2:00PM Water Cooler 4/30/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, another household debacle caused me to get a late start. Worse, the echoes are still reverberating. So I’ve put out a skeletal version with an item in every bucket, and I will update on a rolling basis. Sorry! –lambert UPDATE All done!


At reader request, I’ve added this daily chart:

The data is the John Hopkins CSSE data. Here is the site. I have changed to a logarithmic scale for US States and territories.

New York’s geometric growth is back up to 1.02 from 1.0. This is getting tedious. Upstate spread?

* * *

See Vice, “How to Read the Coronavirus Graphs“:

Quantities that grow exponentially, when depicted on a linear scale, look like curves that bend sharply upward, with the curve getting constantly steeper. On a log scale, exponentially growing values can be depicted with straight diagonal lines.

That’s the beauty of plotting things on log scales. Plots are meant to make things easy to understand, and we humans are much more adept at understanding linear, straight-line behavior. Log plots enable us to grasp exponential behavior by transferring the complexity of constantly steepening curves into the simplicity of an exponentially increasing scale.

On a log scale, we want to constantly be making the line more and more horizontal. The general concept of “flattening” is still a good one, but it’s never going to curve down. And so what we should be looking, and hoping for is a trend toward horizontal.


“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

* * *


Amash (R)(1): “2 competing theories about how Justin Amash changes the 2020 race” [Chris Cillizza, CNN]. “his likely candidacy has set off a furious debate within the political world that centers on this question: Does Amash’s candidacy make it more or less likely that President Donald Trump can win a second term in November? There’s no simple answer — partly because of Amash’s current status as man without a political country (he left the GOP and became an independent after saying Trump should be impeached) and partly due to the difficulties of calculating just how high Trump’s electoral ceiling actually is.”

UPDATE Biden (D)(1): “Is Voting for Biden the Lesser Evil?” (podcast) [Paul Jay, theAnalysis.news]. • Very good to see Paul Jay back in action.

Biden (D)(2): “Republicans Ridicule Democrats For Caring As Little About Sexual Assault As They Do” [The Onion]. “‘The silence of liberals on these allegations speaks volumes to how they apparently treat sexual assault as lightly and inconsequentially as we as a party always have—man oh man, it’s really astounding,’ said Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL).”

UPDATE Biden (D)(3): “Tara Reade allegations rattle Biden’s VP search” [Politico]. “‘Believe the woman’ didn’t mean believe all women, all the time. But this is an era of slogans and we’re paying the price for that,’ said an adviser to one of the women under consideration, noting Reade’s story changed over the time.” • How foolish people were to believe that liberal Democrats actually believed their slogans. More: “‘The #MeToo movement was an over-correction to decades of ignoring women and not believing them. And what we’re seeing now is a result of that over-correction,’ the adviser said. ‘It’s not ideal. It’s not what we want to be talking about.'” • Who’s the unnamed “advisor”? Weinstein lawyer and top Biden campaign operative Anita Dunn?

UPDATE Biden (D)(4): “WaPo editorial board calls for Biden to address Tara Reade allegations” [The Hill]. “The Washington Post editorial board on Wednesday called on former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, to address allegations of a 1993 sexual assault from former aide Tara Reade and release documents relating to his Senate career. In the editorial, the board says there are ‘no clear conclusions’ regarding the accuracy of Reade’s account but notes that the 1,875 boxes and 415 gigabytes of Senatorial records, which were donated to the University of Delaware in 2012, could confirm whether Reade filed a complaint over the alleged incident. Examining the documents, the editorial board states, would not necessarily indicate belief or disbelief in Reade’s claims but rather ‘a desire for the public to know all that’s able to be known, which ought to be in everyone’s interest.'”

UPDATE Biden (D)(5): “The Way Liberals Smear Tara Reade Is Everything Rape Survivors Fear” [Caitlin Johnstone, Medium]. “I have never been in the ‘always believe all women’ camp; it’s a narrative that’s too easy to manipulate once you get enough people believing it. But at this point there are basically only two possibilities: either (A) Tara Reade was going around lying to her closest confidants in the 1990s with the very long-term goal of one day thwarting Biden’s third presidential bid decades later, or (B) a powerful man sexually assaulted a woman. One of these, in my opinion, is a lot more probable than the other.” • Well worth a read.

UPDATE Biden (D)(6): “Why Won’t TV News Book Tara Reade?” [New York Times]. “There’s still no clear explanation, however, for why Ms. Reade hasn’t been on mainstream TV. Representatives for CNN and MSNBC declined to explain why they haven’t booked a woman who is, whether you believe her or not, one of the few newsmakers right now who could cut through the pandemic.” • Because, as I keep saying, they’re political players at the tactical level. Exactly like all the “feminist” NGOs.

