2:00PM Water Cooler 1/31/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“Businesses from car manufacturing to airlines are bracing for a growing impact from the coronavirus outbreak on their China operations. The virus’s spread has disrupted some automotive production in China…. raising the potential for a broader industrial impact as Lunar New Year seasonal shutdowns are extended to keep people from traveling” [Wall Street Journal]. “Global businesses are scaling back operations as Beijing tries to control an outbreak that has now infected more people than severe acute respiratory syndrome did nearly two decades ago. The locked-down city of Wuhan at the center of the outbreak is a major car manufacturing hub, contributing some 6% of China’s overall output, and hosts factories including joint ventures between Chinese and major foreign auto makers.”

“Coronavirus could mean more U.S. jobs. Wilbur Ross goes there.” [NBC]. “‘Well, first of all, every American’s heart has to go out to the victims of the coronavirus. So, I don’t want to talk about a victory lap over a very unfortunate, very malignant disease,’ Ross told Fox Business Network on Thursday. ‘But the fact is, it does give businesses yet another thing to consider when they go through their review of their supply chain.”


“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51

“They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.” –Frank Herbert, Dune

Here is a second counter for the Iowa Caucus, which is obviously just around the corner:

* * *


Alert reader dk (not to be confused with DK) is in the process of developing the following interactive chart.

We have two national polls, Ipsos and IBC/TIPP, as of 1/31/2020, 12:00 PM EST. Biden and Sanders are the pick of the litter, trailed by Warren and, horridly, Bloomberg, as in the polls we saw yesterday, has lapped Buttigieg and Klobuchar. Of course, these are national polls, about to be massively thrown into confusion by IA, NH, SC, and NV — and then CA. I returned to one day average — just call me Nate — because FL wasn’t throwing things off:

And the numbers:

Now IA:

Look at Klobuchar go! IA numbers:

Summary: The Biden juggernaut rolls on, but Sanders has pulled even. Warren is in trouble (meaning her smear of Sanders did not work). Bloomberg is buying his way in.

CAVEAT I think we have to track the polls because so much of the horse-race coverage is generated by them; and at least with these charts we’re insulating ourselves against getting excited about any one poll. That said, we should remember that the polling in 2016, as it turned out, was more about narrative than about sampling, and that this year is, if anything, even more so. In fact, one is entitled to ask, with the latest I boomlet (bubble? (bezzle?)) which came first: The narrative, or the poll? One hears of push polling, to be sure, but not of collective push polling by herding pollsters. We should also worry about state polls with very small sample sizes and big gaps in coverage. And that’s before we get to the issues with cellphones (as well as whether voters in very small, very early states game their answers). So we are indeed following a horse-race, but the horses don’t stay in their lanes, some of the horses are not in it to win but to interfere with the others, the track is very muddy, and the mud has splattered our binoculars, such that it’s very hard to see what’s going on from the stands. Also, the track owners are crooked and the stewards are on the take. Everything’s fine.

* * *

Bloomberg (D)(1): “A sideshow no more: Michael Bloomberg’s fast ascent unnerves rivals” [Los Angeles Times]. “The Bloomberg campaign is scaling up at an unprecedented pace. It has 1,000 staffers working from dozens of offices — many signed to contracts running through November. In El Paso on Thursday night, Bloomberg launched the opening of another of what will be 17 Texas offices. Among the dignitaries on hand to greet him was hometown favorite Beto O’Rourke, the former congressman who dropped out of the presidential race weeks before Bloomberg plunged in as a very late entrant. ‘I like that he is here,’ O’Rourke said during a brief interview. ‘I strongly believe we have a chance to deliver the [state’s] 38 electoral college votes to the Democratic nominee. But it won’t happen of its own accord. It’s going to take a massive level of organizing and a significant investment.’ ‘The fact that he’s willing to do that … bodes very, very well for the state, and may bode well for his candidacy.'” • Oh, Beto. Bloomberg makes your calves cramp?

Bloomberg (D)(2): “Bloomberg’s Moment May Arrive” [Charlie Cook, Cook Political Report]. “If you were going to conjure up a scenario for Bloomberg, it relates not to who Democrats want, but what Democrats want—and what they fear. The one common goal of Democrats this year is to unseat President Trump. Evicting Trump is more important to most Democrats than who actually moves in. About 60 percent of the Democratic Party just wants to hit the reset back to a pre-Trump status quo, while about 40 percent see Trump’s defeat not as an end but as the beginning of ‘fundamental change.’ This latter group is made up of a hybrid of progressivism and populism. It is not the conventional liberalism of Ted Kennedy, Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis, and John Kerry. It has more than a touch of Huey Long: The little guy and gal are getting screwed by the rich and the powerful in every day and in every way. We need to fundamentally change, this group believes, the way our political process works and reorder capitalism to level the playing field. With that in mind, let’s note that while the progressive wing has not consolidated behind Sanders, he is the one with the mojo in this race, running a pretty strong second place behind Biden in national polling. If Sanders comes out of the gate like gangbusters in the first two states, which then weakens Biden in Nevada and South Carolina, that opens up a breach for Bloomberg to step into. What’s more, the pros tell us that competing in the 14 states holding primaries on Super Tuesday, including California and Texas, will cost a minimum of $100 million. Sanders, whose fundraising has gone better than any of the other major contenders in February states, might be able to raise enough to spend that. Biden, whose strength has never been raising money, sure can’t. Bloomberg can.” • Sanders might not only get to run against “the billionaire class,” but against an actual billionaire.

UPDATE Buttigieg (D)(1):

I don’t think calling the Sunrise Movement an “outside group” (i.e., dark money) is very smart, and I would bet Iowa voters pay attention to this sort of thing. See also the thread.

Delaney (D)(1): “John Delaney Is 2020’s Latest Also-Ran” [FiveThirtyEight]. “In his announcement to withdraw, Delaney said that his decision rested on “internal analyses” that suggested he would not meet the viability threshold — typically 15 percent — at most caucus sites, but that he might get just enough support to keep other more moderate Democrats from reaching that mark.”

Klobuchar (D)(1): “‘Moderates Don’t Excite Us.’ Amy Klobuchar Struggles To Win Over Young Voters” [Time]. “While the three-term Minnesota Senator is modestly popular with middle-aged Americans—she polls at 6% among people ages 50 to 64, according to a December Quinnipiac poll—she’s not even on the board among voters under 30. She is polling at zero percent among those under 35, and at 1% among the entire 35 to 49 set.” •

Sanders (D)(1): “Bernie Sanders Releases His Disability Policy Plan Ahead of Iowa Caucuses” [Time]. “While disability rights advocates have expressed some support for many of the other Democratic candidates’ proposals — particularly Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s, which was released earlier this month — Sanders’ plan is the most ambitious. His proposed policy, which opens by declaring that “disability rights are civil rights,” is wide-ranging and covers issues including health care, employment, Social Security, education, environmental justice, housing, immigration, incarceration, technology and voting.” • On-brand, however.

Sanders (D)(2): “Sanders under increasing pressure on funding for ‘Medicare for All'” [The Hill]. “Sanders’s Democratic rivals are ramping up their attacks on him as he surges to the top of polls in early voting states like Iowa and New Hampshire. The criticisms are focused on the Vermont senator’s lack of explanation over the funding mechanism for a health care proposal that is estimated to cost $32 trillion over 10 years.” • That’s not the same as “pressure”…

Sanders (D)(3): “Take Two: Can Sanders Broaden His Base?” [Sabato’s Crystal Ball]. A look back at 2016: “in 2016, Sanders never had a realistic chance of winning the party’s nomination. Two basic stumbling blocks stood in his way: superdelegates and the South. The former, which comprised 15% of the convention delegates, went virtually en masse for Clinton, as she was a part of the Democratic establishment in a way that Sanders never was or could be. And with Clinton’s firm grip on the minority vote, the Vermont senator was never able to penetrate the South. He lost 12 of 13 primaries across the region (all save Oklahoma), polling barely one third of its aggregate primary vote in the process. Sanders’ problem garnering the votes of African Americans and Hispanics extended to other regions of the country as well, helping Clinton to dominate the vote in many of the nation’s leading urban centers and their suburbs. The result: In the 10 states with 15 or more electoral votes, Sanders could carry the primary in only one, and that, Michigan, was by less than 20,000 votes out of 1.2 million cast.”

