The first primary of the 2016 campaign is officially over, and let the spin begin. Well, 92% counted, as of this moment, but close enough to finished to call. Despite the breathless nature of most political commentary, the race for the nomination for either party is far from over.
A few tidbits of interest, beginning with good news re: Democratic turnout. Well good news for Bernie Sanders, anyway…
Sanders has already cleared one hurdle that no Democratic insurgent in past presidential contests has managed: He’s become the party’s beer-track candidate, at least among white voters. In past election contests, stretching from Eugene McCarthy in 1968 to Barack Obama in 2008, the underdog outsiders won the support of the young and the upscale, but couldn’t gain a majority of the working-class vote. Sanders, by contrast, won the vote of lower income caucus attendees in Iowa, and in New Hampshire, he ran strongest among voters with annual incomes beneath $30,000, and beat Clinton handily, though with declining margins, up to the $200,000-plus category, where she prevailed by 7 percentage points.
The age gap between the two candidates’ supporters was so vast that that could have affected the outcome among income categories, as voters under 30 invariably have lower incomes than their elders. What’s particularly impressive about Sanders’s support from young voters is less his immense margins of victory—he won 82 percent of voters under 25 and 85 percent of voters between 25 and 29—and more the level of their turnout. Voters under 30 constituted 19 percent of the Democratic turnout on Tuesday, while voters 65 and older constituted 17 percent—a notable reversal of normal voter participation levels, and clear testament to Sanders’s ability to mobilize the young.
(click here to continue reading The Establishment Tanks.)
and the myth of the Bernie Bros:
If you follow Matt Bruenig at all, you’d know by now that the idea of the “Bernie Bro” is a complete myth. Indeed, poll after poll shows that the perceived “gender” gap is really nothing more than an age gap. Sanders polls much better than Clinton with young women. It’s like this entire primary is just old Democrats telling young Democrats to get off their lawn.
So, Sanders was recently forced to condemn mean sexist people on the internet. Yet, as Gloria Steinem says that young women support Bernie because they are just boy crazy, Clinton is not called to condemn her sexist supporters. And when Madeline Albright tells people that “there is a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other out,” Clinton does not apologize. In fact, she just laughed.
(click here to continue reading WOW. Before the “Bernie Bro,” Clinton supporters created the “Obama boy.” No, seriously..)
But is it good for the Jews?
Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont on Tuesday became the first Jewish candidate in history to win a presidential primary election, setting off a familiar mixture of celebration and anxiety among Jews in the United States and abroad, who pondered what his milestone victory meant for the broader Jewish community.
(click here to continue reading As Bernie Sanders Makes History, Jews Wonder What It Means – The New York Times.)
Josh Marshall thinks Marcobot Rubio is done:
I believe we can say with a reasonably high level of confidence that Marco Rubio’s quest for the presidency is over. I don’t expect he realizes it yet. I don’t expect he’ll drop out any time soon. But a broad appraisal of the fundamentals should tell us fairly clearly that the end is only a matter of time. Late on Saturday evening I started to think if I could remember a debate where one candidate had damaged another candidate quite that badly in a single encounter. The only instance that came to mind was Lloyd Bentsen’s notorious “you’re no Jack Kennedy” assault on Dan Quayle in 1988.
But on reflection I realized that Christie’s evisceration of Rubio was worse.
His campaign team seems to realize just how badly that trust has been damaged. As he did in his concession speech tonight, in an overnight email to supporters Rubio said he “dropped the ball” and promised that it would “never happen again.”
But it’s hardly the first time. There was of course the notorious if rather trivial water bottle grab during his 2013 State of the Union response. But that was followed by his far more consequential immigration reform gambit.
Rubio embraced the post-2012 RNC “autopsy” and put himself forward as a charismatic young Hispanic legislator who would both buck and deliver his party for comprehensive immigration reform, setting himself up for a presidential run in 2016 and at least mitigating the GOP’s historic and mounting estrangement from the country’s rapidly growing Hispanic minority.
It was a bold and audacious move at which he failed utterly.
Indeed, more than simply fail, he completely abandoned his own position in the process of failing. By last fall he was reduced to referring to his own bill as something that somehow happened to him and explaining its current irrelevance as somehow having something to do with ISIS. Again and again, Rubio seems to choke at key moments – sometimes in trivial and comical ways and at other times more monumentally.
(click here to continue reading Strong Horse, Weak Horse.)
seems like even the Rubiobot’s campaign staff knew the gig was up:
After video circulated online Tuesday showing Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-FL) New Hampshire chairman locked in a physical altercation with a protester dressed as a robot, the political organizer behind the stunt said in a phone interview with TPM that the tussle was unprovoked.
Aaron Black, a progressive activist, said in a phone interview that he had no idea the man who grabbed him at a event on the day of the Granite State’s first-in-the-nation primary was Cliff Hurst, Rubio’s state campaign chair.
“I just felt his hands and arms around my neck,” Black told TPM. “I asked, ‘Why are you putting your hands on me?’”
In the video, Hurst can be seen grabbing Black, who’s toting a homemade “ROBOT RUBIO” sign, around the neck in an effort to drag him away from where Rubio was speaking while others attempt to force Black from the area with massive campaign signs.
Black told TPM he asked Hurst, “Do you realize all these cameras are here and it doesn’t look good?” before the chairman released him and walked over to shake hands with Rubio.
(click here to continue reading ‘Robot’ Activist On Tussle With Rubio Campaign Chair: He Put His Hands On My Neck!.)
Chris Christie didn’t move up much in the polls after his Rubio-bot interaction though:
After a disappointing sixth-place finish in the state upon which he had staked his presidential bid, Gov. Chris Christie is heading home to New Jersey on Wednesday to weigh his options for the future of his campaign.
