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2:00PM Water Cooler 9/3/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente Patient readers, because a Water Cooler with no comments seems like a little bit of a misnomer, I’m enabling comments for this post. Please be even more excellent to each other than usual, so as not to overwhelm our still vacationing moderators. And as Yves warned, moderation will be slow. –lambert P.S. There will be no Water Cooler tomorrow, because I’m really mentally still on vacation, and traveling too. Brexit I mentioned this morning that the Brexit situation seemed overly dynamic: Watch: Conservative MP Phillip Lee defects to the Liberal Democrats, crossing the House of Commons during a speech by Boris Johnson His move means the prime minister has no working majority ahead of a crucial #Brexit vote [tap to expand]

Lambert Strether considers the following as important: ,

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Lambert Strether writes 2:00PM Water Cooler 5/22/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Patient readers, because a Water Cooler with no comments seems like a little bit of a misnomer, I’m enabling comments for this post. Please be even more excellent to each other than usual, so as not to overwhelm our still vacationing moderators. And as Yves warned, moderation will be slow. –lambert P.S. There will be no Water Cooler tomorrow, because I’m really mentally still on vacation, and traveling too.


I mentioned this morning that the Brexit situation seemed overly dynamic:

Normally, I wouldn’t include Brexit here, but if Yves wishes to post on Brexit, your thoughtful comments may help her out.


“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51

“They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.” –Frank Herbert, Dune

Alert reader dk (not to be confused with DK) is in the process of developing the following interactive chart. A reader said they preferred curves to stairsteps, so curves it is:

2:00PM Water Cooler 9/3/2019

And here are the numbers as of 9/3/2019, 1:00 PM EDT:

2:00PM Water Cooler 9/3/2019

I think dk has started a really neat project, and in the near future we’ll seek your feedback (within reason) for the tool “live.”

UPDATE 2019-08-30: Now the polls aggregated (all available) are shown at the bottom of the poll; unlike RCP, there is no “secret sauce” for poll selection. We also give more detail about each poll than RCP, and allow candidates to be selected or deselected. That’s three reasons what dk is doing beats RCP, and if we can make the individual polls selectable/highlightable, that will be four reasons. With more to come, grid willing.

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Biden (D)(1): “Biden’s Appeal Wanes As 2020 Race Enters Its Next Phase” [HuffPo]. “While that may be true, the enduring questions surrounding Biden’s age and fitness for office may mean Democrats will lack the “safe” choice they have had in the past, whether the candidate has been former Vice President Al Gore in 2000, former U.S. Senator John Kerry in 2004 or Clinton, the former U.S. senator and secretary of state, in 2008 and 2016.”

Buttigieg (D)(1): Oops:

UPDATE De Blasio (D)(1): “De Blasio logged a 7-hour work month at City Hall” [New York Post]. • No doubt he’s investigating the rapid and trouble-free subway system in Des Moines.

Gillibrand (D)(1): “Why Gillibrand crashed and burned” [Politico]. “[T]he big-spending plan yielded a single 2 percent poll showing. Her once-mighty campaign account dwindled to about $800,000, according to an aide familiar with the total…. ‘Franken was definitely a problem in terms of fundraising,’ the person familiar with the Gillibrand campaign said. ‘He just kept coming up, over and over again.’ Jen Palmieri, Clinton’s former communications director, said there was ‘no question’ that the Franken ordeal had a ‘huge, outsized impact on her.'” • I don’t know why Palmieri is still in anybody’s Rolodex.

Harris (D)(1): “Why Kamala Harris Hasn’t Caught Fire in the Democratic 2020 Race” [Bloomberg]. “In some ways, Harris risks falling into the same trap that ensnared Rubio in 2016 — eloquent on the stump, adept at raising money, acceptable across the party spectrum but not loved by enough voters…. [Alex Conant, the communications director for Rubio’s presidential campaign] said the key for Harris is to pick an early state to win. Rubio split his efforts about equally in the first four states and landed several top-three finishes, but failed to win any of them.” • California?

O’Rourke (D)(1):

Good for him!

Sanders (D)(1): “Trump’s Coattails Tested in North Carolina: Campaign Update” [Bloomberg]. For some reason, the editors changed the headline. Here;s the URL: sanders-organizes-1-600-rallies-in-60-seconds-campaign-update. This snippet is more interesting: “The Bernie Sanders campaign says it used one conference call to set up 1,600 house parties, expanding his effort to bring in new voters for a candidacy that’s been stuck in second place in all national polls. The “Plan to Win” house party push was the largest the campaign has done. The rallies will be held Sept. 18-24 in the key early-voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada and California.” • And that’s good. But those volunteers are going to need to expand the Democrat Party base by bringing in non-voters and the unregistered (something that the Democrat establishment hates). Can they? Are they? If so, all the polling models are off.

