2:00PM Water Cooler 2/28/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“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, AR, CA, CO, ME, MA, MN, NC, OK, TN, TX, UT, VT, and VA.

* * *


We encourage readers to play around with the charts; they are dynamic, and there are a lot of settings, more than I can usefully show here. 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! UPDATE DK notes: “I’m completely removing the YouGov polls that were making that weird spike. Sorry for the inconsistency, I think it’s for the best. I can put them back in if it’s a problem for readers.”

Today we have two new national polls from Fox and SurveyUSA, and yesterday (which I blew off) from IPSOS and YouGov. We also have three new polls for SC. As of 2/28/2020, 12:00 PM EST (three-day average):

The numbers for Fox and SurveyUSA:

The numbers for IPSOS and YouGov:

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

A drop for Biden, but still quite a lead. SC numbers:

I heard rumors about landlines with Biden’s polling, so for grins I called out the Data for Progress Poll, since they are a progressive house:

Not much difference. Presumably, if Sanders loses, there will be an enormous media freakout about Sanders not being able to win over the Black vote, but — follow me closely here, pundits — the South Carolina black vote is not the same as the Michigan or Wisconsin black vote, and it has never been clear to me — no, I tell a lie, as Lord Vetinari would say — why the more conservative South Carolina vote should be taken as a proxy for the entire Black vote.

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

* * *

Bloomberg (D)(1): “Bloomberg Has Hired Texas, California Democratic Parties’ Vice Chairs” [The Intercept]. • We reallly are just talking price, aren’t we?

Bloomberg (D)(2): “Bloomberg’s Game” [Counterpunch]. “Bloomberg cannot credibly be allowed to steal the nomination from Bernie, and he and the Democratic Party know that…. There must be a third candidate to whom the party can give the nomination, and it must be someone whom Bernie Sanders himself and a large chunk of his supporters might be persuaded to stay in the party and support. There is only one such candidate: Elizabeth Warren…. If I’m right, this will become the ongoing kabuki theater in the weeks ahead, in which Warren sets herself up as the non-socialist and therefore “effective” anti-billionaire candidate, luring “woke” professional-managerial “progressives” desperate for an “alternative” to Bernie. This is the only way for Warren to revive her campaign and audition for the endgame: fake left, attacking Bloomberg and dragging on Bernie’s popular coattails.” • I do seem to recall Warren, in debate and in almost so many words, raising her hand and saying “Mike, get out of the race, and give us, i.e. me, your money. Impressive kayfabe, if true; here’s the WFP joining in.

Klobuchar (D)(1): “Amy Klobuchar Has Been Weirdly Quiet About A Massive Mining Controversy In Her Home State” [HuffPo]. “Twin Metals Minnesota, a wholly owned subsidiary of Chilean mining giant Antofagasta, is looking to [launch] a $1.7 billion underground copper-nickel mine just a few miles from Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness…. The planned mine, unlike anything the Land of 10,000 Lakes has ever seen before, has become a political lightning rod. In the final weeks of President Barack Obama’s administration, federal agencies blocked the Twin Metals mine only to have the industry-friendly Trump administration move quickly to revive it. Five current 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, including Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), have pledged to protect the Boundary Waters from the proposed sulfide-ore mine. Notably missing from that opposition: home state Sen. Amy Klobuchar.” • Odd.

Klobuchar (D)(2): “Klobuchar Blocked Obama’s Push for Child Farmworker Safety Rules” [Payday Report]. “Child farmworkers are killed at six times the rate of other child workers. The majority of these workers are Latino immigrants, who often work alongside their parents while traveling country looking for temporary work. In 2011, the Obama Administration proposed a rule that would have expanded workplace safety protections for children working on farms. However, in her first term as Senator, Amy Klobuchar helped lead a rogue band of five business-friendly Democrats to successfully conspire with the Republicans in preventing Obama’s Department of Labor from enacting landmark protections for child farmworkers. The rule proposed by President Obama would have forbidden children under 16 from handling pesticides, cutting timber, working with large animals, working in often deadly manure pits where a number of small children have drowned and died, or operating heavy machinery.” • I confess that I value Klobuchar for her viciousness. And here it is, in full display.

Sanders (D)(1): “Understanding Sanders” [Kaushik Basu, Project Syndicate]. This is in essence an endorsement of Sanders as a social democrat by a former Chief Economist of the World Bank. (Sanders is a compromose candidate for the left because he does not, in fact, advocate public ownership of the means of production.) At the end, however: “Recently, some Democratic voters have turned away from Sanders, following reports that Russia is supporting him in the Democratic primary. Russian President Vladimir Putin, it is said, wants Trump to win and believes that he will if pitted against Sanders. But a little game theory suggests that Putin may himself have engineered the leak, because he knows that Sanders is the only candidate who can defeat Trump. By letting it be known that he is backing Sanders, Putin hopes to ensure that many Democrats will not support the Vermont senator. And that would be good news for Trump.” • Time for some game theory!

Trump (R)(1): “Will Trump Pass The Coronavirus Test?” [Patrick Buchanan, The American Conservative]. he issue does present a challenge to Trump’s presidency. His handling of it may determine his stature as chief executive. Yet the issue is also tailor-made for Trump. First, the disease comes out of Xi Jinping’s China, not Trump’s USA. Second, the president occupies what Theodore Roosevelt called the ‘bully pulpit,’ the White House. He can use that pulpit daily to command the airwaves and inform, lead, unite, and direct the nation during what could be a months-long crisis. And Trump alone has the power to declare a national emergency, should that be needed. If Trump acts as a leader, urging unity in the struggle to contain the virus and discover a vaccine, the hectoring from the Democratic left, already begun, can come to be seen as unpatriotic.” • As usual, Buchanan confuses liberals and the left…

Trump (R)(2): “White House hopefuls target Trump on coronavirus response” [Associated Press]. “But the public health system has a playbook to follow for pandemic preparation — regardless of who’s president or whether specific instructions are coming from the White House. Those plans were put into place in anticipation of another flu pandemic but are designed to work for any respiratory-borne disease. Jen Kates, senior vice president and director of global health and HIV policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation, warned that ‘any time political ideology starts to dominate the dialogue, it puts the public at risk.’ ‘The history of good public health is that when things become politicized, we risk a good sound response and a response based on science and expertise,” she said. ‘This is a situation that’s changing by the moment, and that makes it all the more delicate.’ Kates warned that there should be some ‘caution around not stoking panic and not using the partisan environment to steer away from basic public health messaging’ — but acknowledged that will be tough ‘in a very partisan time, during campaign season.’ Both parties are guilty of politicizing public health pandemics when they’re not the party in charge of the White House, she noted. During the Ebola outbreak in 2014, Republicans routinely slammed the Obama administration for similar critiques Trump is facing from Democrats — namely, that he was too slow to respond and didn’t appoint an adviser to coordinate the government’s response quickly enough.”

Warren (D)(1): “Indivisible February 2020 Survey Results” [Indivisible]. “we’re really excited to begin sharing these findings more broadly, because we know Indivisibles will be a major force in building wins for Democrats up and down the ballot in November…. We heard from over 16,000 respondents from all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. The survey ran from February 12 to February 20…. We surveyed respondents on who they would make president today if all other factors (the primary and general election contests) were removed. Warren won overwhelmingly, with 39% of Indivisibles selecting her as their ideal president in this field. The next closest candidates were Bernie Sanders and Amy Klobuchar, each with 17% choosing them as their preferred president.”

* * *


“Bernie Sanders campaign challenges Iowa recount results” [CNN]. “In a complaint sent to the Iowa Democratic Party and Democratic National Committee, the Sanders campaign claims the state party violated its own rules by allowing the Buttigieg campaign to partake in the process because they didn’t meet the proper requirements. ‘[T]he request submitted by the Buttigieg Campaign was deficient because it failed to provide an explanation of how the national delegation could be altered,’ 18 potential Sanders delegates wrote in the challenge. ‘Because he did not…[the] request was deficient and should have been denied.'” • Very happy to see a Democrat candidate finally not giving an inch on a recount, but this argument does seem a little legalistic.

“AP Explains: Why there isn’t a winner of Iowa’s Dem caucuses” [Associated Press]. “The Associated Press has decided it will not declare a winner in Iowa. For the AP to decide not to declare a result is unusual. … the two campaigns did not request a statewide recanvass and recount. Instead, they asked the party to look at a select number of precincts in which they felt an error would benefit their candidate. That means other locations where errors appeared to have occurred remain unexamined — and unchanged.” • That’s wrong. That’s the same mistake Al Gore made in Florida; ceding the moral high ground for tactical advantage.

2016 Post Mortem

“Coming to a podcast near you: Hillary Clinton” [Politico]. “The former first lady, secretary of State, and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee is planning to launch a new audio program in late spring, just in time for her to have a powerful new megaphone during the 2020 election…. Her team is experimenting with using a [Howard] Stern-inspired ensemble plucked from the larger universe of Hillaryland to help loosen her up, keep the show conversational, and discuss the day’s news, perhaps at the top or bottom of the show. The search is on inside her organization for a Robin Quivers-like sidekick.” • How about Neera Tanden?

Our Famously Free Press

FiveThirtyEight is bad, actually. Thread (dk):

Discouraging. A thread:

Realignment and Legitimacy

“‘The Public Doesn’t Really Decide The Nominee’: Leaders Move To Limit Democratic Choice in The Democratic Convention” [Jonathan Turley]. “Yet, the same people that gave us the Clinton nomination will be working their magic again at the Democratic Convention. What is fascinating is that the establishment would prefer to risk the election by alienating the huge young following of Sanders rather than allow Sanders to be the nominee. If they give the nomination to another establishment figures like Biden or a billionaire like Bloomberg, the establishment would enrage millions of Sanders followers who could well stay home in 2020.” • Unsurprising, except that Turley says it. (When they tell you who they are, believe them.) More of the same:

“DNC Superdelegate Pushing Brokered Convention Is GOP Donor” [The Intercept]. “WILLIAM OWEN, a Tennessee-based Democratic National Committee member backing an effort to use so-called superdelegates to select the party’s presidential nominee — potentially subverting the candidate with the most voter support — is a Republican donor and health care lobbyist. Owen, who runs a lobbying firm called Asset & Equity Corporations, donated to Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D., and Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, and gave $8,500 to a joint fundraising committee designed to benefit Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in 2019. “I am a committed Democrat but as a lobbyist, there are times when I need to have access to both sides and the way to get access quite often is to make campaign contributions,” said Owen, in a brief interview with The Intercept.” • Of course, of course.