The governor had originally planned to fly to South Carolina to attend a forum, saying Tuesday morning that he had already booked a plane ticket. But his showing led him to change his plans as the vote totals came in Tuesday night.
“We’re going to go home to New Jersey tomorrow, and we’re going to take a deep breath,” he told supporters, adding that he and his family “will make a decision on our next step forward based on the results that come in here in New Hampshire.”
Mr. Christie spoke in a solemn tone, and his wife, Mary Pat, at one point wiped her eyes. But true to his campaign slogan of “telling it like it is,” Mr. Christie spoke pragmatically about his situation.
(click here to continue reading Chris Christie Heads for Home to Reassess – The New York Times.)
And like every presidential election cycle, some are speculating that there will be a brokered convention, for reals this time:
New Hampshire sure left its mark on the GOP race by decisively reshaping it from a three-man race into a five-man race: Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Marco Rubio, and Donald Trump. Essentially, none of the “mainstream” (to use that word loosely) candidates has emerged as a serious challenger to Trump and Cruz, which means the GOP is likely looking at a very very long nomination fight, reports Alexander Burns:
Michael O. Leavitt, a former governor of Utah and a top adviser to Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign, said he believed the window for any Republican candidate to clinch the nomination before the party’s convention in Cleveland this summer was rapidly closing.
Mr. Leavitt, who has not endorsed a candidate in the race, said he had reviewed the delegate allocation rules for every state and concluded that Mr. Trump would have to capture about 45 percent of the popular vote to win a majority of delegates for the convention. Mr. Trump has not approached that threshold in the polls so far, and Mr. Leavitt said no other candidate was likely to do so as long as so many of them remained in the race. “It will be difficult for him to be a breakaway front-runner,” Mr. Leavitt said of Mr. Trump. “There are a lot of candidates that have staying power, whether it’s by living off the land or a ‘super PAC’ or a combination.”
(click here to continue reading The odds for a GOP brokered convention just got way better.)
John Kasich is the sanest Republican candidate, but I agree with John Ellis Bush! Bush’s assertion: the path for Kasich is tenuous at best.
As primary results trickled in Tuesday evening, Jeb Bush’s campaign made the case that that the former Florida governor is well-positioned for a strong showing in South Carolina — a state where Granite State second-place finisher John Kasich has no viable path. Calling Kasich the “leading Republican advocate for expanding Obamacare” and pointing to the Ohio governor’s past cuts to defense spending, Tim Miller, spokesman for Bush, told reporters: “He doesn’t have a constituency past New Hampshire. He does not have a viable path to the nomination, and he certainly does not have a viable path in South Carolina.”
(click here to continue reading Bush Campaign: John Kasich Has No Path To The Nomination – BuzzFeed News.)
though of course Kasich is happy to keep trudging on. Well, skipping tra-la-la perhaps:
“Tonight, John Kasich is the story coming out of New Hampshire,” John Sununu, a former US senator from the state, declared as he introduced the Ohio governor to a packed ballroom of supporters here in Concord. The crowded risers at the back of the room, lined with TV cameras and photographers, attested to the shifting narrative created by Kasich’s surprise second-place finish in the New Hampshire Republican presidential primary.
Kasich himself seemed slightly shell-shocked by how well he had performed, after initially laboring in “totally obscurity” as he criss-crossed New Hampshire to introduce himself to voters. “There’s something that’s going on that I’m not sure that anybody can quite understand,” he said when he took the podium. “There’s magic in the air with this campaign. Something big happened tonight.” The question for the Kasich campaign, which has focused its resources heavily on New Hampshire, with the candidate holding nearly 190 events in the state, is what comes next? South Carolina, with its base of religious conservative voters, is not considered Kasich country. And more than a month will elapse between his strong New Hampshire finish and the contest in his native Ohio.
Kasich has run a positive if deeply introspective campaign. “We never went negative because we have more good to sell than to spend our time being critical,” he said, adding, “Tonight the light overcame the darkness.” His message of hope and healing—he has repeatedly urged his supporters to “just slow down” and listen to others—has seemed out of place in a race that has been dominated by a candidate, Donald Trump, who has thrived on divisiveness.
(click here to continue reading John Kasich: “Slow Down” and Put on Your Seatbelt | Mother Jones.)
Stephen Colbert paid homage to the Ben Carson debate entrance:
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I took Your Silent Sorrows In Empty Rooms on July 04, 2011 at 03:58PM
and processed it in my digital darkroom on February 07, 2016 at 01:32PM
I’ve made digital cyanotypes as long as I’ve used the Alien Skin “Exposure” plugin for Photoshop, but I’ve never made an actual one. The faux, digital versions are much different than actual cyanotypes. I’m intrigued though, the emotional impact of a blue-toned photograph is compelling.
The Phoenix artist Annie Lopez wanted to stand out among her contemporary peers. Instead of trying to invent something utterly new, she has been turning to a 174-year-old photographic printing process — cyanotypes, once used for copying architectural drawings — and giving it her own distinctive twist.
Making a cyanotype involves placing a negative image — which could be a photographic negative, or an object, as in a photogram — on treated paper or fabric. (Ms. Lopez took from her own life and her father’s battle with Alzheimer’s, using photocopies of medical books as well as comments made by family members.) After an iron-based solution is brushed on, the paper is placed under ultraviolet light, or in direct sun, to develop.
“One of the best-selling points of this exhibition is that cyanotypes are both underrepresented and trendy at the same time,” said Nancy Burns, who organized the Worcester show with Kristina Wilson of Clark University. “It’s very hip in contemporary art, when you start looking for it.”
