Global Temps Continue to Sizzle...Welcome to Hot....Open Thread


The average temperature of Earth’s surface last month exceeded all other Mays before it, since recordkeeping began in 1880, according to new data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association.


The monthly temperature was 1.33 degrees Fahrenheit higher than the average May. That may not seem like much, but on a planetary scale, it’s huge. It ties the highest departure from average for any single month, in weather records that predate electric lights in Manhattan.


But the truly disturbing part isn’t that we’ve hit a new record. It’s that we live in a season of new records. This may be the the new warm normal. To find previous hottest Mays, you don’t have to search far; four of the five hottest Mays on record have occurred since 2010. More difficult is finding a cool May. The last time the month fell below its 20th-century average was 39 years ago.


The planetary hot streak is driven by rapidly rising levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere since the industrial revolution. Global warming is already being felt around the world, resulting in bigger heat waves, rising seas and changing patterns of precipitation. No one under age 30 has been alive for a single month when the planet’s average surface temperature was below average.

Full Bloomberg Article here:



climate c2 1383095284973 My God, it's full of stars Best Wishes, Traveller

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Another Vladimir Putin masterstroke.


It was the document that started a revolution and ended up bringing Europe to the brink of war. Ukraine's association agreement with the European Union, a mainly economic document setting up a free trade area that nevertheless has political and strategic ramifications, will finally be signed on Friday.  


Along with Georgia and Moldova, two other post-Soviet countries keen to move out of Moscow's orbit, Kiev will sign the deal with Brussels to establish a free-trade area and introduce a raft of measures designed to synchronise economies with EU nations, as well as improve rule of law and human rights. 

Thanks to Putin's bold, swift action in outsmarting President Obama, the EU and the former Soviet republics... the former Soviet republics are moving out of his influence as fast as they possibly can. You see, all you have to be is strong and decisive. Then you don't really need to be wise or realistic.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Of course Putin outsmarted Obama...

Jay C's picture

He managed to lose a great deal of influence in Ukraine, and see his expansionist plans scuttled by Western (and Ukrainian) resistance - without having to be bombed!


Another Obummer failure!

A critique of Krugman and of economics as a predictive science


A philosopher of science claims economics isn't a genuine science because many of its models are too simple and idealized to make predictions:

In the context of the period from 2008 the questions to be answered were about the consequences of macroeconomic policy, the austerity measures in Europe and the limited stimulus in the US. The right answers about these consequences were given by Krugman’s simple models—Keynesian IS-LM curve...


By contrast with Krugman’s Keynesian models, those of the New Classical macroeconomists faired very badly in their predictions over the same period, predicting that European austerity would result in growth, that the US stimulus would be ineffective, and that the Fed’s quantitative easing policy would be inflationary.


So, Krugman’s models win, right?


Not so fast, the New Classical Macroeconomists will respond. Wind the clock back about 40 years and the shoe was on the other foot. Back then, the very same IS-LM models that Keynesians had developed and Krugman has recycled, were giving more or less the wrong answers. This was the period of “Stagflation” in the ‘70s when the economy refused to behave the way Keynes’ models told us it would—increasing unemployment together with increasing inflation. 


In economics as in other domains, it’s too easy to be right by accident, to be right for the wrong reasons, to be right for one period and wrong for another. ... Improvement in predictive power means getting things more and more right over time, to more decimal places, over a wider range of phenomena, not immediately but eventually. Betting on any economic theory, or its set of models to do this, is to say the least a long shot, given the track record since Adam Smith.



That Does Not Sound Correct


The problem with economics is not that the models are too simple. You can make quite complex economic models these days, with thousands of inputs, and have a weather-like model to run predictions.


But the weather does not change if we have a prediction of it, while markets do react to forecasts. To me the main problem with economics is that the predictions should feed into the model itself. If you predict recession, it is by that fact more likely to happen.


I actually believe that one drag on the Obama economy is the large number of people who believe he is destroying the country through debt, Obamacare, the specter of inflation, and all the other Fox talking points. This is true especially if they are in business positions, above all if they own small businesses and are not tied in to large corporate analytics. Corporations may fund politicians based on ideology but tend to be more realistic about the business environment. Smaller businesses don't have that kind of info. Misinformed individuals even less so.