Will your vote count? Veil of secrecy makes it impossible for Florida voters to know [USA Today]. “[Florida] forced all 67 elections supervisors to sign nondisclosure agreements before they could receive federal funding for elections security, be briefed about vulnerabilities found by cybersecurity experts or even hook up to the state’s voter registration system.” • If only Jebbie had been able to do that in Florida 2000!

“‘Woke’ Capitalism and the 2020 Election” [RealClearPolitics (UserFriendly)]. “What do those who run businesses owe to the country? And how much leverage should consumers – who are also voters — exert in attempts to forge public policy in their own image? What shape should that pressure take?… These are among the themes explored by RealClear Opinion Research in an extensive new poll of more than 2,500 registered voters about views of free-market capitalism; the survey was conducted online Feb. 14-17 and carries a credibility interval of +/- 2.14 percentage points. The findings reveal an electorate quite divided on these questions, but interestingly, opinions vary more by age than political affiliation. The results do not perfectly mirror the open hostility to business voiced on the campaign trail by Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren – and, at times, Joe Biden. But neither do they support the sanguine, what’s-good-for-the-stock-market-is-good-for-America mantra of President Trump. The bottom line seems to be that most U.S. voters don’t demonize business, but they do expect a lot – and this is especially true of those under 40 – from the private sector.”

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.

Growth: “21 February 2020 ECRI’s WLI Growth Rate Again Declines” [Econintersect]. “In essence, there is little growth forecast in the business cycle six months from today.”

Manufacturing: “February 2020 Chicago Purchasing Managers Barometer Improves But Remains In Contraction” [Econintersect]. “The Fed manufacturing surveys generally improved this month but still showing little growth.”

Personal Income and Expenditures: “January 2020 Headline Income Growth Improves” [Econintersect]. “This month consumer income growth year-over-year is growing slower than the spending growth year-over-year. The savings growth rate was little changed and has remained in a narrow band for the last year.”

Consumer Sentiment: “Final February 2020 Michigan Consumer Sentiment Improves” [Econintersect]. Surveys of Consumers chief economist, Richard Curtin, makes the following comments: “Consumer sentiment rose to 101.0 in February, nearly matching the expansion peak of 101.4 set in March 2018. The coronavirus was mentioned by 8% of all consumers in February when describing the reasons for their economic expectations. However, on Monday and Tuesday of this week, the last days of the February survey, 20% mentioned the coronavirus due to the steep drop in equity prices as well as the CDC warnings about the potential domestic threat of the virus. While too few cases were conducted to attach any statistical significance to the findings, it is nonetheless true that the domestic spread of the virus could have a significant impact on consumer spending.”

* * *

Retail: “Viral fear sparks global run on face masks” [Associated Press]. “Fear of the spreading coronavirus has led to a global run on sales of face masks despite evidence that most people who aren’t sick don’t need to wear them. Many businesses are sold out, while others are limiting how many a customer can buy. Amazon is policing its site, trying to make sure sellers don’t gouge panicked buyers.” •

Tech: “Hackers can peep through this smart vacuum’s camera, research shows” [CNet]. “The Trifo Ironpie robot vacuum is designed to do double duty. The fans on the swiveling disc hoover your house, while the camera mounted on it acts as an ankle-high security device. The idea is to stay tidy while staying safe. There’s just one problem, according to cybersecurity firm Checkmarx. The internet-connected Ironpie has multiple security vulnerabilities.” • Readers already know the rule to never buy any product marketed as “smart.” New rule: Never buy a product with a cutesy name.

Tech: ” ‘Facebook: The Inside Story’ author Steven Levy on how the company compares to Apple and Google” (interview) [The Verge]. Levy: “No question there’s still talent at Facebook. But, as I think you’re implying, Mark likes to give key jobs to people he’s known and trusted for a while, and that bench is getting thin. (Andrew “Boz” Bosworth for instance, has come off the bench a couple times to take on big important missions, most recently hardware, AR/VR.) I think the critical departure was Chris Cox, who in my view was the person who would have taken over if Mark suddenly decided he’d reached retirement age. Of those execs who joined relatively recently, I notice that David Marcus, who left PayPal in 2014 to head Messenger and now is leading Libra, seems to have earned a lot of trust from Mark.”

Manufacturing: “In Weak Rivets, a Possible Key to Titanic’s Doom” [New York Times]. From 2008, still germane: “Researchers have discovered that the builder of the Titanic struggled for years to obtain enough good rivets and riveters and ultimately settled on faulty materials that doomed the ship, which sank 96 years ago Tuesday.” • Reminds me of Boeing…

Mr. Market: “Reddit’s Profane, Greedy Traders Are Shaking Up the Stock Market” [Bloomberg]. “In a dingy corner of the internet is a message board, soaked in profanity, bro-speak, and greed, where posters with handles such as OverthrowYourMasters and yolo_tron campaign for their favorite stocks, putting up screenshots from their online brokerage accounts of their moonshot victories—or showing off their massive losses like badges of honor. Some of them think they’ve found the key to fast wins on the stock market. Wall Street doubts they’re right, but it’s getting nervous about what it sees there. History hasn’t been kind to people claiming to have a magic hand. The latest sell-off, driven by a new wave of coronavirus fears, shows how quickly markets can turn on you. But even veteran traders have trouble dismissing a 900,000-user Reddit forum called r/wallstreetbets, or r/WSB for short, whose tips and tactics have shown an uncanny ability to push prices, at least for the short term. Hitherto sleepy companies such as Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc. and Plug Power Inc. went crazy shortly after being mentioned there. The board may have added a little froth to Tesla Inc.’s $90 billion rally.”

Honey for the Bears: “The nation’s longest expansion on record may teeter if the U.S. suffers a serious coronavirus outbreak. Economists believe the country is well insulated from a potential epidemic” [Wall Street Journal]. “[But] the country is already feeling the impact of the outbreaks in China and more recently in Italy, although the U.S. has the advantage of months of warning to prepare. One economist says U.S. transportation networks would grind to a halt but that an epidemic wouldn’t trigger a recession.”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 9 Extreme Fear (previous close: 13 Extreme Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 44 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Feb 28 at 12:40pm. Wonder if Mr. Market can pin the needle?

The Biosphere

“Goats, a climate-friendly option for clearing brush” [Yale Climate Connection]. “To clear brush and briars from overgrown land, many people turn to heavy equipment. But Aaron Steele takes a different approach. ‘It’s not just a novelty. It actually works,’ he says. Steele is the founder of Goats on the Go. The Iowa-based company sets up portable fencing, trucks in a herd of goats, and lets them munch away. ‘Despite their reputation of being tin can eaters, they actually have some pretty strong preferences,’ he says. ‘And fortunately for us and our customers, they prefer woody brush species and broadleaf weeds.’ Steele says grazing is better for the soil than other methods of clearing land, and it reduces the need for heavy machinery.” • Business model (rather like beekeeping?).

Health Care

As we know, many of the measures to be taken against #COVID-19 are good old 19-Century hygiene, like frequent hand-washing and sleeping with the window open. Maybe we should all keep on doing those things, for when the next corona virus comes along. I would like to suggest a more radical measure, at least for Western countries: Eliminate the handshake, which spreads germs by contact, and replace it with the wai (Southeast Asian, most prominently Thai):

If it’s good enough for Ed McMahon — he and Johnny Carson would exchange wais just after “H-e-e-e-e-e-r-e’s Johnny!” — then it’s good enough for the rest of us! (The wai is also superior to other candidates for replacing the handshake, like the physically awkward elbow bump, because it is also a gesture of reverence to the other person’s spirit. Forgive the potted theology, and the old codger reference!)

* * *

How first world countries do it:

“What Is a Pandemic?” [JAMA]. “The terms endemic, outbreak, epidemic, and pandemic indicate how common a condition is at a point in time relative to how common it was at an earlier time…. An epidemic that spreads globally is a pandemic…. Many factors influence how far a condition spreads. Two of the most important are how easily the condition is transmitted from one person to the next and the movement of people, particularly via airplane because infections can be brought to new parts of the world within hours. These definitions may seem straightforward, but applying them in evolving, real-world situations is complicated. For example, HIV started in West Africa, was epidemic in Africa for decades, then was pandemic by the late 20th century. But 2 decades into the 21st century, it is reasonable to say HIV is now endemic in some parts of the world.”


“E-Sports Are Rife With Exploitation” [The Nation]. “[C]orporate success obscures the industry’s dark side: a massive underclass of underpaid freelance workers and independent contractors. The seven- and eight-figure salaries of Activision Blizzard executives are possible only because hordes of young freelancers, dazzled by the opportunity to make money working with video games, routinely perform indispensable tasks for minimal pay and nonexistent benefits. With few e-sports companies paying freelance workers a true living wage, it’s nearly impossible for individuals without some form of economic privilege to break into the industry.”

Class Warfare

“The boss who put everyone on 70K” [BBC (dk)]. “In 2015, the boss of a card payments company in Seattle introduced a $70,000 minimum salary for all of his 120 staff – and personally took a pay cut of $1m. Five years later he’s still on the minimum salary, and says the gamble has paid off.”

“It’s Not You, It’s Capitalism” [McSweeney’s Internet Tendency]. “Please don’t hit my espresso machine.” • A one-sided conversation…

News of the Wired

“Sliceable Mayo Now Exists, Civilization Can Stop Inventing Things” [Cracked]. “Because nothing screams ‘we’ve given up’ better than a white flag, soon we’ll be able to buy slices of ‘sheet-like’ mayonnaise for on-the-go consumption.”

