2:00PM Water Cooler 2/25/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Readers, please return at 7:30pm ET for this evening’s Democrat Presidential debate. –lambert


“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

Key dates coming fast now, so I added some counters:

Here is a second counter for South Carolina, coming soon:

And for Super Tuesday:

Super Tuesday states: AL, AK, CA, CO, ME, MA, MN, NC, OK, TN, TX, UT, VT, and VA.

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We encourage readers to want to play around with the charts; they are dynamic, and there are a lot of settings. Here is a link to alert reader dk’s project. You can also file bug reports or feature requests using the same contact process as for Plants, below. Thanks — but no promises!

Today we have one new national poll from Morning Consult, and a new state poll from SC. As of 2/25/2020, 12:00 PM EST (three-day average):

And the numbers:

Again, hard to think this is what the DNC had in mind.

And now to states, with the caveat that they are all small samples, irregular, and bad. SC:

SC numbers:

Looks like Steyer took a nose-dive, and Biden picked up all his votes. Odd.

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.

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Biden (D)(1): You’d think word of this would spread:

Perhaps in tonight’s debate?

Bloomberg (D)(1): “‘The People Versus the Oligarch’: Bloomberg Planning All-Out Media Assault on Sanders Ahead of Super Tuesday” [Common Dreams]. “‘This will be a good test of the durability of Bernie’s strength in polls against Trump,’ tweeted [New York magazine writer Eric Levitz]. ‘If Bloomberg’s wall-to-wall character assassination campaign doesn’t erase Bernie’s advantage in those polls, no reason to think he can’t hold strong in the general.'” •

Bloomberg (D)(2): Where’s the lie?

What kind of “vandals” tape paper onto on a window, or bring their own sign and leans it against the wall?! They tag the wall!

Bloomberg (D)(3): Wowsers, this story is really escalating:

Any forensic glaziers in the house?

UPDATE Bloomberg (D)(4):

UPDATE Bloomberg (D)(5): “The Guy Behind “Homeless Hotspots” Now Works For The Bloomberg Campaign” [Buzzfeed]. “In 2012, the biggest story to come out of South by Southwest Innovation, the tech conference held in Austin, was ‘Homeless Hotspots.’ It was a project by an ad agency that gave 4G hotspots to 13 men without housing in the city to offer Wi-Fi to festivalgoers. The project was immediately slammed by press and attendees as dystopian and a ‘blunt display of unselfconscious gall.’ Now, the man who came up with it is working for the presidential campaign of Michael Bloomberg… Tim Nolan is currently a “creative lead” overseeing digital advertising for the well-funded machine of Bloomberg 2020.” • All the money in the world, and Bloomberg hires this guy.

UPDATE Bloomberg (D)(6): “In 2019 speech, Bloomberg mocked Brooklyn father and son who died from heroin as ‘not a good family'” [New York Daily News]. “Mike Bloomberg poked fun last year at a father and son who died from heroin overdoses at the same Brooklyn party… Speaking at the Bermuda Executive Forum in Manhattan last March, the billionaire ex-mayor referenced a Daily News front-page story about the tragic October 2017 deaths of Joseph and Carlos Andrade, a previously unreported video of the event shows. ‘Daily News had a picture on the front page of a father and a son — they both OD’d at the same party. I mean, it’s not a good family — craziness,’ Bloomberg says to chuckles from the audience.” • “Poked fun.” Should go over big in the Heartland.

Buttigieg (D)(1): “The State endorses Pete Buttigieg in the South Carolina Democratic Party primary” [The State]. “It is vital, then, for the Democrats to nominate an energetic, disciplined candidate who can offer voters a powerful yet pragmatic vision of a better America. The Democrats need a nominee who seeks to bring Americans together based on broad common ground — and not divide them along narrow interests. Among the Democratic presidential candidates, former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg is the best person to meet these challenges.” • Narrow interests….

UPDATE Buttigieg (D)(2): “Pete Buttigieg courts black voters in run-up to SC Democratic primary” [Greenville News]. “Buttigieg joined a march to a McDonald’s restaurant where protesters chanted for a higher federal minimum wage — but the reaction was divided once he became involved. The rally was organized by Fight for $15, a movement that supports increasing minimum wage to $15 per hour. Rally organizers called on McDonald’s workers to unionize and strike. Some protesters were angered by his presence. Brittany Smalls, a coordinator with the organization Black Voters Matter, came down from Pennsylvania to support the efforts for a higher minimum wage, but she stepped away from the protesters when Buttigieg appeared behind a banner at the front of the march that read ‘Unions for all.’ ‘I finally stepped away when he decided to join the race for photo ops, because that’s all he does,’ Smalls said.” • Of course, Smalls is from PA, but did Buttigieg really have to pop up in front of a banner?

Sanders (D)(1): “Sanders Rises as Primary Voters Grow More Confident About His Chances Against Trump” [Morning Consult]. “Sen. Bernie Sanders is consolidating support for the Democratic presidential nod following his victory in the Nevada caucuses, as the party’s primary voters grow more bullish on the Vermont independent’s chances of beating President Donald Trump in November…. The latest Morning Consult tracking poll also finds Sanders leading the field among black voters for the first time as the race moves to South Carolina, the second successive state with a significant black population that former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign views as a firewall. Thirty-three percent of black Democratic primary voters said they’re backing Sanders, compared with 29 percent who said Biden, within the subsample’s 4-point margin of error.”

UPDATE Sanders (D)(2): “A line-by-line response to Fred Hiatt’s pro-oil, anti-Sanders climate op-ed” [Heated]. • Hiatt needed a beat-down on this. Here it is!

UPDATE Sanders (D)(3):

Here is a copy of the complaint. I think the lawyer, Karen Gievers, a former Judge, might be more interesting than the plaintiffs, who could well be straws.

Trump (R)(1): “More than 6 in 10 expect Trump to be reelected: poll” [The Hill]. “The CBS News-YouGov poll found 65 percent of voters say Trump will ‘definitely’ or ‘probably’ win the 2020 election, compared to 35 percent who say he will ‘definitely not’ or ‘probably not’ win. More than nine in 10 Republicans are confident Trump will continue to be president, with more than a third of Democrats agreeing. Although only 42 percent of Democratic voters in the poll have decided who they will vote for, six in 10 of all voters say their vote won’t be affected by who the Democratic nominee is or what Trump does in the next year. The theoretical matchup races between Trump and the top six candidates are close, with no more than 3 percentage points between the Democratic candidate and the president. But no Democratic candidate obtains more than about a quarter of voters who believe they will defeat Trump. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) gets the highest score at 27 percent, who think he will win against the president. ”

Warren (D)(1): Paging Thomas Frank:

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A good thread on opposition research:

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“How a Rank-and-File Revolt in Las Vegas Dealt Bernie a Winning Hand” [The Nation]. “Shortly after noon, caucus participants were asked to rise from their chairs and vote with their feet. The vast majority promptly marched directly to Sanders’s side of the room. Surprised by their strength, Bernie’s supporters erupted in cheers and more than one of us broke down in tears. It would be hard to overstate the political importance of Saturday’s win, which was replicated across the seven Las Vegas strip caucuses. A workforce made up predominantly of women of color enthusiastically gave their votes to a candidate who mainstream media pundits have repeatedly told them is backed only by white guys. Though one should never underestimate the perfidy of the corporate punditry, it’s possible that these strip workers, together with Nevada’s broader multiracial working class, may have finally put the ‘Bernie Bro’ myth out of its misery.”


Pushing a string?

“Russiagate II: Return Of The Low Intelligence Zombies” [Peter Van Buren, The American Conservative]. “The intel community crossed a line in 2016, albeit clumsily (what was all that with Comey and Hillary?), to play an overt role in the electoral process. When that didn’t work out and Trump was elected, they pivoted and drove us to the brink of all hell breaking loose with Russiagate I. The media welcomed and supported them. The Dems welcomed and supported them. Far too many Americans welcomed and supported them in some elaborate version of the ends justifying the means. The good news from 2016 was that the Deep State turned out to be less competent than we originally feared. But they have learned much from those mistakes, particularly how deft a tool a compliant MSM is. This election will be a historian’s marker for how a decent nation, fully warned in 2016, fooled itself in 2020 into self-harm. Forget about foreigners influencing our elections from the outside; the zombies are already inside the house.”

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Warren Buffett says ‘I’m a Democrat,’ and would have ‘no trouble’ voting for Bloomberg” [Reuters]. • Who knew, and who knew?

“Reliability of pricey new voting machines questioned” [Associated Press]. “Nearly 1 in 5 U.S. voters will be using ballot-marking machines this year, compared with less than 2% in 2018, according to Verified Voting, which tracks voting technology. Pivotal counties in the crucial states of Pennsylvania, Ohio and North Carolina have bought ballot-marking machines. So have counties in much of Texas, as well as California’s Los Angeles County and all of Georgia, Delaware and South Carolina. The machines’ certification has often been streamlined in the rush to get machines in place for presidential primaries…. Tampering aside, some of the newer ballot-marking machines have stumbled badly in actual votes. That happened most spectacularly in November when ES&S’s top-of-the-line ExpressVote XL debuted in a Pennsylvania county. Even without technical troubles, the new machines can lead to longer lines, potentially reducing turnout.” • You say “reducing turnout” like that’s a bad thing! This article also devotes a fair amount of space to advocates for hand-marked paper ballots, hand-counted in public, which is encouraging.

“Game-changing LA County voting centers open, but some voters turned away amid early glitches” [Los Angeles Daily News]. “[S}everal of the new, highly touted hubs were forced to turn away voters because of missing codes required to operate the new machines, or for other missing components that poll workers needed to process voters.”

Stats Watch

At reader request, I added some business stats back in. Please give Econintersect click-throughs; they’re a good, old-school blog that covers more than stats. If anybody knows of other aggregators, please leave links in comments.

No stats of interest today

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“Breaking bad… browser use: New Mexico accuses Google of illegally slurping kids’ private data via G Suite” [The Register]. • Google’s denial is at the end of the article. It seems carefully worded.

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 27 Fear (previous close: 29 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 51 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Feb 25 at 12:08pm.

The Biosphere

“Can rationing carbon help fight climate change?” [BBC]. “Once a day, Katja Suhonen opens her phone to check on her carbon footprint. Every journey she makes in her home city of Lahti, a city in the south of Finland, is studied by an experimental app called CitiCap and the carbon impact of her travel choices deducted from a weekly budget. ‘I have mainly travelled around by bike, public transport and walking before even using CitiCap, so it hasn’t really changed my daily routine,’ says Suhonen, an early adopter of the voluntary monitoring scheme. ‘However, now I try to avoid private car even more than before.’ If she has any credits left by the end of the week, she can exchange them for gifts like coffee or a free bike tune-up in participating businesses. Her journeys are automatically tracked by the app, and she only needs to manually input details such as how many passengers she is with if she is travelling by car.” • I wonder how this app would be calibrated to the activities of an investment banker, or an oil executive..

