2:00PM Water Cooler 3/13/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, thank you so much for your collectively spectacular comments during my dereliction of connectivity traveling yesterday. I knew the NC commentariat was well-read, but now I really know it! Holy moley! –lambert Also, I’ll make up for my absence with some more material on #COVID-19 (and maybe for politics).


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

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

“They had learned nothing, and forgotten nothing.” –Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord

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

Some of the next primaries. (I picked the major dates; here is a complete calendar.)

* * *


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

Today we have one national poll from Morning Consult and polls from FL, IL, and OH as of 3/13/2020, 12:00 PM EDT. The empire strikes back:

(Note the nice big sample size.) And the numbers:

And now the state polls (caveating that state polls are small, infrequent, and bad. First, FL:

FL numbers:


IL numbers:


OH numbers:

Pretty much the same story everywhere. Earlier in the year, we often had occasion to comment on the mysterious strength of the Biden Juggernaut, on display here; but it’s also true that Biden’s ups and downs have been of much greater amplitude than other candidates.

* * *


Biden Can Win




Sanders (D)(1): #NotMeUs:

This would scale (dk):

Not only right, but politically smart; see Krystal Ball here. Go out and serve the working class! dk commented:

Lambert you were talking about repurposing the Sanders app to overcome

the loss of large rallies, this is that.

There is risk of establishment + law enforcement pushback if it’s not done carefully, not sure how good the discipline is. Very small margin for error.

Ideally a second app on a phased rollout (test early) would need more tracking of the user for accountability, to recognize and catch bad

actors. Personal data privacy/sharing concerns as well. This is not a no-brainer, with lessons from Uber and other job app-platforms to draw on.

Sanders (D)(2): “Most People Never Saw the Best of Bernie Sanders’s Campaign” [The New Yorker]. “One of the reasons that Sanders’s collapse—and Joe Biden’s corresponding surge—has come as such a surprise to the political world (and the journalists who cover it) is that, whether you supported him or not, the Vermont senator’s events, up close, were compelling. Sanders was offering regular people a platform to describe what was happening around them. “His suggestion, by asking you to speak up about your private anxieties, many of them financial, is that you . . . will begin to see your struggles not as personal failings, but systemic ones,” BuzzFeed’s Ruby Cramer wrote, in December. Sanders held these events throughout the fall and winter, campaigning in Iowa and elsewhere. It wasn’t just college kids venting. Older people were standing up to tell their stories. Immigrants were standing up. Members of minority groups. This was not the vibe at Biden’s events, where the candidate tended to ramble, and where you could feel the audience, even if they were loyal to him, go slack. Yet it wasn’t enough.” • Oddly, there was very little reporting on “the best of” Sanders campaign, given that many (most?) Sanders events were organized just like this. You would think the stories would have offered endless fodder for reporters, who are, after all, all about the narrative.

Sanders (D)(3): “Sanders Offers Biden A Path To Win Over His Movement” [NPR]. “‘While our campaign has won the ideological debate, we are losing the debate over electability,’ Sanders said. The recent underdog added that he disagrees that Biden is the stronger candidate to take on President Trump, ‘but that is what millions of Democrats and independents today believe.’ Sanders promised to show up at the debate on Sunday in Arizona to face Biden one-on-one, and basically offered him a cheat sheet: “Let me be very frank as to the questions that I will be asking Joe.’ Sanders listed off issues central to his campaign, which he says are very important to younger progressives: health care costs, climate change, income inequality, student debt, racial disparities in criminal justice, immigration and housing affordability. So why tip Biden off to how you’re going to challenge him on Sunday? Maybe Bernie Sanders wants Joe Biden to succeed.” • Well, this is NPR. “Lie to me, Joe. Lie to me!”

Sanders (D)(4): “CALL For the 2020 Democratic National Convention” (PDF) [Democrats.org]. I had a look at the Loyalty Oath the DNC made the candidates (but really, only Sanders) sign:

Pursuant to Article VI of the Call for the 2020 Democratic National Convention, I hereby affirm that, upon publicly announcing my candidacy for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States in the 2020 election, I am a member of the Democratic Party. I will run as a Democrat, accept the nomination of my Party, and I will serve as a Democrat if elected. I understand that signing this form does not supplant any legal or Party requirement by any state or territory to qualify for ballot placement in that jurisdiction. Further, I acknowledge that the National Chairperson of the Democratic National Committee is authorized to determine whether a presidential candidate has established substantial support for their nomination as the Democratic candidate for the Office of the President of the United States, is a bona fide Democrat whose record of public service, accomplishments, public writings and/or public statements affirmatively demonstrate that the candidate is faithful to the interests, welfare and success of the Democratic Party of the United States, and will participate in the Convention in good faith.

Maybe there’s something I’ve missed, but I don’t see anything here that prevents a Third Party run. I don’t think it’s likely Sanders will do that, but I don’t see it forbidden. I also don’t see anything that would forbid Sanders from supporting the Democrat candidate (but under the branding of some other organization, e.g. Our Revolution).

* * *

“Judge agrees to recount of missed Dallas County primary ballots” [FOX 4]. “A judge on Tuesday authorized the Dallas County Elections Office to recount Super Tuesday votes from 44 electronic machines. Elections administrator Toni Pippins-Poole requested the recount after finding discrepancies between the number of voters and the number of votes counted from those machines. Attorneys said that this situation is unprecedented in Dallas County. There were thousands of missing votes because several dozen thumb drives containing votes were not included in the count. Officials said during testimony on Tuesday that about 8,000 votes were not counted and included in the official results due to the failure of some election judges to turn in thumb drives from 44 vote centers throughout the county. The uncounted votes were about six percent of total votes cast on Super Tuesday. The equipment used to cast and record votes is new. Last week’s election was only the second time the machines were used in Dallas County.” • One of the more hilarious continuing aspects of election 2020 is that the party that draws itself up in high dudgeon when it’s called “Democrat” instead of “Democratic” can’t seem to count votes accurately. Over and over again.

Warren (D)(1): “Elizabeth Warren Is Unlikely to Endorse Bernie Sanders. Here’s Why.” [New York Times]. “Those close to Ms. Warren say her foremost reason for not endorsing Mr. Sanders is simple: Since her exit from the race, his path to victory has looked unlikely. They doubt that Ms. Warren, even as the most prominent former candidate to have not backed another primary contender so far, could reverse Mr. Sanders’s fortunes at this point, and fear that she risks squandering valuable political capital if she tries to do so and fails.” • Again, I think Warren has a lot less political capital than she thinks she has.

Health Care

“What Do Likely Voters Think About Their Health Care?” [The Commonwealth Fund]. Handy chart:

Realignment and Legitimacy

Solidarity forever:

“The Dismantled State Takes on a Pandemic” [The New Republic]. • Well worth a read, but includes this amazing passage:

“As a clinician like yourself,” [Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] said in his answer, “I guess I anticipated that the private sector would have engaged and helped develop it for the clinical side.” He finished his response with more bewilderment: “I can tell you, having lived through the last eight weeks, I would have loved the private sector to be fully engaged eight weeks ago.”

This is a remarkable parallel to this exchange between Alan Greenspan and Henry Waxman in 2008 after the Crash:

I made a mistake in presuming that the self-interests of organizations, specifically banks and others, were such as that they were best capable of protecting their own shareholders and their equity in the firms,” Greenspan said.

Referring to his free-market ideology, Greenspan added: “I have found a flaw. I don’t know how significant or permanent it is. But I have been very distressed by that fact.”

Waxman pressed the former Fed chair to clarify his words. “In other words, you found that your view of the world, your ideology, was not right, it was not working,” Waxman said.

“Absolutely, precisely,” Greenspan replied. “You know, that’s precisely the reason I was shocked, because I have been going for 40 years or more with very considerable evidence that it was working exceptionally well.”

Learned nothing and forgotten nothing. The article also includes this nugget: “This is how conservatives govern now, and even eight years of comparatively competent management by a liberal presidential administration was not enough to stem the larger trend of private negligence and public disinvestment. In its 2019 annual report on American public health funding, Trust for America’s Health calculated that ‘the CDC’s budget fell by 10 percent over the past decade (FY 2010–19), after adjusting for inflation.” • Neatly overlapping with the Obama administration, and an (almost) open admission that liberals are as complicit in dismantling government as conservatives.

“Blowing in the Whirlwind: As Ye Sow, Joe Shall Ye Reap” [Chris Floyd, Counterpunch]. “I think, perhaps, that we have come to such a crisis point on so many fronts that things are simply too overwhelming for most people to process, much less deal with, in any realistic way. Some strange combination of fatalism and magical thinking seems to have taken hold of large swathes of the electorate. There seems to be the feeling that we can’t really do anything at all about the problems that are bearing down on us like a runaway train – climate disruption and all its ever-rippling repercussions; the rise of hyper-powerful rich elites manipulating our increasingly hollowed-out institutions for their own benefit; the economic demise of industry after industry, region after region, community after community; the endless wars, covert and overt, with their gargantuan corruption and pointless cycles of violence; the healthcare atrocities that leave millions of people literally begging on the internet to obtain even the barest minimum of medical help, and so on. In the face of all this, many people long to embrace some figure or another who promises us a return to the ‘status quo’: either some mythologized post-war era when America was ‘great,’ or just back to the Obama years, when things were ‘normal.’ Overwhelmed, battered, beset, anxiety-ridden, suffering, confused, many people don’t want to hear that hard work and big changes will be necessary if we are to have a chance for things to get better. They just want to latch on to something that will let them feel – if only for a moment – that the anxiety can go away, that someone up there in the circles of power will take care of it for us. This is not the wisest course when faced with overwhelming crises – but it is an entirely natural and understandable one. When you couple this natural reaction to extremity with the aforementioned systematic effort to undermine and thwart the Sanders’ campaign, then it’s not surprising you end up with a blank screen like Joe Biden as your candidate.” • One interesting feature of the 2020 campaign is that serial fabulists (Trump, Biden, and yes, Warren) have played such a dominating role in it.

“It’s Time to Cancel the U.S. Presidential Campaign as We Know It” [Foreign Policy]. “For the first time in the country’s history, the United States must contemplate canceling the Democratic and Republican national conventions and campaign rallies, and give serious consideration to arranging ways of organizing election day that don’t require in-person voting… If the epidemic forces cancellation of the Milwaukee gathering, the party’s candidate may be at a distinct disadvantage going into the general election against Trump and his base of loyal support…. Yet the political system should note that such sacrifices are not unprecedented. On Nov. 5, 1918, the United States held midterm elections for congressional seats during World War I. The Spanish influenza was raging across the United States, claiming huge death tolls in most of the nation’s large cities and striking terror across the country. Politicians abandoned most campaigning rituals, such as rallies and speaking tours.”

