2:00PM Water Cooler 3/12/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

This is a travel day for me, so f u cn rd this, my hotspot has failed. Talk amongst yourselves! –lambert

Conversation starter: I just bought not one but two copies of Ulysses, just in case I need to be spending a lot of time indoors. (The one has good notes; the other has better critical apparatus.) What are you reading? Or watching? Or playing?

* * *

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 (TP):

TP writes: “Cedar River Trail in Renton, WA in the fall. This location is a couple of miles east of where the river drains into Lake Washington, where the infamous Renton Boeing 737MAX plant is located. The trail runs right along the plant. Took a walk there today, a handful of jets remain in the outdoor parking area. I assume these are ones that were already in the pipeline and now getting finishing touches.”

* * *

Readers: Water Cooler is a standalone entity not covered by the annual NC fundraiser. So if you see a link you especially like, or an item you wouldn’t see anywhere else, please do not hesitate to express your appreciation in tangible form. Remember, a tip jar is for tipping! Regular positive feedback both makes me feel good and lets me know I’m on the right track with coverage. When I get no donations for five or ten days I get worried. More tangibly, a constant trickle of donations helps me with expenses, and I factor in that trickle when setting fundraising goals:

Here is the screen that will appear, which I have helpfully annotated.

If you hate PayPal, you can email me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, and I will give you directions on how to send a check. Thank you!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Water Cooler on by .

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. farragut

      I tried reading that about 20 years ago, but it never engaged me. I’ll have to give it another try.

      Currently, I’m reading Neal Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon for the third time. One of his best, in my opinion. But, I’d also recommend the System of the World trilogy. Slower-paced, but also tremendously satisfying.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Stay away from Stephenson’s latest, Fall, or Dodge in Hell. I’ve loved everything else I’ve read by him, but this last one was truly execrable. I slogged through the whole thing, thinking there must be some point to it all, and there never was.

        1. Sastun

          Stephenson can be incredibly hit or miss. I loved Anathem, Cryptonomicon, Zodiac, and Diamond Age, thought that anything Stephenson touched: cyberpunk, alt-history, sprawling world building, etc was pure gold. Then I read Reamde… What a waste of a thousand pages.

          1. vlade

            Reamde I actually liked. As sort of DoDo. But Seveneves I gave a pass. Fall was good for the first third (The Moab Hoax part is IMO great, as well as the dystopian castes based on how good an “information editor” can you afford), but the end was beyond weird. I can do weird, but it dragged on and on and on for no good reason (that I could find) except to fill in the word count quota.

            1. Sastun

              I can handle Stephenson’s ‘weird’ in the right doses, The Big U was very weird, but he kept the narrative tight, so the strangeness was fun instead of tedious. I generally find I prefer his shorter books, with some exceptions, the longer novels are sometimes long not because he has a lot more to say but because he doesn’t know how to finish.

      2. Librarian Guy

        Confederacy is great, and I say that as a former New Orleanian . . .

        If you like humor around absurd characters and their doings, I would recommend Charles Portis’ works, all are good. He’s best known for True Grit, but additionally both Dog of the South, Masters of Atlantis are also outstanding. The latter is a lot of fun with secret societies, Theosophy & Masonry, that kind of social stew.

        A bit more gentle in his absurdity than the over-the-top characters in Confederacy, but lots of fun.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          I picked up Anathem at random several years ago and it gave me a Nerdwoody.
          I love constructed universes(LOTR, Dune)…but that one was so subtle it was almost implied that there’s all this s^^t going on.
          you had to grow into it.

          Given EITC, I just had a haul:
          Harvey’s “Neoliberalism”, Mr Hudson’s “Forgive them…”, Ruskin’s” Unto this Last”(currently involved), Frank’s”Listen Liberal”(similarly involved), and EP Thompson’s “The Making of the English Working Class”…this latter of which i’ve wanted to read for a long while.
          All of them due to suggestions or mentions on NC in the last couple of years.
          the first two and the last will hafta wait till all i’m doing is harvesting.

          EITC + Spring Break + General Spingtime = Sudden Flurry of Activity.
          2 sheds in progress…sheep/goat and woodshed…gigantic telephone poles set, ready for me to wander by and frame it in…then another Barnraising Day(ribs, tater salad, beer, etc) to put the r-panel up(already pained red with yellow stripes(everything else is blue and green and purple)…then the next however long for me to finish it up.
          and i’ve planted more this year than i have in 20.
          including around 80 black gallon+ pots with seeds/acorns i’ve picked up all over, or rooted cuttings of everything else i’ve come across.
          and tons of manure.

          …so, only Light Reading for now.
          for i am not worth shootin’.

          1. Janie

            Amfortas, try that masterpiece article of social anthropology, The Nacirema, from about 1950. It’s online.

      3. AbateMagicThinking But Not Money

        A Conferacy of Dunces:

        …is one my “reference” books for hilarity with the added bonus that the title can be applied to so many situations (mainly political).


        ps Try “Puckoon” by the late, great Spike Milligan.

    2. Fox Blew


      A Confederacy of Dunces spoke to me! Funniest book I have ever read. And like you, I’ve re-read several times. Just seeing the title makes me laugh. :-)

    3. russell1200

      Anatomy of a Campaign: The British Fiasco in Norway, 1940 – John Kiszely
      The British underfunded their military until too late. Which would have been o.k. up to a point, except they seemed to have no realization at this point how disparate the Nazi German capabilities were compared to their own.

      When We Were Vikings – Andrew David MacDonald
      A very nice coming of age tail of an adult mentally challenged young woman who is into Vikings and dealing with a family crisis.

      1. Dune Navigator

        #Library-of-Psychohistory,_for_times_of_plague_and_famine (TM)____________
        Anabasis by Xenophon
        Muqaddimmah: an Introduction to History by ibn Khaldun
        Linguistic Diversity in Space and Time by Johanna Nichols
        Hamlet’s Mill by Giorgio de Santillana and Hertha von Dechend
        The Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe by Marija Gimbutas
        Models of Discovery by Herbert Simon
        The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind by Julian Jaynes
        Unifying the Mind by David Danks
        Targeted Learning in Data Science: Causal Inference for Complex Longitudinal Studies by Mark Vanderlaan and Sherri Rose
        Vladimir Propp and the Study of Structure in Hebrew Biblical Narrative by Pamela J. Milne
        Washington Babylon by Alexander Cockburn and Ken Silverstein

      2. Billy

        Hundreds of books in html for free download:


        Algernon Blackwood Anthony Hope Anthony Trollope Anton Chekhov Arthur Conan Doyle Arthur Quiller-Couch Baroness Orczy Benjamin Disraeli Charles Dickens Dinah Craik E. Phillips Oppenheim Edith Wharton Elizabeth Gaskell Eugene Sue F. Marion Crawford G.A. Henty G.K. Chesterton George Gissing George Meredith Gertrude Atherton H. Rider Haggard H.G. Wells Hamlin
        Garland Henry James Honore de Balzac…etc

      3. Synoia

        The British Fiasco in Norway, 1940 – John Kiszely. The British underfunded their military until too late.

        Yes, they were enamored with te gold standard, and had huge War loans on which they were paying interest.

        Would you care to guess to whom the War Loans were to be paid?

      4. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

        Thanks for the tips. Those both sound fun.
        The British were actually in a fine position to keep the Gerrmans out of Norway, but they screwed up the naval strategy From the Anglo-French point of view, it was a long term win, as important German naval units were sunk in action against Norwegian defenses, which made the British isles just that much more defensible later.

    4. Jason Boxman

      I’m such a slow reader, this will all be over and I’ll still be working on The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History.

      I’d like to finally take the time to learn the Go programming language though. Learning to code isn’t economic magic for all, but since I work in tech already, it’ll be useful for me since we mostly use it at work anyway.

    5. Lee

      I reserved The great influenza : the epic story of the 1918 pandemic by John Barry. It’s sitting on the shelf at my local library waiting for me but I’m afraid to go pick it up. How do you disinfect a book without damaging it?

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        Wait three days. Seriously, reports say the coronavirus can survive as long as three days on surfaces. So, pick it up, put it in a bag if you want, simply set it down at home, and wait three days.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          i opened the package they came in from amazon(yeah, yeah…) and sprayed lysol inside it and sealed it back up and left the packages in the sun for a while.
          resistance, however, is likely futile.

      2. polecat

        Bought that just after it hit the bookstands … reflecting on ‘events’ of a century ago, combined with our current dilemma(s), brings home the fragility of human ‘systems’. The 1918-1920 flu totally over-taxed many of the frontline medical clinicians, nurses, and doctors .. and caused society to discombobulate in profound ways … just as I see it happening today in real time. I’m not saying that this thing plays out exactly as the ‘Kansas’ virus did .. but it might rhyme awfully well.

        The Glitterati & the Politicos of various sorts are now starting to get tagged, as are the lot of us, to varying degree as we are all play the game of Pan’s demic.

        Current reading “SPILLOVER by David Quammen. I’m about 1/4 of the way through on that one. Then for a light hearted change, I switch to S.M. Stirling’s third novel of his ‘Change’ series, ‘A Meeting At Corvallis’, trials and tribulations of a different sort .. and then back to Quammen’s read.

      3. cm

        I’m reading it right now, along with “The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt” as audio book while I walk, and Aubrey/Maturin series for winding down at night.

    6. Robert Gray

      re: Confederacy of Dunces

      Not everyone here may know the source of the title, i.e., this delightful epigram from Dean Swift:

      ‘When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.’

    7. Janie

      Wuk, I tried Confederacy of Dunces several times before I got into it – it’s hilarious. Helps to know the territory. What sayeth Monsieur Becnel?

      Slim, for you: Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking: A Memoir. Author describes everyday life in USSR. I found that section fascinating but intro not so much.

      Now focused on gardening. Going to try grafting fruit trees for the first time, so researching. Oregon Charles, any words of advice?

      1. Wukchumni

        It’s a fun romp through New Orleans, and the backstory is amazing in that the author died 11 years prior and his mom went all over tarnation trying to get it published, finally succeeding.

        p.s. Watch your pyloric valves, they’re more important than you know.

        1. WobblyTelomeres

          If you read Confederacy, might as well read some Walker Percy while you’re at it. Percy was the writer-in-residence his Mom appealed to to get his book published (and appears in the book, sort of). Heavy sodium ftw!

          1. WobblyTelomeres

            Note: As much as I like Percy’s writing, he was a total asshat to his gay son whom I met at a party my gay sister held in Auburn.

          2. DonCoyote

            Lost in The Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book” by Walker Percy is one of my all-time favorite books (Not really a self-help book, more philosophy and semiotics) Thanks for calling it to mind.

      2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        I loved it and thought it was fn hilarious. I liked the Lucky dog parts the best.

        I related to Ignatius more than I care to admit…

    8. Lina

      The Kindergarten Course Book because I just pulled my daughter from school and we’re going to have some long days ahead of us!! How do I juggle this and work from home!?

    9. Bill Carson

      I’m rereading Kurt Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions. Some good quotes:

      Thomas Jefferson: “a slave owner who was also one of the world’s greatest theoreticians on the subject of human liberty.”


      “Vietnam was a country where America was trying to make people stop being communists by dropping things on them from airplanes.”

      Still true today, except the country is Iraq and instead of communists, they are terrorists.

    10. Mike

      One of the two go-to books when I am disturbed. The other is The Good Soldier Švejk, but only the Czech translation to English, not Cecil Parrot’s (too much cockney variation in translation, unless you like it).

    1. Drake

      Much better. Never lose sight of the fact that it’s a really hilarious book. You have to work for it sometimes.

  1. .Tom

    > What are you reading? Or watching? Or playing?

    I’m learning to play my new guitar. A multi-scale 8-string.

    1. pretzelattack

      playing chess online, deciding to go ahead and spring for a bunch of toilet paper and paper towels, probably too late if the walmart i went to today is any indication. i didn’t look far enough ahead.

