Thursday: Creep

Covers are often treated like poor relations in hand-me-downs. It’s not the performer’s own work, how can they possibly do the original justice?

Yeah…and then this. I think it’s an example of an exceptional cover. It’s one of my favorites. There are a number of other fine covers of this same piece — some are sweet, some have better production values, and some are very close to Radiohead’s original recording. But this one has something extra. Carrie Manolakos, a Broadway performer known for her role as Elphaba in Wicked, takes a breath at 2:19 and watch out. Her second album will release next month if you enjoy her work.

In Sickness and Health
Here, read these two stories and compare them:

Leaving you with the actual heds on these articles. How isn’t this simple extortion? You know, like, “Nice national health care system you’ve got there. It’d be a shame if anything happened to it.”

Cry me a river about corporate losses. Last I checked Aetna’s been paying out dividends regularly, which means they still have beaucoup cash.

If only we’d had a debate about offering single payer health care for everyone back in 2009 so we could say Fuck You to these vampiric corporate blackmailers.

Still in Shadow
A timeline of articles, analysis, commentary on the hacking of NSA malware staging servers by Shadow Brokers — no window dressing, just links:

15-AUG-2016 8:48 AM — (Mikko Hypponen–Kaspersky tweeting discovery of Shadow Brokers’ auction of Equation Group code)

16-AUG-2016 7:22 AM — (Info sec expert Dave Aitel’s assessment on hackers responsible)

16-AUG-2016 7:40 AM — (Edward Snowden’s tweet thread [NB: don’t be an idiot and click on any other links in that thread])

16-AUG-2016 7:22 PM — (time zone unclear)

16-AUG-2016 ?:?? —

17-AUG-2016 8:05 AM EST —

17-AUG-2016 ?:?? — (University of Illinois’ Stephen Checkoway’s initial impressions)

17-AUG-2016 7:23 PM EST —

18-AUG-2016 6:59 AM EST — (Thomas Rid suggests Shadow Brokers’ auction may be “retaliation” — note at this embedded tweet the use of “retaliation” and the embedded, highlighted image in which the words “Panama Papers” appear in red. Make of that what you will.[1])

18-AUG-2016 2:35 PM EST — (Two linguists suggest Shadow Brokers’ primary language is English distorted to mimic Russian ESL)

You know what this reminds me of? Sony Pictures’ email hacking. Back and forth with Russia-did-it-maybe-not-probably, not unlike the blame game pointing to North Korea in Sony’s case. And the linguistic analysis then suggesting something doesn’t quite fit.

[Today's front pages from USA Today, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, shared here under Fair Use.]

[Today’s front pages from USA Today, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, shared here under Fair Use.]

American Refugees
I read in one of my timelines today a complaint by a journalist about Louisiana flooding news coverage. Wish I’d captured the thread at the time; they were put out that the public was unhappy about the media’s reporting — or lack thereof. They noted all the links to articles, videos, photos being shared in social media, noting this content came from journalists.

Except there really is a problem. The embedded image here is the front page of each of the four largest newspapers in the U.S. based on circulation, total combined circulation roughly six million readers. NONE OF THEM have a story on the front page about the flooding in Louisiana, though three of them covered the California Blue Cut Fire. Naturally, one would expect the Los Angeles Times to cover a fire in their own backyard, and they do have a nice photo-dense piece online. But nothing on the front page about flooding.

The Livingston Parish, Louisiana sheriff noted more than 100,000 parish residents had lost everything in the flood. There are only 137,000 total residents in that parish.

Between the +80,000 Blue Cut Fire evacuees and more than 100,000 left temporarily homeless in Louisiana, the U.S. now has more than a couple hundred thousand climate change refugees for which we are utterly unprepared. The weather forecast this week is not good for the Gulf Coast as unusually warm Gulf water continues to pump moisture into the atmosphere. We are so not ready.