Stats Watch

At reader request, I added some business stats back in. Please give Econintersect click-throughs; they’re a good, old-school blog that covers more than stats. If anybody knows of other aggregators, please contact me at the email address below.

Consumer Sentiment: “Preliminary March 2020 Michigan Consumer Sentiment Significantly Declined” [Econintersect]. Surveys of Consumers chief economist, Richard Curtin, makes the following comments: “Consumer sentiment fell in early March due to the spreading coronavirus and the steep declines in stock prices. Importantly, the initial response to the pandemic has not generated the type of economic panic among consumers that was present in the runup to the Great Recession. Nonetheless, the data suggest that additional declines in confidence are still likely to occur as the spread of the virus continues to accelerate. Perhaps the most important factor limiting consumers’ initial reactions is that the pandemic is widely regarded as a temporary event.”

Trade: “February 2020 Import Year-over-Year Inflation Declined To -1.2%” [Econintersect]. “Year-over-year import price indices inflation slowed and are now in contraction.”

* * *

“Elon Musk’s Battery Farm Is an Undeniable Success” [Popular Mechanics]. • Gotta hand it to him.

“Amazon Battles Counterfeit Masks, $400 Hand Sanitizer Amid Virus Panic” [Wall Street Journal].•  Having created a marketplace that enables fakes by default, Amazon now “battles” to fix this one case.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 3 Extreme Fear (previous close: 2 Extreme Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 7 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Mar 13 at 12:24pm. Haven’t ever seen the needle pinned at zero….

Rapture Index: Closes unchanged [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 181. Remember that bringing on the rapture is a good thing. It certainly is odd to see the Fear and Greed index in Freefall, and an index that measures the likelihood of the Apocalypse is stable in the midst of what, in Biblical terms, should surely be a plague. The Rapture Index should pin the needle in the other direction from the Fear & Greed Index. If indeed Evangelicals think #COVID-19 is fake news (some don’t), their megachurches are going to get hit, just as in Korea.

The Biosphere

“Lake Erie walleye bite continues; steelhead trout on fire: Fishing Report for Jan. 31” [Cleveland Plain-Dealer (CR)]. “The astounding walleye bite ranges from the waters off Cleveland all of the way to the Western Basin. The hot techniques have been trolling a Smithwick Perfect 10 minnow-style lure with 2-ounce snap weights, with the best depths from 31 to 41 feet of water. Fishermen are also jigging hair jigs tipped with a with a small stinger treble hook while focusing on Western Lake Erie rock piles in 30 feet of water or deeper. ‘It’s quite a winter windfall for Lake Erie fishing,’ said Mike Durkalec of the Cleveland Metroparks, but added, ‘A lot of people who really enjoy ice fishing are disappointed, with no safe ice available.'” • Lake Erie, the person, seems to be doing OK. This language is pretty vivid, but I don’t know what the heck it means. Snap weights? Hair jigs? (Too bad about the ice, though. Oof.)

“Cheatgrass, Wildfire and Livestock Grazing” [Counterpunch]. “The BLM, nor livestock promoters readily admit these problems of cheatgrass, wildfire, and livestock grazing. The fact remains the proposed regulation changes will make it more difficult to hold accountable the BLM and the livestock industry who are directly culpable for the on-going degradation of our public lands.”

“Six-fold jump in polar ice loss lifts global oceans” [The Australian]. “Greenland and Antarctica are shedding six times more ice than during the 1990s, driving sea level rise that could see annual flooding by 2100 in regions home today to some 400 million people, scientists have warned. The kilometres-thick ice sheets atop land masses at the planet’s extremities sloughed off 6.4 trillion tonnes of mass from 1992 through to 2017, adding nearly 2cm to the global watermark, according to an assessment by 89 researchers, the most comprehensive to date. Last summer’s Arctic heatwave will likely top the 2011 rec­ord for polar ice sheet loss of 552 billion tonnes, they reported in a pair of studies, published on Thursday in Nature.”

Our Famously Free Press

“Truthdig Employees Stop Work To Protest Labor Conditions” [Popular Resistance]. From 2019:

Truthdig, one of the few progressive sites willing to call out the Russiagate hysteria, challenge the Democratic Party hierarchy and donor class and lift up the voices of the Palestinians in the face of Israeli war crimes, is imploding.

The publisher, Zuade Kaufman, who has lent the site an estimated two or three million dollars, has had bitter clashes with the legendary Editor-in-Chief and the co-owner of the site, Robert Scheer, over the past few months. Their disputes, staff members say, revolve around Kaufman’s desire to make the site more mainstream and commercially viable by catering to the Democratic Party establishment and adopting the dominant narratives about supposed Russian interference in the 2106 presidential election, as well as other stances embraced by mainstream outlets such as MSNBC. The dispute between Scheer and Kaufman came to a head last week when Kaufman attempted to fire Scheer. Scheer’s and Kaufman’s lawyers are now in mediation.

Bound to happen with a squillionaire sponsor, sooner or later.

Groves of Academe

UPDATE “Academe’s Coronavirus Shock Doctrine” [The Chronicle of Higher Education]. “Never let a crisis go to waste. In her bestselling book The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, Naomi Klein observes that disasters, emergencies, and breakdowns often prove inspirational to entrepreneurs, and just as often provide ideological cover for the repurposing of public funds and the reconfiguration of labor conditions. Covid-19 looks like it will furnish exactly this sort of pretext. Faculty members — a variegated group that has not excelled at thinking of ourselves as a collective — should beware….. What comes after the shock? If instruction is going to be utterly transformed, then other protocols and systems must be too, and faculty members ought to insist upon assurances and protections now. Intellectual property rules by which universities claim ownership over materials uploaded to course-management software must be completely suspended; we cannot willingly contribute to the rebranding of education as ‘content delivery.’ Universities must explicitly ensure that third-party platforms will not monetize our words for Big Data and our faces for surveillance industries. Faculty performance reviews (crucial to renewal for contingent faculty, to merit pay, to tenure proceedings) should be reformatted to account for the derailed ‘outputs’ when conferences and guest lectures have been canceled, publications slowed, and alternate teaching strenuously improvised. Student evaluations should not be proctored or employed as usual. Face-to-face learning is irreplaceable — even in a virtualizing culture, even when classroom infrastructures are overcrowded and outmoded, even when administration has become the dominant sector in education. Absent firm administrative commitments to resume ordinary instruction after the virus subsides, and in the presence of administrative memos specifying ‘indefinite’ and ‘permanent’ dimensions of the transition, faculty as a group should pause before making the extraordinary efforts now demanded.”

Guillotine Watch

“Elon Musk wants to get paid” [Francine McKenna, The Dig]. “I explained later on Twitter why using “adjusted EBITDA” to determine bonus eligibility so self-serving. That’s because in addition to adjusting GAAP earnings to add back expenses for interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization, the double non-GAAP crap adjustment at Tesla also adds back stock-based compensation expense.” • These are all easily manipulated (“pliugged”). More: “Tesla’s annual report makes it very clear they will plug the numbers if it looks like Musk might make it.”

Class Warfare

“Coronavirus Is the Perfect Disaster for ‘Disaster Capitalism'” (inteview) [Naomi Klein, Vice]. Klein: “The “shock doctrine” is the political strategy of using large-scale crises to push through policies that systematically deepen inequality, enrich elites, and undercut everyone else. In moments of crisis, people tend to focus on the daily emergencies of surviving that crisis, whatever it is, and tend to put too much trust in those in power. We take our eyes off the ball a little bit in moments of crisis…. The shock really is the virus itself. And it has been managed in a way that is maximizing confusion and minimizing protection. I don’t think that’s a conspiracy, that’s just the way the U.S. government and Trump have utterly mismanaged this crisis. Trump has so far treated this not as a public health crisis but as a crisis of perception, and a potential problem for his reelection. It’s the worst-case scenario, especially combined with the fact that the U.S. doesn’t have a national health care program and its protections for workers are abysmal. This combination of forces has delivered a maximum shock. It’s going to be exploited to bail out industries that are at the heart of most extreme crises that we face, like the climate crisis: the airline industry, the gas and oil industry, the cruise industry—they want to prop all of this up. … In The Shock Doctrine I talk about how this happened after Hurricane Katrina.” • Good frame for today’s “dramatic measures to ease market strain“, for example.

News of the Wired

“New Analysis of Large Hadron Collider Results Confirms Something Weird Is Happening” [Gizmodo]. “The world’s largest particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland, contains a host of experiments that seek to answer the unanswered questions about the nature of the universe. Mostly, these experiments have ruled out theories describing various exotic particles to explain dark matter. But one of the experiments, called LHCb, has discovered a small deviation between what they’ve measured and what’s predicted by the core theory of particle physics, called the Standard Model. After three years of data analysis, the discrepancy remains—a potential sign of new physics.”

“Something strange is going on with the North Star” [LiveScience]. “The problem with Polaris is that no one can agree on how big or distant it is.”

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

CH writes: “Talked to park ranger and it is a manzanita tree.”

Bonus plant video (SN):

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Jokerstein

    Ooh my little viral one, viral one.
    When you gonna give me a cough, Corona?
    Ooh you make my nostril run, my nostril run.
    Why you make my life frickin’ tough, Corona?
    Never gonna stop, cough it up, really short of breath.
    Always stay alone,do my best to avoid my death.
    My my my i yi woo.
    M M M My Corona

    1. Wukchumni

      Way back when in Wuhan
      Was a dandy of a virus
      Everybody under lockdown
      So contagious and willing
      Moved out elsewhere
      Where the hell to now?

      Hey, nineteen
      No, we can’t dance together (We can’t dance together)
      No, we can’t walk at all
      Please don’t take me along when you slide on down

      Hey, nineteen
      That’s Trudeau’s wife
      She’s now a member
      It’s hard times befallen
      The newer survivors
      Its kind of crazy
      But It affects the old

      Hey, nineteen
      No, we got nothin’ in common
      No, we can’t dance together
      No, we can’t walk at all
      Please don’t take me along when you slide on down


    2. ObjectiveFunction

      Yeah, I thought of that one too, and the tune is a proto punk classic, but when I looked up the original lyrics I realized that being overheard singing them out loud today could get… awkward, especially for an over 50 guy. Very Epstein.

  2. Jason Boxman

    So, this hasn’t even come up yet, anywhere.

    But I go my 2020 Census form in the mail.

    I wonder how that’s gonna go this year, eh?

    Not that the Trump administration was ever committed to conducting a complete census anyway…

    1. Eureka Springs

      I’ve been thinking Census should knock on doors with 2 masks, a several thousand dollar check, six pack of TP, Emergency C, 1 Z pac, two bottles of tussinex and notice M4A is now in effect, no registration needed.

