After that incredible Open performance by Spieth, time to tee it up in other directions. Here’s a good starter: http://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/the-value-of-everything/  A Sample: What’s especially striking in similarity to the court of the Bourbons is the utter cluelessness of America’s entitled power elite to the agony of the moiling masses below them and mainly away from the coastal cities. Just about everything meaningful has been taken away from them, even though many of the material trappings of existence remain: a roof, stuff that resembles food, cars, and screens of various sizes.
But the places they are supposed to call home are either wrecked — the original small towns and cities of America — or replaced by new “developments” so devoid of artistry, history, thought, care, and charm that they don’t add up to communities, and are so obviously unworthy of affection, that the very idea of “home” becomes a cruel joke. Amen.

I find it interesting to read Hilton Kramer 30 years after the fact. Hilton and I disagreed, sometimes vehemently, but as I myself grow older and crustier – I am now only 3 years younger than Hilton was when he died – I find myself increasingly susceptible to many of his arguments. https://www.newcriterion.com/issues/1987/9/the-happy-critic-arthur-danto-in-aoethe-nationa  I should add, more as a confession, I suppose, that I read Arthur Danto diligently and intently for years with once gleaning the slightest idea of what he was talking about.

Ironic that it’s Bloomberg reporting this sorry business, since it was Michael Bloomberg who, as mayor, turned the city over to the real-estate sharks as a central policy in his attempt to make NYC a world-class city – as he defined it: that is, of, for and by the rich. https://ny.eater.com/2017/7/24/16020548/blue-water-grill-republic-closing-union-square

Amen! https://ny.eater.com/2017/7/24/16011652/do-not-order-burgers-at-restaurants


NYT reports that its most-eyeballed story yesterday was its recap of the latest “Game of Thrones” episode. What this signifies about our general culture I hate to think. (Disclosure: I have never  watched a whole episode of GoT – and probably never will. Just as in my lifetime I doubt I’ve watched ten minutes total of Fox News.) Add this: http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/07/the-agony-and-the-anxiety-of-the-new-york-times?mbid=nl_th_59765ee3fe060e64db80eb48&CNDID=42793573&spMailingID=11548052&spUserID=MTQzOTExNDk1OTIxS0&spJobID=1202207708&spReportId=MTIwMjIwNzcwOAS2

Worth a Ponder: https://www.jacobinmag.com/2017/07/chapo-trap-house-bernie-sanders-discourse I have to say this whole “Russia” business leaves me cold. Unless it can be proved that Russian hackers or whoever actually tampered with the vote count, who cares? This is all about the Democrats (including the past administration as well as the Hillary campaign) and Trump-haters trying to find an issue (sic) that will distract the country from their own failings.


No comment needed: http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/07/department-of-energy-risks-michael-lewis?mbid=nl_th_5977c39b7c67a060584ba939&CNDID=42793573&spMailingID=11559140&spUserID=MTQzOTExNDk1OTIxS0&spJobID=1202330385&spReportId=MTIwMjMzMDM4NQS2


This transgender ban really does underscore what a tenth-rate human being Trump is: https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-07-27/trump-s-dishonorable-transgender-ban

To the above, add this: http://inference-review.com/article/trump-and-the-trumpists


Increasingly I find a soulmate in T.Frank, who for me is the voice of common-sense political thinking: http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/07/its-time-to-let-go-of-donald-trump?mbid=nl_th_597a67e2e3e3375c6a06ed44&CNDID=42793573&spMailingID=11573982&spUserID=MTQzOTExNDk1OTIxS0&spJobID=1202504125&spReportId=MTIwMjUwNDEyNQS2

Everyone must read Ryan Lizza’s New Yorker interview with “the Mooch.” http://www.newyorker.com/news/ryan-lizza/anthony-scaramucci-called-me-to-unload-about-white-house-leakers-reince-priebus-and-steve-bannon This guy was a highly-regarded hedge-funder to whose Las Vegas gatherings all the hedge-fund/private-equity swine flocked in all their slavering greed. To me, he embodies what the late-unlamented British prime minister Edward Heath called “the unacceptable face of capitalism.” I do take one exception to criticisms of the Mooch. His characterization of Bannon is derided by some as a physiognomic impossibility. Connoisseurs of early porn will recall Ron Jeremy performing just such an act in a film whose title eludes me now (might it have been “Inside Seka”?) Perhaps the Mooch saw it himself – in younger and rowdier times?