Sanders (D)(4): “Democratic Elites Take On Bernie At Their Own Peril” [Patrick Buchanan, The American Conservative]. “If, however, Bernie’s last chance at the nomination is aborted by an establishment piling on, party super PACs running attack ads against him, and major media taking time out from trashing Trump to break Sanders, the Democratic Party will have the devil’s time of it bringing Bernie’s backers home in the fall. Bernie’s believers might just conclude that the real obstacle to their dream of remaking America is neither the radical right nor Donald Trump, but the elites within their own party.”

Trump (R)(1): “RNC will flood battleground states with staffers to boost Trump” [Politico]. “The Republican National Committee on Thursday approved plans to dispatch an additional 300 field staffers to 18 target states in this fall’s general election, a move that comes as the Trump political machine ramps up its presence in battlegrounds across the country. The deployment was confirmed by a party official briefed on the plans. With the new wave, the committee will have over 600 staffers spread out across the nation. Party officials, who noted they had already knocked on a million doors, said the canvassers would be promoting GOP candidates up and down the ballot.”

* * *

IA: “The Iowa Caucuses Are In 4 Days. Almost Anything Could Still Happen.” [Nate Silver, FiveThirtyEight]. “Take a look at what polls said a few days before previous Iowa caucuses and you’ll find they were sometimes much less correlated with the results than you might assume. Instead, there was often late movement, election night surprises, or both. Out of 11 races, we have only three cases (the 2016 and 2000 Democratic caucuses and the 2008 Republican caucuses) where the polls at this point were more or less spot on. And two of those three cases were in races where there were essentially just two candidates, which are sometimes easier to predict. Every other race featured some kind of late polling movement or election night surprise involving the top three candidates. The trick is that … there doesn’t seem to be much of a pattern in which candidates surge and which ones don’t.” • Don’t count your chickens before they are hatched!

IA: “Just How Unrepresentative Are the Iowa Caucuses?” [JSTOR]. “Perceptions of Iowa’s unrepresentativeness usually boil down to its racial diversity, or lack thereof. … But this isn’t the only way to think about representativeness. Political scientists Michael S. Lewis-Beck and Peverill Squire ask about the extent to which “the social, economic, and political characteristics of Iowa describe those of the nation itself.” … Theirs is a “descriptive representation,” taking 51 indicators of “social, cultural, economic, political, and policy activities in each of the 50 states.” Their indicators include such expected factors as race, age, education, income, and rates of employment and unemployment. But they also factor in such variables as depressive episodes, seat belt usage, health care access, beer consumption, energy consumption, median tuition at state schools, traffic fatalities, wine consumption, and “vanity license plate penetration rate” (the latter data was evidently complied by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators)…. Their conclusion is that, economically, “Iowa is unambiguously the most representative state in the country.” However, overall, the state is twelfth on their state representativeness score chart.”


“OnPolitics: Is today the day impeachment ends?” [USA Today]. • No. Like RussiaRussiaRussia, it’s never gonna end.

“‘Lock them up!'” [The Week]. “When Trump loses his presidential immunity to indictment, “Lock her up” will not be forgotten. Prosecutors in multiple jurisdictions — city, state, and federal — will be salivating over the rich smorgasbord of potential crimes. Several Democratic presidential candidates have indicated the Trump team merits investigation, with Sen. Elizabeth Warren promising to create a special federal task force for that purpose. If Trump is re-elected, on the other hand, he’ll escalate his demands for prosecutions of intelligence officials, Democrats on his long and growing enemies list, and former aides who’ve turned into “rats.” Back in 2008, many legal scholars and politicians from both parties argued that prosecuting people from the previous administration is un-American — something that “banana republics” do. How quickly we’ve devolved.”

* * *

“Murkowski to vote against calling witnesses in impeachment trial” [Politico]. “Sen. Lisa Murkowski will not support hearing from new witnesses, essentially ensuring the vote fails on the Senate floor this afternoon. The decision by a key swing vote will likely absolve Chief Justice John Roberts from having to decide whether to break a tie.”

“GOP Sen. Murkowski says she will vote against witnesses, calls impeachment articles ‘rushed and flawed'” [NBC News]. Murkowski: “”The House chose to send articles of impeachment that are rushed and flawed. I carefully considered the need for additional witnesses and documents, to cure the shortcomings of its process, but ultimately decided that I will vote against considering motions to subpoena. Given the partisan nature of this impeachment from the very beginning and throughout, I have come to the conclusion that there will be no fair trial in the Senate. I don’t believe the continuation of this process will change anything. It is sad for me to admit that, as an institution, the Congress has failed.”

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Nomiki Konst: A Democratic Party Power Play” [R.J. Eskow, YouTube].

The selection of Tom Perez was even more nauseating than we knew at the time. Well worth a listen.

“FBI breach notice rules lauded by states, but some want more” [FCW]. “Under a recent policy change, the FBI will notify states if local election systems are hacked, but some state officials and lawmakers want the feds to commit to informing a broader range of stakeholders…. The FBI’s new policy does not include notifying members of Congress or the public when a system is breached, though bureau and DOJ officials told reporters last week they might to do so in extenuating circumstances.”

Stats Watch

Shipping: “United Parcel Service Inc.’s close work with Amazon.com Inc. is working out very well for the package carrier. The package giant’s shipping volume and operating profit jumped sharply in the fourth quarter… as UPS gets cozier than ever with the largest online retailer in the U.S. while rival FedEx Corp. focuses on retailers competing with the e-commerce behemoth” [Wall Street Journal]. “UPS Chief Executive David Abney says Amazon now makes up 11.6% of the company’s annual revenue, but that other major retailers all are shipping more with the carrier.” • That will work for UPS until it doesn’t.

The Bezzle: “Here Are the Most Common Airbnb Scams Worldwide” [Vice]. “The stories quickly started to fall into easily discernible categories. Scammers all over the world, it seems, have figured how best to game the Airbnb platform: by engaging in bait and switches; charging guests for fake damages; persuading people to pay outside the Airbnb app; and, when all else fails, engaging in clumsy or threatening demands for five-star reviews to hide the evidence of what they’ve done. (Or, in some cases, a combination of several of these scams.) In the aggregate, these emails paint a portrait of a platform whose creators are fundamentally unable to track what goes on within it, and point to easily exploitable loopholes that scammers have steamed their way through by the truckload.” • Thank you, Silicon Valley.

Supply Chain: “How the Coronavirus Can Infect Global Supply Chains” [Bloomberg]. “China is the world’s largest exporter of intermediate manufactured products — components destined for use in supply chains across the world. About 20% of global imports of those products came from China in 2015, according to Bloomberg Economics’ calculations based on OECD trade data. The longer the coronavirus curtails China’s industrial output, the bigger the risk of disruption to factories elsewhere. For countries in the Asian supply chain, the exposure is bigger — about 40% of all imports of intermediate manufactured products consumed in Cambodia, Vietnam, South Korea and Japan came from China in 2015.”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 46 Greed (previous close: 58 Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 62 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jan 31 at 12:18pm.

The Biosphere

“They survived fire and toxic fumes. So what happened next to Notre Dame’s bees?” [Guardian (DG)]. “The bees of Notre Dame, whose escape from the inferno seemed almost miraculous, are thriving and conserving their energy ready to produce honey this summer, just as they have every year since they took up residence on the sacristy roof in 2013. Nearly 10 months after the Paris cathedral was ravaged by fire, the three colonies are healthier than ever, according to their beekeeper.” • Honey has medicinal properties, but I don’t think viral properties, though any beekeepers in the commentariat may enlighten us otherwise.

“Can the Dutch save the world from the danger of rising sea levels?” [Financial Times]. “As sea levels rise ever faster this century, more places on earth will flood. Coastal cities, such as New York, Shanghai, Miami and Jakarta, and river deltas, in Bangladesh and Vietnam, face a battle to survive.  Can the Dutch — with their centuries of experience fighting the water — save the planet? Can they even save themselves? Or will our children have to abandon some of the world’s most densely populated places?” •¨This is a must-read. (It wan’t paywalled for me, but you can always blow away your FT cookies, Google the headline, and get to it that way.) I appreciate the engineering and institutional focus.