    2. flora

      Mine, too. Mailed letter contained a key-code to use to login online and fill out census form. Worked fine. But, I wonder how they’ll count people without internet access? Rural areas, the very poor, the homeless, those in the process of moving, etc.

      1. Jason Boxman

        I’ve wondered myself, but I doubt much anyone actually wants to count such people, sadly.

        If we had real leadership and statesmanship, everyone in America would want a complete, accurate census, no matter the consequence to political power.

        ’tis not so.

        1. pretzelattack

          well they walk around neighborhoods, and look for campsites. how effective that is is another matter. in dallas in 2010, there were some well known homeless sites, under freeways and around the trinity river, which were more or less counted.

      2. polecat

        Key-code/log in ..

        Just another chance for some blackhat (or smartypants pimply kid ..) to hack that info .. due to the inevitable government oversight !!

        Besides, by the time the info is finally collated, the country will have disassembled into various discordant, autonomous states !

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          “the country will have disassembled into various discordant, autonomous states”

          lets try that for a while.
          the current arrangement is hopelessly marred, what with the broken social contract and indifference, if not hostility, to the consent of the governed.

      3. Culp Creek Curmudgeon

        I’m in the process of applying to be a Census Numerator; I just passed my background check. What my job will be, provided that I pass the training at a date TBD, is to go to houses that have not responded to the mailer. The woman who conducted my initial phone wasn’t sure how the coranavirus would affect things, but traditionally the job lasts from April through May for about 8 weeks. We’ll see.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          last 2 Censii, i was angry at the fedgov(clinton/bush/obama, for pretty much the same reasons as now)
          and threw it in the fire.
          then a guy showed up, out of the blue…scared out of his mind(stories of census refuseniks in the hills who eat fedrals—I don’t care for fedral meat, myself, but i sometimes look like i might,lol)…and asked if he could sit for a bit.
          so both times, we sat out in the yard, under the Big Oak, drinking beer as the dude(2 dudes, 10 years apart) asked the questions.
          both were new arrivals out here, and i remembered being a new arrival out here, so i dispensed advice on how not to get shot at by some of the actually crazy anti-gov whackos out here, and a good time was had by all.
          i have little in common with either of those guys, but we wave at each other on the highway and shoot the bull in the feed store.
          takes guts to do that work in the country, and i wish you all the luck.
          approach in full view in daylight…and know that not all of us hill folks shoot on sight.
          keeping some beer on ice is probably a good idea, as well.
          just in case.

      4. John Anthony La Pietra

        Public libraries will help some — as long as they’re still around.

        Maybe the Bureau could set up a few dozen “CensusMobiles” equipped with hot spots?

        1. The Rev Kev

          Careful there. One should not talk about viruses and “hot spots” in the same sentence without care.

          1. John Anthony La Pietra

            Fair enough!

            OTOH, I left mention of the viruses to be covered in the post above — a few posts above. Could that be suffcient social distancing?

  3. Billy

    When someone complains about the cost of “Socialistic” Universal Health Care, refer them to these URLs:


    “Taking into account both the costs of coverage expansion and the savings that would be achieved through the Medicare for All Act, we calculate that a single-payer, universal health-care system is likely to lead to a 13% savings in national health-care expenditure, equivalent to more than US$450 billion annually (based on the value of the US$ in 2017). The entire system could be funded with less financial outlay than is incurred by employers and households paying for health-care premiums combined with existing government allocations.”
    As soon as he could, he sold some stock and paid cash for a Mercedes. As the years went by he built a large home in Birmingham, Ala., HealthSouth’s headquarters city, and bought a condo in New Orleans’ French Quarter. Every year he bought a new BMW, Porsche, Lexus, “or whatever kind of car I wanted that year.”

    “Beam noticed that most investment bankers wore expensive Hermes ties. “I bought $30,000 worth of them,” he said. Meanwhile, as the company’s phenomenal growth continued over the next several years, it bought 12 jet airplanes.”


  4. deplorado

    >> “‘While our campaign has won the ideological debate, we are losing the debate over electability,’ Sanders said.

    If Bernie continues to say idiotic self-limiting things like this, I am going to stop my recurring donations and start looking for someone else (still will write him in come November, but as a farewell, not with hope). This segment of the Jimmy Dore show, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVaNY4THm90 captures it well. Whatever the reason for that is, it isn’t good.

    He has one last chance, this Sunday’s debate with Biden, to prove that he really means to win.

    1. katiebird

      No kidding. I don’t regret what I have given him because it was for him and M4A. But I don’t have money to waste.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            Whoever he’s appealing to, it has nothing to do with his original theory of change. Honestly, there’s nothing wrong with saying your opponent is going to get beat. Everybody says it.

            When I was a debater, my major flaw was that I couldn’t bring myself to prepare attacks for cases that I felt were really, really stupid. Electability is one such argument. Perhaps the stupidity and brutality of the Democrat Establishment is having a demoralizing effect.

            At least say “Even Joe Biden can beat Trump.”

            1. MLTPB

              I think it has nothing to do with old age.

              Nor do I think Stockholm Syndrome here.

              Trying to unite, maybe.

            2. Eureka Springs

              In a declared pandemic Sanders just said on twit:

              Long-term: we need Medicare for All so your health insurance is not tied to your job.

              No. We need it right now. It’s amazing a guy like that ever hit so much as a slow pitch in baseball.

              1. Aumua

                I have no issue with that statement. He’s simply giving another topical reason for M4A. Some of these other things he is saying recently though…

            3. flora

              Yeah. In 2016 he’d answer by saying, “I expect to be the nominee.” Full stop. I’m starting to wonder, really, if some folks in the intel “community” got to him, had a little private talk, nothing threatening mind you.

              1. flora

                An even better answer this year, imo, is, “I don’t know if Joe can beat T. When Hillary became the nominee I did think she could beat T. I made dozens of campaign appearances for her, and I raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for her. I though she would beat T. Can Joe beat T? I don’t know. I do know that polling shows me beating T by a wider margin.”

                1. richard

                  good one, or even this:
                  “Have you asked biden if he thinks I can beat Trump? Ask him that question, get the answer, and then I’ll think about answering.”
                  the problem is, what it always come down to is this:
                  democrats pretend they’re a team, for the sake of some fairytale (no class allowed) libs who always like to say “we’re all after the same thing, after all” so they can pretend to live with themselves
                  the dems are a team, a ‘movement”, they have so completely stolen that imagery from real movements they pretend to represent and sanders has drunk that koolaid as well
                  republicans are all about power, never pretend to be a team for an instant. just a collection of ambitious feral cases who are conditionally allied. This saves their pols a lot of the energy involved with pretending to rep something, and saves their voters from having to hear it, which very likely brings converts.
                  That rah rah team stuff never much existed until neo-libs weaponized it in the Clinton era.

          2. ChiGal in Carolina

            I know I made several comments way back when that moving the Overton window to the left, i.e. influencing policy, was much more important to Bernie than winning the presidency. Said comments were met here with radio silence.

            But that is what he is doing here, who he is appealing to: the country, for the long haul.

            Not him, us, remember? He wants to keep the movement, not his campaign, going, for those younger generations to make good on.

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              i agree…provisionally.
              but i’m still pretty crestfallen.
              i need a new new deal now, not in the future, whenever that is.
              and given the long term opinion polling showing that a majority of americans want pretty much exactly what’s in bernie’s platform, it’s like a stick in the eye for Team Blue to behave this way again.
              even though i knew they would.
              I’ll not be voting for uncle joe, the usurer’s pet.
              the green party always needs help to stay on the texas ballots, so i’ll contribute there.

            2. Aumua

              Yeah, ok sure. I mean if this is strategy on Sanders part then OK I can see the strategic benefit, but especially with all the chaos going on right now it seems like he could still have a real chance if he doesn’t just throw it. That’s what is frustrating here is like “Hey Bernie, don’t pivot to plan B just YET. You’re still in the damn race!”

              1. Lambert Strether Post author

                > I can see the strategic benefit

                I can’t. What’s the strategic benefit of saying your opponent is — on an axis a lot of fear-crazed voters care about — just as good as you are?

                I can’t think of any way this makes sense. And — call me foily — it does make me wonder if, when the Democrats “settled all family business” the weekend before Super Tuesday, some intelligence community goon did in fact “reach out” to the Sanders campaign, as Flora suggests.

                As I’ve been saying for some time, the intelligence community wants veto power over Presidential candidate selection. Maybe they just exercised that power. Certainly that would put something on the assets side of the ledger for them with their Democrat Establishment friends.

                1. Aumua

                  No that is certainly not at all strategic LOL. I just meant Sanders’ more long term strategy that doesn’t necessarily hinge on him being president. The whole ‘us, not me’ thing is what I mean by strategy or ‘alt’ strategy lets say. In other words, if he has given up on president then I can see this other strategy in his attitude. Sorry if I’m not being very clear.

      1. Jason Boxman

        Yes, just stopped by recurring as well. Oddly, it doesn’t show up under ActBlue, but if I dig the recurring donation receipt from ActBlue out of my trash, it took me to a page where I _could_ cancel.

        Broken UX/code at ActBlue?

        Anyway, Biden ain’t nobody’s friend. I can’t fund that kind of nonsense.

        1. Donna

          Yes, they don’t make it easy to cancel your recurring contributions at ActBlue. But, I had to cut Bernie off too. If he can’t expose Biden’s failings, he can’t win. Let’s face it no one who has access to major media is going to do it.

    2. Arizona Slim

      He needs to stop saying that Joe Biden is his friend. Fine and dandy for you, Bernie. But Joe is not OUR friend.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        As I’ve said before, Democrats like to put their arm around you preferatory to knifing you. So I would have no objection to Sanders calling Biden as his friend… As long as he has a knife in his hand. Does he?

        1. ambrit

          If he doesn’t have a knife in his hand, there are several easily available to him, lodged in his back.
          Right now, I’m halfway convinced that the Sunday debate will be called off.
          As for all those big surges for Biden in the polls, well, there is something going on that is not obvious. What it is, I am puzzled about.
          No matter what transpires this year, I think that some group should organize a granular analysis of the manner in which the Democrat Party primaries have been carried out.
          Something is not right.

          1. Wukchumni

            Is this a dagger which I see before me,
            The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee.
            I have nomination not, and yet I see thee still.
            Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible
            To feeling as to sight? or art thou but
            A dagger of the mind, a false creation,
            Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain?

            1. ambrit

              Certes good sir,
              Take not thy ease now.
              Events, those unruly signs
              Of an subterranean ferment,
              Shall overtake thee.
              Keep a forward motion,
              Lest the mob
              That thou pretendest to lead,
              Doth trample thee underfoot;
              Anst thou become,
              A footed note,
              A plangent base,
              To the cacaphony .