        1. pretzelattack

          chess.com never tried lichess. used to play on icc, they seem to be foundering a bit.

    2. Lil’D

      Cool. Upload something.
      I just ordered a Variax. My first hi tech thing. Won’t replace the trusty strat but am excited about hunting for tones ??

      Local jazz guy just had his tour cancelled. All he has left on his year is two weekends in April in Vegas. So he has booked jazz Thursday at the pizza place

      1. Gary

        Is it a new Variax or used? I haven’t seen one in a few years so I wasn’t sure if they were still an option.

    3. Gary

      multi-scale? Does that mean it has the slanted frets?
      I am still working on 6 strings. It’s only been 50 years so far.

      1. Old Jake

        Hah, when I was growing up all I had was four strings (slight bow to Mr. Python)! Slightly more seriously, I can manage the four strings on the basic Fender electric bass, more than that are a challenge I have not mastered. Perhaps I should try the classical guitar, as usually only one or two strings are plucked at a time.

        1. Janie

          Just three strings on lap, or mountain, dulcimer. Not fully chromatic, though. Need to do string bend for minor pentatoniic. Haven’t even begun to master it, but it’s only been a couple of decades.

    4. BrianC - PDX

      When the China shutdown happened I ordered an Ibanez SR400EQM and a Fender Rumble 40 from Sweetwater.

      Thinking… I had better order now rather than later, because most of that stuff is made overseas and if the supply chain goes pear shaped nothing will be available.

      I figured if I had to quarantine I’d learn now to play a bass. :)

      1. aj

        Nice choice, BrianC. I have a SR705 from 10-15 years ago. I’ve played Fenders and they are just so dang heavy. I like the thinner neck and the lighter body. The 5-string SR has a narrower string spacing too which I like as well. Makes it harder to slap, but that’s what the 4-strings are for. That is a good sounding amp but it won’t disturb your neighbors. I have Markbass 500W combo that was probably the best $1,000 i spent for gigging. Thing weighs like 40-45lbs total and will crush a small-medium size room by itself. Only downside to Markbass is they are Guitar Center exclusive.

        I’m not really a pedal guy–I leave that to the guitar players–but if you ever think about getting an in-line compression pedal you will notice a nicer sound right away. There quite a few out there, but the gold standard is the MXR M87. Best $200 you will ever spend on a bass pedal. But if you are just starting out learning, not really necessary.

        1. RMO

          The Rumble is likely made in Mexico at Fenders plant there but all except the high end Ibanez gear is from China/Korea/Indonesia so the supply lines there could be vulnerable. Then again, a lot of what goes into the Mexican made Fender amps probably comes from China in the first place. I have an older Fender Rumble that I bought used for a really good price. Not pretty but it does the job and even sounds OK when I run my upright bass through it which quite a few bass amps don’t handle well. My electric is an ancient Yamaha SB-2, the first solidbody bass they ever made. Last purchase I made was a Peterson Stroboclip tuner. The place that I play with a group has wildly varying temperature so the upright always changes enough in pitch during an hour or so of playing that it almost always needs retuning at least twice a rehearsal. So I finally caved and bought a clip-on tuner so I could spot-check tuning quietly whenever I needed. Since we’re self quarantining too I’ve been getting far more practice in that I ever have before – one bright spot I guess.

    5. mikeofearth

      Reading Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi after hearing John Turturro talk about it on a podcast. Man’s Search For Meaning by Viktor Frankl is another account of the holocaust I read a couple years ago.

      1. Stillfeelinthebern

        Primo Levi is one of my favorite authors. “The Periodic Table,” was the first book of his that I read. I think “The Truce ” is my favorite. Thanks for the reminder, I’m going to start rereading them again.

    6. Lee

      Recently binged Babylon Berlin on Netflix. I highly recommend it. I’m currently watching The Expanse. But mostly I’m following the news, which is as horrifying as any fiction i’ve read or watched.

      1. remmer

        Loved The Expanse. Best scifi series since Fringe. Did you see Counterpart, an excellent political series about a parallel universe created by accident in postwar Berlin? It only got two seasons, though.

        1. neo-realist

          Love Babylon Berlin (haven’t started season 2 yet) – terrific acting, writing and getting the period in the art direction and Counterpoint – great acting – the mob doesn’t get shows w/ complex plot lines.

          Also liked a show called Beat on Amazon Prime – gritty crime drama set in the Berlin techno music scene. Unfortunately not picked up for another season.

          1. deplorado

            Patriot is the best show on Amazon. Darkly funny and so true. With some inimitable actors.

        2. katiebird

          I’ve been rewatching Fringe a couple of episodes a day. I really like it. Sadly I’m into season 4 now so it’s almost over.

          Books? I was going to read something light. Maybe reread the Sookie Stackhouse series. But now I feel guilty. Maybe I’ll join the Ulysses group?

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > I was going to read something light

            My light reading (besides Aubrey/Maturin) is Terry Pratchett, but only the books with Sam Vimes as a protagonist. Except for the last one, Snuff, where the approach of Pratchett’s Alzheimers is painfully evident. (Irony never needs to be spelled out.)

    7. Calypso Facto

      I’m learning how to play the drums! I got an electronic drum kit when the China tariff biz seemed to be getting serious, I can run it through my receiver (but usually I just use headphones) or to the DAW. I know sweet f-a about drums, it’s been a fun tactile experience. Probably not ideal to learn on an electronic kit but I have neighbors and swung for a mesh kit not rubber pads. It’s been therapeutic!

      Also baking a lot of bread by cooking my way through cookbooks. Ordering seeds for a container garden in my parents’ backyard, going to try to grow some melons and tomatoes. Doing a lot of pen and ink illustrations. If I successfully grow anything and we’re still dealing with mass quarantines over the summer, I may draw some of those, too. Botanical illustration involves a lot of focus and tedious/time-consuming stippling, but the product is nice. Maybe later I’ll be able to refer to my quarantine art.

    8. Mike

      Editing old music from 78rpm’s and 45’s – doo-wop, R&B, really early R’n’R – and some of my parents old disks that got stuffed away and have come to light (ethnic E. European songs & dance melodies). Digitizing is not the best way to preserve them, but have no space or proper storage place to keep them clean. Beside that, the old vinyl records are deteriorating, so must do something.

      Then, playing solo mah-johng, because when you win it means nothing, like it should be on Wall Street.

  2. jo6pac

    I’m not reading any books, intertubes only. I did have my first cataracts surgery the other day so I can now see with right eye. In a couple months I’ll have left one done. I did notice last time at the Dr. office no one was shaking hands and lots hand cleaner around.

    I need to go outside and do something fun this afternoon.

    1. Jeff N

      I was reading yesterday about a difference between a *screening* test (no symptoms required for a test) and a *diagnostic* test (must have symptoms; “yes infected” means yes infected, but “not infected” could actually be infected) … all we have for COVID so far is diagnostic test.

    2. neo-realist

      Porter is the kind of populist meat and potatoes on the issues dem that the party, if it gave half a damn about the people, should be producing and developing.

  3. allan

    President Trump’s Payroll Tax Holiday: Budgetary, Distributional, and Economic Effects [Penn Wharton]

    Summary: President Trump just announced his support for a full payroll tax holiday for the remainder of calendar year 2020, which PWBM projects would cost $807 billion. Households in the bottom 20 percent of incomes—those households with the highest willingness to spend their tax savings—would receive about 2 percent of the total tax cut, limiting the policy’s stimulus potential. …

    But Penn Wharton’s analysis might be based on unrealistically optimistic assumptions –
    see the comments in the replies to this tweet.

    1. Billy

      Don’t forget the employer’s half is also waived. Nice subsidy to business while helping cripple the Social Security funds for ultimate privatization. Doesn’t do anything the unemployed, those laid off or fired as they pay no taxes. Now, if it were retroactive for a year or two, that’d be different.

      1. Oh

        The whole idea is to speed up the privatization of SS and Medicare. Look! The deficit’s growing bigger.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      Like the Democrat nostrum of tax credits (“So you can learn to code!”) the Republican nostrum of tax cuts will do nothing for those who need a weekly pay check to survive. They need CASH!

    1. a different chris

      :) Mine have been a bit neglected lately.

      BTW, I never got to thank you as the posts spun by for that tip on the “new” computing stuff that wasn’t new at all. Pretty interesting.

    1. allan

      Another fun fact from Twitter:

      Michael Grunwald @MikeGrunwald
      I had forgotten my own reporting that @SenatorCollins
      stripped $870M for pandemic preparations out of the 2009 stimulus.

      [page image from Grunwald’s book, The New New Deal]

      11:30 AM · Mar 12, 2020·Twitter for iPhone

      There was some discussion here the other day about who’s responsible for the sorry state of the CDC
      and pandemic preparation in particular. Now, the Dems controlled all the WH, Senate and House in 2009,
      so obviously they share some of the blame, but if Collins hadn’t demanded this,
      it probably wouldn’t have happened.

      I’m very disappointed with Susan Collins.

      1. Louis Fyne

        Typical modern, bipartisan American short-termism.

        In my opinion, things would not have been not better under a Hillary admin.—-but at least we’d have a no-fly zone in Syria. USA!


    Reading: Capital Volume One

    Watching: I find lately that I have a low tolerance for sitting through TV shows and movies, so it’s just been whatever the misses has on in the background.

    Playing: Fortnite, Rocket League. Bought the original Doom during an online sale, which has been some nostalgic fun. Should really be playing GRIS more, it’s gorgeous and has a wonderful score, but because of that I only want to play it on the TV, which is rarely free. Very on the fence about picking up Animal Crossing when it comes out but leaning towards getting it.

          1. polecat

            Ironically .. or maybe not .. my current monthly cellphone service is threatening, urm, ‘alerting’ me .. that I MUST upgrade my device to a 5g standard, and that ‘oh by the way’ .. ‘we @ brand X’ have just what u need !’

            I just might go full-on phoneless, therby breaking the bonds of that sticky and toxic contagion known as a Stasi box.

    1. Pelham

      Big chunks of Capital Vol. 1 should be required reading in high school to let kids know what they’re in for. I didn’t get around to it till midlife, unfortunately, too late. While you’re reading, I suggest marking off the best parts to reread maybe 6 months later.

      1. sleepy

        I had an English prof back in the early 70s who was able to finagle a course for English majors entitled “Das Kapital as Literature”, and get it approved as a senior seminar, lol. This was a Jesuit school. I learned a helluva lot reading Vol 1, as much philosophy as economics.

      2. Amfortas the hippie

        aye. I was in my 40’s by the time i finally procured any Marx.
        turns out i had got a lot of it by osmosis in the head shops and with sundry radicals in Houston and Austin over the years…it was familiar, somehow.
        the Brumaire is prolly my favorite from a literary perspective.
        i was surprised to find Karl so witty, after half a life of propaganda and BS.(and! as with all Germans, Translation Matters!)

  5. Carla

    I’m hoping to nag myself into cleaning the basement. So far, I have been brilliantly unsuccessful at doing this. And now, the sun is out, so maybe I’ll take a walk.

    Reading-wise, I’m slogging through Stoller’s Goliath — not as compelling reading as I thought it would be.

    1. Lee

      Here, let me help. It’s now 2 hours since you posted your comment. Have you gotten started on the basement yet?

        1. CanCyn

          Try 20/10s…. tackle it for 20 mins, do something else for 10 and then back to the basement for another 20, rest for 10 and so on. I always end doing at least a few rounds when I tackle something I don’t want to do that way. For whatever reason 20 mins of something is usually doable and you get into it enough that you want to go back after the 10 mins away.