“Great Barrier Reef on brink of third major coral bleaching in five years, scientists warn” [Guardian]. “The Great Barrier Reef could be heading for a third major coral bleaching outbreak in the space of five years if high ocean temperatures in the region do not drop in the next two weeks, scientists and conservationists have warned. Heat stress is already building across the world’s biggest reef system, with reports of patchy bleaching already occurring. But a major widespread event is not currently taking place.” • On coral reefs, see NC here.

“Marsquakes: NASA mission discovers that Mars is seismically active, among other surprises” [CNN]. “A NASA mission on Mars has recorded evidence of seismic activity, including 174 seismic events across Mars–and 20 events with a magnitude of three or four…. Mars doesn’t have tectonic plates, unlike Earth, so its quakes occur through long-term cooling of the planet and other processes, scientists say. The brittle outer layers of the crust on Mars have to fracture to maintain themselves on the surface And Mars isn’t a perfect sphere, so the contractions of the crust cause stress and quakes to occur in some areas more than others, [Suzanne Smrekar, InSight’s deputy principal investigator] said. An analysis of the seismic waves detected by InSight revealed that the upper part of the Martian crust, the top six miles down from the surface, is “pretty broken up.” It’s another testament to the planet’s quake activity and fracturing.”

Health Care

“A Miami man who flew to China worried he might have coronavirus. He may owe thousands.” [Miami Herald]. “After returning to Miami last month from a work trip in China, Osmel Martinez Azcue found himself in a frightening position: he was developing flu-like symptoms, just as coronavirus was ravaging the country he had visited. Under normal circumstances, Azcue said he would have gone to CVS for over-the-counter medicine and fought the flu on his own, but this time was different. As health officials stressed preparedness and vigilance for the respiratory illness, Azcue felt it was his responsibility to his family and his community to get tested for novel coronavirus, known as COVID-19. He went to Jackson Memorial Hospital, where he said he was placed in a closed-off room. Nurses in protective white suits sprayed some kind of disinfectant smoke under the door before entering, Azcue said. Then hospital staff members told him he’d need a CT scan to screen for coronavirus, but Azcue said he asked for a flu test first. ‘This will be out of my pocket,’ Azcue, who has a very limited insurance plan, recalled saying. ‘Let’s start with the blood test, and if I test positive, just discharge me.’ Fortunately, that’s exactly what happened. He had the flu… But two weeks later, Azcue got unwelcome news in the form of a notice from his insurance company about a claim for $3,270.” • Our health care system is, amazing as it may seem, worse than China’s. Our public health system is not, fortunately….

“Stress Is A Key To Understanding Many Social Determinants Of Health” [Health Affairs]. “Good health is not evenly distributed in the United States. Racial and ethnic minorities and those who live in socioeconomically disadvantaged circumstances are more likely to suffer from poor health compared to socioeconomically advantaged and white counterparts. How and why these disparities emerge and persist is complex and multifaceted. However, it is clear that the social conditions in which people live are fundamental in shaping health trajectories, and that the stress created through these social conditions serves as an important pathway driving poor health and furthering health disparities… How does stress contribute to health disparities? The first important fact is that, like health, stress exposures are not evenly distributed across the population. Individuals from racial/ethnic minority backgrounds and those with low socioeconomic status (SES) experience more stress exposures across the life course than more well-off populations. For example, individuals lower in income and education tend to report more frequent daily hassles than higher SES individuals. Similarly, racial minorities often report greater levels of perceived stress, a finding that in some cases is independent of SES. Individuals living in low SES environments also experience greater threats to safety across their lifespan, and this may lead to increased vigilance for threats in the environment. Furthermore, racial/ethnic minorities and low SES individuals may also lack many of the resources needed to cope with demands. The simplest example is to think about tangible resources such as money.” • Yep.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“Smithsonian Museum Celebrates Black Alternate History Month With Full-Scale Recreation Of W.E.B. Du Bois’ War Zeppelin” [The Onion]. “Declaring the armored lighter-than-air sky fortress a testament to African American achievement across parallel realities, the Smithsonian Museum celebrated Black Alternate History Month Monday with a full-scale recreation of The B.S.S. Crisis, W.E.B. Du Bois’ war zeppelin.”

The Conservatory

“BTS’s “Map of the Soul: 7″ Is Full of Hidden References and Easter Eggs” [Teen Vogue]. “Taking Carl Jung’s analytical psychology as a narrative guide, throughout the album’s 19 tracks (20 if you count the digital remix of lead single “ON,” featuring Sia), the seven members embark on an introspective journey, both as individuals and as a group, all the while making ARMYs a core element in their narrative.” • Seems like the K-Pop equivalent of the Clash’s Sandinista… I ran across this in a discussion of Bernie’s “army.” Do we have any fans who care to comment? (Ask a Korean, a K-Pop maven, rates them highly.)

Sports Desk

“MLB Seeks to Toss DraftKings Suits, Says Fans Know Players Cheat” [Bloomberg]. “The DraftKings participants’ claims fail because fans were on notice “that players often commit intentional rule infractions in order to obtain an advantage over the course of the game,” the league said, quoting a 2010 Third Circuit ruling on the New England Patriots sign-stealing case. The fans can’t deny they were aware of the possibility of cheating given that the clubs were publicly disciplined for electronic sign-stealing violations during the 2017 regular season, the league said. Despite being on notice, the plaintiffs continued to participate in DraftKings contests, and can’t plausibly claim they were deceived into believing that rules violations would never occur, MLB said.” • One can only wonder when this doctrine is going to cross over into other disciplines.

Groves of Academe

“USC will offer free tuition to students from families making $80K or less” [USA Today]. “The $80,000 threshold is comfortably above California’s median household income of about $71,000, according to U.S. Census data.” • Clinging to means-testing with a death grip…

“College admissions scandal: Ex-University of Texas tennis coach gets 6 months for taking $100,000 bribe” [NBC]. • This keeps happening.

Guillotine Watch

“How a Neighbors’ Feud in Paradise Launched an International Rape Case” [New York Times]. “The neighbors had little in common except for extreme wealth and a driveway. But when Mr. Nygard wasn’t allowed to rebuild after a fire, he blamed Mr. Bacon. Since then, the two have been embroiled in an epic battle, spending tens of millions of dollars and filing at least 25 lawsuits in five jurisdictions. Mr. Nygard, 78, has spread stories accusing Mr. Bacon of being an insider trader, murderer and member of the Ku Klux Klan. Mr. Bacon, 63, has accused Mr. Nygard of plotting to kill him.” • Worth reading for the lurid details. After the Jackpot, when the world is reduced to robots, mercs, and a few billionaires living in bunkers, this story shows how the billionaires will spend their time.

Class Warfare

It can’t happen here:

“The Postal Service Fired Thousands of Workers for Getting Injured While Delivering and Processing Your Mail” [Pro Publica]. “[44,000 employees] were either fired or left their jobs under pressure over five years in a program that ‘targeted’ employees with work-related injuries, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. A commission ruling on the class action complaint also found that the Postal Service discriminated against an additional 15,130 injured workers by changing their work duties or accommodations, and unlawfully disclosed the private medical information of injured workers across the country. Now, more than a decade later, despite the ruling, the Postal Service is still fighting the class-action complaint. It has refused to settle, stating in its latest financial report that the case’s outcome could have a ‘material impact’ on the agency. The EEOC plans to go case by case through about 28,000 claims, and the Postal Service is contesting each worker’s allegations, which could drag out the process for years. To dispute many of the claims, the Postal Service is arguing that the workers aren’t providing sufficient proof that they actually had disabilities or were harmed by the program.” • Thank you, privatization, for the speedup, for the injuries, and for the “targeting.”

“‘The Phantom of Ninth Street’: A Bon Vivant’s Lonely Decline” [New York Times]. “And he drank. ‘Early retirement didn’t serve him well,’ [Tim Riordan, a Manhattan schoolteacher,] said.” • Work ’til you drop, is my motto. Very New York, very sad story.

News of the Wired

“Mapping Wikipedia” [The Atlantic]. “While the United States accounts for nearly half of the editors, looking at the data from an international perspective reveals the United States as just one part of the colonial legacy of the English language. The five largest contributors were part of what once was the British Empire, and account for nearly 75 percent of all editors.” • Musical interlude:

“Do not rely on facial expressions for how people are feeling” [The Economist]. This was worth the clickthrough: “An analysis of hundreds of research papers that examined the relationship between facial expressions and underlying emotions has uncovered a surprising conclusion: there is no good scientific evidence to suggest that there are such things as recognisable facial expressions for basic emotions which are universal across cultures. Just because a person is not smiling, the researchers found, does not mean that person is unhappy. As Lisa Feldman Barrett, one of the authors of the study, published in Psychological Science in the Public Interest, told the aaas meeting in Seattle, “We surprised ourselves”. Dr Feldman Barrett is a psychologist at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, and along with her colleagues she found that, on average, adults in urban cultures scowled when they were angry 30% of the time. Which meant that some 70% of the time they did not scowl when angry. Instead, they did something else with their faces. People also scowled when they were not angry. “They scowl when they’re concentrating, they scowl when someone tells them a bad joke, they scowl when they have gas, they scowl for lots of reasons,” says Dr Feldman Barrett. A scowl, the researchers concluded, is certainly one expression of anger. But it is not the only way people express that emotion. The ambiguous nature of facial expressions was not restricted to anger, but seemed valid for all six of the emotional categories that they examined: anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness and surprise. All this raises questions about the efforts of information-technology companies to develop artificial-intelligence algorithms which can recognise facial expressions and work out a person’s underlying emotional state.” • Another reason AI is a bezzle. Who knew? Interesting topic–