UPDATE Biden (D)(7): Lol, Kevin Drum wrote an article on Reade that Mother Jones promptly took down:

Disturbance in the farce…

UPDATE Biden (D)(8): I’m don’t even have to go dig out the clips on Blasey Ford and Kavanaugh:

I really don’t like to deploy ageist tropes, but Biden, Pelosi, and the rest of the Democrat leadership would not be out of place wearing big furry hats on the reviewing stand at the Kremlin. Now that was a gerontocracy:

If I was more clever, I’d replace the faces, and have a meme!

UPDATE Cuomo (D)(1): “Guy Who Tweeted at Trump Landed $69 Million Ventilator Deal With New York, Never Sent Any” [Gizmodo]. “Appearing in the president’s Twitter mentions has, incredibly, finally paid off for somebody: a random Silicon Valley-based electrical engineer named Yaron Oren-Pines who scored a $69.1 million contract with the state of New York after he tweeted at Trump, ‘We can supply ICU Ventilators, invasive and noninvasive. Have someone call me URGENT.’… The deal was the New York Department of Health’s single biggest contractual payment under an emergency order by Governor Andrew Cuomo removing bureaucratic barriers in the state government’s procurement pipeline. That included competitive bidding and suspension of normal safeguards that would occur before the state actually transferred money.” • It’s nice to see both parties working together.

Sanders (D)(1): “Biden reaches deal to let Sanders keep hundreds of delegates” [Associated Press]. “Democratic candidates win convention delegates based on their share of the vote in the party’s primaries and caucuses. Nearly two-thirds of delegates are won based on results in individual congressional districts, and they stay with the candidates all the way to the convention. It’s the other third of delegates — won based on statewide results — that are at issue. To keep these delegates, candidates must still be running for president when the people who will serve as convention delegates are selected, usually at state party conventions, according to the party’s delegate selection rules. The delegate agreement says Sanders would get to keep a little more than 300 delegates that, under party rules, he sacrificed when he suspended his campaign. Officially, they would remain Biden’s delegates, but Sanders’ supporters would get to fill those seats. Both the Biden and Sanders campaigns will have the authority to approve or reject the people who want to fill those delegate slots.” • I’m a little dubious about this whole concept of “rules,” since there are so many other cases where they are bent, revised, mysteriously ignored, etc.

UPDATE Trump (R)(1): “Trump erupts at campaign team as his poll numbers slide” [Associated Trump]. “”I am not f—-ing losing to Joe Biden,” he repeated in a series of heated conference calls with his top campaign officials, according to five people with knowledge of the conversations. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about private discussions…. The message to the president was sobering: Trump was trailing the former Democratic vice president in many key battleground states, he was told, and would have lost the Electoral College if the election had been held earlier this month.Trump aides encouraged the president to stay out of medical issues and direct his focus toward more familiar and politically important ground: the economy.” • And in a couple of days we have “Project Warp Speed,” whatever that is. Nobody can pivot like Trump.

UPDATE Trump (R)(2): “Republican official worries voters aren’t giving GOP senators sufficient credit for pandemic aid” [Washington Post]. “Republican senators running for reelection face a ‘problem’ because they are getting insufficient credit from voters for recent coronavirus pandemic aid packages, a top Republican Senate campaign official said on a private conference call Wednesday. Kevin McLaughlin, executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, added that he sees ‘some positive signs on the political front’ and remains ‘cautiously optimistic,’ but he suggested the GOP will face a difficult landscape if the country does not reopen.”

* * *

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Meet the Lobbyists, Developers, and Insiders On Bowser’s ReOpen DC Committees” [“Loose Lips,” Washington City Paper]. “LL needs to take a shower, and it’s not because he’s been wearing the same pair of sweats for the past week. He’s just feeling a little slimy after reading through the list of individuals who will join the advisory group that will help Mayor Muriel Bowser and her administration figure out when and how to reopen the District after the coronavirus pandemic. As others have pointed out, Bowser’s advisory committee, broken up into sectors such as restaurants, education, public safety, health, and real estate, include many of the usual suspects who hang around the District government—the “highfalutin mucky mucks,” as Rev. Graylan Hagler calls them.” • Another “empowered council”?

“Op-Ed: Yes, the government can restrict your liberty to protect public health” [Los Angeles Times]. “There have been very few Supreme Court cases involving the government’s power to deal with the spread of communicable diseases. The most relevant decision for today was issued in Jacobson vs. Massachusetts in 1905. In that case, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of a state law requiring compulsory vaccinations against smallpox. The court declared, ‘Upon the principle of self-defense, of paramount necessity, a community has the right to protect itself against an epidemic of disease which threatens the safety of its members.’ The court explicitly rejected the claim that “liberty” under the Constitution includes the right of individuals to make decisions about their own health in instances where those decisions could endanger others. But the court also made clear that restrictions imposed by the government to control communicable diseases must have a ‘real or substantial relation’ to protecting public health. Under this standard, there is no doubt that quarantine, ‘shelter in place, and closure requirements are constitutional as a way of stopping the spread of COVID-19, even though they restrict freedom.”