“A woman took 550 times the usual dose of LSD, with surprisingly positive consequences” [CNN]. “A 46-year-old woman snorted a staggering 550 times the normal recreational dose of LSD and not only survived, but found that the foot pain she had suffered from since her 20s was dramatically reduced. Separately, a 15-year-old girl with bipolar disorder overdosed on 10 times the normal dose of the drug, which she said resulted in a massive improvement in her mental health. Their experiences were detailed in case reports published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs last month, along with that of a third woman who accidentally overdosed on LSD during the second week of pregnancy. She ultimately gave birth to a healthy son, now 18, who has not shown any impaired development…. However, experts stressed that these cases were unique and warned against experimenting with the drug, which is illegal in the US and UK.” • Too much is not enough?


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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 (Re Silc):

Re Silc writes: “Leaves popping 3 weeks ahead in NC.” (Re Silc sent this to me today; I thought it was news, so here it is. If anybody else sees the same thing happening, please send it along!)

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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. Carey

    Bernie Sanders and the Socialism Question, by Rob Urie:

    “..The older questions of revolution versus a takeover of the state, the collective ownership of productive resources versus private ownership, and even the role of nation-states in delimiting political realms, are now confronted by a corporate internationalism. With environmental crisis underway, what power does the state have over the environmental practices of multinational corporations? How this has played out environmentally is that a large part of American liberal ‘success’ in reducing greenhouse gas emissions has come through outsourcing dirty production to China..”


    “..The question of what socialism might look like in this political moment more likely than not means looking forward to where we must go, not back to the struggles of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. By broadening the concept of capitalist exploitation to include the natural world, the oligarchs and the PMC can be understood to be a murder-suicide cult determined to trade the future of humanity for a thirteenth flat-screen television and a ninth vacation home. Who, precisely, is victimizing the rich with environmental calamity?..”


      1. skippy

        Assuming – rational – is a linear input to a model seeking equilibrium …. output is defined as ***Natural*** [tm].

    1. Synoia

      …Economists believe the country is well insulated from a potential epidemic…

      And I believe pigs have wings.

  2. Louis Fyne

    Korean gov’t sells to the public 5 million masks for $1.24 each while the country’s mask factories run overtime. (pop. ~50mil)

    If the US tried to do the same, presumably there’s zero chance the US has the capability to find or make 30+ million masks right now.

    the Korean gov’t also pledged to sell 5 million masks per day.

    so presumably everyone will have a mask within 2 weeks as their factories are making 10 million masks a day


    1. clarky90

      South Korea has instituted drive through COVID19 testing!

      The most infectious/ dangerous spots in the World will be hospitals and doctor’s clinic. Avoid them unless you are at Death’s Door (imo).

      We have our first “identified” case in NZ. I thought we could use the police’s roadside testing for drunk drivers? They already have special vans.

      1. clarky90

        Just drive into the drive through. Roll down your car window. Give contact details. Get your temp scanned. Have nasal and throat swabs taken (?). If there is a suspicion of Cov19, be advised to rigorously quarantine and regularly, check in and up. Swab results given by phone or email when they come back. Simple, inexpensive- and already working in South Korea!

      1. chuck roast

        I was in Seoul-city in 1962. There were still bullet holes in walls. A rare building over three stories. From 4th world to first world in 60 years.

    2. The Rev Kev

      South Kora and Singapore are getting to be the gold-standard on how to react to a pandemic. Countries like China, Iran and the US, not so much.

      1. albrt

        US is still pretty far ahead in the profiteering part, and not too far behind in the social darwinism part.

      2. kiwi

        Don’t you think that the physical size of the countries might have something to do with the ease of implementation?

        I’m waiting for woke people to complain about racist white masks.

  3. Wukchumni

    Retail: “Viral fear sparks global run on face masks” [Associated Press]. “Fear of the spreading coronavirus has led to a global run on sales of face masks despite evidence that most people who aren’t sick don’t need to wear them. Many businesses are sold out, while others are limiting how many a customer can buy. Amazon is policing its site, trying to make sure sellers don’t gouge panicked buyers.”

    Bit Mask shares continue to be the only bright spot in the global economy, each limited edition hidercurrency (only covers about 44% of your mug) being highly desired, and we all know how because, markets! One of the key features is decentralized control utilizing a couple of elastic strips contributing to block chain reactions, er spittle.

    Each share comes with a guarantee of 100% protection against Covid-19 attacking your computer. and a money-back quarantine.

  4. Ignacio

    Re Silc writes: “Leaves popping 3 weeks ahead in NC.” (Re Silc sent this to me today; I thought it was news, so here it is. If anybody else sees the same thing happening, please send it along!)

    Humm are you sure these aren’t flowers? Many trees flower in early spring (green flowers that may look like true leaves).

    1. CallMeTeach

      The neighbor across the street has a weeping willow in his yard. It has young leaves on it…and I’m in Delaware. There are trees in flower and my tulips are up already. Nope. No climate change here.

        1. polecat

          Our cherry tree’s flower buds are near bursting .. ditto re. the blue & huckle berries.
          Not twisted feats of comment levity today, kiddies ! Gotta plant fingerlings whist Ra shines ….. might as well soak up some Vitamin D ..

          Sincerely hope nobody catches what’s catching ! … Green Fever excepting.

          1. Wukchumni

            The earliest cherry tree (Minnie Royal) is blossoming, the other dozen varieties are sleeping. The Satsuma plum is pretty showy full of white blooms, while the Blenheim apricot is about to bust out, a few blooms, and an ornamental plum is crazy with blooms, and yesterday there was a constant buzz from all of the bees doing their thing. The latter tree is about 20 years old and bore fruit just one time in that span, and they were delicious.

      1. Ignacio

        This winter has been quite warm so far in Spain with some records possibly broken but I still don’t see bud germination into leaves. Bud germination into flowers and/or leaves is governed by temperature and/or photoperiod but for most species it is not known what leads on this. If it is photoperiod it doesn’t matter how warm is the winter or matters less. This could be kind of a protection against sudden freezes that could occur if buds germinate too soon.

        1. Rod

          Looks like Sour Cherry blooms in the foreground of the Pines. My place is in the Piedmont touching NC and I am in Full Bloom–
          Trees: Tulip Poplar: Maple: Peach: Redbud: Saucer Magnolia(finished last week) all with no leaf bud
          Shrubs: Forsythia: Quince: Azalea: Witch Hazel: Kerria Japonica:
          Flowers: Daffodils (since Dec 28), Hyacinths: Blue Bells and Stargazers(Scilla):
          It is nice –BUT– it ain’t right.
          It is the earliest I have ever seen Peaches Bloom and my Daffodils(my sentimental Favorite) came Dec 28–five days ahead of last year which was 2 days ahead of the year before which was ahead of the year before which was ahead…

          1. Ignacio

            I am seeing some leguminose trees (some kind of Acacia) flowering and it is IMO soon for that but I cannot say with certainty.

          2. Anon

            It’s 81 degrees F. in coastal Santa Barbara today. The Channel Islands appear close enough to swim to. Global warming? Nah!

      2. hoki haya

        my current rig disallows me to post links, but you reminded me of the great loudon wainwright song “in delaware/when i was younger/they thought st andrews would suffice/but in the spring.i had great hunger…” thanks; i need to throw that into an encore again.

    2. mrsyk

      Daffodils are beginning to bloom in Morningside Park (NYC). I’ve never seen them flower in February before.

    3. Jen

      Family in Connecticut are posting pictures of crocuses on facebook. Usually it’s my friends in Georgia who tormenting me with this nonsense in February. Unless things take a turn in March, I’m probably done with cross country skiing after this weekend. In any other year I’d be out until the end of March, and the roads, not the lack of snow would be the deciding factor.

  5. ChrisAtRU

    South Carolina is going to be closer than (some) polls have been indicating IMO. I looked at some of the underlying cross tabs and of course, heavily skewed older and moderate-to-very-conservative. I believe in the Sanders ground game. Chuck Rocha tweeted today about something very few are talking about – the Latin vote in SC. When one adds the work #TeamBernie have been doing with HBCU’s and younger black voters, it seems to me that there is room for Sanders’ showing to grow due to those less represented in polling.


    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      This is true, and the Latin population in SC has increased since 2016. OTOH, I don’t much like Rocha being parachuted in, because I would expect the existing ground game to be up to scratch. (It could be, that in South Carolina’s political culture, endorsements do really matter.) If you believe the curves in the SC poll above, it surely does look like the voters are deciding between Biden and Sanders, and that Sanders is closing the gap (perhaps on debate performance, or even Biden’s ridiculous claim about being arrested in South Africa. That can’t have played well.)

      I did not have time to get to this link, but here it is: “How a split black vote in South Carolina could boost Bernie Sanders” [McClatchy].

      But thanks to Joe Biden’s struggles, Democratic operatives in the state say, and recent polls suggest, that the black vote may split among several candidates, providing Sanders with an opportunity to cobble together a broader coalition beyond his core support of young white progressives.

      Even a narrow loss in South Carolina could further bolster Sanders position as the Democratic front-runner heading into a diverse slate of Super Tuesday contests.

      “This race is very different from the last two times we had primaries in South Carolina,” said Brady Quirk-Garvan, the former chairman of the Charleston Democratic Party. “This time with a crowded field, it’s about coalition building. … How do you put together a coalition that includes a large group of African American voters, but also young progressives in Charleston and Greenville that have seen population growth.”

      For Sanders, that means turning out young black voters like Alex Seaborn. The 23-year-old Charleston resident, who is pursuing an associate’s degree in cybersecurity, didn’t vote in the 2016 primary. But in the years since, he became a Sanders fan and is now volunteering for the campaign.