  6. ambrit

    Reply about conditions in Hattiesburg for Judy2Shoes.
    Did some running around the local Medical Industrial Complex this morning.
    What a difference a week makes.
    The attitude about the coronavirus is completely different from last week.
    Now there are people walking around the clinic and hospital wearing masks, and some ‘rubber’ gloves. Signs up everywhere about precautions for the coronavirus. When I went to pay off a small bill associated with Phyl’s leg case, there was a big sign in the glass door for the Financial Department saying that, essentially, if you show the basic symptoms, do not come into that office but go to the ER entrance for evaluation.
    No signs of panic here yet. This region is still “low information” concerning the spread and severity of the pathogen, but at least it is now a major concern locally.
    All the best for your uncle.

    1. judy2shoes

      Thank you so much, Ambrit. That makes me feel better. I have a lot of relatives in MS, but their level of concern has been shaped by the MSM. It’s so much better to hear from someone like you, who is actually paying attention.

      In my neck of the woods (eastern Washington), I’ve been trying for weeks to get people to make prudent purchases of staples to store away – just in case. One elderly neighbor kept saying people were overreacting, but I kept at her, pointing out having a few extra supplies on hand might be a good idea and wouldn’t be hoarding. When I told her that Trump wasn’t telling the public the truth, she said that people don’t understand that it’s his job to keep the public calm. I could have walked her through the dangerous results of his lying (and everything else he’s doing), but I let it go. At least she started to collect supplies a couple of weeks ago, and now she’s in somewhat of an overreacting mode. I don’t care. Whatever keeps her safe.

      Best to you and Phyl, Ambrit.

      1. ambrit

        Less than stellar news addendum.
        Do call that ‘Assisted Living’ place and agitate for your uncle now. This afternoon, local news announces that Hattiesburg has first probable case in Mississippi. A man who visited Florida recently is “self isolated at home” after a first positive test result. Secondary test being done now. Test happening at State lab.
        See: https://www.wdam.com/2020/03/12/forrest-county-man-is-first-presumptive-coronavirus-case-miss/
        At least the locals are mentally prepared now……
        Be strong.

        1. MLTPB

          Didn’t Arizona declare war on California in 1934?

          Will we see states blocking other states? Can they do that?

          1. ambrit

            That Lake Havasu travesty is all “Water Over The Dam” now. The real 1930s War was between the Coastals and the Okies. See “The Grapes of Wrath” for a literary rundown on that one. (No Pink P—y Hats in that fight. People were killed.)
            Insofar as the States have their own Health Authorities, they could ban certain types of “contagious” people from entering their environs. I have seen cases of local Organs of State Security requiring exile from a particular State in return for non-prosecution of certain non-violent offenses.
            The balance of power between the States and the Federal Government is an always evolving ‘situation.’

            1. MLTPB

              Just read that the president said travel restrictions to Washington and CA possible. (Tacoma News Tribune).

              1. ambrit

                Under what, the Interstate Commerce Clause?
                What part of the Constitution covers Public Health measures anyway?

          2. Janie

            Oklahoma nearly went to war with Texas in the thirties over changes in the course of river border between them. alfalfa Bill Murray was governor – a real character, worth reading about.

  7. none

    Joe the Biden was just on tv spouting off about Coronavirus. I didn’t watch or listen. Does anyone know if he said anything sane, remembered his own name or anything like that? He looked decrepit.

    1. Drake

      Speaking of which, Trump seemed out of breath a lot during his spiel last night, almost wheezing at times. Couple that with the fact that he’s been in close contact with people who have already tested positive led me towards an obvious conclusion…

      He, Bernie, Joe, Hilary, Nancy, et al are all in the high-risk group. We could easily lose one or more, not that I’m trying to get anyone’s hopes up.

      1. JohnnySacks

        He’s reading verbatim from a teleprompter, no surprise that it’s another skill he’s completely incompetent performing. Political skills 101 class, day 1 – learn how to read from a teleprompter without it looking obvious. Christ he even squints.

      2. anon in so cal

        Back when Trump made a speech a year or so ago, he did the same sniffing and wheezing. Someone made a recording and deleted the words so the only sounds were the sniffing and wheezing. It was hilarious and got something like 100K likes on Twitter.

  8. Elizabeth

    Thanks, Marym for the link. Wow – we need more Katie Porters in congress – Thank you, Katie. I hope this video gets widespread attention. I’m reading Fathers and Sons by Turgenev – read it in college, but thought I’d give it another go. Confederacy of Dunces is one of my favorites! Am sticking close to home, and social distancing.

    Just want to say a big “thank you” to Yves, Lambert and Jerri-Lynn for all the links on Coronavirus – I’d be lost without it.

    1. Arcadia Mommy

      All of my husband’s business travel is cancelled for at least three months. Las Vegas, Denver, Mexico City, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Calgary and Vancouver. BNP Paribas, March madness and nba season as well. Countdown is on for school to be cancelled.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        wife’s sources in the Texas educational hierarchy are rumoring that Abbot will soon close schools statewide for 2 weeks.
        only rumor, so far.
        and i am currently prone, and thinking about the fetal position(with leg pillow), due to aforementioned sheds and such, and so unable to rummage around in the news.

        1. Arcadia Mommy

          Kiddos in PHX catholic school got sent home for a four day weekend with all books and google classroom is going to happen. Right before Easter break too.

  9. martell

    I’ve always wanted to read The Decameron. No time like the present. Here’s a bit of the introduction, regarding the bubonic plague and its effects on Florence, “of all Italian cities the most excellent.”

    1. Drake

      Been thinking about rereading that myself. Haven’t read it in decades. Plague literature is one of those literary genres or sinkholes I’ve always had something of a fascination for.

        1. jonboinAR

          Thanks! My wife and I are going to spend this weekend in an out of the way cabin. We figured it may be our last chance to get away from home briefly before hunkering down along with the rest. She needs it, especially, as her family is somewhat demanding of her time. I opened the Defoe in a window I’ll leave open in Firefox here on the tablet. I can sit around the cabin on Saturday with it.

  10. skk

    NHL paused:

    “In light of ongoing developments resulting from the coronavirus, and after consulting with medical experts and convening a conference call of the Board of Governors, the National Hockey League is announcing today that it will pause the 2019 20 season beginning with tonight’s games.,” the NHL said in a statement.

    And its looks likely that the MLB suspends operations starting with spring training.

    Sigh. I have a good absorbing life developing, and continually improving data based models for sports betting. Now what ? Perhaps a coronavirus spread model ?

    That is a side-effect of enforced idleness whether due to quarantines or something like this. Wonder how other people are handling this.

    1. carl

      I have a lot of work to do in the backyard garden. It’s spring in South Texas, which means planting before the scorching heat of summer.

      1. polecat

        That reminds me ..
        A question for all: Do I order a bee package this spring .. knowing that things might go to hell in a skep, before they even ship out …. or, be resigned to the possiblity of succumbing to complications from contracting the Covid19 virus later, should Death gallop my way .. once they’re hived ??

        1. carl

          We ordered bees a few months ago, and they’re due to arrive April 11. Been planting bee and butterfly-friendly plants lately.

  11. You're soaking in it!

    “A Distant Mirror”, Barbara Tuchman’s (The Guns of August) description of the 14th cent. effects of nonstop war and bubonic plague on Europe. Those were the days, my friend!

    1. Wukchumni

      The :Proud Tower by Tuchman is also timely, as it traces European powers from the 1880’s to the start of WW1, which has a similar kind of feel in a different sort of way to now.

  12. Robert Hahl

    TV shows had some of the best musical performances.

    Miles Davis – Tutu – Night Music with David Sanborn

    Eric Clapton & Robert Cray – Old Love
    Skinny Clapton; sound like a broken heart.

    Tony Joe White – Willie And Laura Mae Jones

    Ray Wylie Hubbard – Mother Blue’s
    A tribute to Tony Joe White.

    European imitations of American music are usually not as good as they sound, but this one is.

    Edsilia Rombley – Metropole Orkest – Get Ready

    1. marcyincny

      Thank you for the links. I’d cut back after reading about the environmental costs of streaming but at this point it’s keeping me sane – or a close as I’m likely to get.

      I’ve gravitated to my contemporaries who still can ‘bring it’ (is that proper usage?)

      Manu Dibango “Africadelik” – Jazzwoche Burghausen 2018

      Roger Hodgson ( Supertramp ) – Jazz Open Stuttgart 2013 ( HD )

      any Mark Knofler

      but I’m also a big Metropole and hr Bigband fan

      Marcus Miller – Metropole Orkest – Edison Jazz/World Awards 2013

      hr-Bigband feat. Richard Bona

      1. PhilK

        Thanks, marcyincny! Huge fan of Emanuel “Manu” Dibango here. Years ago I found a thumbnail bio online, in French. It said he learned music in the “temple protéstante” where his mother directed the choir.

        For those unfamiliar, here is the track that made him famous so many years ago:
        Soul Makossa – Manu Dibango (1973)

  13. Phacops

    Finally getting set for the demanding read of Gould’s, The Structure of Evolutionary Theory. Then for something much simpler, plan to run through The Game of Thrones. Then, get down to learn some tunes from Steve Martin’s, The Crow . . . halfway done memorizing Tin Roof.

    1. Wukchumni

      Leviathan by Hobbes, has been sitting on a bookshelf daring me to read it for almost a decade now…

      1. richard

        wait for the triple dog dare, then strike, is my advice
        my older brother once sent me ulysses along with a side book of annotations telling you how to read the dang thing
        I am still waiting for that judging, blaming pile of text to up the ante
        apologies to joyce-heads

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          Joyce is an acquired taste, and needs quiet and distraction-free spaces, like the table in the garden arbor when wife is feeling her heritage and waiting on me(It’s apparently a Mexican Thing, and i gave up protesting long ago)
          He also gets more complicated with every book.
          better to start nearer the beginning…”portrait…”, and work your way through.
          for the ultimate, “Finnegans Wake”, i recommend reading it straight through.
          out loud, if possible(really!..even the Thunderwords!)
          …waiting as much as a year, and then going slowly, with something like Joseph Campbell’s “a Skeleton Key” for companionship.
          it’s worth it, in the end(there is no end,”…a riverrun…”)
          I read it every year or two, in the cold times, when i’m up at 3am tending fires.
          Joyce is a giant, if not of monstrous intelligence.

          1. Phacops

            I find reading any Roddy Doyle to be similarly hard for me as he writes in the vernacular.

          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            For Ulysses, Hugh Kenner’s Ulysses is a brilliant close reading of the text, highly readable, that makes “Bloom’s Day” much more clear (because Joyce is much more about showing, than telling). I really got converted after reading it. More on Kenner.

            If you can read Finnegan’s Wake, you’re a better man that I am. I’ve heard Joyce reading aloud from it, and I can hear his voice in my head when I read the prose, but I’m not sure it’s worth the effort….

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              Volume 4 of Campbell’s “the Masks of God”(“Creative Mythology”), was another book laying around the house for some reason when i was a kid. picked it up summer after 7th grade, and was hooked on comparative mythology…so i am decidedly an anomalous case as far as all that ineffable weirdness goes,lol.
              that book provided the reading list for the next 20+ years…
              FW is definitely the most difficult book i’ve ever read…but it’s worth it, to me, because once you’re “in that place”…ie: your mind is running along that track, in that Zone…it’s an encapsulation of all of human mytho-history…the Ur-Mythos of Homo Sapiens.
              Cyclical Time, and “Time” as something other than how we normally experience it in our mundane strivings….recurring analogs of the Hero and the hanged god and all and sundry mythical/mystical tropes…along with the Grail Legendarium(which Campbell also turned me on to:”and Amfortas rode forth in Adventure, and his battle cry was “Amore!””)…it’s a foundational part of my personal mystic outlook.
              Ulysses (my second son’s middle name,due to Joyce, btw) is like a primer for Wake.
              “Here Comes Everybody!”

              In all my life, I’ve known maybe 5 people who have read it successfully,lol.

