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lambert's blog

In the garden: Twining


I'm always amazed at how two tendrils can support each other as they twine out into space. Here's another one: Read below the fold...

Thanks, Yahoo, for resisting the Stasi


U.S. threatened massive fine to force Yahoo to release data
The U.S. government threatened to fine Yahoo $250,000 a day in 2008 if it failed to comply with a broad demand to hand over user data that the company believed was unconstitutional, according to court documents unsealed Thursday that illuminate how federal officials forced American tech companies to participate in the NSA’s controversial PRISM program.

The documents, roughly 1,500 pages worth, outline a secret and ultimately unsuccessful legal battle by Yahoo to resist the government’s demands. The company’s loss required Yahoo to become one of the first to begin providing information to PRISM, a program that gave the National Security Agency extensive access to records of online communications by users of Yahoo and other U.S.-based technology firms.

Gee, I feel honored. I've had a Yahoo address for years. I'm very pleased to have been one tiny reason for an out-of-control security apparatus and a lawless executive to gut the Fourth Amendment. Read below the fold...

The destructiveness of identity politcs (building on the Gilens and Page study)

Dani Rodrik (Institute of Advanced Study, Princeton) on "How the Rich Rule":

The implication is clear: when the elites’ interests differ from those of the rest of society, it is their views that count – almost exclusively. (As Gilens and Page explain, we should think of the preferences of the top 10% as a proxy for the views of the truly wealthy, say, the top 1% – the genuine elite.)

Gilens and Page report similar results for organized interest groups, which wield a powerful influence on policy formation. As they point out, “it makes very little difference what the general public thinks” once interest-group alignments and the preferences of affluent Americans are taken into account.

These disheartening results raise an important question: How do politicians who are unresponsive to the interests of the vast majority of their constituents get elected and, more important, re-elected, while doing the bidding mostly of the wealthiest individuals?

Yes, that's a good question! Read below the fold...

"Urban Farming - 6,000 lbs of food on 1/10th acre"

I'd love to believe this. Read below the fold...

In the garden: Rainy and miserable

Still learning how to work my spiffy new lenses. I've already misplaced the lens cap!

Here with the tele is a leaf from the remaining evil Norway Maple, from a branch that should really be trimmed back but I'd rather cut the whole tree down.

Read below the fold...

In the garden: Fall colors and new lenses

I know I shouldn't have done this, because I can't really afford it, but I did it anyhow, and got a Schneider Optics iPro system (plus a clip*). I think it's an improvement, see what you think:

That's with the Tele lens. Here's the previous one I took, for comparison: Read below the fold...

Tweet of the day

Peter Thiel, squillionare, and the crisis of capitalism

From (it seems) a transcript or redaction of a debate between Thiel and Marc Andreesen:


Think about what happens when someone in Silicon Valley builds a successful company and sells it. What do the founders do with that money? Under indefinite optimism, it unfolds like this:

Read below the fold...

Josh Marshall on golfing, yachts, squillionaires, and the "brittle grip"

It's been a long while since I've read WKJM and maybe I should have returned earlier. Here's a "when you've lost Josh Marshall" post:

We see reported today that a number of elite golf courses in the New York area rejected the White House's requests to allow the President to play on their courses when he was in the area over the Labor Day weekend. Let's start by stipulating that of the various kinds of respect or derision aimed at the first black president, his 'golfing rights', for lack of a better word, rate low on the list - certainly not ones the White House press office will want to focus on. Let's further stipulate that if you pay a lot of money to belong to a country club/golf course you'd probably be a bit annoyed that the place had been taken over by the Secret Service when you were looking forward to playing on Labor Day weekend - the rest of us get a little bummed when whole urban centers are locked down because of Presidential visits.

It's worth noting that probably at least some of these clubs were likely restricted in the past. Perhaps some still are, albeit informally. But while I don't think this is mainly or even substantially about race, I do think there's a bit more afoot here than scheduling and convenience. Read below the fold...

We've already got one new war teed up. Do we really need two?

These guys are lunatics.

I mean, these guys are Congress critters. Same same. Read below the fold...

"Landslide Andy." Hah.

The New York Observer:

Mr. Cuomo’s failure to get 65 percent of the vote against Zephyr Teachout, a previously unknown activist whom he sought to portray as a fringe candidate and whom he outspent by an enormous margin, will knock Mr. Cuomo to the back of the first tier of non-Hillary Clinton candidates for the Democratic nomination for President in 2016, but will otherwise probably not have a lasting impact on Mr. Cuomo himself. He will not be vulnerable in November and will still likely get reelected easily.

Ms. Teachout’s strong showing, however, demonstrates the enduring relevance of the activist wing of the Democratic Party, reinforces the ability of a smart but poorly resourced candidate to use social media and less expensive forms of communication to significantly balance out a huge fundraising disadvantage, and shows that establishment Democratic candidates would be well served to run with clear and compelling messages, rather than simply on inevitability and incumbency.

Now they have to do their best to make sure Cuomo loses. The only way for the left to influence the Democratic Party is fear.

And as far as 2106: Read below the fold...

Tweet of the Day (2)

Tweet of the day

I hate hate hate the locution "Leaders" (capital L) as a generic term for people with actual and different titles and offices in our Constitutional system. It's like airport bookstore-level politics. Heck. it's outright Fascist: Fuherprinzip.


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