      Seaborn said from his vantage point, the campaign’s outreach is far more expansive in 2020. At the North Charleston rally Seaborn attended Wednesday, Sanders announced that the campaign had knocked on over 200,000 doors in South Carolina.

      “I’ve lived here for like 10 or 12 years, and I’ve never had any candidates ever canvass in my neighborhood before, Seaborn said. “This time we’ve canvassed in low-income neighborhoods downtown, we’ve canvassed in Goose Creek and Summerville, we’ve canvassed in Charleston. It’s a very strong effort from a very diverse staff within the Bernie campaign.”

      According to the Sanders campaign, a majority of their South Carolina staff is African American and from the state, which was not the case in 2016. Over the past year, the campaign has toured barbershops, held private meetings with local black leaders, and run ads focused on African Americans. They’ve also leaned on black surrogates such as former Ohio state Sen. Nina Turner, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison and activist Cornel West.

      In the week leading up to the primary, Sanders had scheduled four rallies throughout South Carolina.

        1. ChrisAtRU

          This dropped couple hours ago …

          “Bernie Sanders will win South Carolina primary, George Washington University school says”

          Obligatory “What sorcery is this?!” with respect to the method:

          To make their latest projection, according to a press release, GSPM researchers used two election-prediction models. Their “momentum” and “original” model each consider three factors: Twitter mentions, cash on hand and endorsements.

          … but in the words of a character in a movie I once saw, “I’ll allow it.” … ;-)

      1. Carolinian

        FWIW my neighborhood was canvassed by the Bernistas several weeks ago. This is not a black neighborhood (although no longer an all white one either).

        I think you are right that blacks will have a different relationship to the establishment in a heavily AA state like this one than in the North. One of our Republican senators is African American.

      2. Jeff W

        Whether or not Chuck Rocha is being “parachuted in” to South Carolina—it’s not clear to me that he is—I think one of the key parts—which Chuck Rocha emphasizes—is that the Sanders campaign has been spending months on the ground in these early key states, including South Carolina. (That’s consistent with what the quote says: “[o]ver the past year.”) Unlike in 2016, when the Sanders campaign was scrambling, it was able to, and did, take the time in 2020 campaign to be strategic and it’s been coolly executing that strategy.

    2. Deschain

      As long as Sanders cracks 20% its a good result. This isn’t a must-win for him, it is for Biden, and there won’t be much of a news cycle between Saturday and Super Tuesday.

      1. hoki haya

        Oh, there’s always time for a news-cycle, don’t worry about that) propaganda can kill in one day what was organically built over years. the good news is, the electorate is now wiser than the propagandists.

        Sanders will undoubtedly crack 20, perhaps do far better.

        1. Lil’D

          I am surprised that there have not been more anti Bernie stories this week… just caught up in corona virus news?

          I’m expecting Biden to win SC but Bernie could come close to running the table Tuesday

      2. PKMKII

        Especially if he cracks 20% and no one else, or maybe just Steyer, gets above the viability threshold. Diffuses the non-Bernie delegates, especially Buttigieg getting zero or only a few delegates. That ensures that even if Biden closes the gap, Bernie will still enter Super Tuesday the delegate leader.

    3. Goyo Marquez

      While canvassing for Bernie in El Centro California, Wednesday, spoke to mom of voter we were looking for. Daughter was away at college but was coming home this weekend and, we were assured, would be voting for Bernie. And then the mom said the interesting part, “Don’t worry about me, she’s already convinced me.” 2nd generation hispanics living in a nice neighborhood.

    4. JohnnyGL

      I think there’s also a ‘narrowing’ of the field going on, under the radar. Bloomberg, Warren, Pete, Amy, Steyer are all in decline to one degree or another.

      Biden was always bound to get some of that vote, even it’s not as much as he’d like.

      On the other hand, if the new Morning Consult numbers are any indication…SC is Biden’s last stand, and Bernie is about to crush Super Tuesday. He’s up by 14 points across all super tuesday states!


        1. False Solace

          Bernie is doing a rally Monday night in St. Paul MN at the RiverCenter (quite a large venue…). So if you’re in the area feel free to check it out.

          And of course there will be canvassing going on all weekend. It will be a challenge to prevent The Klob from getting more delegates.

            1. WJ

              There are *lots* of older, white well-to-do liberals in the TC, most of whom for some odd reason love Klobuchar. It may partly be due to Minnesota’s cultural parochialism–a very real thing–but class and age definitely play a part.

              1. hoki haya

                i think my parents are still alive somewhere up there around nisswa, and tho we all loved jim, i think they’d be immune to her pandering. the wellstone-stuff particularly stings; family-friends til everyone cept mark & his older brother died. i’d expect the Klob gets support in the burbs, but think Sanders would carry Paul’s torch better among grounded rurals, tho i ain’t been there for a few lifetimes. i still think it narrowly goes Sanders.

        2. KLG

          Slim, I was in Tucson last May and did not look you up. Won’t happen again!

          Loved the place btw! Let’s just say the Mexican food and the margaritas are better there than in Georgia…

    5. Debra D.

      I saw a Chuck Rocha tweet that he was on a flight to South Carolina today with Jesse Jackson (Sr.). There was a photograph of Chuck Rocha and Jesse Jackson together.

      Jordan Chariton of Status Coup, reporting from South Carolina, says that the Sanders campaign has been reaching out to the Latino and Native American communities in South Carolina for many months. In addition, the campaign has been going to mobile home parks throughout the state for many months. These are communities that no other campaign is visiting.

    1. Watt4Bob

      Just saw his retelling of that game the other day, just amazing!

      There’s also Carlos Santana’s description of his time on stage at Woodstock.

    2. hoki haya

      why isn’t mlb promoting that as the grand finale to blackhistorymonth? you can draw a straight line from satch to doc to flava. it might take more than a month.

  6. Hoppy

    So there is some rumbling of Mayo Pete being the spook\CIA candidate, right?

    So we sure as hell should be asking him if he has been tested for the Corona Virus and if he hasn’t, then why the hell not???

    He was at peak contagiousness if he went down hard with an illness right after the debates. He owes it to the rest of the candidates to explain his condition. Of course we’ll never get fully independent lab results. It’s a perfect plan for the 38 year old.

    Paranoid, yes. But would it surprise you?


    1. False Solace

      Since he hasn’t been to China there’s no way he’ll be tested, per CDC guidelines. No test, no problem.

  7. foghorn longhorn

    Think hilldog ought to tap anthony weiner for her ‘sidekick’
    The jokes would write themselves
    Have bill on for a segment every day, maybe trek into the woods and retrieve algore
    Carville could come on and rant about nuts and sluts

    1. Drake

      Which Howard Stern-inspired role will Hillary be assuming? SkHank the Ugly Drunken Dwarf? Will Bill be John the AdulStutterer? Chelsea as Babayboobie?

      The jokes certainly do write themselves, thank god, since there will be no intentional humor in evidence on that train-wreck.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      I was thinking more along the lines of Hannibal Lecter, or maybe an injured, rabid wolverine.

      One show only so don’t miss it!

  8. hoki haya

    Kudos above all for not including the coronavirus scare until 3/4ths through your feed. I agree with those who’ve commented that the fright brings out the most unsavory of ‘first-world’ characteristics, things perhaps invisible but from afar: the instinct to hoard, ‘me first, on the sly’, etc. certain gathering of goods for any situation or simple sustenance is normal only if one has the same regard for one’s neighbor, but it’s the easy givenness to panic that’s most symptomatic of something else direly American IMO.

    also appreciated your inclusion of a track from ‘It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back’; one of a very few essential albums to hear in order to comprehend the United States.

    1. hoki haya

      re:Klob etc…please, friend, identify or surmount whatever it is that attracts you to her viciousness) nothing wrong with 14-16 year-olds knowing how to work a farm, as they do in most places round the world, but to touch the Boundary Waters would be a pristine sin. the lady’s pure evil: you know it, i know it, so if we got a hankerin for the accent, cain’t we just watch “Fargo” again?

    2. Monty

      Good points. You go into this with the country you’re in, not the country you wish you were in. In the “me first” Objectivist America i’ve seen, the mantra of “Personal responsibility” implies “Every man for himself”. Never forget the Super Dome.

          1. hoki haya

            his “theories” aren’t the only alternative to ‘i me mine’; clearly that’s no option at all. can selflessness exist in an individualistic world without becoming a Holiday in Cambodia? of course it can; we all likely see or take part in it every day. it’s the humaneness Sanders is supposed to help usher in on a larger scale, no?

            1. christofay

              The Vietnamese rolled in in a humanity gesture and deposed the Khmer Rouge. I’d have to be a specialist to read about that

            2. Monty

              Advertising and propaganda works, and will be used to protect the ruling class agenda until someone removes their ability to do so. Root and branch.

              Better the devil you know.

    3. jrs

      The things most people would hoard aside from facemasks are pretty readily available to one’s neighbor. TP no shortage yet. Canned foods, nah no shortage yet. Water? No real shortage and if one couldn’t find that they could at least bottle some gallons of tap water (though authorities seem to recommend buying bottled water).

      1. hoki haya

        my girlfriend (Donbass-Ukrainian) remarked the other day in a laughing fit when we read comments, why everyone feels a need to reference TP consumption and purchase? no offense, again, just so distinctly classy in an unmistakeably American way…

        1. jrs

          Why should people have some weird taboo about it?

          Of course there are other things like feminine products that some should get if stocking up, but not everyone goes into that.

          1. Sailor Bud

            I don’t think it’s a taboo, per se. I interpreted the comment to mean that not every society uses TP for anal hygiene, so it’s an unnecessary “necessity.” Could be wrong, since I’m not sure about Ukraine.

            1. hoki haya

              no, fer croikin out loud, they use it in Ukrainia) It’s just that it has to be mentioned at all, along with the exhaustive lists of everything else, that’s funny in an endearing kind of way. i dunno, maybe if you knew Shurik and other amost Chaplinesque, Soviet humor, you’d see it. no offense.