    2. KLG

      A lot of the usual suspects sniped at Gould’s final magnum opus (I count at least two, the other being Ontogeny and Phylogeny, with A Wonderful Life an excellent serious work), but it is very good!

  14. allan

    John Kruzel @johnkruzel
    NEW: Supreme Court will close to the public indefinitely starting today.
    But the building “will remain open for official business,” per court spox
    2:38 PM · Mar 12, 2020·Twitter Web App

    No reporters or spectators while Roberts, Alito and Kavanaugh LLC goes about its business.
    No need for the little people to know what the Federalist Society unchained looks like.

  15. Savedbyirony

    Ohio just announced the schools are closing as of the end of day next Monday for three weeks (being referred to as an extended spring break), re-opening to be assessed at that time. The governor says plans are in the works to supply meals to students in need.

    1. Savedbyirony

      Listening to the Governor and Ohio’s chief medical officer on the radio right now, I have to say they are doing a good job of explaining community spread and the crisis the State is already in as far as numbers already infected.

    2. jhallc

      My daughter just found out the Everett School system in MA is shut down beginning tomorrow until April 27th.

      We are doing a scheduled food distribution on Sunday that will be held all outside for volunteers to pick up and deliver to clients.

    3. Kurtismayfield

      Our schools just closed tomorrow for a one day cleaning, but I doubt we will go back next week. Family of our students has been verified as having the virus.

      We are all preparing distance learning plans

    4. danpaco

      Next week is March Break in Ontario. The government just announced that public schools will remain closed another two weeks after that. My 16 year old smiles!

  16. Jeff N

    I recommend “The Anthology of American Folk Music”, which is actually a 3-CD mixtape of various 78 rpm records from the 1920s and 1930s.

  17. dearieme

    For anyone reflecting on the Wuhan virus pandemic I recommend googling for “UK Influenza Pandemic Preparedness Strategy 2011”. It looks rational and well informed to me. I assume that, updated by nine years more knowledge, it’s the basis of the current policy.

    It’s particularly interesting when it dismisses as ineffective policies that people will claim ‘stand to reason’.

    Anyhoo, as for me I shall be reading the new Hilary Mantel, “The Mirror & The Light”.

    1. Grebo

      On Feb 11th the BBC broadcast a documentary called “Contagion: the BBC Four Pandemic”. In it they simulated a possible pandemic’s progress through the UK by getting members of the public to install an app on their phones. The scientists they recruited were delighted with the data so procured and estimated, using key numbers not unlike those now bandied about for Covid-19, that 43 million Brits would go down with it and nearly 900,000 would die.

      Strangely, it is no longer available for viewing on iPlayer.

    2. Martin Oline

      Thank you Dearieme for the heads up about Mantel’s third book in the series. I thought I had much longer to wait! Now I can finally use my gift card from Christmas. After seeing the dramatization of Wolf Hall on BBC years ago I read her first two novels, Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies. Later I read the middle four volumes of David Hume’s History Of England (1754) for a greater understanding of the period from 1300 to 1600. I highly recommend the last to those with the time. The last volume, unfortunately was written close to the time he lived and he has WAY too much information readily available that he put in it. He was agnostic, I guess, and as a result is very impartial about the religious conflict of the period, which makes it wonderful reading.

  18. Toshiro_Mifune

    I am re-reading Equal Rites by Pratchett because I’ve only read it about 3 times before and the last was probably 20+ years ago. I’m actually making my way through all of the early Discworld stuff having also finished The Colour of Magic, The Light Fantastic, Sourcery, Moving Pictures and then this.

    1. Annotherone

      Coincidentally, last evening, after watching President’s speech, we watched the UK TV series version (via Acorn TV) of Sir Terry’s “Going Postal”. :) If you haven’t seen it ,it’s very well done and worth a look. Happily, TP “mucked about with it” during production to ensure the “feel” was right. It’s in two parts of around 90 minutes each.

      We watch progs. on either Acorn TV or Britbox a lot, (I’m English by birth, husband American). The shows, especially the old ones, are much better than those dished out today in either UK or US.

      1. Toshiro_Mifune

        I have seen Going Postal, I liked it! I know there’s a BBC adaptation of The Watch in production that I’m looking forward to.

        1. John Anthony La Pietra

          Glad to see fellow Pratchett fans! Too busy to re-read him at the moment; just got returned to the office of Elections Co-ordinator for the Green Party of Michigan and trying to get prepared (as best possible) for our state nominating convention [currently planned for] June 20 in Lansing and the national convention [currently planned for] July 9-12 at Wayne State University in Detroit.

          The current situation reminds me of one of my favorite lines from one of my favorite Discworlds, Hogfather . . . holiday pinch-hitter DEATH, after putting some sand back in the hourglass of a little freezing match girl, says “THE HOGFATHER GIVES PRESENTS. THERE’S NO BETTER PRESENT THAN A FUTURE.” (A gift we could all appreciate around now. . . .)

            1. Janie

              My fave of discworld series. Fave character, the librarian. Short in vocabulary tho. Science of Discworld is very good..

    2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Just finished Equal Rites and am half way finished Mort.

      100pgs into Hate Inc by Taibbi but it’s stuff I basically already know and depressing af.

      100pgs into Agency by Gibson and it’s good and mildly confusing…Stubs???

      Got Goliath on the back burner along with 4 more Discworld books.

  19. Oguk

    Reading: too much (generally) from the internet.
    Almost done with The Meat Racket: The Secret Takeover of America’s Food Business, Christopher Leonard.
    Eager to start Matt Stoller’s Goliath, a birthday present.
    Yesterday, listening to William Bolcom’s Ghost rags (especially Graceful Ghost Rag and Butterflies, Hummingbirds which I saw & heard performed once. He makes me think of Charles Ives.

    Taking care of my bees, which all survived the winter, yay.

    1. Mark Alexander

      Graceful Ghost Rag is a lovely piece. I’ve been trying to learn to play it on and off over the years. It’s harder than it sounds, and it’s going to be a bear to memorize, with lots of accidentals and dissonances in the middle G flat section. I should give it another try now.

    1. Toshiro_Mifune

      This announcement bumped .DJI from -1600 to -700 and now we’re back down to -2050. So if they were trying to prevent a larger sell off it didn’t work

      1. Wukchumni

        Cap’n, if we don’t get more de-riskium crystals, the shields, they canna hold out much longer.

      2. barefoot charley

        When the going gets weird, this weirdo goes to Zero Hedge:


        which explains that Quantitative Easing 5.0 was buried in the repo-market easing announced yesterday. That’s why the Mr Market spiked higher before deciding he wants Moar Punch Bowl. QE is neoliberal-speak for MMT, only for the rich. It’s where the Fed buys its own debt, banks its own dividends, then burns the final debt it ‘owes’ itself.

        So to be clear, the Fed magically creates money to buy and retire the bonds that it magically created previously to give to banks. This is called ‘sanitized’ money for nothin’, since it’s too complicated for reporters to understand that we are just printing money.

        1. Louis Fyne

          ZH gets paranoid about every form of natural disaster—but for once their broken-clock-effect concern over the apocalypse panned out with the Wuhan Covid.

          They were consistently covering it while American media was too busy reviewing Super Bowl adverts.

  20. Wukchumni

    Now that you can’t go anywhere, would be a great time to read my favorite road trip book, Blue Highways.

    William Least Heat-Moon captures a mosaic of the country just before corporations took over, in the late 1970’s.

    1. Norge

      Blue highways:
      I did a cross country road trip with two buddies back in’62. Every region had its own take on hamburgers and the broadcasts of local minor league baseball games were a trip down memory lane. In those days major leaguers extended their careers playing in the minors.

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      that book was laying around when i was a teenager, and i read it not long before i got kicked out(messy divorce, mom went a little nuts) and began the extended version of the Wild Years.(about ten years, total)
      he was a big influence on those times…and i feel fortunate that i stumbled into him before i ran across Kerouac or HS Thompson.
      walk before ya run, and all.

    3. KLG

      Read his description of a supper at the Swamp Guinea (now long gone) outside of Athens, Georgia, a favorite at the time for those of us of a certain age who passed through Athens! Way before corporations took over! Which reminds me, Matt Stoller explains the latter in Goliath. Highly recommended for everyone’s list. We could use another Wright Patman and no more neoliberal know-it-all twits.

  21. timotheus

    “Abigail (1970),” Magda Szabo’s latest in English translation, Snowden’s “Permanent Record,” and a Simenon for mental hygiene.

  22. Mark Gisleson

    Local public radio reported that Asian food stores in St Paul were experiencing runs on 50-lb bags of rice, not toilet paper. I think Minnesota’s Asian immigrant community is showing a lot more common sense than the toilet paper hoarders.

    Just bought my 50-lb bag for the year a few weeks ago. Between that and being way behind on my paper recycling, I’m feeling pretty smug right about now.

    1. carl

      Went to the grocery store today…completely packed. Running out of staples like rice, pasta, tomato sauce. People are running scared here.

    2. Lost in OR

      I’ve been doing that at Bob’s Red Mill since January. I have about 200lbs of rice, beans, grains, and lentils.
      I also have tp- 3 packs of 24 rolls. Ha!
      So I got it going and coming.
      God help us all.

  23. BoulderMike

    FYI – When the government says that insurance companies will not charge co-pay’s for Covid-19 testing, keep in mind that they are saying co-pays won’t be charged, not that you won’t be charged for the test. For most of us lucky enough to not have been sick and used our insurance, and who have high deductibles, this means we would still pay 100% of the cost for anything relating to Covid-19 until we meet our deductibles. So, if you haven’t used much or any of your insurance deductible this year you are out of luck and on the hook for the cost.
    On a side note, on the topic of grifters, my landline (which I never answer unless it is family) is ringing off the hook today with what I am sure is spam callers trying to cheat me. I have nomorobo so I don’t have to answer, but ……
    Finally, am I the only one who thinks that an obvious next step would be to shut down the financial markets for a while to focus on containment rather than people making and losing money?

    1. Wukchumni

      Finally, am I the only one who thinks that an obvious next step would be to shut down the financial markets for a while to focus on containment rather than people making and losing money?

      UFC 86

      Uncertainty versus Certainty

      2 concepts go in the ring, and only the latter buys us time.

      $49.99 PPV
      $59.99 PPV HD

    2. Tom Doak

      Your suggestion to shut down the markets is an EXCELLENT suggestion that I have not seen mentioned anywhere else.

      My last call [Just ten minutes ago] was from the broker who has my IRA, telling me he thought it was a good time to put more of the cash into the market.

    3. Jason Boxman

      At work, even those on our HDP do not need to meet their deductible for testing to be free.

      But everyone should have care, free at the point of delivery, not just those with the right insurance or at the right company.

      1. BoulderMike

        Good to know. I was wondering, as someone who is on the ACA, do work plans like yours work the same as mine? Meaning, I have to fully meet my high deductible before my co-pay kicks in.

        1. skk

          Do check. And then reach out to your congress-person if not.
          I looked at Aetna’s policies. They were dodging the issue:

          Q:Would you be amicable to waiving deductibles (including HDHP), and cost sharing for certain levels of care specific to this potential pandemic? (i.e., treatment on ventilators)

          A: We continue to consider additional benefit actions to support treatment for those who contract COVID-19. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced that HDHPs that otherwise qualify as HDHPs will not lose their status because they cover the cost of testing or treatment of COVID-19 before deductibles are met. Plan sponsors who cover this care will not be in violation of regulations governing HDHPs. With this announcement, individuals covered by a HDHP will continue to be eligible to fund their HSAs even if their employer provides those health benefits. We continue focusing on actions to support the health and well-being of our members through diagnosis and treatment.

          Meaning – NO.

        2. Jason Boxman

          Not sure. I’ve never been comfortable with HDPs, so I’ve always paid for the PPO plans with co-pays and co-insurance.

          1. BoulderMike

            I understand. Before I was forced into early retirement, I always chose PPO’s. I hate the plans under the ACA. Glad to hear that your plan is still good.