          2. chuck roast

            Yes, that’s why I despise the Dems…they are all card carrying back-stabbers and will cry crocodile tears while performing the operation. OTOH the Repubs are fundamentally different…they will cheerfully stab you in the face all the while telling you that the operation will improve your overall physical well-being. I’ll take the face-stabbers every time.

          3. Lambert Strether Post author

            > As for all those big surges for Biden in the polls, well, there is something going on that is not obvious.

            If you take it at face value, it means the Democrat base — crudely, 50+, PMC, financially comfortable — is so fear-crazed and deranged it’s not capable of being appealed to by any candidate they don’t see as already annointed. (In other words, Bitecofer was right.) Policy appeals are not possible.

            That’s depressing. It’s also not sustainable, except by keeping the fear going. (Hilariously, the Democrats have now encountered an actual wolf; “It Took A Plague To Elect Joe Biden™). So ratchet up every bad expectation you had for Clinton (war, McCarthyism) with Biden.

          4. thoughtful person

            I agree, something is not right with the democrat primary process.
            A few things:

            -As long as we don’t have hand marked ballots counted in public, there is no way to insure all the votes are counted accurately.

            -Each state need to have a way to vote that allows equal access to all. Long waits and other voter supression shenanigans must be banned.

            -The democrat party is owned by billionaires and corporate interests. Fraudulent and corrupt, it is pointless to keep trying to play in that club.

            -A massive fix has been in operation slandering Sanders in the media since the start of the process. The shouting match “debates” were an embarrassment to all involved and an insult to voters.

            -Biden’s orchestrated coronation, following the win in a likely fixed SC primary, combined with the resignation by, and endorsement of Biden, by nearly all the other candidates, and the voting mess in TX and CA (have they even be able to finish an accurate count of those states?) was a stunning PR coupe de grâce to the democratic process and the democat party in particular.

            -Apparently the country is in for another 4 years of insanity based decision making or 4 years of a zombified president following the orders of behind the scenes handlers a la Regan’s final term.

            -Bernie Sanders and our revolution has accomplished a lot in the ideological battle, moving the Overton window, consciousness raising.

            It is impressive that after all the decades of wealth concentration here in the usa, all those smart analysts and experts in the DC bubble (and environs) can’t see that basic dynamic at work here: if you make reform impossible you make revolution inevitable.

            We now have the covid19 epidemic to layer on top of the obesity epidemic and the opioid epidemics. One support system after another has been crapified and corrupted.

            I just hope our coming revolution is a nonviolent one.

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          I know Fox News/ Tucker Carlson are not respected here, but Tucker Carlson offered an incisive even though disrespectful talk about why Sanders is losing and will lose comprehensively and totally. It is titled:
          Bernie Sanders Is Losing Because He’s Weak. He May Be The Lamest Revolutionary Ever.


          Watch it and weep.

          Still, if the Bernie Backers manage to get Sanders’s name onto the state of Michigan ballot as a no-party candidate for President, I will vote for him.

          Now, if the Gabbard supporters manage to get HER name on the Michigan ballot on the very same basis, then I will have an interesting choice. Because Gabbard recognizes that the enemy is to be crushed and destroyed, and Gabbard is willing to make it personal.

    3. Carla

      Bernie was never in it because of his ego: #NotMeUs

      Maybe it’s simply impossible for a person of great integrity with an unselfish value system to win the presidency.

      1. katiebird

        I think that’s very possible. I just wish someone guiding the campaign could find a way to make his values a powerful thing in an election.

        1. David Carl Grimes

          Is everyone here resigned to a Biden Presidency? Biden has such a low bar to hurdle. He just has to show he’s not senile. The 2020 elections will be between Dementia (Biden) and Demented (Trump). And none of them can offer real solutions. How sad.

          1. Wukchumni

            The enemy of the conventional wisdom is not ideas but the march of events.

            J.K. Galbraith

          2. divadab

            Biden won’t win. He’s a flipping doddering old grandpa who can’t complete a sentence. That anyone is proposing him as a candidate is an insult to the electorate and to the office.

            The Democrats are filthy corrupt scum and they will not get my vote with their crappy candidate.

            1. Oh

              I hate to say it but Trump can’t speak in a complete sentence either. So there’s going to be two doddering idiots competing for the highest office in the land. I wish there’s a way both could lose.

              I’m disgusted with the politics in our country.

            2. Deschain

              If Biden can fog a mirror he’ll win. Maybe even if he can’t. COVID and the economic dislocation that follows are a noose around Trump”s neck.

              1. Lambert Strether Post author

                > COVID and the economic dislocation that follows are a noose around Trump”s neck.

                I think the economic dislocation that follows is the key issue. One way or another, COVID will peak and decline. When it does, all the usual suspects will say all the usual things and it will be a wash. However, if the paycheck isn’t coming in, that’s another matter. (Too bad Obama didn’t jail the banksters. The Democrats may have some good will on “the economy” on the asset side, but Obama sure drew it down.

          3. Carla

            I don’t for a minute think Biden will be president. I don’t even think he’ll be the candidate. In my view, at convention-time (whenever it is), Joe will be declared to be too ill to assume the mantle, and a hand-picked successor will step in — Kamala? Hillary? Corey? even Liz?

            No idea. But somebody will step into the breach! This is how the Democrat Party plays.

      2. Kurtismayfield

        Not in this system.. he was trying a hostile takeover of one of the political parties. He needed to be cutthroat to do it. He obviously does not have it in him..

        1. km

          “I used to get things done by saying please. Now I dynamite ’em out of my path.”

          Witness the career of one Huey P. Long. Say what you want about the man’s goals, and his methods were often odious, but he hijacked an incredibly corrupt and self-serving state government. In order to do that, he overthrew a deeply entrenched political system that was not at all shy about using bribery, fraud, color of law (the poll tax and tame sheriffs) and outright violence to stay in power and serve its ends.

          Once in power, Long became so popular that for generations to come in Louisiana, mere association with the name “Long” was enough to ensure election.

          Fun fact: Huey P. Newton was named for Huey P. Long.

          1. Procopius

            Huey P. Long was indeed odious. In fact, he was virtually a copy of the Nazis. His gangs of thugs were every bit as vicious as those he was opposing, even after they started operating outside Louisiana. On the other hand, he really knew what the common folk needed. I may be mistaken, but I think he was not particularly oppressive toward black people. I think it was in Schlesinger’s The Coming of the New Deal, FDR said the two most dangerous men in America were Huey Newton and Douglas MacArthur.

            1. ambrit

              When I first moved to Louisiana in the early 1970s, Huey Long was still remembered as a demi-god by the “commopn people.” He was remembered for building the Charity Hospital system that allowed everybody in the state to have real “access” to health care. He managed to build roads and bridges early on in the American infrastructure cycle. He managed to focus public “hate” on the oil and gas giants.
              To steal a line from whoever: “Huey may be a sob, but he’s our sob.”
              If Huey Long came along today, and do not compare him with the present occupant of the White House, the two are light years apart, he would run roughshod over the present political elite.
              It really is a shame about Sander’s “fall from grace.” If he could ‘channel’ a little Huey Long, he would be a great leader. We call out for a Huey Long and get, Adlai Stevenson.

    4. Oh

      You might as well stop the donations now. It’s over. I was so optimistic about Sanders this time around but his “my good friend”, his not attacking Biden and his policies directly and saying that he would support the Democrat nominee are defeatist to say the least. It makes me wonder why he even ran for President!

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        If there is a Sunday debate, Sanders’s desire to win will be judgeable based on his performance against Biden. If he treats Biden as a slow-moving cockroach to be crushed under a brick . . . with glee and laughter . . . then Sanders will appear psychologically worthy of being President.

        If he treats Biden with a velvet hand in a kid glove, then he will show himself psychologically unfit to be President. Cognitively fit means nothing without psychological fitness. And psychological fitness means a willingness to exterminate the enemy to get it out of your way.

        That said, if giving money helps his movement deepen its organization and entrench its long term presence, then it may still be defensible on that basis.

        1. Carla

          Our political system is not worthy of Bernie, or any psychologically healthy person.

          Nor will our system allow Bernie to be the Democratic candidate for president, and he knows it. He’s been fighting the system for decades.

          I agree: “if giving money helps his movement deepen its organization and entrench its long term presence, then it may still be defensible on that basis.”

          I’m voting for Bernie, of course. But he didn’t lose in South Carolina, Virginia, Massachusetts, Michigan and elsewhere by the margins reported. The Party hacked those voting machines and scanners. No doubt in my mind.

          1. ChiGal in Carolina

            I completely agree and am feeling baffled by the fundamental failure to grasp what Bernie is all about demonstrated in many of these comments.

            though I understand the disappointment, it was never about himself for Bernie and the work he has put in matters whether he wins the presidency or not, unless we in a fit of pique decide to take all our marbles and go home.

            1. KLG

              Not me, us. Well yes, but chances come once, maybe twice, and that is it!

              There is nothing psychologically unhealthy about playing to win in politics, if you are honest and tell the truth. There have been three honest presidential candidates in my sentient lifetime, which goes back to the 1960 election when I was 5 years old: Barry Goldwater (misguided), Jimmy Carter (naive) and Bernie Sanders (constant). This “game” is for keeps. My continuing contribution will stop after the debate if Bernie does not (politically) eviscerate Joe Biden, on national TV in front of God and everybody.

              I referred to Taibbi’s recent piece the other day about how Bernie had to get our of his comfort zone to win. That is true for anyone who wants to achieve anything worth doing! Simply put, when Bernie allowed as how Joe Biden is his friend and not corrupt, that was the tell. When it comes right down to it Bernie doesn’t really want to win. For himself or us. Alas.

              1. Fiery Hunt


                In case all of you haven’t noticed…

                He can’t win.

                This is who we are as a country.

                Bernie Sanders had has a greater impact on modern American society than anyone I can think of. At least we’re talking about health care, and student debt and fricking SOLIDARITY.

                He wasn’t going to win.

                But at least he tried.
                And now, he’s trying to midigate the disconnect for the betterment of the country.

                1. Aumua

                  THE VOTERS DON’T WANT HIM TO WIN.

                  Yes, but also the voters are scared and public opinion has been very much manipulated against Sanders. He’s fighting an uphill battle the whole way on multiple fronts. He’s fighting the Democrats, the Republicans and the pretty much the entire main stream media. It was always a long shot, and the fact the has gotten as far as he has says so much about how strong his platform is and how ready people really are for it. I hope we can all keep that in mind if he does go down.

                2. Temporarily Sane

                  “But at least he tried” isn’t good enough. If the guy can’t, or won’t, play for keeps against his opponent he’s not playing to win. Whether that is on purpose or due to his character is up for debate but right now he is Corbynizing himself in a bad way.