Gotta look for the hard-bodies, though. Those would be real mercs.

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.

Purchasing Managers Index: “April 2020 Chicago Purchasing Managers Barometer Drops Deeper In Contraction” [Econintersect]. “The Fed manufacturing surveys were in contraction this month because of the coronavirus impacts.”

Honey for the Bears: “May 2020 Economic Forecast Now In Coronavirus Contraction” [Econintersect]. “You do not have to be an economist to understand the U.S. is in a recession. The question now is how fast will the economy recover – and it is too early to make any realistic forecast as too little is still know on how this pandemic will subside. This is a black swan economic event.” • Is it, though?

* * *

Retail: “Macy’s to Reopen Dozens of Stores, Sets Timeline for Full Return” [Bloomberg]. “Macy’s Inc. plans to reopen dozens of its U.S. stores on Monday as the first wave of retailers prepares to get back to business after a mass shutdown of American shopping. The department store chain will resume operations at 68 locations in states that have loosened lockdown measures put in place during the coronavirus pandemic, Macy’s confirmed on Thursday. The retailer has more than 750 stores across the U.S. that have all been closed since mid-March, though e-commerce remained open.”

Mr. Market: “Bad Data Is a Given for Wall Street Gaming Out Lockdown Exit” [Bloomberg]. “All that matters is how fast consumption and investment can be revived.” • Yep! Dulce et decorum est pro lucrum mori.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 46 Neutral (previous close: 46 Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 40 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Apr 30 at 1:39pm. Holy cow! Back to neutral?

The Biosphere

“Cultivating fungal research” [Science]. “Fungi cover epithelial surfaces of the human body, engaging in many mutualistic interactions with the host and other microbiota such as the more prevalent bacteria. These interactions are shaped by multiple factors, including host physiology and immunity, as well as nutrient competition. The beneficial effects of fungal colonization for hosts include resistance to pathogens and tuning of the immune system. Although health benefits continue to be explored, recent studies have revealed expanded roles of fungi in human disease, including inflammatory disorders and specific cancers. The global burden of fungal infections is also expanding, with increased numbers of at-risk patients and increased resistance to limited antifungal drugs. More fungal research is needed to overcome these unmet needs…. Recent studies have begun to explore how fungi are multifaceted in their potential to lead to beneficial as well as pathogenic outcomes for the host. Commensalism in the context of human fungi is exemplified by colonization resistance against pathogens. An example of a beneficial effect is the dominant human skin–associated Malassezia, which have adapted to their niche by making use of skin lipids as a nutrient, and then secreting antimicrobial products that deter bacterial pathogens…. Given the complexity of host-microbial interactions, any alteration in the host or microbiota can result in infections.”

Health Care

Plus ça change….

“A Potential COVID Treatment — If You Can Afford It” [David Sirota, Too Much Information]. “Amid a pharma lobbying blitz (detailed below), the question now is whether the government will do anything to make sure taxpayers are not fleeced on the price of a medicine that we the taxpayers funded. That’s right, as TMI reported almost two weeks ago, remdesivir isn’t some pure private-sector story from a corporation that deserves to make huge profits off a free-market innovation — on the contrary, the medicine was developed, in part, with public investments and publicly funded universities. The Clinton administration in 1996 repealed a federal rule requiring drug companies to offer taxpayer-funded medicines to consumers at a fair and reasonable price. You should re-read that piece, because you can bet this issue of pandemic profiteering will become more and more significant in the coming weeks.” • Ka-ching.

UPDATE “What we know—and still need to learn—about coronavirus and nicotine” [AEI]. “In response to intriguing data from French scientists showing that smokers are strongly underrepresented among patients with COVID-19 symptoms, French citizens have started to apply nicotine patches to their upper arms. The practice has become so widespread that it created a run on supplies, prompting the government to limit people to one month’s supply of patches and require that they be purchased at pharmacies rather than online. Last March, Konstantinos Farsalinos, a physician-researcher at the University of West Attica, was one of the first to observe that smokers were under-represented in Chinese patients with COVID. Farsalinos’ team examined 13 Chinese studies that comprised 5,960 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 and found that the prevalence of current smoking among them was “unexpectedly low” at an average of 6.5 percent, or one-quarter the population smoking prevalence of 26.6 percent. Data from France are similar.” • Go long nicotine patches….