Terrifying! http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2017/07/27/dea/TFsSiM6h83snc5f9cbRAdN/story.html?et_rid=1758184608&s_campaign=todaysheadlines:newsletter  And shows how futile and ineffective the “war on drugs” has proved to be.

This brought back memories (from NYT today): “Catholic church may cash in on East Midtown air rights deal,” by the Times’ J. David Goodman and William Neuman: “The Archdiocese of New York may know something about divine intervention. But to get to Mayor Bill de Blasio on a real estate negotiation potentially worth hundreds of millions of dollars, it hired lobbyists. The archdiocese, seeking to influence the rezoning of East Midtown Manhattan, where St. Patrick’s Cathedral is, has paid Kasirer Consulting $320,000 since 2014, according to city records. The archdiocese wanted the city to pass a rezoning plan that would allow it greater freedom to sell the valuable air rights from the cathedral, estimated at 1.1 million square feet, to developers. The church ultimately got much of what it wanted in the rezoning plan, which was approved Thursday by the City Council’s Land Use Committee, all but ensuring its adoption by the full Council next month.”  Long years ago, Francis Cardinal Spellman told my father, “Mr.Thomas, I’m very sound on doctrine, but I know everything about Manhattan real estate!”



There’s been a lot of crap written recently on the Op-Ed pages of NYT  and elsewhere about how John McCain is a hypocrite and turncoat because he came back to Washington and voted “Yes” on the motion to bring Obamacare repeal bill to the Senate floor, after having previously declaring himself opposed to repeal. Most of this garbage has spilled by Op-Ed blitherers whose idea of courageous duress under fire is being asked to wait an extra five minutes for a table at Michael’s. Frankly, my own reading of McCain in this matter is that he set a parliamentary trap for that lying (if crafty) piece of shit, Mitch McConnell. What needs to be noted is that McCain’s initial “Yes” vote was on a matter of procedure, but that his subsequent “No” vote was on a matter of substance, which was where the crucial issue would be decided once and for all.  In the mind of someone like McConnell, procedure equals substance, and he was lulled, I think, into a false confidence. We know that McCain hinted to Schumer that when pitch came to shove he had a plan. I think McCain, like anyone who’s seen combat, let alone POW imprisonment, is entitled the benefit of the doubt, certainly more so than the sunshine patriots and summer soldiers pontificating in the media. Glioblastoma is no fun. I had a half-brother killed by this particular cancer. As the disease progresses, at least in Bobby’s case, it ate at his mind as well as his cells. I wish Senator McCain all the good luck there is.

Trump has an exaggerated, Mussolini-like notion of the political value of crowds. Hence his incessant carping about the size of his Inauguration Day turnout. So why doesn’t he go on the air – I’m sure Fox News would oblige with some choice prime time, and the other major outlets would follow – and exhort those of his true believers who are currently receiving some form or another of Obamacare to quit?  We all might learn something. And it would at a minimum offset the some of the millions who would be deprived of medical insurance by the passage of McConnell-Ryan repeal.

While in London a month or so ago, reflecting as flaneurs do when they watch as they wander, it struck me – I think I made this point in an earlier post – that what “trickles down” as the rich are made richer aren’t rewards but penalties, higher prices for the quotidian necessities that everyone needs – food, gas, a roof – but that the poor have a tough time paying for as wages remain stagnant while profits on capital increase.

May he rot in hell, an eternal cacophony of buses belching and subways thundering: https://ny.curbed.com/2017/7/27/15985648/nyc-subway-robert-moses-power-broker

You do the voodoo… Why we’re falling apart as a political economy. https://aeon.co/essays/how-economists-rode-maths-to-become-our-era-s-astrologers


Trump-haters are really going to hate this. The author’s partisanship is never less than obvious, but, that said, his arguments are worth thinking about. The “car affordability” metric is interesting, although it seems to me that cars are being built to last longer, with proper maintenance (something that cannot be said of public sector infrastructure, obsessed as its controllers are with electoral politics). Anyway: https://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/public/trump-dynasty-luttwak/