By Lambert Strether of Corrente. Politics “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 Here is a second counter for the New Hampshire Primary, which is obviously just around the corner: * * * 2020 Alert reader dk (not to be confused with DK) is in the process of developing the following interactive chart. We have two new national polls, first Morning Consult (with a big fat sample size) and Quinnipiac, as of 2/11/2020, 12:00 PM EST. This is the three-day average: The numbers from Morning Consult and Quinnipiac: The numbers from Ipsos: Absurdly, there has been no polling in SC for a week, but we do have CA: CA numbers: Hard to imagine
Lambert Strether considers the following as important: Guest Post, Water Cooler
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Lambert Strether writes 2:00PM Water Cooler 3/31/2020
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By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
“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
Here is a second counter for the New Hampshire Primary, which is obviously just around the corner:
Alert reader dk (not to be confused with DK) is in the process of developing the following interactive chart.
We have two new national polls, first Morning Consult (with a big fat sample size) and Quinnipiac, as of 2/11/2020, 12:00 PM EST. This is the three-day average:
The numbers from Morning Consult and Quinnipiac:
The numbers from Ipsos:
Absurdly, there has been no polling in SC for a week, but we do have CA:
Hard to imagine the DNC planned for Sanders to lead nationally and in California, no matter the gaming and scheming that was going on.
CAVEAT I think we have to track the polls because so much of the horse-race coverage is generated by them; and at least with these charts we’re insulating ourselves against getting excited about any one poll. That said, we should remember that the polling in 2016, as it turned out, was more about narrative than about sampling, and that this year is, if anything, even more so. In fact, one is entitled to ask, with the latest I boomlet (bubble? (bezzle?)) which came first: The narrative, or the poll? One hears of push polling, to be sure, but not of collective push polling by herding pollsters. We should also worry about state polls with very small sample sizes and big gaps in coverage. And that’s before we get to the issues with cellphones (as well as whether voters in very small, very early states game their answers). So we are indeed following a horse-race, but the horses don’t stay in their lanes, some of the horses are not in it to win but to interfere with the others, the track is very muddy, and the mud has splattered our binoculars, such that it’s very hard to see what’s going on from the stands. Also, the track owners are crooked and the stewards are on the take. Everything’s fine.
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Bloomberg (D)(1): “Mike” on stop and frisk in Aspen. This is a must-listen:
Share this far and wide. Unless the mainstream media picks it up, it will be isolated to twitter. pic.twitter.com/Fm0YCi4ZRy
— Benjamin Dixon (@BenjaminPDixon) February 11, 2020
Yes, the video is authentic:
This idea that the Michael Bloomberg audio from his Aspen remarks was buried or only selectively released from Bernie supporters is laughably false. I found it in a 2 minute Google search. Full audio is on YouTube, it was uploaded shortly after his remarks https://t.co/i6U83Mffhr
— Lee Fang (@lhfang) February 11, 2020
(Maybe grab the YouTube before Bloomberg gets it taken down.) And the published version:
No wonder Bloomberg tried to keep this speech quiet (1/2) pic.twitter.com/X319gyquBc
— J'onn J'onzz (@JonnOfEarth) February 11, 2020
(Is any of this legal?) I guess we’ll see how effective Bloomberg’s money is in keeping this a non-story.
UPDATE Bloomberg (D)(2): “Bloomberg’s Blunt Defense of Stop-and-Frisk Policy Draws Scrutiny” [New York Times]. “Material like the audio recording is certain to continue surfacing as the campaign advances: Mr. Bloomberg has not been shy about expressing his views since leaving office in 2013, often at elite conferences before friendly audiences. But he is seeking to win over a different audience now, making significant inroads among Democratic primary voters thanks to a massive and largely unanswered blitz of television advertising. It remains to be seen whether the appeal he has demonstrated so far can survive a more searching examination of his record.” • The Sanders campaign comments:
— Briahna Solidarity Gray (@briebriejoy) February 11, 2020
One has to wonder if a similar piece of oppo surfaced on, say, Sanders, whether the Times would adopt such a detached, Olympian attitude. “It might have an effect, or it might not. Who can say?”
Bloomberg (D)(3) “Poll Finds Bloomberg Trailing Among Young Black Males He’s Already Thrown In Prison” [The Onion]. • It certainly is odd that the Democrat Party — so tenderly solicitous of its black firewall — has two leading candidates both with serious, systemic racism in their police departments (although I grant South Bend’s are smaller than New York’s).