I definitely credit the Fox News believers with extra demand for gold for two or three years after the crash of 2008. There were millions of people convinced that the sky was falling. Whether this group is large enough to move the economy is an open question, but I'm guessing that it does, a little. Still, if the expectations of this group cause so much as a 0.1% hit on GDP growth, over a few years you are talking real money.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

I think your concerns are covered in the piece


Re: simplicity, the existence of complex models is acknowledged but the claim is that the simple models are allegedly doing the predicting and they're overly simple. 


The feedback you mention is referred to as "reflexivity" in the piece. Along with "uncertainty" these are the two main problems identified with economic forecasting. The critique is that all the models essentially abstract away from these two problems and we don't have any idea how non-idealized versions of the models can in general generate predictions.



Various weather models work in different timeframes.


I could go on about this at some length - suffice to say academic economics is not a science.  It's not even a good model builder.  The math is bad and the underlying theory worse.


Weather models are tuned to operate over different frames of data.  Some are tuned for days, others for months, some for years.  But there's always some confounding evidence:  say a volcano erupts, suddenly changing atmospheric gas and particulate fractions.  In such a case, a simpler model reliant upon those variables would be better.  We might say "but every model should be looking at gas fractions and particulates" and not all models do.  


See, models are trained by exercising them against a varying sum of vectors.  One area where Krugman really improved economics was to bring out the impact of microeconomies, little eddies and vortices in the larger streams.  The old stuff about wine and wool is mostly bunk, trade moves things back and forth to the point where export and import move both ways for the same commodities.  


A proper economic model, if such a thing can be constructed - and I doubt it - is therefore "edge-less" .  How long is the coastline of Britain?  That sort of problem.  Economics' chief fallacy is to divide itself in to micro- and macroeconomics.   There's no dividing the two.

"There's no dividing the two"


maybe, but macro and micro type theories get distinguished all over in science.


The population-level and individual-level are standardly distinguished in the study of animals -- of ant colonies, termite mound construction, fish foraging, bird flocking, etc. And human activity isn't any exception -- take crowd gathering and traffic patterns.


I don't see why we'd expect economics to gloss over a distinction made elsewhere in the sciences.

Huh? I beg to differ.


In the insect world, clones appear all the time.  Drone DNA is all identical in a hive.  The importance of human individuality is hugely overrated.   Behaviour is all contextual.  

Or to take a more recent example....


Economists develop all kinds of increasingly complex models to predict the price of various manufactured goods,  but then the very next day, guys with uniforms and guns can show up at the store and declare that 21" televisions will sell for 600 Bolivars and that is the end of it.


I think we're a long way from a model that could predict that.

That's just the same problem


You're faulting economic principles for not holding in very exceptional circumstances, but that's an unreasonable expectation. 


I think Rosenberg has a stronger point that economic predictions about any market activity are suspect, not that economists fail to predict when market activity is disrupted by government fiat.

But it's not very exceptional


I hauled out Maduro as an extreme example,  but "government fiat" affects every market everywhere.   Even in Somalia or Afghanistan the government has some effect on the economy.


Hell,  half your posts here are how the government could give the market a nudge one way or the other.   The effects of the nudge might be somewhat predictable,  but whether or not the government will do the nudge is politics,  even less of a science than economics.



I think we'd all be happy if economists could predict


the effects of the nudges if they occur w/out having to predict the occurrences of the nudges themselves

MA's earlier remark applies here


The effect of a nudge depends on whether people think the nudge will occur.

Sure, and that's a critique in the original article too



One way econ is not like other sciences


Economics has "laws",  and they may have quite a bit of correct insight behind them,  but they aren't really laws.


Take Gresham's Law that "bad money drives out good".   Yes, it's common sense,  and generally borne out in practice in the long run.   Nevertheless, I can grit my teeth and go out on the street and exchange my old silver quarters for copper-nickel ones,  and in principle,  a large group of people could agree to defy the law together.   A government can defy Gresham's Law with sufficient amounts of pervasive surveillance and brute force.  Neither I nor any higher authority could defy Newton's laws in the same way.