            1. Jason Boxman

              Only because I haven’t had to use it!

              The last PPO plan I had, with BCBS of CA, I went back and forth with them and the doctor’s office over a flu shot. They coded my visit as an annual wellness, because it was, but that apparently meant that also getting a flu shot wasn’t covered, or something.

              Eventually it resolved in my favor, but I had to ask the hospital to resubmit with a different code provided by the insurer.

              Why do I need to do this again?

              I fear getting really sick in this country.

              1. ddt

                Cost share for tests / diagnosis only being waived, including for high deductible health plans based on IRS communication. Normal cost share kicks back in for treatment…

  24. Savedbyirony

    At present, I am reading “Witness to the Revolution:Radicals, Resisters, Vets, Hippies, and the Year America Lost Its Mind and Found Its Soul”, re-watching the series Orphan Black and then planning on all of Cagney and Lacey (that should take some time) and prepping a number of projects around the house. For play, thank goodness, there are the dogs and some close family for company; cards games are big in our house.

    1. jonboinAR

      I loved Orphan Black. The plot was fairly corny scifi fare, but my gosh! The actress playing those genetically identical sisters! They were each completely distinct and believable characters. That was great. When the genetically identical males were introduced, that poor actor couldn’t keep up.

      1. Savedbyirony

        I agree. I kept forgetting that it was one actress playing all those sistras. Plus, I really enjoyed the humor, pacing and general look of the series.

  25. Levi

    A Colorado update. Colorado is now at 44 with instances of ‘limited’ (hah!) community spread. I won’t be surprised if we’re in the 50’s by the end of the day. There is no such thing as limited community spread without social distancing and taking active measures to limit spread in a naive population. They need to shut down DIA and close the schools now and cancel all large gatherings. This isn’t terribly surprising that it’s taking off with all the tourism and the people who live here who travel a lot, and with DIA being a large hub.


    1. Carla

      I never thought I would be proud of Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, but here we go: Ohio has 5 confirmed cases, and he has shut down the schools statewide as of next Tues., but following his leadership, most districts are closing at the end of the school day tomorrow. DeWine has also banned most gatherings of more than 100 people statewide. Given the state of our red state, this is most welcome leadership. Thanks, Mike!

      1. Savedbyirony

        Did you listen to the entire presentation? I was quite impressed with Dr. Acton. But I am very concerned for everyone living in nursing homes. I understand the no visitors rule, but those places are often so poorly run even with family and officials visiting and checking up on residents. Now, with NO outside oversight, I dread the conditions that will occur. My Mom died last September after having lived in a nursing home for the past few years and though I miss her daily I am so thankful she did not live to suffer these conditions.

  26. JacobiteInTraining

    Watching: ‘Itaewon Class’ on Netflix, it is a Korean-language (eng subtitles) show on a bunch of misfits who are trying to start a pub, deal with each others problems and quirks, while at the same time attempting to rise up and bring down the stereotypical evil chaebol CEO Jang Dae-hee of Jangga Group.

    Back-stabs galore, diverse cast (for Korean dramas, anyway), and lots of emotion, natch.

    ‘Crash Landing on You’ also recommended.

    More generally, consuming lots of Korean horror, drama, and crime series as well. They do an excellent job of making their shows really tight, pull heart strings in just the right way, and very often have happy endings…which is always nice. :)

    1. Louis Fyne

      lots of free complete, subtitled TV programming on Youtube from KBS, its national broadcaster—dramas, reality shows, etc.

      Same style—well-written, pulls the heart strings, etc.

      If you like family programming, i suggest “Return of Superman” Check out the antics of Bentley and William Hammington.

  27. richard

    I am playing Civ 6 on my Ipad, an idle teacher with schools closed for 2 weeks (or more) up here in seattle.
    I am so bummed about bernie and biden, my thoughts keep going to that scene in hamlet where hammy confronts mom with her wicked and destructive choice (“Would step from this to this?”)
    I feel that way with all pmc bidenauts, show them their own face in the mirror and really tell them off through 20 or 30 lines of divine poetry
    then leave them to wallow in their hell of deceit
    no, i haven’t come to terms with it yet, and even so we must fight f^%$ing on, for some reason i have yet to fathom ;)

    1. Aumua

      Sanders looking and acting like a damned president. The positive side could be that this epidemic not only ruins Trump, but propels Sanders back into the race.

      1. Monty

        Don’t worry. The speech will be ignored in the media, just in case it gives anyone any funny ideas.

    2. urblintz

      Meanwhile, Biden bumbled through with boilerplate bloviating, and even threw in the cliched “when I am president in 10 months” schtick…

      that’s all it is Joe, schtick.

  28. Drake

    Watching ‘The Expanse’ on Netflix, nearing the end of the second season (five available). Very good show but plot is rather complicated with many characters, easy to forget things if you don’t binge-watch.

    Putting my German and Spanish to the test. Reading Hesse’s ‘Siddhartha’ in the former and Coelho’s ‘The Alchemist’ in the latter (found a Spanish version in the bookstore, didn’t realize until later that it was a translation into Spanish from Portuguese, oops, I mean it started with a Spanish shepherd in Andalusia for god’s sake). Had never read anything by Hesse in English — Siddhartha is, um, interesting. Very flowery, almost chant-like German, funny how precise and flowery German can be at the same time.

    1. Old Jake

      After watching all the extant seasons, my wife has started buying and reading the books. Starting with “Leviathan Wakes.” It’s a lot of reading.

  29. Grant

    This crisis is a perfect illustration as to why Biden is an absolutely horrific pick to run as president. Not possible to be more out of step with the needs of the country today. Look at Bernie speaking on this versus Biden and Trump. My god what a disaster this political system is.

    1. Anarcissie

      I think History is turning a page. Biden and Trump and so on may very well not be on the one that the Reader is turning to now.

  30. Pelham

    Reading “Denial of Death” by Ernest Becker after hearing a recommendation by Brian Greene on a Joe Rogan podcast. Also “Lenin” by Slavoj Zizek. I recommend both, and the latter is timely as it suggests some shortcomings in the Sanders strategy without directly addressing the campaign (it hasn’t been ruthless enough — or at all — in a particular way I won’t venture to elaborate on). “Denial,” I’m told was a big deal back in the ’70s, though I missed it then.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > hasn’t been ruthless enough — or at all — in a particular way I won’t venture to elaborate on

      Could you elaborate on that? Coded as need be?

  31. Robert Hahl

    Matt Taibbi said he reads “Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail ’72” by Hunter S Thompson every four years and I can see why. Next up is the companion piece, “The Boys on the Bus” by Timothy Crouse.

  32. Craig H.

    I am on the last lap of _America Builds_ compiled by Leland Roth. It is an incredible book and I do not understand why it is out of print. There are exactly two consensus modern American architectural masterpieces in the first 607 pages.

    1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manufacturers_Trust_Company_Building

    on fifth avenue in New York from 1953

    2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorton_Arena

    Dorton Arena Raleigh NC from 1952

    Everything else sucks. Everything! And it is the architects who are saying this.

  33. Old Jake

    My daughter-in-law gave me “Growth” by Vaclav Smil. Looks to be one I can work through very slowly. Plus a sweet little tome “The Ongoing Moment” by Geoff Dyer, a journey through the history of photography that is beautifully written.

  34. David

    Macron has just spoken to the nation: a sober and at times almost apocalyptic speech that lasted nearly half an hour, and invoked French history and culture in a way that few would have expected him to do before.
    The most important measure is the immediate closure of the whole of the education system, from nursery to university level. The government is also taking measures (unspecified) to ensure that workers are paid and companies are not bankrupted. A whole series of other measures are to be announced.
    Macron appears to have undergone at least a tactical conversion away from neoliberalism: he raised specifically the possibility of closing frontiers, by agreement with the rest of the EU, and he also talked, albeit in vague and general terms, of recovering sovereignty, and no longer trusting so much to others. He sounded like a man who’s had a bit of a shock and is still absorbing it.

    1. Louis Fyne

      Brussels-Merkel-Macron sacrificed public health for virtue-signalling (and money-making) ideology.

      Only Bad Orange Man closes borders

    2. MLTPB

      Matt Stoller in the links today:

      China responded by giving equipment to Italy, the EU didn’t respond to Italy, and the US b*nned travel from Italy.

      China is acting like a global leader today. America is going to pay for our st*pidity.

      1. We are always harder on ourselves, as it should be. For example, Russians are harder on themselves, as are, say, the French.

      I think that’s why the EU was not included by Matt in the mention of st*pidity.

      We mind our own business. The people of EU can say that themselves.

      2. France is considering closing frontiers. They will try to get an agreement. We did it unilaterally. Is it because of the Shengen agreement that they can’t unilaterally? I know when Italy b*nned Taiwan, regarding it as a part of China, though disputed by Taipei, it was unilateral. Pretty much recent travel restrictions are unilateral.

      3. I was informed this morning that the equipment was sold, not given, and masks were given. Is Matt wrong here?

      1. The Rev Kev

        As for your third point, that is correct. But at this point, Italy would hardly care as they cannot get it from any other country, especially the EU. If China does recover from the pandemic there first, then it will work out that they will be supplying the world with masks and all sorts of medical gear vitally needed.

        1. MLTPB

          Supplying and profiting handsomely?

          Selling, and not giving…already not a good start…(for one, Matt received false hope.)

          1. The Rev Kev

            Not really. If they give the stuff away for free, then all of the other countries in the world will want theirs for free too. Better to avoid that diplomatic headache. Remember too that they – responsibly – shut down half their economy to fight this outbreak so will need some of the hard stuff to start to recover now.

      2. Kurt Sperry

        “2. France is considering closing frontiers. They will try to get an agreement. We did it unilaterally. Is it because of the Shengen agreement that they can’t unilaterally?”

        Passport controls were in place between Italy and France a couple of years ago when the migrant flow from the Maghreb was in a high phase. I can remember being pulled off a train into France in Ventimiglia at the Italy-France border with the other passengers to have our papers checked. Of course, me being very blonde and the migrants being dark complected, I was waved straight through without having my passport even looked at. This was done by the French unilaterally and over the loud and explicit objections of the Italian government.

    3. Mel

      Macron appears to have undergone at least a tactical conversion away from neoliberalism

      Macron did touch off the Gilets Jaunes rebellion by raising the price of fuel to clean up France, then sitting back to let Mr. Market work out all the details. Perhaps he’s learned from that.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        I’m pretty sure he’s paid very specifically not to learn from that. Or anything similar.

  35. Wukchumni

    Touching the Void by Joe Simpson is my favorite mountain climbing tale, and the best movie of the genre, amazing!

    1. pretzelattack

      oh yeah that was great, got hooked on mountaineering books for awhile after i read into thin air.

        1. Wukchumni

          Everything regarding Mt Everest is such a turn off to me, dead bodies littering the mountain along with copious amount of litter, yeah no thanks.

  36. BillS

    Reading Dominion: The Making of the Western Mind by Tom Holland

    Also slowly making my way through the The Complete Essays of Michel de Montaigne (The M. A. Screech translation).

  37. Germans

    Studying German so I am now reading Das Parfum in German. It is a great book.

    Also, reading Arno Luik Schaden in der Oberleitung. Das geplante Desaster der Deutsche Bahn about how the German railways have been privatized and slowly but surely deconstructed. Outrageous reading.

    1. Jessica

      I have found it useful to listen to audiobooks in German of books that I have read/listened to in English. Also, the daily Langsam gesprochene Nachrichten podcast from DW is helpful for vocabulary. The slower pace lets me hear the words more clearly.
      If you wanted to learn spoken German too.

      1. Germans

        Happy to meet another German-learner here. 2 is already a NC-subgroup: we look forward to links in German too ?

        The books I use for building vocabulary. Make flashcards for all words I don’t understand.