“Facial and Vocal Expressions of Emotion” [James A. Russell, Jo-Anne Bachorowski, José-Miguel Fernandez-Dols, Annual Review of Psychology]. “Both scientists and nonscientists traditionally considered smiles, chuckles, and the rest tobe “expressions of emotion” (EEs)…. Traditionally, senders have been thought to “express” or “encode” – that is, emit veridical information about – their internal state, much as a lighthouse broadcasts its visual and auditory warning to any and all who happen to perceive it. In turn, receivers “recognize” or “decode” the message and benefit thereby. This image of honest and altruistic broadcasting has deep historical roots. Thought of as a God-given and universal language, EEs revealed passions (such as love and hate), virtues (courage), and vices (sloth). These ideas were evident in philosophical, religious, and artistic theories from ancient times to the 19th century, and continued to appear in later work by anatomists, physiologists, and other scientists (Montagu 1994). Among those scientists was Charles Darwin (1872). Although he relied on traditional assumptions about expression and emotion, Darwin substituted natural selection for God and made important observations about cross-species and cross-cultural similarities in EEs to bolster his argument for that substitution.” • “Veridical information.” Dear me…

“The Complex Emotion Expression Database: A validated stimulus set of trained actors” [PLOS One]. “The vast majority of empirical work investigating the mechanisms supporting the perception and recognition of facial expressions is focused on basic expressions. Less is known about the underlying mechanisms supporting the processing of complex expressions, which provide signals about emotions related to more nuanced social behavior and inner thoughts. Here, we introduce the Complex Emotion Expression Database (CEED), a digital stimulus set of 243 basic and 237 complex emotional facial expressions. The stimuli represent six basic expressions (angry, disgusted, fearful, happy, sad, and surprised) and nine complex expressions (affectionate, attracted, betrayed, brokenhearted, contemptuous, desirous, flirtatious, jealous, and lovesick) that were posed by Black and White formally trained, young adult actors. All images were validated by a minimum of 50 adults in a 4-alternative forced choice task. Only images for which ≥ 50% of raters endorsed the correct emotion label were included in the final database. This database will be an excellent resource for researchers interested in studying the developmental, behavioral, and neural mechanisms supporting the perception and recognition of complex emotion expressions.” • It seems there are unsettled issues in this field….

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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 (Craig H.):

Craig H. writes: “Jan 18 2020; ~1/2 mile from the Morgan Territory staging area (37.818690, -121.795794_ The tilt is because the hillside is steep and it grows more straight out of the ground than straight up at the sky. I don’t know what it is but there are hundreds of them there. Almost all the trees in the neighborhood are oaks. Keep up the good work Lambert!” Thank you!

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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. ChrisAtRU

    And what kind of “vandals” tape paper onto on a window, or bring their own sign and leans it against the wall?! They tag the wall!

    Exactly. That’s an amazing “tell” … these aren’t vandals, they’re bourgeois agents provocateurs … ;-)

    1. Baby Gerald

      Thank you! This was my comment in one of the twitter threads that popped up about this yesterday. The answer is the kind that doesn’t want to cause any property damage to a rented office space and possibly have a an investigation triggered that leads in an unwanted direction. The overall coordination, the uniformity of the TeamBloomberg tweets all ending with the elitist ‘America deserves bettter’ rejoinder coupled with the good manners of the so-called vandals in at least two of the instances makes the whole thing stink like a false flag.

      1. John Anthony La Pietra

        Well, of course “America” does deserve better — than Bloomberg. (And the US portion of America may need better than him the most. If that isn’t too exceptional of me. . . .)

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Is this the best they can do?

        I have the feeling that some of Bloomberg’s hires aren’t really giving him value for money. Of course, there’s so much money that may not matter/

          1. rd

            This always leads me back to the thought about what the billionaires are going to do about the guys with the guns “protecting” them when the day comes to go to the bolthole. checkbook vs. loaded AR-15 in a crisis….that is a conundrum.

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              Well . . . if the billionaires give their guys with guns free and equal access to the billionaires’ trophy wives and nubile young daughters . . . the guys with guns will let the billionaires keep the checkbooks.

              If the billionaires object to that arrangement, the guys with guns may have a problem with that.

        1. Adam1

          LOL!!! Just like the post of the kid from yesterday… taking Mike’s money and then voting for Bernie. Not actually wanting to cause trouble but taking the money could be a common theme. Wonder how many WILL actually vote for Bernie!?!? Hoping a lot.

        2. PlutoniumKun

          I saw a twitter story where someone said a young male Bloomberg canvasser called over. The householder said ‘Sorry, we are Bernie voters’, and the canvasser replied ‘Cool, me too!’ and fistbumped her before going to the next house.

    1. June Goodwin

      Rather, I believe those are manzanitas. They often grow in same areas as madrones. But manzanitas have deep red bark like this. Madrones are more yellow.

    2. barefoot charley

      Joe, that lovely tortured tangle looks like manzanita to me. (But I can’t remember if they lose their leaves, as these have. Madrones don’t.) Two of my favorite trees!

      And I wonder what the Morgan Territory is? Must be Californian . . .

      1. Wukchumni

        Manzanitas don’t go dormant, which was many of their undoing in the 5 year drought here. The other tree that suffered so was Live Oaks, which also keep their leaves year round.

        I lost 14 out of 18 Manzanita trees, and about 25 Live Oaks.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        Could manzanitas and apples be cross pollinatable? And if so, would the offspring produce manzanapples worthy of being eaten?

    3. Amfortas the hippie

      beat me to it.
      there’s a Texas Madrone, too

      I know of several…almost a grove…in a canyon on the Llano River, here.
      neat tree.
      I’ve wanted for a long while to get a few established on my place for a specimen(ie: frivolous), because they’re so cool.
      birds appear to like the berries, at least from my rather limited observation(the grove is hard to get to), but as far as i know, it’s not a “useful” plant…so is low on the list of priorities.

    4. Wyoming

      Believe it is a Manzanita – I have cut down hundreds of the damn things. Manzanitas have the distinct red and dark (black) pattern to their branches and top out at about 20ft and 5-6 inch in diameter. The Madrone, as stated, is sort of yellow and can reach heights like 80 ft and 5 feet in diameter.


      and not a Madrone


  2. WobblyTelomeres

    ” I wonder how this app would be calibrated to the activities of an investment banker, or an oil executive..”

    You’re going to need bigger integers.

  3. Wukchumni

    ‘666 Degrees of Separation’

    “How a Neighbors’ Feud in Paradise Launched an International Rape Case” [New York Times]. “The neighbors had little in common except for extreme wealth and a driveway. But when Mr. Nygard wasn’t allowed to rebuild after a fire, he blamed Mr. Bacon. Since then, the two have been embroiled in an epic battle, spending tens of millions of dollars and filing at least 25 lawsuits in five jurisdictions. Mr. Nygard, 78, has spread stories accusing Mr. Bacon of being an insider trader, murderer and member of the Ku Klux Klan. Mr. Bacon, 63, has accused Mr. Nygard of plotting to kill him.”

  4. Fiery Hunt

    Glazier here. Laminate glass is essentially 2 pieces of glass glued together. Designed to spiderweb without breaking apart completely.

    Would take A LOT of repeated high force projectiles/impacts to create those holes.

    A LOT.

      1. Fiery Hunt

        Yeah, probably gathered from around the room. To clarify my first comment. ..

        It looks like there are 3 different types of glass: laminate, tempered and annealed (plate). The laminate is the spiderweb with impact marks, the plate just breaks into shards and the tempered breaks into cubes (like auto side windows).

        Different damage from same type of rocks.

        Looks legit…rocks thrown from outside.
        Now the real question is. ..Who threw ’em?

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Is the way the broken glass fell what you would expect?

          And why the heck would they gather the rocks? Isn’t that destroying evidence? (Perhaps, for some reason, they do not intend to call the police?)

          1. Fiery Hunt

            Yeah, once a piece is broken, it’ll fall, hitting the glass below.
            Some’ll fall in, some’ll fall out.

            Gathering the rocks: cops aren’t going to do anything but “take a report”. Unless there’s video cameras, there’s nothing for them to investigate.
            Depending on where you are, cops won’t even come out. In SF Bay Area, they’d tell you to file a report on line.

        2. Samuel Conner

          Perhaps it was Zygons.

          Big red rubbery things, covered in suckers,,,, venom-sex in the tongue


          Why even mention this? They’re shape-shifters, like so many present-day politicians.

        3. drumlin woodchuckles

          Probably secret false-flag Clintonites or other Mainstream Democrat types. In order to get the Bernie Bros accused of it.

        4. Jeremy Grimm

          Doesn’t a car windshield fracture as a cubes, also a car’s flat side window? I thought they were laminates. Are they laminated and tempered?

          1. Fiery Hunt

            Windshield’s fracture in cracks (like the long crack in mine right now) because they’re laminated, side windows “pop” into cubes because they’re tempered.

        5. Gregorio

          I’m guessing that, considering the size of the holes, someone used a slingshot.
          It would be nearly impossible to throw a rock that small with enough force.

    1. WhoaMolly

      way too convenient. I smell a rat. Maybe they should throw chairs the next time so we automatically associate it with the ‘rabid bernie bro’s’ — like the 74 year old retired school teacher i know who wants Bernie to fix the medical system so everyone gets decent healthcare at a fair price.

  5. allan

    Body cam captures 6-year-old’s tearful pleas during arrest [AP]

    A police officer’s body camera shows a 6-year-old Florida girl crying and begging officers not to arrest her as one fastens zip ties around her wrists at a charter school.

    The video Kaia Rolle’s family shared with the Orlando Sentinel and other media outlets Monday shows the girl being arrested in September for kicking and punching staff members at her Orlando charter school.

    “What are those for?” Kaia asks about the zip ties in the video.

    “They’re for you,” Officer Dennis Turner says before another officer tightens them around her wrists and Kaia begins weeping. …

    Officials have said that Turner also arrested a 6-year-old boy at another school on the same day as Kaia’s arrest for misdemeanor battery in an unrelated incident. However, the boy’s arrest was halted by superiors before the child made it through the full arrest process.

    State Attorney Aramis Ayala said last September that she was dismissing misdemeanor battery charges against both children.

    All’s well that ends well. /s

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Those police folk are doing exactly what the Charter School wants done. And every parent who leaves their child in that Charter School is showing how much they exactly and completely approve of it.

  6. Sluggo'sDad

    RE: BTS

    My niece is a big fan of BTS. Her “bias” is V. I have to say I’m impressed by them. They’re like a more talented N’Sync. They’re rolling in the cash, my niece is going to ask for more BTS stuff for her birthday. The interesting thing is that they’ve weaved platitude teenage angst but also positivity in their music, and if you’re a hardcore fan, you have to do research on their lyrics to “understand” them.

    1. Expat2Uruguay

      Unknown abbreviation: BTS. Frankly, it doesn’t look worth researching based on the content I do understand. Perhaps original poster would be willing to be more clear in the future so that others have a better chance of identifying correctly the value of the post to them.