Stock markets can be deflected by things like patriotism,  fear,  hope, etc.  Economics has no hope of getting a truly accurate and detailed model* until much more fundamental things like the nature of consciousness are solved.


*By a truly accurate and detailed model,  I mean one that systematically converges to the correct result given more accurate inputs and more computation power.

"Laws" outside the "hard" sciences always have exceptions


ceteris paribus clauses are all over the place in the principles or "laws" of economics, psychology, biology, etc. E.g., Mendel's laws have exceptions. From wiki I see that Robert Mundel preferred including the exception clause right into Gresham's law to render it as: "Bad money drives out good if they exchange for the same price."


Anyway, I don't think having exceptions to their principles is the problem with economics, or it would render psychology and biology also as non-scientific, which is silly. 


A better approach than requiring universal, exceptionless laws in the special sciences is to demand predictive models that are legitimately confirmed and verified by data. It's an open question whether we have this in economics, and whether the models really do any predictive work beyond what can be done with ordinary lay reasoning. This philosopher Alex Rosenberg argues that economic "theory" really does none of this kind of scientific work.


I also have the intuition that economics may not advance significantly until psychology or cognitive neuroscience advances.

You ever asked


a mathematician or physicist whether biology is science? They'll say yes, but it's yes with a footnote.   Psychology might not even get a yes.


"A better approach than requiring universal, exceptionless laws in the special sciences is to demand predictive models that are legitimately confirmed and verified by data. It's an open question whether we have this in economics, and whether the models really do any predictive work beyond what can be done with ordinary lay reasoning. This philosopher Alex Rosenberg argues that economic "theory" really does none of this kind of scientific work"


Even that is a tough demand.   To be fair to the economists,  the essential problem is that they cannot really do clean experiments with control groups. They can do some micro-microeconomics stuff in a room with three subjects trading nickels but that really doesn't scale to problems anyone cares about.




I'm aware but it's just a bias by physicists


if they don't recognize biology as a genuine science -- it's not really up for dispute. 


In addition to a simple bias in favor of all sciences looking like physics, physicists are doubly silly b/c they study some of the simplest systems around and when systems get more complex they hand it off to the other sciences. If physicists can handle biological systems let them try.


Since many of the complaints from chemists and physicists about psychology and the cognitive neurosciences also apply to biology, they're defeated. 

I know you are against austerity

mmghosh's picture

but it does have instinct and common sense behind it.

The problem, as I see it, is that the austerity is not being applied equally to all classes.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

Well, it didn't take long for the latent fascism to emerge.

mmghosh's picture

The active promotion of "one language" for "one country".  

A recent circular issued by the Director (official language) Avadesh Kumar Mishra, said, “All officers and employees who operate official accounts on Twitter, Facebook, blogs, Google, Youtube should use Hindi and English languages.  Prominence should be given to Hindi.”

It had also announced a cash reward for those employees who do most of their official work in Hindi.

Of course, one is constantly lectured about advanced nations promoting a single language in their countries, notably by our expatriates, who do not practice what they preach.  And we thought we were going to be different from other nations in allowing every form of self-expression!  My favourite opinionist, thus.

This little spat tells us something about the way in which the BJP conceives of India as a nation. Its earlier political avatar, the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, was formally committed to the slogan, “Hindi, Hindu, Hindustan”. In seeing a single dominant language as a necessary precondition for a robust nation, both the Jana Sangh and the BJP aren’t exceptional: they are, in the most orthodox possible way, trying to align their nationalist practice with the templates they have inherited from European histories of nationalism.

In Europe’s historical experience of nation-formation, the principal basis for national identity is language.


A hegemonic language may not be a sufficient basis on which to organize a nation state, but the European precedent seems to suggest that it is a necessary condition. Consequently, nations inhabited by majorities who share one language and one linguistic culture are seen as the historical norm. A single dominant language is seen as the indispensable glue that keeps citizens together.

The practice of the United States of America makes this explicit: learning English is part of becoming American. In the past anxious levies of writers have preemptively protested against any move to grant the spreading presence of Spanish any official recognition. The presence of more than one language within a country’s borders is seen as a threat to the the sense of community essential to a nation state, to the idea of a unified citizenry.


