as anything can considering there are of course actual unavoidable differences in appearances/height/etc..

        A miniskirt and cleavage showing blouse doesn’t really equalize anything appearance wise though. It’s about trading sexy for a job.

        Reply
        1. OIFVet

          One can afford to buy a decent suit and still not wear it well. Things like buttoning both buttons on a two-button blazer, wrong knot for the shirt collar or just plain badly tied knot, etc., are dead giveaways of someone who does not “belong.” Not that I am rigidly tied to conventions, I flaunt certain rules from time to time and in certain situations, but in a way that clearly says that I am comfortable enough with myself to casually disregard conventions. But buttoning both buttons, as I have seen even some well-heeled men do, is simply a no-no and a terrible look regardless of physique.

          Reply
          1. ChristopherJ

            I used to have about 25 bags of fruit in the day.

            Double breasted, two button, even some four button jobbies in the 90s.

            Trying on a three buttton one day, tailor comes up beside me and undoes the bottom button.

            The rule, he says, touching my top button, always, (the next down) sometimes, (and the bottom button), never. Taps his nose ‘information you can use’

            Reply
              1. Procopius

                It’s there to trip up people who don’t know the secret code. It’s the kind of thing they pay the extra money to go to prep school to learn. That and get acquainted with people they will have to help stay out of jail to make money together.

                Reply
    2. allan

      “she was giving such wildly inappropriate advice”

      The scandal, if it turns out to be true, would be that the advice was all too appropriate.

      And this is not for a job as a receptionist. This is a clerkship on what is usually considered to be
      the second highest court in the land.

      Reply
      1. Bugs Bunny

        These are the clerkships that lead to USSC clerkships, that lead to nominations for the federal judiciary or great personal fortune, usually both. Tiger mom sent her own daughter to a Kavanaugh clerkship (properly dressed, one imagines) so I guess geese, gander…

        Reply
        1. Polar Donkey

          It would be amazing if this story of pimping law students for creepy judges gets traction. My 9.9%er friends get irritated when I say if anyone believes in meritocracy, than he or she is a total f-ing dope.

          Reply
        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          The idea that one single Law School should be the one single chokepoint gate through which every single Federal Judge Wannabe for a country of 3 million square miles should have to pass through . . . is a problem right there.

          Reply
    3. ape

      Nobody in power ever “cares” — just look at the Redmond-Moonves war that became a #metoo moment.

      But do the players intents matter? Honest question — if the structure changes to change the incentives so that evil people do good things, do we care they are evil people? Especially since removing the incentives that put evil people in power are identical to incentivizing evil people to do non-evil things.

      So you, these people are monsters who don’t actually care about other human beings — but, so what? I’m quite happy that these people rarely indulge in cannibalism because their opponents may use it against them.

      Reply
    4. Oregoncharles

      “Inappropriate” but …. true?

      Are teachers really not supposed to tell students the truth? Especially when it isn’t a come-on (assuming that Chua is entirely straight)? Surely truth is a full defense, as in libel cases. Students are free to decide whether it’s a warning or useful advice.

      Of course, it’s attracting attention now because it reflects badly on Kavanaugh, as it should. Bit of a distraction from policy issues, but relevant to “character.” Especially for a moralistic conservative.

      Reply
    5. Plenue

      I was never impressed with the ‘work the kids to death studying’ approach, which I’ve never seen any compelling evidence actually makes them more likely to land a job, much less produces smarter or better employees. And even if they did, is it worth the cost of ruining their childhoods? I wonder if we’ll ever see any tell all books from Tiger Kids, revealing how miserable they were and how much they secretly hated their parents.

      Anyway, the revelation that Chua taught her daughters to sex themselves up as a way to get advancement, if true, goes a long way to demolishing the entire gimmick. If the whole point is to produce super students who will succeed through meritocracy, why the need for cheap ploys?

      Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        Unfortunately – the studies I’ve seen indicate that a hothouse approach does actually ‘work’ (in the narrow sense that it gets kids into better schools and jobs). This is one of the many ways the upper middle classes perpetuate themselves. They are very, very good at this.

        Reply
  6. timbers

    From an American Elite sitting somewhere in Washington, D.C.

    Russia

    CHINA AND INDIA TO IRAN AND KOREA, WHY RUSSIA IS THE ASIAN PLAYER TO WATCH SCMP

    Firstly, it has become stronger economically and financially, and has learned to leverage its strength as a major exporter of energy resources…

    I don’t understand. Why can’t Russia just order nations to buy it’s energy at higher prices than it’s competitors?

    Secondly, the Donald Trump factor is at work. Asia needs an influential Russia to maintain the international order and help it face the uncertainties thrown up by the Trump administration’s disruptive policies.

    But isn’t Putin more evil than Trump? So why doesn’t that cancel out Trump? The TV told me that’s true and both parties agree, and so do the newspapers and 18 intelligence agencies so it must be true.

    Thirdly, Moscow has proved capable of generating fresh ideas about how to address the continent’s challenges and develop regional cooperation.

    Is fresh ideas a new bomb Russia invented? Why don’t they just bomb people with their Fresh Ideas if they don’t agree to do as their told?

    Finally…Russia has good, stable, and, more often than not, successful relations with all Asian countries, including those that are at odds with one another, such as China and India, or India and Pakistan, or South and North Korea. That gives it an important diplomatic advantage.

    What’s is “diplomatic advantage”? It that when they do regime change? Why doesn’t Russia just regime change nations that don’t do what they want them to do?

    Reply
    1. Lee

      Why doesn’t Russia just regime change nations that don’t do what they want them to do?

      If the Russians can achieve regime change, as is claimed they did in the U.S., with a few bucks and some internet trolls, and without vast wastage of blood and treasure that has been our own tried and found wanting method, they are indeed the most powerful nation on earth.

      Reply
  7. fresno dan

    Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 11/9” Aims Not at Trump But at Those Who Created the Conditions That Led to His Rise Intercept. Glenn Greenwald

    Despite that, Trump himself is a secondary figure in Moore’s film, which is far more focused on the far more relevant and interesting questions of what – and, critically, who – created the climate in which someone like Trump could occupy the Oval Office.
    For that reason alone, Moore’s film is highly worthwhile regardless of where one falls on the political spectrum. The single most significant defect in U.S. political discourse is the monomaniacal focus on Trump himself, as though he is the cause – rather than the by-product and symptom – of decades-old systemic American pathologies.
    =========================================================
    I saw the movie The Post last night (DVD – I’m too cheap to go to the theatres, I need the subtitles and to see things twice or three times…Jennifer Lawrence, but I digress…..)
    For someone of my age, the Pentagon Papers (and than Watergate) imprinted on me the idea of the US press as an independent, honorable, slightly liberal institution. Vietnam and that time was an anomaly – if the press isn’t cheerleading war, it takes an attitude of obstinate ignoring of our foreign entanglements, e.g., Yemen.
    Back than, Newspapers understood that since Truman, EVERY president lied extensively about US involvement in Vietnam. At the time, of course, there was the chestnut that publishing CLASSIFIED information will damage NATIONAL SECURITY. Sound familiar??? – nowadays, though, it is the newspapers putting forth the proposition that publishing FISA warrants endangers national security – despite Vietnam, Iraq and too many other examples to mention, the press seems to have forgotten that the MIC and state security apparatus are not our friends.

    Reply
    1. JTMcPhee

      Category error: there is no “the press,” in the way us 60sand 70s people talk, think and wish about. With a few minor excursions and exceptions, there never has been. No Noble 4th Estate, just maybe a few locales and individuals who took shots at spotlighting a few of the really very awfully worst of the looters and sneaky-Petes. While providing puff pieces and means for those who own “freedom of the press” by owning the presses and do Mockingbird stuff to keep the rabble up on the Narrative and uninformed on other stuff that bleeds them. We even learned of, some us, and slightly deplored, the ability of Wm. Randolph Hearst to leverage up the “Spanish-American War” and various Marine Expeditions to “correct the behavior of little uppity countries” down to Central and South America and now all over the “sanctioned world.”

