Browser Outrage Dump

Time for another thread, I’d say, and I don’t have the functioning synapses to come up with anything new to say about the moral and intellectual crater that is both the Republican Party and the right’s public intellection bunch. (Did you know that Ron Johnson’s mug is being considered as the “After” portrait in the upcoming “Don’t Eat Tide Pods” campaign? Or that Rod Dreher’s thought leading crunchy conservative Christianity is racist to its root?)

So here I’m just going to lock and load some stuff I’ve kept open in my browser, waiting for the moment to foam in rage over here.  Think of this not so much as considered analysis (don’t think of it as all). Rather, it’s a very partial catalogue of how much damage decades of GOP anti-government, and worse, anti-society sabotage has done.  A goad, perhaps, though I hope no new one is needed, to crush these sorry f**ks come November, and forever after.

So here they come, in no particular order:

From Stat: “Drop in U.S. life expectancy is an indictment of the American health care system”

According to the CDC, the average life expectancy at birth in the U.S. fell by 0.1 years, to 78.6, in 2016, following a similar drop in 2015. This is the first time in 50 years that life expectancy has fallen for two years running. In 25 other developed countries, life expectancy in 2015 averaged 81.8 years.

The article acknowledges the impact of the opioid epidemic on those figures but notes that cross-country comparisons reveal systemic failures that make the disaster so much deeper here.  And then there’s the way we treat — or don’t — our elderly:

It is widely accepted that the accessibility and quality of medical services strongly affect life expectancy among the elderly and elderly Americans fall behind their counterparts overseas when it comes to being able to get and afford the health care they need.

This may seem surprising given that Americans over 65 enjoy universal health insurance coverage under Medicare. But as valuable as Medicare is, it provides far less protection against the cost of illness, and far less access to services, than do most other Western countries. In a recent cross-national survey, U.S. seniors were more likely to report having three or more chronic illnesses than their counterparts in 10 other high-income countries. At the same time, they were four times more likely than seniors in countries such as Norway and England to skip care because of costs. Medicare, it turns out, is not very good insurance compared to what’s available in most of the western world.

Next: that GOP assault on environmental regulation and protection?

Yeah — that’ll kill grandma.  Via a Harvard School of Public Health a press release, “Short-term exposure to low levels of air pollution linked with premature death among U.S. seniors”:

Short-term exposures to fine particulate air pollutionand ozone—even at levels well below current national safety standards—were linked to higher risk of premature death among the elderly in the U.S. according to a new study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health….

Certain subgroups were particularly vulnerable to short-term air pollution. Among Medicaid-eligible (a proxy for low income) recipients, the mortality increase linked with increased PM2.5 was three times higher than that of people not eligible for Medicaid. Women and nonwhites also faced a mortality risk that was 25% higher than those who were male or white. Poverty, unhealthy lifestyle, or poor access to healthcare may play a role in such disparities, the researchers speculated.

Hey! Ho! Coal is all-American, while solar panels need to get way more expensive before all that nasty sunlight wrecks certain major-GOP-donors’ balance sheets.

Moving on…

I could write this every week. Hell, with eleven school shootings in the first twenty four days of 2018, I could write this every 48 hours or so and twice on Wednesdays.  But once again we find that the tree of liberty thrives especially on the blood of children.

This one’s old (I’ve had it open for while, but still, from the Tampa Bay Times,In Harm’s Way “/Gun injuries and deaths among Florida kids have spiked. One child is shot every 17 hours.”

The analysis found that, between 2010 and 2015, nearly 3,200 kids 17 and younger were killed or injured by firearms. Put another way, a child in Florida was shot, on average, every 17 hours.

From 2010 through 2015, the number of kids killed in gun-related incidents rose nearly 20 percent. Injuries from guns jumped 26 percent from 2014 to 2015 alone….

About 80 percent of the youths shot between 2010 and 2015 were teenagers, the Times analysis found. But some were far younger. Nearly 30 children under age 5 went to the hospital for gun injuries each year.

Most of the injured or dead were boys. A disproportionate share — roughly two-thirds — were black. Black boys were two times more likely to be shot than white boys in 2015, the analysis found.

In the hospital data, most cases were categorized as accidents, assaults or self-injury.

Accidents accounted for about 45 percent of all incidents — and were by far the fastest-growing category. The uptick: nearly 50 percent between 2010 and 2015.

Read the whole thing. It’s heartbreaking — and an essential account of how gun-fundamentalism is literally killing kids.

Onwards. To the question of what did they know and when did they know it — asked of the oil industry about the risks its product posed to global climate — the answer is, pretty much all they needed a very long time ago, as reported in this piece in The Guardian (h/t Adam Silverman, who forwarded it to me) “On its 100th birthday in 1959, Edward Teller warned the oil industry about global warming.