In Western histories, a multiplicity of languages isn’t just seen as a kind of redundancy, it’s seen as dangerous, a portent of disunity and incoherence. There’s even Biblical warrant for this in the story of the tower of Babel told in Genesis. In the beginning, when men were virtuous “the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech”.


The history of the dominant strain of Indian nationalism is an exception to the European rule. It doesn’t fit Western templates and because we don’t acknowledge the novelty of Indian nationalism, we misread the nature of the Indian State and underestimate the extent to which it offers an alternative model of nationalism.

Indian nationalism was not a variant of some Western nationalist precedent. It was a novel and original nationalism which stood the first principle of European nationalism on its head, namely the homogeneity of the national community. Instead of basing its claim to represent the nation on its ability to embody some unifying principle — language, faith, race and so on —it based its representative credentials on its capacity to represent India’s diversity.


A pluralist nationalism ducks the task of defining the national ‘self’. Recognizing that in a diverse country ‘one size can’t fit all’, the republic improvises ways of avoiding the homogenizing definitions that Western constructions of nationalism press upon nation states. And thanks to this talent for postponement, republican India managed to lay the spectre of Babel, the fear that diversity makes a democratic nation incoherent, disunited, unworkable.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

Calculatedrisk - the future is still bright


Almost 18 months ago, the overall excellent calculatedriskblog posted "The Future's So Bright" which predicted: "economic growth will pickup over the next few years". The ensuing 18 months have seen lower growth than the previous 18. 


Today's it's The Future is still Bright!


But calculatedrisk's post doesn't mention the trade deficit, a major drag on growth and employment, and it actually lists the low fiscal deficit as a *positive*:


"And another key graph on the US deficit. As we've been discussing, the US deficit as a percent of GDP has been declining, and will probably decline to around 3% in fiscal 2015."


But hasn't it been amply demonstrated that a lower deficit is a drag on growth and employment?  I remain unconvinced that stronger than trend growth is right around the corner. Hope I'm wrong.

McBride's been right more often than not


and, given that we've got job growth at a rate of 200k/month (and yes, I now that 400k/month would be better, but we haven't had growth like that since I was asking for He-Man toys for Christmas), I think that he's probably right on this one too...

Re: He-Man


I must again plug the Skeletor daily affirmations blog:


OK, but we had the same job rate growth in 2012 too


In January 2013, McBride predicted a "pickup", but we've seen the same average the past 18 months:


(Overall, the job-growth rate for the United States in 2013 was an increase of 1.7 percent, the same pace we saw in 2012.)


Maybe that'll change, but the secular stagnation/tepid growth in the medium term looks like the better bet to me. Continuing slack in the labor market = too few jobs and too little money for consumers. Hope I'm wrong, but I'm sure you noticed that the economy lift-off has yet again been postponed.

USA - Germany


It's tough being a Christian woman in Sudan

Bird Dog's picture

Especially if you're Meriam Ibrahim and you're trying to get out of Sudan and away from Sudanese "justice". Of course, the Sudan legal system operates under its interpretation of sharia law, which purports to be Islamic and justifies the death penalty for apostates and allows second-class citizenship for women. It's bad enough that the Bashir regime is mistreating one of its own, but they also jailed three American citizens (the husband and the two kids).

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

"Count" Suarez Banned For Four Months For Third Biting Incident

M Scott Eiland's picture

If this lunatic is ever allowed to play again, it should be in a Hannibal Lecter style mask.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).


brutusettu's picture

One bite.


Two bites.


Three Bites


Four Months.




+1 :-) -nt-

M Scott Eiland's picture


. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).


M Scott Eiland's picture

Recess is *over*, Mr. President.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Oh, And Almost Forgot

M Scott Eiland's picture

*smirk* Scoreboard. Slapdown delivered. Bonus points for the liberal justices being the ones who specifically found that Obama had gone too far, as opposed to the four conservatives who wanted to gut the recent practice of recess appointments completely due to the increased availability of the Senate to re-convene.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

And 4-5 justices rule that "recess" only occurs at the end


of a term. I think people should sit down and think a little harder about the implications of making it easier for the Senate to bring government business to a standstill. 