              1. Sailor Bud

                Well, Soviet humor had nothing to do with my assessment. My reasoning was entirely based on Matt Taibbi very recently talking on a Useful Idiots podcast about not having TP in various places when he lived in Russia. I made a not so far-off geocultural guess is all. Lots of places don’t use TP, and the stuff is a historical outlier to say the least, so…as I said, it’s not some dire necessity to stock up and I find the inclusion of TP in the lists humorous for that reason myself. YMMV.

        2. Wukchumni

          I might have to find another doorstop if my copy of Atlas Shrugged gets pressed into 1-ply emergency service.

          1. hoki haya

            now THAT cracks me up; thanks. “…all the shrugging doorstops in Portlandia, could not keep us shut…nor stopper our trickling down…”

          1. inode_buddha

            Well, when you think about it, it’s pretty important. Possibly the most important thing. Have you ever came home from shopping only to realize you didn’t have any?

    4. Oregoncharles

      We have a stock of staples I originally set up to save money – we get a 10% discount on wholesale-size orders. Enough to keep us alive for months, actually.

      As long as you aren’t cutting into stocks for others, there is a public advantage: it’s one less family public services have to provide for in an emergency. That’s assuming we could get electricity, which our water depends on. We could get it out of the river, but I’d rather not.

    5. The Historian

      Sorry, but getting ready to have to shelter in place is not hoarding. It is common sense to try and keep from getting the disease, or if you do get it, to keep from passing it on.

      And quite frankly, I think our stores can keep up with people wanting to prep for several months. Case in point: I went to Walmart yesterday at about 2 PM and the shelves were almost empty, but this morning when I went there to get things I couldn’t get yesterday, the shelves were completely stocked again. People in this area are prepping because we have so many ties to CA and now that it is loose there, it is just a matter of time before it gets here.

  9. Bob Kavanagh

    ‘why the more conservative South Carolina vote should be taken as a proxy for the entire Black vote.’ Thank you so much. This question has always bothered me. Besides, no Democrat is going to win very much in the Solid South.

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      It takes an extraordinarily distasteful Republican candidate (Roy Moore), but it can be done.

    2. hoki haya

      when Chuck D is on your side, nothing to fear. It’s a shame that there’s a divide between young blacks and old, north and south, but if the tide isn’t turned in this election, it will be soon. and i do think the tide can turn now.

    3. Henry Moon Pie

      I don’t know if it’s the ideology that matters as much as the old machine nature of Democratic Party politics in South Carolina. In 2004, Kerry had to “re-announce” his candidacy with the old CV Yorktown in the background as Clyburn looked on. Afterwards, the reporters all huddled around Clyburn, not Kerry. What will be interesting to see is whether the Sanders campaign will have as much success in peeling away (liberating?) rank-and-file voters from the machine in S. C. as they did with the Culinary Workers/Reid machine in Nevada.

      1. Iowan X

        I 100% thinking you called this one. It’s the Gramsci quote: “The old world is dying, and the new world struggles to be born: now is the time of monsters.” Sanders *could* win, I predict a close call, with Sanders wins on Super-Tuesday. Will the media change it’s mind if that happens, and if the Market crashes further? Not likely. But journalists will, so I think it’s rocky roads. Sanders needs to shift gears and become the Obama v. McCain guy, His secret weapon is he understands MMT, but can’t admit it. Once he’s President, he can explain to everybody that taxes don’t fund spending, but they do control Billionaires, and if he messages it right, he’ll be pretty darn popular, IMO.

  10. MT_Bill

    Goats- I’m currently involved in a project that uses gps-enabled training (shock) collars on goats and cows to make fine scale adjustments to how and where they graze.

    The idea behind it is to be able to use grazing animals to target invasive plant species more effectively.

    For instance, you could use cows to target cheatgrass on a BLM allotment, but exclude those animals from an area that’s previously burned and has been planted with native seed.

    You can use the same technology to effectively target fine-scale fire breaks. Without the collars, you would be limited to the existing fence infrastructure. Now I can just draw a box on my smartphone.

    The technology was originally pioneered in Europe and Australia, so assuming it’s been through the ringer on Animal Care and use requirements.

    1. a different chris

      Really? Shock collars work on goats??!!!

      Wow, must be different than my beloved once-upon-a-time goat. Her first encounter with an electric fence – backed off, bemused. Second encounter gave it a push, jumped back.

      Third encounter she carefully walked back about ten feet, charged forward and annihilated it. I guess you can’t annihilate a shock collar, but I wouldn’t want to be the one she viewed as the guy who put it on her.

  11. Dr. John Carpenter

    If the Bloomberg/Warren thing is kayfabe, and glad to see I’m not the only one suspicious, I propose they started the show even earlier. Remember a few weeks ago when there were a spate of stories about how the donor class were declaring Warren too scary to them to have as the nominee? I found it odd that there was a group of them, all sourced from anonymous donors and 1%ers, and none of which mentioned Bernie Sanders even in passing. It struck me as a pattern designed to influence thought right about at the time Warren’s credibility among Sanders supporters was dropping.
    I was never as impressed with Warren’s debate performance vs. Bloomberg as others because, that’s what she does. Give her a Mr. Burns type and let her go. But it did make me wonder, why did this happen now? They changed the rules to allow Bloomberg in and he seemed to be completely unprepared to do anything other than serve as Warren’s punching bag. I even heard several pundits say this was the performance Warren needed several debates ago, which it was, if she is running to win the primary straight out.
    At this point, I don’t think she is. I think she’s making it very clear she’s running to win the brokered convention, not the supposed main event. Bloomberg would serve as a spoiler for the rest of the field without having a hope of winning. He’d also give Warren a Trump proxy to box in the primary as she can’t take on Bernie on policy and the personal stuff boomeranged big time. And as for the 1% and donors, I think they know if Warren became president, the discomfort would be miniscule, if there was any at all. (Personally, I think Trump would clobber her.)

        1. Carey

          Ahh, I see Lambert had the Working Families™ Party angle well-covered
          in links, already. I must read more closely!

          Interesting times

        2. Dr. John Carpenter

          Hmm…sounds familiar. Say, doesn’t one of the candidate’s daughters have something to do with WFP?

    1. pjay

      That was a very thought-provoking article. Kavanagh accounts for some otherwise inexplicable aspects of this bizarre process. I’ll be watching for signs that his hypothesis is correct.

      And there is no doubt in my mind that Trump would clobber Warren in the general election.

      1. Carey

        Short version, to my mind anyway: Warren’s behavior consistently aligns with
        ruling-class goals- including her grandstanding to their longer-term benefit.

        No Warren- no way, no how.

    2. John

      You’re missing the obvious.

      If Bloomberg is the nominee he’ll choose Klobuchar.
      She’s right up his corporate, the rich should rule everything, ally.

      1. Carey

        1) Bloomberg won’t be the nominee (not the Dem nominee, anyway).

        2) He wouldn’t choose [the almost-equally execrable] Klob, if he were.

    3. Bill Carson

      I received a text message from Bernie today that said that Warren’s super PAC has announced $12million in ad buys for Super Tuesday states. Seems like reports that Warren’s money is drying up were premature.

      1. grayslady

        Super pacs can buy ads but they can’t pay salaries or consultant fees. Liz still has financial issues.

  12. posaunist

    Not sure why the goat story is news. Goats have been used for weed control and land clearing for a long time. Denver hired a goat contractor to clear a large empty area when it developed Mayfair Park (across the street from my house) over twenty years ago. One major advantage is that the weeds are converted to goat poop, a great fertilizer for whatever you plan to plant.

    1. foghorn longhorn

      Throw some Longhorns out there, as they say and I concur, they can make a living on a dirt lot.
      Watched em snag vines with their horns and pull em out of the trees.
      Very industrious critters, certainly made clearing my place a LOT easier.
      Nice to look at too.

    2. KLG

      OK, First World problem, yes I know: When Tom Doak was revitalizing Pasatiempo Golf Club in Santa Cruz, goats were used to clear several overgrown barrancas. Worked like a charm. No heavy equipment required, just portable electric fence. 8-10 years ago.

      BTW: Go UCSC graduate students!

    3. rowlf

      A good friend drove a dump truck for several years and told me about going to a construction site around Atlanta years ago that used contracted goats to clear worksites. Being in a rural area I thought it was freaking brilliant, particularly if you’re the person with the goats, you are friendly with the other landowners in your area, and you can rent the other folks stock trucks, as the stock trucks don’t run all the time and renting to someone who will inflate all the tires, drain the air tanks and put fresh fuel in the truck is a win for the renter. (Machinery doesn’t like to be in storage or unused)

      Then again, if business was consistent, you could justify buying your own truck. Having known a bunch of resourceful horse-traders it seemed a win all the way around.

  13. Toshiro_Mifune

    A 46-year-old woman snorted a staggering 550 times the normal recreational dose of LSD

    Snorted!?! Who snorts acid? You take acid via blotter paper or a sugar cube like a gentleman or lady. You don’t snort it like a crazed animal.
    Also, I thought this was already widely known. LSD has a max dosage after which more doesn’t really do anything. Somewhere around 225 micrograms or something similar.
    Also also;
    The woman found that the foot pain she had suffered from since her 20s was dramatically reduced and realized the universe is one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively, that there is no death, life is only a dream and we are the imagination of ourselves… Here’s Tom with the weather.

    1. orlbucfan

      If that is an accurate description of LSD, there is no way this woman “snorted a staggering 550 times….” Where’s the time frame? How many years did it take her to do this feat? LSD is not snorted; it’s ingested. It can be injected, but that’s rare.

      1. ronnie mitchell

        Injecting acid is rare but it is also beyond strange because instead of slowly coming on to the acid it’s like someone just changed your channel.

    2. jo6pac

      Well I’ve seen people crush up little pills of -25 and snort it and I’m not sure why.

      Agree on amount and I used Acid every day for 3yrs straight and I never had help with any health issues other than question authority even more than I already did.

    3. phemfrog

      funny story.