UPDATE Sanders (D)(2): “Krystal Ball: Washington Post ‘fact check” proves Bernie right” (video) [YouTube]. • See also here.

UPDATE Trump (R)(1): “Trump allies aim to raise $2 million to investigate reporters, editors: Axios” [Axios]. • As usual, David Brock (through Media Matters) employs more layers of indirection.

UPDATE Warren (D)(1):

Warren keeps saying “grassroots movement,” but I’m not seeing it, and I do try to keep track. Maybe Indivisible down the road, say, parachuting in?

Warren (D)(2):


Warren (D)(3): “Monopolist’s Worst Nightmare: The Elizabeth Warren Interview” [The American Prospect]. Warren: “Remember, it was the academics that got this started in the wrong direction, arguably.” • “This” being concentration a la Amazon. “Arguably”?

Williamson (D)(1):

* * *

UPDATE “2020 Presidential Election Interactive Map” [Taegan Goddard]. • Horse race analyst who leans Democrat:

2:00PM Water Cooler 9/3/2019

UPDATE “The Cybersecurity 202: DNC move against phone-in caucuses pits cybersecurity vs. voter participation” [WaPo]. “The Democratic National Committee’s decision to recommend scrapping phone-in virtual caucuses in Iowa and Nevada is pitting security hawks, who say those systems are ripe for hacking, against Democratic activists who want to increase voter participation…. Iowa and Nevada developed their phone-in systems after the DNC urged caucus states in 2018 to either switch to primaries — which are speedier — or make it easier for people to participate remotely…. The DNC recommendation came in a Friday memo from Chairman Tom Perez and the co-chairmen of the DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee, which found there was ‘no tele-caucus system available that meets our standard of security and liability.'” • Remember that all the Sanders supporters were purged from the DNC. It would be pretty funny if the DNC nuked the caucuses after the candidates had spent millions of dollars there. Although the consultants will make out pretty well.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“A Critical Examination of Caucus Organizing within the DSA” [NYC Democratic Socialists]. “Caucuses may encourage the counterposition of ideas that needn’t be counterposed. When the raison d’etre of a group is its difference from others, there is a tendency to overstate those differences. When these groups (caucuses) competitively vie for power, there is a tendency to counterpose those differences. For instance, if one caucus centers in their platform rank-and-file labor organizing and another caucus centers working within social justice movements or organizing around identity-based issues, this could needlessly and harmfully counterpose strategies that should be thought of as mutually beneficial, not mutually exclusive.”

“Probe of missing Georgia votes finds “extreme” irregularities in black districts” [Salon]. “The Georgia election as a whole was marred by Republican voter suppression efforts and aging, vulnerable voting machines. The Coalition for Good Governance, an election security group that sued to contest the lieutenant governor race, issued a report alleging that the extreme drop-off in black districts suggests the undervote could not be explained by voters simply skipping that race on their ballots.”

Stats Watch

Purchasing Managers’ Manufacturing Index, August 2019: “A ten-year low in export orders and a seven-year low for optimism headline an August PMI manufacturing report that is filled with multi-year lows” [Econoday]. “This report underscores the Federal Reserve’s concerns that slowing global demand is hurting the domestic manufacturing sector. Should the upcoming ISM manufacturing report, released at 10:00 a.m. ET this morning, also stumble, the odds for a rate-cut at the September FOMC will have increased.”

Institute For Supply Management Manufacturing Index, August 2019: “ISM manufacturing is among the most closely followed reports on the economic calendar and August’s unexpected drop… may very well make a rate-cut at the September 17 and 18 FOMC a certainty. And given the broad weakness throughout the report, an upsized 50 basis point cut may well be in play” [Econoday]. “This report is suddenly looking like many of the global manufacturing PMIs with the mid-40 readings for many of the details evoking the recent troubles for Germany’s PMI data. With new cross-border tariffs between the US and China having taken effect over the weekend, the outlook for this report next month is not promising. These numbers mark a somber inflection lower for the US manufacturing outlook.”

Construction Spending, July 2019: “Construction spending “edged higher” [Econoday]. “Yet general weakness is still the theme for construction with total year-on-year contraction… This year’s weakness in the construction sector and specifically in housing has been perhaps unexpected given low mortgage rates that keep moving lower. Though the Federal Reserve hasn’t elevated construction to a major concern, today’s report, despite isolated improvement, likely adds another weight for a rate cut, and perhaps a large rate cut, at this month’s FOMC.”