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Whom the gods would destroy, they drive mad.


Let these GOP jackasses try to hold up appointments, for all the good it will do them.  Let them smirk and twirl their fingers.  These guys can't get a President elected.  Probably won't be able to get a Republican elected to the White House until pretty much everyone in the current Congress is dead.  The Democrats have already pulled the pin on this grenade, overturning the filibuster rule.  All the wise heads say the Democrats will come to rue the day they pulled that pin - but that day won't come within my lifetime - unless the GOP changes its tune.


And considering how much money it's taken to beat down the Tea Parties this time, the Eye of Sauron has turned elsewhere, distracted by unexpected enemies, not from the Left but from the Extreme Right.  

Looks Like You Have Nine People To Send That Memo To -nt-

M Scott Eiland's picture


. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Just the 4 justices signing Scalia's concurrence.


They believe the constitution limits "recess" to intersession recesses. There are no intrasession recesses, in their view. They also believe the President can recess-appoint only to fill vacancies occurring during an intersession recess. In other words, Scalia, Roberts, Alito and Thomas would toss 90% of the recess appointments made over the last century as unconstitutional. Does that work for you?

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Also, A Historical Parallel

M Scott Eiland's picture

Should the Justices deciding Miranda v. Arizona have said to themselves "OMG! We're declaring every single arrest made after the Civil War was invalid! We can't do that! YOU LOSE, Miranda!" ? Oddly enough, they decided instead to just make it clear that the precedent would be applied on future cases only, aside from Miranda himself. Even more oddly, this can also be done for other cases.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

I think you're misunderstanding my point


which is that there are currently 4 justices willing to vote to remove a power Presidents have wielded for over a century, and hand an extraordinary amount of power to the Senate. I'm aware that precedent doesn't work backwards, and that all of those older appointments are not currently on trial, but thanks for the snarky social studies lesson.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

They're Saying It Was The Senate's Power All Along. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .and that there's no excuse in an age of modern communications for that power being stretched beyond where it was in the days before Abraham Lincoln was born. This strikes me as a reasonable position, and with Harry "Soon To Be Kicked Out Of His Majority Leader Office" Reid having started the process of gutting the filibuster, any practical problems arising from this approach should it ever be adopted would be lessened considerably.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

And disagreeing with 100 years of practice and precedent. -nt-



"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes


M Scott Eiland's picture

Much like Brown v. Board of Education did, without even getting into a whole lot of recent jurisprudence about gay rights in general.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Thank you for confirming


that you are in fact okay with giving the Senate power to shut down virtually any appointment. Nice try attempting to garner Civil Rights points on this issue, but I don't think "Grumpy Old Man With an Axe To Grind Rights" is really much of a comer in the world of causes people are likely to rally behind.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Nor Is. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . ."the President gets to go around the Senate just because advise and consent is bothersome." Though King Ezra I of the Kingdom of Derp over at Vox should be able to get a piece or two out of it.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Vox is all around pretty good


Exactly the kind of site that provides non-sensational, intelligent and informed analysis which appeals to progressives. And his Wonkblog over WPost is still carrying on too.


Conservatives apparently regard such sources that genuinely inform as "pointy-headed". Or something. Where's the celebration of ignorance and personality assassinations??

I think you'd be surprised. Believe it or not Americans


are actually vaguely aware when entire agencies are left rudderless, the federal judiciary is decimated, etc. all because of blue-slipping Senators chiseling for leverage and/or campaign ads.


People are getting tired of the politics of no.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

You're both right!


Just as I read your comment,  NBC announced that 4 out of 10 Americans could not correctly identify which party controlled each house of Congress.

NB:  that does not mean that 6 out of 10 can correctly identify,  since 25% would get it right with random guessing.   Those that really know are a minority.


So, you are correct that people are disgusted with the "Politics of No"  in an apathetic sort of way,  but they have no clue who to blame and don't care to find out.  There isn't going to be any mass "rallying around" either gridlock or executive overreach.  