      I had a friend in college who was planning to use his small liquid breath mint dropper (looks just like a tiny eye drop bottle) to distribute some acid onto sugar cubes for his buddies. His brother walked in and said, “Dude, my breath smells awful. Gimme that!” He then squeezed the dropper directly into his mouth. Hard.

      His brother took him into the woods for 3 days. Only way he could cope.

      1. ronnie mitchell

        A friend and I once had some shirt pocket size boxes of cough drops that had acid put on them so it was easy to carry around a lot of hits of acid but they weren’t easy to sell.
        Some people felt insulted you would think they were stupid enough to buy what were obviously cough drops so we got others to buy it under the condition we would stay with them until it kicked in.

        There is another thing we learned and that was having the cough drops close to the heat of your chest the drops near the bottom of the box were many times the potency of the ones at the top.
        This lesson was learned one night when we were walking around NYC’s East Village hawking those drops and we saw some guys unloading band equipment so in exchange for helping them get all that stuff upstairs, we were able to get in free.
        The place was ‘The Electric Circus’, what a place there were projectors putting moving images on every wall which is really something on acid.
        Then we discover it is a Hells Angels benefit event and that message got driven home very when as I was talking to my friend a whip wrapped around my friend’s neck by a short Hells Angels guy with hair down to his butt who pulled my friend’s face to his and asked him if he was ‘havin’ a good time’. Of course the answer was yes then the biker said ‘good’ and shoving him away unraveling the whip.
        It was time to leave and that wasn’t easy, going down the stairs step by step with a death grip on the handrail and the walls were psychedelic it was like the building was on acid too.
        That was ’68 or ’69 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_Circus_(nightclub)

    4. hoki haya

      ah, Bill Hicks. surely we all miss the man.

      but yes, Lsd, while best absorbed under the tongue’s membrane, can indeed be snorted or injected or whathaveyou, tho certainly not in proper company.

      These days I do prefer a biannual mushroom-cleansing, just to work out any accumulated kinks.

      One honest officer I will forever love, when asked ‘how much acid did you do in Vietnam?, responded without pride or shame, “shitloads. i’m certifiably insane ten times over.”

      afterward, he was the only one on the grounds picking up cigarette butts and putting them in receptacles. he was being pestered by a young recruit who was earnestly trying to tell him how a belief in god would benefit his life.

      i just can’t ever forget his no-nonsense face as he chucked a handful of butts in the can, not wanting to hurt the kid’s feelings, saying, “well, whatever gets you through the night”.

      kid ain’t pickin up no cigarette butts

  14. Samuel Conner

    My apologies if I have missed this in a prior NC link, post or comment. Just saw it at Huff Post and it was worth a giggle:


    The self-absorption of the Administration, that seems to be more worried about the appearances than the underlying problems, is pretty breath-taking. OTOH, I seem to recall that the HRC campaign was more appearance than substance. I suppose that it’s the political spirit of the age.

    1. hoki haya

      Yes. Even given MSM et al blowback, it’s been hard to fathom why she’s polled so low. At least she’s been to the region; one really doesn’t have to be here long to see what’s what. I understand her vulnerabilities/gaffes on some domestic issues, but my goodness does the world need a principled diplomat to represent America at the Big Kids’ Table. a genuine partner to a multipolar world would be revolutionary and pacifying. certainly nothing worse than what we’ve had.

  15. Synoia

    Separately, a 15-year-old girl with bipolar disorder overdosed on 10 times the normal dose of the drug, which she said resulted in a massive improvement in her mental health.

    Nor surprised, she perceived Trump as a Turnip on TV.

  16. CatmanPNW

    I was in the doctor’s office yesterday for an unrelated issue and it scared me. I asked my doc – “so, you ready for it?” Knowing immediately what I was talking about and he responded, “We’ve had a lot of meetings. I actually referred a case earlier today to (fed agency whose name I don’t remember), and they told me they didn’t need to do a test – didn’t meet their criteria.”
    So many points of failure – person needs to self-identify, doc needs to recognize, need to categorize in a way to get attention, need patient to report…..

    1. MLTPB

      I think they check if you are flu negative.

      If negative, then go to the next test. That is, if positive, no more test.

      This question I have is, can you get both? Can you have flu, thus testing flu positive, and also have this? If so, testing flu positive would still need the next test.

      1. Samuel Conner

        I don’t see why it wouldn’t be possible to contract flu and COVID-19 at the same time,

        But at the present, while COVID-19 is rare and flu is common, the purpose of this tiered testing sequence is to not spend scarce testing resources and capacity on cases that are almost certainly not co-infections.

        I think it’s very sensible given the current state of the epidemic. At some point, spread into the community will be confirmed by the tiered testing procedures, and the public health agenda will switch from containment/prevention of spread to mitigation of the consequences of spread in the community.


        Maybe we need to think in future in terms of building spare capacity into our disease surveillance systems.

        It will be hard to do that in purely for-profit systems, since spare capacity is, from the standpoint of managers and shareholders, capital tied up in unproductive investment.

        It’s another illustration of the flaws of for-profit health systems.

  17. Expat2Uruguay

    Doctors and locals here in Uruguay like to say that the Coronavirus is not much different than the usual flu. From the USA Today article which argues that the coronavirus is unlikely to present an “apocalyptic scenario” (from today’s Links):

    This winter, the flu has hospitalized about 280,000 Americans and killed 16,000; there are 60 confirmed COVID-19 cases nationally and no deaths.

    The coronavirus has been reported to be 80% mild, 15% causing pneumonia, and 5% requiring ICU treatment. It has also been reported that it is expected to infect 40 to 70% of the population in the next year. Multiplying the population of the US by an infection rate of 50% and by the percent requiring ICU treatment gives 330M x .5 x.05 = 8.25M. That is almost 30 times worse than the 280,000 people that were hospitalized in the US due to influenza this year. And that’s considering only the ICU patients. If we look at the 15% that get pneumonia then the calculation is three times as bad, which means 24.75M hospitalizations or 88 times worse than the seasonal flu. And let’s not forget, these cases are on top of the cases that normally occur from Winter diseases each year. Is there something I’m missing here?

    40-70% infection rate source: https://thehill.com/changing-america/well-being/prevention-cures/482794-officials-say-the-cdc-is-preparing-for
    Statistical characteristics of the Coronavirus:

    USA Today article from today’s links: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/02/27/coronavirus-experts-urge-sharing-facts-covid-19-spreads-worldwide/4892422002/

    (I posted this comment in links today, but after over 5 hours it still hasn’t come out of moderation.)

    1. Gf

      Just at local Walgreens and lots of alcohol and wipes. Even on sale .

      Here’s the latest bad news from Germany:

      Here’s a great interview with economist Nouriel Roubini:

    2. Bill Carson

      there are 60 confirmed COVID-19 cases nationally and no deaths.

      That they’ve reported, anyway. Seems a bit odd that the numbers have not changed, doesn’t it?

      1. False Solace

        The US has only tested something like 445 people and that number has barely changed all week. Trump says coronavirus will disappear like a miracle, well that number certainly is miraculous. Here’s hoping warm weather will help.

        1. Samuel Conner

          In a recent news conference (I think prior to repatriation of the Diamond Princess passengers), he was boasting of how the 15 known cases would soon recover. At this writing, per JHU CSSE pandemic dashboard, we are up to 62 cases, 7 of which have been declared “recovered”. If a miracle is in view, a biblical precedent might be the “multiplication of the fishes and loaves” — start with very little and end up with an enormous amount. Closer analogies from the Old Testament also come to mind.

          It would be intriguing to know whether the WH has the authority to influence what data is reported by the people who are running the JHU CSSE site. I would not be surprised were there attempts to delay timely updates of US data in any venue that is under the authority of the executive branch.

          Lambert — if this is sh*t-stirring, please delete it. These days I’m having trouble distinguishing sh*t-stirring from “the latest news” and “intelligent opinion” about it.

        2. Dagan68

          I am a physician and taught medical history for decades.
          I keep hearing this suggestion that warm weather decreasing the virus is a good thing.
          On the contrary.

          Historically, airborne pandemics have had a singular characteristic. They do die down in the summer. But then they come back in October with a fury unseen before. It is no coincidence that the vast majority of the deaths and illness in the Spanish Flu came not in the first wave but in the second wave the following fall. I am not sure people understand what they are asking for hoping the summer will stop this current pandemic.
          I have not seen any credible evidence one way or the other about this issue and covid19 – we will have to see.

          1. Expat2Uruguay

            I just want to make the point, that They don’t go away in the summertime, they go to the southern hemisphere.
            I am considering a migration strategy for avoiding the Coronavirus.

      2. Monty

        A saw there’s a new one in California tonight. Old lady in Santa Clara county, 90 miles from and unrelated to the one from yesterday.

        1. Monty

          Oh and “less than 100” health care workers in 2 hospitals were exposed to the one from yesterday and are all now in isolation.

    3. Titus

      False data on flu, from cdc: More than 100 kids have died of the flu so far this season. Flu deaths up in the new year: CDCFlu deaths are up more than 65% so far in 2020, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reporting that 4,800 people had died and 87,000 people had been hospitalized. The truth is important.

      1. Bill Carson

        It would certainly improve the solvency of Social Security and most private pensions. Might not be good for the life insurance industry.

        1. WobblyTelomeres

          The insurance company execs will take the firms into bankruptcy. The inbred boards will ensure steady hands (the Best of the Best!) are at the helms during the perilous journeys through the use of h-h-h-efty retention bonuses.

          [survivor of three telecom busts]

    1. The Rev Kev

      Thank god it will never mutate into a variant that targets the young and healthy like the 1919 flu pandemic did. That would be terrible that.

    2. Yves Smith

      These are cases from China. Not 100% certain this translates to the US.

      China has terrible air in its cities, and the older you are, the longer you’ve been breathing it. So that could increase the age-related vulnerability somewhat.

      Plus we have the known unknown of cases of people who had to self isolate and got very sick and could not get care. Weibo suggests at least 2x as many in Hubei as cases in their CDC database.