Buttigieg (D)(1): “Pete Buttigieg’s Health Care Plan Is A Joke” [People’s Policy Project]. “Buttigieg’s health plan has mostly avoided scrutiny in the debate so far, which is a shame because it is so bad that it borders on comical…. In the first part of Buttigieg’s plan, he says he is going to automatically enroll the millions of uninsured people with incomes low enough to already be eligible for free insurance…. the bill doesn’t actually provide any way of identifying eligible people for automatic enrollment. Instead it proposes granting money to states so that maybe they can innovate a way to do this. Nobody has any idea how you could possibly identify people in real time who slip into eligibility but never go to the welfare office to fill out the forms. This is because it is not possible…. This is, in a nutshell, what is wrong with “technocracy” as it has come to be known in the discourse. What masquerades as technical competence and a light touch is, more often than not, really science fantasy delusions about what a state can actually successfully administer.” • Which is why #MedicareForAll’s simplicity is key. Toi be fair, it’s not a Jobs Guarantee for PMC technocrats.
Buttigieg (D)(2): “Why the Buttigieg Campaign Tried to Have Me Arrested for Handing Out These Medicare for All Fliers” [Normon Solomon, Common Dreams]. “You’d think that a presidential campaign backed by 40 billionaires and untold numbers of bundled rich people wouldn’t worry about just one leaflet on Medicare for All. But minutes after Pete Buttigieg finished speaking in an auditorium at Keene State College in New Hampshire on Saturday, a Pete for America official confronted me outside the building while I was handing out a flier with the headline ‘Medicare for All. Not Healthcare Profiteering for the Few.’ ‘You can’t pass that out,’ the man told me. I did a double take, glancing at the small ‘Pete’ metal badge on his lapel while being told that he spoke on behalf of the Buttigieg campaign. We were standing on the campus of a public college. I said that I understood the First Amendment. When I continued to pass out the flier, the Buttigieg campaign official (who repeatedly refused to give his name) disappeared and then quickly returned with a campus policeman, who told me to stop distributing the leaflet. Two Keene city police soon arrived.” • Buttigieg’s goons get little metal badges. That’s cool.
Buttigieg (D)(3): This keeps happening:
Pete Buttigieg owes my cameraman Jamal Jones an apology—his staffer put his hands on him and removed his press badge without saying a word to him. IMPORTANT: we had media credentials for the event and checked in at press desk.
— Jordan (@JordanChariton) February 9, 2020
Buttigieg (D)(4): “Buttigieg is the only top 2020 candidate not offering staffers health care yet” [NBC]. “On the campaign trail, Pete Buttigieg likes to say that ‘health care is freedom’ and that if ‘leaving your job means you’re going to lose your health care, that means you’re not free.’ But as he staffs up a national campaign, the upstart Democratic presidential candidate isn’t providing health care coverage to any of his own campaign workers, an NBC News review of his campaign spending disclosures shows. Instead, Buttigieg is providing a monthly stipend to workers to buy insurance on their own through the Obamacare exchanges, his campaign said, with plans to offer health care in the future.”
Buttigieg (D)(5): “How Pete Buttigieg Defied The Polls In Iowa” [HuffPo]. “Scott Matter, a semi-retired corporate PR strategist, has held high-level positions on Republican campaigns from Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley’s 1986 re-election bid to Sen. Bob Dole’s 1996 presidential run…. Matter joined hundreds of other Buttigieg supporters to attend a two-day caucus training in Des Moines following the Liberty Justice Celebration dinner at the start of November. Matter went on to serve as a precinct captain for Buttigieg on caucus night, where he estimates that the number of Buttigieg volunteers ran 40 deep…. Several Iowa Democrats who spoke to HuffPost about Buttigieg’s performance said his success is a credit to the moderate message that appealed to newcomers like Matter; his investment in a sophisticated field program, particularly in the state’s many rural counties; his profile and style as a midwestern mayor; and ample campaign cash to leverage all of those strengths.” • I’d like to know what the Sanders operation was doing to compete.