“Germany Looks for Flight Shame Cure in Jet Fuel Made From Water” [Bloomberg]. “The solution to flight shaming may hinge on a modernized version of a synthetic jet fuel that was honed by Adolf Hitler’s Luftwaffe. German scientists and business leaders are working to create what they hope will be the first viable market for a carbon-neutral version of the kerosene that already powers most modern aircraft. The science is still based on chemical reactions pioneered in Germany in 1925, but instead of converting coal and other fossil fuels like the oil-starved Nazis did during World War II, green kerosene is derived from water and actually pulls carbon dioxide out of the air during creation. The process, which requires huge amounts of electricity generated from renewable resources to ensure carbon neutrality, fractures water into oxygen and hydrogen, which is then combined with carbon.”


“People In 43 US Cities Are Drinking Toxic “Forever Chemicals” In Their Tap Water, Tests Show” [Buzzfeed]. “Dozens of cities nationwide — including Miami, Philadelphia, and New Orleans — have toxic ‘forever chemicals’ in their drinking water, an environmental group reported on Wednesday. Such long-lived ‘fluorinated’ PFAS chemicals (short for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) have emerged in the last decade as a wider pollution concern because of some evidence of links to cancer and lowered fertility… Earlier surveys have linked water contamination with these chemicals to firefighting foams and Teflon, but the new independent lab results, which detected PFAS chemicals in 43 of 44 cities tested last year, point to a more widespread problem.”

“California will be hit hard as Trump administration weakens clean water protections” [Los Angeles Times]. “Defying environmentalists and public health advocates, the Trump administration on Thursday announced the replacement of Obama-era water protections with a significantly weaker set of regulations that lifts limits on how much pollution can be dumped into small streams and wetlands. The changes to the Clean Water Act’s protections are expected to hit California and other Western states especially hard. Federal data suggest 81% of streams in the Southwest would lose long-held protections, including tributaries to major waterways that millions of people rely on for drinking water.”

Health Care

“Coronavirus outbreak: what’s next?” [Nature]. “In the best case, fewer people will be infected because the effects of the control measures will start kicking in, says Ben Cowling, an epidemiologist at the University of Hong Kong. But it’s too early to tell whether efforts to quarantine people, and the widespread use of face masks, are working. The incubation period for the virus — up to 14 days — is longer than most control measures have been in place, he says. In a worst-case scenario, some 190,000 people could be infected in Wuhan, according to another prediction model. Scientists are particularly concerned about fresh outbreaks emerging outside China. The virus has already spread in small, localized clusters in Vietnam, Japan, Germany and the United States, but authorities have been quick to isolate the people affected. Fewer than 100 cases have been recorded outside China as of 30 January…. One big question is whether the coronavirus is also here to stay. If efforts to contain it fail, there’s a high chance that it will become endemic.”

“No evidence saline gargle will kill novel coronavirus, says DOH” [GMA News]. From the Philippines: “Saline gargles or gargling with water and salt will provide no protection against or cure for the 2019 novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease (2019-nCoV ARD). A tip to gargle with salt water to prevent infection with the nCoV has been circulating online. ‘I don’t think there is any evidence that it will kill a virus,’ DOH Spokesperson Undersecretary Eric Domingo said in a press conference.” • I dunno. I think it makes sense to protect the mucous membranes at all costs. Maybe gargle with honey? I have done that with (purely anecdotal) success…

“Delta, American, and United just suspended all China flights, a red flag as the unprecedented coronavirus wreaks havoc on the airline industry” [Business Insider]. “The temporary halting of China flights across the airline industry reflects plummeting demand as people and businesses rethink travel to China amid the coronavirus outbreak.” • Also making it more difficult for scientists and subject matter experts to come to China’s aid.

* * *

Best practices:

Sports Desk

“Concussions Linked With Erectile Dysfunction in Football Player Study” [JAMA]. n=3409. “A recent JAMA Neurology study found that the more concussion symptoms former National Football League (NFL) players had during their careers, the more likely they were to have been prescribed medication for low testosterone levels or erectile dysfunction (ED) later in life. Knowing that head injuries may cause sexual dysfunction could help more men and their physicians overcome the stigma of ED and talk about treatment.” • Or move the country away from contact sports?

Department of Feline Felicity

Lovely long requiem. Thread:

Class Warfare

“Why do so many US workers fall to their deaths?” [Guardian]. “The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported 5,147 workplace fatalities in the US in 2017. Among these fatalities, 887 were due to fatal falls, the highest level reported in the 26-year history of the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries. There are two different categories for fatal falls: falls on the same level, such as slips or trips, and falls to a lower level. Both increased in 2017, with the majority, 713 fatalities, a result of workers falling to a lower level. … The US consistently outpaces other industrialized nations in workplace fatalities. Among the industries where workers are falling to their death, tower climbers have experienced fatality rates up to 10 times higher than construction workers.” • Hmm. 5G rollout?

News of the Wired

Maybe I have never been sufficiently mature to appreciate Ernie Bushmiller:

Tomorrow: Nancy’s interior monologues!

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Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant (CR):

CR writes: “Boxing Day, NE Ohio, 60 deg. F.” So American, this shot. I don’t think it could be taken in any other country, not even Canada. Also, that plant wasn’t really challenged very much by the winter, was it?

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      OTOH, #2019-NCoV certainly shows the folly of betting on a single source of manufactured goods, however, populous. It also shows how and why globalization is coming to an end, or at least will be drastically configured*. Note the role of transport in transmission.

      * Unless the elites really do want to kill us all, of course.

  1. dcblogger

    Rev Barber said something at the rally of the Poor People’s Campaign. He emphasized that it was a movement, “We’re are a movement, and we are coming. If you assassinate someone it won’t stop us, we are coming.” They also showed this film, which was more powerful shown in the sanctuary of Church of the Epiphany.

  2. Stephen V.

    Arkysaw now has a possible coronavirus case. [Did they have to name it after a beer?] woo-hoo. We’re on the map!
    They are not telling us WHERE this person is being hospitalized.
    But fear not. The Senior Medical guy at the AR Dept. of Health has this to say:
    “We have worked with businesses seamlessly in the past for Ebola outbreaks and others, and they been in communication with us regarding their plans and we know they are monitoring all of their travelers very closely,” he said.

    Dr. Wheeler points to the incubation period of about two weeks, saying there’s a relatively low risk for further spread.
    *Businesses* means one thing in these parts: WMT. “Seamlessly” means biz as usual as in c-o-r-r-u-p-t.
    And in my world, the longer the incubate period, the more we are effed. Words fail.

      1. Stephen V.

        ES: It’s all in that wriggle word “possible.” They’ve isolated one person who might come down with it. So, now that you mention it, we won’t be on the map YET. Thanks.

  3. zagonostra

    >Patrick Buchanan

    Bernie’s believers might just conclude that the real obstacle to their dream of remaking America is neither the radical right nor Donald Trump, but the elites within their own party.”

    Not might Pat, anyone with half a brain has already reached that conclusion.And, by the way it’s not just “Bernie believers” – have you stopped tuning in to Fox since they no longer seem to invite you on? Tune into Tucker Carlson now and then and stop thinking that Progressives listen exclusively to MSNBC/CNN/CBS/NYT/WaPo…

    1. PKMKII

      Which is very easy to get centrist Dems to admit to. Just say that Bernie can pass his agenda if the Dems get a filibuster-proof majority in the senate, and watch how quickly they’ll say the blue dogs will vote his legislation down. Of course, they won’t like it when you point out that makes the blue dogs no different than the Republicans.

      1. ambrit

        I’m waiting for the RNC to sue the DNC over copyright infringement.
        “Your honour, a Blue Dog Democrat is identical to a Moderate Republican. We implore relief from the bench for this egregious misappropriation of our ‘Brand.'”

    2. dcblogger

      Buchanan is a fascist trying to stir up trouble. There is a better than even chance that not only will Bernie walk into that convention with a commanding lead in delegates, but that several Democratic incumbents will have lost their primaries and that will put the fear of God into the remaining Democratic members of congress.

        1. Carey

          Who’ll be counting the votes?

          It’s the Ruling Class and their minions v Everyone Else now, and IMO, that can’t be said enough.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Buchanan is a fascist trying to stir up trouble.

        Buchanan is a lizard-brained old reprobate paleocon who’s also deeply steeped in The Game, whose opinions are sometimes spot-on (used to be true of Nooners, but the insanity of the present moment seems to have passed her by).

        I think it’s way, way too early to even speculate on Sanders’ chances. 275 days is a long time in politics. (I should put up more counters, including one for the convention.)

  4. Adam1

    “prosecuting people from the previous administration is un-American — something that “banana republics” do”

    When it’s done to just get rid of your opponents it’s banana republic stuff, but if you do it because nobody is above the law it’s good for democracy. It’s one of the corruption problems the US has had since at least Nixon.