      And of course “Go Israel!”

      So it seems to me.

      Reply
      1. Jessica

        In the 1960s and 1970s, the press was a somewhat independent element of the directing class and had its own interests to look out for. Since then, it has become completely subordinated to other elements of the directing class.
        This is why it is both true that the press was never on our side and true that it was able to play a positive role in the 1960s and 1970s that is not possible now.

        Reply
        1. JEHR

          Where I live, the local newspaper has changed from reporting on news to accepting payment from readers who present their own news; for example, a local artist paid for two pages of advertising on the front and next page regarding the opening of his new art museum and sculpture garden. Another example was of advertisements from each political party listing their policies if they are elected and there was no in-depth interviews of politicians or citizens about the work of politicians past or future. In fact, the whole newspaper looked like one huge bunch of advertisements for money with little or no analysis or other pertinent information. So that’s what happens to local papers when the going gets tough!

          Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            The local weekly newspaper is for sale, and one of things keeping them going is that legal notices have to be in printed newspapers, ha!

            The state of the state of small town newspapers…

            Reply
            1. Anon

              The local “weekly” in my coastal tourist nirvana publishes — once a week. No legal notices, but pages and pages (fully one-half the paper) of real estate ads. I imagine that is more lucrative than ‘notices’.

              Reply
    2. Carolinian

      Spielberg’s The Post takes major liberties with the prominence of the WaPo in the Pentagon Papers story and with the attitudes of the people running the paper back in the day. In reality the Post had been cheerleader for the Vietnam war just as they always seem to push war now. The movie does get it right when it suggests a major motivation for their involvement was rivalry with the NY Times.

      To be sure things seem much worse now as the MSM seem to have reconfigured themselves as a branch of social media. Perhaps that’s because they now see their rivals as being on the internet rather than other newspapers. They no longer seem to worry about other newspapers calling them out on dubious “facts.”

      Reply
    3. Katniss Everdeen

      What a terrific article, more for the commentary on the “state of the union” under Trump than the review of Moore’s film IMNSHO.

      Almost too many good bits to highlight, but I couldn’t help honing in on this one:

      The message [from the elites] is as clear as the beneficial outcomes: Just look only at Trump. Keep your eyes fixated on him. Direct all your suffering, deprivations, fears, resentments, anger and energy to him and him alone. By doing so, you’ll forget about us – except that we’ll join you in your Trump-centered crusade, even lead you in it, and you will learn again to love us: the real authors of your misery.

      Words to remember the next time the temptation to denigrate and disparage deplorable Trump “supporters” overwhelms. The meaning of “resistance” may not be as obvious as it seems. The real villains were never going to go quietly.

      Reply
    4. DJG

      fresno dan: Greenwald’s article is a must-read for his continuing indictment of the ruling class. He points out the flaws in the film, which sounds like Moore’s typically overheated rhetoric, but some of the more telling moments are downright grotesque: Everyone should check out the description of Flint and of Obama and the famous glass of water. Obama didn’t drink. People got that message and declined to vote. Obama supported Snyder–the clown who brought right-to-work and suborning local governments to Michiganders. {But let’s hand over a slice of Jackson Park in Chicago to someone who would pull that mean a trick: Thanks, Obama.}

      I may not see Moore’s film, but the message is worth repeating: Our horrifyingly incompetent and downright eveil elites are ruining the country. And the current Kavanaugh morality play is a for-instance. A couple of weeks back, Manchin and Heitkamp and other illustrious Democrats were ready to vote for him. Now, we’re going to have a human sacrifice, Ford, to avoid the latest convenient abomination from our dear elites.

      Reply
      1. Carolinian

        Flaws like suggesting Trump is having sex with his daughter or wants to (rather than that Trump was making a stupid joke). People are still taking Trump literally rather than seriously as was suggested during the campaign.

        And that’s the prob with Moore. He doesn’t know how to restrain the piling on. In Bowling for Columbine he felt he had to try to humiliate an enfeebled Charleton Heston and in Roger and Me it was Roger Smith.

        Greenwald points this out in his piece. Greenwald is a great writer…some of us wish he would go back to doing it more often.

        Reply
          1. Carolinian

            So is Trump’s gross sense of humor worse than those who pretend to take him seriously? Can we say that both are off base? After all they are slurring his daughter as well as him.

            Reply
          2. Plenue

            Yeah, it is gross. You know what’s more gross though? Destroying Libya and restarting the African slave trade.

            People really need to stop seeing Trump as uniquely evil because of his uncouth talk and manners. We need to focus solely on the substance of his actions. Yemen by far is the most disgusting and evil thing Trump is doing, yet it’s hardly ever even mentioned in the MSM.

            Reply
            1. Procopius

              Errr… it’s another thing Obama started doing and Trump is doing more of. December 17, 2009, a submarine launched BGM-109D Tomahawk cruise missile, armed with BLU-97A/B cluster munitions, destroyed the village of al Ma’jalah in Yemen. The Yemeni government tried to claim they made the attack, but we did not, in those days, sell cruise missiles to the Yemeni government. We continued to bomb various “Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula” training camps and their membership grew exponentially along with the complaints of innocent civilian casualties. Now we provide targeting information to the Saudi armed forces. I wish somebody would tell Trump that the war in Yemen is Obama’s doing. I’ll bet we’d be out of there in a week.

              Reply
    5. Oregoncharles

      Report this morning is that “Fahrenheit 11/9” bombed. Too bad, if Greenwald is right. But his point might be the reason.

      Reply
  8. The Rev Kev

    “The Canadian Government Is Going to Scan Social Media to See If You Smoke Pot”

    Now that is interesting that. At the same time that this is going on, US Customs is rejecting any Canadian that tries to visit the US that has any connection whatsoever with the Cannabis industry in Canada () and giving them lifetime bans as in forever. I wonder if Canada will make available to the US all the results that they find by scanning their own people’s social media accounts? Five gets you ten that this is what will happen.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      Canada still has an asbestos industry if i’m not mistaken, and that stuff will put the hurt on your lungs no matter how you ingest it, maybe the Gulag Hockeypelago ought to switch to investigating online anybody involved there, instead?

      Reply
            1. HotFlash

              I have read that a lot of it is sent to India, which strikes me as class or racial warfare. And the asbestos workers are Canadian. Asbestos mining can’t be right for anyone, anywhere.

              Reply
          1. bob

            Place name. A town in Quebec. The wiki says all mines are closed, but others are probably still operating in that general area.

            IIRC, Quebec and Vermont both have big deposits. Same underlying geology.

            Reply
            1. Wukchumni

              When Reagan resurrected the Missouri & New Jersey from mothballs, they were chock full of asbestos that all needed to be removed, so they could go out to sea for a scintilla before being re-retired.

              Reply
  9. Olga

    The ceasefire agreed by Russia and Turkey proves how far Putin has come out on top in Syria Patrick Cockburn
    I went to see his brother, Alexander, when he came to our university to speak against the Iraq war before it started. I wonder what he’d say about this piece, which does nothing to illuminate the situation, mostly just repeating the tired trope of Russia only caring about being a great power and still clinging to the mythology of a popular uprising in Syria. There was no such thing – the so called uprising was carefully prepared in the west and carried out. Perhaps Russia just got involved because it did not want to have yet another failed state in its neighbourhood… and was able to see that with Iran next, Russia’s time had an expiration date, too.

    For those interested, this is a much better account of the important agreement regarding Idlib (which just may have saved us an opening salvo of WWIII):

    “The Turkish-Russian deal to postpone the battle of Idlib, blessed by the central government in Damascus and arrived at following several Iranian mediations, aims to keep Ankara close to the Moscow-Tehran-Damascus line and to prevent a wider war in Syria.”

