…And We’re Back [DOT 6/6/22]

Happy Monday everyone! I hope you had a nice weekend. It was beautiful weather here in the DMV. That’ll probably be it til September.

Let’s see what I missed while I was outside…


Man, 4 grandkids killed by Texas fugitive had gone to ranch to fish

Suspected shooter who killed retired Wisconsin judge in ‘targeted’ attack identified

Ukraine Updates:

Russia’s war in Ukraine


Here’s the email Elon Musk sent all Tesla employees about 10% head count reduction

Have a great Monday!



  1. much as i hate to agree with his muskiness….i dont think hes wrong with his super bad feeling about the economy….im expecting the whole thing to crash fairly soon

    been a while since we had a good recession…

    • I just wrote out a long, Keynesian and neo-Keynesian (with some Milton Friedman-style Monetarism thrown in) reply about the economy from the 2008 crash to the present, but I’ll spare you, because it’s Monday.

      Instead, fanciful as this notion might be, imagine that you are these ducklings, secure in the knowledge that a powerful and benign presence is watching over you:

      • The subhed of that is interesting:

        On Friday, President Joe Biden was asked about Musk’s negative economic outlook and said Tesla may be cutting back but Ford and others were ramping up.

        It’s a very imperfect lens to be sure, but I think one way to look at the world is in terms of Ford vs. Tesla. Tesla’s stock value has been wildly higher than Ford, even though Ford has vastly more manufacturing capacity, engineering capacity, and market reach.

        Musk is vastly better known than (looks it up) Ford CEO Jim Farley, he gets vastly more media credibility, but it’s unclear why. He’s vastly better known than (looks it up) Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda and at one point Tesla had a market cap four times of Toyota, which is fundamentally in much better shape than Ford.

        I think a lot of the politics of Musk, hedge fund libertarians, and other billionaire kooks can be explained because they think a world where Ford and Toyota get blown up and can be cannibalized is the only way for them to be rich. Which of course is kookery.

        This isn’t to defend Ford or Toyota, which are huge reasons why the world burns so much fossil fuel, and why oil producing regions have been such a nightmare. But what’s frustrating is that the billionaire alternative has been even more determined to lurch farther in the direction of authoritarianism and vulture economics without even the attempt of the old companies toward a steady system. And it’s a sign of the dopiness of the Farley and Toyoda set that they don’t recognize the nature and seriousness of the threat.

        • I linked to a Twitter thread a couple weeks ago about an author who’d spent a lot of time investigating Musk. He concluded that Musk was a con man, and his only real talent was blowing smoke up investors’ asses. Tesla is a shell game, and it’s going to crumble (it’s already started, in fact). The author said that Musk’s secondary “talent” is viciously attacking anyone that criticizes him, lest they puncture his carefully crafted PR balloon. And that’s all it is, hot air.

          Musk is really just another Trump, but using cars instead of real estate. Like Trump, he’s never going to run out of suckers to bilk, and he’s got an unshakeable cadre of worshippers who accept his word as Gospel. So his fortunes will wobble, sometimes severely, but he’ll always manage to scrape by.

          • I should have pointed out that Musk’s ostensible Twitter purchase is intended to provide him with a mouthpiece to engage in both egregious hucksterism and attacking his detractors.

            • …if I’m not mistaken after his “I’ve got a bad feeling about the economy” line he’s back to saying a lack of accurate estimates of bot/astroturf accounts on twitter is why he’s looking to renege on his offer

              …which isn’t to disagree with your point but just to observe he might not be able to pull it off?

              • No, I agree. He’s backpedaling as fast as he can. He thought Twitter would provide him with a bully pulpit to speak directly to millions and millions of glassy-eyed fanboys. When he found out it was mostly fake, he lost interest.

                Which has a certain level of irony since Musk’s career has been built on over-inflating his own worth.

                • …I know it’s irrational when there are so many less abstract reasons to loathe the man…but he’s cited a number of things by authors whose work he claims to admire & whose stuff I’ve in many cases read repeatedly over the years…& I can’t overstate the degree to which I hold an absolute conviction that at the very least douglas adams & iain m banks would agree with me that he’s the living embodiment of missing their entire fucking point…like…to the point that it’s offensive he lays claim to these things as supposed inspiration & reflective of his views about the future

                  …anyone capable of that degree of egregious misrepresentation of something so readily discernible as evidence that he’s got his head up his ass & who so clearly loves the sound of his own voice more than is healthy…well, let’s say I can’t understand why you’d do business with him any more than I’d claim to grasp why people would vote in large numbers for someone like trump (or frankly way too many politicians) that I’d definitely never buy a used car from?

    • Isn’t he a genius bazillionaire? Can’t his genius brain and company pivot to find a way to keep those hard-working employees having jobs? With all his money????

      He’s such a dick.