UPDATE Sanders (D)(1): “Wall Street might actually be fine with Sanders moving to the front of the Democratic pack” [CNBC]. “‘There is a lot of chatter that a Sanders nomination would roil markets, but there’s another way to consider that possibility,’ Nick Colas, co-founder of DataTrek Research, said in his daily market note. ‘Investors may assume that Sanders’ platform of radically remaking American society/commerce will not resonate with voters during a time of relative economic prosperity. That would make President Trump’s reelection more likely, preserving a market-friendly tone to government policy.'” • “Relative” to what? And for whom? And for how long?
UPDATE Sanders (D)(2): “I helped coin the term ‘identity politics’. I’m endorsing Bernie Sanders” [Barbara Smith, Guardian]. “In 1977 I co-authored the Combahee River Collective Statement – a document that emphasized the overlapping forms of economic and social oppression faced by black women. The Combahee Statement coined the term ‘identity politics’, and it was instrumental in pushing the international left and other political movements to understand inequality as a structural and intersectional phenomenon which affects oppressed groups differently. Those ideas continue to reverberate today. I am often disheartened, however, to see support for identity politics and intersectionality reduced to buzzwords. I am supporting Bernie Sanders for president because I believe that his campaign and his understanding of politics complements the priorities that women of color defined decades ago…. Sanders has said that as president he will be “organizer-in-chief”. He is committed to fighting for regular working people, which is most of us, and he has the advantage of connection with an existing broad-based social movement. As president he can implement policies that give those who are most harmed by the current system full access to opportunity and a decent human life.” • Hoo boy. No doubt to be distributed widely in the idpol crowd.
UPDATE Sanders (D)(3): “Bernie Sanders’s Multiracial, Working-Class Base Was On Display In Iowa” [Jacobin]. “Sanders’s strength among working-class Latinos was no accident. More than any other presidential campaign, Sanders staffers and volunteers fanned out across the state, organizing in cities and towns, big and small. Satellite caucuses were a main point of emphasis…. In many cases, Hispanic-heavy towns proved the exception to Sanders’s otherwise underwhelming support in rural areas: In West Liberty, the first majority-minority town in Iowa, Sanders won 45 percent of the second alignment vote. In nearby Tama, he bested Biden to capture the most delegates in the city. All told, Sanders hoovered up 52 percent of the vote in the top thirty-two high-density Latino caucus locations and a stunning 67 percent in majority-Latino caucus sites, according to a UCLA study. Sanders also performed well in black and white working-class precincts. Shortly after results began trickling in, Iowa politics writer Pat Rynard summed up the presidential aspirant’s base in Des Moines: “precincts with younger voters downtown, the African-American precincts on the North Side, Latino neighborhoods on the East Side, and [white] working-class precincts on the South Side.” The blue-collar river town of Dubuque, which is about 90 percent white, went heavily for Bernie on caucus night. In Waterloo, the city with the highest percentage of African-Americans in the state, Sanders cut into Joe Biden’s much-touted backing among African-American voters, running well in the city’s black-heavy east side. Davenport, another working-class city with a relatively large black population, proved a wellspring of support, too. Sanders won or tied for most delegates in nearly every precinct, performing particularly well in places with more black residents.” • The article is worth a read for the history of meat-packing in Iowa.
UPDATE Trump (D)(1): “Trump looks to upstage Democrats on eve of New Hampshire primary” [NBC]. “The president’s stop Monday in New Hampshire was a return to the site of his first big win in the GOP contest in 2016… Trump has held rallies during Democratic debates and in Iowa days before the state’s caucuses. On Monday, he sought to further influence the outcome… The president’s New Hampshire visit — which — was the latest in a string of attempts to rival key moments in the Democratic contest.” • Trump is The World’s Greatest Troll™.
UPDATE Trump (D)(2): “Why Donald Trump keeps messing with the Democratic presidential race” [CNN]. “And just as the Democratic race heats up, the President is suddenly beginning to look like a formidable opponent after three years of weak polling that suggested in might be an easy target. He skated free from his Senate trial last week with his party — minus Mitt Romney — in lock step marching toward battle in November. And a low turnout last week in Iowa is worrying Democratic Party leaders who had made assumptions on massive enthusiasm among liberal voters desperate to deprive the President of a second term.” • Some of us always thought Trump was formidable, in 2016 and now.