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      mostly just repeating the tired trope of Russia only caring about being a great power

      From my read he seems to be saying that Russian by its intervention has reestablished itself as a great power, not that this was their only motive or even a motive at all. I share your admiration for the late Alex but think you are being a bit hard on his brother. He is a more conventional journalist and has long worked for a mainstream British newspaper rather Alex’ freewheeling operation in Petrolia, CA. So his perspective is more conventional and even a bit dull but hardly the Russia baiting of his Brit colleagues.

      Reply
      1. Olga

        You may be right that I am a bit harsh, but Patrick C. really should know better. From what I understand, he actually spends time in the ME. Still to be referring to Syria’s “popular uprising” distorts completely what has gone on in the country in the last 10 yrs (or more). Remember, Seymour Hersh’s Redirection came out in March 2007. He could have been reporting from the future… And one or two inaccurate statements in an otherwise accurate piece still have the power to alter the view of reality beyond recognition (particularly, since there is so much info coming at us from so many sources and at all moments of the day – it is hard to keep a firm grip on things).
        As for PC being “a more conventional journalist” – right, but that’s exactly the problem: we have way too many of those and not enough brave souls (ok, I admit, easy for me to say). But PC is not living up to the great Cockburn name.

        Reply
        1. Carolinian

          And you are right as well. He is somewhat wedded to the popular uprising and fails to mention that in one internationally conducted poll a majority favored Assad, not just the “30 or 40 percent” he mentions.

          Speaking of Cockburns, don’t forget Andrew whose wife Leslie once produced for 60 Minutes and is now running for Congress in VA. Their daughter Olivia Wilde is a movie star.

          Reply
    2. Carolinian

      From your link.

      Moreover, what was not announced officially is Turkey’s guarantee that no chemical attack will be staged in Idlib to “provoke” the long-heralded US-EU bombing of Syria.

      Take that Nikki, Bolton.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        We hear you’re leaving ICC, that’s OK
        I guess our little Bircher time had just begun
        I guess you kind of showed yourself, you turned and run
        But if you have a change of part

        Nikki don’t lose that umbrage
        You wanna blame somebody else
        Send it off in a letter to yourself
        Nikki don’t lose that umbage
        It’s the only schtick you own
        You might use it if you feel better
        From your defensive irony dome

        You have a friend in town, he’s heard your name
        He can get us out of the UN on the slow
        Or could stay inside and play games, I don’t know
        And you could have a change of part

        Nikki don’t lose that bluster
        You don’t wanna rely on nothing else
        Blame anybody but yourself
        Nikki don’t lose that bluster
        It’s the only schtick you own
        You might use it a bit better
        When the UN gets a new home

        You tell yourself you’re kind
        But your methods blow my mind
        And you could have a change of heart

        Nikki please lose that bluster.

        Reply
        1. Carolinian

          Nikki is short for Nimrata fyi (her parents came to SC from India).

          Assimilation was rapid and they entered her in a child beauty pageant.

          When Haley was five years old, her parents attempted to enter her in the “Miss Bamberg” contest. The contest traditionally crowned a black queen and a white queen. Since the judges decided Haley did not fit either category, they disqualified her.

          While the story is a black eye for the home state some of us would suggest the presidentially ambitious Haley is still running for the crown.

          Reply
    3. Plenue

      I’m not at all clear that there was never any genuine unrest in Syria. Syria is fundamentally an authoritarian dictatorship, and perhaps more to the point there was the combination of a severe drought and unpopular neoliberal ‘reforms’ being pushed by the government. Make no mistake, I think the protest movement was hijacked by foreign backed jihadists, probably very quickly. And such ‘moderate opposition’ as ever actually existed is either long gone or powerless and forced to ally with headchoppers to get anything done.

      But the idea that there wasn’t/isn’t any genuine domestic opposition to the Syrian government is something I disagree with places like Moon of Alabama on. b has a habit of dismissing any protest movement or uprising as foreign instigated, which is probably largely correct for the various ‘color revolutions’ in Eastern Europe, but I’m very dubious of dismissing the Arab Spring. Especially seeing how the US happily accepted Sisi’s new military dictatorship in Egypt. Rather an odd move, if we plotted to overthrow the last one.

      It very much reminds me of Yugoslavia, where it’s a truism among certain parts of the left that the country broke up because of NATO/Western instigation and propaganda, and wasn’t a genuine fracturing along ethnic and cultural lines dating back centuries. There’s something downright colonial in denying the people of a region their own agency to this extent.

      Reply
  10. witters

    “Knowing that no political work can be commercially successful on a large-scale without affirming Resistance clichés, Moore dutifully complies, but only with the most cursory and fleeting gestures: literally 5 seconds in the film are devoted to assigning blame for Hillary’s loss to Putin and Comey. With that duty discharged, he sets his sights on his real targets:”

    After all, what is duty?

    Reply
  11. The Rev Kev

    Brexit-

    I have undertaken a thorough statistical examination of the scenarios for what happens on 29th March 2019 when Brexit commences. This includes the food supply networks, the banks and their IT infrastructures, transport going from airlines through to the thousands of trucks that at the moment make the trip to the EU, the professionalism of the British civil service, the amount of preparation & planning by the British business community, the state of the British political parties as well as the state of Brexit negotiations. After an analysis of all these factors, I believe that there is only one recourse of action to be undertaken on the night of 29th March next year-

    Reply
  12. Wukchumni

    I’ve been waiting for Godot for over a decade now, and even if it showed up, i’m not sure i’d recognize why things finally collapsed, as there would be a myriad of perfectly good reasons to choose from, in retrospect.

    Reply
  13. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Details On The Allegations Against, And Yale Law School Investigation Into, Professor Jed Rubenfeld Abovethelaw.

    Yale Law School is the most important law school in the country for identifying and grooming new federal judges and a federal clerkship is the key credential for starting down that career path. Amy Chua has been involved with that clerkship process at Yale for ten years. She has been one of the most powerful people in the country for making new judges.

    More and more lately I wonder what possible benefit the american rubes think they derive from pretending that there’s an actual country attached to the country clubs, prep schools and elite universities of the northeast. Or that this ostensible country has a “constitution” that says anything other than what ivy league brahmins say it says.

    Donald Trump is routinely denigrated as a “reality TV star” who has no business defiling the hallowed halls of sacred democracy. From where I sit, the real “reality TV” are the “election” or “confirmation” shows with predetermined casts of characters, periodically produced to convince the country of the “reality” of government of, by and for “the people.”

    Reply
    1. FluffytheObeseCat

      We are not solely ruled by the Eastern, prep school and Ivy League elite. I.e. the military and security branches of the permanent ruling class are largely free of its influence. Quite a bit of the current Republican elite comes out of flagship land grant universities, the military, or a few er schools like George Mason.

      The main reason we have this Republican v. Democrat kabuki theater is because we have more than one regional/cultural elite at the top. They both despise the average American, but each hates us differently, in their own very special, characteristic way. The Dem elite hate us because we are vulgar and lacking in savoir-faire; the Republicans, because we are poor, and therefore either weak or stupid.

      The Dems sneer at us because we squirt yellow mustard from plastic bottles over our food; the Republicans sneer because the food is comprised of thin, cheap cuts, not mountains of prime beef.

      Reply
      1. Katniss Everdeen

        Dunno.

        The military and security branches are, theoretically, under the purview of the executive branch, and you’d have to go back a generation–to ronald reagan–to find a commander-in-chief that was not “educated” at harvard or yale.

        Every current “supreme” court justice was “educated” at harvard or yale, with ginsburg the only one not receiving her jd at one of them. She completed her law degree at columbia after spending the first two years at harvard. She’s pretty old, so she may have been “grandfathered in.” That’s only kind of a joke.