    1. Trent

      “A credibility trap is when the managerial functions of a society have been sufficiently compromised by corruption so that the leadership and the professional class cannot reform, or even honestly admit and address, the problems of the corrupted system without implicating a broad swath of a powerful elite, including themselves.

      The moneyed interests and their enablers tolerate the corruption because they have profited from it, and would like to continue to do so. Discipline and silence is maintained by various forms of soft financial rewards and career and social coercion.”

      Jesse https://jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com/

      its bipartisan my good man! Can’t prosecute cause they’re all guilty!

      1. Carey

        Love to see the quoted article, but don’t see it on that website.
        Is there a closer link? Thanks a lot.

    2. The Rev Kev

      I seem to remember that there is an international law that says that if you do not prosecute war criminals and torturers, then you are guilty of a crime as well. He didn’t, so now the head of the CIA is a torturer that enjoyed her work. And that was just one example of how toxic Obama was with international law that will plague America for decades.

      1. Samuel Conner

        My working hypothesis for a number of years has been that the great majority of incumbent office-holders are sociopaths. This is the simplest explanation of the manifest appearances that they don’t give a damn about the great majority of the people. The appearances are real.

  5. Hepativore

    So, looking at the most recently released Iowa poll with Klobuchar surging and Biden dropping again, this might be a good thing as Klobuchar might steal more votes from Biden, increasing the likelyhood that Sanders will win. I doubt Klobuchar will last much longer, so hopefully this will lead to a “spoiler” effect for Biden.

    My advice for Sanders is keep hammering Biden on Social Security, and make no apologies for it as your criticisms have been entirely accurate. Biden has been wanting to cut it for a long time, and this is an issue that seems to be giving older demographics cold feet about voting for Biden. Also, it might hasten Biden’s self-destruction as the issue seems to cause him to have meltdowns (such as his latest one) whenever he is asked a direct question about his stance on the matter.

    Oh, before I forget, to both Sanders and Sanders voters: Be prepared for massive cheating and voter-suppression attempts on the part of the DNC.

    1. inode_buddha

      Not only should he hammer on social security, but also student loans, preferrably in the same sentence or paragraph.

      1. Gabby

        Joe Biden says you MUST pay
        Fraudulent mortgages on your future
        with no hope of recovery.


  6. a different chris

    Ok I go way off topic yet again, but again make the weak defense “it was a link I found starting from here”.

    Anyway, I somehow went from the Guardian 2016 well-written screed against “deplorable” pigeonholing thru Joe Rogan and then noticed a Star Trek actress had died. Of course I went there and then Wikipedia’d the episode she was in, called “Spock’s Brain” and labeled probably the worst original ST episode ever. But in the Wiki article this caught my eye:

    The episode was referenced in Modern Principles: Microeconomics by Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok of George Mason University as an example of how it is virtually impossible to have a command economy; in that not even Spock’s brain could run an economy.[8]

    Is this seriously true? Did Cowen and Tabarrok actually use a fictional situation involving an alien brain as “proof” of an assertion about the real world? I would like to say I can’t believe this, but sadly I can. Somebody please give me a more nuanced version of this.

    1. Riverboat Grambler

      Oh no, the “brain and brain, what is brain” lady died? RIP

      IMO Spock’s Brain is entertaining enough for the schlock factor, good for some laughs. There’s a lot of mind-numbingly boring TNG that could take the Worst Episode spot, but that’s just me.

  7. Drake

    Sanders (D)(4): “Democratic Elites Take On Bernie At Their Own Peril” [Patrick Buchanan, The American Conservative].

    “Bernie’s believers might just conclude that the real obstacle to their dream of remaking America is neither the radical right nor Donald Trump, but the elites within their own party.”

    Been there, done that, and all I got was this stupid 2016 “I’m with her” T-shirt.

    And on a side note, if anyone had told me 25 years ago that I’d ever agree with Pat Buchanan about anything…

    1. Pat

      Sadly, I have had that unsettled feeling regarding Buchanan and a few others quite often in the last ten years. Our similar observations may be fueled by distinctly different points of view, but have led to the same conclusions. Apparently these things are obvious except to those whose livelihood depends on ignoring them…

      1. Carey

        >Apparently these things are obvious except to those whose livelihood depends on ignoring them…

        Ahh, you should’ve seen the Clinton 2016 operative a couple of days ago on Hill/
        Rising… too damn funny, with his well-manicured harumphing indignation.

        These people apparently can’t see themselves *at all*.

        1. Carl

          I saw it. He refused to answer any question put to him, and argued with the host on basic facts. Made a fool of himself, would be the kindest way to put it.

          1. Carey

            Yes, and Enjeti got (politely but firmly, as he skillfully does) in his face about it.
            Good to see ‘centrist’ Dems feeling the heat, all around..

  8. Johann

    Just a comment on the CVS piece. Having been a pharmacy manager in California and brought concerns about patient safety to my superior, who was a recent front store manager promoted to district manager (so no prior experience in a pharmacy or knowledge of laws, etc), he said that ‘we have lawyers for that’ — meaning if we make mistakes or are not following the law (i.e. in California there is only 1 technician allowed for 1 pharmacist on duty, the next pharmacist on allows for 2 more technicians) then our legal department would fight it. Not to mention this would leave us with a mark on our license and potential for personal liability let alone the emotional harm it would cause knowing you made a mistake causing someone else harm. If you ever go into a retail pharmacy in California (CVS or Walgreens especially) note how many pharmacists are on duty and count the technicians. They are never in compliance and the Board of Pharmacy does nothing. People must die before changes are made basically.

    1. inode_buddha

      They are never in compliance and the Board of Pharmacy does nothing. People must die before changes are made basically.

      Of course. Like any addict, the pain of the problem must become worse than the pain of the solution before they decide to change. The addiction to power in the form of monetary wealth is what is killing our country.

    2. WobblyTelomeres

      Had to pick up a script at CVS and saw that the pharmacists and technicians were all wearing stick-on bar codes on the back of their right hands and scanned themselves everytimethey did something. I asked if corporate made them (wear the barcodes). They all nodded. Somberly.

      1. ambrit

        And to think that I was routinely ridiculed for predicting thirty years ago that people would eventually have to wear identification numbers on our physical persons for various functions.
        Back then, people like me were excoriated for being “Religious Nutters” for making such claims. Without any corroboration, ‘debunkers’ would accuse us of promoting the Evangelical “Number of the Beast” end times meme. Guilt by association made sure that the underlying idea, that control will be enforced by any and all means, was not taken seriously. And here we are.

        1. Off The Street

          There was a bank commercial years ago showing a customer getting a tracking number stapled to his forehead. Not sure if that same commercial or another one showed the wonders behind the velvet rope area, like champagne, beautiful people, luxury everywhere. Were those ads just early manipulations to foam the runway for viewers? Hard to keep metaphors and such straight anymore what with all the FUD.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > the pharmacists and technicians were all wearing stick-on bar codes on the back of their right hands

        That’s just wrong. CVS should be embedding chips. No doubt that is the next step.

  9. Darius

    Today’s plant looks like Miscanthus sinensis. Not my favorite. So many fine native alternatives, including Panicum virgatum, for one.

    1. Titus

      I have that in one of my gardens, seems more a version of Cortaderia that’s been adapted by highway departments throughout the Midwest.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Both are invasives somewhere – Cortaderia (pampas grass) in California; Miscanthus (Chinese maiden grass), I believe, in quite a bit of the East. Both are distinguished for their size, as you can see in the comparison with the telephone pole. Yes, that looks like Miscanthus.

        I have a couple of Miscanthus growing; don’t seem to be a problem here.

        1. polecat

          I used to have a few in past landscapes, but ditched them as they are Hell on exposed skin … sort of like running 60 grit sandpaper over your dermal parts !

          1. ambrit

            “…they are H— on exposed skin…”
            Which makes them perfect urban and suburban border plants.
            Something like the time my Dad planted Spanish Dagger in a back corner of our yard where some local kids would cut through. It put a quick stop to that.