Longread: The last really big American flood
Seven Scribes’ Vann R. Newkirk II looks at the last time a long bout of flooding inundated low-lying areas in the south, setting in motion the Great Migration. This is the history lesson we’ve forgotten. We need to prepare for even worse because like the Blue Cut Fire in California and Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey and New York, disaster won’t be confined to a place too easily written off the front page.

One more day. Hope to make it through.
[1] Edited for clarity. Kind of.

6 replies
  1. bevin says:

    Thanks for Newkirk’s piece. There were some really good blues songs written at the time (Mississippi John Hurt?) I forget but those floods were important. And one reason why was that, in the disruptions, many a debt peon was able to make his escape north, The Man having other things to worry about.

  2. bloopie2 says:

    The Louisianans I feel for—some moved up to Baton Rouge from New Orleans after Katrina, and now, that cursed weather is just following them. In the end, their plight is the result of the confluence of two long-term actions—straightening and leveeing of the Mississippi (good idea at the time, right? Could anyone have stopped that?), and Big Rain which is likely a result of world-wide human-induced climate change. It’s too late, really, for Louisiana—who will volunteer to go down there and tell them they all have to move “up North”?
    The Californians I feel less for—they knowingly laid down roots in a land known for dryness and occasional fires, a part of the country that for ages has been known as dry–period. Go be thirsty the rest of your lives, and don’t procreate, is all I have to say to them.
    But I wonder if people think life can be risk-free. No, let me rephrase that–the term “risk” implies something you can evaluate and possibly control or avoid up front, and that’s not what I’m getting at. Rephrased: I wonder if people think they can live life “bad-things-free”? It was many decades before we started questioning the Army Corps of Engineers on its Mississippi actions. And it was over a century before we started questioning the world on carbon emissions. Honestly—who, here, thinks that he or she can see into the future and accurately predict the adverse results that will arise from any “benevolent” or ”good” actions that we intentionally take today? And if you can, if we do see everything up front, should we just, well, do nothing? Should we have forgone Eisenhower’s Interstate Highway System because it ended up displacing people and dividing cities? Should we have not “conquered“ the American West, because it was a dry land? Should we have said, seventy five years ago, “No more population increase west of the Mississippi because there’s not enough water”? In the end, are we going to go back and lay a lot of blame a lot of dead people who have no ability to respond, on the ground that we are better than them at predicting the future?
    Maybe it’s population control we need? Anyone volunteer to stop up and enforce that?
    I’ve just started on a book about ”Patient H.M’ (Henry Moliason) who suffered brain “redaction” to cure epilepsy and who ended up a different person altogether. (Patient H.M.: A Story of Memory, Madness, and Family Secrets) The minuses to his life are horrific. But the advances in knowledge and medicine are correspondingly large. Although we must, must, continue to push for the good, we have to realize that, in the end, life is not a picnic.

  3. Peterr says:

    I like the piece about the 1927 Flood and the racial aspect of its effects, but I disagree with your characterization that we’ve forgotten about it. Most of those of us who live along major rivers never forget about floods like this, just as folks along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts never forget the hurricanes that come through their regions.
    One of the responses to the 1927 Flood was to nationalize the flood control programs and put them under the US Army Corps of Engineers. Initially, they worked to deal with consistent levee requirements, but quickly moved to begin the process of adding locks and dams along the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers.
    I lived through the massive 1993 floods, which were more of a Missouri/Upper Mississippi event, rather than Lower Mississippi focused as was 1927. Without the locks and dams built in the 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s, the flooding would have been much much worse, especially downstream. Per wiki:

    The Great Mississippi and Missouri Rivers Flood of 1993 (or “Great Flood of 1993”) occurred in the American Midwest, along the Mississippi and Missouri rivers and their tributaries, from April to October 1993. The flood was among the most costly and devastating to ever occur in the United States, with $15 billion in damages. The hydrographic basin affected cover around 745 miles (1,199 km) in length and 435 miles (700 km) in width, totaling about 320,000 square miles (830,000 km2).[2] Within this zone, the flooded area totaled around 30,000 square miles (78,000 km2)[3] and was the worst such U.S. disaster since the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927, as measured by duration, area inundated, persons displaced, crop and property damage, and number of record river levels. In some categories, the 1993 flood even surpassed the 1927 flood, at the time the largest flood ever recorded on the Mississippi.