Money grafs:

Teller’s task that November fourth was to address the crowd on “energy patterns of the future,” and his words carried an unexpected warning:

Ladies and gentlemen, I am to talk to you about energy in the future. I will start by telling you why I believe that the energy resources of the past must be supplemented. First of all, these energy resources will run short as we use more and more of the fossil fuels. [….] But I would […] like to mention another reason why we probably have to look for additional fuel supplies. And this, strangely, is the question of contaminating the atmosphere. [….] Whenever you burn conventional fuel, you create carbon dioxide. [….] The carbon dioxide is invisible, it is transparent, you can’t smell it, it is not dangerous to health, so why should one worry about it?

Carbon dioxide has a strange property. It transmits visible light but it absorbs the infrared radiation which is emitted from the earth. Its presence in the atmosphere causes a greenhouse effect [….] It has been calculated that a temperature rise corresponding to a 10 per cent increase in carbon dioxide will be sufficient to melt the icecap and submerge New York. All the coastal cities would be covered, and since a considerable percentage of the human race lives in coastal regions, I think that this chemical contamination is more serious than most people tend to believe.

…After his talk, Teller was asked to “summarize briefly the danger from increased carbon dioxide content in the atmosphere in this century.” The physicist, as if considering a numerical estimation problem, responded: 

At present the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has risen by 2 per cent over normal. By 1970, it will be perhaps 4 per cent, by 1980, 8 per cent, by 1990, 16 per cent [about 360 parts per million, by Teller’s accounting], if we keep on with our exponential rise in the use of purely conventional fuels. By that time, there will be a serious additional impediment for the radiation leaving the earth. Our planet will get a little warmer. It is hard to say whether it will be 2 degrees Fahrenheit or only one or 5.

But when the temperature does rise by a few degrees over the whole globe, there is a possibility that the icecaps will start melting and the level of the oceans will begin to rise. Well, I don’t know whether they will cover the Empire State Building or not, but anyone can calculate it by looking at the map and noting that the icecaps over Greenland and over Antarctica are perhaps five thousand feet thick.

They knew. The foundations of this reasoning had been well known, wholly established physics since no later than 1895. I’m guessing Pruitt and Zinke and the rest know too, and they don’t give a tinker’s damn, because there’s money and power in black gold, and not nearly so much in the breeze and the stray photon.  Climate change kills; it creates refugees (including within the US); it sparks conflict; it wrecks lives — all these sorrows attend us now, and there’s more to come.  Maybe some, or even most of what’s past couldn’t have been prevented, along with some of what’s to come — but we aren’t even trying now at the federal level, and that misery is all on the Grotesque Old Party.

Happy now, y’all?

Anyway, that clears out a few windows.  Let me leave you with an essay I found profoundly moving to read, Masha Gessen’s account of identity and memory and above all on choice. This isn’t a tale of woe or miserable political behavior (though both form much of the context for Gessen’s account).  It is rather a credo, and, quietly, subtly, a call to arms.  I know Masha a bit, and count her a friend; she’s certainly someone I hugely admire, and whose courage leaves me awestruck.  Anyway, better to end in her company than in the slough within which reading all the bad news above would confine us. So, from The New York Review of Books, “To Be, or Not to Be“, this taste:

…Suketu Mehta, in his Maximum City, wrote:

Each person’s life is dominated by a central event, which shapes and distorts everything that comes after it and, in retrospect, everything that came before. For me, it was going to live in America at the age of fourteen. It’s a difficult age at which to change countries. You haven’t quite finished growing up where you were and you’re never well in your skin in the one you’re moving to.

Mehta didn’t let me down: this assertion appears in the very first pages of his magnificent book; also, he moved to America at the same age that I did. And while I think he might be wrong about everyone, I am certain he is right about émigrés: the break colors everything that came before and after.

Svetlana Boym had a private theory: an émigré’s life continues in the land left behind. It’s a parallel story. In an unpublished piece, she tried to imagine the parallel lives her Soviet/Russian/Jewish left-behind self was leading. Toward the end of her life, this retracing and reimagining became something of an obsession. She also had a theory about me: that I had gone back to reclaim a life that had been interrupted. In any case, there are many stories to be told about a single life.

Have at it, y’all.

Images: Claude Monet, Camille Monet on her deathbed, 1879

Vincent van Gogh, Factories at Asnières, Seen from the Quai de Clichy, 1887

John Frederick Peto, Pistol, Gate Latch, and Powder Horn 1887

D. Howard Hitchock, Halemaumau, Lake of Fire1888.

 

81 replies
  1. 1
    karensky says:

    I love that Van Gogh. I have never seen it before. Thanks, and, yes the U.S. life expectancy stats are chilling and telling.

  2. 2

    Suketu Mehta can go to hell.

  3. 3

    Those are some quality painting choices.

  4. 4
    germy says:

    Funny how the trolls who keep calling other ppl "cuck" are also the ones who let Putin come in and screw America while they quietly watched in the corner.