UPDATE “How To Make A Face Mask With Nose Wire” [HuffPo]. “Many DIY tutorials advise inserting pipe cleaners into face masks because their soft, velvety casing is comfortable on the bridge of the nose. Once the wire is affixed to the face mask, one simple pinch on the bridge of your nose can adjust your mask to the contours of your face, providing a closer fit and solving all of the aforementioned problems. If you’ve already learned how to sew a DIY face mask, making one with a wire isn’t much more extra work ― most patterns can accommodate the addition of a pipe cleaner or craft wire at the bridge of the nose. If you’d like some specific DIY tutorials for face masks with wire nose pieces, we’ve got three below.” •

UPDATE “A National Medical Response to Crisis — The Legacy of World War II” [New England Journal of Medcine]. “In 75 years, it will be intriguing to reflect on the lingering effects of Covid-19 and our response to it. Certainly, it seems already to have normalized telehealth in previously unimaginable ways. We hope that it will also lead to the development of a more equitable infrastructure for health care delivery. History has proven that as the threat of a war or pandemic fades, interest and resource investment also decline. Yet for all their common horror, these events also have analogous potential to catalyze and reconfigure development in medicine and public health. Such moments of shared crisis merit reflection as we consider our collective medical and social priorities and interventions moving forward.” • Worth reading for all the things done in the past that we do not seem to have the operational capability to do today. Absent an “empowered council” to handle “the state of exception,” of course.


“Virtual rate cut forces Nintendo gamers into riskier assets” [Financial Times]. “Savers at the Bank of Nook [in Animal Crossing] are being driven to speculate on turnips and tarantulas, as the most popular video game of the coronavirus era mimics global central bankers by making steep cuts in interest rates….. The total interest available on any amount of savings has now been capped at 9,999 bells — the in-game currency that can be bought online at a rate of about $1 per 1.9m bells….. The abrupt policy shift, imposed by an obligatory software update on April 23, provoked fury that a once-solid stream of income had been reduced to a trickle with the stroke of a raccoon banker’s pen…. It did not take long, however, for players to spot that they could defraud the game’s bank by depositing large sums in saving accounts and then ‘time travelling’ into the future by tweaking the console’s internal clock. The bank duly pays decades of compounded interest, making rapid bell millionaires. People familiar with the situation said the Bank of Nook rate cut was an attempt to curb that practice. Nintendo has made no official comment on the matter.” • Lol, a phishing equilibrium.

Guillotine Watch

“Hilarie Burton lets her gray hair grow out in solidarity with front-line workers” [Page Six]. “‘For all of our frontline and essential workers who are too busy to fuss with things like hair color, I grow mine out in solidarity with you,’ Burton continued. ‘When I see it, I’m reminded of all you’re doing to keep us safe. I’m reminded that you deserve to be taken care of.'” • “I’m reminded”…

Class Warfare

“Coronavirus Has Caused More Than 150 Strikes. This Map Is Tracking Them All” [Vice]. Map developed by Mike Elk of Payday Report. “‘But the strikes are ongoing, and probably more numerous than the strike map indicates, since so much of the country is now a ‘news desert’ meaning not covered by local reporters who would do things like write about strikes even if it wasn’t big national news being discussed by the president. It’s for good reason that Payday Report’s tagline is ‘Covering labor in news deserts.'”

Click on the pin that represents a strike, get the strike details.

News of the Wired

“”Who’s Laughing Now, A**holes?” A Letter from Henry David Thoreau to Literature Faculties at Cushy Liberal Arts Schools” [McSweeney’s Internet Tendency]. “A few months ago, you were talking smack about my year in a cabin. Now you’re trapped in your condo in Yonkers or the backside of Amherst or wherever, and you’d trade it in a heartbeat for 150 square feet and a whole forest full of owls and frogs and shit.” • McSweeney’s is formulaic. But it’s a good formula.

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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 (TH):

TH writes: “I over exposed this one a bit and sort of like it that way. But then, Iris is one of my favorites, if not THE favorite, and I’d probably like it at any exposure.” I am always saying this or that flower is my favorite, but iris is really my favorite.

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

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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. Stormcrow

    For those interested in how the Sanders campaign flamed out, Nick Brana offers an important insider’s account. New details about the nefarious role played by Jeff Weaver, who has now gone over whole hog to Biden. [apologies for partial repost from yesterday, in the wee small hours]


    1. zagonostra

      Jimmy Dore did a long live segment with Nick Brana the other day. Like most of JD’s live streams, he usually cuts them up and trickles them out on Y-tube in subsequent days.

    2. Judith

      Nina Turner on Rising today was very angry about the whole Superpac thing and worried about what might happen to The email list.

    3. lyman alpha blob

      I’d realized that Sanders had hired some political mercenaries for 2020, but I’m surprised to see Weaver was one of them. Weren’t the mercenary types actually insulting Weaver back in 2016, saying that he should be running a comic book shop and not a political campaign? That he was a small timer who needed to stay in his lane? That’s what made me think Weaver was genuine back in 2016 – the enemies he made.

      Am I misremembering that, or did the grift opportunities in the beltway prove to be too much for Weaver?

      1. MillenialSocialist

        So he was a rube out of his depth in 2016, and an establishment Washington insider by 2020?
        DC comes at you fast.

      1. edmondo

        Every time I see a reference to the Sanders campaign I think of the Kardashian crew. Who knew that Kim would end in the Oval Office before Bernie did? Then again, the women ran a better campaign than Sanders, so there’s that.