    This is not to say that the Army Corps of Engineers is without its problems, as they freely admit. They are under multiple conflicting pressures in how they operate the dams, for instance, as they are required to consider things like flood control, electrical production, recreation and tourism, and agricultural concerns. In times of drought, should they open the dams to keep water levels on the rivers up, thus hurting the recreation uses on the lakes as the water levels fall as they try to support those who require navigable river levels? Should they limit agricultural draws, in an effort to keep the lake and river levels up, thus pitting farmers against the tourism industry and various industries who use the rivers for transport? In times of heavy rain, should they keep the dams closed and allow limited flooding upstream (closing lakeside campgrounds and other recreation facilities) in order to limit greater damages downstream? And what about problems with silting and flow into the delta and the gulf? No, the Corps of Engineers is well aware that they are quite limited in what they can do, and there are always tradeoffs and unintended/unknown consequences.
    And still, they do their work. As bad as the flooding of 1993 was — and it was very bad — I shudder to think of what 1993 would have been like without the flood control work of the last 80 years. The 1927 flood may be forgotten on the east and west coasts, or in places like Chicago or the Southwest, but along the rivers it is not forgotten at all.

  4. Rayne says:

    bloopie2 (6:41) — Life is inherently risky. The woman who bore you faced a risk of maternal death doing so, and you faced death just taking your first breath and your first nourishment. That said, we can reduce risk; if you think about it, this entire blog is about risk mitigation (though based on progressive ideology). We can reduce the increased volatility of weather by aggressively reducing our carbon footprint. The challenge? Too many Americans see giving up fossil fuels as giving up their lifestyle, and the threats they face from not doing so are too diffuse, not like a loaded gun held to their head. (Shit, they don’t even respond well to seeing loaded guns held on others.) We wear our seat belts, we don helmets, we wash our hands — if we can do these things all the time, we can do a little more toward “bad-things-reduced” if not “bad-things-free.”

    Peterr (10:48) — U.S. population isn’t concentrated along the Mississippi or its head waters. The U.S. median age is also 36.8 years old, and we all know just how bad U.S. education has become over the last three decades, inadequate on geology/geography/earth science/U.S. history. Both in terms of age and exposure to the Mississippi or its history, Americans don’t know or have forgotten the flooding before the Great Migration as well as the Migration itself. African Americans haven’t because much of their population continues to concentrated there. This is why it’s important to share Newkirk’s essay with the rest of America which neither lives in the Gulf, along the Mississippi, or is black; we can’t understand a major subculture if we don’t grok its history.

    • Peterr says:

      Rayne, US population wasn’t concentrated along the Mississippi or its headwaters in 1927, either. That’s not the point.
      In just about every town, little and big, along the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers (and their tributaries) has a whole host of markers around that say “Here’s how high the water got back in XXXX.” Some are big markers attached to levees, some are wooden signs attached to buildings, and some are painted lines inside of restaurants and businesses and homes. If you live along a River, you are more than likely to know all about the Last Big Flood on Your River, whether that was 8 years ago or 80, no matter what your personal age is.
      There may be a fair amount of historical amnesia, but please don’t paint the whole nation with such a broad brush.
      That said, Newkirk’s essay is well worth sharing and spreading. Thanks for lifting it up here.

  5. Rayne says:

    Peterr (4:09) — Have yet to run into anybody under the age of 40 in my state who understands why older African American Michiganders called this state “Mississippi North.” We’ll agree to disagree. Have a nice weekend.

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