    — John Fugelsang (@JohnFugelsang) January 23, 2018

  5. 5
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    SpeakerRyan
    We have all been inspired by the courage of the American gymnasts coming forward to tell their stories. The crimes committed against these young women are atrocious and rattle us all to the core.

    Laura Bassett @LEBassett
    What about the 19 women who accused Trump of sexual assault and harassment? Are you inspired by their stories?

    Let his feed be flooded with this point

  6. 6

    @germy: “I like to watch.”

  7. 7
    jl says:

    I didn’t order a BJ calendar this year. Am I kicked out of the secret society?

  8. 8
    Betty Cracker says:

    Thank you for “gun fundamentalism.” It captures the gun culture’s overtones of zealotry just so and is assonant to boot!

    Also thank you for the link to the Gessen’s piece — thought-provoking on the role of choice. What a nightmare it must be to flee Putin only to land in Trumpville a few years later.

  9. 9
    different-church-lady says:

    Meh. What was I going to do with those extra five weeks anyway?

  10. 10
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Betty Cracker: could one of you big shot front pagers give us a thread to try to plan a SanFran meetup for this weekend? Much obliged, ma’am!

  11. 11
    germy says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: We used to have a commenter here who called everybody cucks. He disappeared a few months after trump got in.

    I don’t know if he was banned or simply shot his wad.

  12. 12
    different-church-lady says:

    @germy: Rubles ran out, natch.

  13. 13
    Brachiator says:

    At the same time, they were four times more likely than seniors in countries such as Norway and England to skip care because of costs.

    Another reason for Norwegians to steer clear of even thinking about immigrating to the US.

  14. 14
    Kristine says:

    I’ve shortened it to ‘gundamentalism.”

  15. 15
    Aimai says:

    Thanks for the link to the gessen piece! Fantastic!

  16. 16

    @germy: there were several commenters in that general vein who turned out to be, like, Nazis (hoocoodanode).

  17. 17
    lgerard says:

    Life expectancy by state is pretty telling as well. It will not tax your brain to rattle off the 10 states at the bottom of the list.

  18. 18
    mai naem mobile says:

    I have extended family who live in the UK, Canada, Australia and Germany. They all think our health care system is crazy and it’s not like they haven’t had serious health issues. There’s breast cancer, ovarian cancer, thyroid cancer, serious burns with multiple surgeries,birth related complications, CVAs, knee replacements, leg.hip and arm fractures, depression, acute surgeries and Type 1 diabetes. They all get treated and none of them worry about going to the doctor or hospital and going broke.

  19. 19
    efgoldman says:

    @Kristine:

    I’ve shortened it to ‘gundamentalism.”

    Win!

  20. 20

    @mai naem mobile: It’s telling that Roger Goodell wanted millions of dollars to retire and health insurance. The enormous pile of dollars didn’t make him feel secure enough.

  21. 21
    Brachiator says:

    Rod Dreher’s thought leading crunchy conservative Christianity is racist to its root?)

    Conservative pundits are beginning to see the race problem in Trump land, but don’t know what to do about it. Bill Kristol, in a recent interview, sneaks up on the issue, but can’t entirely call racism what it is. He even tries for the lame excuse that conservative hatred of Obama intensified after his re-election because Obama was just too much of a lefty.

    Bill Kristol takes on Fox News, Tucker Carlson: ‘I don’t know if it’s racism exactly – but ethno-nationalism of some kind’

    “Now Fox is sort of — 75 percent of it seems to be birther-like coverage of different issues,” Kristol tells CNBC’s John Harwood.

    Kristol criticizes Fox News host Tucker Carlson, saying what he does on TV is “close now to racism, white — I mean, I don’t know if it’s racism exactly — but ethno-nationalism of some kind, let’s call it.”

    Turns out, Kristol hired Tucker to write for the Weekly Standard years ago.

    Kristol: So I think it’s both. One other thing: The Obama administration was more left wing in 2013, the second term, than the first term. So I think things objectively changed some. The mood of Republicans changed some. And Fox News maybe saw an opportunity, changed some, and then the whole thing together.

    I do feel now we’re in a different world. I mean, now you look at — Tucker Carlson began at The Weekly Standard. Tucker Carlson was a great young reporter. He was one of the most gifted 24-year-olds I’ve seen in the 20 years that I edited the magazine. His copy was sort of perfect at age 24.

    He had always a little touch of Pat Buchananism, I would say, paleo-conservativism. But that’s very different from what he’s become now. I mean, it is close now to racism, white — I mean, I don’t know if it’s racism exactly — but ethno-nationalism of some kind, let’s call it. A combination of dumbing down, as you said earlier, and stirring people’s emotions in a very unhealthy way.

    Harwood: As someone who knows Tucker, who hired Tucker, have you talked to him about this change?

    Kristol: (shakes head no)

    Having helped create the monster, Kristol and his crew can only shrug their shoulders and hope that the great beast of bigotry does not do too much damage. Fools.