Warren (D)(1): Spoiler alert:
“In about a sentence, what's the first state you think you can win, Senator?”@ewarren:
“Look – I'm out here talking to people all across this country” https://t.co/939mHWdMJS
— Jonathan Martin (@jmartNYT) February 11, 2020
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NH: “New Hampshire primary results: track the votes, county by county” [Guardian] • Here’s a live tracker. I didn’t add any material on NH today, because why speculate when we’ll soon know? (Nomiki Konst, in a podcast I am too rushed to link to, says that the NH Democrat Party chair is not a DNC chair or a Clintonite, so perhaps the more egregious problems in Iowa won’t happen here). Readers, especially NH readers, please keep each other posted!
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NV: What could go wrong (1):
The Nevada Democratic Party is still working on its process for conducting and transmitting the results of its caucuses and has been unable to answer questions about how that will be carried out https://t.co/Pen61XypGB
— The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) February 11, 2020
NV: What could go wrong (2):
The Nevada Democratic Party just hired a paid Buttigieg organizer to be their “Voter Protection Director” pic.twitter.com/SNXmGttgpW
— BERNIE BEATS TRUMP (@CANCEL_SAM) February 9, 2020
* * *
IA: You can turn down the sound, but do watch:
IDP Chair Troy Price answers question about why the party can’t change mathematical problems on the caucus night worksheets in the results: pic.twitter.com/o8z0dV9bcO
— Iowa Starting Line (@IAStartingLine) February 10, 2020
Realignment and Legitimacy
“U.S. Counterintelligence Chief Warns of Meddling After Iowa Vote” [Bloomberg] • As anybody but some national security goon talking his book knows, the main threats to democracy are domestic, not foreign. Although–
“AIPAC Must Stop Bernie Sanders – at All Costs” [Haaretz]. “‘Never Bernie’ AIPAC now sounds a lot like a pro-Trump caucus, not a bipartisan pro-Israel lobby. But it has no choice.” • Clarifying, but isn’t this “meddling”?
Retail: “Coronavirus Outbreak Drives Demand for China’s Online Grocers” [Bloomberg]. “Like their counterparts in Silicon Valley, China’s largest tech companies struggled to prove online groceries can be a viable business. Then the novel coronavirus struck. Its spread has extended a lifeline to a slew of money-burning businesses — many backed by big name venture capital funds and tech giants from Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. to Tencent Holdings Ltd. — that in some cases were on the brink of collapse in 2019. Millions of consumers shunning supermarkets and meal-delivery services are testing promises by Tencent-backed Missfresh or Alibaba’s nationwide Hema chain to ship fresh food to their doorsteps. Those that deliver can expect many of first-time customers to stay even after the epidemic burns itself out.” • Every pandemic has a golden lining! Go long social distance.
Shipping: “The coronavirus toll on shipping is becoming clear as the impact rolls across maritime operations from container terminals to shipyards” [Wall Street Journal]. “A new report from Sea-Intelligence says the falling trade volumes are costing container lines $350 million a week in business… while operators in other sectors report feeble trade. Dry-bulk carriers may end up taking the biggest hit, according to IHS Markit, because of weak demand from China’s factories. On the container side, the U.S. retail sector’s Global Port Tracker slashed its forecast for container imports into major American seaports in February and March by some 370,000 boxes.”
The Bezzle: “A popular self-driving car dataset is missing labels for hundreds of pedestrians” [Roboflow]. “We did a hand-check of the 15,000 images in the widely used Udacity Dataset 2 and found problems with 4,986 (33%) of them. Amongst these were thousands of unlabeled vehicles, hundreds of unlabeled pedestrians, and dozens of unlabeled cyclists. We also found many instances of phantom annotations, duplicated bounding boxes, and drastically oversized bounding boxes.” • Garbage in, dead pedestrians out. I certainly hope some robot car-chasing lawyers are reading this.
The Bezzle: “Apps that claim to test moles are missing skin cancers, doctors warn” [CNN]. “A study found that the leading apps were both missing melanomas and incorrectly telling people their moles were a cause for concern. The researchers evaluated SkinVision and SkinScan, two popular European apps which have not yet been approved for a launch in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). ‘Our review found poor and variable performance of algorithm-based smartphone apps, which indicates that these apps have not yet shown sufficient promise to recommend their use,’ wrote the authors, from the universities of Birmingham and Nottingham in the United Kingdom. They warned that the current regulatory processes ‘are inadequate for protecting the public against the risks created by using smartphone diagnostic or risk stratification apps.'” • More regulatory arbitrage.