            1. polecat

              ‘Urban/Suburban border plant’ ..

              ambrit .. do I have the anti-miscreant plant for you – should be zoned for your climate .. it’s common moniker is the “Flying Dragon” .. a contorted citrus that bares wicked spines, and will attain (going from memory here) a height and spread of approximately 6 to 10 ft. – maybe more.
              Now there’s neighbor’s hoods protection for ya ! If, by chance, some noxious hooligan were to get stuck in an established planting of such a chlorophyllic fiend, were you to wait long enough, your fertilization problems would be solved … or shall I say, dissolved ..
              Who knows .. might also keep those infected with Capt. Corona at bay, as well. Just don’t trip whilst pruning !

              Not sure of the fruit production, if any, though.

              1. Oregoncharles

                It’s actually a beautiful plant – I had a picture of it in the Plantidote a couple years ago. The fruits are semi-edible, usually used for marmalade – meaning they need a LOT of sugar. Lovely smell. And yes, it would make a pretty intense hedge; living barbed wire. The spikes can be a couple inches long.

              2. Lambert Strether Post author

                > Flying Dragon

                From Edible Landscaping:

                Flying Dragon’s thorns are long and curved, plant is small (up to 6′). Extremely ornamental with corkscrew growth habit. A show-stopper at the nursery, especially with it’s display of orange fruit in the fall! No insect or disease problems. We make citrus-ade from the juice, adding sweetener and water. Fruits are highly aromatic. Fruits are inferior to lemons, being seedy, resin-like, and not juicy. Not to be eaten whole fresh. Will take below zero temperatures planted in the ground, so it is the hardiest of citrus along with the straight thorn Poncirus. Can be made into a prize-winning bonsai. Space 7′ circle Height 6′. Zones 6-9.

                Sounds like it might work against deer.

                1. polecat

                  “Sounds like it might work against deer”

                  Or with any waywardly rabid, mucous projecting TDS/BS carriers – Type Positively Obnoxious…

      2. Phillip Allen

        They look very similar at this point in their dormancy. I’ve no experience with recent Cortaderia introductions, but I would expect to see larger, fluffier seed heads.

        1. polecat

          Pampas grass inflorescences tend to be spaced further apart, but closer to the center of the clump, taller too .. which can grow pretty robust .. and do not nod to one side like the miscanthus above.

  10. Fiery Hunt

    DNC changes the debate qualifications so ol’ Mini Mike can make the stage.

    FWIW I’ve had two 70 year old women tell me they really like Bloomberg.
    Advertising victims but I guess there are a lot of …people…who can’t think beyond the manipulation.


    Determined to lose.

    1. inode_buddha

      I saw an ad from the Tulsi Gabbard campaign on FB saying that the DNC made sure she can’t do anything in New Hampshire, and asking for help.

      1. John Anthony La Pietra

        Anybody here remember Lawrence Lessig raising $1 million in 2015 to be a one-issue candidate for campaign-finance reform? He cracked the 1% polling nut too . . . until the DNC changed the rules on him….

    2. Chris Hargens

      I’m encountering Bloomberg’s ads everywhere. They’re calming and reassuring — Just put your trust in Mike and he’ll take care of everything, a return to the status quo with big Mike at the helm.

      1. Carey

        Just remarkable. Why don’t they drop the electoral pretense and just say “we own you.. we own every one of you.”

        Sanders 2020

      2. chuckster

        Why wouldn’t you want Bloomberg in the debates? I am inundated with Bloomberg commercials and he takes the Elizabeth Warren approach even one step backwards. The entire series of commercials are a list of things that are wrong and a 10 second ending where “Mayor Bloomberg” is going to “fix everything” with no details. The lack of specificity is breathtaking. He’s Obama 2.0. He will get laughed off the stage. By all means, let him in.

        1. Carey

          No. Team DNC, and the debate-rigging’s message are and will be:
          Bloomberg: The less-bad Billionaire, who’ll save you from the really bad one.

          Our Elites: “Always be closing”.

          The People: Legitimacy2020

        2. Fiery Hunt

          Because the media-boost by the CNN, MSNBC, NYT, WaPo, etc after the debate will be SO LOUD.
          Remember, they dragged ol’ HRH HRC to the nomination.

          Wait’ll Barak decides to go with “I endorse Mike (my brother from another Mother!) Bloomberg”.

          This is their play.

          Creepy Joe was their maybe. He’s not gonna get it done. (Never was going to but hey, nobody accused them of being good at this stuff.) Kamala showed her inadequacies early (and even if she was a cop, she was a “little too black” for the money set.) Amy never got off the starting block. Little Ratface Mayo Pete needs to be seasoned cuz his disdain for minorities and working class people shows just a bit too much. Deval saw the opening but why go there if you can have the Real Thing in Mikey?

          My bet? (And I’ll give 50-1 odds.) From here on out, it’s Mike vs Bernie. And the entire force of the corrupt Establishment (both Republicans and Democrats) will throw everything into the battle on behalf of the billionaire. Yang Gang will throw in with Bernie. Warren will flounder and never endorse Bernie. Steyer may, I say may, throw his weight behind Bernie.

          The only question is…Does voting count anymore? It might.
          And that’s Bernie’s last ace.

          1. Carey

            Good comment, and good calls. See Amfortas’s comment and link
            below re Superdelegates (they have a new™ name!).

        3. ChrisAtRU

          Agreed. I meant go after him on the debate stage … ;-)

          But sadly, as expected the DNC shenanigans are ramping up from bad to worse:

          DNC members discuss rules change to stop Sanders at convention

          “In conversations on the sidelines of a DNC executive committee meeting and in telephone calls and texts in recent days, about a half-dozen members have discussed the possibility of a policy reversal to ensure that so-called superdelegates can vote on the first ballot at the party’s national convention.”


            1. Carey

              Tom™ Perez on twit-twit: “You can trust us! Have we ever lied to you?”

              Perez, behind the scenes: “We’ll git ‘er done, Donor Class. Bank on it.”

              1. John Anthony La Pietra

                Lee Camp points out that they don’t even need to change that rule. Perez can, all by his lonesome, declare that Sanders isn’t enough of a committed Democrat to be the nominee.

    3. urblintz

      Sanders’s campaign manager Faiz Shakir said in a tweet that that DNC was “changing the rules to benefit a billionaire.”

      “I much prefer Democrats being a grassroots party. And under Bernie Sanders, that’s the way it will be,” he said.

      S.Y. Lee, the national press secretary for Yang, said in a statement that it was a “mistake for the DNC to change the rules for debates in the middle of this race to yield to a billionaire.”

      “We need to respect the grassroots movement leading this party forward,” Lee said

      1. Fiery Hunt

        I’ve already seen references to how the DNC’s original rules pushed minority candidates (Castro, Booker, Gabbard, Yang) off the debate stage and now that those candidates have dropped out, the DNC is changing the rules to elevate a rich, old white dude.

        Scream about the lack of diversity and then help a white male billionaire gain power.

        They don’t care how it looks.
        They are exactly what they show themselves to be.

    4. Jeff W

      Well, the second choice of Bloomberg supporters is Biden (34%), Warren (15%) and Sanders (13%), according to Morning Consult.

      So it seems like, on balance, Bloomberg is siphoning away more of those voters who might otherwise* go to Biden and then Warren more than those who might go to Sanders—almost three times as many percentage-wise from Biden as opposed to those from Sanders. He might also play some role in knocking Warren below the 15% viability threshold in some places, if that occurs—it won’t take much.

      Having a billionaire on the debate stage, who is, essentially, buying whatever political support he has through ads, plays directly into one of Sanders’s core campaign themes, as Sanders’s campaign manager Faiz Shakir lost no time in pointing out.

      *Assuming Bloomberg is not bringing in entirely new voters who are then giving their second-choice preferences.

      1. Fiery Hunt

        I’ve got a longer comment in moderation above but the tl;dr version is if the Establishment decides to consolidate around Bloomberg, I can imagine all of Biden’s, Mayo Pete’s, Klobuchar’s and Warren’s support getting behind him.

        And that’ll be a complete replay of 2016, down to the loss to Trump.

    5. Culp Creek Curmudgeon

      My 86 year old mother-in-law believes that Bloomberg is the only person capable of defeating Trump because of his billions.