The cyanotype process — from the Greek cyan, or “dark-blue impression” — was invented around 1842 by the British astronomer and chemist John Frederick Herschel (1792–1871). The benefits of the format were evident from the start.
(click here to continue reading Cyanotype, Photography’s Blue Period, Is Making a Comeback – The New York Times.)
I’ve also heard cyanotypes called “sun prints”:
Maybe you remember sun prints (also known as cyanotypes) from childhood. You set a leaf or flower on light-sensitive paper and exposed it to the sunlight for a few minutes. Your parent or teacher probably rinsed the print and showed you the results as they developed. A shadow of the specimen emerged—the color of the paper shifted from white to light blue. The final result was a white or bluish-white silhouette on dark blue paper.
When I first started paying attention to cyanotypes, I loved how they rendered familiar objects and shapes as bluish, shadowy abstractions. I also wondered why they reminded me of x-rays or architectural drawings. A description of the cyanotype process from Encyclopaedia Britannica shed some light.
(click here to continue reading Celebrated Summer: Making Sun Prints with Transparencies | Britannica Blog.)
Like I said, I’ve never made an actual cyanotype, yet. The images on this post are simply “toned blue” as a reminder to myself1 that I need to make a real cyanotype.
- like so much of my blog [↩]
Scary, and even more reason we should dial back our military adventures, and instead invest in our infrastructure lest we kill ourselves…
“Lead in Flint is the tip of the iceberg,” notes Dr. Richard J. Jackson, former director of the National Center for Environmental Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Flint is a teachable moment for America.”
In Flint, 4.9 percent of children tested for lead turned out to have elevated levels. That’s inexcusable. But in 2014 in New York State outside of New York City, the figure was 6.7 percent. In Pennsylvania, 8.5 percent. On the west side of Detroit, one-fifth of the children tested in 2014 had lead poisoning. In Iowa for 2012, the most recent year available, an astonishing 32 percent of children tested had elevated lead levels. (I calculated most of these numbers from C.D.C. data.)
Across America, 535,000 children ages 1 through 5 suffer lead poisoning, by C.D.C. estimates.
“We are indeed all Flint,” says Dr. Philip Landrigan, a professor of preventive medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “Lead poisoning continues to be a silent epidemic in the United States.”
(click here to continue reading America Is Flint – The New York Times.)
and this short-sighted austerity by Congress is just sickening:
Some 24 million homes in America have deteriorated lead paint, of which occupants are often unaware. If a toddler regularly breathes lead-contaminated dust, or sucks a finger that has touched the dust, that child may suffer lifelong brain damage.
Yet anti-lead programs have been dismantled in recent years because in 2012 Congress slashed the funding for lead programs at the C.D.C. by 93 percent. After an outcry, some money was restored, but even now these lead programs have only a bit more than half the funding they once had.
I’ve owned a reverse osmosis water filtration system for a long time, but it only cleans my drinking/cooking water, not the water in my entire house. How about you?
If it is not possible or cost-effective to remove the lead source, flushing the water system before using the water for drinking or cooking may be an option. Any time a particular faucet has not been used for several hours (approximately 6 or more), you can flush the system by running the water for about 1-2 minutes or until the water becomes as cold as it will get. Flush each faucet individually before using the water for drinking or cooking. You can use the water flushed from the tap to water plants, wash dishes or clothing, or clean. Avoid cooking with or drinking hot tap water because hot water dissolves lead more readily than cold water does. Do not use hot tap water to make cereals, drinks or mix baby formula. You may draw cold water after flushing the tap and then heat it if needed.
You may also wish to consider water treatment methods such as reverse osmosis, distillation, and carbon filters specially designed to remove lead. Typically these methods are used to treat water at only one faucet. Contact your local health department for recommended procedures. If you want to know more about these filters, please contact NSF International, an organization for public health and safety through standards development, product certification, education, and risk management. Remember to have your well water tested regularly, at least once a year, to make sure the problem is controlled.
(click here to continue reading CDC – Lead and Drinking Water from Private Wells – Wells – Private Water Systems – Drinking Water – Healthy Water.)
There are real consequences to corporations constantly consolidating, and becoming de facto monopolies in particular markets. Cable/internet companies are one such example, and so are airlines. Most routes are served by one or two airlines, so there isn’t a push towards lowering ticket prices to capture market share. Instead, the airlines just give executives big bonuses…
Helped by falling oil prices, airlines are reporting record profits, but for many passengers this sudden bonanza has meant little more than extra bags of free peanuts and pretzels.
The four biggest domestic carriers — American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines — together earned about $22 billion in profits last year, a stunning turnaround after a decade of losses, bankruptcies and cutbacks. A big reason for this is the plunging price of jet fuel, which now costs only a third of what it did just two years ago.
But that windfall is only slowly finding its way down the aisles. Days after reporting record profits, for instance, two of the nation’s biggest airlines brought back free snacks in coach.
United said it would begin serving complimentary stroopwafels, which it described as “Dutch-made toasted waffle treats,” and American said it would offer free meals in economy class on flights between Dallas and Hawaii, and free snacks on all domestic flights.
Airfares, however, have remained stubbornly high.
(click here to continue reading Airlines Reap Record Profits, and Passengers Get Peanuts – The New York Times.)
Americans who are not religious have long been marginalized and ignored by politicians. And yet our numbers keep growing. When will the nonreligious get a representative who respects us? The opposite of Christian Taliban like Ted Cruz, in other words…
Susan Jacoby writes:
THE population of nonreligious Americans — including atheists, agnostics and those who call themselves “nothing in particular” — stands at an all-time high this election year. Americans who say religion is not important in their lives and who do not belong to a religious group, according to the Pew Research Center, have risen in numbers from an estimated 21 million in 2008 to more than 36 million now.