        If kavanaugh gets appointed, 2 of 9 “supremes” will have gone to the same HIGH SCHOOL, excuse me, prep school, as well as the same haarvard/yale universities and law schools. gorsuch is also a “product” of georgetown prep.

        The facts are pretty compelling.

        Reply
        1. rd

          One of the benefits of the early bits of diversity on the Supreme Court was the people came from completely different backgrounds and even different undergrad and law schools (Thurgood Marshall, Sandra Day O’Connor). Both diversity of background and diversity of training is useful.

          Usually they had to go to different schools at the time because it was not possible or very difficult to go to Yale or Harvard Law School if you were black or a woman. In RBG’s case, she did get into Harvard but finished out at Columbia because her husband graduated before her and got a job in NYC. However, graduating from Harvard/Columbia didn’t do her any good as the top law firms in NYC would think of giving her a job,so she worked for ACLU who were desperate for good lawyers and promptly started to strafe the good old boys’ clubs from the sidelines.

          Going back to uniformity of background, even down to the prep school would be a great disservice to the country. I see the Kavanaugh nomination as one of the last opportunities for the Supreme Court to be gerrymandered for the elite white male.

          Reply
      2. VietnamVet

        State Universities are okay for the credentialed class achievers and CIOs. But, Consiglieres to the Oligarchs have to be Harvard or Yale alumni. How else can they scheme on how to get richer at the expense of everyone else without being caught red-handed?

        Reply
  14. Wukchumni

    I did a week long backpack trip carrying MRE’s about 20 years ago, and once was enough, as the food was heavy and blase* to my taste buds, and I hadn’t taken a stove and relied on the chemical heater included in each MRE, which were a 1-shot deal, and I could either heat a meal or heat water for coffee/hot chocolate, but not both…

    * the exception being the oh my gawd good pound cake
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    A Breakthrough for U.S. Troops: Combat-Ready Pizza

    Reply
    1. OIFVet

      It takes a bit more than a week to learn how to properly make a meal out of MREs, and at least a squad ;) You see, the MRE economy is inherently a barter economy, where one barters something he doesn’t want for something that he wants, and with a squad around one always can make a good barter. Then, there is the knowing how to combine different things to make a feast, which only comes from experience backed by trial and error. Eventually, one gets to the point where MREs can indeed rise past blase, but it truly takes a village, errr… a squad.

      That said, some of the MREs were inherently terrible and beyond redemption. Combat ready pizza might be a prime candidate for this. There were 24 types of MREs in my day, and perhaps 3-4 of them were just awful, the 15 or so merely ok in the absence of barter, and the rest were truly enjoyable on their own. YMMV, of course.

      Reply
      1. PhilK

        Re: barter

        I took a college sociology course from a professor who, during WW2, had been shot down on a bomber over Germany, parachuted down, was captured and put in a POW camp. He said that his interest in sociology arose from observing how the POW’s formed affinity groups based on what they wanted from MRE’s, and watching the interactions among them. The cigarette group, the chocolate group, etc.

        Reply
        1. Carolinian

          Those were Red Cross packages according to all the old movies I watch. WW2 had K Rations–heavy on the Spam and Hershey bars (also according to films). MRE pizza may be a step up from Spam?

          Reply
      2. Wukchumni

        I signed my selective service agreement @ 18, and am way too old to be considered for the military (for a brief moment in 2004, I was eligible as things weren’t going well in the ‘stan box and they raised the maximum entry age to 42), so scant chance of arbitrage possibilities for me.

        Reply
    2. bob

      MRE’s — the basis for a wonderful term of art

      Usage in the U.S. military

      The term ratfucking (rat in this case is shorthand for ration) is an unofficial slang term used by soldiers in the U.S. Army to mean the targeted pillaging of MREs (Meals Ready-To-Eat), which the U.S. military calls field stripping. It refers to the process of opening a case of MREs, which are packed 12 in a box, opening up individual MRE packages, removing the desired items (generally M&M’s and other sweets), and leaving the unenticing remainder.[9]

      Reply
      1. OIFVet

        Yeah, we did that. We knew what comes in the different menus, but there was always the chance that a nice person in the MRE factory would put something else in, like Skittles, or that a sadist would substitute peanut butter for the jalapeno cheese spread. Try eating those super dry crackers with peanut butter and no jelly. Like I said, thank goodness for barter.

        Reply
          1. OIFVet

            Well, the HumRats (humanitarian rations) we were supposed to shower the grateful Iraqis with were far tastier than MREs. Lentil stew, in particular ;)

            Reply
  15. a different chris

    So Rubenfeld is not the best in the world with the young coeds and even *he* was warning them against Kavanaugh? I hear a dam beginning to break…

    And once again, even I have gotten derailed. Kavanaugh is a crap judge and a abhorrent choice for an SC Justice completely independent of how he treats or treated the opposite sex. But this keeps that from the light of day.

    Reply
    1. Big River Bandido

      If Kavanaugh is “borked” over questions of sexual harrassment rather than his judicial philosophy, we can expect that the next appointee will have a philosophy that is just as bad or worse — and that Democrats will smooth that nominee’s path just as they did for Kavanaugh up to this point.

      Reply
    2. perpetualWAR

      I would garner to say that there are many many horrendous judges. Just spend some time in litigation and the corruption reveals itself. Many of the minority judges get selected for the dirty work. You can’t oppose a minority judge without the appearance of racism or sexism. It’s horrible.

      Reply
  16. Jean

    re Disappearing farmland

    Here’s a working solution in action

    A non-profit buys only the development rights from farms and ranches in perpetuity. The owners can sell or reinvest in acreage, capital or farm improvements. The land can never be ‘developed’.
    Marin Agricultural Land Trust

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      There was a story here about how county governments play a role in the development of hurricane prone coastal land because they want the property tax. And the same probably applies to farm land versus rural residential land (although some of those rural residents claim farm-dom as “horse property”).

      My SC county was once a major peach producer and now many of those former orchards are covered up with McMansions and three car garages. This area close to NC is also a fave for the horsey set and no doubt one reason that the World Equestrian Games are currently taking place in nearby Tryon, NC.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        Read a great book about Kit Carson and much more, Blood and Thunder: The Epic Story of Kit Carson and the Conquest of the American West, by Hampton Sides, and late in his life in the 1860’s, Kit Carson and the US Army rousted the Navajo from Canyon de Chelly, and the Navajo had many thousands of peach trees-their pride & joy, and the army had every last one of them cut down.

        There were Navajo holdouts, and in August 1864 Captain John Thompson and 35 men of the 1st New Mexico Cavalry re-entered Canyon de Chelly. In his report on that expedition after returning to Fort Canby (formerly Fort Defiance) in Arizona Territory, Thompson said he had systematically destroyed more than 3,000 mature peach trees. On one day alone, he reported, he cut down 500 “of the best peach trees I have ever seen in the country, every one of them bearing fruit.” But he had not laid waste to all of them, because later that year Captain Edward Butler, the commander of Fort Wingate in New Mexico Territory, reportedly destroyed another 1,000 of the Navajos’ prize Canyon de Chelly peach trees.


        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
        You think of the Indians adapting to horses, but seldom to horticulture.

        Must’ve been quite the sight around harvest time back in the day, with 4,000 beloved peach trees pregnant with fuzzy ones…

        Reply
        1. JTMcPhee

          Like the Israelis destroying the olive trees (and poisoning or filling the wells) of all those displaced Philistines.

          Are there any decent humans left? Anywhere?

          Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            We really liked Canyon de Chelly, in that it’s one of the few places i’m aware of in the southwest where the native people are living not too far from ancient cliff dwellings. There was a small farm maybe 1/4 of a mile away from the White House, for instance.