  2. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Biden and Tara Reade

    More and more details come out and the MeToo political types get quieter and quieter. And even if Tara Reade is a complete phony, and it doesn’t sound to me as if she is, how Biden treated Anita Hill around the same time is a matter of historical record.

    The message this conveys from the elites to the rest of us is that rape really isn’t all that damaging to its victims, they just pretend it is when it helps score political points.

    Pretty sure that’s the exact opposite of the message that should be sent and somebody’s wife or sister or daughter or mother is going to suffer for it.

    It’s way past the time to be greasing the axles on the tumbrels…

    1. zagonostra

      The message though is not that “rape really isn’t all that damaging to its victims” – when have victims ever mattered to elites – it’s rather that the political class doesn’t feel any pressure to concede anything.

      Although people will see right through the hypocrisy, which for some of us was already quite apparent and evidenced in plain site on a host of issues, there really isn’t any “institutional” force that can mobilize to turn the issue into a power struggle. They know people are contending with a whole lot of stress and f%^kry right now and that some new Trumpism is bound to emerge that will redirect attention.

    2. Dr. John Carpenter

      Plus the film and photos of the inappropriate touching, smelling, etc. and the other women who said Biden made them feel uncomfortable even before anyone paid attention to Reade. Add that to Anita Hill and, yeah, some of us said this was coming. I will be shocked if we don’t hear from a second accuser before this is all over.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        They do say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, and there is plenty of substantiated evidence against the apple already in the philandering department.

    3. Robert Hahl

      If and when the Democrats realize that they will loose the House if they stick with Biden, he will be gone.

          1. WheresOurTeddy

            As late as 2006, the Republicans held all 3 branches. Look what they did.
            By 2009, Democrats held all 3 branches. Look what they did (or rather, didn’t do).

            Please tell me again why anyone to the left of the taxcuts/endlesswar/austerity duopoly would vote Democrat

      1. Mikel

        Everything is lining up for them to lose the trifecta.
        And they won’t mind.

        It will be low turnout everywhere.
        Covid is the pre-shock for what is in store.

      2. ronnie mitchell

        Why? The ‘Washington Generals’ vs the Harlem Globetrotters was a very popular exhibition.

  3. Robert Hahl

    Big jump in the U.K.’s new daily Covid-19 deaths compared to the U.S.: 4,421 (UK) v. 2,612 (US).
    Did they just add some bodies that had not been counted earlier, or could this be the start of something big?

    An interactive visualization of the exponential spread of COVID-19

          1. The Rev Kev

            Don’t really know here. It is already hard enough to find out how many people have died of Coronavirus. It may be a matter at looking at the death tolls for a coupla years beforehand and then seeing what the death toll is this year. The difference will be likely how many people have died of this virus.

            1. Redlife2017

              The FT is doing stellar work on the excess deaths. This is one of the reasons why the government had to start adding in more deaths. And the media is starting to note that the government is only including those that had a test that specifically says they had COVID-19. So people are aware the deaths are worse than the offical numbers.

              Chris Giles here on yesterdays update to the model that looks at both the ONS data (excess deaths) and official stats. Conservative estimate is 48,100 deaths up to yesterday.

              And he also looked at Germany’s excess deaths. They don’t have any.

              And the FT in general is looking at excess deaths and mortality across the world, updating when they get data here. About half way down is where you get the info.

              Interestingly (I can’t find the link), I think someone at the FT noted that Ecudor actuallly has really good excess death statistics. That’s why we know that many more thousands have died their than officially listed (like 10,000 more!). That is also shown in the FT link when you go more than half way down.

              So I think we’ll have a good idea of excess deaths by early summer for many countries, even developing ones. It won’t be exact, but it’s a decent enough number to figure out how bad it was.

  4. Louis Fyne

    Amash is a product of DC media who need something to fill the news cycle. Add his name to all the other “good Republicans” who were supposed to stop Trump—Weld, Romney, I can’t remember the others.

    2020 will be about which side is more afraid of the other party’s nominee. And given Biden’s signaling on guns, abortion, trade, migration, etc…..Trump’s base will turn out. just saying

    1. Massinissa

      I mean, Amash put his actions where his mouth was and left the R party. Which is pretty neat. Its nice to have an independent in the House. Hes the only one there. Sanders and King are in the Senate.

  5. flora

    Report: Fewer Small Businesses are Receiving Federal Relief Loans in States Dominated by Big Banks

    A significantly larger number of federal relief loans are reaching small businesses in states where small, local banks comprise a greater share of the market, compared to states where big banks are more dominant.



    Beautiful iris in today’s antidote.

    1. Oregoncharles

      Some of our best irises I planted by accident in the mulch around certain trees. Given the chance, every little piece of the corm will grow. They’re way out back, so I use them as cut flowers. Some in the dining room right now. Smell like grape soda.

  6. Eustache de Saint Pierre

    An interesting IMO take on the pandemic from an anthropologist, which in part 2 of a projected 5 which focuses on potential consequences mainly related to globalisation.