        Thanks for the advice and reminder, Jessica. Smart to listen to books that you already have listened to in English. You get a feeling for how to translate not only words but ideas.

        When I have time I watch the Heute Show online without subtitles and write down what I hear. Good way to also learn about German politics as well as how to be funny in German.

  38. Eureka Springs

    Sanders speech was very good. Presidential. What competent centrist governance should look and sound like.

    1. Arizona Slim

      I agree. And, truth be told, I’ve been rather irked with Sanders since Super Tuesday. Especially his appearing to cave to Biden.

      I’m glad to hear Sanders speaking while not mentioning his friendship with Joe Biden. Come on, Bernie. He may be your friend, but he isn’t ours.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Isn’t that “my friend” tag Senate speak?

          It is. A presidential campaign is not the Senate floor. And a President is not a Senator.

          I think that Sanders, confessedly lonely, has mistaken the transactional relationships for making sausage with actual friendship; that his “friend” Elizabeth Warren betrayed must have come as a shock. Lenin would not have been shocked. Or Robespierre, Or Talleyrand.

          1. The Rev Kev

            I am reminded of a scene from “Get Smart” here-

            Chief: ‘How can we believe a man who would sell out his friends?’

            Siegfried: ‘Dumkopf! Who else are you supposed to sell out? You can’t betray enemies!’

      1. neo-realist

        It may be a case of realpolitik: If he can’t win the electoral college vote in the primary, Bernie may think that he can at least shame the democratic establishment and Biden into adopting more progressive policies if he is not chosen; He also probably hopes that progressive followers of his campaign and Warren, to a certain extent, will follow up with pressure on the Biden ticket to follow through on policies that aren’t neo-liberal.

        1. Grebo

          I think Sanders knows they have no shame. They will do progressive things when their donors tell them to and not before. Bernie’s been swimming in that cesspool for decades, I doubt he has any illusions about it.

        2. RWood

          “A party explicitly based on the working class in this country will not get very far; but a party implicitly based on the working class, but appealing to other groups as well, is the only vehicle for progressive political change.”
          Michael Harrington

    2. Jessica

      I am holding out the hope that the contrast between Bernie’s clear, sensible leadership and Biden’s disappearance will swing the tide for the remaining primaries.
      BTW, I can’t imagine any American centrist proposing Bernie’s measures to protect working people financially, but he sounds so reasonable when he says it. And centrists do have a (highly undeserved) reputation for being reasonable.

      1. Deschain

        Won’t help, fear just drives the OK Boomers faster to Biden

        Saw a stat – in TX and VA youth turn out was up ~20% v 2016. But 60+ turnout literally doubled. For all the talk about the Black vote hurting Bernie, it’s really been the Grey vote that his killed him

    3. Liberal Mole

      Sanders was clear about the disaster we are facing, and the steps we need to take to mitigate it. Biden spoke like a politician – upright, secure, but at times softly and after a while whatever ideas he was promoting ran together into nothingness. He’s just declaiming lines like he has for decades.

  39. Louis Fyne

    Russia closed its entire border with China as soon as things got serious in China. Got reviled in the media.

    Less than 100 cases in Russia. Just saying. Of course they could be lying too.

    1. MLTPB

      I don’t follow the media in China.

      Was Russia reviled by the Chinese media for closing its Chinese border, or did it get a free pass, if not praised (that unlikely)?

      1. Louis Fyne

        Russia got reviled in the western media for being “racist,” got reviled in the Chinese media for being an over-reactive, unfriendly neighbor.

        Given the mayhem in Italy, I can easily imagine a scenario in which a few Chinese tour groups with some Typhoid Marys headed to Milan and infected everyone who they came across.

        And given the cheek-by-jowl lifestyle of the typical Italian pedestrians, Covid spread like wildfire

        I presume a lot of the hesitancy for the EU to ban Chinese travel was an unwillingness to upset cross-border trade + the Brussels sacrosanct ideology of the free movement of people.

        1. MLTPB


          Beijing didn’t say , unfriendly OBOR partner or over reactive Heartland Alliance comrade?

  40. ChrisPacific

    Recently finished reading ‘The Starless Sea’ by Erin Morgenstern, which I enjoyed very much. Like her previous book, ‘The Night Circus,’ it’s at least partly a fantastical re-imagining of a cherished childhood memory. If your happy place as a child was a library, then this is the book for you.

    It sits fairly solidly in the fantasy space, but it’s quite literary, so non-fantasy readers will probably enjoy it if they aren’t prejudiced (you can call it magical realism if it helps).

  41. Wukchumni

    I’m a very fairweather pro sports watcher, I might catch the playoffs, but otherwise not really interested all that much, but there’s lots of people whose lives revolve around it, what will they use to fill in the void, videos of old games?

  42. Wukchumni

    Who goes shopping for a home in the middle of a plague, and yet you can expect a good many homoaners to need to sell their abode when the money runs out after a number of months of not working.

    I foresee a lot of panic selling for what the market will bear…

    1. Anarcissie

      On the other hand, a lot of funny money is going to be pumped into the system to avoid downfall, and some of that will be directed towards reinflating real estate.

      1. Wukchumni

        Everything we’re attempting to do with this free money gambit is going to backfire so badly to the point where it has no value or meaning anymore.

      2. jrs

        The end result will be even more income inequality, it always is. The billionaires get more billions. The rest of us lucky if we get much of anything.

        1. John

          Seems debt and deficit matter only when bemoaning the vast vast expense of Social Security and Medicare.

          Of course, Because markets (1) and Go Die (2)

          1. Wukchumni

            This plague should peak just around the time property taxes are due, and counties that are barely scraping by as it is, are counting on that money.

  43. Darius

    I’m supposed to get laid off at the end of the month and my job prospects suddenly got extremely bleak. I got a mortgage too.

    Because of a union contract and my seniority, I’m getting a year’s severance, but, as the kids say, s@$% just got real.

      1. Darius

        Thanks to all for your best wishes. Nobody compares with the NC community. I’m glad I found you.

    1. Louis Fyne

      best wishes. I hope that the Trump and the Dems learn from Obama on how not to structure mortgage relief.

  44. Fresh Cream

    reading The Romance of the Three Kingdoms by Luo Guanzhong Moss Roberts translation. “The Iliad of China”.

    1. MLTPB

      The hero of that novel, Guan Yu, aka Martial Sage, Lord Guan, etc. Is frequently depicted reading another bookl, Zuo Zhuan, a commentary on Chunqiu.

      The commentary has been popular in China, Korea and Japan for close to 2,000 years.

  45. Wukchumni

    The Collapse of Complex Societies by Joseph Tainter would be most timely reading right now.

    We’re so much more complex than any culture heretofore, thus our collapse will be astounding, in comparison.

  46. Mikel

    Wow. The Dems are trying to do something…permanent paid sick leave (so it is reported). Always wondered how many people would have to die before they stood up for one litle thing.

    Meanwhile, feral Republicans continue to be the champions of bum businessmen.

    Total bums that don’t see how that would be useful when (not if) an even more dangerous pandemic happens.
    Yes, they are scum bums.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > The Dems are trying to do something

      “Fighting for….”

      The best we get from them is free testing, followed by the usual means-tested treatment. There’s a recipe for success!

  47. Oregoncharles

    Apologies if this is already in, say, links; I came across it and came straight here, and I’m always coming in late: https://www.npr.org/2020/03/12/814717480/sanders-offers-biden-a-path-to-win-over-his-movement.

    I know it’s NPR, but it’s crucial reporting – both on what Bernie thinks he’s doing, and on the choices facing his movement. One key point: that movement IS the future – but he himself is not, and not just because he’s old. It’s also because he’s willing to endorse Joe Biden. His mission was to save the Democratic Party from itself. They didn’t appreciate it.

    So millions of people, who ARE the future, even if some of them are old, have a decision to make. Here’s where I’m going to make a pitch:

    Don’t “stay home” (I don’t know how voting is going to be accomplished in the midst of an epidemic, but Oregon and Washington offer a model), and don’t vote for Trump. The first sends no message at all, and the second sends absolutely the wrong message. And yes, the message you send does matter – in the end, it’s all you’ve got. One option you probably won’t have is voting for Bernie.

    That leaves two options: Leave the top of the ticket pointedly blank, or vote for someone else closer to the goals of the movement. Undervoting has some of the disadvantages of not voting at all – your message is an obscure “none of the above,” rather than “here’s what I want.” But at least it’s a clear message of dissatisfaction.

    “Someone else”, afaik, would probably be the Green Party, for two reasons: it exists, and appears to be the left-wing party with the widest reach. More to the point, the most important of Bernie’s positions are matched and exceeded in the Green Party’s platform, with the addition of an anti-militaristic foreign policy. Some of them, like the Green New Deal (the name is not a coincidence), free higher education, and forgiving student debt, are a direct steal from Jill Stein’s platform. If it’s really about the issues and policies, that’s the only choice.

    Who would that be? Most likely Howie Hawkins of New York; Lambert has mentioned him respectfully. He literally wrote the Green New Deal. There’s a long list of potential contenders – see the website (gp.org – trying to avoid links). The nearest contender is named Dario Hunter. I’ve met both; both are attractive candidates – and in the nature of 3rd-party politics, neither has government experience.

    As I’ve argued before, any large part of Bernie’s movement would be enough to get nationwide ballot access; too bad his money wouldn’t come with it. A sudden inrush of new members would raise some institutional issues, but these are problems we wish we had. And in the best case scenario, that we actually win Electoral College votes, some electoral chaos would emphasize the message and lay down a marker for young people to rally round.

    It’s painfully clear (even granted my priors) that the Democratic Party is an obstacle, not a vehicle.

    1. Big River Bandido

      As I’ve argued before, any large part of Bernie’s movement would be enough to get nationwide ballot access; too bad his money wouldn’t come with it.

      Any attempt to get ballot access for parties other than the duopoly will come up against the hard realities of 50 different state elections laws, nearly every one of which is specifically written *by* the party duopoly *to perpetuate* itself and prevent challenges. Those laws themselves will require being changed at the state level, where outside parties have no foothold of power whatsoever.

      1. edmondo

        This is just plain wrong. Most states treat any political party that has 2% of the voters as a “major political party” and therefore automatic ballot access for 2 years.

        Are you telling me that Bernie supporters do not constitute 2% of the voting population in any state? Not by the results I’ve seem. All that needs to be done is for someone to decide what the party’s name will be. I had to change my voter registration from “No Party Preference” to “Democrat” to vote in the D party.

        I will change it back next week after the primary. Whether it goes back to “NPP” or to “The Bernie Party” matters not to me. Bernie wants to waste his time trying to win over the Dems. The rest of us want to move on. Someone, please, lead this revolution!

        1. marym

          The state percentage (e.g. 2%, but it varies) is a percentage of the number of votes in the last general election and the calculated number is for petition signatures or registered voters. This is a general statement, as there’s variation by state, but it’s a labor intensive process. Also, the major parties can and do file challenges.

          The link has some examples.


      2. Carolinian

        The Green Party was on our SC ballot last time. I voted for them. Don’t forget Hillary also blamed Stein for her loss and called her a Putin puppet.

        So for the great majority the Greens will be there. All you have to do is pull the lever, er, push the button.

        I wonder how seriously Sanders was ever hoping to go all the way, given his age. That he sees this more as a movement building exercise sounds a lot more credible. If there’s going to be a revolution young people should lead it.

    2. curlydan

      I tried to think of one problem Bernie addresses that Biden could/would fix. I honestly couldn’t think of one. Biden will not push for Medicare for All, he won’t push for $15 minimum wage (last increased BTW by W), he won’t push for free college options, and given the number of gas/oil industry executives advising his, I don’t think he’ll give any push on climate change. Maybe Biden might actually change the tax rates. It only took Obama 5 years to tinker with W’s tax giveaways. Why should Bernie give up? Only if he absolutely runs out of money. Giving up means we trust Biden will actually do something. Fat chance.