  2. …the only reason I can’t say with certainty that elon musk is the worst is that there’s just a glut of competition for that title…which sucks approximately as much as mr musk does, really

    …but in today’s definitely-fucked-around-just-possibly-may-be-finding-out news…boris might conceivably be out on his ass (…well…technically arse, I suppose) before the end of the day


    In a statement Graham Brady, the chair of the 1922 Committee that represents backbench Tories, said the threshold of 15% of MPs seeking a confidence vote, numbering 54, “has been exceeded”.

    …so there’ll be a confidence vote (between 13:00-15:00 as this place counts the hours) today since they didn’t want to spoil the jubilee by announcing it before that was finished…despite the fact that not having to be at the same stuff as boris might have been the best jubilee gift he could have offered the royal family somewhat arguing that might be a disputable way of characterizing that…& the way that works is based on another percentage

    To stay in office, Johnson needs to win the support of at least 50% of all Tory MPs plus one, totalling 180. If he does win he is theoretically safe from such a challenge for a year – although the rules can be changed.

    Asked about this on Monday, Brady confirmed to reporters that this was the case: “Technically it’s possible for rules to be changed but the rule at present is there would be a period of grace.”

    …so aside from the sheer gall required to use the term grace in conjunction with the man…the possibility exists that there might not be 180 tory MPs willing to vote (even anonymously, as in theory this would be) to bin the blighter…which would mean the world would be stuck with the mop-headed muppet for a while yet…which would pretty much continue to suck in by-now-predictable sort of ways…but generally once it’s come to this once…it’s historically more of a when than an if

    …which I’d consider good news…as far as it goes…but sadly it only seems to go as far as a roster of potential replacements that are various shades of as-bad-to-worse to the extent that they have form

    …I’m not fond of the man & I don’t think he should still be holding the post…but I dread to think how much worse it might be to have gove or rees-mogg or priti patel or someone take it?

    …I’m at least under the impression that at least the odds on any of that trio are comfortingly long…but…couldn’t tell you a replacement top tory I’d consider to be good news?

      • …from what I gather his line so far is the same thing he tried with the sue gray stuff so there’s a lot of “if he carries the vote that will allow us to draw a line under all this unpleasantness” so it seems to be leaning quite hard on the idea they’d still do best at a general election with him in charge

        …it’s debatable whether or not that’s true…but the fact it isn’t definitely a lie is very much in line with your feeling…as is/was the part where he amended the “ministerial code” so that it didn’t continue to outright say someone in his position would be required to resign?

    • I encourage everyone to read Jacob Rees-Mogg’s wiki page. He probably watched/attended a few Jubilee events and was embarrassed and disdainful of some of its common vulgarity, but had he attended Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897 he probably would have felt the same way. This despite the fact that he made his money in the rapacious modern world of early 1990s “Emerging Markets” global finance. He was born in 1969, not 1769, as is commonly thought.

      • Also, if Rees-Mogg is such an unreconstructed Thatcherite, I wonder if he’s going to bring back the poll tax. If I’m remembering this correctly, local governments used to be funded through property taxes, mostly like they are in America, but despite widespread nationwide opposition she somehow pushed through this new scheme, whereby all the residents were charged equally to pay for their local government. As the parents of a friend of mine who lived in a quite large villa in one of the loveliest towns in the Home Counties described it to me, “It really is quite ridiculous. Here it’s now just my husband and me, and we pay less than our cleaning lady and her husband who rent a semidetached in the village, because one of their adult sons is living with them. To say nothing of our gardener [these used to be called groundskeepers] and his wife, who live in the next village over, who…”

        • …I think the poll tax might be popularly considered to have been the beginning of the end for maggie…it’s certainly the first time growing up that I got the impression that actually rioting about stuff might be something which could translate into a government not going through with something it said it was going to do

          …iirc the change was essentially that (although there might have been different exact figures in different parts of the country) it was to be a flat-rate per capita rather than “rates” which had previously been calculated based on the hypothetical rental value of a property

          …these days I think “council tax” is nominally somewhere between the two in that the amount you owe depends on what “band” your property falls into but also assumes more than one person resides there…so people living on their own can get a discount…but I think that’s around 20-25%…so in your example the cleaning lady & husband might be able to get the kid to chip in for a share but probably would be in a different band than the couple with the empty nest that had a serious garden

          …it might not be perfect but it’s hard to come up with a better example of the conservatives in the UK suggesting a change to tax that might be termed “regressive”…though the “bedroom tax” had similar issues…as does the proportion of income that the state claws back through VAT given the way that increases as the income level diminishes

          …if being poor weren’t so much more expensive than being rich what sort of world would we be living in, after all?