      Specifically, we have a ton more diabetics:

      People with diabetes (type 1, type 2, or gestational), even when well-managed, are at high risk of serious flu complications, which can result in hospitalization and sometimes even death. Pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections and ear infections are examples of flu-related complications. In recent seasons, about 30 percent of adult flu hospitalizations reported to CDC have had diabetes. Flu also can make chronic health problems, like diabetes, worse. This is because diabetes can make the immune system less able to fight infections. In addition, illness can make it harder to control your blood sugar. Flu may raise your sugar levels, but sometimes people don’t feel like eating when they are sick and a reduced appetite can cause blood sugar levels to fall. It is important for people with diabetes to follow the sick day guidelines if they become ill.


  18. hoki haya

    Bad news at HQ here outside Latakia, please confirm if true: it’s been revealed in Los Disunitados Estados that Vladimir Putin has indeed sown chaos among the American purity of its demofarcical process by announcing that he created and will instruct the superdelegates on how to vote?

    how did we let the Evil get so far inside our “process?”

    yeah, sarcasm, n yeah, no prob if the Iron Fist of NakedCapitalism should reprimand me (to reprimand is american, but discipline is something else). what continues to be most real is the loss of lives and potential loss of cultures due to US foreign policy over the last half century or more. this is what one tears one’s hair out over, wondering when a diplomat on the global stage representing America will appear? the Russians are waiting and fending off the outskirts of immaturity at minimal loss of life as well as is possible.

    It’s not a joke. You should hear the stories and see the faces. You may have seen them in other theatres and other places.

    I mean, did you watch, do you watch, any of his responses to these regime changes, his four-hour annual q&as? i know you do, & i apologize for the rhetorical question. look, even if you’re ex- or current- intel or a midget raised in earnest on a farm, you know intuitively how to read sincerity, don’t need a focus group or any exterior analytic on facial gestures.

    when the man says, “naturally we have an interest in the outcome of american elections. we always appreciate a good sign that someone wants to work together. but what we know from experience is, no matter who is president, your foreign policy doesn’t change.”

    but they still hope for the best, because in orthodoxy to despair is a sin. meanwhile do the groundwork, which right now involves forcing the Turks to turn tail – once again! – while allowing them to save face.

    note: i cannot edit on this device, as i surely would, so, caveat emptor

    Please turn over your government and love those around you almost as.much as you love your family

  19. Skip Intro

    A little known tech industry secret: “smart” is actually an acronym for an entire class of devices and experiences that participate in the economy of monetized attention and data harvest. Hence:


  20. aj

    RE: The boss who put everyone on 70K.

    I used to work for a major CC processor and this company was one of our clients. I don’t want to knock on the fact that this guy is running a successful business and paying his employees a livable wage. However this is one of those companies that essentially makes money being a middle-man to credit card transactions (you’d be surprised how many layers of people take a cut of that 2-3% CC fee). On top of that his was in a legal battle with his brother over ownership of the company and this was a way for him to essentially cut the profits of the company to screw his brother over. Now anytime rich people want to screw each other over in favor of their employees I’m fine with that too. However, this guy isn’t the 100% altruistic individual that the media makes him out to be. H’es got plenty of unearned media $’s off this story and I’m sure it has boosted revenue as now his sales people get a nice story to share while they are trying to convince some mom and pop shop to pay this company money for essentially doing nothing.

    1. Bill Carson

      Bernie has proposed capping credit card rates at 15%. I wish he’s propose capping credit card processing fees to 0.8% like they do in Europe.

      1. hoki haya

        Damn good idea; I share the wish tho I never use credit and haven’t had a bank account in a decade (unintentional anarchist, guess it just worked out this way). So much needs fixing, and it can be done.

  21. MLTPB

    Just read a Guardian article that it may have been in N Italy for weeks.

    The suggestion is for an arrival date around mid January.

    Compare that to the Wuhan lockdown date around the 23rd of January.

    We can speculate if the CCP bought the rest of China, or the rest of the world time, given this mid January initial Italian case possibility

  22. Roland

    Syrian War: So far, nobody’s backing down. Turkish ultimatum expires Sunday. Open combat already taking place between Turkish and Syrian forces.

    I am convinced that the Turkish government is not bluffing. Turkish threats during the past month have been clear, consistent, and specific. They are pointing to a line on a map, and flatly telling the Syrians and Russians to retreat behind that line, or face war.



    Turkey applies pressure to EU:

    “In anticipation of the imminent arrival of irregular migrants from Idlib, Turkish police, coastguard and border security officials have been ordered to stand down on irregular migrants’ land and sea crossings towards Europe.”


    At RT: “Several rounds of talks between the two nations have so far failed to resolve the situation, which seems to be growing more volatile by the hour.”


    However, I do notice, from the wording and tone of several of today’s RT articles, that Russians might not be unconditional about supporting Syrians in an open war against Turkey. Maybe RF will blink.

    In a previous post on this topic, I said that Syrian official bulletins had been oddly bland throughout the war. But yesterday the style at SANA changed markedly:


    Syrians announce imminent arrival of Russian naval reinforcements. This news not prominent at RT.


    Commentators at Col. Lang’s blog are, in my opinion, still sounding a bit complacent, although author TTG seems aware of risk of major war:


    This Syrian War is not only a very bad thing happening somewhere else. It could soon become a very bad thing happening to the whole world, and presenting itself on your doorstep, elbowing aside COVID-19, the market bubble, Brexit, the US elections, etc.

    1. hoki haya

      They will back down. Do you think after all Russia has involved itself in standing against hegemonic principles that it will back down now, to paltry Turks?

      Turks always negotiate this way, and Russians do not blink. centuries grant experience.

      how these conflicts play out in real time is far different than can be reported upon. phonecalls, negotiations, more phonecalls. hydraheaded and multileveled, designed to stave off the worst, but i’ll admit that as negotiations stand now, on a scale that should never move from 1, i’m at a 2. turks can bark all they want, but they better stand down.

    2. Monty

      Thanks for the links and information. What is the legal basis for Turkish military being in Syria at all, is there a legitimate reason?

      1. The Rev Kev

        The legal basis is that Turks wants to seize chunks of Syria for itself and Iraq too when they get around to it. They are an expansionary power and have a lot of ambition that includes seizing large chunks of the Mediterranean as well for underwater gas and oil deposits there.

        1. hoki haya

          which is to say, no legal basis at all.
          but when was the last time anyone adhered to int’l law?
          sometimes when speaking at a university, i’ll mention that as children we were taught to ‘share the sandbox’, tho of course it’s a bit of a conundrum to grow up and see that no adults have been able to do so.

          1. The Rev Kev

            I think that the Turks are using the same legal principle that Israel uses of ‘Might Makes Right’ which Netanyahu made plain a few months ago in a speech.

      2. hoki haya

        No. They are there illegally. not invited by the Syrian government, acting half-assedly as a proxy for the US (alternating with and against US interests), who uses in turn as a proxy the headchoppers.

        Side note: look at a map. tell me how Nakhidjevan can belong to Azerbaijan (a Turkish proxy) when it has no border with it? On my flight into the region, I was stunned by this. Pan-Turkism is alive and well; Erdogan would be happy to pick up where Ataturk left off, and don’t think there’s a single Armenian unaware of this.

        The base was alive with jets all day –

        if Syria falls (which it won’t), Armenia is an afterthought on the way to Iran.

        not gonna happen.

      3. Roland

        Turkey’s “legal case” for invading part of Syria is pretty tenuous, and I disagree with it. However their case deserves to be stated.

        Turkey argues that the war in Syria was destabilizing their own border region, esp. WRT Kurdistan. Turks say that the war in Syria has created an intolerable refugee and humanitarian burden for Turkey (Turkey now has est. 3.6 million Syrian refugees). There are nearly a million more refugees at the border, for whom Turkey is willing to offer protection, but not to admit to Turkey. Turkey also says that since most of their refugees will not return to a Ba’athist Syria, the only way for those people to go back to Syria would be if there is a foreign-protected enclave in part of Syria.

        Furthermore Turkey accuses Syria and Russia of violating the ceasefire lines. Turkey says that they have been very patient as the Syrians’ latest offensive has proceeded, but now their patience is exhausted.

        Bear in mind, too, that the Turks put the principal blame for the whole Syrian Civil War on the Syrian government.

        Of course the Syrian government repudiates the whole Turkish argument. Syria says that Turkey has been waging a proxy war against Syria and that Turks have only themselves to blame for the refugee crisis that resulted from the defeat of their proxies.

        Syria is outraged that Turkey claims instability as a pretext to invade Syria, when Turkish meddling was the main reason for the instability. Syria accuses Turkey of bad faith in abusing the terms of the ceasefire zones. They say that Turkey failed to monitor or disarm HTS and other extremists as was agreed. Syria insists on the full restoration and recognition of its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

        My own sympathy is mostly with the Syrian government. I think Turkey made a bad bet on a swift rebel victory in the Syrian civil war, and they made a mess for Syria, Turkey, and the world. While the USA, KSA, and other powers are also guilty of meddling, it was Turkey that hosted the SNC and provided the indispensable bases for numerous rebel factions. Without Turkish intervention, the war would probably been over by the end of 2013, with incalculably less harm.

        But at this moment, from a whole-world perspective, I don’t think it matters who’s to blame for what. The main thing is to avoid further escalation. It’s Turkey’s fault they have such a big refugee crisis, but so what? Those are still a lot of people, and it’s the world’s problem.

        Let’s suppose we end up with one of those political absurdities that have marked the atlases from time to time. Is a rebel enclave in Syria worse, say, than the partition of China, Korea, or Germany? Is Syrian or Korean integrity worth risking a world war?y

        1. The Rev Kev

          ‘Is a rebel enclave in Syria worse’

          When you are talking about an enclave being controlled by an al-Qaeda franchise that is being armed which modern weaponry such as ATGMs and Manpads, well then yes. Lots of those moderate head-choppers have ISIS shoulder patches on when they go into battle so you can guess who they really are and what they are about.