                  As others have said, his performance at the next debate will reveal whether he’s serious about beating Biden or if he’s too milquetoast or compromised to do what has to be done.

                  Given his supplication to the Clinton campaign in 2016, his “no matter who” pledge to back the Democrat candidate in 2020 and his inability, or unwillingness, to land knockout punches on his opponents and detractors makes me doubt that he’s in it to win.

                  I don’t buy that his losing to the donor class candidate was always inevitable. Things might have looked a lot different if he’d called out the DNC in 2016 for throwing him under the bus and run an aggressive, fact-based campaign in 2020 that promoted his signature policies and exposed his rivals for the bought and paid for frauds they are.

                  Maybe he’d be losing anyway even if he hadn’t squandered so many opportunities to capitalize on positive momentum or repeatedly failed to politely but firmly put his detractors in their place, but he did so we will never know.

                  Bernie wasn’t born yesterday. He knows how the game is played and the whole “solidarity and unity” stuff is a cop out to rationalize his failure and avoid the cognitive dissonance that would come with a brutally honest assessment of his ineffective campaign strategies and having to ponder the uncomfortable possibility that maybe he was never playing to win in the first place.

                  He has one more chance to redeem himself and prove people like me wrong.

                3. Lambert Strether Post author

                  > THE VOTERS DON’T WANT HIM TO WIN.

                  The voters”? Obviously not. It was always going to be harder for Sanders to win the primary than the general. Sanders supporters always knew that. But now they really know it.

                4. drumlin woodchuckles

                  Every wanna-voter who was suppressed from voting is someone we don’t know ” did not want Sanders to win”.

                  Every vote which was switched and faked within the digi-fraudulent voting machines is a voter whose level of “wanted Sanders to win” will never be known.

                  The massive MSM blackout on Sanders and Gabbard prevented them from reaching any part of the Mainstream-Only audience. So who even knows who knows what.

                  If Gabbard had been in Sanders’ position . . . with Sanders level of exposure and delegates and etc., Gabbard would behave much more focusedly in pursuit of Victory for Us through “extermination” of Them. I think the mainstreamers know that, which is why they have black-outed Gabbard much more thoroughly than they have blackouted Sanders.

        2. MLTPB

          Dont worry
          I keep house, casually.

          – Issa, who was not Hakuin, the other Zen master.

          Doesn’t seem like we will get a Zen president soon, if a brick is needed here.

    5. Riverboat Grambler

      Sanders seems comparable to Obama in his eagerness to work with and be accepted by people that openly hate his guts.

    6. Mo's Bike Shop

      I love all those Zappa quotes about the brick wall behind the scenery. I’ll bet Senator Sanders could tell you what’s written on the wall.

      The Democratic Party leadership is currently pushing for paid time off for plebs. Do you think they’d do that if Trump weren’t holding the veto? They’d rescind the 22nd amendment if Trump had the stamina.

      Whatcha plans for 2024? I’m up in the air. The art of the possible stops at the possible.

  5. Widowson

    As an alum of UT-Austin, I get periodic email updates from the president of the university Gregory Fenves. I just received one that his wife— and presumably both he and a child who also works at UT-Austin— are the first three cases of COVID-19 at the University of Texas. Crazy.

        1. Massinissa

          If Neoliberalism is indeed gods work, that would certainly explain why all the evangelicals are onboard with it. Maybe they know something we don’t?

          /sarc, sorta?

      1. Bill Carson

        It’s really a strange virus in the USA because it is being brought into the country and spread by the bourgeoisie. They are the ones who can afford to travel overseas for pleasure or business, or press the flesh with those who do.

        In a sense, this is a blessing, because if it was just a disease spreading among the homeless (or homosexuals, as was the case with HIV), then our country wouldn’t be taking it as seriously.

        1. Temporarily Sane

          Eh? You can’t seriously be serious about the country as a whole and its federal government taking the COVID-19 outbreak seriously. Where do you see this happening?

          This pandemic is doing a great job exposing just how vulnerable the global neoliberal Potemkin economy is and how ill equipped a society run on social Darwinist individualism is to respond to even moderate social stressors.

          It’s actually quite amazing just how far down the capitalist-absurdist rabbit hole we already are given that the COVID-19 crisis is still largely in the hypothetical stage.

          Now imagine what happens if this thing blows up like in Italy and if, a bit further down the road, the effects of climate change really do get as intense as many are predicting.

          Our pathological inability to transcend backasswards anti-social neoliberal ideology even when looking down the barrel at multiple oncoming crises, combined with already terrible poverty nationwide, the precarious one-paycheck-from-doom existence many “middle class” Americans have been forced into, the truly astounding paranoid ignorance of large sectors of the population and the completely out of touch oligarchy/political class leading this country could end the United States of America as we know it within the next few decades.

          Those who manage to build small, self-contained and self-sufficient collectives outside urban areas will be ahead of the curve if and when the fit really hits the shan.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > It’s really a strange virus in the USA because it is being brought into the country and spread by the bourgeoisie. They are the ones who can afford to travel overseas for pleasure or business, or press the flesh with those who do.


          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            I remember predicting somewhere, but I don’t remember where, that this disease would hit the well-traveled and well-wired places first.

            If it left any areas not touched at all, it would be places like Blodgett Mills, New York and etc. Places where no big-money people live and no big-money people go.

            So if this disease wipes out the upper classes preferentially, that at least is a good thing, in a ” thank God for small favors” kind of way.

    1. Carl

      We have our first case in San Antonio as of today. Travel-related, I understand. No other details available.

  6. Wukchumni

    Got our first Coronavirus case in Tulare County, invisible tendrils are closing on me, not that i’d know.

    1. The Rev Kev

      You want crazy? In Links I said how the Australian Home Minister Peter Dutton came back from America with Coronavirus after meeting people like Barr & Ivanka Trump. The Prime Minister and his Cabinet, whom Dutton met with, has decided not to go get themselves tested for Coronavirus they have announced. What sort of message does that send?

      1. Massinissa

        “We’ll be fine. Politicians are above mere proletarian problems like disease.

        Just ask those Iranian politicians that died of the coronavirus.


        1. The Rev Kev

          You watch. Any politician that catches Coronavirus will have that information classified. There are already well-founded suspicions over both Trump and Boris.

    1. Wukchumni

      Florida Man in any capacity or social strata, seldom disappoints.

      A rising star in the Donkey Show is a meth-odd actor, ha.

  7. katiebird

    A 70 year old man died in a nursing home not far from where I live (although a different city and county from where I live) It turns out the facility is in the same chain as the nursing home in Kirkland, WA where 22 people died.

    I sincerely hope things go a lot better here.

    Owner of facility tied to Kansas coronavirus death runs Washington home where 22 died

    The Wyandotte County nursing home at the center of Kansas’ first coronavirus death is owned by the same company that runs a skilled facility in Washington state linked to 22 virus fatalities.

    1. Phenix

      Finally a state with some sense. Every state needs to push back it’s primary until May/June/July. Let Biden and Sanders have weekly debates on one topic and let people vote later when the worst of this is hopefully over.

      1. MLTPB

        1 it could be advantageous to those who are currently behind.

        2. It could cause the remaining ones to be postponed, or, well, not happen. After a game called early due to rain.

        3. It’s a precedent for Nov.

        4. Such scenarios were mentioned here a while back.

        1. Charger01

          This won’t move the needle enough for Sanders until Biden passes away. The process is, quite seriously, stacked against Sanders that much.

  8. Daryl

    > Again, I think Warren has a lot less political capital than she thinks she has.

    One of the things I find most disappointing about the Democratic party is how cheaply they sell themselves and how unimaginative they are as opportunists. One can imagine that a lot of careers (and accolades, public favor) would be made if the government was e.g. engaging in widespread antitrust action or overhauling entire industries. Instead though they are willing to cash it all in for some paltry speaking/consulting fees after retiring from Congress.

    1. deplorado

      They are just careerists.

      Warren has a company (I think with her daughter, can be fact checked) for selling political t-shirts and tchotchkes. That company I vaguely recollect made solid 6-7 figures for her over some period of time. I was always very struck that a national level politician would have in earnest a personal side hustle like that at the height of her political career. Ugh.

    2. Phenix

      She was and still is a Republican. The only problem is that half the Democratic party is full of moderate Republicans.

      She is and was dead to a lot of Bernie supporters before the election and even more hate her now.

      1. divadab

        Yup – because she is a hateful disloyal lying person. I don;t think running a side business with her daughter is anything but a good thing, however. What kind of person thinks it a bad thing?

  9. Wukchumni

    Ivanka has self isolated after being with the Australian politican who contracted the virus, but the idea is if she just clicks the heels on her Louboutins twice, she’ll be ok.

  10. Samuel Conner

    Has anyone suggested that for 2021 New Year’s Eve, the “Times Square Ball” be replaced with a giant illuminated shoe?

  11. dk

    I may have been insufficiently negative about “Bernie should embrace being Organizer in Chief right now and use his list to help support vulnerable communities.”

    It’s a cute idea politically. Technically it’s fraught, also legally and logistically, and the timeframe is “now”. I sincerely hope it’s not attempted and rushed out to take advantage of what amounts to a media opportunity in a political moment. An app and a mailing list aren’t magic wands (outside of an extremely narrow context in a campaign scenario).

    Organizations like DSA that have been building their role for a while are much more prepared to jump in. Even local Bernie organizers on the ground are in a position to step up:

  12. cripes

    Trumps voice cracking more than usual at his speech, raspy, gasping for air.

    He passes the mike to Dr, she says they will “unleash the power of the private sector.”

    God help us.

    1. Kurtismayfield

      This parade of CEO’s is making me gag in my mouth. I can’t wait to see how much they get paid for this drive thru test system.

    2. dcrane

      He seemed to sniff regularly during his 10-min speech the other night, as if keeping the mucus from running. Wondered at the time if it was just him or the mike placement.

        1. Temporarily Sane

          Stimulants taken orally don’t make you sniff, quite the opposite actually. That’s why cough and cold medicine contains pseudo ephedrine.

          Railing lines of Peruvian matching powder otoh…

    3. ChiGal in Carolina

      nah, it’s like his nasal passages are obstructed, as if he probably needs a C-Pap for sleep apnea. he does seem kinda stunned though, having trouble even saying the word coronavirus at times as if he can’t believe he hasn’t been able to bully his way out of this one.

      the scariest thing is all this talk about easing regulations: yeah, like forcing hospital staff to work without the protective gear currently mandated.

      1. Darius

        On Twitter they’re calling it the shock doctrine press conference. Deregulating hospitals and labs. Outsourcing to tech giants, Walmart and Target. Dumb market rebounds. We are well and truly f@&$ed.