The Bezzle: “Tesla drivers reportedly locked out of cars after app goes down” [Irish Times]. “Technology is wonderful until it fails you. Just ask Tesla drivers who were reportedly locked out of their vehicles for several hours yesterday after the app, which many use as a key, was taken down for maintenance…. The outage began at about 4.30pm US eastern time and lasted for about four hours, according to one report. Tesla has yet to comment.”

The Bezzle: “Tesla Batteries Are Keeping Zimbabwe’s Economy Running” [Bloomberg]. “The installation of 520 Powerwall batteries, with two going into each base station, is the largest telecommunications project in which Tesla has participated to date, Moyo said. With Econet having about 1,300 base stations in the country and two other mobile-phone companies operating there, Distributed Power intends to install more batteries and could eventually roll the project out to other power-starved countries in Africa, such as Zambia, Lesotho and the Democratic Republic of Congo, he said. Base stations in Zimbabwe often use diesel-fired generators as backup, but fuel is also scarce in the country. The Powerwalls, which cost $6,500 each, will step in when solar panels aren’t generating enough electricity because it’s night or when heavily overcast. The lithium-ion batteries can power a station for as long as 10 hours, according to Econet. They are charged by the sun. Tesla is working with a number of telecommunications companies around the world and sees a combination of solar panels and battery storage as a good opportunity to expand its business in countries and areas where electricity supply is erratic or non-existent.” • Maybe this unglamorous business is a good one, and I shouldn’t fie this under “The Bezzle.”

Tech: “Don’t Play in Google’s Privacy Sandbox” [EFF]. “Perhaps the most fleshed-out proposal in the Sandbox is the conversion measurement API… The problem is the impression data. Apple’s proposal allows marketers to store just 6 bits of information in a “campaign ID,” that is, a number between 1 and 64. This is enough to differentiate between ads for different products, or between campaigns using different media. On the other hand, Google’s ID field can contain 64 bits of information — a number between 1 and 18 quintillion. This will allow advertisers to attach a unique ID to each and every ad impression they serve, and, potentially, to connect ad conversions with individual users. If a user interacts with multiple ads from the same advertiser around the web, these IDs can help the advertiser build a profile of the user’s browsing habits.” • Leave it to Google to take cookies and make them worse.

The Fed: “When economists ruled the world” [The Economist]. “Few economists worked at the Federal Reserve in the early 1950s. Those who were on the staff of America’s central bank were relegated to the basement, at a safe remove from the corridors where real decisions were made. Economists had their uses, allowed William McChesney Martin, then the Fed’s chairman. But they also had ‘a far greater sense of confidence in their analyses than I have found to be warranted’. They were best kept down with the surplus furniture and the rats.” • Indeed!

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 24 Fear (previous close: 23, Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 16 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Sep 3 at 12:12pm. Note that the index is not always updated daily, sadly.

Rapture Index: Closes unchanged. [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 185. Remember that bringing on the rapture is a good thing.

Health Care


“How ‘Medicare for All’ Went Mainstream” [Robert Draper, New York Times]. • I’m pleased to see RoseAnn DeMoro of the NNU playing a prominent role, but any reporter who writes a story on this topic without a single mention of PNHP simply hasn’t done their research. In the prestigious New York Times Magazine, too.

“Hospital revisits within 30 days after discharge for medical conditions targeted by the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program in the United States: national retrospective analysis” [British Medical Journal]. The Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program penalized hospitals financially for excess re-admissions. But: “In the United States, total hospital revisits within 30 days of discharge for conditions targeted by the HRRP increased across the study period. This increase was due to a rise in post-discharge emergency department visits and observation stays, which exceeded the decline in readmissions. Although reductions in readmissions have been attributed to improvements in discharge planning and care transitions, our findings suggest that these declines could instead be because hospitals and clinicians have intensified efforts to treat patients who return to a hospital within 30 days of discharge in emergency departments and as observation stays.” • Squeezing a balloon…

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“How Slavery Hurt the U.S. Economy” [Bloomberg]. “One school of thought argues that [1] slavery in general, and cotton in particular, was the driving force behind the development of America’s distinctive brand of capitalism. (The New York Times’s ambitious 1619 Project contains a good encapsulation of this argument.) But not only has this theory come under fire for inaccuracies, its central narrative is incorrect. The reality is that cotton played a relatively small role in the long-term growth of the U.S. economy. [2] The economics of slavery were probably detrimental to the rise of U.S. manufacturing and almost certainly toxic to the economy of the South. In short: The U.S. succeeded in spite of slavery, not because of it.” • But these propositions ([1], [2]) do not contradict! Unless you have some ideal, teleological view of capital, that is.