    Quite long with some black humour in relationship to the farcical side of the Neoliberal management & thoughts on how they could prosper from the pandemic, with lots of links including ranting Italian mayors.


  7. Milton

    What is interesting regarding the strike map is that it looks like you are pinging from Russia or some other country using the Cyrillic alphabet if that is a screenshot from your computer.

  8. JBird4049

    >>“Republican senators running for reelection face a ‘problem’ because they are getting insufficient credit from voters for recent coronavirus pandemic aid packages, a top Republican Senate campaign official said on a private conference call Wednesday.

    What aid? Aside from a single $1,200 check and, yes $600 weekly bonus check, if you qualify for and can get approval from the (many failing) state unemployment agencies, there hasn’t been aid for the masses. Add that many, many people have lost their healthcare and are being told that they have to get back to work while the pandemic is ongoing…

    Idiots. What needs to be done is right in front of both parties and it is not very hard to do, regardless of economic ideology, for the immediate future, unless you believe that the lower classes are literally a lower class of animals to be worked to death. And I do not mean this as hyperbole.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      I’m gonna sneak around and hide all the keys, tonight.
      the Mundanes will be out in force, tomorrow in Texas…like a holiday.
      I wish i could have fit that last supply run in, but it will hafta wait.
      what’s the average time between infection and symptoms(for those symptomatic)?

      Last i looked this am, of the now 18 cases around here, at least a third feel like crap…2 are in the hospital.
      San Antone, and the highway and freeway i take to get there, was busier than i’ve seen it in at least a month.
      I’m issuing the Hunker Down Order, save for possibly geared up me going for fruit sunday morning early, during church.(lest there be an uprising on the Farm)

  9. Tom Stone

    That deal between the Biden and Sanders campaign is interesting, who does it screw?
    Biden did not have to do this.
    Biden and his campaign know that the DNC would like to slide him out of the driver’s seat, Biden ( And his campaign by extension) is a vindictive SOB and Politics at this level is a blood sport.
    So, who would be enraged by this move and who would be hurt?
    HRC comes to mind, who else?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I think it depends very much who the Sanders delegates selected are. My bet is that there would be very few activists. So I think the deal screws Sanders, but more subtly than usual. (Although, as you suggest, it is possible to imagine Biden using Sanders as an ally against even worse Democrats. Clinton — who may be delusional enough to think she has a shot — and Cuomo come to mind.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        Sanders better have gotten one hellova concession for that, or he’ll undo everything he’s accomplished.
        Unless they have hostages(besides all of us, i mean)

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            “or he’ll undo everything he’s accomplished.”

            kill his own movement.

            damage the nascent left in the womb.

            1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

              The nascent left working class activists have already left Bernie’s orbit…

              1. Oregoncharles

                Where are they going? I know we’re getting some, but I wonder where else.

                IOW, when do the torches and pitchforks start?

                1. ambrit

                  Re. “..when do the torches and pitchforks start?” I’ll hazard a guess and say that they come out when the big wave of evictions of the people who can’t pay their rents due to the knock on effects of the pandemic begins.
                  If I didn’t know better, I’d say that the Capitalist class is acting out of a strong death wish.

              2. Lambert Strether Post author

                > The nascent left working class activists have already left Bernie’s orbit…

                I agree. And I very much wonder where they went. As does the smarter, intelligence community-adjacent, sort of Democrat.

    1. JBird4049

      Assault rifle loonies? This reminds me of the terms deplorables, welfare queen, and moochers.

      Gun nuts, perhaps, and many of them are loonies, I will agree. They are not helping their image or cause. But unless someone can show that they have select fire (or are automatic) on those rifles they don’t have any “assault” rifles. They would also be a mob of felonious lawbreakers if they did have assault rifles.

      Anyways, while the article is legit, using the nebulous, ill define term of “assault-style rifle” in the article or “assault weapon” that others use in their articles is fear mongering, yellow journalism. It neither brings understanding or advances discussion. It does, however, ramps up the fear and anger on all sides and is fabulous click bait.

      So in an article like this, it would be more accurate and less divisively inflammatory to label the protesters as gun or, better yet, as rifle owners. The irony is that a hunting rifle can be far more deadly than an “assault rifle.” The whole purpose of an assault rifle is to step down from the powerful full size cartridge size of a conventional rifle.

      1. Wukchumni

        Yes, the Vegas assassin didn’t hit 666 people using assault rifles, they were merely hunting rifles…

        …makes a big difference

      2. Code Name D

        I fear this may only be the beginning. I don’t know who these men are, or even if they are organized. But here in Kansas, we have a group that calls themselves the “Oath Keepers” These are former military personal. They are not just well armed; they are trained and disciplined.

        Lets also get something else clear. The media has been trying to smear these as crazy Covid-denyers. But the messages I am getting is that they are demanding their livelihood. The right to earn money in order to pay bills and buy food. If you relentlessly bled away their savings and retirement, set their income to zero, and offer no relief against rent, mortgages, medical bills, or food – Really, what do you THINK they will do?