            Reply
        2. Oregoncharles

          Natives east of the Rockies (but not west, for some reason) mostly practiced horticulture long before Columbus. The peaches, like wheat, were just an addition to their repertoire.

          Reply
        3. Procopius

          American school histories never describe the Indians as farmers but they were. One reason the earliest New England settlers survived was because a couple of years before they arrived a plague killed an estimated 90% of the native population, so there were many cleared fields available for the invaders to seize. Otherwise they could never have cleared enough land to support themselves. Nowadays we get a very distorted picture of the Indians

          Reply
  17. fresno dan

    Moore quickly escapes the dreary and misleading “Democrat v. GOP” framework that dominates cable news by trumpeting “the largest political party in America”: those who refuse to vote. He uses this powerful graphic to tell that story:
    (graphic – 100 million people don’t vote)

    It’s remarkable how little attention is paid to non-voters given that, as Moore rightly notes, they form America’s largest political faction. Part of why they’re ignored is moralism: those who don’t vote deserve no attention as they have only themselves to blame.

    But the much more consequential factor is the danger for both parties from delving too deeply into this subject. After all, voter apathy arises when people conclude that their votes don’t change their lives, that election outcomes improve nothing, that the small amount of time spent waiting in line at a voting booth isn’t worth the effort because of how inconsequential it is.
    ========================================
    we have two major parties – the uncouth one, and the silky one. I understand the silky one serves better canpies to their billionaire donors

    Reply
    1. Donald

      We do hear about nonvoters sometimes, but either as people disenfranchised by Republicans ( a valid concern) or as people who have no right to complain because they didn’t vote.

      I think that second argument has been disastrous for the country. Rather than ask why we can’t have politicians with positions that would inspire people to vote, people are instead told they must vote for the lesser evil or be ostracized as evil for not voting. All the moral responsibility is placed on the voter to support whoever the Democrats put forward and none on the party.

      Reply
      1. fresno dan

        Donald
        September 23, 2018 at 3:15 pm

        One goes to a Chinese restaurant and the first thought is that one has a thousand choices….of course, there is only one choice….Chinese food.

        At least our 2 Dempublican parties gives us two choices:
        A support the rich
        B support the wealthy

        Reply
    2. jrs

      political parties playing attention to those who don’t vote is akin to advertisers paying attention to people who don’t shop.

      Reply
  18. The Rev Kev

    “Disappearing Farmland: Small-towns Trade Farmland for Residential Development”

    This sort of thing never ends well in the long run and is just a waste of good productive land. The place that immediately that came to mind when I read this article was Orange County in California that actually had orange trees there once upon a time-

    Nowadays, the only things that those ex-farmlands produce is neurotic housewives aka “The Real Housewives of Orange County”

    Reply
    1. lyman alpha blob

      Saw a new development on some old farmland in my area yesterday. Right nearby were a few abandoned old houses falling into the ground. The shortsightedness that caused this juxtaposition to exist is appalling.

      Reply
    2. Wukchumni

      One poignant memory of the OC was 3rd or 4th generation Japanese-Americans, who had acreage & renters in the guise of most amazing strawberries they would sell on site. They were even bigger than the largely tasteless ones you buy @ the supermarket now, but bursting with flavor.

      One by one, they sold out to homebuilders…

      Reply
      1. Lord Koos

        You could be describing Skagit county in WA… there still a lot of farmland there, but a lot has been paved over as well.

        Reply
    3. John Wright

      “Until the 1960s it was the largest fruit production and packing region in the world with 39 canneries.”

      see

      Now well known as “Silicon Valley” but was known as “Valley of Heart’s Delight” in prior times.

      Reply
    4. ChiGal in Carolina

      I live in Orange County in NC and the same thing is happening here. This is heavily forested country, and in just two years I have seen so many beautiful stands of trees razed to the red earth and newly built subdivisions springing up with their asphalt paving, concrete driveways, and astroturf lawns.

      I took a picture of gorgeous fall color in 2016 and one of an enormous pile of sawdust in the exact same spot in the spring of 2018.

      And who is buying all these houses anyway?

      Reply
      1. Carolinian

        People from up north? Or maybe Florida “bounce backs.”

        I don’t have any surveys but I believe many of the new arrivals in my piedmont region are what Miz Scarlett would call Yankees (no offense to you Chi gals).

        We are after all the part of the Sunbelt where it actually rains–sometimes way too much.

        Reply
      2. Octopii

        Mom gets a few inquiries a week for the swampy acre she owns (last bit of the old family land) in Cary. Hasn’t even been perc’d. I’m trying to convince her to keep hold of it.

        Reply
    5. Jeremy Grimm

      I remember hearing stories several decades ago that the oranges from many of the orchards around Los Angeles country were so bleached by smog that they were a gray color instead of orange and had to be dyed orange before going to market.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        My favorite L.A. orange story came from the real estate boom of the 1880’s, and unscrupulous staging Realtors of the era, would pin oranges to branches on trees on the property, and it didn’t matter that they weren’t citrus.

        Reply
      2. jrs

        that’s Florida oranges that are dyed nowdays (at least sometimes). California bans the use of dyes on oranges, Florida doesn’t. I don’t really see Florida oranges at the store anyway, but then I’m in California, I guess I wouldn’t.

        Reply
    6. Olga

      Same is going on in Richmond and Surrey, BC. You can still catch a few pick’em blueberry farms, but they are disappearing fast. Instead – mega-mansions. One of the sad things is, just like in the Silicon Valley, the soil is very fertile and it is insane to turn it into concrete lots.

      Reply
    7. bob

      ‘Orange’ has a much different historical connotation that most in the US think it does. Nothing to do with fruit, most of the time. Hard-core Calvinism.

      William of Orange

      A Protestant, William participated in several wars against the powerful Catholic king of France, Louis XIV, in coalition with Protestant and Catholic powers in Europe. Many Protestants heralded him as a champion of their faith.

      Reply
    8. newcatty

      “The Real Housewives of Orange County”

      Geez…Really? Not that the pretentiousness and keep up with the Jones’s lead and greed aspect of many Orange county women and men don’t deserve a smug and pithy judgement. But, we know a former real OC housewife, really, and a few of her real working housewives friends! I say former real housewife, cause now she’s a real single mom. She is not “neurotic”. She is one hardworking, devoted and kind mom and friend. She lives in an old, dumpy (she and friends painted it inside and arranged for it to be cleaned before she moved into a small two bedroom, one bath “condo” in a borderline “good neighborhood” with a “good school district” for the kids. Her friends are all mostly middle or upper economically class. They are real people who like her, anyway. Oh, why does she not move to a cheaper town? Kids’ dad lives closeby in a nice, newer “garden” home. Shared custody in one of its finest examples.

      I agree with lamenting lost, fertile farmland to development. But, let’s not make blanket judgements on people who live in the once upon a time fields of plenty and delight.

      Reply
  19. Jean

    “Trump to limit immigrants who use or are likely to use welfare…”

    Good. We have enough homeless veterans and our own poor who need that money.
    Legacy taxpayers, formerly middle class people and our own population should get first priority.
    More housing, more jobs with higher pay and less crowded transit among other civic amenities would be available for our own people, poor and otherwise.

    If you disagree, write all the checks you want to non-profits who support immigrants.

    Reply
    1. Richard

      No. I can disagree with you without the checks. You’re using a form of “appeal to hypocrisy”, by imagining a scenario where those who oppose your reasoning need to have their bona fides checked.
      So here’s how I disagree with your reasoning. It’s a head fake, and it always has been. “Immigrants overusing our resources” is the oldest divide and conquer trope there is. It’s not a real problem. It’s not actually happening, at least not on a scale that deserves discussion.
      I don’t know, but maybe you’ve noticed that most the stealing and squandering of resources in this country has come from other directions?
      You also may have noticed that, with or without the immigrants, out government isn’t the slightest bit interested in helping homeless veterans or the poor in general. So your mention of them establishes a false premise, that they will be helped if we deny services to other people in need. This has never happened before, and certainly isn’t about to. It’s a feel good head fake, to offset the meanness of the focus, that poor people from another country are the source of your problems.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        I cringe when the same government that tells us every soldier is sacrosanct, then tries to hit us up for $19.99 a month, in order to subsidize wounded ones, by showing us some GI Joe or Jane, with missing parts.