  22. 22
    NotMax says:

    For trivia buffs –

    Q: When did the last person serve in Congress who had been a slave owner?

    A: 1922

    Rebecca Latimer Fulton was appointed to the Senate when she was 87 years old, and served as a sworn-in senator (first female in the Senate) for the grand total of one day.

    To put it mildly, she was a piece of work.

    …a prominent society woman; an advocate of prison reform, women’s suffrage and educational modernization; a white supremacist and slave owner; and one of the few prominent women who spoke in favor of lynching. [It is reported] that by 1915 she “was championing a lengthy feminist program that ranged from prohibition to equal pay for equal work.”

  23. 23
    NotMax says:

    @NotMax

    Typo which escaped notice.

    Rebecca Latimer Felton, not Fulton.

  24. 24
  25. 25
    jl says:

    @lgerard:

    Switzerland, Australia, Portugal, and Spain are interesting examples in Tom’s second link to the data. Their population life expectancy increased relative to other countries dramatically after they had good health care reform. Very different systems: Australia is Medicare for All, and Switzerland is a very highly and strictly regulated public/private system similar to PPACA (but done really right). As graph shows, there are well over a dozen ways to do it better than the US. And with countries like Estonia gaining on us, there will be more examples soon enough if we don’t get our act together.

    Portugal used to lag US badly, but now is ahead.

    Note that increase in life expectancy after good health care reform in several very different countries, shows that the conservative line that European countries’ commie health systems are hell holes that just mine their residents better health habits is BS.

  26. 26
    different-church-lady says:

    @NotMax:

    an advocate of prison reform, women’s suffrage and educational modernization; a white supremacist and slave owner;

    Hard for a modern brain to get wrapped around that dissonance.

  27. 27
    JGabriel says:

    Tom Levenson @ Top:

    I could write this every week. Hell, with eleven school shootings in the first twenty four days of 2018

    That’s an even worse statistic when you take into account the weekends and two holidays – meaning we had 11 school shootings in the first 15 school days.

  28. 28
    SteveinSC says:

    @NotMax: Seems like a great example à la all those racist Founding Father-Slavers bullshit. The zeitgeist was expressing through the clay of her soon-to-be-abandoned past self.

  29. 29

    About Rod Dreher, a person who changes his religion like other people change their clothes has no business lecturing people about traditions or the lack thereof.

  30. 30
    Mnemosyne says:

    @NotMax:

    There is a weird overlap in America between women’s rights movements and white supremacy that has never really been dealt with. Elizabeth Cady Stanton and other early feminists who came to the movement from abolitionism would have been horrified by the prominent Southern suffragettes who argued that the worst thing about not allowing women to vote was that non-white men were allowed to.

  31. 31
    different-church-lady says:

    @Brachiator:

    “Now Fox is sort of — 75 percent of it seems to be birther-like coverage of different issues,”

    That’s a lot of words to say, “They purvey bullshit.”

  32. 32
    Tom Levenson says:

    @Amaranthine RBG: That is freaking awesome. May have to front page the for post dinner entertainment.

    (W. the appropriate citation of course!)

  33. 33
    different-church-lady says:

    @JGabriel:

    meaning we had 11 school shootings in the first 15 school days.

    THE NRA: “We missed four days already? We need to step it up!”

  34. 34
    Tom Levenson says:

    @JGabriel: Yup. In any remotely sane political system the first school shooting would have brought an Australia-like shift in gun law. Not here.

  35. 35
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Tom Levenson:

    Trollhattan also posted that in the thread below, FWIW.

  36. 36
  37. 37
    Tom Levenson says:

    @Mnemosyne: Hah. The Balloon Juice Zeitgeist has been captured perfectly, clearly.

  38. 38
    tobie says:

    @jl: Switzerland doesn’t have public insurance at all. Germany is the one with the mix of public and private and that’s generated some problems, different than here. What’s sad is that a switch to a Swiss or German system from Obamacare is genuinely possible without much disruption, whereas a switch to single payer would involve a wholesale restructuring of the US healthcare system, such as it is, and any wholesale restructuring on such a massive scale is always messy.

  39. 39
    Ohio Mom says:

    Wait — so “Medicare for all” isn’t such a good idea after all? Who is going to break this news to Bernie?

    / snark

  40. 40
    Brachiator says:

    @different-church-lady:

    an advocate of prison reform, women’s suffrage and educational modernization; a white supremacist and slave owner;

    Hard for a modern brain to get wrapped around that dissonance.

    Populist and reform movements in America (and elsewhere) have often been racist. Still are.

  41. 41
    dmsilev says:

    @Amaranthine RBG: I’m just surprised that Trump asked for the Van Gogh at all; far too restrained for his self-image. But yeah, this is classic:

    Cattelan, reached by phone in New York, referred questions about the toilet to the Guggenheim, saying with a chuckle, “It’s a very delicate subject.” Asked to explain the meaning of his creation and why he offered it to the Trumps, he said: “What’s the point of our life? Everything seems absurd until we die and then it makes sense.”
    […]
    “I don’t want to be rude. I have to go,” the artist said, before hanging up.