“Dismantling the Myth of the ‘Black Confederate'” [Salon]. “As someone who has dealt with people who believe this narrative, I’m always struck by the fact that they seem to be completely unaware that the Confederacy openly debated this issue throughout most of 1864 and early 1865. It was a very public debate! There were literally hundreds of newspaper editorials, letters, and diaries from people in the army writing about this. The soldiers themselves were glued to this issue. Entire regiments issued statements on where they stood…. And what’s remarkable to me is that no one involved in this debate at the time, regardless of their position on the enlistment of slaves, ever pointed out, ‘Hey, black men are already fighting as soldiers on the battlefield.” So forget about whether or not anyone has ever heard of an enslaved man picking up a weapon on the battlefield or wearing a uniform and marching with the army. No Confederate saw any of this as reflecting service as a soldier.”

Colin Kaepernick:

Guillotine Watch

“Glamping has come to NYC. I took an 8-minute ferry ride to an island in New York Harbor where people pay up to $1,200 a night to sleep in luxe tents and cabins — here’s what it looks like.” [Business Insider]. “Travel company Collective Retreats opened a luxury campground on Governors Island in New York Harbor, an eight-minute ferry ride from Manhattan, in July 2018 — and they just added an even more luxe type of accommodation.” • Collective. Well, I suppose so!

Class Warfare

“Even a Brief Recession Would Be Dire for Minority and Low-Income Workers” [Medium]. “Typically, less-educated workers, low-income workers, and minorities are the hardest hit during recessions. It also takes those groups longer to feel the effects of an economic recovery. In fact, the recovery from the Great Recession has only recently begun to reach particularly marginalized demographic groups in a meaningful way. ‘You need longer booms, at low unemployment rates, to benefit marginalized workers,” says [Jay Shambaugh, the director of the Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution]. “If we were to tilt toward a recession sooner, that would be more problematic for people at the bottom end of the income distribution.’ Young workers entering the labor force are also especially vulnerable to the effects of a recession.” • Ugh, sympathy from the Hamilton Institute?

The precariat:


Then again–

“Shortchanged: Why British Life Expectancy Has Stalled” [New York Times]. “For the first time in modern history, Britain’s gains in life expectancy have stalled — at 79.2 years for men and 82.9 years for women for the years 2015 to 2017. That is better than the United States, but Britain is slipping down the ranks in Western Europe.” • Everything’s going according to plan!

News of the Wired

“The Anthropologist of Artificial Intelligence” [Quanta]. “‘I was good friends with Iain Couzin, one of the world’s foremost animal behaviorists,’ Rahwan said, ‘and I thought, ‘Why isn’t he studying online bots? Why is it only computer scientists who are studying AI algorithms?’ ‘All of a sudden,’ he continued, “it clicked: We’re studying behavior in a new ecosystem.'” • When Silicon Valley says “ecosystem,” they mean market. Shocking to see an academic adopt this degraded construc. I’m sure Couzin will do very well.

“A Street In Brooklyn Was Covered In Raw Chicken” [Buzzfeed]. “”A DSNY mechanical broom addressed the condition at 10:00 a.m. A flusher (truck with water) is on the way to address any remaining street residue,” the [Department of Sanitation] spokesperson said.” • Lovely, stilted bureaucratic language.

“Waiting for the Monsoon, Discovering a Brain Tumor Instead” [New York Times]. “As for the ebbing of the space-occupying intruder in my head, that remained to be seen. From 3 to 6 percent of glioblastoma patients are cured; one of them will bear my name. I’ve already ordered a T-shirt with a giant 6 and a percent sign on it.” • This is a wonderful piece, a must-read. And the photographs of Inia are gorgeous. And then–

“Ram Dass is ready to die” (interview) [New York Times] (DL). “”Be here now” is: In each moment, go into the moment. Our minds take us back and forth in time. I teach a moment. And I teach that we identify with the ego. The ego is a mind warp, and most people don’t identify with their soul. They’re worried about excess meaning. The soul witnesses the ego and witnesses thoughts. ‘Be here now’ gives people an opportunity to reidentify outside of their thinking-mind ego and into that thing that’s called the soul. It is the perspective from which we could live a life without being caught so much in fear. To reidentify there is to change your whole life.”

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2:00PM Water Cooler 9/3/2019

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