        Reply
      2. Katniss Everdeen

        You also may have noticed that, with or without the immigrants, out [sic] government isn’t the slightest bit interested in helping homeless veterans or the poor in general.

        Since this nation has never been “without immigrants,” doesn’t your statement establish a bit of a “false premise” as well?

        How can you possibly know what this nation would look like without the heretofore unending importation of humans who, necessarily, lay claim to some portion of an ever shrinking pie?

        Reply
        1. pretzelattack

          it was an ever growing pie for much of its history, with the help of low paid immigrants and slaves. and yet the pie was hoarded, as ever, by those at the top, with the remaining pieces to be fought over by those at the bottom.

          Reply
          1. Katniss Everdeen

            So, we should continue to stuff “the bottom”?

            How, exactly, does that stop the looting or help those who already suffer?

            Reply
        2. Richard

          Hmm. I think this whole conversation operates as a dodge for those mostly responsible for deprivation world wide. It operates as a source of resource panic for everyone else, or is supposed to.
          Most of the things that immigrants are accused of taking (from those who mostly are only less recent immigrants, as you point out) are presented as a scarcity. But in the instances of jobs, housing and medical care, these are false scarcities. We can employ as many people as we like, we can house everyone and give everyone medical care, without anyone else losing their job, housing or medical care.
          I’m not saying there won’t be real, climate-based, issues of scarcity in our future, btw. There are and will be real conflicts over water and arable land. Immigration worry gets to none of that, just this oblique worry that there’s not enough, and that someone poor and outside is taking it from us.

          Reply
          1. Oregoncharles

            Unless there are resource constraints.

            There’s a serious case that there’s been no genuine economic growth for a couple of decades – it’s all just financial puffery. That’s because of resource constraints, which, you remember, MMT does reference and even emphasize. That means the economy is a zero-sum game and economics, despite all the talk about “growth,” is once again “dismal.”

            Reply
            1. Richard

              Thanks OreCharles. This tells me again that I need to read about MMT, because I don’t know how it references/emphasizes resource constraints.
              Kind of a buzz kill about the constraints, but also an “of course!” slapping oneself on the cabeza.

              Reply
      3. Matt

        “You also may have noticed that, with or without the immigrants, out government isn’t the slightest bit interested in helping homeless veterans or the poor in general. So your mention of them establishes a false premise, that they will be helped if we deny services to other people in need. This has never happened before, and certainly isn’t about to. It’s a feel good head fake, to offset the meanness of the focus, that poor people from another country are the source of your problems.”

        So good it should be bolded and repeated.

        Reply
        1. John k

          Immigrants have three avenues of support.
          Take a job from a local.
          Support from the state.
          Support from relatives.
          Nothing wrong with the latter, except that every immigrant increases congestion, pollution, and boosts rents or housing prices.
          We have tolrtated globalism for a long time as it takes well paid blue collar jobs. Those with them, and those that used to have them, are looking for somebody, anybody, no matter how unattractive otherwise, to reverse the tide.

          Reply
          1. pretzelattack

            why do they have to take a job from a local? a wpa focused on rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure would solve a lot of problems, for example.

            Reply
            1. marym

              +100 There’s tons of work that needs to be done in this country, at all levels of skills. No one currently making anti-immigration policy has the least interest in getting that work done, or providing in any way – work, benefits, or social programs – for whatever subset of ordinary people they expect to remain after all their banning and deporting are done.

              Reply
              1. Eureka Springs

                But we don’t live in an WPA country anymore. WPA kept many from starving but it wasn’t what most around here would call a living wage. And we total what, 320 million now? What number is enough, much more, too many? How many more fine farm acres can/should we cover with suburban homes?

                Also I wonder if recent years improved employment numbers are in part because Obama Dems deported more people than all other presidents combined. Must be significant since most new jobs have been crap jobs.

                Reply
                1. marym

                  Re: WPA-world
                  Yes we would need a vision and a plan suitable for today’s needs.

                  Re: deportation and employment:
                  Correlation does not imply causation. A whole lot more info would be needed even to identify correlation.

                  As far as the original topic of this thread, the correlation between limiting visas and green cards and deporting illegal immigrants would be zero.

                  One would need to know the geographic distribution of immigrants and deportees and a lot about types of jobs and changes in employment rates in those areas to begin to find any relationships

                  For example, according to Pew:

                  43% of legal immigrants live in 6 metro areas. 19% of the total population live in these areas. ()

                  60% of illegal immigrants live in 20 metro areas. 36% of the total population live in these areas. ()

                  According to from Snopes, (a quick search, a quick read, and I haven’t looked at their sources) Obama deportation numbers are in part a function of calculation changes that started in the Bush era, and are in large part concentrated on people recently entered at the southern border.

                  There may well be people of good faith who believe harsher immigration policies will result in improved employment, benefits, social programs, housing, etc. for whoever is left. The politicians who push for these policies don’t make that argument, don’t support those values, and have policies which undermine those values.

                  Reply
                  1. tegnost

                    I think we need path to citizenship and harsh penalization of employers. Many undocumented pay social security and should get the money, many children of undocced parents have no connection to latin america. Prosecute the employers, get rid of the wage disparity by paying the accepted wage scale. Won’t be popular, and probably won’t happen

                    Reply
            2. a different chris

              >why do they have to take a job from a local?

              Good point – and I am sympathetic to the overall “stay over there and fix it” (and most of the immigrants I know would have liked to, but no so easy….).

              John also missed it here, methinks:

              >We have tolrtated globalism for a long time as it takes well paid blue collar jobs.

              But globalism didn’t take “well paid blue collar jobs” and give them to immigrants, it left the poor suckers in whatever (familyblog)hole they were stuck in, paid them a few cents a day, and sent the stuff across the sea… probably the strongest union left is the Longshoreman’s because the Star Trek transporter has not been invented yet.

              Reply
          2. HotFlash

            Nothing wrong with the latter, except that every immigrant increases congestion, pollution, and boosts rents or housing prices.

            If that is true, which I do not grant, but you said it, does it not hold true for every child born of “non-immigrant” parents? Chief Powhatan, what say you?

            Reply
  20. In the Land of Farmers

    RE: Anthony Bourdain vs. the Tyranny of Wellness Quillette

    Might I remind them that Bourdain died early because of an illness? A mental illness, which is still so stigmatized they cannot even see it when they write it in their own article? (Live fast, die young?) His “escape from wellness” was most likely a death sentence, Take one look at the link between cholesterol and mental health and maybe, if you do not agree with me, it will change your mind.

    (No, I am not saying everyone with high or low cholesterol will have mood disorders, just those who are sensitive to the metabolites of cholesterol.)

    While I agree that there is a lot of over exaggeration (thanks Facebook!) in the area of nutrition, and that a lot of people take on extreme diets when they have no sign of illness, anyone with any illness should look more closely at how changes in diet might affect them.

    Reply
    1. bob

      He was unclean! Burn him!

      I’ve been wondering for years about an enema indicator. The Victorians were famous for their obsession with the cleanliness of their excitement. Not sure what it indicates, but it isn’t good.

      Genocide? Famine? Mercantilism? Who can be bothered. We’re trying to do God’s Work and polish turds here folks.