"Soon To Be Kicked Out Of His Majority Leader Office"


By my read it's still a toss-up.


Just out of curiosity, have you changed anything about the way you make predictions since the Romney victory prediction in '12?  

Has Anyone Here. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .changed the way they made their predictions ever since early 2009 and all the "the Tea Party is proof that the Republican Party is imploding and will be utterly irrelevant from now on?" posts?

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Isn't there a name for this kind of 'they did it too' fallacy?



It's Not A Fallacy. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .to point out that "Forvmites in glass houses shouldn't throw stones." Particularly since challenging a *particular* Forvm commenter on the level of success they've had with prognostication (which, in my case, has been good at some times and not so good at others, as is true for most here) can fall into "comment, not commenter" if done aggressively enough. Perhaps you could move on to another topic?

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

It would be "eī quoque." -nt-



"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Please. After John Tower was rejected in 89


the Senate has become a madhouse full of would-be parliamentarians and dirty tricksters.   The Federalist Papers made a point about the dignity of the Senate, that if that gravitas was ever lost, it would fail.  Federalist 62


In another point of view, great injury results from an unstable government. The want of confidence in the public councils damps every useful undertaking, the success and profit of which may depend on a continuance of existing arrangements. What prudent merchant will hazard his fortunes in any new branch of commerce when he knows not but that his plans may be rendered unlawful before they can be executed? What farmer or manufacturer will lay himself out for the encouragement given to any particular cultivation or establishment, when he can have no assurance that his preparatory labors and advances will not render him a victim to an inconstant government? In a word, no great improvement or laudable enterprise can go forward which requires the auspices of a steady system of national policy.


But the most deplorable effect of all is that diminution of attachment and reverence which steals into the hearts of the people, towards a political system which betrays so many marks of infirmity, and disappoints so many of their flattering hopes. No government, any more than an individual, will long be respected without being truly respectable; nor be truly respectable, without possessing a certain portion of order and stability.

The Senate was supposed to provide some inertia to government. This is no longer true.  It has lost all respectability, with maniacs like McCain running around the landscape, trying to gin up yet more wars -  Senator No, Mitch McConnell, who if he could would take an eraser to every mention of Barack Obama - McConnell is the most disrespectful - and disrespectable - man in the US Senate today.  

It was always a dumb exception.


SCOTUS was technically correct to observe Obama didn't abide by the convention - but the Senate isn't the problem.  It's the Blue Slip which is the sticking point.  If Boehner dares to put Obama on trial, as he seems intent upon doing, it seems logical for Obama to attack the Blue Slip in court.  It's as unconstitutional as the recess appointment.



'Over a century" -  what BHO did that was novel was make an appointment when the Senate itself said they were in session,  and on top of that,  it's clear they were staying in session for purpose of preserving their constitutional power of advice and consent.    The vast majority of previous cases were when the Senate itself declared a recess,  thereby knowingly turning over appointment authority to the President.


"Extraordinary amount of power" -  let's not forget that the NLRB is a creation of Congress.   The Senate could have decided to not approve an NLRB at all,  and in the future they could decline to approve funding for it.  

We're talking about the minority concurrence, not the


unanimous ruling itself. The minority holds that the Senate is in recess ONLY during intermission, that is, between Senate terms. It was a period of several months back in 1789; today it typically lasts a week or two every couple years. 

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Since The Decision Wouldn't Actually. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .go back and nullify all those appointments and all their acts, why not? It's hardly a new thing to for the Court to say "we've been doing it wrong for years--this practice won't fly any more."

But not to worry--they don't seem to have a fifth vote for this, and future Presidents may be reluctant to give them another case to try after Obama's humiliating slapdown (which, again, I predicted) in this case.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Did the ruling only nullify the NLRB appointments?


I haven't been able to figure out from the reporting.

I think the short summary is this:


1.  The President can make a recess appointment during any recess of substantial length.  The discussion seemed to indicate 3 days,  i.e.  not breaking up for lunch, sleep, or weekends,  but anything longer.   Roughly the same definition of when you'd say a worker is on vacation.