      1. Basil Pesto

        BTS is the name of a hugely popular K-Pop band, mentioned in one of Lambert’s links in today’s WC (‘ “BTS’s “Map of the Soul: 7″ Is Full of Hidden References and Easter Eggs”‘). I’m not sure whether BTS is an abbreviation but it doesn’t really matter; they’re popularly known worldwide as BTS (like ABBA, I guess?).

  7. andrewf

    Yesterday’s Water Cooler had a discussion about public libraries being immune to crapification. I just found out today that my small town’s (pop. 4,000) public library will host Ben & Jerry from 3-430 and give away free ice cream while campaigning for Bernie. The public library didn’t have any information about this, only a community Facebook page posted about it last night. A lot of people were disappointed by the last minute notification but seemed really excited. Of course there were those who said they will never eat X flavor ever again and one person pointed out their sale to Unilever for millions. I’m interested to see if the library reached out to Ben & Jerry or the other way around. Rumors are they’re going to Skowhegan after if anyone in central Maine is interested.

  8. Wukchumni

    One of tonight’s debate questions:

    “This next one is for Bernie Sanders, at what point did you realize you were a fellow traveler, or if you’d like, a pinko commie sympth?”

    1. chuckster

      I just EV for Bernie Sanders. It’s odd because I really don’t think he will make a very good president and he’s way too old but the freakout over the weekend after Bernie won Nevada was just too ridiculous.When did the Democrats fear running a Democrat in an election?

      On March 18th (the day after the primary) I go back to No Party Preference. Being a Democrat really blows.

  9. Detroit Dan

    This is interesting: This new South Carolina poll is very bad news for Joe Biden:

    (CNN)Bernie Sanders just might win the South Carolina primary on Saturday.

    That’s the real headline out of a new poll conducted by NBC and Marist College that shows Sanders trailing longtime South Carolina front-runner Joe Biden by a narrow 27% to 23% margin, with five days of campaigning remaining. (Several recent polls have suggested a similar tightening.) While the top-line number draws the eye, it’s a series of other questions sprinkled throughout the poll that seem to suggest a path to a massive upset victory does, in fact, exist.

    1) Roughly 1 in 3 Biden backers in the poll (32%) said they might vote for another candidate on Saturday. Just more than 1 in 10 Sanders supporters (12%) said the same.

    2) This poll was in the field from February 18 to February 21. On February 19, the top six Democrats appeared at a debate in Las Vegas. Because of that, the pollsters broke out interviews they conducted before the debate and those they conducted after it. In the pre-debate sample, Biden led Sanders by 10. In the post-debate sample, the two candidates were dead even. That suggests momentum was moving in Sanders’ direction even before he won a surprisingly sweeping victory in the Nevada caucuses on Saturday…

    Should Sanders score the upset, it would end Biden’s campaign — whether or not the former vice president chose to acknowledge that fact. And with a weakened (or non-existent) Biden on Super Tuesday and beyond, Sanders would likely become the landing place for many black voters. Which, when combined with his support among white and Latino voters, woud make him incredibly difficult to beat in the Democratic nomination fight.

  10. Grant

    My mind is blown. Who in the world looks at Biden and thinks he is the guy to support and take on Trump? I get the emotional attachment to Obama and the impact of propaganda, but damn.

      1. chuckster

        You can’t blame the African-American voters.They repay loyalty. After all, it was Joe Biden who gave up his seat so that Rosa Parks could sit down after a long day of work. If you don’t believe me, ask Nelson Mandela

        1. flora

          I know Biden is past his A-game; probably past his C-game. But I kinda understand his confused ‘Mandela’ and other bogus civil rights claims as someone who still knows the important markers for whatever audience he’s addressing and makes them – no matter how addled or false. He still does this act with the ‘lovable goof’ campaign persona that’s brought him a long way. I can kinda even imagine the target audience would appreciate the recognition he gives to their important markers, as if he hears them and lifts them up by that recognition. (Unless they’re a white audiences, which he’s ruthless with if they aren’t buying what he’s selling.) Kinda like listening to your great uncle recognizing your important issues instead of insisting on his importance because he fought in ‘the Great War’. It’s a great act, imo. Really, could any other candidate pull this off? I don’t think so. And like an older and fading relative, you give him time -b ut not necessarily your vote, when it comes down to it. imo.

          1. Darthbobber

            Well, this is a guy who, 32 years younger than now, changed details of his life story to match the speech he was plagiarizing rather than doing it the other way round.

  11. allan

    Esteemed epidemiologist Larry Kudlow speaks:

    Coronavirus so far contained in U.S. -White House economic adviser [Reuters]

    U.S. public health officials are preparing for any eventuality regarding the impact of coronavirus in the United States, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Tuesday, adding the virus has so far been contained in the country.

    “This is very tightly contained in the U.S.,” Kudlow told CNBC in an interview, adding any such emergency planning does not mean an outbreak of the virus will come to pass in the United States.

    Exactly the person you want making public health pronouncements. Take that, CDC deep state.

      1. allan

        By way of Matt Yglesias, a golden oldie from Kudlow.
        Wayback Machine, take us to June 26, 2002:

        The economy is doing fine but the stock market is slumping. So far, the blame has rightly been placed on corporate corruption, dishonest accounting practices, and some ill-advised protectionist trade moves by the Bush administration. But these, it seems, are only partly to blame.

        A worrisome USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll reveals that only one in three Americans believe the U.S. is now winning the war on terrorism, with a full half saying the war is at a stalemate. Compare this with last January, when two-thirds of the country said the U.S. was winning the war.

        Could it be that a lack of decisive follow-through in the global war on terrorism is the single biggest problem facing the stock market and the nation today? I believe it is. …

        In his key war speeches thus far — the axis-of-evil designation before Congress, the first-strike-preemption speech at West Point, and this week’s Palestine-directed statement of institution-building through the principles of freedom — Bush has kept democracy and a market economy central to solving this world terrorism crisis. But statements of principle only go so far. The spirit and security of the United States now require the instrument of war.

        The shock therapy of decisive war will elevate the stock market by a couple-thousand points. We will know that our businesses will stay open, that our families will be safe, and that our future will be unlimited. The world will be righted in this life-and-death struggle to preserve our values and our civilization. But to do all this, we must act.

        Kick their a**, grab their gas, goose the Nas.

      2. Duck1

        The CDC is preparing strategic stockpiles of red and black spray paint in order to be able to apply plague crosses to the doors of the victims.

    1. rd

      Re: “He may owe thousands”

      The system is set up for a whole bunch of people who get infected to not go to the hospital. That should help with containment. They will be able to stand in the White House and say there are very few cases reported.

      1. albrt

        As Richard North said yesterday “But should the coronavirus lodge itself in North America, with the primitive and predatory healthcare system in the States, some pundits argue that an epidemic there would be unstoppable.”

    2. JBird4049

      I think that irony, satire, and even the fine art of Blarney is dead. Larry Kudlow has been wrong about everything economic for at least the two decades I have been reading his “writings,” which are my anti-lodestone of accuracy for as soon as he predicts something, I assumge the opposite. This method has never failed me and yet Mr Kudlow has had a lucrative and “respectable” career as a courtier, and not a jester, of the Professional Managerial Class. God help us.

  12. clarky90

    Re; “I wonder how this app would be calibrated to the activities of an investment banker, or an oil executive”….

    Or wealthy uber-climate-activists? For instance, Prince Charles, Albert Gore, Leonardo DiCaprio…..?

  13. inode_buddha

    Debates: I’m going to be hosting an alcohol recovery meeting tonight (I do this every Tues.) so I’ll be back for the comments after 9 PM. I wish to thank everyone in advance who can watch and comment or report the big hits. I’m grateful that I have a good reason not to attend. Hoping and praying that Sanders makes some big scores and Bloomberg flames out.

      1. ahimsa

        European reader here, so usually I read NC debate comments the next day.

        If it’s okay, I’d like to also recommend a very funny sartirical commentary(pro-Bernie) I also check out from “Nate’s Liver Commentary” on Twitter.

      2. inode_buddha

        Thank you, Lambert. Some of the reactions are hilarious, too. (my own reactions would get me banned, so I keep them to myself. Imagine a cross between Bobcat Goldthwaite and Andrew Dice Clay)

  14. Baby Gerald

    “Warren Buffett says ‘I’m a Democrat,’ and would have ‘no trouble’ voting for Bloomberg”

    Reuters is trying to out-Onion The Onion.

      1. Big River Bandido

        I don’t understand it either. We should ask all those self-identified Democrats why they want to vote for Bloomberg.

        1. Lil’D

          The local sample likes him:
          Because he’s not ideological, rather, seems “solution “ oriented. Ie a technocrat
          And on paper many of his policy positions are “ok”
          E.g. Guns, abortion…
          And they think he can steward the economy

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Thanks for this! I highly recommend this podcast. Not only is their history great, though they would only claim to be storytellers, their voices are so soothing I can fall asleep them.

      1. skk

        I’ll check it out then.. I’ve listened (and like you fall asleep to ) to many,many lectures on the US Civil War. For Gettysburg this Park Ranger, Matt Atkinson with the National Park Service is my goto when I need to fall asleep. Here’s an example : Little Round Top – Ranger Matt Atkinson


  15. David Carl Grimes

    MSM is in Full Bernie Freakout Mode. This is just a sample of articles from my feed.

    Vote for Bernie, Elect Trump

    New Survey Suggests Bernie Can Win Only With Enormous Youth Turnout

    The Price of a Sanders Nomination – we will lose the House

    Bernie Sanders Is George McGovern
    The similarities between 2020 and 1972 are too astonishing to ignore. But there’s one big difference

    1. a different chris

      Meanwhile, those who can’t seem to learn anything, let alone from history, are doomed to repeat it:



      …and for a summary…


      It’s 5 states, people. Five. We know how the other 45 are gonna go.

    2. Grant

      What blows my mind is how little the media and these people have done to build up trust among the public. The media is hated, and these people have been in power as the country has fallen apart. And, every policy they have long pushed for has made most people worse off in the long run, but benefited these very people. It would be one thing if they built up trust, had good records, supported good policies, but they haven’t. So, who does this work on but those that already agree with them? The future is far more terrifying if we don’t change things than the social democratic policies Bernie is offering.

      On a personal level, I wanted Bernie to do well so these people could lose their marbles. I intensely dislike them all and am enjoying seeing them freak out. I want Bernie to win because I want him to win, but I also want to figuratively punch these people in the mouth and take them on. They only have power because of how corrupt this system is, and they have little societal worth. So, let’s cut the parasites off from the host. See who cares about what any of them think if they can’t latch onto a system that no longer works for most people.