      Reply
      1. In the Land of Farmers

        Was this meant to be derisive regarding my comment? Unclean, no. Sick? Yes. Do you think I as well should forsake mental health to end Genocide? Famine? Mercantilism? do they have to be mutually exclusive? Or does curing one cure both?

        Reply
        1. bob

          Might I remind you that you sound like an insufferable, passive-aggressive pedant? Or that it was clearly his fault that you dropped Your Knowledge on us all?

          Happy enema.

          Reply
          1. In the Land of Farmers

            Nah, no, enema for me. I don’t fall for the new age Victorian health B.S.. We have come a long way understanding the dance between nutrition and genetics though. I think you are lumping me in with a group before you know anything about me.

            If I am a pedant, what is your role? The smart but stubborn student who thinks he knows everything as well? I come to the forums to test my ideas, I would hope for better back to them so I can learn.

            The last sentence makes no sense.

            Reply
    2. PlutoniumKun

      I think the article did have an interesting general point – that the obsession with ‘health’ has led to us forgetting the social importance of food, something Bourdain was very interested in. Apart from that, the article irritate me that it seemed to imply that somehow caring about your health and what you eat somehow implies that you are narcissistic or solipsistic. Sometimes it does reflect self-obsession, but in my experience most people who work hard on their health are simply people determined to enjoy life, and this means avoiding ill health if possible. Anyone who’s seen loved ones suffer for years on end with entirely avoidable long term ailments must surely consider their own choices carefully.

      Bourdains suicide was very shocking, given how much he seemed to have to live for. He was actually quite fit and healthy – the Joe Rogan podcast has interviewed quite a few of his friends and employees, and they all seemed genuinely shocked, although many hinted that there was a slightly dark shade to his seemingly endless energy. He was a keen Ju-Jitsu practitioner, so he was certainly fit and strong.

      Reply
      1. In the Land of Farmers

        “He was actually quite fit and healthy” = Good example of the stigma of mental illness!

        IF HE DIED BY SUICIDE HE WAS NOT HEALTHY! “Fit and strong” is not healthy! Many marathoners die from heart attacks. Just because you do not see a disease does not mean there is health. This is even more true for mental illness since it is hidden both physically and culturally.

        Reply
      2. Bugs Bunny

        I guess you haven’t read much about him. Very heavy crack smoking probably left him with some serotonin problems. Look for the long new yorker article. Interesting and passionate guy with lots of problems and who left many hurt people in his wake.

        Reply
    3. Ping

      I boycotted watching Bourdain after he came to my southwest home region and showcased Ted Nugent, the rabid bow hunter obviously sexually aroused from killing.

      There were so many more credible cuisine topics traditional to southwest than featuring lunatic Nugent and his thrill killing. In general the show was very meat centric and documented animal slaughter.

      Traditional/realistic maybe but not forward looking given the disastrous consequences and inhumanity of over reliance on meat like exacerbation of water depletion, reliance on factory farms essentially antibiotic resistant bio weapons and producing environmental disasters like flooded sewage lagoons of pig excrement contaminating Carolinas.

      Still he was an authentic voice and condolences to his family.

      Reply
    4. jrs

      It’s just a stupid eat anything argument. The concept of moderation is lost in all such debates. Most people without unique medical needs can eat some unhealthy food sometimes, but it’s still desirable to try to eat healthfully most of the time. But moderation, what’s that? This truly is a deeply stupid culture. Never mind that cultures with healthier diets enjoy food and their bodies more in many cases.

      For every orthorexic there are probably 10 people at the fast food drive thru. But maybe the author just hangs around with orthorexics all the time and so has developed a skewed perspective of things.

      Reply
      1. HotFlash

        Decades ago C. S. Lewis in his Screwtape Letters pegged a lot of this food-faddism as simple :.

        But what do quantities matter, provided we can use a human belly and palate to produce querulousness, impatience, uncharitableness and self-concern?

        Reply
    5. HotFlash

      Decades ago C. S. Lewis identified this as an aspect of the cardinal sin gluttony iin his Screwtape Letters:

      But what do quantities matter, provided we can use a human belly and palate to produce querulousness, impatience, uncharitableness and self-concern? … She is a positive terror to hostesses and servants. She is always turning from what has been offered her to say with a demure little sigh and a smile ‘Oh please, please … all I want is a cup of tea, weak but not too weak, and the teeniest weeniest bit of really crisp toast’. You see? Because what she wants is smaller and less costly than what has been set before her, she never recognises as gluttony her determination to get what she wants, however troublesome it may be to others.

      Reply
  21. fresno dan

    Since 1980, the obesity rate has doubled in 73 countries and increased in 113 others. And in all that time, no nation has reduced its obesity rate. Not one.

    The problem is that in America, like everywhere else, our institutions of public health have become so obsessed with body weight that they have overlooked what is really killing us: our food supply.
    ….
    For more than a decade now, researchers have found that the quality of our food affects disease risk independently of its effect on weight. Fructose, for example, appears to damage insulin sensitivity and liver function more than other sweeteners with the same number of calories. People who eat nuts four times a week have 12 percent lower diabetes incidence and a 13 percent lower mortality rate regardless of their weight. All of our biological systems for regulating energy, hunger and satiety get thrown off by eating foods that are high in sugar, low in fiber and injected with additives. And which now, shockingly, make up 60 percent of the calories we eat.
    ===============================================
    I can remember when gas stations sold tires, oil, and windshield wipers instead of 128oz slurpies, cookies, and candy bars. And when people sat down face to face to eat…so much electronic communication, so much isolation.

    Reply
      1. Brooklin Bridge

        Wait till you have to get into an autonomous automobile extraction style, a renter, (hopefully not one someone puked in the night before), you’ll be strapped down in front of a giant screen with high powered speakers blasting away what ever adds have been customized for the greatest chance of fleecing you thanks to facial recognition the instant you step in. It’ll be like that Woodie Allen movie where a guy who did something horrible is condemned to go down into a cellar for an extended period with (cuffed to?) an Insurance Salesman. You’ll be wishing for the days of the odious gas pump TV.

        Reply
    1. HotFlash

      And I can remember when some kid could work his (rarely her, but still) way through college with a part-time job pumping gas, checking oil and windshield washer fluid, and squeegeeing windshields.

      Reply
      1. Oregoncharles

        A young (female) lawyer told me she knew 4, IIRC, women who were working as strippers to pay for law school.

        It raises the question of which is more demeaning: having to work for The Man to pay off your debt, or stripping so you won’t have a debt.

        Reply
  22. Duck1

    Airline announcement 2019:
    Due to excessive regulation, all weight expecting passage has been reclassified as baggage, and will be subject to unlimited fees. The seats have been removed, and we have expert consultants from the sardine industry determining how best to pack the fuselage. Have a nice trip.

    Reply
  23. Synoia

    After meeting Bedouins whose homes are being destroyed, I can’t see how a Palestinian state can ever happen

    That has been obvious for 70 years.

    Reply
    1. HotFlash

      Twenty-odd years ago an Israeli acquaintance (biz conference) regaled us with Bedouin jokes. For some definition of ‘regale’.

      Reply
    1. Unna

      With Mahler, so beautiful as always, but always so close to death. Almost that death is his familiar spirit. And why not, that mood of fin de siècle, waning strength but so resigned to the end, the end of a century and the impending end of an entire world. So correct to pick Mahler for that movie, Death in Venice. At first I tried to dig up a suitable recording of Strauss, the Four Last Songs, although written much later, to stay in the mood, but then thought better of it. So I went for the music that brought 19th century musical Romanticism to an climax. Where was there to go after this but to die and wait for something else? And who better to give us the end than Furtwängler and Flagstad.

      Reply
      1. Olga

        At least back then, they had great composers and writers. What do we have now to console ourselves…? Oh, I forget – fruit loops in rainbow colours and iphones. Oh, well!