  42. 42
    bystander says:

    The feelgood thread of the year!

  43. 43
    Raoul says:

    A few years ago, I had been following Rod Dreher on twitter. I thought it would be useful to see what some not-deranged conservatives were saying.
    I think I lasted a few months. He was slightly less stupid and angry than most conservatives. But only marginally. I can’t say I’m all that surprised that he’s now let his racist freak flag fly.

  44. 44
    NotMax says:

    @Tom Levenson

    More trivia (recalled by the name the artist chose for the commode)..

    Amerika was the name chosen by Hitler his official command train. Quickly changed after the U.S. entered the war.

  45. 45
    Tom Levenson says:

    @bystander: We live to serve.

  46. 46
    Raoul says:

    Medicare, it turns out, is not very good insurance compared to what’s available in most of the western world.

    And by Repub politicians hating on damn foreigners and constantly harping on how ‘stultifying’ European soshulism is, our seniors have no idea that things could be much better. Good thing the failing NYT is doing another piece on rightwingers today. Because we sure need to ‘understand’ Trumpers, rather than understand how totally we’re being screwed by the GOP.

  47. 47
    Ohio Mom says:

    @Tom Levenson: As I commented on the calendar thread, compare the Trumps to the Obamas:

    The Obama family borrowed a combined several dozen artworks from the Smithsonian, National Gallery and Hirshhorn, all by AMERICAN artists. Because highlighting our country’s creative heritage is the appropriate approach to decorating the White House.

    As you might expect, they included a number of lesser-known African-American artists. They also went with some fairly challenging contemporary stuff.

    In other words, they didn’t go with Van Gogh. I mean, I like Van Gogh but at this point, he is sorta the lowest common denominator of artists, as demonstrated by the fact there was a pop song about Starry Night.

    I am sure the Obamas had the help of curators in selecting the works, and in deciding where to hang them. I imagine the curators were thrilled to work with them. You can almost hear the excited conversation, questioning and answering, between Michelle and Barack and the curators, interspersed with the occasional joke and chuckles.

  48. 48

    @Ohio Mom: I mean, if I were president, i’d probably like to borrow a Van Gogh.

  49. 49
    Raoul says:

    Oh, and re guns and kids and Florida. I saw an item that international tourism to the US has declined. It seems the coverage assumes it’s Trump. And I don’t doubt that his various anti-immigrant bullshit is a leading component.
    But at least anecdotally, there seems to be a growing international awareness among people with discretionary vacation money that damn near most countries are safer* from a gun violence perspective than the USA.
    *Risks to tourists are really very small, but perception matters. Why come to a FL beach with a pistol-packing culture when you can go just about anywhere else with sand and water and not even have to think about guns?

  50. 50
    Brachiator says:

    @NotMax:

    Rebecca Latimer Felton, not Fulton.

    Felton and her husband were both feared and admired as a political team, controversial in their day.

    In 1874 William Felton ran for the Seventh Congressional District seat from Georgia as an Independent Democrat. He had been a Whig before the Civil War (1861-65), as had the Latimers, and neither he nor Rebecca Felton, who served as his campaign manager, cared for the so-called Bourbon Democrats who had taken control of the state in the early 1870s. William Felton won that election and then the next two, serving three terms (1875-81) in the U.S. Congress. From 1884 to 1890 he served another three terms in the state legislature.

    It is important to begin a discussion of Rebecca Felton’s career by talking about her husband for two reasons. First, she entered the public arena through her husband’s political career. She became more than just a campaign manager. She polished his speeches and wrote dozens of newspaper articles, both signed and unsigned, on his behalf. She helped draft the bills that he introduced in the state legislature. In 1885 the Feltons bought a Cartersville newspaper, which she ran for a year and a half to promote her husband. She was undoubtedly his biggest and most effective supporter. William Felton’s constituents sometimes bragged that they were getting two representatives for the price of one. Not everyone liked the arrangement, however. A fellow legislator, speaking from the assembly floor, called Felton “the political she of Georgia,” an unflattering characterization that greatly angered the husband and wife team.

    It’s unfortunate that she was such an unpleasant and venomous racist.

  51. 51

    @Raoul: The world’s oldest civilizations are not from western Europe. Western Europe gained over the rest of the world because they followed the scientific method wherever it took them, while the older civilizations remained burdened under the weight of their past.

  52. 52

    @Raoul: I wonder if the number of Japanese tourists going to Hawaii to shoot guns has increased.

  53. 53
    JR says:

    No Jacques Louis David, Tom?