      1. Adam1

        At this point I think the more the elite freak out the more damage they do to themselves. Especially on 2 fronts:
        1) There are so many people who see Bernie as great but so certain he can’t get elected. The more the elite freak out the more they tell these people their wrong and Bernie can get elected.
        2) Most of their freaking out proves the hypocrisy of it all. At some point it will be evident to all that we’ve long ago jump that shark and the elite really are wearing no cloths and are just trying to run off with our money and democracy,

      2. Drake

        It’s staggering to me to think back only 8 years and realize how far we’ve come from Obama vs Romney, or Twiddle-Dee vs Twiddle-Dum, if you could tell them apart at all. The Republican Party has basically been razed and remade (from one flavor of odious to another, admittedly) and now it looks like the Democrats have something similar in store.

        “On a personal level, I wanted Bernie to do well so these people could lose their marbles. I intensely dislike them all and am enjoying seeing them freak out.”

        That was pretty much why I went with Trump in 2016, at least once Bernie was railroaded in the primaries, and haven’t been disappointed. If they’re running against each other this year I’m going to have a hard time choosing. On the one hand I’d like to see the Democrats wander in the wilderness for 40 years after the self-centered madness they’ve inflicted on us the last few years, and on the other I think Bernie will cause more woe to the status quo than another four years of Trump will. I’m hoping he leaves the Democratic Party a smoking crater. But they both offer such promise of chaos I may not bother voting.

        For what it’s worth, I respect Sanders tremendously, but would not vote for him based on his policies because there isn’t a snowball’s chance in hell that he’ll manage to bring any of them about, so I’m pretty much relishing the carnage and see little to separate Trump and Sanders in this regard. I’m pretty much in ‘watch the world burn’ mode at this point.

        1. judy2shoes

          Obama vs Romney, or Twiddle-Dee vs Twiddle-Dum, if you could tell them apart at all

          Obama was the one with no canine baggage strapped to his car roof. That’s how I told them apart…

        2. Grant

          “there isn’t a snowball’s chance in hell that he’ll manage to bring any of them about”

          The world IS burning because of this mentality. The 40 hour work week, overtime pay, safe working conditions, child labor laws, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, voting and civil rights, among other things, were won because people did in fact imagine another world and organized towards that. No bit of progress, ever, anywhere, was just given to people. We have a healthcare system that is the most inefficient and deadly in the developed world, and an environmental crisis that cannot be addressed with the capitalist system. The capitalist system is the key driver in the crisis. So, if the system doesn’t put in place those changes, we need to take it on and push for those things. I am sick to death of people having this mentality.

          No one expects Bernie to come into office and wave a magic wand. He will have to fight those in power. But HE won’t get anything done, because politicians never do. People will have to get involved and active, and remove those in power that are standing in the way. That won’t happen overnight. But we don’t start to at least move in that direction unless we have someone that wants to get us there in power, and so he can at least start us on another trajectory by working with people on the ground, who will need to lead, no follow. That is what Reagan did (for the worse), and what FDR did. But, given the environmental crisis, we don’t have as much time.

          If you want to watch the world burn, do nothing. That’s where we are heading. I’m not a lemming.

    3. hunkerdown

      Bernie Sanders is a fake reformer put up by the DNC to regain control of the Party and who will chase after the Establishment’s favor like a dog chases cars? Fascinating.

      1. chuckster

        Bernie Sanders is a fake reformer put up by the DNC to regain control of the Party

        We will know the accuracy of this assessment right after the Dem convention. If Bernie endorses whatever crawls out of the slime in Milwaukee, I may join that club myself.

        1. Carey

          I sure wasn’t happy with his “we’re taking it all the way to the Convention!”
          fundraising emails in 2016, to which I probably stupidly responded with money then; but for now, he’s leagues better than anyone around.

          Agree that Milwaukee and its upshots will be interesting.

    4. clarky90

      20% of novel Coronavirus19 sufferers get very sick and require specialist hospital treatment. In my country, NZ, that would be completely free, unless you wanted “the latest wonder, breakthrough, innovative, disruptive drug/therapy”. You would have pay for that, or fly to Mexico etc

      Patients are typically hospitalized for the Coronavirus for a week or two or three. What will this do to the “so called”, USAian health system? The “kind” insurance companies? Imagine the debts…..(trespasses against us… and deliver us from the evil one….)

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        Even without hospitalization debts how will the many people here in the U.S. living from paycheck-to-paycheck pay their rent and credit card minimums if they work at restaurants or bars if the virus shuts down them down for a while? Jobs here are iffy but rent and the bills are not.

    5. hunkerdown

      David Frum and his neoliberal fellow-travelers are afraid of their careers dying in a House fire? Bwahahah.

      Adding to my slightly delayed comment, can anyone who was incarnated as a human at the time speak to the veracity of Walter Karp’s claim that:

      “A ‘hack’ himself,” as his friend and biographer Robert Sam Anson rightly observed, McGovern, when he saw the party bosses run away from him, could think of nothing better than hot pursuit. Were he a different kind of man, the bosses, of course, would not have nominated him.

      In other words, was it true that McGovern ran in the primary as a reformer (such as he was) and ran to the right in the general?

    6. Darthbobber

      The McGovern parallels are less impressive to anybody who actually remembers the 72 campaign. The McGovern committee was set up by the democrats to reform the process after 68, so McGovern was running under rules designed with himself in mind.

      Attributing Biden’s weakness to the Trimester attack? Please.

      “front-runner” Muskie was largely touted as that by the media. Also from a state every bit as white as McGovern’s.

      I don’t recall McGovern steadily leading in general election focused polling, either, though memory may be faulty.

      What I clearly DO recall are “I’m behind Tom Eagleton 1,000 percent”, and “I would go on my knees to Hanoi”, two moments I have confidence that Sanders will produce no equivalent of.

  16. Mark Gisleson

    I’ve been avoiding Kpop for quite a while but CL put out a video, ‘Hello Bitches’, that’s worth a trip to YouTube for. I’m not seeing a lot of politics in her stuff (which doesn’t mean ‘Doctor Pepper’ isn’t fun!) but this one video alone deserves some respect however much it may owe to M.I.A. [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8o4Zj98FeX4]

    I’ve got BTS’s ‘Map of the Soul’ on right now and it sounds to this non-Korean speaker like an average hip hop/soul record. Then I checked out YouTube and correct me if I’m wrong, but this BTS video seems to be covering the same ground (alienation) from a very different angle: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PV1gCvzpSy0

    Culturally I’m somewhat reminded of the early ’80s and the more political ‘new wave’ artists but I’d love to see a take from someone who knows Kpop.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I’ve been avoiding Kpop

      I don’t think I’m ever going to be a fan or a listener, but it’s serious music, as serious as MoTown, say, and enormously popular. So I feel I should understand it as a cultural phenomenon. Also, the dancing is extraordinary. All the performers also seem to be as Instagram-ready as a human being can possibly be. Not of course that rock stars were ever about surface appearances…

      1. Procopius

        All the performers also seem to be as Instagram-ready as a human being can possibly be.

        The production company trains them for years before their first public performance. I looked up some articles on a group called Black Pink and they were in training for something like three years before their opening. Curiously, they’re all from extremely rich families. Surprised they have the self-discipline to tolerate that.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      I think Psy’s Gangnam Style beats “Parasite” as a social satire and Psy’s dance moves are very creative.

  17. Henry Moon Pie

    CNBC is panicking as badly as MSNBC. Things already have the feel to me of October, ’08 when the entire PMC was dazed and confused outside of a few of those pinko blogs ;). With what may be a very large audience listening tonight, it will be reassuring to hear from ever-more-Presidential Sanders tonight even if he has to slay a few more dragons while he’s calming us down.

    1. Carey

      The more the Sanders’s colleagues attack him at tonight’s debate, the better he’ll do in
      the eyes of the People. Quite a conundrum for the soft-handed set (Hey, Rahm!) ..

  18. Lost in OR

    On this mornings links I was confronted by a survey (ad?) for Mayor Pete. His handsome visage brought to mind a twisted blast from the past, and perhaps the perfect moniker…


    1. polecat

      Found a Mikey uh .. er .. ‘advert’ in the street box yesterday. Didn’t open it .. neither did I want to curse the recycling bin .. so I it brought it carefully indoors. Holding it by the corners .. fingertips only, I said the rights .. and promply tossed it into the firebox of the woodstove.
      Did I pollute needlessly ?

  19. Wukchumni

    How screwed is the cruise ship biz?

    How about a week on a cruise ship, and you get free open bar and can bring your kids along for free, for just $202.

    Not many places you can have room and board for less than $30 a day!


    1. Watt4Bob

      They’re reaching the point where local social workers will be advising the homeless to take a cruise.

      A couple days of panhandling, and then a week of warm bed, 3 squares, and hot showers.

      1. Wukchumni

        I suspect cruise ships will be repurposed as floating hospitals as Covid-19 looms, and the cruise lines will get their usual grandido for a week’s cruise.

  20. Lambert Strether Post author

    I added Sanders (D)(3), which is a lawsuit brought to disqualify Sanders from the Florida Primary (“He’s not a real Democrat”). Comments from legal eagles in the readership welcome1

    1. Romancing The Loan

      It just vaguely cites “Florida law” (not even a statute!) to try to get the court to direct the actions of what is (according to the rulings over the 2016 primaries anyway) ultimately a private organization. Doesn’t even say why Sanders shouldn’t be considered a Democrat, though it uses “clearly” a lot. IMO it doesn’t look like a serious filing at all. I’m a public defender (appeals), but I’ve done a little plaintiff personal injury law.

      1. orlbucfan

        Florida is such a national joke politically that there’s no reason why some yahoo can’t pull a stunt like this one. Where did this ‘person’ get their ‘law degree’? 7-11? Sure looks like it.

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        With Trump salivating (okay, drooling) in anticipation of a repeat of Nixon’s victory over McGovern, I bet all his good toadies will make sure Bernie is on every ballot.

      2. a different chris

        I suspect it’s outside of the fed courts jurisdiction.

        Funny what remnants of the Articles of Confederacy there are, between the couch pillows and under the rug.

    2. John Anthony La Pietra

      Well, this is just one paragraph of the complaint. The rest of the filing may give more details. (Does anyone have a case number, court name, parties, etc.?

      What strikes me offhand from this is that they’re aiming at the Tom Perez one-man nuclear option of declaring Sanders not a good enough Democrat to be the party’s nominee, no matter how many votes or delegates he wins under the other rules.