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          and also to be fair, the only shouted words i could hear were “this is our house” and “let our people go”.
          but i live in rural Texas, and am used to guns being around…and even somewhat used to the ammosexuals, although they’re mostly in the big city, i think.
          people out here generally frown on gunwaving and ostentatious display.

          1. Wukchumni

            Before guns were accorded more rights than humans in our country, about how long would it take for those clowns brandishing assault rifles in the State Capital to be arrested?

            1. JBird4049

              I would not know.

              Don’t forget that the first serious gun control legislation in California is nicknamed the Black Panther Gun Control Bill; the Black Panthers used to follow the violent and often lethal (on blacks) Oakland police on their patrols and protested inside the state capitol all while legally open carrying loaded rifles, shotguns, and handguns. As long as it was just “normal” people walking around armed there were effectively no gun control. As soon as those troublesome negoes, Governor Reagan signed some gun control very quickly.

              Keep in mind that while modern American police do have an earned reputation for brutality and murderousness, the police before the temporary reforms of the 1970s that were undone ultimately by the Nixonian War on Some Drugs (Against Hippies and the Blacks in “defense” of Real Americans.) the police of the 1960s and earlier were extremely brutal in their treatment of blacks especially the Southern departments. IIRC, Oakland, California was unusual bad and had gotten an influx of Southern veterans.

              I think we should worry about why the other nine amendments in the Bill of Rights are mostly dead letters before why since the 1960s and during the steady decline in all crime including murder (but excluding political and legal corruption. They have greatly increased) we are now hellbent on eliminating the 2nd.

              We can also look at why the epidemic and
              deaths of despair each kill more Americans than the horrible, nasty, lethal gunz.

              1. Alternate Delegate

                There’s a thoughtful article in Harper’s Magazine about the Socialist Rifle Association. This might be helpful anti-knee-jerk reading for some of the commenters here.

                Sounds like a healthy and sensible group. “We’re not a cult, and we’re not a militia.” Instead, they’re about gun safety and training in a leftist political context, without minimizing the caveats and issues involved.

                Concluding sentence: “I’m not deluded enough to think that a collection of angry citizens with guns can suddenly change this situation, but the point of the Second Amendment isn’t that an armed people can necessarily push over the government. It’s just that an armed people can only be pushed so far.

        2. ambrit

          There are also the Dominionists in the Air Force. An organized faction within the armed forces is not a good idea. Don’t forget that many military coups arise from the junior officer ranks.

        3. Code Name D

          I checked out the Oath Keepers website. They reported this as news, but did not say if they supported/condemned/neutral on the event. There were no comments for second hand response.


          Not hint that they deny the existence of the virus.

  10. Lambert Strether Post author

    I added more #COVID19 links under health, and more under politics. Sorry for the uptick in randomness; I think “sheltering in place” may be getting to me.

    1. AbateMagicThinking But Not Money

      “Sheltering In Place” (how quaint, how dramatic):

      Every time I hear or see the expression I can’t help thinking that THE BOMB is about to fall, and then on reflection that duck-and-cover propaganda aimed at the eminently ignorant is echoing down the years.


      ps Here in Australia it is “Stay at home”.


      1. JBird4049

        That’s what this is reminding my subconscious. That omnipresent bomb cloud of doom with its fun emotional excitement that slowly grinds away one’s emotional health and and eventually one’s sanity. The costs were not really obvious day to day, but real enough. Only now, we enjoy this all with bonus physical isolation.

        The Cold War. Ah, fun times.

      2. Basil Pesto

        I was sure I couldn’t be the only one that thought the phraseology of ‘shelter in place’ was so quintessentially american. A bit like ‘first responders’.

      3. Carolinian

        My brother and I once started digging a bomb shelter in the back yard but got bored and gave up. That hole stayed there for a long time.

        When it comes to FUD nothing beats the Cold War good old days.

        1. Wukchumni

          I merely tried to dig to China* when I was a tyke, got about 2 1/2 feet down, and decided to fill it with water and make a lake out of it.

          * a big mistake on my part, as the Reunion Islands are the antipodes of Los Angeles.

          1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

            Got down about 5 ft in my Louisiana backyard before I hit the swamp!

            Rip digging to China…

        1. JBird4049

          What I wouldn’t pay for to be at a game now. Not watching it on a screen. Complete with obscenely overpriced semi cold beer, and a semi warm hotdog with fries.

    2. Bugs Bunny

      I thought it was “house arrest”.

      In France that’s essentially what we’ve got. Only the cops and their employers can move freely without permission. One mayor in Brittany ordered a ban on alcohol over 18 volume, a reenactment of a Vichy era law to control the décadence française. Repealed it 13 days later but the forces de l’ordre made plenty of arrests. We’ve had well over 300,000 police stops to check for papers. It does not feel like anything good can come of this experience. We’ve been treated like infants, lied to and lectured about our supposed immaturity. I get the reasons but the execution is strictly speaking, fascism. Government violence in combination with corporatism (in the classical, nepotistic sense).