  54. 54
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Tom Levenson:

    We all agreed that the Guggenheim correctly assumed that any loans to this White House would mysteriously vanish and re-appear at Trump Tower or Mar-A-Loco with no chance of it being returned. 🙄

  55. 55
    Tom Levenson says:

    @JR: There are ebbs and flows…

  56. 56

    @Raoul: As someone newly on Medicare, I’m appalled by how fragmented and complicated our system is. For the first time, I don’t have employer provide health care so I’m figuring all this out. I have Medicare A (hospitalization) for free. I have Medicare B (for which I pay based on our income). Those two I just signed up for. The govt is actually pretty efficient about this.

    I also have a Medicare supplement to pay for the 20% Medicare doesn’t cover. That’s from a private company. I have Medicare D (prescription ) which I have to buy from a different private company because the W administration said privatization was good. I also chose to get dental/vision coverage from yet a third company.

    My husband’s employer gives him a flat amount per year which we have to fill out forms for. It covers most of what we have to buy but of course, now we have to do all the paperwork and submit and be reimbursed.

    Seriously, old people should not have to do this. No one should. Give us universal health care.

  57. 57
    Raoul says:

    @Ohio Mom: I for one am shocked that a man whose primary residence looks like a Reno hotel tower Presidential Suite would have ‘lowest common denominator’ tastes in art.
    Good for the Guggenheim for rejecting his request.

  58. 58
    Mnemosyne says:

    @NotMax:

    I know that at least one Holocaust museum has done exhibits showing how the Nuremberg Laws were informed and inspired by America’s Jim Crow laws. No wonder the Nazis assumed we would never declare war on them.

  59. 59
    ZZ says:

    Dan Drezner in WaPo has a list that is sure to make Rod Dreher clutch his pearls as he sinks onto the fainting couch: The five most important public intellectuals in America today:

    1) Ta-Nehisi Coates: Any book or long-form essay of his becomes the topic of conversation among elites. That’s influence.

    2) Masha Gessen: I have found her thoughts about the Age of Trump, and the Age of Hysteria surrounding Trump, to be invaluable. She might even be right about Trump acting more like a teenager than a toddler.

    3) Francis Fukuyama: An awful lot of people would have a hard time repeating something like “The End of History,” which holds up better than you think. Fukuyama’s latest work on political decay, however, has proven to be both prescient and vital.

    4) Ron Chernow: I suspect some might not think of Chernow as an intellectual, to which I would respond by noting that Chernow’s biographies lead to reinterpretations of American history. If nothing else, reading Grant will cause multiple generations to rethink what we were taught about Grant — and Robert E. Lee — when we were kids. Since the Civil War seems to still play a role in current political life, that is no mean achievement.

    5) David Autor: The hardest-working labor economist in the profession, and probably the least well-known name on this list. His research into the effects of technological change and globalization on the American worker guides much of the conversation on these topics in the current moment.

    I agree with you both about Masha Gessen. I hadn’t heard of her before Trump the candidate came along and she really helped me prepare for what I needed to do after Nov. 8 besides running around in circles screaming.

    I have to confess, before the election I contributed $3 a month to the American Conservative. I still love Larison’s “all these presidents are terrible at foreign policy” writing, and he has been tub thumping for one of my biggest outrages, the US’s contributing to the Saudi’s destruction of Yemen, but I stopped last summer. It was really shocking to me how many of the people who bitched about Bush and Obama gradually came around to Trump and none were willing to admit to planning to vote for Hillary.

    Dreher has gotten so neurotic I have to force myself not to hate-read him anymore; I just want to tweet to him that he is perfectly right and that I personally will make sure he’s the first Christian to go in when we reopen the Coliseum and release the lion. I don’t mean it, but he really has lost it.

  60. 60
    MattF says:

    As customary, when the subject of guns and kids comes up, I offer a link to Gary Wills essay ‘Our Moloch.’

  61. 61
    Mary G says:

    Dan Drezner in WaPo has a list that is sure to make Rod Dreher clutch his pearls as he sinks onto the fainting couch: The five most important public intellectuals in America today:

    1) Ta-Nehisi Coates: Any book or long-form essay of his becomes the topic of conversation among elites. That’s influence.

    2) Masha Gessen: I have found her thoughts about the Age of Trump, and the Age of Hysteria surrounding Trump, to be invaluable. She might even be right about Trump acting more like a teenager than a toddler.

    3) Francis Fukuyama: An awful lot of people would have a hard time repeating something like “The End of History,” which holds up better than you think. Fukuyama’s latest work on political decay, however, has proven to be both prescient and vital.

    4) Ron Chernow: I suspect some might not think of Chernow as an intellectual, to which I would respond by noting that Chernow’s biographies lead to reinterpretations of American history. If nothing else, reading Grant will cause multiple generations to rethink what we were taught about Grant — and Robert E. Lee — when we were kids. Since the Civil War seems to still play a role in current political life, that is no mean achievement.

    5) David Autor: The hardest-working labor economist in the profession, and probably the least well-known name on this list. His research into the effects of technological change and globalization on the American worker guides much of the conversation on these topics in the current moment.