      1. John Anthony La Pietra

        Oops . . . in too much of a hurry, didn’t see the link given to the complaint. The rest doesn’t specify any particular part of Florida law violated — and here the DNC’s operating as a private corporation under agreement (= contract) with Sanders and the other candidates.

    3. marym

      Here are some links from a web surfer with no legal eagle credentials:

      A bit more background, including:

      Juan Peñalosa, executive director of the Florida Democratic Party, called the lawsuit “ridiculous.”

      “The Florida Democratic Party Executive Committee voted unanimously to place Sen. Sanders on the Florida ballot,” he said in an email. “Votes cast for the senator are valid and must be counted.”


      A general news item about the ballots, and who’s on and not (some interesting non-Sanders related items)
      which also states “The parties themselves get to decide who the candidates are in primary elections…”

      2 links to FL Dept of State, the first indicating the parties decide, and the second (PDF) a letter from FL Dems with the decision

    4. Goyo Marquez

      “The only fair and equitable way for plaintiffs to not have their voting rights…”????

      Obviously drafted by some elitely credentialed lawyer.

      Demurrer for failure to state a cause of action.

  21. Carl

    Billionaires like their tax exempt status.
    They want to destroy any candidate who threatens them.

    That’s why The Washington Post, owned by the planet’s richest man, whose business pays zero taxes, and other Billionaire owned media, planted the zero evidence based
    “Bernie is a Russian agent story.”

    What’s interesting is that they include Trump in that. They would prefer a CIA, Wall Street plant like Buttigieg, Bloomberg or Klobuchar to even Trump, who they might feel is out of their control. Trump voters, to make life interesting, vote for Sanders in the primary.

    1. inode_buddha

      Perhaps someone should seriously ask billionaires why shouldn’t *everyone* be tax exempt like them?

      I wonder what would the answers be?

      1. a different chris

        They would love that. Then you would need them to finance police, to finance the fire department, to lord over you in every possible way.

      2. Efmo

        A long time ago I remember reading an article (and I apologize I have no clue who the ‘expert’ quoted in the article was now) that argued for a total shift to a consumption based tax system and that regular income – at least wages and salaries – should not be taxed at all. The opinion was you should only tax (mainly I guess) what you want to discourage and why would you want to discourage those? Maybe he was a libertarian, but being a working stiff, my ears perked up at that part of the article, at least. Lol, I’d love for your question to be asked tonight!

  22. Plenue

    “Though one should never underestimate the perfidy of the corporate punditry, it’s possible that these strip workers, together with Nevada’s broader multiracial working class, may have finally put the ‘Bernie Bro’ myth out of its misery.”

    Trust me, it hasn’t, at least among the low-information diehards. They’re rationalizing that this was either just a fluke in Nevada (‘only’ 105,00 voters showed up; clearly this won’t translate to voting preferences in other states) or the Kremlin is ‘interfering’ somehow.

    1. a different chris

      >‘only’ 105,00 voters showed up

      Isn’t it funny how they can say that, after weeks of rubbing their chins and trying to look intelligent over polls with less than 1/100 that many participants?

    2. Jen

      Heh. I remember 2016 when the running jokes about “small states” “mostly white” “next to vermont” were the excuse as Bernie started racking up the delegates. I mean, if two states both abut the Canadian border, they’re right next to each other, right?

      1. flora

        It the small states vote the way the Dem estab & punditocracy want them to vote then they’re reported as the sensible, calm, rational bellwethers for the nation.

        If the small states vote against the way the Dem estab & punditocracies want them to vote then they’re reported as too small, too white, and relics of a bygone era, and to be discounted as anything other than a quaint anachronism. heh.

        (By the way, why do both Pete and hizzoner’s podium signs use the same blue/white/yellow color schema? ‘Pete’ and ‘Mike” are in yellow graphics, like a candy bar advertisement. Are Pete and Mike on the same ‘ team’? heh. )

  23. Daryl

    > Bloomberg (D)(2): Where’s the lie?

    I assume the intended effect of this tweet is not to make me root for the graffiti artists, but that’s exactly what I’m doing. I feel good that society at large is not falling for this con.

  24. deplorado

    >> Russia’s Favorites. pic.twitter.com/hNFHl65Csm

    No. America’s favorites, stupid.
    For a reason.

  25. Wellstone's Ghost

    I guess we know now what Obama meant when he said, “Joe, you don’t have to do this.”
    It is completely irresponsible and dangerous that the DNC is taking advantage of a clearly impaired Joe Biden to muddy the primary.

    1. Daryl

      Biden has reliably deflated in every contest so far. Will be interesting to see how totally empty his support is this time.

      1. Plenue

        I suspect Biden will still get first place in South Carolina, though by far less than if they had voted even just a month ago. Sanders will get a comfortable second place. After that, Biden is done. He’s apparently done little to no prep work in the Super Tuesday states. Winning SC might give him some boost, but that’ll be against Sanders three prior wins.

        I always suspected there wasn’t much to Biden’s real support (he’s just so ludicrously bad, even in just the most shallow, PR optics sense), but the extent he’s collapsed, or was never really strong to begin with, is staggering.

  26. Lina

    So CDC warned of inevitable spread of Corona to US and to “prepare”. I’ve already stocked up on meds, shelf milk, non perishable food, soap, cleaner, etc etc. How else are the good folks here on NC preparing for this? I have to admit, I am quite worried. My partner works in a University (I hope they are smart enough to cancel school if this reaches our area) and I also have a young daughter in kindergarten (and while kids seem to not be super impacted, all those little germs freak me out).

    1. JacobiteInTraining

      Do you happen to live in a civilized part of the US that has legalized marijuana? If so, get yerself a few ounces. If not…get yerself a few ounces. Probably good to get a few jugs of 151 proof rum and/or Everclear. For medicinal purposes only, of course. (if you are into it, those huge tubs of Tang make passable mixer, Crystal Light for special occasions)

      Media: Get as many downloaded movies/tvshows/etc as you can, stored on local hard drives if/when Internet goes out. 2TB portable USB 3 drives are reasonably cheap, and its always good to have some shows to fixate your eyes on. Books too, of course, but any kids prob prefer vids.

      Other then that you sound like you are in good shape. 25 lb bag of rice, 25 lb bag of beans, 25 lb bag of oats, maybe a bunch of dried fruits for panache – adjusted up in quantity to fit those additional peeps you suspect will be with you in the household – and its all good. Even if no zombie apocalypse you can still store it and eat it in the future in some tasty home cooked meals.

      Oh, be sure to get a cheap multi-fuel camp stove, (not propane because…who wants to store months worth of propane tanks eh?) …and enough sealed gallon cans of white gas to power it such that you can fire up your own ‘hot brown and plenty of it’ food goulash for the weeks of quarantine….just in case power goes out.

      Not a bad idea to get one of those ceramic-filter (.5 micron or smaller to get rid of giardia/cryptosporidia)
      kit thingies that you can attach to your own 5-gallon bucket to filter water.

      And in the end…..if the worst proves not to occur, you are ready for any natural disasters that may occur anyways. :)

      1. Lina

        That’s what we figure – it will be good in a hurricane (we live on the coast in New England).

        Do you all think we’re going to lose power and internet, etc? My partner mentioned that (and he’s not one to panic), but why would that happen? We’re not looking at a natural weather disaster….?

        1. Wukchumni

          The best way to stop our country in its tracks, would be to stop selling gasoline. If Covid-19 gets to a bad stage, we could well see that happening, and presumably somebody must’ve turned the internet on at some point, not hard to turn it off, plenty of countries have done so. (says the guy that is completely befuddled by computers)

        2. JacobiteInTraining

          Nah, I doubt it. I mean, a quarantine just keeps people inside, I dont think even in the hardest hit areas of Wuhan and environs that the basic infrastructure is being left alone…neglected…to turn off.

          Don’t get me wrong – I don’t think there is *any* reason to panic about all this…just incumbant upon us to be prepared with enough necessities to be able to live through a long quarantine in something like passable style.

          My grandparents lived through the 1919 flu pandemic just fine, though yeah…some of their friends didn’t….but civilization didn’t end, the second coming didn’t come, & cats and dogs didn’t start living together.

          Its just (when it comes to preparing for contingencies) it is good to…well, plan for a variety of different contingencies. :)

          1. Lina

            What is most worrisome is when this all starts to unfold in the States, how it will be handled. People are so incredibly dumb on a good day. On a bad day? It’s going to be a nightmare. People won’t know how to handle it. That gives me the jitters.

            1. JacobiteInTraining

              A great man once said “Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.”. Makes you think, and based upon the worst-case scenes you see sometimes played out on the ‘if it bleeds it leads’ media…might make you really pessimistic.

              But in every big scary issue, natural disaster, or otherwise freaky situation I have ever personally been in….and I have been in more then my share over 53 years…I was both surprised and impressed at how that same ‘average person’ steadied their nerves, (maybe after an initial instinct to panic and go all weak in the knees) but ultimately got that steely-eyed ‘I can do this!’ look, pulled together, pooled resources, and just flat out _cared_ for their fellow people.

              That’s my story and I’m sticking to it! :)

              1. Monty

                When I was younger there were fuel delivery strikes in the UK. By the time I knew what was going on, there was no gas at the pumps, and the supermarkets were cleared out by hoarders. Luckily they didnt last that long.

                In the US, I predict the hellhole in the Louisiana Super Dome is what it will be like everywhere after the SHTF.

              2. Anthony G Stegman

                Was this before the Age of Trump? If yes, all bets are off. People are far meaner these days.

            2. Amfortas the hippie

              “People won’t know how to handle it”

              this is the biggest danger,imo.
              if it goes pandemic, or if it “just” screws up the global supply lines, people will freak.
              cousin is certainly freaking.
              he’s in Houston.
              His cousin is a cop of 25 years…and they had an all hands meeting monday.
              my cousin said his cousin, who is usually cool as shrimp, is as grim as he’s ever seen him…wouldn’t spill any details about the meeting, but told him to get on out of town.
              my third hand gist is that it’s the panic that is currently the biggest worry.
              being who he is, he wanted to stock up on ammo,lol.
              so he calls me today, wigging that everywhere he goes they’re out of ammo(!!).
              i told him to forget that(we have…ummm…plenty of ammo,lol)…and go forth and obtain quantities of tylenol, ibuprofin, immodium and loose tobacco.
              and fluid and flints for the zippo to light fires(flint and steel suck when it’s cold)
              otherwise, we’re good to go out here, for at least 6 months, comfortable…indefinitely ,not so comfortably.
              an informed and resourceful person can survive out here forever…lots of things to eat just growing wild. and i can look out my bedroom window and see about 300 barbado sheep,lol.

              i’ll be picking up several gallons of kerosene for the lamps tomorrow.
              and, FYI, i think this is the best water filter on the planet:https://www.bigberkeywaterfilters.com/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIqNma2uvt5wIVzcDACh34pQw8EAAYASAAEgJuYPD_BwE

              if i were in the city…or the burbs!…i’d be less sanguine.
              what i worry the most about right now is the pharma my wife relies on…FOLFIRI and several antinausea drugs.
              and the fact that i take her every two weeks to san antonio, into an oncology clinic, wherein everyone is immunocompromised.
              OTH, like i told my cousin…that month we spent in the hospital, i wandered at all hours.
              without a pandemic, they had a night cleaning crew washing walls and ceilings with some smelly chemical…all of them…every other night.
              that’s sort of encouraging.
              above all, keep calm…let the others lose their minds.