Despite the extraordinary swiftness and magnitude of this shift, our political campaigns are still conducted as if all potential voters were among the faithful. The presumption is that candidates have everything to gain and nothing to lose by continuing their obsequious attitude toward orthodox religion and ignoring the growing population of those who make up a more secular America.
The question is not why nonreligious Americans vote for these candidates — there is no one on the ballot who full-throatedly endorses nonreligious humanism — but why candidates themselves ignore the growing group of secular voters.
Freedom of conscience for all — which exists only in secular democracies — should be at the top of the list of shared concerns. Candidates who rightly denounce the persecution of Christians by radical Islamists should be ashamed of themselves for not expressing equal indignation at the persecution of freethinkers and atheists, as well as dissenting Muslims and small religious sects, not only by terrorists but also by theocracies like Saudi Arabia. With liberal religious allies, it would be easier for secularists to hold candidates to account when they talk as if freedom of conscience is a human right only for the religious.
Even more critical is the necessity of reclaiming the language of religious freedom from the far right. As defined by many pandering politicians, “religious freedom” is in danger of becoming code for accepting public money while imposing faith-based values on others.
Secularists must hold candidates to account when they insult secular values, whether that means challenging them in town hall meetings or withholding donations. Why, for example, would any secular Republican (yes, there are some) think of supporting the many Republican politicians who have denied the scientific validity of evolution? Politicians will continue to ignore secular Americans until they are convinced that there is a price to be paid for doing so.
“God bless America” has become the standard ending of every major political speech. Just once in my life, I would like the chance to vote for a presidential candidate who ends his or her appeals with Thomas Paine’s observation that “the most formidable weapon against errors of every kind is Reason.”
(click here to continue reading Sick and Tired of ‘God Bless America’ – The New York Times.)
It’s not Super Bowl commercials I mind. I’ve actually liked a lot of them. I’ve enjoyed disliking others. My objection is how they’ve become fetishized.
Though they sell beer, cars, junk food and sundry other everyday items, services and ideas, we’ve been conditioned to treat them as something between objets d’art and Adam Sandler comedies.
Perhaps adored, perhaps abhorred, they’re tough to completely ignore.
It’s as if the fact that some marketer spent $5 million per half minute — up about 11 percent from $4.5 million last year — to pitch more than 100 million of us in the Super Bowl 50 audience obliges us to actually pay attention.
That attention, as reliable as the way we always dote on anthropomorphic animals year after year, in turn, helps justify the $166,666.67-per-second price, production costs not included.
Somewhere along the line, someone — maybe Don Draper, maybe Darrin Stephens — pitched Americans on the idea that television commercials are as much a part of Super Bowl Sunday as the game itself, and we bought it.
The queasy feeling that too many salty, fatty foodstuffs bring by the third quarter is as much a part of Super Bowl Sunday as the game too. But we’re not carpet-bombed with previews and reviews, encouraged to experience it repeatedly before and after the game and invited to try an extended and more intense version.
(click here to continue reading Fetishizing of Super Bowl ads: How much is too much? – Chicago Tribune.)
Should we be impressed by advertising just because it costs a lot to air? And create? Especially since so few ads are even worthy of our attention. Some are even worth our disgust, like:
The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse (NCADA) is hitting us again at the Super Bowl. This time with “All American Girl” – an ad that’s supposed to show that you should care about heroin abuse because it affects pretty white girls, too.
But, of course, the ad then doesn’t show what you do when someone is having a problem with heroin – it lets them just wander off in the distance. No, this is just another one of those frying-pan scared-straight attempts at prevention that have been shown historically to not work.
(click here to continue reading Another SuperBad Advertisement « Drug WarRant.)Footnotes:
- and for the record, I didn’t read this essay until just now [↩]
Once a year, non-sports fans are encouraged to watch the Super Bowl despite not caring a whit who is playing. The reason? The advertising is supposed to be of elevated quality.
For instance, one of the most famous Super Bowl ads is the Apple Computer 1984 ad announcing the Macintosh:
John Ellis Bush! Bush is allegedly going to show his brother’s supportive ad during Super Bowl L:
Former President George W. Bush has cut a TV ad for the super PAC supporting his brother, marking the former president’s most public political activity in the campaign to date.
(click here to continue reading Exclusive: George W. Bush cuts television ad backing his brother – POLITICO.)
Having sat through many boring football games to watch the ads, I’m not falling for it again. I’m not convinced that simply because something is expensive, it is good. The decline of Hollywood as a conduit of interesting films could arguably be dated from the time that box office numbers became the metric of whether a given movie was any good. Plot, character development, those became less important than having great special effects, and thus most films made today are superhero films, animated dross, or similar genres.
One Eye to Rule Them
CBS already has the 2016 Super Bowl Commercials website up, so if there is something really interesting shown, you can go and spend your time watching beer, auto, pharmaceutical corporations trying to sell you their products. I wouldn’t say that advertising can never be clever, just that the typical target for Super Bowl ads seems to be 14 year old boys: the commercials are populated with fast cars, women with “child-bearing hips”, and puerile and jejune scenarios. Many ads seem solely as crass attempts at creating a “viral” sensation, or at least stirring up controversy. Alcohol, sugary sodas, packaged snacks, fast food, cars, software, electronics, probably some insurance company; am I missing anything by resisting their pitches? Doubtful.
Parenthetically, I’m amused that the NFL is not using the Roman numeral for 50, “L”, but only for this year.
You don’t have to brush up on your Roman numerals because it’s not going to be Super Bowl L for a few reasons. At the top of the list: Nobody wants to be associated with a loser. Especially the NFL.
