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User registration returns!

If you want to comment, please register. When you register, you can post. All posts are front-paged.

See bar at the very top of the page, at "Create new account." Click the link, fill out the form, I will approve your account, and you will get confirmation email (be sure to check your spam folder if you don't!. If you have any questions, the contact form is at right, below the logo). Read more about User registration returns!

healthcare.gov opens at midnight on the day of the government shutdown and lambert finds a bug

[And if you have your own experiences to share, and especially screen dumps, please add them in comments or contact me. Either Federal Exchanges, or state exchanges. I'm especially interested in Covered California! Thank you! --lambert]

Nice timing.

john.smith@gmail.com from Maine had a registration #FAIL at step 3. Here's the screen dump:

Read more about healthcare.gov opens at midnight on the day of the government shutdown and lambert finds a bug

Handy visualization of Clinton's funding and TPP support

Ka-ching. Read more about Handy visualization of Clinton's funding and TPP support

In the garden: After the thunderstorm (yet again)

This was a quick one that left the parking lot in the shopping center up the road looking like Bangkok in the rainy season, and then dropped six-inch hailstones further up the road!

I know. Too many poppies! But I can't get enough of them. I'd make wall-sized photos of them if I could! Read more about In the garden: After the thunderstorm (yet again)

How few of the 0.01% there really are

Here's an interesting story in the Guardian, ostensibly about offshore wealth, but more about wealth, and especially the wealthy.

The world's super-rich have taken advantage of lax tax rules to siphon off at least $21 trillion, and possibly as much as $32tn, from their home countries and hide it abroad – a sum larger than the entire American economy.

James Henry, a former chief economist at consultancy McKinsey and an expert on tax havens, has conducted groundbreaking new research for the Tax Justice Network campaign group – sifting through data from the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and private sector analysts to construct an alarming picture that shows capital flooding out of countries across the world and disappearing into the cracks in the financial system.

$21 trillion?! Even today, that's a lot of money! And capital doesn't "disappear" into the "cracks in the financial system" (indeed, one might even think the whole purpose of the financial system is to have such cracks). The capital goes somewhere and is invested in something by someone. The article doesn't say any of that -- in fact, the tax havens obfuscate capital flows -- but it does have other interesting things to say. For one thing, the Gini co-efficient that measures inequality, bad as it seems now, isn't nearly bad enough: Read more about How few of the 0.01% there really are

In the garden: Biophilia at the office (with mystery plants)

I'm counting 17 plant species that I know, and 7 mystery plants I do not know, all in view from my desk. (Of course, there are many others elsewhere!)

Here's a legend for the color coding: Read more about In the garden: Biophilia at the office (with mystery plants)

Democrats, #BlackLivesMatter, Netroots Nation, kayfabe, and ka-ching

As usual, Bruce Dixon lays it on the line:

The first thing to know about the #BlackLivesMatter confrontation with Democratic presidential candidates Martin O'Malley and Bernie Sanders is that it didn't happen on the street or some neutral setting, it didn't happen at some random campaign appearance. It happened at the annual NetRootsNation gathering, this year in Phoenix. ....

If you're a black Democratic party activist like I was for 25 years, even if like me, you never called yourself that, you go to NetRoots to connect with other Democratic party activists, and hopefully, with the people who will be handing out grassroots money, among other things, to get out the Big Black Vote in November, without which Democrats on every level have no hope of winning.

High ranking Democrats who hand out money, whether through partisan campaigns or to ostensibly nonpartisan and/or nonprofit organizations are always on the lookout for new activist blood with catchy new hooks, for activists who'll say the things they will not say in the effort to turn out the black masses for that Big Black Vote. So if you're a black activist at NetRoots you really NEED to stand out, to get noticed by the people who can give you fellowships, grants, jobs, funding of all kinds, and a career.

Since Hillary is the all but inevitable Democratic nominee, confronting two minor white male candidates, demanding they “say her name” and come up with solutions that address white supremacy, structural racism and the runaway police state is pretty much a foolproof strategy to get noticed, and as Hillary did not attend NetRoots, they got to do it without antagonizing the Clinton camp. Hillary wisely covered her own ass by releasing a tweet that unequivocally said “black lives DO matter.”

But all in all, the NetRootsNation confrontation wasn't the stirring of black women activists “taking their rightful place at the front of the progressive movement,” as one breathless tweet called it. It didn't tell us anything we didn't know about O'Malley or Sanders, or about hypocritical Hillary.

It was about flying the #BlackLivesMatter flag to jockey for positions inside the machinery that is the Democratic party and its affiliates.

So, I guess we won't be seeing #BlackLivesMatter activists -- the "top" ones, anyhow -- confronting Democrats with real power anytime soon, then? (I've given one very obvious approach for such a confrontation here). Read more about Democrats, #BlackLivesMatter, Netroots Nation, kayfabe, and ka-ching

The Democratic nomenklatura and #BlackLivesMatter

Interesting story in WaPo today: Why Hillary Clinton and her rivals are struggling to grasp Black Lives Matter. Just in case they buried the lead, I started reading at the end:

[Clinton's] post drew some praise from activists online. [@deray] Mckesson, the organizer who had been invited to attend Clinton’s announcement speech, told his Twitter followers that it was “solid.”

But he added a dose of skepticism: Compared with her rivals, after all, she got off easy.

“She also had time to craft it,” Mckesson wrote. “She should’ve been at Netroots.”

And Clinton wasn't at Netroots. Did she not care? Perhaps not, given 2008. Or was she warned? Say, by the Netroots leadership or the chair of the panel that #BlackLivesMatter disrupted*? It will be interesting to see if any Clinton events are actually disrupted over the next few news cycles, as in activists storming the stage. If nothing like that happens... Read more about The Democratic nomenklatura and #BlackLivesMatter

In the garden: After the thunderstorm (again)

One more from the thunderstorm two days ago. Read more about In the garden: After the thunderstorm (again)

Quest for a Narrative Representation of Power Relations

He found the nodal points. Sometimes, falling asleep in Santa Monica, he wondered vaguely if there might be a larger system, a field of greater perspective. --William Gibson, Idoru

Representation is the essence of social engineering. --Fred Brooks, adapted

(Originally published at Naked Capitalism, and slightly revised.)

Last April, I was enchanted by a diagram of the "web of corruption" surrounding New Jersey Governor and Republican Presidential candidate Chris Christie, which the New York Times coyly labels "the Lane Closings," but which you and I know as BridgeGate. I encourage you to go view the original article at full size, and spend a little time reading it. This is the diagram, created by Bill Marsh and Kate Zernike: Read more about Quest for a Narrative Representation of Power Relations

In the garden: After the thunderstorm

Water-beaded petals, the oldest trick in the book. Still beautiful, though! Read more about In the garden: After the thunderstorm

In the garden: Serendipity

This is a view from my desk. Not unpretty, but there is a pattern to it: Read more about In the garden: Serendipity

David Dayen on the #BlackLivesMatter protest at Netroots Nation

I'll ignore O'Malley, who apparently melted down. First, the words of the protesters:

Now tweets in event sequence: Read more about David Dayen on the #BlackLivesMatter protest at Netroots Nation

In the garden: Before and after

Here is a poppy before the big truck blew by.... Read more about In the garden: Before and after

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