    I agree with you both about Masha Gessen. I hadn’t heard of her before Trump the candidate came along and she really helped me prepare for what I needed to do after Nov. 8 besides running around in circles screaming.

    I have to confess, before the election I contributed $3 a month to the American Conservative. I still love Larison’s “all these presidents are terrible at foreign policy” writing, and he has been tub thumping for one of my biggest outrages, the US’s contributing to the Saudi’s destruction of Yemen, but I stopped last summer. It was really shocking to me how many of the people who bitched about Bush and Obama gradually came around to Trump and none were willing to admit to planning to vote for Hillary.

    Dreher has gotten so neurotic I have to force myself not to hate-read him anymore; I just want to tweet to him that he is perfectly right and that I personally will make sure he’s the first Christian to go in when we reopen the Coliseum and release the lion. I don’t mean it, but he really has lost it.

  62. 62
    Raoul says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Based on my sideline in aviation geekery, that could be. Hawaiian Airlines has been investing heavily in increased capacity for Japan flights. It seems to be a growth market, and more originating on the Japan side.
    I didn’t know about this gun tourism, though.

  63. 63
    MattF says:

    Also, I’ll note that the clearest sign that the USSR was doomed was the long-term decline in life expectancy. We’re not at that point, but will be, shortly.

  64. 64
    MattF says:

    @MattF: Correction: Garry Wills

  65. 65
    Tom Levenson says:

    @MattF: Yes. (And yes to your extra “r” correction. Same mistake I make very time w. this writer.)

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    JPL says:

    @dmsilev: They send instructions on installing and care. How does one clean a gold toilet?

    Try to imagine Fox and Friends cover the story, if Michelle had made such a request.

  67. 67
    NotMax says:

    @Major Major Major Major

    Japanese tourism to Hawaii is a major, major mainstay of the market and has been for ages (primarily to Oahu). Especially so during Golden Week in Japan (with some exceptions to that based on events, such as the year a high school fishery training boat was destroyed by a surfacing U.S. Navy sub early in this century).

  68. 68
    MattF says:

    @JPL: Gold is quite inert chemically. I’d guess you can use Lysol.

    OTOH, you probably can’t use Lysol on marble, so I’d guess it’s forbidden in the Trump ménage.

  69. 69
    sheila in nc says:

    @NotMax:
    AFAIK, Japanese tourism to Hawaii is mostly based on golf and conferences+golf+drinking+babes. But I could totally see gun-brandishing touristry getting a piece of that action. It kinds of gives off a sin-tourist vibe, like the people who (allegedly) visit Thailand for the sex trade.

  70. 70
    What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us? says:

    @lgerard: @MattF: Or the top…off the top of my head if I had to guess the top 10 it would be, in no particular order, CA,CO,VT,MA,MD,MN,OR,WA,ME. Bet I’m pretty close.

  71. 71

    @sheila in nc: there are Japanese-language ads for shooting guns all around Honolulu.

  72. 72
    laura says:

    Re the decline in long term life expectancy -two thoughts:
    First, the opioid crisis is both a response to untreated pain, often a result of accident or physical labor. Many of my union members use Norco on weekends to just be able to get deep sleep and address the pain associated with the wear and tear on their bodies from manual labor, on the job accidents and the toll that vibration for garbage trucks, earth movers, Jack hammers and the like. Because they are subject to DOT regs, they suffer through the work week with varying levels of aches and pain, desparate to hold on until they can reach retirement age (and most live an average of 2.5 years in retirement).
    There’s a sense that the future doesn’t include way too many Americans. Shitty jobs, deindustrialization, hollowed out communities, so why not party when tomorrow is as bleak as yesterday and today.

    Regarding air pollution, I’m watching my dad drown, in his sleep chair. COPD and the Sonoma/Napa fires that came within a very few miles of his home. The decline in his health since that first October weekend is shocking, and there’s nothing to be done, but love and comfort him.

    This is not the country I expected to see in my 58 years. The hope has been crushed right out of me. But despair and defeat is not an option.

  73. 73
    NotMax says:

    @sheila in nc

    Gaggles of Japanese tourists spilling out of buses on directed tours quite commonplace.

    Gun regulation for civilians in Hawaii is very strict. While on paper one can try to obtain a concealed carry license, in practice it doesn’t advance beyond the application phase.

  74. 74
    Brachiator says:

    @MattF:

    Also, I’ll note that the clearest sign that the USSR was doomed was the long-term decline in life expectancy. We’re not at that point, but will be, shortly.