        1. Monty

          “Dumb market rebounds.”
          That might have been the Fed with their 1.5t bazooka and it’s front runners. Lets see how strong those hands are if the virus continues to gather steam.

          1. MLTPB

            The French bought off Rolo the Viking. That was centuries ago.

            It doesn’t seem we can bribe this minuscule malware, even with $1.5 T.

        2. wuzzy

          Some cynics on a stock trading site noted Tumphsks delay until about 3:30 EST. Quite often the market reverses on Fridays at about that time as the big guys don’t want to hold over the weekend.

        3. Billy

          Repeat from someone here:
          “If the Biden Democrats are true to form, you’ll see tucked within a healthcare/insurance rescue package 1) a removal of personal bankruptcy as a way to discharge healthcare debt and 2) allowing ERs to refuse to admit the uninfected (read uninsured) to free up stressed resources to deal with the pandemic. Neither will have sunset provisions, strangely.”

        1. Wukchumni

          President has called for a National Day of Prayer on the Ides, does he not know what happened to the other Orange Julius Caesar on that date?

  13. urblintz

    Why is it that when I see Trump droning on, surrounded by cronies, reading from a script, my mind leaps to future visions of Joe Biden?..

    because the script won’t change?…

    1. Massinissa

      Why anyone thinks Joe ‘Liberal Reagan’ Biden is a preferable alternative to Trump I have no idea. If we’re going to have an idiot try and fix capitalism, I would prefer it to be one who is at least not perpetually half asleep at the best of times.

      1. Temporarily Sane

        Social democrat and self-styled “democratic socialist” Bernie Sanders is the only potential 2020 candidate who proposes policies that could “fix” some aspects of capitalism so that it doesn’t perpetually screw the average Jill and Jack at every turn.

        Trump and Biden are both liars and frauds beholden to their donors and sponsors who will make sure capitalism continues to serve the 1% at the expense of everyone else.

  14. cripes

    Does anybody think there’s a snowball’s chance in hell the Democratic Convention will be held in Milwaukee in July? Or a republican convention? Or an election in November?

    Hell, I doubt they’ll even finish the primaries, I’ll be surprised if they manage to broadcast the Sanders Biden “debate” next Sunday.

    1. Jason Boxman

      We can just have the Supreme Court appoint our next president again. Now there’s a precedent for it.

      1. divadab

        Well with Biden they seem to want an actual puppet incapable of thought, all the better to pull his strings from the dark underground lairs of the scum who control the Dem party.

  15. Janie

    About 15 years ago the Los Angeles Times replaced Robert Scheer with Max Boot? Charles krauthammer? That’s when they lost me forever.

    1. Susan Mulloy

      I think the LA Times has changed under their new owner and his infusion of capital. Their business columnists are intelligent. They often point out the absurdities of Trump’s economic policies. And the cruelties of corporate exploitation of workers. They have been the only major newspaper to challenge the landlord class.

  16. Tim

    “The problem with Polaris is that no one can agree on how big or distant it is.”

    LoL I have a weird sense of humor. I love that all the physical science and math we have can’t figure out if an object is big and close or small and far because it isn’t moving.

  17. Wukchumni

    A national emergency on Friday the 13th?

    Sounds like the plot to a horror film, a slasher flick with an ersatz Freddie Kruger starring.

  18. Jason Boxman

    So it’s official:

    Today we are updating our instructions regarding [company] work arrangements during COVID-19.

    Until further notice, we are all expected to work from home (WFH) rather than a [company] office.

    Today’s market rally is surely short lived.

    We’re just getting started.

  19. WobblyTelomeres

    Watching the national emergency press conference. Interesting is that all the CEOs are shaking Trump’s hand. If he is infected, via his buddy Balsonaro’s aide, he’s surely passing it on. Wonder if they all race to wash up afterwards.

    Darkly fascinating, sorta like watching Alex Rodriguez’ herpes tree leafing in real time.

    1. Samuel Conner

      Perhaps the elites have misinterpreted the public health advisory to be to engage in “socialist distancing”, and they reflexively reject that.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          we listened to it on the radio on the way back from chemo.
          sounded like a commercial for walgreens.
          or joel osteen.
          and trump sounded breathless, and more discombobulated than usual.
          and “deregulate” and “tax cuts” are the only tools that are allowed, i guess.
          at least pence didn’t start glossalalia-ing.
          too many women on stage, perhaps.

  20. Monty

    Is Trump saying “Google” is going to run the contact tracing/surveillance? The 4th amendment breathes a sigh of relief!

  21. bassmule

    Listening to Trump’s speech: Five minutes of patting himself on the back. People to go to Google to see whether they should be tested? Save the airlines. Pence is doing a great job. Etc., etc. Not a word about paid sick leave. Not a word about people who will lose their jobs. Dependence on the largess of billionaires: WalMart and Walgreens will selflessly offer their parking lots as sites for drive-through testing. Fauci being careful not to say “Where have you (familyblog) bee the last two months?” Pharma companies going to work! Soon!

    Who was it talking about the first Rich Failed State?

    1. The Historian

      My take on that so called press conference is that it is a PR event for medical companies and big conglomerates in this country like Google and Walmart. NOT a whole lot there for the average citizen.

      I guess it is making Mr. Market happy which what I assume it was supposed to do. A lot of testing companies are going to make huge bucks this year.

      The rest was just BS, like how we are so successful that we are “helping” other countries out there.

      I can’t listen to this crap any more. Even the reporters seem to have canned and prepared questions.

    2. jrs

      Temporary sick leave *might* pass though in the bill:


      No, no matter what they aren’t going to give us *permanent* sick leave as policy in a country like this (unlike everywhere else in the world).

      But they will use corona as an excuse to bailout all the garbage that was going to go under even with no corona virus at all, like fracking. That was bankrupt regardless, not to mention poisoning water and releasing methane.

    3. Dan

      Fauci being careful not to say “Where have you (familyblog) bee the last two months?”

      They got to Fauci. His demeanor is completely different from the other day.

      1. Carla

        Actually, watching him today, I thought Dr. Fauci seemed hoarse and possibly ill. Hope not.

      2. Tvc15

        Dan, I agree about Fauci. He seemed unnaturally concerned about staying on message and ensuring nothing he said diminished or contradicted trump’s handling so far.
        I think this may be the event that finally exposes trump as a conman and fraud. He was dismissive at first and then thought it would just go away like every other event he’s walked away from, but this one’s different. Good thing he set Pence up to take the fall when its revealed how badly this has been handled…I’m betting it makes Bush junior’s response to Katrina seem fast and well coordinated. I’ve been following Dr. John Campbell’s daily evidence based updates as a few others on NC do as well and had a really good idea what was coming based on what the data was predicting. In hindsight, I think Dr. Campbell has been very accurate. Yet trump was more concerned with the optics and spreading disinformation. I thought I could escape to rural Maine, but now think Uruguay sounds pretty nice.

        1. Dan

          He seemed unnaturally concerned about staying on message and ensuring nothing he said diminished or contradicted trump’s handling so far.

          Yes, this is exactly what I was getting at. He hadn’t sounded like that in the past, which is what was so refreshing about him.

            1. Dan

              It’s pretty scary. I do agree with Drumlin’s comment below as to why he’s most likely staying in line: for the good of the nation. I hope this is accurate.

      3. drumlin woodchuckles

        If Trump fires Fauci and replaces him with one of Trump’s own political commissars, will we be better off?

        It may be that Fauci avoids offending the Trump because Fauci knows how much worse the reSPONCE will be if Fauci gets replaced with one of Trump’s political commissars. I doubt that at
        78 years old, that Fauci wants to keep his job for mere careerist reasons or to stuff yet more money into his retirement fund.

  22. urblintz

    US Govt. plans: You too may qualify (if you have a computer on which you can try to sign up) for the test (which is a money maker for someone even if it’s “free” for you) that doesn’t change the protocol (isolation) for individuals, whether they are positive or not and who should already be isolating (remember condoms for HIV years before the testing?) which is precisely what they’d be told if they were negative too. (parentheticals are small print in the original).

    snark off

    I am not arguing against testing, it’s important. I am arguing for isolation and social distance directives as the proper response with testing, explained more rationally, a secondary subject for the public. My guess is that millions of Americans now believe a personal test will somehow protect them more than staying home. They’d be wrong about that. These same individuals would tend to believe that a negative test might allow them to carry on more normally than the positives and drop their level of social isolation. The majority of the population are at low risk. They should be protected or protecting themselves even more: “Low-risk individuals are a majority & protective measures for this group can be critical for public health.” https://twitter.com/evokerr/status/1237628721474883584

    While waiting for your TEST(!) stay at home… it’s the same thing they’ll tell you to do after the results come in, either way.

    1. MLTPB

      The emotional need to test can be addictive*.

      Test in the morning . Three hours later, hungry for another.

      (Especially after accidentally touching the face, or someone sneezing on the bus or elevator).

      *Psychologically it takes away the pain, like weed.

    2. Carla

      @urblintz: Don’t know about your neck of the woods, but in mine — NE Ohio — everything is shutting down. Going to be hard for them to go out and distract/entertain themselves. At least I hope it will be hard.

  23. Ford Prefect

    The New Republic piece understates the issues that caused Robert Redfield to be baffled. The CDC etc. were defunded but they forgot to get rid of the rules. So it was not possible for the private sector to step in because there were numerous procedural hurdles to go over to get testing approved. With defunded government, the bureaucracy was unable to process applications quickly. so the government can’t develop it and they can’t approve anybody else developing it either.


    If you don’t believe that government can be effective then you put no effort into making it effective.

    BTW – I am still utterly baffled that Fauci still has a job. The track record of this Administration is that competence and straight-talk is eliminated at the first opportunity. My assumption is that Trump et al don’t even listen to what he has to say (partial explanation of Wednesday night’s speech) so they didn’t even realize he was a “subversive” member of the “deep state”.

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      thanks for the useful clarification

      as to Fauci, he is committed to making a difference and I am impressed with his savvy: he tells it like it is without connecting the dots in a way that shows Trump up

    2. MLTPB

      Deep state…

      Is Russia inluded in the Europe travel b*n?

      If not, is it RussiaRussiaRussia, again

      1. ambrit

        Vily old Vlad Vladimirovitch will take America’s “Own Goal” of an exploding epidemic and close Russian airports to Americans, “for the health of the Rodina.”

    3. deplorado

      >> If you don’t believe that government can be effective then you put no effort into making it effective.

      They don’t *want* the government to be effective.

    4. Jen

      Of all of the NIH institutes, the one that Fauci heads (NIAID) has always, in all ways, had its sh*t together. Head and shoulders above the rest.

      1. KLG

        As someone who has previously competed in the NIH funding lottery, amen!

        NCI is a cesspool of self dealing. As is NIGMS, which was my primary institute.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > NCI is a cesspool of self dealing. As is NIGMS, which was my primary institute.