“Some would ask, ‘The letter L, what does that associate with?'” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy says.
The answer, of course, is “Losing.”
Football is a game of X’s and O’s. But it’s also long been one of I’s and V’s, as virtually the only institution in our society that incorporates Roman numerals. Roughly a decade ago, the NFL first began examining what “Super Bowl L” looked like on social media, on mobile devices and on merchandise like T-shirts and caps. The short answer? It didn’t look good.
Using the number 50 was found to be much more appealing than an L, on many levels, from the negativity associated with losing to the aesthetic challenges posed by using the letter. So this year, and this year only, the Super Bowl will use more traditional numbering.
“The genesis is with Super Bowl XL 10 years ago,” McCarthy says. “We spent some time looking at what a block L would look like on its own, and [NFL Creative Services] said, ‘It could be a problem from a creative and design element that the letter L, on its own, without an I after it, looks unusual within the design world.'”
(click here to continue reading What the L? Why the NFL Sacked Roman Numerals for Super Bowl 50 | Rolling Stone.)
Slightly more on the upcoming Amazon.com invasion in your neighborhood…
Indeed, many of the reasons Amazon may be interested in brick-and-mortar stores have little to do with books, specifically. Shipping from a store instead of a warehouse or giving customers the ability to buy online and pick up in store or return items to a store could help Amazon trim its fulfillment costs, which amounted to 13% of sales in 2015 versus 12% in 2014.
Counterintuitively, having physical stores could help Amazon become more profitable. Shipping costs are variable costs for e-commerce players, meaning they rise along with sales. Brick-and-mortar stores, on the other hand, have fixed costs such as labor, rent and utilities and can gain leverage by boosting sales on top of them.
(click here to continue reading Amazon Stores: Why All Retailers Should Be Afraid – WSJ.)
One wonders if the timing of this rumor at all coincides with Amazon.com reporting quarterly results not in line with Wall Street estimates…
Amazon recorded it largest ever quarterly profit over the holiday quarter but missed Wall Street’s estimates by a wide margin, sending its share price into a tailspin.
Shares in the world’s largest online retailer plunged 12% on Thursday after it announced a net profit of $482m for the three months ending 31 December – up from $214m a year earlier. The company notched up $35.75bn in sales in last year’s final three months.
It was the first time Amazon has reported three consecutive profitable quarters since 2012, but the gain was less than analysts had been expecting. Analysts, however, were expecting $36bn in sales and net income of $754m.
(click here to continue reading Amazon shares plunge after missing holiday quarter estimates | Technology | The Guardian.)
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I took Snowy Evening Under the El Tracks on February 01, 2011 at 06:06PM
and processed it in my digital darkroom on February 03, 2016 at 10:30AM
A rumor, but a rumor from a well-placed source. Would you go to a bookstore run by Amazon? I could see picking up a package perhaps (a drop-ship location for when you are not available at your home, or whatever).
After dipping its toes into brick-and-mortar retail last year by opening its first physical bookstore, Amazon.com Inc. could be diving into the deep end.
The Seattle company plans as many as 400 bookstores, Sandeep Mathrani, chief executive of large mall operator General Growth Properties Inc., said on an earnings call with analysts Tuesday.
“You’ve got Amazon opening brick-and-mortar bookstores and their goal is to open, as I understand, 300 to 400,” said Mr. Mathrani in response to a question about mall traffic.
That compares to the 640 stores Barnes & Noble Inc. operates and the 255 locations Books-A-Million Inc. said it had as of last summer. Both companies spent years building out their retail operations. In addition to its one bookstore, Amazon already has a presence in Westfield Corp. malls, where it has set up permanent kiosks selling devices, cases and branded apparel.
It wasn’t immediately clear how Mr. Mathrani got Amazon’s figure, but he could have potentially spoken with Amazon’s real-estate executives about their plans. A spokesman for Amazon declined to comment and a GGP spokesman had no immediate comment.
(click here to continue reading Amazon Plans Hundreds of Brick-and-Mortar Bookstores, Mall CEO Says – WSJ.)
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I took You Cannot Truly Escape on August 11, 2011 at 04:44AM
and processed it in my digital darkroom on February 02, 2016 at 01:28PM
Clinton triangulation is not a hidden character trait. Nor is her coziness with the money and power set in Wall Street, and populating the US Chamber of Commerce.
Gaius Publius of Hullabaloo notes a Bloomberg interview with Thomas Donohue regarding the anti-American Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, that seems to imply Ms. Clinton is saying something quite different in private than she does in public:
U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas Donohue discusses his stance and outlook for the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal. He speaks from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Bloomberg. In the conversation above, note first that the reason he thinks the Senate can’t approve TPP until after the election is that too many Republican senators would be made vulnerable by voting to approve it. Before the election those senators couldn’t vote for TPP and still preserve their seats. After the election, or in a lame duck session, that restriction is lifted.
In other words, he knows and admits that even Republican voters hate TPP. But the wealthy want it anyway, and they’re willing to wait a few months to get it. Even if it wins by “two votes,” as he explains above, it still wins, as do they.
Second, he thinks Clinton will revert back to the family pattern — remember, “two for the price of one” was a Clinton claim — and become “practical” once she gains power and frees herself from having to make promises to voters. Listen starting at 2:45 in the clip (my transcript and underscored emphasis):
Host 1: “Why aren’t you in some trouble whether it’s a Democrat or a Republican? It’s not just Trump. Hillary Clinton has said she’s against TPP.
Host 2: “Bernie Sanders!”