        1. aletheia33

          could you please try to refrain from generational stereotyping.

          the 86 year old was born in 1934.

          there are plenty of boomers supporting sanders.
          and supporting their adult children who are working for his campaign.

          many of us (i’m 65) are looking forward to the worst living conditions we’ve ever faced. medicare and social security are much diminished. surely you’ve seen the stories of people in their seventies living in campers traveling the highways in search of low-paying work, with no hope of ever being able to stop working. and many are facing worse. females more than males. i fully expect to spend the last years of my life in poverty. i am not counting on medicare or social security continuing if the situation continues as it is. there is unlikely to be anywhere near enough subsidized housing for all of us. quality of health care is plummeting.

          i am not afraid for my own self/future. but my heart goes out to those who will be dying poor and lonely, abandoned by a cruel society. no one deserves that. i hope that as you grow old, you will not have to face it.

          i do not mean to suggest any heartlessness on you part. clearly that is not you. could you just please try to remember that no generation is uniform.

          1. Fiery Hunt

            Of course, aletheia33, I meant no condemnation of a generation of victims like my single parent mom.

            I was referencing my own mother’s fear and my failure to salve her insecurity due to my lack of financial success in this moral-less society.

            Her retirement at 72 is fraught with fear. And she struggles to understand how deeply the Establishment doesn’t care.

            I applaud your fearlessness! And welcome your stance amongst those of us who spit at our “leaders”.

            But there are many who have learned to react differently under the lash of fear.I I don’t condemn them.

            I rage for them.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              > Of course, aletheia33, I meant no condemnation of a generation of victims like my single parent mom.

              I understand that you did not, but that is also exactly what your words did.

          2. Eclair

            Thank you, Aletheia33! My college age grandchildren and I (late 70’s) have bonded firmly over our shared climate despair (and college debt and rotten medical care disgust) and determination to support Sanders.

        2. polecat

          Could these be examples of the ‘Bluehaired’ Boomer demographic …. the oldest of the ‘don’t trust anyone over 30* crowd’ ??

          *Full disclosure: I’m close on the inside of the backend of the boomer bookmark – not blue, but peppered gray area throughoutlier … hence, never quite fit within boom parameters .. e.i. not having been old enough to have devolved into a post-hippie/hypocrite neo/liberalcon.
          If, by chance, I was able to teleport to and earlier time, I would’ve been more ‘hip’ in the real sense, than any of
          my older siblings ever faked !

    6. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      2 new signs just popped up in the rich Garden District.

      Hopefully Bernie can win in Louisiana if Bloomberg splits Biden voters.

    7. Lambert Strether Post author

      > DNC changes the debate qualifications so ol’ Mini Mike can make the stage.

      Guess who suggested it to the DNC:

      Progressive allies of Elizabeth Warren have approached the Democratic National Committee to lobby for an unusual cause: including billionaire Mike Bloomberg in upcoming presidential primary debates.

      Adam Green, of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, said he approached the DNC last month to talk about including Bloomberg in future debates. Bloomberg’s polling meets the party’s criteria for inclusion, but his refusal to raise money from outside donors — even in minuscule increments — means he can’t meet the qualifying threshold. Green proposed altering the rules so that Bloomberg would be included.

      “Imagine a hypothetical world where Bloomberg bought himself 30 percent and he’s the frontrunner in the polls. Would you really not think voters would want to hear what he has to say and see him get some scrutiny on the debate stage?” Green asked.

      I imagine that all the campaigns that contorted themselves, over the last year, to play by the DNC’s donation rules might have something to say about this.

      One might also remember that Perez said that a climate debate was off the table; but when Bloomberg waves $300K under his nose (cheap) he goes all limp, and says “Yes, boss, whatever you say.”

  11. Henry Moon Pie

    I wanted to recommend two “Rising” videos:

    1) Krystal and Saagar interview an Establishment Dem from some kind of institute in DC who’s trying to sell capping medical charges at the Medicare level in lieu of M4A. It’s the usual BS. Toward the end, though, the guy starts talking about the problems that hospital concentration within local markets would cause for M4A if it becomes law. Essentially, he says there’s been such consolidation in local hospital markets that they have a lot of potential political power when it comes to negotiating Medicare prices. I look around my town and see a couple of very powerful hospitals that seem to own half the real estate in town after having bought up local hospital after local hospital.

    2) Krystal and Saagar debate the Day #1 EOs reportedly leaked from the Sanders campaign, in particular those relating to immigration. Most of the views I’ve seen represented in the commentariat here are raised in that video by these two bright young folks, but what struck me was the way they discussed their differences. They provide a good model for political discussion among folks who have some serious disagreements.

    1. Carey

      Second the recommendation for that immigration debate link.
      I’m firmly with Enjeti there, while Ball claims that low-wage/
      low-skilled immigrants don’t drive down wages..

      Come to Califonia and see, lady.

    2. JohnnyGL

      Re: #1 — Yes, hospital consolidation is a huge issue. It’s not just in small towns, in the greater Boston area, since the 90s, there’s been massive consolidation, underwritten by the democratic party at every stage.

      Here’s former governor Patrick and Obama taking donations to get a big hosiptal deal done.

      Matt Stoller and Dave Dayen have both spent lots of time trying to draw attention to the fact that the hospitals and their price gauging are a HUGE part of the problem, not just drug and ins companies.

      1. Trent

        Monopoly is a problem?!?! How dare you sir, if the free markets consolidate down to one mega corporation then by George that’s the way the good lord wants it. Wait until you can only buy most retail things from amazon. The package wars at apartment buildings will get even worse and then how will all those people my age and younger be hip when everyone can only buy from amazon? Most of those same people will tell you they’re for saving the planet and then go buy tons of crap they don’t need from amazon. Le sigh

  12. Shane

    Re: the JSTOR article on IA and state voting order, the lack of imagination is expected but still disheartening. Why must a single state serve to weed out early candidates, especially with Super Tuesdays already accepted later in the cycle? I do not know of any other proposals like this, but I conceived of a system several years ago which I think does a better and fairer job of providing equitable representation across states while still not raising the barrier for entry for insurgent candidates such that they would be unable to compete. To wit:

    The 50 states would be divided into 5 geographic regions. Candidates would have a 2-3 month campaign period before voting begins. Each cycle, lots would be drawn to determine the order each state would vote, 1 to 10 within their respective regions. All five states who drew 1st would vote on the first Saturday following the campaign period, with each successive Saturday hosting the next five states, and so on. Territories could draw lots to determine their order and be added to the middle 4-6 contests.

    In doing so, demographic and social composition in early states would more accurately reflect America’s, but no one or two states would be favored above another. Candidate viability would require competing in at least a couple of the five initial states, but candidates would not be compelled to drop out unless they were uncompetitive in all. Voter participation would increase (and could be paired with State Voting Holidays when they are held), but would not eliminate insurgent candidates in a way consolidating all primaries into a single day would.

    Without the sort of wholesale change in the DNC (or Congress, if federally mandated) that wouldn’t come unless Bernie wins, I see no possibility of anything like this happening, but this would be my preferred method of choosing the Presidential nominees.


    1. Henry Moon Pie

      The advantage of having some one-at-a-time, small states in the early going is that the candidates have to do some face-to-face with voters or face some embarrassing questions. We can see with Biden that this type of vetting that requires candidates to have some actual contact with regular voters can reveal some serious issues in some candidates.

      In this age of the marketed candidate, it’s unlikely we’d ever have that kind of interaction if all we had were large primaries.

      1. hunkerdown

        The disadvantage is that it selects for candidates who can contradict themselves on command with the most grace and least effort.

  13. Baby Gerald

    re: Nomiki Konst/RJ Eskow

    Great link and interview. Check out her new show, The Nomiki Show on podcast and YouTube. In addition to her first episode which aired earlier this week, she also offers this excellent interview with James Zogby:

    Will the DNC rig the election against Bernie, again? Jim Zogby explains the Democratic party.

    She’s definitely a welcome voice in the progressive broadcasting realm– her policy-centric angle is unique, I dare say, and particularly useful for people who want to instigate change at the local level.

  14. MikeW_CA

    Thank you, Michael Bloomberg, for running an experiment for us that will help us better understand the limits of money in politics. 2016’s presidential election teased the issue: Clinton massively outspent Trump, yet managed to lose. The results hinted at finite limits, and started to shake the conventional wisdom of the last 30 years, which has been deeply internalized by most politicians — that there are no limits to the power of money in politics. That’s exactly what the purveyors and practitioners of Money Power want and need us to believe. If Bloomberg manages to buy the election, they’re proven right and stay in their lucrative business. If he fails, the emperor’s clothes they’ve been parading around in are revealed once and for all.

    1. Nat

      It may also be that the times are changing. That money power for campaigns was they indisputable heavy lifter for quite some time. But when things get bad enough and the public get cynical enough about those with “unlimited” funds to spend on advertising, money power suddenly becomes a shadow of its former self.