    2. farragut

      Since the bird flu scare, we’ve adhered to the Mormon philosophy of having a year’s worth if food & sundries carefully stored in our basement. Most of it dried or freeze-dried. The freeze-dried stuff is supposed to last a minimum of 20 years. Hope we never find out… ?

      1. Wukchumni

        I have some Mountain House freeze-dried meals that are good until 2047.

        That said, i’d hate to eat only freeze-dried meals for a month or longer. A week on the trail of eating them is about all I can take. Canned food tastes better and is a lot cheaper, in my opinion.

    3. Wukchumni

      Don’t forget to get enough food for your pets. I realized the other day we didn’t have nearly as much as needed, and fixed that.

      1. Shonde

        I started ordering bags of dry dog food for my 2 OES and now have over a month’s supply, 4 24 pound bags. Next I’ll start getting a supply of treats.

        How long will your supply last so I can get an idea of what others are thinking is sufficient?

        I do have 23 cans of dog food my dogs did not like. I was going to donate it to the Humane Society but wonder how it tastes if I get desperate?

    4. Samuel Conner

      This is a rather unpalatable austerity food, and possibly (depending on the specific kind) not all that great for one’s long-term health, but …

      Cooking oil has something like 30,000 calories per gallon. Blend it in liberally with your carb calorie sources to stretch them out.

      Corn or soybean oils may not be the best (something about omega ratios), and olive is highly expensive. Perhaps Canola is a good middle ground.

      It never spoils and may be burnable in suitably modified diesel engines. (that last is tongue in cheek, though I think I have read that some old farm tractors could run on vegetable oil, though there was lacquer build up over time)

      It might make sense to have liberal amounts of alcohol on hand, either isopropanol or more imbibable dual use kinds. It appears to be a useful fast-acting disinfectant.

      Some hand sanitisers have 50+% alcohol. Have a good bit of that on hand for use when out of doors. I

      Damn; it feels like Y2K again, but this time for real.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        to use any kind of vegetable oil in a diesel engine, you hafta add wood alcohol, or it will gum up the works.
        in a pinch(to get the hell outta dodge) you can mix a little regular diesel in it.
        better to bone up on this sort of thing beforehand.
        this used to be peanut country, and had our own peanut plant and everything.
        so this information can be heard around the old man’s table at the feed store.

    5. Lina

      Don’t forget prescription meds – I just ordered 3 more months of my thyroid medication so I’ll have about 7 months stockpiled. I’m thinking about asking for some more anxiety medicine too!

      And cash, yes?

      I’m almost there, but need to get some more stuff and it seems like soon. Something in my gut, from the get go, told me this was out of the ordinary. I’m glad I listened to that because I’ve been slowly stashing away supplies over the past month or so…. i feel like a squirrel.

      1. Wukchumni

        I’ve mentioned this before, we keep around $777 worth of canned/dry food on hand as insurance against something wicked this way coming, and we eat very little of it (just looking @ trays of cans of Spaghettios is a little off putting) and about a year after the use-by dates come & go we donate it all to our local food bank, turning our insurance policy into a gift for the less fortunate in our community.

        Then its time to go out and buy another $777 worth, Jackpot!

        1. FreeMarketApologist

          My neighbor, who volunteers at our local food bank (upstate NY), advises that they are very strict about the expiration dates on goods (fresh or canned), and they won’t give out items that are past their expiration date. She recognizes that most of the stuff is perfectly fine, but those are the rules of the bank, so they’re vigilant about rotating stock, and checking donations.

          The key to stockpiled food is to stockpile stuff you use and like, and can use in a crisis, and replace it as promptly as you use it. Dried beans have a nearly indefinite shelf life, while many grains are fine for several years.

    6. Lambert Strether Post author

      > soap, cleaner

      Plenty of hand soap, plus for cleaner, rubbing alcohol (70%+) and bleach (in addition to the usual sort of household cleaner). Cotton swabs, pads. If one must touch one’s face, handkerchiefs or possibly socks.

      1. Shonde

        Anyone know if washing in hot water would kill the virus? Thinking handkerchiefs, socks, towels etc in addition to any clothes that might be exposed if you have to go out.

        1. marieann

          As far as I know hand washing done in cold water will kill viruses. It is the soap and the friction….at least this is what I was told by an infection control nurse when I complained about some of the patients rooms not having hot water.

      2. chuckster

        Just went to the store and a 20 oz bottle of rubbing alcohol that was 92 cents last week is now selling for $2.48. Never let a crisis go to waste.

        1. katiebird

          My parents washed their hands with Everclear the last 10 years of their lives. It is much easier on the skin for elderly people (they died at ages 97 and 94) and their doctor said is was great for killing bacteria. We used olive oil dispensers at every sink to hold it.

          We never asked about viruses.

          The guys at the liquor store always thought it was hilarious when I came in to buy 2 gallons at a time.

          We decided to pick up another couple of gallons for us this time.

        2. Kurtismayfield

          Just use dilute bleach to ten percent.. very germicidal. It kills Hep and HIV at that strength. I would not use it on exposed cuts though.

      3. John

        I am supposed to be leading a student tour to Europe in mid-March. Any odds as to whether that is actually going to happen?

    7. WobblyTelomeres

      If you have a gas vehicle, keep it filled and have a means of getting gas from the tank (cheap toolstore siphon pump or just a length of hose if you don’t mind the splash). We lost power for a week from a tornado. A little generator kept the refrigerated food cold (along with powering the tv/radio and coffee pot) for a week as long as we minimized opening and closing the doors.

      1. Shonde

        I have lots of small portable solar lighting devices that I purchased for use when I lived in California. They were inexpensive so buy while you can for use in case of electricity loss.

        I am guessing a months supply of needs is enough. Others thoughts would be appreciated.

        1. Wukchumni

          Headlamps are very useful, and an Eveready one from HD or Lowe’s with batteries included will set you back $10-20.

          And while we’re at it, batteries. You’ll need a bunch.

          Funny thing I saw @ Wal*Mart yesterday, they had Kodak brand AA’s made in Mexico, 20 for $2.99.

          My, how a great name has fallen.

          1. Wukchumni

            In lieu of a stove, a friend takes along a Kelly Kettle on backpack trips…

            The Kelly Kettle boils water outdoors in just 3 – 5 minutes using just a handful of fuel such as sticks, Pine cones, Birch bark, Dry grass, etc.


  27. Cuibono

    “Our public health system is not, fortunately…. ”
    Umm , you might want to reassess that statement. We are not even capable of doing the tests yet in most every state.
    and then this :

    But dont fear, Martial law coming soon:
    Just the excuse the State has long awaited to take away even more rights that Americans wouldn’t accept under “normal” conditions. If you think the govt is here to keep you safe and healthy, you need a history lesson.
    Quote Tweet
    ABC News
    · 54m
    Americans should prepare for “significant disruptions” to their lives from coronavirus, CDC says. https://abcn.ws/2wFqsca

  28. a different chris

    >Kinda weird to lie about being arrested with Nelson Mandela but idk

    It’s not a lie if you truly believe it – George Constanza

    1. Samuel Conner

      This is a weird thought, but I have had the experience of memories of recurrent dreams/nightmares that, if I am not careful, become somewhat confused with memories of actual events. I have to intentionally remember that ‘what I am remembering took place in a dream state, and not in real life’ (and this is not lucid dreaming, an intriguing concept, just dreams that I happen to have remembered).

      It has been suggested that JB exhibits evidence of cognitive decline. Perhaps he believes the things he is saying. Maybe his self-concept is that he is an heroic civil rights crusader, and memories accommodate self-concept.

  29. Carey

    I’m *really* interested to see whether Biden’s vaunted SC support is really there.
    The debate should be “fun”, too.

    1. Samuel Conner

      I’ve been hiding from presidential debates ever since the appalling experience of hearing Gerald Ford assert that Poland was not under the domination of the Soviet Union.

      But South Carolina seems sufficiently important for the progress of Sanders’ “political revolution” that I may have to listen in. But I’ll have YouTube cued to something more soothing, such as Murray Gold’s “Doomsday”, in case I can’t take it.

      1. Carey

        Last week’s debate was really pretty good, and I do plan to watch tonight’s.
        Agree with having some fallback viewing available, though. ;)

  30. a different chris

    And when you say, “Close to 1 billion of the world’s 7 billion people have no access to electricity, and their governments are not going to be satisfied with that situation”—what “situation” are you talking about? Because no one is proposing that those 7 billion people don’t get to have electricity if we solve climate change. Why are you implying they are?

    And she didn’t even point out — those 1 billion are the ones that would have no freaking problem at all with great Boogeyman of “intermittancy”.

    How stupid do they think we are? They are Gish Galloping at this point.

    1. Carey

      “If we jail the Banksters, does that end racism?”, paraphrasing HRH HRC.

      The natives are getting very restless..

    1. JTMcPhee

      There’s a pet emergency practice here that I unfortunately have had to patronize recently. My older dog, an Italian greyhound, started having breathing difficulties. I rushed him to this place, they grabbed him and took him “in the back,” then a salesperson masquerading as a vet tech canoe out and took me to the kind of office where car salesmen take you to work you over and ‘close the deal.’ He presented a “treatment plan” that included three-axis x-rays, IV meds, an EKG and a bunch of other stuff, adding up to about $700. I was pretty sure Bosun was dying, and analogizing to humans (I was a nurse) it looked like a pulmonary embolism. The guy said they had to get started with Lasix. They already had him in an oxygen enclosure, because he was in no condition to be intubated or fitted with a mask. Of course I could not deny my 11-year-old friend the chance at some more life, so I signed up, including consent-to-treat. A short while later, another lady tech came out and said I should come back because Bosun had “taken a turn for the worse” when they were manipulating him to try to get x-ray views. He was lying on his side in the oxygen enclosure, pupils dilated, doing what’s called “agonal breathing,” tongue darkened and hanging out of his mouth, a little bloody saliva on the sheet. Obviously on the way out. But they had to take one more shot at a billable function, while I was crying — “He’s suffering, do you want us to put him down?” So the bolused his IV with a sedative, and then a big slug of I believe phenobarbital, and the respiratory effort finally stopped. The lady tech kindly moved me to a “grieving room” so my distress would not flow over into the waiting area.