          Oh, Lordy. So I guess we need to look for NCI and NIGMS on the, er, CVs of those who are about to help us through this mess….

    1. jrs

      L.A. schools closed. The homeless children* will have to stay in their tents all day. Wait how is this helping?

      * There is a significant portion of homeless children.

  24. MLTPB

    Just saw this – Beijing, through the spokesman of their Foeign Ministry, questioned if the US army brought the contagion to Wuhan, referring to the confusion (?) Over the time of the US patient zero.

    1. Robert Hahl

      Thanks. Looks like she is going to raise the money. It is up to $106K in the first 22 hours.

  25. drumlin woodchuckles

    About Groves of Academe and thinking about demanding analog protection against digital aggression by the University against the Faculty . . . . let the tenured perma-professors try. I wish them luck.

    I don’t think they are in any position to succeed, though. They spent the last 20 years living well on their personal salaries. They did not turn their houses and yards into Survivalist Doomsteads. They do not have a year or two of stored food. They have not pre-payed their property taxes and any other pre-payable taxes by several years ahead. Therefor, they are in no position to suffer an interruption to their salaries now. That means they are not in any position to go on Mass Total Strike involving every single full time professor at every single college all at once, and maintain that Mass Total Strike until their every single demand is met . . . or until the Universities are driven into Roach Motel Liquidation.

    Too bad, so sad. The poor professors will get not-one-single request even considered, because they did not spend the last 20 years preparing for a Total Victory or Total Extermination strike against Big Academe.

    1. Wukchumni

      The property tax due date on April 10th should coincide with the peak of Coronavirus or thereabouts, and many people will have been ensconced in their hidey holes w/o income for a month.

      Counties largely keep going on account of property taxes, pretty much.

  26. anon y'mouse

    So, the nation is under a state of emergency. Nancy (curse her name) Pelosi got up and made some vague statements about helping people who are losing their jobs.

    I wonder how a government that carried out the HAMP program actually defines “help”.

  27. antidlc

    Hey, you know that Google website he mentioned at the press conference…

    Take a look

    Statement from Verily: “We are developing a tool to help triage individuals for Covid-19 testing. Verily is in the early stages of development, and planning to roll testing out in the Bay Area, with the hope of expanding more broadly over time.

    If that’s it, they’ve got nothing right now!

  28. Wukchumni

    For what it’s worth dept:

    A friend is a veteran and the VA is ‘screening’ all vets for Coronavirus, and she has an appointment to go in on Monday.

    Now, what’s the difference between testing & screening?

    1. MLTPB

      Her status after Monday, and in the near future?

      I mean, a test does not grant future aversion by the bad guy.

      1. Wukchumni

        I was thinking more along the lines of the VA not having the proper testing equipment, so perhaps they take her vitals & temp, etc., and call it good?

        1. Kurt Sperry

          Yeah, that’s gotta be it. “Screening” = testing theater minus the actual test. It seriously seems nobody in the USG wants testing to proceed at scale.

    2. Matthew

      Screening is probably triage to decide who to give tests to. I had to have covid screening to be able to access my job site this week. I answered a few questions about symptoms and international travel and had my temperature taken.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Now, what’s the difference between testing & screening?

      The Atlantic:

      But even when these tests eventually are available, some limitations will have to be realized. Among them, these are diagnostic tests, not screening tests—a distinction that should shape expectations about the role doctors will play in helping manage this viral disease.

      The difference comes down to a metric known as sensitivity of the test: how many people who have the virus will indeed test positive. No medical test is perfect. Some are too sensitive, meaning that the result may say you’re infected when you’re actually not. Others aren’t sensitive enough, meaning they don’t detect something that is actually there.

      The latter is the model for a diagnostic test. These tests can help to confirm that a sick person has the virus; but they can’t always tell you that a person does not. When people come into a clinic or hospital with severe flu-like symptoms, a positive test for the new coronavirus can seal the diagnosis. Screening mildly ill people for the presence of the virus is, however, a different challenge.

      “The problem in a scenario like this is false negatives,” says Albert Ko, the chair of epidemiology of microbial diseases at the Yale School of Public Health. If you wanted to use a test to, for example, help you decide whether an elementary-school teacher can go back to work without infecting his whole class, you really need a test that will almost never miss the virus.

      “The sensitivity can be less than 100 percent and still be very useful,” Ko says, in many cases. But as that number falls, so does the usefulness of any given result. In China, the sensitivity of tests has been reported to be as low as 30 to 60 percent—meaning roughly half of the people who actually had the virus had negative test results. Using repeated testing was found to increase the sensitivity to 71 percent. But that means a negative test still couldn’t fully reassure someone like the teacher that he definitely doesn’t have the virus. At that level of sensitivity, Ko says, “if you’re especially risk-averse, do you just say: ‘If you have a cold, stay home’?”

      “An inaccurate test—one prone to false positive or false negative results, can be worse than no test at all,” Ian Lipkin, an epidemiology professor at Columbia University, told me in an email. The CDC has not shared the exact sensitivity of the testing process it has been using. When Fauci was asked about it on Monday, he once again hedged. “If it’s positive, you absolutely can make a decision,” he said. If it’s not, that’s a judgment call. Usually a second test is recommended, and it depends on the patient’s symptoms, exposures, and how sick they appear to be.

      This is the best I can find; maybe another reader can do better. It seems to be that the distinction is not cut and dried, at least partly because the requirement is to prove a negative: That a person does not have the disease.

  29. dcblogger

    I would love to know what Bernie’s tracking polls look like right now. Are people drawing the obvious conclusion, we need single payer healthcare NOW? Or are they failing to connect the dots?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > people

      The voters who went for Biden in states where he didn’t even campaign are, shall we say, connecting a different set of dots than I would connect.

  30. deplorado

    Wendell Potter’s take – read the whole thread:


    This pandemic will finally reveal how devastating insurers’ greed will be to so many of us. Tragically, some Americans will likely die because policymakers turned the keys of our healthcare system over to profit-driven insurance corporations.

    That has to finally end.


        1. Jason Boxman

          Indeed, nothing changed after Sandy Hook. If dead children can’t spur change, what can?

          For the New Deal, it was a perceived and real risk of social unrest. And FDR saved capitalism!

          1. Samuel Conner

            Things can change, but it might not be possible “top down”

            There was a significant “bottom up” movement in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy,


            I have the impression that this organization’s work has had a beneficial impact and has averted a number of tragedies.

            Of course, it’s an institution, and in future who knows what will become of it. Perhaps it will “go the way of all NGOs”. But perhaps at least in the medium term it suggests the possibility of “bottom up” action that has beneficial effects.

        2. MLTPB

          Reminded of this quote from the Leopard – for things to remain the same, everything must change.

          The opposite is, for things to change, everything must remain the same.

        3. Temporarily Sane

          Nothing will change until we the people figure out a way to put our differences aside and force the powers that be to change.

          Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never has and it never will.
          – Frederick Douglass

      1. Darius

        This will sweep a lot the existing order away. The problem is that there isn’t likely to be competent and trustworthy people able to pick up the pieces.

  31. epynonymous

    I was thinking, imagine if we had this same response for Autism.

    Reportedly 1 in 68 school children, and the trend is only going up…

  32. Samuel Conner

    An odd development at the JHU CSSE pandemic dashboard

    Last night the US confirmed cases was above 1600, and this AM, slightly above 1700.

    At this writing, it is down to 1268

    Total recovered is down to 6 from 8.

    Deaths down to 33 (now) from 38 (last night).

    I think they decremented the totals. What was removed? The evacuees’ statistics from the Diamond Princess?

    Adjustments are to be expected to correct prior errors, but I worry that there might be a political agenda behind this.

    1. The Historian

      The JHU CSSE dashboard shows 1950 cases and 43 deaths, but they’ve dropped all the cases from Oregon, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Kansas and probably a lot more. The JHU site is becoming VERY unreliable lately. No honest information seems to be available to Americans to tell them how bad it really is.

      Idaho has its first case reported this afternoon, but according to the Governor and the Health Department, no worries, because the person caught it in New York two weeks ago at a conference – “out of state” according to them – so not a problem. Just another one of those “huh?” things I’ve been hearing lately here.

    2. Samuel Conner

      At 8PM, US is back up to # confirmed =1992, more or less consistent with the roughly 20% daily increase in recent days (which reflects testing, not actual spread, which is simply “not known” at this point)

      Perhaps “site maintenance” is to blame. It seems to me that sometimes some of the features are not working.

      It’s a bit unnerving.

      1. Milton

        It’s not the site but the consuming of the health data that is sometimes not reliable. I do a lot of mapping with Esri services-downtime is usually the fault of the data provider. Having said this, the servers which host the gis services, have been under enormous strain the past month, resulting in no data being shown on occasion.

  33. MLTPB

    From yesterday – first case at the UN HQ in NY.

    Are they subject to New York’s rule on no large gatherings?

    By the way, every place is different…100, 200, 250, 500, 1,000, 5,000 etc.

    How many are there in a traffic court usually?

  34. flora

    Note to CDC director Redfield, et al. The Milo Minderbinders of the US business world don’t care about your problems; they care only about their profits.

    1. flora

      adding: Thanks much for the reminder about the Rep. Henry Waxman – former (immediate) Fed Chair Allen Greenspan exchange. That exchange encompasses the economic revent past 40 years in a nutshell.

  35. Wukchumni

    One by one, 7 of us decided it was too risky to go skiing next week, once the first fell out, the rest fell in line.

    This new normal is something else…

    1. flora

      People are remembering that nature bats last, as they say. Prudent behavior doesn’t seem so fuddy-duddy all of a sudden; it seems like common sense. That’s a good thing in this case.

      1. flora

        adding: at my coffee place this morning people were trying to space their sitting locations out to 4 -6 feet. That was new. It was like a courtesy everyone was extending to the other customers by self distancing 4-6 feet. I looked around to see if it was just my area, but it was the entire coffee shop. I also noticed people coming in who normally get a table or counter spot, happily cozying up at the counter if it’s busy, look around and decide on a to-go order instead of finding a counter spot.

    2. The Rev Kev

      A British general in WW2 noted that for every six men, one would be the one that would be the go-ahead type and be aggressive, one would be the type to hang about and head for the rear at first opportunity, and the other four would simply follow the majority.

  36. Kurt Sperry

    “Lake Erie walleye bite continues; steelhead trout on fire: Fishing Report for Jan. 31”

    I think a “steelhead trout” that never sees the sea is just a rainbow trout. So I’m doubting any steelies inhabit Lake Erie.

  37. flora

    Warning: cheap shot ahead…

    “One of the more hilarious continuing aspects of election 2020 is that the party that draws itself up in high dudgeon when it’s called “Democrat” instead of “Democratic” can’t seem to count votes accurately. Over and over again.”