      Just one possibility.

    2. John Anthony La Pietra

      Well, let’s not overlook the several billions in free media gifted last time around to the Common Orange-Crested Dotard….

  15. BillF

    Weird. I’ve lived in Ohio my whole life. When I looked at that picture, I thought it was Ohio before i read the caption. The plant is a very drought and cold weather tolerant decorative grass

  16. Louis Fyne

    an interesting twist….re. the coronavirus.


    Uncanny similarity of unique inserts in the 2019-nCoV spike protein to HIV-1 gp120 and Gag

    Prashant Pradhan$1,2, Ashutosh Kumar Pandey$1, Akhilesh Mishra$1, Parul Gupta1, Praveen Kumar Tripathi1, Manoj Balakrishnan Menon1, James Gomes1, Perumal Vivekanandan*1and Bishwajit Kundu*1
    1Kusuma School of biological sciences, Indian institute of technology, New Delhi-110016, India.
    2Acharya Narendra Dev College, University of Delhi, New Delhi-110019, India

    1. Samuel Conner

      the concluding sentence is a model of understatement:

      ” our findings suggest unconventional evolution of 2019-nCoV that warrants further investigation”

      Maybe they meant “assisted evolution”

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      This article is not peer-reviewed, and while Indian Institute of Technology is top-ranked, the “Kusuma School of Biological Sciences” is independently funded, by the Kusama Trust (apparently run by a family of Indian IT squillionaires). I would take this with a dose of salts (and would want to be especially sure that a, shall we say, start-up mentality has not affected the investigators). Also, the passive-aggressive “uncanny similarity” (as the title says) or “unlikely to be fortuitous in nature” (in the abstract) seems almost calculated to go viral, as indeed it has.

      Reading the methodology section, there seems to be nothing unique about what the investigators did, so one would expect to be confirmed by others shortly. Meanwhile, one must observe that if indeed — let us remove the archly phrased passive-aggressive mask — #2019-nCoV is indeed a biological weapon, it’s a poor one.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Since it’s already wreaked havoc on the economy, isolated China, and killed over 250 people, it’s not such a poor weapon. If weapon it is.

  17. Lee

    In other Coronavirus news:

    From today’s Science Friday (unfortunately the segment is yet to be archived and available for streaming):

    The mortality rate for seasonal flu is 0.1 %. If the Wuhan Coronavirus mortality rate is 2% then it is currently 20 times more lethal.

    The transmission rate is such that the Coronavirus could spread worldwide in the next few months. Rapid transmission coupled with high numbers of available hosts increases the probability of random mutations selecting for increased virulence.

    Current mortality and recovery numbers, while troubling at near 50%, are too low to draw conclusions when there are still around 10,000 diagnosed cases that have not resolved in either death or recovery. Current estimates are that about 15% of diagnosed cases are deemed serious.

    There was a 36 hour period between the quarantine being announced in Wuhan and its being enforced. During that time some 5 million people left the quarantine area.

    It’s a good day not to be in China. Although, living here on the western shore of the U.S. in a tourist destination for travelers from Asia and around the world, I am feeling a bit twitchy.

  18. Tim

    You gargle with salt AND baking soda. It tastes lovely (not). But it does work if the first thing you are feeling is a sore throat.

    Many of these foreign organism feed off of sugars which break down into acid, so I assume showering them with something on the other end of the ph scale really knocks them for a loop, but that’s just a guess.

    Salt by itself has never helped me, when I’d run out of baking soda.

  19. urblintz

    Aaron Maté on fire: Democrats Need to Break Their Cold War–Addled Impeachment

    Fever https://www.thenation.com/article/politics/impeachment-trump-cold-war/

    “The very fact that such militarist chauvinism is being adopted by the leadership of the Democratic Party is far more dangerous than anything they have accused Trump of in this impeachment trial. Rather than alleging that Trump has been insufficiently confrontational toward Russia, Democrats should be working to stop Trump policies that have increased tensions with the world’s other top nuclear power…

    Now, liberal energy is being poured into an even more reactionary, right-wing figure who has been deemed a potential savior: John Bolton. If that is not a wake-up call, it is hard to think of what is. Rather than mourn the loss of a drawn-out impeachment trial, Democrats might wish to recall the failed results of their last drawn-out fixation, Russiagate, and break their Cold War–addled impeachment fever.”

    1. urblintz

      PS – he conclusively shreds Schiff’s performance and notes the many principled ways Trump could have been removed, alas…

    2. Carey

      Something I *really appreciate* about Aaron Mate is that he makes very solid cases but
      doesn’t get out over his skis.

  20. drumlin woodchuckles

    Zaganostra up above beat me to it.

    When Pat Buchanan writes . . .
    Sanders (D)(4): “Democratic Elites Take On Bernie At Their Own Peril” [Patrick Buchanan, The American Conservative]. “If, however, Bernie’s last chance at the nomination is aborted by an establishment piling on, party super PACs running attack ads against him, and major media taking time out from trashing Trump to break Sanders, the Democratic Party will have the devil’s time of it bringing Bernie’s backers home in the fall. Bernie’s believers might just conclude that the real obstacle to their dream of remaking America is neither the radical right nor Donald Trump, but the elites within their own party.” . . . he is already behind the trend of current thinking.

    Several million people already understand the basic fact that the DemParty ClintoBamacratic elites ARE the primary enemy and the primary reason we can’t have nice things. They will have to be purged and burned and “exteminated” out of public life and public exposure. Hopefully a Sanders presidency could be a first step in the political chemotherapy we need to have to exterminate and remove the Democratic Elite cancer cells.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      oh, look=>https://www.politico.com/news/2020/01/31/dnc-superdelegates-110083

      “In conversations on the sidelines of a DNC executive committee meeting and in telephone calls and texts in recent days, about a half-dozen members have discussed the possibility of a policy reversal to ensure that so-called superdelegates can vote on the first ballot at the party’s national convention. Such a move would increase the influence of DNC members, members of Congress and other top party officials, who now must wait until the second ballot to have their say if the convention is contested.”

      Sin Vergüenza!!

      1. chuckster

        I would almost feel sorry for Bernie but why did he think that 2020 was going to be any different than 2016? What’s that definition of insanity again?

            1. Fiery Hunt

              Yeah, I feel ya.


              What if enough people believe?
              What if we can manage to break their hold, throw that knee off our neck?

              Isn’t the chance worth the hope?

              “At least I tried.”
              Randell P. McMurphy

              1. Amfortas the hippie

                Sometimes a Great Notion is my favorite of his…”Never give an inch!”
                and the severed arm giving the finger on a flagpole.
                to make of one’s life a monument to stubbornness.

            2. Carey

              Thank you- that’s good to know.

              Cynical, carefully above-it-all defeatism must have its subtle pleasures.

        1. Mo's Bike Shop

          What’s that definition of insanity again?

          Saying the same thing, over and over again, and expecting different results?

          He’s only number 2, behind Biden who is a stiff, in a world where Trump was always 5% behind Clinton. If that’s your idea of a clownshow, please point us to the candidate whose tactics you approve of.

        2. aletheia33

          he is building on 2016, not repeating. the situation is different now, in part due to what his campaign did in 2016.

          since 2016 he has been bringing americans of all stripes together in a way designed to hold us together well beyond the election. that movement building work is far from wasted effort whether he secures the nom or the election or not. as he so repetitively says, “not me, us.” believe it or not, he means it: our future really is in our own hands. that he has convinced so many of that in the face of such dire threats to our collective well-being is nigh on miraculous.

          organizing a movement is tedious, repetitious work. you do the same thing over and over because with patience and diligence it does yield results. your aphorism simply does not apply here.

        3. Lambert Strether Post author

          Diffferent in two ways. In 2016 Sander only had control of his list. This year, he still has the list, plus:

          1) Standalone media opertion

          2) Standalone canvassing operation

          Both are completely independent of the Democrat Party, and both are massive. We’ll see if how it goes, but 2020, institutionally, is already different.

        4. drumlin woodchuckles

          Yes. The organizing. Which will be enough as to be not “the same result” all over again.

          Also, to give the DemParty one last chance to behave in a legitimate manner. If the DemParty were not to pull any tricks or shenanigans or ratphuks or sleight-of-mouth bait-and-switcheroo shell games . . . . and Bernie STILL lost; some people might be resigned to tolerating the DemParty’s continued existence. And try for better luck “nest time”.