      The total was over a thousand bucks, plus a couple of hundred to cremate his little body — will that be cash or debit card, sir? And do you want this special urn for the cremains, rather than the cardboard box that is standard? For your memories?

      Not the same league as what we humans get treated to, but the mechanism seems much the same, in microcosm.

      1. marieann

        I am so sorry for your loss, it is so awful to have a sick pet and then to be bombarded with cost estimates and then trying to make these decisions.

        I had a similar episode with a kitty…we were up to $600 and one of the Vet nurses whispered to me that I should let him go.

      2. cripes


        Always so sad to lose mans most loyal companion.

        I do as much as possible to keep my rat terrier mix away from the vet. The stories from China and Africa where patients are held hostage until families deliver cash to mafia “doctors” unfortunately describes the entire animal medicine industry here. With little pretense of healing, mercy or reverence for life.

        A single night in oxygen enclosure for beloved cat was $900, they got their pound of flesh before he died anyway. In a sane world, after bringing the human medical mafia to heel, we need to enforce standards on the pet death industry.

      3. Elizabeth

        JT – so sorry your lost your Bosun. As someone who went through the same situation, it’s traumatic and heartbreaking. I always thought vet practices were much more humane than people doctors, but I think they’re catching up with MDs. Remember all the wonderful times you spent together. For me, the loss never goes away.

      4. Oh

        Sorry for your loss, JT. Sad but true that these emergency vets ripoff people. Also true of some regular vets.

      5. The Rev Kev

        B*******! I’m sorry to hear that you lost your mate and it is always hard to do so. My commiserations.

      6. smoker

        Oh no, such brutality. Capitalism is EVIL – especially when it infests the healing vocation, as it has for way too long now – always has been. Cry all you want and then some, it’s normal to grieve such a loss. So very sorry.

      7. albrt

        Had a spooky similar experience with an unknown dog that I rescued from the street after it got hit by a car – this must be a widespread best practice. In my case the vet techs were pretty frank about the pluses and minuses of the treatment plan, though. I actually appreciated that they were frank about the numbers, but pet owners would probably benefit from knowing this is coming.

        Interesting point that I did not know – if you pay for a pet’s treatment that can make you legally the owner (unless the real owner shows up and stakes a claim).

        The dog ended up surviving and being claimed by the real owner.

      8. Yves Smith

        This is so so terrible, both your loss and the extortion.

        When Gabriel was dying (several times he hid on his scheduled euthanasia date), one early evening it was clear he could not pee and was in distress. I was panicked and upset that he was suffering.

        I went to an ER vet (only open 8 PM to 8 AM) and they had terrific people. Drained his bladder with a needle and he was such a good boy about it (but after that, getting him into a carrier was a nightmare). I though I’d be putting him down the next day but he was peeing again. And they were shockingly not even pricey.

        So shorter: some emergency vets are very good.

  31. a different chris

    “Russia’s favorites”

    Did some subversive layout underling select that picture of Sanders? Because he’s clearly thoughtfully listening to somebody. Sanders has the microphone but he’s simply propping up his head with it.

    Really a wonderful picture. Trump, as usual, looks like an a–.

    I don’t think Putin is god’s gift to anybody. However, his detailed, hours long conversations with Russian citizens is really something to watch. As an American, I find I barely have the attention span for one question, and yet he goes on and on and on.

    No wonder our media is so freaked out by Russia.

  32. urblintz

    This is not the best time for levity and the subject is deadly serious but… I couldn’t resist sending David Sirota a series of message-less emails with different subject lines, recorded below, and hope he found it at least somewhat risible:

    Bloomberg ties to China – Mike LOVES Xi!
    Buttigieg’s daddy was a MARXIST COMMIE LOVER!
    Klobuchar is short for Klobucharbechov!
    Warren might be part injun but she’s a full blown PUTIN LOVER!
    Hillary was the original Manchurian Candidate!
    Pelosi once used the ladies room in MOSCOW!
    Schumer’s great grandmamma was born but 300 kilometers from the RUSSIAN BORDER!
    Chris Matthews has one of those RUSSIAN dolls that you can take apart and there’s always a
    smaller one inside. He’s stumped now!
    Rachel Maddow drinks VODKA!
    I heard Tom Perez say “nyet” once… or was it “nyah nyah nyah” wiggling his fingers with his thumb
    on his nose? Nah, he said NYET!
    CNN has a COMMIE pundit… Гукъ Тодд is the name on the birth certificate… born in
    STALIN grad!

    It’s ALL TRUE!!!!

    1. Shonde

      Speaking of Sirota, got this today which is great info for Bernie to use tonight if he gets challenged re Medicare for All costs:

      BREAKING: Lancet Study Author Says Sanders’ Financing Plan Fully Covers Cost of Medicare for All
      Author of landmark report declares “The options laid out by Sen. Sanders last night will more than cover” the cost of Medicare for All

      Bern Notice is a production of the Bernie 2020 campaign. Please forward this on to your friends and tell them to subscribe. The views expressed here are solely of the bylined author.

      The author of a landmark health care study by Yale University researchers says Bernie’s financing plan fully pays for his Medicare for All initiative.

      “The options laid out by Sen. Sanders last night will more than cover” the cost of Medicare for All, said Yale University’s Alison Galvani, one of the nation’s leading experts on health care financing, and the co-author of a comprehensive report published in The Lancet analyzing the prospect of single-payer health care in the United States.

      Galvani touted the details of Sanders’ financing plan released last night at a CNN town hall.

      The Washington Post reports that the Lancet study shows “national single-payer health-care system would save tens of thousands of lives each year — and hundreds of billions of dollars.” In all, the Post notes that the study shows a “single-payer health-care system would save more than 68,000 lives and $450 billion a year.”

      The Lancet study follows a separate report from University of California researchers finding “a high degree of analytic consensus for the fiscal feasibility of a single-payer approach in the U.S.”

      Specifically, the report reviewed single-payer cost analyses from groups “across the political spectrum” and found that “there is near-consensus in these analyses that single-payer would reduce health expenditures while providing high-quality insurance to all US residents.” The report notes that “the largest savings were predicted to come from simplified billing and lower drug costs.”

      Bern after reading,


    2. Olga

      Чукъ Тодд – to be accurate (Гукъ Тодд – results in Guk Todd) – but I do appreciate your humour (including the hard sign)!

  33. smoker

    Amazon opens its first CASHIERLESS supermarket in Seattle where customers can pick up groceries and simply walk out of the store without checking out or opening their wallets

    Anti social to the bone, and the marrow within it:

    Shopper’s shouldn’t help a stranger reach something from the top shelf: Amazon warns that grabbing an item for someone else means you´ll be charged for it.

    And how does one contest erroneous charges? How does one contest bad weight scales, which there used to be laws surrounding? How does one return bad meat? There used to countless laws regarding retail sales, particularly of necessities.

    I’d rather get the virus (which Bezos has surely been planning to capitalize on since its inception) than ever patronize Bezos owned entities.

    What’s also not noted in the piece is that the poor, who rely on cash, will not be able to shop there, it should be illegal, particularly for grocery stores, period.

    1. John Anthony La Pietra

      (Hold on, let me check. . . .)


      (Yep — that’s what I thought they said. I only have $1s, $5s, $10s, and $20s on me, but they all still have those magic words. . . .)

  34. BobW

    Super Tuesday state list in Water Cooler is wrong – once again the dreaded two-letter state abbreviation causes an error. The state should be Arkansas (AR), not Alaska (AK).

  35. nippersdad

    This might be fun. I just ran across a bingo card for tonight’s debate. It is the “Bernie red baiting edition,” which might make for a good drinking game.


  36. Oh

    “A Miami man who flew to China worried he might have coronavirus” story. This one looks like it was computer generated. When I first read it, I thought the man had gone to China. A more sensible way to phrase it woul’ve been “A miami man who had visited China.

  37. Cuibono

    Re Corona Virus: sorry to sound like a broken record but not nearly enough attention being paid to the demographics of mortality. No deaths under age 9 is shouting something. we dont know what yet but it is THE most striking thing

  38. The Rev Kev

    “In 2019 speech, Bloomberg mocked Brooklyn father and son who died from heroin as ‘not a good family’”

    I wonder what he would say about Hunter Biden’s drug addiction problems as well as his paternity issues with a stripper. Would he consider the Bidens then as ‘not a good family?’

  39. allan

    A new senior leader at the White House personnel office: A college senior [Politico]

    The White House has hired a college senior to be one of the top officials in its powerful Presidential Personnel Office, according to three administration officials familiar with the matter.

    James Bacon, 23, is acting as one of the right-hand men to new PPO director John McEntee, according to the officials. Bacon, a senior at George Washington University pursuing a bachelor’s degree, comes from the Department of Transportation, where he briefly worked in the policy shop. Prior to that role, while still taking classes, he worked at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, where he was a White House liaison, according to two other officials. At HUD, he distinguished himself as Secretary Ben Carson’s confidential assistant, according to two other administration officials. …

    GWU, not Ivy, so draining the swamp. /s

  40. Expat2uruguay

    Lambert, I would like to alert people to the progressive Republican running against Ami Bera in Sacramento district 7 for us house representative. He explicitly supports Bernie Sanders and single-payer healthcare.

    His other platform points include bettering the public education system, achieving Universal Healthcare, getting money out of politics, and teaching civic engagement to children.
    Ivy added that he and Bera both favor Universal Healthcare, but take different routes in their attempts to achieve it.
    “(Bera is) working with Republicans to pass legislation to pass health savings accounts, and I believe that healthcare shouldn’t be a for-profit industry,” he said. “At this point, we need to move on to it being a government service.”

    Is there any other place in the US that this is happening? A progressive Republican challenging the incumbents?

    I’m voting for Ivy, and I’m urging my family to do so as well, because I think this is an amazing experiment that shouldn’t be passed up. To put a progressive Republican in front of the Republican voters in California 7th District sounds provocative. Then if the guy wins, he would be a progressive entering the GOP caucus. Surely he couldn’t be as good as AOC, but who knows what kind of waves he’ll make…

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