Tech: “Who’s in charge at Amazon? Moves on secretive S Team signal tech giant’s priorities” [Seattle Times]. “The senior leadership team — or S Team — added seven people in 2019 and saw two longtime members depart. That’s a significant change and expansion of a group including some of the company’s longest-tenured executives, but which Amazon rarely talks about. Now numbering 22 people including Bezos, the changing composition of the group provides a sense of ascendant priorities for the company, which in general gives little in the way of strategic forecasting to financial analysts and investors. The 2019 S Team additions included executives focused on cloud computing, advertising, Alexa and fashion.”
Infrastructure: “N.J. Rail Bridge Gets Boost, But Hudson Tunnel Low on Trump’s List” [Bloomberg]. “A replacement for the century-old New Jersey bridge that is key to northeastern U.S. train travel took a major step forward, while a Hudson River rail tunnel remained a lower priority among new project rankings by the Trump administration.” • Because of course it did.
Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 57 Greed (previous close: 57 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 55 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Feb 10 at 12:28pm.
“US environmental law scale-back effort draws ire” [Associated Press]. “President Donald Trump on Jan. 9 proposed narrowing the scope of the National Environmental Policy Act, signed by President Richard Nixon in 1970. Along with the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act, it spells out the nation’s principal environmental protections. NEPA requires federal agencies to determine if a construction or commercial project would harm the environment or wildlife. It gives the public the right of review and input. Over the decades, NEPA has applied to federally funded construction, management and development of public lands, roads, bridges, tunnels, highways, power plants and electricity transmission. Trump, backed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, American Petroleum Institute and other business and trade groups, says the law’s reviews delay infrastructure projects for years and dramatically boost their costs.”
“This 7,000-year-old well is the oldest wooden structure ever discovered, archaeologists say” [CNN]. “The square well was built with oak by farmers around 5256 B.C., according to researchers who pinpointed its origin after analyzing the tree rings in the wood…. Its design shines a light on technical skills that researchers didn’t think Neolithic people possessed. ‘The design consists of grooved corner posts with inserted planks. This type of construction reveals advanced technical know-how and, till now, is the only known type from this region and time period,’ the authors wrote.
According to experts, the well indicates that whoever built it was able to process the surface of felled trunks with utmost precision, given that they only had tools made of stone, bone, horn, or wood. ‘The shape of the individual structural elements and tool marks preserved on their surface confirm sophisticated carpentry skills,’ the authors wrote.”
“Climate Change Is Coming for Your Oreos” [Bloomberg]. “The latest victims of climate change could be Oreos, as drenched fields across the U.S. make the wheat that’s a key ingredient a scarcer commodity. Winter-wheat plantings fell to their lowest levels in more than a century as the grain got harder to seed. That was especially true for soft red winter wheat, with sowings in critical states like Illinois slumping 25%. And that might be bad news for snack fans—the variety is used in the flour that forms the base for crackers, biscuits and beloved goodies including Mondelez International Inc.’s Oreos and Kellogg Co.’s Cheez-Its.”
“The Terrifying Science Behind the Locust Plagues of Africa” [Wired]. “locusts will likely be winners on a warming planet. They need a lot of vegetation to fuel their swarms, and that requires rain. The highly active cyclone seasons the past few years may be a sign of things to come. Warmer seas spawn more cyclones, and more cyclones—especially sequential ones that give locusts wet soils to breed in as they march across the landscape—could mean more locusts. On the climatic flip side, locusts are highly adapted to a life of heat and drought: The Global Locust Initiative’s experiments have shown that Australian plague locusts can survive up to a month without water. So while other species struggle to adapt to a rapidly-warming planet, the locusts will have an advantage both in their heat-tolerant physiology, and potentially from a decrease in competition from less fortunate insects.” • Well worth a read!
“For Kid’s Coughs, Swap The Over-The-Counter Syrups For Honey” [NPR]. “‘Honey is at least as effective as those many, many products that you see in the drugstore,’ says Dr. Bud Wiedermann, an infectious disease specialist at Children’s National Hospital in Washington D.C. This is only for kids older than 1 year old. (There’s a risk of botulism for infants.)” • I gargle with honey (undiluted, with a little salt). Anecdote: It helps!