      I need to look into what I can do to help the Sanders campaign. Apparently, it’s all seems like it’s done through the “Bern” app. So I guess I’ll do that. I live in a state that has a later primary. Pre-corona virus, I thought of doing door-to-door. Honestly, it seems like that is no longer an option.

      1. pretzelattack

        i don’t think biden would do one damn thing (assuming he isn’t shunted aside by the dnc) and in some ways the dems in power are worse now than the republicans–one of their partial owners is the intel community which is on the outs with trump for some reason that isn’t immediately obvious. maybe he’s too hard to control.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          If Trump wins, he will attack the liberals.

          If Biden is nominated and wins, he will attack the left (and with all the help he needs from the intelligence community and the press. It will be PropOrNot all over again, but more angry, more vengeful, and more pervasive.*)

          Vote how you will, but that is the realpolitik.

          NOTE * The relative silence of liberals when a Nazi unfurled a swastika flag at a Sanders rally was quite telling. They know who their real friends are.

      2. Matthew

        You can’t go door to door anymore anyway; the Sanders campaign suspended its canvassing operations today. Everything is texting or calling, which you do through a laptop or tablet.

    3. John Anthony La Pietra

      Oh — and if we win even a few Electoral College votes, finish third, and deny both Trump and (presumably, *sigh*) Biden a majority . . . the Green candidate is in the race in the House of Representatives.

      (BTW, this is why I argue that the threshold for being in Presidential debates shouldn’t even need to be qualifying for enough ballots to be eligible to win at least 270 EC votes — a majority. If you do the math, you’ll see that if you can win 135 EC votes you can’t finish worse than third: even if there’s a two-way tie for first at 136, those plus your 135 equals 407 EC votes taken . . . leaving at most 131 for any other candidates.)

  48. Chris

    Update from Maryland…all public schools closed as of 3/16. Intended to re-open in 2 weeks. Along with a lot of other changes and executive orders. If you get the chance, look for the full statement from Gov. Hogan soon.

    Friends from Ohio are telling me the same things are being done there too.

    Maryland national guard are being activated.

  49. nippersmom

    We just received notice that our University system (the University System of Georgia) is suspending classes for the next two weeks, effective Monday, 3/16. Our campus is on spring break next week anyway, so they are effectively extending the break for an additional week. Students are not being asked to vacate their dorms at this time. Campuses are instructed to be prepared to implement their emergency plans (i.e. online learning) at the end of the two week period, if the System deems it necessary.

    This does not affect staff work/attendance requirements.

    1. flora

      My uni is on the same schedule. They’ve just announced the same procedures. All the students returning from Spring Break can move back into the dorms, but will be doing online lecture attendance instead of walking into large lecture halls for the next 2 weeks.

        1. flora

          as an aside: Hey, Dem estab, about closing polling stations and creating hours’ long lines of people waiting to vote. Good job, good job. (the virus salutes you.) /s

  50. Wukchumni

    How much money could you get from GoFundMe by telling people you’ve contracted Coronavirus?

  51. Wukchumni

    Now that cruise ships will be down for quite awhile and you all missed out on remarkably cheap fares, it’s time to repurpose them as floating hospices for Coronavirus victims.

  52. mrsyk

    MsSyk and I decided to practice social distancing and decamped from the city yesterday. Holed up in our VT cabin with the cat and dog, wood stove, thrift store stereo and a surplus of rice and beans. Today we’ve played LPs by Renee Claude, Joni Mitchell, Son Volt, and the Busch String Quartet.

  53. Larry Y

    As a soccer fan, Major League Soccer has been suspended for 30 days. This include the locally popular Seattle Sounders franchise, who average over 40k attendances. Since MLS doesn’t have a big TV deal, they really can’t afford to lose out on gate receipts.

    Elsewhere, UEFA Champion’s League games are postponed. In Italy, Serie A has been suspended, with a teammate of Christiano Ronaldo being diagnosed with the virus, and the superstar and the rest of his team in quarantine.

    1. MLTPB

      This winter of our discontent.

      The season ends on March 19, 2020.

      Will hope springs ertnernal follow?

  54. Jessica

    I tried to read Ulysses so many times, but I always fell asleep after a page or two. This became so consistent that I used the book as a sleep aid, the most reliable one I have ever had.
    Then I got an audio version and absolutely loved it. The book was really written to be heard out loud. Parts of it are almost Firesign Theater. As though some guy in Dublin was turning the dial on his car radio and moving through the stations randomly. (Of course, there were barely cars on that day and no radio yet.)

    1. Appleseed

      Kudos for linking Ulysses and Firesign Theatre! The closing lines of the “How can you be in two places at once when you’re not anywhere at all” album feature used car salesman Ralph Spoilsport’s pitch morphing into Molly Bloom’s soliloquy from Ulysses. Oh yes!

      To your point, Ulysses (and Finnegan’s Wake) deserve to be read out loud. Don’t try to keep it in your head.

      Currently reading: Charles Marohn’s Strong Towns
      David Sims, Soft City

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Then I got an audio version and absolutely loved it. The book was really written to be heard out loud. Parts of it are almost Firesign Theater. As though some guy in Dublin was turning the dial on his car radio and moving through the stations randomly.

      That’s a brilliant comparison. “If you lived here you’d be home by now” is very Joycean.

  55. Wukchumni

    Disneyland just shut ‘r down. What’s left in terms of places where large amounts of people congregate, aside from evang megachurches, which of course are immune to reality.

  56. Milton

    Umm, when is CA Disneyland going to shut down. I’m looking at the latest images from yesterday and it still seems rather packed. I would think all theme parks would be on the list for closure. What am I missing?

      1. MLTPB

        Very few fantasy places to escape to these days.

        Without these addictive circuses, will bread enough to keep everyone hsppy?

        1. Wukchumni

          My fantasy places are all open, and hiking off-trail means you’re not likely to run into any other human beans.

            1. Wukchumni

              The faux Tyrolian mountain climbers on the Matterhorn were so fascinating to me when I was a kid, so something good did come out of the Magic Kingdom.

  57. Louis Fyne

    from 2016—-the question is now why don’t the Feds have enough masks for healthcare workers?


    “….What he will reveal is how much the stockpile is worth: “We currently value the inventory at a little over $7 billion.”….

    The Strategic National Stockpile got its start back in 1999, with a budget of about $50 million. Since then, even though the details aren’t public, it’s clear that it has amassed an incredible array of countermeasures against possible security threats.

    The inventory includes millions of doses of vaccines against bioterrorism agents like smallpox, antivirals in case of a deadly flu pandemic, medicines used to treat radiation sickness and burns, chemical agent antidotes, wound care supplies, IV fluids and antibiotics…..

    …..We have drastically decreased the level of state public health resources in the last decade [2006-2016]. We’ve lost 50,000 state and local health officials. …. “The notion that this is all going to be top down, that the feds are in charge and the feds will deliver, is wrong.”

    1. Jessica

      “We have drastically decreased the level of state public health resources in the last decade [2006-2016]”
      That time period fell mostly into the Obama-Biden administration.

  58. Big River Bandido

    In re-reading mode on a mini vacation at the beach. Almost done with Edmund Morris’ The Rise Of Theodore Roosevelt, with Theodore Rex teed up. Hoping for some insights into a previous age of fetid corruption, political bossism and national squalor.

    Both of those books are fast reads so I have Mark Lewisohn’s Tune In: The Beatles, All These Years, vol 1 at the ready. Also a fast read and way more joyous.

    1. Wukchumni

      The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey by Candice Millard was simply remarkable, I mean how many ex-Presidents decide to go on a trip on a river where you don’t really know what’s ahead of you?

    2. John Anthony La Pietra

      Another two Teddy books you might be interested in:

      * The True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and the Birth of American Empire, by Stephen Kinzer . . . featuring TR and M2 as the opposite ends of the big debate over the US’s entry into imperialism in 1898.

      * And James Chace’s 1912: Wilson, Roosevelt, Taft & Debs — the Election That Changed the Country

      Or, if you’re up for some humor with your history, try Donald Westlake’s Under.an English Heaven: Being a true recital of the events leading up to and down from the British invasion of Anguilla on March 19th, 1969, in which nobody was killed but many people were embarrassed.

      In fact, now I’ve gotten all of that subtitle in, let me give you the book jacket notes as well:

      “Life is real! Life is earnest!” said Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, but of course he had never been to Anguilla, a quiet Caribbean island so far off the beaten track it doesn’t even run television commercials describing how isolated it is.

      But Longfellow isn’t the only famous person never to have visited Anguilla in the nearly 400 years the island has been a British colony. Dwight David Eisenhower, Richard Halliburton, Oscar Levant, Charles Dickens and Lillian Russell are just a few of the great names of history who never had anything to do with the place. Even CHristopher Columbus, who originated the Caribbean cruise, passed Anguilla by.

      And yet, on March 19, 1969, this obscure little island was invaded by Great Britain in a pre-dawn military exercise involving over 300 paratroopers and Marines, plus two frigates, several helicopters and 50 London policemen. The invasion, under the code name Operation Sheepskin (which permitted a hostile member of the British Parliament to call Prime Minister Harold Wilson “a sheep in sheep’s clothing”), secured the island with no resistance and no casualties, and was declared by the British to have been a famous victory. But was it?

      Donald E. Westlake, a comic novelist who till now has been content to invent his own absurdities in such books as The Hot Rock and Bank Shot, took a proprietary interest in the Anguillan affair, since he considered the British action in flagrant and unwarranted competition with his own comic fiction. After a two-year study of the matter, he has come to the conclusion that the actual winner of the Battle of Anguilla was Anguilla, and that the British are only now coming to understand the magnitude of their defeat.

      It has been said that the reason the sun never sets on the British Empire is that God doesn’t trust the English alone in the dark. In Under an English Heaven, light comedy shines in all the darkest plaes; and if more than comedy emerges, it is only because these are the same government policies from the same government experts who have lost the empire several times. They’ve been overdue for a comedy, and here it is.

      Somehow, I get the feeling this describes a book that not a few NC readers would enjoy.

  59. MLTPB

    When I have time, I would like to read Mumonkan, the book about 50 Gong An, or koan.

    That ought to help emptying the mond.

    1. Anarcissie

      Shakuhatchi came to the Buddha and said, ‘Master, there is much in my mond.’
      The Buddha said, ‘Show me your mond.’
      Shakuhatchi answered, ‘I cannot.’
      The Buddha waved his hand through the air.
      ‘Behold,’ he said, ‘your mond is already empty.’

      1. MLTPB

        The version I heard had Bodhidharma, instead the Buddha.

        Though the name of the latter, Tathagata, hints at the story, with the meaning one who has thus come, and was translated Ru Lai, in Chinese.

        (Mind, not m

    1. pretzelattack

      wow! that’s literally the first good news i’ve seen for the last 10 days or so in the wider world.

      1. John Anthony La Pietra

        Unfortunately, the judge wouldn’t cancel the $256,000 in accumulated fines. Maybe she, Julian Assange, and Edward Snowden will win the Nobel Peace Prize; if so, I hope she has something left from her third of the cash prize after taxes. . . .

  60. MLTPB

    From the WHO chief today:

    The idea that countries should shift from containment to mitigation is wrong and dangerous.

    ( search those words with many results).

  61. Wukchumni

    Called up Sequoia NP to ask about the status for the Sherman Tree and Moro Rock, where throngs of tourists hang out, and was told there’s a meeting going on right now, in regards to it.

  62. FreeMarketApologist

    NYC is starting to wind down, now that the governor has ordered that public spaces that hold more than 500 people has to close (other than hospitals, mass transit, etc.). Smaller gathering places have their max capacity cut in half. Broadway will go dark after tonight until April 12, Met Opera has cancelled everything through 31 March, and the museums have announced closures.