2.  However,  it's only a recess if the Senate says its a recess.  If the Senate says they are in session,  they are in session,  even if it's one guy showing up for 2 minutes.


3.  I think previous appointments stand until challenged,  and they could only be challenged if they were made when the Senate claimed to be in session. 

Thanks eeyn



Greenland ice sheet melt is spectacular this year.

mmghosh's picture

A mountain range lost.

How large is a cubic kilometer? Think of something the size of a mountain. Now multiply that by ten and you end up with a veritable mountain range. Think of it. An entire mountain range of ice. That’s a good rough comparison to the volume of ice lost from just a single Greenland glacier over the course of a mere 26 days from May 7 to June 1 of 2014.


It was a period of time well before peak Greenland warming and one that featured a collapse of ice into the heating ocean even larger than the epic event caught on film during the seminal documentary Chasing Ice.

Flowing at a speed of 46 meters per day, Jakobshavn is currently Greenland’s fastest glacier. Containing enough ice to raise global sea levels by 1.5 feet all by itself, the glacier is one of many of the Earth’s ice giants currently in the throes of irreversible decline.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

I must say China came as a very pleasant surprise.

mmghosh's picture

A nation of people (mostly) more or less disinterested in religion, even avowedly atheist (at least among convivial academic colleagues), progressing at a real clip - such a change from our religion-dominated (and now religion-infested) society.  Problems, naturally, but they appear soluble.  At least they don't want to dominate the world through force of arms!


The nihilism and brutality of the Cultural Revolution seems a distant memory - I suppose in the way Germans look at Nazism, or Americans at slavery, or ourselves at the caste system.


Not much in the way of pollution, either (this was central China).  May they continue to be successful!

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

China likes unihabitated islands near their neighbors though

brutusettu's picture

and allegedly sinking a ship by ramming it, which is classier than using torpedoes or anti-ship missiles by people in uniforms. 

They want oil. Whats the problem?

mmghosh's picture


freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

Victory For the other 4th

brutusettu's picture

And unanimous, too


9-0 on the ruling and 8-1 on the reasoning,  so this should set a firm line at least on this particular issue.


Of course they can still do it with a warrant,  and warrants aren't very hard to get.

I feel like Omega Man in here. Where'd everybody go? -nt-



"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Grifters gotta grift, coders gotta code


I'm thinking to expound in the fire-n-brimstone mode upon VDH's latest.  Letting it fester for a while.  See what I can do later.  Meanwhile, back on the farm....


// Get the location manager
locationManager = (LocationManager) getSystemService(Context.LOCATION_SERVICE);
// Define default criteria 
Criteria criteria = new Criteria();
provider = locationManager.getBestProvider(criteria, false);
Location location = locationManager.getLastKnownLocation(provider);

I'm still around


I'm still around occasionally.


Surprised nobody has chimed in on Cochran's win in Mississippi.  Erickson is carrying on with his usual bluster and internet tough guy talk.  This is after he caved with the govt shutdown idiocy despite constant threats of forming a third party.  I can't believe anyone takes him seriously.  Grifters gotta grift, ya know.

I'm here too

Jay C's picture

...wandering lonely through The Forvm, looking for stray spam to pick up, the odd dupe to delete: you know, the usual glamorous vital work for we power-crazed moderators....


BTW, Jordan: did you lose your Internet Monday nite over wherever you are? Time Warner Cable (aka TWC, Those We Curse) cut out about 4:15, and didn't come back up until 2-3am. NO TV or Net - I was almost reduced to having to go read an actual book....


Anyway, Sen. Thad Cochran's big win in the MS runoff is something, IMO, along the lines of not-new-"news"  - the slight margin was a bit of a surprise: it also seems to have let a lot of the MS GOP's inner Jim Crow out into the light; which should be no surprise at all...

I don't recall losing internet, no. I think we were streaming


a tv show during dinner (Penny Dreadful probably). Or I might have been re-playing Dragon Age: Origins. 

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

The single best bit of writing on Afghanistan


by an American.  Jim Gant:  One Tribe at a Time. (pdf)


A story emerged from the attack on the Osama bin Laden compound in Abbotabad:  a copy of this pamphlet was found, with orders from OBL himself to kill Jim Gant.