          …personally I suspect I’d be willing to give finding out a whirl…but apparently the very idea is terrifying to tories even as a hypothetical

          • Oh that “garden” was serious. First of all, you drove up a small road from the village center, where the cleaning lady lived (I went to their house one Boxing Day, with the family). Then you went down a small private road through what seemed like a forest. Then the 1920s villa, which, an English villa is not like a Mexican or Italian villa, no terra-cotta tiles on the roof or anything, just a long two story building with an extension on each end, and a solarium out the back. The solarium was there to take full advantage of the hilltop view: three greenhouses, the outdoor rose bush riot, the floral garden, and then kind of in the middle of all of this the broad sloping lawn, unfenced of course, where the dogs used to exercise. Then, beyond that, views of the village’s rooftops and streets and traffic, and in the near distance one of Britain’s many, many stately homes, which was in the next village over where the gardener lived. The gardener had two teenage apprentices, by the way, who were paid next to nothing and were on this part-time school/work scheme. I wonder how that worked out for them? They’d be in their early or mid-50s by now.

            • …so a real “english country garden” then…those are undeniably lovely…but a lot more work than I think some suspect…so hopefully the once-teenage apprentices have made a steady living with their acquired skills?

              • When I first met them I wasn’t much older than they were, I was in my German phase and often spent time up in England with this family on breaks, since America was too far and expensive to get back to. The idea was that full-time employment for one family, like the gardener had, was not a growing field, but the English were always going to be obsessed with gardens and gardening, so the trade school (it wasn’t called that) took on students at a pretty young age with the idea that they were going to work for or better yet own landscaping businesses and gardening centers. It was the height of Thatcherism and the concept of the ownership society.

                Then, years later, back I was when Britain had the poll tax and was actually in a hotel room in London watching the news when it was announced that Thatcher had lost the no-confidence vote. I swear I heard church bells ring and screams of joy in the streets. I was in a cheap hotel on the margins of Bloomsbury so I might not have been experiencing an auditory hallucination.

                • …don’t recall actual church bells where I was then but it’s entirely possible…it was for sure one of those “& there was much rejoicing” moments…more so in some places than others…but definitely no shortage of rejoicing

                  …it’s not impossible there might have been a “ding dong, the witch is dead” headline the next day

                  • There definitely were when she died. I was expecting similar when Reagan died, in 2004, but there wasn’t much. He left the White House in 1989 (and he left office younger than when Biden entered it last year) and maybe memories were blurred and people remembered him more fondly than they did while he was President.

      • …from what I gathered as the day passed the part where he didn’t get binned today was mostly expected…it’s why anyone bothered paying attention to the part where the brady guy who gets to say how it works (head of that 1922 committee thing) mentioned they’d potentially be open to amending the rules about surviving coming with a year’s grace before having another one…which would have a poetic irony going for it after boris changing rules &/or reneging on deals as suits him

        …but I’m fairly sure that proportionately speaking the nigh-150 votes against him is a bigger dissatisfied bloc of his MPs than theresa may scored when she survived a similar vote…& she got replaced by him in less than 6months from that without needing to be put through the rigmarole of a confidence vote…if it makes you feel any better?

        • i mean…i wouldnt say it makes me feel better exactly…anything the tories field to replace him could well be much worse….and less unintentionally funny (well…in bojos case it probably is intentional)


          is there an option where we just rapture the whole torie party?

          that would improve my mood

          • …if you find the appropriate cursed/blessed trumpet or whatever it is that kicks off the rapture let us know…& if I find it first I’ll make sure to make a suitable noise about it?

    • What is usually sold in stores doesn’t really qualify as strawberries. My parents used to take us to pick your own farms, and while for apples you could say it’s not a big deal, the difference for strawberries was enormous.

    • i did not know fisker was back in business…the karma was a pretty car…which they sold like 3 of wordlwide… completely missed them getting resurrected…now selling a suv…thats probably going to work out slightly better than last time

      • I’ve been on the waiting list for over a year, they now have 45,000+ reservations and starting to contact people to configure their models.  Supposed to start delivering in November.  I’ve been super excited for this car for several years.

        • i like the solar roof….that seems like the kind of thing more electric cars should go with

          not sure how i feel about the giant touch screen…but well..thats just the trend nowadays

          i hope it lives up to expectations mate 🙂

    • The WaPo article (in case there are those blocked by the paywall) quotes Biden pointing out that Ford and the former Chrysler (Stellantis? What?) are adding tens of thousands of jobs so Tesla employees are going to be in high demand.

      It was a very low-key but pointed “fuck you” to Musk, and met with my approval.

    • Somebody forgot to tell that asshole that the free market works both ways.  It was the first thing I thought of when I’d heard about the announcement last week–that he’d probably see a large exodus of people who are sick of his shit and can get work elsewhere.

      • Agreed. With unemployment at record lows, this is not the time to show your ass to a large group of highly skilled employees. I guess Musk doesn’t have a board of directors, because they would be apoplectic right now. As it is, his HR department is probably joining the exodus.

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