Donohue: “Bernie Sanders is one deal. What Hillary Clinton is doing in this primary is trying to run one step faster than the senator from Massachusetts [does he mean Warren, or is this a misspeak?], who has been threatening her and pushing her to take these far far progressive, very very left steps.
“If she were to get nominated, if she were to be elected, I have a hunch that what runs in the family is, you get a little practical if you ever get the job.”
Host 1: “We used to call it triangulation, right, back in the old Clinton days.”
For me, the key word is “hunch.” Because until Clinton releases the text of her speeches to all corporate clients, and not just to the banks, you’ll never know if his “hunch” didn’t start with someone whispering in his ear, “Don’t worry, Tom. You know I don’t mean it.” After all, the list of Clinton ties to money goes on and on. For an excellent recent analysis of the cross-pollination of gifts and favors, read this, “The Clinton System,” from the New York Review of Books.
Donohue is not no one — he and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are each a very big someone in the world of money, a world that both Clintons have a united and decades-long familiarity with. Just a very small taste of what’s in the NYRB article, this paragraph (my emphasis):
In March 2011, for example, Bill Clinton was paid $175,000 by the Kuwait America Foundation to be the guest of honor and keynote speaker at its annual Washington gala. Among the sponsors were Boeing and the government of Kuwait, through its Washington embassy. Shortly before, the State Department, under Hillary Clinton, had authorized a $693 million deal to provide Kuwait with Boeing’s Globemaster military transport aircraft. As secretary of state, Hillary Clinton had the statutory duty to rule on whether proposed arms deals with foreign governments were in the US’s national interest.
That’s both damning and given the way of the world, at least ours, par for the course. A $175,000 “thank you” to one of the Clintons after the other removed the last hurdle to a nearly $700 million deal involving the same two parties — that’s some “system,” as the article calls it. There are countless examples of this in the NYRB piece. Coincidence? You decide.
(click here to continue reading Hullabaloo – Chamber of Commerce expects Clinton to support TPP as president.)
I confess I follow American presidential elections as closely as some people follow sports. In many ways, modern American politics is covered like a sporting event, or season. Like I have many times in the past, I’ve created a spreadsheet to keep track of the delegate count, including super delegates. Don’t judge.
The short-fingered vulgarian didn’t win, despite leading in polls. I would say it is pretty safe to be suspicious of polling data in our modern mobile phone era. However, the actual delegate count is pretty minuscule: Cruz has 8, Trump and Rubio have 7. No wonder Trump’s concession speech wasn’t that fiery. How many millions did John Ellis Bush! Bush spend to get that one delegate? Yikes.
A few random snippets in response to last night’s Iowa Caucus results…
Charles Pierce warns us of Rubio-mentum:
I got back from Haysville in time to listen to Marco Rubio declare his magnificent victory as the show horse in the Republican field. I will grant you that he surpassed everyone’s expectations—including my own—by clearing the 20 percent mark on Monday night. I even will grant you that he is probably the choice now of every Republican terrified of He, Trump and utterly skeeved out by Tailgunner Ted Cruz. Some of the others might get some run in New Hampshire. (Not Jeb-!-, please god. That would be cruel.) But this looks like a three-man race now, and the Rubio campaign did a masterful job pitching that notion over the last four days before the caucuses, and much of the elite political press bit for it. Now, Rubio was up there, defining himself as The Alternative in a political environment already primed by his campaign to believe it.
We’re going to hear a lot of it going into New Hampshire and going forward. I suspect we might hear a bit less about Rubio’s having turtled on immigration and his enthusiastic embrace of every euphemism for “torture” that can be found in the thesaurus. If the Republican “establishment” is going to groom him, those are the topics that are going to be limited to the inside voice, at least until we all get to South Carolina, where Rubio once again can run as the fanged chameleon that he is. But, give him credit. The man’s got a campaign that knows its business.
(click here to continue reading Media Crowns Marco Rubio the Real Winner in Iowa.)
continuing with the sports metaphors:
In a handful of Democratic caucus precincts Monday, a delegate was awarded with a coin toss.
It happened in precinct 2-4 in Ames, where supporters of candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton disputed the results after 60 caucus participants apparently disappeared from the proceedings.
As a result of the coin toss, Clinton was awarded an additional delegate, meaning she took five of the precinct’s eight, while Sanders received three.
Similar situations played out at various precincts across the state, but had an extremely small effect on the overall outcome, in which Clinton won 49.9 percent of statewide delegate equivalents, while Sanders won 49.5 percent. The delegates that were decided by coin flips were delegates to the party’s county conventions, of which there are thousands selected across the state from 1,681 separate precincts. They were not the statewide delegate equivalents that are reported in the final results.
The statewide delegate equivalents that determine the outcome on caucus night are derived from the county-level delegates, but are aggregated across the state and weighted in a manner that makes individual county delegate selections at a handful of precincts count for a tiny fraction of the ultimate result.
(click here to continue reading Sometimes, Iowa Democrats award caucus delegates with a coin flip.)
more on Democratic confusion:
There was still confusion on Tuesday morning over the razor-close results of Iowa’s Democratic caucuses, with Bernie Sanders’s campaign planning an internal conference call to decide whether to ask for a recount.
Mr. Sanders said on his flight to New Hampshire late Monday night, after a virtual tie with Hillary Clinton, that he would ask the Iowa Democratic Party to reveal the raw vote count underlying the percentages it reported showing Mrs. Clinton defeating Mr. Sanders, 49.9 percent to 49.6 percent.
Asked by an MSNBC reporter if he would contest the vote count, Mr. Sanders said, “Honestly, we just got off the plane and I — we don’t know enough to say anything about it.”
Overnight, the Iowa Democratic Party said in a statement that the count from a single precinct was still outstanding, though it appears that even if all its votes go for Mr. Sanders, it would not change the overall results.