Nice Link, I Haven't finished reading it, but so far Very SpotOn


...not much different thought, at least on the onset, of what I suspect either you or I would have, and did, recommend while in Country, VN.


(I won't even spell out the damned


There really aren't a bunch of magical secrets is known and has been known; by our generation and by this generation. But they are tough lessons, hard recomendations.

Best Wishes, Traveller

ISIS funded and supplied by the Saudis and Qataris?


In a classic example of blowback, it appears that two of the most violent, highly motivated and successful rebel groups of the Syrian Civil War was originally sponsored by our Saudi and Qatari allies: namely, ISIS and Jabat al-Nusra, respectively. Although both countries pledged to switch their support to the US-sanctioned FSA (and the Saudi king fired Prince Bandar over his handling of the Syria question), private funding and supply continues to flow from erstwhile allied countries into the pockets of the most dangerous insurgent group in Iraq since 2007. 

Qatar’s military and economic largesse has made its way to Jabhat al-Nusra, to the point that a senior Qatari official told me he can identify al-Nusra commanders by the blocks they control in various Syrian cities. But ISIS is another matter. As one senior Qatari official stated, “ISIS has been a Saudi project.”


ISIS, in fact, may have been a major part of Bandar’s covert-ops strategy in Syria. The Saudi government, for its part, has denied allegations, including claims made by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, that it has directly supported ISIS.




"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Al Nusra and ISIS are different animals.


The Saudis and Qataris think like this:  


Who will actually fight?

Who is most motivated?

Who can attract the most followers?

Who is least-corrupt and will put the most fire into the enemy?


They know perfectly well these fighting groups are no good at governing.  Comes down to their view of fighters.   Here in the USA, we put US flags on our soldiers, they're supposed to represent us out there in the sticks.  Not these guys.  جندي , jundi, are cannon fodder.  Think about the rent-a-cops down at the mall, they don't get much respect either.  Egypt's military has carved out an entire ecosystem for itself and the institution is respected - but not the soldier himself.  In both KSA and Qatar, the military is viewed with suspicion.  KSA actually divided its military into two parts, so if one half revolted, the other could put it down.  And those are separate from the cadre of praetorians they have doing personal security for the leadership.


The elites don't care about the consequences of what these guys do.  They're disposable.  Furthermore, they're all going to self-destruct.  Once that happens, the politicians can sort things out for themselves.

I'll be in Jordan in August

mmghosh's picture

so I'll put in some more perspective from the field, as it were.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

The CIA Does Something Right...Publishes Dr. Zhivago



...I am sure there are positive CIA stories untold happening right now...I am not an apologist for the CIA, I am most often a fierce critic when it is wrong, but you have have to give the devil its due...when it gets it very right we probably never know.




Knowing his novel would never be published in the USSR, Pasternak gave typed manuscripts to a number of foreigners in 1956. They included an Italian Communist Sergio D'Angelo who was working in Moscow as a journalist and a part-time literary agent for a publisher, and fellow Italian Communist, Giangiacomo Feltrinelli.


D'Angelo wrote in his book, The Pasternak Case, about going to meet the 66-year-old author at his country house in Peredelkino, a writers' colony outside Moscow, in May 1956.


"Pasternak is in the fenced-in garden, wearing a jacket and pants of homespun cloth, perhaps intent on pruning a plant. When he notices us, he approaches with a broad smile, throws open the little garden gate, and extends his hand. His grip is nice and firm," he wrote.


As he hands D'Angelo the manuscript, Pasternak says: "May it make its way around the world." He then adds, perhaps ironically: "You are hereby invited to watch me face the firing squad."


The CIA's Doctor Zhivago project was part of a wider effort by the agency to get forbidden novels into Eastern bloc countries, including books by George Orwell, James Joyce, Vladimir Nabokov and Ernest Hemingway.


"We know that they thought literature would have an effect and they were willing to invest millions of dollars a year doing this and over the course of the Cold War it's estimated that they brought in perhaps 10 million books and journals that circulated in the entire Eastern bloc," says Finn.

Very Cool

Best Wishes, Traveller