    What? Was that shot too cheap and easy? Well, so are they! Ba dum bum tssh! /heh

    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      I like “Joe Headroom”. Maybe the kids don’t get it, but it’s not like they’ll vote for Joe anyway.

      1. Mo's Bike Shop

        The Jet Set Elite incomprehension that they are the primary vectors has been clarifying.

        Their gut fear of needing to actually manage employees if they work from home has been hilarious as well.

  38. Deschain

    Warren’s max political capital was the day before Super Tuesday. She could have negotiated nearly anything she wanted from either candidate. Now she has nothing and will get nothing. She is bad at the politics.

    My retirement plan is to figure out how to get into a no-limits poker game with her. I’ll know who the sucker is at the table.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Warren’s max political capital was the day before Super Tuesday

      And it wasn’t very much then, either, because the Democrat Establishment didn’t put her on stage with the rest of ’em. Remember how Biden said she should stay in the Senate?

  39. martell

    Doubt this will be seen this late in the day, but I’m concerned about postings to FB and Twitter that friends have sent me. Individuals who are trying to stock up on groceries are posting pictures of themselves in front of empty store shelves. They’re also posting receipts indicating that they’re hoarding, for all intents and purposes, buying up necessities sufficient for a several months long seige. Nothing I have read indicates that food shortages are imminent. But if people make it appear as though many people are hoarding, there will be panic, and there will be shortages caused by panic.

    I’m not a big fan of game theory, but I think it has some utility in cases where decisions must be made between a few well (enough) defined options and where outcomes are known to depend on choices of others. Game theory licences redescriptions of those situations, descriptions of how things go. A situation in which (1) each player can hoard or not hoard and (2) many players believe many other players will hoard is (I’m pretty sure) a repeated prisoners dilemma game. It doesn’t end well.

    1. blowncue

      I’ve been trying to buy some things here, some things there, going where most don’t know, most don’t go. Spending more on gasoline to store, propane for a gas fired grill. Tubers that will keep.

      What I worry about is whither the relative monopoly on violence. I feel foul, saying that.

      In wars past, there was cohesion, rationing, victory gardens, and such. But now, there’s no common army to join, no banner under which to fight – ourselves! –


  40. Thomas F Hilton, PhD

    With all of today’s articles suggesting the COVID-19 enables overdue changes in policy and practice, I would simply remind all that we said much the same thing in 2008. We are already repeating most of those mistakes will harvesting a bunch of new ones. To add to the insanity, reacall that Congress weakened or reversed most laws meant to prevent the current crash in world finances.

    1. Massinissa

      I don’t like the idea of bailing out the oil industry, but this isn’t a ‘proper’ bailout, as in we don’t get stuck holding the bag since we’re just buying product rather than stuffing them with free money. The military needs oil for… Everything, anyway, so may as well buy the stuff while its cheap.

  41. Billy

    Look at the positive side of this pandemic: People will also be prepared for Earthquakes, tornadoes and hurricanes, as long as they can shelter in their homes and have potable water. I believe the rubbing alcohol, sanitizer, toilet paper, food packaging factories must be running 24/7 and soon will catch up with demand.
    We sampled some of our 20 year old Y2K pasta last night. Even though stored in the original cellophane sleeves in cardboard boxes, it tasted fine. The pinto beans had dried out, even in a sealed bucket. Even plastic is permiable. The white rice had an odd taste like the ginger that the buckets originally contained.

  42. blowncue

    My campus is shutting down. You’ve heard of it. We just played our arch-rival. I worked outside the stadium, using my own hand sanitizer. We weren’t given hand sanitizer, or gloves, or masks, or instructions. I was worried, but at the same time I was happy the day proceeded as smoothly as it did. A peer came by with some fried chicken, a favor to be remembered and called upon another day. Two blue wagons towed by enterprising girl scouts and their parents awaited the happy fans as they marched towards the thoroughfare. Those girl scouts probably made more money than I did during my shift. They gave me a free box of cookies. “Someone gave us a $50 bill!”

    I got called in for the weekend. I stood at another gate, handing out the occasional pass to let a student, or a friend picking up a student’s car, or a parent arriving to pick up their child or their child’s belongings, or both. Not many today, might be more tomorrow.

    Mostly students with permits. It was quiet, the campus is on spring break. We learned this morning that we are bringing in those in a long-term residential drug rehab program to box up and ship out belongings. We are not letting students back into the dorms. But 2,000 students have petitioned to stay on campus. I don’t think it’s a good idea.

    I won’t have any more hours after Sunday, but I am ready to step away. I don’t want to have any more contact outside. I’ve had enough contact with the public for a while. I feel fine, no temperature, sometimes a little tired, a little flush. I’ve been angry a lot, crying a lot.

    But being friendly came easy today. Everyone was friendly, I made a point to say “I will see you in the fall!” People seemed to appreciate that. Just last week, everyone was fighting to get into my lot, trying to get around the policy. It’s different now, nobody is pulling their do-you-know-who-i-am card.

    Though I didn’t see any leaders outside, greeting people. Just the occasional communique. I was greeting people, though. Giving a student a ride in my golf cart, letting another borrow my raincoat. Giving directions.

    There was a young woman with her young son. She drove up. Could she park here? She works in the dining commons, today’s her last day, she wants to say goodbye to her coworkers. Of course, I say, here’s a pass, you scan the black square under the vertical swiper. I’ll be here all day, and tomorrow and Sunday.

    She smiles. Drives into the parking area. I’m wearing blue latex gloves covered with blue knit mittens. I keep spraying my sleeve with Lysol every time I wipe my nose. This is my second pandemic. I’m entitled to be obsessive-compulsive at this point. Maybe I’m protecting you from me at this point.

    Later, she walks past me. She’s on her way to her car. She’s talking with her son. I watch her walk away from me, further down into the parking zone. They seem happy. It’s like watching Bill Bixby’s character talk to Eddie in The Courtship of Eddie’s Father.

    I can’t stop crying, even when other people drive past me.

    What’s going to happen to them?

    I’ll give her my name. I’ll memorize her license plate. I can ask a colleague to run her tag through the DMV. I’m not supposed to do that, but I won’t stand for this.

    She drives up.

    “Hi, how was everything?” She smiles, says fine.
    “So…what’s next for you?”
    “Oh, we’re going to California next Tuesday.”
    “Really? You’ve got a line on something?”
    “Yep. Job and an apartment.”
    “I’m so glad!!!”
    “I’ve got no choice, I’m a single parent” she said.

    And she drove away, and I’m trying to remember the license plate, and I can’t.

    California, the sprawling, burning, overtaxed, homeless-spilling-out-can’t-wait-to-get-out state. And she’s got something lined up. Or maybe she’ll break down in front of Mel’s Diner.

    It occurs to me that I want to disappear inside of a 1970s television show.

    Everything connected, and just about everyone can be infected, and now?

    1. Oregoncharles

      Thank you. Plague times (“pandemic” is such a soulless word) make for some fine literature.

      I just completed a stock-up run to the local Co-op; only took two tries. They’re slammed – we were hoping for a quiet period, but not right now. Interesting exercise, trying to avoid chances of infection while shopping. I’m not usually so careful.

      I talked with the General Manager about their plans; it’s occurred to me that the staff are very much at risk. Fortunately they’re mostly young (I’m not), but still. They were wearing gloves, at least the cashiers, but there’s no way to stay 6 feet away in that job. I was gratified that the management were really thinking about that, doing their best to keep their people safe. And thinking about how to reward their hard work after. Also making plans to make deliveries; that could matter a lot.

      We have enough of the staples (and Everclear, 100% grain alcohol, for hand sterilizing – the liquor store still had some!) to get us by, but the more perishable items will have to be restocked. The university here is shutting down classes and going all virtual, too, and the city is stopping a lot of services, including the library. There are full on emergency declarations from the city and state.

      The nearest confirmed cases are 10 miles away, at a Veterans’ home. Nursing homes are a nightmare in this one.


    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > we are bringing in those in a long-term residential drug rehab program to box up and ship out belongings.

      Disposable people, like Cuomo using prison labor to manufacture hand-sanitizer. Personally, I would have asked the college administrators to do the boxing up, but that’s just me.

      Thanks for this beautifully written report from the field.

  43. Oregoncharles

    From “Sanders Offers Biden a Path…” (Which I posted to yesterday’s Water Cooler): “Lie to me, Joe. Lie to me!”

    Is Biden coherent enough to do that successfully?

    However, it might not matter; if Democrats were voting on those issues, they’d be voting for Sanders.

  44. Oregoncharles

    “Talked to park ranger and it is a manzanita tree.”

    I THINK it’s a madrone, Arbutus menziesii. Occurs all up and down the West Coast, Vancouver Island to Mexico City; our most beautiful native tree. Manzanitas are much smaller, but the bark color is right and I can’t tell the size for sure. Anyway, madrone effectively is a manzanita tree.

    Great photo.

    1. Mark Alexander

      Agreed; it definitely looks like a madrone, not a manzanita, judging from the size. Lots of those in the hills west of the SF Bay, where I used to live.

  45. meeps

    “While our campaign has won the ideological debate, we are losing the debate over electability,” Sanders said.

    If Sanders is trying to gain the voters who believe he’s losing over electability–and who among us hasn’t met some of them–I’m perplexed why he’d frame it that way without qualifying it. Why not call into question the narrative? Why not say, “A lion’s share of voters who vote in our presidential elections do not vote in the partisan primaries because they are not aligned with the major parties. So, while they do believe our campaign has won the ideological debate, you’re not going to see that in the primary stage of this race. If you agree with my campaign, make me electable by showing up to vote for me!”


    A) Calls this bs narrative what it is.
    B) Draws attention to certain other realities about our elections in dire need of attention, including that voters are supposed to be voting for what they want, not for what they’re told to want.

    It runs the risk of looking incorrect if he loses the general. It also assumes that voting has meaning, which is seriously in question.

    Still, something remains unseen, besides 6% of the Texas vote. Perhaps bargaining for something along the lines of those rural health clinics he mentioned? A knife? Possibly one suited for jam and butter.

    If you reread the quote, he’s saying the same thing his supporters have said here everyday for five years. The people want this, but the system will allow no such thing.

    We should ask, “Why Biden”? There is a pattern here. Massive looting is underway. The inevitable bailout is nigh. That makes Biden and the cabinet he’d appoint ever-so-qualified to help oversee the bungling of it.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > .Massive looting is underway. The inevitable bailout is nigh.

      It’s always helpful to look for continuities rather than differences, as with the “transition” from Bush to Obama, for example. The one think we know will be discontinuous in a Biden administration is Russia-adjacent war, and even more McCarthyism.

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