          It only goes to a World War if the US says, ‘Hey, wouldn’t a no-fly zone be a really great idea over Syria, just like Hillary wanted.’ State Department neocons like James Jeffery are demanding that the US send in Patriot missile batteries into Idlib province but the Pentagon are saying to hell with that s***! They would be sitting ducks sitting there in the middle of an al-Qaeda stronghold.

          The Turks are just as liable to kill those US troops anyway and blame the Syrians in order to bring the US into the war big time. They thought about doing similar once by having some of their own men killed on purpose in order to take over a chunk of Syria.

    3. MLTPB


      Elbowing aside COVID19…

      Combing with the former, the latter is not likely to be elbowed aside, unfortunately.

  23. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Reddit’s Profane, Greedy Traders Are Shaking Up the Stock Market

    For anyone who wondered about where the small day traders who made the 1990s so wild went, meet the 2020 version. After years of indifference, individual investors seem to be finding their way back to stocks, for better or worse. They’re flexing muscles in ways that can easily call to mind excesses from the dot-com era.

    There was a magazine and website called Individual Investor back in the 90s that I used to enjoy. Like NC, they were quite skeptical about all things concerning Mr. Market, and they got tired of watching “analyst” hype boost stock prices for any company that appended a .com to their name, fundamentals be damned. To prove a point about unwarranted hype, they picked an unknown, low priced stock called Biker.com (BIKR), which was just a website that sold some Harley accessories, and decided to hype it. I forget exactly how they went about it, but the stock did skyrocket from the low single dollars, or maybe even less than a dollar, to about $11/share overnight IIRC, before coming right back down to earth over the next couple days and staying there, never to be heard from again.

    Stock pumping wasn’t new then and I’m sure it will continue as long as there is a stock market somewhere. Unfortunately this stock market Cassandra wasn’t nearly as popular as the Wall St cheerleaders and they went under – right about the time the .com boom went bust.

    1. cm

      This is such a ridulous story, and just another sign we’re at the top. They’re talking about basic options plays, and most of the posts in that subreddit are sarcastic.

      Honestly, the fact that Bloomberg thought that this was a story is indicative of a very frothy market.

      Chinese Virus story probably hurt that play, though… YOLO!!!

  24. Bill Carson

    I get a lot of information from youtube, and a few minutes I went there and did a search for “coronavirus” and then later “covid,” and not very many videos popped up, even after I told it to sort by release date, which should put the most recent videos at the top. It was only when I specified to show me all videos that had been released in the past hour that I got anything very recent. You guys feel free to check this and report back, but it seems like youtube is limiting search results and information—trying to prevent a panic?

    1. Alfred

      I just replicated part of your experiment, typing only “coronovirus” into the Youtube.com search box. The top five returns, in the order listed, were posted: 57 mins, 6 hours, 7 hours, 9 hours,and 14 hours “ago.” Filtering for the last hour, the top five were posted respectively: 32, 51, 40, 54, and 48 minutes “ago.” I hardly ever access Youtube, so am not well qualified to interpret these results. But to my eye it looks like the search function is returning hits based on some “relevance” criteria that include not just the keyword(s) searched but also a measure of how many previously returned hits have been accessed. If that is the case, then the longer a video has been posted, the greater the chance of it being returned on a search. To be honest, I can’t consider this way of arranging search results (by ‘relevance’ rather than by ‘freshness’) to be inherently manipulative. I am posting this at 7:09 PM eastern time.

    2. kick out the jams

      I think someone on NC reported that youtube had “demonetized” sites using Covid and Coronavirus by name, so they changed to CV etc. Personally I don’t know how any of that works, don’t watch anything but old rock songs. But there may be skewing due to nomenclature/profit conflict?

  25. Wukchumni

    This is just so wrong…


    The National Weather Service in Reno has issued a Fire Weather Watch for gusty winds and low humidity, which is in effect from Saturday morning through Saturday afternoon.

  26. flora

    re: Bloomberg (D?)(1) We really are talking about prices here.

    per Churchill:

    “Churchill: “Madam, would you sleep with me for five million pounds?” Socialite: “My goodness, Mr. Churchill… Well, I suppose… we would have to discuss terms, of course… ”
    Churchill: “Would you sleep with me for five pounds?”
    Socialite: “Mr. Churchill, what kind of woman do you think I am?!” Churchill: “Madam, we’ve already established that. Now we are haggling about the price”

    ― Winston S. Churchill ”


  27. jonginsf

    From that McSweeney’s link:

    Well, yes, it is an astonishingly expensive instrument, but it also holds tremendous sentimental value. We bought it on our trip to Rome, remember? From that guy who kept saying it wasn’t for sale? And I was like, “Wake up, pal, the whole world’s for sale.” And he was like, “But this machine, it has made coffee for the pope.” And I was like, “Well, now I have to have it.” Remember that?

    Too good. Thanks for the link, and the laugh.

  28. cripes

    Forbes reports Swizterland has banned gatherings => 1,000, effective immediately, with The Geneva Auto show, one of the largest trade gatherings in Europe, attracting an average 600,000 visitors, starting in 72 hours.

    When NYC has quarantined itself indoors, I’d like to visit family there and photograph the empty city without the hordes. Like Harry Belafonte in The World, The Flesh and The Devil (1959).


    1. MLTPB

      Curious about the 1,000 threshold.

      A busy international airport has more that. Are they closing airports and train stations?

      On the other end, a small bar can be risky, as we likely saw in Italy.

      1. The Rev Kev

        ‘Are they closing airports and train stations?’

        I saw a recent image of Hong Kong’s international airport at about 8 or 9 at night and it was deserted.

  29. Daryl

    My SF travel was cancelled, thankfully.

    This is going to be a rough year. My only hope is that we come out of the other side with a clear, shared understanding that our corporatist society is a threat to the survival of the human race.

    1. Carey

      >This is going to be a rough year. My only hope is that we come out of the other side with a clear, shared understanding that our corporatist society is a threat to the survival of the human race.

      Hear, effing hear.

      Guessing our Elites have an alternate plan, however.

    2. Wukchumni

      It’s obviously the end of the sharing economy, the underfunded would-be Hiltons doing short term vacation rentals and Uber & Lyft drivers, yeah that’s not gonna work either.

      Short term vacation rentals made sense from a making money standpoint, but Uber/Lyft have been bleeding out for so long, this will be a good excuse to say uncle.

      Basic homes were $200k here, and because of AirBnB et al, they got them up to $300k with feverish demand because you could get $6k a month in high season, it all penciled out.

      Because, markets! will put the squeeze on rental rates in a competitive race to the bottom for those lucky enough to have a customer as things dwindle when we go from a really bad scenario of way too many people visiting interesting places all at once, to almost ghost towns in no time flat. Bet you’d have the Trevi Fountain or Spanish Steps to yourself nearly?

      You can hide an inordinate amount of bullshit in economics, but this one is a different beast, and its the rapture alright, just not the one the evangs have been yammering on about.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I think that you are right. The shenanigans economy will wilt under the attack of Coronavirus and reveal more home truths on what the actual economy is. I believe that it was Warren Buffet that said once “It’s only when the tide goes out that you learn who has been swimming naked.”

        1. Carey

          >The shenanigans economy will wilt under the attack of Coronavirus and reveal more home truths on what the actual economy is.

          Thank you.

        2. steelyman

          Here in Singapore, it seems that with large segments of a fearful population staying at home and not shopping or dining out the food delivery services are doing gangbuster business!

          OTOH the local papers say many small retail and F&B outlets have seen their turnover drop as much as 80% since the start of the infections!

  30. Samuel Conner

    I wonder if someone is trying to hack the JHU CSSE dashboard.

    Yesterday, in the list at left of nations and #confirmed cases, the entries of which are links to more specific information about each nation, the links were scrambled; some pointed nowhere and some pointed to locations different than the nation listed. It took me a couple of dozen tries to find the link that pointed to “mainland China”.

    Tonight, at this writing, the US link is broken, but the others appear to point to the proper respective data.

    Maybe the site is simply being maintained and the maintenance is breaking things.

    1. Samuel Conner

      My bad; it looks there are loads of broken links in the “at left” nation directory, but not all the same as yesterday. Mainland China not broken today; was yesterday.

      Perhaps the app developer is badly sleep-deprived.

  31. OIFVet

    I’ve just been called a “Russian asset” by someone whom I’ve known for 23 years. My offense was repeatedly pointing out that the Muller report was a nothingburger, that the Steele dossier was fabricated on behalf of Clinton, and that the whole Russia exercise was meant to divert attention from the moral and ethical bankruptcy of the neoliberal Dem elites. Liberals have truly gone mad.

    1. Carey

      I’m sorry that happened to you. PMC Liberals™ are feeling beleagured, and are very reactive post-2016. “we’re the good guys!” They will eventually learn, I think.

      “You will learn by the numbers.. I will teach you.”

      -Gunnery Sergeant Hartman

      1. FluffytheObeseCat

        They won’t learn. They’ll eventually shut up a bit as the fire under their crackpot beliefs dies down. After campaign dark money goes elsewhere. Once the reinforcement is gone, they’ll ‘forget’ what they said to you. Their current fury will smoothly fade over time…. until you end up offending them if you recall it accurately. Don’t insist on remembering. They’ll blind-side you with the completeness of their forgetting.

        I swear, embarrassment and social fear are more potent accelerants of dementia than any illness or tobacco.

    2. Daryl

      I’m personally considering being a Bloomberg asset instead of a Russian asset. I’ve heard it pays better.

  32. The Rev Kev

    Aww crap! Coronavirus is loose in the wild in south-east Queensland. A woman returned from a trip to Iran but did not know that she was infected until after she had started back to work at the hair salon she worked at on the Gold Coast. The authorities are now trying to find 40 people that were in that salon as her clients. They are not saying so but containment I would say is a bust-


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