    The Pret and Starbucks near my office (midtown) were virtually empty at 12:30 – peak lunchtime, and my regular restaurant on the east side last night was less than 1/2 full (usually older people – maybe they’re staying home). We have most staff working from home, so the office (10 floors worth) is pretty empty (only the few who have to be here, and a few who live nearby).

  63. allan

    Yes, it can happen here:

    Can he do that? Ga. governor, voting rights villain, cancels election [Fulcrum]

    It’s a startlingly bold move, the legality of which is now being challenged in court: Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, already an enemy of voting rights groups nationwide, has canceled an election and says he’ll fill a seat on the Georgia Supreme Court all by himself. …

    Now, the governor has opened himself up to intense criticism that he’d rather stack the state’s highest court with another fellow conservative than abide by the spirit (if not the letter) of the law.

    When justices leave in the middle of a term, Georgia law permits the governor to fill the vacancy. In this case, however, Justice Keith Blackwell said two weeks ago he was no longer seeking re-election and would resign a few weeks early — eight months from now, in November. …

    But a week ago, Kemp’s successor as secretary of state, Republican Brad Raffensperger, said he was deferring to the governor’s wishes and calling off a contest that was to be decided in the May 19 nonpartisan judicial elections.

    Since the governor plans “to fill the created vacancy by appointment,” an attorney for the secretary of state wrote the two suddenly vanquished candidates, “our office determined that the most prudent course of action was to cancel.” …

    For some definition of prudent.

  64. urblintz

    snarkish this:

    has anyone else considered that if he wanted to Putin could probably take over the world just now?…

    and hasn’t?

    Smart man, the world today is precisely what one should not want to be in charge of…

    snarkish off: Did Joe Biden in his boilerplate bloviating actually urge Trump to talk with Russia? I think I heard “world leaders” or something like that…

    I know how I might be tempted to respond when he does if I were Vlad…

  65. ldruid

    I strongly recommend Ada Palmer’s Terra Ignota series, the best sci-fi/philosophy fiction I have read in a long time. First series I remember finishing and immediately rereading. “Would you give up the present to save the future?”

  66. eg

    In Ontario (the province which orbits Toronto) all public schools have been closed by government mandate from March 14 through April 5th. This extends the usual “March Break” that starts on Monday by an additional two weeks.

  67. The Rev Kev

    You guys are much further along in developments than we are in Australia. It was only a week or so ago that Scotty from Marketing was urging people to go to places like Chinese restaurants and football games. They have not shut down these events yet but it is coming. The problem is that the government is reacting to events rather than getting ahead of them. It will take a major outbreak before they do anything like this.

    People have been panic buying and toilet paper is still flying off the shelves. Yesterday it came out that a lot of people went back to Woolworths (one of two major shopping chains here) to try to return bulk toilet paper. Seems these people emptied supermarkets of it in the hopes for selling it online for high profits but unfortunately for them 1) we make the stuff in Oz so plenty of supplies and 2) there is not much of a market for second-hand toilet paper. I am glad to say that Woolworths told them to get stuffed and that there will be no returns on stuff like toilet paper.

  68. eg

    Reading J. F. Weeks’ “The Debt Delusion” interspersed with a chapter (currently on 22) at a time of the Mitchell, Wray, Watts “Macroeconomics” (it’s hard to read textbooks right through)
    And I just got my copy of the latest Piketty, “Capital and Ideology” — at a 1000 pages, that sucker ought to hold me for a while …

  69. Karrinina

    Here in the two Kansas Cities, the mayor of the MO side has declared a state of emergency

    Meanwhile I’m waiting for word from KCKS on whether they will still insist on jury selection Monday (husband has been summoned). This process is a cattle-call of 100+ people crowded into the halls and courtrooms of our district court building.

    I write grant applications for a number of organizations, mainly working from home. It will be interesting to see what happens with foundation giving in these times, just when our social service orgs will be facing rising demand for their services.

    Looking forward to spending any down time with my horses and goats, no social distancing necessary! I am more worried about procuring hay than toilet paper, at least until things get growing around here.

    1. Wukchumni

      Hay works, but i’d guess it’s a bit messy. Have you ever thought about using Sycamore leaves instead?

    2. katiebird

      Since the first Kansas COVID-19 death just took place in a KCK nursing home ( a case no one knew about) maybe they will come up with an alternate plan?

  70. Wukchumni

    Kind of a cheesy film and frankly not very good, but Americathon from 1979 seems perfect for now, it predicted:

    The People’s Republic of China embracing capitalism and becoming a global economic superpower.

    Nike becomes a huge multinational conglomerate.

    The collapse of the USSR.

    An America with a devalued dollar and heavily in debt to foreign lenders.

    The prevalence of reality shows on television.

    Network television dealing with previously taboo subjects accepted as normal (Monty Rushmore stars in the sitcom Both Father and Mother and plays a cross-dressing single father in the title role. The film’s narrative also mentions The Schlong Show, a game show where contestants are judged by their reproductive organs).

    A governor of California becoming a President in real life in a little over a year after this film’s release.

    The movie showed Americans living in their cars.

  71. MichaelSF

    For your reading lists let me recommend “Three Men in a Boat” by Jerome K. Jerome. I’m not sure if it is the funniest book I’ve ever read, but I’m having trouble thinking of what would rank higher. The most likely alternative would probably be any number of Discworld books by the late Terry Pratchett.

  72. witters

    Through my American wife I have discovered the Smothers Brothers. Why did no-one tell me of them before?

    1. Katiebird

      OMG! We loved The Smothers Brothers. Both the albums and (of course) the show. They are an excellent way to pass the time.

  73. Wukchumni

    The UPS guy just delivered a dozen long shelf-life baguettes (use by 8/23/20) from Essential Baking Co.

    I asked him what was happening, and his frustration over his boy’s little league games being cancelled as of today, was paramount on his mind, and yet quizzing him a bit, he really had no idea the kind of shit that’s about to go down. I asked how business was, and he laughed and said busy, that is everybody is ordering TP online for delivery.

    Now, why would you want to risk going to the store for bread, when you can have it delivered and have 5 months to eat it?

    $55 dlvd is a little spendy for 12 baguettes, but what’s worth worth, these days?


    1. Kurt Sperry

      “Long shelf-life baguettes” is, to me, as oxymoronic as”military intelligence”. No bread has a shorter shelf-life than a good baguette, which can be measured in mere hours.

      1. Wukchumni

        A good baguette goes bad in mere hours, the idea here is to have bread you can eat months from now, and it’s quite tasty.

  74. Tom Bradford

    What am I reading/writing/playing? Guess I’ll work my way through Mahler’s symphonies again – Lucerne Festival Orchestra with Abbado (1-7,9) and Chailly for 8.

    Takes a while. Gonna limit me to one? OK, no.3. Longest symphony in the repertoire, solo contralto to hale the soul from your body (“Oh man take heed.”) and if I pass away to the crescendo finale Coronovirus can take me. What a deep, deep dream it will wake me from.

  75. Wukchumni

    Just talked to my 94 year old mom, and her assisted living place is essentially going on lockdown as of yesterday, nobody can leave there unless it’s to go to a doctor or the hospital.

    She’s the president of the residents there, and related that everybody is keenly aware of what went down in Washington state, in the nursing homes.

    1. katiebird

      I’ve been thinking of you and your mom. I wonder if there is a way for her to set up a hand washing station right at her door. Since hand sanitizer is so rare.

      1. Wukchumni

        She’s in luck, because I mailed her a few larger containers of hand sanitizer about a month ago, early in the game.

  76. katiebird

    I think maybe try to learn Spanish. Should I check the local Jr. College? Does anyone recommend an online course?

    1. anon y'mouse

      i can’t give you tips from my experience, because 3 years of middle/high school spanish still failed to drill it into my brain.

      my teacher always swore by watching those telenovelas. because you can generally tell what is going on in them from the basic plots and expressions, and the language they use generally isn’t going to be too difficult.

      a form of immersion, i guess.

    2. Kurt Sperry

      I highly recommend Michel Thomas’ audio courses for Romance languages. You can get a basic working grasp in a few days or a week if you are like me.

    1. Wukchumni

      That was so informative, thanks!

      Turns out the Red Cross in China is just as bad as it is here, whoda thunk?

      1. Monty

        By the way, I got my shelf stable take n bake bread from the company you suggested. Looks great!

  77. Wukchumni

    Some of the apple trees in our orchard are really there for the story, not the fruit. We have a Johnny Appleseed tree, and a Flower of Kent tree. Both apparently grow pretty mealy apples, and these 2 trees are only 3 years old, so nothing yet.

    The latter is the variety of tree that Issac Newton figured out the gravity thing…

    “ … Whilst he was musing in a garden it came into his thought that the same power of gravity (which made an apple fall from the tree to the ground) was not limited to a certain distance from the earth but must extend much farther than was usually thought. ‘Why not as high as the Moon?’ said he to himself..”


    1. Oregoncharles

      Johnny Appleseed was growing primarily cider trees – seedlings. You might try juicing and fermenting it, once it fruits. And probably the other, as well. Hard cider keeps without refrigeration.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Johnny Appleseed was growing primarily cider trees

        I have a vague memory that Appleseed’s Ohio Valley was pretty sophisticated, and involved both liquor (hard cider) and real estate.

        1. Michael Fiorillo

          Michael Pollan wrote informatively and engagingly about Johhny Applessed in his “The Botany of Desire.”

  78. Joey

    I work in an academic medical clinic. Our corporate response? 3 paid sick days if you can get a doctor’s note. So the gal checking you in may be 4 days into covid, halfway to her bilateral interstitial pneumonia, when she fondles your ID and credit card.

    USA! USA!

  79. DonCoyote

    Curently rereading some obscure China-centric SF.

    China Mountain Zhang is set in a future where mainland China has become the world leader, and the US a second-rate power. The narration alternates between the title character, Zhang (an ABC, American Born Chinese), and other characters he interacts with. It reminds me of Gibson a bit in that the characters tend to be lower class users of technology opposed to PMC and PMC-adjacent. Zhang is gay, and being gay is not allowable (punishable by death in China), but there is colonization of Mars so…progress?

    Bridge of Birds is a much more whimsical tale of “a China that never was”. Set about 2500 years ago, it is the story of Number Ten Ox and Li Kao searching for “the ultimate root of power” to save a village of poisoned children. Definitely a good mood lifter. The author wrote two others with the same characters, but IMO this is the first (and best) of the lot.

    1. Daryl

      > China Mountain Zhang is set in a future where mainland China has become the world leader, and the US a second-rate power.

      I dunno…doesn’t sound like far flung sci fi to me.

  80. The Rev Kev

    Jesus wept! “Bernie Declares “Biden Can Beat Trump!” WTF!?!?” Why would he say that, especially when he knows that it is not true? Is he trying to blow up his own campaign? That is virtually Biden’s campaign slogan that-


    A 10:36 Jimmy Dore video with some swearing in it.

    1. Bill Carson

      The phrases “Jimmy Dore” and “some swearing” are redundant. It’s like saying, “Here’s a Benny Hill video with some sexism in it.”

      Both are funny as h-e-double-hockey-sticks, though.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Of course. I only put that warning in for those not familiar with him and that are not ready for his style of humour. And I too loved Benny Hill who was hilarious.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      Yeah, that stuff… It’s clear that if Sanders strategy was Sheepdogging, it went completely out of control. OTOH, why Sanders persistently regards liberals as potential allies instead of enemies and betrayers is mind-boggling, given their record. The general would be easy for Sanders. The primary? Not so much.

    1. vlade

      Oh, and if I wasn’t disgusted with the game from the problems it suffered on release, I’d play Phoenix Point :D

    2. MichaelSF

      I watched the Good Omens series on Amazon and enjoyed it. I’ve not tried the “American Gods” videos to see if they do justice to the book.

Comments are closed.