        Reply
        1. Oregoncharles

          Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell; Duke Ellington and others (not as familiar with jazz musicians). And that’s just my generation. The creative thrust is in different branches o fmusic, now. Classical has run its course.

          Reply
          1. Plenue

            Classical as classical may have petered out, but I think its legacy definitely lives on in the form of film/television and videogame scores. That’s where a huge amount of great instrumental work is to be found these days.

            Reply
            1. The Rev Kev

              Even the original classics still get you going like Vivaldi’s Four Seasons-

              Or even more modern stuff like Gustav Holst’s The Planets-

              Chuck in some Pink Floyd and you have a good nights music to listen to-

              Reply
        2. Plenue

          Music is better now than it’s ever been. Cheap computers and free distribution platforms have lowered the barrier for entry to essentially being non-existent. This means basically anyone can make music and post it for the entire world to listen to. The record companies and radio no longer control what gets wide listenership.

          I don’t have numbers, but I’m pretty sure exponentially more music is being created and released now than at any point pre-2000. The low barriers mean that a lot of this isn’t good, but a lot of it is as well. Now the problem isn’t some lack of talented people making music, rather it’s having a way to sort through the sea of music being created.

          Creativity has also gone through the roof; it doesn’t matter how hyper-specific your tastes are, you can be catered to. Entire new genres have emerged out of the internet, probably most notably Synthwave, which started as a joke as far as I can tell.

          Whether the popular music that gets all the radio play has gotten worse is a different discussion. But I think music as a whole is perfectly healthy and vibrant right now.

          Reply
      1. Unna

        Well, I’m up late so why not:

        From the article, “Yes, I think they can. Actually, unless there is a global catastrophe, I think it is inevitable. There’s too much momentum.”

        Maybe, maybe not. I think this tide is reversing now in many ways, and most importantly the intellectual foundations for this reversal are coming into place, and some of these are somewhat questionable/frightening. And they don’t include Trump-Clinton worlds which now appear as two banks of the same swamp. Interesting times, indeed.

        Article, “We need institutions for people who don’t want to live in the shining alabaster cities of tomorrow. And I think the institutions that we will need to rely upon for this are religion and the natural family. They’re proven, after all. And many of the left behind are already loyal to them.”

        Who can argue with that, but what if religion and the natural family are themselves products-entities of the particular nations and cultures within which they formed and cannot exist without or apart from these particular cultural ecologies, so to speak. Then, once isolated, religion and the family provide no refuge by themselves. So the problem would be to protect or re-form ecologies which allow social loyalities to thrive. And what that looks like is an even bigger question.

        So I think the article concedes too much. Who says I’m not an optimist?

        Reply
  24. allan

    [Newsday]

    STAR tax rebate checks to property owners were mailed far earlier than usual this year to New York City and eight counties in the state that traditionally have accounted for 74 percent of the Democratic vote in primary elections.

    Election and tax records show the checks were sent in June, July and August to areas that included the five boroughs and Erie and Westchester counties. In Democratic primary elections such as the one held Sept. 13, those areas are traditionally the three highest sources of Democratic votes. There is not yet a breakdown of the Sept. 13 vote.

    Until this year, the checks were sent in a “September to October” time frame and distribution took several weeks, according to the state tax department. This year, the checks to these top Democratic vote producers were mailed early enough so that the checks should have landed in homeowners’ hands well before the primary.

    Staggering the dispersal of $1.3 billion in cash means that some taxpayers will get their property tax rebates months after others. …

    Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi dismissed any connection between the rebate checks worth hundreds of dollars to most recipients and the Democratic primary as a “conspiracy theory.” …

    Forget about it, Jake. It’s Cuomotown.

    Reply
  25. Wukchumni

    Was watching an Apple iWatch tv commercial, and is there any good reason not for assorted fanbois to wear one on both wrists, in breaking with convention?

    Reply
  26. Wukchumni

    Apparently to be considered by the voting bloc here vis a vis commercials on tv, a slightly beat up and well used white truck must accompany the candidate.

    Reply
  27. Expat2uruguay


    Jonathan Cook looks at the dying of the neoliberal order through the lens of the anti-Semitism attacks and other attacks on John Corbin in the Labour party in the UK. He says it’s time to wake up to the reality that the neoliberal order is dying in front of our eyes. We all know it should die of its own contradictions, but will it die before organized life is eliminated from the future of humanity?

    It’s amazing to me that in my lifetime I have seen the suicide of my species. I find comfort in the fact that I have witnessed the peak. I Recognize it in all of the fresh fruits and vegetables and connectivity to people around the world. It is enabled me to travel to a country where I did not speak the language, where I didn’t know the layout or how to get around. Smartphones and a cornucopia of delicious food are my condolences for the loss of my children’s future. But I digress. Namaste as all light is hidden in the long shadows of greed…

    Reply
    1. John k

      If we avoid ww3 humanity will survive.
      Civilizations have ever come and gone with little notice.
      You’re right to enjoy this one while you can.

      Reply
  28. ewmayer

    Nice juxtapositional pair of links today:

    o California wants to stop hackers from taking control of smart gadgets | MIT Technology Review

    o Facebook’s new home gadget might have a creepy camera as its main feature | Fast Company

    So maybe our esteemed CA legislators should craft regulations on privacy and cybersecurity which will curb the Surveillance Valley privacy violators from peddling so much of this ever-creepier IoT gear? The IoT hackers are a big problem, but the by-design spying aspect is an even bigger problem, IMO.

    Reply
  29. The Rev Kev

    ” ‘Trump won’t back down’: US president plans to make trade war unbearable for China and bigger than ever, Steve Bannon says”
    People think that because China exports more to the US than the US does to China, that the advantage lay with the US in putting on tariffs. Or at least Trump and his advisors seem to think. Not so fast there. There is also the matter of what China actually ships to the US in terms of raw materials. See the following article as an example-

    Don’t quote me on this but I believe that China is a major source of titanium for the US which has a lot of aerospace and military applications. In any case, Trump’s lists are based on whatever effects the US, there is no tariff on it but if it is not ‘important’, then there is a tariff. Sort of the way the US puts all sorts of restrictions on Russian products but Russian rockets, which NASA and the US military need, get a free pass.

    Reply
  30. oaf

    …if one’s *fit-bit* tells the *smart fridge* how you avoided doing your reps, will you be locked out till you have burned the requisite calories???…Or the *smart lock* on the front door won’t let you in, cause you did too much couch potato time???
    …What is really needed: a *smart toilet* that puts the seat in the right position in response to facial recognition software…
    ???wait a minnit!
    Maybe software for recognizing something else! ; )

    Reply
  31. The Rev Kev

    “Iran’s Rouhani fumes at US after Ahvaz parade attack”

    Saw this on the TV news last night this. The attack killed more civilians that soldiers but the tone of the news was almost gleeful. They went on how these troops were from Iranian’s elite formations but now they were, if I remember the words right, ‘cowering with fear on the ground’. Well, yeah. They were in the middle of a firefight and probably find that they had no ammunition for the rifles that they had on parade with them. Look at the footage and fotos and you will see soldiers doing what they are supposed to be doing in any country – clearing the area of civilian, especially children, and evacuating the wounded. Put the term Ahvaz parade into Google Images and you will see what I mean. This sort of thing can happen anywhere. Imagine the same for a 4th July parade for example. The tone of that TV news story does irritate me still. I suspect that the news footage is sent to each country form central news organizations with an accompanying script to be read by a local for the accents.

    Reply
  32. Big Tap

    No Congressional review of ‘reasonable fee’ rules regarding bag charges of airlines – American Airlines raises baggage fees. Just coincidence I guess. Don’t take much to pay off this ‘bipartisan’ Congress. The donor/corporate class always rules. To think that the U.S. taxpayers saved them after 9/11 when they were bleeding money.

    Reply

Leave a Reply