The state party does not report raw votes. Caucus attendees at each of 1,681 precincts elect delegates to a county convention, who in turn will elect delegates to a state convention. The results from caucus night are reported as “state delegate equivalents,’’ expressed as a fraction. After 171,109 Iowans turned out, larger than almost all projections, the party said Mrs. Clinton won 699.57 delegate equivalents and Mr. Sanders had 695.49. A single precinct, Des Moines 42, worth 2.28 delegate equivalents, had not been counted.
Also unclear was the fate of the 7.68 state delegate equivalents won by Martin O’Malley, who suspended his campaign on Monday after his dismal showing — the former Maryland governor received less than 1 percent of the Iowa vote..
(click here to continue reading Confusion Over Final Tally in Iowa Democratic Caucuses – The New York Times.)
Steve Johnson of the Trib notes that the short-fingered vulgarian isn’t that much of a reality show star, more of a middle-of-the-pack guy:
Donald Trump is many things, but “reality star genius” is not one of them.
One of the oft-spoken assumptions of this oddball campaign season — the one that gets its first real results with Monday’s Iowa caucuses — has been that Trump was a TV reality star and therefore canny about manipulating media. This, supposedly, has given him an edge over the rest of the candidates in the Republican presidential field, who are merely politicians and a brain surgeon.
But the ratings history over the 12 years of his two reality shows, “The Apprentice” and “The Celebrity Apprentice,” tells a different story. Reality participant, perhaps. Reality middle-of-the-packer. Person on TV.
But NBC put it into its Thursday night prime time lineup, once revered as “must-see TV,” and the long slow decline for that network was underway. “The Apprentice” didn’t help: Its ratings declined steadily each year after that, to 11th place overall in its second season, then 15th, then 38th. When, after its sixth season in 2007, it finished as the 75th-most-watched show (with 7.5 million viewers on average), NBC decided to scrap real people as contestants and bring on celebrities close enough to rock bottom to appear on a reality show where success depended on ingratiating themselves to Trump.
The celebrity show did better, but it has been middle of the pack all the way, with finishes ranking from 46th to 84th before Trump announced his candidacy and NBC replaced him with Arnold Schwarzenegger.
(click here to continue reading Donald Trump a ‘reality star genius’? TV ratings tell different story – Chicago Tribune.)
one explanation of Trump’s second place showing…
Iowans clearly took Trump being AWOL as a snapshot of how erratic a Trump Presidency could be. At a time as perilous as this (with a possible Recession on the horizon, low wages, broken borders, a ballooning deficit, ISIS and urban crime), Iowa’s GOP voters gave a strong vote of confidence to the comparatively more emotionally stable Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.
Televised Fox News and CNN exit polls showed that 45% of Iowa GOP caucus voters made up their minds in the last three days. And, of these voters, most broke for Rubio and Cruz. Because Trump skipped the debate – proving Cruz’s claim about his “New York values” – he did not get a chance to make a direct pitch to these late-breaking voters, far more of whom watched the Fox News Des Moines debate than Trump’s hastily assembled and concurrent Des Moines fundraiser for vets.
(click here to continue reading How Trump Lost Iowa.)
Oh, here’s Bush’s dollar count: 1 delegate at a cost of over $14,000,000. The real winners are political consultants, television, radio stations, and other media outlets.
Jeb Bush and his allies spent more than $14 million on ads in Iowa but failed to break 3 percent of the vote total on Monday night — a setback for a campaign already struggling with diminished expectations and anemic support.
“In hindsight, it was probably a lot of money wasted,” said Matthew Dickinson, a political science professor at Middlebury College, in an interview.
(click here to continue reading Jeb Bush spent $2,800 for every vote he got in Iowa – Vox.)
In the new math, coming in third place is a victory:
First up was the perpetual load billed as Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who emerged at his headquarters to announce, “So this is the moment they said would never happen.” Well, no. He was polling in third place, and that’s where he finished. Apparently that’s enough for victory.
He went on:
“For months, for months they told us we had no chance. For months they told us because we offer too much optimism in a time of anger, we had no chance. For months they told us because we didn’t have the right endorsements or the right political connections, we had no chance…. But tonight, tonight here in Iowa, the people of this great state have sent a very clear message.”
Once again, he came in third, which is where the Real Clear Politics average has had him ever since Ben Carson’s numbers started nosediving around mid-December.
What Rubio was really saying — through the perpetual vocal quaver of alternately traumatized patriotic horror or beatific patriotic awe he has sported during every public speech since 2010 — was that he needed to repudiate the Cruz/Trump argument that this was a two-man race and prove that a third person was involved. But, “I showed ’em all by coming in third!” isn’t much of a sales pitch.
(click here to continue reading The Electability Spin Machine | Rolling Stone.)
Rick Santorum isn’t running to win, just to get a talk show:
Monday night’s Iowa caucuses were especially rough for former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA), who polled at less than one percent four years after winning the contest.
But adding insult to injury, MSNBC managed to find a Santorum precinct captain who didn’t even vote for the long-shot candidate – because his pen ran out of ink.
As the unnamed chair pulled up a photo of the precinct’s vote tally sheet on his phone, MSNBC’s Chris Hayes noted there was an “X” by Santorum’s name.
“What, you didn’t vote for him?” Hayes asked.
“As I was writing down, my pen ran out of ink,” the man answered, turning red in the face. “I was like, I can’t just ask somebody for a new pen while I’m doing this.”
(click here to continue reading Santorum Precinct Chair Didn’t Even Vote For Him: My Pen Ran Out Of Ink! (VIDEO).)