          But if the DemParty actually uses tricks such as this, or others, then millions of people will come away hating the DemParty and its active members and leaders in a very real and personal sense; and will devote some time and effort to exterminating it from existence on general principles.

          And part of what Bernie may be doing is daring the DemParty to do exactly what it is planning to do . . . . in Public, before God AND C-SPAN . . . . with a whole world of politics fans watching. Do they dare? Do they dare reverse their own rule about 1 first ballot uncontaminated by SuperDelegates meddling in the nomination election?

          1. Librarian Guy

            Doesn’t the Scorpion still usually sting the frog?

            They have learned Nothing from Her Toxicicity’s loss to Drumpf in 2016. And they hate Bernie and Lefties a great deal more than they do Drumpf and billionaires.

            Will they be stupid enough to destroy the last shattered remnants of the Dem party? Quite possibly yes.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author


        “[DNC Chairman] Tom Perez fought tooth and nail to ensure our nominee would be chosen by pledged delegates, not automatic delegates,” David Bergstein, a DNC spokesman, said in an email. “The DNC passed these reforms unanimously. These rules make our party stronger and help ensure our eventual nominee has the full support of the party behind them.”

        And on the same day (?) changed the rules so that Bloomberg could join the debates — for a measly $300K!

        So, I would not put much stock in what Perez says.

  21. drumlin woodchuckles

    ” Fuel made from water” . . . ? The German way?

    Well if it works, there’s your answer about how to store surplus renewable electricity, if there is any. Use the electro-surplus to split water and bond the Hydrogen to Carbon for methane or ethane or propane, your choice. And store the meth-eth-propane to burn in power plants whenever the intermittent renewable electricity goes down and needs supplementing into the grids.

    Or use the meth-eth-propane for fuel itself, for cooking/heating/etc. When it burns, the hydrogen and carbon will go right back into the air and/or water they came from to begin with . . . to then be split up and reformulated into fuel and burned down and returned over and over and over again.

    1. Oregoncharles

      I’ve seen this proposal already, without the carbon sequestration: neighborhood-scale solar power units used to electrolyse hydrogen to store. Hydrogen is a battery alternative, not a power source.

      The addition of carbon sequestration is just to create a fuel that’s easier to store.

        1. Mo's Bike Shop

          Well the press release is about the Denial/Bargaining phase for consumer heavier-than-air travel. I’m thinking fuel cell is not the the solution here.

          So. How about hydrogen airships? We can make pocket nukes, surely we could keep the explodey bits away from the sparky bits at this point. And come up with a way to keep the envelope from doing that whipping around in the wind thing. When I think that the up-out-of-site have reservations for suborbital trips, I’m wondering why there isn’t a market for taking a cruise on flying bags of hydrogen. They could drop things on peasants while they do cocktails.

          1. ambrit

            The first mention of computer controlled multiple power winch run tension wires from the keel out to the envelope I remember reading was in a novel by Clarke. With skin motion sensors, the winches are manipulated to compensate for pressure fluctuations impinging on the external envelope of the craft. It is doable.
            What someone needs to do is develop a way to make hydrogen non-flamable.

        2. JohnnySacks

          They’ve been sidelined in favor of our current fad: the lithium ion everready energizer future. Embrace the interim fad, go all in, toss it all in the dumpster when the next solution materializes. If the Saudis weren’t such short sighted ignorant brutes, their oil profits would have been used to cover their deserts with solar hydrogen production and they could be in the driver’s seat.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Yes. If they had covered their desert with solar power harvesters, they could have become the . . . uhhh . . . “Saudi Arabia of solar power”.

            Good thing for the world that they are such short sighted ignorant brutes, or the world would have never become rid of them. Which we, in the fullness of time, yet may.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Hydrogen is a battery alternative, not a power source? Well . . . exACTly. Its a way to STORE energy made by renewable means.

        And combining the solar-made H with C would create an even better “battery alternative” in that such solar-power-made hydrocarbon fuel would be even more energy-dense per cubic volume and even easier to store until needed that H by itself.

        Ahh . . . . but is the C itself derived by solar-power-driven means? Well . . . it COULD be. How?
        Biochar. Grow plant mass in suitable places, bio-char it to extract worthwhile volatile chemicals or otherwise burn the volatile chemicals for some on-site energy, and then send the bio-char to the solar electrolysis facility to combine it with the H for C-H fuels. Solar powered carbon to combine with the solar powered hydrogen.

  22. Bugs Bunny

    Nancy comics have been very cool over the course of the last century. Ernie Bushmuller really got the surrealism of the format.

    The new ones by Olivia James are family blogging awesome.

    And as you can imagine, this rabbit appreciates a good cartoon.

    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      Bill Griffith of Zippy waxed poetic about Bushmuller in many a strip. He loved the three rocks that Bushmiller used.

      Maybe, because I grew up reading Nancy from when I first got addicted to comics, I never appreciated the surrealism. Chapman’s Law? ‘If you grew up with it, it doesn’t seem weird.’ I was mesmerized in my teens when I first encountered samples of Krazy Kat.

  23. IowanX

    Thanks for this comment. They have been market testing for years to determine the exact amount of shit that Americans will take w/o doing what the French people are doing, & this might tell the tale. Trump –> Bloomberg–> ??? I’d prefer we test it now so I at least know the big plan.

    1. inode_buddha

      Had told my mainstream Democrat co-workers for years, that the American establishment would collectively fart if the people ever had the guts to unify like the french do, and go on a nationwide general strike. The french unions actually have some guts and some respect unlike the americans.

      1. polecat

        It’s gonna have to get a lot more nasty before massed strikes happen. Too many comfies yet to lose !

  24. Olga

    Thanks for posting .. “Nomiki Konst: A Democratic Party Power Play” [R.J. Eskow, YouTube]
    It’s not just Perez… she gets at some of the dysfunction in the US vs other societies (briefly, though, but still), the double-dealing consultants (who make reform impossible because… it is all about $$), and the total disregard for the ordinary Americans – just to hold on to power. Very good.

  25. The Rev Kev

    “Let me tell you about my cat.”

    That sounds like that was one fine battle-cat that. My wife rescued a cat under similar circumstances and it proved to be one of the best cats that we ever had and “PJ” came with us when we moved up north. But man, that cat sounded huge and it was good that it had such a great nature.

  26. Craig H.

    > There are two different categories for fatal falls: falls on the same level, such as slips or trips, and falls to a lower level.

    The last time I looked at the big spreadsheet on all of the lost time incidents at my employer the number two workplace hazard was slips-trips-and-falls. (Number one was motor vehicle accidents.) One of my co-workers reported that in his family two elderly folks in his lifetime had fatally fallen down stairs.

    Watch your step!

    (Lions and tigers and bears can kill you but they rarely choose to do so.)

  27. Foy

    Hi Commentariat. I’m trying to find an article from the last two weeks in Links or Water Cooler that discussed a study that had been done on whether public opinion had any effect on laws being passed as compared to when donors/1% wanted a law passed. It had two charts in it which showed that public opinion had very little influence on laws ie even if a large majority desired the law. That line was flat, public desire had little influence on a law being passed. The other chart had an S shaped curve that showed a law had an increasing chance of being passed the greater the the number of donors/1% wanted that law.

    If anyone can remember the article/link (maybe it was a twitter thread) and they could let me know that would be greatly appreciated. Normally I store these types of links in Diigo but it seems I’ve missed this one. Thanks!

      1. Foy

        Excellent thanks Carey. That was the study and has the charts I was looking for. I’ll be able to find the article now that discussed it. Cheers!

  28. JBird4049

    On the ramping up all the legal inquiries and impeachment efforts of current and past officials… that is one of the big reasons for the collapse of the Roman Republic. Any office holder was immune from lawsuits or legal judgements over his political actions while in office. However, when he left office out came the often well funded, very sharp knives, which became more common as the political struggles intensified. It got so bad that people would do anything to stay in power, which made things worse. It is a cause for those people to get their own private armies.

    We have those “unwritten” rules of forgiveness and forgetting for a reason.

  29. Cuibono

    She is polling at zero percent among those under 35, and at 1% among the entire 35 to 49 set.” •

    Almost gives me hope for the future of the human race!

    1. Carey

      Klobucharge’s surge™ must have quite a backstory. Just guessing, of course. ;)

      “Amy™ swooping in for the Loss!” (don’t know why hockey comes to mind, but it does)

Comments are closed.