    In Russia, this was related to a sharp decline in the standard of living and other factors, all happening within a short period of time. From one medical study:

    RESULTS:
    Age-adjusted mortality in Russia rose by almost 33% between 1990 and 1994. During that period, life expectancy for Russian men and women declined dramatically from 63.8 and 74.4 years to 57.7 and 71.2 years, respectively, while in the United States, life expectancy increased for both men and women from 71.8 and 78.8 years to 72.4 and 79.0 years, respectively. More than 75% of the decline in life expectancy was due to increased mortality rates for ages 25 to 64 years. Overall, cardiovascular diseases (heart disease and stroke) and injuries accounted for 65% of the decline in life expectancy while infectious diseases, including pneumonia and influenza, accounted for 5.8%, chronic liver diseases and cirrhosis for 2.4%, other alcohol-related causes for 9.6%, and cancer for 0.7%. Increases in cardiovascular mortality accounted for 41.6% of the decline in life expectancy for women and 33.4% for men, while increases in mortality from injuries (eg, falls, occupational injuries, motor vehicle crashes, suicides, and homicides) accounted for 32.8% of the decline in life expectancy for men and 21.8% for women.

    CONCLUSION:
    The striking rise in Russian mortality is beyond the peacetime experience of industrialized countries, with a 5-year decline in life expectancy in 4 years’ time. Many factors appear to be operating simultaneously, including economic and social instability, high rates of tobacco and alcohol consumption, poor nutrition, depression, and deterioration of the health care system. Problems in data quality and reporting appear unable to account for these findings. These results clearly demonstrate that major declines in health and life expectancy can take place rapidly.

    A few years ago, I would say that a similar collapse would be hard to see happening in the US. But after Trump, anything is possible.

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    john fremont says:

    @Mary G: I think the only writer at American Conservative who gave Hillary Clinton a fair assessment was Andrew Bacevich, the retired Army officer and Vietnam veteran.

  76. 76
    Calouste says:

    @Raoul: Other reasons as well. One of my European relatives is in her late 70s and has spend a few weeks in Florida every winter for the last two decades of so. Last year she got a little ill and was confronted with American medical bills. Cash.

    This winter she went to Australia.

  77. 77
    J R in WV says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    “Suketu Mehta can go to hell.”

    Who is Suketu Mehta; why do you hate him?

    Just curious about such a hard rejection of a person.

  78. 78
    japa21 says:

    Just two quick comments about the post.

    1. The comments about Medicare are tight on and are why I get really pissed when the purists demand that Dem politicians back Medicare for all. It just isn’t all that good of insurance. Yes it is better than nothing at all, but that is about it. Universal coverage can be done in a multitude of ways and “Medicare for All” is not at the top of the list.

    2. This falls under the pollution section. Go to http://www.weather.com . They are focusing totally on climate change and how there is no longer a debate, just obstinate people refusing to believe. It goes state by state with stories, both good and bad. The story on Ohio is extremely disturbing because that is not the only state where this is happening.

    And I apologize if this has been mentioned before.

  79. 79

    @J R in WV: Suketu Mehta is New York based writer, he wrote a book about Mumbai called Maximum City. The city of his birth and mine. His supercilious attitude throughout the book was what annoyed me beyond measure. He is trying to be the poor man’s Naipaul, telling western audiences what they want to hear and playing to their biases.

    ..another world whose people came to wash our clothes, look at our electric meters, drive our cars, inhabit our nightmares. . Maharashtra to us was our servants, the banana lady downstairs, the text books we were force-fed in school. We had a term for them – ghatis.. also the word we used, generically, for ‘servant’. I was in the fourth standard when Marathi became compulsory. How we groaned. It was the servants’ language, we said.

    There is more to Mumbai than the mafiosi and dancing girls and politicians he chose to interview. I am a Marathi speaking nth generation Mumbaikar, n >=5. Marathi is the language of state,. Mehta’s family are Gujaratis, wealthy diamond merchants from the neighboring state of Gujarat, home to both Gandhi and the current PM Modi.
    Mumbai the capital of Bombay Presidency (current Gujarat and Maharashtra in British India) was a bone of contention between the two states after India’s independence.
    Some background here and here

  80. 80
    J R in WV says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    Thanks for the info. I’m not much for arrogance and condescension, which seems to show loudly in that paragraph.

    India is complex beyond my understanding, even after working with dozens of great software techs from all over the sub-continent. They were mostly great guys, very competent, willing to educate us about their homeland and our work’s newest evolution.

    It was a great learning experience for all of us West Virginia hillbillies to work with brilliant guys from all over the world!

  81. 81
    jl says:

    @tobie: ” Switzerland doesn’t have public insurance at all. Germany is the one with the mix of public and private and that’s generated some problems, ”

    Depends on what you mean by ‘public’. All insurance companies offering a health insurance line are required to sell a uniform minimum-benefits contract on a ‘non-profit’ basis, but what is really a regulated rate that provides a small rate of return for executive management. The rules are set so that it is easy for local governments, agencies and public non-profit organizations to compete against private insurers offer the minimum policy, and a substantial portion of Swiss policies are issued by non-profit public organizations, as well as private non-profits. So, in that sense, I think it is fair to call it a public-private mixed system.

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