Clinton’s narrow victory doesn’t really mean that much:
Clinton still has a problem with liberals and progressives.
But what Sanders did do was bring in more liberal voters to buoy him. Twenty-eight percent of voters described themselves as very liberal — a 10-point jump from 2008. Sanders won those voters by 19 points. Clinton had a 6-point edge with the 40 percent of voters who described themselves as somewhat liberal.
Her real strength was with middle-of-the-road Democrats — but unfortunately for her, that share had significantly dropped. This year, just 28 percent of voters identified themselves as moderates, down 12 points from 2008. She had a 23-point edge over Sanders with that bloc, though.
(click here to continue reading Iowa Caucus Results: 6 Things That Explain How It Happened : It’s All Politics : NPR.)
even though Clinton has structural advantages, including a compliant national media:
But if you want maximal spin, just raw, thick tar spin, look to the Democratic Party and a legion of electability-policing flunkies.
What Bernie Sanders did Monday night was incredible. Until very recently, even a good showing would have sufficed to confirm his candidacy’s seriousness, and any characterization of his loss as critical merely demonstrates how rapidly the goalposts can be moved when narratives need to be upheld.
At the start of last May, he was 54 points behind in Iowa to Hillary Clinton, a frontrunner with the most open path to the eventual nomination in primary history. Sanders is a cranky old Jewish man from a tiny state and proudly considers himself a socialist, which in the rarified air of Beltway Centrism and in the swamp-gas of an America that still thinks the Cold War can be lost at any moment is somehow a more revolting word than “pederast.”
With the exception of a few pro-Biden holdouts, almost the entirety of the Democratic Party establishment and the big money lined up behind his opponent, including veteran organizers and advisors. The Democratic Party chair scheduled a tiny number of debates on broadcast evenings so hostile to reaching a mass audience that their only purpose must have been minimizing exposing the electorate to any names that aren’t Hillary Clinton’s. Against this apparatus, Sanders decided to refuse to use super PAC money.
Meanwhile, every dead-eyed hack angling for a gig taking “Socks II” for walkies in the new Clinton administration has responded to Sanders’ rising popularity with the Clinton-endorsement equivalent of Marge Simpson holding up her excised frontal lobe in a jar and groaning, “It’s bliiiiiiiiiiiissssss.”
You have Ezra Klein really taking it to some bozo named Ezra Klein over Sanders’ health care plan. Along with assists from The Atlantic and The New Republic, Salon has gone balls-to-the-wall stupid peddling a mythic creature named the Bernie Bro whose existence is about as well documented as Prester John’s.
The most substantial claim is that Bernie Sanders has some fans on the Internet who are assholes. Which puts him in exclusive company with literally everything. The same thinkfluencers who argue that Bernie Sanders needs to take personal responsibility for people he’s never met being rude to journalists on the Internet (who are already berated and ridiculed by fans of everything else) are also filling column inches by doing the human-dignity equivalent of reaching a whole arm through a buzzing garbage disposal to latch onto yet another slime-slicked take festering in the U-bend and explaining why Hillary Clinton does not need to explain anything further. She doesn’t need to justify that Iraq War vote again, or the destabilization of Libya, or that desire to go hog wild in Syria, or that 1990s support for welfare reform that hit women hardest, or those 1990s tough-on-crime policies she endorsed along with private prisons, or those speaking fees at Goldman Sachs or that opposition to reinstating Glass-Steagall.
Against this habitual sycophancy, you have a 24-hour news and legacy media structure that has consistently pushed the “conventional wisdom says that a socialist like Bernie Sanders can’t win” line to hammer home the message that Bernie Sanders can’t win underneath a veneer of objectivity. It’s not advocacy, after all, if you’re only saying what everybody thinks. Even if your job is literally to help shape how everybody thinks.
Against all that, Bernie Sanders fighting Clinton to an essential draw in a state in which his opponent held a huge advantage in terms of local political operators and influencers is nothing short of extraordinary. Which, combined with Sanders’ 18-point lead in New Hampshire, means it’s time to crank up the RPMs on the spin cycle fast enough to rip apart space-time.
(click here to continue reading The Electability Spin Machine | Rolling Stone.)
Wicker Park would seem weirdly empty without the Double Door, I hope they win their lawsuit…
Joe Shanahan, co-owner of Double Door, one of the anchor clubs during the rise of the Wicker Park music scene in the ’90s, is facing eviction. But in his first public statement on the monthslong legal battle, he vows he won’t go quietly.
“We’re not going down without a fight,” he said in an interview. “We’ve done the Rolling Stones, the Smashing Pumpkins, the Flaming Lips, Greg Dulli and so many important artists there. It supports the community. We want to stay.”
Shanahan, who also owns the Metro in Wrigleyville, has been one of the pillars of the Chicago music community for decades. He opened Double Door with partner Sean Mulroney in 1994, just as Wicker Park was gaining international recognition as a hub for the city’s emerging bands and artists, including the Pumpkins, Liz Phair, Material Issue, Eleventh Dream Day and countless others.
The fight, which continued this week in Cook County Circuit Court, touches on whether Double Door gave the landlord proper notice that it wished to extend the lease. Schiff introduced documents that included a lease extension request letter from Double Door’s Mulroney dated April 24, more than 180 days before the lease expired, as required by the contract. Strauss’ attorney, Bonita Stone, said the landlord never received the letter and that she wanted to question Mulroney.
The Double Door attorney also contended in court papers that Strauss was operating as a partner of the club and was receiving monthly dividend checks for most of 2015. The landlord “breached his fiduciary duties” to the club, according to the Double Door complaint.
(click here to continue reading Double Door won’t go down without a fight – Chicago Tribune.)