“Doctors group breaks from health care industry with support for ‘Medicare for All'” [The Hill]. “[The American College of Physicians (ACP)] made waves last month when it broke with other leading health players to endorse Medicare for All, along with an optional government plan, as a way to get to universal coverage. The move by the ACP, which represents internal medicine doctors who are often a patient’s primary care physician, is a sign of changing attitudes among doctors. ‘A lot of this is driven from the grassroots membership,’ Bob Doherty, senior vice president of governmental affairs and public policy for the ACP, said in an interview last week in the group’s Washington office…. A motion in the American Medical Association’s (AMA) House of Delegates to end the group’s decades-long opposition to Medicare for All proposals failed by a close margin in June, going down 53 percent to 47 percent. ACP is the second-largest doctors group in the country after the AMA, and its new stance could have ripple effects.” • Worth a read on why these doctors changed their minds.
“The Doctors Who Bill You While You’re Unconscious” [The Atlantic]. “Let’s say you need to get a minor surgery, such as repairing some torn knee cartilage. If you have insurance, you would probably call the hospital or your insurer ahead of time to be sure that the hospital was “in network” with your insurance. If you’re extra savvy, you might double-check that the surgeon who will be operating on you is in network, too…. [But] Americans often find themselves getting staggering bills from providers they didn’t realize would participate in their surgery…. And now, a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association has found . Having an out-of-network surprise bill raised the total bill by an average of $14,083. The dollars racked up often while the patient was unconscious, and an out-of-network specialist simply walked into the room.” • This is why people love their insurance.
“ICE Is Using Location Data From Games and Apps to Track and Arrest Immigrants, Report Says” [Vice]. “The Department of Homeland Security began purchasing location data in 2017 from Venntel, a Virginia-based company which markets itself as a ‘pioneer in mobile location information,’ according to the database of federal contracts. Since then, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has purchased $190,000 in Venntel licenses and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has spent over $1 million on the company’s products. The data is drawn from inconspicuous cell phone apps, like games and weather apps, that ask the user’s permission to access their location. But the data has been used by DHS to ‘help identify immigrants who were later arrested,’ and by CBP to identify cell activity in places such as remote desert areas on the Mexican border, according to the Journal, which said it both reviewed documents and spoke to people ‘familiar with the matter.'”
“Educated Fools” [The New Republic]. “This is a high school nation. Even now, after all the years of pumping up college education as the only way to survive, there’s still close to 70 percent of U.S. adults from age 25 and older—yes, living right now—who are without four-year college degrees. If a college education is the only way to survive in a global economy, then the party’s effective answer to anyone over 30 is: It’s too late for you. And of course, that message gets across. If FDR is not rolling over in his grave, Harry Truman is. We liberals talk about the historical obsolescence of the working class as if the working class were not in the room…. Of course we should have more college—absolutely—and yes, it should be cheaper, if not free. But more college should be part of a new and more democratic education that reflects a new and more democratic workplace.” • Well, if the working class is to own and control the means of production, it needs to be educated. And not in neoliberal pieties either. MBAs should be servants, not masters.
“Study Finds Leading Cause Of Childhood Obesity Witches Fattening Up Children To Be Eaten” [The Onion] • Speaking of extractivism…
News of the Wired
“Jules Verne’s Most Famous Books Were Part of a 54-Volume Masterpiece, Featuring 4,000 Illustrations” [Open Culture]. “Not many readers of the 21st century seek out the work of popular writers of the 19th century, but when they do, they often seek out the work of Jules Verne. Journey to the Center of the Earth, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Around the World in Eighty Days: fair to say that we all know the titles of these fantastical French tales from the 1860s and 70s, and more than a few of us have actually read them. But how many of us know that they all belong to a single series, the 54-volume Voyages Extraordinaires, that Verne published from 1863 until the end of his life? Verne described the project’s goal to an interviewer thus: ‘to conclude in story form my whole survey of the world’s surface and the heavens.’…. Together with the stories themselves, on the back of which Verne remains the most translated science-fiction author of all time, [the 4000 illustrations] allow [Terry] Harpold to make the credible claim that “the textual-graphic domain constituted by these objects is unmatched in its breadth and variety; no other corpus associated with a single author is comparable.”
Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant (JJ-D):
JJ-D writes: “Helleborus niger, Christmas rose, flowering on Christmas. With two of our honeybees foraging. H. niger is often sold by florists, and typically does not survive summers in this area (Piedmont of North Carolina). This one has for the last three years, and even though it has not grown much, it has flowered every winter.This was taken with a not-great phone camera, so you may be unable to use it.” Phone cameras seem to be continually improving. To me, the ergonomics are horrid, but the kidz don’t seem to mind.
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