      1. furies

        “Op-Ed: Yes, the government can restrict your liberty to protect public health” [Los Angeles Times]. “There have been very few Supreme Court cases involving the government’s power to deal with the spread of communicable diseases. The most relevant decision for today was issued in Jacobson vs. Massachusetts in 1905. In that case, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of a state law requiring compulsory vaccinations against smallpox. The court declared, ‘Upon the principle of self-defense, of paramount necessity, a community has the right to protect itself against an epidemic of disease which threatens the safety of its members.’ The court explicitly rejected the claim that “liberty” under the Constitution includes the right of individuals to make decisions about their own health in instances where those decisions could endanger others. But the court also made clear that restrictions imposed by the government to control communicable diseases must have a ‘real or substantial relation’ to protecting public health. Under this standard, there is no doubt that quarantine, ‘shelter in place, and closure requirements are constitutional as a way of stopping the spread of COVID-19, even though they restrict freedom.”

        Paul Edwards

        1. JBird4049

          This is normal. As a side effect of epidemics can be mass death. I am a fanatic defender of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, but as pandemics have been known to bring down empires as well as whole civilizations, some temporary prudent restrictions are reasonable. The only thing is that our current society across almost all (nation) states is dominated by corrupt, fearful, and power hungry elites. COVID19 is an opportunity for them.

        2. John Anthony La Pietra

          No right is absolute because rights have the nasty habit of conflicting with each other.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The primary goal of Team Biden is shouting enough to drone out that “Onion Biden” was always a fictional creation and that Biden is a real and awful person, known to anyone who has ever been to DC.

      The propaganda about Biden being more progressive than FDR isn’t for the “left” or meant to convince Sanders supporters. They will use “DRUMPF” for that. This is about Biden voters who believe he’s just a nice fellow.

      I will note Biden is going to go on the Joe Scarborough breakfast with the daughter of a war criminal hour of white power to discuss the allegations after which they will get to the bottom of how Scarborough is a moral beacon in our country because he didn’t murder his mistress.

      1. Carolinian

        LOL. Going by Biden’s reaction to the Ukraine/Hunter allegations he’ll probably accuse Reade of being a Putin agent. Bringing Putin into it always delight’s the media

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      At some point, biden’s steadfast unwillingness to address this issue definitively, and his reliance on the shameless prostitution of “prominent” women who obviously seek to ingratiate themselves with him and his supporters in service of their own self promotion, will inevitably be construed as evidence of his guilt. This should not be “news.”

      And it is worth remembering how the hated Orange Man handled a similar situation in October, 2016 when the clintonistas leveled what they thought was the knockout punch of the access hollywood tape:

      ….”I said it, I was wrong and I apologize.”

      The comments recorded on a hot mic sparked a firestorm of criticism from fellow Republicans. “I’ve never said I’m a perfect person, nor pretended to be someone that I’m not,” Trump said.

      “I’ve said and done things I regret, and the words released today on this more than a decade old video are one of them,” Trump said in the video statement.


      Honesty sometimes actually IS the best policy, and, whether they admit it or not, people know it when they see it. And when they don’t.

  11. Wukchumni

    23 employees test positive for Coronavirus @ a Wal*Mart in Worcester, Mass.

    I tend to not visit abattoirs, but used to go to Wal*Mart~

  12. Darthbobber

    Hilarious when the goosestepping “centrists” get referred to as the Left. Or would be if so many didn’t buy this line.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “…on the reviewing stand at the Kremlin”

    I actually have a bit of respect those those guys. They helped stop World War Three for which I remain grateful. They were old enough to have lived through the invasion by Germany when Russia as a nation almost flickered out. They saw the destruction of huge regions and the deaths of their fellow citizens in the tens of millions. People who had families. People they were related too.

    So they knew war at its most cruelest. They knew what a third world war would be like and took care that it never went that far with the US. And you never, ever, ever had a bunch of them sit around with a vodka and say, you know what? I bet that the world could survive a limited nuclear war. That was said by political hacks who had a history of draft-dodging.

    1. Wukchumni

      We had D-Day, the Soviets had D-Years.

      The Forgotten Soldier by Guy Sajer is one hellova read. A Frenchman in the Wehrmacht on the Eastern Front.

    2. MLTPB

      China and the USSR went at each other in 1969.

      Both knew war at its most cruelest.

      My guess is Beijing viewed Moscow as the aggressor.

      For China, Mao seemed to have stayed a bit too long…not sure if he reviewed anything overlooking Tiananmen square in his fragile, last years. His pictures would probably have looked similar to the Kremlin one above.

    1. Jessica

      Thanks for the link. The book looks interesting. Maybe it will turn out to be what we were looking for in Gibson’s latest, but IMHO didn’t get.

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